Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Linux Distros Revisited

Well, I got to playing again...

I was switching computers around and ended up with something else for the bedroom HTPC. The one I was using was getting a little sluggish on the video streaming due to it's lack of hardware. It's replacement was a laptop with and Intel Core 2 Duo, and, it showed some signs of hardware impairment while streaming video in Linux Mint Cinnamon...

That's why I quit using the single core...

So, time to play with different Linux distros... again.

I went through all the Mint products again. Cinnamon and Mate are now at version 17.1. I'm giving Mate a serious look; it's just clean and bright- and works well. Looking to adjust the battery information, I found that there is only just an icon, but, I could add a weather icon to the panel. That's cool. Desktop wallpapers are easily changed and the usual USB stick Formatter and Image Writer are available. Video seamed to stream just fine too.

Mint also has Xfce which I use on old and/or low end machines. I like it for it's crazy and captivating screen savers. Video streams fine, particularly on machines where other distros fail. USB stick Formatter/Writer, easy to change wallpaper, but still no customizable battery icon.

The one that I never quite understood was KDE.  I'm giving it a REAL look this time. The "wallet" thing is a little weird at first, but the look and feel of everything else looks good. It has a USB Formatter and Image Writer which is good, but how the heck do you change the Background Wallpaper?! The battery meter is just an icon. It's silly little quirks like that that make a distro fall from favor.

4 operating systems installed and running by 10AM is a testament to the magnitude of awesome to be had with Linux over other commercially offered ones.

So, with all this going on, I thought I needed to check out some other Ubuntu spin-offs... again.

I regularly use Xubuntu; it just rocks. It is simple to change wallpapers for a custom look, and the
battery icon can be easily customized to show the percentage of power left and the estimated runtime. No USB tools, but it streams video like a boss, but I should add that it differs from the Mint distros in that you can't just run videos right out of the box- a little tweaking is involved;

Open up the "Ubuntu Software Center" and search for "restricted extras". Download/install the one for Xubuntu. For java, click here and scroll down.

Oh, one of the best things about Xubuntu is you have full access to ALL the features of Grub Customizer (click, then scroll down). Grub Customizer works in Mint, but in Xubuntu you can change the Grub background image and the font color. This takes your geekiness to new uber levels when you're showing off your laptop.

I thought I'd try Lubuntu again... I think it is broken. They even have a new version, but it is broken too. It failed to have a driver for a very common wifi card so I couldn't get on the internet to update. I even tried a USB wifi adapter, but it didn't work either. Did they outsource to China or something?

Then there's Kubuntu. At first glance it looks good, very easy on the eyes. Now, try streaming video... Ya, there is no Ubuntu Software Center; you have to install it first, then follow the instructions above for Xubuntu.

How to get Flashplayer on Kubuntu

No customizable battery thingy, no direct access to be found for custom wallpapers, no usb tools... but when you get everything installed, it does seem to stream video well.


Didn't I try this before with about the same results?

Oh well... Mint Cinnamon and Xubuntu it is then.

 - -

Friday, November 21, 2014

Computer Restoration

Level 1 - Surfer Package
Non-Windows operating system, 
secure browser, 
(Excellent UPGRADE from Windows XP)
Fast, Secure, Simple

Level 2 - Full Restoration
OEM Windows fresh install, 
ALL Microsoft Updates, 
3 browsers with ad-blocking, 
battery/power management optimization, 
Streamlined PDF reader, 
Word Processor/Spreadsheets/Presentation Suite, 
Photo Editing, 
Disk Defrag, 
Registry Cleaner, 
personal data transfer (up to 4GB), 

Level 3 - BOTH

 - - - - - - - - - - - -


eMachines Small Form Factor Tower 4 Sale

Dell Latitude E6400 Laptop 4 Sale

Dell Latitude E5420 Laptop 4 Sale

 - -

My Start Page

     Yahoo! Mail
          Yahoo! Search
               Yahoo! Maps

               Google Calendar

MyWay (ad free news & email)

Free storage at DropBox

Free storage at MediaFire

How is your computer running? Contact me; I can help! I'm your local OCD computer repairman (I won't leave it alone until it's fixed right!).

 - -

Saturday, October 25, 2014

USB Flash Drive Fun

I had previously mentioned installing a fully functioning version of Android 4.4.2
on a USB thumb drive. That is proving more and more useful every day.

But I had originally done this on a full sized thumb drive.

If a computer is completely stationary and shielded on the sides, that's okay, but what about a laptop or netbook?

Have you ever noticed how nobody ever steps on your foot until you have a sore toe?

That's my thinking on USB drives on computers- it's a good way to damage a USB port, and/or a motherboard, etc when somebody snags the USB protrusion or you yourself forget and snag it on something!

With the advent of "nano" drives, the risk is reduced by making the drive less than a 1/4 inch exposed when plugged in. Two prime examples are the SanDisk Cruzer Fit and the Verbatim Store 'n' Stay Nano.

So now that I have Android on a "big" thumb drive, I was hoping I could "clone" it to a nano...

The answer is YES!

ImageUSB is the tool needed.

And, a beautiful step-by-step instruction set is here.

Just make sure that the flash drivers are identical, or at least have the same space available; if not, it will fail (ask me how I found that out).

There have always been ways of creating "live" versions of operating systems for installations or just running off a CD or DVD utilizing the systems RAM, but the true experimenter find the value of doing the same thing with a USB thumb drive.

UNetbootin is one way of doing that. 

PenDriveLinux is another.

Oh, and if you are trying to do a full install on a flash drive, you need to add this to your reading- Which filesystem for usb devices and the whole series Installing Linux on a USB

Happy thumb driving!

 - -

Monday, October 20, 2014

Android on PC

Still playing with this.


It runs a "live cd" extremely well on my netbook, but was a little tricky to do a legitimate installation.

I learned that the drive or partition HAS TO BE formatted in NTFS. Then, you can have a dual boot install with Windows. The GRUB .98 won't pick up other installations of Linux though.

I was able to put Android 4.4.2 on a USB Flash Drive; not a Live CD, but a real installation. That should satisfy any of my hankerings for tinkering.

Here's some links of interest-


Ranish Partition Manager and XOSL Multi-boot Manager

 - -

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Twitter has a nice... um... well, I don't know...

Twitter seems like a way for you to voice your opinion, or maybe, just send a 140 character text message to a throng of "followers" who will never read it. I think...

Well, at least I have found a decent use for it- it is a quick way to post to Facebook (since my accounts are linked) if I'm on something like an iPod that takes FOREVER and a day to use Facebook on.

The Twitter code of ethics is supposed to be - if you "follow" someone, they "follow you back"...

Don't hold your breath on that one.

Ya, I know; it's a 2-way street. Sure. You check my account, and there are a bunch of people I don't follow back either. The problem there is I don't speak Russian. Honestly, I don't. I don't know who they are and I don't want to click on their blind links to find out that they're just spammers pushing porn, Russian brides, or whatever. The Google translator doohickie doesn't help much either.

For instance

"ело против гестапо и СД вместе, заявив, что это было необходимо благодаря тесному сотрудничеству в работе между ними..."

through the "translator"-

"ate against the Gestapo and SD together, saying that it was necessary due to the close cooperation between them in the ..."


I am a fan of "We Love Russia", but that's different; they have videos!

So, in my tweeting adventures, I've found some websites to be of assistance-

This site/tool/app gives you a quick glance of who is not following you back. You can unfollow from their interface.

This is a neat app with statistics on your Twitter activity. Maybe if I tweeted more, my report would be more interesting.

Want to know who stopped following you? This is what you need. They've got some other tools I'm playing with... Check 'em out; it's free.

 - -