Category Archives: howto’s

How to fix Fatal error: Allowed memory size exhausted in WordPress 3

This error is nothing new, per se, as far as I know it was present also in previous versions of wordpress (I’m a fresh new user and I’ve been using v3+ for more than I’ve been with 2.9.7 (first one I installed).
When this error occurred in previous versions, all you needed to do was open the [WORDPRESS FOLDER] > wp-settings.php file, and change the maximum allowed allocable ram from there. And that’s what most guides still tell you to do now, leaving you stranded as that line you need to change is not there anymore.
What you see though, is that at the beginning of the wp-settings.php file there is a line that says:

require( ABSPATH . WPINC . '/default-constants.php' );

which pretty much says it all, unless you are not the least bit PHP savvy (hence, this guide is for you).
All you need to do is open the [WORDPRESS FOLDER] > wp-includes > default-constants.php file, and change the line:

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '32M');


define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '40M');

or anything of your liking (may be 36M, 48M, or whatever depending on your setup); obviously, the lower the better for the performance of your server, especially if you’re on a shared hosting.

  This article has been Digiproved

Resize, enlarge or scale an html image map with a PHP script

I am creating a portal for an italian website which will sport a nice region selector with an imagemap, and region highlighting with a javascript. I found a free and detailed image map of italy along with a combined png, but it was too small to be really useable, so I needed to put a bigger image; with that, I also needed to alter the imagemap coordinates to they matched the enlarged image… noway I was going to do that by hand!

So, after searching for a pre-made solution (which I obviously didn’t find)  I devised a very simple PHP script to do eaxctly that. The script puts the entire code for the image map inside a string variable, and then processes that string with a regular expression search and replace to change the values accordingly to my needs. I only needed to make the image two times bigger, mantaining the aspect ratio, but since I was going to publish this inside a guide, I said to myself “why not making it so you can change the aspect ratio as well”. So, if you want, you can make the imagemap two times larger, and 1.5 times taller.

Here’s the sample script (the $html variable is defined with a sample imagemap for the region of Lazio alone, for space purposes, but you can put whatever you want inside, I used it with the whole map of Italy, together with <map> tags and lines breaks/indentation). Be careful and ESCAPE the double quotes inside the HTML before pasting the code inside the string. In other words, simply put a backslash (the \ character) before each occurence of a double quote (the $quot; character) inside the HTML, I used the search and replace function of Notepad++.

$html="<area href=\"#\" alt=\"state\" title=\"lazio\" shape=\"poly\" coords=\"74.513,86.938,75.667,87.365,75.667,88.007,74.744,89.077,75.436,90.467,76.359,90.039,77.857,90.039,78.319,90.039,79.127,90.788,79.588,91.857,79.588,92.606,80.049,93.034,80.51,93.034,81.317,94.103,81.779,94.852,82.24,94.959,83.74,94.852,84.201,94.959,85.123,94.959,86.392,94.103,87.43,93.141,88.122,93.141,89.39,93.141,89.967,92.713,91.351,90.895,91.813,90.895,92.274,91.216,93.196,90.895,94.349,90.788,94.926,90.467,96.31,89.825,96.886,90.467,96.656,90.895,95.849,91.323,95.387,92.072,94.234,92.072,92.965,92.713,92.505,93.676,92.505,94.317,92.734,94.959,91.928,95.28,91.813,95.922,91.467,96.778,92.505,98.382,92.505,99.023,92.505,99.986,91.928,101.804,91.928,103.194,92.734,103.837,94.234,103.623,96.31,104.264,97.579,105.013,99.309,106.51,102.191,108.543,103.229,108.543,104.728,109.077,106.113,110.361,106.574,111.965,106.804,113.035,106.574,113.783,106.574,114.425,105.882,114.853,105.305,115.067,104.844,115.067,104.728,116.029,104.728,117.099,104.152,118.061,103.46,118.703,102.999,119.345,102.999,120.093,101.961,120.308,100.23,120.735,99.539,120.308,98.271,119.345,96.656,118.489,95.156,118.275,92.965,118.489,91.005,118.703,89.39,116.885,89.506,116.029,88.122,114.639,85.931,113.997,83.97,112.607,81.548,110.574,78.55,107.687,77.627,105.869,76.128,104.692,74.975,102.874,73.706,101.056,71.745,99.023,70.131,97.098,67.594,94.959,69.093,93.676,70.131,92.606,70.592,91.216,70.592,90.039,71.745,89.611,72.553,88.649,73.014,88.221,72.553,86.938,73.245,86.189,74.513,86.938\" />";
echo preg_replace("/([0-9.]{2,}),([0-9.]{2,})/e","round(\\1*2,3).','.round(\\2*1.5,3)",htmlentities($html));

All you need to do is change the parameters inside the regular expression (numbers in red), first is for horizontal proportion, second for vertical; in this example the imagemap will be resized to 2 times its length, and 1.5 times its height, if you want to make the size three times bigger, change it to

echo  preg_replace("/([0-9.]{2,}),([0-9.]{2,})/e","round(\\1*3,3).','.round(\\2*3,3)",htmlentities($html));

Then, copy the php script to your server, open it in a web browser, and copy/paste the result. Note: according the the way the imagemap is originally formatted, you may need to edit the regular expression to accomodate for spaces, tabs, linebreaks or whatever; in this case, since the coordinates were listed with just commas inbetween it was not needed. If you are stuck, write in the comments an excerpt of your imagemap code and I’ll try and help you.

  This article has been Digiproved

Time of last visit to a website page in Firefox history

Last time I put hands on my car, a Rover 75, in order to change by myself the in-tank fuel pump (maybe a tutorial will be coming about that), I already knew it was going to be a hard task. That’s why I made sure I had enough time, it was a sunny sunday morning and had plenty of light as well.

Last thing I did before going out in the yard was checking some tutorial page to rapidly review the job details, and first thing I did after the job was finally done and I checked the pump was working, was to call my girlfriend to give her the good news, even if I knew she wasn’t going to car much. What I hadn’t done, was checking the time before going out, and after getting back inside, and I was surely curious to know how much it had taken total.

Checking the call history on my phone was easy, so I knew the time I finished, but looking in Firefox History to see at what time I had last visited that tutorial webpage, it wasn’t as easy as I thought, since there was no right-click option whatsoever to obtain that info. I knew it had to be recorded somewhere, since Firefox has the capability of ordering its history based onorder of last visit, so a not-so-immediate search found this solution, whis is the following:

Go to History menu -> Show all history, then in that window you have to add the date column (right-click on the columns headers and check “Visit Date”), that will show the visited time.

If you’re curious, in the end I realized I had been a total of four hours at it.

Tutte le faccine, gli smiley e le emoticons di C6 per Miranda IM

Dopo che r3vindt aveva sviluppato il plugin del protocollo C6 per Miranda, ho iniziato subito ad usarlo summo cum gaudio al posto del programma originale di C6, anche se al tempo mancava il trasferimento dei files… ma poco male, sempre meglio avere tutti gli instant messengers concentrati in un unico programma piuttosto che tenere un mastodonte poco configurabile come il client di C6 classico sempre attivo.

Ora che i filetransfers sono perfettamente funzionanti (mentre scrivo l’ultima versione del plugin è la ed è supportata anche la funzione multichat, mancavano solo le emoticons, delle quali, non c’è che dire, C6 abbonda davvero. E’ per questo che ho deciso di aggiungerle tutte sotto forma di una estensione per SmileyAdd. Ho scaricato le gif animate (ma c’erano anche qualche bmp e jpg) dal sito di C6, ed ho creato un file asl utilizzando il linguaggio di scripting di mIRC, in modo che ricorsivamente per ogni immagine fosse creata una riga con la sintassi di SmileyAdd.

Il prodotto finale è quello che potete scaricare da qui. Leggete il readme.txt all’interno del file zip per le (minimali) istruzioni di installazione.

How to record MSTalkit voices with Microsoft Windows Sound Recorder

So, you didn’t understand how to make it. Well, what am I here for then?

First step: install and run MS Talkit (download it from Downloads/AudioVideo).

No comments
Hey you made it! MS Talkit is running!


Ok, now begin playing with it to acquire the method, then just reach the point, and do something like this:

Ph33r My V0c41izing 5ki11z!!
This is really nice, the same I use. For a get fail, try instead "DCC Failed!", Child personality, Breathly Vocal Effort. The child seems he is amost crying cause of the transfer error 😉


So, after you tried Talkit and had fun with it, start Sound Recorder (Start > Programs > Accessories > Entertainment), locate it over Talkit, so when you switch from one another their windows don’t cover each other, and press in rapid sequence the Rec button in Sound Recorder, followed by the "Talk It!" button in Talkit. When the phrase is finished hit the Stop button in Recorder. Now, even if you’ve been a lot fast, there will be silent delays at the beginning and at the end of the WAV, so move the slider till you find a wave with a big amplitude,

You were pressing the play button, admit it!
Here I pressed the Rec button about 0.9 secs late (hey it’s 11pm while I’m writing…), so had to remove a lot of silence. Always try to play from the current slider position to see if the wave belongs to the voice or to the noise before the voice starts.


then do [Edit > Delete before the current position] to remove the silence at the beginning. See when the Wave ends, and do [Edit > Delete after the current position], then do [File > Save] and go to mIRC’s folder (I suggest not going higher than 22KHz, 8bit, mono quality, it would be a waste of disk space; to achieve this, simply press the Change button in the Save dialog, and choose these settings).

Hewgh you did the same for allthe sounds you wanted to put in mIRC I hope (I mean Query, DCC Send, DCC Fail, DCC Complete, Notice, and so on), otherwise I just lost my time for a single 1.5 secs WAV file…

Now get back to the main mIRC Event Sounds page

Adjust and synchronize AVI & DivX movie subtitles, the guide

October 2008: I updated this guide to the use of Subtitle Workshop, a freeware utility which does the same job I explained back then, in a tenth of the time, or even less, since all the manual steps are now condensed into a few passages. To read the old guide, which insteadused the program SubAdjust, scroll down right past the horizontal line.

First of all, download the free program Subtitle Workshop, you can just as easily google for it. Keep in mind I used the latest 4 beta version in this guide. Then you can follow the image tutorial below.

subtitle workshop opening window
This is how the Subtitle Workshop free utility appears right after the first start; you may want to first open the subtitles file, from File>Open, or by pressing the open button, and then browsing to the actual subtitles.
subtitle workshop with opened subtitles
This is a subtitles file opened in Subtitle Workshop, no more, no less; right now, it’s the time to open the video file the subtitles are associated with, from Video>Open
subtitle workshop with opened subtitles and video file
This is after opening both subtitles file and video file inside Subtitle Workshop (the video file still is not visible, as the ScreenRip32 utility which I used cannot properly capture overlay… same thing happened if I tried the PrintScreen key). The video will start playing automatically along with the subtitles. There are two choices now to start adjusting the subtitles, which are, well, pretty much the same. Either you select the first line of the subtitles, and play the video where that first line is spoken, and when that happens you press the third button from the right below the video, which says “1”; then you select the last line of the subtitles and jump to the point where that line is spoken, pressing instead the second button from right which says “2”. At this point, a little window will appear with a summary of the details regarding the timings, asking you if you want to adjust the subtitles accordingly. Check that the timings reported in that window are correct, then press adjust. At this point the subtitles are synchronized (verify by playing the video inside Subtitle Workshop) and you can save the results. OR, you can use the other method instead, just see the picture below.
subtitle workshop timings adjust dialogue
Second method: manual timing. First of all, write down the exact times when the first and last spoken lines of the subtitles file are said in the video, then to manually set the timings to adjust the subtitles, follow the menu Edit>Timings>Adjust subtitles. A dialogue like the one in the picture will appear, and you just have to fill in those times you just wrote down and press adjust. Check the results by playing back the video in Subtitle Workshop to see if subs are really synched, then save the file.

IMPORTANT NOTE: what follows is the very first guide to subtitles synchronization that I wrote, and which is now substituted with the guide above. I just didn’t have the heart to remove it altogether, so I left it here for the sake of posterity.

This guide has been thought for you non-english users who, even if top-grade in this language, very often encounter those uber-fast pronounciations or that slang sub-dialect or again that nasty accent (and every link to “Snatch” or “Trainspotting” is NOT casual), that really beat you. So you download a subtitles file, and you either don’t know how the heck to use it (but if it’s the case, then search elsewhere because this guide won’t tell you how), or you find it begins almost synchronized, but gets really messed up, just to go wildly desynched at the end.

Important incroduction: this guide is related to SubViewer 2.0 subtitle format, and it’s referred to an ideal situation in which you see the movie using BSPlayer (get it from the Downloads/AudioVideo section). Which means, if you prefer to use other players which don’t support properly SubViewer format, or you hate SubViewer format yourself for some reason, you can still use this guide, yet the instructions, found right at the end, on how to resolve this “compatibility” issue, are not tested in any way by me, since I’ve always, and I’lll always, use the couple BSPlayer/SubViewer for my DivX subtitles needs.

Download SubAdjust from the Downloads/AudioVideo section of the website, then proceed to the basic preformatting of the file, which means removing the comments or the sign of the ripper, like:

  02:43:08,687 --> 02:43:09,722
  02:43:13,167 --> 02:43:15,681
  ...I'm glad you are with me.
  02:51:01,967 --> 02:51:02,956
  Subtitles by
  SDI Media Group

which for example is at the end of the file (a special prize to the ones who will guess what movie was that one; c’mon it’s easy), but you can find them also at the beginning:

{0}{900} ****Le Garçon Française   SUBS****|Vive la France!!
  {905}{1002}- Le 3 septembre 1973|à 18 h 28 min et 32 s,
  {1010}{1062}...une mouche bleue|de la famille des Calliphoridés,
  {1070}{1138}...pouvant produire 14,670 battements|d'ailes à la minute...
  {1145}{1220} posait rue Saint-Vincent,|à Montmartre.
  {1318}{1378}A la même seconde,|à la terrasse d'un restaurant,
  {1385}{1458}...le vent s'engouffrait|sous une nappe,
  {1462}{1555}...faisant danser les verres|sans que personne ne s'en aperçoive.

(another special prize to the ones who will guess this other movie which the subs where taken from, it’s easy as well; BTW this sign was made up, I couldn’t find any signed file on the fly).

You can easily achieve this by opening the subtitles file (whose extension may be .txt, .sub, .srt or other; I have all these extension associated with notepad anyway) in a text editor, and manually deleting those lines, then saving; when the subtitles have an ordinal number and a timestamp in more lines, like in the first example, you must delete the whole record.
We don’t do this because we are evil and so want to remove every trace of the kind guy who ripped the subtitles from the DVD, but because in most of the operations we need to make in order to resynch the subtitles these additional lines at the beginning or at the end, which have no counterpart in the movie itself, will easily mess up everything.

There are basically 3 kinds of desynchs in subtitles:
1) Simple time shift, the beginning is shifted before or after the correct time, while the rest of the text follows at the right “pace”;
2) Wrong framerate, where the time distance between two lines of text is different from the correct one, but the speed is uniformly increased or decreased throughout the file (with or without time shift, it makes no difference considering the method we use to correct it);
3) FUBAR’d subtitles (don’t worry, they are pretty rare) where either your video, even if correctly watchable, has some glitches in the framerate of internal scenes, so that some video sequences have a framerate different from the nearby scenes, or the subtitles themselves were ripped very bad, or again the original subtitles were timestamped uncorrectly, or again again the subtitles lack some scenes which are present in the movie or have additional scenes missing from the movie: in these cases usually you search for another subtitles file, or you watch the movie without subtitles (this is the worst kind of desynch, since you can realize you have one only AFTER having tried the previous fixes; trying to fix these subtitles is extremely time consuming, and even if I could be able to do that – and I once tried… giving up -, I won’t include the steps in this giude, because I esteem myself a very stubborn person, yet I would never lose all that time to fix such a situation).

In any case, since you need to work with SubViewer format in SubAdjust, you have to convert the subtitles file to that format if it’s using another one. You can recognise a SubViewer file by opening it in a text editor. The beginning of the file will look like:

  On September 3, 1973...

  a blue fly capable of flapping[br]70 beats a minute..


that is, a record storing the general info about the movie (with or without the various fields filled) and then for each line a timestamp indicating the start time and end time, and just below it the subtitle. If the subtitles are not in this format, start SubAdjust and convert them.

Open the subtitles file in “Source File”, write another suitable name for the output, and select “Conversion to SubViewer 2.0”, then press GO. The original filename may have another extension like .txt, .srt and so on.

So let’s start examining the first two cases. When you see subtitles in a movie are shown when they shouldn’t, it doesn’t hurt to try and see if the simple time shift is occurring. So take a note of the time of the first subtitle in the movie; example, given you removed the comments out, you see that the first line in the subtitles file is “Now, children,[br]are you sitting comfortably?“, go play the movie and write down the time at which the thing is actually being said (let’s say 00:00:04, 4 seconds from the start), then start SubAdjust.

For the first try, open the subtitles file in the “Source File” input line, and choose the name you will save the output subtitles with (I usually put the same name followed by one ‘ or more ”’). Select “Adjust”, and in the lower-left corner select the time you just annotated from the movie, press GO and wait.

Open the movie file, and see, jumping to and fro, if the subtitles are shown correctly in all the movie. Chances are they won’t. So we begin examining the second case (wrong framerate).

The drawback of the method is that you will possibly spoil the ending, since you need to see at what time the first line is said in the movie (just like we saw before), then what is the line written at the very end of the file (and thus is the last in the movie), and at what time that last line is said in the movie (so you need to play the end to search for it. I HATE it, too bad I couldn’t find anoter way of telling). You will thus have the time, related to the movie, of the first and the last lines. Keeping note of them, adjust the subtitles files so they start at 0:00:00, then calculate “last-movie-line-time MINUS first-movie-line-time”, you will have the time span that passes between the first and last line in the movie. Since we adjusted the subtitles to start at 0 seconds, that is also the time we will want the last line to appear in the subtitles file. So proceed:

After you adjusted the subtitles to start at 0:00:00, load the adjusted file and select “Change frame rate”, then select the checkbox “Use last ref.time” and in the “Coef. / desired last ref.time” write down the result of the subtraction I told you to make before (note: you need to have cents of second, so just add .00 after the seconds). Press GO to write the file with the name you chose in “Target File”.

After this is done, load in SubAdjust the newly created file, which starts at 0:00:00, and ends at the time you just calculated, then re-adjust it to start at the time of the first line said in the movie, exactly like you did in the first method, but now you will be sure the final time will be correct.

Occasionally you will still need to adjust again the time, matter of one second before or after, but you already know how to do it.


As I told you, this part has not been tested, but if you really want to use subtitles in another format, select “Conversion to [other format here]”, and press GO to save the subtitles in the new format using the filename you chose in “Target File”.

Modify Windows XP start menu button and sidebar

Installed XP and you feel fuzzy about the new Start Menu? I don’t know how to change the background colour, but I can tell you how to modify the text that appears in that button, and also the bitmap image which, on the side of the menu, reports the current OS version.

This is an example of what you can achieve:

No need to comment… you can see for yourself how I put a smiley in place of "start", and changed the bitmap reporting "Windows XP Professional" with the more stylish "Codename Whistler Datacenter Server"
New addition: you can now change the image in the Start button as you prefer, see Neo while he takes the red pill from Morpheus’s hand. You can also change the "Click here to begin" Tooltip, which appears after leaving the mouse on the button, to whatever you want, like "Hack the Matrix!"


It isn’t so immediate though, you don’t need to change simply a registry key, but you have to modify the file explorer.exe (don’t worry, no tough HEX editing, you just need a simple tool).

Disclaimer: if you are a first time user, I do *not* suggest you to use this guide, since, even if it is completely safe and error proof (backups rule), you never know where the border between safety and danger lies. Follow your heart. If you feel even the slightest doubt, do *not* go further. In any case, you can’t hold me responsible for any damage YOU do to your system because of YOUR ineXPerienxe

You need to download ResHack from Download/Tools first. It is a plain compressed version, it has no installer, so you need to create first a folder to put it in, then decompress it in there.

Before running ResHack.exe, make a backup copy of explorer.exe (the simplest way is to drag and drop the file from Windows Explorer in the same folder, pressing the Ctrl key, so a file named "Copy of explorer.exe" will be created).

Now, let’s explain something. Modifying explorer.exe under Windows 95/98 could be just an issue of the file being already open, and anyway the possibility to shift to DOS makes it all easier, since explorer.exe is not runnig and you can change it as you please. Windows XP has instead a file protection system which will, on a regular basis, avoid you from arbitrary modifying any system file (just like explorer.exe), so you will need to start in Safe Mode. I suppose at this point that you made a backup copy of explorer.exe and that you uncompressed ResHack in a folder.

To start in Safe Mode, press the F8 key right after the screen becomes blank (after the POST), and wait for the text menu to come up. Choose to start in "Safe Mode", log in as administrator, press yes to the dialogue. You need Task Manager open now: to start it, use the Ctrl-Alt-Del combination (if you previously enabled the classic logon screen, you may need to press the "Task Manager" button after that, as well). From there, in the "Processes" panel, select explorer.exe and terminate the process. Now, in the File menu of Task Manager, choose "New Task (Run…)", and Browse to ResHack.exe (you remember where you uncompressed it, do you).

Inside ResHack, do [File > Open] and choose C:\Windows\explorer.exe. You will see a tree structure like in Windows Explorer.

Browse to String Table\37\1033


Here is where you need to do the dirty job: put whatever you want in place of start in the 578th string resource; for example make that string like "Smart" or whatever you like. If you want to put a big image in the Start button, I suggest you to put no text in here, so leave no space between the "" and press the "Compile" button on the top, the line will be eliminated. The longer the text, the larger the Start Button will be. After you try to click on another resource folder in the left panel, ResHack will ask if you want to recompile the source. Press Yes and go on.


The first (and easier) step is over. If you want to go on, and modify also the bitmap on the side of the Start Menu, these are the steps to follow:

The bitmap resources containing the bitmaps of the beta versions of Windows XP are located in the folders from 158 to 166, choose the one you prefer (I’ll take the Whistler Datacenter Server one)


This is the bitmap I chose, Bitmap\164\1033


In the [Action] menu choose to save the bitmap, for example in C:\, and name it datacenter.bmp


Go in [Action > Replace Bitmap …] and in "Open file with new bitmap" browse to the datacenter.bmp you saved before, then in the right side, browse to the bitmap of your current version (in my case it was #167, XP Professional; it is #166 for Home Edition), and hit Replace.


You can obviously change the bitmap to whatever you want to, but don’t ask me if the bitmap width must be the same, I don’t know (since I never tried); in the best case your Start Menu will be "indented" depending on the bitmap dimensions.

And now let’s see how you can change the Start button image and Tooltip. Note that if you use a plain single-line taskbar (the dafault) you shouldn’t put in here something higher than 30 pixels, the image I used is 50 pixels high, because I setted my taskbar on two lines.

Use exactly the same procedure seen before to replace the image located in the Bitmap Resource 143, the very first one, with one of your choice. Obviously the bigger the image, the bigger the Start button.

Now browse to the string table 34, line 533:

Change the "Click here to begin" text with the string you prefer


Done! Now simply compile the changes, do [File > Save] and reboot normally.

You know the tools and the method, so there are a lot of things you can modify, icons too, even if I’d avoid to play too much with it, because it is time consuming

Enough for now, enjoy.

How to fix a stuck kbd velocity of your Roland E36

This page (as you may have guessed from the link you just clicked to reach it) is dedicated to all of them who are the happy buyers of a Roland musical keyboard. I tested what I am going to suggest you with my E36 model, which doesn’t mean it’ll work on yours, especially if it doesn’t support Kbd Velocity mode


Ok, let’s come to the tech details.

The Kbd Velocity mode, from what I could guess when disassembing my KB, works by measuring the time interval which occurs between the contacts of two little switches associated with the key, located at different distances from the fulcrum of the key itself. Now, these are the ones which are messing when your Kbd Vel mode doesn’t work as it should. So, AT YOUR OWN RISK:

  1. unscrew the lower panel of the KB, keep the screws in a safe place (you never know, your cleptomaniac cat may be purring around), then, keeping the KB upside down on a firm surface,
  2. remove the few screws which fix the key-panel to the main chassis, and
  3. pull it out gently from its place, be careful to the flat cable between it and the main electronics
  4. locate the key giving trouble, and
  5. remove it (c’mon, do you really want me to tell you how to do this? Ok, only one hint: first of all, remove the spring)
  6. check the plastic grey sheet covering the contact under the key, which had two small buttons
  7. gently pull the plastic sheet from the electronics panel, and blow (yes, blow) under it, to remove every dirt which may have gone there. Also, you can use a small clean wad of cotton to dust it.
  8. now, from step (6) downward to step (1), do exactly the opposite of what is said, and you’ll have your E36 fresh as a daisy, and working.

Enable XGA 1024×768 resolution in Ubuntu Linux for Compaq Presario 1800

[7.4.2009] I installed Linux flavor Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope on a very old Compaq Presario 1800, to make it into a small internet station. What I absolutely don’t like about the system is the fact that 64MB of the installed 256MB of RAM are wasted for the UMA (Unified Memory Architecture), that is are used on a videocard (ATI Rage Mobility M3) which is so dam old that you are not going to need it to play games, so the dedicated 8MB of video memory, as per specifications, are much more than enough for 2D display, and the added memory goes literally to waste. But what really startled me is the apparent impossibility to make the screen reach the XGA resolution it’s made for, 1024×768, no matter whatever lines I added to the xorg.conf file.

After half a day worth of fruitless searches, I found a page with a bug report on launchpad, regarding another display issue with a Presario 1800T, that incidentally let me enable XGA with a xorg.conf, so I decided to report the guide here for posterity, in a page easier, much easier, to find in a Google search.

Following you find the code to paste inside the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file overwriting whatever its content may be. If you have no idea how to do that (I am supposing you’re using the vanilla flavor of Ubuntu, with the Gnome desktop), press Alt-F2 from desktop, and in the dialogue write (respecting letter case):

sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup

to create a backup copy of the configuration file (you’ll be asked your system password), as you never know, and after that once again Alt-F2 and:

sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

a text editor will appear, and you have to delete the whole contents of it, and paste the code you find in this page.

# /etc/X11/xorg.conf (xorg X Window System server configuration file)
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
# Edit this file with caution, and see the /etc/X11/xorg.conf manual page.
# (Type "man /etc/X11/xorg.conf" at the shell prompt.)
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# package.
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following commands:
#   cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.custom
#   sudo sh -c 'md5sum /etc/X11/xorg.conf >/var/lib/xfree86/xorg.conf.md5sum'
#   sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

Section "Files"
    RgbPath		"/usr/lib/X11/rgb.txt"
	FontPath	"unix/:7100"			# local font server
	# if the local font server has problems, we can fall back on these
	FontPath	"/usr/lib/X11/fonts/misc"
	FontPath	"/usr/lib/X11/fonts/cyrillic"
	FontPath	"/usr/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi/:unscaled"
	FontPath	"/usr/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi/:unscaled"
	FontPath	"/usr/lib/X11/fonts/Type1"
	FontPath	"/usr/lib/X11/fonts/CID"
	FontPath	"/usr/lib/X11/fonts/100dpi"
	FontPath	"/usr/lib/X11/fonts/75dpi"
        # paths to defoma fonts
	FontPath	"/var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/TrueType"
	FontPath	"/var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/CID"

Section "Module"
    Load	"dbe"
    SubSection  "extmod"
      Option    "omit xorg-dga"   # don't initialise the DGA extension
	Load	"freetype"
	Load	"glx"
    Load	"type1"
    Load	"dri"

Section "InputDevice"
	Identifier	"Generic Keyboard"
	Driver		"keyboard"
	Option		"CoreKeyboard"
	Option		"XkbRules"	"xorg"
	Option		"XkbModel"	"pc104"
	Option		"XkbLayout"	"us"

Section "InputDevice"
	Identifier	"Configured Mouse"
	Driver		"mouse"
	Option		"CorePointer"
	Option		"Device"		"/dev/input/mice"
	Option		"Protocol"		"ImPS/2"
	Option		"Emulate3Buttons"	"true"
	Option		"ZAxisMapping"		"4 5"
Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "Synaptics Touchpad"
        Driver          "synaptics"
        Option          "SendCoreEvents"        "true"
        Option          "Device"                "/dev/psaux"
        Option          "Protocol"              "auto-dev"
        Option		"HorizScrollDelta"	"0"

Section "Device"
    Identifier  "ati"
    Driver      "ati"

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier  "Generic Monitor"
    HorizSync   31.5 - 48.5
    VertRefresh 50-70

Section "Device"
    Identifier	"Standard VGA"
    VendorName	"Unknown"
    BoardName	"Unknown"
    Driver     "vga"

Section "Screen"
    Identifier  "Default Screen"
    Device      "ati"
	Monitor		"Generic Monitor"
	DefaultDepth	24
	SubSection "Display"
		Depth		1
		Modes		"1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
	SubSection "Display"
		Depth		4
		Modes		"1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
	SubSection "Display"
		Depth		8
		Modes		"1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
	SubSection "Display"
		Depth		15
		Modes		"1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
	SubSection "Display"
		Depth		16
		Modes		"1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"
	SubSection "Display"
		Depth		24
		Modes		"1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

Section "ServerLayout"
	Identifier	"Default Layout"
	Screen		"Default Screen"
	InputDevice	"Generic Keyboard"
	InputDevice	"Configured Mouse"
	InputDevice	"Synaptics Touchpad"

How to mod your pc tower case with a plexiglas panel window

It is customary after some time to get bored at one’s own case, and to want it to look cool in one way or the other. One (also) useful way to modify it is to make a panel transparent, so you can see inside, and check if all fans are working, or see what’s the model no. of an HW component without using a screwdriver. This naturally applies only to tower (mini-midi-full) cases, and the guide itself uses some techniques which may not be appliable to every model; I decided it was much easier to exchange a whole panel with plexiglas, instead of sawing off a square from the original aluminium, possibily damaging it and my own fingers, and below you can see what I was able to make.

You can easily notice the reflection of the light on the plexiglas surface (I mean, there’s actually something on it, I didn’t make a shot of a panel-less case to make it look transparent)


My case structure had some incisions to let some stirrups on the alumium panel to make friction and stay stable.

These two holes are the insertion points of corresponding stirrups on the panel, so sliding the panel forward, the stirrups would get a grip of the structure; we need to reproduce this mechanism on our plexiglas panel.


First, you need to provide yourself with the necessary material: a plexiglas panel, the same size of the aluminium panel you want to replace (I used a 2mm thick one), and then both a instrument to make holes in plexiglas without fracturing it (I used a screwdriver-shaped solderer to melt where I needed), and a series of straight thin metal stirrups you can easily bend.

Notice the solderer point, about the width of the thin metal stirrups, which must not be wider of the holes in the case structure, since they must fit in there. You can see an example ofhow you must bend the stirrups, but we wil need it later. (I removed those stirrups from an old AC-adapter solenoid core, ue your fantasy to get yourself some stuff like it elsewhere)


Put the plexiglas panel in place, and with a marker draw on it the side of the holes where the grip should occur, then about 5mm ahead of it make a vertical hole with the solderer. I decided to use only the first and last holes on the upper and lower side of the panel, to reduce the amount of work, and the probability of bad alignment of all the stirrups. In this phase you should also write with a marker on the plexiglas "OUTSIDE", so you can easily find the orientation of the plexiglas against the case.

You must use the marker sign on the plexiglas as a reference, to make an hole with the solderer ahead of it, to let the stirrup pass from one side of the panel to the other. The sign you draw should perfectly correspond to the hole edges (not like the picture, in other words), Make sure the hole is wide enough for the stirrups, if not, simply touch it with the solderer again until the stirrup fits.


Bend the gripping side of the stirrup to reproduce the U-shaped hook on the aluminium panel, insert it in the hole, then bend again the long straight side to fix the stirrup on the plexiglas.

This is how the bent stirrup should look like: the "U" base should be in the same position of the sign you marked on th plexiglas. Now the gripping mechanism of the aluminium panel has bein reproduced.


Try to adapt the just completed panel, which will almost for sure not be perfect, but adjusting the bending of the stirrups, or forcing them in the holes will get it to work.

A blurred detail of a stirrup in place.