Thursday, October 24, 2013

Comparison between Cubieboards

Comparison between Cubieboards.
[1] SATA - 3.5" sata hdd needs external 12V power supply
[2] RTC - Used to keep time when CT has not power supply
[3] IRDA - Used to take commands from TV remote control
[4] Linux support via linux-sunxi community on all cubieboards
. Check linux-sunxi.org

This is detailed difference table between Cubieboard, Cubieboard2 and new Cubietruck. For more details please visit  cubieboard.org .

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Own Cloud, its Open Source !!!


Your Cloud, Your Data, Your Way !!!
ownCloud


“Cloud is everywhere !!!”. I am not talking about dark cloud or rainy cloud. I am talking about Cloud Technology. Now lets say I want my own cloud in my premises. Don’t worry now we have ownCloud.
“ownCloud is a free and open-source web application for data synchronization, file sharing, and cloud storage.” … Wikipedia.
One of my friend suggest me, that use of word "own cloud" is misnomer. Cloud stands for clustered storage and services that can be accessed together. Its not much of cloud if its on a single machine. My intention here to introduce you with Storage solution much like Dropbox. Where you can take backup of your files as well as you should able to retrieve files easily.
 
We are going to learn how to install ownCloud on your system as Cloud Server and how to install client tools to access files from this Cloud Server.

Installation of OwnCloud:

There are following ways to install OwnCloud :

Install ownCloud using the Web Installer
Install ownCloud using the Web Installer

1. Install ownCloud using the Web Installer:
Make sure that you have working *AMP stack. i.e. Apache, MySQL, PHP. I prefer XAMPP stack, which works flawlessly for me for more than 8 years. Now Xampp & BitNami are working together. The Web Installer is the easiest way for novice users to install ownCloud on their desktop or web hosting space. It checks the dependencies, download the newest ownCloud from the official server, unpacks it with the right permissions and the right user account. Finally, you will be redirected to the ownCloud installer.

1) Right-click here and save the file to your computer
2) Upload setup-owncloud.php to your web space
3) Point your web browser to setup-owncloud.php on your webspace
4) Follow the instructions and configure ownCloud
5) Login to your newly created ownCloud instance!

2. Tar or Zip file
The .tar archive is the classic way of installing ownCloud server. It provides the server and all immediate 3rd party PHP libraries.

1)  Download Unix (.tar.bz2) or Windows (.zip) archive

2)  Check package integrity using the MD5 sum: Unix / Windows
3)  Follow the ownCloud Admin Manuals installation chapter
Or
Install XAMPP stack on your Operating System.
Or
Execute following command in terminal if you are using Ubuntu/Debian Linux.
$sudo apt-get install apache2 php5 php5-gd php-xml-parser php5-intl
$sudo apt-get install php5-sqlite php5-mysql smbclient curl libcurl3 php5-curl

4)  Extract and copy file into webserver root directory

$sudo tar -xjf path/to/downloaded/owncloud-x.x.x.tar.bz2
$sudo cp -r owncloud /path/to/your/webserver

5)  Set appropriate permission for “data” direcotry
$sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /path/to/your/owncloud/install/data

6)  Enable .htaccess and mod_rewrite if Running Apache
To enable .htaccess files you need to ensure that AllowOverride is set to All in the Directory /var/www/ section of your virtual host file. This is usually in /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default. You should also run a2enmod rewrite and a2enmod headers. Then restart apache: service apache2 restart (for Ubuntu systems). In order for the maximum upload size to be configurable, the .htaccess file in the ownCloud folder needs to be made writable by the server.

7)  Follow the Install Wizard
Open your web browser and navigate to your ownCloud instance. If you are installing ownCloud on the same machine as you will access the install wizard from, the url will be: http://localhost/ (or http://localhost/owncloud). For basic installs we recommend SQLite as it is easy to setup (ownCloud will do it for you). For larger installs you should use MySQL or PostgreSQL. Click on the Advanced options to show the configuration options. You may enter admin credentials and let ownCloud create its own database user, or enter a preconfigured user. If you are not using apache as the webserver, please set the data directory to a location outside of the document root. See the advanced install settings.

Using Client interface for Own Cloud:

Once you have OwnCloud server running on Cubie Board, you can use following client interface to do all operations:
1. Web Browser
2. Desktop Client
3.  Mobile Client


ownCloud Server Login Screen
ownCloud Server Login Screen


1. Web Browser:
Using any html 5 supported browser can access server, serve the purpose.




2. Desktop Client:
Using Desktop Sync Clients user can install client tool, which are available for Windows, Mac OS X and a wide range of Linux distributions. This will help user to Sync your local files with your ownCloud.

ownCloud Client
ownCloud client for Mac
(Mac OS X 10.6 or better, Intel 64 bit)



3. Mobile Client:
Access you ownCloud anytime, anywhere using your portable devices. Official apps are available on App Store for iPhone & iPad and Google Play for Android device. These apps are not free, but its worth, if you really worry about your data on Mobile.

ownCloud App
ownCloud App on Android

Now you can just drag & drop files on your cloud server for backup. Also you can select files or folders to automatic syncing. i.e. If you just add, remove, update any files, this will synchronize with your backup files, hosted on you cloud storage.  So I hope you will never loose your photos or you will never experience "Not Enough Memory" kind of error on Mobile, while taking snaps on outdoor trip :)  Keep playing around this Cloud, please do share me your experiences. And if you have any other application/ software similar to this, please share information about that. If you have any question please ask me, I would like to see adoption of more & more Open Source Cloud based application on Mobile as well as Desktop.







Monday, August 05, 2013

XBMC | Open Source Home Theatre Software Part 1

XBMC | Open Source Home Theatre Software
XBMC | Open Source Home Theatre Software



Being Open Source enthusiastic I was knowing XBMC but never used it as I was happy with various other media players on GNU/Linux. Very initially I had used xine, then I fall in love with mplayer, then for some reason I started using VLC. Mainly I enjoy movies which my friends used to download & shared with me using torrent from ThePirateBay. Even I had subscription for NetFlix and BigFlix, I am not really getting what I want. But now I don’t think there is need for me to ask my friends or even me to store all these movies on external hard disk. Cause I got XBMC :)
It was originally intended for Xbox, that why XBMC stand for “XBox Media Center”. But its no more true, it works now on Mac, Linux, Windows and even on Android and iOS. Reader can check current stable release: 12.2 “Frodo”.

Mainly I can see so many things happening in this domain called “home theater PC (HTPC)”. I can see that XBMC is best solution. There so many useful repositories and add-ons which will just match with anything. By default you can have add-ons like YouTube, Vimeo, Wired, Time, TED, TechCrunsh, Metacafe, Khan Academy, etc. But with Unofficial add-on repositories, anyone can experience avalanche of entertainment ! You can access & enjoy variety of media ranging from  TV Serials, Latest Movies, Documentary, movie trailer, Music, and many more.
xbmc remote
xbmc remote
XBMC kind of media center is mainly design and develop “ 10-foot user interface” in mind. Reader may not feel comfortable first time to use XBMC on PC or Laptop. It was for TV screen in Living room, where user should watch it from 10 foot, controlling using remote control. XBMC works with Keyboard, mouse, touch device and it has support for various type of remote controls. But I found interesting Smart Phone Remote i.e. Android & iPhone apps which can use smart mobile phone as remote control for XBMC. To use Smart Phone Remote, install apps on your mobile phone and configure name of instance, xbmc system ip address, port, username and password. You use default settings. Now make sure that XBMC is ready to use remote control. Start XBMC System -> Settings -> Services -> Remote Control and Enable it. Now you can use smart phone to control your xbmc.
To use Web browser to control xbmc, just start XBMC System -> Settings -> Services -> Webserver. Select the radial box that says "Allow Control of XBMC via HTTP". If user want to used it over internet then required ip address. Else user can provide Port, username and password. If user is not really worried about security then he can use default settings. Then open browser with ip address of xbmc, in my case I can access at http://127.0.0.1:8080/



This is such wonderful piece of software that I encourage you to donate fund, amount can be anything ! If not then at least spread the information about this software, which will save your families hundreds of dollar per years.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail: A Review of Linux’s Newest Platform


Ubuntu’s newest iteration – 13.04 “Raring Ringtail,” released in late April – is widely reported to be the best Linux OS to date.  Unlike the last few updates, 13.04 has made few fundamental changes to the platform.  Instead, it brings much-needed performance boosts to increase the system’s power and speed, while polishing the rough edges from earlier editions.  Here are some of the most important changes:
Improved Window “Snap”
Window snapping is a user-friendly tool that allows multiple windows to be displayed without overlapping or having to click-and-drag.  The new animation included in Ubuntu 13.04 includes a changed appearance of the window when it is about to snap, showing a transparent, orange copy of the original window in its new potential location.  This makes the time-saving organizational tool even more effective and efficient.
New Lenses
The Unity Dash, allowing users to aggregate alike programs, received an overhaul that includes a Photos lens and a Social lens.  The Photos lens can search through images in online accounts or imported directly onto the computer, greatly simplifying the process of tracking down photos.  The Social lens allows users to connect to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other platforms directly from the dashboard. 
Pure, Raw Speed
Ubuntu’s past editions have been decried as slow and resource-hungry, and there was certainly some truth to those claims.  However, last October programmers decided to tweak Ubuntu’s core by using a mobile device (specifically, Google’s Nexus 7 tablet) as a reference point.  This allowed them to address CPU, RAM, and power usage issues that had plagued Ubuntu in the past.  The result?  A smooth and snappy experience, with lightning fast startup and shutdown speeds, that makes Ubuntu 13.04 one of the fastest platforms on the market. 
Support Applications
Ubuntu 13.04 utilizes LibreOffice 4.0 for its office suite, and includes Firefox 20 for web browsing and Thunderbird 17 for email.  For those interested in other applications – Chrome and Evolution, for example – these apps are available using the Ubuntu Software Center.  There have been some reported issues installing Chrome on 13.04; this glitch is expected to be fixed with the next Chrome update.
Also, a major complaint about Linux in the past has been the lack of available games.  Ubuntu has partnered with Steam to produce games for the platform, and the number of available games has skyrocketed. 
Stability
The Unity desktop environment, prone to bugs and crashes in the past, received a pretty comprehensive overhaul from the Canonical developers.  As a consequence, the software is much more stable and is no longer plagued by “paper cut” bugs.
So… Is it Worth It?
The release, while not heavy on new features, positions Ubuntu nicely for future release on smartphones, tablets, and TVs.  For fans of the Linux platform, the upgrade to Ubuntu 13.04 is definitely worth it.  With improved speed and polished features, Ubuntu 13.04 is by far the best platform yet.  And for those who haven’t yet switched to Ubuntu system, this latest release proves itself to be the most compelling reason to date. 

Sara Collins is a writer for NerdWallet, a site that answers readers’ personal finance questions, like, “How should I be planning for my child’s college education?”



Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cubie Board 2

Cubie Board 2 from http://cubieboard.org/
 Cubie Board 2 | Open ARM Mini-PC | http://cubieboard.org/



On June 19, 2013 Cubie Board 2, based on Allwinner A20 was announced. So we have Cubieboard2 with 1G ethernet, 2G RAM, VGA and onboard RTC. Good news is that now we have dual core CPU and double GPU performance and no major change in board layout as A20 chip is pin-to-pin compatible with A10. Cubie Board 2 support Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Ubuntu 12.04 and other Linux distributions.


CPU            ARM® Cortex™-A7 Dual-Core
GPU            ARM® Mali400MP2, Complies with OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1
Memory       1GB / 2GB DDR3 @960M
Display       HDMI&VGA 1080P display output on-board
Storage       4GB internal NAND flash, up to 64GB on uSD slot, up to 2T on 2.5 SATA disk
SATA          SATA 2.0 interface support 2.5’ HDD ( for 3.5’ HDD, only need another 12V power input)
Power       5VDC @ 2A [5VDC @ 2.5A with HDD] or USB otg input, Support Li-battery & RTC
Networking       10/100/1000 Ethernet, optional wifi (Wifi+BT wireless connection with antenna      on-board)
USB           Two USB 2.0 HOST, one USB 2.0 OTG
Other       One IR
Extended Interfaces   96 extend pin interface, including I2C, SPI, RGB/LVDS, CSI/TS, FM-IN, ADC, CVBS, VGA, SPDIF-OUT, R-TP, and more




Saturday, June 29, 2013

Introduction to Cubie Board in brief

Cubie Board Logo
Cubie Board | Open ARM Mini-PC


INTRODUCTION
1. Cubieboard is small, low cost, low powered ARM developer board. Cubieboard is very small in size ( around 10x6cm) and very low-cost ( around 50-65 USD). Cubieboard is created by Tang Liang(Tom Cubie) and his friends
2. Cubieboard is useful to do various R&D in ARM based Embedded or Mobile hardware. You can do experiment to learn embedded or mobile operating system as well as hardware aspects.
3. Cubieboard has ARM Cortex-A8 Allwinner A10 SoC(System on Chip) which having CPU of 1Ghz with Mali400 GPU and CedarX VPU. (Hardware is similar to Mele A1000G)
4. More about A10
CPU: Cortex-A8 1GHz (ARM v7) Processor which have both VFPv3 and NEON co-processors: It's a 400-pins. It has highest known cost to performance ratio.
FPU: Vector Floating Point Unit (standard ARM VFPv3 FPU Floating Point Unit)
SIMD: NEON (ARM's extended general-purpose SIMD vector processing extension engine)
GPU: Mali400, and Framebuffer
VPU: CedarX (Video Processor Unit for audio and video hardware decoding or encoding)
HDMI-transmitter: HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control)
MALI400MP GPU  supports OpenGL ES 2.0 and upto 2160p Hardware-accelerated Video playback (4x the resolution of 1080p).
It has 1gb DDR3 (800mhz) RAM.
It has builtin 4GB nand storage which comes with Android 4.0.4 preinstalled.
A10 search for boot block on sdcard and it can be booted from usb as well with some key combinations. That is why it can not be bricked.
SATA-II 3gb/sec which supports small 2.5” sata hdd.
5. On Cubie Board we can install Ubuntu, Angstrom, Android, Fedora, many other  operating systems on sd card as well as on nand memory.
6. By using Berryboot uses can install following operating systems.
Ubuntu
Debian
OpenELEC
Puppy
RasoRazor
Sugar
LTSP Thinclient
BerryWebServer
7. For video output Cubie Board support HDMI port. (VGA can work by adding expansion bread/base board)
8. Cubie Board have in built NAND as well as SD/MMC card slot.
9. Cubie Board have 2 usb ports. One of them is USB On-The-Go port, which can use to connect additional USB devices or USB HUB.
10. Cubie Board have two stereo 3.5mm jacks for audio in/out.
11. Cubie Board have an RS-232  serial pins, which can be used to get serial logs and login.
12. Cubieboard2 A20 SoC which contains dual-core 1GHz CortexA-7 cpu and dual-core mali-400MP2 gpu.


Costing and Distributors


Please refere for full list at main site: http://cubieboard.org/buy
You can buy cubieboard from the international shipping shops or the local shops in your country.
International shipping
Shopify
DFRobot
H.-C. Electronic
Itead Studio
Miniand
Seeed Studio
Watterott Electronic
Asia
China (Including Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan):
淘宝 cubieluffy’s shop
淘宝 sz-ewell shop
Indonesia
Tokoservo
Japan
Zuiki


As I have tested board from Miniand and AliExpress, I can recomend them. Which ship board and its accessories within working 3 days if you pay little extra (10-15 USD) by DHL or any other available service.







For support
Cubie Board have very active community. So for support you can rely on this community.
You can join Cubie Board mailing list at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/cubieboard
and for fast help/ support please join #cubieboard channel at irc.freenode.net
Also you can follow twitter & facebook for latest news, update of Cubie Board community.
irc channels
#cubieboard, #linux-sunxi on freenode
For more advance level support you mail to support@cubietech.com


Read more:
New Cubieboard 2 which is based on Allwinner A20: Cubie Board 2


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Five Ways to Improve Drupal’s Usability

Drupal logo

Drupal is a free, open source content management system (CMS). While there are many praiseworthy aspects of Drupal, usability probably isn’t one of them. Drupal gets a lot of love, especially from the developer community, but for non-developers, Drupal’s layout can be a barrier to its use. Fortunately, there are ways to improve that. Check out these five tips for improving Drupal’s usability.
 
#1 Multiple select boxes

While perhaps not a problem for you, multiple select boxes are confusing for many users. Using ctrl+click to select multiple items is not something that most users know about, so they tend to become irritated when they encounter these things. Sure, you could include instructions on the page, but why not take the most usable option and eliminate the problem altogether? Instead of using a select box, switch to a checkbox option, which most people will understand immediately. Although these select boxes are part of the program, you can install modules like Views Checkboxes or Better Select in order to get rid of all the select box defaults.

#2 Administration menu

The administration menu can be one of the trickiest parts of Drupal for new users (or users migrating from WordPress) to master. The Administration Menu module is probably the best way to improve the usability of this piece of Drupal. This module provides a theme-independent interface for navigation and back-end work. While it’s good for Drupal novices, it can also be beneficial for site administrators and developers looking to save time. Administration Menu displays links in a menu based on CSS and JavaScript at the top of each page of your site. It is compatible with any theme or browser.

#3 Disable what you don’t use

Drupal has a ton of features, but you probably don’t need all of them. Disabling features you’re not using or that your user doesn’t need will improve your site’s usability. The full might of Drupal’s out-of-the-box features can be overwhelming for site visitors, so hiding some features can make the site easier for them. For example, items such as node metadata like author information don’t need to be in search results because it is confusing for newbies. If users log in to your site for any reason, it can be beneficial to remove some of the tabs or modify forms to simplify them.  

#4 Don’t trust WYSIWYG

The “What you see is what you get (WYSIWYG)” editor can be convenient, but only if it does what you really want it to do. Before calling it a day on your Drupal setup, test that the editor actually achieves what you expect it to. If the results don’t look the way you intended, you can install an alternative WYSIWYG editor that formats text correctly. This is an aspect of content management that should be completely painless. There are various editing modules available for Drupal like CKeditor, which you can use with IMCE to manage files. This module also lets users define classes for advanced styling.

#5 Error messages should be helpful

It’s bad enough to make a mistake on a site, but when the error message doesn’t make sense to the user, things get even worse. Error messages should be free of jargon and explain how to avoid the problem. Drupal’s default error messages are not particularly user friendly, so changing them can make a big difference for your site’s usability.  Two modules that can help with this problem are Inline Form Errors and String Overrides. The first repositions error messages so they are next to the field that produced the error. The second substitutes jargon with user-friendly language by replacing strings of developer Jargon with strings of normal English.
Although Drupal’s out-of-the-box features are many, they aren’t always the ideal option for users. Fortunately, the nature of Drupal—open source, of course—makes it possible to change anything that isn’t working for you or your site’s visitors.

Sara Collins is a writer for NerdWallet. She works to help readers stay informed about every topic, from graphic design to comparing term life insurance versus whole life insurance.