Darktable Open Source RAW Darkroom

I've just become a fan of this amazing piece of software. Just everything about it seems to be perfect. The noise reduction is stunningly good while preserving details. The sharpener brings out crips details down to the single pixel. You may even be able to tether you camera via USB and control your camera's settings and shooting with live view directly from your computer. It even does some tone mapping, imports GPS data into your photos and more. I was going to say now it only has to take the photos itselt. But with tethering, in a way, it already does. :)

Simply fascinating. Try it out!

Hints: Check out some tutorials if you get stuck.

Quickly Shrinking the File Size of a PDF File on the Command Line in Linux

Ok, I'm most linking to a great page here. But I'll also give you my favorite choice: GhostScript, which is available almost on every system and did a terrific job in my test:

gs -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 -dPDFSETTINGS=/screen -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET -dBATCH -sOutputFile=output.pdf input.pdf

Of course it also takes other formats like ps and eps or jpg as input!

Automatically Disable your Touchpad - Enhancing Palm Detection in Linux

I have already posted an entry somewhere on this blog on how to disable your touch pad if you plug in a usb mouse. But I've just found out that the arch wiki has a great summary on different kinds of touch pad settings including for a better palm detection:
synclient PalmMinWidth=4 PalmDetect=1

This works excellently for me - and I have a new system with a rather large touch pad. Enjoy! And as always: Please share your experience and ideas!

Fixing Panasonic LUMIX Wifi - "Connection to Access Point Failed"

This error occurred to me with a Fritz Box as access point and WPA/WPA2 mixed mode. The first time the camera still connected, later attempts failed. After switching the network mode to WPA2 only, it worked again.

Update: I've upgraded to Firmware v. 1.1 and the issue disappeared.

Otherwise you can probably try resetting the camera settings. Good luck!

A Smear Safe Android Lock Screen

You know that when you use a lock screen, it's often quite easy to know your combination by simply looking at the grease traces of your display? Well now there's finally an app against that. And it's called SmearSafe. Apparently, it was developed by people connected to the University Stuttgart. I've checked the whois entries and saw that the domain hcilab.org is really registered to the name of the professor of the University Suttgart. Further than that, I can't really validate their identity. But it appears ok.

The app works by changing around the image in a way that the way you have to move your fingers is different each time. I.e. it turns, distorts, moves and mirrors the image in different ways. This way the smears get mixed up and it's pretty much impossible for someone who sees your hand movements to guess your login. Of course, it may also require a bit more brain power on your side.

Let me know how it goes for you! Note: I had to set it up twice before it actually started to work on my phone. And it will request admin priviledges to be able to unlock your screen without being set to root.

Sipgate.com Closes

I've recently found out the USA service seems to end. It's still going on in other countries, though, apparently. Well the margins in the VoIP business must be smaller than I thought. Very sad, as Sipgate used to always have great service and good quality in my experience. But I guess it's hard to compete with Google in the same market.

Decrypting Android Encryption is Really Easy

Especially if you encrypt your phone only with a PIN, it appears that it's quite easy to find that PIN. More than that, there is already a script on github which automates a lot of the process.

Now the unanswered issue is: Which command do you use to mount the partition in Linux?

In any case: be aware, the encryption does not protect you much at all. Of course that's what you should expect with a 4 key (usually numeric) PIN.

Disable Customized Ads in Google

Google has a webpage where you can opt out of apps customized to your profile. Note that the popup will be high up on the page, where you probably won't see it until you scroll back up.

Gain Privacy in Youtube

This is just a side, but I just found out Youtube tracks all your searches and videos watched by default. Here's a post which describes how to disable that.

Mini-Tipp: Veromix

Installing the Veromix Widget for KDE4 lets you comfortably adjust pulseaudio volumes. Make sure to reassign the shortcuts, then you no longer need kmix.

Berkeley AirBears2 Setup on Kubuntu and Android

I'm not sure how long this information will remain accurate, because the network is still in testing stage, but working settings right now are:
EAP method: TTLS
Phase 2 authentication: PAP
CA certificate: empty
User certificate: empty
Identity: <your cal ID>
Anonymous Identitfy: empty
Password: Your special Airbears2 password, which you can get here or view here.

Tested to work on 6/10/13 with boat Cyanogen 10.1-RC5 and Kubuntu 12.04 (at the same time).

More information about Airbears2 is here: http://inews.berkeley.edu/articles/June2013/AirBears2GoesLive


Anki & AnkiWeb Network Errors

If you get these errors, the two most frequent issues are:

1. wrong Anki version (you need > 2.0) for websync to still work
2. wrong passwort/account name
3. missing proxy / no internet.

Hope that helps!

Finding Unneeded Data

Agedu is a great tool, as it doesn't only show you where the data is, but also how long ago it was last accessed. It's a bit sad that the tool is not as straight forward to use as it could be. But here's a guide

Basically you first call agedu -s <somedir>, then agedu -w to start a webserver and then look at the webpage that the latter command tell you about.

Memory Consumption of Common Linux Desktops

This blog post made a nice overview of the common choices you have and how much memory they use by default.

Small Bash Power Usage Monitor

While I'm about releasing power scripts, I've quickly written this script to monitor power usage on various Linux systems. It needs bash and sysfs. It can use bc and gnuplot for more comfort.

Automatically Resume from Suspend to Ram and Suspend to Disk to Save Battery in Linux

Suspending to RAM is allows the system to quickly wake up. But Suspend to Disk allows the system to completely power off, saving more power. That's why I've written a small script for modern Linux systems, which wakes up the system from S3 (memory sleep) and puts it into S5 (hibernation) mode. Also, it prevents you from losing data, because eventually your system's battery will run out.

Deshaking/Stabilizing Video in Ubuntu Precise 12.04

The easiest option is with transcode:
transcode -J stabilize -i MVI_1234.MOV && \
transcode -J transform -i MVI_1234.MOV -y xvid4 -o stable.mp4

But the version that comes with precise is not very good, so here's a backported version that works better:

There is a guide with a bit more detail here. And of course there's still the option of using Virtualdub with Wine.

Quick Tip: Looking for file extensions with locate

All you really need to do is put the intuitive command - as back in the times of Windows - in quotes:
# locate "*.exe"

Linux Tweaks for Samsung 535U3C

The Samsung Notebook already runs pretty well out of the box with Ubuntu 12.04.3. All this information is used at your own risk, you might destroy your device!

You should be careful about using efi, as you've probably read - or you might brick your notebook. Although the 535 series is usually not explicitly listed as having problems in this regard, better be careful and disable secure boot and boot in CSM mode.

AMD apu/cpu tweaking
After a modprobe msr and modprobe cpuinfo you can use the turionpowercontrol tool to enable frequency boost for your cpu: (this is potentially DANGEROUS!)
sudo ./TurionPowerControl -psienable -boostenable

Fan Tweaking
In Windows, the FN-F11 combination slows down the system's fans to make it pretty quiet for usual use, although the fans already run less in Linux than in Windows. There is a special kernel module for this purpose here: easy_slow_down_manager, the dkms package download is here, after installing it successfully simply echo 1 > /proc/easy_slow_down_manager.

Wifi after Suspend
The rfkill force locks the wifi after suspend to ram (S3) mode in my experience. The problem is fixed in Kernel 3.8, which you can get from the Ubuntu kernel PPA. You will need to install the fglrx-experimental-12 driver package (sudo apt-get install fglrx...), which works with this new kernel. To automatically enable wifi after resume, create a pm file:
echo ''#!bin/sh
rfkill unblock all
rfkill unblock all
rfkill unblock all
exit 0' | sudo tee /usr/lib/pm-utils/sleep.d/000-535-rfkill
chmod +x /usr/lib/pm-utils/sleep.d/000-535-rfkill

Video Acceleration (VA-API)
You can use xvba with vaapi to get video acceleration with vlc and mplayer-vaapi. For mplayer-vaapi you need a special package from a ppa:
echo 'deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/sander-vangrieken/vaapi/ubuntu precise main | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/vaapi-mplayer.list
With kernel 3.8 and the new catalyst 12 video driver, you'll need to manually install the xvba-vaapi backend. All you need to do is copy two libraries, though. (For some reasons the package is set to conflict with the newer driver, but really the same library is actually compatible and would still work. Feel free to inform the package maintainers for a workaround.)

Something I'm not sure how to fix yet is that the notebook can become become slow when the AC adapter is *plugged in*. I have no idea why this could be the case, but I've seen several reports about it.
There is no acceleration for the Adobe flash player plugin. However, this seems to be coming up, as AMD has just provided vdpau accelaration for its open source video drivers.

Let me know how this all works for you! Everything at your own risk!

Gmail Backup with German "Google Mail" and Getmail

There is an excellent guide available for backup up your Gmail emails (I've had emails disappear in the past!). http://datalinkcontrol.net/dlc/content/gmail-backup-getmail

But if you're in a different country or use a non-US version, your Gmail folder names are different. In German, the folder name is: "[Google Mail]/Alle Nachrichten", so the correct setting for getmail is:

mailboxes = ("[Google Mail]/Alle Nachrichten",)


Upgrading Samsung SSD Firmware on Linux with a USB Stick

If you know how, it's pretty easy. You do still need to know someone with Windows, though.

1. Download Samsung Magician v. 4.
2. Install it on some windows machine.
3. In the C:\Programs\Samsung Magician\Samsung DOS Application/CDSolution folder (roughly), you will find two iso files. You need these.
4. Install Unetbootin.
5. Use unetbootin to choose one of the iso files (dsrd for firmware updates) copy the files to your usb stick, including firmware files.
6. Boot using the stick. Done.

Note that - at least for me - the Magician software wouldn't install under Wine. I wish Samsung would just upload these images or a USB image at some point...

I TAKE NO WARRANTY WHATSOEVER. Whatever you do, this might break your computer and your SSD. Firmware updates are always dangerous!


The Five Stages of Benchmark Loss

I just came across this wonderful piece of analysis on how people
react to "losing" a benchmark - or more accurately a product favoured
by them not doing well in benchmark - on Phoronix:

Creating your own QR codes

The German c't magazine brought me to this wonderful website for
creating QR codes yourself. It supports many different kinds of links,
even for one-shot configuration of your wifi settings: <a

Google's Two Factor Authorization is insecure

The authentication system was insecure for about seven months, by allowing the password to be changed despite two-factor authentication. See h-online for details.

Codeweavers CrossOver working very well with Office 2010

I've been thinking about trying it for a long time. Once a while ago I installed Word with Crossover for Mac for a friend. It worked pretty well.

But now I've tried the new one with my old Linux sytem (Ubuntu 9.10) and a brand new Office 2010. I'm quite happy that the backwards compatibility is so good. As you know from my browsers blog entry, (for some good reasons) this is rather rare in the Linux world.

And it works stunnigly well. Office installed without a glitch. I have only tried a few things, but startup is fast, use is snappy and memory usage quite low (~150 MB for Word in CrossOver.) Also, the integration is flawless. I get "start menu" entries automatically. Word files open with word out of the box and so on.

I'm quite fascinated. I wouldn't have thought that it's this easy to get things running. Also, from what I've seen I think CrossOver for Mac + Office is probably a better option than Office for Mac...

Congrats, Codeweavers and keep up the good work!

InstantRemote - Remote Touchpad App for Android

InstantRemote is a cross-platform (Mac, Linux, Windows) remote
touchpad with instant setup. I've successfully tested it on Ubuntu and Mac OS X 10.6.

You can get the app at:

All you need to do is run this .jar file on any computer in a local network:

After you run the jar, the app automatically discovers the computer
and offers to control it. It works like the touchpad on your notebook.
You can click by tapping, scroll with a two finger swipe, and zoom by
spreading your fingers. It works surprisingly precise and smoothly.
The setup is an absolute no-brainer. The app comes without apps and
only requires network setup.

What works:
- scrolling
- left click
- zooming
- auto-discovery of computers
- entering letter by letter and short words via Swype

What didn't work in my test:
- long words with Swype (1.4 beta)
- double click
- right click

- right click e.g. via two finger tap
- double click via double tap
- disable the display's backlight to save battery
- better swype support

Want to Debug a Kernel Crash? But the system no longer responds?

If your kernel crashes every once in a while and you want to find out
what happened and/or create a good bug report so it can get fixed,
here's all you need to do in Ubuntu 12.04+:

sudo apt-get install linux-crashdump apport

This automatically installs and sets up a crash kernel to be loaded
via kexec in case of a kernel panic. And it installs apport to be able
to easily report the crash to Ubuntu. The logs will be in /var/crash.

Read here for more: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/CrashdumpRecipe
And this ebook might help with debugging a crash:

Of course sometimes this might not work for very hard crashes. But
most crashes should be able to be properly dumped and reported this
way. Good luck!

SAMSUNG SSD 830 Series not automatically going to standby or sleep

No matter how I configure my Samsung SSD, it does not automatically
enter a standby or sleep mode. It does with with hdparm -y/-Y
manually, but that's the only way. And of course during the next
reader it's automatically activated again. hdparm -B is "not
supported", hdparm -S does not seem to have any effect, with 1/253/254
settings. I've used lm-profler to find and stop any accesses to the

I'm using the sata_sil24 driver with a Sil 3531 SATA controller and as
stated a SAMSUNG SSD 830 with firmware CXM03B1Q. By the way, hdparm -I
tells me that it doesn't support DIPM, unfortunately. I've tested
Linux kernels up to 2.8-rc2.

The reason it's important to me is that I found out the system uses >1
W less power with the SSD in standby mode. And while the SSD uses less
power during disk access, the disk idle power usage is actually higher
now than previously with my plain old spinning hard disk.

Mostly I post fixes, this is just a problem I have. I would appreciate
any hints in the comments. Thanks!

Firefox 18 no longer backwards compatible

I just wanted to warn you and put this out there real quick: Firefox 18 requires a new SSL library. It's no longer compatible with Ubuntu 9.10:

gbeauchesne mplayer-vaapi mirror

As the original website
(http://www.splitted-desktop.com/~gbeauchesne/mplayer-vaapi/) no
longer exists, I've created a mirror with the most recent version I
had downloaded in Dropbox:
(Leads to mplayer-vaapi-20110127.tbz, a bz2 compressed tar archive.)

If you have a newer version (of the mplayer-vaapi package) please post
a comment. The new releases of other files have moved to: