Linux Online Backups

First I would like to start by saying all of the below systems offer data encryption and redundant servers to make sure your data is safe. They offer good pricing and have comparable up-time guarantees. I have tried these systems out either by using them in my businesses or by playing with them to find out which one is the right one for me.  All pricing was at the time of writing this article.


JungleDisk – I have used this service with a few of my customers. JungleDisk sets up easily on a Gnome or KDE desktop. I have run multiple installs on Cent OS systems. The system supports Amazon S3 and Rackspace Cloud Files storage. JungleDisk supports full encryption and will restart running processes if shutdown during backup or if a crash occurs. JungleDisk archives old and deleted files for later retrieval, and relies on multiple data centers to keep your files safe.  After the initial set up costs  which was around $50 the service is costing about $8.50 a month for one of my customers to back up about 50 gigs of data. Really a pretty good deal. Since I set the system up 2 years ago I have never had to make changes to the backup. I did have to restore about 100meg of files and that was very easy to do through the desktop application.

Memopal is based out of Rome, but they offer a cross platform software client for Windows, Mac, Linux and IPhone. You can install the software on more than one computer. They offer web and mobile access to your data and have a search feature so it is easy to find the file you are looking for. Selecting files for backup is easy and they even offer the option to backup your entire system. Personal plans start at $49.00 / year for 200GB. They do use a GUI and the Linux system is still listed as a Beta. The support is email based and they promise a response in 24 hours. Good value but a little vague in the Linux support.

 

DataStorageUnit is a relatively new player in the online storage world but they have a lot to offer the Linux world.  DataStorageUnit is an offsite backup service that allows for lots of flexibility.  It supports open protocols such as SFTPRSYNC, & SSHFS … so you can choose to use our included partner software, or any other apps that support those protocols.  Because you can use SSH and RSYNC DataStorageUnit is a very flexible solution. With a little script writing you can customize any backup scheme you wish. Great for command line only systems and headless servers.

One of the great things about DataStorageUnit is that you can back up as many machines as you need, as long as you stay within your data limits. The pricing is one of the best I have found, 100GB of storage for $50 a year. As far as support, I emailed a couple questions to the site and got a reply in minutes from the OWNER.

 

There are many more out there and I am sure I missed many of the online backup systems.

 

Let me know your favorite backup system for Linux.

 

Enjoy,

 

Fedora 15 Tips and Tricks

With the new release of Fedora 15 I thought I should update the Tips and Tricks. The new Fedora Plus from dnmouse.org makes adding all the things that the developers left out of Fedora 15.  The team at dnmouse.org has done a great job for all of us fedora users. For everything else I will show you how to add the software you need.

Install Fedora Plus

su -c 'yum -y --nogpgcheck install http://dnmouse.org/autoplus-1.1-8.noarch.rpm'

Now just open Fedora Plus which should be listed under System Tools and start installing your software.

Make sure to install all the codecs! The Skype installed failed for me.

Skype

You need to install some x86 libraries for skype to work on X64 (catch up skype!)

su -c 'yum install libXScrnSaver.i?86 libX11.i?86 libv4l.i?86 alsa-plugins-pulseaudio.i?86 qt-x11.i?86 libXv.i?86'

Now go to the Skype site and download Skype RPM and install it.

Yumex

Of course install Yumex one of my favorites.

yum install yumex

Open Terminal for Nautilus

This allows you to open a terminal window, with a right button click, in a directory in  the Nautilus file browser.

su -c 'yum install nautilus-open-terminal nautilus-extensions'

Shutdown from the Desktop

I like to do a shutdown right from the desktop. Here is how to add this to Gnome.

su -c 'yum install gnome-shell-extensions-alternative-status-menu'

Then just log out and log back in, then you have the menu below.

 

Add the Date to your Clock

Really simple. Type this in a command line:

gsettings set org.gnome.shell.clock show-date true

 

MakeMKV

MakeMKV is your one-click solution to convert video that you own into free and patents-unencumbered format that can be played everywhere. MakeMKV is a format converter, otherwise called “transcoder”. It converts the video clips from proprietary (and usually encrypted) disc into a set of MKV files, preserving most information but not changing it in any way.

Here is the install process for Fedora. Then do your MP4s with Handbrake.

Handbrake

Handbrake is now available for Fedora 15. Thanks to apostolos for the update.

There is a Fedora 15 version of Handbrake on their site

http://handbrake.fr/rotation.php?file=HandBrake-0.9.5-1-Fedora15_GUI_i686.rpm (32-bit version)

http://handbrake.fr/rotation.php?file=HandBrake-0.9.5-1-Fedora15_GUI_x86_64.rpm (64-bit version)

 

Then you have it!

 

Enjoy,

Blu Ray Ripping Linux How To

After doing so searching on Blu Ray ripping on Linux I found that no one seemed to have a good how to for Fedora. I also was not finding a method that worked consistently for free, or close to free. I found a great piece of software called MakeMKV. With MakeMKV and our other favortie tool Handbrake. I was able to get Blu Ray ripping working fast and easy.

MakeMKV is free to try for 30 days, after that the ask for 50$ for the purchase. I really think this is a good buy. It was one of the better programs I have found for Blu Ray ripping and they support Linux.

Here are the easy staps to get MakeMKV set up and running on Fedora 14, Fedora 15 and Fedora 16. First I would go through the Fedora 14 tips and tricks , Fedora 15 tips and tricks or  Fedora 16 tips and tricks and get all your codecs installed. Now follow this how to:

1. Install all the software that is required to build this program.

Become SuperUser

su

yum update

 

yum groupinstall "Development Tools"

 

yum install openssl-devel qt4-devel

2. Dowload the Makemkv programs which comes in 2 parts.

http://www.makemkv.com/download/makemkv_v1.7.2_bin.tar.gz

http://www.makemkv.com/download/makemkv_v1.7.2_oss.tar.gz

3. Unpack the downloads.

tar -zxvf makemkv_v1.7.0_bin.tar.gz

 

tar -zxvf makemkv_v1.7.0_oss.tar.gz

4. Build the software.

cd makemkv_v1.7.0_bin

make -f makefile.linux

 

 

su -c 'make -f makefile.linux install'

Repeat for the other directory.

cd makemkv_v1.7.0_oss

make -f makefile.linux

 

 

su -c 'make -f makefile.linux install'

5. Start the program by typing:

makemkv

There you go. MakeMKV should be up and running.

Tip: Only rip the  main movie it is usually  the largest file.

Then run that file through HandBrake.

The Social Network (Two-Disc Collector’s Edition) [Blu-ray]

I rip my Blu Rays with MakeMKV which generates a large .mkv file, 15gig to 30gig and takes about 40 mins  to 2 hours, depending on your computer, for a 2 hour movie. I then run that file through Handbrake to generate a .mp4 or m4v file. This takes about 1.5 hours to 4 hours depending on your computer. Try this, make about 5 mkv files. Then build a queue in Handbrake for all 5 of the files to convert. Start the queue right before you go to bed for the night. Saves a lot of time and electric is usually cheaper at night.

Blu Ray Ripping on Linux Part 1

Blu Ray Ripping on Linux Part 2

Enjoy,

Fedora 14 Tips and Tricks

After having some issues with Ubuntu 10.10 (blackscreen after an update) I decided to try Fedora 14. I was not real happy with Fedora 12 but thought I would give this disto another try. Like always Fedora leaves out some stuff your really need, like CODECS! The codec search tool that comes with Fedora has never worked, never. So here is how to load all the stuff you need or want in your Fedora 14 Distro. You need to get some other repositories that have the codecs and programs that Fedora does not supply. I like RPM Fusion and try to stay to the stable releases.


Add Repos:

rpm -Uvh http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm

Installing Google Chrome Browser:

To add the google repository edit the file.

gedit /etc /yum.repos.d/google.repo (remove space after etc)

for 32 bit OS Version

[google]

name=Google - i386ff

baseurl=http://dl.google.com/linux/rpm/stable/i386

enabled=1

gpgcheck=1

 

gpgkey=https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

for 64-bit OS Version

[google64]

name=Google - x86_64

baseurl=http://dl.google.com/linux/rpm/stable/x86_64

enabled=1

gpgcheck=1

 

gpgkey=https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub

Install Google Chrome Stable Version on Fedora 14

Just type this line on the root terminal

yum install google-chrome-stable

Pidgin Chat Client

yum install pidgin

Autoten installer for all kinds of stuff! Including your Codecs, thanks to dnmmouse.org for this nice little installer.

 

su -c 'yum -y --nogpgcheck install http://dnmouse.org/autoplus-1.2-4.noarch.rpm'


su -c 'rpm --import http://dnmouse.org/RPM-GPG-KEY-dnmouse'

This should have put an Autoten icon on your desktop use that to install all the other codecs you need!

Skype

You need to install some x86 libraries for skype to work on X64 (catch up skype!)

yum install libXScrnSaver.i?86 libX11.i?86 libv4l.i?86 alsa-plugins-pulseaudio.i?86 qt-x11.i?86

Of course install Yumex one of my favorites.

yum install yumex

Flash-plugin 64bit

Download it from here: http://labs.adobe.com/downloads/flashplayer10.html

Then select the 64 bit tar.

Unpack it then move the .so file to

/usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins/ or ~/.mozilla/plugins/

Restart your browser and you got it. This also causes the Chrome browser to flash to work.


Install Handbrake on Ubuntu 10.10

Handbrake is a great DVD ripper. Unfortunately the version on the Handbrake website is not working. Here is a ubuntu how to  for installing Handbrake on Ubuntu 10.10. This is almost the same how to for Ubuntu 10.04.

First we need to get DVD playback enabled:

sudo aptitude install ubuntu-restricted-extras
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

Next we need to add the PPA for the Handbrake Snapshots:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-snapshots

Your system will now fetch the PPA’s key. This enables your Ubuntu system to verify that the packages in the PPA have not been interfered with since they were built.

Then do and update of the Apt repos lists:

sudo apt-get update

Next you need to install the software. Use the Ubuntu Software Center to install Handbrake. Do a search for Handbrake and install the GTK GUI.

After it installs you should have Handbrake working in Ubuntu 10.10.



Now Start Ripping!

Build a Hacking Kit Cheap

There are a lot of tools I carry in my bag. They help me do a lot of tasks from rescuing data off of a crashed computer to getting into that server that you forgot the password to. Here is a list of them and what they can be used for.

Get yourself a good bootable Linux distro. First get yourself a 4 gig USB drive, then download a good disto like Backtrack 4 and install in on your USB drive (here is an easy how to). With this you can boot to Backtrack 4 and have a fully functional computer with all the tools you need to repair or crack a system. You will also be able to mount the drives on the system and look around as needed, or recover lost data.


Now in the event the computer has totally died, you still need to access the hard drive inside of the computer. I found a handy little tool to connect to the drive no matter the condition of the machine. This connects right to the drive and uses its own power source. then you just plug the USB into your laptop andcopy the data you want.

Once you have access to the system or hard drive you may need somewhere to copy data for storage during repair or just to take the data with you. For this you may want to use a removable or external  hard drive. These can be had cheap and are nice to have in your bag if you need to grab some data and go. I would try to get a Hard drive at least 500gig, the smaller the better.

More than once I have found a server with no keyboard or mouse. So I always carry those with me. I carry a flexible keyboard, they suck to type on but will save your butt in a pinch. I also carry a cheap USB mouse. Make it a cheap one that you don’t mind forgetting

Tool List with Prices:

For Just over $100 you could have all the tools you need to have access to most of the systems you come in contact with.

Enjoy,

Amahi Home Server Install

While searching for the perfect media server to use as a Home Server, I came across the Amahi Home Server.

The Amahi home server has some great features including:

  • Protect Your Computers Backup all your networked PCs simply and easily on your home network. If one of your PCs “dies” you can easily restore it!
  • Organize Your Files Access, share and search your files from any machine on your network, making it easy to share and find your photos, music and videos.
  • Internet Wide Access Automatically setup your own VPN so you can access your network from anywhere: safely and securely.
  • Private Internet Applications Shared applications like calendaring, private wiki and more to come, will help you manage your home and your family!

The package only requires you have a computer with:

  • 800MHz CPU
  • 4GB Disk, and
  • 512MB RAM
  • Drive space for a Media Server (depending on how many files you have)

Here is how I installed the system:

You need to go to the http://Amahi.org site and create an account then you are all set to install.

  • Boot the installation machine from the Fedora 12 installation DVD
  • Follow the instructions to install Fedora
  • Use the defaults to install Fedora in graphical mode (click the paper clips for screenshots).Use DHCP for the install process, unless you know you really need a static IP for install.
  • When asked for a “root” password note the password you create
  • Stop when you reach the “repositories” page. Unselect Office and Productivity, unless you really want it (e.g. to simultaneously use your HDA as a desktop)
  • Click on the “Add additional software repositories” button and add the Amahi repository with the following information:

Repository name: Amahi
Repository URL: http://f12.amahi.org

  • If asked to, enable your network interface
  • Once the network is up, click “Next” to complete the install
  • When installation is done, it will ask you to reboot. Reboot
  • After reboot, continue with the install and configuration, as you normally would
  • Fedora will ask you Create a User. Go ahead. Remember the credentials
  • NOTE: The first time you login in Amahi you will be asked to reset this user’s password
  • In the “Date and Time” screen, we recommend that you enable “Synchronize date and time over the network”
  • At the login screen, login as the user you created earlier on in the install
  • Once at the desktop, locate the Amahi Installer icon.
  • Launch the Amahi Installer by double-clicking in the desktop icon. Firefox should launch, with locationhttp://localhost:2000. Check the installation troubleshooting wiki page if this is not working for you.
  • Enter the install code for your HDA in the box and press Submit
  • Use your our HDA’s install code.
  • After the install completes, your HDA should be working, however, it’s required that you reboot to get everything working
  • After the reboot, your HDA should be fully functional. Login using the username/password you created in Fedora. Enjoy!
  • If your HDA has network connectivity and you are satisfied, you can then optionally turn off your router/gateway’s DHCP server and reboot all the systems in your network (so that they all get their DHCP lease from your HDA). This is the recommended configuration, where you enjoy all the features of your Amahi HDA.
  • If you prefer to NOT use your HDA’s built-in DHCP server, turn it off because it’s on by default and it could cause conflicts
  • Log in and look around.

When your Amahi HDA comes up, you should be able to find the various areas of your HDA:

  • The Dashboard: http://hda – This page is meant to be your “Home Page” at home
  • Rest of the setup pages at http://setup where you can:
  • Setup the Users and Shares
  • Install new apps, like AmahiTunes, the DLNA server, Wikis, CMSs, Blogs …
  • … and more
  • Login Screen

    Control Panel

    Storage tab on Control Panel

    Large list of installable apps

    Here are some tips!

    • Short URLs: on most operating systems, simply typing hda or setup in the URL box of your web browser will take you to the dashboard and the setup pages! Same with the Apps installed!
    • Install Amahi DLNA server, works great with the PS3 or Xbox.
    • Browse through the apps and install apps that you like!
    • Back up your system onto the shares in your HDA periodically and stay safe

    Fedora Core 12 DVD Playback and other Tips

    I just installed Fedora Core 12 and now I need to set up all the things that Fedora forgot or just did not include.

    Yumex

    I like the deatail that you can get with Yumex over package installer.

    Fedora Button > Applications > System > Software Management In the search bar type in “yumex” then click on the yumex package then click Apply

    The following commands have to be run as a superuser “su”.

    Next I add the RPM Fusion repositories at the command line type in this:

    # yum localinstall –nogpgcheck http://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-stable.noarch.rpm http://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-stable.noarch.rpm

    # yum update


    Now install MP3 player

    # yum install xmms xmms-mp3 xmms-faad2 xmms-pulse xmms-skins

    Next the missing codecs:

    # yum install rhythmbox gstreamer-plugins-ugly gstreamer-plugins-bad gstreamer-ffmpeg

    Navigate to: http://www.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/codecs/
    Select the package (.tar.bz2) best matching your version of Fedora/Architecture. Generally 32-bit users will use: all-20100303.tar.bz2.

    Install the codecs (32-bit for example):

    # mkdir -p /usr/lib/codecs
    # tar -jxvf all-20100303.tar.bz2 –strip-components 1 -C /usr/lib/codecs/

    DVD Playback:

    # rpm -ivh http://rpm.livna.org/livna-release.rpm

    # rpm –import /etc /pki/rpm-gpg/RPM-GPG-KEY-livna

    # yum install libdvdcss

    Install some media players:

    # yum install mplayer mplayer-gui gecko-mediaplayer mencoder

    # yum install xine xine-lib-extras xine-lib-extras-freeworld

    Have fun

    Update Older RHEL with YUM

    I had a running version RHEL 3 WS that had not been updated in a while (more than a year). I found out that it was no longer getting updates from Redhat because the update contract was not renewed. I needed more current software on it to perform software testing. I like to do my updates with YUM which was not available on Redhat EL3, but here is how I got the updates I needed using YUM.

    The first problem I encountered was that there is no public repository to update RHEL machines i.e you have to pay for it. I have used CentOS and know that CentOS offers public repositories and they work with RHEL as well. After struggling for some time, I discovered that I was accessing older version of repos through the latest yum, that was not working.  I had to use an older version of yum with RHEL 3, since old repos do not support xml based updating.

    Now I have a fully updated system. Here is how I did it.

    1) Since I needed a older version of YUM I had to looked all over the web for the needed version, once I found it I saved it so you could find it more easily.

    2) Download yum-2.0.8-1.noarch.rpm (for RHEL 3) from
    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/7936116/yum-2.0.8-1.noarch.rpm

    3) Install it using
    rpm –i yum-2.0.8-1.noarch.rpm

    4) Configure your yum.conf to look like this:

    [main]
    cachedir=/var/cache/yum
    debuglevel=2
    logfile=/var/log/yum.log
    pkgpolicy=newest
    distroverpkg=redhat-release
    tolerant=1
    exactarch=1

    [base]
    name=CentOS-$releasever – Base
    baseurl=http://mirror.centos.org/centos/3/os/i386/
    gpgcheck=1

    [updates]
    name=Red Hat Linux $releasever – Updates
    baseurl=http://mirror.centos.org/centos/3/updates/i386/
    gpgcheck=1

    5) Download the gpg key for CentOS rpm packages from
    http://mirror.centos.org/centos/RPM-GPG-KEY-CentOS-3

    6) Import the key like this:
    rpm –import RPM-GPG-KEY-CentOS-3

    7) Run “yum  update”.

    You can change the 3 in the conf files to what ever version of RHEL you are using.

    Enjoy!

    How to Clear your Flash Cache

    If you use your computer for web browsing and for watching Flash content. There is a good chance you have a lot of flash information cached on your machine. This can cause you not to see updates on flash enabled sites. Just cleaning out your web cache is not enough, your Flash Media Cache can still have information in it. Here is how to clean out your Flash Cache:

    Point your browser to:
    http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en/flashplayer/help/settings_manager07.html

    You should see a screen like this:

    Now click on the site you want to want to clean up and click on Delete Website, or you can just click on Delete all sites.

    You are all set to get the new version of the flash video or flash game you were looking for.

    Thanks to the team at BlindValet.com for the tip.

    Enjoy,

    Get Adobe Flash player