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
- Zsun Reader
- 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!)
- Ubuntu machine with understanding of how to open a Terminal
- (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.
- 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.
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
Step 4: Plug in Zsun card reader into your computer (or any powered usb slot)
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:
It should spit back this:
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
- in a terminal enter this:
sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf
- Scroll down into the ‘Authentification’ section.
- 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
ctrl xto get out
ctrl yto agree to write the changes
Step 9: Continue with Tutorial and Accesss the Zsun via Samba
- Open Nautilus (called ‘Files’ on the launcher) (the file cabinet icon thing…)
- Go to ‘Other locations’ on the left menu at the bottom. A ‘Enter server address’ field will appear.
- Type in zsun address as follows: smb://10.168.168.1
- enter admin/admin pass/user (don’t worry about ‘workgroup’)
- when greeted with ‘public’ enter that directory
- 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.
- 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):
.updateif it doesn’t appear after creating this folder, review step 6 above…
- 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.
- 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.
- After you are sure that the file is done copying in, go to a browser and enter this:
When you see this, things should be working:
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.
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
- This nice video helped me create this Ubuntu guide
- This great blog entry mentioned at the beginning.
- Of course the awesome people who hacked this thing here
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
Next, find it on your toolbar and make sure this one is selected
Next, start working by clicking ‘shift’ on your keyboard when you click your
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
Then, slide the left-right dial thing (don’t worry about what is selected in the radio dial)
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.
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:
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!
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:
For 64-bit system:
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.
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.
2 Scroll down until you see the ‘Open Store’ app
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:
- 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
- your terminal app is the black thing on your main home screen of phone (image coming). open that.
- to navigate to your downloads file, in your terminal app, type this: cd ~/Downloads
- 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.
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:
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:
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.
EDITED October 31, 2016
This tutorial might also work on Ubuntu 14.04, I haven’t tried yet.
I love Ubuntu and I love Hangul but I’m not going to deny it – it’s not hyper-easy to get it running on Ubuntu, not because it’s super hard but because there aren’t any helpful blog posts out there to walk someone through it.
By golly, miss molly, that ends today! Let’s begin…
- Hit the super key and type ‘languages’ and then click/open the “language support” icon as per this:
2. Click ‘install/remove languages’ as per this:
English should be selected already (if your mother-tongue install was English).
3. Choose “korean” from the list, then apply, and wait (a really long time sometimes) while it downloads King Sejong and the kitchen sink…
EDIT! Some have reported not finding the Korean option in this list. I cannot explain why this would be, nor have I experienced this, but I would recommend that if this is your case try logging out completely and logging back in and trying again. Let me know if that helped.
Here is where the non-intuitive stuff starts. You’d think doing the above would be all you need but you need to do a bit more.
EDIT! If you have tried this tutorial before, make sure you *log out* here completely and log back in or you might not see the next “Korean (Hangul) (ibus)” option.
4. Go to the top right of the screen where you see English (En) and click that and you’ll see ‘text entry settings’
Now you will English sitting there all alone.
5. Press the + sign and then type ‘korean’ and select it. Then you’ll see a screen like this. Choose Korean (Hangul) (Ibus).
I had some issues leaving the ‘master keyboard’ (that’s a name I gave it) switching with the default (something with the super key) and so I changed mine to Control + space bar. You can do whatever you want by just clicking in the space where the default is and hitting your favourite combo in on your keyboard. When finished just close the window and your changes will be saved.
Remember, this is *not* the hangul-english keyboard language switching combo. This is the keyboard combo that switches your keyboard from the “English only” (En) one to the “Korean with English capabilities” one.
Now, we’re getting close to being able to angle your Hangul, but just one more critical step that will save you the pulling out of multiple strands of hair.
6. You must now either reboot, or log out and log back in again in order to be able to eat your green eggs with Hangul.
You will know that you have successfully reached Hangul-Land when the top right area that used to say “En” is now a colourful Korean swirl like so:
Although you now have full Korean capabilities, you now must use the keyboard combos found within this Korean keyboard in order to switch between English and Korean. The default combo is shift + space bar, and you can try it out now for a fun test. You may, like me, wish to change this keyboard combo to something else. If you do, go on to the next section.
How to Customize Your Shiny New Korean Keyboard with a Custom Language Toggle Keyboard Combo
Click the colourful swirl and select ‘setup’ as per this:
Next, you will see the Hangul toggle key space with the defaults. If you want to change the keys used to toggle between Korean and English, just click ‘add’ and then, even though it says ‘key’ singular in the pop up, you can hit the key combo with your computer and it will work.
*Warning!* It shows this popup when you hit ‘add’ under the Hangul toggle area, which is *incorrect*. It should say ‘hangul’ not hanja here. Both hanja and hangul display the same pop up box so it just needs a bug report to fix this but I’m too tired at the point of writing this blog…
In this case, I used control +right alt key because I remember using something like that back in the day and it felt comfortable. You can do whatever floats your boat.
아이구! 신기 신기! 오렛동안 한국말 이컴퓨터에서 못했어…. 드디어.
Hope this helps you grow in Ubuntu and Korean!
Ubuntu is by far the best operating system in existence. One of the things that hasn’t been broadcast around much is how Ubuntu is also awesome for business.
If you run a business (or work in one) you will know that PDF files are one of the most standard documents that you work with, or would like to work with. Here is a bullet proof list of things that I’m always dealing with and that Ubuntu solves:
- people sending .jpg or .tiff or .png files instead of PDFs (unprofessional but a reality)
- PDF files being way too big which is unfair to bandwidth, especially if someone will be downloading on a mobile (good percentage chance)
- I need to split a bunch of pages, do something, and then glue them back together again and I don’t want to print it all and scan it
- I need to watermark or stamp a PDF with something
- I need to create a PDF from a word processing document or spreadsheet
These are just some of my regular issues, but great news! All of them will be solved for you in this post, once and for all, and for free.
How to Compress a Big PDF File Without Killing the Quality
This one took me a while, but all you have to do is:
- open a terminal (if you don’t know how, click here)
- Navigate with the terminal to where your over-sized PDF file is (If you don’t know how, go to the section on “File & Directory Commands” on this page.)
- In the gobbly-gook that is sitting in step #4 below, change the ‘OUTPUTFILENAME’ to the name you want the resulting file to be named and the INPUTFILENAME to the name of the file that is too big and is sitting in the directory you just navigated to.
- copy this gobbly gook into your computer clipboard AFTER doing step #3 to it. I would recommend pasting it to a separate text editor (like body of an email) first, do your changes, and then re-pasting it to the terminal) : gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/default -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -dDetectDuplicateImages -dCompressFonts=true -r150 -sOutputFile=OUTPUTFILENAME.pdf INPUTFILENAME.pdf
- Copy your updated version of the gobbly-gook to the computer’s clipboard
- Paste it to the terminal with this *different* version of control V. If you use the normal paste, it won’t work. Do this: control + Shift (same time) then press ‘v’ and it will paste to the terminal.
- press the enter key and the process will run
You should now have a smaller PDF file that didn’t lose too much quality. There are other versions of this command above which I found killed the quality too much. This one was great for me.
How to Convert a .jpg or a .tiff or a .png File to a PDF File
- Open a terminal (if you don’t know how, click here)
- Navigate with your terminal to where your .jpg or a .tiff or a .png files are (If you don’t know how, go to the section on “File & Directory Commands” on this page.)
- type ‘convert’ and then start typing the name of the file you want to convert. *TIP: after you start typing the file name, you can press ‘tab’ and it will auto fill. If it doesn’t completely auto fill it means there is another file name there similar so you have to type a few more letters and then ‘tab’ again. This saves much time and errors.
- start typing the name of the file you want the newly created PDF to be named. Likely it will be the same as the photo name which is great and convenient because you can use the same TIP above with the tab button and it will auto-fill it quickly. Caution: if you use auto-fill make sure you change the last three letters to ‘.pdf’ so that it will actually open as a pdf!
- Here is what an example command will look like before you press enter: convert photo_document.png photo_document.pdf
- Press enter
If you know how to do basic terminal navigation, this is truly a lightening fast process and super useful. That said, there is probably a light conversion app out there that does this on Ubuntu and I’d like not to use the terminal if possible so please share
How to Take a Multi-Page PDF File and Split Them into Individual Files
- go to the Ubuntu software center search and get “PDF Sam”
- Use the ‘split’ feature
- Mess around with all the options (I don’t have time to do a full tutorial here)
How to Take a Multi-Page PDF File and Split Them at a Certain Point in the File
- go to the Ubuntu software center search and get “PDF Sam”
- Use the ‘split’ feature
- Make sure you choose the ‘split after these pages’ and the file will ‘cut’ right there. I haven’t tried it but I bet you could put a comma in there after each page number you want to split at and split a whole series of pages….
How to Watermark or Stamp or Batch Adjust Multiple Pages on a PDF in 10 Easy Steps
How to Rotate All Pages in a Multi Page PDF File
I wrote this tutorial earlier for this one here.
How to Turn Anything You Can Print into a PDF Document (ie. Emails, web pages, etc)
I wrote this tutorial earlier for this one here.