Friday, January 15, 2016

How to install Kodi on Ubuntu

Kodi (formerly XBMC) is a free and open-source media player software developed by the XBMC Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium. Kodi is available for multiple operating systems and hardware platforms.
Kodi is highly customizable: a variety of skins can change its appearance, and various plug-ins allow users to access streaming media content via online services such as YouTubeAmazon Prime Instant Video and Pandora Internet Radio. It supports most common audio, video, and image formats, playlists, audio visualizations, slideshows, weather forecasts reporting, and third-party plugins.

Before starting make sure you have the latest graphics drivers installed and direct rendering is enabled . Kodi can be insatlled on Ubuntu via ppa :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc/ppa 
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install kodi

Once Kodi is installed it can be launched from Unity Dash . 

Step 1

Navigate to the “File manager” tab under the “SYSTEM” menu :
Click on the “Add source” option.

Select the top text input box marked “<None>” under the “Enter the paths of browse for the media locations” field.

Type in “” without quotations, and then press the “Done” button.

Select the bottom text input box under the “Enter a name for the media Source” field and type in “fusion” without quotations, and then press the “Done” button.

Press the “OK” button.

Once the Fusion repo is added , navigate to the home screen , select "SYSTEM" and click on "Settings" and then Add-on.

Install from zip file.

Click on fusion and navigate to the "start here" folder .

Run the following .zip file by clicking on them .

Navigate back to the home screen and click on "PROGRAMS" > "Config Wizard"

Scroll down and install the Linux configuration

After the Linux configuration has been applied return to the home screen . Some of the add-ons installed have been added under each category . Your new setup will look something like this :

Step 2 

Change the default add-on shortcuts after installing the Linux configuration :

"Appearance" > "Settings" > "Add-on"

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

TV-MAXE on Ubuntu

TV-MAXE is an application which provides the ability to watch TV stations and listen to radio via different streams such as SopCast . Whether you are traveling or just live outside your home country , this application makes it easy to keep in touch with the latest news , weather forecasts , TV shows or movies.
For a better user experience we will be installing VLC before proceeding with the installation and configuration of TV-Maxe application . 

sudo apt-get install vlc

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:venerix/pkg 
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tv-maxe

Go to "Preferences" and configure the internal player .

To add more channel go to "Subscriptions" and hit "Add".

The official list with channels can be found here . Click the link and download the .db file .

Once you added the list of channels click save . You can add all selected lists at once or individually by deselecting the ones you do not wish to load .

If you are trying to launch TV-MAXE and it closes right away , you may need to comment line 299 located in usr/share/tv-maxe/ . To edit this file open a terminal (ctlr+alt+t) and type in the following commands :

sudo gedit /usr/share/tv-maxe/

Save and close the file and try launching TV-MAXE again . 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Dosbox on Ubuntu

DOSBox is an emulator program that emulates an IBM PC compatible computer running a DOS operating system. Many IBM PC compatible graphics and sound cards are also emulated . It is available in the Ubuntu repositories and can be install by using the following command :

sudo apt-get install dosbox

Begin by creating a folder called Dos_games in "/home" . A variety of old games can be found here  (for this tutorial I picked 4 of my favorite games that I used to play as a child). Once the downloads are complete extract the .zip files and place the folders in Dos_games. 

Launch DOSBox from Dash .We will be mounting our home (h:) partion along with the Dos_games folder . 

Once h: is mounted navigate to the desired game folder and launch the game (.exe file)

Jazz Jackrabbit

Battle Chess


Lamborghini - American Challenge

To recover your cursor from the emulator simply hit  ctrl+f10 .

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

SSD tweaks for Ubuntu

SSD's have no moving parts which makes them faster and superior to HDD's, providing more bandwith , performance and response time . They stay cooler , use less power , are lighter more reliable and completely silent . If you have a low end system an SSD upgrade would speed things up significantly (RAM upgrade would be recommended as well in order to keep the system from using swap , which will wear down the SSD) .

These settings have been tested  on the a system with the following specs :

- AMD Quad Core APU-A6
- 8 GB RAM
- AMD Radeon HD 6520G
- Kingston SSD NOW 30GB
- Kingston SV300 120GB

We are going to begin this tutorial by checking the the Health of the SSD. Search for "Disks" in Unity Dash and launch it . 

Editing and making rc.local executable :
sudo gedit /etc/rc.local  
 ##Add the following above "exit 0"##
echo 0 > /sys/block/sda/queue/add_random (prevents the I/O of your SSD from cotributing to the entropy pool)

echo 0 > /sys/block/sda/queue/rotational (informs Ubuntu your are using an SSD)
echo 2 > /sys/block/sda/queue/rq_affinity (only use when you have a powerful CPU , if you experience lagging while gaming you can undo the changes by removing this line)
Save the file and make it executable by running : 

chmod +x /etc/rc.local

Moving Temporary Files to Memory (RAM):
Before starting this process it’s a good idea to backup the fstab file:

sudo cp /etc/fstab /etc/fstab.bak

The next step is to edit fstab:

gksudo gedit /etc/fstab 

Add the following 

"discard" - "Enables
 TRIM to help manage disk performance over the long-term."

"noatime" "Disables the updating of access time for both files and directories so that reading a file does not update their access time." 
"nodiratime" - "Disables updating of access time when opening directories so that the access time is not modified when enumerating directories. This routine also checks that the object is a directory, which slows down the routine."

 for "/" and add the next lines at the end of the file , as shown in the screenshot below:

tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,size=1G,mode=1777 0 0
tmpfs /var/tmp tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=1777 0 0
tmpfs /var/log tmpfs defaults,noatime,mode=0755 0 0 
tmpfs /var/log/apt tmpfs defaults,noatime 0 0

The first line mounts /tmp in memory with a size limit of 1 gig. This may be larger than you need. If you exceed this limit the swap area will be used.
The second line mounts /var/tmp into memory. The third mounts the logfiles in /var/log–note this means that a reboot will clear your log files which may not be what you want. The fourth line mounts the temporary files associated with apt into memory.
The new mount points will become active on your next reboot.

Switching I/O Schedulers

First, list which options you have available with the following command, replacing “X” with the letter of your root drive:
cat /sys/block/sdX/queue/scheduler

To change the scheduler one must edit the grub entries :

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

sudo update-grub
sudo reboot

If you happen to have tlp installed skip the previous step and edit tlp configuration to use "deadline" or "noop" scheduler :

sudo gedit /etc/default/tlp 

Uncomment the line and replace "cfq cfq" with "noop noop" (for SSD/SSD) or "noop cfq" (for SSD/HDD). 
"Deadline" and "noop" are recommended for SSD's and "cfq" is recommended to be used with HDD.

While these settings will improve performance the most noticeable gain can be achieved by installed linux-ck (Linux Kernel with the ck3 patchset featuring the Brain Fuck Scheduler) . We will go into more detail about linux-ck and the BFS in a different article . 

Tune Swappiness

You can check what the value of vm.swappiness is set to by:

sysctl -a | grep vm.swappiness

If you have a lot of RAM this tweak is for you .The swappiness value controls the Linux kernel’s tendency to swap – that is, move information out of RAM and onto the swap file on the disk. It accepts a value between 0 and 100. In order to change swappines value we need to /etc/sysctl.conf:

sudo gedit /etc/sysctl.conf

Look for vm.swappiness in the file and change its value. If it doesn’t exist, add it to the end of the file on a new line.

vm.swappiness=1 (1” is the minimum possible “active swapping” setting while “0” means disable swapping completely and only revert to when RAM is completely filled. Using these settings in low-spec systems of 2GB RAM or less may cause freezes and make the OS completely unresponsive)

sudo sysctl -p