Monthly Archives: July 2014

Android: Remote Launcher

If you love Linux, then you likely have an Android, and today I’d like to tell you about an application that is a must have for your Android tablet or phone.

The Application is called Remote Launcher, and is about the handiest thing in the Google Play store.

Remote Launcher

Remote Launcher

It comes in two flavors, a free version, that will work well for 99% of your needs, and a paid version, that for only $1.99, will give you the ability to configure launchers right from your phone, and access multiple servers.

The application is the client, and you’ll also need to download the server software for Remote Launcher. (You can get it Here) The server software will run on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

Once everything is installed, the magic can start to happen. Start the server, and tell Remote Launcher what you’d like it to do. Absolutely any Windows or Linux command, shell script, batch file, you name it can be launched.

My primary use, is to control the 8 cameras in our goat pen. but it also lets me do things like reboot my streaming server, restart my streaming software, etc.  Along with an IP switch from Digital Loggers, we also use Remote Launcher for some home automation, like opening our driveway gate, turning on a large compressor and other neat stuff!

With the paid version, I can control any computer on my network, and with the right port open on my home router, from anywhere in the world. (Remote Launcher allows you to change the port assignment to anything you wish. Nice for additional security!)

So if you want an easy way to control your computer, or set up home automation, give it a try!




Complaint: @ownCloud 7 Calendar

After running ownCloud 7, we have just a single complaint.

The consensus here on the farm, is that the original ownCloud calendar application displayed much better. The new calendar devotes way too much space to the calendar listing, that was previously a much more logical button. This leaves less space to actually view the calendar itself. For those of us on low resolution monitors, it’s just not practical. Please give us an option to collapse the left side menu, or to use the old calendar format.

ownCloud Calendar Application

ownCloud Calendar Application

Everything else about ownCloud 7, we just love!

After spending about 2 hours playing with the old, ownCloud 6 calendar template, style sheet, and javascript; I was able to actually get exactly what I’d like to see. Everything works except the settings. As I’m not a programmer, this was just an experiment as a proof of concept to see if it was possible.

Calendar, what we'd like to see!

Calendar, what we’d like to see!

Again, ownCloud rocks! The sharing between servers works great and we’re happy with all the other changes. Just give us the old calendar back please!


Breaking Things: ownCloud

Thursday afternoon, I’d snapped a photo with my phone of my goats, and headed into my office to edit it for a web page. Opening my InstantUpload, folder found it empty. Why was my phone not syncing to ownCloud? It was a mystery!

The mystery deepened when I VNCed over to my ownCloud server. I couldn’t get in. It took 10 minutes to make a connection into the server. It was running slow as molasses in winter. Opening system information found thousands of internal connections between localhost and localhost. Weirdest thing I have ever seen.

A log snip:    ESTABLISHED    tcp    ESTABLISHED    tcp    ESTABLISHED    tcp    ESTABLISHED    tcp

Over and over, thousands of times. The result of all of these concurrent connections were to eat 100% of the processor and memory, preventing the computer from doing anything at all!

Finally, I was able to SSH into my ownCloud server, and force an apache2 server shut down. Of course the problem instantly went away.

2 hours of searching on line, found several potential causes, but none of the fixes I found would help.

With the web server no longer running, I was able to back-up my www directory and ownCloud mySQL databases to an external drive, just in case!

What better time to upgrade to ownCloud 7!

Following the instructions from the ownCloud web site, I installed version 7 to my server. The upgrade did not go without a bump or two. For starters, it installed using sql-light, ignoring the fact that I already had a mySQL database installed and running.

Fixing that was pretty simple though, just edit the config.php file in ownCloud, finding the line:   ‘installed’ => true,
and change it to:  ‘installed’ => false,

Then start ownCloud in your browser again, create a NEW admin user name and password, and point ownCloud to your mySQL database from the previous version. ownCloud will then attach itself to your database and everything will be back to normal. One thing though, using the new admin credentials, reset the passwords for your current users, and your old admin account. After that, you can log in with your previous user name and find all of your files still intact.

It was a long couple of days getting it all up and running again, but it’s worth it. ownCloud is wonderful software!



Join Your Distro Community!

One of the reasons that Linux in all of its forms works so well, is the community of users who give the developers feedback. As a user of multiple Linux Mint computers, we find the Mint community a great place to air problems, ask questions, and review software.

If you have a program that’s not behaving itself, let the developer know about it. The easiest way is to write a review of the software. Once you are registered in the community for your distribution, then put that user name and password in the Software Manager so you can leave comments.

Join a Linux Community

Join a Linux Community

Why do I bring this up today? Well, I really wanted some software , but after I installed it, I found that it wouldn’t run more than 20 seconds or so after it was launched. I’d installed it from the Terminal, as I do most packages, so when I opened the Software Manager and read similar  complaints, I was grateful that other community members had noted the problem. I added my 2 cents as well.




Tools: Killing a process

Every now and then, when a program you are running freezes up, you can open the System Monitor, highlight the offending program and kill it. This works most of the time, however, have you ever had a program freeze up so bad that you couldn’t even open the System Monitor?

Such was the case with Firefox, or more precisely, to the stupid Adobe Flash plug-in that was running inside of Firefox.

Flash was eating 100% of my processor power, and trying to launch the System Monitor or anything else was impossible. The solution to this dilemma is pretty easy though:

Open a Terminal window, and use the killall command!

In this case, typing:  killall firefox was able to close Firefox and bring my computer back to normal.

As with all command line programs, you can learn the basic commands of killall by simply typing: killall –help as show below.

Killall process killer

Killall process killer

So before you find yourself pressing that reset button on your CPU, try killall!