Author Archives: phunter

Debian Stretch Auto-Expand Script Now Available!

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I previously have released auto-expanding scripts that will check if the disk is needing to be expanded, and will handle that. Due to most of my code relying on raspi-config, I have to update these scripts with every major release. I have done Wheezy and Jessie, and now Stretch.

Check out the article to download!

Raspberry Pi Model B Version 1.2 enters marketplace; Breaks images created on Version 1.1

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So unless you have been buying Raspberry Pi Model B’s lately, and trying to use older images on them, chances are you have no idea that there is much of a difference between current and older models. Apparently, a new version of the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, version 1.2, has made its way into the marketplace, somewhat unannounced, which causes images built on the previous model version 1.1.

The issue with the compatibility is likely the drivers required for the new Broadcom Chipset the V1.2 utilizes, the BCM2837 (BCM2837RIFBG), versus the V1.1, which has BCM2836 (BCM2836RIFBG).

However, if you are not imaging them on a large scale, this probably won’t affect you. Along with the release of these Pi’s, there is also the Raspbian Stretch image, which likely holds support for the newer chipset. I am currently trying to get my hands on this version, so I can test the upgrade & update options to see if those rectify these issues, or find out if we are already about to lay Jessie to bed so quickly.

Stay tuned.

Google Chrome cripples Flash in Update 59

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Google has been saying for quite sometime that support for Adobe’s Flash Plug-In would end. Some websites reported that beginning in June 2017, the once prominent plug-in would face its death.

As a birthday gift to me and my colleagues (total of four developers) who work on a large web based system, they finally crippled it, if not killed it.

See, our company has training videos and vodcasts that our entire company is required to watch. Failure to do so will slowly cripple your functionality and prevent you from clocking in, until you are forced to break down and watch the training, followed by a short test. Once you pass said test, you complete that training course.

The videos are fed via Wowza Streaming Engine in a Video On Demand type scenario, and done by a protocol called RTMP. The downside to RTMP, is that it is not supported by HTML 5, the new standard for streaming media. Other large websites like YouTube, saw this coming and switched their systems some months/years back. I caught on to the trend, and not more than a few months ago, even told our CTO, that this would be painful if we waited.

So even though I knew it was coming, my boss knew it was coming, and our entire industry knew it was coming, we let ourselves feel the pain. Today, as Google Chrome users began updating to version 59, Flash Players around the world, stopped working. As for all those RTMP streams, they will stop working too.

I have Chrome Update 59 and can still watch RTMP streams! You’re wrong!

Easy there internet warrior. Let me show you how to break it.

Firstly, make sure your version of Google Chrome is updated by going to the three dots in the top right. Go to Help, then choose About Google Chrome. If your version does not show ‘Version 59.0.3071.115 (Official Build) (64-bit)’ (or something like it, emphasis on the 59.0.3071.115), you will most likely see an update option. Do that. Once that is done, clear your cache. Not the silly Control+Shift+R option, but actually go through and flush it until the beginning of time (yes, that is a real option).

Now that you too have also stabbed yourself in the leg, try to watch your precious RTMP stream now. Poof. Welcome to Hurtsville.

The fix? Convert to HTML 5 Support streams like HLS. That’s it. No work-around, hacks or trickery. Literally, convert, or die.

Now if you excuse me, I have to now research how to reconfigure a streaming server..

A lot has happened.

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So over the past few months, I have moved into my own apartment, worked on my car, played a lot of games, and made a lot of videos too. These can be seen on my Youtube Channel.

I have been working on a few projects including the Laptop USB Keyboard, which is a laptop keyboard, re-purposed to work over USB. That is still in the works as I am trying to figure out where the resistors go. Having some issues though. I am also working on a project that uses a old laptop screen to make a hanging ‘picture frame’ type of box that you can control the screen remotely through an embedded web app. Have to make a case for it, but need a new nozzle for the 3d printer, as those tend to give out about every 8 months. What do you expect from a $8 brass nozzle?

Currently, I am working with Raspberry Pi’s to do real work, like Beer Brewing Controllers, Satellite Monitoring Daemons, and a killer toy turret. Most of that wont be on the video or here, but the ones previously mentioned will be.

I have also got a new car! Something that’s not mentioned on the Youtube channel (yet).

Either way, I am still alive and as active as ever, just a lower completion rate. Over time, I will start updates again once I get a few other projects into a better state.

Until then, keep on tinkering.

Holy Inactivity..

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So I have basically fallen off the face of the Earth (again) and will probably keep doing so as projects keep me busy.

I have started a couple things in the last few months, that are going to ultimately be awesome. Some, are just life things.

The first of which is I am moving in February from a 4 bedroom house (shared with 2 roommates), of which 2 rooms I occupy. One room is my bedroom, complete with a bed, a closet full of clothes, and a few bedside tables, and the other room with all of my IT gear, complete with APC NetShelter Rack, a 3D Printer, 4×2 Foot Desk, 3 monitors and bad ass PC. All of this has to now has to fit in a 1 bedroom apartment. How you ask? Simply put, I don’t know. Still trying to figure out how I am going to cleanly organize all of this in my sub-800 sq. ft. apartment without looking like a Disaster Response Team.

After the move, I will be embarking on a journey of fixing a 1996 GS-R Integra, and beyond. If you want to know more about that, check out my YouTube channel here, and watch some of me and my friends do some stupid gaming stuff too.

That brings me to another project. Project: YouTube. I have decided to start populating random ass content of gaming, automotive, and just general stuff.

Hopefully once I move here in a few weeks, I can get organized and start working on things a little more quickly because I have some Raspberry Pi gadgets I want to build.

Until then, everything is kind of on pause. So we will see you in February.

Workbench: XFS Format NAS Drive Recovery

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A few days ago while I was helping my brother reinstall his Operating System, one of my Buffalo Terastation’s drives went kaput, thanks to bad sectors. With a whole lot of irreplaceable data ranging from Workbench Project backups to priceless media. Something I could not afford to lose. So I set out to recover as much as possible.

First, I tried my damnedest to use Linux to mount the drive and dump the data to another one of the similarly aged 1000GB Seagate drives in the NAS, but Linux was not having that. After numerous complaints of missing superblocks on mount, I just about threw the thing in the trash and rolled up in a ball to cry. But then there was Google.

Google searches showed utilities like mdadm, and a few others, which never really lined up to my case. Mostly because I was running in a JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) setup, not raiding my drives. From what I gathered, mdadm just rebuilds arrays and mounts them, but this didn’t work for me.

So further down the Google list, I looked for recovery suites. That is where I found my Knight in Shining Armor, in the form of Raise Data Recovery by UFS Explorer. At first, I saw their €200 price tag and didn’t even have time to convert it without having heart palpitations. I downloaded an older version of RDR and tried to see if the disk would even be recognized first, because I wasn’t going to pay a dime if the disk was completely junk.

Much to my amazement, Raise Data Recovery not only found the drive, but was able to show me all the folder hierarchy for the drive. I was excited, and tired, being 5am when I found it.

The next morning I woke up and started peeking at the different options for Raise Data Recovery, and found the €200 option, was not what I wanted, and instead found the licenses I needed were less than $40USD. I was even more excited. I downloaded the software, bought the licenses, and started the recovery, which took about a half a day.

Luckily, it appeared most of the drive’s dead sectors were on the other partitions of the drive, resulting in only 5 files (of 380GB of data) unobtainable. This was amazing. I bought 2 new 2TB WD Blue drives, which if I had more time, I would have bought WD Red’s for NAS setups, but this was a critical situation, and Best Buy doesn’t sell Reds on shelf.

As we sit now, 4 days later, my Buffalo Terastation has had the 3 old 1TB drives completely removed of its data, and migrated to the 2 WD Blue drives.

If you have a NAS drive fail, and aren’t in a RAID setup, give Raise Data Recovery a try. You may not get it all back, but you never know.

Raspberry Pi: Installing Google Chromium/Chrome on Raspbian Jessie

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In one of my previous articles I covered on how to turn your Raspberry Pi into an kiosk style display board using Chromium under wheezy. The problem for Jessie, is that Chromium does not (just checked.. Not there) exist in the package repository for Raspbian. This means you cannot use apt-get to install it.

But, fortunately for us, there is another way to do this.

This guide is thanks to Conor O’Neill. I found this article in the past and have used it multiple times, and its only fair to give him credit, and as a ‘reporter’ of things, its responsible to cite sources.

First, you have to do the usual setup on Raspbian.. Make sure you have the latest updates for your Pi.

sudo apt-get update

Next, run each of the following lines:

wget http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/pool/main/libg/libgcrypt11/libgcrypt11_1.5.0-5+deb7u4_armhf.deb
wget http://launchpadlibrarian.net/218525709/chromium-browser_45.0.2454.85-0ubuntu0.14.04.1.1097_armhf.deb
wget http://launchpadlibrarian.net/218525711/chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-extra_45.0.2454.85-0ubuntu0.14.04.1.1097_armhf.deb
sudo dpkg -i libgcrypt11_1.5.0-5+deb7u4_armhf.deb
sudo dpkg -i chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-extra_45.0.2454.85-0ubuntu0.14.04.1.1097_armhf.deb
sudo dpkg -i chromium-browser_45.0.2454.85-0ubuntu0.14.04.1.1097_armhf.deb

Originally the links are little different, showing ‘deb7u3’ however, in the comments the recommend to change them to ‘deb7u4’ and all will be good, which in my test was the case. Keep an eye on the comments if this didn’t work for you.

Workbench: Windows 10 Black Screen Problem

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A lot of people out there are apparently having an issue with laptops upgraded to Windows 10 from other operating systems, in the form of black screens. The typical example includes seeing the spinning dots, and eventually, just a black screen.

As of recently I have looked at a computer exhibiting such symptoms and have come to find the single culprit. The Windows 10 Display Driver. The fix? Not so fast.. let me explain why there is a major issue here.

History of Windows Upgrades and Laptops

Typically speaking the way laptop manufacturers do business is they produce a laptop, support it with driver updates for a few years, then stop updating the drivers for it, leaving you in the ‘out of warranty’ zone. This has been the way it has been working for some time now.

So what happened?

Windows 7 was a massively popular operating system for nearly 7 years, and a lot of people (rightfully) refuse to budge off of it after the whole Windows 8 fiasco, and are even still afraid to move to Windows 10. Up until the last year Microsoft has always stuck by their normal business model of ‘pay to upgrade’ your Windows Operating System, until the Windows 10 Free Upgrade came around, some people were apparently even forced to upgrade. But why?

Windows 10 Scenario

Lets say you have a laptop from 2005 running Windows 7, and are either forced to Upgrade to Windows 10, or upgrade by choice. Chances are, your laptop manufacturer has already deemed you as ‘antiquated’ and are no longer receiving updates from them, or they do not support any newer versions of drivers. This becomes a massive problem. Without the correct drivers for things like Display Adapters, Windows 10 will use a generic driver to try and accommodate it.

What happens is that Windows 10 magically fails to find your laptop display, and in its infinite wisdom, detect a 2nd non-existent display, which it makes a primary, showing your login screen and everything else on. What your laptop display is actually showing is ‘Monitor 2’. So unless you hook up your laptop to the external screen via HDMI, VGA or DVI, you won’t see your login screen.

I suspect the reason Microsoft did this ‘free upgrade’ is because they yield nothing out of having you upgrade free. That is unless your laptop fits into the scenario above, in which, you take it to Geek Squad, and they say ‘Its toast, buy a new one’. If you do, you are buying a laptop that the manufacturer had to pay Microsoft something like $80-$100 for Windows 10, and on top of that, padded the manufacturers pocket just a little bit too, and boosts PC (as opposed to Mac/Apple) sales.

The Fix?

Check to see if your manufacturer has released Windows 10 drivers for your laptop’s display adapter. If not, Revert to Windows 7. Contact your manufacturer and get a copy of the original software, or if you have a copy of Windows 7, load it up. Make sure you back up first though..

Should I upgrade to Windows 10?

If you are running Windows 7 or Windows 8, the first thing to check is if your manufacturer has released Windows 10 Graphics Drivers via their individual support sites. If not, don’t even think about it. If they do, chances are you are safe, but who knows how long.

So what about that laptop you looked at?

The owner recognized that it was older, and was prepared to replace it. We went to a local electronics store and picked out a nice, sub $300 laptop, that he was pleased with, and I was pleased with, and supported Windows 10.

 

If you have been struck with the Windows 10 Black Screen bug, your options are downgrade, or replace. End of story.

Workbench: Why to keep your computers files organized

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Almost everyone these days has a laptop, however very few people keep it organized correctly. As a result, when their OS crashes, it makes the lives of the Technician behind the keyboard, nervous and flustered. Luckily in the case of the Toshiba I am working on, things are kept nicely stored in their respective folders.

Windows has a series of folders for each user to keep things organized like Music, Videos and Pictures. It is in your best interest to use these like the owner of this Toshiba did, and here is why.

When having troubles identifying and resolving computer problems, it is essential to backup your precious data and prevent any further loss of information. To do this, we can’t go on your computer and find things that you use often. So because of that, we have to rip your hard drive out, and load it up manually like a really big USB drive. Everything from then on is folders, and files. We can’t see your desktop. We then hunt down the data in its various places, and begin the transfer to a reliable location.

If you don’t keep your data in organized folders, and common places, we won’t find it, and you won’t get it. Simply put. That is unless you want to shell out the $60-80 for a new hard drive for your laptop simply so we can clone it in case we missed something. Chances are, we aren’t going to buy that ourselves.

Fortunately for my clients, I am willing to shell out that investment, because realistically, if they don’t need it in the long run, I will use it for portable storage. After all, the Macbook Air SSD’s aren’t that big.

Keep your data organized, if not backed up.