Tag Archives: Breaking Things

Breaking Things: Firefox

We’re back, after a very busy  2 weeks on the farm. Molly the goat is on the mend, feeling more like her old self;  so let’s get learning about Linux again!

We love the Firefox browser here on the farm, but this past weekend, it did something not unfamiliar. It crashed, except this time, relaunching it over and over, just presented with it crashing again.

To quote The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Don’t Panic!” the fix is very simple and only takes a moment, once you decide it just won’t run without intervention.

Firefox Crash Screen

Firefox Crash Screen

First step, was to reinstall Firefox from a fresh download. The easiest way to do that, is to open your Package Manager, search for Firefox, and select to reinstall it.

Package Manager

Package Manager

After Firefox is reinstalled, when you next launch it, you will be presented with the following screen:

FireFox safe mode

FireFox safe mode

It might seem like a good idea to click the left hand, Reset Firefox button, but don’t do it! Instead, Click on the Start Safe Mode button to launch the browser without your extensions running.

Once the browser opens in Safe Mode,  simply close it again, and when you reopen it, you will be back in business, with all your settings and extensions working just as before!

Breaking Things: ownCloud, What Did You Do?!

So I have ownCloud 7 running on an Ubuntu server, and the latest sync client on my computer. All has been running without any issues at all.

I’m sitting at my desk with one of my synced folders open, when 2.9 gigs of  folders and files suddenly start just disappearing!  I did not do a file delete or a move to trash, just had the folder open.

I have 5 different folders syncing, and the other 4 were having no issues what so ever.

Checking server logs and ownCloud activity logs showed the files being deleted, but why were they?

A couple of hours searching the ownCloud forums and github, I found people reporting the same problem, but no solutions!

First thing I did after the files all went away, was restore from an external, fortunately current backup. That worked. For about an hour, then all the files vanished again!

Thinking I had a bad hard drive  on my local computer causing the problem, I turned off the ownCloud server and restored my 2.9 gigs of data yet again. This time, the files stayed where I put them and everything was happy. Until I fired the server back up. Within 10 minutes, my files were all gone again.

Of note, the files never showed up in the deleted files section on the ownCloud server like they should.

Next step, was to remove the offending folder from the ownCloud sync client, and restore the files once again from backup.

Next I renamed the parent folder to something new, and then created a new sync for that folder in the ownCloud client.

ownCloud Client

ownCloud Client

That solved the problem.

Now if someone could tell me why it happened in the first place!


Breaking Things: FFMPG

There have been a bunch of updates to Mint 17 lately, and I always dutifully apply them as they become available.

In one of the last updates however, a couple of things changed that I didn’t really  realize until I went to use the software that was  deleted during the updates.

My ClamTK and ClamAV antivirus package and GUI went away. Turns out I was using a legacy version. Simple enough to fix, just went to the ClamTK site and got the updated version.

The other interesting package that went away was ffmpeg. I’ve been using that wonderful tool for years and years. It was for a long time, the only way to convert about any media type, to about any other kind of media.

Thing is, it’s deprecated. and I just wasn’t paying attention when it happened. Of course there is a replacement, and it’s already part of Mint 17. It’s called avconv and it lives in the /usr/bin/ directory.

WinFF Setup

WinFF Setup

All that I needed to do for the software that I had using ffmpeg, was to change the conversion engine to avconv instead.

The lesson learned: As you do updates, it’s a good idea to actually read the information pop-ups that are telling you what is going to be updated, deleted etc. I usually do, but these changes got right past me.


Breaking Things: Mint 17 Installation

What a Tuesday we had!

When my Mint 17 installation on my bedroom computer requested I apply the day’s updates, I dutiflly ran them. On rebooting however, I was greeted with a lovely error message that I had no mountable volumes!

Quickly booting to my Grub Repair Disk I was hoping for a simple fix, but even the repair disk couldn’t resurrect my old machine.

Back to the Mint web site to download Mint 17, I installed it on tumb drive and spent the next 4 hours reinstalling Linux, and restoring my last backup. Fortunately, my last backup was only one day old, so I didn’t lose anything!


Busy Few Days On The Farm

The last 4 days have seen us finish one project and start another. The first project, started in beginning of May,  involved us building a small 2 x 4 meter camper for my autistic adult son. It’s been a great project for the two of us to work on together. My 28 year old son functions on the level of about a 4 year old, but he was so excited with the project, he really enjoyed the process.

You can check it out on my son’s web page: Astrobunny.com

The second project is smaller but no less daunting. Once his camper was done, my son started moving some of his possessions in, and came to me with his 6 core laptop that wouldn’t turn on. A quick check found that the power input jack for the charger was completely broken out!

My manual dexterity is greatly diminished   from multiple sclerosis,  but there was no way I was going to afford a new laptop with the same specs as this one.

Take it apart, I did!

Son's broken laptop

Son’s broken laptop

It took the removal of almost 40 tiny screws and a number of ribbon cables to get where I could take out the charger input card.

The card also contains network, USB, and VGA output.

Once the card was out, and unsure where to purchase a single board for this machine, I stuck the PC board’s part number, into Amazon.com! Before I even got 3 of the many numbers in the part number, Amazon’s auto complete took me right to the exact part I needed. The best part, it was all of $15!

So provided I can get the silly thing back together in working order, the computer should be as good as new!