Spectralcat's Blog

January 11, 2015

Creating an Android Remote Control to Replace Your Physical Remotes

Filed under: Uncategorized — spectralcat @ 8:34 am

I explain below how I used LIRC, a cheap usb IR receiver, and the Android program Rcoid to get my Samsung S4 working as a remote control.  This will only work for Android phones that have a built-in IR blaster (such as the Samsung S4 and S5 and the LG G2). (more…)

May 23, 2010

Firestarter Blocking Discovery of Network Printer

Filed under: Uncategorized — spectralcat @ 12:50 pm

I recently bought a new HP Officejet 6500 printer, and although the printer is well supported under Linux by hplip, I’ve run into problems setting it up on my network.  The difficulty is that Firestarter prevents the printer from being found by my computer.  If I turn Firestarter off, the hplip setup program is easily able to locate the printer, but re-enabling firestarter again blocks the printer.  This isn’t simply a matter of enabling the printer’s ports in Firestarter (though one also needs to do that).  Rather, the underlying problem is explained in more detail here and here.

In any case, here is how to fix the problem:

1) Edit (or if necessary create) the file at /etc/firestarter/user-pre
sudo gedit /etc/firestarter/user-pre

2) Insert into this file the following two lines:
$IPT -A INPUT -p udp –dport 5353 -d -j ACCEPT
$IPT -A OUTPUT -p udp –dport 5353 -d -j ACCEPT

3) Save the file, exit the program and restart Firestarter.  In Firestarter, enable the required printer ports if you haven’t yet.  You should now be able to access your printer with Firestarter running.

September 9, 2009

How to Export E-mails from Kmail to Evolution

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — spectralcat @ 11:48 am

So I have all of my old sent emails saved to the local Sent directory in Kmail, but I now want to use Evolution as my default e-mail program.  Unfortunately, because Kmail does not have an Export feature, it’s not obvious how to do this.  Here’s how to import e-mails from Kmail to Evolution. (more…)

August 27, 2009

Renaming Files in Bulk

Filed under: Uncategorized — spectralcat @ 4:52 am

So I have a stupid camera that names all of the pictures on it with an extension that is all capital letters (i.e. .JPG). Unfortunately, Word Press looks for pictures that end in .jpg (lower-case) and since GNU/Linux is case-sensitive, Word Press cannot see the photos downloaded from the camera unless I rename the photos. (more…)

August 21, 2009

Making Perfect Copies of CDs in GNU/Linux with EAC

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , — spectralcat @ 7:17 am

There are three good programs for making flawless copies of CDs: Exact Audio Copy (Windows and Linux), Ruby Ripper (Linux and Mac), and X Lossless Decoder (Mac). You really shouldn’t be copying CDs without using one of these programs as you’re likely to get lots of skips. (more…)

Turning DVDs into AVI Files the Easy Way: Acid Rip

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — spectralcat @ 6:28 am

One of the easiest way to create AVI files in GNU/Linux is to use Acid Rip.  Unfortunately, Acid Rip does not seem to scale .avi files properly.  Getting a quality .avi file at a low bitrate often requires one to scale the frame size of the movie down.  The resulting frame size should be multiples of 16.  Acid Rip does not keep the resulting frame size multiples of 16; therefore I would advise against using it if you’re concerned about creating the best quality AVI files.  If just want an easy way to create .avi files, may still be useful. (more…)

Turning DVDs into AVI Files the Hard Way: Mencoder

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — spectralcat @ 6:03 am

There are lots of GNU/Linux programs for turning DVDs into AVI files.  The two most popular ones are Acidrip (a frontend for mencoder) and DVD:Rip (a frontend for transcode).  I’ve run into problems using both of these programs, though.  I’ve found that the more reliable way to create .avi files is to use mencoder directly. Below I’ve provided a series of mencoder commands that you can copy and paste into the command Terminal. (more…)

August 9, 2009

The English Major’s Guide to Building a Quiet, and Powerful, GNU/Linux Desktop Computer: Part III

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — spectralcat @ 3:06 am

In this post, I assemble the computer parts that I purchased in the last post. (more…)

August 8, 2009

The English Major’s Guide to Building a Quiet, and Powerful, GNU/Linux Desktop Computer: Part II

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — spectralcat @ 2:17 am

The hardest part of building a computer is selecting the right parts (and getting a good deal on them). In the following post, I recommend some parts and provide links to the ones I recently installed in my girlfriend’s computer. Take your time and read the specs on the parts you select (especially the motherboard, CPU, and RAM) to make sure they will work together. Try to find credible reviews of each piece and do not believe manufacturers who claim that their parts are “quiet.” They lie. (more…)

The English Major’s Guide to Building a Quiet, and Powerful, GNU/Linux Desktop Computer: Part I

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — spectralcat @ 1:26 am

This guide can help you build an inexpensive, powerful, quiet, open-source (GNU/Linux) desktop computer. I recommend building an open-source friendly computer because the most valuable part of your computer is your personal data. When you use proprietary software you allow corporations that only want to make a quick buck off you to get access to your personal data. In the short run, this has some benefits (familiarity and compatibility with what your friends are using), but in the long run, using proprietary software is asking for trouble. Many businesses now make money not by helping you use data but by figuring out ways to limit your access to it. I’ve also tailored this guide towards using high efficiency computer parts; it’s easy to build a dirt cheap computer using inefficient parts, but when you’re done, you’ll have a blast furnace in the corner of your room. It’s difficult to build a dead silent computer, but you can build a nearly inaudible one if you buy the right parts and install them properly. (more…)

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