Monthly Archives: November 2014

Tools: KRuler For Graphics Measuring

Doing graphics design, and want to do a quick measurement of a screen element? Then head over to your Software Manager and search for KRuler.

Kruler is a simple, and easy to configure ruler that you can use to measure the pixel width or length of an on-screen element.

KRuler

KRuler

I’ve had it installed all of 3 days, and I’ve already used it a dozen times while designing our yearly Christmas card.

KRuler in use

KRuler in use

You can easily change the size and orientation of KRuler, as well as the color. Yes Gimp and other graphics editors have a ruler function, but with KRuler you don’t need to open them to take a quick measurement.

Give it a try, you may find it handy too!

 

Software: Add Filters To Gimp

I spend a lot of time reading other Linux blogs, and subscribe to dozens of Linux resources on Twitter. It’s amazing what you can learn about Linux by doing so!

Over the weekend, there was a great article from TechRepublic about a GIMP filter add-on that I somehow missed in the repositories. That add-on is called G’MIC.

If you use Gimp, the most popular Linux image editing software, you can never have too many filters! Head over to your Software Manager and search for GMIC.

Software Manager, installing Gmic

Software Manager, installing Gmic

Once it’s installed, open GIMP, and you’ll find G’MIC at the bottom of the Filters tab.

Gmic add-on Gimp filter set.

Gmic add-on Gimp filter set.

There are tons of effects available, and you can spend hours playing with them, learning how to make them give you the look that you want for your image editing.

 

 

Hardware: Get Linux To Talk To Your Radio

This is a highly specialized entry today, for amateur radio operators who want to switch to Linux.

It can be a pain, but it is possible!

I like a simple and clean interface, so the software I use for amateur radio logging is xlog which is available in your Software Manager.

Xlog amateur radio logger

Xlog amateur radio logger

XLog uses the HamLib library to communicate with any modern radio. (It’s in the repositories too) While it’s designed for use with a serial port, it works just fine using a USB port as well. Though setting  it up can be a royal pain!

Xlog amateur radio logger

Xlog amateur radio logger – radio setup

In the example above, I’m using a USB to serial adapter to connect to my radio. So to talk to the radio, I’m using USB port 1.

You will need to make sure you have write access to your serial ports. You can do this by issuing the following command from the Terminal:

sudo usermod -a -G dialout username

Followed by:

sudo chmod 666 /dev/ttyUSB1

Which will give you user permission, and then read / write access to the ports.

Next, if you wish to use the built-in programmable Morse Code keyer, you’ll need to install the program cwdaemon from the repositories as well.

CW Interface for xlog

CW Interface for xlog

Cwdaemon provides a circuit diagram on how to use your serial port to send Morse through your radio. In my case, I use a piece of ready made hardware called a  USB Interface II which, while it’s designed for use with Windows, works very nicely under Linux as well. It’s just a matter of capturing the correct port. In my case, I send the following command in Terminal:

sudo cwdaemon -d ttyUSB0

Which captures the port that my hardware interface is connected to. You will need to send this command after each reboot, or include it in your boot scripts.

 

 

 

Software: Making LIfe Easier

I have a mostly blind mother, who loves to watch our  ustream channel on her gigantic projection TV. She enjoys being able to see me, as well as my interaction with the goats.

A  problem she was having though, is that if ustream goes down from a brief network outage, the browser dropped out of full screen, or locked up entirely; the video of the goats would be gone.

She can’t see the mouse cursor to get everything working again.

So today, using Teamviewer to access her computer ( I’m in a different part of the country)  I used a couple of tools I’ve mentioned to you before, to fix her problem. Those tools are the VLC media player, and the Python program called Livestreamer

The computer she’s using,  is devoted to the single task of showing the goats, so today, I  set it up so that’s all it will do!

First things first, was to open the VLC media player, select preferences, and tell VLC to always play in the full screen mode.

VLC Media player setup

VLC Media player setup

Next was to install the other software she needed. First was Python,  after which you use the Python package installer PIP, to install the Livestreamer software using the command:

# pip install -U livestreamer

The next thing to do is have the computer launch the Livestreamer command at startup. This is done in your Preferences menu, under Startup Applications

Startup Applications

Startup Applications

Startup Application listing

Startup Application listing

That done, I just issued a reboot command to the machine, and after it booted back up, Bob’s your uncle, she was watching the video stream, full screen!

Now if she loses her stream, all she has to do is reboot her computer, using a hardware button she can feel on her computer.