Having an account automatically log in at boot is a HUGE time saver, and absolutely essential when your computer doesn’t have a keyboard attached! In Ubuntu, this is easily done through the System Preferences menu.
First, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner and select “System Settings…”
Then, in the lower-right, select “User Accounts”
Highlight the account you would like to automatically log into and click the “Unlock” button in the top right corner.
Click the “Automatic Login” switch, so that it says “ON”
Click the “Lock” button, close the window, and you’re finished!
NOTE: Some derivatives of Ubuntu do not have this feature, but the functionality can be added. Choose your derivative from the list for instructions:
Apart from using FTP to transfer files between computers, network file sharing can be a convenient way to access files on remote computers. In Linux, file sharing to other Linux computers is enabled by default. If you want file sharing capabilities with computers not running Linux, however, you will need to use Samba: the open-source protocol that can integrate with Windows domains.
Samba is available in the Ubuntu repositories and can be installed easily from the terminal:
sudo apt-get install samba
sudo apt-get install system-config-samba
sudo apt-get install gvfs-bin
sudo apt-get install gvfs-backends
Reboot your system and you can configure your file sharing settings by executing the following command in terminal:
You will now be able to assign shared folders as well as users and permissions.
Personally, I’m not a fan of XBMC’s “Kodi” rebranding, and my plugins so far do not work in versions past Gotham. As such, I have needed to stay behind in the development cycle to utilise the tools I have come to know and love. (Much like OSX Mavericks over Yosemite.)
For Windows and OSX, you can easily download and install the proper binary directly from the XBMC archive.
To install previous versions of Kodi in Linux, you simply have to specify the version number when you execute the install command:
sudo apt-get install xbmc=2:[INSERT VERSION NUMBER HERE]* xbmc-bin=2:[INSERT VERSION NUMBER HERE]*
For Kodi versions (beyond 13.2), replace xbmc with kodi for both packages.
For a list of available versions, execute the following:
sudo apt-cache policy xbmc
sudo apt-cache policy kodi
For more information, consult the Kodi wiki.
Kodi (F.K.A. XBMC) is hands-down the final word in the media centre user experience. Before Roku and Apple TV, there was XBMC (the predecessor to Kodi). They’ve been doing it longer and–because it’s open-source–better than anyone else thanks to a bottom-up development infrastructure.
Kodi can handle all your media, in most any format, from any networked location and, thanks to its modular plugin structure, it can be extended to facilitate every home theatre contingency.
Installing Kodi in Windows or OSX is easy; simply download the installer binary package from the website and run.
Kodi in Linux is a little more complicated, requiring a little terminal work to get it started.
First, you have to install the required dependencies:
sudo apt-get install python-software-properties pkg-config
sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
Then, add the Kodi repository to your software sources and update:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa
sudo apt-get update
Finally, install Kodi:
sudo apt-get install kodi
For more information, consult the Kodi wiki.
If you need to install an older version of Kodi/XBMC, check this article.
One of the best remote access tools in Linux is SSH, a protocol that allows remote command-line interfacing with a remote computer. When setting up a system like the VCR, where the screen may not necessarily be readable from across the room or (like many “Internet of Things” applications) may not have a screen at all, remote access to terminal is essential.
Ubuntu 14.04 does not enable SSH by default, but does provide easy access to the OpenSSH service via its software repositories. On the server machine (the one you wish to access remotely), run the following:
sudo apt-get install openssh-server
Once the packages are installed, you can change settings by editing the configuration file located at /etc/ssh/sshd_config in Nano (or other text editor).
Once your configuration settings are saved, restart the service to enable SSH access from your client computer:
sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart
Having reliable FTP access to a remote computer running Linux can be especially useful if said computer is to be a media server and connected to a screen ten feet across the room. For the VCR project, and for any Linux project, I recommend using vsftpd for its simplicity and active development.
To install vsftpd, simply type the following command in Terminal:
sudo apt-get install vsftpd
Once installed, you will need to edit the configuration file to authenticate users and enable write access (if you’re going to be using it as such). Use Nano (or whichever text editor you prefer) to edit /etc/vsftpd.conf and change the following values:
Reboot and your FTP server will be running in background, ready for action!
I was working with the VCR today when, after a reboot, all the USB ports went dead. After much consternation (and a little bit of cussing), I was able to determine a solution.
Fortunately, I already had TeamViewer installed, so jacking in remotely was a snap. Without any kind of remote access, this process would be nigh impossible since the entirety of input devices are USB.
- Navigate to Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Device Manager (listed under Devices and Printers).
- The last item in the tree should be Universal Serial Bus Controllers.
- Expand the USB Controller branch to expose the list of USB devices connected to the computer.
- Right-click and uninstall each of the listings, thus removing it from the system. One or more of the controller drivers was likely corrupted and removing all of them will ensure a clean installation.
- Reboot and allow Windows 7 to recognise and reinstall all the connected USB devices. Everything should work like new again!
More information on this problem as well as other solutions can be found here.
If you’re like me and enjoy delving into a little hackery on your devices to make them “function correctly”, then welcome! I did a little futzing around with my Galaxy S to try and get a particular email notification working, so I thought I may share the process with you all here. First and foremost, you must have enabled root access on your phone, so go check that post out if you haven’t already. As always, no warranty is implied and you might void your warranty following this procedure. Perform at your own risk!
You will need:
Galaxy S phone with root access
Computer with Audacity installed and Bluetooth connectivity
Root Explorer application installed
- Open the sound file you wish to use with Audacity.
Export the sound as *.ogg (Ogg Vorbis) format.
Rename the new file “22_FILENAME.ogg” where FILENAME is some short name describing the file.
Bluetooth transfer the file to your phone.
Open Root Explorer on your phone.
Navigate to ../sdcard/bluetooth/
Tap-hold the filename to bring up the options menu.
Click “Move” from the dialog.
Navigate to ../system/media/audio/notifications/ and make sure that “Mount R/W” is selected.
Exit Root Explorer and reboot your phone.
Change your sound settings and enjoy!
I’m going to link you to a couple files that I used and, specifically, the email notification that I specifically figured this process out for. Enjoy!
I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), Dr. Strangelove
In honour of the widespread anti-capitalist protests going on across the country (and, apparently, around the world), I dug this little tutorial guide out of the archives. It is attributed to the U.S. First Army Headquarters, who allegedly published it in 1955. Although I have not personally verified the source, the language and attitude is consistent with articles published during the “Second Red Scare.” So, the next time you see someone decrying capitalism while simultaneously claiming patriotism (as is happening in New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, among other cities), check other signs against those you might see the text of this pamphlet.
Download “How To Spot A Communist” (.pdf)