Monthly Archives: July 2015

Terminal Tools: Speedtest -CLI

I much prefer using the terminal most of the time. I do so to update all of our Linux computers on the farm, issue various commands, run shell scripts I’ve written to automate certain tasks, etcetera.

Today’s terminal program idea comes from one of our GoatsLive followers who is also a Linux geek. *(It’s been a busy week, and I’d lost my muse) In fact I’ve invited him to write some guest articles when he has time. It’s funny that I never mentioned it, because I use it. The program, Speedtest -cli

Speedtest will allow you to check your connection, without using a browser. Useful for your ownCloud or other server that you don’t want a browser installed on.

To install it quick open your Package Manager and search for Speedtest:

Package Manage, installing SpeedTest

Package Manage, installing SpeedTest

Once installed, open a Terminal window, and type: speedtest —help for the short list of configuration commands you can use:

Speedtest help

Speedtest help

Of course, all you really need to do is type: speedtest in your terminal and press {Return}

Slow bedroom computer results

Slow bedroom computer results

My results on my bedroom machine are very slow, but it’s on an old WiFi router, with very low signal strength. It works for what I use it for though. We pay for and mostly get 50mb Fios here on the farm.

 

 

Tools: Control Your Printer From Your Browser

If you have a networked printer like we do, an easy way to make changes to your printer settings is to use CUPS, Common Unix Printing System.

CUPS is actually built-in to Linux Mint. If you find it is not installed, you can of course go to your Software Manager and install in manually:

Installing CUPS

Installing CUPS

After CUPS is installed, open your favorite browser, we recommend Firefox, and enter the following in the address bar:

http://localhost:631/printers/

This will bring up the CUPS main menu:

CUPS Main Menu

CUPS Main Menu

We have a Canon document centre. Laser printer, plain paper fax, and scanner. With all of our medical stuff going on, the fax gets used a lot!

Using the web interface, anyone connected to our network printer, can change settings, cancel print jobs or any other feature supported by the software and your printer.

CUPS Printer control panel

CUPS Printer control panel

So try CUPS, and make your printer configuration and usage easier!

 

Tools: HTop Tells You What’s Running

While the Linux Mint desktop does come with a system monitor, there is another application that you may wish to look at to augment the built-in monitor.

HTop, is a terminal program that allows you to see every single process that is running on your computer, as well as the load on each of your processors.

Head over to the Software Manager and search for htop:

Install HTop

Install HTop

Once installed you will find the program’s launcher in the System Tools menu.

HTop

HTop

While you can single click each menu element in the interface as shown below. Because it’s running in a terminal window, I find using my arrow keys a lot easier.

HTop Setup

HTop Setup

There is a nice setup menu so you can customize HTop to your liking.

While it’s running, you can sort processes however you wish, I tend to sort by CPU load so I can find what is causing my system to slow down!

Give HTop a try, it’s a useful tool for your Linux installation.

 

 

Mint 17.2 – Change Your Kernel

Don’t do this, unless you’re really feeling adventurous. You could break your Linux installation!

For the average Mint user, there really is no reason to ever change your current kernel, but if you’re like me and like to play with whatever is the latest, then you may want to do so.

Under Mint, changing the kernel is pretty easy, just open the Update Manager, then click on View, and then select Kernels.

Update Manager

Update Manager

Yes, there are going to be warnings, for good reasons. It is possible that on some systems, you could lose critical functions. These include wireless networking, USB devices etcetera so please be certain you want to make the change!

Update Manager

Update Manager

In the grab above, you can see what kernel I am currently using. It is however, not the kernel that Mint recommends. Scrolling down through the available kernel listings finds the kernel that is checked off as Recommended.

Kernel Selection

Kernel Selection

To change kernels, the first thing to do is highlight it, and click the button marked Install the 3.x kernel.

Once it’s installed, reboot your computer and the reopen the Update Manager to then show that your desired kernel is the one loaded.

Kernel installed and running

Kernel installed and running

Remember, there is a great resource for learning all about the Linux kernel, and that is:Kernel Newbies

Wait a day or so, and then make sure to do any security updates for the new kernel:

Updating

Updating

Web Tools: Converting To Unicode

Of my 7 web sites, I maintain one of them in 4 different languages. While I could rely on Google or another translation service, since I do fairly well in those 4, I like to just do it myself.

The one language that is a pain is Japanese. Many browsers, especially in Windows can’t deal with Japanese or Chinese very well.

Enter Unicode. With it, you can use a special code to force the browser to then display the correct character.

This is displayed, using the Unicode below: ユニコードへの変換

code

 

For a quick Unicode conversion, I use a very handy web site called pinyin.info

www.pinyin.info

www.pinyin.info

 

Here, I can paste the Hiragana, Katakana, or Kanji and get the Unicode translation.

Quick and simple tool that can make your life easier!