Ubuntu booting to text login – eeek!

EDIT: Apparently, these steps below (the Old Directions) can hose a new (13.10) install of Ubuntu so that you only can boot to a black screen. I know this because after upgrading to 13.10, it told me that it wasn’t going to use the AMD drivers. It was working fine, but I thought I’d install the proprietary drivers anyway. Mistake! After going in circles for an hour, and getting errors when I tried to install the drivers, I found this page using my cellphone to search for solutions:

I was at a blank screen. I pressed CTRL+ALT+F1 to get to a terminal screen. (I also learned that if I tried to use recovery console to go to a terminal screen that it is read-only. WTF!? How can you recover anything if it is read-only?) (BTW, CTRL+ALT+F1 to get to a terminal screen, and CTRL+ALT+F7 to get back to graphics (X) screen.)

I did these steps:
sudo apt-get install fglrx fglrx-amdcccle
sudo amdconfig --initial
This reloads the prorietary drivers. Read the webpage at the link for details.

Then rebooted. It initially came up blank black, but after a while the login screen appeared and I got back into a mostly-normal graphic desktop. It displayed less than full-screen, so I had to go into terminal and run the Catalyst Control Center:
sudo amdcccle
Then go to the Adjustments tab, move the Scaling options slider all the way to the right to return the graphics to full-screen.

I found that the standard proprietary drivers left things choppy and there are pauses after every typing or mouse movement. Once I was in the graphic environment again, I was able to have the system install the latest drivers by going to System Settings, Software Updater (let it run), go to Settings, then the Additional Drivers tab (let it load). I chose the option that ends in “fglrx-updates”, and clicked Apply Changes. It took a while to load, but then I closed out of everything and restarted. Now there is no pause or choppy effects. W00t!

OLD DIRECTIONS – May work with the Beta drivers, but I’m not going to try for now…
After a normal update from Ubuntu, it booted into a text screen instead of a graphical interface. Having been through this several times, I knew that I just needed to reinstall the video driver and it would work again. The first time it happened I panicked for a bit. But I had an old spare computer that allowed me to do an Internet search on reasons for such things.

So this is just a simple tip: Keep an updated version of your video driver in an easy to find location, then you can quickly recover from this sort of thing.

But note that the driver has to be given executable permissions after downloading. Here’s how to do that:
In a graphical interface, right-click the file and select Properties, and check the box to “allow executing file as a program”
Or in a text interface, go to the folder and type sudo chmod 755 filename


After logging in (at the prompt, type your regular username and then your regular password when prompted), I will be in my home folder. I keep my video driver in Downloads/ATI, and I have already marked it as an executable.

The steps are

1. cd Downloads
2. cd ATI (or shorten those steps to cd Downloads/ATI)
3. sudo ./amd-driver-installer-catalyst-13.1-linux-x86.x86_64.run
(sudo makes it run with root privileges, and ./ makes it look just in the folder that I am in currently)
The program will run and will install the driver. There are some mouse clicks required (or tab to the text and Enter).

4. Once it is done, type sudo restart and it should boot back into the graphical interface.

Non-geeky issue with itchy ankles

For the last 15 years, from time to time, I’ll get super itchy ankles with patches of red spots or nothing really visible at all. But the itching is maddening. I’ve seen several forums talk about possible causes (chiggers, bed bugs, mosquitoes, fleas, polyester socks, unknown irritants, etc., none of which are true in my case) and a variety of cures such as zinc oxide and anti-fungal lotions. I still don’t really know the cause (I suspect it is related to lack of hydration or too much salt), but I found a way of relief, and it may work for you.

I put a large plastic storage tub in the bathtub and run hot water into it (not too hot, no point in burning yourself), and soak my lower legs for 30 minutes. No epsom salts or oils, just water. The point here is to hydrate the skin. After about 15 minutes or so, I notice small white threadlike skin flakes floating in the water, similar to skin that flakes off after a sunburn. Bring a book or listen to music while soaking, it can be dull waiting. Don’t skimp on the time…

Afterward, I use a bit of Gold Bond “Intensive Healing” and/or “Maximum Relief” lotion on the spots. No itching at all that night or the next day. The next evening, I repeat the process, and by three to four nights the spots are generally gone.

I guess this could be a form of dehydration or eczema, but the hydration seems to stop the itching and speed healing. The lotion may help keep the hydration of the skin and, of course, help prevent itching.