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Monday, May 24, 2010

Matlab 7 startup problem

Recently I had to install Matlab 7 on a Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop running Windows XP SP3. Everything went OK during installation. However, Matlab failed to start: it started, showed the splash screen, show the full application window, and as soon as the prompt was about to appear, all windows closes.
After some googleing I found out that this is caused by Matlab 7 using the wrong version of the Blas library ( Dell Inspiron 1501 has an AMD Athlon processor.
The solution was quite easy (considering how much time I lost to find it): add the environmental variable BLAS_VERSION with the value atlas_Athlon.dll.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Manually setup the Broadcom wireless card firmware on Dell Inspiron 1501

These steps summarize the information presented here:
  1. Download and extract the b43-fwcutter.
  2. Download and extract the Broadcom drivers.
  3. Compile the b43-fwcutter
  4. Run the b43-fwcutter to extract the firmware
Run the following commands as root and then restart the network service:
cd /tmp 
tar xjf b43-fwcutter-013.tar.bz2
tar xjf broadcom-wl-
cd b43-fwcutter-013
cd ..
b43-fwcutter-013/b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware broadcom-wl-

Monday, May 3, 2010

Customizing Moodle login instructions on a per language basis

Today I installed another language in one of my Moodle sites. On this occasion I noticed that the login instructions that I setup in the Moodle admin settings are being displayed in Romanian whatever language the user selects.
More precisely, in order to tell users to check their spam/bulk folder for the registration email that the site sends, I frequently customize the auth_instructions setting on the /admin/settings.php?section=manageauths page. In it, I copy the original message, which I get from the HTML source of the login page, and then I customize it to suit my needs.
When I setup a custom message, the original message is no longer displayed; which is very well. The problem is that when a user switches to another language (e.g. English), the customized message still appears (in Romanian). In order to fix this "problem", I removed the customized message from the site setting (ie. leaving it blank) and I moved it in the moodle.php language file for Romanian. This is quite easy to do: just go to /admin/lang.php?mode=compare&currentfile=moodle.php&currentstr=loginsteps#loginsteps and paste the HTML for your message (the one you had customized before in the site setting).
Note: If you did not apply the patch I describe in Click-to-translate feature for Moodle then loading the string editing page will take some time. Be patient!