HowTo: Monitor the progress of dd.

Tutorials
The dd command is a tool used to pipe data in from a source to a destination. It has a multitude of uses ranging from creating large dummy files of a specific size to duplicating hard-drives sector by sector to another disk or to a backup file. It's also useful for fixing problems with hard-drives that Windows refuses to deal with. But we're not looking at the virtues of dd here. We're looking at its annoyances and dd has one particularly glaring annoyance - a lack of display of progress. You could tell dd to start imaging your multi-terabyte hard-drive and not have any indication of how far it has gone - you just have to wait until it finishes. The dd command only outputs some information right at the…
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HowTo: Configure an APC UPS to communicate with your Ubuntu Desktop or Server

Tutorials
It's been a while since I've written something here, so time to break the drought. APC make some great UPS products and they all have the ability to communicate with a host PC to advise of its state, eg: on mains, on battery, fault, etc. The support software is available aplenty for Windows and Mac, but what about Linux? This guide will show you how to hook up an APC UPS to an Ubuntu-based Desktop or Server PC and allow your UPS to email you when mains power has failed, when mains power has been restored, and also give your PC ample opportunity to shutdown when battery on the UPS gets to a critical low. (more…)
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HowTo: Rip a Blu-ray movie using an LG GGC-H20L Blu-ray drive with Ubuntu

Tutorials
The Blu-ray disc format has brought with it the ability to easily provide the next generation of High-Definition 1080p movie content. There's just one problem - Ubuntu and Linux in general has no official support for Blu-ray, and its encryption scheme is vastly different to that of DVD - it's not just a simple case of installing a library like the libdvdcss2 library for decrypting DVD's - the protection is done both at a software and hardware level. This article discusses how I used my recently purchased LG GGC-H20L Blu-ray ROM drive to successfully read and watch movies using Ubuntu Intrepid. (more…)
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HowTo: Image your hard-drive for transfer or backup using dd

Tutorials
Imaging, also known as Ghosting in the Windows world, is the act of creating a sector-by-sector copy of a hard-drive and saving it to a file, or transferring it to another hard-drive. Such uses for imaging include: Backup to an image file Clone to another hard-drive (eg: building multiple identical workstations) either directly or via an image file Data recovery (it's safer and easier to examine an image file than risk further damage to the hard-drive itself) Linux has a neat little command that can do this for us called simply "dd". It is completely filesystem independent, so you can backup any hard-drive regardless of whether it was Linux formatted, Mac formatted or Windows formatted. It copies the drive bit by bit, sector by sector, not file by file. (more…)
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