Monday, 30 June 2014

Kingsoft Office

I have been using the Libreoffice Suite and it's predecessors for several years now quite happily. I resent paying stupid amounts of money for an Office Suite at home.

LibreOffice has served me well for the documents and spreadsheets I use at home.

On our second machine we have the great Operating System Linux Lite by Valtam which also uses the XFCE desktop. This is the main machine for my wife and son.

My son is currently in Year 8 of school and has to do a lot of work on the computer so I naturally encouraged him to use LibreOffice. However, he's not happy with the Suite as it is quite a bit different from the MS Office Suite he is used to in school. It is particularity troublesome when trying to place several pictures in his home work. They seem to jump all over the place, especially when a new picture is inserted and we have both spent several hours trying to sort out the formatting problems.

I recently heard about Kingsoft Office from China and the reviews I read on several forums is it is very similar to MS Office (using the ribbon bar - and for oldies like me you can select the classic menus); it also handles MS Word documents better than LibreOffice.

To install open the Terminal and type:

Once downloaded which will take a while type:
sudo dpkg -i kingsoft-office_9.1.0.4280~a12p4_i386.deb

You will then need to input your admin password to install and type:
sudo apt-get -f install

After installation you need to install a couple of symbol fonts which Kingsoft requires. These can be found here. To install them you require Font Manager from the Software Centre (or Synaptic) installed on your system. This will install them and your good to go.

I will let you know in future how we get on with Kingsoft.

Friday, 25 April 2014

DVD Playback issues in 14.04 LTS

Well I came across a problem in my upgrade from 12.04 to 14.04 in that DVD's wouldn't play. I did all the usuals with reinstalling unrestricted extras, Libdvdread4, libdvdcss2, ran and none of it worked.

Someone suggest I head over to the #xubuntu channel on IRC. It turns out 12.04 was using /dev/dvd1 for the DVD drive and none of the media players were recognising this. In version 14.04 the DVD drive is now at /dev/sr0. In VLC it is only a matter of changing this in the preferences. Tools > Preferences > Input/Codecs.

Some other media players don't allow you to change the location so the partial solution is to put a systemlink fron /dev/dvd1 to /dev/sr0

Open up terminal and type:

sudo ln -s /dev/sr0 /dev/dvd

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Flash support removed from Chromium

Flash content on Chrimium has stopped working in April 2014.

The reason for this is that Google have dropped support for the ‘Netscape Plugin API’ (NPAPI) – used by Adobe Flash – on Linux builds of Chromium. This ageing plugin allows for unrestricted access to a computer and is considered inefficient and insecure, with Google calling it ‘the leading cause of hangs, crashes, and security incidents’.

To install the new Pepper Flash plugin (which now comes with Chrome) open terminal and type.

sudo apt-get install pepperflashplugin-nonfree
sudo update-pepperflashplugin-nonfree --install

Restart Chromium and Flash will now be working.

Dropbox Requires Authentication

I recently upgraded from Xubuntu 12.04 LTS to 14.04 LTS. Everytime I logged on I got the following pop up box requiring my root password.

It would appear that the directory path in the dropbox file was showing the incorrect path:

PARENT_DIR = os.path.expanduser("/var/lib/dropbox") 
DROPBOXD_PATH = "%s/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd" % PARENT_DIR

I tried editing the file as per some online suggestions but this didn't work. However the following worked fine for me. Open Terminal and type:

sudo rm -rf /var/lib/dropbox/.dropbox-dist
dropbox start -i

This removes dropbox from your system and re-installs it.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Add Spotify Preview

This is the official Linux Preview for Spotify but is not supported by them. It works fine for me.

Open Synaptic Package Manager. Select Settings -> Repositories Then select the other software tab and Click on the add button. Add the following:

deb stable non-free
Click add and exit from Synaptic. Then open a Terminal window and type:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys 94558F59
sudo apt-get update
Then type :
sudo apt-get install spotify-client
If the last step doesn't work re-open Synaptic and in the filter search type Spotify. Mark for Installation and Apply.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Chromium Browser Not Setting As Default

I had a problem with Chromium when it had a fatal error and wouldn't restart. I had to delete the default profile to make it start again.

To do this:
Close Chromium.
Launch the Terminal (Alt + Ctrl + T)
Type the following:    mv ~/.config/chromium/Default ~/.config/chromium/Backup
Launch the Chromium again.  This time is should open without an error.
Once you have verified it works, close Chromium again.
Go back into Terminal and type:  rm -rf ~/.config/chromium/Default
Then type:   cp -R ~/.config/chromium/Backup ~/.config/chromium/Default
Exit Terminal and open Chromium and verify your data has returned (bookmarks, etc.)

Once this was solved everytime I started Chromium it would not set as the default browser. I clicked on Set as Default browser and opened Settings > Settings Manager. I clicked on Preferred Applications and on the Internet tab set default web browser as Chromium.

This still didn't work. But with a little help from the Google search engine I found the following fix in Terminal.

mkdir -p ~/.local/share/applications
touch ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list

Saturday, 5 October 2013

A Better CD Encoder (ABCDE)

This is a command line tool that works from the terminal. Just pop a CD into the drive, open up Terminal and type ABCDE.

ABCDE is available from the AppGrid and Ubuntu Software centres.

The only work here is to copy the /etc/abcde.conf file into your Home directory and save it as:

I configured my conf file to rip to 196 kbps  which is the optimum for my hearing:

# -----------------$HOME/.abcde.conf----------------- #
# MP3 format using abcde version 2.5.3
# -------------------------------------------------- #

# Specify the encoder to use for MP3. In this case
# the alternatives are gogo, bladeenc, l3enc, xingmp3enc, mp3enc.

# Specify the path to the selected encoder.
# For example: /usr/bin/lame

# Specify your required encoding options here. Multiple options can
# be selected as '--preset extreme --another-option' or constant bit rate '-b 320'
LAMEOPTS="-b 196" 

# Output type for MP3.

# The cd ripping program to use. There are a few choices here: cdda2wav,
# dagrab, cddafs (Mac OS X only) and flac.
# Give the location of the ripping program and pass any extra options:

# Give the location of the CD identification program:       
# Give the base location here for the encoded music files.

# The default actions that abcde will take. Removed playlist
# Decide here how you want the tracks labelled for a standard 'single-artist',
# multi-track encode and also for a multi-track, 'various-artist' encode:

# Decide here how you want the tracks labelled for a standard 'single-artist',
# single-track encode and also for a single-track 'various-artist' encode.
# (Create a single-track encode with 'abcde -1' from the commandline.)

# Create playlists for single and various-artist encodes. I would suggest
# commenting these out for single-track encoding.

# Put spaces in the filenames instead of the more correct underscores:
mungefilename ()
  echo "$@" | sed s,:,-,g | tr / _ | tr -d \'\"\?\[:cntrl:\]

# What extra options?
MAXPROCS=2                              # Run a few encoders simultaneously
PADTRACKS=y                             # Makes tracks 01 02 not 1 2
EXTRAVERBOSE=y                          # Useful for debugging
EJECTCD=y                               # Please eject cd when finished :-)