Tag Archives: ubuntu

KeePassX: The Perfect Password App

Recently, I’ve been having some trouble with passwords. Either the login name is a string I never use, and therefore never commit to memory (like my real phone number that I mask with Google Voice), or the password policy forces me to use a password that I’ll never remember (like sites that keep track of your past passwords, or require 11 characters of alternating symbols, letters and numbers, etc.). Since I use spamgourmet, any site that requires an email address as a username is another puzzle – sometimes I even have to login there to find the right one. Also, I have a concern that if I die, my wife will have real trouble getting into all my accounts, so it would be nice if I could just leave her one password to give her access to all that information. So, I broke down and started using a password organizer app. Now, I have always been averse to using these applications for a variety of reasons (online companies having all your passwords, plaintext in swap space / memory, keyloggers, insecure encryption, etc.), but I managed to find one that’s open source, never caches my master password, widely used, and has extreme cross-platform capabilities. KeePassX is the name, and it’s available in Ubuntu. Installing it is left as an exercise to the reader. Once you get in there and add a few passwords, it starts to look something like this:

It allows you to mask both your usernames and passwords (both optionally) from the top-level view. It has clipboard capabilities, so you can just copy your password to the clipboard by clicking a button, and never see it on the screen in plain-text. Their security is really well-done. But the big realization today was that they have an Android App! This app only need the kdb file from any instance of the application, and of course the password to decrypt it. It’s available in the market too! But, how do you sync changes between your main desktop and your phone? Dropbox! Using the dropbox mobile app, I simply synced the kdb file onto the phone, and then opened it. KeePassDroid popped up and asked if I wanted to make it the default database, and I checked the box. Done.

Now, whenever I make a change, it syncs over Dropbox like magic.

Extracting M2TS length from a BDMV directory in Linux

I was having the hardest time getting various programs to echo the runtime of m2ts files in Linux, and it turns out someone wrote a parser for the files in the BDMV/PLAYLIST directory, which have all of this information.

  • Get bdtools. I got Version 1.4. You can find it here.
  • ./configure && make && sudo make install
  • Try running mpls_dump. I got this error when running:
    mpls_dump: error while loading shared libraries: libbd-1.0.so.1: cannot open shared object file: 
    No such file or directory

  • To fix it, do this:
    echo "/usr/local/lib" | sudo tee -a /etc/ld.so.conf
    sudo ldconfig

Calibre with the Nook on Ubuntu

Calibre is about the best thing since sliced bread. It is able to convert basically any type of Ebook format into EPUB, which is what my Nook reads natively. It seamlessly syncs with the Nook as well, which is a huge plus, and all of this happens in Linux. I highly recommend this software. Just make sure not to queue up too many jobs, or it might DOS your computer for a bit. The PDF conversion is especially intensive. It makes quick work of short documents (hundreds of pages), but documents that are thousands of pages take much, much longer. The only capability I’m missing currently is conversion of DOC to EPUB, but I can use OpenOffice to convert a DOC to HTML, and then import that into Calibre and convert it, so that works.

Compiling ConvertLit on Ubuntu Linux 9.10

So, ConvertLit seems to be a good solution for those looking to convert LIT ebooks into EPUB (well, into HTML, but then into EPUB…).  Unfortunately, the developers seem to be unable to properly make a good source tarball for version 1.8.  Here’s what I did:

  1. Download Version 1.8 source from here.
  2. unzip clit18src.zip -d convertlit
  3. sudo apt-get install libtommath-dev
  4. Download this to the convertlit directory.
  5. patch -p1 -i clit18.source.patch
  6. You should see the clit18/Makefile was patched
  7. cd lib && make && cd ../clit18 && make
  8. the clit binary should be available in the clit18 directory
  9. sudo cp clit18/clit /usr/local/bin/
  10. Use it!

Now I just have to figure out how to convert it to epub.

Getting Skype Working on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic x86-64

So, recently, I installed Ubuntu karmic cleanly on my main desktop machine here at home, and I have really liked it. I even switched to KDE, and everything has been working better than it had been in GNOME. I tried setting up Skype the other day, and ran into an issue with the microphone. It turns out that since the new Skype uses PulseAudio, there’s a further configuration step that’s not so obvious. I found out here that you have to do the following:

sudo apt-get install pavucontrol

Then, go to the Input Devices tab, and unmute the sound (click the little speaker with a red X until the controls at the bottom are enabled). Then, change the Port setting until you can see the bars move when you tap the microphone. Then try Skype. This worked perfectly for me – it’s too bad it’s not connected to the KDE sound mixer, but oh well. Maybe in the future that will happen.

Importing MySQL 1.4 Amarok data into Amarok 2.2 Nightly

I was having a bunch of trouble today importing my old MySQL amarok database into the new nightly version of amarok I installed.  The Amarok Wiki had a great section on how to convert a MySQL Amarok collection into an SQLlite one.  This was the key to importing my old 1.4 collection into the new 2.2 nightly version of Amarok.

SSD in the M1530

Today, I finally set up my new OCZ SSD hard drive:

All I had to do to convert my M1530 running Ubuntu over was use the cp command:

mkdir /mnt/root && mount root_partition /mnt/root
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/target
cp -a /mnt/root/ /mnt/target/

You might also have to repeat for other partitions like boot and home. cp -a is awesome. It does exactly what you need for this process. Now my computer runs perfectly (other than me having to tweak grub a little for the right boot options). The only issue is you will have to move the contents of /mnt/target/root in this case to /mnt/target after this is done, as there’s an issue with dotfiles being copied in the root directory of the source.

Enabling typing of the Euro symbol in Ubuntu

In today’s troubled world, it’s nice to be able to talk about different currencies. The Euro is one that has gotten very popular lately, and you can actually type the character in Linux. In Ubuntu, you can select a Third-level chooser key to enable foreign characters to be typed. I chose the right ALT key for mine. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Open System -> Preferences -> Keyboard and go to the Layouts Tab.
  2. Click Layout Options
  3. Pull down the Adding the EuroSign to certain keys list, and pick one. I chose the E key.
  4. Now, pull down the Third level choosers list.
  5. Select a key.

Mine looks like so:

Close it, and now you can type the € character at will!