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Posts Tagged ‘linux

The MythTV Trap: PVR Overload…

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MythTV Main Menu

Having screwed up my courage and built my Linux box, I was ready to install MythTV. For those of you unfamiliar with MythTV, it’s a free, open-source PVR software solution which, besides allowing you to record shows (and automatically skip commercials, transcode to other formats, etc) features a web browser, weather reports, a photo viewer, DVD player, RSS reader, music player, internet phone, Netflix subscription manager, movie times listings and more, all in one package. It also allows you to access your system from any internet connection, should you wish, and schedule recordings, etc. remotely. It’s like Tivo, without the subscription fees. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by westcoastsuccess

April 16, 2008 at 9:15 pm

Posted in Technology, Ubuntu/Linux

Tagged with , , , ,

A Workaround for Uploading Pictures/Media to Your WordPress Blog for Ubuntu/Linux AMD 64 Users…

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With the recent changes to the Dashboard feature of’s hosted blogs, users with Linux running on an AMD 64 based machine may be out of luck in trying to upload photos, music, videos or anything else. It appears a newer version of java is required, and the java plug in required to upload media is incompatible with the 64 bit architecture.

Here’s a workaround: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by westcoastsuccess

April 8, 2008 at 1:31 am

Digg != Ubuntu?

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***UPDATE*** Well, we have our answer to the question at the end of this article: this story lasted all of about 12 hours on before being unceremoniously buried…


Is “Ubuntu” a dirty word on popular site After a pair of my articles were submitted, I checked the stories at the Digg site and noticed a user had voted to bury both of them. The comments indicated the inclusion of the term “Ubuntu” was deemed spam by this user, and served as the reason for the bury vote.

I left a comment in response but received no reply, so visited the user’s profile. Here’s what I found:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by westcoastsuccess

March 29, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Ubuntu/Linux

Tagged with , , , ,

Update: Here’s a Link to a Fantastic Linux/Unix Cheat Sheet…

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Thanks to a post on I came across a great site for the Linux/Unix user who’s a step beyond the newbie phase. It has clear, concise details with examples of a whole host of commands. You can find it here:

The Unix Toolbox

Written by westcoastsuccess

March 24, 2008 at 9:59 pm

Setting up an M-Audio FireWire Solo with Ubuntu/Linux…

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M-Audio FireWire Solo

***IMPORTANT UPDATE: one of our readers has advised that recent versions of the firmware for the FireWire Solo are responsible for issues relating to an inability to get sound output from the unit in Linux. If you encounter this issue, and have already tried the suggestions in the Comments section, please consider changing your firmware version to FW_WDM_5.10.0.5036.exe (the last known good version – many thanks, laban!)

You can find it here (opens in new window):

Please also note that you shouldn’t have to update or install any firmware – it ought to work out of the box.***

***UPDATE: we’ve received some feedback from the good people at M-Audio, who have advised against leaving the unit plugged in: “…we advise against using the AC power adapter when bus power is available; this often causes problems and can possibly damage the device.” Our previous instructions to leave the unit plugged in have therefore been deleted.***

I’ve responded to a number of questions as to how to get the M-Audio Firewire Solo recording interface up and running with Ubuntu/Linux. The Firewire Solo is a device which allows one to connect a microphone or guitar/instrument to a firewire input on your computer and allows for excellent transfer rates and low latency.

I’ve promised to put together complete instructions, so, at long last, here they are. If you have any questions/ issues/ suggestions/ comments or selected curse words, please feel free to comment below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by westcoastsuccess

March 23, 2008 at 11:25 pm

Quick Reference Sheet for Ubuntu/Linux…

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***LATEST UPDATE: AUG 10, 2008***

We’ve compiled a table of some useful commands we’ve come across as we continue to learn Linux/Ubuntu – see below. You can open the link with OpenOfficeOrg (which may show up as “soffice” in the download dialogue box or you may have to click “Open With Other Application” and navigate to /usr/bin/soffice).

We’ll be adding to these regularly – so be sure to check back often!

click here to download

System/Program Affected

Error Message/Symptom


DVD Drive – can’t mount mount_point cannot contain the following characters: newline, G_DIR_SEPARATOR (usually /)
In a terminal #gconf-editor
then click “system” then “storage” then “drives” then “_org_freedesk…”
Change the value for “mount_point” from “/dev/hda” to simlpy “hda”. May require reinserting the disc.
Firewire capture from STB (Motorola 6200) fails Black screen appears when watching live TV in MythTV.
In terminal (this is one line):
#sudo /folder/name/./firewire_tester -B -P 0 -n 0 -r 5
P = port
n= node
B = repair broadcast connection. This can also be “p” for point-to-point or “b” for test broadcast connection.
In terminal, use #plugreport
to find port and node
No live TV in MythTV Selecting live TV in MythTV causes a very brief flash followed by a return to main menu screen.
STB has frozen (usually on reboot of computer) and GUID no longer matches setting in mythtv-setup.
Unplug and replug STB, then:
In terminal: #mythtv-setup
-Delete all capture cards
– Add new capture card (firewire, broadcast, 400 mps; GUID must show or unplug and replug STB, then try again).
– Add video source
qjackctl won’t start – error box pops up after attempting to start Need to force bus reset
In terminal: #gscanbus
Click “Force Bus Reset”
Restart qjackctl.
Ardour interrupts recording/ playback with “Disk Cannot Keep Up…” Possibly too many overlapping regions. Delete un-needed regions until it works again.*see for non-destructive methods.
Want to download a torrent file. Use Bit Torrent In terminal:#gnome-btdownload http://www.link_to_torrent
Process can’t get the priority you want/is pre-empted by other, less important processes
In terminal:
#sudo chrt -f -p 99 3359
where “3359” is the PID of the process whose priority you’re altering (use ps -e to find this – see above) and “-p 99” is the priority you’re assigning the process, from 0-99, where 99 is the highest priority.
Convert .wav to .mp3 #lame -V2 /path/to/song/.wav /path/to/put_new_mp3_song.mp3
Convert all files in a folder from .aif/.aiff to .wav
Create a text file with the following:
# Usage: convertowav fileextention
if [ $1 = “” ];then
echo ‘Please give an audio file extention as argument.’
exit 1
for i in *.$1
if [ -f “$i” ]; then
rm -f “$i.wav”
mkfifo “$i.wav”
mplayer \
-quiet \
-vo null \
-vc dummy \
-af volume=0,resample=44100:0:1 \
-ao pcm:waveheader:file=”$i.wav” “$i” &
dest=`echo “$i”|sed -e “s/$1$/wav/”`
lame -V0 -h -b 160 –vbr-new “$i.wav” “$dest”
rm -f “$i.wav”
Copy this file to the folder with your aif/aiff files, navigate to the folder and type:
#./converttowav aif
Manually transcode MythTv recordings see:
List all current users – check if anyone is logged on who shouldn’t be Informational/security #w
List all open network files – check if files are opened which shouldn’t be Informational/security #lsof -i
Show details for all active connections Informational/security #sudo netstat -anp | less
Tools to scan for rootkits Security
#sudo chkrootkit
#sudo rkhunter
#sudo unhide proc
#sudo unhide sys
#sudo unhide brute
Show details of a PID Informational/security
#sudo ps -F -p <PID>
where <PID> is the process ID of the program you’re examining (use ps -e to find this – see above).
Show network connections, etc. Informational/security #sudo netstat -tulnp
Using the Uncomplicated Fire Wall (ufw) Security
#sudo ufw status
#sudo ufw enable
View all kernel parameters Informational #sudo sysctl -a | sort | more
In terminal, only show one page of info at a time (ie prevent scrolling)
add “ | more” to your command,
ie: #ls -l | more
the “|” is above the “\” key on most keyboards, ie Shift+\
Show last 500 commands entered in a shell terminal Informational
To search for a previously used command, hit “Ctrl”+”r” and type in any part of the command you’re seeking.
If you know part of the command, you can also use:
#history | grep <part of name>
From the results returned by the “history” command, you can type “!” followed by the line number
of the command you want in order to repeat that command. Note that an <enter> is implied (ie you cannot modify the command: it will execute immediately). Example:
Narrow down search with “history”. Informational
#history | grep <part of command>
where <part of command> is, not surprisingly, part of the command you’re seeking.
Set up recurring jobs/programs to run automatically at set intervals Automation
#crontab -e
Format is:
# +---------------- minute (0 - 59)
# |  +------------- hour (0 - 23)
# |  |  +---------- day of month (1 - 31)
# |  |  |  +------- month (1 - 12)
# |  |  |  |  +---- day of week (0-6)(Sun=0 or 7)
# |  |  |  |  |
  *  *  *  *  *  command to be executed
Example (MUST be on one line):
27 * * * *  /usr/bin/chkrootkit >> /home/user/Desktop/security
Runs "chkrootkit" at 27 mins past the hour, every hour (and outputs the results to a file
called "security" on the user's desktop).
15 19 * * 3 /etc/init.d/mysql start
Starts mysql at 7:15pm every Wednesday.

string            meaning
  ------                 -------
@reboot         Run once, at startup.
@yearly          Run once a year, "0 0 1 1 *".
@annually      (sames as @yearly)
@monthly       Run once a month, "0 0 1 * *".
@weekly        Run once a week, "0 0 * * 0".
@daily            Run once a day, "0 0 * * *".
@midnight      (same as @daily)
@hourly          Run once an hour, "0 * * * *".
Find IRQ of a device Informational #cat /proc/interrupts
Change the priority of an IRQ #sudo chrt -f -p 90 `pidof “IRQ-4″` where “-p” is the priority you want to assign, “-f” assigns it SCHED_FIFO (First In First Out scheduling) and “IRQ-4” is the IRQ of the device whose priority you want to change (use #cat /proc/interrupts to determine this). MAKE SURE YOU INCLUDE THE TICK MARKS IN THE COMMAND. THESE ARE NOT APOSTROPHES; THEY ARE TYPICALLY FOUND ON THE KEY ABOVE THE “TAB” KEY.
Firefox/Thunderbird won’t allow the installation of plugins/plugins stop working In the Profiles folder, delete the file “extensions.rdf”. Restart Firefox/Thunderbird – it will recreate the file and your extensions should work again.
Problem copying directory Error message: “cp: omitting directory …
In order to copy a directory and its contents, you must use the “-r” flag:
#cp -r /path/to/dir1 /path/to/dir2
where “dir1” is the directory you’re trying to copy and “dir2” is the copy of the directory.
Convert FLAC to WAV
In a terminal type:
#flac -d /path/to/filename.flac
Find orphaned MythTV recordings or database entries Recordings on disk but not available to mythtv or programs listed in mythtv but not available
In a terminal, navigate to your mythtv folder and look for the “contrib” folder. Once there, in the terminal, type:
#sudo ./ –dbhost= –pass=********
where “********” is your mysql password.
Google Notebook won’t open in Firefox Box appears, but “Reload” is displayed.
Conflict with Tor Button plug-in – disable Tor Button to resolve.
From the top menu bar, click Tools, then Add Ons. Select Disable and restart Firefox.
MySql won’t start after upgrade
MySql doesn’t start after booting; error message on attempted manual start (via:
#sudo /etc/init.d/mysql start):
error: “Can’t connect to local MySQL server through socket ‘/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock’ (2)’
Check that mysqld is running and that the socket: ‘/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock’ exists!
Check: /etc/mysql/my.cnf
A backup of this file (“my.cnf~”) should have been made during the upgrade. Try using the backup (note: the letters between each “#” constitute one line):
#sudo mv /etc/mysql/my.cnf /etc/mysql/my.cnf.upgrade
#sudo mv /etc/mysql/my.cnf~ /etc/mysql/my.cnf
#sudo /etc/init.d/mysql start
Test hard drive health using S.M.A.R.T.
Reports on health status of hard drives equipped with SMART technology. Install via Synaptic or (all on one line):
#sudo apt-get install smartmontools
1)Show all info about a drive:
#sudo smartctl -a /dev/sda
where “/dev/sda” is the path to the drive.
2)Start short self-test of drive:
#sudo smartctl –test=short /dev/sda
3)Get results of self-test:
#sudo smartctl -l selftest /dev/sda
4)Learn about meaning of output from 1) above:
NOTE: in most cases, the threshold value is the LOWEST the value should go. For more details, go here:
5)Quick check of drive health:
#sudo smartctl –health /dev/sda
Get info about hard drive Informational
#sudo hdparm -I /dev/sda
where “/dev/sda” is the path to the drive.
Test performance of hard drive Informational
#sudo hdparm -tT /dev/sda
where “/dev/sda” is the path to the drive.
Reasonable results? Seagate 320Gb @7200RPM:
Timing cached reads: 1567MB/s
Timing buffered reads: 74MB/s


Well, it didn’t take long for me to stumble upon a MUCH more comprehensive guide – you can find it here:


Written by westcoastsuccess

March 23, 2008 at 2:18 pm