TCP Ping: Turns out you can ping websites using TCP!

Ping a great tool in monitoring a host status in real-time. It iTCP Pings available on all (not sure) operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Mac and even Android. I commonly use ping whenever I wanted to see whether or a host is alive or dead. However, sometimes  firewalls do block generic ping packets which utilizes Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP is a protocol in order for ping to work properly. You don’t have to dig on that but you can if you want. ;)). So now, I don’t have any tool to use to check the host status. However, one alternative is to manually check it or visit the website in order to confirm if the host is up. However, since I don’t like firing up the website and reload it every seconds just to see if it’s up or not (because I am lazy and it doesn’t have logs), I tried to see if I can do a TCP ping. I searched google and turns out there is a too called TCP ping. However its a Windows-only tool (see here). (Too bad. Yeah. Life sucks but you shouldn’t go lose hope that easily.) Turns out if you dig further you will find this! At last the tool that we have been waiting for! But wait. Hold your horses. It’s a frigging script! How do I run it and make it terminal invokable (if that is even a term)? Well, lucky for you I have the same questions. Read below to find out the answer!

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Elementary OS: Editing the Grub Bootloader

The one single factor why I did not want to move from Linux Mint XFCE to Elementary OS is the fact that I could not edit its default bootloader. I have tried adding the PPA from Daniel Richter for Grub-Customizer but for some reason it did not work (because I could not fetch the file in his PPA). So after spending some of my time over Xubuntu (Ubuntu under XFCE) and Debian XFCE, I finally moved on to Elementary OS.

 

Installing Grub-Customizer

 

First, open the terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer

Then after confirming the addition of the repository, type:

sudo apt-get update

and

sudo apt-get install grub-customizer

After that you are free to use the grub-customizer app!

 

Editing Default Grub Boot Entry

 

After installing Grub-Customizer, changing the default boot entry will be easier. You won’t be bothering with the command line function (though it is very important that one should learn this) and will be only presented with a graphical user interface.

Grub Customizer

  1. Open the Grub-Customizer
  2. Click the OS entry you wanted to boot first
  3. Click save change (1st icon on the left most part of the app)

Then after you have restarted, the default boot entry will be the OS on the top of the list (in my case my Windows 7)! Enjoy!

Steam on Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint)? Yep. Possible.

This might not be new to you but just in case you don’t know yet, the ever famous “Steam” gaming platform works on Linux! No emulation / virtualization required! So if its the one thing that is holding you back to move into the Linux world, maybe you should think again!

For those who don’t know Steam, lets take a brief look.

Steam Platform

So what is Steam?

According to Wikipedia (I know, call me lazy!):

Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute games and related media online, from small independent developers to larger software houses; in October 2012, Valve expanded the service to include non-gaming software.

In short, Steam is a platform where publishers distribute their software (either be games or apps) to consumers. All you have to do is install Steam and when you pick a software from Steam, it will take care of the download and installation fr the software to your machine. Pretty convenient eh? It also supports auto update of installations so if the game or app publisher updates its software, Steam will automatically update it. Commonly, games and apps should be purchased in order for someone to download it. However, in Steam there is a wide range of Free-to-Play games such as:

  • Team Fortress 2 (personal favorite)
  • Dota 2
  • Warframe
  • Others (these are the only 3 games I played using steam)

You can visit Steam to view the full list. Also if I may add, Steam features a messaging system, in-game browser and achievements. So if you play Team Fortress like I do, you can easily check achievements, make a party and find online friends during the game. No need to ALT + TAB anymore!

Enough of Steam. So how do we install this on Linux? Remember that I am currently using Linux Mint XFCE right? So I think this steps will apply to Linux Mint XFCE (or the normal Min), Ubuntu and ultimately the great mother Debian. So here it goes:

 

  • Go to STEAM to download the .deb file
  • If you are in Linux Mint XFCE (or the normal Mint) or Ubuntu, just double click the file and install it. You will be needing the root password for this. Succeeding steps are for Debian
  • If you are in Debian, I think the way to install steam is to dpkg the file. Head over to the directory where you saved the file (I think it is saved in ~/HomeLinux/Downloads if you download it from Iceweasel) and copy the location from the address bar.
  • Next, open Terminal and type:

cd <insert the directory where you saved the Steam installer here>

  • Then type this and enter your root password:

sudo dpkg -i steam_latest.deb

  • Success! Now you can play your favorite games on Steam! Enjoy playing!

Note: Of course some of you out there wants to know what the commands in the terminal mean. Since I am just starting out, I could not provide you a very detailed answer but just like you (who want to know the commands) and I am still a newbie in Linux so here is what I know so far on the said commands:

  • cd: It means current directory. It tells your terminal to change your working directory to the directory or address or location that you have specified
  • sudo: It means that you will be running the command as root (administrator). This is required in order to install programs in Linux (well just like in Windows 7 right?)
  • dpkg: On my search at Debian, this is the main Package Management program for Debian. So typing this will call that package manager and wait for your input (switches -i or -r or others)
  • -i: A switch for the command dpkg. It tells your dkpg program that you are going to install a .deb file.

That’s it! If you find my explanation too complicated or you find my understanding wrong, kindly comment and I will revise this. Thanks for reading!

Microsoft Lync 2010 on Linux (Linux Mint / Kali Linux / Debian)? Yes it’s possible!

Microsoft Lync 2010I am wondering if someone already did install Microsoft Lync 2010 on their Linux box. Since its one of the most commonly used internal messengers of companies out there, why not give it a shot on Linux?

Well, there is no direct port of Lync to Linux to I have to find some alternative. Since Pidgin (a very capable Linux Messaging App) is pretty much flexible and can almost handle anything (except for Twitter!), I first tried my search in the repositories with Pidgin in mind. Turns out there is a package named:

pidgin-sipe – Pidgin protocol plugin to connect to MS Office Communicator

Seeing that MS Office Communication made my eyes wide open! “This might just really work!”, I said to myself. But enough of that, lets get into business. Here are the steps for running Lync on your Linux machines (I am using Linux Mint XFCE but I think this will work on almost every distro that supports Pidgin)! Pidgin

1. Fire up the terminal and install Pidgin (if you do not have it yet) by typing:

This is for Ubuntu, Linux Mint and probably Debian:

sudo apt-get install pidgin

2. Install the pidgin-sipe plugins for pidgin by typing:

sudo apt-get install pidgin-sipe

3. Open Pidgin and press CTRL + A to add accounts

4. Choose Office Communicator in the protocol name and enter your username, login and password.

5. If all goes well, it will connect with your comapny’s servers and will be ready to go!

Just a note here. It disconnects at a random time (maybe after 2 hours or so). To recover from disconnections, all you have to do is go to Accounts > Enable Account > and you’re good to go!

UPDATE:

Using Kali Linux (Debian based), I tried using the voice feature and apparently it works. However whenever I’m using the video call feature, the other end can see me but I could not see him/her.

Enjoy chatting!

Ubuntu to Debian: The Switch Decision

A year before, I have read a post that said “Debian is old.”. Today as I Kali Liux (Backtrack based on Debian) more often, I think I want to switch to Debian. So I searched over the Internet to see whether or not Debian is a good OS (I know Ubuntu is based on it but I really want to know what the others have to say). While doing a trigger-happy mouse clicking over the Internet links, I stumbled on a very interesting blog name micah.f.lee.

Here are the reasons why she (I think) decided to move on to Debian from Ubuntu as discussed in her blog:Ubuntu | Debian

  • Unity
  • Ubuntu One
  • Ubuntu wanting the user to buy stuff
  • Selling proprietary software and calling programs as “Apps” (this goes against their “old” manifesto)
  • Search terms was sent to third parties

She’s got a point and I am quite surprised how privacy was not taken very seriously by Ubuntu. I guess I will also switch to Debian now.

Visit her blog to read more about her post on Ubuntu and Debian.