Running Citrix with Ubuntu

I recently set up Citrix Receiver on the home laptop (which runs Ubuntu Linux) in order to connect to work.

After successful installation I found that once I was RDC’d to my desktop in the office something strange was happening with the display: it was as if the mouse pointer on the screen was really a bit below in reality; meaning that when you clicked, the area below the pointer was activated. This was a real pain when trying to do even the simplest things like read email and navigate round the desktop.

The problem is described further in this forum thread.

After some playing about, I found that in the Settings option of the Citrix Xenapp page you can configure the window size in which to run your application. This was set to “Seamless” which when active leaves the Ubuntu taskbar visible – I think this has something to do with why the pointer is offset.

It turns out (for me anyway) that setting this to “Full screen” prevented the mouse problem from occuring and meant I could view my work desktop as if I was sitting at the PC.

Whilst in full screen mode, you can use Ctrl-F2 then Alt-Tab to switch back to your Ubuntu desktop.

The all-important bedtime routine

Having a set routine at bedtime has definately helped JB settle down more easily and us reclaim some of our evening. Before this we were struggling to get her to bed and she didn’t seem to be getting tired when we were putting her down, which was leading to frustration on both sides.

Our routine has evolved as we have tried new things and ironed-out the timings, and also as JB got a bit older. I’m sure that it could be improved, but it works for us at the moment.

Bathtime fun – around 6:30pm
We give JB a bath every night. We try to start running it by half six but this sometimes slips a little if dinner overruns or we have visitors.

It’s not really a big problem since the nipper loves being in the bath and playing with her toys. We just make bathtime last as long as necessary to start the milk feed at the same time each night.

Feeding – 7:00pm
With some background music on, we settle down in the rocking chair and JB can have as much of her bottle as she wants. Often she’ll have about half the bottle at this time.

Once she’s done, we sit on the floor and share a book together. Generally I read the book and she tries to eat it. It takes about 5 minutes and is enough to give her a little break from the feed.

We then sit back down and I give her a toy to play with while she finishes the milk. Sometimes she’ll accept the bottle again straight away, other times it takes a bit longer.

Sleepy time – around 7:45pm
Once she’s finished her milk, we clean her teeth (careful she doesn’t gag on the brush!) and put her into the sleeping bag.

We have a little bedtime book that we sit and read together every night. This is JB’s cue to get ready for sleep. I try to stick to the same words and actions as we read with “Goodnight baby” added at the end. She then cuddles up on my shoulder and I turn out the lights.

I sing her a few songs from my (albeit limited) repertoire until she is very sleepy then put some music on her monitor (which only gets played at bedtime) then lay her into bed.

A note on Facebook privacy

We have recently decided to stop putting pictures of JB on Facebook. This is because we realised that there was no way to be completely sure that your pictures are only seen by those people you intend.

Of course, you can set the privacy level to be Friends-only which means that only your friends will see the picture on their streams. However, beneath each picture is the “share” button which allows anyone viewing the picture to add it to their stream.

Once it is added to their stream it is subject to their privacy settings, not yours – A quick review of some of my friends streams suggested that any of their new posts would be viewable by anyone in the world.

I suspect that most people would not see this as a big security issue, but we decided that there is enough to worry about these days and we didn’t want anything more. Plus it should encourage our friends to see us more often instead of just keeping in touch on Facebook!

Dell Studio 1537 media panel problem

Although these laptops are getting a bit long in the tooth now, I bet there are still plenty out there in daily use (mine is) and suffering from the annoying media panel issue.

This is where the eject button keeps lighting and trying to eject media from the CD/DVD drive, even if it is empty – I think this affected the 1535, 1536 and 1537 Studio laptops. Generally this occurs following power on and can carry on for 10 minutes or so, until it magically stops.

At the time there were lots of suggestions about loosening screws behind the battery or taking the keyboard out and taping up various contacts. Suffice to say that none of these worked and the issue was fixed by a firmware update from Dell that specifically addressed this problem: Studio – Jammed Touch Sensitive Eject Button

It requires you to download a image file (.iso) and burn to a CD. You then boot your laptop from the CD and follow the on-screen prompts. This will update the firmware that runs the media panel. As reported in the thread, the fix works perfectly and I can confirm that there’s been no repeat of the problem since – 5 years and counting…

Extend your wi-fi reach with DD-WRT

I recently had the problem of getting a decent wi-fi signal to the kitchen and conservatory which are two solid walls away from my primary router. We have a music streamer in the conservatory for lazy Summer days, but sadly it was reporting 13% wireless strength and buffering every few seconds during use.

Initally, I thought about getting a pair of plug adapters to route the network traffic via the mains. Then I discovered DD-WRT – firmware that would allow an old router to act as a repeater and extend the wi-fi right out to the garden. The added advantage of course was that we could also use our other wireless devices instead of being limited to ethernet connections only.

There are various guides out there for flashing the DD-WRT firmware, but they sounded like quite a faff, and you need specifically compatible hardware. The easier option is to search eBay for “DD-WRT” and chose from the dozen or so routers for sale which have already been upgraded. I paid about £15 for a D-Link DIR 615.

Once you have your router, follow these instructions to configure the repeater functionality; it worked first-time for me!
Setting up a repeater bridge with DD-WRT and D-Link DIR-600

The repeater needs to be able to connect to your primary router, but does not need a very strong signal (otherwise what would be the point?). Ours is tucked away in the corner of the kitchen and seems to function perfectly well – we now enjoy >80% signal strenth in the conservatory and, more importantly, buffering-free music streaming!

Why does the nipper keep gagging herself?

It seems that just at the moment, JB’s favourite game is to shove her hand (or sometimes hands) as far into her mouth as possible and, more often than not, make herself throw-up.

Obviously for the parent, this is a right pain – especially at bedtime when you’ve got her all ready to put down and next thing you’re washing the carpet and having to change both of your clothes.

Unsurprisingly this is down to teething; which, at 7 months, JB is right in the middle of.

Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any clear method of putting a stop to this behaviour.  Common suggestions are to use teething toys, but this doesn’t seem to work for us – she’d much rather be munching on her hand than any plastic toy.  A more interesting idea was to put vinegar on her hands to deter putting them into her mouth.  This may be tried if it goes on for much longer – we’re washing at least one sleeping bag and often her bedding every day at the moment!

I’ll add an update if we find a resolution…

Update 10/06/2013
Although we didn’t find a definitive solution, I can happily report that JB seems to have stopped making herself sick so much; it lasted for a week or two and then stopped.

We are 99% sure that it was just while she was getting grief from a tooth that was pushing it’s way through – it appeared about 10 days later.