Tag: tutorial

How to Set up a Calendar with Ubuntu Touch and Nextcloud

1. Set up online account in Ubuntu Touch

You will need all your calendar info from your Nextcloud instance before beginning. Looks something like this: https://yourdomain.com/nextcloudserverlocation/remote.php/dav/calendars/username

  1. open calendar
  2. middle icon that shows grid calendar
  3. ‘add online calendar’
  4. choose NC
  5. enter credentials

2. Sync

UT calendar ‘should’ start syncing right away and you’ll see a little icon appear showing that sync started and stopped. Sometimes, however, it seems like a manual sync is required. You can do this by going to the calendar page and selecting the top right hamburger menu and then the circular arrow ‘refresh’ icon.

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Converting a Zsun Wifi Card Reader into a Wifi Range Extender

This post is a follow-up post to my original where I successfully flashed OpenWRT onto these Zsun devices. Be sure to see that post first if you haven’t already flashed OpenWRT onto the device.

Note that this tutorial should also work for any device upon which you can put OpenWRT (ie any compatible old router you have kicking around).

With this project, what I was really trying to do was create a legitimate ‘mesh network’ but my skills and time ran out so I resolved to have a ‘half victory’ which was to be able to use these little devices to expand our home wifi with small size footprint and lower energy usage, even if it was just on demand, as needed. For example, if I needed wifi to reach outside while gardening so I could listen to streamed music, etc, I could plug one of these in nearby and extend the range instantly.

Before beginning, it’s important to note that this process may need your critical thinking to build on what I’ve done, and if you have further progress, it would be appreciated by all to know, if you could write them in the comments. For full disclosure I fried two Zsun devices while learning so make sure to heed my advice in the other blog if you are using this device.

Oh, one last useful statement: I recommend turning off the wifi in your master-router so that you (you) don’t get confused by which wifi radio device you are connecting to since both devices will, by the end of the tuturial, be sharing the exact same SSID. It reduces confusion and headaches to turn this off (just the wifi, you can use wired connection if you have access). Also, while you are turning it off, take note as to what channel it is broadcasting on since you will want to choose a new channel that is far away from this one on the new device.

Ok, let’s get started.

Setting up the Device as an Access Point

For full credit I pulled the methods for this process from this video, but the video wasn’t super helpful because it required an internet connection to do the changes and I needed a static page with text instructions! These are those:

Step 1: Set up the Interface

  1. Go to ‘network’ and ‘interfaces’ in the sub-servient (new word I made, enjoy, GNU license word..gnucabulary…) device (in my case the zsun).
  2. If you have any other interfaces besides ‘LAN’, remove them as they won’t be used
  3. Edit the LAN
  4. Change the IPv4 field to the static IP address that this device will have on your main home network.
    If your main router is 192.168.1.1 for example, then you could set this to 192.168.1.5 if it’s available. If not, find one that is and set it. And don’t lose it! You will need it to log back into the router after making the change.
  5. Change the gateway IP address to the master (gnucabulary…) routers (ie. 192.168.1.1 if that’s your router’s admin login page)
  6. In the “DHCP Server” settings below on the same page, there is a checkbox called ‘ignore interface’. Check that box which will disable DHCP (the thing that sends out IP addresses to all your devices) since you won’t need it
  7. “Save and Apply’ button at the bottom

Reminder note: your device will no longer be found at 192.168.1.1 if that’s where you just logged in. It will now be accessible at the address you chose in step 4 above. I always forget this one, ha. Go find it and log back in…

Step 2: Disable the Firewall

  1. Go to ‘System’ and then ‘Startup’
  2. Scroll down until you see ‘firewall’
  3. Disable it by clicking on the ‘enabled’ button
  4. ‘Submit’ button

Step 3: Adjust the Wifi settings

  1. Go to ‘Network’ then ‘wifi’
  2. Edit the active wifi entry
  3. Change the channel (1 to 11) of the device to one that is fairy far away from that of your main router so there is a nice gap between the frequencies
  4. In ‘Interface Configuration’ section, change the mode to ‘access point’if it isn’t already
  5. change the SSID to exactly the same one as your main router (if it’s slightly different it won’t work)
  6. Change the WPA2/psk password to exactly the same one as your main router is outputting. If you don’t it won’t work
  7. ‘Save & Apply’ button

Some Follow up Notes

As hinted at at the very beginning of this tutorial, from this point on you will not (or may not?) be able to access your subservient device while the wifi of the master router is on. The reason for this is because probably your computer will find the master router’s wifi device and connect to that. I had big struggles trying to find this device again. If you need to access it, either unplug your master router (honestly this is the easiest way if no one will be angry at you for killing their internet) or go into the master router’s settings and disable the wifi transmit. For me, I recommend turning off the master router’s wifi transmit until it’s all setup on the subservient first.

I had quite a bit of problems, even though my master router wasn’t transmitting wifi, connecting to my newly-IP’d subservient device. After I cleared my browsers cache it did re-appear but I’m not sure that’s why. You might need to mess around with your browser to be able to hit the admin page again. I think my problem might be because I have multiple devices running OpenWRT and the browser gets confused…

Special thanks to all the contributors at OpenWRT!

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How to Flash OpenWRT onto a Zsun Card

Background

EDIT JAN 7, 2019
Warning! Before beginning this tutorial, note that I have **fried** two Zsun devices nearly immediately after doing these steps. My theory appears to be correct that as soon as you flash to OpenWRT the default power output is way, way too high and so it starts heating up and frying it. Within about 15 minutes of flashing both devices were dead and inaccessible – their SSID didn’t even show up. I am now testing another one where I dropped the power to low and it’s still alive after about 45 minutes. Therefore pay special attention I’m going to test another one now, but in case you find this blog today, you might want to wait a few days for my findings….

I found a lot of pages on the internet showing that it’s possible to flash OpenWRT onto a Zsun Smart Card Reader. A friend gave me a couple and I wanted to try some mesh network ideas. However, for some reason I couldn’t find everything in one spot for Ubuntu, so I’m writing this guide for anyone else who might want to try. There was also a significant bug I encountered which I overcame which might help you if you have tried and failed in the past.

I also recommend staying fully disconnected from your home wifi while you are doing this to avoid confusion. If you have access to an ethernet cable and router this will make things a bit more simple.

What You Will Need

  1. Zsun Reader
  2. micro SD card to insert into reader – BONUS! I just discovered you only need this for the flashing process and then can remove and use again for flashing other devices (microSD not required to function as extender!)
  3. Ubuntu machine with understanding of how to open a Terminal
  4. (optional) A dedicated folder/directory on your computer where you can ‘do all your actions’. I find this reduces risks and helps you keep your files in one place. You can even download this blog to PDF and put it in the same folder.
  5. All the stuff you need in one place on local machine (because your internet will go down while flashing)

Step 1: Download to local machine the File you will need to flash onto the Zsun

I found it really hard to find the file on this page. Here is a direct link to the file and save this in a memorable location on your computer as we’ll need to access it soon.

Direct link to download

Step 2: Make sure your micro SD card is formatted to FAT32

On ubuntu you can do this by pressing the super key, typing ‘disk’and using the disk utility. Note – always unplug all external drives you do not want to accidentally kill! Also pay super-special attention you are not accidentally formatting your own computer’s hard drive (I’ve done this hard life lesson and you don’t want it)

Step 3: Insert empty and correctly formatted card into the Zsun card reader

Self explanatory

Step 4: Plug in Zsun card reader into your computer (or any powered usb slot)

Self explanatory

Step 5: Connect the Zsun to your WIFI network

This is funny because I totally missed this step and (obviously) it has to be connected to the network in order for it to show up in network and be able to access the admin page. I had an attempted connection which failed and then the second time it connected. You connect to it like any wifi network but it won’t ask for a password.

Step 6: Make Card Accessible to Admin

I ‘guess’ that this step in one of the tutorials I read preps the card to be able to access via Samba. Not sure, I could not access the files on the card until I performed this step so let’s do that now. In a browser, copy/paste this:

http://10.168.168.1:8080/goform/Setcardworkmode?workmode=0

It should spit back this:
{"status":"0"}

Note: if you get ‘connection refused’ message in the next step you may have to re-try this command a few times. Make sure you are actually connected by wifi to device. One time I had to do a full computer reboot too and then it seemed to work.

Step 7: Access the Zsun via Samba (SMB)

(reminder this is an Ubuntu tutorial so you might have to do it a different way on your machine if it isn’t the same)

The super painful part of this tutorial for me is that this easy part was subject to a weird Ubuntu bug that tracks back nearly 10 years. If you are bored you can read about it here, but probably, like me, you just want to hack this zsun and then put evertyhing back the way it was. So let’s do that:

Step 8: Overcoming the Ubuntu Samba Username password bug

  1. in a terminal enter this:
    sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf
  2. Scroll down into the ‘Authentification’ section.
  3. at the very bottom in the space just above the “Domains” section, paste in (with control shift paste) this:

security = user
client use spnego = no

  1. ctrl x to get out
  2. ctrl y to agree to write the changes

Step 9: Continue with Tutorial and Accesss the Zsun via Samba

  1. Open Nautilus (called ‘Files’ on the launcher) (the file cabinet icon thing…)
  2. Go to ‘Other locations’ on the left menu at the bottom. A ‘Enter server address’ field will appear.
  3. Type in zsun address as follows: smb://10.168.168.1
  4. enter admin/admin pass/user (don’t worry about ‘workgroup’)
  5. when greeted with ‘public’ enter that directory
  6. hit ‘contrl h’ on your keyboard which will show hidden folders. If you don’t do this step you might not think the next step will work since it’s a hidden folder.
  7. You should see ‘trash~’ something. But if you don’t… whatever. Seems to work if it’s fully blank too… Here is where you create the following folder (with the dot/period in front):
    .update if it doesn’t appear after creating this folder, review step 6 above…
  8. Drag and drop the file you downloaded way above (SD100-openwrt.tar.gz) into this new .update folder. Yes, the whole tar file, don’t extract it.
  9. CRITICAL STEP! Before doing step 10, make sure you skip ahead, and deeply familiarize yourself with the steps following it because you will have a short time to do those steps before the device fries and dies. Once you have read it all (especially big step 11 below) then come back here and execute step 10.
  10. After you are sure that the file is done copying in, go to a browser and enter this:

http://10.168.168.1:8080/goform/upFirmWare

When you see this, things should be working:
{"status":2}

Here is a fair-use paste from buddy’s blog

Wait for the reboot into OpenWRT

Wait for long LED flash, then multiple fast flashes – now OpenWRT is booting for the first time.
There will be a long period of (normal slow) flashing, then one long flash, then a whole bunch of very fast flashes. The ZSun Wifi network disappears, and eventually re-appears as OpenWRT.

What he didn’t add that I discovered was when everything is totally done it will be a solid light colour.

SUPER IMPORTANT NOTE (in case you missed my other 20 warnings…) immediately as quickly as possible and reduce transmission power on device! Learn how to do this in Big Step 11 below …if it’s not too late.

Step 10: Log into your new OpenWRT Mini Router!

I have another OpenWRT router going in my house so right away I’m going to log into the new little guy here and change it’s IP address to something different to make sure they don’t conflict. The default OpenWRT is 192.168.1.1 so we’ll access it there now.

You’ll get a browser warning that it’s not secure. No problem, add exception, move forward.

You’ll be greeted with a log in screen with no password set.

Log in.

Step 11: Turn Down Radio Transmission Power to Prevent Deep Fried Zsun!

IMMEDIATELY reduce the transmission power of the device. The default is set to the maximum power and it will fry/kill this device in less than 10 minutes after you flash it. I lost two devices this way so act quickly as follows:

1. Go to network

2. go to ‘wifi’

3. click ‘edit’ on the ‘OpenWRT’ entry

4. Drop transmit power to 4 (lowest)

5. ‘save and apply’ button at the bottom

This will momentarily disconnect you from the device while it makes these settings. From here, assuming my theory above is true, you can start doing other things now such as resetting your device access password:

Go to ‘system’ and ‘system administration’ and create a new user/password

Step 12: Undo whatever we did to that Samba bug above (If you want)

Remember when we fixed that Samba bug above? I’m frankly not sure if that was a secure thing to do so let’s undo it in your computer just in case by going back in the same way, deleting those lines you added, and then saving.

Step 13: Remove microSD

As mentioned above, the microSD is no longer required if you are just using device as a wifi range extender (see this tutorial). You can unplug, remove microSD and plug it in now.

Step 13: Enjoy!

The rest, my friends, is up to you. Hope this helps!

Thanks to the following resources

  1. This nice video helped me create this Ubuntu guide
  2. This great blog entry mentioned at the beginning.
  3. Of course the awesome people who hacked this thing here

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View Your Mind: How to turn Xlink on

First of all, thanks a million to the creators of View Your Mind mind mapping software.  It’s a great piece of useful free license software!

Everything was going very well while I was using it.  I especially found useful the xlink (xlinks?) feature.  This feature will allow you to connect a visual reference from one branch to any other branch on the screen.  In my case I was trying to track the last 10 years of my life visually and all the interesting connections and overlaps of people in my life but I needed the xlink feature to do so.

I figured out that if you hold the shift key and click your mouse over a branch that the xlink started working just as the documentation, but I accidentally switched modes and couldn’t get it on again.  Unfortunately, p 33 of the documentation wasn’t helpful at all to me.  Finally, I figured out how to turn it back on so I wanted to throw it out there for anyone else who might have struggled.

First, add the ‘link mode’ to your toolbar

modfier_mode_toolbar

Next, find it on your toolbar and make sure this one is selected

modifier_mode_xlink

Next, start working by clicking ‘shift’ on your keyboard when you click your

mouse.

modifer_mode_with_xlinks_workingEnjoy!

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Ubuntu: How to Decrease Desktop Icon Size 16.04

It’s quite funny how easy this was but how long it took me to figure this out so I just thought I’d throw this online in case anyone is as dumb as me.

Hopefully it helps someone and if it does, don’t tell anyone. 😉

Within Nautilus (your file browser) click the 4 square icon thing

01_icon_tutorial

(THIS)

00

 

02

Then, slide the left-right dial thing (don’t worry about what is selected in the radio dial)

04

Yes. It was really that easy…

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Ubuntu 16.04 – How to Make Brightness Keys Work on System76 Lemur

Nice computer. Usually works awesome.  Just this one little bug every time I re-install the OS or upgrade it seems.  Easy to fix but I always forget how to do it so here it is for everyone else who might be having issue.  Might also solve all your other Intel brightness button issues so give it a shot! This also seems to work for 14.04 and maybe even 13.04 and before…

Read the whole blog article first, if you want, but just doing this worked for me:

Command in terminal:

sudo gedit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf

Then paste all this stuff in and save it.



Section "Device"
        Identifier  "card0"
        Driver      "intel"
        Option      "Backlight"  "intel_backlight"
        BusID       "PCI:0:2:0"
EndSection


Then log out and back in again and my buttons were working.
schweet.

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How to Make Old HP Laserjet 1000 work with Ubuntu 16.04

EDIT: Sorry, I had one weird ‘-yes’ stuck in that first command a while back but have fixed it and this tutorial works again with copy/paste of commands.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

I’ll admit I should probably upgrade my printer but… it’s still alive so I won’t.  Problem is that now it’s getting harder to install on Ubuntu.  Hopefully this will help someone who is havin similar issues.  For me it looked like it was installed and working on 16.04 but it wouldn’t print so I reverted to command line because the HPLIP Toolbox seems to no longer be there in the Software Center…

1 Install the HP LIP Thing with GUI with this command in terminal

sudo apt-get install python-qt4 hplip-gui

2 Run the tool with this command:

hp-setup

3 Next, next, next, next, next, I agree, next….

4 Name your printer in ‘Description’5 Save, send test page (if you want), etc.

5 Save, send test page (if you want), etc.

Hope that helps!

 

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How to Install Jitsi on Ubuntu 16.04

Yes, this is the hard way but seems to be the ‘only way’ right now at the time of this blog.  Always first check to make sure it’s not simply sitting in the software center before beginning this tutorial.

No, I can’t figure out why the packages aren’t in the Ubuntu software centre.

All I did to make this tutorial was update the wget link from this fine lad’s blog post so thanks Mr. Ji M

For 32-bit system:

wget https://download.jitsi.org/jitsi/debian/jitsi_2.5-latest_i386.deb

For 64-bit system:

wget https://download.jitsi.org/jitsi/debian/jitsi_2.5-latest_amd64.deb

To actually install what you just downloaded on both 32-bit & 64-bit run following command:

(hint: as soon as you have hit the 2.5 part and press ‘tab’ button it will auto-fill the rest then just press enter and it starts)

sudo dpkg -i jitsi_2.5-latest_*.deb

When it’s done doing it’s thing then just hit your super button and start typing jitsi and you should find it. However, mine would not work until I did a software update.

I am not sure the best way to trigger the software update but I did it by going through my dash to
s ‘system settings’ then ‘details’ and then click the update button and upon restarting my machine
i went to the dash, searched Jitsi, opened it and it started working.

Hope this helps because I was pretty surprised to see it wasn’t in apt repositories (ubuntu software center) and more surprised that there wasn’t a tutorial like this as a work around until it was!

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How to Install Nextcloud Owncloud App on Ubuntu Phone

Before you begin: Always first check in the stock ubuntu software center to make sure that it’s not simply available there first.  As of the date of this post it is not, but I expect it will be there very soon.  Do not proceed with this tutorial if there is a one click app in the software center 🙂

1 Go to this link on your Ubuntu phone browser, follow the installation instructions.

http://open.uappexplorer.com

2 Scroll down until you see the ‘Open Store’ app

(image coming).

Click ‘install’ and it will show you the 4 steps you have to follow.  Follow them.  Do them. Love them.  However, if you aren’t awesome with difficult stuff, I’ll expand on each step:

  1. download the openstore thing: click it.  It will download.  Then at bottom of browser, slide up again and it will bring you back to instruction page
  2. your terminal app is the black thing on your main home screen of phone (image coming).  open that.
  3. to navigate to your downloads file, in your terminal app, type this:   cd ~/Downloads
  4. for the ‘run the command’ simply copy the pkcon install-local – – allow-untrusted openstore.openstore-team_0… stuff’ to your phones clipboard by pushing and holding.  Long slide from the right side of your screen. paste it in your terminal with a long push on screen and then enter key by pushing the keyboard icon lower right.

3 Go back to the link above and scroll down until you see the owncloud file sync app and click the ‘install’ button.  It will give you a warning that you are about to kill your phone and ruin your life.  Accept this because life is short.

4 Install again (you’ll see an orange install button down a bit after the warning screen)

5 Go back to your home screen of phone and the owncloud app will be waiting for you.  When you open it enter your owncloud or nextcloud credentials and server location

From here you should be able to connect a shared calendar and also share files and backup files.  I’ll do a quick tutorial on that at my next available minute but hopefully this helps a few people out.

 

 

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Great Bible Habit: Bible in a Year

I realized years ago that believers live in a very imperfect world.  We are fish swimming upstream and there is nothing that the enemy of our soul would love more than to keep us weak and ignorant of God’s holy Word.

I knew that I had to find some form of ‘structure’ around my daily Bible reading.  I found that I would get on a spiritual tangent and spend all my time in Proverbs, or shift over to Psalms, or again to the book of Acts for fun and adventure.  But if you asked me who Habakkuk was I’d say “Habak who?”  Since I knew that every word in the Bible is inspired something had to change.

I then tried a straight read through the Bible for X amount of minutes per day.  The problem was that life would happen and I’d lose track and such.  I needed something with a bit of ‘drive’ behind it.  Something that would push against the desire of my flesh to stop.  That’s when I heard about ‘Bible in a year’ idea.  The idea is that the whole Bible is divided into daily reading segments so that the whole Bible is consumed in a calendar year.  Genius!  And so I began.

I spent time on Odb.org and simply clicked their daily Bible reading link but recently I discovered that it was linking to a Bible company whose ethics I can no longer suffer.  So last week I disconnected myself from Biblegateway.com since its owned by the questionable company Zondervan.

The only problem was that now I had to search for another website that I could go to that would allow me to check to see where I was at and where I should be at.  I found most of the websites either linked to Zondervan, or, didn’t have the audio Bible option (which I like).  Most were just a list of 365 days and you had to figure out what day you were on today.  Too hard for me.

Thankfully I found this website which appears to have solved my problem.  It’s the International Bible Society’s site and although their website defaults to the NIV version (shame on them) at least it has all the features I need and doesn’t send traffic to Zondervan’s site.

I also understand that this great website has a pretty impossible-to-remember URL for people who want to actually go their daily so I made a permanent page here at W.O.T. for you to remember more easily:

wayneoutthere.com/bible

This turned out to be *even better* than the program I was on because it also breaks out Psalms and Proverbs into their own daily chunks which is just awesome.  Truly Psalms and Proverbs need to be consumed daily and it looks like this program does it.  Here is a quick tutorial to set yourself up and navigate the tools:

03_daily_bible_annotations

Also, it is helpful to note that you should right click (or whatever the option is on your device) and ‘open in new tab’ when you click the Bible links because for some reason it doesn’t open a new tab/window automatically.

Although there is an option to change your start date, you may want to consider just starting today and leave it as January 1st.  It is useful, I find, to have January 1st always as the start date.  I don’t have a lot of explanation as to why but I just find it helps keep momentum.

Finally, you may want to consider doing what I plan which is to drop where I am in my current plan and use this.  Mine didn’t have the Psalms/Proverbs section so now everything is different from where I am.  I think it’s very worth changing the plan to synchronize with this one.

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