HowTo: Install the XScreensaver packages on Ubuntu

The XScreensaver packages are a series of fancy alternate screensavers that have a popular history. They are much more enjoyable than the boring default Ubuntu screensaver which is just… a black screen.

The Hypertaurus XScreensaver

Unfortunately the XScreensavers package hasn’t really been updated in awhile and doesn’t integrate very nicely into the current flavours of Ubuntu without some manual tweaking, so that’s exactly what I’m going to cover right here.

Continue reading

(404)

Posted in Tutorials Tagged , , , , ,

HowTo: Setup Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN) to automatically erase storage devices via PXE boot

Darik’s Boot and Nuke (abbreviated as DBAN) is a popular tool used by many organisations and individuals to securely erase hard-drives prior to disposal, or perhaps just to fix Windows problems Smilie: ;) . It typically comprises a small 15MB ISO image that you can burn to CD or make a bootable USB stick from so you can boot up a PC on it and set about erasing all detected storage devices.

Erase HDD

When you’re doing a lot of machines, however, booting a CD is tedious, especially when you accidentally scratch the disc and need to burn a new one. Using a USB stick and either misplacing it, or forgetting to remove it before erasing starts means you lose the content of the boot stick too.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to simply boot DBAN from the network so it’s always available whenever you need it and have it automatically use your preferred options instead of being manually run each time?

Continue reading

(936)

Posted in Tutorials Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

HowTo: Install the IBM Notes 9.0 client on Ubuntu 64-bit

IBM Notes (formerly Lotus Notes) is a corporate email and database collaboration tool. It’s still popular and widely used, and at the time of writing is now up to version 9.0.

IBM Notes 9 Logo

Unfortunately IBM have a bad habit of assuming no-one uses 64-bit operating systems (yes, even in 2014), so with the exception of the Apple OS X version which doesn’t have a 32-bit version at all, IBM continues to compile the Linux and Windows versions as 32-bit only applications.

Installing the 32-bit Linux version does not work on 64-bit Ubuntu/Debian systems “out of the box” because of some hard-coded 32-bit only pre-requisites. This article will describe how to modify the installer so that it will work on 64-bit systems.

Continue reading

(976)

Posted in Tutorials Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

HowTo: Rename multiple TV episode files with one command

So, you’ve procured a number of files that represent a pre-recorded television series and they are typically named something like this:

MyTVShow.Original.S01E01-720p.HDTV.x264-ImAwesome.mkv
MyTVShow.Original.S01E02-720p.HDTV.x264-ImAwesome.mkv
MyTVShow.Original.S01E03-720p.HDTV.x264-ImAwesome.mkv
MyTVShow.Original.S01E04-720p.HDTV.x264-ImAwesome.mkv

You’d like to rename them to look something like this instead:

MyTVShow S01E01.mkv
MyTVShow S01E02.mkv
MyTVShow S01E03.mkv
MyTVShow S01E04.mkv

Normally you’d tediously edit each filename and rename them manually, but to do so individually across a large folder will take a long time. Surely there’s a way to rename them all in a more convenient manner?

There certainly is! And with just one command too…

Continue reading

(469)

Posted in Tutorials Tagged , , , ,

HowTo: Resize an LVM partition on a GPT drive after expanding the underlying array

Scenario: You have an Ubuntu Linux server. The storage system is a large RAID array, partitioned as a GPT disk and it has two partitions on it – a small boot partition and the second partition is setup for use with LVM with one or more Logical Volumes in it.

You’re starting to run out of space and intend to expand the system by adding one or more disks to the array. Once you’ve done this, you will obviously need to extend the partition to use the new space, but GPT is a slightly different kettle of fish to regular partitioning, and being a server you don’t have a GUI to use traditional tools.

So how do you do this?

Continue reading

(1046)

Posted in Tutorials Tagged , , , , , , ,

HowTo: Launch and terminate an Impress (PowerPoint) presentation from a Terminal

The scenario is simple: You have a kiosk or display machine showing information, eg: a self-updating webpage. On a schedule you want to launch an Impress or PowerPoint presentation on the display which will loop. You want that loop to only run for a few minutes before terminating and going back to what was originally being displayed.

How do you do this?

Continue reading

(482)

Posted in Tutorials Tagged , , , , ,

HowTo: Fix Apt-Get failing with a “Method did not start correctly” error

So, you decide to install a new package on your system, or perhaps update your system with some outstanding updates. You either use the Software Centre or the Apt-Get command from a terminal to do this and you are suddenly greeted with the following error:

Failed to exec method /usr/lib/apt/methods/
E: Method  has died unexpectedly!
E: Sub-process  returned an error code (100)
E: Method /usr/lib/apt/methods/ did not start correctly

And everything stops. Repeating the command produces the same error over and over.

What just happened and how do you fix this?

Continue reading

(2901)

Posted in Tutorials Tagged , , , , , ,

HowTo: Pair a Sony PlayStation3 DualShock controller with Ubuntu

The ubiquitous Sony PlayStation3 DualShock controller. This controller has been around for ages now and IMO it’s one of the nicest multi-button game controllers out there. One of its nicer features is that it has USB and Bluetooth connectivity.

 

Click for full size!

The Sony Dual Shock 3 controller

It’s already been proven that you can connect a PS3 controller to Ubuntu using a standard USB cable, which is fine, but it’d be kinda cool to use Bluetooth as well. The thing is that the PS3 controller doesn’t follow the complete Bluetooth specification with regards to pairing. The reason for this is deliberate – you don’t want people being able to steal control of your PS3 controllers or your PS3 remotely, so pairing is performed manually using the USB cable. Once paired that way, the cable can be disconnected and you can continue using Bluetooth instead.

So can we replicate this in Ubuntu? Can we pair a controller via USB and then continue to use it via Bluetooth? Thanks to the QTSixA project, we can!

Continue reading

(1645)

Posted in Tutorials Tagged , , , , , , ,

HowTo: Fix Postgrey not working after upgrading from an older version of Ubuntu to a newer version.

Scenario: You’ve got some Postfix mail servers running with Postgrey for anti-spam greylisting. They’re all using older versions of Ubuntu such as 10.04 LTS. You’ve decided that it’s time to upgrade them to the next LTS, Ubuntu 12.04.

You do the upgrade and it goes without a hitch. You restart the server, everything looks good, until you start seeing this message in your server’s mail log:

 

Jan 23 21:17:58 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: connect from somecompany.com[100.200.300.400]
Jan 23 21:17:59 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: warning: connect to 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused
Jan 23 21:17:59 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: warning: problem talking to server 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused
Jan 23 21:18:00 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: warning: connect to 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused
Jan 23 21:18:00 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: warning: problem talking to server 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused
Jan 23 21:18:00 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from somecompany.com[100.200.300.400]: 451 4.3.5 Server configuration problem; from=<m-1wu7GywwdBK9XOl40cdonjrOvQVbXrSQjrNIttfwaHqBuxTEiR4njb_
n@bounce.somecompany.com> to=<myrecipient@mycompany.com> proto=ESMTP helo=<mail.somecompany.com>
Jan 23 21:18:05 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: disconnect from somecompany.com[100.200.300.400]
Jan 23 21:18:10 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7955]: connect from unknown[200.300.400.500]
Jan 23 21:18:11 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7955]: warning: connect to 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused
Jan 23 21:18:11 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7955]: warning: problem talking to server 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused
Jan 23 21:18:12 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7955]: warning: connect to 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused
Jan 23 21:18:12 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7955]: warning: problem talking to server 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused
Jan 23 21:18:12 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7955]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from unknown[200.300.400.500]: 451 4.3.5 Server configuration problem; from=<someone@anothercompany.com> to=<myrecipient@mycompany.com> proto=ESMTP helo=<m
ail.anothercompany.com>
Jan 23 21:18:12 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7955]: disconnect from unknown[200.300.400.500]
Jan 23 21:18:17 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: connect from mta.ilikecheese.com[300.400.500.600]
Jan 23 21:18:18 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: warning: connect to 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused
Jan 23 21:18:18 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: warning: problem talking to server 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused
Jan 23 21:18:19 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: warning: connect to 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused
Jan 23 21:18:19 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: warning: problem talking to server 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused
Jan 23 21:18:19 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: NOQUEUE: reject: RCPT from mta.ilikecheese.com[300.400.500.600]: 451 4.3.5 Server configuration problem; from=<someone@thatcompany.com> to=<myrecipient@mycompany.com> pro
to=ESMTP helo=<MTA.thatcompany.com>
Jan 23 21:18:20 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: disconnect from mta.thatcompany.com[300.400.500.600]

You almost have a heart attack – every single email is bouncing back and it’s clear that it’s something to do with your upgrade. What went wrong? The errors refer to a configuration issue, but you didn’t change any of the configuration in your upgrade!

Continue reading

(961)

Posted in Tutorials Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

HowTo: Fix networking not working after installing Ubuntu Desktop from a PXE-booted Live Environment

Scenario: You’ve setup a PXE server. You’ve setup an Ubuntu Live CD to boot over your network via PXE. Everything works well.

You then decide to install a fresh Ubuntu Desktop installation from your PXE-booted environment. All goes well. The install finishes and your system reboots.

When the system comes up, you discover that there’s no network connections. Ethernet doesn’t work, but wifi probably is working OK, or you can’t get wifi working yet because you need to install a closed-source driver for it. You check the Network Manager and find that there is no automatically defined ethernet connection such as “Auto eth0″. What’s the go?

Here’s how to fix it.

Continue reading

(900)

Posted in Tutorials Tagged , , , , , ,