Ok, so you’re typing, and want to use <tab> to help you on your journey. You want to do an ‘ls’ on certain files. You’re not sure what they are. You do ‘ls -l da’ then you hit TAB, because you want to see what’s there. It’s 2 TAB hits to get the autocomplete, but what’s this, on the FIRST tab hit, there’s a DING! Well thanks Gnome3. What the hell is that for. In what way, is you giving me an ALERT on hitting tab, in any way, useful to me?
I’ve had my E71 for nearly two years now and that’s given me ample time to discover what an unmitigated pile of crap it truly is. When things work, it’s fine. The GPS is kinda cute, and seriously handy, and I really like the BBC iplayer. In fact it’s probably the main app I use.
The iplayer has caused me grief in the past, timeouts and freezing, solved only by the highly technical process of throwing away the router and getting another one. But that was a while ago now and it’s been great of ever such a long time. Until two days ago. Listening to iplayer then after about 10 minutes, it stopped. Probably just a fluke, I thought.
Over the last couple of days I’ve tested it a few times and sure enough, I’m getting the old favourite:
Not an uncommon error message for the E71. Various suggestions are offered, including manually setting IP address, DNS settings and tweaking router settings. All tried, all failed. I installed a nifty utility called IfInfo that told me my phone’s network settings, and the router was pretty sure it was there too. I tried a utility called Nokia Device Status, from the Beta Labs, but all I got was “Licence Expired”, so that was a waste of time.
More experiments showed that iplayer would run for a few minutes, then timeout with the Gateway error. Everything else on the LAN still happily connected to the internet. Interestingly, the E71 would then refuse to connect to the internet at all using any browser (tried opera plus the default), via the wireless router (Zyxel) or Wireless access points (Netgear).
One of the more promising avenues was installing a utility called HandyWi. This immediately got me connected and I thought my problems were solved. But then, after about 5 or 10 minutes the familiar Timeout and Gateway error messages. But I could still initiate new sessions, they just didn’t last very long. Which kinda suggests this might be something about the way the E71 default connectivity software doesn’t work. During all this I also reinstalled the firmware and restored from backup.
Curiously no-one has suggested climbing to the top of a very tall building and chucking the E71 out of a window, or placing it on a set of railway tracks, or hitting it many many many times with a very very very big hammer. My contract expires in a few months and I shall count the days until I can get rid of this wretched machine.
In the meantime, it’s Big Red Switch time. A factory reset, reinstall, then start again from a very early backup, and we shall see what we shall see.
Update: 10 Jan 2012
Hmmmm, interesting. I wiped and restarted from an old backup and the problem persisted. I tried using manual addressing instead of DHCP and the problem persisted. I gave up. And now, well, it’s working again. Someone, somewhere, is, as they say, having a laugh. I did wonder whether ‘something had changed’ at the BBC end given the problems watching video on some smartphones. It seems a bit unlikely, and wouldn’t explain the connectivity issues with my E71 and browsers. But it’s working for now, until it stops again. Ho hum.
I mean, for God’s sake, why? Why would I want a ding? What purpose is it serving apart from getting on my nerves? Ok, so a ding might be handy to let you know it’s time to type something. But you don’t need it, and might, just might, want an easy, elegant, solution to switching the damn thing off. Linux Mint has surpassed even Microsoft Windows in providing a pompous, pointless, unwanted, not-easily-switchoffable, ding.
The problem is neatly summarised on this forum post. Simple question, that you’d thing would have a simple answer. Well, the answer is simple, but not elegant. I found it on a website showing tips and tricks for post-mint customization. I didn’t follow the instructions exactly, as I didn’t want to change the sound. I wanted to remove it. Here’s what I did:
Press Alt+F2 to bring up “Run Application” window.
gksu nautilus /usr/share/sounds/LinuxMint/stereo into the box.
Rename the original file
and that seemed to do the trick. I thought I might need to create a blank empty sound file containing NOTHING, but Mint didn’t appear to complain when it found nothing annoying to play before asking me to login. It doesn’t feel a very elegant solution, but it works.
Well that was weird. I am used to Microsoft Word automatically spell checking as I go. And then I realised it had stopped doing it. Then I realised it was doing it in bits of my document, and not others. So I copied and pasted and experimented and cursed. Then I switched on the option that shows all the hidden codes and it all looked ok. I couldn’t see why it was ignoring just sections of the document. e.g.
What I didn’t realise is that Word appears to allow you to switch off spell-checking on certain parts of your document. But it isn’t obvious which bits. I found that when I dropped the mouse about in the unchecked bit then selected:
Review / Language / Set Proofing Language it was configured to ignore that section. Or Word. Letter. Character. Dunno how or why it decided to ignore that bit. I don’t know where the not-checking section begins and ends, or how to find out. i.e.
So I unchecked
Do not check spelling and grammar and everything is hunky dory. Mystery solved.
Well, not really. Why did that option get checked in the first place? I didn’t do it.
I have a theory that it’s something to do with something that happened a couple of days ago. Out of the blue Word popped up with a glittering selection of all my spelling mistakes and dictionary additions for the past few months, and asked me if I would mind awfully if it sent them anonymously to Microsoft. I said I did mind, politely declined the request, and asked not to be asked again. Perhaps it was something to do with that. Perhaps Bill is cross with me.
It seems that in Linux Mint (presumably Ubuntu too) that if you have any desktop effects enabled (Preferences / Appearance) then it’s not possible to give your workspaces individual names. i.e. Right-clicking on the workspace windows won’t offer the option to change workspace names unless Desktop Effects is set to None.