How to format your SD card to EXT4 for Dropbox compatibility in Ubuntu

How to format your SD card to EXT4 for Dropbox compatibility in Ubuntu

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I am using a low cost laptop for everyday work (browsing, productivity apps for office work and so forth). The main pro of this type of laptop is the low cost, as I already mentioned, whereas the basic con is speed and hard disk limitation. The solution for the latter cis to add a SD memory card that serves as a permanent external drive.

So I have set up my laptop with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, improving the speed and memory management dramatically and I bought an SD 32GB memory card which I formatted as NTFS in order to be able to plug it both in my laptop that runs Linux and also, if needed, to Windows machines.

One of the top reasons I needed extra space was to be able to sync my Dropbox account with my laptop since I usually need to work on documents when I am away of office i.e. when traveling.

At some point I received an e-mail by Dropbox saying that I had to change my SD card format to EXT4 for Linux, otherwise my Dropbox folder would stop syncing. The e-mail was the following:

Hi Apostolos,

A few months ago, we let you know that the Dropbox desktop system requirements were changing. On at least one of your computers, your Dropbox folder will stop syncing because it’s on a file system or partition that no longer meets the requirements.

How to fix

So your files can start syncing again, choose a new location for your Dropbox folder:

  • Hagnes, Linux 4.13.0-46-generic
    Move Dropbox to an Ext4 drive

How to move Dropbox

Why this changed

Focusing on the most common configurations lets us bring you new features, better performance, and the security that your files are safe and synced in Dropbox.

I fail to understand why, since NTFS is the format of choice for Windows can still be allowed as an option for Linux installations but I’ll leave that for another post.

Below you can find the steps I followed to comply with the new guidelines of Dropbox and along with them, I couple of challenges I faced up doing so.

Step 1. You change the format of you SD card from whatever to EXT4 (and only EXT4)

This is an easy step. All you have to do is:

  1. Back up any files you need from your SD card since the format will erase everything.
  2. Format the SD card to EXT4 using gparted:
    1. Open gparted app (or install it if you don’t already have it).
    2. Select the SD card disc from the dropdown of disks.
    3. Unmount the SD card disc.
    4. Right click on the unmounted drive and select format to EXT4.
    5. Apply the changes.
    6. When the format is done, remove the SD card and plug it again.

Step 2. Open the Dropbox app and set as Dropbox folder the SD card

  1. Click on the Dropbox icon on the menu bar.
  2. Select “Preferences…”.
  3. Choose the tab “Sync”.
  4. Click “Move” to the “Dropbox folder location”.
  5. Choose the path of the newly formatted SD card (you don’t need to create the Dropbox folder).
  6. Click “Apply”.

You’ll see the Dropbox folder appearing automatically in your SD card.

Things that might go sideways

1. You might not have writing rights to your SD cards.

If you find yourself not being able to write things on your SD card after formatting it to EXT4 don’t sweat it! Follow the guidelines on this post and you’ll be all right πŸ™‚

2. Right click on your touchpad is not working

How can the touchpad not working because of the SD card format? You might ask… Not really sure but if you stumble upon this issue, follow the guidelines on this post and your problem will be resolved πŸ™‚

(Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash)

How to automatically set a random Unsplash photo as your Ubuntu wallpaper using bash script

How to automatically set a random Unsplash photo as your Ubuntu wallpaper using bash script

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Are you easily getting bored from using the same wallpaper to your Ubuntu machine? Here’s an easy way of enjoying a variety of easily interchangeable wallpapers with photos available as public domain, via Unsplash.com.

All you have to do is create an shell script file (i.e. unsplash.sh) using the following code and execute it every time you want a “fresh” wallpaper.

#/bin/bash

wget -O /tmp/wallpaper.jpg https://unsplash.it/2560/1440/?random
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background picture-uri file:///tmp/wallpaper.jpg

Enjoy!

(source code originally found at youness.net)

How to completely remove kubuntu desktop from your Ubuntu 14.04

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Say you wanna try (for fun) to experience the Kubuntu desktop environment while you run Ubuntu 14.04. Now say that after you play a while you decide you wanna go back to your familiar Ubuntu interface and you wanna get read of the Kubuntu desktop you have installed.

If you are not lucky (I usually am not!) things will get messy!

Long story short, it happened to me this morning and it took me some time to get things back to normal. Here’s what I did (hopefully it will save you some time).

CALL TO ACTION: If you do the routine and the problem is not resolved or you take some extra steps, or whatever, please leave a comment so as to help future readers πŸ™‚ THANKS!

THE ROUTINE

A. You:

sudo apt-get remove --purge kde-plasma-desktop kde-workspace kubuntu* plymouth-theme-kubuntu-logo plymouth-theme-kubuntu-text sudo apt-get autoremove --purge &amp;&amp; apt-get autoclean

[via: askubuntu]

Hopefully everything works fine now!

B. If you find yourself missing some system icons πŸ˜› (sound, language, mouse, etc…) try this:
sudo apt-get remove unity-control-center
sudo apt-get install unity-control-center

[via: askubuntu]

How to make ClickShare work with Ubuntu

Reading Time: 2 min

Last time I had to do a presentation was during ODI’s Train the Trainer program. One of the options we were given in order to connect to the projector was ClickShare. If you don’t know what ClickShare is, watch this!

In order to use ClickShare you have to plug it to your machine. It works like a USB flash drive so a folder opens and gives you executables for Windows and iOS. Normally you install one of them and you are good to go.

But what happens if you use a Linux machine? Well, you will probably have to use a cable because “this thing does not work well with Linux”. That’s what I was told! But it wasn’t good enough for me πŸ™‚

So, if you happen to use Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and want to use ClickShare, all you have to do is:

  1. go here *
  2. download the Linux launcher
  3. install it to your machine
  4. open the application
  5. plug the dongle

If you are getting steady white light then you are good to go (hit it, it will normally go red and your screen should be up!).

NOTE: According to Barco, they currently support  Fedora 20 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. If you are using a different Linux OS this solution will probably not work but you might find some answers to this official thread **!

* [Update] March 10, 2017: Support for the Linux client has ended as it requires an enormous effort to support all the Linux distributions and their quick updates, while the usage rate of the Linux client was/is very limited. (as published on barco.com)

** [Update] June 13, 2017: Thread www.barco.com/en/mybarco/mysupport/productsupport/knowledgebase?kbid=1191&productid=b21eda55-0837-4478-87f6-68d51b71e405 does not exist any more.

[Update] February 17, 2018

Following this gist, some users say that they successfully installed ClickShare to Linux.

NOTE: I haven’t tried it myself so I can’t guarantee it works!

[Update] June 5, 2019

Searching on an old drive I seem to have found the original .deb file that I had installed when I wrote this article. You can download it here.

CAUTION: This .deb meant for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and was tested back in 2015. The is no guarantee that will work with the current versions of Ubuntu and / or Clickshare. You can try at your own risk. 

[Update] November 14, 2019

I requested support from Barco via Twitter. Here’s our discussion!

Cheers!

[Updated] A Windows 10 update tale!

[Updated] A Windows 10 update tale!

Reading Time: 3 min

So this is how it started…

I was already aware that Windows 10 will be freely given to previous Microsoft Windows users (even pirates!) but I felt it was not such a big deal. All the machines worth spending time to keep up to date are pretty much doing it themselves and for free since they run on linux (Ubuntu).

The only machine I own and runs on Windows is my home desktop and it runs on Windows only because other people have access to it and I value democracy πŸ™‚

So, home PC running Windows 7, opportunity for trying Windows 10 for free… a geek’s got to do what has got to do!

win10upgrade-7

(image credit)

FYI, the specs of my machine were:

  • Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q8200 @ 2.33GHz 2.34GHz
  • 3,00 GB RAM

The update Golgotha

The core update to Windows 10 went smoothly but once I was prompted to login, Murphy jumped in!

  1. Wireless Mouse / Keyboard inaccessibility: Apparently is a known issue that Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop 700 v2 doesn’t play well with Windows 10 (yet?). I didn’t expect every single device to work out of the box with Windows 10 but I would expect (at least) Microsoft hardware to be compatible πŸ™ Anyways I changed to cable mouse / keyboard and proceeded.
  2. My DVD drive was not automatically detected ( o.O ): Thinking back, over time I have used: Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7. I cannot remember a single time when a CD / DVD drive wasn’t automatically detected! Well, I guess there’s a first time for everything.
    • FIX: Should you face the same problem, this solution worked like charm for me! Don’t forget to restart πŸ˜‰
  3. After logging in for the first time “special” buttons (start, notifications, search) did not work:
    • FIX: Restart (legit: right click to the windows icon and choose restart) a couple of times and everything should be fine.

The One Drive Perk

Along with Windows 10, came the One Drive suggestion. Once you have updated, the one drive application starts automatically with windows and prompts you to login or create an account if you don’t already have one. Initially I thought about skipping the whole thing since the 59 gigs in Dropbox and the 15 gigs in Google Drive are more than enough for me (at least for the time being). However, since a little more free space to the cloud never hurt anybody I decided to enable One Drive as well. I was surprised (positively) to able to subscribe using my Gmail account and not having to create a new one to Microsoft.

BmzsB1uIcAABzSp

(image credit)

Everything went smoothly and now I have 15 gigs of space that I’ll probably never use πŸ˜›

Microsft Office: The unexpected Perk!

After everything was solved I decided that it was time to relax and watch a couple of Gotham episodes! Since I keep the progress of the TV Series I watch on a spreadsheet, initially I went for Libre Office! Then I remembered that I always wanted to give a shot to MS Office 2013 since my last experience was with MS Office 2010. Normally you have to pay but thanks to my academic affiliation, as a PhD candidate with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, I get to use it for free!

FireShot Screen Capture #248 - 'Office 365' - portal_office_com_Home#

I think academic accounts are also entitled to 1 TB One Drive space for 1 year!

The future!

Up to now, I have seen several pros and cons to Windows 10. I might get back with another post listing them. There’s also an interesting discussion about Windows 10 features & privacy to the following episode of This Week In Tech.

Enjoy!

[Update: SEP 13th, 2015]

After less than a month of using Windows 10 the graphics card’s driver stopped working. I tried to find a compatible driver with no luck so I (guess what?) rolled back to Windows 7 πŸ™‚