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Modern Software Development on Low-end Computers 
If you have an older computer - or a computer sporting a smaller amount of memory / hard drive - you need to know about Lubuntu.

Tiny Brains


While there are several flavors of Linux that will yet work on smaller footprints, those wanting to use modern incarnations of C/C++, Python, Java, PHP, and other technologies would also like to have the latest software development tools.

Yet while always possible for the do-it-yourselfer on just about any Linux 'Distro, even those unafraid of long DIY efforts prefer avoiding such safaris...


Did I mention that I also wanted to use a 32 bit computer?

Mac Mini Support


My A1176 (i5 Core Solo) came with 512MB of RAM, and a 60GB hard drive.



While I had RAM that I could pull from other devices in-the-closet, I did not mind waiting for the upgrade to arrive from China.

'Bagging the requisite 2x1GB DDR2 upgrade on eBay for under $4.oo for the pair (free shipping, of course ;), the game is now afoot.

Ubunti?


Whilst waiting on that slow-boat to arrive from China, I went looking for a silver bullet OS for my Mac Mini. We originally opted for Ubuntu 10.10.

No longer readily supported for those modern editions of R&D tools however, we resisted the temptation to go "big-game" hunting to instead set our sights on Lubuntu 14.04.

We are presently stalking 14.04.05. Will let you know how it works out!

p.s. If you are looking for a great 'IoT' (lol) server to use for posting content to 'Twitter & elsewhere, discover - at the time of this new-year's undertaking - that one can score an old Mac Mini on eBay for under $50.

While still 32 bits, a T7600 Processor (i5 Dual Core) upgrade for all Intel Mac Minis is under $20.oo.

Once explored, discover also that maxed-out versions of a Mac Mini - which are completely capable of using Ubuntu 17.x - can be proudly brought-down & operationally enthroned in your trophy-case for under $60!

PROJECT UPDATE:

16 days latter, the RAM arrived. With the assistance of some oversized putty knives, the update was relatively (read: 'for an Apple device' ;-) easy to do.

(1) After removing the cover, the most difficult thing was to disconnect that tiny 2-wire power cable to the main board... I could easily see how people might make the mistake of doing that incorrectly. (i.e. It is a socketed, plastic pair. The top of the connector connects to a plastic base, NOT staking pins, so BE SURE TO wiggle it apart, do NOT attempt to pry it off of the mother board!)

(2) Next, the antenna also fell off of the Airport card whilst pulling-apart that 'mobo, but - unlike the power connector (!) - the antenna was easy to replace. (i.e. While I thought the copper snapped-off something, after staring at it in disbelief for a few, it was just a funky, socketed, connector. -Was easy to push the antenna back on the Airport card once the cerebral-shock wore off. (lol))



(3) As fate would have it, version 17.10.1 of Lubuntu was also waiting for us in the wings... Can you say 'Booya?

Happy Apple-Hacking!

-Randall








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Linux: Fixing Cura Installation Mishaps 
If you are one of us who likes to install several things at a time using "sudo bash," then from time to time you might be tempted to run what you have installed as "root."



When upgrading to the most recent version of FreeCAD & Cura, I recently made such a mistake.

In as much as I was running as 'root' - and in as much as Cura decided on creating my ./usr/local files in my login-account's home folder, the problem was that I could not access the same when running under my default account.



When NOT running as 'root,' not only did I have to perpetually re-define my 3D printer defaults, but from time to time Cura itself would simply stop responding ("hang") whilst attempting to do so.

Ignoring the temptation to simply re-boot, I had no choice but to `ps -al`, then kill it.

ztwofixes...


Rather than removing & re-installing everything, the solution - obviously - was to simply change access to the Cura file set. For the uninitiated, we must note that changing permissions is merely a matter of using `chown` and `chgrp` on the above rooted-folder set.

Of course, one could also just blow it all away, then simply run Cura once again from your default account login:



--Sharing is caring!


-Randall

p.s: If you are looking for a PPA designed to allow us to use Cura under Ubuntu, then click here.



For a nice overview of how to install Cura on Ubuntu, you can click here.

Finally, in as much a links tend to come and go, here is my update to what the above link tells us to do:

sudo rm -rf ~/.config/cura/*
sudo rm -rf ~/.local/cura/*
rm -rf ~/.config/cura/*
rm -rf ~/.local/cura/*
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:thopiekar/cura
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt install cura cura-plugins-all cura-extra-plugins-all

Note: When using your own login, using the 'sudo' command (as shown above) will keep us from accidentally running Cura - or anything else - as 'root.'

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Backing Up Files Across Multiple Devices 
There you have them - sitting in a box. --From lots of CDs / DVDs, to far too many USB sticks to contemplate.

Rather than sitting there - waiting for us to toss them out - wouldn't it be nice if we could use them to backup our 'stuff?

Backup Splits


Much like in the days when we had lots of drive-tapes, the challenge is to split a `too-big` collection of files, across a `too-small` series of media. A problem almost as old as computing itself, fortunately all POSIX systems come with a program called `tar`!

sudo mkdir /d_backup 2> /dev/null
sudo chmod 777 /d_backup
cp $0 /d_backup
cd /d_backup
name=`date +d_drive_%Y_%j.tar`
echo Creating $name from $0
tar -cf ./$name /d_drive/
split -d -b 4480m ./$name

In the above, my task is to routinely back-up /d_drive into a folder named /d_backup. Once created, I want to split a julian-dated backup file into 4GB slices, from there to manually burn them out to a 2nd generation DVD drive. (*)

Splits Restored


To restore the files, all we need do is to (1) undo the `split,` by copying (2) all of the media-content to the hard drive, then (3) un-tar the concatenation:

cat * > d_drive.tar
tar xvf d_drive.tar

(*) Note that while the above `split` uses 4480 for the splits, that one should adjust the size to match the least-common size-denominator for any and all external media.



Sharing is caring!


-Rn



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