Ubuntu - Remote assistance, the very simple way with Gitso

Ubuntu

If you are part of the Ubuntu herd, you may have already converted some friends or relatives to the joy of linux freedom.

Then comes the time of remote assistance, where you have to understand over the phone what is happening on a remote screen with the person seeking for help giving you these very detailled explainations "It is not working any more. Yesterday it was ok. What to do ?".

A remote desktop like VNC can be a very effective answer to that need, but it has 2 main drawbacks :

  • it is complicated to configure and setup for a non technician
  • is does not go thru NAT firewall that easily, needing some port forwarding

ubuntu-gitso-logoA very simple tool called Gitso can be a very good answer to these 2 problems, as it is a multi-platform reverse VNC remote desktop and it is extremely easy to setup.

As it is a reverse VNC server, the person who needs support (who is not a computer person and most of the time doesn't even know what a firewall is) will initiate the connexion. So the firewall configuration will be fully on your side.

This article explains how to install Gitso on both computers so that starting a remote assistance between 2 Ubuntu desktop becomes as easy as possible. It has been tested under Ubuntu 11.04 & 12.04, but it should work with and type of Debian or Ubuntu flavoured distribution.

Read more: Ubuntu - Remote assistance, the very simple way with Gitso

Ubuntu - Tweaks for SSD drive

dropcap-ubuntu-ssd

Nowadays, SSD disks are more and more common, especially for laptops, as they are by nature shock proof.

Even if they don't offer the same price per Gb than standard hard disk, they provide a fantastic performance boost and are more and more affordable.

But, even if it gives a huge boost, a SSD disk is not behaving like a normal hard disk with rotating platters. Their main characteristics are :

  • their very fast read and write speed
  • their neutrality to random access
  • their limited write cycles

This article explains how to tweak a Ubuntu computer to take the full benefit of a SSD drive and to preserve it at the maximum against unneeded write accesses.

This has been tested on Ubuntu Precise 12.04 AMD64, but it should be applicable to any debian derived flavour and even to any Linux distribution for most of it.

Read more: Ubuntu - Tweaks for SSD drive

Linux - Disable ByteMobile Web Pages Alteration

dropcap-bytemobile-compression

If you are using connexion sharing on a 3G mobile network, you may have noticed that your web pages are sometime looking different when browsing from your home ADSL connexion or from your 3G mobile data connexion.

On 3G mobile network, some pictures may look ugly and some pages may even be completly broken. This happened to me when connected on Bouygues Telecom 3G mobile connexion to administrate some Joomla site. Administration was completly impossible, most of the pages giving unexpected errors or even remaining blank.

This comes from the fact that some ISP are using some stream compression technics to save some bandwidth on their mobile network. Not all ISP are doing so, but it is quite common nowadays, especially in the area where 3G networks are saturated.

The most widepread is developped by ByteMobile and it can aggregate all CSS code, recompress all images (making them look worse) and even inject some javascript code. In short, it may create a big mess out of your pages !

This article explains how to get rid of these alterations and get back the unaltered web pages you are expecting from any neutral internet service provider. It deals with a client side approach (as a user) and a web site approach (as a webmaster).

With this setup, pages served from your home or office connexion and from your mobile data connexion should remain exactly the same.

Read more: Linux - Disable ByteMobile Web Pages Alteration

Joomla - Minimize Display of Article's Authoring Details

JoomlaIf you run a Joomla site with a blog layout and you need to display authoring details (creation date, writer, ...) of your articles, you may have noticed these details are taking quite a huge display space.

By default they are displayed with this setup :

  • one line per item (creation date, update date, writer, ...)
  • Label Detail at the beginning of the first item
  • default date format very long (like Wednesday, 01 January 2014 10:00)

This article explains the simple steps needed to minimize article's authoring details to a single line on a typical Joomla site.

joomla-authoring-before

will become

joomla-authoring-result

This setup has been tested on a Joomla 2.5 installation.

Read more: Joomla - Minimize Display of Article's Authoring Details

Ubuntu 12.04 - Rhythmbox and Totem as UPnP/DLNA clients

dropcap-ubuntu

Nowadays, uPnP/DLNA home servers are becoming very popular. These servers now come embedded with Windows clients, with network appliances like NAS, ... So you can today easily centralize and serve all your audio/video files.

But, on the other end, under Ubuntu Precise, it is still no so easy to get a media player (renderer) compatible with uPnP/DLNA servers.

upnp-dlna-symbol

Two very common media players, Rhythmbox (audio) and Totem (audio & video), provide some uPnP/DLNA playback support in their latest version, with the help of a new Gnome projet named Grilo.

But unluckily, this uPnP/DLNA support has not been packaged under Ubuntu Precise.

This article explains how to enable uPnP/DLNA playback on Rhythmbox and Totem (also known as Movie Player) under Ubuntu Precise 12.04.

The following configurations have been tested with TwonkyMedia 7 as a uPnp/DLNA server running on a NAS device.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Rhythmbox and Totem as UPnP/DLNA clients

Ubuntu 12.04 - Post-Installation Script for codecs, multimedia, ...

Ubuntu

When you run a standard Ubuntu desktop installation, you most of the time need to add some additional tools, compression format handlers, multimedia codecs, multimedia tools and latest software updates.

If like me you end-up installing Ubuntu systems quite often, you may have to repeat all these post-installation steps on and on ... Here comes this page, which is more of a reminder than of a technical article.

You'll find below the post-installation script that I use for almost all the Ubuntu installation I'm handling. It adds some very generic extensions that are useful (or not) for most of the people.

Just take it as it is : my knot in a handkerchief and a base that you can use and adapt for your own purpose. Idea of this page has come from a friend ... thanks Alain  :-)

This post-installation script is based on a standard Ubuntu 12.04 LTS installation as in general I always prefer to install a LTS. It is using some PPA, but these PPA are known to be quite stable. In a way, I've considered that the benefit provided by these PPA is worth the unstability risk it involves.

Please note that before running this post-installation script, you are supposed to have finalised your language localisation.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Post-Installation Script for codecs, multimedia,...

Joomla - Cross-browser mp3 playback with audio.js library

Joomla

If you need to publish some music on your site, you know how difficult it is to provide a cross-browser solution. Either your audio files will be embedded in a Flash stream and it won't be compatible with all IOS devices (iPhone, iPad, ...) or it will be compatible with HTML5 format and it won't be compatible with older browsers (IE8, Firefox 3, ...).

Hopefully, audio.js is there to fulfill all these needs. It is a fork of video.js, targeted on audio content in mp3 format. In fact, it's a drop-in javascript library that allows HTML5's tag to be used anywhere, with a Flash fallback for browsers not understanding HTML5. It is focused on mp3 format, due to its universality.

As a result, it is compatible with about 99% of the world browsers ! This seems to be the ultimate solution to publish audio content.

This article will explain how to allow you to easily publish some mp3 audio files on your Joomla site thru the audio.js library. It is using the standard <audio> tag and it has been tested on iPhone, iPad, Firefox, Android, ...

It has been designed on a Debian server with a Joomla 1.5 site, but it should be compatible with any Joomla 2.5 site as well.

Read more: Joomla - Cross-browser mp3 playback with audio.js library

Ubuntu - Handle winmail.dat with Thunderbird and Nautilus

dropcap-thunderbird

ubuntu-winmail-datWhen you receive mails from some misconfigured Microsoft Outlook email clients, a file attachment called winmail.dat may be added as an attachment to the message. This file contains formatting information and any attachments sent with the original message. As the file is not recognized by Thunderbird (and many other email clients), you can't see any of the attachments sent with the original message in Thunderbird's message view.

These winmail.dat files are encoded following the Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format (TNEF) and are sent using the application/ms-tnef mime type.

This article explains how to setup your system to :

  • extract files from a winmail.dat attachment
  • declare the application/ms-tnef mime type
  • create a complete interaction with Nautilus and Thunderbird

With this setup, you won't need any specific plugin (like Lookout) and you will be able to simply select a winmail.dat attachment in Thunderbird or Nautilus and it will open a window with all the files embedded within this attachment.

It has been tested under Ubuntu Precise 12.04, Gnome Shell 3.4 and Thunderbird 17, but it should be applicable to any other Linux distribution using Gnome Shell.

Read more: Ubuntu - Handle winmail.dat with Thunderbird and Nautilus

Ubuntu Amd64 - Convert HTML web pages to PDF with Firefox

Ubuntu

ubuntu-firefox-web2pdfFirefox provides a very nice add-on Print pages to Pdf to convert Web pages straight to PDF files.

This add-on is quite special as it is not using any online service for the conversion job.

It is using wkhtmltopdf library which convert html to pdf using the webkit rendering engine.

This Firefox add-on works Out Of The Box under any Ubuntu i386 distribution.

It was broken under Ubuntu Amd64 for version 0.1.8.5, but has been corrected on version 0.1.9.0.

This article explains how to solve this issue and to get a fully working one click solution to convert any HTML web page to a PDF document on a Ubuntu 64 computer.

It has been tested under Ubuntu Amd64 12.04 LTS, with Firefox 20 and Print pages to Pdf 0.1.9.0.

Read more: Ubuntu Amd64 - Convert HTML web pages to PDF with Firefox

Ubuntu 12.04 - Setup wifi key based on Ralink RT2572T

dropcap-ubuntu-wifi

Few days back, I was needing a wifi 54G key. Having an old OvisLink Wifi 54G 802.11b/g USB key, I tried to use it under Ubuntu Precise 12.04.

This key is using a Ralink RT2572T which is recognised out-of-the-box by Ubuntu 12.04. But it doesn't work as expected.

Wifi connection takes place, but sometimes the card doesn't get DHCP address and most of the time data stream stops for few seconds, and then restart.

Also, under encrypted networks, the data can't succeed to get thru. In fact, these troubles come from 2 functionnalities :

  • power management, which needs to be disabled
  • hardware encryption, which also needs to be disabled

This article explains how to setup these 2 tweaks to get a fully working Ralink RT2572T wifi adapter under Ubuntu Precise 12.04.

It has been tested successfully on Ubuntu 12.04 i386 version with original 3.2.0-23 and latest 3.8.10 kernels.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Setup wifi key based on Ralink RT2572T

Ubuntu 12.04 - Revo 3610 as a XBMC Media Center with TV and Remote

 dropcap-xbmcNowadays, Linux can be a fantastic welcoming OS for a very complete Media Center. In term of functionnalities, here is what you can expect :

  • silent & low consumption system
  • possibility to use a MCE Remote
  • suspend/resume from the remote only
  • ability to play HD movies (720 & 1080)
  • DVB-T functionnality, including HD channels
  • recording possibility for DVB-T
  • access to all video, photo & music from a network share
  • access to any type of media on USB key or APN

After reading this list, you can say : Ok, very well, but why not to use a distribution like Openelec ?

Answer is simple : geekitude ... is an attitude ! Why let others handle things that you can handle directly by yourself.

So, here are the installation steps to convert a very small & silent nettop into a full featured digital Media Center using a standard Ubuntu Precise 12.04 platform.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Revo 3610 as a XBMC Media Center with TV and Remote

Ubuntu 12.04 - Installation on Asus F301A

dropcap-ubuntu-asus-f301a

This article will explain how to fully configure an Asus F301A laptop under Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with Gnome Shell or Gnome Classic interface.

This laptop is very versatile, offering a 13'' screen with a performant dual core Intel CPU. It is embedded with Windows 8, which can be easily replaced by an Ubuntu Linux distribution.

The following article will allow you to fully configure your Ubuntu Linux, allowing to use :

  • Elantech touchpad
  • Ralink RT5390 wifi adapter
  • brightness function keys

It has been tested on an Asus F301A-RX172H.

All the following tweaks have to be applied on a basic Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64bits installation.

If you are ready to follow this procedure, you can safely ask for your Windows licence refund  :-)

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Installation on Asus F301A

Ubuntu 12.04 - Installation on Acer Aspire One 722 (AO722)

Acer Aspire One 722

This article explains the specific steps needed to fully configure an Acer Aspire One 722 to run under Ubuntu Precise 12.04.

Even if Acer AO722 support is much better under Ubuntu 12.04 than under Ubuntu 11.04, there are still some tuning to be done before getting a perfectly running laptop.

It will allow you to specifically deal with :

  • Random system freeze
  • Problems with microphone configuration

A standard installation of Ubuntu Precise 12.04 AMD64 desktop edition is a pre-requisite for this procedure.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Installation on Acer Aspire One 722 (AO722)

Ubuntu 12.04 - Install DLink DWA-160 B2 wifi adapter

dropcap-ubuntu-wifi

DLink DWA-160 USB key is a low price dual-band 2.4 and 5 GHz wifi adapter.

Latest hardware revision DLink DWA-160 rev. B2 is introducing a new RT5572 chipset as a replacement with RT7820.

The result is that, as most of the time with latest wifi adapters, this new harware revision is not recognised Out Of The Box under Ubuntu Precise 12.04.

The generic rt2800usb module is not able to handle the new chipset RT5572 embedded with the DWA-160 rev. B2.

dlink-dwa160-key

But, thanks to Ralink, the source drivers are publicly available.

So, with little effort, you will be able to get a working DWA-160 rev. B2 USB key under Ubuntu 12.04. This article explains all the steps needed to achieve this goal.

It will also explain how to configure DKMS so that your driver will be automatically built and installed during every kernel update.

It has been tested under Ubuntu 64bits Precise 12.04 with kernel 3.2.0-24 and 3.2.0-30. But it should work on the 32bits version.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Install DLink DWA-160 B2 wifi adapter

Ubuntu 12.04 - Install D-Link DWA-131 rev. B1 wifi adapter

dropcap-ubuntu-wifi

D-Link DWA-131 USB key is a low price 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n wifi adapter.

Latest hardware revision DLink DWA-131 rev. B1 is not compatible with drivers of previous revisions.

As a result, this new hardware revision is not recognised Out Of The Box under Ubuntu Precise 12.04.

This article explains how to setup Ubuntu 12.04 to recognise DLink DWA-131 rev. B1.

It has been tested under Ubuntu Precise 12.04 i386 and Amd64 but involves installation of a 3.8 kernel update.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Install D-Link DWA-131 rev. B1 wifi adapter

Ubuntu 12.04 - HP 2510p laptop (wifi, fingerprint, performance and power management)

HP 2510p

The HP 2510p is a 12.1” screen notebook designed for heavy duty and security.

Ubuntu Installation is very simple on this laptop, as it integrates some very standard components.

But, if you want to be able to fully exploit this laptop possibilities, you still need to do some specific configurations for :

  • Core 2 Duo CPU power management capabilities
  • Mobile Intel GM965 Express chipset
  • Intel Pro 4965 wifi adapter
  • AES2501 fingerprint sensor

This article will explain how to configure Ubuntu Precise 12.04 to fully use the HP 2510p laptop hardware.

It will also help you to tweak your HP 2510p for better overall performances and battery power management.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - HP 2510p laptop (wifi, fingerprint, performance and power management)

Ubuntu 12.04 - EEE 701 with Gnome Shell 3.4

dropcap-eee701-ubuntu

EEE 701 was the first netbook widely available. It came to the market about 5 years back, which is pre-historical time in the computer world !

This little netbook main characteristics are :

  • 900 MHz Atom processor
  • 512 Mb RAM
  • 4 Gb SSD
  • 800×480 screen

It was shipped with a specific Linux distribution called Xandros, which is not maintained anymore.

Even if this netbook is little bit outdated, it deserves a second life !

This article will explain how to install the latest Ubuntu Precise 12.04 with latest Gnome Shell 3.4 on EEE 701, relying only on the main 4 Gb SSD. No extra memory card will be needed.

At the end of the installation process, you will be left with approximately 1 Gb of free space on the SSD.

The only extension advisable is to install 1 Gb RAM (or even better 2 Gb). On such a low powered processor, this will give a real boost to Ubuntu and Gnome Shell.

As a result, you will have a brand new EEE 701, perfect for any Web activity, Youtube, Skype, SD movies playback, …

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - EEE 701 with Gnome Shell 3.4

Ubuntu 12.04 - Configuration of Tata Photon +

Tata Photon Plus

This article will explain how to fully setup and configure a CDMA USB key Huwei EC156 provided with a Tata Photon + subscription on a Ubuntu 12.04 laptop.

Just imagine : You are staying or travelling in India, you are checking your mails or surfing the web while in a taxi, in the train or waiting in an airport ... That is nowadays quite easy, you just need a nation wide wireless internet access.

Tata Photon + is there to suit your needs. For a reasonible amount (around 1500 INR, equivalent to 20 €) you can get a Huwei EC156 USB key and a 3 Gb limit, valid for one month.

The Huwei EC156 chipset embedded with the key is recognised by Ubuntu 12.04 but you need to declare a specific APN.

This article will explain the very simple steps to get a fully working CDMA connexion with a Huwei EC156 Tata Photon + USB key under Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

Read more: Ubuntu 12.04 - Configuration of Tata Photon +

Ubuntu 11.04 - Installation on Acer Aspire One 722 (AO722)

Acer Aspire One 722

This article explains the specific steps needed to fully configure an Acer Aspire One 722 to run under Ubuntu Natty 11.04.

It will allow you to specifically deal with :

  • Freeze when activating the wifi adapter
  • Problems with speakers and microphone configuration
  • AMD unsupported hardware watermark

A standard installation of Ubuntu Natty 11.04 desktop edition is a pre-requisite for this procedure.

Read more: Ubuntu 11.04 - Installation on Acer Aspire One 722 (AO722)

Ubuntu 10.04 - XBMC Media Center with Revo 3610

dropcap-xbmc

Since a long time I was planning to replace my MediaPortal mediacenter under Windows with one under Linux.

But I could not find any Media Center under Linux as complete a MediaPortal. In term of functionnalities, here is what is expected :

  • silent & low consumption system
  • possibility to use my MCE Remote
  • suspend/resume from the remote only
  • ability to play HD movies (720 & 1080)
  • DVB-T functionnality, including HD channels
  • recording possibility for DVB-T
  • access to all my video, photo & music from a network share
  • access to media on USB key
  • access to photo on APN
  • be cheap ...

So, here are the installation steps to convert a very small & silent nettop into a full featured digital Media Center.

Read more: Ubuntu 10.04 - XBMC Media Center with Revo 3610

Ubuntu 10.04 - TrendNet N150 (TEW-648UB) wifi adapter on Lucid

dropcap-ubuntu-wifi

TrendNet N150, also referenced as TEW-648UB, is one of the smallest and cheapest USB Wifi adapter available.

But this Wifi adapter is not working Out Of the Box under Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 LTS.

NetTrend N150 adapter is powered by a Realtek RTL8192SU chipset, which is recognised by the latest 2.6 kernel, but needs a firmware which is not provided by the standard Ubuntu Lucid packages.

trendnet-n150-tew648ubThis article will explain the easy steps to make it work under Ubuntu Lucid.

It has been tested on Lucid x86 (32bits), but there is no reason that it should not work with Lucid AMD64 (64bits).

 

 

Read more: Ubuntu 10.04 - TrendNet N150 (TEW-648UB) wifi adapter on Lucid

Ubuntu - Tweak Firefox for speed and SSD disk

Ubuntu

Firefox is a very powerfull and versatile browser, but it has the tendancy of doing a huge amount of disk write accesses.

If you hold a modern computer with very fast hard disk, it's no problem.

But if your hard disk is slow or if it is a SSD drive, you then need to minimize to a maximum all the disk write access, in term of responsivness and durability.

This article will explain how to optimize firefox following two main directions :

  • minimize the write accesses (very interesting for SSD drives)
  • tweak generic parameters for performance boost

Its first effect will be a huge disk write access reduction and ... a real boost in terms of performance !

So lets start to tweak your firefox parameters to rediscover your surf experience.

Read more: Ubuntu - Tweak Firefox for speed and SSD disk

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