Close to Home

Last night (Thursday, Feb. 12) I was working on some homework when a friend of mine IMed me a link from the Buffalo News. I couldn’t believe it. At this moment they don’t know why the plane crashed, but they did recover the black boxes. Everyone on board, along with one person on the ground died after it crashed into a home. The airline has not released all the names yet, though the article does name a few people.

Being from Buffalo (Amherst, actually), this is awkward on many levels. Obviously, it’s scary just to imagine dieing as a plane crashes into your home. Added to this is the fact that I know people who live close to where this happened. And then of course there’s the realization that, while in all likelihood nobody I know was involved, this is something that happened in my home town.

It’s easy to read about disasters in the news. They happen all the time, and the media loves to report them. But when something like this happens maybe fifteen or twenty minutes away from where you grew up, it’s different. All I can say really is that these people will be in my prayers. I guess it’s another lesson that you never really know what kinds of curves the Universe will throw at you.

Keeping Flash Stable in Firefox

There is a bug in the current flash player for Linux which, in Ubuntu, will cause FireFox to crash during YouTube videos.  Now, a quick solution to this is to simply remove the package libflashsupport, but this keeps you from being able to use Flash with Pulseaudio, which lets you have multiple things using the sound card at the same time (some sound cards can do hardware mixing, but a lot can’t, hence the need to do it in software with the sound server).  Overall this is very annoying, especially for a desktop OS.

There is, however, a solution.  Basically, you need to update a bunch of packages to the versions intended for the next release, which is Intrepid Ibex (at the time of this writing).  There are details on the problem in this thread, and you can go to this thread for the fix.  Here is the gist of it, though.  Just remember, while this worked for me, do this at you’re own risk:

First, stick the following two lines into your /etc/apt/sources.list file:

deb intrepid main
deb-src intrepid main

Next, enter the following at the command line:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Just accept both packages; it will have to uninstall your current versions too.  The above worked for me; be aware of the package names in case you need to uninstall them.  They should be listed on the thread I linked too.

Another interesting thing to do is to run the flash plugin within nspluginwrapper, which is usually used to let you run it on different architectures like PPC or x86_64.  The first thread I linked to has a link for a specially-compiled 32 bit version of nspluginwrapper, allowing you to run it on normal x86.  This makes Flash run as a separate process, so that if it crashes, it won’t bring down FireFox.  Also, as it runs as a separate process, it runs faster on multicore/multi processor machines.

Hope this helps!