Showing posts with label Hardware. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hardware. Show all posts

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Chromebook and Ubuntu - How do I right click?

If you are using Crouton on a Chromebook, there will come a day where you ask "How do I right click?" With Chrome, you tap with two fingers. In Ubuntu, this does work.
Nothing special is needed. Just hold the ctrl button and click. This also works with any Ubuntu variant and a Mac single button mouse.
Good to know, eh?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Multi Day Chromebook Offline Test Part 2

As my multi day test of my Chromebook’s offline I noticed that I have some curious behaviors. Dropbox happily stores and updates information on my Chromebook hard drive by virtue of either manually downloading via the Chromebook’s App or automatically via Ubuntu’s capabilities.
Strangely, when I click Chrome’s Dropbox App, I am told I am offline.
I know that. The App doesn't do any caching locally even though the files are all present and accounted for. I have to manually navigate to the folder and open the files.
Some files open natively such as .jpegs or .pdfs. MS Word files open in Quickoffice, not Drive. From the Drive’s Open menu, I can't even access those files.
I could copy and paste information from Quickoffice to Drive, but that is just weird.
Or is it? I have to ask myself “why are you using both Dropbox and Drive?”. Well, the answer is Dropbox offered features that Drive didn’t have when I first starting using them, and now that each has more features, I am using them wrong.
I have 5 gb of space on Dropbox and over 100 gb on Drive. I should be using Drive all the time. I just can’t do it, because there are items I want to be available offline that drive does not handle. A copy of the Ubuntu installer for Minecraft. I suspect Drive wouldn't like that file at all.
Drive is a different sort of animal. It isn’t the beast of burden that Dropbox is. Dropbox stores data while Drive creates data. Someday I will adapt and figure it all out. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Multi Day Chromebook Offline Test Part 1

I am currently offline today, but still wanted to do a little writing. Google Drive is an excellent writing tool and the offline capabilities are great. Drive offers a snap shot of my current files and the last time they updated.
In theory, I guess I could lose some work by not syncing or syncing in the wrong way but I won’t be doing this today.
According to my indicators, I have two hours of battery life from a fresh charge. Normally, this is four or more hours, but I am using 3pm-Player for music and charging my phone at the same time. This is a pretty big drain on the battery. Unpluging the phone and turning off the music cause the indicators to creep back to about 3 hours.
This particular model of Chromebook has a 300 gb hard drive and I feel that this may be killing the battery life. I hear it spin up from time to time while playing music and when the automatic save kicks in.
In offline mode, Drive does have some limitations. I can create a Doc, a Presentation, Spreadsheet or Drawing. Forms, Geogrebra, Python, Source Code and StackEdit are all unavailable. That is ok, I don’t really need those now, but my hyperactive mind wonders if there is a setting or option that I could select to make them active offline. I should Google that… later.
When writing offline, I am hesitant to edit a currently existing file. The reason is I do have my iPhone that is connected to drive and obviously could use another computer to connect. I don’t want to wonder what edit will appear first. Until I get comfortable with this offline cloud stuff, anyway.
All and all, this is pretty good. The tunes are rocking and the internet is safely held at bay.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Chromebook Post I Always Meant to Write

For Christmas, my wife and I exchanged Chromebooks. I received the Acer C720 and she the HP Pavilion. We were replacing my Asus EEE and her Toshiba A210 and Macbook. We had some doubts about each machine as we were used either Ubuntu, Vista or OS X. However at the $200 price point, we thought we'd take a chance.
It's 145 days later and the report back from my wife is excellent: her Chromebook is used daily. Her favorite features are the quick boot time and the easy to use interface. It does nearly everything she needs.
She has two basic problems with her Chromebook. First, she can't connect her iPhone. This is the walled garden problem with iPhones. You just can't do it. The second issue is the lack of good MP3 player software. However, she found Spotify which is excellent on the Chromebook to address the lack of music.
My experience has been completely different. I am a power user and I was very concerned with the lack of offline capabilities, drawing software and photo editing tools. I have taken every step to avoid any problems by installing Ubuntu with Crouton. I cannot convey how easy this was, the Crouton is brilliant.
In my case, installing Crouton was premature. I do enjoy Ubuntu and all the powerful software that comes with it, but I discovered that I needed very few add-ons to make my Chromebook perfect for daily use. The Acer comes with a 300 GB hard drive plus 100 GB of cloud storage via Google Drive. I never have a lack of music. In fact, I can use Google Drive to store my basic music collection and download it to either my Chromebook or iPhone from my desktop. My player of choice is 3PM-Player, it reminds me of the old CD Player found with Windows 2K or Mac OS 9.
In the first few weeks of using my Chromebook, I was pining away for GIMP or Photoshop. Then I noticed that I was firing up Ubuntu and GIMP to do really basic editing. I guess I am more addicted to power tools than I thought. Talk about killing a fly with an axe. Recently, I added Pixlr to my machine and it meets most of my day-to-day needs. The Photo in this post was edited using Pixlr. The touchpad is not the tool for photo editing, but even a cheap mouse fixes this issue.
The only other downside is the "lack" of offline software for the Chromebook. The Chrome Store has tons of offline software, but for the longest time, it was hard to find. Recently, the Store added a checkbox filter for locating offline software which corrects the problem, sometimes. There are software vendors that try to sneak online stuff into the offline category, but those offerings stand out like a sore thumb.
I am really very pleased with our Chromebooks, I am starting to think of Ubuntu as a security blanket. I just can't let it go. Not now. But everyday, I'm learning to love my Chromebook more and more.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mint 13 XFCE - Save HD Space with backdrop file resizing

Mint has always had gorgeous backdrop images for the desktop. The photographs by masterbutler are incredible.
But if you are on a small machine, like my ASUS eee PC, you don't have a lot of hard drive space.
You could just delete a lot of things, such as the backdrop files, but that would be a shame. Instead, I choose to resize them to fit my 800x600 screen. To be honest, I am not missing anything. The images surpass my monitors ability to display them in all their glory.
Since Mint comes with Gimp, this is an easy task. The directory is /usr/share/xfce4/backdrops. I hesitated to "undo the beauty" by reducing the size until I opened the credits file. Masterbutler has thoughtfully provide a link to 80+ pages of wonderful images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/alwbutler/.
Go ahead and scale those images. You may find yourself using the space to enjoy more art by masterbutler.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Notes on installing Crouton on a Chromebook

I opted for the Unity interface for Ubuntu. HowToGeek has a great set of instructions.
At the end of the install, you have a very basic Unity interface. Everything useful is missing. The absolute easiest way to fix this is to get the Software Center.
Open Xterm by pressing ctrl-alt-t. Now type in sudo apt-get update. Wait. The next command is sudo apt-get install software-center. Wait again. There is no icon again, so go to lens and search for it.
That is all there is to it. Get installing.
My short list of software is:
Firefox
Chromium (to match Chrome)
Stellarium (to match Chrome's Planetarium software)
Dropbox
VLC Player
Restricted Extras
Inkscape
Libre Office (Search for LibreOffice and scroll down a bit for the suite)
Document Viewer
At the end of the day, you will need to "reboot" Ubuntu to all changes to go into effect. Click the gear and click the restart option. This will eventually return you to Chrome. Go ahead and open the shell and type sudo startunity again.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cubify Boom!

I have managed to capture the error from Cubify's Invent software.
This error indicates that the video drivers are not up to date. I am really stuck with this, the computer I am working on was downgraded from Windows 7 to XP and there is no going back for a variety of issues. XP is really at the end of its life and I shouldn't be using it.
To get around this issue, I have been creating files with TinkerCad then importing them into the Cubify pre-flight software. (UPDATE - TInkerCAD has disappeared.) Both TinkerCad and the Cubify software work great together.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

xPud – How to Connect to Wifi

xPud is a nice little OS. But it has an issue with hidden ssid’s.
Actually, there is nothing wrong with the OS, it’s all you. No seriously, I mean it. In xPud, you are a super user all the time. That means the normal sudo iwconfig “fails”.
What true linux user runs in super user all the time? Well, you are with xPud.
What linux user radiates their ssid? No one, and with this information you won’t have to either.
So the correct usage of iwconfig for getting connected a hidden ssid is:
iwconfig wlan0 essid “insertnamehere” key “insertpasswordhere”
Easy, eh?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Windows 7 - Running Chkdsk at Start Up

In Windows, running a disk check can clear up many problems. Many small glitches can be cleared up with the chkdsk command.
Setting it up in the command prompt is easy, but counter intuitive. Open the Command Prompt by clicking the windows Icon and typing cmd and enter in the box.
Now type chkdsk /f C:
Windows does the usual thing and tells you can't do that here.
Type in y for yes and then exit the Command Prompt.
Now, reboot the machine and wait for all the checks to run. The normal "chkdsk C:" merely scans a disk, "chkdsk /f C:" scans and fixes problems, so you may be waiting awhile. Hopefully, it is worth it.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

CentOS and ISO Recorder

Yesterday, I covered creating a USB boot drive for CentOS. Today I will walk through making an .iso disc for CentOS using ISO Recorder.
Working with .iso is both easy and frustrating on Windows. Very often the software that comes with the computer is not up to the task. To solve this basic problem I suggest ISO Recorder. This software does not create a desktop icon or a selectable program in the Start/Windows menu; instead it adds options to the menu.
Time to get started. Download your .iso image and place all files in an easy to find directory. I am using CentOS which requires two DVDs. Insert a blank DVD and cancel out of any pop up box Windows 7 displays. Right click the desired .iso file. Select "Copy image to CD/DVD".
The burning software will open and display ISO Recorder on the left hand side of the screen. The Source should default to "Image File".
Click next.
Wait for the burn...
No seriously, wait and wait and wait. The status bar may hang out on 100% for a very long time. This is proportional to the amount of data on the disc. My first CentOS disc uses the whole DVD and took several minutes to complete. The second disc is relatively tiny and took only a moment.
Don't forget to label the discs. CentOS has a built in disc check in the install process, I would suggest using it on BOTH discs to avoid headaches.
**This post was moved from Pretendertothepower.com to Unpwnd.com.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mint 11 lxde glitch - Can't delete uninstalled program icons from the menu

Mint 11 lxde is old, but I like it for my Asus EEE PC. It does have one annoying glitch. If you attempt to remove software such as gnumeric, the uninstall process leaves the program's icon in the menu. Annoying but not exactly critical.
There is an easy work around. Go to a convenient location and create a new folder called "deleted icons". Next open the /usr/share/applications folder. Go to tools and select "Open current folder as Root". This displays a new window. Find the offending software and select cut. Go to the deleted icons folder and again, select tools and open as "Open current folder as Root". Paste in the offending program and close all windows.
By shifting the icon via cut-paste, you retain the option of reinstalling the program.

Reblog - Tricky Unetbootin install – CentOS

This post originally appeared on Pretender to the Power on June 5, 2012.
Unetbootin is a wonderful piece of software. It will create a bootable USB drive of your favorite Linux flavor.
Well, most of the time.
CentOS is a special case. The files needed for CentOS* reside on mirrors and not the support website. So, Unetbootin cannot reach them. Obviously there are ways around this. The most obvious is to download the files from the mirror, but let us forget about planning and forethought, shall we?
Step one, download Unetbootin.
Step two, open it.
Select the desired flavor of Linux. Note: If you do not choose CentOS this is the wrong guide for you. Be 100% sure about your drive letter. This step can cause all sorts of file deletion and badness.
Now wait for the OS to download. There are no files on the CentOS website, so this will not take long.
The last step is to reboot. I would recommend against using your one and only computer for this. Take the USB drive to a different computer and boot that one.
The installer is very user friendly, so I will skip everything up to the ftp address. The installer requires two pieces of information: the ftp site name and the Red Hat Directory. The example of this data is from the University of Chicago.**
FTP site name: bay.uchicago.edu/centos/
The Red Hat Directory: /5/os/i386/
Select ok and watch the magic happen!
* CentOS does have the option for a live disc, however I have not found a way to install using those files. To be honest, I didn't try very hard.
**The FTP site listed has CentOS 2-6. Choose wisely.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Just 5 Things: Google Drive

This weeks edition of Just 5 Things covers Google Drive.
1. Google Drive is a cross-platform cloud storage solution.
2. Google Drive supplies 5 GB of space for free.
3. Drive supports the following files types: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Portable Document Format, Apple Pages, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, TIFF, DXF, SVG, EPS, PS, TrueType, XPS, ZIP, RAR, TXT, CSS, HTML, PHP, C, CPP, H, HPP, and JS.
4. You can edit most supported files.
5. Google drive will someday love Linux.