Category Archives: 30 Days of Linux

30 Days of GNU/Linux: Day 20,21,22,23

I have been testing distro’s so often in the last few days, my mind is bonkers.  I wanted to quickly detail what I though of each, coming form my technical background up to what I think a new average user would think.    I have finally settled on my desktop and laptop distros for the time being, which is also explained.  Read on for more…

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30 Days of GNU/Linux: Day 19

I am spent, I really am.  I just spent 2 hours installing Debian 7 “wheezy”, proprietary drivers, loads of other things, and worst of all, another HOUR to figure out the kinks to installing Steam on Debian 7.  I will provide a FULL writeup on Debian 7 Steam tomorrow.   Hopefully the links I have help you.

Other things, Debian 7 is fast as hell, and very stable, but be prepared to do work.



30 Days of GNU/Linux : Day 16

I finally got around to putting together a bash script to backup my major drive.  Here is the script:  simple but it works well, and I love rsync to death, what does anyone here use to backup?  Well anyway, thanks to several links around the web, I worked out a few kinks with permissions, I mean hey, I’m a bit rusty after a few years from the more technical stuff.  Then I setup the cron job so it runs everyday.  Interested to see how this incremental backup approach works with hardlinks in the incremental folders.

Also, I have been testing XBMC performance on a few devices to really gauge XBMC vs Plex Media Server in these areas (scale 1-10):

  • Plex Media Server+ Roku Plex App (8/10)
  • XBMC on Ouya (5/10)
  • XBMC on my HTPC | Core 2 Duo , 2 Ghz, Dell Gx760, 4GB RAM (7/10)
  • XBMC on Raspberry Pi | Model B board | Raspbmc (6/10)
  • Plex on Raspberry Pi | Model B board | Rasplex

Well, now that my backup plan is 90% done, minus some testing after the fact, definitely going to get around to setting up SSH access again, and possibly the FTP server again.  I will be using my ol’ SSH instructions I posted here way back, and updating the bits that no longer work or apply to my main distribution arch, Debian.


30 Days of GNU/Linux : Day 14,15

One thing I am still struggling with, is getting my dang brightness control to work on my Macbook, other than that, the land of Linux is quite peachy.  I am still mulling around the idea of Plex vs. XBMC, but Plex is just so convenient, I have to keep it for now.  I am still addicted to Intrusion 2 on Linux, which is highly entertaining.  Also, I have signed up for Fosscon 2013 and re-dedicated time to helping out others on IRC again, which is highly rewarding, at least to me.  Not much has changed, since I have been away, so I haven’t had much chance to try out many new things.  I am however, heavily reading the Linux Handbook buy O’ Reilly Media, which will result in some nice helpful posts for all you.

Till next time,


30 Days of GNU\Linux : Day 12,13

In the last few days I have focusing on getting involved with the Linux Mint community in events, help, and general IRC chat.  It has been fun getting to know the Central Pa LUG folks again.  I still doubt many follow this site, as of writing I think it is 12?  Needless to say I enjoy getting my thoughts out, it is quite a healthy exercise.  I am well on my way to archiving all my Blu Ray movies so I can watch them via Plex on the Roku.  I am continuing to watch the Steam on Linux progress quite closely.  It is exciting to see the cogs moving in that area.  For games not on the Linux Steam client, there is Crossover for Linux, which nicely fills the gap, enabling me to play recent games like RAGE and Dirt 3.  It is not perfect but it works.  I am getting quite comfortable in this Linux skin at home, and I have no intention of installing Windows again, other than a fallback Virtual Machine for work.


30 Days of GNU/Linux: Day 12

Today was a good step forward, as I actually tackled a frustrating install of Audacity.  It works!  Hazzah!!!  There is always some kind of quick in getting Audacity to properly record on your systems “line in” or “stero mix.”  After it was said and done, things ended up perfect.  Be sure to also install the “lame” package via the Terminal (sudo apt-get install lame) to be able to export to mp3.  See the full Fix It! post here.

On the video games front, I got Steam up and fully running.  I downloaded all my games which I had already purchased on Windows (they will offer you the Linux version for free) as well as some others.  See the recent post regarding Intrusion 2.  It is a blast to play!

Well I am quite tired, so that’s enough for tonight.  Working on the porch took the life outta me.


30 Days of GNU\Linux: Day 10,11

Well, I have been lazy, and did not update my “journal” of this great adventure of Linux, and nothing but Linux at home.  Now that I have Plex up and running, I am quite happy, and it is filling the void left behind by some missing channels on Roku, which I now love to death and wish that I had not ordered DirectTV now haha.  I am kind of at the point where I am making sure the programs I once used on Windows are found on Linux, or at least an alternative.  Below is some of the choice I have made in my Linux software pilgrimage:

Windows Program Linux Alternative Note:
Utorrent Deluge Full featured and works just as well
Office 2007/2010 LibreOffice Not as “pretty” looking but does everything MS Office does and more.
Winamp VLC Plays anything you throw at it
Audacious As close to Winamp as you can get
MP3tag PuddleTag Works just the same and often bettter!
Netflix Plex Media Center Plex is amazing, just get it 🙂
Remote Desktop VNC not shabby, old school
Teamviewer Very modern, cross platform
Podcasts Miro Amazing application, many channels to choose from
Steam Steam New release, only ~60 games so far

That’s just a sample of some things, as it has been a long day of working on my house, not so much a day for playing with Linux. I will try to stay on the ball with this journal, promise!




30 Days of GNU\Linux: Day 10 – SUCCESS! Plex Media Server FTW

I am ecstatic today.  I have successfully setup Plex Media Server on Linux after a bit of sweat and elbow grease.  Turns out it took not only permission changes, but a carefully made symbolic link.  The full details on how all this was setup, plus and update to the Top 5 Linux Media Servers post will be coming down the pipe tomorrow.  Right now 2 TB of data is being transferred back over to my server drive.  Plex is perfect* at trans-coding (if you allow it to, but tomorrow in my detailed summary, you will see what types of media it prefers and just what quirks to look out for.

I am head over heals happy with this.  What this means is with a Roku box and a home computer running Plex Media Server (as a backend), the Roku is the 1 stop shop for all media center.  Too bad XBMC never made a Roku app, would have loved that.  The Roku is truly the one stop shop, once you get the right apps on it.

Till tomorrow!


30 Days of GNU\Linux: Day 9

Today was my birthday, so I did a little bit of Linux work, wait no… A LOT!  I purchased a Roku to fill the void for online services I can’t get currently running under Linux Mint *cough* *Amazon Instant*  So far the Roku + Plex Media Center for my network files is boding rather well.  Initially, Linux Mint could see no far past the root directory of my share drive, but after converting the drive to Ext4, and fixing the permissions, I was all set.  If there is one* media center I would have to recommend Linux users with a Roku box, it would be Plex.  Setting up an Apache2 server is much too much work, but yes, that works well too with Roksbox.

On the Remote support side, I was very pleased with the Linux support for TeamViewer.  TeamViewer is a cross-platform, free (in price), and versatile application to remote into ANY of your machines from home or afar.  I highly suggest it.  If you still prefer VNC, then by all means, but for others, this is the ticket.

Also, got the additional Blu Ray drive to rip and transcode my Blu Ray collection.  It will take some time to convert it over (I only have about 50 Blu Rays , give or take), but it’s something us Linux users have to live with, unless you stream with MakeMKV, which to be honest I have not tried seeing if the UPnP stream of MakeMVK shows up on my Roku…maybe!!!

That’s it for today.  Till tomorrow,


30 Days of GNU\Linux: Day 8

Credit: Comedy Central

As I sit here watching Tosh.0, trying to concentrate on writing, I can’t help but be at least very happy at my progress using only Linux at home.  As of this, I have installed Chromium Browser, which as of today as well, is using the VP9 open codec under the WebM project by Google.  Dang, did my online videos  speed up!  The once herky-jerky video that sometimes buffered even on my 8 year old HTPC (Core 2 Duo / ATI SFF 5400 series GPU), are now fluid and at least 720p quality now.  I am very impressed with this Open Codec. So, now that my online browser experience is nice and smooth what is left?  TONS!

I made good progress determining the proper Handbrake settings so that XBMC on my ancient Linux HTPC runs smoothly.  Aside from minor scan lines on some scenes, things are progressing well.  I at least got everything playing smoothly, and know the program well.  For those who don’t know, you must break the Blu Ray encryption first with MakeMKV.  Both of these are in the software section of this site.  The settings I had the most luck with, is 1280×720 (720p), MP4 format, H.264 codec, default decomb/deinterlace.  I made those changes after starting with the Apple TV preset for 720p.  Try different settings and see what happens!

Still searching for solutions to Amazon Instant Video, and if Linux teaches you anything, it’s DON’T GIVE UP!   Oh, yes Hulu and other online services play very smoothly now under Chromium Browser:

 sudo apt-get update 
 sudo apt-get install chromium-browser