martes, 21 de marzo de 2017

Document Freedom Day

Document Freedom Day will be in a week.  What is DFD?

According to , it is:

"the international day of Open Standards and happens every year on the last Wednesday of March. It is a day to come together and raise attention towards the ever growing importance of Open Standards for all aspects of our digital communication and information accessibility."

I remember that once, I celebrated it sending to all my colleagues a "freedom test".  It was just a regular mail with a short explanation and an .odt file.  If they could not open it, they could realize that they were not free.  My small campaign had a modest rate of success, at least to make people question their choices.

I wonder if I should do something similar this year... 

lunes, 20 de febrero de 2017

How to: VLC can't Resize Videos!

Yesterday, I tried to watch a video on my MX-16 install.  Unfortunately, the video display was very small and trying to adjust the size of the window did not help. The video size was still the same and taking a snapshot was no use, either:
Yes! The blue rectangle IS the video playing!
Then, I tried fullsize.  I got the same little video size embedded into a big, blue rectangle the size of my whole screen.
Nice, right? The snapshot didn't even show the video!
Ah, the video behaved funny.  Trying to access the menus was a nightmare for they would appear behind the video:
Groovy! How am I supposed to read the menu?
Was this a DRM-related issue?  Or something else?  Apparently, it was something else: it was a video acceleration problem, actually.

The fix was extremely easy.  Since VLC comes with video acceleration by default, if your card is within the unlucky ones, you get what I got.  Thus, all you have to do is disabling that option.  Go to Tools, and then choose Preferences. There, look for video.  Under the Screen category, untick accelerated video output:
Here you are! Let me watch my videos peacefully!
After that, close VLC. Open it again and that pretty much takes care of the problem:
Now I can resize the window and the video display, too!
I can go fullscreen, too!  Problem solved!
Now, the second part will be to tell Dragon Player to do the same!  I've no idea how to do it there!  :P

lunes, 13 de febrero de 2017

Hello, Think Penguin! Nice to Meet You!

Well, my Zareason laptop started doing strange things after a long life of intense work and harsh conditions.  I wanted to buy another computer from them, but the model I wanted was out of stock.

Thus, I started looking for options and finally found an Adelie computer from Think Penguin that was pretty close to the computer I wanted to buy originally.

I bought it, asking for their default choice for the OS.  When I got it, I realized that it came preloaded with Ubuntu 16.10.  Since Ubuntu has never been my favorite Linux distribution, I tried to go the multiboot way, making several partitions to host different Linux flavors. 

Unfortunately, none of my distros could be installed.  I tried MX-16, which is the newest distro I have and its partitioning tool (Gparted) threw errors at me when trying to make the partitions.   As a result, I could not install anything.

Then, I decided to use the Ubuntu disk that came with the computer to do the job.  That was my first time using Ubuntu's installer and my second time using Ubuntu.  The tool did its job and thanks to that, I could install MX-16.

I've had to learn a few new tricks with this computer.  As the rep from Think Penguin told me, the computer is too new for many Linux distributions (the ones I use regularly), but I've been able to manage so far.

What about Ubuntu?  I'll keep using it and maybe I'll get used to it.  My Steam games are all there, and most run perfectly.  So do other software tools I need for work.

I'll be checking other distros with current releases to see if any can work with this computer, too.  Maybe my next test will be with Fedora?

So far, I'm very happy with this new computer.  The service at Think Penguin was excellent, too.  I'm so satisfied that I may buy a Korora laptop from them in the future.

domingo, 29 de enero de 2017

GnuRooting Experiment 2: Success!

Long time ago, I had tried GnuRoot on a ZaReason tablet.  I didn't go very far: I got to boot a Linux environment, but without a graphics session.  Thus, I abandoned GnuRoot.

Debian GNU/Linux running on my tablet!
Today, I found this nice tutorial by Braden Farmer and it motivated me to try once again, this time using a Lenovo tablet.

Apparently, everything went as expected.  I could indeed install Debian with LXDE and it works pretty well (although you do need a keyboard and a mouse, which I don't have right now.)

Well, I'm glad this experiment worked.  I feel happy because I learned something new. 

martes, 24 de enero de 2017

My Quest for a GNU/Linux Laptop

My embattled Alto 4330, which I bought from ZaReason about 4 years ago, has started to fail.  I have to pledge guilty because I've dropped it twice and the poor machine kept working faithfully.  Thus, while I think of a way to fix it, I started looking for a replacement.

First, I do not want to pay for Windows 10, especially because all I'd do with it would be to wipe it out from the hard drive.  Since I do not want to put up with all the UEFI and restricted boot nonsense, buying from a Linux vendor is my road to take.

Unfortunately, ZaReason was a no-go.  I tried to buy their Strata twice, but my order was rejected.  Upon asking, they told me it was out of stock but they would get new merchandise soon.

I checked again two weeks later and they had the Ultralap.  Nice... I almost bought it, but it does not have an optical drive. Some may think "So... what's the problem?"  I guess the problem is that I do use CDs and DVDs, and having a super portable laptop that needs an external CD/DVD drive, even if it is very slim, is not convenient enough for me.  They may offer other models soon, but I cannot afford waiting.

I took a look at System 76, but their laptops did not fit my needs.

Then, Mechatotoro suggested Think Penguin.  Apparently, their Adelie laptop is the closest to the Strata I wanted... plus it comes with the keyboard in my language.

Thus, I took the plunge and ordered one.  Now their card verification loopholes have started...  although it is highly inconvenient for me as the customer, I understand their fight against fraud.

I hope my order gets processed and shipped without any other problem.  I also hope that the laptop I bought may be a good one.

jueves, 5 de enero de 2017

How I Got My Epson XP-231 to Scan Using Xsane

Mechatotoro gave me a printer Epson XP-231, which also has a scanning function.  After installing the drivers and seeing it print text files and scanned pages, I thought I had it up and running well... until I tried to scan a page to save it as an image:  it would not start the software to scan that came with the drivers.

I tried simplescan and learned that it didn't recognize my scanner.  It saw just the camera.

Then, I tried Xsane.  Same problem.

After a few hours of trying, I stumbled upon VueScan.  I downloaded the trial and BINGO!!!  It worked like a charm.

I was inclined to pay, but realized that the basic version only used the scanner to its minimum.  To get it to work fully, you have to pay a bit more.  Maybe too much for my budget.

Thus, I set forth on a quest to make the scanner work because, unfortunately, Mechatotoro's method did not work in my case: He was using Red Hat based distros and I use Debian based ones.

Thanks to this fine tutorial, I could solve the problem. This is how I got it:

As root, I opened the file:


Depending on the case, you have to uncomment or add : example-backend

I noticed that there was a line reading epson2, and it was uncommented.

Then, I ran on the CLI:


The output looked like this:

# sane-find-scanner will now attempt to detect your scanner. If the
  # result is different from what you expected, first make sure your
  # scanner is powered up and properly connected to your computer.

  # No SCSI scanners found. If you expected something different, make sure that
  # you have loaded a kernel SCSI driver for your SCSI adapter.

found USB scanner (vendor=0x01aa [EXAMPLE], product=0x0001 [EXAMPLE SCANNER]) at libusb:001:003

  # Your USB scanner was (probably) detected. It may or may not be supported by
  # SANE. Try scanimage -L and read the backend's manpage.

  # Not checking for parallel port scanners.

  # Most Scanners connected to the parallel port or other proprietary ports
  # can't be detected by this program.

The line "Found USB scanner (vendor=0x01aa [EXAMPLE], product=0x0001 [EXAMPLE SCANNER]) at libusb:001:003" is the important one here.  I copied it somewhere else to have it ready.

As root, I opened




I looked for the line reading "usb" in both files.  I added in both, as root,  the information of the vendor and of the product I got as my output.  Using the example above, it looked like this:

usb 0x01aa 0x0001

After saving those files, all I had to do was starting Xsane.  Now it recognized my scanner!  :D

martes, 3 de enero de 2017

On commence bien comme ça!

Year 2017 has just started and I'm already experiencing its surprises!  First,  I tried to buy a laptop from ZaReason, but my transaction failed twice.  Upon asking, they told me they are out of stock but will have new computers quite soon.  I checked other vendors, but so far none beats the specs and price of the laptop I intended to buy.

Today, Mechatotoro gave me a nice Epson XP-231 printer as a present.  I did not have much problem to get it up and running (both the printing and the scanning functions) on MX-15. 

However, while I was trying to install the drivers on MX-14, I ran into problems.  BIG problems.  Suddenly, my system decided that every file I selected with the pointer was to be deleted.  Fortunately, it would ask for confirmation and thus I could recover some trivial folders: my documents, my downloads, and my desktop. 

Thinking that maybe my mouse was misbehaving (too bad because it is not even 2 months old), I unplugged it to try the mousepad.  Bad news!  It did not work.

This is quite a way to start the new year!
After that, I thought my MX-14 system was in bad shape and set to reinstalling it from a remastered USB pendrive.  However, the system on the pendrive showed the same behavior.  Not liking the situation very much, I booted MEPIS 12 to see if I had better luck.  No.  The same issues greeted me.

In a desperate move, I opened the laptop, removed the keyboard, the hard drive, and checked the memory.  After being cleaned, they looked better.  Not being able to do anything else, I put the laptop together again and started it fearing the worse...

Well, it is working normally again!  I hope it keeps doing it while I get my new laptop.  The problem is that Linux laptops are not so easy to find here.  Hopefully, I'll find one I like soon.  2017, what a great start!