Wednesday, January 15, 2014

3D Printed Penguin.

3D Printed Penguin.  That is all. :D

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Android Exploration Tools For The Rooted User

Got Root?

Once you have rooted your android device there are lots of cool applications that open up to you.  As a curious IT professional I comb the net looking for good apps for my phone.  I think of them as a digital Swiss army knife.  Not all of these applications require root, but most require it to unlock the full potential of the application.  

Hacker's Keyboard  -

Don't let the name fool you.  There is nothing malicious about this keyboard.  It simply adds more "traditional" keys that are often left out of smartphone keyboards.  Things like the directional pad and toggles to press two buttons at once (CTRL + ALT).  While not as quick as standard keyboards, the extra keys are invaluable while SSH'd into a box.  

SSH Tunnel -

Ever find yourself on a more "restricted" network?  Wish your phone could visit the sites you want while still taking advantage of that sweet sweet bandwidth? Wish you could add a layer of encryption to your network traffic?  Well now you can!  SSH Tunnel connects to a home or remote server running S


This is a fantastic SSH client (or telnet if that floats your boat) for android.  

Network Discovery and Fing

Want to find out what devices are attached to the network AND what services they are running?  Look no further than these two fantastic apps.  Think of them as NMAP lite.  Another neat feature is that once you have found a service (say SSH) on the network it will launch ConnectBot (or similar) to make the connection.  

Orbot: TOR For Android

Run Silent, Run Deep...web!?  Yup, you guessed it TOR has an official android client!  Once installed it has links to their own secure web browser and the duck duck go search engine.  Very cool stuff.  Tested and it works!

kWs: Android Web Server

Want to host a simple web page from your phone?  Look no further than the kWs web server!  Who needs a computer to update your personal site when you can just log into the server in your pocket!  It allows for 10 connections at once so it isn't going to help you rake in that sweet sweet ad revenue, but just think of all that sweet geek cred you will nab!  Check out my guide here!

Shark and Shark Reader for Root

At first I thought these were very cool, but they are actually of much less limited use than their IRL counterparts. The reason for this is the app is add supported SO...when you harvest those sweet, sweet packets they come cluttered up with lots of "noise" from the adds.  If you can filter that info out great...but it is just kind of a hassel.   

aTorrent & uTorrent - bit torrent clients for Android 

Torrent to your phone!  Tested and works like a charm (both clients).  Just make sure you are aware you will destroy your data plan if you aren't careful.

If you dear reader have any apps that you can't live without share em with me!

As always thanks for reading!!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Why Intel Steams Me! Grrrr!!

So I am an avid gamer, and a Linux user something which, until recently, really hasn't gone hand in hand.  That is quickly changing with the advent of the Steam client for Linux.  More and more games are being ported to the client or are being created especially for it.  Enter me and my primary Linux laptop powered by an Intel 4500 gma chipset.  It plays some simple games just fine (FTL, Dungeons of Dreadmore), but when it comes to graphically intensive games it isn't great, but it should be able to play some older games like Half-Life 2 / other source engine games just fine (like it does in Windows).  Unfortunately this isn't the case.  I use the latest version of Linux Mint, but the standard drivers are terrible for the Intel terrible that all of my Valve games are just plain broken.  They either go to black or load upside down.  While there are some work around fixes, but they require using some bleeding edge drivers (xorg edgers ppa for example).  I tried these, but I ended up installing it wrong and had to roll it back.  So I have been finding many other people are running into the same issue.  One such user is found here... he was running into the same issue as me and when they asked Intel communities if they could start a Linux community to address some of these issues they got this pithy response...

Intel® currently has no intention of opening a Linux subforum.  The Intel linux drivers are developed by the linux community as well.

Basically "We could care less about the new ground swell of Linux based gaming.  If you want it to work fix it yourself."  As a Linux user this much is obvious as it is what Linux is all about...DIY.  But Linux is also about communities, about little pockets of users with similar interests coming together to resolve their specific issues.  When Intel's official response to making a forum community to help Intel GMA chipset users get their game on is PISS OFF, well it pisses me off.

TL;DR - Intel should not ignore the up and coming Linux gaming community.  Instead they should embrace the community and provide just that, a community space for Linux gamers to congregate.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Netflix on Linux!!!

Really not sure how I missed this, but you can now get Netflix on Linux!!

Huge shout out to fellow Iowan Nixie Pixel for posting this very workable workaround over at her linux youtube page.  Also, if you don't know who Nixie Pixel is be sure to check out her YouTube vids and other sites.  Lots of helpful info and news about Linux, Open Source, and gaming to be found!

To install on Ubuntu / Mint (64 or 32 bit)-

Start terminal

$ sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio

$ sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop


For Fedora (only 32 bit systems) 

You need wget first:
su -c 'yum -y install wget'

Installing Netflix:

wget -c

tar -xvzf Netflixplayer.tar.gz

su -c 'sh'

Running Netflix from cmd line:

sh /usr/bin/

I did the install on the latest version of Linux Mint and encountered no problems.  The interface seems somewhat wonky at times, but everything works great.  It is really, REALLY unfortunate that Netflix has not developed something like this themselves.  Oh well, Linux community FTW!  Check out Nixie Pixel's video walk through below.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Why Linux?

That is a question many of my non-Linux using friends often ask me.  Why waste your time learning about an OS that takes so much extra effort? I mean if it was that good EVERYONE would use it right???

Linux is specialized tool. It is not a swiss army knife like windows. It is not as easy to use, but limited in scope like the spork that is Mac OSX.  It is more like a tool chest full of specialty tools...think torx head screwdrivers and tricorders. With these tools you can do nearly anything you can imagine!  Let us look at all of the ways Linux just plain does it better.

Linux Is Everywhere

Do you use any of the following? An Android smartphone, a wifi router, DVR, DVD player, or the internet? Of course you do!  Guess what? You use Linux!  Linux can be found in each one of these devices in much the same way DNA can be found in nearly all life on Earth.  It is pervasive yet hidden.  This is the main obstacle to the OS's mainstream desktop use.  It can be tailored to many different applications from the Mars rovers to the computer I am typing this on.  This wide array of options often overwhelms users new to the OS.  Do they use Ubuntu, Arch, Gentoo, Debian, Puppy Linux, Slackware...well you get the picture.

So WHY Linux?? 

For all the reason listed above; that is why!  Got a spare computer, router, tablet, or Martian rover lying around gathering dust?  Put some Linux on it!  Where do I start??  Below you will find some helpful links to get you started on your Linux journey.  I would encourage you to browse my blog, but it is more focused on someone that has already started on their journey.  Here are some links to get you started...

Lifehacker's Guide to Linux - This is a great jumping off point and it brings you to one of the most helpful sites on the internet...not just Linux!

Distro Watch - When you are ready to pick a "flavor" of Linux this is the place to start.  Great info on all variations.

Linux Questions - You WILL have questions, and this site has nearly ALL the answers.  For users of all skill levels by users of all skill types.  Bookmark this site like yesterday.

Ubuntu - Quickly becoming the "Face" of Linux, this site has a wealth of information for users that have decided to use the novice (and expert) friendly flavor of Linux.

I hope this post helps you on your journey.  If you ever have any questions feel free to comment on this blog or send me a shout out on twitter ( @assi9 ).

Thanks for reading!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Acer Iconia a200: THE REVIEW!!

Well it has been a few months and I have really come to enjoy my Acer Iconia a200 tablet.  The picture quality is fantastic and the performance is great. Graphics intensive games run quickly and look great.  A perfect example of this is the massive new A Bards Tale (which btw way is a great game for all you RPG fans out there).  The game textures look about on par with a high end computer circa 2004.  So I like to get right to the point with my reviews.  So lets get to it.  First lets start off with what is wrong with this tablet.

The Bad

The volume controls are shit.  The rocker button is small and hard to operate.  It feels solid and quality, but just a little too solid.  If it was a wee bit bigger it would be much better.

Power save mode is a blessing and a curse.  When your tablet is idle the WiFi will shut off.  This is a good measure to save battery life and I am all for that, but when downloading very large files it is nice to be able to do so with the screen off.  This "feature" can also be annoying when bringing the tablet out of sleep mode as it will often resume the app you were in and then interrupt said app with a flood of new email alerts and whatnot.

The Good

FULL SIZE USB.  Yea.  That's right I said full size USB.  You can plug all sorts of goodies into this.  USB hub, keyboard/mouse combo, even an external hard drive!  This tablet pushes the boundaries from standard android tablet to decent netbook replacement with the proper case and keyboard mouse combo.

Micro-SD Card Slot.  Use this to expand the 16GB of hard drive space to whatever you darn well please.

Easy root*!  I used THIS method to root the tablet.  Follow the steps to the letter and you will be just fine!  Took me about an hour to get this all set. Many thanks to the great folks over at  *FYI - After rooting my tablet the newest version of Hulu stopped working.  It seems to be the only application affected by the root process.  I was able to find a version of Hulu (read hacked) that worked, but it doesn't seem to be very high quality.  But hey it works.

Couple final thoughts.  Tablet cases are shit and so are the styluses.  Both are very expensive and in the case of the styluses...garbage.  I did manage to find a decent case for it. The Case Logic iPad/ 10" Tablet case works great as it can hold the tablet in an upright position.  Only one caveat...the little bungee cord in the upper left hand corner will occasionally press the power button and shut off the screen or sometimes even the tablet.  I opt to just unhook it.

See below for links to this tablet and case!  Thanks for stopping by! :D

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Acer Iconia a200 First Impressions

Hello world!  It is I your intrepid linux reporter!  Today I am writing you from the exciting world of tablets!  Yesterday I aged another year  (like a fine single malt) and I treated myself with a tablet computer.   After much debating I decided to go with the Acer Iconia  a200 tablet.  It has a 1280 x 800 screen (higher res than the iPad 1 and 2), a full size usb port (and micro usb slot as well), and a 10.1 screen.  And best of all it was on sale!  
So 24 hours with this tablet has left a fantastic first impression on me.  The display is clear and bright, the Logitech k400 keyboard I am typing this on worked with zero user intervention, and it updated itself to Ice Cream Sandwich the second it connected to wifi.  This was fantastic as I didn't have to go through the device setup twice.  So this has been all flowers and butterflies so far.  Where is the manure you say?  Well the sound isn't fantastic, but let's be realistic; I don't see anyone carrying their tablet computers up by their head 80's style.  The wierd little Acer circle menu is rather silly, but it doesn't matter too much as you don't really need to use it if you don't want to.  Other than those minor gripes this is a great 10.1" tablet for the money.  I will revist this little tablet at a later date.  I intend to root it and possibly mod it with Ubuntu (or backtrack linux) and I will let you know how all that goes.  To summarize...
Pros: Great 1280 xt 800 display, easy setup, and a full size usb with keyboard and mouse support.
Cons: Sound sucks and the Acer radial menu is rather redundant.