Sunday, April 15, 2018

How to install your favourite GNU/Linux distro on a USB stick as if were an internal hard disk

No, we are not going to make a live pendrive, but install a Linux distro on a pendrive as if installing it on the internal disk of the computer, this will give us mobility like a live usb and versatility like a complete installation.

Preliminaries

We can do this in many ways but to make it easy and safe even for the most newbies users we will use Virtual Box.

Virtual machine setup

  1. Start assistant to create a new virtual machine (New button).
  2. Type: Linux.
  3. Version: Ubuntu 64 bits.
  4. Memory size: enought but not to much (select intro the green stripe).
    An example: my computer has 8Gb RAM, then select 3Gb.
  5. Hard drive: WE DO NOT ADD ANYONE (we see why later).
  6. Clic on Create.
After the virtual machine is created we ajust some parameters. We clic with right button over virtual machine and select Configuration:
  1. Storage: select CD and then CD with arrow icon to select the distro iso file like virtual CD.
  2. System: select Start order and move optical device as first one.
  3. USB: Enable USB controller (use 2.0).
    Add usb stick where we are goint to install the distro (it must be plug to the computer).
  4. Accept changes and double click on virtual machine to start instalation.

Installing OS

  • Follow the assistant instructions (very easy in any Ubuntu or derivatives).
  • Select delete all the drive and use all of it. So it will create all the partitions in the right way for most types of computers.
  • When installing ends it ask us to remove the CD and then play any key. We do it and switch the virtual machine off when we see BIOS screen.
    At this point following operations must make in a real computer due to VirtualBox can boot usb devices.
  • Close virtualbox and switch our computer off.

Use

  • First configure computer BIOS to boot from USB devices (In most computers you can access to the BIOS pressing ESC or F2).
  • The computer will start like it was installed in internal disc, you can update the system, add software or files, configure whan you need... all will be there when you start this again in any computer.

Advantages and disadvantages

Como todo este procedimiento tiene muchas ventajas pero algunos inconvenientes:

Advantages

  • This is a normal instalation and you can do all you can if you install it in the internal disc.
  • If you need a driver like wifi one, you can start from another computer, install it and then start in your computer and wifi works.
  • Your computer in your pocket, you can use it if there is a computer than you can boot from USB.
  • You can clone it to another USB or internal disc with dd or tools like etcher.

Disadvantages

  • USB stick are usually smaller than internal disc, this limit you if you want to install a lot of software or add big files.
  • Remember than USB stick is a solid state device. Don't complete fill to avoid writing in the same sectors all the time.
  • USB ports are less faster than internal SATA ones, I recoment use USB 3.0 devices and ports.
  • Don't remove the USB until the system finish to switch off. USB stick are more delicate than internal disc in this case.
  • You can install the system in an internal disc with an easy assistant, you can use tools like systemback or clone it with clonezilla, for example.
Artículo original en castellano

Monday, March 26, 2018

Amstrad CPC Easi-amsword to HTML converter made with javascript, html and css

In 80's, early computers consumers use simple and primitive word proccesors like Easy-amsword, made in Basic, usually included as a gift when you buy an Amstrad CPC464.
Some users make several docs than only this software can read, so now you need an operative Amstrad CPC or an emulator to read them, there isn't a simple way to convert them to new formats... until now.
I make a simple software to convert these files to simple HTML, so you can edit with a new wordproccesor as LibreOffice.org writer or HTML editors like BlueGriffon.
 Easi-amsword to HTML (source code)

How to install and run

  1. Download from here.
  2. Uncompress this ZIP file in a folder.
  3. Open eamsword2html.en.html file in your favourite web browser.

How to use

To use this software follow these steps:
  1. Select an easi-amsword file.
  2. Click on Convert button.
  3. Click on Save as HTML code, Convert to HTML or See as HTML code.


This software can use original easi-amsword files or the unofficial fork that manages several special characters or some format as bold, italics, overwrite, etc...
This software is under GNU/GPL 2 license so you can get here the source code, you can change to fix to your needs.
I hope it is useful for you to recover your documents of that time stored in tapes and you can preserve them for the future.

Notice: this software may be buggy, if you detect a bug comment in issues section.

If you can't extract your easi-amsword docs from your tapes, look at this.Artículo original en castellano

Friday, March 16, 2018

Open alternatives to privative software (VII): Libreoffice.org, the office suite

There is a lot of user that needs a computer just for use a web browser and a simple office suite.

These use can work with GNU/Linux without a great effort, and they keep reading all the files the had in office formats using LibreOffice.
This office suite is included in most GNU/Linux distros and also can read visio and pdf files and much more formats.
Available for a lot of systems (i.e: Windows and OSX) and there isn't any real reasons that avoid change to LibreOffice.org

Artículo original en castellano

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Clone a microsd in another slightly smaller one

I clone a microsd in another slightly smaller one using gparted following these steps:
  1. After get the error in the destination microsd plugged in my Linux PC, start gparted as root.
  2. Unmount all the microsd partitions. We see some warning, ignore them.
  3. Reduce last partition and the extended where it is.
  4. After the operation is ended, run sync twice and then extract the microsd. Might be stopped warning messages.
If you haven't GNU/Linux in your PC you can use gparted-live.

Tip: if your graphic image burner tool can burn images bigger than your microsd try dd in GNU/Linux.
Artículo original en castellano

Sunday, February 18, 2018

How to send youtube videos from your PC with Firefox quantum to KODI

You can send a youtube video from your new Firefox "quantum" to a computer with Kodi as your raspberry f.e. with the  addon 'Send to kodi'.

Install the addon

  1. Visit Send to kodi website
  2. Select 'Add to Firefox'.
  3. Select 'Add' again.

Configure the addon

  1. Clic on three stripes button (≡)
  2. Select 'Accesories', 'Extensions' and 'Send to Kodi'.
  3. Clic on 'Preferences' button.
  4. Now you can see a page where you can add all the KODI computers URLs you'll use.


Use the addon

  1. Search a youtube video with firefox quantum in your PC.
  2. Clic on the new KODI icon. You can see it in the address bar.
  3. If you configured only a video server, the video will start in KODI device immediately. If you configured more than one, you need to select where you are going to send.
Artículo original en castellano

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Open alternatives to privative software (VI): evince, the PDF reader

Adobe reader users see this software get bigger and bigger, now is an enormous monster just for reading pdf files.

Fortunately there are a lot of alternative programs that can do this work with a few sizes and more reasonable requirements for this simple mission.
 Evince is one of them, the pdf reader included in most new GNU/Linux distros.
This software open files much faster because it is light software.

Can read all these formats:
  • PDF
  • Postscript
  • djvu
  • tiff
  • dvi
  • XPS
  • SyncTex support with gedit
  • comics books (cbz, cbr, cb7 and cbt)
Available in a lot of languages:



This an exclusive GNU/Linux software and a good reason to join to tux, anyway there is a lot of alternatives for other systems.Artículo original en castellano

Friday, January 26, 2018

How configure WiFi in recalbox?

To configure WiFi in recalbox just follow these steps:
    Trucos Recalbox
  1. Start your raspberry pi recalbox with a keyboard connected to your raspberry pi.
  2. Press Enter to access to menu.
  3. Move cursor keys until you select Network configuration and then press A key.
  4. Move cursor keys until you select SSID Wifi and then press A key.
  5. Use the cursor keys to focus over text area, then press A key, write your SSID name, press Enter, move cursor keys until you select OK and then press A key.
  6. Move cursor keys until you select Wifi password and  then press A key.
  7. Use the cursor keys to focus over text area, then press A key, write your Wifi password, press Enter, move cursor keys until you select OK and then press A key.
  8. Move cursor keys until you select Activate Wifi and change to ON use the A key.
  9. Move cursor keys until you select Return and  then press A key.
  10. Wait for a seconds and you'll see a dialog box than shows "Activated WiFi". You can close this dialog with A key. 
Your raspberry pi might be connected to wifi.

Problems?

If your raspberry still isn't connect, may be in one of these cases:
  • Remember than SSID name and wifi password are case sensitive.
  • If you use strange caracters in SSID name or wifi password then use wire connection and access to share network resource.
    Search the file system/recalbox.conf and edit wifi values.
  • Use channels allowed in France or recalbox doesn't see your wifi network (example: in Spain channel 12 is allowed but not in France, this selection won't work).
    The solution is change wifi channel in your router.

Source

Thursday, January 18, 2018

All my Tente 3D models in github

All my Tente 3D models I had in my old web are now in a project in github called tentemodels.




How can I download them?

For newbies:
You can download all the files pressing on Clone/download and then Download ZIP
If you want to add your own models you can attach them in issues section. I put them in the folder "others" (remember that you can add your name as autor in the file with MLCad).

For advanced users:
You can see changes in all the project or in each file, investigate in github, get the lastest version download only the changes using git commands, etc...
You can use these commands as normal user:


CommandResult
git clone https://github.com/cpcbegin/tentemodels desired_folderDownload all the project, that is, all the models in the desired folder.
git pullUpdate to get latest changes
git logSee change history


If you open an account in github until you can create a clone and propose yourselves more models. We will see in a next article how to do this.
Artículo original en español

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Open alternatives to propietary software (V): Audacity: audio software for multi-track recording and editing

Audicity is the best program to digitize audio in your computer, the perfect tool for this task:
  • Multisystem: available for GNU/Linux, Windows and Mac.
  • Light but very powerful.
  • Multi-track.
  • Easy to use. Intuitive.
  • The size limit of your file is the free space in your hard disk, other propietary software need save temporal in memory because are too slow, when out of memory these programs hang.
  • You can export to wav, ogg vorbis and mp3.
  • You can add more features with  plugins and libraries like use other formats like older retrocomputers ones.

Audacity
Artículo original en castellano

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Loading games in your Amstrad CPC6128 (input tape port) from your PC audio output

Amstrad CPC is living a new golden age because retrocomputing is on fashion.
A lot of enthusiastic users are making a lot of high quality homebrew for this old computer, but you need make a lot of difficult operations or buy new gadgets to use this software in your real CPC.
Is there another alternatives to awkward people with the welder as me? Yes, you can plug the output in your PC sound cart to input tape port in your Amstrad CPC, a simple solution but it work... but I find some issues...

Hardware

  • Tape wire: just plug in the input tape port to the output of your PC sound cart (green port).
  • Jack extension: the wire usually aren't long enough to connect your Amstrad to your PC unless they are really close, you can but an jack extension to solve a problem (around 2€).

Software

If you use any GNU/linux distro you need these software:

Do it

After install audacious and playtzx on the PC and pluging both computers, we need do this:

In your Amstrad CPC

Type
|TAPE
RUN"
And press play and any key

In your PC

  • Convert the cdt or tzx file to a voc file
playtzx -voc mygame.cdt temporalfile.voc
  • Play the file with audacious
audacious -pqH temporalfile.voc

Issues and solutions

You need select the correct volume, I try with a low level and I'm increasing until more than 100%.
I need change the sound configuration in my Ubuntu and allow a level bigger than 100%

At least I needn't any mini amplifier as on other occasions.

In theory you can directly play the cdt with the command playtzx mygame.cdt without parameters but it doesn't work and I need convert file to voc and play it with audacious.
You might do this with other 8 bits computers like my ZX Spectrum +2 (I think it doesn't work in my Commodore 64), in these cases you need an audio cassette adaptor to plug the wire to the retro computer.


We also change the jack extension using a bluetooth speaker than includes output to headphones, if this gadged provides enough volume.
You can automatize with a bash script:
#!/bin/bash
playtzx -voc mijuego.cdt /tmp/temporal.voc
audacious -pqH /tmp/temporal.voc
rm /tmp/temporal.voc
Now we can enjoy the latest software releases for our Amstrad CPC :)
Artículo original en castellano

Monday, December 25, 2017

LDraw viewers and editors in Ubuntu 16.04. Your favourite construction game, now virtual in your PC

The last Ubuntu LTS version has many new features, but some exotic programs have stopped working and you have to compile them or wait for versions to run them on this version.

Just follow this guide if you want make your own Tente(R), Lego(R), Exin Castillos(R), etc... 3D models with the open format LDraw.

LDraw editors: MLCad & LeoCAD

You can install both of them without any problem, MLCad is a Windows sofware than run very well with wine, so if you want to use in any GNU/Linux install first wine and them MLCad like any other Windows application.


LDraw viewer: LDView

You can install the new special versions for Ubuntu 16.04 , 64 bits or 32 bits.

Then you can install it with commands like this:
sudo dpkg -i ldview-4.2-ubuntu-16.04.XXX.deb
sudo apt-get install -f

Professional screenshots: povray

You can get screenshots like a 3D professional:
  • Export the model to povray form LDVIEW
  • You can get a Full HD screenshot with a command like this:
povray my_model.pov -W1920 -H1080
The problem is that if we install the povray package in the Ubuntu 16.04 repositories it does not work because of a problem in a library, so we have to recompile it ... ugh! how difficult! That it is enough that you copy and paste in your console the following commands:
sudo apt-get install git build-essential libvips-dev libboost-system1.58-dev libboost-thread1.58-dev libc6-dev libgcc1 libilmbase12 libjpeg8-dev libopenexr22 libpng12-dev libsdl1.2-dev libstdc++6-4.7-dev libtiff5-dev zlib1g-dev
./configure COMPILED_BY="tu nombre y correo" --disable-io-restrictions
git clone https://github.com/POV-Ray/povray
cd unix
./prebuild.sh
cd ..
make check
sudo make install
And now you get it.

Set of pieces

You need the set of the pieces of the constuction game you want to use: TENTE(R), LEGO(R) or EXIN CASTILLOS(R).
Then unzip them in differents folders, for example:
  • /home/your_user/ldraw/tente
  • /home/your_user/ldraw/lego
  • /home/your_user/ldraw/exincastillos
Then we can run LDView with this parameter:
LDView -LDrawDir=path_to_set_of_pieces
For more details see the Tente 3D wiki.
Note: The artwork is my construction in Tente 3D of the famous building of the comic 13, Rue del Percebe, the first tentexpress quiz I won :)
Artículo original en castellano

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Shortcuts in Debian LXDE


Desktop shortcuts are very useful to order your favorite software.

There is two ways to make shortcuts in LXDE:
 

Clone shortcuts from start menu

  1. Press start menu
  2. Select the category
  3. Right click on item we want to clone.
  4. Select option 'Add to desktop'.

Made icons from scratch

  • Open the console (Start => Accessories => LXTerminal).
  • Select the Desktop folder
    cd Desktop
  • Create a file with a name similar to my_app.desktop with this content:
    [Desktop Entry]
    Version=1.0
    Encoding=UTF-8
    Name=Name_of_the_app
    Comment=Comments_about_the_app
    Exec=exec_file
    Path=path_to_exec_file
    Icon=path_to_icon
    Type=Application
    Categories=Categories_separate_with_semicolon;
  • This file must have writing rights for the owner than must be the user.sudo chmod +x my_app.desktop
Artículo original en castellano