Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stanley The Spammer

Just spent about 15 minutes deleting a comment left in about 15 of my pages by Stanley the Spammer.

He left a whole bunch of oriental characters each containing a link to numerous Asian sites. After I deleted the links I then checked Google's policy about registered users leaving spam in comments. Seems their solution is for the blog's owner to turn on comment moderation.

They will go after blogs that promote spam but won't go after spammers that leave comments. Okay. I'm alright with that. But that now leaves me with only one choice. A choice I hate to make.

Everyone can thank Stanley the Spammer for forcing me to turn on comments moderation. I don't like it but I'm not going to turn my little piece of the internet into a spammer links festival.

Be assured that if you leave a legitimate comment, it will be approved and will show up in the appropriate article that you posted to.
And I will be checking on a daily basis whenever possible. Don't worry if you don't see your comment show up right away. If it's legit, it will be published.

Thanks to everyone for their understanding in this matter.

Peace out!

Monday, May 31, 2010

FFMPEG Missing Codec Error

Recently a reader asked me a question about a missing codec error while using ffmpeg to convert a video.
Here's the error message;
It seems your FFMPEG (libavcodec) installation lacks the following encoder:

I initially told him to make sure he has the AAC audio codec installed. Then I tried a conversion and got a similar message. I know I had everything installed so it was time to investigate.

Didn't take me long to find out that the ffmpeg including the unstripped version from the restricted repo's is lacking certain codecs due to licensing B.S.
So what do we do?
I read many articles talking about compiling your own ffmpeg with the missing codecs. Now I'm not against doing that but I was hoping for something easier. LOL!

Then I found this page;

It has a comprehensive tutorial on how to compile your own ffmpeg.
And it also contains a quick 2 copy and paste terminal commands that will download and install the unstripped ffmpeg.
Just make sure that you pick your correct version of Ubuntu when using either option.

Many thanks to FakeOutdoorsman for his excellent tutorial on fixing this.

There are so many ways around the B.S!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Great News For 20 in 1 Multiboot DVD

As many of my readers know, I have been hosting my Linux 20 in 1 Multiboot DVD on Rapidshare for lack of a better hosting service.
But then the other night a reader by the name of Greg asked me to contact him about hosting my files on his dedicated server.

I contacted him and he graciously offered to host all the 20 in 1 links on his server that is also used to mirror software from the likes of Mozilla, Open Office, GetDeb, PlayDeb and other project sites.

He has provided a folder filled with the full Iso for those users who have the bandwidth to download it in one shot or for those that are limited with download caps or slow speeds, the individual Rar files are available.
He also created and md5sum file so you can verify your downloads.
I also tested his download speeds and they are fast!

Greg exemplifies the true spirit of the Linux community because during our email discussion he said he wanted to host my files to help out my readers and the Linux community. That attitude and generosity is what makes the Linux community so strong. We believe in giving and sharing.

I'm still jumping for joy at finally having this project on a server that doesn't play wait and see games with users trying to download it. And I'm happy for everyone that passes through my blog and can now download my  20 in 1 Multiboot without any hassles.

If you would like to thank Greg you can leave comments here or stop by his blog found here;

As for my Linux 20 in 1 Multiboot DVD links?
You can grab them from here;

Finally I must say this again even though I have said it to him at least a dozen times;
Thank You!!!

Enjoy the new links and please say thank you to Greg who made this all possible.

I must be dreaming! LOL!!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

PC Upgrade Finished

Just finished my pc upgrade today!

Sorry I haven't been more active here lately but between work and real world chores I barely have time for myself.
This weekend I finally finished my pc upgrade.

I had some of the parts for a month now and with the help of a borrowed SATA cable I finally finished them. What were the upgrades?
Some hard drives and a power supply.

A few months ago I ordered a new Asus motherboard, AMD Regor 240 and 2 Gigs of GSkill DDR3 Ram.
After I had that installed I decided to go for broke so to speak.
I ordered 2 new Western Digital Black Edition 640 GB hard drives a month after I got the new motherboard, cpu and ram.

Then a few weeks ago I ordered 2 more of the same drives and a new 650 watt power supply. Now my tower is filled to the brim.
The configuration is as follows;
4 - 640 GB W/D Sata drives
2 - Sata Cd/DVD burners
1 - 500 GB W/D Sata hard drive in an external USB enclosure

You may ask why all that space just for Linux?
Good question.
My new system is now a combination personal PC, Local Network server and a Home Theater pc.

During the install of the new parts I added a new 80 mm front and rear fan. Didn't need them before as I was only running a 500 MB Sata and 80 MB Pata drive.
Now that I have four high end hard drives in this system I knew that heat would be an issue. In fact I just checked the drive temps and see that I may have to add in a second front fan and possibly a second rear fan as the drive temps are around 102 F / 39 C

Those temps are a bit too high for my liking.
If I can get them down a few degrees I will be much happier.
Don't want any heat killing the drives as I waited too long for this dream system.

As for the Linux distro I'm running now?
Switched over to the Ubuntu 9.10 64 bit version and so far I haven't had any serious issues. A few minor ones with flash games causing screen flicker in Firefox although I don't have that issue when using Opera.
I'm also using a USB mouse and at times my mouse pointer goes on a rampage and flies to another part of the screen by itself.

But for the most part I'm very happy with the system I now have and hope it lasts a good long while.

Next on my wish list is a big screen tv!

And I received an older D-Link router from a friend that I plan to upgrade by installing the DD-WRT Linux firmware on it. Will try and keep you updated on that project.

Until later.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

When Things Go Wrong Think On Your Feet

The title is something I have lived by and has gotten me out of more then one scrape. Recently I updated my computer components which included a 64 bit cpu.
I was very intrigued about updating to Ubuntu 64 bit but I was a bit concerned as I have heard both good and bad reports about 64 bit.

So I downloaded the Iso and burned it to a Cd. Then I tested it in live mode for a week or so. I found it was working very well and any minor issues I had were the same ones I had in the 32 bit version. So one day I decided to upgrade my PC.
I had also added a new hard drive so I backed up all my files and folders to the slave drive. I was doing a full format and install and now I was ready to do it.

I inserted the 64 bit Cd and booted to it. I clicked on install and went through the whole routine. I have done upgrades and OS changes so many times that I have this down to a 2 hour task. And that includes installing updates and software that I use.

The install was at the point where it was copying over files when disaster struck.
At around 84% the installer said it couldn't copy a file because it was corrupted.
Uh-Oh!!! I committed a cardinal sin. When I burned that Cd I did not verify it.
Never had a problem before so I got lax and figured this burn was also good.
Mental note to self....... Verify the Cd you Dummy!

Now I was in a jam. I could easily install my old 32 bit version but that would be wasting time. What could I do? I decided to boot into my 32 bit Cd, download another 64 bit Iso to my slave drive and burn it from the XP partition that I still have installed for work and help reasons. Problem was that I no longer had a grub loader and there was no way to boot into it. I could have tried reloading grub but it was getting late and I needed to get this install done.

Then it hit me!
I inserted my flash drive and used the USB Start Up Disk Creator found in the 9.10 menu to install the new 64 bit Iso to my flash drive.
Once it was done I rebooted my computer and set the bios to boot from flash drive.
Ubuntu booted up and much to my relief it fully installed.

I now had a fully functioning 9.10 64 bit system and the grub loader was installed and my XP side of it was working also.
Planning to dump that XP partition but I still use it occasionally. Actually the last time I needed it was 2 months ago. LOL!!

I'm happy to say that using 64 bit has presented no problems. A few things in 9.10 are a bit different as is making some configuration changes but those are easily Google'd.
My computer is snappier and performs much faster then the 32 bit version in certain tasks.

So if you run into a major problem, don't panic.
Step back, take a deep breath and explore all your possible options.
Fortunately Linux provides you with many options to bail your butt out when you screw up. LOL!

Take care!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I pose this question after a short but frustrating search for software.
Not software for me. Software for a Windows user I know.
The frustration I encountered happened while I was searching for a free online radio station ripper.

In Linux we have StreamTuner and StreamRipper.
Tune in a station, click record and save as much of the audio you want.
But doing a search for a free Windows app that does the same thing is an exercise in futility.

Oh sure, they say it's free. Free to try for 30 days. Free to try but limited functions until you buy.
Or you get that free version that will then impregnate your computer with more spyware then radio stations it will tune in. Every piece of software had some kind of catch to it. That catch being money.
You either paid up front for it or you install some piece of crap that was paid for by advertisers in the back alley that will spy on you in the hope of selling you something with the constant ad barrage you will unleash on your computer.

Now I'm not condemning all free software titles for Microsoft. There are several excellent programs available for Windows users. One of my favorites from day one is Irfanview. I like it so much that I have it installed in my Linux pc using Wine. Winamp was also a favorite of mine back when I was using Windows. And there are others that are just as good. Just not that many in a variety of categories.

Why can't free software for Windows be like that found in Linux. Open source software abounds in the Linux community but seems very stifled in the Windows community. I assume the motivation for money is what drives the Windows software writers while the Open Source community looks at the development of software as helping the community and fellow users.

I guess that me using Linux for so long has changed my attitude about software. I have nothing against developing and marketing software for profit. But there also needs to be an equivalent number of software titles available for free with no crippling or attaching hidden strings to it.
Why aren't there that many open source software titles for Microsoft users?

End of rant. Have a nice day!

BTW....... I am in no way condoning illegal downloading or theft of music. Unfortunately some people and forums feel that recording an online radio stream is illegal. I don't see it that way. They pay the fees to play the music and stream it to your computer. Recording it for your later listening pleasure is considered fair use. If it wasn't then all those cassette recorders and vcr's would have been illegal from day one. Of course a certain big company ( S***) sees it differently now that they don't produce vcr's.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hope for Intel Motherboards Using Ubuntu 10.4 ?

A friend of mine has some computers that have Intel motherboards and he also has a Toshiba laptop.
For the past several releases of Ubuntu, he has not been able to use or install Ubuntu on these computers. Either he got a boot error or had video problems.

But he contacted me recently and said he just tried the 10.4 Alpha release of Ubuntu. He was happy to report that both Intel based pc's and the Toshiba booted up and he was able to use them in Live mode.
His remarks were something to the effect that as long as they don't muck something up between now and the final release he will be able to update his pc's and laptop.

So let's keep our fingers crossed and hope the development team stays on track and gets some of these older bugs fixed and not introduce new ones or break something along the way. The final release is scheduled for sometime in April and that date is rapidly approaching. Especially when you have a whole OS to upgrade. My best regards to everyone who is associated with this project and keeping my fingers crossed that nothing that is working now isn't broken in the final release.

Until then I'll just play around with some 64 bit distros.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Risen From The Ashes Like The Phoenix

Wow! What a way to start the New Year.
Started out in ashes but ended up like the rise of the Phoenix.
Day after New Years I turned on my computer. It powered on then off. Turned it on again. Powered off.

Time to troubleshoot it. First thing I did was disconnect all my drives, Ram and video card.
Tried powering it on. Few seconds later it powered off. Only thing left is the power plug on the motherboard for the cpu. Disconnected the connector and turned on the computer.
Powered on and cpu and case fans spun up and continued spinning. Hmmm??
Turned it off, disconnected the power supply and did voltage tests on it. Tested good.
That meant either the motherboard or cpu was shorted out.

To old to update it. It was a cheap closeout combo I bought online about 3 years ago.
A micro-atx motherboard with a 3.0 Ghz single core AMD Sempron cpu and 512 Megs of DDR Ram.
It was only a matter of time until it died. Unfortunately it happened right after the holidays.
Made a few phone calls to get a loaner until I could order new parts. Here's where the story really begins.

Got a loaner motherboard and cpu. I was using an AMD setup. This was an Intel based motherboard with a 3.0 Ghz Dual Core cpu and 512 Megs of DDR2 Ram. What's going to happen to my Linux install or the XP I have installed on a small slave drive that I use when helping people still using XP?
Time to find out.

I picked up the loaner board. I must make a note here that the heatsink mounts on Intel cpu's is very cheesy and cheap. Reason I say this is because the heatsink had been removed and I had to redo the heatsink thermal compound then mount the heatsink. Put the loaner board in my case and fired it up.
Booted into Linux and held my breath.

Linux starts it's normal boot up routine but just before it boots in to the desktop it sits on the splash screen. Uh-Oh! But another 30 seconds later it finishes the boot and there is my desktop. I check everything out including the network card. It all works!
No downloading drivers or uninstalling old ones. Linux reconfigured itself during the boot to use the new hardware it found. Amazing.

For fun I restarted and booted from the grub menu into XP. That didn't fair to well.
Blue screened with a Unexpected Kernel Mode Trap. Oh well! I didn't expect anything less. LMAO!!
No big loss. Going to eventually run XP in Virtual Box anyway.
So I reboot back into Linux.

Meanwhile I ordered a new Asus AM3 socket mobo, AMD 2.8 Ghz Dual Core cpu and 2 Gigs of DDR3 1333 Ram. It arrived yesterday and I installed it last night. That meant removing the Intel board and installing a new AMD board with a dual core cpu. How will Linux fair with this 2nd change in under a week?

Got everything installed and powered it up. Linux boots up and gets to the last part of the splash screen before the desktop. Sits there for about 20 seconds and there is my desktop and all my software.
Totally amazing. What's more amazing is that it found the 7.0 surround sound audio chip and network adapter chip both of which are built into the motherboard. And for once my 5.1 surround sound speakers work properly in Linux.

Again I had to do nothing for all my hardware to be installed or configured. No installing drivers, no reinstalling OS, no nothing other then boot up and get ready to use it.
As for the new hardware performance?
Fast!!! As in extreme speed.
When I originally bought the AM3 socket mobo I had plans to possibly update to a quad core later in the year. Forget that! This dual core is more then sufficient.

The only thing I will need to upgrade is my power supply. I have 2 brand new Sata hard drives waiting to be installed but my power supply only has 2 Sata power connectors on it which are already in use. I looked at the price of IDE to Sata power adapters but the price of 4 of them including shipping is about 35% of a new good quality 600 watt power supply. It's not the price of the cables that they get you on. It's the S&H charges that kill you.

So from the ashes the Phoenix has risen. It's my new pc that is now flying with jet engines instead of propellers.
I plan to do some stress testing on the new hardware by trying some video conversions and rendering some Blender 3D scenes.

Catch you later if I don't overshoot this page.
It turned out to be a Happy New Year after all.