Sep 05, 2013
I have been experiencing problems with Linux Mint on my laptop. Recently it started running being very slow. It could be my hardware, but I decided to try a different OS first. I was going to install Ubuntu since it has been running rock solid on my desktop, but I have been reading many good things about elementaryOS so I decided to give that a try. Also I found out my laptop hardware supports 64bit. I did this by typing the command sudo lswh and under cpu settings if it says "width: 64 bits" then your system supports 64bit. As as result I decided to download the 64bit version. Of course working with computers nothing goes smooth the first time. I downloaded the iso from bittorrent and burned it to a cd (I was happy to find out it fit on a cd and did not require a dvd like most OSes these days). I made it half way through the install and it failed. Ok, that has happened to me before, usually as a result of a bad cd burn so I created another bootable cd and the same thing happened. Ok, this is starting to suck, so I decided to download the iso directly from elementaryos.org and instead of using a CD-RW I used a CD-R and the third time was a charm. After the install I was presented with a very simple, but beautiful interface. I can tell they "borrowed" many design ideas from apple. The bottom icon tray/dock is identical to OS X and so is the application menu. These are perfectly fine with me because one thing I like about OS X is how clean and functional the design/layout is.
Anyway it always takes me awhile to setup a new machine and this was no exception. I documented what I did for the benefit for others and for myself when I do this again.
Here are the steps:
- Change "%sudo ALL=(ALL) ALL" to "%sudo ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD:ALL" in /etc/sudoers (using the "visudo" command!) so you do not have to enter your password for when you use sudo
- Ran sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
- Used the "Update Manager" application to upgrade the kernel
- Although Midori (default brwoser) is a nice speedy little brower, I installed Chromium (sudo apt-get install chromium-browser) because I have Google Chrome installed on all of my systems and sync all of my bookmarks across all of them.
- Installed elementary tweaks with the following commands:
- sudo apt-add-repository ppa:versable/elementary-update
- sudo apt-get update
- sudo apt-get install elementary-tweaks
- Once installed there will be a new icon "tweaks" in system preferences
- For now I only tweaked the following:
- Changed "General -> Miscellaneous -> Right Click Titlebar Action" to "Minimize"
- I do not like my terminal background so transparent (although I think it looks really cool I'm getting old and it's getting hard to see. I also spend a good 50% of my time in the terminal so I need it as easy on the eyes as possible) so I changed "Applications -> Terminal -> Opacity" setting to "98
- Customized my icon dock by removing stuff I won't use (right click on the icon and uncheck "Keep in Dock" and added stuff I do (launch the app from the "Applications" menu and then once it shows up in the dock, right click on it and choose "Keep in Dock"). You can re-position icons by clicking on them, holding down and moving their desired location and letting go
- Before installing system updates/kernel if you plug in a usb drive, it will not automatically detect it. After you install updates, it should, but if it still doesn't install the package "usbmount" and try again. For more help check here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Mount/USB
- Installed my favorite apps and changed the settings in "System Settings -> Defaults"
- Enabled middle mouse button
- Installed wireless drivers with the command: sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer and rebooted then wireless worked.
- Created a backup disk image with Clonezilla (I highly recommend doing this once you install all of your apps and have a clean state.)
- After installing LibreOffice, I had a problem with the tab names being REALLY small. I found this post which solved my problem.
- I learned about two cool shortcut keys: Super Key + l (that is a lower case L) will lock the screen and Super Key + w will show all open windows. If you do not know what the Super Key is, it is the Windows logo key on most keyboards.
Jun 01, 2013
Here are some items I have been saving since my last post:
- For a Google Reader replacement (if you have been living under a rock and have not heard, Google is killing Reader on July 1st) I have switched to Feedly. I literally just set it up yesterday, but my initial impression is I really like it and it is very Reader like. The one thing I do not like is I can no longer read my feeds in Flipboard (they have Reader integration), but Feedly has a Flipboard type app so I think I will get by ok.
- If you run apt-get update and it fails with the error: "Problem with MergeList" Then this command should resolve it: sudo rm /var/lib/apt/lists/* -vf
- If google chrome is displaying blank pages for everything (ie. links, settings, etc) then exit out of chrome, remove the dir ".config/google-chrome/", and relaunch it.
- I recently purchased a Brother HL-2270DW Laser Printer because our HP Officejet was a piece of you know what (I will never buy another HP printer). This Brother printer rocks and it supports Linux Mint and Ubuntu! Here are the instructions on how to install it in Linux. During the setup, you want to point to the ip address of the printer (ie. http://192.168.2.10) when given the option for DeviceURI.
- Here is something which took me way longer then I care to admit to figure out and caused me to pull out the little bit of hair I have left. If you are unable to connect to Windows XP admin shares (admin$, c$, ipc$, etc) you need to disable simple file sharing. Also use the command net share at the command prompt to see the available shares enabled.
- Recently I had to determine if a machine was running Ubuntu desktop or server. It is not as easy as you would think to figure this out (not sure why it is just not listed in /etc/lsb-release), but here is how I did it:
- Run the command dpkg -l ubuntu-desktop and if you receive something similar to the following, you have the desktop version installed:
||/ Name Version Architecture Description +++-============-=========-==============-========================= ii ubuntu-desktop 1.287 amd64 The Ubuntu desktop system
- but if you have server version installed, you will get:
druryj@ubuntu:~$ sudo dpkg -l ubuntu-desktop No packages found matching ubuntu-desktop.
- If you want to confirm you have server version, then run the command
sudo dpkg -l | grep linux-server and if it returns "linux-server" (like below) then you have the server version
druryj@ubuntu~$ sudo dpkg -l | grep linux-server ii linux-server 22.214.171.124.53 Complete Linux kernel on Server Equipment.
Mar 29, 2013
Here are just some random things I have saved since my last blog post that I thought where worth posting:
- I was having a problem with Virtualbox + Ubuntu 12.10. I was getting a "kernel driver not installed" error. I fixed it with the following:
- sudo apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r`
- sudo apt-get remove virtualbox-dkms
- sudo apt-get install virtualbox-dkms
- I was having an annoying problem with Google Chrome in Linux Mint where it looked like confetti on the screen anytime I tried watching Youtube. I tried many different recommended fixes, but launching chrome with /opt/google/chrome/google-chrome %U --blacklist-accelerated-compositing is what ended up fixing it for me.
- ack or ack-grep is a fast replacement for grep especially when searching deep within many directories. For Ubuntu you can install it with apt-get install ack-grep. I recently used the command "ack-grep -ia mystring mydir --ignore-dir=scripts --ignore-dir=Misc" which would be the same as "grep -i mystring -r mydir --exclude-dir=scripts --exclude-dir=Misc" in grep and it was significantly faster. Here is a good blog post showing some more ack examples. If you prefer ack instead of grep, you can add this alias "alias grep='ack-grep'" in your .bashrc to replace it
- I really like Delicious for tagging and saving bookmarks and I went looking for a Delicious type app for a Linux filesystem and I believe TMSU fits the bill. It was rather tricky to install, so I saved the process:
- Install sqlite3, libsqlite3-dev, FUSE, and Go Lang: sudo apt-get install libsqlite3-dev golang-go sqlite3 fuse (the TMSU install instructions: https://bitbucket.org/oniony/tmsu do not say to install libsqlite3-dev, but I had to because I received the error "Package sqlite3 was not found in the pkg-config search path." when trying to install go-sqlite3 in the next step.
- sudo go get github.com/mattn/go-sqlite3
- sudo go get github.com/hanwen/go-fuse/fuse
- hg clone https://bitbucket.org/oniony/tmsu (note, I had to install Mercurial http://mercurial.selenic.com/ "sudo apt-get install mercurial" before I could use the "hg" command)
- cd tmsu
- make (note, I received "make: *** [test] Error 2" message during this step, but I proceeded anyway and it does not seem to have caused any problems)
- sudo make install
- I just came across virtualenv for Python. It allows you to install a version of Python in it's own environment with it's own libraries so it does not effect your production environment if things go bad. Great for testing.
- On the same note as the previous item, I found two good browser based Python environments. One is at Codecademy and another is pythonanywhere. Another VERY cool online Python tool is Online Python Tutor which allows you to visualize (and debug) your code step by step.
- Here is something that is probably well know to many people, but is one of my life changing events. In LibreOffice Calc if you want to enter a new line within a cell you need to do so by holding down the <Ctrl> key while pressing the <Enter> key. For the longest time I would copy the contents of the cell into a text editor, add my newline and then copy it back. Now I feel really stupid for doing this for so long, but it has saved me a lot of time since then. Also I believe this works with all spreadsheet software (including Google docs).
Feb 21, 2013
This week I have updated this site everyday! It was mostly the linux reference page. I am going to start on a reference page for Perl next. Actually I already started it, but do not have enough content yet to upload the page yet. After Perl, I will probably add pages for regular expressions and bash. I also have quite a bit more Vim stuff to add which I will be doing in between.
Anyway, as I said in my previous post I recently purchased an SSD drive for my laptop and had to reinstall Linux Mint. I really like the new version (14), but I did have some difficulties with my Broadcom wireless card (BCM4311), so here is what I did to get it working:
- Install the proper software: sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer
- Check if the driver loaded with EITHER of these commands: lspci -nnk | grep -iA2 net and/or inxi -N
- Enter all of these commands to turn the driver on: sudo modprobe -rv wl; sudo modprobe -v wl; sudo modprobe b43
- Add just "b43" (no quotes) to /etc/modules so wireless is enabled on bootup. This is what my /etc/modules currently looks like:
# /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time. # # This file contains the names of kernel modules that should be loaded # at boot time, one per line. Lines beginning with "#" are ignored. lp b43
For a long time I wanted to write about an experience I had with the TSA (everyone's favorite 3 letter agency). I do not travel as much these days as I use to, but I do not recall ever having problems with them and the ones at my small local airport are always very nice and professional. I even had a very positive experience in which I left a neck pillow at the checkpoint and then 20 min later a TSA agent was in my boarding gate asking if the pillow belonged to anyone. We where the last gate in the airport and I realized he must have went to every gate before us to find the rightful owner. Granted it is a smallish airport and I am sure if it was a larger airport he probably would not have done that, but I was very happy he did because if I recall correctly, I was going to be on an international flight and that neck pillow is what stands between me getting some decent shuteye or being miserable for a few days until I get caught up on sleep. I have now posted positive experiences about TSA and Comcast's customer service on this blog. Hopefully I do not get my geek card revoked.
If you are in the market for a home security system, I really like SimpliSafe. It is very easy to install and their monthly monitoring fees are WAY cheaper then the bigger name companies. I am not affiliated with the company in any way, just a happy customer. Also if you like their Facebook page you can find some 10% codes. That is what I did and I think I saved roughly $50.
Jan 06, 2013
Hopefully everyone had a good holiday. I am trying to be more productive this year which includes updating this site more. I just added a section to the Linux reference page on tmux. If you like screen, you will love tmux.
I recently purchased two SSD drives. A SanDisk Extreme 120 GB for my Dell laptop I run Linux Mint on and a OCZ Technology 128GB for my wife's Macbook Pro. They both have made a HUGE performance difference. It is amazing how fast my Dell boots up now.
As a result of installing the new drive, I installed the latest version of Linux Mint, 14 and it seems to be the most polished and bug free version yet. I was using xfce previously and liked it, but decided to give Cinnamon another try again and so far it has been great.
Oct 19, 2012
Here is something I posted on another site which was quite popular. It has to do with productivity. I will be posting stuff about productivity and motivation on here also. I know I have struggle with this in the past. Anyway I was not happy with my productivity at work. I knew I was not being as productive as I could be and eventually it would catch up with me with negative consequences. One thing that I started doing is working in 30 minute blocks and then taking a 5 minute break in between. During those 30 minutes I set a timer and if at anytime I do something other then work (ie. go to the bathroom) I pause the timer. I keep track of how many blocks (on a sticky note with a single slash representing one 30 min block). I do this each day and record the total in a Google spreadsheet at the end of the day. I then record the average for the month in the spreadsheet also. When I first started doing this I could not believe the amount of time I was only doing strictly work related stuff. As a result of doing this I have since double my work productivity! It has worked so well for me my wife and I have started having our son use this technique, who is in 7th grade and doing school online from home, because he was getting behind in his schooling and he would probably be labeled as an ultimate procrastinator. To keep track of the time, I use the Chrome app Timer and occasionally I have to use Firefox and for that I like the app Tea Timer. Both are very simple and get the job done without too many options. If this technique sounds familiar, it is very similar to the Pomodoro Technique , which is what I started out with but customized to fit my needs. I also keep track of the amount of time I spend sitting and standing because every other week I read something which states how bad sitting too much is. I know all of this sounds really anal retentive and time consuming, but I have tried many techniques (43Folders, Getting Things Done, and a few others). Something else I have done right after I started this technique is read the book The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play and funnily they recommend almost the same technique, although with additional steps. Right after that book I read Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength and I not only found it providing useful information, I found it very entertaining.
Well that is all for today. Take care.
Oct 14, 2012
Here are some updates regarding this site:
- Irongeekrecently posted videos of ALL the 2012 Derbycon talks which are awesome. I think Derbycon is the new king of the cons which is impressive seeing it is only 2 or 3 years old and is in freaking Louisville, Kentucky (which I have nothing against and is on my "to visit" list). So far, I have only watched HD Moore's excellent The Wild West talk but I plan to watch most of the other's over the course of the next month.
- I have been making frequent updates to the Linux Reference page. I will be doing the same on the Python Reference page this week (hopefully).
- Lately, I have been doing a lot of scanning using nmap and have learned some cool things it is capable of. I will post a Nmap reference page soon.
Here are some random things I've come across the interwebs lately that I have found interesting and have been wanting to share:
- I just found out about this interesting rsync like tool called Unison. It is on my todo list to try out and will share my experience here once I do. One of the best features I see as of right now is being able to sync between Linux and Windows computers.
- I love me some Dropbox, but the 2GB free limit is quite small when you have such a large collection of funny cat videos. Their next cheapest upgraded plan (100GB) is a bit expensive ($10/month) and plus now Amazon, Google, and Ubuntu (and I think even Microsoft) now give you 5 GB of storage for free. I decided to go with Ubuntu One because it provides the Dropbox like local folder, which I love, and they have clients for; Linux (obviously), Mac, Windows, Android, and iPhone, and I was able to upgrade to 20GB for just $3 month. Also if you are interested in Ubuntu One and want to hook a brother up with additional storage I would appreciate it if you would use my referral link. If you do, we both get an extra 500MB of storage. If you use Linux Mint as your OS, use this link to install Ubuntu One (currently under section 3. Applications -> a. Install Ubuntu One). The only other service which I would consider is Backblaze which offers you unlimited storage for the freaking ridiculous price of $5 a month! Unfortunately they do not have a Linux client.
Aug 27, 2012
It's been awhile since I've had a chance to update this site. Having a new one year old does not leave much time for much. I put up a new page for Drupal. Right now it is mostly Drush stuff. I hope to add more to it shortly.