Archive for February 2013

Getting instant internet access from your iPhone with Linux!

February 26, 2013

Some people are aware that Apple’s “i” products are made from the same source code that it’s desktop and portable products are made from. A version of the Unix operating system. iOS is a branch of MAC OS X. It’s just a smaller version is all.

Linux is also a version of the Unix operating system as well.

Why is this important?

Well, I happen to get an iPhone 4 GS recently. I do not have a broadband internet connection. I happen to have the capabilities on my phone to get access via a HotSpot, which almost never works on windows. Not even Windows XP.

Well, this weekend, I formatted my laptop and installed Linux Mint 13 (Mate desktop) on the whole drive. I wanted to see if Linux would see my iPhone any different than Windows. When you plug the iPhone into a Windows XP not a lot comes up. When I plugged my Android phone into Windows XP, I saw the whole folder structure. The DCIM folder and many other folders related to it.

So when I plugged my iPhone into Linux Mint, not only did it show me the folder structure similar to Android, but since my HotSpot was turned on on the iPhone, Linux Mint instantly gained the connection and I was on a very decent speed access line!

It was instantaneous and I didn’t have to configure anything at all. I simply plugged the iPhone in via a usb cable and BAM! the connection was granted!

This didn’t even work with the Android with Windows XP. I tried, thinking the connection would be direct via the USB. It was not. It didn’t make a difference.

So I began thinking. If people who have iPhones and the HotSpot option available on their iPhones, Linux is a wonderful, free, and backwards hardware compatible operating system that works perfectly with your phone.

I also tried this in Ubuntu. Same results.

So Linux works with “i” products. Interesting. And it works flawlessly. In fact, it’s working right now as I’m writing this blog. I’m using Linux Mint, Firefox, WordPress and a HotSpot connection from my iPhone.

So I thought I’d share my experience with Linux newbies and maybe even people who do in fact have “i” products who are finding that it’s difficult to use with Windows operating systems. The alternative? Linux. And because if your a minimal PC user, you can grab an old machine or an old laptop and install Ubuntu or Mint and be able to use your “i” products just as easy

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Fixing iChat in MAC OS X if it cannot find the server for chat anymore

February 26, 2013

First off, iChat is a MAC OS X application for IM chatting. It is a semi multi application hub similar to Pigin or other IM hub applications.

The easiest two chatting platforms that it supports are AIM and Gmail.

To setup iChat is real easy for AIM and Gmail accounts. You just input your account information, email and password and it runs it.

If you were trying for another platform and it didn’t work, and now you want to apply it back to Gmail or AIM but it’s telling you the certificate is out of date,

Simply open iChat and Click iChat and Click Preferences. Go to Accounts. Use this account, check that. Always log in with this account, Check it.

Automatically discover server and port. server name is going to be talk.google.com

Netflix on Linux? Is this true?

February 26, 2013

Yes, linux fans, this is actually the truth.

There is now an application that you can download and configure to watch Netflix on your favorite linux distro.

I’m working with Linux Mint at the moment and installed it and tried it this weekend. Needless to say I was super excited as a fan of linux and a Netflix subscriber.

The installer was a bit drawn out for me, because I hadn’t previously installed Wine on my linux laptop before. Also, I was a bit confused at first on how to accept the EULA from Microsoft for their silverlight, but after these hiccups, I rebooted my machine and the application showed up in my Menu under ALL and I was able to log into my Netflix account and watch my favorite programs!

Joy!

I have included the youtube video from NixiePixel on the commands to use to begin the downloading process. Also I have included the website where it explains how to accept the EULA from microsoft.

These are all the things I did as a first time user of Wine, using Linux Mint to download, install, configure and launch the Netflix app this weekend!

Enjoy!

NixiePixel’s youtube video on how to download the Netflix App:

The Ubuntu article on how to accept the Microsoft EULA for Linux:

http://askubuntu.com/questions/16225/how-can-i-accept-microsoft-eula-agreement-for-ttf-mscorefonts-installer

Question : Why don’t youtube videos show up in temp files in Ubuntu anymore?

February 26, 2013

Answer:

Downloading video from Youtube was not a big deal for Linux users. Every Youtube video used to get stored in the temp folder until the user closed the browser. But if you try the same approach now you won’t get anything in your temp folder. You used to just play the video on Youtube and see the temp folder copy that video into your hard disk. You copy and paste it elsewhere on your drive (say in the music folder) and you’ve got it!)

So what happened?
It’s got nothing to do with Linux itself. This is because of update of flash 10.2. So if you have upgraded your flash player you might be the victim of this problem.

Question : What is Tomato?

February 10, 2013

Answer:

a partially free (GPL license) linux core
firmware distribution for use on a range of
Broadcom chipset wireless routers.

such as Linksys wrt54G, Buffalo Station, Asus
Routers and Netgears wnr3500L.

The UI is based on AJAX as well as a an XML
based graphical bandwidth monitor.

It was a firmware project for the Linksys
WRT54G and WRT54GS wireless routers based on
the stock linksys firmware.

Tomato is based on the GPL source code
released by Linksys, but includes proprietary
binary modules from the chipset manufacturer
Broadcom. Portions of the code are licensed
under the GNU General Public License, but the
source code for the user interface is under a
more restrictive license, which forbids use
without the author’s permission.

The original purpose of the HyperWRT project
was to add some features (like power boosting)
to the latest linux based linksys firmware,
thereby extending it’s possbilities but at the
same time staying close to the official
firmware.

Over time though, it continued to be updated
with newer Linksys firmware and added many
more features that are usually found in
enterprise routing equipment.

Now, like most other third-party firmware,
HyperWRT is not compatible with the later
(2006) WRT54G v5.0 (“CDFB” serial number
prefix) and WRT54GS v5.0 (“CGN7” serial number
prefix).

These model versions do not run Linux by
default, although you may use vxworks-killer
firmware images to run stripped down linux
versions like “dd-wrt.v24_micro_generic” or
replace the flash memory 2MB chip with 4MB.

Linksys currently produces WRT54GL for running
3rd party firmwares.

The original HyperWRT project was started in
2004 by Timothy Jans (aka Avenger 2.0), with
continued development into early 2005. Another
programmer called Rupan then continued

HyperWRT development by integrating newer
Linksys code as it was released.

Tomato is the direct upgrade path from
HyperWRT.

What is it?
Simply put a network monitoring software that is more extensive than most consumer gateways.
It has more features than your standard firmware has in the way of options. It’s for people who wish to have more enterprise functionality on their routers.

It’s partially free and an update of the original HyperWRT project as mentioned above. The link below has articles that describe rules on installation if your interested in downloading it and taking it for a spin.

Please note though: it seems that these are one of those tricky installation processes. Please be sure to approach with caution. They say do not install (upgrade) on a wireless connection to your router because any information that is lost or corrupted may brick your router. Proceed at your own risk, preferably with an old router.

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Tomato_Firmware/Installation_and_Configuration

What is Raspberry Pi?

February 10, 2013

What is Raspberry Pi?

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sizedraspberry pi
single-board computer developed in the UK by
the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention
of promoting the teaching of basic computer
science in schools.

The Raspberry Pi is manufactured through
licensed manufacturing deals with Element
14/Premier Farnell and RS Components. Both of
these companies sell the Raspberry Pi online.

The Raspberry Pi has a Broadcom BCM2835 systemRaspberryPi1

on a chip (SoC), which includes an
ARM1176JZF-S 700 MHz processor (The firmware
includes a number of “Turbo” modes so that the
user can attempt overclocking, up-to 1 GHz,
without affecting the warranty), VideoCore IV
GPU, and originally shipped with 256 megabytes
of RAM, later upgraded to 512MB.
It does not, however,  include a built-in hard disk or
solid-state drive, but uses an SD card for
booting and long-term storage.

The Foundation’s goal is to offer two versions,
priced at US$25 and US$35. The Foundation
started accepting orders for the higher priced
model B on 29 February 2012. and the lower
cost model A on February 4, 2013

The Foundation provides Debian and Arch Linux
ARM distributions for download. Also planned
are tools for supporting Python as the main
programming language, with support for BBC
BASIC, (via the RISC OS image or the “Brandy
Basic” clone for Linux), C, and Perl.

On 17 December 2012 the Raspberry Pi
Foundation, in collaboration with IndieCity
and Velocix, opened the “Pi Store”, as a
“one-stop shop for all your Raspberry Pi
(software) needs”. Using an application
included in Raspbian, users can browse through
several categories and download what they
want. Software can also be uploaded for
moderation and release.

It’s the smallest working personal computer in
the world today. It’s obviously very portable,
it’s obviously very minimal.

Can you take this computer anywhere?
You still have to have a power hook up and a
monitor and keyboard and mouse. You have to
know how to install and use Debian and/or Arch
linux to use this device.

Which makes sense, since the linux OSs are known for minimal use.

The SD card acts as the hard drive on the
device for long term storage.

Think about it, it’s the slimmest, smallest
working personal computer in the world today.

Will you be playing WoW or Crysis on it?
No.

Will you be editing RAW video on it?
Nope.

Will you be able to send and receive an emails
with it?
Yes. definitely.

It’s a very minimal use computer.

Why all the rage?

Raspberry Pi has a tremendous following.  Because of it’s size and mobility.
The applications for this type of device are
abundant. If your a DIY geek, that is.

Why would someone want this device?
Once again, this is for a particular crowd if
your going to sell it in bulk. However,
perhaps the applications for this particular
device range further for special applications
needs. Such as security or portability.
That’s just off the top of my head though.
Obviously the open source and linux community
are drooling right now because of the
amazement of such a device.
it’s small and it runs their favorite OS.

So there you have it. That is my limited knowledge and explanation on Raspberry Pi.
Simply to introduce the Raspberry Pi to those reading this blog.

Fortuneately you can gain more insight to this wonderful modern technology by checking out a few
convenient webpages:

Check out the official webpage:
http://www.raspberrypi.org/about

Check out the wikipedia page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_Pi_Foundation

Check out the wikipedia page on what is Raspberry Pi:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_Pi

How To : install computer hardware at difficult times

February 10, 2013

In my experience in installing hardware inside, I’ve learned that nothing goes in easy all the time. As much as manuals and booklets tell you that ZIF means no pressure to push down the lever on CPU sockets, the reality is, there is going to be some pressure involved.

The first time I installed an AMD Athlon XP 3200+ processor in a PGA ZIF socket, I thought I broke it because I had to use a lot of pressure to push down the lever to lock the CPU in the socket correctly. But then, when I finally turned on the computer, apparently I had done it correctly, because it booted up fine and I actually still have it to this day.

So yeah, hardware is going to be a pain to install sometimes. That’s reality.

Another reality is, installing RAM sticks in RAM slots.

Another one of those “it’s real easy, no problem” deals.

You’re going to run into difficulty.

So during my experiences with hardware, I’ve also learned easier ways of installing hardware, without hurting yourself or the hardware.

We can start with the CPU I suppose. This of course goes for PGA ZIF style socket processors. Ol skool Intel processors, modern AMD processors.

The thing you need to remember is as follows. Stay away from electric or magnetic tools. If it creates any outside force (i.e. magnetic or electrical field) it’s bad! Computer hardware is very sensitive and expensive.

So get yourself a nice screwdriver with a plastic handle and push bits.

There is a metal latch on both sides of the stock heat sink and fan unit that came with the processor on PGA style CPUs. That latch is for the plastic unit that will hold the heat sink unit onto the motherboard.

You want to get the other latch holding the plastic on the opposite side. And then put a screw driver in the hole of the latch with a hole and pull towards yourself. It will automatically do what it’s suppose to do.

RAM sticks.

They can be a pain for sure. They are thin and you want to be careful to take precautions not to touch or damage the black chips on either side. But what happens when they refuse to be inserted into the slot?

I’ve had this happen many times before. I hated installing RAM because of this. But then I got smart.

The handle on my non magnetic non electric screw driver was all plastic. So I just pressed down on one side of the RAM stick and snapped it into the plastic latch and then used the plastic handle on my screwdriver to push the other side down. It locked into place perfectly.

And my finger was saved the aggravation.

You can do the same for those pesky video cards if they are AGP style. Just remember to insure the latch is locked when you push it in.

Obviously you don’t want to overdo it and break the cards. Exercise proper ESD methods  and use some common sense. But tools can be used to properly install hardware in the computer when your fingers just won’t do it.

As for other problems that I’ve had with computer hardware, if the hardware isn’t fitting in the slot or space where it’s suppose to be fitting, it’s good to ask why?

Sometimes something is in it’s way. For example, I’ve had computer chassis houses that the optical drive wouldn’t fit in. And after a few minutes of trying to shove it in the 5.25″ slot, I pulled it out and looked in the slot. One of the metal levels was bent up. Therefore the optical drive could not slide into the slot properly. I had to go and bent it back down and make sure it was leveled before I could put the drive inside. Which, once I did, it slid in perfectly.

Same thing goes for the plastic front face panel. You can take that off with a screwdriver as well. Just remember not to accidentally short out any circuit board for the USB or front audio or whatever.

Another tip, don’t assume the motherboard is dead until you have at least tried to boot it up properly. For example if you spilled something on the boards surface or dropped something and think you’ve ruined the board. Don’t assume it until you’ve tried to boot it up. I’ve done this a couple of times and feared the worst until I tried to boot it up and realized it was actually fine. Yes computers are sensitive, but make sure it’s broken before you try to fix it or throw it out.

You’re going to want to make sure that whatever you’re storing computer parts in is a standard anti static bag. Another stupid mistake i’ve made before, using old poor quality anti static bags. If you need to store these things, or at least have a platform for working with them, I’d recommend getting new ones from time to time. The last thing you want to do is short out a customers video card because you were too lazy to have a proper work area and follow the safety rules.