Posts Tagged ‘Computers’

Configuring the ultimate classic Gnome desktop using Ubuntu 14.10

January 1, 2015 Leave a comment

Here I’ll outline how to install and configure the ultimate classic Gnome desktop using Ubuntu 1410. We’ll assume that you have Ubuntu 14.10 up and running and connected to the internet. Gnome Flashback – this provides the classic Gnome look: Install the Gnome Flashback environment from a Terminal window:

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-flashback

Log out and click on the settings (cog) icon by your username. Choose GNOME Flashback (Compiz) and log back in again. Your desktop environment settings will be remembered for future logins.

Useful apps from the Software Centre:

AcetoneISO – Cd/DVD image management

Arista Transcoder – a media conversion tool like Format Factory

DeVeDe – DVD/VCD Video Creator

DVD Styler – DVD Video Creator

FileZilla – FTP Client

GIMP – image editor

mhWaveEdit – Audio editor

OpenShot – Video Editor

SMPlayer – A Youtube browser/downloader

VLC – Media Player

WinFF – a media conversion tool like Format Factory

Install plugins and codecs: Archive Management:

sudo apt-get install unace unrar zip unzip p7zip-full p7zip-rar sharutils rar uudeview mpack arj cabextract file-roller


sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gxine libdvdread4 totem-mozilla icedax tagtool easytag id3tool lame nautilus-script-audio-convert libmad0 mpg321 gstreamer1.0-libav


sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/./


sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer

Oracle Java:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install oracle-java7-installer

Connecting to shares on a Windows PC: Modify the registry as follows on the Windows PC you are connecting to: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\LargeSystemCache – set it to 1 HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanmanServer\Parameters\Size – set it to 3 Restart the Server service on the Windows P

net stop server
net start server

In order to be able to connect to a Windows share which has no password access from Linux, you’ll need to do the following: Go to Start – Control Panel. Under the Network and Internet section, click on Choose homegroup and sharing options. Then click on Change advanced sharing settings Ensure the following:

  • Network Discovery – set to on
  • File and printer sharing – set to on
  • Public folder sharing – set to off
  • Enabling file sharing for devices that use 40 or 56-bit encryption – enabled
  • Use user accounts and passwords to connect to other computers – enabled

Set up any shared drives and folders. Give everyone full control on both the share and NTFS-level permissions. Reboot Windows.

On the Ubuntu PC, follow the tutorial here on how to mount a Windows share.

Connecting to shares on a Linux PC from Windows:

Check that Samba is set up for anonymous access to shares. Open a terminal and type:

sudo gedit /etc/samba/smb.conf

Under the [global] section, add the line:

usershare owner only = false"

To created the share, bring up the Gnome file browser and locate the folder you wish to share. Right-click on it and choose Local Network Share. Tick Share this folder. Give the share a name. Then tick the following:

  • Allow others to create and delete files in this folder
  • Guest Access

Map the share from your Windows PC as per normal. Setting up VNC remote desktop access to Ubuntu Click Applications – Internet – Desktop Sharing Tick the following:

  • Allow other users to view
  • Allow other uses to control
  • Automatically configure UPnP

Set the notification for only when someone is connected.

Open a terminal window and type:

gsettings set org.gnome.Vino require-encryption false

Accessing a Windows PC via Remote Desktop

Configure remote desktop on your Windows PC as per normal.

if your using a Windows account with no password and wish to continue this, then you’ll need to do the following:

Go to Start and type gpedit.msc and press enter.

Next, in the  Local Group Policy Editor, under Computer Configuration, navigator to Security Settings – Local Policies – Security Options, look for Acccounts: Limit local account use of blank passwords to console logon only. Double click this and set the option to Disabled.

Reboot Windows.

Next, on the Ubuntu PC, open a terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install rdesktop

This installs the rdesktop package.

Launch rdesktop from a terminal:

rdesktop core2duo -u neil -r sound:local -g 1280x960

core2duo being the name of the Windows PC

-u username – the Windows username

-r sound:local  – redirects the audio to the soundcard on the Ubuntu PC

-g 1280×960 – sets a resolution of 1280×960.

You can create a shortcut on the desktop or Applications menu as per my example rdesktop command above.


Computers that I use

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

As you’d guess, I run several computers here at home. Here’s a rundown of what I use:

Corei7 – this was built back in April as my main workstation with a few bits added during May, June and July. Designed as a pretty much ‘best of everything’ from a hardware perspective, this is where I do most of my computing at home. I wanted something that would last ,be reliable and handle heavy-duty tasks with ease. It runs Windows 7 Ultimate x64. The spec is:

  • Intel Core i7 2600 Sandy Bridge processor
  • Asus P8H67-M H67 Chipset motherboard
  • 4x 4GB Kingston ValueRAM PC1333 DDR3 modules – a total of 16GB system RAM
  • XFX Radeon  HD5770 1GB GDDR3 single-slot PCIe Graphics
  • Crucial RealSSD M4 128GB Solid State Drive – boot drive
  • 2x Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB S-ATA Hard Drives (in a RAID-1 mirrored array) – for data
  • Optiarc 20X DVD Writer
  • Optiarc 12X Blu-Ray Rewriter
  • Coolermaster Sileno case / 500W PSU bundle
  • 3-bay Hot-Swap S-ATA backplane – this useful device fits in 2 5.25″ drive bays and allows you to install the hard drives in caddies for easy removal. On the back of the backplane are connectors for power and S-ATA.
  • 22″ Samsung monitor

My next system is a late 2009 vintage Mac Mini. This was my main desktop for a while, but is now destined to become a media centre as part of the home cinema setup. It runs OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. The spec is:

  • Intel 2.53 Ghz Core2Duo processor
  • 4GB  DDR3 RAM
  • 320GB Hard Drive
  • NVidia GeForce 9400M graphics
  • 8X DVD writer

Lastly, we have the laptop. Not wanting something too large or heavy to carry, but with a decent keyboard and screen, I decided a system a little larger than a netbook would fit the bill. I went for a Toshiba Satellite T110, which also offered a free USB DVD rewriter. I upped the RAM from 2GB to 4GB and replaced the stock 250GB 5400RPM S-ATA drive with a larger and faster Seagate Momentus 500GB 7200RPM drive. The smaller drive went into the PlayStation 3 to upgrade its stock 120GB drive. The system runs Wimdows Home Premium x64. The final spec is:

  • Intel Celeron Core Solo 743 1.3 GHz processor
  • 2x 2GB PC1066 DDR3 RAM
  • Intel GMA4500M graphics
  • Seagate Momentus 500GB Hard Drive
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • 802.11n (Draft) WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • 11.6″ 1366 x 786 display

Whilst not the fastest machine in the world, this a decent portable that isn’t heavy to carry, faster than most netbooks, whilst having a slightly larger screen. It also has an excellent battery life.

Connectivity is provided by BT Business ADSL2, which is an excellent service. Extremely reliable and I’m seeing speeds of abou 17000kbps down and 1100kbps up. The BT Business Hub is patched into a Netgear GS105 5-port Gigabit switch, which has my PC. Mac, Playstation 3 and 1TB Buffalo LinkStation Live NAS (used as a backup store).