Tag Archives: Ubuntu

WGU QLT1 Linux Graphing Tools

Quantitative Literacy (QLT1) requires you to demonstrate certain abilities by making graphs accompanied by text, and exporting them as a PDF. On Ubuntu this process can be a bit convoluted, but gets easier with practice.

The tutorial assumes you’ve already got openoffice.org installed, but if you’re somehow on a system without openoffice, you can install it using “sudo apt-get install openoffice.org”.


– Install your tools: apt-get install dia inkscape

– Create your basic graph in Dia. It’s got the user-friendliness of MS Paint, but far more power. Dia won’t display the background grid in the finished product. I chose a 20×20 grid which proved sufficient for the assignments.

– Make sure “snap to grid” is turned on using the toggle at the bottom of your work pane. It’s easy enough to toggle on an as-needed basis for other drawings, but for creating the initial grid you’ll want it on.
– Create the x-axis by drawing a line from -11 to +11. Select the line, then right-click on it to give it the properties you’d like (such as arrowed ends, colors, size, etc).
– Create a y-axis the same way.
– Here’s the tedious part. Create grid lines (probably want to use a faint background-ish color for this part) by creating a -10 to +10 line, then copying and pasting repeatedly and dragging them into place.
– Select the axes and use Objects – Bring to Front from the menu to make sure the axes are over the top of the grid lines.
– Save your basic grid as a .dia file as you’ll be wanting to come back and add things.

– Populate the Dia diagrams per the assignment requirements.

– Open the basic graph (if it’s applicable) and create a new layer. The Layers dialogue goes front-to-back, so if the layer is higher up on the Layers list, it’s higher up in the drawing (i.e. closer to the front).
– Save yourself some heartache and un-toggle the button that makes the graph layer editable. Move your new layer to the top of the list, make sure it’s editable and visible, and give it an easy-to-remember label (such as the equation to be graphed).

– Save your finished graphic first as a .dia file (in case your mentor requires revisions), then use File – Export to export your work as an SVG file.

– Openoffice.org may or may not do a good job of importing your SVG. If the SVG imports with poor quality, use Inkscape to fix it.

– Open the SVG using Inkscape.
– Select the entire drawing, then select Transform from the Object menu. Under scale, set Width and Height to 200%, and make sure “Apply to each object separately” is unchecked. Click Apply.
– Save as a PNG file using File – Export Bitmap.
– The new file should be a bit better in Open Office.

– Save your Open Office document as an ODT first, in case the instructor requires revisions, then Export as PDF.

A few key points to remember along the way:
– Save an editable copy in the native format (.dia and .odt) in case you need to make edits later.
– Use the Shift key when resizing graphics so the resizing is proportional.
– Remember to open a terminal window running the “top” utility in the background so your girlfriend sees it alongside the grids and thinks you’re a super genius.
– I’m open to suggestions on ways to make this faster and simpler. Leave comments if you’ve got pointers.


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Remote Files on Android for Ubuntu

This is so easy it’s insane. Now that I’ve figured out how to do it. Use the following steps to browse files on your android device using SSHFS on another linux device. Me? I’m using it to copy files over to my new tablet from computers on my network using SSHFS. You might need an SD card to allow downloads. Your mileage may vary.

(0. Root your device.)
1. From the Home screen, select Settings, Applications, and enable Unknown Sources.
2. Search for “sshdroid apk”. There’s a free version that works GREAT. And by great, I mean perfectly, predictably, and dependably. Download it to your SD card.
3. If you haven’t already, use the market to install a file manager utility. Astro, File Pro and others work quite well.
4. Use your file manager to navigate to the SD Card and install SSHDroid.
5. Connect to your network via wifi. Open SSHDroid. It even tells you the IP of the device on your LAN.
6. Use SSHFS to mount your android files to a local folder. sshdroid runs with username: root and password: admin. I like to use “sshfs root@ /home/username/otherfiles/”
7. Enjoy full-size ooey-gui goodness.

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Easy Audacious 1.5.1 Script for Hardy Heron

Special thanks to Morgoth for the backport! Others can be found at http://morgoth.free.fr/ubports/?d=hardy.

There are other ways to install Audacious 1.5.1 in Hardy, but they can get pretty prickly. One version requires a complete revamp of libgtk2.0 to be installed, while another requires updating your repository list, which can time out. This installs Audacious 1.5.1, fixing the various playlist issues. Believe it or not, this is the fast, easy way, and it can by copy/pasted into terminal.  The script downloads the 4 packages from Morgoth’s site and installs them using dpkg.

wget http://morgoth.free.fr/ubuntu/pool/main/a/audacious-plugins/audacious-plugins_1.5.1-2~hardy~8.04mlk_i386.deb http://morgoth.free.fr/ubuntu/pool/main/a/audacious/libaudclient1_1.5.1-3~hardy~8.04mlk_i386.deb http://morgoth.free.fr/ubuntu/pool/main/a/audacious/audacious_1.5.1-3~hardy~8.04mlk_i386.deb http://morgoth.free.fr/ubuntu/pool/main/a/audacious/libaudid3tag1_1.5.1-3~hardy~8.04mlk_i386.deb

sudo dpkg -i libaudclient1_1.5.1-3~hardy~8.04mlk_i386.deb audacious-plugins_1.5.1-2~hardy~8.04mlk_i386.deb libaudid3tag1_1.5.1-3~hardy~8.04mlk_i386.deb audacious_1.5.1-3~hardy~8.04mlk_i386.deb

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Pianobar on Hardy

Fantastic news! The pianobar command-line client for pandora works on Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 LTS! That’s right, even my low-memory headless system with an 802.11b connection streams Pandora beautifully over SSH!

First, pick a good spot and download the packages:
wget http://github.com/wendall911/wendall911-ubuntu-packages/raw/a88963f661d0e36c081086937b53080d6e12ac8f/pianobar/pianobar_2010.5.1-i386.deb http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/universe/f/faad2/libfaad2_2.7-4_i386.deb

Then, install!

sudo gdebi libfaad2_2.7-4_i386.deb pianobar_2010.5.1-i386.deb

(One side note: if you’ve already installed libfaad2-0 for a previous version of pianobar, you can use sudo apt-get remove libfaad2-0 to remove it before the second step.)

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Solution: No Sound from Eee 901 Front Jack

Cobbled together from a LOT of reading and forum combing, here’s how to fix no sound from the front audio jack on the Asus Eee 901 under Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron (and possibly other versions).

It’s wonderfully simple, actually.

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base

If you get a blank file, Ctrl-X to exit, and try adding .conf to the filename.

Add the following line to the end of the file:

options snd-hda-intel model=basic

Ctrl-O and Ctrl-X to save an exit, then reboot.

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Flash, Youtube, Google, Linux

I’m trying my best to get Youtube and a few other online TV sites to play nicely with Ubuntu. It has been a minor headache. The thing that never seems to come up in any of the how-to’s is Hardware Acceleration.

Right-click in the flash window, and disable hardware acceleration.

What’s that for? It’s not as though Flash is doing high-volume hardware texturing and lighting. Bizarre.

Update: My big malfunction with Flash in Ubuntu stems, it turns out, from Stumbleupon.  When I disable the Stumble toolbar, Flash plays nicely.

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Linux DVD43 and AnyDVD Alternatives

It’s a bit like “how does one prevent viruses on linux” or “How does one replace the distributor cap on a diesel”? It simply does not apply. In the corporate licensed (locked) world, Windows cannot and will not afford the cost of unlocking DVD’s for every potential user and purpose, so it falls to individual applications to decode DVD’s for playing. Much of the cost of PowerDVD and its ilk comes from proprietary CSS libraries that are incorporated into the program itself. Newer DVD’s require installation of a special program to handle this on a disk-specific basis.

AnyDVD and DVD43 remove CSS protection so that ideally any software package will have access to the contents of any disk. If encryption is updated, only your decryption program needs to be updated, and only a small part of it, not the collection of other programs you’ve got installed already.

This is clearly the simplest solution, though ultimately expensive and legally muddy. The makers of these programs are daily faced with the decision of paying protection fees to content owners to reassure them that they’re being reimbursed for the possibility of illegal DVD copying, or just ignoring their protecion fees altogether, and risking litigation ala DeCSS.

Under Windows, Microsoft retains ultimate control, and no one risks going rogue because along with lawsuits, content owners can simply require Microsoft to shut down a particular program in its next Windows Update. Linux has no such central authority. There is, generally speaking, no one to sue, no one to file an injunction against, no one to threaten. Having a centralized decryption library makes the most sense, and is the simplest solution for DVDs.

libdvdcss accomplishes this, so once it’s installed, it’s as though DVD43 or AnyDVD is always running. By the same token, without libdvdcss, all encrypted dvd’s will appear broken in all programs. We don’t worry about some Hollywood movie conspiracy making a virus to disable libdvdcss, because the thought of allowing anyone else to run our systems, including a virus, is just silly. Additionally, so is the notion of having to install anything proprietary to do anything else.

Actually, you’ll find Ubuntu a good starting place, if nothing else because there’s a simple how-to for just about everything. And everyone is terribly kind about posting commands to use. They’re governed by a community of people who want you to succeed because they want Ubuntu to succeed, so malicious users are few and far between, and rigorously persecuted.

The short of it is that if you’ve got linux on your system and want to [make coffee automatically, change the channel on your tv, send an email] there’s a means of doing so and a how-to as well.

Except for DirectX gaming.


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