Free Video Conferencing with appear.in

If you have been keeping up with my blog you will know that I am a Linux user. Being a Linux user you are, at times, left behind on really cool and exciting software. It’s just a hard fact that most companies do not consider developing software for Linux and focus more on Windows and Mac. It’s actually really annoying. However, it doesn’t hinder me from being productive and getting things done.

One of the tools out there that I have found lacking and with good support is video conferencing with screen sharing. Products like WebEx, Join.me, GoToMeeting, and Skype just don’t have great support for Linux. I’ve used Teamviewer, Hangouts and Jitsi and all are pretty decent for Linux but have their flaws. Recently, I came across a really good tool called appear.in. You can visit and create your own free room by visiting here:

appear_in

And one of the coolest features of this free service is that they have a mobile app for Android and iOS for those on the go.

I’ve tested it out a little, both the desktop and mobile app for Android, with a co-worker using video conferencing and screen sharing, both worked really well, even on Linux (Fedora 24 with Google Chrome).

One of these days when I get some extra time (we have a 8 month old in the house keeping us pretty busy) I may try to schedule a video conference with a few people to see how well it holds up with a large group.

X2Go For Remote Linux

I listen to a couple of podcast that center around the discussion of Linux over at Jupiter Broadcasting. Recently on episode #71 of the Linux Unplugged show in their post-show they discussed X2Go, a technology similar to NoMachine. This discussion was very intriguing to me because I had been searching for a thin client type of access to a Linux machine, especially at work when working from a Windows machine when I need to work on a Linux machine. This motivated me to do some research and attempt to setup my own access to a Linux machine using X2Go. This is what I setup for myself. But keep in mind that this may not be the correct way to setup an X2Go server, this is just what worked for me.

I already had an account and a cloud server with DigitalOcean so I deployed an Ubuntu 14.04 Server and setup everything this way:

1. For Ubuntu 14.04, install repositories:

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:x2go/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install x2goserver x2goserver-xsession

http://wiki.x2go.org/doku.php/doc:installation:x2goserver

2. Install preferred Desktop Environment on the server. For Ubuntu Server 14.04, here are the steps for Mate:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/ppa
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/trusty-mate
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-extras

http://wiki.x2go.org/doku.php/doc:de-compat

3. Install the X2Go client on your local computer:

http://wiki.x2go.org/doku.php/doc:installation:x2goclient

4. Create the session information for your connection within the X2Go client.
5. Connect.

This is a screenshot of my connection from Windows 7 to the remote server:

x2go

If I need to, I can configure the session to go full screen. I created a couple of shell scripts on my desktop to change the resolution depending on if I am connecting from my laptop or from my laptop with a external monitor connected with a different resolution.

Here is a screenshot at full screen:

x2gofull

Convert Video to Audio (mp3) in Linux Mint 14

I just came across a scenario where I needed to strip the audio out of a YouTube video file I had created in a Google Hangouts on Air recorded last night for The Unique Geek podcast. I found this post and it did exactly what I needed. Basically, I used the tool avconv via terminal but needed to install the codec necessary to convert to .mp3. The command to install the codec is this:

sudo apt-get install libavcodec-extra-53

I then used the following command to complete the conversion:

avconv -i video.mp4 -ab 192000 audio.mp3

Audio Static In Linux Mint No More

I’ve posted a couple of times that I have had audio static issues in my Linux Mint 14 install. I completely forgot to post that it was fixed thanks to the Linux Mint community over on Google Plus.

Here’s is what was posted there:

Hmm… being intermittent like it is, and not being external, it could be a timing problem. You could try editing /etc/pulse/default.pa, search for the line:
‘load-module module-udev-detect’
and edit it to:
‘load-module module-udev-detect tsched=0’
If there’s any options past “detect” then just comment the line out (so you can restore it if needed) and add the new setting below it.

You’ll have to reboot to be sure the new setting takes effect. If it’s a timer/scheduling problem that should take care of it, if the problem’s with Pulse to begin with.

Google Helpouts – Do You Need Help?

Google started a new program that went live today called Google Helpouts. You can get more information here. And nice intro video here:

I applied to be a part of this new service and was accepted. I will be offering Computer and Networking Assistance in Google Helpouts new service. If you need help with anything relating to technology I can offer my assistance to you. You can find my listing here (clicky the linky and image):

Computer and Network Assistance

Helpouts

Android KitKat Bars Found in the U.S.A.

So, as some of you may know, Android announced at the beginning of September that their next release would be code name KitKat 4.4. Since the announcement, in conjunction with Hershey’s, a contest has started. Here is the site with the details. Also since then I’ve been looking for KitKat bars in Orlando without any luck. I’ve been watching the Android Community on Google Plus and it seems that the Android KitKat bars have been really scarce. Only a few found in Europe and South Africa and none in the United States. At least until now. I finally found them in the local Publix supermarket near me.

I posted it on Google Plus.

What is really cool is the first wrapper I opened I won, a $5 gift card to the Google Play store. However, what I found out is that it is only one entry per day. I bought four bars. I’m about to open the second one today.