Ubuntu – paperless office on a budget

Since paper and myself have never gotten on well I have always been dreaming of a paperless office. A while ago I purchased a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 scanner for the office. I did this after doing some research on which Automatic Document Feed (ADF) multipage & duplex scanners were both affordable as well as supported on Linux.   by  Terry Freedman It took a while for me to get around to set all of this up, but the result now is that this scanner is connected to a headless Ubuntu VM and the press of the scanner button will: scan the document perform OCR to convert to text combine the text with PDF to create a searchable PDF OPTIONAL - send the resulting document into Alfresco Document Management Server via FTP Install dependencies NOTE: PPA is only required for support of Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 sudo apt-add-repository ppa:rolfbensch/sane-git sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install sane sane-utils imagemagick tesseract-ocr pdftk libtiff-tools libsane-extras exactimage wput Install scanbuttond Download the "Debian Experimental" package from http://pkgs.org/download/scanbuttond sudo dpkg -i scanbuttond_0.2.3.cvs20090713-14_i386.deb This step is only for the Fujitsu ScanSnap support. For other scanners you can probably install from the Ubuntu Repository Scanner config vim 40-libsane.rules #add this line ATTRS{idVendor}=="04c5", ATTRS{idProduct}=="11a2", ENV{libsane_matched}="yes" Permissions sudo adduser saned scanner Useful command lines for troubleshooting Since I had a few trouble getting this scanner to work properly I found the following commands highly useful in locating the issue. man sane-usb sane-find-scanner scanimage -L dmesg tail /var/log/udev NOTE: If you are using a…

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Twitter RSS Feeds

Now that Twitter has totally killed their V1 API there is no official way to get Twitter feeds via RSS. Which is a real shame as RSS is a well accepted Open Standard for this type of information :-(   by  Jurgen Appelo  The Twitter REST API v1 is no longer active. Please migrate to API v1.1. https://dev.twitter.com/docs/api/1.1/overview. SHAME ON YOU TWITTER ! Currently there seem to be very few third party sites providing RSS services and it appears unlikely many will as Twitter will just kill them with changes to their API and/or terms & conditions as soon as they gain traction. Here is one I found to get a Users Timeline (which is not all that useful). http://www.twitter-rss.com/ However Hashtag or Search to RSS services are harder to find and will need a lot more work to implement http://www.queness.com/post/14004/easiest-way-to-retrieve-twitter-timeline-and-hashtags-twitter-oauth-api-11 Please use the comment section if you are aware of others !

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Quick ‘manual’ Eclipse install on Ubuntu

Since I always had trouble with the Eclipse version that is avaialable via the Ubuntu repositories I often need to install Elcipse on new machinery. Hence I am documenting the process for myself and hopefully it might help others as well.   by  jah~  If you haven't got the Java dependencies Java dependencies install sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre openjdk-7-jdk icedtea-7-plugin Eclipse download Note: download link needs to be updated - current as of 2014-01-27 cd /tmp wget http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/download.php?file=/technology/epp/downloads/release/luna/M4/eclipse-standard-luna-M4-linux-gtk-x86_64.tar.gz&mirror_id=1051 tar -xzf eclipse-standard-luna-M4-linux-gtk-x86_64.tar.gz sudo mv eclipse/ /opt rm -f eclipse-standard-luna-M4-linux-gtk-x86_64.tar.gz Create symlink ln -s /opt/eclipse/eclipse /usr/bin/eclipse Create application launcher NOTE: (Edit 2014-01-27) as of Ubuntu 13.10 you need to change the 'exec' line in the desktop launcher to include "env UBUNTU_MENUPROXY=0" as you otherwise will not see any of the menu items in the top nav-bar. sudo touch /usr/share/applications/eclipse.desktop sudo echo "[Desktop Entry]" >> /usr/share/applications/eclipse.desktop sudo echo "Version=4.2" >> /usr/share/applications/eclipse.desktop sudo echo "Name=Eclipse" >> /usr/share/applications/eclipse.desktop sudo echo "Comment=Integrated Development Environment" >> /usr/share/applications/eclipse.desktop sudo echo "Exec=env UBUNTU_MENUPROXY=0 /opt/eclipse/eclipse" >> /usr/share/applications/eclipse.desktop sudo echo "Type=Application" >> /usr/share/applications/eclipse.desktop sudo echo "Icon=/opt/eclipse/icon.xpm" >> /usr/share/applications/eclipse.desktop sudo echo "Terminal=false" >> /usr/share/applications/eclipse.desktop sudo echo "NoDisplay=false" >> /usr/share/applications/eclipse.desktop sudo echo "Categories=Development;IDE" >> /usr/share/applications/eclipse.desktop sudo update-desktop-database

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Installing Ubuntu on Toshiba Z930 Ultrabook

Since I have been really happy with the performance and mobility on the Toshiba Ultrabooks (see previous blog entries) I have now chosen to stay with a tried brand and uprgrade to the Z930 i7 model. Unfortunately this now comes with added hurdles by our good friends at Microsoft in the form of UEFI and the pre-installed disaster that is Windows 8. Instead of totally wiping the system as I did with the Z830 model I decided to install next to Windows 8 as lots of people have reported problems with the UEFI bootloader and the BIOS if you start messing with the pre-installed partitions (specially the EFI partition). EDIT (2013-06-10): It turns out that Ubuntu works just fine without the factory partitions (which I found out accidentally & not necessarily planned ... see cautionary note at the end of this article). The important part is the "Fix GRUB bootloader" section below as the unit refuses to boot without that step. Hat tip and thank you to the boot-repair developers ! Install procedure Resize Windows partition I resized the Windows partition in the Windows Control Panel (after I spent considerable time actually finding the damn thing in that crazy Metro UI) and removed all the Windows Crapware that comes pre-installed with this thing (such as Norton Security, Microsoft Office and other annoying ad-ware). I decieded to use 200GB for the Ubuntu system leaving roughly 40GB for Windows. Boot off the Ubuntu 13.04 USB Keep F12 key pressed on power up…

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Organisational micro-blogging for all

Having seen more and more articles on the use of micro-blogging tools in educational and corporates settings, I am constantly surprised that one of the most useful options from my point-of-view seems to be constantly overlooked. Micro-blogging is like Twitter, but private to your organisation. It is a great way to capture those more informal internal discussions. It can help distribute useful information (such as links) throughout your organisation or help kick-start conversations. The major advantages of StatusNet as a platform over competing proprietary systems (such as Jammer) are: Ownership of information: you can host StatusNet yourself and StatusNet fully supports DataPortability.org to get your data exported from StatusNet as well. Customisation: since you can host Status.net yourself it is possible to fully customise it to suit your needs. Integration potential: since StatusNet is Open Source software you can easily integrate and build upon it. To download Status.net head to http://gitorious.org/statusnet/ or try a personal account with Identi.ca. You can also use a cloud-hosted version provided by StatusNet http://status.net/cloud. A Yammer import tool is also available for users looking for a Yammer Alternative. However being a tool that is private to your organisation does not mean your users will be isolated. There is the ability for your user to connect StatusNet with with their Twitter account should they wish to post messages outside. Note: this is a cross-posting from my work blog at http://www.brightcookie.com/blog

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Installing Poptop (pptpd) VPN Server on CentOS 6

For roaming mobile clients PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) is still the quickest way to get VPN connections to tunnel traffic over a secure link. Installation I always prefer installation via a yum repository as this will ensure patches are applied during regular system updates sudo rpm --import http://poptop.sourceforge.net/yum/RPM-GPG-KEY-PPTP sudo rpm -Uvh http://poptop.sourceforge.net/yum/stable/rhel6/pptp-release-current.noarch.rpm sudo yum install ppp pptpd -y Configuration Note: replace $USERNAME and $PASSWORD with actual values IP configuration echo "localip" >> /etc/pptpd.conf echo "remoteip" >> /etc/pptpd.conf DNS configuration echo "ms-dns" >> /etc/ppp/options.pptpd echo "ms-dns" >> /etc/ppp/options.pptpd Authentication configuration echo "$USERNAME pptpd $PASSWORD *" >> /etc/ppp/chap-secrets Firewall config service iptables start echo "net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1" >> /etc/sysctl.conf sysctl -p echo "iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE" >> /etc/rc.local iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE service iptables restart service iptables save chkconfig iptables on Start ppptd chkconfig pptpd on service pptpd start

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Open Source creative tools

Since I am tired to constantly recite this list whenever one of these designer-type people tells me that they need Adobe's Whatever Suite to do some basic task here is a summary that I can point them to. Vector Graphics Inkscape (http://inkscape.org/) Xara Extreme (http://www.xaraxtreme.org/) Raster Graphics Gimp (http://www.gimp.org/) Desktop Publishing Scribus (http://www.scribus.net/) Photo Editing Gimp (see above) Darktable (http://www.darktable.org/) RawTherapee (http://www.rawtherapee.com/) Luminance HDR (http://qtpfsgui.sourceforge.net/) Layout Tools (DTP): Scribus (http://scribus.net/canvas/Scribus) 3D Modelling & Animation Gimp (see above + plugins) Blender (http://www.blender.org/) Video Editing CinelerraCV (http://cinelerra.org/) OpenShot (http://www.openshot.org/) Audio Editing Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) Ardour (http://www.ardour.org/) Before anybody thinks this is to start a flame-war - I don't have a problem with a creative professional whose livelyhood depends on this work needing a professional package such as Adobe Creative Suite. I do however have a problem when some graduate or work-experience kid dabbling in graphics tells me he can not do this with anything else. Hopefully this list helps to open some minds ....

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Running Android 4.0 (ICS) on Virtualbox

Debugging things on the Android Emulator (incluced in the SDK) can be a very slow and cumbersome process. Thanks to the Android-x86 Project it's quite easy to run Android in VirtualBox. This is highly useful when you need to test mobile apps and websites from the Android Browser (as well as Chrome Mobile). Download an Ethernet enabled ISO from Tablets x86 wget http://dl.dropbox.com/u/75945873/android-x86-4.0-eth0-generic_x86-20120426.iso.torrent transmission android-x86-4.0-eth0-generic_x86-20120426.iso.torrent Create new ViratualBox VM Important Settings (see screenshots) OS: Linux, Version: Linux 2.6 Enable VTx/AMD-V Use Bridged Network Adapter (if you want to allow direct Internet Access) Mount the ISO file downloaded previosly and start the VM Create the Root Filesystem (ext3) on the VBox .vdi created with the new VM, mark as bootable Write the Filesystem changes to disk (VDI) and format the disk Install GRUB Boatloader Copy files from ISO to VDI Unmount the ISO image and reboot Note: You need to disable the mouse pointer integration (if you have installed VirtualBox Client Add-ons) in the menu of Virtualbox ('Machine' --> 'Disable Mouse Integration') when you start the VM (see screenshot). I have not found a way to disable this by default on Virtualbox on Ubuntu (If anybody has managed this I would love to know how !) Start the Android Setup Wizard to set locale and you should be up and running (network should already function to test external sites from Android browser) !

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Intel Ultrabook tweaks on Ubuntu 12.04

After upgrading my Toshiba Z830 Ultrabook to 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) I noticed that the ability to control the screen back-light was not working using the Toshiba Fn F6/F7 keys. Thanks to http://www.linlap.com/wiki/acer+aspire+s3 the solution was found quite quickly. sudo vim /etc/default/grub This will open the grub configuration file. (Grub is the initial boot selection software) To be able to dim the screen brightness, You've got to modify the line: GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="" to these two lines: pcie_aspm=force GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="quiet splash pcie_aspm=force i915.i915_enable_rc6=1 i915.lvds_downclock=1 acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor elevator=noop" Another neat tip: intel-gpu-tools can be used to control brightness from the commandline. # will set brightness at 50% intel_backlight 50 EDIT [2012-08-24]: to avoid issues on resume you need to add a script to the sudo vim /etc/pm/sleep.d/20_wakeup Add the following: #!/bin/bash case "$1" in suspend|hibernate) #do nothing ;; resume|thaw) echo 7 > /sys/class/backlight/toshiba/brightness ;; *) exit 1 ;; esac exit 0 Mark the file as executable sudo chmod +x /etc/pm/sleep.d/20_wakeup

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Installing Java6 JDK on Ubuntu 12.04

UPDATE: [01-May-2012] It appears that this PPA repo is currently broken (does not allow to get GPG key and has unmet dependencies on x84_64). It appears that the install on i386 systems does work anyway if you ignore the GPG key error, but I wouldn't install in that case as PPA installs are security risk enough without GPG errors. UPDATE: [11-May-2012] The reason the PPA does not work is that it has been disabled by Ubuntu due to a licensing issue with (not hard to guess) Oracle. Flexion.org have however created a script (hosted on Github) to allow the automated update of Java 6 for those who still require it as a dependency. wget https://github.com/flexiondotorg/oab-java6/raw/0.2.1/oab-java6.sh -O oab-java6.sh chmod +x oab-java6.sh sudo ./oab-java6.sh Hat tip to Martin Wimpress from Flexion ! UPDATE: [07-Aug-2012] Thanks to a comment from Pierre-Yves Langlois this seems to be the best method (uses the latest version of the Flexion script from Github rather than the version referenced above) sudo apt-get purge sun-java* #You need to do that if you want the mozilla plugin to work without conflict with java7 for instance. mkdir ~/src cd ~/src git clone https://github.com/flexiondotorg/oab-java6.git cd ~/src/oab-java6 sudo ./oab-java.sh Then when its finished, install java: sudo apt-get install sun-java6-plugin sun-java6-jre sun-java6-bin sun-java6-jdk You can follow the installation process with: tail -f ~/src/oab-java6/oab-java.sh.log Note: If you do not need Java 6 it's much safer to stick to the current Oracle Java 7 release. This is an update to the Java6 install on 11.10 since…

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