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Arch Linux

Arch Linux

Well everyone, I finally made the switch today.  No more MICROSOFT WINDOWS!!!  Being a long time computer geek has paid off, and as much as I enjoyed putting together custom hardware systems, now I’m having fun putting together custom software based systems.  Admittedly, Arch is one of the more complicated distributions of Linux, but the satisfaction is great.  I have pretty much ported over every application that I use into Arch since I’m not an avid gamer anymore, and so far (today) it’s been great.  You build it the way YOU want it, and that’s the way it stays.  Much less attack surface as well, in terms of virus and malware.

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VNC on Gnome Shell 3 or higher

Ran across this problem after installing Kali Linux 2.0 today.  If you’re a Kali user, you may not even need or want a GUI interface, so this article may be moot for you.  If however, you want to access Linux (in this article, we’re talking about Debian based builds, such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint and Kali to name a few), then you need to follow this article.

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Linux ISO Torrents

Linux ISO Torrents

This article explains where to get the latest versions of Linux distros (my top 4).

You’ll need a usb stick for each of these flavors this way, you have the iso files already downloaded in advance, that’s all.
Download and install Universal USB Installer for Windows.  After opening, choose your Linux flavor, then step two, browse to the ISO you downloaded via Torrent (see below links).  You will be able to boot up Linux from these USB sticks, so you probably want some persistence built in, so you don’t lose changes you make each time you boot up (otherwise it’s volatile, you lose any changes on each boot).  Keep in mind that creating a persistence file of the max, 4GB, can take quite a while to perform.
This is Linux Mint, one of the most popular distros.  It’s based on Ubuntu, but is fully loaded with an Office suite (Libre Office) and other desktop enhancements.  Really like the Cinnamon desktop manager on this one.
This is Ubuntu 15.04 Desktop 64bit, based on the Debian fork of Linux, and the predecessor to Linux Mint
This is Fedora Live Cinnamon, desktop operating system put out by Red Hat.
And finally, this is CentOS 7 Minimal Server.  It does not have a desktop, it’s all command line server stuff.
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Teamspeak 3

Teamspeak 3

This article covers configuring both the server and client applications of Teamspeak 3, a VoIP solution designed for voice communication during gaming sessions.  The current version of TeamSpeak 3 has been in development since 2004. It is a complete rewrite with many new features, but has had infrequent updates on the development blog, and was first estimated to be released in mid-2006. The first public release of the TeamSpeak 3 SDK was on June 5, 2008.  See the wiki.  I know there are other solutions for getting Skype to work with Ham Radio Deluxe for the audio portion of a remote solution, however, TS3 is a much better choice, as it runs dedicated, is very lightweight in terms of a client, and constant connections are made easy to do.  As well it supports multiple client login from anywhere in the world using clients across a broad range of hardware platforms, including PC, Android and iPhone.

We are using Teamspeak 3 (hereafter called TS3), to integrate with Ham Radio Deluxe, and provide the audio section of our solution for both send and receive audio over the remote radio.  TS3 can be used for transmission purposes when configured correctly.  My personal choice is to use a key on the keyboard for Push-to-Talk through TS3 settings.  Other options are VOX with threshold settings and “continuos”, which is the mode we want our radio in.  More on that later in this article under the TS3 Client section.

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Google Takeout

Google Takeout

Just a website everyone should know about. Backup and download all of your Goog data at:

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Iceweasel Kiosk Raspberry Pi

Iceweasel Kiosk Raspberry Pi

As mentioned in an earlier article, I planned to replace the computer tied to the front TV in the lobby, as it is a waste of resources.  We are replacing it with the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi

As can be seen at, there are many uses for the small device.  And at only $35, this little appliance can be used all over the network, this is just the beginning.  Parts were obtained from, and 2nd day shipping gets you everything you need quickly.  A complete configuration is going to cost around $100, and the parts list includes:

Newark Part # Manufacturer Part # Price
07W8938 ELEMENT14

The most important aspect of the rPi is a stable and adequate power supply!!!  This puppy runs 700 Mhz stock and can be safely overclocked to 900 Mhz through the config.txt file on boot.  Memory can be allocated to video there as well.  It comes with 512 MB RAM, HDMI output, video out and audio out, as well as a slot for SD memory (where the O/S runs) a slot for power, ethernet and 2 USB adapters.  The 4GB SD card purchased comes with Rasbian, a Debian variant, pre-loaded.


This is the name of Firefox in Debian.  Simple installation:

apt-get update

apt-get install iceweasel

Once installed, we want to install the RKiosk Firefox Addon.  This will run full screen and remove all controls for us.  They say you can configure it in safe mode as well as remove it, but I don’t even see it listed.  All I know is, it works.


A couple of plugins help us out here.  We have three websites set up as home pages on three separate tabs.

Each page is shown full screen by the FF Full Screen plugin.  And we are using Tab Slideshow to display each tab for 45 seconds each.

Adobe Flash

Unfortunately not possible on the Pi.  The Pi is not x86 nor x64 architecture, but ARM.  Adobe has written Flash for some ARM architecture, such as Android, but not in the case of Debian, or this case Raspbian.  There are Flash alternatives, but in the case of Google Finance, the Flash Player does not work.  Two of the alternatives are known as the Gnash project, and Lightspark.  Install is as follows:

apt-get install gnash gnash-common browser-plugin-gnash
apt-get install lightspark browser-plugin-lightspark

Kill Screensaver / Power Saving

We don’t want screen blanking, so we have to do the following to fix that up:

I fixed the issue, it has to do with the X server itself starting with DPMS + Screen saver. You need to edit your script that’s starting X. In the default build with lightdm the file to edit is


in the SeatDefaults section it gives the command for starting the X server which I modified to get it to turn off the screen saver as well as dpms


xserver-command=X -s 0 -dpms

Autostart Iceweasel

I tried all methods as far as this was concerned.  xinitrc doesn’t work.  .bashrc doesn’t work.  Here’s what does:

sudo vi /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart


Now that’s the configuration for the Raspberry Pi.  Operations are much easier.

If something screws up on screen

Unplug the rPi and plug it back in.  Wait for the magic and walk away.

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Sideload Transmission via CLI

Sideload Transmission via CLI

Ever needed to load the Transmission client on a Linux host remotely?  I do all the time.  Got my Raspberry Pi BMC box up and running and I want a way to download torrent TV shows and movies to it.  Easily done…

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