Archives for November 2008

Browser Market Share?

I hadn’t looked at my browser marketshare in a while, so I fired up Google Analytics:

Browser marketshare

Rough browser numbers are

Firefox 57.58%
IE 26.07%
Safari 6.48%
Chrome 5.11%
Opera 2.35%
Mozilla 1.44%
SeaMonkey 0.48%
Mozilla Compatible 0.18%
Konqueror 0.13%
Camino 0.04%

OneStat says that they see 0.54% share for Google Chrome. Net Applications provides an hour-by-hour graph, which is nice, but they hardwired it to look for the string “Chrome 0.2” when Chrome is on version 0.3 or 0.4 by now. Just eyeballing the Chrome 0.3 version stats, it looked like about 0.85% market share according to Net Applications. Hey Net Applications folks, any chance you’d be willing to roll up all the Chrome versions into your hourly report?

I hadn’t realized that Internet Explorer usage had dropped so low for my site (~26%). What does your browser marketshare stats look like for the last month or so for your site(s)?

P.S. Stephen Shankland writes about switching to Google Chrome because of the speed, while ExtremeTech also concluded that Chrome is speedy. And if you haven’t seen it, there’s a new version of Chrome ( that adds a couple nice features:

Bookmark manager with import/export.
Use the ‘Customize and control Google Chrome’ (wrench) menu to open the Bookmark manager. You can search bookmarks, create folders, and drag and drop bookmarks to new locations. The Bookmark Manager’s Tools menu lets you export or import bookmarks.

Privacy section in Options.
We grouped together all of the configuration options for features that might send data to another service. Open the wrench menu, click Options, and select the Under the Hood tab.

Personally, I run the dev channel version of Chrome because I like to see what cool features are coming soon. I think the dev channel has averaged weekly updates, which is really nice because you can literally watch plug-in fixes and other improvements arrive every few days. It’s wild to see client software updated that often instead of every few months.

Update, 11/28/2008: Somehow I missed the browser marketshare stats from 60K+ sites. They peg Chrome at 1.55%, with a little bit of 1.6% to 1.7% in the last week or so.

Trying (and failing) to get Ubuntu to work

I really want to run Ubuntu, but it shouldn’t be this hard. Plugging in an SD card reader that I picked up from Best Buy shouldn’t cause a hard freeze of my system (on both Gutsy Gibbon and Intrepid Ibex):

SD Card Reader

The card reader works fine in Windows. At this point, I’m honestly thinking about crashing the Ubuntu Developer Summit that will be held in December at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA to pick peoples’ brains.

Okay, so Ubuntu freezes hard when you plug in the card reader (sometimes). Unless you report that bug, no one will know to fix it. So I’m trying to follow these instructions for debugging removable devices to do a good Ubuntu bug report, and finding that the instructions are pretty out-of-date.

For example, you’re supposed to kill, then start gnome-volume-manager in a foreground mode to see debugging messages. Except that the latest version of Ubuntu (Intrepid Ibex) doesn’t even install gnome-volume-manager. Oh, you can install it (and you’ll get the sound-juicer package with it). But when you try to run it, you’ll get this helpful message:

$ /usr/lib/gnome-volume-manager/gnome-volume-manager -n
manager.c/685: setting[0]: string: filemanager = nautilus -n –no-desktop %m
manager.c/690: setting[1]: bool: autophoto = 0
manager.c/685: setting[2]: string: autophoto_command = f-spot-import
manager.c/690: setting[3]: bool: autovideocam = 0
manager.c/685: setting[4]: string: autovideocam_command =
manager.c/690: setting[5]: bool: autowebcam = 0
manager.c/685: setting[6]: string: autowebcam_command = cheese –hal-device=%h
manager.c/690: setting[7]: bool: autopalmsync = 0
manager.c/685: setting[8]: string: autopalmsync_command = gpilotd-control-applet
manager.c/690: setting[9]: bool: autopocketpc = 0
manager.c/685: setting[10]: string: autopocketpc_command = multisync
manager.c/690: setting[11]: bool: autoprinter = 0
manager.c/685: setting[12]: string: autoprinter_command =
manager.c/690: setting[13]: bool: autoscanner = 0
manager.c/685: setting[14]: string: autoscanner_command = xsane
manager.c/690: setting[15]: bool: autokeyboard = 0
manager.c/685: setting[16]: string: autokeyboard_command =
manager.c/690: setting[17]: bool: automouse = 0
manager.c/685: setting[18]: string: automouse_command =
manager.c/690: setting[19]: bool: autotablet = 0
manager.c/685: setting[20]: string: autotablet_command =
manager.c/699: settings[21]: float: percent_threshold = 0.050000
manager.c/699: settings[22]: float: percent_used = 0.010000
manager.c/664: daemon exit: live and let die

It’s easy to find the source code of gnome-volume-manager online, but the relevant function is more cute than informative. Searching for [“live and let die” gnome-volume-manager] finds this post where someone tries to guess what the message means:

Fedora no longer uses gnome-volume-manager to auto-mount removable media — it’s now built into Nautilus. I am guessing that “live and let die” means “hey, someone else is already managing this” but that is pure speculation on my part. So if you get that error message it just means that you shouldn’t have been running it in the first place.

With that clue, you can go back and find this thread where Ubuntu developer wgrant helpfully lets someone know “gnome-volume-manager is no longer necessary either – nautilus does the mounting now.” It is good to find an Ubuntu developer posting answers online. But now I’m not sure how to generate Nautilus debugging logs akin to the gnome-volume-manager logs that fellow Ubuntu folks could use to debug the hard freeze. At least I do know how to generate udevmonitor logs using the new udevadm program.

Please pardon the melancholy tone. It’s just frustrating that plugging in an SD card reader can cause sporadic freezes on my Ubuntu computer. And if you plug in the SD card reader often enough, you may corrupt your system. I do see progress from Hardy Heron to Intrepid Ibex with several annoyances fixed, but there’s still a way to go.

Update: If any Linux/Ubuntu folks want to dig into it, I put all the log files I could think of at for folks that want to check it out.

Where did udevmonitor go?

In case you’re looking for the “udevmonitor” program on the Intrepid Ibex version of Ubuntu, it’s changed; use “udevadm monitor” now:

$ udevadm help
Usage: udevadm COMMAND [OPTIONS]
info query sysfs or the udev database
trigger request events from the kernel
settle wait for the event queue to finish
control control the udev daemon
monitor listen to kernel and udev events
test simulation run
version print the version number
help print this help text

It looks like udevmonitor was a symlink, and around April 2008, that symlink was removed. Someone asked about it on the Linux kernel mailing list and received this reply:

All udev tools are in one single binary called “udevadm”, which is
always in /sbin, and not like the old tools spread around in /sbin,
/usr/bin, /usr/sbin. See “man udev” for the reference to udevadm, and
“man udevadm” for the commands, which have been the individual tools

So if you have a USB device that causes a hard freeze of your Linux computer when you plug it in, and you want to run udevmonitor to debug it, use udevadm monitor instead.

Virtual terminals not working? Check your keyboard.

(This is a boring post that I’m writing for people that have this same problem in the future. Just skip it.)

Every good Linux user knows that if you want to drop from X down into a text-based virtual terminal, you can press control-alt-F1 (or any other key up to F6), and control-alt-F7 returns you to the graphical mode. But what if that doesn’t work? In my case, it turned out to be my keyboard. My Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 has a key marked “F Lock” and unless that FLock key is activated (the “F” LED should be on), the wrong keystrokes were being sent to my Linux Ubuntu version of Intrepid Ibex. How can you debug this? Well, it took me a while.

After some Googling, here’s how I’d write the flowchart:

Try running “chvt 1” to switch your console to virtual terminal 1.
– If “chvt 1” does not work, you might get the message “Couldnt get a file descriptor referring to the console”. You probably need to be superroot. Once you run as root, that command should work.
– Maybe “chvt 1” fails in some other way. Dude, you’re outside my area of expertise. You could try typing “sudo modprobe vga16fb; sudo modprobe fbcon” . Or you could try typing the command “setupcon” to set up the font and keyboard on the Linux console. Or it’s possible that you need to edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and tweak the vga= setting or remove the “splash” parameter. Or you might want to check your /etc/gdm/gdm.conf file.

– Quick check: you might have the “DontVTSwitch” option set in your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file, which would disable virtual terminal switching.

If running “chvt 1” as superroot does work, then you probably have an issue with your keyboard mappings somehow.
– If you have a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, make sure that the “F-Lock” key near the top-right of the main part of the keyboard is properly engaged. The “F” LED below the keyboard should be on.
– Next, run xev (possibly as root) to see raw xevents as you press keys. This thread helped, where the person said

Recently I tried to switch to VT (console) and I couldn’t – Ctrl+Alt+F1 didn’t work (and they used to couple of weeks ago). I don’t even know where to look for the problem; xev detects KeyRelease XF86_Switch_VT_1 event, /etc/inittab contain getty respawns.

When I ran xev myself, and pressed control-alt-F1, I saw an event like

KeyPress event, serial 38, synthetic NO, window 0x3400001,
root 0x1a6, subw 0x3400002, time 1848943, (42,37), root:(1751,59),
state 0x0, keycode 146 (keysym 0xff6a, Help), same_screen YES,
XLookupString gives 0 bytes:
XmbLookupString gives 0 bytes:
XFilterEvent returns: False

The fact that I saw a “Help” event rather than “XF86_Switch_VT_1” was what made me suspicious. Sure enough, activating the “F-Lock” key then triggered this event:

KeyRelease event, serial 34, synthetic NO, window 0x3400001,
root 0x1a6, subw 0x3400002, time 2873229, (38,51), root:(1747,73),
state 0xc, keycode 67 (keysym 0x1008fe01, XF86_Switch_VT_1), same_screen YES,
XLookupString gives 0 bytes:
XFilterEvent returns: False

and life was good. You might also consider tweaking xmodmap to return the values you expect. Or you might have a strange XkbModel or XkbLayout setting where switching your keyboard language or layout (e.g. from pc105 to pc104) might help.

Reindeer Car Antlers are a Great Holiday Present

Last year I got these reindeer car antlers for my wife. This year she let me have them for my car. They look like this:

Reindeer car antlers

(Note: this is the picture from the catalog, not one of our cars.)

Tons of people stop, stare, and then break out in a smile or start pointing out my car to friends as I drive by with my sleek reindeer antlers and big red nose. The antlers slide onto your windows, which then shut securely. That means you don’t need to worry about antler-theft in a parking lot or losing an antler as you scoot down the highway at 65 miles an hour. You may need to pay attention if you roll down your window at a McDonald’s drivethrough though.

I ordered mine from What on Earth and they’ve worked great. Lots of fun and highly recommended.