Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why you should refer to version of Ubuntu by their code name online

A while ago a movement was started to convince people to refer to version of Ubuntu by their release name, not the code name. The logic is simple. The version name refers to the year and month that it was released, and paints a better picture of which version you are refering to.

I agree with that logic, though I don't care enough to stick to it. I usually just say it which ever way comes to my mind at the time, which differs from time to time.

I would like to further this by urging people to always refer to versions of Ubuntu by their code name when discussing them online. The reason for this is Google searching.

In my previous post regarding sound problems, I was able to find the solution by Googling ubuntu jaunty sound problems. Jaunty is a much better search term than 9.04. In fact, Google ignore special characters, like dots, and will find matches with articles that have the number 904 somewhere else in the page, like maybe a phone number, date, serial number, etc. When you search Ubuntu Jaunty, Ubuntu Intrepid or Ubunty Karmic, it is unlikely you are going to find one of the two words in the search to refer to something other than the version of Linux that we all love.

So in person use the release version, and online use the code name.

Sound problem in Jaunty

I did a complete reformat of my laptop and put Kubuntu on it. I tried an upgrade from Intrepid, but I think that putting 8.02 on it made the update go not-so-smooth because there was a lot of breakage, and 8.02 didn't run so well anyhow on Intrepid.

So a reinstall gave me a very stable laptop that runs great, except that sound only worked through Amarok. Everything else gave some weird fuzzy sound.
A quick Google search revealed the following fix.

alsamixer -Dhw

I then simply increased the volume on the sound devices that where completely turned down and now I have sound from all other applications, like Miro and Flash-based software.

The current status of my VW.

I feel like Christmas has been delayed another day.

Oh yeah, and Google voice is AWESOME!


Update 2:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Get EDID information

To know what your monitor supports, it passes along information to the operating system known as EDID. With this information your computer can then present you with the properly supported display resolutions and frequencies that are supported by your monitor.
Sometimes you may have a problem where you are only able to select very low screen resolutions such as 640 X 480 and 800 X 600. This is usually caused by not having the correct drivers installed for your graphics cards, but it can also be a problem of your monitor not passing the EDID information properly.
Fortunately for us Linux folks there is a way to get this information from the monitor. The following commands worked on my Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty desktop and Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid workstation.

$ sudo aptitude install read-edid
$ sudo get-edid | sudo parse-edid
parse-edid: parse-edid version 1.4.1
get-edid: get-edid version 1.4.1

Performing real mode VBE call
Interrupt 0x10 ax=0x4f00 bx=0x0 cx=0x0
Function supported
Call successful

VBE version 300
VBE string at 0x11110 "Intel(r)GM965/PM965/GL960 Graphics Chip Accelerated VGA BIOS"

VBE/DDC service about to be called
Report DDC capabilities

Performing real mode VBE call
Interrupt 0x10 ax=0x4f15 bx=0x0 cx=0x0
Function supported
Call successful

Monitor and video card combination does not support DDC1 transfers
Monitor and video card combination supports DDC2 transfers
0 seconds per 128 byte EDID block transfer
Screen is not blanked during DDC transfer

Reading next EDID block

VBE/DDC service about to be called

Performing real mode VBE call
Interrupt 0x10 ax=0x4f15 bx=0x1 cx=0x0
Function supported
Call successful

parse-edid: EDID checksum passed.

# EDID version 1 revision 3
Section "Monitor"
# Block type: 2:0 3:0
# Block type: 2:0 3:fe
# Block type: 2:0 3:fe
Identifier "AUO:4714"
VendorName "AUO"
ModelName "AUO:4714"
# Block type: 2:0 3:0
# Block type: 2:0 3:fe
# Block type: 2:0 3:fe
# DPMS capabilities: Active off:no Suspend:no Standby:no

Mode "1440x900" # vfreq 60.031Hz, hfreq 54.868kHz
DotClock 108.200000
HTimings 1440 1504 1536 1972
VTimings 900 903 906 914
Flags "-HSync" "-VSync"
# Block type: 2:0 3:0
# Block type: 2:0 3:fe
# Block type: 2:0 3:fe

Using this information you can safely rule-out, or not, a problem with your monitor's EDID.

Update 09/14/2010: Checked that these instructions are still valid as of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Why Christopher Hitchens is wrong about the moral necessity of atheism

If you are not familiar with Christopher Hitchens, then you should watch his segment in this clip.

To show why I don't buy his argument I want to go to some of the basics of Christian theology. I'm going to focus on his argument in light of Christianity, not in light of religions.

The Bible makes the claim that everything, presumably even the universe itself, was invented by a deliberate act of God. He then further went on to create all living beings on earth, including humans. During the history of humans God has interacted with them to lay down a divine law which all humans are required to obey. Furthermore, God was born on Earth as Jesus to save us from our sins so that we can enjoy eternal life in heaven after our life from this world has ended.

This, of course, does not complete all the claims of Christianity, but it is a good baseline for the purposes of this discussion.

Hitchens argues that the proposition of this argument is immoral because God is forcing a code of morality on us that we are forced to follow under condemnation of eternal damnation, and it has been imposed on us in a dictator-like fashion and we do not get any say so, or allowed to voice our opinions on the subject ahead of time.

If we accept, if only for the sake of argument, that the claims of Christianity are true as I have outlined above, then are Hitchens' assertions true? Let's look at who God is. He is the creator. Problems such as string theory, the Higgs Boson and such as not problems, he invented all of these various laws and pieces them together. On top of that he built our minds and knows the what makes us "tick."

So if we accept these ideas then it seems rather likely that God would care for us a lot and would want us to live in a manner that is conducive to happiness. Presently we have psychology and sociology to try and explain how our mind works so that we can better understand how to live happy lives. Since God already has access to this information, he has given us rules to follow to live a happy life.

God would not just make up random rules for no good reason just to watch us suffer as we try to follow them. Instead he would give us useful rules that help build a peaceful and happy society. In the Bible God is often referred to as Father. As our creator he is like a father. Father's are usually associated with discipline. A good father doesn't just make up random rules and then get upset with his children when they don't follow them. A good father makes up useful rules and punishes his children when they don't follow them, so that as adults they will have a good set of values to be a happy and productive adult and pass that down through his or her children at a later time.

To define God's rules as a dictatorship may be correct, but it is only a matter of choosing harsh words to describe a gracious act. It is good that God, our loving creator, has given us a set of rules to help us live happy and productive lives. And it behooves us to obey them.

Think of a pupil at piano lessons. The pupil cannot possibly go in knowing more than the teacher if the pupil has not previously played the piano. Therefore it is only good sense for the pupil to listen to the teacher and follow instruction as best as he or she can. If the teacher is good and cares for the pupil, then the pupil has the prospect of becoming a good piano player. If God is good and loves us, which the Bible asserts is true, then he will provide us with the tools to live a happy life. Therefore it is good that God has given us his commandments, and it is good when we obey those commandments.

However, there is a second component to this. Simply following God's rules is not enough. Christian theology does not say that living a good life is good enough for God. Not only do you need to do good, but you also need to love God. The letter of God's law for morality and how we are to conduct our lives is not sufficient to be favorable in God's eyes. It is through obedience and love that we find favor with God. An atheist who lives what would otherwise consider to be a moral life is not favorable to God according the scriptures.

It is absolutely unreasonable that a God that has spent so much time, effort and emotion in to us should not require that we love him back.

I would like to step back and approach this from one other angle with a short pause to discuss the problem of the dual existence of evil in our world and a good god. The proposed problem goes like this. If a person was dying in a ditch and another person passed by and didn't save him is that person good? Well, it depends on a few things. The first thing we would want to know is if the person walking by saw the person in the ditch. If not then we cannot make any moral judgement on him. We certainly cannot expect a person to work on a problem they don't know exists. If he did notice the person in the ditch then we need to know a second question. Did he have the ability to save the person in the ditch? If the answer is no, but he did try then we can conclude that he probably has some sort of goodness about him. If the person passing by did see the person int he ditch, and had the ability to save that person, then we could conclude with great certainty, that he is not a moral person. So, given the amount of evil that occurs on a daily basis, how can we call an omnipotent and omnipresent god, good?

The response goes like this. A man invents a robot. He is proud of his invention and takes it into a store to show it off to others. While the robot is walking down an isle of plates it starts to walk into a stack of them, threatening to break them so he intervenes and pushes the robot away. This continues until the robot is finally clear of the isle. The man then exclaims, "Look at my robot. He is good. He can walk down an isle of plates and bowls and not break anything." His conclusion would not be well received. The only reason the robot didn't break anything was because the creator intervened. Likewise, we would not have the ability to be "good" without the ability to create problems.

Likewise, when we are born with healthy bodies, we are not praised for this accomplishment, and if we are born with birth defects, we don't chastise the child for failing. These things are not the fault of the child, so we do not make judgments against or for them for it. However, when a group of able bodied people compete at a sport, we praise the victor for their accomplishment. The ability to fail is necessary for success. Without Hitler's ability to fail, there would be no reason to praise the work of Mother Theresa, Mohammad Ghandi, or Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. Evil is necessary for good.

This does not solve the problem of natural evil, such as a person dying in an avalanche, but that is beyond what I am trying to get at here.

Going back to the robot and his creator. When the creator intervenes to prevent the robot from breaking the dishes, nobody chastises him for doing so. Nobody looked at his intrusion as barbaric, unjust, or evil. It is right for a creator to require good out of his creation. We are fortunate to have more liberties than the robot. Doing good is not required of us, but requested. God is less of a tyrant than the robot's creator. He lets us know what we should do and then gives us the option to conform or not. We have been graced with both a free will and a set of proper instructions.

Now, this does not cover a defense of each of God's rules, requests, or actions, nor is it an exhaustive defense of the actions of those who proclaim to follow the rules of God. It also does not touch on issues such as hell, the genocide ordered to build the holy land, the historical evidence (or lack thereof) of many of the Bible's accounts, nor does it cover the evidence (or lack thereof) that any such God actually exists. It is merely a defense of the idea that a creator would give us rules and tell us that we are absolutely expected to follow these rules, and love him for it, and that such compliance is not immoral or degrading.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Kubuntu Fail

As I mentioned in my previous post I purchased Megadeth's Countdown to Extinction yesterday. My van does not have a working radio/cd/tape/etc. player so I use my laptop, which runs Kubuntu.

When I left the store I put my newly purchased CD in my laptop. A window comes up asking if I would like to rip it with K3B or open the folder in Nautilus. That seemed pretty stupid. The number on thing people do with music CDs is listen to them. I didn't want to rip it or view the folder contents. So I went looking around Amarok and it apparently doesn't have a CD player option. Again, a music player that doesn't play CDs seems pretty dumb. I started to get frustrated so I looked around at other programs I had installed and found mplayer, which I knew does play CDs.

I started playing the CD and rocking out and left the parking lot only to realize that mplayer found it necessary to pause every five or so seconds for about two or three seconds. Since I'm driving there really just wasn't anything I could do about it, so I had to listen to choppy audio all the way home. Given how pumped
I was to have this album back in my collection after a very long hiatus, this sucked.

So back at home I looked into this and found this thread which states regarding CD playing in Amarok 2, "We developers don't find this an important feature, as it takes about 3 minutes to fully rip a CD to harddisk with modern software. And this gives you so many advantages, that it's just not worth messing with the CD media from the 80s."

The stupidity behind such a statement leads me to desires of genocide and becoming the cause of utter bleakness. How can anyone believe that a computer being able to play CDs is not important. It is a basic function of any modern desktop operating system. It would be like purchasing a car that doesn't have a radio because that's so 80s, and everyone just does podcast now anyhows.

There are many reasons to not rip every CD you want to play. One of the most obvious is that it is an unnecessary step to get from where you are to where you want to be. I have a CD, and I want to play it. My OS should make that process as easy as possible, given this is a very common task of desktop OSes. Inserting unnecessary steps = fail.

A second reason is IP law. If I borrow a CD from a friend I do not have the right to make copies of his/her CD. In this situation one is forced to choose simply not listening to the CD, or breaking copyright law. I'm not fan of our current IP law, but an OS that forces you to break the law to perform the basic task of listening to a borrowed CD is assinine.

In conclusion Mark Kretschmann needs to climb out of his basement and look at what real world people are doing with their computers, not they specific way he prefers to use a computer.

Great tea for cheap

Today as I was drinking on my tea that my sister bought me I became curious about how much a cup costs. The tea is Monkey Picked Oolong from Teavana. Two ounces cost twenty-five dollars, putting it at $200/lb. That sounds pretty expensive at first, until we break it down.

The instructions for the tea say you should use one teaspoon of leaves for an eight ounce cup. Two ounces is twelve teaspoons, so you should get twelve cups per ounce. Each ounce of leaves can be used about five times before the flavor is too diluted, giving you sixty cups of tea for two ounces of tea leaves.

This finally gives us .41666... cents per cup. This sounds much cheaper, especially in comparison to the cost of coffee at Starbucks. So at $200/lb, I get tea at $0.42/cup. My pocketbook can handle that.

Countdown to Extinction

With some uncashed birthday money I purchased Megadeth's Countdown to Extinction. This was one of my favorite albums for a very long time, and I am greatly enjoying this epic metal album.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ubuntu on XO

Today I finally got Ubuntu to work on my XO.

With some Christmas money I purchased a 4Gig SD card. I even shopped around until I could find the kind that read/write faster than your standard SD card to give better performance. I tried a few months ago when I first purchased the card, and I followed all the instructions at http://www.olpcnews.com/forum/index.php?topic=4053.0, but upon reboot I still just got the regular Sugar desktop. After a while I put it on the back burner.

Tonight I picked the project back up and finally got it working. It turns out I missed the very last step of getting the developer key, where the key is actually placed in the /security folder. After I solved that, my Ubuntu was in business.

The thing runs much faster than I expected. In fact, it runs really well. I changed some of the panel configurations, and installed some more applications, like GCompris for the kids.

The installation comes with some quirks, such as no region set, and the microphone light is constantly on, which can all be resolved by following the instructions at http://www.olpcnews.com/forum/index.php?topic=4057.msg27470;topicseen#msg27470.

Currently, I am backing up the SD card, and am going to attempt a Jaunty install. If that works find then I'm going to install gnome-desktop and remove xfce-desktop and see what kind of performance I get.

My main motivation for this is that my kids where having trouble figuring out the Sugar interface. My seven-year old has it mostly figured out, but not Athena (5.) We run all Ubuntu in the house, so they are pretty good with getting around in it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

From Tragedy to Fun

On Thursday I came home to a dark house. It seems that we were not so prompt on paying our utilities bill, though we had mailed the check the previous day. Kim was having dinner with some coworkers, and did not have her cell phone on her. I took the kids to the Riverside Cafe to eat and figure out what to do.

The restaurant sits literally on Saint Marks River, and while the food is mediocre, the atmosphere is quite fun, though the sand flees are not. We ate with pelicans a stone's throw away, and a man and his guitar strumming some old country tunes. The kids really enjoyed themselves.

On Wednesday we had promised Athena that we would camp out in the Vanagon on Saturday. It is something we had been telling the kids we would eventually do, and now we where committing to it. This became my rescue plan. We would sleep in the Vanagon and use our cell phone as an alarm clock.

When we got home we played in the van until Kim got home and I explained the situation to her. We loaded up all of our food in our refrigerator likely to spoil and hauled it over to Katie's house. Then when we got home we got everything ready for the next day. We picked out our clothes, made lunches (PB&H sandwiches), put our tooth brushes and a hairbrush in the van. The idea was that when we woke up we could get ready as fast as we could and have everything already ready for us.

Athena, Arianna and I slept on the bottom while Kim and Aurora took the pop-up. Things went pretty well, but at some point in the night Arianna became restless. I changed her diaper and put more just in her sippy cup, but she was still uneasy. At some point Kim got up and started holding her. She said I could go up top, so I did and fell asleep, and Kim says that the two of them went to sleep shortly after that as well.

Around 3:30 am the phone's alarm went off. I turned it off and double-checked that it was in fact set for 5:30 am. At that point it had become chilly outside. Kim had grabbed some thicker blankets and we covered ourselves and the kid sup with that.

We where again woken up at 5:00 am. I turned the alarm off, made sure it was set for 5:30 am and went back to bed.

It did in fact go off at 5:30 am, but this time we went back to sleep. I woke up again at 6:05, and we where out of there by 6:50 am.

The kids had a good time and overall it worked out pretty well. Kim and I didn't get stressed out and the lights where turned back on Friday morning. It's pretty rare that we get behind on our bills like this, but I'm glad we where able to turn it into an oppurtunity.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Time for Reflection

I often find myself upset with my wife over her occasional frustration with us not having this or that. I usually scolled her about not appreciating our great fortune for the many things we have that others do not. While I sometimes share in her frustration, I rarely externalize it out of fear of being ungrateful.

It is true that I live in a trailer out in the country down a dirt road that is not well kept by our neighborhood association. Many of my neighbors are very poor, and you can tell by their occasional shouting at each other that they don't live what I would consider to be a very happy life.

When people interviewed by the media tell of their woes of their property value dropping by one-fourth, it is often a value up to five times what my house is worth. The van I drive to work is loud due to a hole in the muffler, and after about an hour on the road will stall out if it is at a complete stop.

I certainly have a lot to be grateful for. My children have so many toys that I often want to just trash three-quarter of them. I have a large collection of movies and music, and a reasonably decent entertainment center to enjoy them on. I have a good job, even in this troubled economy, and my wife's job is respectable as well. My children are happy and eat healthy, and their teachers note that their behavior and intelligence are beyond most of their class mates. When I wake up I do not worry about how I am going to pay my bills, or have any reason to believe a loved one may slip away from us any time soon.

Much of this good fortune rests on the shoulder of others. From my parents, and their parents before them, that did what they could to enjoy a proper education and a properly calibrated moral compass. Also in the soldier who sits in Iraq with a romance of sacrificing for his country, while I comfortably sit at home disagreeing with his mission their and a feeling that the effort only stands a disgrace to our country. The men and women who have been organizing for over a hundred years to improve the working conditions of the labor class, as well as the scabs who filled their positions while one strike because only because of the color of their skin they where previously unable to get these jobs and had a family back home that had to be fed, all ideologies aside. The adults and children who marched down streets demanding equality for all people born in this country, giving me a country who stands up to the edicts of the the first article of the Constitution better than ever in our great history. It is on these shoulders that I sit comfortably typing away in my house, cooled by a ceiling fan and air conditioner, and a stomach filled by food from a local restaurant, and will sleep tonight comfortably on a good bed.

As I look at all of my health and wealth I wonder at the people who do not have the good fortune to enjoy such good times. There are many in this world who are far more deserving than me, but are not rewarded as well. Many may have just been born at the wrong place at the wrong time. Others are just victims of unfortunate circumstance.

One can do all the right things but come out at a loss. A young adult who has always exercised and ate healthy can by dead of a heart attack in his mid-thirties. A young college graduate may find themselves hungry and homeless despite a concerted effort to land a good job. A good mother may find herself and her children beaten robbed of her dignity despite being a good wife and marrying a man that appeared a good choice in years past.

At the same time undeserving people find themselves on top of the world. An avid drinker and smoker can live to be a hundred years old. A college drop out can go on to start the largest technology company in history. A spoiled rich man with no accomplishments can win the election to the highest seat of power in the world.

Meanwhile horrible circumstances can lead to unforeseen benefits. The death of a child can bring together parents that had been drifting apart. A rotten marriage can produce children that bring future prosperity. War can force two people together that would have otherwise never met.

Nothing in life is guaranteed. We can only play our cards towards the odds and hope the odds stick to our favor. A straight flush never beats an opponent with a pistol up his sleeve, and a hand with nothing to play may be won by a simple bluff.

For these reasons I do not hold any sort of guilt from the prosperity I have gained through both chance and effort, nor do I feel less because someone less deserving enjoys expensive cars, a nice house, and strong political power. I try my best to merely be satisfied with my present situation.

So back to my wife. Having grown up watching her mother and herself find bad relationships and in time hard for anybody to endure, she understands fully the happiness that we have built. I can be a finicky and stubborn person at times, and it amazes me to find someone who fits me so well. She picks up where I leave off. When I have zany ideas with unrealized probable consequences she stops me in my tracks. Through the purpose she brings to my life, I find strength to be responsible an areas I'd rather leave to fate to determine consequences. At her job she sees the realities of people who struggle hard with little return more clearly than I can hope to realize. Her outbursts are nothing more than the frustrations we all feel from time to time, regardless of our luxuries. She only chooses to externalize things that I choose to internalize. It is with this that I am able to bring myself to appreciate her frustrations as a gift that I would not turn away.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Brainstorm Idea

This Ubuntu release-cycle I will be hosting my first Ubuntu release party with Stephen. In the Florida LOCO IRC chats we where discussing the pre-burnt CDs we would be bringing and how it would not be possible for ShipIt to burn CDs on release day and have them out in time for most release parties. crashsystems thought it would be cool if they could just ship us blank CDs with the labels already printed on them and we could just burn them ourselves.

Today I posted a request for this on BrainStorm at http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/19189/. If you think this is a good idea, please vote for it. If you have any other better solution, post it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dreams From My Father

The best birthday present I got this year was from my mother-in-law. It was Barrack Obama's first book, Dream From My Father. He wrote this book in 1995 after becoming the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.
This book is very special because it was written before Barrack became a politician, so lots of what he writes about is stuff he would probably never ever admit publicly today had he not already penned it and published it.
I started reading it a few night ago. I don't read many books, even though I thoroughly enjoy doing it. So getting off my butt and picking the book up took some will power on my part to begin, but the momentum is on now.
The story centers around a young man with a black father and a white mother. His dad is pretty much out of the picture short of the epic tails his parents and grand parents tell him. He remains sort of a mythical and mystical character for much of Barrack's life. Being visually perceived as a black person, he is treated as such, even though when he goes home, and to family reunions, and other events he is surrounded by white people and white culture. Sharing his frustration with prejudice with his other black friends, he is stuck in a conundrum of a confused identity and place in a racist country.
The book is a great window into race problems as they where, as they are, and as they are perceived by minorities. I grew up in a town predominantly uneducated, poor and largely racist black people. The white population had various degrees of education and wealth, but was also predominantly racist. I have experienced racism against me, and against other black first hand and is something I think about often. The chance to have a look at the unique perspective Barrack offers a golden opportunity for those of us who care about race relations.
The other things that makes this book a real gem is that through it all he has become our nations first black president. From the feeling of hopelessness that he felt as a young man, to being granted the most powerful position in the world by the very country that once treated him unfairly is an amazing story.
It would be great if we could have this kind of story out of all of our presidents. A glimpse of the world as they viewed it growing up, written before the censor the politics forces one to put on their own story.
What sorts of problems plagued George Bush I & II, Clinton and Reagan as they grew up? How did their specific experiences influence their politics and outlook on the country and world. What sort of mistakes did they make that as politicians they could not admit to now? The ability to have these answers is an opportunity that no American should pass, regardless of their support for Obama or his policies.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Upgraded to Jaunty on laptop.

On a whim I decided to upgrade my laptop from Kubuntu 8.10 to 9.04 Beta. I don't do alpha any more as I kind of like things to work the vast majority of the time. On my two desktops I upgrade the day before a release to beat the next days surge on the servers that make downloading the updates take a long time.
I kind of use my laptop as a test machine. It runs my only go at Kubuntu, and I even have KDE4.2, which isn't officially supported on 8.10, and does have some problems. So being a sort of test machine I thought I would go ahead and try it.
Kubuntu does not use update-manager, so the usual update-manager -d doesn't work. I thought sudo apt-get --dist-upgrade would work, but it did nothing. Googling around updating to Jaunty with Kubuntu brought up the apt-get solution, which wasn't working. I asked on the #ubuntu-us-fl irc channel, and after a while mhall119 discovered that the correct command was update-notifier-kde -d.
I was trying to do this remotely using X over ssh and X kept failing. When I got home I ran update-notifier and it got all the packages, updated, and when I reinstalled Ubuntu 9.10 was installed.
Using the instructions at http://ext4.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Ext4_Howto#Converting_an_ext3_filesystem_to_ext4 I updated my file system to ext4. Because you can't change the file system if it is mounted, I had to download the latest ISO for Jaunty Beta and boot from it. Once there I ran:
sudo tune2fs -j /dev/sda1
sudo tune2fs -O extents,uninit_bg,dir_index /dev/sda1
sudo e2fsck -fD /dev/sda1

http://www.ubuntu.com/testing/jaunty/beta says that after that you need to run grub-install, but that didn't do anything. Instead I ran:
sudo grub
root (hd0,0)
setup (hd0)

After a reboot I was running Jaunty with the ext4 file system. The first boot was not fast at all, but every boot after that has been under 30 seconds. 3D desktop now works, which is a big bonus. A few background apps crash after bootup, and I send the apport to Launchpad. Hopefully by the time Jaunty goes to release all of this crashing of background apps will be fixed.