Category: How To

Checking Files with md5sum or sha1sum

When you download files or copy them between locations, there is always a chance that something won’t copy correctly.  The larger the file, the larger the chance of something getting messed up.  Creating a check sum on the file is a great way to check to make sure that everything adds up before and after the copy.

This post will explore the two tools, and give you a quick little intro on how to use them.

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Installing MS Office on Fedora 15 — try 2

This is my second attempt at writing this article.  Office hasn’t been playing nicely with Fedora, but I finally have it working!  This How-To is not as clean as I would like, but it works.

First, let’s explore the motivation for installing Microsoft Office on Linux.  I would venture to guess that most if not all Linux distributions have LibreOffice in their repositories.  That is a full-featured office package that will probably do most of what you want.  In my opinion, Microsoft Office is just a little bit better, but that comes with a huge price tag!  The value is definitely on LibreOffice’s side.  But, here are some reasons you may consider Office instead:

  • if you can get Office cheaper — many times you can get Office much cheaper through student licensing or corporate licensing
  • if you do a lot of work on Office documents in conjunction with other Microsoft users — LibreOffice can open, edit, and save MS Office documents, but when you go back and forth, you will probably have to constantly fix small formatting issues

My motivation comes from working with textbooks.  I was working with large Word documents, and since they were so large, reformatting images and screenshots were not feasible every time we passed them back and forth between LibreOffice and MS Office.  Plus, Office was bought for me so the cost was not an issue!
So, with no further adue, let me walk you through what I did to install it on my Fedora 15 OS:

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Gizmod for Volume on Mythbuntu

Our remote control has been working fine with my Mythbuntu setup for a while now, but there are a few things I would like to work better. Volume is one of those thing. Lirc controls the volume differently between Hulu Desktop and the built-in video player. It is a little annoying.

So, after a little Googling, this thread sparked my interest in Gizmod.


To install it on my system, I followed the Ubuntu directions. That calls for installing via the repositories:

sudo apt-get install gizmod

Next, I had to address the UDev / Security. First, that means creating an “input” group:

[sourcecode]sudo groupadd -f input
sudo gpasswd -a username input[/sourcecode]

Then, I added the following lines to /etc/udev/rules.d/99-input.rules:

KERNEL=="event*", NAME="input/%k", MODE:="660", GROUP="input"
KERNEL=="js*", NAME="input/%k", MODE:="664", GROUP="input"

Then, to make the changes take effect, I ran:

sudo service udev restart

Here’s the problem. When I tried to start gizmod, I got this error:

GizmoDaemon v3.4 -=- (c) 2007, Tim Burrell <>=———=
Unable to Initialize Gizmod :: User Script dir [/usr/etc/gizmod/modules.d] does NOT exist or permissions are wrong!
GizmoDaemon Shut Down.


I found a bug report that seemed to suggest that maybe recompiling from the source might fix the problem. So, here is what I did.

So, I downloaded the latest version from the Download Page. Then, here’s the command to unzip:

tar -xjvf gizmod-3.5.tar.bz2

cd gizmod-3.5/

Installing dependencies

The easiest way to make sure that you have all the dependencies is with apt-get. Otherwise, you need to check the documentation and manually go through the list installing all the programs.

sudo apt-get build-dep gizmod

Then, continuing on, I followed the instructions and ran CMake.

mkdir build && cd build


The make command failed with this error:

skp@gabriel:~/Downloads/gizmod-3.5/build$ make
[ 29%] Built target H
[ 31%] Building CXX object libGizmod/CMakeFiles/Gizmod.dir/CPUUsage.o
/home/skp/Downloads/gizmod-3.5/libGizmod/CPUUsage.cpp: In constructor ‘Gizmod::CPUUsageInfo::CPUUsageInfo()’:
/home/skp/Downloads/gizmod-3.5/libGizmod/CPUUsage.cpp:83: error: ‘memset’ was not declared in this scope
make[2]: *** [libGizmod/CMakeFiles/Gizmod.dir/CPUUsage.o] Error 1
make[1]: *** [libGizmod/CMakeFiles/Gizmod.dir/all] Error 2
make: *** [all] Error 2

I found a fix online. The fix was to add #Include <cstring>:

Then, it worked. Everything compiled with no problem.

Lastly, I finished the compile/install with:

sudo make install

Now, I haven’t used it very much. I think I need to do some configuring and hacking to get it to do what I want it to. Currently, it doesn’t seem to do well with Hulu Desktop.

More Avidemux Settings

I tried my memcoder trick to concatenate/combine my flash videos, and it didn’t work this time for some reason.  It gave this error message.

All video files must have identical fps, resolution, and codec for -ovc copy.


So, I tried avidemux:

Again, you can open the first .flv file. Then, you use the Append option in the File menu to add the rest of the videos. These are the options that I found to save it:

Help! Maintenance Mode in WordPress

I got a little scare last night when I was updating one of my plugins in WordPress.  I got a little click-happy, and I think I didn’t let the page finish loading when I told it to install the update.

Anyway, I went to the front page, and I got a message like this: “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.”  Thankfully, I found the solution here:

WordPress Forums: [resolved] Blog now stuck in maintenance mode

The solution is to delete a .maintenance file in the root directory of my WordPress installation.  I use nautilus for my FTP connection to the website.  Because the file begins with “.”, it is hidden by default.  You can hit Ctrl + H to show the hidden files, and then I could delete the file.

Why Can’t the Users Just Rotate Their Screen?

We have a Kodak Zi6 video camera that we have been using to take home videos.  Today, we taped Clay taking some of his first steps, but we did it in portrait instead of landscape.  So, then, the next question is how can we rotate the video, so we don’t have to tell everyone to rotate their screen.

I found this post that suggested using Avidemux.  So, here is what I did:

First, simply open your video with the File > Open command or the Open button on the toolbar.  Next, you need to set the output formats that you want.  I found this post that suggested using MPEG-4 AVC (x264), AAC (Faac), and MP4.  Choosing the right format was rather difficult for me.  Here is what it looks like once you have made the choices:

Next, you need to use a Filter to rotate the video.   So, click the video filters button.

Next, double click on the Rotate filter in the list:

Now, choose your rotation angle:

The Rotate filter should move over to the Active Filters column and should show the rotation angle that you chose:

Now, you simply save your video using the File > Save command or the toolbar.  This will take a few minutes for your computer to process the video and write the file.  I chose an .mp4 extension.

Here is it processing the video:

So, that is it.  Please comment if you have suggestions.  I am still working out the best format to use for sharing with friends and family.  So, if you find something that is better, please let me know.


Concatenating PDFs

I found a great article to help me with creating the newsletter for our Sparks/AWANA club this month:

Easy way to concatenate PDF files in Ubuntu Linux

First, I had to trim off the last page of the newsletter.  I opened the PDF in Evince and printed it to a file, PDF format, pages 1-3 (not page 4).  That gave me a PDF with just the first 3 pages.

Next, I opened the orginal PDF with Gimp and imported only page 4.  That gave me a graphic of the last page, and I saved that as a PNG file.  Then, I created a new Open Office Drawing and inserted that PNG file as the background in the drawing.  (The last page of the newsletter is just an outline for you to add your own club-specific content.)  I added the news items for a our club and saved the last page as a PDF.

Finally, I used this command to build the final PDF:

gs -q -sPAPERSIZE=letter -dNOPAUSE -dBATCH -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -sOutputFile=Oct-Complete.pdf Oct-Part.pdf Oct.pdf

That was it!  Please comment if you know better ways to do this sort of thing.

Adding Custom Emblems to Your Folder Icons

I have a work folder under my Home folder that I store all of my work-related documents.  I wanted to put my work’s logo on the folder to make it stand out.

I found a great thread with some tips.  Basically, I downloaded a graphic from the company website with the logo on it.  I used Gimp to crop and resize it.  Then, I saved it to the folder: $HOME/.icons/hicolor/48×48/emblems (I had to create the .icons directory).  Finally, when I right clicked on the folder and viewed the property, my new icon was in the list of emblems.

3D Acceleration for VMWare Player

I noticed a message saying that I did not have 3d acceleration in my virtual image with VMWare player. I didn’t really need it as all I was doing was using the PeopleSoft IDE and a web browser, but I wondered if it would improve performance. I will probably never know if it made a difference other than get rid of the message.

The fix was to install driconf and enable “S3TC texture compression even if software support is not available”.

Installing driconf was as easy as:
sudo apt-get install driconf

Run driconf from the command line with the command:

Go to the “Image Quality” tab, and click “Yes” for “Enable S3TC texture compression even if software support is not available”



3D Acceleration on Intel X3100