I'm on Ubuntu 11.10 with gnome shell. If I change volume or brightness levels, they won't be remembered within the next login. Is this normal?
This is not normal at all and it can be related to some problems affecting drivers, kernel, ecc. If you can't solve it updating Ubuntu, I think you should consider to file a bug for it in Launchpad, which is Ubuntu's bug-tracking platform. If you don't know how to do it, here's how to report a bug in Ubuntu.
.pulse folder in home!
As far as brightness levels are concerned there are quite a few people that have that same issue, why I'm not sure but here is a great work around I found, credit and thanks to thaelim on Ubuntu forum How to get effective display brightness management under Unity/Gnome Shell just download the script edit the perimeters at the beginning of the script and save it when your done to your home folder. Heres the download of the full script brightmanager.py
These are the variable perimeters to change to your desired settings, as you can see I like mine at 20 all the time with no idle timeout.
IDLE_DIM_TIME = 0 IDLE_DIM_AC = False IDLE_DIM_BATTERY = False IDLE_BRIGHT = 20 BRIGHT_BATTERY = 20 BRIGHT_AC = 20
After saving then open a terminal and enter
chmod +x brightmanager.py
Then open up startup applications from the dash, click on the add button, name your start up application, and enter your command as:
replacing "david" with your home folders name, then add a description and click add, logout, and back in, and your done, you now have brightness settings for battery, AC, and idle.
You will want to do this for each user and each user should have their own copy of the script in their home folder with their own desired settings in the beginning of the script.
Install xbacklight and add it to startup with the command xbacklight -set x where x is the percentage value of the brightness.