Installing Elementary OS “Loki” on 32bit architecture

I have an old Lenovo IdeaPad S10-2 with an Intel Atom processor that has mostly been lying around, since I mostly use my desktop for my day-to-day stuff and I have a halfway decent laptop to take with me. So I decided I wanted to give it to a friend who could really use it, but unfortunately, it has always had some serious performance issues, no matter which desktop environment I tried. It came pre-installed with Windows XP, which I dumped almost immediately, but even that wasn’t working so well. I tried pretty much every Linux DE installable from the Ubuntu repositories, including Mate and LXDE. The only one that made it sort of usable was Openbox, and that’s stretching the definition of usable a bit. So I didn’t feel to great about giving it to a non-techie friend.

Recently, though, I came across Elementary OS and tried it in a virtual machine. I was pleasantly surprised, both by its performance and the simplicity of its user interface. I did a little Googling and found this article on how to install the Pantheon desktop on top of an existing Ubuntu 17.10 installation (which is what I had running on the netbook, Ubuntu Mate 17.10.) The PPAs listed in that article have 32bit versions, so I tried those. It worked great, and the performance was the best I’ve ever had on that netbook. So I decided that I wanted to dump the Ubuntu installation and start with Elementary OS from scratch, only to discover that there are no 32bit images. I did some more research, but all the forum discussions I found told me it couldn’t be done. I refused to settle for that, and I did figure it out. I thought I’d share the process. Continue reading Installing Elementary OS “Loki” on 32bit architecture

Backing up local WordPress installation to encrypted Dropbox folder

(Note: This was done on Ubuntu 15.10, but should apply to other Linux distros as well)

I’m running a local WordPress installation for my personal diary, and I was looking for a way to automatically back up the database. On my WordPress sites that are online and hosted with my service provider, such as this one, I’m using a great plugin for the task, WP-DB-Backup by Austin Matzko. Works great and does exactly what it says. You can manually back up or have a regular backup sent to you per e-mail. For my local installation, however, this is not an option since I don’t want to install and configure a mail server as well. And even if I did, the file would still be in a local e-mail, which would make backing it up to Dropbox all the harder.

After quite a bit of digging and experimenting I Continue reading Backing up local WordPress installation to encrypted Dropbox folder

WhatsApp on the Linux Desktop

Some genius created a cross-platform “client” for WhatsApp on the desktop. It’s not actually a stand alone client, since WhatsApp doesn’t provide an open API. Rather, it’s a wrapper for WhatsApp Web, the company’s own web client. I had some problems getting it to work, though. There seems to be a user agent related problem. WhatsApp Web wants you to use mainstream browsers, apparently. The initial login worked, but after a restart, all I got was this:

WhatsApp failed login

Somebody else reported the same issue, and while there doesn’t seem to be an official fix yet, the workaround was posted in the comments. It works by deleting the cache. On Linux, this can be found under ~/.config/UnofficialWhatsApp/Application\ Cache. Removing this folder fixes the problem, and you’ll be able to log in again. It’s a hassle, though, having to do that every time before you start the client, so I wrote a little script called “whatsapp”:

rm -r ~/.config/UnofficialWhatsApp/Application\ Cache

I placed this in my ~/bin folder, then copied the desktop file from /opt/WhatsAppForDesktop/whatsappfordesktop.desktop to ~/.local/share/applications and edited it to point to ~/bin/whatsapp instead of the original location. For now this seems to be working.

Other than that, it works great.

Concept check

We’re planning to do a promotion video for Alan, and we had some ideas that needed to be tested on the technical level. To find out if my latest idea for the project can be done with the means at our disposal, I created this little video of me singing with… me 😉 The quality isn’t that great, but that’s mostly because I worked with webm files as a basis and there were several conversion steps involved. I didn’t want to create a giant project just for a concept check. Enjoy!

I have to admit, I was surprised how well this worked. Here’s how I did it: Continue reading Concept check