Switching graphics drivers


TL;DR Don’t be hasty when mucking around with graphics drivers

What caused problems

After updating to Ubuntu 16.04, steam was no longer starting. Some forum posts were suggesting that certain dependencies weren’t being linked correctly and suggested manually moving things around. That didn’t seem to do anything, so I tried updating the graphics driver. I was a little hasty, and being unsure of which driver was in use, I decided to apt-get remove a bunch of other drivers, including the nouveau one. This caused everything to break and lightdm wouldn’t start properly, which means I couldn’t log in anymore.

Fixing things

First order of business was to get a terminal, since lightdm hanging meant I couldn’t log in normally. Recovery mode was too locked down for me to get anything real done, and it would freeze when I tried things. I ended up editing the boot option and removing every additional argument past “ro” and replacing it with “text”. This allows you to boot into terminal mode.

Next, was connecting to wifi. Now, I think my system was automatically connecting anyway, but I figured it out at any rate. nmcli dev wifi list shows what are available. nmcli dev wifi connect “SSID” password “PASSWORD”

I ended up doing sudo apt-get purge xorg lightdm and reinstalling with sudo apt-get install xorg lightdm, which took FOREVER, but it did get me back to a graphical boot after restarting. I now think this was probably unnecessary. It ended up defaulting me to an older proprietary NVIDIA driver that steam was still interacting poorly with, but at least I could use the computer now!

Finally, I discovered through this post that I could run ubuntu-drivers devices which displays a list of available drivers, and sudo apt-get install whichever driver I wanted. Picking the latest proprietary NVIDIA driver finally let me run steam without issue.


Ubuntu and wifi

Occasionally when waking my laptop from sleep, wifi is disabled. It’s usually some kind of weird driver bug where the card refuses to reinitialize properly. In the past, I’ve just unloaded and reloaded the appropriate kernel module and that would cause it to load correctly.

However, this doesn’t seem to work on my laptop at work. Some googling found a page with the command “rfkill list all” which shows the list of devices on your computer that broadcast some kind of wireless signal (wifi or bluetooth). “rfkill unblock all” reenables all devices, which fixed my issue.

Can I dance Balboa to this song?


Lindy-hop and Balboa are two styles of swing dancing that I’ve been getting into over the past couple years, although admittedly I’ve spent more time on Balboa lately. One of the things that I’ve been noticing is that even though both dances are done to similar music (swing-era jazz), dancers tend to like certain songs for Balboa and other songs for Lindy. Common dancer wisdom says that faster songs are better for Balboa and slower ones for Lindy, but it seems like it should be more nuanced than that, since most dancers can also come up with slow songs that are great for Balboa or fast songs that get a Lindy dancer moving.

The jazz musician in me thought that there must be some characteristics of the music that could predict which dance is more appropriate for a given song. The programmer in me thought data might be able to give us some answers.

Continue reading “Can I dance Balboa to this song?”

Contrabass chords

Sometimes when playing through a song on the accordion, the next chord’s closest bass button is in the contrabass row. This makes playing a chord button with that bass note complicated, since the corresponding chord button for a given contrabass button is really far away.

Using the power of music theory (haha), I worked out some contrabass + chord button combos and drew up a chart for myself to practice with. If you combine any of the colored buttons in the chart with “b” in the contrabass row, you’ll get the chord in the legend.

Bill Evans’ solo on My Romance (Take 1)

I’ve been transcribing jazz again lately. I found a pretty cool software project called “Play it slowly” that can play back audio more slowly. It’s also easy to set start and end points for it to loop, making it ideal for transcription.

Here’s my transcription of the first chorus of Bill Evans’ solo on My Romance (take 1) from Waltz for Debby (1962):


Edit: For reference, here’s a Youtube link to the audio at the start point of the solo

tmux prints out “]112” randomly

I’ve been having an issue where tmux keeps printing out “]112” to random places on my screen when logged into certain ssh servers. I’m still not entirely sure what the issue is, but I at least have a workaround now.

This post started me off on the right track. It looks like libtve has an issue where it doesn’t support OSC 112 (the reset cursor color character). I’m now working around this by using roxterm as my terminal emulator instead.

Swapping ctrl and capslock in Ubuntu

I always forget how to do this permanently, so now I’m blogging it so I’ll remember. There’s multiple ways to do it. You can change it in some Gnome setting or run “setxkbmap -option ctrl:swapcaps” in your .bashrc.

I like to edit my /etc/default/keyboard conf file

Set XKBOPTIONS="ctrl:swapcaps"

And run

sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration

Source: http://askubuntu.com/questions/149971/how-do-you-remap-a-key-to-the-caps-lock-key-in-xubuntu