Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Glasgow Podcrawl 2016

Announcing the third Podcrawl Glasgow.

Calling all podcasters and podcast listeners.  Podcrawl Glasgow will kick off on July 29th at 6pm in The State Bar, Holland Street, Glasgow.  The bar is located in the city centre of Glasgow and is easily accessed from the main stations: Central and Queen Street as well as Buchanan St Bus Station.  Look out for the people wearing black t-shirts with the logo above printed on them.

However we do not intend to stay there all night, if you wish to join us later on we will be using the hashtag #podcrawlglasgow on various social media sites.




























Take some time out from your hectic schedule and enjoy a few drinks with some like minded podcasters.  The Podcrawl is an annual event that started last year. Whether you are a podcaster,a fan of podcasts, indie artist or band member, then you will be made most welcome.  Please note that due to the time of the Podcrawl and the nature of public houses in Scotland, this event is for people aged eighteen years and older, most Glasgow pubs will not give entry to children.

If you have any questions or need any more information then please feel free to contact me through http://unseenstudio.co.uk/contact-tuxjam/ or through social media:

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Permission Problems

Although I love testing new Linux distros, I've got two dedicated testing partitions on my current machine, I like to have a constant distro for my day to day computing use and my main distro of choice for a few years now has been Debian. I've noticed in recent updates over the past year that SystemD was installed as a dependency and has been updated regularly, however after some issues I decided to stick with SysVinit as it has served me well over the years and I am comfortable if I need to tweak it.

However on a recent update I realised that I no longer had permission to perform some trivial day to day tasks such as mounting drives, partitions and even rebooting or shutting down my machine.  I was asked to provide the root password each time.  I immediately thought that my user account had been removed from the various groups, but on checking I found that I was still a member of all of the groups, but didn't have the privileges they were supposed to grant me.  Following a lot of searching, I finally discovered the problem: conflicting packages between the old (SysVinit) and the new (SystemD). Well, it was actually to do with ConsoleKit and PolKit, but these are linked too.  Trying to remove SystemD was not a quick option, it has become so integrated into the desktop that I would essentially have to wipe the whole thing and build it again and blacklist the SystemD package.

So the solution that worked for me was to remove consolekit, including the package polkit-consolekit and then install systemd-sysv (this in turn required the removal of SysVinit).  Then I double checked that I had polkit installed (I think it is pulled in when SystemD is installed).

Upon restart my permissions were back to normal: I could mount and unmount drives and partitions as well as reboot and shutdown without the need of providing my root password.

Not the solution I was after, however without a complete rebuild of my system it appears that I am forced to use SystemD as my init system for the present time.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Samsung Safety Truck - Using Technology to save lives


At a time when cars, bikes and other vehicles are generally getting faster and more powerful, yet throughout the world the majority of the roads are in similar a condition to what they were like 30+ years ago.  The added number vehicles means that traffic congestion is now a daily part of people's lives. Add this to the quicker pace of life and it is not hard to see how people become more frustrated when behind the wheel.
Speed camera, commonly seen in the UK

Whilst the government in the UK have taken the approach of fear and warning in a campaign of adverts and a money making scheme in the use of speed cameras, I tip my hat to Samsung who have released a feature using little more than a camera and a projection system which makes overtaking their lorries considerably safer.  As can be seen from the video, the device works both at night and during the day.  Whilst you will always get people that are downright stupid behind a wheel, many accidents are caused through frustration and taking risks.  Hopefully this will save many a life.

Personally I would like to see this as standard on every lorry, van, bus, caravanette (campervan/motor home) and caravan. This isn't just a money maker, this is an excellent use of technology that could help save lives.

Samsung Safety Truck from Chany D'Amelio on Vimeo.

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Friday, 30 January 2015

Podcrawl Glasgow 2015



















Announcing the second Podcrawl Glasgow.

Calling all podcasters and podcast listeners.  Podcrawl Glasgow will kick off on July 10th at 6pm in The State Bar, Holland Street, Glasgow.  The bar is located in the city centre of Glasgow and is easily accessed from the main stations: Central and Queen Street as well as Buchanan St Bus Station.  However we do not intend to stay there all night, if you wish to join us later on we will be using the hashtag #podcrawlglasgow on various social media sites.
















Take some time out from your hectic schedule and enjoy a few drinks with some like minded podcasters.  The Podcrawl is an annual event that started last year. Whether you are a podcaster,a fan of podcasts, indie artist or band member, then you will be made most welcome.  Please note that due to the time of the Podcrawl and the nature of public houses in Scotland, this event is for people aged eighteen years and older, most Glasgow pubs will not give entry to children.

If you have any questions or need any more information then please feel free to contact me through http://unseenstudio.co.uk/contact-tuxjam/ or through social media:
Please help spread the word, feel free to print out the poster below to help spread the word.




Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Removing multiple spaces in OpenOffice/LibreOffice

I recently received several documents that contained multiple (and irregular) numbers of spaces between each word.  When I asked the original author about this, they said that they typed out the document and that they struggle with the gap a space produces being too small.  As I was meant to extract the information out of these documents and use it in a report and create a spreadsheet out of these I wanted to get rid of the multiple spaces so that I wouldn't have to re-type the whole thing. 

Microsoft office offers several ways to do this, however many of them do not work with OpenOffice or LibreOffice.  This is such a simple problem, but there are not many solutions to this shown online.

A simple fix is to use the Find & Replace tool (Ctrl + H or edit > Find & Replace from the top menu).  This will bring up a window (shown below).  In the Search for field enter [:space:]+ (be sure to include the symbols) and then in the Replace With field put in a space.  Click on the + symbol beside Other Options and select Regular expressions ( a tick should appear in the box beside it.























 Click on Replace All and your document should now be sorted, all of the multiple spaces will be replaced by a single space.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Podcrawl - Glasgow 2014

Announcing what will hopefully be the first of many: Podcrawl Glasgow.





















Calling all podcasters and podcast listeners.  Podcrawl Glasgow will kick off on July 11th at 6pm in The State Bar, Holland Street, Glasgow.  The bar is located in the city centre of Glasgow and is easily accessed from the main stations: Central and Queen Street as well as Buchanan St Bus Station.  However we do not intend to stay there all night, if you wish to join us later on we will be using the hashtag #podcrawlglasgow on various social media sites.
















Take some time out from your hectic schedule and enjoy a few drinks with some like minded podcasters.  The Podcrawl is being organised with the hope of becoming an annual event, so lets make the first one a day to remember. Whether you are a podcaster or a fan of podcasts, then you will be made most welcome.  Please note that due to the time of the Podcrawl and the nature of public houses in Scotland, this event is for people aged eighteen years and older, most Glasgow pubs will not give entry to children.

If you have any questions or need any more information then please feel free to contact me through http://unseenstudio.co.uk/contact-tuxjam/ or through social media:
Feel free to use the poster below to help promote this event.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Setting up a Raspberry Pi as a home server

A lot of people have spoken about the potential uses for a Raspberry Pi, however a lot of these are often very specific to be of use to anybody other than the project creator (using it as part of a home made weather balloon system for example).  When I purchased my Raspberry Pi it was for a specific purpose; the old PC that I used as a home server had given up the ghost and I needed a replacement.  The Raspberry Pi seemed like the ideal answer as it was small and used a lot less electricity (a big plus for a piece of equipment that is going to be on 24/7).

Before we start there are a few things you will need:

  • A Raspberry Pi
  • A computer with internet access 
  • Raspian linux distro
  • An SD Card (4GB minimum)
  • An SD Card reader/slot on your computer
  • External USB hard drive (this will need to be large if you plan to have video and music files on it, I recommend about 2TB minimum)
  • Micro USB charger (my old one from a previous Android phone did the job)
  • A wired USB keyboard
  • An ethernet cable
  • An HDMI cable
  • A monitor/TV with an HDMI connection

1. Firstly we are going to need to install Raspian onto the SD card, for full instructions on how to do this I recommend reading this how to guide. However I kept it simple and used the command line on my Linux system.

Firstly we need to extract the file out of the Zip archive.  Navigate to the place where the downloaded file is and enter the command:
unzip {thefilename}

As these change every time a new version is released the command will alter depending on the image that has been downloaded.

2. Now to get the image onto the SD card.  I needed to use the bs=1M option in the command as the install failed twice with bs=4M, it stated that it would take 'considerably' longer, but the whole process was still fairly quick:
dd bs=1M if={location of raspian.img file} of={location of SD card}

If your not sure what the location of the SD card is then make sure it is removed from the computer and in the command line type:
df -h

Then insert (and mount) the SD card and retype the command:
df -h

There will be an additional item on the list:

In the example above the location of the card is /dev/sdc, we ignore the number as this refers to the partition.

3. Once the process has been complete, unmount the SD card and insert it into the Raspberry Pi.  Connect your keyboard and external hard drive via the USB ports and then connect the Pi to your router and TV before finally giving it power.

4. When you first power up the Raspberry Pi you are asked for some initial settings:


Firstly we'll want to expand_rootfs, this means that we'll be able to use the entire SD card if we ever need to.

We need to know the password, so the next thing we'll do is change the password, to do this simply select change_pass and enter in your new password.

configure_keyboard, change_local and change_timezone allow the user to set the keyboard layout, the location and the local time zone (these are all UK by default).

As this is a server we won't have it connected to a monitor for the majority of
it's life so make sure that we do not start the graphical desktop on boot, boot_behaviour changes this setting.   Although this may look nicer, the Raspberry Pi has limited power and we want this to focus on sharing our files over a server, not looking pretty.

5. To allow us to share our files over a network we will install Samba:  
sudo apt-get install samba

6. To find UUID and the file system of the drive, enter:
sudo blkid

This will give an output similar to the one below:


We can ignore the line that has the TYPE="fat32" as this is the SD Card, take a note of the other line, you need the UUID and the Type, the labels aren't important at this point (depending on the formatting some drives may not have a label)

7.  We need to mount this drive automatically whenever the Raspberry Pi is switched on. Firstly, we'll need to create a location to mount the external hard drive, we can do this by using the command:
sudo mkdir /media/external

Now we need to edit the fstab to tell the Raspberry Pi to automount the external drive every time it is switched on
sudo nano /etc/fstab

Insert the following line at the bottom of the page:
UUID="{the UUID you noted down in step 6}"     /media/external    
{type noted in step 6}     auto,user,rw      0     0

The above should all be on one line, pressing the key to create a gap between each piece of information.

8. Now we need to set up which folders are going to be shared.  I'll assume that we are going to make the whole of the external drive available over the network
nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

at the bottom of the page add the following, note that you can call this anything you wish, just exchange the word external but you must include []
[external]
path = /media/external
available= yes
browsable = yes
public = yes
writable = yes

It's worth noting before we continue that I've set the option writable - yes, this means that you can add to or remove the contents of the external drive over the network.  If you are not comfortable having this option then simply change it to writable = no. Now save and exit (ctrl + X), make sure that you answer 'yes' to save your changes. 

9. We will now set the Raspberry Pi to log in automatically on startup, if the user Pi isn't logged in then all of things we've just set up will not work. Type:
sudo nano /etc/inittab

navigate down to the line:
1:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty --noclear 38400 tty1 

and add --autologin pi after getty to make the line:
1:2345:respawn:/sbin/getty --autologin pi --noclear 38400 tty1

save and exit (ctrl + X) make sure that you answer 'yes' to save it.

10. We're going to need one more piece of information before we finish.  I've had trouble in the past browsing Samba share folders using assigned names rather than IP addresses.  So to find the IP address of the Raspberry Pi type
ifconfig eth0

You'll be given a an output similar to what is shown below:

The part that is circled in orange (inet addr) in the above image is what you need to note down.  We'll need this to test the share drive later on.

11. We can try it out our system and auto-login by using the command
sudo reboot

Assuming that everything goes well, your system should be up and running.

Lets try this out on a different computer or device.

Load up your chosen file manager, most have location bar at the top (similar to the address bar on a browser).  Enter the following in the location bar: smb://{your Raspberry Pi's IP address from step 10}

You should now be able to access the files on the external hard drive connected to your Raspberry Pi.

Congratulations you've now set up your home server.