Debian Linux Jesse Install No Sound Fix

As I am promoting Debian Linux in this post, I thought you would like to know how to manage two of Debian’s install quirks. Debian is an outstanding distribution however and well worth a little frustration to set it up and use it.

Debian has several of these small annoyances. Debian prefers not to hold your Linux hand, but expects you to be self sufficient in the ways of Linux. Easier said than done, especially if you are not sure of what you are looking for.

The first roadblock of the Debian Live-CD is repositories. Repositories are remote network servers where all the packages you could possible want, and all those upgrades are stored. Taking the default answer seems like a no brainer, but Debian has managed to make it more complicated.

During the install process, there was a pause and a screen asking you about using a network mirror. A network mirror in Debian Linux is a round about way of saying repositories. As I read the question, I thought to myself, “I have no debian mirror, I do not even have a network.”

Jesse Repositories

Using correct repositories makes life simpler

As I read, I answered without thinking. I said the natural answer for me, no. Wrong answer. What the Debian Install is really asking, is: Do you want access to all those programs available to use with Debian, or are you happy with those files and programs on the live CD?

I went through the process again and I answered yes this time. The repositories for all mainstream Debian repositories were listed instead of only the files and programs on the live CD. Now it seems like everything is as it should be. Not quite.

The second miss when installing Debian from Debian Live-CD is youtube. You go to youtube all excited to be trying out your new Debian Linux install, , click on your favorite video, see great video and hear no sound!

You search the web for an answer, and there are at least ten thousand links to answers for this problem. One of two things happen at this point. Whatever has been written may as well be written in a language you never heard of before. You have no idea what they are talking about. Or, after trying out the first few few ideas you realize that none of these fixes, fix your problem.

Here is a good fix for youtube. You need to install Adobe Flash Player. Here is what you need to do in a hopefully simple step by step process:

Open Applications (Menu) -> System -> Synaptic Package Manager

Under Menu -> Settings you will see the word ‘Repositories’. If you did not enable mirrors, the first line with be black and the bottom lines grayed out. You can fix this.
In the repository screen open click the box of the second line:

“deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/”

At the bottom of the screen where you read the word Section(s): add these words:

non-free contrib main

Click OK when you are done.

You should be back on the main page of Synaptic Package Manager. See the blue arrows and the word Reload under them? Click on the blue arrows and wait until the repositories are updated.

Now you are finally ready to fix your youtube sound problem.

Debian No Sound Fix

Enabling sound in youtube videos using Debian

Using Synaptic Package Manager, click on ‘search’.

Type in: flashplugin-nonfree and click on the search button.

Right click on the words ‘flashplugin-nonfree’

Click install.

The box to the left of flashplugin-nonfree will have an arrow in it.

Above, on the second menu bar of Synaptic Package Manager is a green check mark that says: Apply. Click on the check mark.

The file: flashplugin-nonfree and other needed files will be downloaded and installed. You will need to reboot your computer for flash to take effect.

Stay tuned for the next post if you want to see network drives using the XFCE Thunar File Manager.

nvPY is Notational Velocity or Resoph Notes created for Linux

If you are using Linux, or are thinking about trying Linux and you are overly attached to Resoph Notes or Notational Velocity, I found a compatible program for you!

Linux has so many powerful and useful programs, that many programs are lost in the shuffle. I find one every now and then, I really am happy to have found.

This alternative to Resoph Notes and Notational Velocity goes by the simple name, nvPy. Compatible with simple note, and better stated in the Authors own terms:

“nvPY is my ugly but cross-platform Notational Velocity-inspired simplenote-syncing note-taking tool. If you’re a nerd with a note-taking fetish, you’ll love this. BSD open source.”

Linux Note Taking

Resoph Notes and Notational Velocity comes to Linux

The Author is the accomplished, “Charl Botha”, and his website is here. If you click on the link of examples of software Charl has worked on you can read of them on the new page. I found nvPY as a repository download for Ubuntu Linux. If Ubuntu does not work for you you can find nvPY on this link  which will allow you download nvPY as a .deb file.

If you are unsure of what to do with a file named “something.deb”, contact your distribution administrators on their forum, and ask if they could make nvPY available for you in their repository. Usually they get excited about new software and may thank you for finding nvPY. Happy Note Taking!

Linux Distributions Mid 2015 Overview

Notes from my thoughts on the current state of several major Linux Distributions. I am partial to the least mouse clicking and movement over how a distribution looks. I can modify the default settings if I wish to make a desktop into what I want it to be. These Distributions are cream of the Linux crop of distributions I have tried out lately. The Linux Distributions are listed in no particular order.

Voyager Linux – Ubuntu with XFCE Desktop, some nice added touches really classes up XUbuntu. This is probably the most elegant of recent Linux distributions. If you enjoy a pretty desktop with functionality with added Desktop and Browser modifications, Voyager is for you.

Xubuntu Linux – Ubuntu with a XFCE desktop. Well mannered, fast, fairly light, easy to use, and feels to be less mouse movement, clicking than when using KDE, Mate or Cinnamon Desktop. Needs a few wallpapers added for a personal touch.

One modification I do with stock Xubuntu is is add a few pet programs and remove the bottom dock and replace it with Docky. I like Docky as it adds a little fun and eye candy to the desktop. I am thinking about adding some Conky too.

Linux and Coffee

Several Live Linux DVD’s and an old Victor Coffee Mug

Mint Linux – I am not sure how I feel about Mint Linux. Mint is a great product. Mint is on the pinnacle with the best of Linux distributions. Mint comes in several Desktop flavors, from KDE to XFCE. Mint also has a Debian version using Cinnamon and Mate Desktops. Consistency is a virtue of Mint Linux. No matter which Desktop you choose to use, they are all configured as much as possible to mimic each other.

The different desktop look the same, and as much as possible operate in the same way. The menus pretty much contain the same programs. The only differences will be programs and settings for the desktop environment you choose to use.

Personally I am a fan of Mint LMDE – Linux Mint Debian Edition, as I have always been happy with Debian. Mint is not Burger King however, you can not have it your way on the desktop. If you start modifying the desktop, you risk breaking your Mint install.

Debian Non Free live CD – I am surprised to be writing this. Debian Linux has a live CD that contains non free software. I tried Debian live with both the LXDE and XFCE Desktops, and everything I love about Debian without the Debian hassle is present.

Debian is light, fast, and to the point. If you are a mainstream user who is not into elegant desktops, Debian is an awesome distribution. I have used Debian on and off for over a decade, and Debian never disappoints.

Debian it seems wants to be a behind the scenes Linux distribution and not a spotlight player. Debian is one of the most carefree distributions around, but as a desktop it does not always play well.

As long as the software you want is in the repository, you are okay. If you want to use a program not in the repository, in my experience, you will spend time hunting down dependencies to make your program work. Same goes for support. You are mostly on your own.

As much as I want to stick with one distribution, something happens where I end up trying out a handful of Linux distributions. Recently it was Crunchbang Linux who closed their doors while working on a new Crunchbang.

Happy Customers Get Repeat Sales

Tale of three national chain stores. I wanted one package of un-waxed dental floss. In two stores I found ten to fifteen types of waxed dental floss and no un-waxed dental floss. In the third store I found one package of un-waxed dental floss, but it was too thin for my needs.

I emailed two companies about their not carrying any un-waxed dental floss. The third store I emailed carried only one choice a store brand. In all three stores, the shelves were overflowing with waxed dental floss but void of un-waxed dental floss.

Un-waxed Dental Floss

Have you complained to your store lately?

 

For what its worth, waxed dental floss is more smoke and mirrors according to my Dentist. Feels good, slides around easily, and does a poor cleaning job.

Un-waxed dental floss cleans better, but is less popular because it does not feel so good to use.

Check with your Dentist for confirmation and direction on what type of floss is best for you..

 

Store number one never responded. Store number two sent me a marketing email, that had nothing to do with lack of un-waxed dental floss. Store number three exceed all expectations. My email had been sent directly to the company CEO and sent down the chain. A phone call from the CEO’s direct report resulted in an effort to understand and fix the problem.

Wow, talk about a company that puts in some effort! Walmart was the company that responded by telephone over a paltry package of dental floss. Talk about customer service, and satisfaction. That is a five star response to me. What more could I ask for!

When it comes to customer relations, anyone can sell a product. When it comes to repeat costumers it boils down to satisfied customers. I could not have been any more satisfied than with Walmart’s timely response.

FTD Rainbow Cup and LBGT Community

What I thought as a surprising comment was made to me, and I am not sure what my reaction should be to the comment, if any. It all surrounds a coffee cup. Actually two coffee cups. Some years ago, the flower people, FTD came out with a rainbow cup. It is a white cup with a rainbow on each side of the cup.

This cup has become a symbol for the LBGT community

This cup has become a symbol for the LBGT community

My Mother purchased one of these cups and flowers(?) for her older sister. Her older sister reciprocated and bought one of the same cups for my Mother. These coffee cups were very special, and took Sister Bonding to the highest level ever. No idea why, but these cups did.

They would call each other, and in the conversation, one would either be drinking from their rainbow cup, or tell the other sister, they had used their earlier in the day. Each had several coffee cups and mugs in the cupboard, but their rainbow cups were very special to them.

Bottom of FTD Rainbow Cup

Bottom of FTD Rainbow Cup

My Mother died some years back, and I inherited her FTD Rainbow cup. Some years later, my Aunt died, and I was fortunate enough to also inherit her FTD Rainbow cup. I use one of them, and the other is put away. It brings them back in my memory, thinking warm and happy thoughts of them.

I was drinking a cup of tea the other day using one of the rainbow cups, when someone visiting observed, “You know that is an LGBT cup don’t you?” Someone else is going to see you drinking from it and assume you are Gay.” “Huh? Was my response.” I didn’t expect that one.

I become confused with ideas like this. Okay, I understand that Rainbows have been adopted as a symbol for the LBGT community. Good for them I suppose. Rainbows have been adopted by many people and groups over the years.

The oldest adopted Rainbow I am aware of is the sign of the new covenant in Christianity. The newest Rainbow I am aware of was the bond between my Mother and her Sister. Until in the conversation when I learned it is a LGBT symbol.

For me, the FTD Rainbow cups represents happy memories of times passed between my family members. I think this is the most important meaning for the two cups for me. Any thoughts one way or the other about the cups and the comment?

Eyes of the Beholder

I believe there are a few lessons in this story. Lessons about buying unique items and our always changing perception. I was in a second hand store looking for a unique coffee cup of all things. A wide base cup. They look like the one in this picture.

Wide Bottom Coffee Mug

This is a hybrid of wide bottom mugs. Many designs have a wider bottom.

As I am looking through the glassware, I spotted this small piece of pottery placed far back from the edge of the shelf. I saw this view of it, and decided on the spot it was in the budget. I turned it around and there was a similar ornate picture on that side too.

The pottery has a crackle finish, and has “C GOLD SATSUMA” written on red on the bottom. The design looks old, and the crackle finish lends itself to the pot looking old. For a five dollar bill I thought it was a great find.

Very Collectible Pottery having a unique design

Very Collectible Pottery having a unique design

When I get home I looked up Satsuma on the Internet as I had never heard the word before. Satsuma is an old territory in Japan with quite a colorful history. How I ended up with a piece of pottery from there was a mystery to me.

I decided to look up “C GOLD SATSUMA” and found pages of information about Satsuma pottery. There was nothing about “C GOLD SATSUMA”, however. None of the pictures looked like the little pot resting on the table. On one of the later web pages I found a reference to fake Satsuma pottery once made in China and sold to Europe and United States.

I looked a little closer at my find. Turning the pottery 1/4 turn instead of 1/2 turn I saw this:

One of the fake Satsuma  pieces probably made in China and sold to the west.

One of the faked Satsuma pieces probably made in China and sold to the west.

This decoration definitely looks Chinese to me. Funny how I missed looking at the whole piece of pottery until it was brought up in the article. How could I not see the other two areas of the pot? From a monetary perspective it is questionable whether I paid too much for this little pot.

From my perspective, I enjoy looking at this little pot and it is money well spent. When I have a find like this I always wonder about the journey it took, and the stories it could tell me if it could speak. All the way from someones hands in a pottery shop in China to a second hand store, where I found it.

The little pots journey is still not done. There will come a time, when it begins a new chapter in its travels. The little pot will hopefully pass from my care on to someone else, who appreciates the piece of pottery for what it is, and not what it could have been.

Pot Composting Final Steps

This is the last and final post for my little series about home small Pot Composting which started with Pot Composting Made Simpler and Easier. All that is left is to write out the final step to help the compost mix compost. This is a simple step, and open to any modification you think will work for your composting process.

When I have filled a pot and I am ready to start filling the next empty pot, I add some liquids to the compost in the making. First, I take a long handled plastic spoon and starting at the center push the handle down and out so it ends up on the bottom and edge of the pot.

Use a long handled spoon to help with your pot composting

Use a long handled spoon to help with your pot composting

I make five or six of these airways. The number you may want to make will depend on the size of your pot. I decided the airways created by the spoon handle allow the liquid I add to mix into the compost and provide a little air into the mix.

The amount of liquid you will make depends on how damp your compost is. My compost by default is very dry. I make about two cups of liquid. Remember, the bottom of the pot has a drain hole, so any excess liquid will drain into the pot below.

Use the spoon handle to make airways down to the base of the pot

Use the spoon handle to make airways down to the base of the pot

As I am not sure how balanced the proportions are, though it should not matter. I mix the following ingredients together:

1 1/2 cup warm water

1 teaspoon UN-sulfured molasses

1 teaspoon Brag Apple Cider Vinegar. The type with the mother in it.

1 teaspoon Miracle Grow powder.

I stir the liquid well. You will tell when it is mixed enough if you use the spoon with the molasses on it to stir with. Once the spoon is clean you mix is all ready.

Slowly pour the liquid over the compost material starting from the center and working out.

Once you are done, cover the pot with the next empty compost pot.

So far my little pots of compost are breaking down very fast compared to throwing it all in a large bin. Because the pieces are small, the liquid feeds whatever microbes are active, and the miracle grow helps break down the brown, the process is working well.

Let me know how this works for you and any changes you make for your home composting?

Pot Composting, How to Layer Greens and Browns

I have been going explaining what I think is an improved way to compost using small pots. In my first post on Small Pot Composting, I explain what I like and do not like about composting in general.

I also provided a link to Pot Composting that started me on Pot Composting. One of the main drawbacks for small family composting, is lack of materials and abundance of problems. I hoped when I started Pot Composting would solve most of the issues for small scale composting.

Pot Composting is a way around the problems small families face using traditional composting methods. One problem with the video method is, you may notice that the compost does not look too much like compost as we think of compost.

In my second post on Pot Composting,  I write about collection, storage, and proper sizing of your kitchen waste for more effective results. When the amount of material to compost and the size of  a compost bin of choice are small, adjustments must be made.

As these compost bins, in this case, small clay pots, not a lot of heat is generated, and little high energy composting takes places. Being realistic about what the end product will be, and the process changes from large scale composting.

I left off with having enough scraps to add another layer to the compost pot. I started with a new pot, as the second pot is full and I am done with it for now. The first item to do is ready the kitchen waste. If you jumped in here, you may want to read the first two posts which I linked above.

I use both scissors and masher to make the scraps small. Use what you have handy. A cutting board and knife will do the job as long as you ensure the pieces are less than 1/2 inch around. The smaller the better. Ensuring whatever you are going to add to your compost pot is free of pesticides and weed killer is important.

If you are not careful and you add some of your neighbors grass clippings for example, they may be coated with both fertilizer and weed killer. The fertilizer is good for your compost. Weed Killer on the other hand does not generally discriminate between your flowers, vegetables and weeds.

Adding to your pot is easy. Starting with an empty pot follow the steps below layering as you go. Always finish with a layer of brown material. This helps deter pests such as flies that would enjoy to snacking on your green waste.

Place 1/2 sheet of newspaper folded to the size of your pot in the bottom of your pot. Ensure the newspaper covers the drain hold in the bottom of the pot.

Add a layer of soil, weeds that are not in seed, or any other green or brown waste on top of the newspaper 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Spread it out evenly. Try to keep the layer closer to 1/4 inch thick seems to work better.

Layering Compost

Brown and Green with a newspaper bottom is all you need to do

Spoon out the collected and chopped kitchen waste on top of the soil. Be gentle and try not to stir up the bottom layer.

Smooth out the kitchen waste, and cover with another layer of of soil, weeds that are not in seed, or brown waste such as leaves, or small twigs mixed with soil.

Cover your pot as you do not want flies hanging around your small compost bins. I use another pot, with a layer of leaves and twigs in the bottom as a house fly deterrent.

You are all set, repeat these steps until your pot is full. In the next post, I will explain how I modified Pot Composting to make everything work faster.

Kitchen Compost Scrap Storage and Preparation

This is part two of Pot Composting Made Simpler and Easier. I explain how to do  small pot composting with a few improvements..

Here is the first modification I made for small Pot Composting to work for me. I collect all compostable kitchen scraps into a small bowl beside the sink. At the end of each day I move them to a crock pot insert in the garage.

Compost Storage

Collection Point for Home Composting

This crock pot insert is a temporary storage until I have enough kitchen waste to make a green layer in the pot. Keeping it separate form the composting pot itself keeps flies and other insects out of the compost batch.

When I have enough green kitchen scraps collected, as I do in the picture, instead of putting it all directly into the pot, I first chop it up. The bottom picture is what I use to make the pieces smaller. One is a type of masher I found at a thrift store for $2.00. It works very well at making bigger pieces smaller.

The second item I use for chopping is a well used pair of kitchen scissors. I simply put them in the crock pot blades down and start snipping. This to is a very good method and fairly fast. It is cleaner than the masher as there are only the two blades to clean pieces of green waste from.

Mash and cut

Tools used to reduce kitchen scraps for compost

I find that pieces between 1/4 ” to 1/2″ work well and are decomposing quickly. I thought about using a blender as that would really chop the kitchen waste up. The downside to a blender is the water used in processing.

I have used green smoothie liquid in the past on my indoor plants with mixed results. Some plants thrive on the liquid and some plants are not in the least happy with it. If you wish to try using a blender, and watering with the juice, start cautiously.

About the crock pot inserts. I found four in two different thrift stores. They ranged in price from $4.00 to almost $10.00. Of course the crock pots with a removable insert cost a little more. They both will work.

Crock pots with non-removable inserts can be taken apart by loosening the nut on the bottom of the crock pot. This is a one way trip for the crock pot. When the middle nut is removed, there is one long copper wire wrapped around the pot providing resistance to to liner’s removal. The liner should come out with a firm pull. Unwind all the wire, and the pot is ready to be used. Be forewarned, they are not pretty to look at, but the inside is what is important.

If keeping kitchen scraps in a container is something you would rather not do, try this. Use a plastic bag or plastic container to hold your scraps. Keep the bag or container in the freezer. Everything stays fresh until you are ready to chop it up. Some thawing time will be needed before you start however.

Keeping kitchen scraps in the freezer is how I started. I found it a chore to open the freezer, take out the bag, open it, put the scraps in, close the bag, and put it back in the freezer. When summer is in full swing, I may be back to freezing myself.

Next article will be about how to put everything together in the pot for composting.

Pot Composting Made Simpler and Easier

I am very excited about this composting system modification I have developed for easier home composting! I have been composting for a long time now with varying results. Most composting in the high desert is slow composting. In dry areas, composting takes a long time for anyone who follows traditional composting techniques, especially at home.

Home composting in general is problematic in the Southwest. There is difficulty finding enough free material to compost in the proper proportions at the same time, if you have a full size composting bin. I find generally there is a lot of brown material available, and a shortage of green material for composting.  A small family does not generate enough kitchen scraps to balance with any real amount of brown material.

I have been using a large barrel for composting. The barrel is cracked on the bottom. With an open bottom barrel, by placing kitchen scraps in it, the barrel becomes several  cockroach’s favorite buffet.

Going outside after dark with a flashlight, seeing several well fed roaches, moon bathing near the barrel is not a pretty site. The number of roaches is not quite as bad as the cockroach mulberry diners I write about here, but they do run a close second. Seeing a small number of cockroaches is seeing too many for me.

I started looking on the web for a solution a few months back. How can a city dweller compost on a small scale, without a large investment in time or money? Secondly, how do you keep cockroaches out of the compost bin? I found this youtube video named, “How to make organic compost at home“. The video is only a few minutes, and provides a basis for what follows.

Small Space Composting

Home Composting made easy

After seeing the video, I appreciate the concept of the system. Four clay pots are manageable. I appreciate the way one pot is filled, moved to the bottom of the stack, then a second pot is started. Pot stacking saves space. The system works as is. To me the created compost tends to look more like dried kitchen waste and not compost as I think of compost. I wanted to make this system better.

I like the idea of using small quantity of kitchen waste. Unless several people are in a household, kitchen scraps suitable for composting are always small quantities. If you are looking for a simple, and inexpensive small scale way to compost, this is a good composting system. This system if how it looks is not an issue could be inexpensive to set up.  This is a simple compost system to use made easier with a a few changes.

I tinkered with this system, using ideas being used in and around composting to achieve better results. In later posts, I will explain improvements I have made to this system that make it easier and more fool proof. More to come in future posts.