Apr 212013
 

On this episode of greenhornlinux, I show you how to copy music files from a music playlist to your USB stick, flash stick, or a folder. This is a great way to transfer just a few files of your music onto your device. With my music collection of over 3,000 files, I wanted to copy just my “favorites” onto my flash card. I use a smart playlist that sorts out all files that are rated 4 or more stars.

Just follow along with the video. If you have any questions, just add a comment on my youtube channel and I will attempt to answer.

Apr 132013
 

On this episode I talk about my new toy. The Lemur Ultra 14.1 inch laptop from System 76. Now, I have no affiliations with System 76 what so ever. I am just a fan of an all out Linux laptop. If you are interested in what they have to offer, check out their website. https://www.system76.com/

First, these are the specs I got:

  • OS: ubuntu 12.04
  • Screen: 14.1 inch [1366 x 768]
  • GPU: On board Intel HD graphics 4000
  • CPU: 3rd gent Intel Core i7-363QM processor
  • Memory: 8 GB dual channel DDR3 @ 1600MHz
  • Hard Drive: 750 GB 7200 RMP SATA II
  • Optical Drive: 8x DVD+-R/RW
  • Wifi: Intel Centrino 1030-802.11 b/g/n
  • Ports: HDMI out, VGA out, 2 usb 3.0, 1 usb 2.0, ethernet

Now, on to the review! Let me first say, if you are looking for an all out Linux only laptop or desktop solution, system 76 is an awesome way to go. Everything for me has worked extremely well.

The hardware is pretty good. Not as good as a mac book or ultra thin windows laptop, but decent enough. The body is made of plastic but looks like a metallic brush was applied  All in all, decent looking but a bit “plastic” feel to it. Keyboard is nice but it isn’t a chicklet style which seems to be the most popular these days. The touch pad is um… okay. I have used better. I usually plug in a mouse anyways so that isn’t a huge deal for me. Screen is decent. Not as good as a retinal display, but a good “average” laptop screen.

As far as support and everything just working, this has been the best Linux experience  Everything just works. Plug in HDMI, immediately goes to my screen. Click the suspend button on the laptop, goes to suspend mode no problems. If you want a Linux experience to just work with your hardware, this is the best way to go. System 76 even has its own driver that pulls in other drivers and makes sure all of your hardware keeps on working. A fantastic touch. As far as speed is considered, Ubuntu 12.04 and this laptop are awesome. Super happy with the responsiveness and Ubuntu. I suppose Windows 7 with this hardware would be pretty sweet too.

Downsides, and there are a few… I am not sure if Ubuntu is ready for a basic user. Even though this laptop comes super close to supporting a below basic user, there could be small issues here and there. This isn’t the fault of system 76, this is simply issues with Linux. For example, I have had some minor issues with pulseaudio quitting on me. This has happened a few times in the month that I have had it. Not a huge deal, I can restart it via the terminal. However, a new user may not know how to do this. Also, you don’t get a lot of hardware to choose from. Basically for the laptops you only have 3-4 different ones to choose from. Not a lot of options for hardware. If you wanted an 11 inch laptop currently you are out of luck. At  this point the laptops only come with Ubuntu. Not a huge deal as most Linux distros should work. It may not be “officially” supported by system 76. However, all the components they choose are very Linux friendly so hopefully you would be just fine installing other distros.

So I suppose it comes down to this, should you buy something from system 76? Well, if you know how to install an operating system, then yes, you can easily handle something from system 76. This maybe one of the best Linux experiences you can ask for. If you are unsure of Linux and installing an operating system, this becomes harder to recommend when compared to something familiar to most basic users like windows 7. If it came down to Windows 8 or system 76 and Ubuntu, I would choose system 76 and Ubuntu.

Apr 132013
 

On this episode, I give a discussion of my new thoughts on life and computers. I want to simplify my life! With a kid on the way, I realized time will become even more precious then it already is.

My new setup is much simpler then what I use to have. Instead of running 3 or 4 computers with each having 2 operating systems, I have decided to keep things simple. I ordered a system 76 laptop. I now have a laptop/desktop replacement that only runs Linux. I then have my desktop that will only run windows 7 (mostly for gaming or any odd projects). I find myself in Linux 98% of the time and I am loving the simplicity of this new setup. Now I only have two computers to worry about. My new laptop and my windows desktop, that I barley use. Well, okay, maybe 3 computers… I do find myself still using my little netbook more then I thought I would. Perhaps my wife won’t get that after all…

Feb 102013
 

On this episode we go hardcore Linux. We make our first “script” that isn’t the usual “hello world”. No, we actually build something that could be useful. Is this harder to make then “hello world”? Sure, but not by much. As an added bonus if you keep this script up when your friends are around, you will look like a hardcore Linux user.

First thing is first, you need to install lm-sensors and probe your hardware before this can work. If you haven’t seen that post yet, I recommend looking that over first before trying to write this script.

http://www.greenhornlinux.com/2013/01/12/how-to-install-lm-sensors/

Now, I will include the script in this post. I suppose you could simply just copy the code and be done with it. However, I strongly encourage you follow along and see how this is done. I also recommend that you type out EVERYTHING. This will be the best way to start learning scripts in Linux. When ever I am given a script online that I want to “build” myself, I always type it out and try to dissect it line by line. This is one of the best ways to learn scripting in Linux. If you always copy it, it will be that much harder to learn scripting to make your own cool stuff. If you never have the desire to write your own scripts then by all means copy the code.

Code to be inserted into a text file and changed to an executable is:

#!/bin/sh
x=1
while [ $x -lt 10 ]
do
     clear
     sensors
     sleep 10

done

Jan 242013
 

On this episode we pick up from last week. Now that you have successfully detected your hardware for temperature monitor, you can install some software that gives you graphs and alerts if you reach a certain temperature.

On program is called psensor. This works great in Ubuntu and other desktop environments such as xfce and lxde. To install, simply type in your terminal…

  • sudo apt-get install psensor

The other temperature monitor is used best in Ubuntu and the Unity desktop environment  To install you must add a PPA. Use PPAs at your own risk. To install type this in your terminal…

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alexmurray/indicator-sensors
  • sudo apt-get update 
  • sudo apt-get install indicator-sensors

There you go, you should have two ways to keep an eye on your temperature in Ubuntu! If you are running lxde you will be happy to know that lxde has a temperature monitor built right into the panel provided you used lm-sensors to detect your hardware.

For more info on lxde panels check out this site here: http://linuxlibrary.org/lxde-desktop-panel-lxpanel/

Jan 122013
 

What is lm-sensors? It allows you to view temperature/voltage/fan speeds, and other hardware goodies that are supported. Me personally? I simply use it for temperature on my CPU. First install lm-sensors.

  • sudo apt-get install lm-sensors

Keep in mind you will have to run sensors-detect and this must be done as root after you install lm-sensors. In Ubuntu 12.04 the command would look like this…

  • sudo sensors-detect 

After that, follow the command prompts in your terminal. Make sure to read each line! After you detect hardware and restart your computer (or I believe you can simply restart the correct daemon or service),  you can run  sensors in the command line. Now you should be able to view what ever you detected, such as CPU temperature.

The next two videos shows you how to set up a graphical user interface with lm-sensors and also set up a quick script that keeps monitoring your temperature in a command line.

Jan 062013
 

On this episode I show you how to comment out configuration files. This is fantastic for writing yourself notes of what you may have did and why. Not only is it great for notes, it is one of the easiest ways to turn “off” a setting or command in the text file with out deleting the whole line of code! That way in the future you can quickly turn that line “on” by simply removing the comment.

Every programming langue has its own way of dealing with comments. In Linux, by far the most common way to comment files is with the # symbol.

This is true for most configuration files and true for bash scripts. Simply put a # symbol in front of the line you want to turn “off” and it is as simple as that. For lua type configuration files (if you happen to be using the awesome windows manager) the comment symbol is –

It is also a good idea to write yourself a note to a line you may have commented or uncommented out. That way you can remember if you ever need to edit the configuration file again why you did what you did. Notes are super helpful and friendly.

I also quickly show off nano, a text based editor for the terminal. Although I don’t use it that often, it is great to know the very basics! If you fail to get a graphical user interface started but are able to get to a terminal and or shell, nano is an excellent tool to edit text/configuration files in hopes to fix up your system should you have edited something you weren’t suppose to edit (yes I have been there).

Dec 022012
 

On this episode I show off the copy command, cp in the terminal and the move command, mv in the terminal. This is an excellent way to backup configuration files before you modify them. If things do go south, like it has for me in the past, then it is pretty easy to restore via a terminal. If the worst does happen, and you can’t get into your graphical user interface, then this is an excellent way to restore configuration files. Had I known this when I frist started using Linux, it would have saved me a few hours worth of work.

My suggestion is practice this a few times with a mock folder and some mock files. Practice using the cp and mv commands until you feel comfortable. That way in the future, if you need to restore a file, you will feel okay doing this with just a terminal.

Nov 252012
 

In this episode I go over a lot of stuff about package managers and how they work. Here is a link with some great basic information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Package_management_system

Towards the end of the video I explain PPAs, more info on PPAs can be found here. http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/ubuntu-ppa-technology-explained/

I quickly show you how to install a system monitor tool that runs in your unity bar. Info on the PPA program can be found here. http://www.noobslab.com/2012/02/install-indicator-multiload-in-ubuntu.html

If you want to simply paste the code in your terminal, the code to install this software is this…

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:indicator-multiload/stable-daily
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install indicator-multiload

Warning! You should understand PPAs before installing on your machine. You should understand the pros and cons to installing PPAs. ANYTIME you see sudo you should always understand the commands following it. After all, you are giving that command administrative access. 

Nov 182012
 


On this episode I show of a Unity desktop environment bug that is greatly reducing my work flow. I still really like Unity but this bug has me down.environment. Perhaps in the future this bug will be fixed or I will learn to live with it.  For now it is back to the awesome windows manager and xfce desktop.

The Unity desktop environment and this bug as made me think a lot about workflow and how I want my Linux setup to function. I see many videos on desktop environments but few people explain HOW they got there and some of the pros and cons to such a setup. Sadly I haven’t found a lot of videos on workflow and the Linux desktop. Which is a real shame as this is one of the huge pros to Linux, you can really teak some desktop environment to really meet your needs and goals. It is my goal so give you some ideas and show off some tweak-able settings to you can start thinking about YOUR work flow and really take advantage of what Linux has to offer.

Most of the tweaks I show you are in xfce4. Some of these tweaks can also be done in lxde and kde desktop environment. The idea is to get you thinking about how you may want to change some of your settings.

I also show you how to reset your xfce4 settings if you mess things up. Please keep in mind…

This will delete out ALL xfce4 settings, including keyboard shortcuts. All data will be safe, just all xfce4 settings will be reset to default. If you want to reset JUST the panel, navigate to this folder…

~/.config/xfce4/xfconf/xfce-perchannel-xml

Then delete out the file xfce4-panel.xml

This will reset the panels ONLY and will leave all other settings intact.