Sharing your PC monitor with your Xbox using a VGA Switcher

Few days ago I decided to move my Xbox 360 from the room where is the TV to the room where I have my desktop PC. I wanted to avoid wasting precious space on my desk, so I decided to share my 22” monitor with the Xbox and I bought a VGA Switcher. With this product you can easily switch the VGA signal between your PC and the Xbox and also the audio signal.

The problem with this solution is the fact that your monitor is not anymore attached directly to your graphic card and this causes problems detecting the monitor capabilities. Please note that the switcher doesn’t reduce the resolution you can have, it just make the graphic card impossible to detect the correct resolution.

If you have an Nvidia graphic card you can use the nvidia-settings tool to manually set the configuration and to save it to a file, so during the next boot even if Ubuntu won’t be able to detect the proper resolution for your monitor, it will simply apply the configuration found in xorg.conf

Please remember to also set the refresh rate of the monitor (I was having a very bad resolution until I didn’t choose 60 Hz in the settings window). If you don’t have a Nvidia graphic card (and the proper tool) to generate a xorg.conf file or if you just want to give a look at my configuration here you have a copy:

# nvidia-settings: X configuration file generated by nvidia-settings
# nvidia-settings:  version 280.13  ([email protected])  Thu Aug 11 17:28:49 UTC 2011

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Layout0"
    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
    InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
    Option         "Xinerama" "0"
EndSection

Section "Files"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Mouse0"
    Driver         "mouse"
    Option         "Protocol" "auto"
    Option         "Device" "/dev/psaux"
    Option         "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
    Option         "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"
    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Keyboard0"
    Driver         "kbd"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    # HorizSync source: edid, VertRefresh source: edid
    Identifier     "Monitor0"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "Ancor Communications Inc VW222"
    HorizSync       31.0 - 81.0
    VertRefresh     56.0 - 75.0
    Option         "DPMS"
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "GeForce 8800 GS"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen0"
    Device         "Device0"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    Option         "TwinViewXineramaInfoOrder" "CRT-0"
    Option         "metamodes" "1680x1050_60 +0+0; nvidia-auto-select +0+0"
    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Remember to save the file in /etc/X11/xorg.conf and on next boot you will have the right resolution even with your VGA Switcher in use.

Ubuntu: synchronizing settings among multiple computers using Ubuntu One

Using more than one computer, often it would be useful to have a way to synchronize settings among multiple computers. For example you change the desktop wallpaper on your office PC and you want to find the same wallpaper when you go back home on your personal PC or on your laptop. Language settings, online accounts, privacy settings ecc… are only few examples of settings you could want to have synchronized.

Ubuntu One already gives you 5 Gb space for free and it’s available for everyone activating it. It’s a perfect place for storing a shared folder with all those settings. Of course not a simple folder, a special one. Applications use settings taken from usual ~/.appName and a daemon takes care of synchronizing data once you’re connected to Internet. Just like Ubuntu One does with your documents.

How do I choose which settings to synchronize? First of all you have to activate an Ubuntu One account, if you don’t have already done it, then you just have to choose the settings you want using this tool available in Ubuntu System Settings

What? A mockup?! Isn’t this tool available yet??!! Exactly 🙂 This tool is not available yet, but I think it would be an interesting feature to talk about for the next (not precise, I mean 12.10) Ubuntu release. What do you think about?

Ubuntu Global Jam – March 3rd 2012: Pistoia (Tuscany), Italy.

Even this time Pistoia Linux User Group decided to join the international event “Ubuntu Global Jam” organizing it in collaboration with Ubuntu-it Community. The international event will be on March 2nd, 3rd and 4th and we have decided for March 3rd (saturday) from 15:00 CET to 19:00 CET. This event will be organized in a room made available by Circolo ARCI Bonelle. We’ll have a room capable of about 100 people and a smaller one with 4 PC and a big table for people who want to bring their own laptop. Wifi internet connection will be available for everyone.

The event will be introduced by a talk made by Paolo Sammicheli of the Ubuntu-it Community and then we will divide in some smaller groups that will dedicate to different tasks. One will be coordinated by Paolo Sammicheli and will be dedicated to testing and bug triaging. Another group will do some translations from english to italian and will collaborate directly with italian translation team talking with them on a dedicated IRC channel. The last group will be leaded by a very good Unity rockstar….. (suspance)…… Marco Trevisan! People collaborating directly with him will try to help fixing some bugs or at least they will learn how to get started to bug fixing (probably we will pick a bitesize bug and we will fix it together).

We’ve created an event on Facebook and invited all our friends to attend. We really hope that many people will partecipate to this opportunity to make the next Ubuntu version more… “precise“!

CuteSoma – worldwide downloads statistic for Nokia N9

CuteSoma (Soma.fm client for Nokia N9) has been available for 4 months now and it’s the right time to publish some interesting statistics about downloads. First of all I didn’t expect so much interest and I wasn’t sure to have so many downloads, due to the fact that Nokia never advertised this device properly. But luckly lot of people don’t care about advertising and buy a product anyway if they know it’s one of the best available on the smartphone market.

I’m really happy to notice that the number of downloads is growing each month, this motivates me to continue with development (well… when my N950 comes back from Nokia, since I had to send it because it was broken).

I want to thank all the 3658 people that downloaded CuteSoma until now and all the people that are sending me their feedback, ideas and patches (yes Cornelius Hald, I’m talking about you 😀 ) you’re giving me a big opportunity to learn C++/Qt/QML.