LXQt – extending the life of my trusty old EEE PC (even further)

My old Asus EEE PC 900 is the oldest piece of hardware I own. With an old Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM it's never was the fastest kid on the block (in fact I never considered the Windows XP version of the same unit usable as it was very sluggish). However after owning it for nearly 7 years I am very surprised I can still use it. Granted I only use it occasionally when I am at home, but thanks to LXDE it was still usable. I recently learned that LXDE is merging with the Razor-Qt project (great idea!) to create the combined LXQT - an ultra-low resource window manager. Warning: LXQt is still considered a work in progress. So probably not a good idea on your prime work machine. I started with a clean re-install of LUBUNTU LTS 14.04 - to add LXQt you need to add the lubuntu-daily PPA. sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lubuntu-dev/lubuntu-daily sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gilir/q-project sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade sudo apt-get install lxqt-metapackage Log out and log in back to LXQt desktop environment. Voilà ! After using it a little while it really is a joy to use and extremely responsive even on such a resource constrained old unit. Great work !

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Synology OpenVPN connection from Android

Connecting securely to your home network has always been a bit of a challenge since common home ADSL routers not normally contain any VPN Servers (those which do contain such are generally PPTP servers which I would hardly call secure these days). Which is probably a good thing as they would be horribly out of date considering the firmware release policies of retail router manufacturers. You could run/maintain your own dedicated server, but for most home networks that is overkill and out of the technical depth of most hobbyists. However NAS Appliances are becoming more useful in home networks for storage and other common tasks. I have had good experiences with Synology NAS devices over a number of years and the latest iteration also has a very useful VPN Server package available based on OpenVPN (as most Synology Apps are common Open Source components). Server Requirements This is a very straight forward procedure via the Synology Web UI (http://www.synology.com/en-uk/support/tutorials/459#t3.2) Installing the VPN Server via Synology Package Manager Enabling OpenVPN Server Export the certificate using the button "Export configuration" (openvpn.zip) and extract the CA Certificate file (ca.crt) Forward UDP Port 1194 from your modem/router to the Synology NAS Make sure your Diskstation user account has OpenVPN privileges Android Client Configuration This part turned out a little more difficult than I expected. Initially I tried the "OpenVPN Connect" app by OpenVPN.net the makers of OpenVPN. However this seems to have no facility to edit the configuration and would not work at all…

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Ubuntu 14.04 – post-install enhancements for Trusty Tahr

Excellent coincidence that the release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) fell into the Easter holidays. This gives me the time to install earlier than I normally have time for. This realease being a LTS (long-term support) release means it is a fairly conservative release. There are some nice enhancements and most importantly for me the 3.13 Kernel means finally Wacom Touch devices are supported without kernel mods. Unfortunately some things are still not included (such as the boot-repair tools not being part of the standard repos). Fortunately it's relatively easy to fix most of these things. Install core packages One line to fix it (well - mostly ...). This is a very personal & subjective list based on what I need all the time. Most things would not be relevant to casual users. Ignore at will. sudo apt-get install -y vim chromium-browser filezilla owncloud-client gnome-gmail httrack keepass2 inkscape s3cmd putty openssh-server nfs-common fslint unoconv xsane libreoffice-base libreoffice-mysql-connector offlineimap pwgen getmail4 apache2-mpm-itk libapache2-mod-php5 mysql-client mysql-server php5 php5-mysql php5-common php5-xmlrpc php5-gd php5-common curl php5-curl php5-ldap php5-odbc php5-xsl php5-ldap php-pear libapache2-mod-wsgi python-django python-imaging python-pythonmagick python-markdown python-textile python-docutils python-mysqldb rapidsvn umit flashplugin-installer cups-pdf git gnome-schedule regexxer ubuntu-restricted-extras arduino gufw cifs-utils subversion sysinfo jobs-admin network-manager-openvpn network-manager-vpnc openjdk-7-jre openjdk-7-jdk icedtea-7-plugin bum mysql-workbench traceroute whois sublime-text bleachbit grive dia-gnome tintii calibre openscad pepperflashplugin-nonfree NOTE: Since Chromium Flash plugin support is broken in 14.04 (due to Chromium killing Netscape Plugin API) you need to run the Pepper Flash install script to allow flash to play in Chromium.…

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Fixing UEFI Secure Boot problems on Ubuntu 14.04

Unfortunately the mess that is UEFI Secure Boot still causes issues on some hardware. In my case it's a Toshiba Z930 Ultrabook. I have documented the procedure to get it working here. However it turns out that there is no 'Trusty' release for the boot-repair utility. The fix is relatively easy. sudo vim /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yannubuntu-boot-repair-trusty.list #change the following line from 'trusty' to 'saucy' sudo vim /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yannubuntu-boot-repair-trusty.list You can then just finish with sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && (boot-repair &) Another option is to boot off a USB image (or CD) created from http://sourceforge.net/p/boot-repair-cd/home/Home/.

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Apache Cordova development environment install on Ubuntu

Apache Cordova has very nice documentation, however as so many projects it is focused on the Windows/MacOS duopolies only. Fortunately it's not too hard to work out the differences. Installing dependencies Thanks to: https://github.com/joyent/node/wiki/Installing-Node.js-via-package-manager sudo apt-get install python-software-properties python g++ make ant openjdk-7-jre openjdk-7-jdk Installing Android SDK Please note: one of the problems I found was that I had some Android tools from the Ubuntu repos that were conflicting with the SDK install. It's probably a good idea to remove them first. That might save you from a lot of headaches down the line (and time to troubleshoot). sudo apt-get remove android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot Download as per http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html wget http://dl.google.com/android/android-sdk_r22.6.2-linux.tgz Note: check for updated link version obviously vim ~/.bashrc Add the PATH variables to the top of the file #AndroidDev PATH export PATH=${PATH}:~/android-sdk-linux/tools export PATH=${PATH}:~/android-sdk-linux/platform-tools Reload bash variables without reboot / logout source ~/.bashrc Testing SDK android This command should now bring up the SDK manager. Installing Eclipse IDE This is obviously an optional step depending on the IDE you want to use. I have previously covered a manual Eclipse install (as opposed to the Ubuntu repositories). Install Eclipse ADT Plugin As per: http://developer.android.com/sdk/installing/installing-adt.html Node.js Install The main difficulty on Ubuntu (as with so many development tools - see Eclipse above) is that the included node.js version in the Ubuntu repositories is outdated (remove the Ubuntu version with 'sudo apt-get remove node'). sudo add-apt-repository ppa:chris-lea/node.js sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install python-software-properties python g++ make nodejs Install Cordova sudo npm install…

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RaspberryPi real-world control with REST API

Finally found some time playing with a RaspberryPi and an attached PiFace Interface board to control some garden pumps and potentially an Aquaponics setup in the near future. Requirements Raspberry Pi (Model B in my case, but any will do) PiFace Interface board (http://www.piface.org.uk) Base Raspian (Debian Wheezy) Install (I prefer the clean minimal install via https://githutb.com/hifi/raspbian-ua-netins). Configure the base system as per my previous base install. Install Apache & PHP sudo apt-get install apache2 php5 php5-dev php5-cli php5-mcrypt curl raspi-config Ensure mod-rewrite is enabled sudo a2enmod rewrite Install PHP SPI Extension More info: https://github.com/frak/php_spi git clone https://github.com/frak/php_spi.git cd php_spi ./phpize ./configure --enable--spi make make test make install Install PiFace REST API cd /var/www/ git clone https://github.com/natefanaro/piface-rest-api cd piface-rest-api curl -sS https://getcomposer.org/installer | php php composer.phar install Thanks to Nate Fanaro for the excellent work on the API. Make sure SPI is enabled on the RPi raspi-config Advanced Options --> A5 SPI --> yes Install PiFace Modules sudo apt-get install python3-pifacedigitalio python-pifacedigitalio sudo usermod -a -G gpio www-data sudo usermod -a -G spi www-data For more info visit http://www.piface.org.uk/guides. Apache2 API Configuration Enable SPI extension sudo vim /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini #add the following extension extension="spi.so" Apache VHost config sudo vim /etc/apache2/sites-available/piface Paste the following VHost config <Virtualhost *:80> ServerName HOSTNAME ServerAdmin webmaster@domain.com DocumentRoot /usr/share/piface-rest-api/public_html ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/piface_error.log CustomLog /var/log/apache2/piface_access.log combined <Directory /> AllowOverride All Order allow,deny Allow from all </Directory> </Virtualhost> Enable the newly created VHost a2ensite piface service apache2 restart Testing curl http://HOSTNAME/led/test/ Next up will be some modification for securing access to…

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Getting Foscam IP Cameras to work from Linux (Ubuntu)

As with most hardware manufacturers of hardware Foscam utility software is Windows or Mac only. The actual unit tested with the below is a FI9805E Outdoor POE camera. Installation The installation is relatively painless as the unit is set up to get the IP assignment via DHCP (check your routers DHCP assignment list). https://IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM should get you to the web-admin interface. The default user is 'admin' with no (empty) password. Taking snapshots http://IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/cgi-bin/CGIProxy.fcgi?cmd=snapPicture&usr=username&pwd=password I had some issues with the color of the images in daylight (which for an outdoor camera is not really a good thing. A Firmware update (V2.14.1.5) improved this (you can disable the IR LEDs during daylight hours). Thanks for FOSCAM UK support via Twitter I found the download URL as the main site seems to have been down for a while. Firmware URL: http://foscamuk.co.uk/downloads/ Streaming in H.264 video The easiest way to get the stream appears to be the RTSP connection (using VLC or any network video player). MXPlayer on Android works very well too. rtsp://username:password@IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/videoMain rtsp://username:password@IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/videoSub rtsp://username:password@IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/audio Streaming in MPEG mode The be able to use the MPEG streaming the stream format needs to be set first. http://IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/cgi-bin/CGIProxy.fcgi?&usr=username&pwd=password&cmd=setSubStreamFormat&format=1 http://IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/cgi-bin/CGIStream.cgi?cmd=GetMJStream&usr=username&pwd=password Resetting back to H264: http://IP.ADDRESS.OF.CAM:PORT/cgi-bin/CGIProxy.fcgi?&usr=username&pwd=password&cmd=setSubStreamFormat&format=0 Next steps will be to make this work from a headless device with an Amazon S3 storage backend. This Github project https://github.com/phil-lavin/Foscam-FI8908W-Recorder is looking promising. Watch this space.

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Automatically posting GooglePlus articles to Twitter

I have switched most of my Social Media postings to Google+ over the last year. Despite popular opinion being that Google+ is some 'ghost town', I find G+ the most useful environment for my particular needs & interests (specially since the introduction of groups). It has in my experience a vastly better signal-to-noise than other social media in particular Facebook. However I would still like to feed postings through to my Twitter stream. Unfortunately Google has (stupidly / purposely / nastily) not included RSS support to make this possible without much work. There are a few publicly accessibly services out there, but they generally are either not updated or tend to fail very frequently as they hit the API Access limits as soon as they get a few users on their services. To achieve this I have created a PHP script utilising the Google API Client to convert the public activities to a standard RSS feed. The code is available on GitHub. I used to use a script by by Michael Mahemoff (https://plus.google.com/106413090159067280619/posts/8NE3cFi4cB6) - thank you ! The main reasons for needing to change were IFTTT having issues with the initial script output (not valid RSS and illegal characters). Create API Project Go to https://cloud.google.com/console/ Create a project Go to 'APIs & auth' --> 'APIs' and turn "Google+ API" on (see Screenshot below) Go to 'APIs & auth' --> 'APIs' and create a 'Public API access' key (see Screenshot below) Copy the API Key for the next step Setting up…

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Ubuntu Touch install on Nexus 4

This is the last of a series of alternative mobile OS installs and the easiest install by a country mile ! Install Everything is quite well documented here: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Install. sudo add-apt-repository ppa:phablet-team/tools sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install phablet-tools android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot phablet-flash ubuntu-system --channel devel --bootstrap That is it really ! This is how a OS change on a mobile should work ! Issues Ubuntu touch can not yet handle the radio firmware past Android 4.3 devices. So if your N4 was upgraded to Android 4.4 (KitKat) you need to flash the radio to the Android 4.3 (up to Version 2.0.1700.84) else WIFI will not work. Download 4.3 Stock Image from: https://developers.google.com/android/nexus/images#occamjwr66y fastboot flash radio fastboot flash radio radio-mako-m9615a-cefwmazm-2.0.1700.84.img fastboot reboot Wifi setup (Optional - this can be done via phone UI as well). Connect the phone via USB adb shell nmcli -pretty dev wifi connect NETWORK-NAME password PASSWORD

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