Posts Tagged ‘Computer’

THX 1138 a must see SCI FI-movie every Computer geek or IT professional must watch

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

 

 



thx-1138-a-must-see-sci-fi-movie-of-the-past-thx-film-poster

 

 

THX 1138 is an American science fiction film set in a dystopian future in which the populace is controlled through android police officers and mandatory use of drugs that suppress emotion, including outlawed sexual desire. It was directed by George Lucas in his feature film directorial debut in 1971.

Produced by Francis Ford Coppola and written by Lucas and Walter Murch, it stars Donald Pleasence and Robert Duvall.

THX 1138 was developed from Lucas's student film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB, which he made in 1967 while attending the University of Southern California's film school. The feature film was produced in a joint venture between Warner Bros. and Francis Ford Coppola's production company, American Zoetrope. A novelization by Ben Bova was published in 1971. The film received mixed reviews from critics and failed to find box office success on initial release; however, the film has subsequently received critical acclaim and gained a cult following, particularly in the aftermath of Lucas's success with Star Wars in 1977.

THX1138 Director's cut: The Future Trailer

The movie is one of the most awesome movies on SCi-Fi Topic I've ever seen much better than comercial ones such as Star Wars and perhaps one of the best if not the best movies, George Lucas has done ever.

The THX with its Android police is another inspirational one that perhaps has inspired the naming of the Android Operating System like that.

THX 1138 movie is an example of a kind of communist society in the future which perhaps the global elite has planned for humanity. The only mean of the THX 1138 is to consume and work being programmed (conditioned) by the central authorities with a full control over all aspects of the individual life, its kinda of pretty much what is today western world has been turning into.

I believe we're currently in a transitional stage to this futuristic society in which, the life costs zero.

Well, after all the global programmers of society in our age has a sense of humour to finance a movie like that 🙂

How to Repair Ubuntu Linux which failed due to computer switch off during update :)

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

My sister tried updating her Ubuntu to a newer version 12.04 (Precise Pangolin) but in the middle of the dist-update process had to go out and hence closed her notebook thinking the update would continue by itself. I’m not fully aware what happened next, maybe the battery charge went down, maybe the computer entered sleep mode in the middle of some important package update or whatever. The result however on next opening OF her Ubuntu powered Acer Aspire 5736Z was Ubuntu unable to boot properly.
The boot up failed in the middle of booting the BootSplash (from some of the /etc/init.d … init scripts)

. The BootSplash status was therefore failing and on the screen the GUI cursor appeared refreshing every few seconds, whether on every refresh the screen become blank, the hard drive was reading on and on, continuously as well. Since the screen was keeping mostly blank I had no way to see exactly why the hard drive was scraping on and on….

My first guess was to try to boot the Ubuntu in single user mode (without GUI environment) and then complete the interrupted packages apt-get dist-upgrade.

In the old days of RedHat and probably nowdays in Fedora, I remember entering single user mode was easy just press I button few times on OS boot in non-interactive mode. The I (boot single-mode) shortcut however is not compatible with Deb based distros (as I found out by trying it out unsuccesfully).

Actually during booting process, this notebook did not even prompted the GRUB menu with even simple choice to choose an old kernel or something, hence I took a quick look on the net how can I make the GRUB menu appear on Ubuntu!.
As I read the reason why GRUB menu did not appear on the laptop boot was due to very short GRUB (select) boot timeout delay set.

Therefore to make the GRUB prompt (select) prompt appear in Ubuntu it is necessery to:

1. Hold continously the SHIFT key at boot

Ubuntu Linux version 12.04 GRUB boot textscreen picture

Once the textmode GRUB selection screen appears, as I read in instructions in blogs one has to:
HIT e key, over default boot-up kernel, e.g.:

Ubuntu, with Linux 3.2.0-23-generic

Now to boot Ubuntu in single user mode as I red it is necessery to modify near line:

linux /boot/vmlinuz-3.2.0-24-generic root=UUID=bc6f8146-1523-46a6-8b\6a-64b819ccf2b7 ro quiet splash

to something like:

linux /boot/vmlinuz-3.2.0-24-generic root=UUID=bc6f8146-1523-46a6-8b\6a-64b819ccf2b7 ro single quiet splash
initrd /boot/initrd.img-3.2.0-24-generic

Then finally to load up with the changed GRUB options, I have pressed Ctrl+X
Unfortunately this didn’t work on this totally bugged Ubuntu. After continuously looking for way to boot in sigle user or textmode (without X server), I found another blog recommending to change: quiet splash words with text in grub kernel load-up options ..

In my case none of the ways worked out so I finally decided to do it the “old-fashioned” classical way to recover Ubuntu, e.g. – by using Ubuntu Install CD, booting in “Try Ubuntu” mode and using the good old chroot cmd.

Fixing the failed updates Ubuntu, came up to booting with Ubuntu Install CD with option: Try Ubuntu without any change of your computer, further on once the CD boot up, I entered console and inside console used commands similar to one of my previous posts – How to mount /proc, /dev and chroot in Linux

Ubuntu fix was up-to to issuing :

# mkdir /mnt/recover
# chroot /dev/sda1 /mnt/recover
root@ubuntu:~# mount /proc
root@ubuntu:~# mount /proc/pts
root@ubuntu:~# mount -a
root@ubuntu:~# mount /dev
root@ubuntu:~# dpkg-reconfigure -a
root@ubuntu:~# apt-get update
....
root@ubuntu:~# apt-get --yes upgrade
....
root@ubuntu:~# apt-get --yes dist-upgrade
....

Onwards during the apt-get upgrade and apt-get dist-upgrade few questions poped up asking me if I would like to replace some files with their new versions on each questions I substituted the files with the new maintainer version. Then finally after PC restart my sis Ubuntu boot up now fine with the latest Ubuntu version 12.04.

How to add extra plugins, effects, brushes and functionality to GIMP on GNU / Linux

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

How to add extra plugins, effects brushes and functionality to GIMP on Debian and Ubuntu Linux / GIMP logo head pictureThese days, I'm playing with The GIMP. I've been a GNU / Linux, FreeBSD user for already 11 years now but as I'm doing mostly system administration and I don't have much expertise in Panting or Computer Graphical Design, I've never put much time to learn more in the interesting area of graphical design. Hence until just recently, Just until now, I've never spend time with the GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) and never realized how powerful this great program is. The more I learn about GIMP functionalities and how it works the more it makes me determined to learn some basic web design 🙂

The functionality which The GIMP offers in a basic install is quite rich, however by default on most Debian and Ubuntu installations many of the great plugins which easifies the way to edit pictures is missing.

Example for a very valuable functionality which is not present with standard gimp package installed on Debian and Ubuntu are:
 

Here I will mention here few words on:

  • GIMP FX-Foundry Collection

GIMP FX-Foundry is a thoroughful collection of GIMP scripts (addon plugins), that automates many of the operations which requires a professional web design skills and gives an easy intuitive interface through which very robust "high level" graphic design can be accomplished. This additional GIMP extensions helps to create very unique design in just few simple steps, as well as gives multiple tools for the sake of easy pro design creation. For anyone looking for quick edit of images with GIMP FX-Foundry is a must have GIMP plugins extension. The script pack is located on http://gimpfx-foundry.sourceforge.net/

To install FX-Foundry scripts collection on Debian / Ubuntu / Linux Mint and other based Linux distributions:

debian:~# apt-get install --yes gimp-plugin-registry
...

gimp-plugin-registry package name is based on GIMP Plugin registry's website
. Gimp plugin registry contains many helpful design goodies 🙂

Once installed you will notice GIMP with a new menu on the main menus bar reading FX-Foundry :

GIMP Screenshot GNU Linux Debian additional FX Foundry menu

GIMP FX Foundry extensionos package contains 124 scripts for additional graphics manipulation. The collection contains less scripts than the ones provided by gimp-plugin-registry. package has 156 scripts inside.

One of the most helpful GIMP addition from the package is the inclusion of Save for Web button under:

File -> Save for Web

GIMP Save for Web menu suitable for reduced size images for HTML image producing on Debian GNU / Linux screenshot

Another very helpful .deb package which adds up to GIMP's design possibilities is gimp-data-extras .

gimp-data-extras adds 111 new GIMP Fill in Patterns , which can be used through the Blend Tool to Fill selected areas with color gradients.

To install gimp-data-extras on Debian:

debian:~# apt-get install --yes gimp-data-extras
...

Generally once installed this package will add to GIMP – an extra set of brushes, palettes, and gradients for The GIMP as you can read in the package description.

I was also quite stunned to find out the good old GIMP is capable of basic Video editting!!

On Debian and Ubuntu there is a package called gimp-gap which once installed adds an extra Video menu.

GIMP Screenshot GNU Debian linux adding GIMP extra Video editting capabilities

I've not tested the GIMP video editting capabilities yet, however I intend to learn something about it immediately when I have some free time left. You see the enormous list of Video editting possibilities GIMP obtaines with gimp-gap which btw stands for (The GIMP Animation Package).

To install gimp-gap:

debian:~# apt-get install --yes gimp-gap

I've noticed also the following list of others useful GIMP additions (mainly helpful in Web, Brochure and Logo Graphic Design) to install them:

debian:~# apt-get --yes install gimp-gmic gimp-ufraw gtkam-gimp gimp-gluas \gimp-dimage-color gimp-dds gimp-dcraw gimp-cbmplugs flegita-gimp gimp-texturize \gimp-resynthesizer gimp-lensfun gimp-gutenprint gtkam-gimp mrwtoppm-gimp

Here is the package description of the packages above command will install:

  • gimp-cbmplugs – plugins for The GIMP to import/export Commodore 64 files
  • gimp-data-extras – An extra set of brushes, palettes, and gradients for The GIMP
  • gimp-dcraw – GIMP plug-in for loading RAW digital photos
  • gimp-dds – DDS (DirectDraw Surface) plugin for the gimp
  • gimp-dimage-color – GIMP plugin to convert Minolta DiMAGE pictures to sRGB colour space
  • gimp-gap – The GIMP Animation Package
  • gimp-gluas – Lua environment plug-in for GIMP
  • gimp-gmic – GIMP plugin for GREYC's Magic Image Converter
  • gimp-gutenprint – print plugin for the GIMP
  • gimp-lensfun – Gimp plugin to correct lens distortion using the lensfun library
  • gimp-normalmap – Normal map plugin for GIMP
  • gimp-plugin-registry – repository of optional extensions for GIMP
  • gimp-resynthesizer – Gimp plugin for texture synthesis
  • gimp-texturize – generates large textures from a small sample
  • gimp-ufraw – gimp importer for raw camera images
  • flegita-gimp – Gnome Gimp scan plugin.
  • gtkam-gimp – gtkam gimp plugin to open digital camera pictures
  • mrwtoppm-gimp – GIMP-plugin to support Minolta DiMAGE 5/7/7i RAW images

Now after installing all this plugins and seeing all GIMP's power, I'm starting to wonder why are still people ranting Adobe PhotoShop is feature rich.
That's all, enjoy the great new GIMP features. Happy picture editting 😉

Fix audioCD play problems with VLC on GNU Linux

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

I've not played audio CD for ages. Anyways I had to set up one computer with Linux just recently and one of the requirements was to be able to play audiocds.
I was surprised that actually a was having issue with such as simple tasks.
Here is how i come with this article.

If you encounter errors playing Audio CDs on any Linux distro in VLC or other players, you might need to apply the following fix.

root@xubuntu-desktop:~# apt-get install xubuntu-restricted-extras
...
root@xubuntu-desktop:~# apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
...

I'm not sure if this packages are required, anyways having them installed is a good idea especially on computers which will have to support as much multimedia as possible.

Trying to play a CD with VLC the result was not nice, you see in the picture above the error that poped up while trying it with VLC:

Due to wrong configuration of the play device VLC will be looking to read the audio cd from.

To succesfully play the audiocd invoke VLC command with a cdda///dev/sr0 argument like so:

hipo@xubuntu-desktop:~$ vlc cdda:///dev/sr0
...

To permanently fix the error you will have to edit ~/.config/vlc/vlcrc :

Inside ~/.config/vlc/vlcrc find the lines:

dvd=/dev/cdrom

Substitute the above line with:

dvd=/dev/sr0

Next find the line:

vcd=/dev/cdrom

Change the above line with:

vcd=/dev/sr0
Due to a bug in generating vlcrc , the dvd= might be set also to other messy unreadable characters (different from /dev/cdrom). This can also be the reason why it fails to properly read the disc.

If dvd= and vcd is set to a different unreadable characters delete them and substitute with /dev/sr0 .I've experienced this on Xubuntu Linux with a Bulgarian localization (probably the bug can be seen in other Linuxes when GNOME is installed in Russian, Chineese and other UTF-8 languages.

The strange error can be observed also in other players when the localization is set to someone's native language …
Alternative solution is to install and use rhythmbox instead of VLC.
Other program to play audio CDs called workman , you will have to get used to the interface which uses gtk1 and therefore obsolete. Putting aside the ugly interface it works 😉

John McCarthy Creator and Father of Modern Artificial Intelligence and Lisp programming language creator passed away at 84

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

John McCarthy Creator of Lisp programming language and Invetor of modern Artificial Intelligence

Yesterday night, one more Computer Genius – John McCarthy has passed away at the age of 84.
John McCarthy is mostly famous for the creation of Lisp Programming language, which was probably the most used programming language in the short past. There are plenty of corporate old iron hardwares which still run programs written in Lisp. Lisp is the language in which Richard Stallman has created his so famous EMACS text editor for GNU.

Computer Technology students, should have studied certainly Lisp in the form of Lisp Scheme.
Lisp is the the second oldest high level programming language only to be predeceded by Fortran .
Lisp gave birth to the so called Macro programming languages
and was invented by McCarthy in 1958, while he was in Massachusetts MIT university.
What is so important about Lisp is that it is de-facto the first language in the world which was written to be suitable for AI (Artificial Intelligence) researches. There is plenty of interesting information about Lisp as well as a number of forks and variations circulating for almost all the existing major operating systems nowdays.

Besides LISP creation McCarthy was in the first team who did a the first Remote Computer Chess game. The game played was among USSR and US scientists, where the moves were transferred by telegraph.
In 1972 MCCarthy was awarded with the Turing Award – (Today probably the most prestigious award for incredible technology achievements in the world).
McCarth’s home website had a lot of great papers on programming languages, mathematical theory of computation and most importantly philosophical words and notes on Artificial Intelligence
His site has a lot of his essays as well as his personal views on the world and predictions (foreseen probabilities by him) on the world future.
McCarthy had even written a short Sci-Fi story (The Robot and The Baby), the story aim was to explore the question, whether robots should have simulated emotions.John McCarthy AI later days life picture

John McCarthy is among the brightest computer genius who ever live on this planet as well as a true “icon” for a computer hacker. The news for his death is quite shocking especially after the sudden death of the creator of C programming Language and UNIX Denis Ritchie , and a week earlier the pass of Steve Jobs
It seems like no coincidence, that the brightest computer minds are departuring this life, probably God is taking them one by one just like he gave them the gifts to invent and revolutionize the technology we use today.
Surely McCarthy has left a huge landmark on technology and his name will be in the books for the generations to come.

Triumph of the Nerds – A documentary about the rise of Personal Computers

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Triumph of the Nerds movie cover

Triumph of the Nerds is 3 parts documentary movie on how the Personal Computer was developed. The movie features interviews with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Allan Paul and many other IT veterans who played key roles for the development of the Personal Computer ,

The movie is an interesting watching for people interested into Information Technology and gives some minor insights on the starred interviewed people and their life philosophy. It was interesting times back then and it seems many of the guys who could participate in the PCs were very lucky, where others who made key developments which are de-facto standards today went into history without much being remembered.

Now the trends which these man set in world’s development is not nice. Even though PC brough a lot of fun in our every lives it suddenly started taking over our privacy and made the humanity divided.
The movie is a story of a man motivated by greed arrogancy and exploitation. Even though the movie has historical value it doesn’t even mention about Free Software Richard Stallman and the free software movement.

The movie talks about the development of CP/M the predecessor of Quick and Dirty DOS (QDOS), MS-DOS Windows 1,2,3, Windows 95 etc.

It also tries to picture the events around the raise and fall of IBM and OS/2.

The most notable parts for me in the movie are the showing off of some old computer hardware and Mainframe servers as well as the quick explanation on how Mainframes irons predecessed the PC. Another interesting moment in the movie is displaying Steve Jobs demonstrating the Xerox’s Alto graphical interface. Talking about Jobs it was quite shocking for the world his sudden death just 3 days ago so (R.I.P).

The movie author Robert X. Cringery stress out in the movie the great struggle between the so called “the blue Elephant” IBM and the just emerging early Microsoft Corporation

Triumph of the Nerds slightly mentions Digital Equipment Corporation / DEC or COMPAQ as later known. DEC is company less known in todays world which had historically great impact on computer market, so its a pity the movie part mentioning DEC is so short.

What the movie misses is to aforemention About’s Digital Equipment VMS operating system known under the code name OpenVMS. OpenVMS even of today is believed by many to be the most secure Operating System ever developed.
The movie part that talks about DEC is the second part of movie it shows a nice COMPAQ portable computer.

DEC Compaq portable II Computer

One should admit COMPAQ portable Computer is a really trendy for its time, Also the way it sticks the keyboard to the screen does remind seriously the opening and closing of a modern laptop 😉

The movie includes some interesting, so called crash courses where the movie author gives some insight on elementary computing, so for those new to informatix the movie will surely be educative as well, though for a UNIX gurus this elementary computing scenes will look kinda ridiculous 😉

One serious flaw with this movie is the complete lack of interviews with Richard Stallman and the importance of Free Software for the development of modern PC and the influence of the free software culture on todays latest Macintosh and PC developments.

A related movie which probably most IT geeks already know / seen is Pirates of the Sillicon Valley
, hence large chunk of Triumph of the Nerds gives another point of view on the ideas and stories presented in Triumph of the Nerds

Triumph of the Nerds brings back some good memories of the glorious PC computer past for all of us who had been a DR-DOS/MS-DOS and Windows 3.11 / 95 users.

How to set up Path to .exe GNUWin32 binary files in Windows XP / Vista / 2003 / 2008 (Setting PATH to executables on Windows)

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

I’ve been working on a servers running Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 these days.
As I wanted to be more flexible on what I can do from the command line I decided to install GNUwin (provides port of GNU tools), most of which are common part of any Linux distribution).
Having most of the command line flexibility on a Windows server is a great thing, so I would strongly recommend GNUWin to any Windows server adminsitrator out there.

Actually it’s a wonderful thing that most of the popular Linux tools can easily be installed and used on Windows for more check GnuWin32 on sourceforge

One of the reasons I installed Gnuwin was my intention to use the good old Linux tail command to keep an eye interactive on the IIS server access log files, which by the way for IIS webserver are stored by default in C:WindowsSystem32LogFilesW3SVC1*.log

I’ve managed to install the GNUWin following the install instructions, not with too much difficulties. The install takes a bit of time, cause many packs containing different parts of the GNUWin has to be fetched.

To install I downloaded the GNUWin installer available from GNUWin32’s website and instructed to extracted the files into C:Program FilesGnuwin
Then I followed the install instructions suggestions, e.g.:

C:> cd c:Program FilesGnuWin
C:Program FilesGnuWin> download.bat
...
C:Program FilesGnuWin> install c:gnuwin32
...

After the installation was succesfully completed on the two Windows machines, both of which by the way are running 64 bit Windows, it was necessery to add the newly installed GNU .exe files to my regular cmd.exe PATH variable in order to be able to access the sed, tail and the rest of the gnuwin32 command line tools.

In order to add C:GnuWin32bin directory to the windows defined Command line Path , I had to do the following:

a. Select (Properties) for My Computer

Start (button) -> My Computer (choose properties)

b. Select the My Computer Advanced (tab)

Then, from the My Computer pane press on Advanced tab

c. Next press on Environment Variables

Windows environment variables screenshot

You see in above’s screenshot the Environment Variables config dialog, to add the new path location in System Variables sectiom, between the list I had to add the c:GNUwin32bin path locatiion. To find I pressed on Edit button scrolled down to find the Variable and hence added at the end of the long list defined paths.
After adding in GNUwin, the Windows path looks like this:

C:Program Files (x86)EWANAPI;C:WINDOWSsystem32;C:WINDOWS;C:WINDOWSSystem32Wbem;C:Program Files (x86)IntelNGSMSMPFiles;C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SQL Server100ToolsBinn;C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL Server100ToolsBinn;C:Program FilesMicrosoft SQL Server100DTSBinn;C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SQL Server100ToolsBinnVSShellCommon7IDE;C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0Common7IDEPrivateAssemblies;C:Program Files (x86)Microsoft SQL Server100DTSBinn;C:WINDOWSsystem32WindowsPowerShellv1.0;C:gnuwin32bin

Further on, I launched the tail command to intercatively take an eye on who is accessing the IIS webserver.
Sadly this worked not, trying to use tail with the IIS ex10116.log log;

C:WindowsSystem32LogfilesW3SVC1> tail -f ex10116.log

Spit an error tail: ex10116.log: Bad file descriptor

Since I couldn’t use tail -f I looked for alternative and a quick search led me to Tail 4 Win32 . Lest the name suggests it is supposed to work on 32 bit arch Windows the version on tailforwin32’s website is working perfectly fine on 64 bit Windows as well.
What it does is to simulate a normal tail -f command inside a very simplistic window interface. You see it in action with opened IIS log on below’s screenshot:

GUI Tail for Windows screenshot

Finally my goal is achieved and I can take an eye interactively on IIS logs. End of the article, hope it wasn’t too boring 😉

How to configure pine (alpine) console client to work with vpopmail pop3 and imap protocol

Monday, June 13th, 2011

I needed to check my mail via ssh connection, as my installed squirrelmail is curently broken and I’m away from my own personal computer.

I did some online research on how this can be achieved and thanksfully I finallyfound a way to check my pop3 and imap mailbox with a console client called alpine , better known in unix community under the name pine .

I installed pine on my Debian with apt:


debian:~# apt-get install alpine

Here is my pine configuration file .pinerc used to fetch my mail with pine:

a .pinerc conf file to check my pop3 mail

To use that file I placed it in my home directory ~/ , e.g.:


debian:~# wget http://www.pc-freak.net/files/.pinerc
...

To attune the pop3 server configuration in the sample .pinerc above one needs to change the value of:


inbox-path=

For example to configure pine to fetch mail from the pop3 server mail.pc-freak.net and store it locally in my home directory within a file called INBOX
I have configured the inbox-path .pinerc variable to look like so:


inbox-path={mail.pc-freak.net/pop3/user=hipo@pc-freak.net}INBOX

In above configuration’s inbox-path variable configuration the /pop3/ specifies I want to fetch my mail via the pop3 protocol , if one wants to use imap this has to be substituted with /imap/

The value user=hipo@pc-freak.net specifies my vpopmail created user which in my case is obviously hipo@pc-freak.net

The other variables which are good to be changed in .pinerc config are:


personal-name=

This variable has to be set to the name of the Email Sender which will be set, if pine is used to send email.

I also changed the user-domain variable as it’s used to set the domain name from which the pine client will send the emails from:

As my domain is pc-freak.net I’ve set the domain name variable to be:


user-domain=pc-freak.net

Now after launching pine it prompted me for my email password, putting in the pass did fetch all my new unread mails via pop3 protocol.

The only annoying thing was that each time I quit pine and start it up again, I’m now asked to enter the email password.

This behaviour is really shitty, but thanksfully one can easily workaround that by letting pine be constantly running detached in gni screen session.