Friday, February 14, 2014

Editing the Places Menu Launcher in XFCE

If you recently upgraded to Linux Mint 16, you may have noticed that your Places menu no longer has links to the Videos, Documents, Downloads etc. folders.

To customize, simply create a file called .gtk-bookmarks in your home directory, with text such as the following:

file:///home/a/Documents Documents
file:///home/a/Videos Videos
file:///home/a/Downloads Downloads
file:///home/a/Pictures Pictures

You can create a shortcut to any destination.

Tested on Mint 16

EDIT March 2, 2016: Using Ubuntu 14.04 / Linux Mint 17+? Create a file called bookmarks in ~/.config/gtk-3.0 using the format noted above. If the directory doesn't exist, you can create it.

Simple PS3 Media Server Install Guide for Ubuntu

This guide is for users who wish to install the latest version of PS3 Media Server on an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution. As of this post, the current PS3 Media Server Ubuntu repository uses a custom-build of PS3 Media Server that is outdated and uses versions of video software such as ffmpeg which are deprecated. Additionally, installing from the repository with Ubuntu 13.10 (saucy-salamander) is not currently working.

Don't get me wrong, it works very well for most people  - however, some may wish to use the latest version. Here's how:

1. Download the latest version of PS3 Media Server.

2. Extract it to your desired install location (e.g. /home/user/PMS).

3. Install the required software packages (sudo apt-get install mencoder ffmpeg mplayer vlc dcraw)  (See note #2 regarding ffmpeg).

4. Install the required additional libraries libmediainfo0, mediainfo and libzen0. You can do this from the repositories but I strongly recommend grabbing the most recent versions from the MediaInfo site. If you install libmediainfo from the .deb provided at the MediaInfo site, it will automatically install libzen0 as well.

5. Run (either from the terminal or launching from file manager/user-created shortcut). Check the Logs tab to ensure that MediaInfo has correctly loaded (you should see something like "Loaded MediaInfoLib - v.0.7.67).

If all goes well, you should be using the latest version without issue.


1. If PMS fails to run altogether, you probably need to install java (sudo apt-get install default-jdk).

2. The version of ffmpeg currently in the Ubuntu repositories is deprecated and will very likely fail to work with PMS, returning errors in your PMS log. To install the latest version of ffmpeg, simply download the latest static build, extract, and copy the files (ffmpeg and ffprobe) to /usr/bin. If you wish, you can back up your current ffmpeg files from /usr/bin before doing so.

EDIT: Keep in mind that using this method will mean ffmpeg will not be "automatically updated" and you will need to repeat this step to keep ffmpeg current. This may or may not be desirable for your setup.

3. If you run PMS prior to installing libmediainfo and its associated libraries, you're gonna have a bad time. It caused terrible problems for MP4 playback on my PS3, with the PS3 convinced that the files were corrupted. A fix that seemed to work was to clear the cache and rescan the shared media folders, and then to quit and restart PMS.

Tested on Ubuntu 13.10 with PS3 Media Server 1.90.1

Saturday, January 18, 2014

How to Fix Windowless / Buttonless Windows in XFCE

If XFCE is not displaying window borders or buttons, give the following command a try:

sudo xfwm4 --replace

If this doesn't help, try this:

sudo rm -rf ~/.cache/sessions

Then restart xfce (or the system, if you prefer).

Tested on ubuntu 12.04.3

Fixing Slow Thunar in Ubuntu-based distros

If you are using XFCE on an ubuntu-based distro (e.g. Xubuntu, Linux Mint), the thunar file browser might take a very long time to load when first run. After the first run, it will probably perform normally.

To fix I found a solution online that was very simple:

Edit /usr/share/gvfs/mounts/network.mount and change the line AutoMount from true to false.

The flipside is that network drives (e.g. samba) will not auto mount. These can be accessed with the network:/// location in the left pane.


How to Mount and Recover an encrypted home folder in Ubuntu Linux

So you've broken your linux install and can't get at your /home folder because it's encrypted? All hope is not lost.

1. Boot an ubuntu 11.04 or higher LiveCD.

2. Open a terminal and figure out where the /home folder resides (this will most likely be /dev/sda1).

3. Mount the drive - sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt

4. Run sudo ecryptfs-recover-private

You will be prompted for your passphrase.

If all goes as planned, will provide you with a mount point (e.g. /tmp/ecryptfs.YttGfdzx)

If you wish to browse the /home directory, run your file manager as superuser from the terminal prompt - for example:

gksu thunar /tmp/ecryptfs.YttGfdzx
gksu nautilus  /tmp/ecryptfs.YttGfdzx