Category Archives: Linux Stuff

Why I choose to run Linux based Operating Systems.

I’m not going to say it’s easier, better in every way and just peaches and cream or whatever else is nice. Working with a Linux Operating system for me is control, efficient and just the right amount of fun. Plus having knowledge that it’s broken due to some fault of my own means I can spend less time fixing someone else’s problem and go straight to fixing my own.

It wasn’t the reliability or the hardware compatibility even though going in I knew it was going to be a lot more work than usual, it was the control, freedom and scale-ability I needed and wanted. Could you imagine using a computer and if you wanted more software features like File sharing. Web server. Remote desktop. Automated tasks. And it’s just “easier” to reinstall to a newer operating system? Ridiculous.

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GCW Zero explained

If a good name is anything to go by, then the GCW Zero is a great fit for this console. I’m not being mean or unfair, it’s a great console but not for the kids who just expect to buy a game and plop it in an ready to play, so before we begin buying one online, let’s know what it is.

gcw-zero-front-black

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Musings on an Android Console “OUYA”

Let’s get the bad mojo out of the way since most of this blog post will be very positive. I don’t like the name of the console, and price of the controllers. That’s it. Really. Now let’s get to business.

OUYA Price. http://shop.ouya.tv/
$100 for the console and 1 controller.
$50 per bluetooth wireless controller.

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OpenShot Video Editor for all!

When I ask common folk, “What do you edit your home video with or what methodology you have when you show the family vacation clips or home made films with?” I find it to be very sad when little to no thought is put into the editing process. It’s one of the most important and noticeable thing, besides what you’re actually filming, that people observe. Whether they realize it or not.

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How To Clone A Hard Drive with Clonezilla.

At work I wrote a small how-to for the people who are not familiar with Clonzilla, a tool that clones hard drives and data. Since it contains information from the internet, I’d like to share it back. Also remember, this was written for technicians who already work with computers all day.

 

Clonezilla (Local Disk to Local Disk)

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WinDirStat: Windows Directory Statistics.

In this age of information and technology, it’s possible to have access to a virtually unlimited amount of gigabytes of data available for the home consumer. Does anyone still worry about data storage limitations? Well some of us don’t, but one day the time may come when we have to make a choice, upgrade or compromise  In fact, we still have small electronic devices and laptops that suffer from limited data storage space. Cellphones, Ultra-thin laptops, and old computers may not have the space you need to store your stuff or even function normally without having to delete things every now and then.

So when the time comes to choose that you have to sacrifice some of your data, how do you know what to delete, do you instantly know what’s taking the most amount of space? Is it your Pictures? Pirated Movies? Video Games? Everyone has different methods of dealing with old useless data. I’ve mentioned CCleaner and other cleaner utilities that remove junk data from your system. But that’s not enough. When it comes down to actually removing things like music files and movies, how do you know right off the bat what is taking the most amount of space? Use a program, now installing WinDirStat only takes about 1MB of space and it’s very worth it. It’s not one of those tools that you simply run and magically seems to give you more space. No, it tells you what data you have on your drive and how much it costs to keep.

WinDirStat Example

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, by clicking on the picture, you notice that I have some stuff on my drive. The colorful blocks below are categorized by type of file and how much space that type of file takes up. here’s an example of my external drive.

Capture

Blue are my FLAC Music Files. Red is MP3, Green is WAVE Files and pupple is OGG. As you can see most of my music is FLAC and it takes quite a bit of space.

 

When customers bring me their computers, I sometimes get a request to clean their computer. I don’t know what people have on their hard drive, I don’t know where they store their family pictures or music but with this tools I can see what is taking the most amount of space without having to look at their data. Privacy,

This may surprise most people, but there is a tool known as KDirStat that was made for the Linux System running the KDE GUI, This was was found so useful that a Windows version was made. So plus one for open Source! You Windows users should be grateful. Also a Mac version of this tool has been made, the problem is I haven’t tested it on my Mac yet. cause it’s still on a shelf, literally. So test at your own risk here is the link.

Tools like these are literally tools that don’t make life super easy, but teach us enough to know what to do. I hope you all enjoyed this post and are able to manage your disk space appropriately in the future, so stop calling me to clean your computer!

When Windows Died (Story)

By Zerin Sakech, 2010

(Note.) Short Story I wrote while I was still in School. Keep in mind this was before Windows 8 came out or even announced.

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This is the sad but true story about when Microsoft Windows died. Yes, it happened, but not in this dimension. We’ll journey into a new dimension, one of sight and sound and computer, look there’s the sign post up ahead we’ve entered, The Twilight Zone. beedoo beedoo beedoo beedoo.

The year is 2012, the world is still spinning, and it’s soon to be the end, not for humans mind you, but for the greatest home desktop operating system. Windows XP. Windows 8 had just been released, a minor improvement over Read the rest of this entry

Toughbook CF-27, welcome to 2012

The Panasonic Toughbook CF-27
500 Mhz PIII CPU
192 MB PC100 RAM
12 GB Hard drive
CD Drive

Most of you readers may not know what this is. But if you Googled this, welcome and I hope you find what you are looking for! Because this is a guide on how to fully use your out-of-date toughbook in 2012. Welcome to the Apocalypse.
old toughbook
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Something about the Raspberry Pi

Soon, one day, there will be computers that will do everything a regular one can do, but will be super cheap and really small. Someone once said that like 15 years ago, I don’t remember what he said because I wasn’t there, but someone had to have said it. That day is almost here.

A long time ago, when I was still in trade school. I learned about these tiny machines, I saw an ugly little prototype. Kind of like this.

Not the prettiest thing on the market, but this had something that caught the attention of a lot of people. And that was, tiny and affordable. Ok so those aren’t the only good things about it, but hey, it’s what sticks out. What are you looking at here exactly? It’s a really small computer. Capable of running off of batteries, USB power, plug, (maybe) potatoes, and really quite powerful for it’s size. Here’s a spec sheet in case you know what these numbers mean.

For those of you who do not know what all the numbers mean, don’t worry, It’s kind of the same power as a small smart phone. Except built in a way that allows you to play around with it and program anything you want on this little baby. (if you look closely at the picture it’s kind of neat how they pile the RAM on top of the CPU.) (I think)

Now what can these Pi’s be used for? They sure as heck aren’t going to play Need for Speed or replace your home desktop, keep in mind the specs and the fact that it’s ARM! Meaning that it’s a different processor than what Windows usually needs, for example, X86 and X64 CPUs. Those run Windows, but ARM does not, maybe one day. So if Windows can’t run on this machine, we will have to use Linux. Or some other Operating System that runs on ARM processors. But before you go around telling people that these are useless weak pieces of junk, know why it was created. You have to learn more about computers and software to get this working, and think of the students working in this field, how much would it cost to get started to program stuff on one of these?! In fact, this is they very same reason these were created.

The Story.
A long time ago, there were these expensive machines called computers. Not many people had them since they required a lot of time to get working and to do what you wanted them to do, like play games, write word documents, calculate databases, access information. And if you wanted to achieve this, you needed to learn more about the machine, how to program, how it worked. And those people who liked this, went on to become programmers and computer designers that built the stuff we enjoy nowadays, such and Easy to use and intuitive User interfaces, Multimedia home theater pcs, cell phones and tablets. All designed by old guys who worked in a Command Line operating System.

Now we fast forward to the present where too many schools have no budget for Tech class, students are taught only how to USE a computer and not work a computer, and they are forbidden to mess with the family computer because it costs too much money to fix. (I know, I’m the guy they call to fix it.) Plus most don’t care how it works, they only want it TO work. And well, there goes perfectly good young talent. Because I worry about the future and what kind of nooby technology will come up next.

But how can we help this? What can be done to interest new future programmers to actually get started and doing something? This is where the Raspberry Pi comes in. I’m sure you saw this coming. In fact, no one can explain it better than them. Raspberry Pi here is their web page and you can find much more info on this project if you’re interested, keep in touch with them to know when they release the hardware cause I know I want one! Print server here we come! I think my mom needs a new typewriter as well. Let’s build one from scratch!

So how much does it cost? You said cheap. Yes I did. It costs a lot to design and build a product like this, and in the end, these people are hoping to sell it for 25$ and 35$. I know right? Epicly awesome.

Just when are these tiny machines coming to the market? Cause I want one now! Well, after many months of testing, they are planned for sometime this month (January) and they have the schematics and everything ready, they just need to wait for the fabrication of the hundreds and hundreds of boards. Heck I’m almost sure these will sell like hotcakes! If people still bought hotcakes. The reason I’m saying this is because when they started selling stickers, to raise some money to continue production on the boards, they where gone quick, I didn’t even get a chance to buy one. So if people bought the stickers, (stickers are still for sale by the way) then I’m sure people will buy these awesome little computers. Maybe you can get one too and see what you can do with it. If you think you can handle it! Seriously I’m already thinking of homemade laptop designs with this thing. I wonder if they have ROM emulators for ARM…

More Notes: Some things the Raspberry Pi can do.

Play Video Games. Brush up on your old gaming skills.

Play Videos Brad Pitt never looked better.

Play Music. Forget Apple, I can make My own MP3 player!

Connect to any Television pretty much new or old. VGA is for noobs anyways.

Can attach more parts through another board. Yeah what about a Camera?

And so much more. We’ll see once it finally comes out. Yes I did write this up too soon, I mean come on, a product that isn’t even out yet! But just warming you up for what’s to come. The future is now! Still looks like the 90’s.

Control, Alt, Delete Of Linux

From time to time, we get buggy programs that refuse to shut down, or just plain don’t want to work right, messing up the GUI and making our computing experience a drag. :( But the good news is that with the advent of Windows 95 came the Control, Alt, Delete function that magically enabled you to open up a task manager and close whatever process or program is giving you trouble. This force quits a program and lets you resume your computing session without rebooting your entire system. This sometimes works, this sometimes does not.

OK but now how about Linux? Does Linux have this magical Control, Alt Delete? Some Linux Distributions do, enabling it to bring up a task manager of some sort and kill some process. But what if you completely locked up the screen? Here let me show you an example. I tried running a desktop recording program on my 11.04 Linux Mint with a Gnome 3 desktop. Yes talk about custom. And it was messing with my desktop! just left me with a blank screen. So I wanted to force shut down the program. Here’s how I did it.

Step one: Get access to a terminal, if you can’t do it the usual way, like through the GUI cause it’s broken, press CTRL ALT F1 at the same time (No not now! Press CTRL ALT F8 or F7 to get back to the GUI) this will bring you to a login screen, if that one doesn’t work then try the F2 of F3. Almost all Linux distros I’ve tried have this function due to the fact that Linux is nativly a Multi-user system. Meaning you can log in as the same user or different users at the same time, without having to end some other user’s session. Windows has improved this since XP.

Step two: Log in as root, if you don’t know how to, log in as your regular user and add sudo to the follwing command.

Step three: top     type: sudo top and type your admin password, then it will bring up the resources that are running, the ones with the heaviest cycles or more processes are at the top. the list moves so make sure you catch it. You can run this command as a regular user but you will not be able to kill anything without super user privileges.  So let’s talk about TOP in more detail. (Let’s just say sudo means Admin for today)

top provides an ongoing look at processor activity in real time. It displays a listing of the most CPU-intensive tasks on the system, and can provide an interactive interface for manipulating processes. It can sort the tasks by CPU usage, memory usage and runtime. can be better configured than the standard top from the procps suite. Most features can either be selected by an interactive command or by specifying the feature in the personal or system-wide configuration file. See below for more information.
Thank you internet!
Now that you know something about it, then you will need to move onto step 4.
Step four: Find the process you want to Kill, yes Kill is the right word for it, once you find it, find the numbers that show up with like, like so.
See that 4 Digit Process ID #? Like for example, let’s say something crazy. Google Chrome has crashed and i need to force shut it down, I first find the PID and it’s 6816. Now i type K that stands for kill. Now I type the PID (just the #’s) 6816 and then it says something like. Kill PID 6915 with signal [15]: press enter and wham! Your just killed your very first process, go hang it on the wall. But wait, now how do I get back to my nice and friendly desktop Environment? Umm try CTRL ALT F8, try all the F’s until you get your desktop back. If for some reason you can’t let’s go back to the terminal and type this in.
Step five: sudo restart gdm what this does is restart only the Gnome Display manager, works fine on most gnome desktops and some others that use GDM. So it’s like a mini-reboot when needed. I do this usually when games crash my system, and really they don’t crash the system per-se, it’s more like they crashed the GUI but the Linux kernel is running just fine. So sometimes only the GUI needs a reboot.
 This stuff ain’t too hard, in fact TOP tool does more that kill processes like show you how much RAM you are really using and other useful stuff. http://linux.about.com/od/commands/l/blcmdl1_top.htm here’s where i got the info from, so enjoy process hunting! And yes, Linux also comes with it’s own CTRL ALT DELETE. It’s just harder and cooler to use. Makes you feel smart. It’s a shame you don’t get to use it often.
PS> You can also use the free -m command to see how much RAM, your system is “really” using. So cool.