Fedora 21 Extra Backgrounds

If you want to use one of my photos as an official Fedora 21 background.

Try it out:

yum install f21-backgrounds-extras-gnome

My photo of Flagler Beach, FL (w/o any editing)

My photo of Flagler Beach, FL (w/o any editing)

Original: https://www.flickr.com/photos/afsilva2/12178037005/

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Having fun with the Raspberry Pi B+

It is Thanksgiving week in the US, and I had some paid time off banked at my job. So, I decided to do a stay home vacation and tinker with something. I decided that “something” would be a Raspberry Pi. A quick search on Amazon, and I ended up ordering the CanaKit Raspberry Pi B+ Ultimate Starter Kit (I will refer to it from now on as “the kit”).

Instagram photo of the unboxing.

Now, I personally don’t need another computer running Linux at home, so I wanted the Raspberry Pi (I will refer to it from now on as “the pi”) to do something I haven’t done before. When I looked at all the LEDs and wires that came with the Starter Kit the first thing that came to mind was Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Call me silly, that’s OK!

I had no idea if I would be able to pull it off, but if I could at least understand a bit more of how to make software interact with hardware at the scale in which the Pi claims it could do then my stay home vacation would certainly be a good one.

pi

The Raspberry Pi B+ (photo taken by yours truly)

The kit arrived last Friday (Nov-21), and I wasted no time. First, being completely biased to anything Fedora or Red Hat based, I decided to use NOOBS to install Pidora, and as cool as this Fedora spin is, I quickly noticed it just wasn’t going to be the Linux distribution I should use to make my little Christmas Light show.

I went with the Pi’s recommendation and installed Raspbian, which in a very short amount of time proved itself to be the better distribution to be running on the Pi. You may be asking, what reasons were they? Well, here are a few:

  1. raspi_config which allowed me to do quite a bit of configuration changes to the raspberry pi right off the bet.
  2. LXDE as a window manager. Raspbian’s out of the box needed about 50% less memory than Pidora, which on a little piece of hardware that has 512 MB of RAM this is HUGE!
  3. Included apps: Mathematica, Scratch, Sonic Pi, and the needed python libraries to do some coding with the GPIO pins were all already bundled in Raspbian.
  4. The Raspberry Pi book (and the foundation) recommends Raspbian, so following examples (from the book and online) are much more repeatable in Raspbian.
pi+keyboard

Using a Logitech MK401 seems to be working pretty well with the Pi.

By Friday night, I have the Pi connected to my TV, with Raspbian installed, and connected to the house’s wifi. I run an: apt-get update && apt-get upgrade to update the OS, and now I am ready to look into all the “extras” that came with the kit.

Aside from some very theoretical stuff I had in physics in high school and college about electricity, I have never really had any chance or interest in applying any of that theory anywhere. Terminologies like breadboard, jumper wires, resistors, current, voltage, etc… weren’t foreign words, but they were “theoretical” words for me. So, what did I do? I googled my answers, what else? :-)

First, I used this video on Youtube to learn about the breadboard and the kit. Then I did it myself, and expanded on it by adding extra LEDs.

Now, that I had the lights working the next step was going to be how do I make them “listen to music”?

Another google search, and I found this awesome open soure project for the Pi called: LightshowPi. And it is with this project that and its Google+ Community that I was able to successfuly complete the first phase of this personal project.

board

The CanaKit breadboard, GPIO board, LEDs and resistors.

pi+tv

The raspberry pi connected to a $80 720p TV I bought at Best Buy. It was cheaper than any other LCD monitor around.

Here’s a quick video of the mini-light show:

So, what’s next?

Now, that I’ve gotten my Christmas Light show going (in a very small scale), I want to go a bit bigger. I want to light up my Christmas tree this year using my Pi and LightshowPi, and do something like this. I have ordered a Sainsmart 8 Channel 5V Solid State Relay Module Board hoping I will be able to pull this off by Christmas. And who knows, maybe next year, I will expand and set up lights outdoors for the public.

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Posted in christmas, linux, raspberrypi | Leave a comment

Fix for Flash Fullscreen Issue on GNOME 3

The issue is basically that once you watch 1 video in Fullscreen with Flash any other video will not show up in fullscreen afterwards. Follow these instructions to fix it. Works well on Fedora 20.

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Posted in fedora 20, firefox, flash | Leave a comment

My Mobile History

A few years go, I tried to write a couple of posts on all the computers I have ever owned: My Computers Over the Years and My Computers Over the Years Part II[*], so today I decided to reflect upon my history with smartphones, and document it here just for the fun of it.

For many years, I carried around a pre-paid phone, and really only used it in emergencies. It was only after my job started requiring me to be oncall that I jumped on the smartphone bandwagon. Below is a list of the phones I’ve owned accompanied by any first impression reviews I wrote about them back when I first got them.

  • iPhone 3G – December 2008
  • iPhone 3Gs – 2nd half 2009
  • Palm Pre Plus – June 2010: Article I wrote for the Linux Gazette
  • iPhone 4s – October 2011
  • HTC One X – June 2012: Blog post about it.
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 – July 2012: Blog post about it.
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 – May 2013: Blog post about it.
  • iPhone 5s – November 2013
  • LG G3 – August 2013

As you can see I’ve owned as many iPhones as I’ve owned Android phones over the years, and I think (for now) I’ve gotten to the conclusion that I really am platform agnostic. IMHO, iOS and Android and its respective related hardware are usually pretty great and either allow me to get my job done well enough. Neither are perfect, but then again what is?

lg-g3-screencap

As per the list above, I am currently using the LG G3, and so far I’ve been really happy with it. It is the first phone I’ve ever rooted mostly because of how simple it is to do it nowadays. Thank to rooting, I’ve been able to install and uninstall things that were affecting the device’s battery life.

The only thing on the LG G3 that I really don’t like is the micro USB plug, it is so hard to connect it to the USB cable, specially right before going to bed when my room is already dark. I really did wish all phones would standardize on Apple’s lightning connector.

The LG G3 is fast, big and the screen is amazing! As I said, after rooting it, I am getting amazing battery life on it with light use. The two other things on the LG G3 that helped me make the decision to go with it (instead of the Galaxy S5) were:

  1. the no side buttos around the phone. The LG G3 volume aand power buttons are on its back, it is not necessarily easier to access, but I liked the chance LG took with the design.
  2. the navigation buttons are not part of the hardware, but it is software (like the ones on the Nexus 5, 7). I really like that for some reason. Sure, there is no fingerprint reading, but that’s ok.

I’ve just completed 2 weeks with this phone, and I am glad to report that I am very happy with it.

[*] From around March 2013 through April 2014, I owned a Macbook Air and a Macbook Pro. Since April, I am now using a ZaReason Ultra 440.

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Posted in android, apple, galaxy, galaxys3, htcone, htconex, lgg3, linuxgazette, mac book air, macbookair, macbookpro, mobile, palmpreplus, samsung, zareason | Leave a comment

Follow up to editing videos in Fedora

This post is a quick update to my original post “Editing videos in Fedora 19 with Openshot

Editing some Indy 500 footage on Fedora

Editing some Indy 500 footage on Fedora

I just got back from the Indianapolis 500 race, and used Openshot on Fedora 20 to put together a few video footages I took of the race into 1 video with some text and backround music by Arcade of Fire. Check it out below:

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