Saturday, August 29, 2009


I don't get headaches often. There's usually some identifiable cause. Dehydration. Nutrasweet (i seem to be allergic, and it causes what i call a migraine for about six hours. I say i seem to be allergic, but i've not gotten any such diagnosis. I say i call it a migraine, but how do i compare? Besides, the point is, with care (and increasing care at that), i can avoid it. I've been about a decade now since i was last poisoned.)

Well, here's an article that gives a reasonable overview of the subject. I doubt it's comprehensive. I don't agree with every word in it. I doubt an article could be written which covers everyone, since everyone is a bit different. But on the whole it's the best i've seen in ages - perhaps ever. And, it's out there for free. Can't beat that with a stick.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jack failure

I thought i'd mentioned it in a previous post here, but can't find it. When jacking up the car to do maintenance, i always put something under the car, so that if the car falls off the jack, it's easier to jack it back up, and, by the way, nothing under the car get crushed. I'm thinking of myself, for example.

Well, i was changing my oil, and while pulling hard on the oil filter wrench (usually i can just twist it off with my fingers), the car rolled back six inches, falling off of the jack (closest to the tire). Fortunately, i had the jack stand set up. And, it held it. In fact, the car didn't even seem to drop any. I say fortunately, but it's the way i work. Always have a backup.

The picture is kind of odd. The right front tire is shown, jacked up completely off the ground.

In case it's not clear, i was indeed, under the car at the time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Firefox and Thunderbird

I've used Thunderbird as my email client under Linux for quite a long time. I recall needing a gui email client because people (probably using Windows) were sending me stuff in styled text, mostly that could easily be sent as plain text. Anyway, it's been years.

But last Saturday morning, my main home machine rebooted. Twice. The logs showed nary a hint why. But afterwards, both Firefox and Thunderbird had an unacceptably small font, used for their menus and other dressings. The size of the content was easily changed. I'd never felt the need to change other font sizes. And there are three font sizes that matter. But only one had changed. I figured at first that i'd lost some font, and that these two applications needed it. But Google didn't seem to know where such files might be.

One of the suggestions was that the file userChrome.css could be modified. I ran "locate" to see where such a file might be. I didn't have one. A Ha! But, no, it's normal not to have one. And creating one didn't solve the problem.

There were other false leads.

What finally did it was to edit my /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, and in the "display" section for my nVidia card, i added the lines:
Option "UseEdidDpi" "FALSE"
Option "DPI" "100 x 100"

In particular, it sets my screen resolution to 100x100 dots per inch, rather than 75 dots per inch. And, i arrived at this result by measuring the screen, computing the resolution (in my head, despite having a computer in front of me that can perform a billion divides or so in a second).

No idea why a random reboot should cause this behavior. It'd been working for a decade at least. No idea why only those two applications should be affected. xorg.conf is supposed to affect everything. No idea why there seems to be a bunch of ways to address this issue. For example, userChrome.css made no difference at all. And, it was system wide, not user wide. I created a new user just to test this out.

I'm a Unix guru. But the complexity and rate of change has gotten so out of hand, that even i had huge problems getting this to work. We've totally lost focus. The documentation is out of date. There are multiple ways to do something, and only one works? This isn't Unix anymore.

But with this post, perhaps Goggle does know how to solve this problem now.