Wireless on Fujitsu Lifebook P7230 under Debian Squeeze

Finally got wireless working on the Fujitsu Lifebook P 7230 under Debian squeeze (testing).

  • First, for a long time, I’d get errors regarding missing firmware and ucode missing errors in dmesg.
    [ 75.707413] iwl3945 0000:03:00.0: iwlwifi-3945-1.ucode firmware file req failed: -2 
    [ 75.707522] iwl3945 0000:03:00.0: Could not read microcode: -2

    business_kid on suggested finding a firmware package, and I found it was the missing package firmware-iwlwifi. After this I still didn’t see the wireless networks on wicd, pixellany next suggested trying iwconfig wlan0 up; iwlist wlan0 scan. This was the first I’d seen of wlan0, I’d always used eth1 before. After running these commands I saw an ESSID of a network that the other computers here were using, so I knew the card was working and wicd wasn’t.

  • I found a box under wicd’s Preferences for wireless interface and entered wlan0, and then wicd saw the network.
  • I now needed the WEP key — no Internet yet , and I tried looking in the Windows network configuration screens on the windows computers here, but it was greyed or blocked out. Then I tried the DSL wireless router at since that’s what it said in the manual, didn’t work. After a while I found it at, and got the WEP key. It went in the Hex key, not the WEP passphrase.
  • But still no Internet, I powercycled the router and then all the computers lost the Internet. Turns out you have to powercycle the router and plug and unplug the DSL filter at the phone jack.
  • Also I had to comment out the various scripts I had in /etc/network/interfaces other than lo for eth0

I used to enjoy this kind of thing, but now I don’t really enjoy tinkering with Linux anymore. I think it’s because Linux used to be new and interesting and different, but now I use it for real stuff and I need it to work without me tinkering with it. And years of tinkering has gotten old. It’s just not that much fun anymore, it’s something that I don’t look forward to with Linux. But I still can’t live without Linux’s interfaces (ion and wmii window managers), flexibility, stability, and all that other stuff. I’d probably spend as much time fighting Windows as I do Linux, just in different ways.

firefox vimperator

Firefox Instability Fix

I’ve been having fun with vimperator, but then my firefox on one of my (Debian) laptops became unstable. I’d rightclick on a field, and it would crash. I ran it from the commandline to see if there’s any error messages, it would just say Segmentation fault. I didn’t have time to get a tracer and see where it’s crashing, and I did need to to work again quickly. I tried aptitude reinstall firefox, but that doesn’t seem to do anything useful, since it reinstalls the same binary and it was still crashing; the problem wasn’t in the binary or system-wide configuration (which I didn’t touch). Then I had some intelligent instincts; I already guessed that the problem wasn’t there, and so it had to be in my add-ons, like vimperator. But I didn’t know which one. I’ve always tried to keep the number of addons that I use down; and the answer was simply

 rm -rf ~/.mozilla 

which blows all that add-on and everything else away. I keep my bookmarks on delicious, so that doesn’t matter, and all my other addons are non-critical, so this didn’t cost me anything except downloading some of them again if I felt like it. And it solved my problem.

firefox vim

vimperator and Outlook Web Access Light

So one feature of vimperator which has made it indispensable to me is Ctrl-I on a web form textbox. When vimperator receives Ctrl-I, it opens a gvim instance on the textbox, you can edit in gvim, and then vimperator puts your result back into the textbox. Amazingly useful; it’s let me write better emails than I did when I was just typing into a textbox and trying to send off the email without any editing ability. Some websites use Flash or some other kind of textboxes though (such as Google Docs), but now I deal with them manually by opening gvim myself and pasting a tmpfile because I’m so used to the advantage of having gvim on textboxes.

Another nuisance has been editing emails using Outlook Web Access. Since I use Firefox, it forces me into Outlook Web Access Light, which is one nuisance (I bet if I just change the browser ID using a Firefox plug-in then I could get the full Outlook Web Access). But the main nuisance is that once I’m in OWA Light, then when I’m composing an email using Ctrl-I, then OWA Light likes to timeout after about 3 minutes and the textbox disappears, and so when I’m done composing another lovely epistle in gvim, then my writings disappear when vimperator doesn’t find the textbox that OWA Light helpfully closed. I needed a way for gvim to save a duplicate copy whenever I’m using OWA, and gvim being the incredible machine that it is, there’s a 1-liner in .vimrc that does the trick:

autocmd VimLeave  vimperator-exchange* :write! >> /home/me/vimp.exch.txt

That’s it. Whenever gvim is about to leave a file beginning with vimperator-exchange*, then it writes an extra copy to vimp.exch.txt so if OWA Light closed the box, I still have it.

There might be a more elegant way to do this; for a while I was trying to get a unique script id using but it wasn’t worth it. I like this solution now anyway.