2013 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 55,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 20 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Quickly create a bootable USB in Linux

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Yes – Everything I do – I do it for you (more like IN you; Ahem! You = Linux BTW)!

Alright without wasting any time lets quickly get on with it.

This post is about saving your DVD and DVD tray; This post is about installing the OS at a superior speed; This post is about saving time.

What we want to achieve:

We want to install an OS using a bootable USB drive instead of a DVD (it has a lot of hassles – you need to buy one – you need to sit and wait for burning to complete – it may fail – you need to go to the shop and buy another one – as it runs from a DVD the installation will be slower – BLAH BLAH BLAH!)

How we are doing it?

For Ubuntu and other more recognized Operating Systems, we already have Ubuntu Startup Disk Creator, or that.

But it requires software installation and doesn’t work with all the Operating Systems.

So we are going to use the tools which come bundled with all the Linux distros and we are going to make our USB disk imitate a DVD.

What to do:

Make sure you have the ISO of the operating system downloaded already. Lets put it in the $HOME directory and let’s call it OS.iso


$ sudo dd if=$HOME/OS.iso of=/dev/sdx oflag=direct  bs=1048576

Where:

bs stands for bytes. 1048576 = 1024 * 1024 bytes = 1Mb.

‘/dev/sdx‘ is the target USB drive. If your system doesn’t support ‘oflag=direct’, you can just leave it out as it is simply intended to speed up the process a bit.

If you don’t know about the target USB drive path, run this command and figure out your destination drive.


$ sudo fdisk -l

Warning: Please make sure you have the correct value for x – or it can be catastrophic for you running environment.

Remember, don’t include an integer for the USB drive, e.g. ‘/dev/sdx1′, as it would refer to the existing partition on that drive and not the drive itself.
When the USB has been properly created by ‘dd’, there should be an output similar to this:

706+1 records in
706+1 records out
740601856 bytes (741 MB) copied, 91.7024 s, 8.1 MB/s

Happy Hacking!

Source: http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/744

 

Switch to Colemak/Dvorak

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Its true! I can touch type without even looking at the monitor, with an average WPM of 60+ (most people can! Are you most people?), but then sometimes LOVE is not enough.

 

#1 Why?

QWERTY wasn’t designed with the user in mind (typewriter wins). More info: here & here

User productivity increases. Less fatigue – don’t have to worry about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repetitive_strain_injury

Colemak etc are less prone to typos.

& for the sheer thrill in doing something new & rare (btw eight years ago I moved to Linux. No analogy! *Wink*)

 

#2 How?

Ideally all you need is an OS that understands the layout. All modern operating systems do.

That’s how you can switch layouts in Windows Ubuntu etc (just google).

 

Optionally, if you are like me – feedback is vital.

  • Let’s buy that keyboard?
  • Maybe those glowing stickers?
  • Ah! Just get me a screw driver X(

Pop the keys out and rearrange!

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The red “i” has landed on the home row. Good stuff. Please don’t do that to your laptop. USB keyboard is pretty easy to acquire.

Downside: F & J have moved (if you know what I mean). #anchor #bump #ridges

 

#3 Next Steps

Learn

 

Q. All said and done – Why is QWERTY still in production?

A. I don’t have to answer that as we all know what will happen if you go to your manager/boss and ask him to sponsor this migration. For him all that’s expected out of you is that you ‘deliver’ – which you are already capable of.

 

Happy hacking!

 

PS: WPM has significantly gone down. But do not worry. #FreshStart

PPS: Yes! I used Colemak to write this post.

more stuff:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin-script_non-QWERTY_keyboards

 

Update (20130812):

Q. How to Switch in Android?

A. Google Keyboard is the answer. Get the app.

Settings — Language & Input — Google Keyboard — Advanced settings — Custom Input Styles — Add style (Currently it supports 6 layouts)

This is definitely cool. Gesture typing is fun.

Android-Colemak

Android-Colemak

PPTP VPN on Linux. Spotify on Linux. VPN on Android

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What is VPN (source: Wikipedia)

A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network and the resources contained in the network across public networks like the Internet. It enables a host computer to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if it were a private network with all the functionality, security and management policies of the private network. This is done by establishing a virtual point-to-point connection through the use of dedicated connections, encryption, or a combination of the two.

VPN on Linux Mint

Just follow the screenshots -

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under the VPN tab you specify the server details.

( Free Servers are available at http://www.vpnbook.com/#pricing )

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For troubleshooting:

$ tail -f /var/log/syslog

 

 

Additionally …

#1

Install Spotify on Linux

https://www.spotify.com/int/download/previews/

(Works just great! Much better than using WINE to make it work!)Image

#2

Use Extended Google Play (+install Spotify application) on Android

Recently Google Books have been launched on Google Play in India.

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(Running OpenVPN in this snapshot; You might not be able to buy a lot of stuff. I haven’t tried!)

Make sure you connect to a US VPN server when you register for Spotify & the Spotify Radio shall be available for you.

Switch accounts on Google Play. And you would finally see the world.

#3

Run VPN on Android

Fairly straightforward.

Android Settings – Wireless and networks – VPN – Add VPN network

 

Cheers!

(Android SGS2 I9100G running ICS; Indian demographic)

Citrix Receiver on Linux x86_64

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Of late I have been on an OS installation spree; For some reason I didn’t like 12.10 too much.

To WFH and that too from some derivative of Linux, I had to each time make sure that Citrix worked. I have successfully installed it on Ubuntu, Slackware and Linux Mint (few minutes back).

#Step 1

Go to Citrix.com and download Receiver for Linux in .deb

The package:

Even though we have downloaded it from the 64-bit section, as the name suggests it still is a 32-bit package.

#Step 2

To make sure that the 32-bit binaries work on your 64-bit machine please install:

$ sudo apt-get install ia32-libs

#Step 3

Installation is as simple as a double click (for Debian and derivatives). For others please convert it to the required format using the tools available on your current system.

#Step 4

Open web browser (Chrome works best). Login etc.

And when the browser downloads the .ICA file then advise the Browser to use

/opt/Citrix/ICAClient/wfica

Known Issues:

Installation Fails:

You are happily waiting for the installation to complete but it fails at the final post-install steps, even after getting successfully installed.

Now each time you try to install a new software this post-install will be retried and would leave your machines in a mess.

The work around is pretty simple. The script is looking for x86 as the desired architecture when it actually is x86_64 (you can validate that by typing `uname -m` in the terminal)

#StepA Open the postinstall file
$ sudo gedit /var/lib/dpkg/info/icaclient.postinst

#StepB
# replace
# echo $Arch|grep "i[0-9]86" >/dev/null
# with
# echo $Arch|grep -E "i[0-9]86|x86_64" > /dev/null

#StepC tell dpkg to configure icaclient
$ sudo dpkg --configure icaclient

If it still doesn’t work for you then open the terminal and try this:

/opt/Citrix/ICAClient/wfica PATH_TO_ICA_FILE

This way you can find out details and try to troubleshoot.

Additionally you may check this https://help.ubuntu.com/community/CitrixICAClientHowTo.

Happy Hacking.

VirtualBox vboxdrv problem on Ubuntu

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Problem Statement:

#1

Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)

The VirtualBox Linux kernel driver (vboxdrv) is either not loaded or there is a permission problem with /dev/vboxdrv. Please reinstall the kernel module by executing


/etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup

as root. If it is available in your distribution, you should install the DKMS package first. This package keeps track of Linux kernel changes and recompiles the vboxdrv kernel module if necessary.

#2

Failed to open a session for the virtual machine “Windows XP”.

The virtual machine ‘Windows XP’ has terminated unexpectedly during startup with exit code 1.

(Running a virtual machine on VirtualBox the two dialogues would say that)

The cause — as the VirtualBox page states it:

Ubuntu/Debian users might want to install the dkms package to ensure that the VirtualBox host kernel modules (vboxdrv, vboxnetflt and vboxnetadp) are properly updated if the linux kernel version changes during the next apt-get upgrade.

The Fix:

The dkms package can be installed through the Synaptic Package manager or through the following command:

sudo apt-get install dkms

Running `virtualbox` in the terminal says almost the same thing…

$ virtualbox
WARNING: The vboxdrv kernel module is not loaded. Either there is no module
available for the current kernel (3.5.0-18-generic) or it failed to
load. Please recompile the kernel module and install it by

sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup

You will not be able to start VMs until this problem is fixed.
# You have heard the man!
$ sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup
* Stopping VirtualBox kernel modules [ OK ]
* Uninstalling old VirtualBox DKMS kernel modules [ OK ]
* Trying to register the VirtualBox kernel modules using DKMS
Error! Your kernel headers for kernel 3.5.0-18-generic cannot be found.
Please install the linux-headers-3.5.0-18-generic package,
or use the --kernelsourcedir option to tell DKMS where it's located

* Failed, trying without DKMS
* Recompiling VirtualBox kernel modules
* Look at /var/log/vbox-install.log to find out what went wrong
# Downloading the Linux Headers now
# sudo apt-get install linux-headers-3.5.0-18-generic
$ sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`
# Running it again
$ sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup
* Stopping VirtualBox kernel modules                          [ OK ]
* Uninstalling old VirtualBox DKMS kernel modules             [ OK ]
* Trying to register the VirtualBox kernel modules using DKMS [ OK ]
* Starting VirtualBox kernel modules                          [ OK ]

All good!

Missing “Safely Remove” in Ubuntu 12.10

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Strange isn’t it?

There was a time when all you had to do was “Safely Remove” and see the progress bar dance for a few seconds — and you were golden.

Those were the days! Anyway it turns out unmount/eject/safely remove are all meant to do different things.

Yes we are talking about our near and dear external hard-disks. (think: WD, Segate, FreeAgent Blah Blah)

 

Now with Ubuntu 12.10, only “unmount” is available on “Nautilus”! Even “Thunar” is no good.

(*these are lets say pretty awesome “Windows Explorer” in the world of Linux)

Well people have even reported it [bug]. Please feel free to mark it “The Bug affects You”.

 

Why?

What do you mean “why”? Its a BUG. The beauty of opensource is that someone will fix it. Sit back and relax. Its not urgent anyway.

So why this post?

Well who would not want to make sure that their Hard Drive is doing well and not in an inconsistent state — unable to do the most important thing that they are supposed to do — SAVE DATA! You wouldn’t want a lossy storage. Anyway, the point is — to make sure that all the data was written to the harddisk before you unplugged it — you’d need to UNMOUNT it. You always should. And if there are more than one partitions on the Hard Drive then you need to unmount each and everyone separately (which was earlier taken care by “SAFELY REMOVE”).

But?

Still the Harddisk keeps spinning. You can feel it. You can even hear it. And the LED would just keep glowing.

So until they fixed it, we have a work around.

Spin down the harddisk

I found answers to my queries here:

I created a quick shell script


#!/bin/bash
echo "Unmounting disks..."
udisks --unmount /dev/sdb1
udisks --unmount /dev/sdb2

#udisks --unmount /dev/sdb3
#depending on the number of partitions you have on your drive edit above
#please make sure all the partitions are unmounted before you detach

echo "Spinning down!"
udisks --detach /dev/sdb
echo "All done!"

Execute it …


$ chmod u+x safelyremove.sh
$ ./safelyremove.sh
Unmounting disks...
Spinning down!
All done!

Or even better — Save it on Desktop

Just double click; “Run” and you are almost “GOLDEN” again!

 

Happy Hackin’