Ubuntu 9.04 Touchpad Scroll Region

Jess has switched her laptop to Ubuntu and in the process there are some tweaks to be done. One of them was that her touchpad has a little area set apart for scrolling and the default option on Ubuntu was allowing scrolling for a small amount past that set apart area. Unfortunately, they’ve just updated those settings to be part of the HAL device settings rather than the Xorg.conf settings. So now there is not a nice clean GUI configuration program.

After some messing around I was able to figure it out though. You need to create an FDI policy in the directory “/etc/hal/fdi/policy”. It doesn’t seem to matter what you call this as long as it ends in “.fdi”. So I called mine “touchpad.fdi”. In this file we put:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<deviceinfo version="0.2">
<match key="input.x11_driver" string="synaptics">
 <merge key="input.x11_options.RightEdge" type="string">5900</merge>

(For more information on how to form this file see: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/X/Config/Input.)

If you follow these instructions and things don’t seem to work, you might try switching the encoding option from “ISO-8859-1” to “UTF-8”.

Anyway, save that text into a file like “/etc/hal/fdi/policy/touchpad.fdi”. The next step (which was left out of 99% of the information I found online and made me very frustrated) is to restart HAL:

sudo /etc/init.d/hal restart

After HAL restarts, log out and then log back in.

If it found and read your file properly something should have changed. If you want to test to see if things are working at all you can try setting the RightEdge value (5900 in the above) to something small (I’ll warn you that this will probably turn your entire touchpad into a vertical scroll area, however you can do some sneakiness to recover, first you can still access a terminal by accessing your menus using ALT+F1, and you can access the shutdown menu (not the logout menu sadly) with ALT+CTRL+DEL).

You’ll need to play with that value in order to get it to work for you. I tried to be clever and calculate it from some information, but it didn’t work, so [shrug] just play with it. I changed things about 200 at a time which was enough of a change to notice.

I hope this helps someone out.


Thursday night was our one-month anniversary, so Kyle and I celebrated by attending Livermore’s Shakespeare Festival, which was presenting A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was outdoors at Concannon Vineyard, and it’s gorgeous up there.

The picnic area opened up before the show, so I got a dinner of fried chicken, corn, and mashed potatoes all ready for when Kyle got home from work. He stopped on the way home and got some beautiful flowers…

our one-month anniversary!…and cheesecake. Yes, my husband knows me well. We headed out, parked, picked up our tickets, and set up dinner at a table under an arbor. There were grapes hanging down and everything! The view was amazing–rolling hills, grape vines, rose bushes, and a sunset. It was definitely one of the more picturesque things I’ve done in my life. And yes, we ate the whole cheesecake (it was a small one, though).

Now, to the actual play. I have a harder time reading Shakespeare’s comedies (the tragedies tend to be my favorites). But seeing them performed is another matter entirely! I just struggle with interpreting things properly without any actors to provide intonation or gestures, and what’s supposed to be funny often just ends up being confusing. But this performance was wonderful, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. I laughed myself silly, which is always a good way to celebrate anything.


Yesterday, Kyle told me he was coming home for lunch and mebbe I could pop some popcorn to go with it? (We got an air popper as a wedding gift, and Kyle’s been converted.) So I got it all set up and going, then left the room. (Yes, I thought this might not turn out well. I did it anyway. And aren’t you glad I did? You know there’s awesomeness on the way!)

Well, something sounded off–I think the popping sound stopped rather early–so I ducked back into the kitchen. I found this:

Popcorn Mess Popcorn Mess 2Please note the blob of partially melted butter to the right of the paper towel roll. That was in a little tray atop the popper, melting. Pre-launch, of course. The tray thingie is visible over in the sink.

Needless to say, I was still cleaning up when Kyle got home. Our best guess as to what transpired is that 1) I didn’t get the top on securely and/or 2) the corn popped up too quickly and raised the top right off. It was, well, amazing. Just wow.

For the record

We went and saw Harry Potter 6 last night. Everyone seems to think it’s an incredible movie. I thought it was incredibly flat and lacking almost any substance. Of course when you take a long book and condense it into a movie things are going to get left out, but I think you need to really choose certain scenes and plot points to develop rather than just grazing over everything (and what was the deal with adding an entire scene not in the book which adds nothing to the story?).

So, I don’t know what everyone is going crazy about. The piece that the entire book builds toward was entirely anti-climactic for me (No Battle Scene?! They just walk out without any resistance?! Ridiculous!). I was sure that the movie would end with the funeral, but they skipped that entirely too. Instead it’s a rather dull scene on top of the astronomy tower.

I think it would have highly benefited from being stretched out another 30 minutes, throw in the fight scene that at least half the audience is waiting for, and develop the important scenes further (the cave lasted all of like 10 minutes).

The book, to me, was mostly to educate us about Voldemort’s history. But very little of that comes out in the movie. Since we’re not focusing on that, we end up not really focusing on anything, since what Draco is doing is a secret until the very end. So it’s kind of like, random thing here, oh Draco acting angsty, another random thing, Dumbledore being vague, Draco being angsty, anti-climactic scene, anti-climactic scene, the end.