domingo, 15 de septiembre de 2019

The Beauty of Customized Live USB Systems

Yesterday, I upgraded the kernel of my Linux laptop (MX Linux 18.3) to an antiX kernel 5.1.2.  The upgrade went well and the laptop now boots very fast.

Encouraged by that, I tried the same with my HP laptop, which runs antiX 17.3.1.  That laptop seems designed to discourage anyone from running Linux on it.  It gave me all sort of problems and, apparently, I'm not the only one who has had headaches thanks to such laptop.

Fortunately, when I finally got my system up and running, I made a snapshot and put the system into a live USB. That way, if something went wrong, I could run the live system with all my tweaks already applied and install it easily.

Well, the kernel upgrade did not work. I lost my wireless connection and there was no way to get it back.  In addition, my wireless stopped working on the old kernel, the one that previously worked without problems.

It was time to run the customized live USB.  It worked flawlessly.  After seeing the wi-fi back on, I installed the system from the USB stick.

Right now, I am posting this from the HP laptop.  Customized live USB systems are simply amazing!





domingo, 21 de julio de 2019

Two Methods to Remove Vocals from Songs (Using Audacity)

Audacity is a very handy tool to edit audio files.  Lately, I've been testing its capacity to remove vocals from songs, using two different methods and obtaining mixed results.

The first method:  The "Vocal Remover" tool:

This is simple and relatively fast.  You need to go to "Effects" and once there, all the way down to "Vocal Remover".  Depending on your version, you might need to look for it under "Effects/Plugins/"

Once there, you run it, making sure you chose "remove vocals" from the drop down menu of the plugin.  And that's it! 

Vocal Remover will work well with some songs.  An important observation is that you need an unsplit stereo track for this method to work. What is an unsplit stereo track?  What can you do if you tried Vocal Remover and you didn't like the result?  Please read the second method to find out the answers.

The second method: Using "inversion" for one channel:

This is more difficult.  Stereo tracks have the audio in two different channels (left and right), and such channels are merged (unsplit) in most songs.  The second method consists of splitting both tracks and then applying the tool "inversion" to one of them.  Once done that, both tracks must be set to "mono" to be exported. 

That sounds a bit confusing, especially if we do not know much about sound edition.  Fortunately, several people have posted video tutorials.  This is one by Jimmy Ruska:

There you go!   The second method has worked better in my case, but it's a matter of testing to see what works best for you. 


domingo, 16 de junio de 2019

Fun with the GIMP

I've been working so much lately that I haven't had time to do my favorite leisure activities, which are reading and writing.

Thus, when I felt stress levels rise dangerously, I opened the GIMP and decided to see what I could do with it in my short resting moments.

I decided to use the GIMP because I wanted to do something experimental.  To begin with, I am not a visual artist of any kind and my digital drawings have never gone beyond stick people on Kolourpaint.  In other words, I wanted to step out of my known tools and experience something new.  Hopefully, I'd be able to paint something in the process, too.

And this is how Tajumaru came to existence.  True, it is not a masterpiece but my stress was gone when I finished the painting.  That was the best outcome!

I highly recommend the GIMP to those who, like me, need to release some stress and don't have much time in their hands.

jueves, 23 de mayo de 2019

Oops! I Missed This Blog's 9th. Anniversary!

I've had such a busy schedule that I totally forgot about this blog's anniversary on May 21!

La Esquina de un Migrante a Linux was born nine years ago, during a workshop about blogging.  Back then, I had recently switched from Windows XP to MEPIS Linux 8 and thus, I decided to keep an online record of my learning and experiences as a Linux migrant.

What has changed since then?

Well, MEPIS left the Linux scene after some MEPIS 12 alpha releases.  MEPIS and antiX joined efforts and produced MepisantiX, that soon was renamed as MX Linux.  When my MEPIS machines could no longer keep updated, I moved to MX for production, and here I am.  It has been 9 years on Linux and I am very happy!

I must confess, though, that in spite of all my Linux learning, my knowledge of the command line is as poor now as it was when I migrated.

Anyway, happy belated birthday, Linuxmigrante!! 

miércoles, 1 de mayo de 2019

Mandrivachronicles: 9 Years already!

My brother's blog, Mandriva Linux Chronicles, is celebrating its 9th. anniversary today!

Wow!  It's been 9 years since Mechatotoro's migration and time surely flies by!

Congratulations, Mandriva Linux Chronicles!   :D


sábado, 27 de abril de 2019

Windows Malware: I Had Forgotten What It Was Like!

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a shop because I needed to print some posters.  I had my file on a USB stick, which the clerk inserted on a Windows 10 laptop.  After a minute, he told me he could not do anything with my file. 

When I checked, I saw the problem: some nasty Windows malware replaced my folders with .exe files.  Windows asked if my drive needed to be repaired.  Since I knew I was not going to print anything that day, I went forward with the repairing process.  The result?  The .exe files were gone but my files were not back.

At home, I plugged the USB stick to my Linux computer and, sure enough, I could see all my files plus the malware-generated ones.  The malware had inserted copies of itself in every folder and sub-folder while making my original files invisible to Windows. What a nostalgic feeling!

After I deleted all the copies of the malware, I searched for the way to make my files and folders visible again on Windows.

It turns out that Windows does it like this:

attrib -H -R -S /S /D F:\*.*    (F stands for the letter assigned to your USB).

Well, it seems that Windows malware keeps being as effective as it was back in the times I used that OS. Some things never change!

miércoles, 27 de febrero de 2019

Translate Shell! What a Marvel!

I just stumbled upon this useful article about Translate Shell.  What is Translate Shell?  It is a very impressive CLI software that translates whatever you type in your terminal.

Installing it was very easy.  The article guides you through the process and, if I could finish it successfully, I guess anybody else can.

After the installation, I started having fun with the program.  I typed phrases in Japanese slang, both in Roman alphabet and in Japanese writing and the translation went very well: "This is truly great".

However, the phrase in formal and somewhat archaic Japanese "I am a cat" returned "I am a smiling cat."

Then, I tried English and Thai, which went fine.  Also, I entered a fun sentence in Indonesian: "Excuse me, miss. You have a duck on your head."  The translation was fine, too!

This will be a very useful addition to my systems!



sábado, 2 de febrero de 2019

HP Laptop 15-bw022la: Antix Made It Work!

Previously, I had posted about the loops I had to jump in order to get my new HP laptop 15-bw022la.  Thanks to antiX, I had made it partially functional, but still had problems: it would freeze at random times and I had to use a Wi-Fi adapter because there was not way to make the machine's Wi-fi work.

Well, thanks to Stevo adn BitJam, two great developers at MX Linux and antiX, those problems are gone.  Now I can use the computer normally (although the graphics in some Steam games are weird.  Fortunately, it is not most of them).

What was the solution?  First, upgrading the kernel to 4.20 took care of the freezing. Kernel 4.19 did not work at all.  For the Wi-Fi, downloading the driver and using "make" was the solution.  Also, as it is explained here, this helped me get a better signal:


sudo tee /etc/modprobe.d/rtl8723de.conf <<< "options rtl8723de ant_sel=2"
(or ant_sel=1 if 2 doesn't help).

I also noticed that when plugging the machine to a screen using HDMI would show video, but not audio.  Fortunately, the fix was simple: I just had to change the option in the audio output.

And this way my nightmare with the purple laptop ended happily.  Thanks, antiX!

sábado, 26 de enero de 2019

NomadBSD Is Here!

Well, well, I managed to install NomadBSD into a flashdrive.  Back in time, I wanted to test FreeBSD, but I knew nothing of Linux and the installation process of any BSD version was beyond my capabilities.

Apparently, my time with Tux has taught me more than I thought.  I could install  NomadBSD although the process was a bit different from my regular Linux installations.  My biggest problem was to find a pendrive with enough space to store the OS (a 4 GB one was not enough).

After that, I booted NomadBSD on my ZaReason Alto laptop, which came with Linux preinstalled.

OK, the setup process was a bit long.  Some of the screens were beyond my understanding, but the default choice was suggested.  I went for that in those cases.

At the end, I got a beautiful BSD system that somehow reminded me of a combination of MacOS and antiX.

Enabling the WiFi was not that hard, and everything seemed to work fine.

My only problem was that the system ran slowly.  Very slowly.  I wonder if that's because of the pendrive, but live Linux distros run really fast on that machine...

I guess I need to try NomadBSD on other laptops and, if the issue persists, I'll have to investigate what happened.

jueves, 3 de enero de 2019

HP Laptop 15-bw022la: A Disaster for Linux Users?

I bought yesterday an HP laptop.  The model is 15-bw022la.  The price was unbeatable for the specs:  a HD of 1 TB, 8 GB of RAM, a DVD ROM, and it came with several goodies (I am not counting Windows 10 among them!)

I got a juicy discount because the machine was the one on display at the store and in spite of that and its flashy purple color, I bought it.

The first challenge was what to do with Windows 10.  My experience with that OS is almost null, so I opted for a dual boot.  First problem: the administrative account was already set and with no password.  That meant, of course, that I had to learn how to change that.

Since I am lazy about Windows, I thought of leaving it like that.  After all, I would not be booting that OS frequently.  Thus, I went for the partitioning step.  Unfortunately, I could not shrink the partition more than half of its space (Windows was storing some files in places that didn't allow me to reduce the size of its partition).

Now, leaving half of the HD to an OS that I will not use was outrageous.  I tried several options, like defragmenting, but was unlucky.  That way I learned to reinstall Windows from the recovery partition.

Certainly, installing Windows has become much easier (although not faster). A good chunk of my time went into that. When the process finished, I could set a new user and password and, more importantly, shrink the partition.

Windows, however, does not seem to have tools to format using EXT4.  No surprise there, hehe.

"Any Linux live USB flashdrive or CD/DVD will take care of the problem,"  I said to myself.

But here came the biggest problem.  The computer didn't seem to like any of my distros!  I even downloaded and made a Manjaro USB because it has the latest kernel and is the top one in popularity, so I thought that it would take care of my moody violet computer.  It didn't.  After all the choices, I only got a black screen.  (My other distros had gotten to the desktop but froze right after that).

Unwilling to accept that, I tried antiX 17.3.1 (Hellen Keller). I like antiX because it is modular, has a low footprint, and is really powerful.

Well, antiX did the trick!  It let me format the available space and then installed in less than 20 minutes.  It didn't enable the machine's wi-fi, though.

Using a USB adapter, I've been able to download and configure this distro.  Still some problems linger: the machine freezes at random times.  Right now I'm getting some help from the community to solve those issues.

Interesting... I thought HP was one of the brands that had more Linux support but so far, I've had problems with two HP laptops in a row.

In the meantime, I'll see this purple  15-bw022la laptop in my nightmares!  :P