Owncloud 4.5

OwnCloud is an open-source file sharing and file storage cloud platform that’s similar to Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and other cloud sharing services. The difference is, OwnCloud allows you to install your own cloud storage on your own server. You manage the server software yourself making your data your own. OwnCloud has vastly improved the past year. OwnCloud has added a desktop client for Windows, MacOS and Linux, as well as mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Much has changed since the last time I played around with OwnCloud. Instead of performing an upgrade of my previous installation, I’ve decided to just reinstall everything from scratch. OwnCloud now gives your three options to install the server software. You can install it from a tar archive, a Linux package, or you can use the Web Installer. I chose the latter. It turned out to be the simplest option.

You simply download the small installation file called “setup-owncloud.php.” You then upload the it to your web server and run the install script. You will be asked to supply a username and password. The installation file will then download the rest of the program and complete the installation for you. It takes less than a minute to complete the install.

Just a couple of things worth sharing. I opted for SQLite install. So, there is no MySQL database needed. There’s only one thing I want to modify. I want increase the default allocated space to something bigger. Other than that, it’s a functional file sharing service. It’s not as polished as Dropbox and Google Drive, but it’s not too shabby either. At least, you can sleep well knowing your data is your own.

Linux Steam Gaining Momentum

Valve released Steam For Linux several weeks ago making it possible for Linux gamers to play games on the Linux platform. Initially 57 games were available on Linux steam. To entice gamers to play on the Linux platform, Valve offered steep discounts ranging from 50-75% off the normal price. Counter Strike is available for $4.99 and Half-Life for just $2.49. It gets better. Team Fortress is totally free.

Interestingly enough, Linux Today reported today that Linux Steam accounts to about 2 percent of the users at Steam. Not bad considering that Mac users are at 3 percent, and Mac Steam has been around since 2010. If you want to give Linux Steam a try, just download and install Linux. Choose any of these popular distributions: Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora or everyone’s favorite distro at this moment, Linux Mint.

Choosing a Desktop Environment on Linux Mint

Linux Mint has four desktop environments that you can choose from. There is KDE, Xfce, Cinnamon and Mate. The two most common choices by users are Cinnamon and Mate. Technically, you can download any of the desktop environments and change them later. If you decide to go with Mate and later on want to install Cinnamon, the change is going to be easy.

You just need 400MB of extra disk space, which is practically nothing judging on the size of hard drives nowadays. The only other decision to make is to whether include multimedia effects or leave them out. My preference is to include them.

Let’s say you’ve decided to go with Mate and want to install Cinnamon later on. Changing from Mate to Cinnamon is quite easy. All you have to do is install Cinnamon via the Terminal which is my preference. You can easily do the same using a GUI package manager.

From Mate to Cinnamon

$ sudo apt-get install mint-meta-cinnamon

From Cinnamon to Mate

$ sudo apt-get install mint-meta-mate

Once you’ve made the change. You need to log out of the current desktop environment and log in again and making sure you select the environment you would like to use. You can switch back and forth desktop environments to your hearts delight. As you can see, changing desktop environments in Linux Mint is quite easy.

Setting Up An Internet Radio

Setting up an internet radio is quite easy nowadays. From the Linux perspective, there are two obvious choices. Either go with Icecast or Shoutcast. I went with Icecast because it was the easy option. Shoutcast is probably more popular since it has a better directory listing if you want your internet radio advertised to potential listeners. But I’m not really interesting in listing my internet radio. I just want a proof of concept that it works.

Installing Icecast on the Ubuntu server is quite easy as running “sudo apt-get install icecast2″ from the Terminal. You’ll be asked three different times to supply passwords for admin, relay and source accounts. Once you have Icecast server installed on the Ubuntu. It’s time to open up the port number from the firewall. The default port is 8000. You can change the port number later by editing the Icecast config file. It should be the /etc/icecast2/icecast.xml file.

As far as the broadcast software, I’m using a simple software called Butt, which means “broadcast using this tool.” It’s a funny name if you ask me, but it’s very simple and it works flawlessly. It’s also free. There are other options, but I just want something simple, and Butt serves that purpose. Now, Butt is capable of capturing the sound input of your computer’s microphone and sending it to Icecast. As long as you can play it on your computer, you should be able to broadcast it on your internet radio.

I’m sending out the output of my desktop speaker to an audio mixer, and then sending out the output of the mixer back to to the computer’s microphone line in. This gives me the ability to play anything on the computer and broadcast it. In addition, I can add a microphone to the audio mixer and have the ability to speak to an audience using any dynamic or condenser microphone that you may already have.

That is pretty much the setup in a nutshell without going into the nitty gritty details.

How to Start, Stop and Restart MySQL

What do you do if your database server is down? Well, you can certainly reboot the server. That might solve the problem, but I rather restart the database first before doing something as drastic as rebooting a server. There are instances were rebooting doesn’t always solve the problem if there’s an issue with the database. Now, most open-source blogs and web applications today use MySQL as their database of choice. So, here are instructions on how to start, stop and restart MySQL on Ubuntu and Debian-based systems.

Stop MySQL database

$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysql stop

Start MySQL database

$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysql start

Restart MySQL database

$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysql restart

Ubuntu Releases

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu is once again contemplating whether to go with interim releases or go with rolling releases. The company has entertained this idea at least once before ultimately settling with the old release schedule. Now, there are talks again of doing away the old schedule or going with a rolling release.

Why can’t Ubuntu do both releases. Canonical should do LTS (Long Term Support) for companies and individuals who clearly have a need for long term support, while most individuals like myself would rather have a rolling release to keep with latest developments, as well as avoid big haul upgrades every six months. That would be the ideal situation.

Resize Disk Images At Linode

Virtual private servers or VPS such as Linode, where this site is hosted, allow users the ability to resize their disk images. Resizing allows you to allocate more storage to a disk image so you can store more files, or shrink a disk image so you have more storage for the other disk images in your account.

Here’s a quick checklist on how to resize a disk image in Linode.

  1. Log in to the Linode Manager.
  2. Click the Linodes tab. A list of your virtual private servers appears.
  3. Select a Linode. The Linode’s dashboard appears.
  4. Click Shut down to turn your Linode off.
  5. Select the disk image you want to resize. The Edit Disk Image webpage appears.
  6. In the New Size field, enter a different size for the disk image in megabytes.
  7. Click Save Changes. The Linode’s dashboard appears.
  8. Click Boot to turn on the Linode.
  9. You have successfully resized the disk image.

How To Setup Client Bridge

I have an old Linksys WRT54GL router flashed with an open-source firmware DD-WRT. One of the nice things you can do with DD-WRT is configure it as a client bridge. You can then use the client bridge to connect a computer with no wireless network interface to the network. This article was written to help me remember in the future how to setup a client bridge on a Linksys WRT54GL flashed with DD-WRT. The configuration details pertains more to me and may not necessarily work out for your setup. If you want a more complete instruction, check out the client bridge documentation available from DD-WRT’s website.

  1. Reset the router. Login. Set username and password.
  2. Go to Wireless > Wireless Security. Set security mode and key to match your AP.
  3. Go to Wireless > Basic. Set wireless mode to Client Bridge.
  4. The wireless mode and SSID should be the same as your AP.
  5. Go to Setup > Basic setup and manually set IP address.
  6. Set IP address to 10.10.10.12. Leave local DNS blank. Main router is 10.10.10.11.
  7. Go to Security > Firewall and disable SPI firewall and only multicast checked.
  8. Go to Setup > Advanced Routing. Change mode from gateway to router.

Join Files Using Linux Sox

I was recording audio on Audacity the other day when Windows crashed unexpectedly. I never had a chance to save the recording. When Windows rebooted, the audio recording were all there, but they were all broken up in smaller files. As it turned out, they were over 100 .au files under the unsaved Audacity folder. The question is how do you piece the files together.

There’s a Linux sound utility called “SoX” that runs across multiple platforms, Windows, Linux, MacOS X, that converts various formats of computer audio files into other formats. SoX can play and record audio files as well. To recover the unsaved Audacity recording, I went to the Audacity folder and executed the following statement from the command line.

sox *.au combined.au

Essentially, the sox command you see above concatenates multiple files into one big file called combined.au. After that, I created a new Audacity project and imported the combined big file into the new project. I then saved the new project. Once saved, I can then export the project to a MP3 format.

If you ever need to recover from a crashed Audacity project, you can use the sox command to recover a project.