Posts Tagged ‘support’

Heroes of Might and Magic 2: Best old-school turn based strategic game to play on your Android mobile phone

Monday, June 16th, 2014

heroes-of-might-and-magic-2-for-your-mobile-smartphone-android-screenshot

Probably many people which are my age (I'm aged 30 now), spent many days and sleepless nights being totally addicted playing probably one of the most addictive (and in my view greatest strategy game of all time) – Heroes of Might and Magic II (HOMM2).
In that thoughts it will be a great news for you if you're owning smartphone that you can turn-back some nice memories and play (for free) a port of Heroes 2 for Android.

Free Heroes 2 Android port is it is made to support multiple screened devices so game  version could be played on both Android Tablet a tiny screen smart phone or a middle sized mobile. Also Free Heroes 2 mobile port allows you to choose 'The Magnifying glass' option on first game boot, so if you're on a tiny screened mobile you can still zoom by pointing on a game object. Free Heroes 2 Android port is there thanks to Gerhard Stein who is also an author of OpenTyrian mobile phone port and the amazing old computer jump-and-run arcade Commander Keen. Game pointer controls of FHeroes2 are pretty convenient and playing the game is almost as confortable as played with a PC mouse.
Free Heroes 2 is port of Free Heroes 2 engineFree implementation of Heroes of the Might and Magic II engine in SDL and because SDL is platform independent Free Heroes is also available for both Windows / Linux. Maybe here is time too mention that Heroes2 original DOS game works perfectly on any modern Linux distribution when started through DOSBOX DOS emulator.

By default Free Heroes2  has no game campaign support yet. In order to enable campaing support into Free Heroes 2, download FULL Heroes 2 gameput data files to mobile SD card to dir app-data/net.sourceforge.fheroes2 and campaign option will be there too.

heroes_of_might_and_magic_ii_play-on-android-best-strategy-old-game-for-android

Heroes of Might and Magic 2 – The succession Wars (or HEROES2, as it is widely known in Gamers communities) is a turn based strategy game  from year 1996 developed by Jon Van Caneghem by his New World Computing company it was marketed under on the market under brand of 3DO Company. Heroes II was voted the sixth-best PC game of all time by PC Gamer in May 1997. Heroes2 has also a game expansion pack called the Price of Loyalty released in 1997 as well as Heroes of Might and Magic II – Gold – from 1998. The game graphic design looks very beautiful and combined with the soundtrack makes playing it an awesome and calming experience. The game is very notable especially for soundtrack which is all of a beautiful classical music.

Heroes-of-might-and-magic-2-best-games-of-all-time-screenshot-HOMM2
(Picture taken and copyrighted by Wikipedia)

Gameplay

The titular heroes (horse) are player characters who can recruit armies, move around the map, capture resources, and engage in combat. The heroes also incorporate some role-playing game elements; they possess a set of statistics that confer bonuses to an army, artifacts that enhance their powers, and knowledge of magical spells that can be used to attack enemies or produce strategic benefits. Also, heroes gain experience levels from battle, such that veteran heroes are significantly more powerful than inexperienced ones.

On a typical map, players begin a game with one town of a chosen alignment. Each town alignment hosts a unique selection of creatures from which the player can build an army. Town alignment also determines other unique traits such as native hero classes, special bonuses or abilities, and leanings toward certain skills or kinds of magic.

heroes-of-might-and-magic-town_castle-sorceress-screenshot

Towns play a central role in the games since they are the primary source of income and new recruits. A typical objective in each game is to capture all enemy towns. Maps may also start with neutral towns, which do not send out heroes but may still be captured by any player. It is therefore possible, and common, to have more towns than players on a map. When captured, a town retains its alignment type, allowing the new owner to create a mixed army. A player or team is eliminated when no towns or heroes are left under their control. Usually the last player or team remaining is the victor.

As heroes visit special locations called obelisks, pieces are removed from a jigsaw puzzle-like map, gradually revealing 'The Ultimate Artifact location to the player. Once found, it confers immense bonuses to the player capable of breaking a stalemate: the grail can be taken back to a town and used to build a special structure, while the ultimate artifact provides the bonuses directly through possession.

heroes-of-might-and-magic-2-battle-for-castle-screenshot

Whenever a player engages in battle

The game changes from the adventure map display to a combat screen, which is based on either a hexagonal or square grid. In this mode, the game mimics the turn-based tactics genre, as the engaged armies must carry through the battle without the opportunity to reinforce or gracefully retreat. With few exceptions, combat must end with the losing army deserting, being destroyed, or paying a heavy price in gold to surrender. Surrendering allows the player to keep the remaining units intact. Battles can be led army army to army or castles / villages can be fight and (captured) occupied. Owning a town gives your hero daily an income of money later used to buy and upgrade castle buildings.

heroes-of-might-and-magic-ii-the-succession-wars-wizard-castle-building-options-screenshot

Also you your moved heroes could overtake mines producing different goods like minerals, sulfur, gold, emeralds etc. Building different buildings and building war units for army usually cost gold and some kind of resource.

Game Story

Heroes II history continues after Heroes I. Ending of Heroes I results in Lord Morglin Ironfist's victory. In the following years, he has successfully unified the continent of Enroth and secured his rule as king. Upon the king's death, his two sons, Archibald and Roland, vie for the crown. Archibald orchestrates a series of events that lead to Roland's exile. Archibald is then declared the new king, while Roland organizes a resistance. Each alignment is represented by one of the game's two campaigns. Archibald's campaign features the three "evil" town alignments, while Roland's campaign features the three "good" town alignments.

If Archibald is victorious, Roland's rebellion is crushed, and Roland himself is imprisoned in Castle Ironfist, leaving Archibald the uncontested ruler of Enroth. The  ending, however, results in Roland's victory, with Archibald being turned to stone by Roland's court wizard, Tanir.

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ConEmu and Clink – Add Linux shell shortcuts, tabs and tab completion to Windows command line – Far Manager Windows text file explorer

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

If you're a Linux geek and forced to work on Windows for some reason. You will probably want to add some Linux & Feel to Windows console. Yesterday in a discussion with a colleague who is considered to be our team's Windows Guru, I noticed his Windows 7 command line looks slightly different and asked him, "is it some cmd.exe customization?" and this is how I learned about existence of ConEmu and Clink.
ConEmu is advanced console window where you can run any shell of your choice.

conemu-tabbed-command-prompt-cmd-wrapper-like-gnome-terminal-for-windows

ConEmu (Console Emulator) + Clink combination is very much like MobaXterm (tabbed SSH client and win cmd line) in many sense except it doesn't have an embbed ssh support client. By using Conemu + Clink (Powerful bash style line editing) wrappers to cmd.exe you get the invaluable Linux / UNIX tab completion, command line shortcuts like CTRL + R, CTRL + A, CTRL + P etc. into Windows OS. ConEmu is very useful in Windows environments when you have to heavily use Windows PowerShell

If you're get used to Linux's Midnight Commander (MC)  and you're looking for MC for Windows you will certainly want to check out Far Manager (File and Archive Manager). Far Manager provides simple and intuitive ncurses (mc) like interface on Windows and supports view, edit, copy rename and a lot of other basic operations supported also by mc.

far-manager-mc-like-text-file-browser-for-windows-linux-mc-windows-alternative-software


Clink combines the native Windows shell cmd.exe with the powerful command line editing features of the GNU Readline library, which provides rich completion, history, and line-editing capabilities. Readline is well-known and used in Unix shell Bash, the standard shell for Mac OS X and most of Linux distributions.

In my view coolest Clink command shortcut is reverse-search allowing you to auto-type by letters commands (from command line history), lets say you want to invoke dir – you press CTRL + r and type D and all occurances earlier typed starting with "d", pops up as possible choice.

clink_bring-linux-bash-shell-powerful-command-line-editing-for-windows
Everyone who had to administer Windows servers know how annoying is that by default cmd.exe doesn't support window resize.
Using ConEmu solves that as it supports resize of command prompt Window (horizontal and vertical resize).
ConEmu has a status bar, support (configuration colors) and even transperancy but most importantly for old school dos geeks is that it supports integration with dosbox run old DOS applications (games) in Windows 7.

To use the tools use gui installers, here is latest mirror copy of Conemu (for download), current latest Far Manager release and latest present release of Clink (download link). Once installed it is a must to spend some time configure ConEmu to match your preferences. To configure it press with right mouse button on top of Cemu window and do the needful 🙂

windows-conemu-good-substitute-for-linux-bash-shell-for-microsoft-windows-users-split-screen-how-to-tab-completion-windows
Once everything is installed, you will have to get into the habit to launch ConEmu instead of cmd.exe (as ConEmu doesn't interfere with cmd.exe). To launch far manager from ConEmu command line simply type:

C:> far

To open new tabs in ConEmu the well known Firefox used CTRL + T will not work, but 'open new tab' key shortcut can be customized and also set to CTRL + T.  Default key shortcut for opening new tab in ConEmu is 'Windows Button' + SHIFT + W. While Opening new consoles in ConEmu, there is also the useful option of Splitting console (top and right).

Here is also list with all Clink command shortcuts

C-@     : set-mark
C-a     : beginning-of-line
C-b     : backward-char
C-c     : ctrl-c
C-d     : delete-char
C-e     : end-of-line
C-f     : forward-char
C-g     : abort
C-h     : backward-delete-char
C-i     : clink-completion-shim
C-j     : accept-line
C-k     : kill-line
C-l     : clear-screen
C-m     : accept-line
C-n     : next-history
C-p     : previous-history
C-q     : reload-lua-state
C-r     : reverse-search-history
C-s     : forward-search-history
C-t     : transpose-chars
C-u     : unix-line-discard
C-v     : paste-from-clipboard
C-w     : unix-word-rubout
C-y     : yank
C-z     : undo
C-]     : character-search
C-_     : undo
A-C-c   : copy-line-to-clipboard
A-C-e   : expand-env-vars
A-C-g   : abort
A-C-h   : backward-kill-word
A-C-i   : tab-insert
A-C-j   : vi-editing-mode
A-C-m   : vi-editing-mode
A-C-r   : revert-line
A-C-u   : up-directory
A-C-y   : yank-nth-arg
A-C-[   : complete
A-C-]   : character-search-backward
A-      : set-mark
A-#     : insert-comment
A-&     : tilde-expand
A-*     : insert-completions
A–     : digit-argument
A-.     : yank-last-arg
A-0     : digit-argument
A-1     : digit-argument
A-2     : digit-argument
A-3     : digit-argument
A-4     : digit-argument
A-5     : digit-argument
A-6     : digit-argument
A-7     : digit-argument
A-8     : digit-argument
A-9     : digit-argument
A-<     : beginning-of-history
A-=     : possible-completions
A->     : end-of-history
A-?     : possible-completions
A-     : delete-horizontal-space
A-_     : yank-last-arg
A-b     : backward-word
A-c     : capitalize-word
A-d     : kill-word
A-f     : forward-word
A-h     : show-rl-help
A-l     : downcase-word
A-n     : non-incremental-forward-search-history
A-p     : non-incremental-reverse-search-history
A-r     : revert-line
A-t     : transpose-words
A-u     : upcase-word
A-y     : yank-pop
A-~     : tilde-expand
C-x,C-g : abort
C-x,C-r : re-read-init-file
C-x,C-u : undo
C-x,C-x : exchange-point-and-mark
C-x,(   : start-kbd-macro
C-x,)   : end-kbd-macro
C-x,e   : call-last-kbd-macro


 

 

 

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Linux convert and read .mht (Microsoft html) file format. MHT format explained

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

linux-open-and-convert-mht-file-format-to-html-howto
If you're using Linux as a Desktop system sooner or later you will receive an email with instructions or an html page stored in .mht file format.
So what is mht? MHT is an webpage archive format (short for MIME HTML document). MHTML saves the Web page content and incorporates external resources, such as images, applets, Flash animations and so on, into HTML documents. Usually those .mht files were produced with Microsoft Internet Explorer – saving pages through:

File -> Save As (Save WebPage) dialog saves pages in .MHT.

To open those .mht files on Linux, where Firefox is available add the UNMHT FF Extension to browser. Besides allowing you to view MHT on Linux, whether some customer is requiring a copy of an HTML page in MHT, UNMHT allows you to also save complete web pages, including text and graphics, into a MHT file.
There is also support for Google Chrome browser for MHT opening and saving via a plugin called IETAB. But unfortunately IETAB is not supported in Linux.
Anyways IETAB is worthy to mention here as if your'e a Windows users and you want to browse pages compatible only with Internet Explorer, IETAB will emulates exactly IE by using IE rendering engine in Chrome  and supports Active X Controls. IETAB is a great extension for QA (web testers) using Windows for desktop who prefer to not use IE for security reasons. IETab supports IE6, IE7, IE8 and IE9.

Another way to convert .MHT content file into HTML is to use Linux KDE's mhttohtml tool.

linux-kde-converter-mhttohtml

Another approach to open .MHT files in Linux is to use Opera browser for Linux which has support for .MHT

Note that because MHT files could be storing potentially malicious content (like embedded Malware) it is always wise when opening MHT on Windows to assure you have scanned the file with Antivirus program. Often mails containing .MHT from unknown recipients are containing viruses or malware. Also links embedded into MHT file could easily expose you to spoof attacks. MHT files are encoded in combination of plain text MIMEs and BASE64 encoding scheme, MHT's mimetype is:

MIME type: message/rfc822
 

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FreeBSD 10.0 RELEASE is out pkg_add FreeBSD default package manager to be substituted with pkg

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

freebsd 10 is out logo pkg add to be removed - freebsd big news pkg_add to be substituted by another package manager

New latest version of FreeBSD 10.0-RELEASE is out this. FBSD 10  is the latest stable release of 10 branch. The biggest change in FBSD 10 is removal of long time used pkg_add and its substitute with the newer and more advanced pkg. For BSD users who don't know pkg  stiill check out handbook on pkgng

Key highlights of FreeBSD 10 as taken from FreeBSD-10.0-RELEASE announcement;
 

  • GCC is no longer installed by default on architectures where clang(1) is the default compiler.

  • Unbound has been imported to the base system as the local caching DNS resolver.

  • BIND has been removed from the base system.

  • make(1) has been replaced with bmake(1), obtained from the NetBSD Project.

  • pkg(7) is now the default package management utility.

  • pkg_add(1), pkg_delete(1), and related tools have been removed.

  • Major enhancements in virtualization, including the addition of bhyve(8), virtio(4), and native paravirtualized drivers providing support for FreeBSD as a guest operating system on Microsoft Hyper-V.

  • TRIM support for Solid State Drives has been added to ZFS.

  • Support for the high-performance LZ4 compression algorithm has been added to ZFS.

    There is a big news for Raspberry Pi lovers as from FreeBSD 10 there is an official support for Raspberry Pi
    Happy new release. Cheers to testers 🙂

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Unique MenuetOS – Free Software 32 / 64 bit OS entirely written in assembly language

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

 

unique operating-system menuetos written-in-assembler-programming-logo

Something very unique, I stumbled on some time ago and worthy to mention and recommend for everyone to test is MenuetOS. Can you imagine, someone might write an operating system entirely from scratch in 32 / 64 bit Assemler? Idea sounds crazy and impossible but in fact developers of MenuetOS already achieved it!

Unique OS - menuetos asm free os start-menu screenshot

Normally every modern operating system nowadays is based on some kind of UNIX / Linux / or NT (Windows) technology or at least follows some kind of POSIX standartization.
 The design goal of MenuetOS since the first release in year 2000, is to remove the extra layers between different parts of an OS. The more the layers more complicated the programming behind is and therefore this creates bugs more bugs. MenuetOS follows the idea of KISS model (Keep It Simple Stupid). Its amazing what people can write in pure asm programming!! 64 bit version of menuet is also backward compatible with 32 bit. MenuetOS supports mostly all any other modern OS does. Here is list of Supported Features:

 

 

 

 

  • – Pre-emptive multitasking with 1000hz scheduler, multithreading, multiprocessor, ring-3 protection
  • – Responsive GUI with resolutions up to 1920×1080, 16 million colours
  • – Free-form, transparent and skinnable application windows, drag'n drop
  • – SMP multiprocessor support with currently up to 8 cpus
  • – IDE: Editor/Assembler for applications
  • – USB 2.0 HiSpeed Classes: Storage, Printer, Webcam Video and TV/Radio support
  • – USB 1.1 Keyboard and Mouse support
  • – TCP/IP stack with Loopback & Ethernet drivers
  • – Email/ftp/http/chess clients and ftp/mp3/http servers
  • – Hard real-time data fetch
  • – Fits on a single floppy, boots also from CD and USB drives

MenuetOS has fully functional Graphic interface (environment). Though it is so simple it is much more fast (as written in assembler) and behaves more stable than other OS-es written in C / C++.
Its bundled with a POP3 / Imap mail client soft

menuetos assmebly OS mail client
As of time even some major legendary Games like DoomQuake, Sokoban and Chess are ported to MenuetOS !!!

doom2-id-games-running-on-menuetos-operating-system-in-assembler-from-scratch

MenuetOS Doom

quake legendary game running on Menuetos asm free OS

Quake I port on MenuetOS

Below are some more screenshots of Apps and stuff running

Maniac Mansion running on MenuetOS assembler build free Operating system

The world famous Maniac Mansion (1987)

Prince of Persia running on 32 64 bit assembler written GPL free-OS

Arcade Classic of 16 bit and 8 bit computers Prince of Persia running on top of dosbox on MenuetOS

For those who like to program old school MenuetOS has BASIC compiler, C library (supports C programming), debuggers, Command Prompt.

It even supports Networking and has some  most popular network adapters drivers as well as has basic browsing support through HTTP application.

unique-os-menuetos-browsing-with-httpc-browser

You can listen music with CD Player but no support for mp3 yet.
To give MenuetOS a try just like any other Live Linux distribution it has Bootable LiveCD version – you can download it from here
MenuetOS is a very good for people interested to learn good 32 bit and 64 bit Assembler Programming.
Enjoy this unique ASM true hacker OS 😉

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How to remove and disable BlueTooth support on Debian GNU / Linux servers

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

How to remove / disable bluetooth support on Debian GNU / Linux servers
If you running Debian Squeeze Linux (as server Apache, MySQL, Qmail etc.) on brand new purchased hardware with bluetooth support; you will notice default Linux kernel will detect and load modules for Bluetooth

This would not be a problem only if Bluetooth does not pose possible errors or (even at cases even maybe system hangs ups?). The actual reason in my case to want to disable bluetooth on a productive Linux server operating like host was I found out in dmesg produced output, some errors related to Bluetooth, here they are:


root@deb:~# dmesg|grep -i 'call trace' -A 8
[323406.744439] Call Trace:
[323406.744440] [] ? lapic_next_event+0x18/0x1d
[323406.744450] [] ? __report_bad_irq+0x30/0x7d
[323406.744453] [] ? note_interrupt+0x105/0x16e
[323406.744455] [] ? handle_fasteoi_irq+0x93/0xb5
[323406.744458] [] ? handle_irq+0x17/0x1d
[323406.744460] [] ? do_IRQ+0x57/0xb6
[323406.744463] [] ? ret_from_intr+0x0/0x11
[323406.744464]

I saw this error and similar ones occuring, every now and then obviously displaying something wents wrongs with IRQs related to BlueTooth Communication with Kernel (as it keeps processing requests loaded in system memory) …

Well anyways having the bluetooth kernel module loaded on memory just takes up few chunks of useless assigned memory.
I don't have intention to use bluetoothever in future on these host so I decided to completely remove bluetooth support on those Debian.

1. Remove blueetoh support on Debian GNU / Linux

First to check info about the loaded kernel module bluetooth.ko and its assigned module load alias run:


root@deb:~# /sbin/modinfo bluetooth
filename: /lib/modules/2.6.32-5-amd64/kernel/net/bluetooth/bluetooth.ko
alias: net-pf-31
license: GPL
version: 2.15
description: Bluetooth Core ver 2.15
author: Marcel Holtmann
srcversion: 9FD5BF98FC88505DC637909
depends: rfkill
vermagic: 2.6.32-5-amd64 SMP mod_unload modversions

Secondly disable memory preloaded bluetooth.ko on the current host with cmds:


root@deb:~# rmmod -f bnep
root@deb:~# rmmod -f l2cap
root@deb:~# rmmod -f sco
root@deb:~# rmmod -f bluetooth

Default way to control if Bluetooth (on host support is ON or OFF) is through /etc/default/bluetooth. Inside /etc/default/bluetooth is a control variable:


BLUETOOTH_ENABLED=1

To shut it off change its value to 0:


BLUETOOTH_ENABLED=0

Then to permanently prevent bluetooth.ko from being ever in future loaded its also good idea to blacklist modules – bnep, btusb, bluetooth:


root@deb:~# echo 'blacklist bnep' >> /etc/modprobe.d/bluetooth.conf
root@deb:~# echo 'blacklist btusb' >> /etc/modprobe.d/bluetooth.conf
root@deb:~# echo 'blacklist bluetooth' >> /etc/modprobe.d/bluetooth.conf

Onwards re-build, current kernel initramfs:


root@deb:~# update-initramfs -u -k `uname -r` -v
......
......

Next update boot init scripts with update-rc.d to make sure bluetooth (service / daemon) is not started:


root@deb:~# update-rc.d bluetooth remove
......

That's all bluetooth will not load up anymore on next boot and at present time will not take up useless mem space.

2. Re-enable disabled blueetooth on Debian Linux
 
I've been asked in one of comments, what to do If you need to re-enable bluetooth on your Debian Linux at some time in future, so here are the steps to turn back blueetooth on again


/etc/modprobe.d/bluetooth.conf

Change variable:

BLUETOOTH_ENABLED=0

to 

BLUETOOTH_ENABLED=1

Open  /etc/modprobe.d/bluetooth.conf and remove any blacklisted modules, e.g:

'blacklist bnep'
'blacklist btusb'
&39;blacklist bluetooth'

Rebuild again kernel ramfs

root@deb:~# update-initramfs -u -k `uname -r` -v
 
Enjoy 🙂

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After a loooongg, looong waiting finally a New Version of Skype 4.0 is out – Skype 4 on Debian GNU / Linux short review

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

After about 3 years of no new version for GNU / Linux finally Skype has released a new version of Skype.
I thought already there will be never a new skype version out for GNU / Linux, since the moment Microsoft purchased skype.

Now suddenly and quite in quiet the new version of Skype 4.0 is out for download from Skype's website. The latest Skype download for Linux is to be found here

As of time of writting this post there are Skype 4 versions for following Linux-es;;;
 

  • Ubuntu 10.04 32 / 64-bit (probably would work fine on latest Ubuntus too)
  • Debian 6.0 Squeeze 32 / 64-bit
  • Fedora 16 / 32 bit
  • OpenSUSE 12.1 32bit (only)
  • Most likely the Ubuntu release of skype 4 will work flawlessly on Linux Mint and other debian derivatives.The The release mentions, Skype 4 is supposed to have 4 major advancements and the gap in interface and usability with latest Mac OS and M$ Windows Skype versions is now filled.The four major changes said in the announcement are;;;

  • 1. a new Conversations View where users can easily track all of their chats in a unified window.
    Those users who prefer the old view can disable this in the Chat options;
  • 2. a brand new Call View;
  • 3.Call quality has never been better thanks to several investments we made in improving audio quality;
  • 4. Improved video call quality and extended support for more cameras.
  • Some of the minor improvements in those

  • new Linux skype
  • are:- improved chat synchronization- new presence and emoticon icons- the ability to store and view phone numbers in a Skype contact's profile- much lower chance Skype for Linux will crash or freeze- chat history loading is now much faster- support for two new languages: Czech (flag:cz) and Norwegian (flag:no)Just like with prior Skype releases 2.0 and 2.2beta this release comes with almost same list of non-english language support ,,,Seeing those announcement, I've hurried to download and test skype 4 on my 64-bit desktop running Debian 6 Squeeze.Once downloaded to install the pack skype-debian_4.0.0.7-1_amd64.deb I used the usual dpkg -i i,e,;;;noah:~# dpkg -iskype-debian_4.0.0.7-1_amd64.deb…………..Just like the release announcement mentions the first initial launch of Skype 4 took about 3 or 4 minutes doing something (probably sending half of my hard disk data to Microsoft 🙂 🙂 🙂 ) along with importing the prior skype data and chat history :)The minimum software dependencies for correct operation of Skype are:Qt libraries; D-Bus; libasound and pulseaudioHere are few screenshots of Skype 4 to give you an idea what to expect:The Skype Options is almost identical to Skype 2.2. One interesting new feature I've noticed is Skype WIFIUnfortunately to use Skype WIFI you need to have purchased skype credits.Another notable difference is the organization of Skype Chats, which is more like in the good old times of mIRC and IRC chat clientsHere is also the list of Skype emoticons including bundled with Skype 4:The "look & feel" of the new interface gives the impression of seriously improved Skype client stability too.There was a minor trouble with the voice recording (microphone) with Skype 4;To make the microphone work properly I had to raise up the mic volume from PulseAudio settings in Skype options.Well that's all the only unpleasent thing for this new skype is it is using KDE's libQT and seems not to have a native interface for GNOME via GTK2. If we put away this I guess this version of Skype is much more stable and therefore I would recommend anyone to update.Of course we never know if this new updated more stable Skype release is not filled up with backdoors or does not transfer all our conversations to microsoft but we didn't know that even when Skype was not Microsoft's so and since it is not a free software I guess it doesn't matter so much.As you can guess Microsoft has imposed centralization on Skype protocol so connecting the peers is now done by Microsoft servers this news is another intriguing one.According to one recent article from May 1, 2012 Microsoft Skype replaces the Peer-to-Peer P2P supernodes with Linux boxes hosted by Microsoft – In short that probably means that by changing this nowdays microsoft probably now logs all chat sessions between Skype users, even it is likely the calls between users are recorded too. We all know Microsoft imperialism pretty well so I guess this is not a big news …..This new release of Skype if it is significantly more stable than it is prior releases would certainly have serious positive implication on the development and adoption of Linux for the Desktop. So far I'm sure one of the obstacles of many manufacturers of notebooks and comp equipment to ship with Linux was the lack of a stable and easy to implement skype release for Linux.Well that's all folks. Enjoy the New Skype Cheeres ! 🙂

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How to add support for DJVU file format on M$ Windows, Mac, GNU / Linux and FreeBSD

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Windjview Format paper Clipper logo / support DjView on Windows and Linux

By default there is no way to see what is inside a DJVU formatted document on both Windows and Linux OS platforms. It was just a few months ago I saw on one computer I had to fix up the DJVU format. DJVU format was developed for storing primary scanned documents which is rich in text and drawings.
Many old and ancient documents for example Church books in latin and some older stuff is only to be found online in DJVU format.
The main advantage of DJVU over lets say PDF which is also good for storing text and visual data is that DJVU's data encoding makes the files much more smaller in size, while still the quality of the scanned document is well readable for human eye.

DJVU is a file format alternative to PDF which we all know has been set itself to be one of the major standard formats for distributing electronic documents.

Besides old books there are plenty of old magazines, rare reports, tech reports newspapers from 1st and 2nd World War etc in DJVU.
A typical DJVU document takes a size of only lets say 50 to 100 KBytes of size just for comparison most a typical PDF encoded document is approximately sized 500 KiloBytes.

1.% Reading DJVU's on M$ Windoze and Mac-s (WinDjView)

The program reader for DJVU files in Windows is WinDjView WinDjView official download site is here

WinDjView is licensed under GPLv2 is a free software licensed under GPL2.

WinDjView works fine on all popular Windows versions (7, Vista, 2003, XP, 2000, ME, 98, NT4).

WinDjView with opened old document Sol manual ,,,,

I've made a mirror copy of WinDjView for download here (just in case something happens with the present release and someone needs it in future).

For Mac users there is also a port of WinDjView called MacDjView ;;;,

2.% Reading DJVU files on GNU / Linux

The library capable of rendering DJVUs in both Linux and Windows is djviewlibre again free software (A small note to make here is WinDjView also uses djviewlibre to render DJVU file content).

The program that is capable of viewing DJVU files in Linux is called djview4 I have so far tested it only with Debian GNU / Linux.

To add support to a desktop Debian GNU / Linux rel. (6.0.2) Squeeze, had to install following debs ;;;

debian:~# apt-get install --yes djview4 djvulibre-bin djviewlibre-desktop libdjviewlibre-text pdf2djvu
........
...

pdf2djvu is not really necessery to install but I installed it since I think it is a good idea to have a PDF to DJVU converter on the system in case I somedays need it ;;;

djview4 is based on KDE's QT library, so unfortunately users like me who use GNOME for a desktop environment will have the QT library installed as a requirement of above apt-get ;;;

Here is Djview4 screenshot with one opened old times Bulgarian magazine called Computer – for you

DJVU Pravetz Computer for you old school Bulgarian Pravetz magazine

Though the magazine opens fine, every now and then I got some spit errors whether scrolling the pages, but it could be due to improperly encoded DJVU file and not due to the reader. Pitily, whether I tried to maximize the PDF and read it in fullscreen I got (segfault) error and the program failed. Anyways at least I can read the magazine in non-fullscreen mode ;;; ,,,,

3.% Reading DJVU's on FreeBSD and (other BSDs)

Desktop FreeBSD users and other BSD OS enthusiasts could also use djview4 to view DJVUs as there is a BSD port in the ports tree.
To use it on BSD I had to install port /usr/ports/graphics/djview4:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/graphics/djview4
freebsd# make install clean
,,,,...

For G / Linux users who has to do stuff with DJVU files, there are two other programs which might be useful:
 

  • a) djvusmooth – graphical editor for DjVu
  • b) gscan2pdf – A GUI to produce PDFs or DjVus from scanned documents

DJVUSmooth Debian GNU / Linux opened prog

I tried djusmooth to edit the same PDF magazine which I prior opened but I got an Unhandled exception: IOError, as you can in below shot:

DJVUSmooth Unhandled Exception IOError

This is probably normal since djvusmooth is in its very early stage of development – current version is 0.2.7-1

Unfortunately I don't have a scanner at home so I can't test if gscan2pdf produces proper DJVUs from scans, anyways I installed it to at least check the program interface which on a first glimpse looks simplistic:

gscan2pdf 0.9.31 Debian Linux Squeeze screenshot
To sum it up obviously DJVU seems like a great alternative to PDF, however its support for Free Software OSes is still lacking behind.
The Current windows DJVU works way better, though hopefully this will change soon.

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‘host-name’ is blocked because of many connection errors; unblock with ‘mysqladmin flush-hosts’

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

mysql-logo-host-name-blocked-because-of-many-connection-errors
My home run machine MySQL server was suddenly down as I tried to check my blog and other sites today, the error I saw while trying to open, this blog as well as other hosted sites using the MySQL was:

Error establishing a database connection

The topology, where this error occured is simple, I have two hosts:

1. Apache version 2.0.64 compiled support externally PHP scripts interpretation via libphp – the host runs on (FreeBSD)

2. A Debian GNU / Linux squeeze running MySQL server version 5.1.61

The Apache host is assigned a local IP address 192.168.0.1 and the SQL server is running on a host with IP 192.168.0.2

To diagnose the error I've logged in to 192.168.0.2 and weirdly the mysql-server was appearing to run just fine:
 

debian:~# ps ax |grep -i mysql
31781 pts/0 S 0:00 /bin/sh /usr/bin/mysqld_safe
31940 pts/0 Sl 12:08 /usr/sbin/mysqld –basedir=/usr –datadir=/var/lib/mysql –user=mysql –pid-file=/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.pid –socket=/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock –port=3306
31941 pts/0 S 0:00 logger -t mysqld -p daemon.error
32292 pts/0 S+ 0:00 grep -i mysql

Moreover I could connect to the localhost SQL server with mysql -u root -p and it seemed to run fine. The error Error establishing a database connection meant that either something is messed up with the database or 192.168.0.2 Mysql port 3306 is not properly accessible.

My first guess was something is wrong due to some firewall rules, so I tried to connect from 192.168.0.1 to 192.168.0.2 with telnet:
 

freebsd# telnet 192.168.0.2 3306
Trying 192.168.0.2…
Connected to jericho.
Escape character is '^]'.
Host 'webserver' is blocked because of many connection errors; unblock with 'mysqladmin flush-hosts'
Connection closed by foreign host.

Right after the telnet was initiated as I show in the above output the connection was immediately closed with the error:

Host 'webserver' is blocked because of many connection errors; unblock with 'mysqladmin flush-hosts'Connection closed by foreign host.

In the error 'webserver' is my Apache machine set hostname. The error clearly states the problems with the 'webserver' apache host unable to connect to the SQL database are due to 'many connection errors' and a fix i suggested with mysqladmin flush-hosts

To temporary solve the error and restore my normal connectivity between the Apache and the SQL servers I logged I had to issue on the SQL host:

mysqladmin -u root -p flush-hostsEnter password:

Thogh this temporar fix restored accessibility to the databases and hence the websites errors were resolved, this doesn't guarantee that in the future I wouldn't end up in the same situation and therefore I looked for a permanent fix to the issues once and for all.

The permanent fix consists in changing the default value set for max_connect_error in /etc/mysql/my.cnf, which by default is not too high. Therefore to raise up the variable value, added in my.cnf in conf section [mysqld]:

debian:~# vim /etc/mysql/my.cnf
...
max_connect_errors=4294967295

and afterwards restarted MYSQL:

debian:~# /etc/init.d/mysql restart
Stopping MySQL database server: mysqld.
Starting MySQL database server: mysqld.
Checking for corrupt, not cleanly closed and upgrade needing tables..

To make sure the assigned max_connect_errors=4294967295 is never reached due to Apache to SQL connection errors, I've also added as a cronjob.

debian:~# crontab -u root -e
00 03 * * * mysqladmin flush-hosts

In the cron I have omitted the mysqladmin -u root -p (user/pass) input options because for convenience I have already stored the mysql root password in /root/.my.cnf

Here is how /root/.my.cnf looks like:

debian:~# cat /root/.my.cnf
[client]
user=root
password=a_secret_sql_password

Now hopefully, this would permanently solve SQL's 'failure to accept connections' due to too many connection errors for future.

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