Posts filed under ‘Guide’
Are you one of those people who would almost like to switch over to Ubuntu but just couldn’t because you don’t quite like great open source games such as Glest, Sauerbraten and Tremulous? In today’s post, here’s one more reason for you to do so: Now you can play Warcraft III, Frozen Throne, and also Defense of the Ancients, or more commonly known as DOTA! Ok, so that’s 3 reasons…but since DOTA is just a custom map for Frozen Throne maybe 2 and a half…anyway…let’s get started.
I went to my brother’s wedding last week. During the reception was a slide show of their pictures, coupled with music. It was a great presentation. But what I noticed was that I could do this as well. The music wasn’t attached to the slide show, it was a separately playing live music. And the slide show, which was run on a Mac laptop, was the built-in Mac slide show utility. F-Spot, GThumb, or the image viewer, which are all built into Ubuntu, can do the same thing that that Mac was doing–fading in and out picture after consecutive picture. And with RhythmBox, XMMS, or your favorite media player playing in the background, you got yourself a whole Linux roadshow. Of course, getting great pictures to show is another matter altogether, but a matter out of the scope of this post.
During that trip as well, I visited an old friend that now runs Photo Story Creations, a shop that puts your pictures on mugs, pillows, even tiles, as a mosaic or just a straightforward picture. Imagination’s the limit to what you can do with their products, you just need to tell them what you want to be done with your pictures. Having previously used trialware mosaic programs during my Windows days, I poked around in Synaptics Package Manager to see if I can find a mosaic application for Linux.
Sure enough, there was a fast, little program called Metapixel. It´s actually two small programs: metapixel-prepare and the main metapixel program. The metapixel-prepare program lets you choose a source directory of pictures and a target directory to use as a picture library for metapixel. Creating a mosaic takes around 3 1/2 minutes, which is already comparatively faster to other mosaic programs. But this speed advantage really comes in handy when you´re making mosaics using the library, since only half a minute is used for the actual creation of the mosaic. The other 3 minutes is used for preparing the library, which is a one time deal in this case.
One thing that might turn off some users is that Metapixel is a command-line program. But it’s not really that hard to use. To prepare the library, you use the following command:
metapixel-prepare Desktop/sourcepictures Desktop/librarydir Afterwards, just type in
metapixel --metapixel input.jpg output.png --library Desktop/librarydir --cheat=30 The input file is the target image that you want your mosaic will look like and the output is, of course, the final image that will be produced. Notice that I put in a –cheat=30. What that actually does is overlay a 30%-opaque final image on to the mosaic, similar to the flower mosaic above. Unless you have a really vast library of pictures with all possible colors and you’re going to create a pretty big mosaic, this option can come in pretty handy. There are also other options, like the collage option. The difference between a collage and a classic mosaic is that the classic mosaic lays out your pictures in a perfect grid, while pictures in a collage can overlap each other.
Another cool tool that should be in the toolbox of the Linux photographer is Hugin Panorama Photo Stitcher. It features tools for correcting perspective, and of course, stitching tools for creating panoramas.
To stitch photos, all you need to do is create points in your pictures to help the program automatically stitch your photos. In the example above, Hugin automatically adjusted for the perspective distortion effect of my camera, stitching three photos seamlessly. You may also want to check out the official Hugin stitching online tutorial.
I know this is an old idea and it’s been done several times over, but what would be a cool tech blog without my own tutorial on this? We’ll be making a server that you can connect to from just about anywhere.
Setting Up the Server
Fire up Synaptic Package Manager and search for “ssh”, or if you prefer faster way and willing to get your hands dirty, open up a terminal window and type:
sudo apt-get install ssh
After installing SSH, we need to put it in just enough security to help us sleep more soundly at night. Configure SSH by typing:
sudo vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config
Look for the following lines and set their options as so:
Ok, we have to restart SSH for these settings to take effect. Type in:
sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart
At this point, you can already connect to your computer from another computer. Just type in the remote computer (for Linux computers)
ssh firstname.lastname@example.org OR
(for Windows computers) Install Putty and use that to connect.
You should try it out at this point to get yourself familiar with the login process.
User corresponds to one of the server’s users, including root. Although, we already disabled root login.
Next, we setup Remote Desktop.
System > Administration > Remote DesktopCheck “Allow other users to view your desktop” and “Allow other users to control your desktop” Uncheck “Ask for confirmation” and check “Require password” and set a nice, secure password (You could also opt to uncheck this as well, since you’ll be tunneling VNC through SSH).
Setting up the Client Computer
For Windows, install Putty or your favorite SSH client.
For Linux, if it’s not already installed, search for SSH in Synaptics or type
sudo apt-get install ssh
Also, install your favorite VNC client, such as WinVNC or TightVNC. (This is not necessary for Linux computers since it is usually built in).
- Start up putty.
- Expand “Connection”
- Expand “SSH”
- Go to Tunnels
- Enter the source port you’ll be using
- Enter <destination address>:<destination port>
Source port is the port number for your client machine (the one you’re using to connect). You can set this to any port available at your disposal. Notice here one of the tunnels
L8080 helium.kicks-ass.org:5900 I used 8080 as the source port since the other ports were being blocked by our corporate firewall.
Destination port is the port number for your server machine (the one you want to connect to). The default port for VNC is 5900, so we’ll use that.
Go back to “Session” menu and type in a name in “Saved Sessions” and click on Save, unless you want to set your Putty everytime you run it.
- Ok, the Windows method first. Start up Putty, click on your saved session, then click Open.
- Login to the server.
- Fire up VNC
You’ll be shown a dialog box, enter your destination IP or domain and port with the format <destination IP>:<display>:<port> Since we’ll be using the default display, we can just omit that but we still have to leave the colons behind. Click OK
- If you set a password in the Remote Desktop settings, you’ll need to enter that next, as well.
That’s it. Now for the Linux way.
- Connect to SSH
sudo ssh -L 8080:domain.com:5900 email@example.com
- Connect to VNC
vncviewer domain.com -listen 8080
Don’t forget to open up the SSH port (22 by default) in your router/firewall as well.
Dynapic IP Address
Not all of us are so lucky to have their own domain name or a permanent IP address. Usually, the Internet service you get from your provider automatically assigns you an IP address, and that address rotates from time to time, like in the case of PLDT MyDSL. So if you’re far away from home, how do you determine what your home’s IP address is? You can get a free host name to alias your dynamic IP by registering one in http://www.dyndns.org or other dynamic IP host name providers.
Transferring Files Between Computers
In Windows, just install WinSCP, enter the IP or domain of your server as well as the password, and you’re good to go.
For Linux users, type in
scp -r folderOrFile firstname.lastname@example.org:/home/user/
To transfer files from your server, just interchange the parameters.
Using just these, you can have Azureus or your favorite Bittorrent client, set it so that it checks for new torrents now and then, and just SCP the torrent files into your server.
We’re Done Here
So there you have it, a basic remote-controlled computer. It’s up to you, though, to beef up the security as you see fit, or add other applications or features to this set up. Enjoy!