Fixing VirtualBox after the unRAID 5.0.5 upgrade

I have been experiencing some troubles with the TimeMachine backups from my Macs to my unRAID server since the release of unRAID 5.0. As it happens, 5.0.5 was released a couple of weeks ago which according to other forum users should fix the TimeMachine issues.

The upgrade was a smooth process as always. There was however an issue with the new version of VirtualBox, compiled for the kernel version of unRAID 5.0.5 – it didn’t work.

Nars on the unRAID forums has kindly built a new version of VirtualBox which works perfectly, and to replace the broken version, just complete these steps:

  1. Download the replacement package to /boot/config/plugins/virtualbox, and remove the old package which should be located in the same directory.
  2. Download the extension pack from the VirtualBox download page to the same directory as mentioned above. Rename the file to remove the build number. It should look something like this: “Oracle_VM_VirtualBox_Extension_Pack–4.3.6.vbox-extpack”
  3. Run “/etc/rc.d/rc.virtualbox install” and you should have a fully functional VirtualBox once again.

I would expect the official build to catch up soon, but not being able to start your virtual machines for a while will surely cause serious headaches for many people.

How to remove files with special characters in Linux

I recently found myself having to remove a file with special characters. Using rm only gave me “rm: unrecognized option”, which forced me to take off the gloves.

To remove a file with dashes, slashes or other special characters, the easiest way is to access the file using its inode. To get the inode of a file, just do a ls -li. When you have that number, use find to delete the file using the following command:

find . -inum [inode] -exec rm -i {} \;

Good hunting!

Shell script to show a file and optionally delete it

I needed to open a number of files and depending on the content, delete them. Here is a quick bash script to cat the file and ask a question to delete the file afterwards.

#!/bin/bash

VIEWER="cat"

if [ -d $1 ]
then
     DIR=$1
else
     echo "Enter a directory to clean"
     exit 1
fi

for file in `ls $DIR`
do
     $VIEWER $DIR/$file
     echo -n "Delete file (y/n)? "
     read RESP
     if [ $RESP == "y" ]
     then
          echo "Deleting $DIR/$file"
          rm -f $DIR/$file
     fi
done

You can change the viewer to something else, if you don’t want to use cat, and instead of deleting the file, you might want to move it somewhere else instead.

Unity, and Ubuntu Light

Unity, and Ubuntu Light is a post from Mark Shuttleworth, describing the future of Ubuntu as a netbook and light web browsing operating system.

A few months ago we took on the challenge of building a version of Ubuntu for the dual-boot, instant-on market. We wanted to be surfing the web in under 10 seconds, and give people a fantastic web experience. We also wanted it to be possible to upgrade from that limited usage model to a full desktop.

He continues to talk about touch being a target input for this OS, so making it easy to navigate, changing applications with the touch of a finger has added to the design decisions.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS released

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was just released with amazing new features and fixes including:

  • New Ubuntu Software Center
  • New splash screen using plymouth
  • UbuntuOne Music Store (with Rhythmbox integration)
  • New “Memenu” that lets you post to twitter/identi.ca (using Gwibber) and also change your IM status in Empathy.
  • Lots and lots of bug fixes

This is a LTS release, meaning that it will be supported until 2013 for desktops and 2015 for servers.

More at Lifehacker

Getting push replies for Twitter for free

I wanted to get notified on Twitter replies and mentions instantly, both on my Mac and on my iPhone. Since Google released Push for the iPhone a couple of weeks ago, an email based solution would be perfect.

Get Twitter Mentions is a bash script well suited for this task. It is easily customizable and you can run is as often as you like. Just add a crontab like the following on a Linux server of your choice:

*/2 * * * * /home/joch/bin/send-mentions-as-email.sh

This will execute the script every two minutes and email you if there are any new updates. Just make sure that you keep the requests well within the API limits (currently 150 requests per hour), or your API access may be revoked for a while. The emails are very well designed, having the tweets in the subjects for easy viewing and a full profile and other types of information right there in the email.

The following pictures are taken from the author’s site, but shows in a very clear way how things look.

Safe document writing using Dropbox

dropbox-logoLots of people who write articles or create content in any form, often find themselves generating lots of files. A writer will for instance probably have lots of article drafts laying around. Everyone have different solutions for revision control and backup, ranging from a simple manual file copy to using a full-fledged revision control system such as Subversion.

For everyone else, there is a simple solution for keeping backups of your work in progress, as well as being able to retrieve any previous revision. In addition to all this, it even lets you sync files between multiple computers and access your files online from any computer with internet access.

I guess you know by now that I am talking about Dropbox, a service available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It installs a small application on your computer which monitors a configurable directory for changes and uploads them automatically to the Dropbox servers.

dropbox-revisions

The free version offers 2 GB of space, which should be enough for most people. For photographers and other people dealing with lots of large files, there also a premium option available which gives you 50 GB for $99 per year.

The web interface is beautiful and easy to use for navigating your Dropbox and downloading the files. This is also the place for viewing older revisions for your files and delete, copy, rename and delete them.

dropbox-events

A very handy feature is the ability to share folders with other Dropbox users! If you are working together with other people in a project, just share a folder between you and everyone will instantly have access to all changes in the project folder – automatically.

dropbox-publicThere is even a way of sharing files with non Dropbox users. There is a special folder in the root of the Dropbox named “Public”. Putting files here makes it possible to right-click on the files and copy a public URL for it. To let other people download the file, it’s just a matter of sharing the link with them. They can’t of course make changes to it, nor view its revision history.

Another special folder in the Dropbox root is the Photos folder, which creates instant photo albums for viewing on the web by anyone. This is definitely the easiest way of getting a photo album up on the web, since you only need to copy or move the pictures to this special folder on your computer – Dropbox does the rest.

All iPhone users out there, and possible other phone owners, can access the iPhone web interface too for downloading files in the Dropbox. It is even possible to view the uploaded photo galleries.

dropbox-iphone

There is a tour available on the website which explains all features more in-depth.

Upcoming features include:

  • Timeline based undo
  • Online visualization for any file type
  • An iPhone application/interface that let us download files of interest (pdf, docs, pictures..)
  • Watch any folder support (configurable per host)
  • Better shared folder controls (permissions, etc.)
  • Online edition for text files
  • Add friends
  • Improve Upload Speed
  • Group accounts

If you decide to give Dropbox a go, consider using my referral link when you sign up. That way, both you and I get additional storage for free!

Disclaimer: From this article it may seem like I work for Dropbox, but I don’t. I just like their service a lot!

Spotify — the future of music

Spotify, now in public beta, takes a whole new approach to music. All music resides on the Spotify servers, and as a user, you stream the music using the internet.

Where it gets interesting is that you can either pay a fixed fee and listen all music you want without any interruptions. There is also a free option, where short commercial messages are inserted between songs in intervals which seem to be around half an hour.

Since the software is in public beta, you need an invite to use the service. If I happen to have an invite, I will of course share it with commenters to this post. There is another option though — paying for the service for a month. If you like the service after using it for a month, just continue paying or terminate the subscription. Your account will then become a free account, and you can continue to use Spotify, but with the ads injected.

There is a Windows and Mac client available at this moment. There have been reports that the Windows version works fine in Linux using Wine, so definitely try it out.

So how does is look like? The following view shows what is new in Spotify.

The next image shows the top list. This can be customised to only show a specific country or the whole world.

The main album view looks like the following. On the top, there are five top hits for that particular artist. It is followed by all albums available, and singles follow. The next section is devoted to albums where the current artist has one or more tracks, which are highlighted.

I have some suggestions to make Spotify even better (in no particular order):

  • Last.FM integration.
  • Music browser (browse by genre, year, artists etc.).
  • Mechanism to correct faulty tags.
  • Social part where users can share songs, playlists and watch each others listening habits.
  • iPhone application

Some of these points seem to be in progress right now, but time will have to tell what will happen in the future when the services goes mainstream, which I am sure they will, as long as they can provide a smooth service without interruptions and errors.