Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ubuntu: Didn't know root password

Ok, so... what happened was... cognitively not all there today. Fast as I thought of it, couldn't remember what I needed to do but it went something like... let a couple different live, active operating systems make nice with each other by sharing files.

BUT FIRST, I needed to undo a stupid I did a couple days ago... messed up permissions on the targeted folder. Well, I think I did it. Is also possible it's about trying to access a hard drive created by another operating system (Knoppix). But I don't think so. SEEMS LIKE... I was able to access the target folder until I bloopered the other day..

Bumbling around trying to figure the permissions thing out, I got the bright idea to search on "manage user accounts ubuntu". Ended up at Ubuntu Help's User Management webpage. Skimmed through and knew immediately that wasn't what I was looking for so sat here pondering.

Decided to try su in a terminal. That was a FAIL. Received back an "Authentication failure" error message. Remembered I'd JUST coincidentally seen something about root and password on that Ubuntu User Management page. Bingo > sudo passwd is what you need if you've never accessed root in your system before. Turns out Ubuntu's Dream Team keeps root turned off by default (for good reason). You can activate it by entering the "sudo passwd" command then entering information as requested.


Placing sudo before commands gets you most, if not all, of what you'd ever need accomplished as system administrator as long as you've been previously granted those powers. If you go in there with full power of root, you can do something really stupid by total accident (like what I did couple days ago). And actually not sure if I messed up while as "sudo" or root but, either way, what I did was... type too fast for my brain while accessing admin powers. Accidentally started changing an entire disk's permissions when I'd only wanted to change one folder, my photo folder. Left off the folder name and off it went....

And so here we are now.. less than 24 hours before I'd like to have solved/resolved inter-Linux distro communication by first undoing something that should not have occurred in the first place. So forget root exists. Take a few extra seconds to search the W-W-W for alternatives that others have used. There's so much more newbie and cognitively friendly information available out there than there ever has been. Research, don't take shortcuts just because they do happen to exist.. The sanity you save... will be your own (and most likely fellow members of some Linux community listserv somewhere). :)

Happy Safe Surfing out there!

PS My new office mate out here on the porch.. A Carolina Wren (CAWR, Thryothorus ludovicianus) sitting on her new nest... Patience pays... :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Linux hibernation (suspend-to-disk) FAIL and Swap partitioning

Off and distracted by another something shiny today... new old refurbished hard drive. Decided I want to put two completely different Linux operating systems on this new hard drive. It's more technically known as "dual booting". Wasn't even sure it was possible, that maybe I misunderstood recent listserv conversations I lurked, but nope, apparently is possible sooo.... here I goooo...

In the process of just verifying I understand it's a can-do before actually attempting a dual boot setup, I FINALLY encountered someone saying something extended about WHY you want to create yadda-yadda amount of swap space. Over the years, I've guessed the swap partition was about things temporarily "swapping" out in that space as you move around in your software. Bingo.. The Community Help section covers it in the Why do I need swap? part of their SwapFAQ.

Just throwing this out there quick before attempting that dual install. Reason was that "please help" requests occur occasionally about hibernation not working on Debian setups. I don't know if inadequate swap space has ever been posed as a potential source of the problem but it'll be my "Have you checked this yet?" kneejerk answer from now on... unless someone else plugs it first. *grin*

Happy Safe Surfing out there!

PS Ah, cr4p, forgot to say... recommended dosage FOR swap is approximate double your ram memory size. One guy (over at Super User) suggested adding an additional +1 for good measure. Cool. Having never seen an explanation about swap, mine have always been been a nice round 10gb on 1gb systems over the years, just because(y). Guess that makes it more like... quadruple, no, make that 8-druple plus an extra gigabyte for each quadruple (times 2) overkill...... Schmokin'!

PPS Just read this.. FCC website apparently went down for the count due to net neutrality troll comments inspired by a comedian named John Oliver. k/t goes to Slashdot for the lead.

PPPS How many gazillions has dotGov reportedly spent on web development and yet their major websites still can't handle a little extra Internet traffic on demand?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Long neglected Blogger accounts.. Oy.

UPDATED :: Are we there yet?! (spoiler alert, grin)

Rambling today just to try to keep in writing mode. Sometime yesterday afternoon, I started fiddling around with my long neglected Blogger accounts. What a mess.

What happened was for some reason the Backyard Pishing blog was suddenly displaying as a single column instead of two. Sometimes that will happen if you're using a higher zoom percentage so I did a quick CTRL plus "-" couple times to take it down a few notches. Didn't help.

Next I figured maybe it had something to do with my getting back into actively featuring Amazon affiliate ads. Thought maybe it had something to do with the newest ads' width(s) causing the layout to squeeze something out of whack. So far, doesn't look like that was it, either.

Ended up being a review worth its weight in time spent as I discovered a whoopsie. The newer Linux Bible I was featuring does not appear to include the live CD/DVD disks the way earlier editions did, namely the (AD ALERT >>>) Linux Bible 2010 now currently faved. My whole point was about being able to test drive various Linux distributions without having to install anything. Can't do that if there's no CD/DVD to insert and poke around in while reading the book's tutorial. *blonde moment*

Immediately after Amazon felt "fixed", a Google Adsense block was the next to visually pop as being way outside its own dedicated "gadget" space. It's now reassigned below blog posts as a 728x90 header size, I think it was. Also set it to echo the blog's template theme. Never have to worry about color clash with that one again.

So far, so good except... blog is still displaying single file.... hm. *grin*

Next line of attack was to literally just sit back and stare at it, ponder it. Ever since I set the Backyard Pishing blog up, I've liked the spring like green grass with blue sky option under the Blogger Watermark themes. Especially loved the Dandelion powder puff spewing weed seeds into the air. Seemed perfect for a low income blog about getting outside.

Like it as much as I did, though, the theme always seemed to feel just a little too "busy" for cognitive comfort, and that was the final impression it left last night... right before I clicked through to a new template theme. New theme choice was supposed to be a 30-second pitstop before reverting back to the old. Had hoped a new theme would bring back the two columns. It wasn't and it didn't... Wasn't 30-second, became a "still there", and so did not bring the two columns back from whence they've eloped. *sigh, grin*

Have now moved on to the fiddling with aka customizing the template HTML stage. Memory serves that this was what I had to do with the grass theme. I remember columns not lining up initially for that theme, either, but have no idea what change eventually worked for it.

AND UNFORTUNATELY the HTML containing that answer was effectively zapped into oblivion as soon as I switched themes last night. Did not think through the entire action/consequences process first. There's a high probability that the zapped file contained comments stating "I CHANGED THIS FANCY TECHIE THINGY RIGHT HERE", intended as personal reference notes just for moments like this.. *oops*

One thought I keep having to fight back against is about Blogger's server possibly treating my Lenovo Thinkpad as a mobile device. Once in a great while, a website will do that. Sites will occasionally serve up an altered, low cal "" URL instead of "". Good answer, good answer, but not the case here since Backyard Pishing was displaying properly until yesterday. Back to the ol' drawing board we go...

That ol' drawing board today... consists of some 2,734 lines of code... to serve up one single webpage. I say again..... oy.

Ope, ope, ope! Just learned something new. Was about wrote out but then thought it'd be nice to attach some kind of pic to go with the rambling. Decided to take the above printscreen, screenshot of the alleged 2,734 lines of Blogger template code. Noticed in the process that the numbers were jumping upward inconsistently. Kneejerk was that it must have something to do with our author content filling in the holes then noticed those little black arrows appearing each time the line numbers jumped.

Turns out those arrows are clickable. They expand to display yet more lines of workable code. May get the two columns back yet. Just have to figure out which one of those 2,734 lines of code is concealing the trigger for column, the right's side-by-side alignment. *but must. have. coffee. first*

Happy Safe Surfing out there.. :)

PS No, never did end up doing the Tiger Direct free 8gb SDHC memory card deal. It became a coin toss of that or something mundane like going into town for food or some such other Life supporting purchase. The food or some such other Life supporting purchase won out.... Yay for at least being in a position to have those CHOICES to make. :)

UPDATE? Nope, not there yet BUT did stumble upon the following through trial and error not to mention serious wear and tear on the eyeballs...

  • Group description="Sidebar Background" lets you change the background of... your sidebar. Hey, it's a start... :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

TODAY ONLY (5/13) Tiger Direct Free 8gb Class 4 SDHC

This is a hit and run so it gets out there in a timely manner.. This deals ends midnight Eastern time TONIGHT (May 13, 2014.05.13). You buy 1 or 2 of these Centon 8gb Class 4 SDHC flash memory cards. $9.99 a piece is what I'm seeing on this end. For starters, you get free shipping. If you qualify after that, you get 100% full rebate. SUCH A DEAL!

Fair warning, I'm NOT doing it BECAUSE.... you have to have access to a printer. Then again I might still do it. Just have to decide how much trouble it will be to go through with it.

You'll find all the fine print like that right there in the middle of the top part of the ad. There's a "Terms" link that takes you to a downloadable PDF file. Yep, that's already going to cause some people trouble BUT if you can get that far, it then fills you in on the rebate's details. Example question would be WHERE do they do and do not ship, meaning internationally in particular. Each of us as individuals will have to check with Tiger Direct's website to see if this rebate is worth pursuing.

Tiger Direct is a name that has been around a LONG time. While I was over there, I noticed their site bears a Google seal of approval. That can't hurt in the trust department.. :)

k/t for the lead goes to photography website Petapixel who heard it from SlickDeals.

Happy Safe Surfing out there.. :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

OpenShot :: Transparency and alpha, oh, yeahhh

Yayhoo, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks have migrated back to Talking Rock (Pickens County, Georgia)! While contemplating dropping everything to stop and upload video footage of their return, started pondering the transparency capabilities of jpegs and such yesterday. It suddenly, BAM, hit to wonder about working a combination of a transparent video and alpha background image into the intro(duction) of homemade videos. Sure enough, turns out a close effect is possible via your choice of Inkscape and/or GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) and OpenShot Video Editor..

So what I did was... After first pondering a transparency mashup as a possibility, I next decided I wanted the visual under the title frame to be a transparency of the first frame of the first video clip in the finished product. Printscreen comes to mind but that leaves a lot of room for error. Then I remembered seeing, in fact test driving then ditching, the feature that separates your video clips into single frames. One way to get to that is by:

  • Dropping your target video clip onto a track
  • Right clicking over top of your target video clip
  • Choosing (clicking) "Convert To Image Sequence"

What happens is, at least on my machine, it chugs a little and then you end up sitting there scratching your head because.... the newly created sequence.... might not show up in your primary OpenShot folder. Depends on your CHOICE of how you set up your files and save your projects. LOT of room for error there. I'm STILL getting system complaints when I reopen saved projects. Oy..

If all you need is one frame for something like what I'm doing, you can take an extra step in OpenShot and only create a small sequence. This way you end up with only a couple handful of images rather than generating HUNDREDS of images you might not ever use, not to mention the wear and tear on your poor computer.

Surely several ways to sequence fewer images but easiest for me until OpenShot's completely second nature was to:

  • Add a copy of my first video clip
  • Slice off a TINY sliver from the beginning of the video clip
  • Make an image sequence of just that tiny slice

You can add a temporary new track away from everything else just to do that sequencing. Simply delete that whole extra track as soon as the image sequence has been generated. A tiny slice takes a few seconds versus waiting unnecessarily for a large video to be sequenced. In my case today, OpenShot generated maybe 20 png files. I snagged the very first one and permanently deleted the rest.

Had to abort a search for that sequence earlier then accidentally and finally stumbled on it just now. The sequence for my setup was created in the same folder as the original video clip movie file. I *might* have mentioned in an earlier post that files are symlinked rather than actually drug into our projects. That's what happened, my generated image sequence was deposited in a different (all video) folder way over yonder. Snuggling up to the original movie clip file is actually a common sense *duh* place to look next when the sequence didn't turn up in the OpenShot folder.

For my purposes, I kept that one first frame so now what? I originally just wanted the frame to sit there twiddling its thumbs then pick up the video when that kicked in. In screwing around with it, though, there appeared that word "animation" in the choices.... Oooh. Animate. Overkill. Let's go for it. So my current choice of settings became:

  • Track 1: Soundtrack (Youtube Audio Library's Swamp_Stomp.mp3)
    • Right click over top and choose "Properties" (at bottom)
    • General tab, "Position On Timeline" = "0.00"
    • Length tab, "In" at "0.00", "Out" at "7.00"
    • Audio tab (because it's sound), "Fade Out" with "Fade Length" = "1.00"
    • Everything else I leave at default settings
  • Track 2: My title.svg frame (which it turns out is automatically transparent)
    • Right click over top and choose "Properties" (at bottom)
    • General tab, "Position On Timeline" = "0.00"
    • Length tab, "In" at "0.00", "Out" at "7.00"
    • Video tab (because it's visual), "Fade Out" with "Fade Length" = "1.00"
    • Everything else again at default settings
  • Track 3: The single png (#1) from image sequence I just did
    • Right click over top and choose "Properties" (at bottom)
    • General tab, "Position On Timeline" = "0.00"
    • Length tab, "In" at "0.00", "Out" at "7.00"
    • Layout tab, "Height" and "Width" = "15"; "X" and "Y" = "-15"; "Alpha" = "5" "0"
    • Everything else is default because I want png to seamlessly transition into the video

Note :: Almost ready to upload to Youtube and watched the video just one more time locally. Noticed that, after the video was exported (created), you could just barely see the transparent video sitting at the ready in the background. Didn't see it while I was only working in OpenShot. Tried setting the Properties > Layout tab > Alpha to "0". MUCH better. Clip starts out invisible but immediately becomes visible as it grows. Keep testing, always testing those settings.

Annnd another Note :: THIS is how cool OpenShot is. I'm getting ready to upload a video that is ~17.8MB in size. That is with all the alterings I've added PLUS the entire of the original video clip. That original video clip? It was.... ~73.4MB. I'm on dialup. That size difference alone is a huge, HUGE usability factor when it comes to being able to participate in video creation and uploading alongside everyone else. :)

So where were we? Settings. Right. Ok, those above should work. Those "-15" X/Y layout settings** for Track 3 bring the transparent png from the top left corner and drop it onto the screen as it "grows". Playing around with those numbers will bring it in at different sizes from different places.

My target, featured video clip snippet for now is on Track 2 with a "Position On Timeline" of "7.00" (Properties > General tab). I tend to let clips have a buffer of 0.01 seconds but there was a nanosecond of a blip unless the video clip bumped right up next to the png file. Another *duh*. I recently started fading my videos in and out (instead of just out). For this new (test) way of introducing titles, I won't fade *in* on the first video clip. That helps it all stay looking like one continuous thing, then.. Cool. :)

Annnd, being one to not leave things alone in software, I tried swapping the clips in Tracks 2 and 3 to see if there was any effect. There was. It looks, ummm... probably more professional. It's a quandary now, that one is. Professional looking versus overkill..... *hm*

** And there you go, messed with the settings again.. And found a few more things whose rationale hasn't gelled in my brain but that are surely calculable moves if you stare at it long enough. Changing "X" and "Y" values to "40" on the Properties > Layout tab brings the Track 3 png in from dead center. The not gelling part is about the number being "40" instead of "50". It must be about positioning a corner point of the clip based on how small you want it to be when it starts out. See, stare at it long enough, something halfway rationale does come to mind.

Changing those same values of "40" to "85" brings the png image in from the bottom right hand corner. Actually could see that one inversely coming after having used "-15" as a value first.

85. Sold. This way the title stays clear and readable the longest. For now. Sure did like that more professional blend when the clips were switched on Tracks 2 and 3, though.... *hm* =)

Happy Safe Surfing out there.. :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

OpenShot :: Organizing Files aka Oy, VEY!

Sooo.. have started to really get serious about making some videos out of the literally tens upon tens of thousands of still images and movie clips I've taken out in the front yard here. Have dabbled with about six, eight videos now, and immediately it became clear it was getting out of hand QUICK.

The part that is getting out of hand is the organization of all the related and inter-related files. Movies the size I'm making don't really take that many files right now but it was still a mess already. In the process of changing things out (moving some files around and renaming for better consistency), I've managed to freak out the OpenShot Video Editor a time or two, too. *oops*

You have a couple choices if you manage to do the same. You can start over which has actually helped me lose a few pesky bugs I'd planted in my videos. Or if you've already got a pretty intricate video project set up and working, you can try helping OpenShot refind what you reorganized.

On that last part, an example might be like I had earlier where I'd snipped the doodah out of a clip and then done all kinds of tweaks, effects, yadda. May just be that I don't know the entire of OpenShot shortcuts and fail-safes yet, but I was not up for the task of recreating that clipped snippet from scratch.

There may be several ways to help OpenShot relocate moved files but this one is what proved cognitively friendly for me:

  • Make sure the "Project Files" tab is active, is the one you're working out of
  • Right click over whichever file a little popup window is complaining can no longer be found
  • Click "File Properties". It's at the bottom of the little popup window for me
  • Enter the file's new full computer path there where it says "File Name:"
  • Quickly save your project. I say this one because that seemed to make a difference here (SOMETIMES).

On that last part, at other times... not so much (did quickly saving the project make a difference). The file path would occasionally and very frustratingly revert back to the old now non-existent file path for some reason. It could be as simple as I was missing something pretty basic.. or not. Therein lies the oy factor.

Learned another little something about OpenShot's interoperability that had escaped me at first. You're not actually loading files into your project. I was wondering why the "*.osp" files were so tiny. It's because it's about linking rather than embedding as the project moves along.

Found that out accidentally while updating, prettying up the text alignment on a title .svg file earlier. For no particular reason (ok, maybe LAZY), I decided to double click the existing file on the "Project Files" tab rather than delete and start over. So I updated the text in my Inkscape .svg file then clicked the pre-existing file name there on that "Project Files" tab. The visual changed immediately and reflected the new file change there in OpenShot's "Video Preview" panel (right side of the program). That little 4-watt light bulb flicked on overhead again a second later.

BUT.. I'm ignoring the light bulb this time. It suggests trying to use as few files as possible in creating videos over time. I'm thinking that could get messy and potentially overwhelming real quick. So my process will be to give each and every video its own copy of all files even though that will mean duplication up the wazoo for a handful of files over time.

The reason for that CHOICE is... cognition/memory based. From one second to the next all day every day I forget "systems" I've established to do things. Guaranteed I'll be smoking along making videos a few weeks from now and will absolutely freaking forget that the one "outro" file is designed to be 100% consistent, dependable throughout the lifetime of my video making. Ok, not forever but for a few months... or few videos, at the least.

If I use one single file for all videos then decide a week from now to change it for some silly one-of-a-kind video, I've just messed up all the other projects sitting symlinked to that same file as they twiddle their thumbnails in the wings. And yes, files can be write-protected, but it's just easier this way. It's just another kind of system that will be less painless even though it's destined to eat up more hard drive space over time. You do what you gotta do, you work with what you gots and don'ts gots... *grin*

Happy Safe Surfing out there...

And PS Yes, my .svg files are going in the automatically created "Thumbnail" folder where they'll sit side by side with .png files generated as OpenShot works its magic. It's a cognitive thing. I'll know to go looking for images there in a thumbnail file where images bearing similar names will already await. So far, that method doesn't seem to twerk OpenShot's britches any. Yayhoo for small blessings. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

OpenShot Video Editor :: Getting Started

Haven't tried the OpenShot Video Editor yet but were thinking of giving it a go? Don't do what I did.. I jumped right in and... found myself struggling for a few days before I, gack, read the destructions. You can find them by clicking "Help" in the top menu bar and then clicking "Contents". Keyboard shortcut offered is the universal "F1" key. That worked here but YMMV (your mileage may vary) depending on the entire of your computer situation.

Reason I ended up in Help was my second video starting glitching. It was hiccuping inconsistently as it ran through the clips. First clip faded as desired then hiccuped out one last clearly viewable frame after the fact. Next clip nada. Third clip hiccuped a single frame both at the beginning AND the end. *hm*

Turned out by reading the instructions labeled "Learn OpenShot in 5 Minutes!", I had music clips in the second track and video in the first. Whether or not that was the only thing wrong (or if rearranging things also quietly deleted the real glitch causer), I don't know. BUT.. switching them around so that they were set up reversed as "Learn OpenShot in 5 Minutes!" depicts = no hiccups. Yayhoo, we have video (to be uploaded soon)!

Happy Safe Surfing out there!

PS Tried to get a printscreen to go with purely for posterity but, um, hm. What I needed didn't happen here on Ubuntu. I NEEDED... to be able to grab the that top bar showing the word "Help". It comes and goes in Ubuntu, you have to put your cursor (pointer) up there first. Since I was trying to.... oh, shoot, wait. One sec...........

Speaking of glitches, forgot about the "PrtSc" key. Been years since I've had a computer where it actually worked. Still didn't quite capture what I wanted. Was able to display and printscreen the word "Help" but printscreen refused to operate with the Help dropdown menu dropped and displaying the word "Contents".

Sooo.. got half what I went after, I'm over it... Tired but still wanting to play a little in OpenShot before the night's over.. Priorities! :)

PPS Might have misunderstood but over at the Ubuntu-Users listserv, I got the impression that software title bars might not be playing catch-me-if-you-can anymore in one of the latest releases... YAYHOO TIMES TWO (IF TRUE)!

Debian :: Searching for potential packages

My next great tech adventure is in full swing right now. Am creating videos using the OpenShot Video Editor. Tried this software and Avidemux before but it was a horrific fail, cognitively as well as regarding the obsolete array of dis-hardware I eternally have on hand k/t to being low income.

So... this is the newest New Year and I actually have a workable setup going. k/t there goes to... a kindly silent angel investor. *waving*

Right now while I'm waiting for *bleeped* dialup to load two pages simultaneously (oh, the horror), thought I'd real quick write one handy tip garnered recently from the Debian-User listserv. And that handy tip izzz:

  • Open your favorite terminal. One that came with my setup is GNOME Terminal (Debian package gnome-terminal)
  • Type in apt-cache search [package name] (worked here without being root, yay)

As example for the missing software I encountered today, [package name] is replaced with "libavformat". And there was actually a hit that has potential > "libavformat-extra-53". We'll see if that will do it (but it'll be a few or three hours k/t dialup). *grin*

Happy Safe Surfing out there.. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

PulseAudio in Ubuntu 12.04

How about that. If I'd waited two more weeks, it would have been 6 years since my last post on this blog.. But I'm antsy, so here we gooo....

Kind of like walking in at the middle of the movie here. For now, will be lumping these under "so what i did was"..

Sooo... What I did was.... I've got several LiveDVDs that I work with these days. Some graphics ones and long time favorite, Knoppix. BUT.. This second am working on a laptop that came with Ubuntu pre-installed.

Today's dilemma... Ran into an issue yesterday where the laptop's onboard microphone became mysteriously... muted. No, I didn't do it. Last time I made changes, it was to go to:

  • System Settings
  • Sound
  • Input tab
  • Click on Internal microphone
  • REMOVE the checkmark next to "Mute"

That was about two weeks ago and haven't been back in there since. AND YET.. there we were yesterday and my microphone's back muted. I will grant that possibly an accidental combination of keyboard strokes did the dirty deed. Life lesson learned the hard way was to ALWAYS "test-test one two three" to make sure the sound level is working. If not, software is likely muted.

In the process yesterday, discovered that under the Output tab in the Sound System Settings, speakers were not working when "Digital Output S/PDIF" was highlighted. Alrighty then..

Today hit the search engine and found someone at the Ubuntu forum had the same issue. They mentioned HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface). Lost me immediately BUT I do know I've encountered that early on in Ubuntu, just no clue where. May or may not be the problem, time and accidental stumblings will tell.

Per the Ubuntu Forums suggestion, I followed through today by downloading PulseAudio Volume Control:

sudo apt-get install pavucontrol

What program name to use to download I noticed is provided if you go to Ubuntu Software Center. Pick software you like then click to highlight it. You'll be offered an "Info" button. Once in there, 100% of the time I've found the package name. Don't include version numbers, just first part of the name and you more likely than not will be ok.

So now I have PulseAudio Volume Control installed. I followed the further directions to wander through the tabs. Apparently has two interfaces. If you click the "lock" button on the righthand top corner, the tabs interact with each other. Unlock it and they don't seem to... Could be a glitch here but that's how it appears.

All well and good but.... Digital Output S/PDIF is still not functioning. Will keep plugging until it does.. :)

Happy Safe Surfing out there.. :)