Category Archives: Technology

Anything related to the field of Technology that I write, be it PCMR, Windows, Ubuntu, Android, Website development, my gadgets, you will find all linked here. Occasionally I also write about my general view on how I use technology to my advantage. Feel free to ask me any questions in comments.

Stuff I do in Windows that needs an alternative in Linux

In my previous post I said I would be looking an alternative in Linux for everything I do in Windows. Here’s an initial list of the applications that I am finding an alternative to. I would be updating this post fairly regularly, adding more things to the list and their alternatives, until I am confident that I can plan to make Ubuntu as my primary OS.
 

Softwares Type Alternative in Linux
Which have Nix versions
Firefox Browser Firefox
F.lux Screen Dimming app F.lux
Dropbox File sharing Dropbox
Telegram Chat application Telegram
VLC Player Video Player VLC
Steam Gaming software Steam
Which have no Nix Versions
Garena Gaming LAN client NA
Raptr Gaming Client NA
Which have good alternatives
uTorrent Bit torrent application Transmission
Everything Real time file search Locate command in Terminal
Nettalk IRC Client XChat
Microsoft Office Picture Manager Picture editor Shotwell or GIMP
Wordweb Dictionary GoldenDict
Netmeter Record of consumed bandwidth Conky comes closest
IDM Download manager uGet
Google Talk Google chat application EmpathyIM
Winamp Music Player Rhythmbox or Banshee
MS Office Office Suite LibreOffice or Wine
Where no alternative is needed
BullZip PDF Printer Not Needed since ubuntu have built-in PDF Printer
PuTTY SSH and Telnet Client ssh and telnet command on Terminal
FileZilla FTP Client ftp command in Terminal
Code::Blocks C, C++ Programming IDE Use GCC from Terminal or Emacs
To Be Decided
MS-Paint Pixel level bitmap picture editor

Apart from the applications, there are other things which a particular Windows user gets adapt to:

  1. Custom Keyboard Shortcuts: As per current info it’s possible to set custom Keyboard Shortcuts in Nix easily.
  2. Ability to create apps shortcuts:
  3. Background apps and a System Tray:
  4. Window Switching: From what I know now, switching in Nix is cooler and more functional than windows. Shortcut to use it is “Home key” + “W”.
  5. Autostart Apps: Ability to let the apps start automatically  when OS boots by putting the app in something called as StartUp folder.

When the softwares and UX is sorted out next thing which comes is understanding some lingo of Nix which might be totally unfamiliar to newbies in Linux:

  1. Filesystem: Nix don’t have the concept of Drives like C, D or E. Rather everything in Nix starts from the root. “\” is root folder. Hence path to your home folder can be, “\home\vyom” which means “vyom folder inside home folder of root folder”.
  2. Mounting of drives: Any DVD or removable USB drive you insert is mounted to some folder inside root folder. <insert example>.
  3. Installing Apps: Nix don’t have .EXE files rather it have various ways to install apps.
    • apt-get install <softwarename>
    • TAR Packages

Expect revision to this post to reflect new information soon.

Ubuntu: Beginning my Walk on Uncharted Territory

I had a long awaited dream of migrating from Windows to Linux. I was exposed to Windows since more than a decade and made aware of Linux a lot later. But when I did, sheer glimpse of Linux use to make me feel all geeky inside, but I never really gave Linux a chance. I was too engrossed by the ease of use of Windows and just-reinstall-windows as the default option to get out of any misery I face in Windows. Till the time I get to know the real power of Linux in the form of Ubuntu and the general open source nature of it it was very late. I had become so dependent on Windows for my daily tasks that I started to avoid Nix for all the reasons.

Now I have finally decided to give Linux (in form of Ubuntu) a fair trial. But instead of installing it on a dedicated drive I decided to virtualize it so that I can use both Windows and Linux till the time I become proficient in Ubuntu.
Installing Ubuntu on VirtualBox would have been a breeze had I followed this guide (created by my friend Aaruni, which I had to recover from archive. Or this for an updated article). But alas I came across his walk through a bit late and also came across this problem of not getting to install 64 bit Ubuntu on VirtualBox. But thanks to the suggestion provided here, I managed to solve it without spending hours. The summary of the problem was that I had to disable “Virtualization” from “Turn Windows Features On or Off” since it conflicts with the “Enable Virtualization Tech” turned ON in BIOS.

So now, here I am publishing this post from within Ubuntu 14.04 and exploring the world of Linux without completely abandoning my comfort zone of Windows. But I Intend to make Ubuntu my primary OS in a few months until I can learn every nooks and cranny of this seemingly giant but not completely unknown territory that is Ubuntu.
I also intend to document my journey of using Ubuntu from a perspective of “oh-I-am-a-Windows-guy-and-I-want-to-work-on-Nix-but-not-sure-of-how-to-do-certain-things-that-I-use-to-do-in-Windows!” kind of guy. Hence I would be looking for “every” alternative of things in Ubuntu that I am so use-to in Windows from tools to shortcuts to the whole User Experience. It will be an exciting journey and something to look forward to but in the end worth doing.

I migrated to Digital Ocean

It was about one year that this site was hosted on a VPS server of Leaseweb. They provided a good set of specs but had some amount of unreliability when it came to providing 24×7 up-time. Also it once had a service outage that resulted in the loss of our data. Thanks to offline backups and Google cache I was able to restore all my posts. So it was high time before we moved onto something more trustworthy. It was then when I came to know about Digital Ocean, an SSD only VPS hosting provider. After a lot of geeky research I realized how quickly they grew their scope to provide a quality platform for VPS.
What follows next in this article is the story of how I migrated to DigitalOcean with help from my friends. Be warned that this article is fairly technical and can also serve to anyone who wants to migrate to DigitalOcean. I wholeheartedly thank Aaruni for his help on setting up the server, without his help it could have taken me days to do the same.

1. New Server on DigitalOcean (DO) VPS

There are numerous VPS providers but none at the feature to price ratio which DO provides. Hence me and my online friends decided to go for the most basic plan of $5 per month, which provided us with following features:

  • 512MB Memory
  • 1 Core Processor
  • 20 GB SSD Disk Space
  • 1TB Transfer Bandwidth

This configuration is modest to run a Unreal Tournament (UrT) gaming server and to host numerous small websites which were our requirements. Plus its easy to upscale so starting from the smallest option seemed to be a wise decision.
Continue reading I migrated to Digital Ocean

Saying Adios to my first Android

Every once in a while a piece of technology sets it’s foot from inception to reality, that is perceived ahead of its time. It features tech which makes people awe in wonder. People dream of owning such a piece of technology that catapults them into the future.
One such device was my Optimus One P500 (O1 in short), an Android device manufactured by LG which featured specs which were uncommon at its price point. Granted it was not supposed to “take you to the future”, but it was as close as you get if you were under a budget. The device had 512 MB of Random Access Memory, which none of the branded manufactures at the time managed to pull it of in a sub 10k phone. Quickly it became the most loved gadget by amass and also among the developers at XDA, a place where developers collaborated for the greater good.
O1 came with Froyo (Android ver 2.2) when it was launched in October 2010. With the curves and specs it had it looked a neat little Android gadget to admire. It was after 9 months of the launch that I came to know about O1, took me one month time to research, write a blog about it and to finalize that my next smartphone can only be “the One”. After that it still took me 2 months to save money from teaching programming classes to school students, apart from doing 9-5 regular job. But it was a good phone and a gadget worth the hard work to own.
I remember when the delivery boy from “LetsBuy.com” came to my home and handed me over the phone while I was fiddling with my wallet to make it lighter. My dad was surprised by the way I handed hard cash to some stranger who just arrived at the doorstep. That was my first experience in online shopping but I trusted it. And it payed off well over the years.
Continue reading Saying Adios to my first Android

How many Apps you *Really* use in a Regular day?

Recently I came about a thread on a tech forum I regularly visit, which asked a question about how many apps one uses in a day. Surely there are a lot of apps. Thousands and thousands of them in the apps market. I even made a list about the must have apps. But does one really use a lot of apps on a regular day?
I guess, apps like Launcher, Dialer, Messaging, People (contacts) and Gallery (includes camera app) need not even be mentioned. Since those are by default used by everyone. So what other apps…? I tried to write a story based on actual events to see where I judge myself in this regard. Results were pretty revealing!
I can’t wake up in the morning unless the Alarm plays a random song from my list of my favourite songs. So that’s one. Then I need to watch what time it is when I *finally* wake up. Clock and weather widget it is. That counts as an app too.
While traveling to office I would listen to my songs on TTPod and chat with friends on WhatsApp and Telegram. I would also surf some forum on Tapatalk since it’s just unavoidable.
Now I am in office. I pretend to work for sometime. Then I would need some break and I would goto breakout area where I see one of my colleague have this amazing trailer of a latest movie, “Edge of Tomorrow”. I just need to watch this and have it on my phone too. I would use ShareIt app to transfer the video to my phone in seconds (it uses wireless tethering to do that and is a great app btw). I would view the video using MXPlayer on my phone. Wow the trailer is amazing and I need to make a post about it on my FB Page. So I use Pages manager to do that. I don’t use Twitter or I could have used Hootsuite to update on FB and Twitter together.
Now its lunch time. And I would have forgotten to check whether I published that article on my website which I was drafting the previous night. I would use WordPress app to do final touches and “publish” the article. I could have also uploaded any media on the web server using ConnectBot if its needed.
I will now view how my recent blog looks like on any browser like Opera or Chrome. I can also use Chrome to read articles which arrives via RSS feed like Flipboard or Appy Geek when I am on the loose after lunch.
Oh dear, its month end! Did my salary came? I would quicky check it from my bank’s app. Be it ICICI or Citibank. Even government bank like Canara Bank have an app now. I would leave for home early that day since I would remember I had some shopping to do. I would refer the list I made using ColorNote or a task application like Astrid to remind me of the list of things my sister wanted me to buy for her too.
I am on the Metro platform now and want to goto a market very far. An app of DMRC Metro would guide me before I get lost. (Yea, asking from people would help too, but I have been taught not to talk to strangers, unless it’s urgent).
While I am traveling to the market I would play some games on my mobile. Anything like Asphalt 8 or a quick race of Subway Surfer could help me avoid the strangers I was talking about earlier. Oh wait.. did I see someone playing this good looking puzzle game I haven’t seen earlier? Lets just download it through Play store and get started to shatter his record.
While shopping I can use my Barcode application to quickly scan and get to know the exact date of manufacture so that I don’t pickup old stuff. (Mom would have loved a portable Barcode scanner when she shops. But, I could be a barcode scanner for her anytime now.) But I consider myself a smart shopper, ain’t I am? So while shopping I would  compare the prices of different stuff available online. Flipkart app it is.
Well, its about time now. Time to return home. I don’t really know I have the energy to catch another metro in the rush hour of evening. Lets just call a cab using an app I still have to find on Google play (cause I know there is one) and reach to my home keeping an eye on the driver, meter and Google maps. I don’t want him to drive me home using the longest route, do I?
Anyway I reached home. Now which app? Well, at home I would keep my phone in one corner. I won’t use any other app now since I don’t need them to talk with family. Enough apps for today. Maybe I would need to use more apps like Dropbox when I need to share some documents with my friend tomorrow, or Endomondo, when I need to track how much calorie I burn after a quick jog in one hypothetical but possible morning, or AndChat to chat on IRC with online friends. For now… its the end of the day and I need some rest. Screen locked.

Installing WhatsApp on Nexus 7

Nexus 7 doesn’t have GSM facility. So that means installing Whatsapp on N7 shouldn’t be possible. But in my experience despite of it giving warning it installs straightforwardly. Here’s my exprience on how I migrated WhatsApp from my phone to Nexus 7.
1. Install Whatsapp on N7 from market or through APK file. But don’t open the app yet.
2. Create backup of existing Whatsapp messages:
If you don’t want to migrate existing messages then you can skip this step. Of course, there is no reason why you should skip, since its pretty easy. Just transfer the file: “msgstore.db.crypt” from phone to tablet, which resides at “/sdcard/WhatsApp/Databases/”. And keep the file in the same folder in N7. Create the folder database if it doesn’t exist.

Continue reading Installing WhatsApp on Nexus 7

Using OTG cable to access external storage and 3G dongle on Nexus 7

In my last posts, I wrote about how to root your Nexus 7 and install Ubuntu Touch. Today I am going to write about how to use an OTG cable to access pen drives and External Hard drives. Also one of the most awesome thing you can do is to use 3G dongle on the Nexus 7. And I am doing it in questionnaire style.
Why use OTG cable?
You can use an OTG cable to attach following devices to your Nexus 7:
1. Pen drives
2. Memory card readers
3. External Hard Drives
4. 3G Dongle
5. USB Mouse and Keyboard
What is an OTG cable looks like?
Shown clockwise from top left: OTG Cable, Card Reader, Pen Drive, an Huawei 3G dongle (with Airtel connection).
Yup, OTG cable is that small. Some other variants of OTG cable also comes with no wire. Refer this.

Can any OTG cable be used with Nexus 7?
Continue reading Using OTG cable to access external storage and 3G dongle on Nexus 7

Installing Ubuntu Touch on your rooted Nexus 7

If you haven’t rooted your Nexus 7 yet, you can follow my previous post and do that easily. This guide assumes you have connected your device with your PC and can use ADB to push commands over to your device. If this doesn’t make any sense, read my previous guide.
In this post I am about to write how can you easily install Ubuntu Touch on your Nexus 7. Before we do that, you can read this article on why shouldn’t install Ubuntu Touch: 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Install Ubuntu Touch on Your Nexus | OMG! Ubuntu!
But since we are dual booting the Ubuntu with Android, the reasons stated above won’t matter!
1. Installing Custom Recovery (Flashing TWRP Multi ROM)
Using adb commands the next you need to do is to flash a version of TWRP recovery which is tweaked for MultiROM support. The file I downloaded was “TWRP_multirom_grouper_20131022.img” from here: [MOD][OCT 22] MultiROM v16a (fix SuperSU for secondary ROMs) – xda-developers, and used following command to flash it.
fastboot flash recovery d:\path-to-recovery\TWRP_multirom_grouper_20131022.img
Continue reading Installing Ubuntu Touch on your rooted Nexus 7

Rooting Nexus 7 and Unlocking Bootloader

In my previous post I posted a few screenshots of my new Nexus 7 which I bought recently. In this post I am going to write about how you can unlock the bootloader of your Nexus 7. This process can be basically done in 5 steps.
Rooting the N7:
You can live your life with N7 without rooting it. But as one of the Android Commandments say: “Thou shalt not use thine nexus unrooted” I think you need to be awesome instead and do unlock it to get these features to work:
1. Ability to use an OTG cable to connect pen drives to the device, thereby overcoming the 16 GB (13 GB available actually) limitation.
2. Using a 3G dongle to let your device take advantage of 3G (which by default this device don’t have)
3. Take advantage of apps that only works when device is rooted, like Titanium Backup and Cache Cleaner
4. Flash custom ROM’s and/or Install Ubuntu Touch on your device (and be a part of an OS in the making!)
You can read this article that echoes my thoughts, until the part where he used a toolkit to root (I rooted the old fashioned adb way).
Here’s How to Root the Nexus 7 – But Should You? | Android.AppStorm
Anyway, so how actually you root N7?
You can use the most popular Nexus Rootkit to do all kinds of stuff to your N7 including Rooting, flashing zips etc, but if you are geek like me, here is how to do it manually (and its way easier than you think):
Continue reading Rooting Nexus 7 and Unlocking Bootloader

My Nexus 7

I bought Nexus 7, 16 GB, 2012 Wifi model from Flipkart a week ago. And I have to say, it is one of my most awesome investment that I ever did. I immediately started my research on rooting it so that I can unlock the true potential of this beast. Now I have installed Ubuntu Touch on N7 and its dual boot with Android. But I faced numerous challenges in doing so, due to lack of experience in this regard. I decided to document my research and finding so that other who may want to unlock the bootloader of N7 and want to flash Ubuntu Touch can do so easily.
I am going to post this guide in three part post. In this first part I am presenting unboxing video and some screenshots of the N7 running Jelly Bean.

 
Images are scaled down, click the image to open the image in its original quality
The Lock screen:

Continue reading My Nexus 7