Category: Computers

pulseaudio-dlna + Yamaha AV Receiver RX-V573

By , 2018-09-03 15:52

It “just works!”

Install pulseaudio-dlna from Ubuntu default repos, then run pulseaudio-dlna. The first time, it failed, but I think that’s because the receiver was switched off. Console output did show it had been detected though. After switching on the receiver then running pulseaudio-dlna again, it redirected my currently playing audio to the receiver after a few seconds! So far this is the first time I’ve managed to get DLNA live streaming working with this receiver in 5 years of owning it.

Cheap, portable Linux laptop – Acer C720 Chromebook

By , 2018-09-03 15:08

Note: this post is more intended for personal reference; as such the quality of writing is not up to my standard, but I’ve decided to publish it as-is anyway since I don’t have time to review and figure it could be useful to someone.

I was looking for a good portable Linux laptop to that I could carry around without being too worried about battery life or the device getting scratched up in my bag. I tried a few different devices, including the HP Folio 13, ThinkPad X131e, GPD Pocket, Dell Latitude E7240. Finally I settled on the Acer C720 Chromebook. The main points in favour of this device are, for me:

  • Compact, thin and light (11.6″)
  • Relatively low cost (4GB RAM model can be had for under $150 CAD)
  • Proper modern low-voltage Intel Core processor (Celeron 2957U – Haswell) and not an Atom core or high-end i7
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

and the main downsides:

  • Basic TN LCD panel
  • 16GB storage
  • Runs Chrome OS
  • Chrome OS keyboard layout

The good news is the downsides are fairly easily remedied.

TN LCD Panel

The Acer C720 uses a standard 11.6″ LED backlit eDP panel. I was able to find an IPS panel to replace it on laptopscreen.com (model N116BCA-EA1). The panel replacement is fairly straightforward; care needs to be taken not to break the LCD bezel or any of the clips.

16GB SSD

The SSD on the C720 is a standard M.2 2242 SATA SSD. The M.2 slot is easily accessible after removing the Chromebook’s bottom cover.

Runs Chrome OS

The Chrome OS/Linux dual-boot process is done by using the chrx script (https://github.com/reynhout/chrx). Remember to remove the write-protect screw while the bottom cover is off.

Chrome OS keyboard layout

This was arguably the hardest part. I chose to run Xubuntu, so the steps I went through apply to that environment. Chrx by default provides good defaults, mapping the back, forward, refresh, brightness and volume keys. The big issue for me was the placement of the power button (above the backspace key)

  1. Prevent systemd-logind from handling the power button
    edit /etc/systemd/logind.conf and add the following line:
    HandlePowerKey=ignore
  2. Prevent xfce power manager from handling the power button
    xfconf-query -c xfce4-power-manager -p /xfce4-power-manager/logind-handle-power-key -s true
  3. Allow xfce power manager to handle lid switch
    xfconf-query -c xfce4-power-manager -p /xfce4-power-manager/logind-handle-lid-switch -s false
  4. Remap power key to Delete
    xmodmap -e “keycode 124 = Delete”
    To find the keycode, stop lightdm, startx to start a basic X session, then use xev to get the keycode for the power key.

 

Other tweaks

Consistent custom wallpaper/background for boot splash, login, and lock screen

  • gnome-screensaver uses the Gnome DE’s wallaper setting. Configure this via CLI:
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri file:///usr/local/share/wallpaper/animevillage.jpg
  • lightdm-gtk-greeter can be configured using GUI tool lightdm-gtk-greeter-settings or by editing /etc/lightdm/lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf
  • plymouth/boot splash:
    • go to /usr/share/plymouth/themes and create a copy of the xubuntu-logo directory. I called mine xubuntu-logo-mod
      sudo cp -R xubuntu-logo xubuntu-logo-mod
    • within the new xubuntu-logo-mod directory, rename and edit config files accordingly
      325 cd xubuntu-logo-mod/
      326 ls
      327 sudo mv xubuntu-logo.plymouth xubuntu-logo-mod.plymouth
      328 sudo mv xubuntu-logo.script xubuntu-logo-mod.script
      329 sudo nano xubuntu-logo-mod.script
    • replace wallpaper.png in xubuntu-logo-mod directory with desired image. I used ImageMagick’s convert tool to convert my jpg format image to png.
    • add new theme we have created as an “alternative” with higher priority
      • Find out priority and config for current theme
        sudo update-alternatives –query default.plymouth
        Name: default.plymouth
        Link: /usr/share/plymouth/themes/default.plymouth
        Status: auto
        Best: /usr/share/plymouth/themes/xubuntu-logo-mod/xubuntu-logo-mod.plymouth
        Value: /usr/share/plymouth/themes/xubuntu-logo-mod/xubuntu-logo-mod.plymouth

        Alternative: /usr/share/plymouth/themes/xubuntu-logo-mod/xubuntu-logo-mod.plymouth
        Priority: 200

        Alternative: /usr/share/plymouth/themes/xubuntu-logo/xubuntu-logo.plymouth
        Priority: 150

      • Create new alternative with higher priority
        sudo update-alternatives –install /usr/share/plymouth/themes/default.plymouth default.plymouth /usr/share/plymouth/themes/xubuntu-logo-mod/xubuntu-logo-mod.plymouth 200

 

 

 

Getting LightDM/sddm to use a custom screen layout (Kubuntu/Xubuntu 18.04 – xorg)

By , 2018-04-23 12:55
    1. Adjust screen layout using your DE’s tool.
    2. Install and run arandr. arandr will read the current display layout and allow you to save it as an xrandr script.
    3. Place the script from arandr somewhere safe (I put it in /usr/local/bin).
    4. Create file /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/displays.conf with the following content:
      [SeatDefaults]
      display-setup-script=/usr/local/bin/monitorlayout.sh
      

      Where “/usr/local/bin/monitorlayout.sh” is the path to the script saved from arandr.
      For sddm, instead edit /usr/share/sddm/scripts/Xsetup.sh and add a line to have it run the same “/usr/local/bin/monitorlayout.sh” script.

      #!/bin/sh
      # Xsetup - run as root before the login dialog appears
      
      # set screen layout using Xrandr
      /usr/local/bin/monitorlayout.sh
    5. Restart lightdm or sddm
      sudo systemctl restart lightdm.service
      sudo systemctl restart sddm.service

 

Enabling MD5withRSA in newer versions of Java

By , 2018-04-08 10:28

Oracle have decided to disable access to Java apps that use MD5withRSA signatures. For instance, when launching the .jnlp file to connect to my Lantronix Spider remote KVM, I am presented with this error:

To fix this, we have to change Java’s security settings. Unfortunately, settings for signature algorithms are not in the Java Control Panel, so we have to edit the config files directly.

On macOS, the default JRE installation’s root directory ($JAVA_HOME) is

/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin/Contents/Home

on Windows, it would be

C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.8.0_131

where “1.8.0_131” is your specific Java version, and on Linux, JRE is installed in

/usr/lib/jvm/java-1.7.0-openjdk-amd64

once again where “1.7.0-openjdk-amd64” is your specific Java version.

In the JRE directory, we then need to edit the file

$JAVA_HOME/lib/security/java.security

and comment out the line that starts with “jdk.jar.disabledAlgorithms” by prefixing a #. Note that this will allow jar files signed with any algorithms to run, which can be considered insecure.

Sources:

  • https://learningintheopen.org/2017/11/03/java-jnlp-error-weak-signature-algorithm-md5withrsa/
  • https://stackoverflow.com/questions/15826202/where-is-java-installed-on-mac-os-x

3CX Debian PBX behind pfSense Firewall

By , 2017-10-21 22:18

Quick notes on some tweaks I had to do to get 3CX’s Firewall Check to pass behind my home pfSense firewall:

  • Allow PBX to access Google DNS (8.8.8.8): It seems like 3CX is hardcoded to use 8.8.8.8 at the license validation stage. I had blocked 8.8.8.8 on my end to prevent Android and Chromecast devices from preferring external DNS over my local DNS server and this caused the error License_Error httpsError in 3CX.
  • Create DHCP-Static mapping for 3CX server.
  • Configure NAT Port-forwarding rules: I used the list at https://www.3cx.com/ports-used-3cx-phone-system-v14-v15/ for reference. Table reproduced below.

    Protocol

    Port (Default)

    Description

    Port Forwarding Required

    TCP

    5001 or 443

    v15: HTTPs port of Web Server. This port can be configured.

    Yes – if you intend on using a 3CX client, Bridge Presence, Remote IP Phones from outside your LAN and 3CX WebMeeting functionality.

    TCP

    5015

    V15: This port is used for the online Web-Based installer wizard (NOT 3CX config command line tool) only during the installation process.

    Optional – During the installation process when the Web-Based installer is used from external source

    UDP & TCP

    5060

    3CX Phone System (SIP)

    Yes – if you intend on using VoIP Providers, WebRTC and Remote Extensions that are NOT using the 3CX Tunnel Protocol

    TCP

    5061

    3CX Phone System (SecureSIP) TLS

    Yes – if you intend on using Secure SIP remote extensions

    UDP & TCP

    5090

    3CX Tunnel Protocol Service Listener

    Yes -if you intend on using remote extensions using the 3CX Tunnel Protocol (within the 3CX clients for Windows / Android / iOS) or when using the 3CX Session Border Controller

    UDP

    9000-9500 (default)

    3CX Media Server (RTP) – WAN audio/video/t38 streams

    Yes – if you intend on using remote extensions or a VoIP Provider

  • Configure Outbound NAT Static rule for 3CX server: Automatic Outbound NAT (Default pfSense config) causes a random source port to be used for requests outbound to the Internet. 3CX doesn’t like this behaviour, so we need to add an Advanced Outbound NAT rule to force traffic coming from the 3CX server to use “Static Port” translation, as seen in the following screenshot. For Source, select “Network” and use the 3CX server IP with a mask of /32 (single host).

After completing these steps, the 3CX Firewall Check passes all green.

Collection of Firefox add-ons

By , 2017-06-04 14:58

Finally got around to making a collection of all the Firefox add-ons I use. The collection has been refined over the past 10 years or so and everything in this collection is compatible with Multiprocess (e10s).

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/collections/anonymous-51818734302cbd93c93ec183ba49fd59/e10s-compatible-toolkit-2017/

These addons are part of the reason I still prefer using Firefox. Privacy concerns aside, Chrome just isn’t that customizable – Chrome add-ons just aren’t as useful in my everyday browsing.

Copy mailbox contents to new mailbox – Office 365

By , 2017-04-13 12:09

First, connect to Exchange Online PowerShell

$UserCredential = Get-Credential
$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
Import-PSSession $Session

Then, use the Search-Mailbox cmdlet

Search-Mailbox -Identity "MAILBOX1" -TargetMailbox "MAILBOX2" -TargetFolder "Moved From Old Mailbox" -LogLevel Full

Sources:

  • https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj984289(v=exchg.160).aspx
  • https://community.spiceworks.com/topic/1208819-merging-2-mailboxes-to-single-user-in-office-365

New Hackintosh: HP EliteBook Folio 9470m

By , 2017-04-01 00:23

Update 2: Here are 2 EFI folders from the comments. I haven’t tested these, all credits to the commenters. Thanks!

CP-EFI_10_12_4_9470m (    2017-04-30 at 18:36)

EFI_High-Sierra_Osman-Afifi (    2017-10-07 at 15:43)

Update: The macOS Sierra 10.12.4 update breaks backlight brightness control. See below for fixes.

Just in time for April Fools’ day, got a new hackintosh working. And this one even looks like a MacBook Pro!

I present to you, the EliteBook “Pro” (9470m).

EliteBook “Pro” 9470m. Please excuse the messy desktop icons.

The EliteBook 9470m was, if I recall correctly, HP’s second Ultrabook, and their first true “Enterprise” Ultrabook – that is, one with docking capability and easy field repairability . You can find a full review over at NotebookCheck.net.  It was pretty popular with businesses who wanted to give their employees a more affordable and more IT-friendly “MacBook-like” device. Also, it was released back in late 2012, which is just over 4 years ago as of this writing. (Crazy! Time flies.) This means that they can be had relatively cheap in the off-lease market today, as the typical computer lease is between 3-5 years. My local computer store is selling them for under $400, which is a pretty good value in my opinion.

These days, installing macOS is relatively easy compared to 10-12 years ago when I first started messing with Hackintosh/OSx86, so I’ll just post my Clover “EFI” folder which should get you booted into macOS Sierra on the 1366×768 version of the 9470m. I did also swap out the Intel WiFi card for a Dell DW 1510 which works out-of-the-box.

Download my Clover EFI folder (zip 19MB): EFI 3  See below for 10.12.4 brightness fix

Working:

  • Internal graphics with full acceleration, brightness control using scroll lock/pause-break keys
  • Sound via VoodooHDA (built-in mic, speakers as well as TRRS headset jack. Volume and Mute fix in Info.plist necessary)
  • Touchpad with 2-finger scroll
  • Internal PS/2 keyboard
  • 3 USB 3.0 ports
  • Wired gigabit Ethernet
  • WiFi (replacement DW 1510 Broadcom card)
  • Built-in webcam

Not working:

  • Sleep (wakes up instantly)
  • Original Intel 6235 WiFi + Bluetooth
  • TrackPoint/Nub/Nipple mouse
  • Validity Fingerprint reader
  • WiFi on/off button

Not tested (yet):

  • Docking
  • VGA-out
  • DisplayPort-out
  • HDMI Audio
  • SD Card Reader

I will updated the lists as I test more things.

Main reference for this was RehabMan’s Elitebook guide.

10.12.4 Backlight Brightness control fix

Download updated EFI folder (zip 19MB): EFI 10.12.4

Fixes included:

  • Removed NullCPUPowerManagement.kext
  • Updated VoodooHDA.kext/Contents/Info.plist to include Mute Fix
  • Added SSDT-PNLF.aml in ACPI/patched as per guide
  • Edited config.plist to load SSDT-PNLF.aml
  • Fixed backlight control (using this guide)
    • Re-patched DSDT in MacIASL with the following fixes only from “RehabMan-Laptop”:
      • battery_HP-ProBook-4x0s-G1.txt
      • graphics_Rename-GFX0.txt
      • graphics_HD4K_low.txt
    • Added AppleBacklightInjector.kext

Extra .kexts for SD card reader: JMicron.zip

 

osx-usr-local

 

Taking back control of updates in Windows 10

By , 2017-01-15 18:35

Microsoft’s latest OS brings a lot of improvements and changes to Windows. One particularly significant change is the way Windows Update works. By default, Windows Update will decide on its own when it wants to restart your computer – be it in the middle of rendering video, uploading or downloading a large file, or even in the middle of a competitive gaming session:

There are a few steps you can take however to make living with Windows 10 more bearable and stop it from interrupting activities on your computer.

Unfortunately, these steps only work on Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise and Education editions.

Part 1: Local Group Policy

  1. Run the Local Group Policy Editor tool by typing “gpedit.msc” into the Run dialog box.
  2. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update
  3. The policies we are interested in are Configure Automatic Updates and No auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates installations.
  4. Set both policies to Enabled, then for Configure Automatic Updates, configure the options as shown:
    2 – Notify for download and notify for install
  5. This should take care of preventing your computer from restarting automatically when it feels like it.

Part 2: Disabling Updates are available nag screen

OK, so now you’ve got the automatic updates disabled. But you’ve been a bit lax with your updates and haven’t manually installed them in a while. So Windows 10 presents you with this:

Which is good, because you really should keep your computer up-to-date for both your own and others’ security online.

However, there are some cases where this screen can be incredibly annoying – on a digital signage box, on an HTPC, or on a gaming computer for example – since it interrupts whatever you are doing with an un-closeable prompt, much like adware.

The good news is that there is a way to disable it. It’s a bit less “official”, so it may not work for you, but so far so good for me.

From an elevated Command Prompt, run the following commands.

cd /d "%Windir%\System32"
takeown /F MusNotification.exe
icacls MusNotification.exe /deny Everyone:(X)
takeown /F MusNotificationUx.exe
icacls MusNotificationUx.exe /deny Everyone:(X)

Warning: I don’t advocate running commands without knowing what they do or trusting the source, and since you might not trust me, I’ll explain what the commands do.

First we Change Directory (cd) to the Windows system32 folder. Then, we take ownership of the file MusNotification.exe and deny Everyone (including the system itself) from eXecuting it. Then we repeat the process for MusNotificationUx.exe.

And that’s it!

Discs that can be used to configure AccurateRip on a new drive

By , 2016-12-17 16:11

Was just setting up EAC to use a new external Blu-Ray drive, and had some difficulty finding eligible key discs – discs that have only one pressing and are known to the AccurateRip database.

EAC needs 3 discs to correctly confirm the drive’s offset.

The discs I used were:

  • Hey Rosetta! – Seeds | Sonic Records 2 000018
  • Hey Ocean! – IS | Nettwerk 0 6700 30972 2 2
  • Taylor Swift – 1989 D.L.X (Deluxe) | Big Machine Records/Universal Music Canada BMRB0550E

Saving here for future reference to avoid me having to go through a pile of CDs next time I need to calibrate EAC for a new drive.

Custom theme by me. Based on Panorama by Themocracy