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

How to Embed and Promote Your Google Helpouts Listing on Your Blog

For those of you that have a listing on the new Google Helpouts service you know that you have the option to promote your listing via Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. There is also the option of selecting Embed so that you can grab the HTML iframe tag code and post it on the web site of your choosing. For the free blogging service, this is not an option, so it was not an option for me. There are workarounds out there that will allow you to do this but some aren’t so easy. This is a workaround I figured out and I hope it helps you too.

It’s best to view this video in 720p HD quality.


It’s that time of year. It’s that time of year when I am always reminded of the movie Better Off Dead with John Cusack. Yes, I know it’s strange to think of that movie during the holidays when most people think of the classic stop-motion animated classics of Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. But here’s why I think of Better Off Dead.

I hope each and everyone of you that read this have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tricks But No Treats

This year has turned out to be a pretty bad Halloween season for me.  I was in pain for most of last week leading up to the holiday with possible gallstones (I say possible because the doctor was not quite sure but gave me medicine for gallstones that seemed to fix it) and right now it is warm and rainy in Central Florida.

To add to the tricks, I’ll leave you with a clip from a pretty horrible Halloween movie.

Happy Halloween!

Dead Island Vacation

The video game Dead Island came out last month so I placed it in my Gamefly queue in hopes to have it in before Halloween and finally received it last Friday. I spent a good portion of Friday night and Sunday afternoon playing this game and fell in love with it. If you are familiar with Borderlands it’s very much the same game concept. Sort of like a role playing game set on an island hacking up zombies.

At the beginning of the year we got a glimpse of the game through a teaser trailer. A completely amazing teaser trailer. It was one of those types of trailers that actually made my eyes a little damp from the sadness. If you haven’t seen it, here it is.

Amazing, right? Well, while I was playing the game over the weekend my 12 year old was watching me play it and searching up tips on You Tube at the same time when he came across this parody video. It’s pretty funny.

Desktop System Monitor on Linux Mint 10 and OS X

Hello. My name is Ed and I’m a tech geek.

I thought I would get that confession out of the way first. Of course, those close to me already know that about me. This post will be evidence enough that I really am a tech geek. Desktop system monitoring is something that can be used as a badge to show off just how geeky you are but in all actuality, it can be very useful. Behold the badge of my geekiness with this screenshot of my MacBook OS X desktop using GeekTool.

MacBook desktop with custom text embedded with GeekTool

And more recently:

MacBook desktop with custom text embedded with GeekTool

As you can see there are some useful monitors on my desktop that gauge my memory, CPU and drive space. Just in the past few months since that last Tron Legacy screenshot I have also added a fan speed monitor of my MacBook. The calendar portion at the bottom, though, is not part of GeekTool and can be found here as a free download. The easiest way I have found to configure GeekTool is by installing Geeklets. Basically, they are preconfigured scripts to add to GeekTool to give you the monitors you see on those screenshots. Now as you see above I have a pretty basic desktop on my MacBook. There are some guys and gals out there that have done some AMAZING desktops as evident on this page. I especially like the comic book strips toward the middle; more so, the desktop monitor story as told by the Buffy comic. Look closely at the dialog.

Now over on the Linux side we have something called Conky. I had heard of the utility before but had never used it until today. The guys over at Web Upd8, the Ubuntu/Linux blog, posted a really cool article on Conky Lunatico Rings that someone created over at I followed the instructions posted on Web Upd8 and configured my own version with a green color scheme instead of the orange using Andrew’s ‘no wireless’ tweak found in the post and posted a brief video to display my desktop.

The video quality isn’t so great, I know, so I apologize. Here is a closer screenshot to get a better view.

Conky Lunatico Rings using Conky on Linux Mint 10

Other than the color, I was also able to change the position as the default was more toward the middle of my display and I changed the disk monitor from used space to free space.

For Windows users out there you are probably wondering if there is anything like this for you, and there is. I’ve not used them so I’m not too familiar with them but go check out Rainmeter and Samurize.

My New Dell Vostro V130 With Linux Mint 11

It’s been long enough after using it to now blog about it. Recently, I decided to try to buy a thin and lightweight laptop that is more practical than a netbook to use for my technical consulting business (more info found at The Dell Mini 9 netbook I had purchased back in 2008 has been a very useful computer for basic internet browsing but it wasn’t practical for work use. Most of my work functions involve some word processing when composing contracts, invoices and such; network troubleshooting on routers and switches; and other various tools needed for troubleshooting computers and servers. The ideal candidate I had found for the job was, originally, the Dell Vostro V13. However, Dell came out with its successor, the Dell Vostro V130, that is a little more powerful and added functionality with an HDMI port and an additional USB port while still staying within the same price range as the V13. I shopped the Dell outlet store waiting for the perfect price point since my budget wanted me to stay under $450. The only issue with this is that in order to stay under that price I needed to avoid the new i3/i5 processor and stick with the lesser powered Celeron processor. After waiting for several days the Dell outlet never produced what I was looking for. So, instead, I searched eBay and found what I was looking for at an affordable price of $390 in a refurbished model originally purchased from the Dell outlet. Below I decided to post a brief video of the Vostro v130. My apologies ahead of time for the shaky camera.

This is what came with the Vostro:

  • Vostro V130 UltraSleek Laptop 0.65″ at thinnest point (0.78″ at thickest) & 3.5lbs
  • Color: Aberdeen Silver
  • 2 GB Memory (1x2GB), 1333MHz Dual Ranked RDIMM
  • Dell Wireless 1702 802.11n/BT3.0 Networking Combo Card
  • 320 GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM)
  • 2.0MP Webcam
  • Keyboard on Notebook
  • 6 Cell Primary Battery
  • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Trend Micro 16.6 PC-cillin 30 Day
  • 64BIT Operating System
  • 65W AC Adapter
  • 13.3 inch Widescreen HD (1366×768) with Anti-Glare
  • 125V Power Cord
  • VGA & HDMI Port
  • Processor: Intel Celeron Processor ULV U3600 (2M Cache, 1.2GHz, 800 MHz FSB)
  • Dimensions & Weight:
  • Width: 13″ / 330mm
  • Height: (front/back) 0.65-0.78inches/16.5-19.7mm
  • Depth: 9.06″ / 230mm
  • Starting weight: 3.5lbs/1.59kg (with 6-cell battery)

As mentioned in the video, Linux Mint 11 works really well installed on the Vostro V130. Since Ubuntu moved, a few versions ago, to using Unity as its primary interface, I started using Linux Mint as my preferred Linux distribution. It’s basically a branch of Ubuntu but leaning more toward Debian based without the annoyance of Unity. It’s definitely an operating system I would recommend to anyone especially since it is free to download, install and use without any cost to you. Below is a screenshot of the elegant desktop and menu of Linux Mint 11 Main Edition.

Screenshot-Linux Mint 11.png

Some of you that know me know that I also own a MacBook and are probably wondering why I just don’t use that for my consulting. I was using it for a while but since it is getting a little long in the tooth – I purchased it way back in 2006 – I was afraid of it getting thrown around too much in my duties that it would die sooner than I would like it to (I LOVE my MacBook). Also, if you have ever held the black MacBook from that line you know that those aren’t too lite, especially compared to the Vostro V130.

I have been really impressed, so far, with the performance and mobility of the Vostro V130. And benefiting from the installation of Linux Mint 11 is just an added bonus. Those that may have some apprehension of buying something like this and losing performance will be as surprised as I. The only issue with the Vostro V130 that most reviews have mentioned is the battery life. On average, like others, I’ve gotten about 2 hours worth of battery power. But, in most cases for me, that is enough to work off of onsite when working with my clients before having to plug it in at home to recharge.

C-beams Glitter in the Dark

For those that don’t know me, I am a huge Blade Runner fan. If you look back on this blog you will get a few hints of just how much of a fan. Well today I received a package in the mail of an item I have been wanting to get for myself from Think Geek for a very long time; the Blade Runner LED umbrella. Here is picture of myself holding it.

Blade Runner umbrella

The only problem with the LED in this umbrella is that it is not as bright as was portrayed in the film, as seen in this shot.

But, I really don’t have a lot to complain about since it was free. Think Geek has a program that as you buy items you accumulate points to use toward merchandise. Well, having purchased a lot for Christmas presents this past year, I accrued enough points to get the umbrella.

Now, if only I could get the Rick Deckard blaster prop I would then be a very, very happy Blade Runner fan.

On the subject of Blade Runner fans, check out this fan made video I found by Onur Yeldan.