Clean up Thunderbird .msf files

When Thunderbird starts running very slow or occasionally using a lot of ram and stalling, delete the .msf files using:

find .thunderbird -maxdepth 10 -type f -name "*.msf" -delete

Close Thunderbird first! When you reopen, it will re-index everything.

Increase webcam brightness on Mint

v4lctl bright 100%

This increased my webcam brightness enough. It’s still a bit dark, but better. Fix found on https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1426398.

Another thing to try is installing v4l2ucp and running it from the command line. This allows you to manually adjust video settings.

EDIT: You know what worked a lot better? Buying a new webcam for $5 and plugging it in.

btsync launcher on Mint

To add a desktop launcher for btsync on Mint, install gnome-terminal. When you start in this way, the .sync folder will be in the user home folder, whereas if you start by navigating to the btsync folder you extracted to, then using the terminal command ./btsync, the .btsync folder will be created in that folder. The .btsync folder can be moved, keeping settings and data.

Rhino Panther 450W ATX Power Supply Review

Works fine, but way, way too loud. Don’t buy it. Spend the extra $20 and get something quieter.

Play VCDs in Linux

This worked for me:

In terminal, type: mplayer vcd://2 (or vcd://1 or whatever number matches drive)

Source of info: https://alternativenayk.wordpress.com/2007/01/20/playing-vcds-on-ubuntu-linux-how-to/

Fedora 21 vs Mint 17 on Asus X552E

I’ve been using Mint Mate for a few years and recently had reason to give Fedora another try. I started out with Red Hat back in the day, and naturally migrated to Fedora, but I just got tired of all the hassle with codecs and reinstalling quickly and easily for what was becoming for me a central need for a workstation rather than a server. I wasn’t thrilled with Ubuntu for some reason, but when I found Mint, I jumped up and down. (Actually, I didn’t. It’s just an expression.)

So recently I bought this brand spanking new Asus laptop (X552E), and tried to install Mint 17, and there was something not working with the video drivers that came with Mint. It wouldn’t fly. No show. No go. Nada. No way. It didn’t work. Zip. Zero. Black screen. Bad news. Unhappy camper I was. I couldn’t believe it! I just splashed down $500 on a brand new notebook with that new notebook smell, wiped off Windows 8 without thinking even once, and Mint DID NOT WORK!

What was I to do? Well, it didn’t take me more than a second or two to know that if anybody could handle this, it would be Fedora. I downloaded Fedora 21, burned it to a disc, fired up my new machine, and everything worked hunky dory. Not only that, once I got reacquainted with Fedora, I really started liking it. I’m still a huge fan of Mint, but if you haven’t tried Fedora in a while, I highly recommend it.

For one. the Gnome desktop is fine. Years ago, I was really not happy with Gnome 3. But if you want your usual menus and workspaces that Mint Mate provides, install gnome-tweak-tool on your new Fedora installation. It’s very sweet. Fedora seems to run faster than Mint. It’s snappier, lighter on its feet. Also, the repos are now easier to find and install for lazy people like me. Just head on over to http://rpmfusion.org/Configuration/.

I initially moved to Mint because it just seemed easier to set up all the gizmos I needed. That’s no longer the case. Give Fedora another try. Yum yum.

 

 

Getting bluetooth / blueman to work on Mint 17

If you’re having problems getting bluetooth devices to work on Mint 17, try the following:

  1. Install blueman, bluez, and pulseaudio-module-bluetooth with all suggested packages.
  2. In the terminal, run the command: pactl load-module module-bluetooth-discover

It’s this missing module that seems to be causing many of the problems. This worked for me. See more detailed instructions at the source of this information: http://blog.gadr.me/quick-tip-bluetooth-a2dp-on-linux-mint-17-qiana-mate/

 

 

Splitting up AVI files and converting to mp4 for HTML5

So I had some problems splitting up an AVI movie into for segments, then converting it to mp4 so I could use it in HTML5. Here’s what worked for me:

  1. Split the file using avisplit. I could run it from the command line after installing transcode. The command should be something like avisplit -i moviein.avi -t 00:00:01-00:33:03. It will create a file with an appended number. Fix that file to give it an avi extension.
  2. I converted that file to mp4 in Winff using Very High Quality.

It worked. I tried many other ways, particularly using the command line with avconv, and I also tried Avidimux, but the sound was always out of sync or it would show as being corrupted in Firefox 28. This so far is the only thing that worked. The avisplit seems to be the deciding factor. I was using ffmpeg to split the file before converting, and it screwed up the sound.

If you’re working with an mp4 file that you simply want to split, you can use avconv in the command line:

avconv -ss 00:00:01 -i movie_in.mp4 -codec copy -t 00:34:15 movie_out1.mp4

 

Libre Office can’t open docx files

If you’re having problems opening docx files with Libre Office on Linux, try using AbiWord.

Skype crashing when answering calls on Linux Mint 16 64bit

If your Skype is crashing when answering calls on your Linux machine try the following. It solved the problem on my Mint 16 64bit. This solution was found at http://community.skype.com/t5/Linux/4-2-0-11-1-for-linux-crashes-when-answering-calls/td-p/1655001:

sudo apt-get install libasound2-plugins:i386