Fixing the Steam Controller udev rules after Linux Mint 18.1 upgrade.

This might apply to other distros of Linux but after upgrading Linux Mint from 18 to 18.1 my Steam Controller stopped working properly in games. Here are the steps I took to fix it. Firstly unplug the steam controller and/or the wireless device.

After the 18.1 upgrade I found that Mint removed a package named steam-devices, so go ahead and open a terminal to reinstall this.

$ sudo apt install steam-devices

Installing this will rewrite your udev rules so we need to fix that up, but thats ok as of 11/22/16 the udev rules needed to be updated anyway.

Open the udev file for the steam controller, if you're using mint you most likely have xed as a text editor, if you don't just drop in whatever you want; gedit, ect. If using a terminal editor like nano or vim replace gksudo with sudo (gksudo is just for GUI programs).

$ gksudo xed /lib/udev/rules.d/99-steam-controller-perms.rules

Then copy the following and paste it in, replacing any text (if any) that exist in that file.

# This rule is needed for basic functionality of the controller in Steam and keyboard/mouse emulation
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="28de", MODE="0666"

# This rule is necessary for gamepad emulation; make sure the user playing steam is in the "games" group, it should be by default.
KERNEL=="uinput", MODE="0660", GROUP="games", OPTIONS+="static_node=uinput"

# Valve HID devices over USB hidraw
KERNEL=="hidraw*", ATTRS{idVendor}=="28de", MODE="0666"

# Valve HID devices over bluetooth hidraw
KERNEL=="hidraw*", KERNELS=="*28DE:*", MODE="0666"

# DualShock 4 over USB hidraw
KERNEL=="hidraw*", ATTRS{idVendor}=="054c", ATTRS{idProduct}=="05c4", MODE="0666"

# DualShock 4 wireless adapter over USB hidraw
KERNEL=="hidraw*", ATTRS{idVendor}=="054c", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0ba0", MODE="0666"

# DualShock 4 Slim over USB hidraw
KERNEL=="hidraw*", ATTRS{idVendor}=="054c", ATTRS{idProduct}=="09cc", MODE="0666"

# DualShock 4 over bluetooth hidraw
KERNEL=="hidraw*", KERNELS=="*054C:05C4*", MODE="0666"

# DualShock 4 Slim over bluetooth hidraw
KERNEL=="hidraw*", KERNELS=="*054C:09CC*", MODE="0666"

Save and close the file, now we need to reload the udev files, in the terminal type in:

$ sudo udevadm control --reload
$ udevadm trigger

That should be it, you can now plug the controller or wireless dongle.
Any updates to the udev rules should be posted at:

My source for most of this information is from here is the post about it.

Update Dec 27th: Thanks to /u/pizza-dude for reminding me to use gksudo with GUI related programs in sudo.
Update Jan 24 2017: Changed the group to "games" something most users are already apart of to begin with. Found this bug out when trying to game on my laptop.


Full Migration from Windows to Linux - Report #4 Choices

Better part of 6 months has passed from my last report and I sure do feel it. Now my last report was about distribution and how I'm cozy in Fedora. Fedora is a fantastic distro, it lets you do anything to it. Even if you want to shoot yourself in the foot, it will hand you the gun and watch you do it. I highly recommend using it if you want to learn the in & outs of everything Linux has to offer with fairly fresh updates to pretty much everything.

Which brings me to my next point, I'm using Linux Mint 18 on both of my machines.

Why the flip flop around distros? Because I'm still learning and also I'm realistic.
To further elaborate, I'm not completely aware of how all of the gears work in Linux so when things break it takes me a bit of time to check everything. While Fedora is quite stable overall, lots of little things would pop out or something handy with a GUI breaks so I have to command line it (for instance the GUI for dnf was broken and figured it was my fault somehow but nope, recent update broke it). While I do enjoy fixing things or finding out something new about the thing I use every day; I've got shit to do.

Just to bring this all around, here are a few things I've discovered while using Fedora in the widest case possible.

  • SELinux is fantastic to make sure your system is nice and secure, however it prevents a lot of games from steam and some other games from launching, so had to disable it most of the time anyway.
  • Over time I was getting worried about executing a 'dnf upgrade' command as something would be fixed but then something else would break in turn.
  • Installing Nvidia drivers. Biggest pain in my ass, no matter how many guides I looked up and following to the letter.
  • I'm used to old guides from other versions not working on my current version of whatever, but Fedora with it's 6 month cycle makes it hard to dig up information about that "one" thing only you seem to have a problem with.
  • Fedora out of the box is not very usable with multimedia support and have to cram it full of non-free repos right away to get started with anything.
  • Most companies that supply software support for Linux only package for DEB and not RPM, making the pool of software available to you smaller.
  • All of your pulseaudio underruns are belong to us.

While it may sound like I'm picking on Fedora, I'm not, I learned quite a bit in the few months I used it and better for it.

So Linux Mint. This was pretty much my pick after deciding to switch over (again) mainly because it's based off of an LTS (Long Term Support) version of Ubuntu 16.04 which is supported until 2021. The only downside to an LTS is that some programs don't receive even fairly fresh versions in the repository of that LTS version for a long time (if ever). But if the program in question is something you want updated quite often then you have 2 good options; Build it from source or PPAs.
As I'm a lazy person who wants to get things done, 99.9% of the time I use PPAs.
PPAs (Personal Package Archive) are pretty much someones tiny repo to plug into your own, it's not as secure but it's better than downloading a random deb package from the net and hoping it's the real deal.

I'm sure there are more experienced Linux users who will call me out on some detail or how pumping my distro full of proprietary libraries and software hurts my digital freedom. However where I was at the start of this year compared to now is vastly improved, recently received my final email from Adobe about how my Creative Cloud subscription has run out. Even though I cleaned out everything adobe months ago, it's just refreshing to see something that I had to sign a EULA and pay a bill on top of just be done with.

Recently I had a good chance to really push my photography in my new world without Adobe software, here are some Flickr album links of two countries and the photos taken there. Just about everything was done in Darktable, anything else that required touching up I popped into GIMP.


While the learning curve to new software has been fairly close to ripping duct tape off of a hairy leg, I will say there are features I never knew to think about. To many little details to mention them all here but one in particular really sticks out. The watermark, now the Iceland photo has this website while isn't a tricky detail but it's able to pull meta-data from the photo and include it, which I find just fantastic! No extra step required on my part, just needed to make an SVG vector file with some text tags that darktable knows about and done. You'll notice that the Scotland one only has the website, this is because it's an HDR photo and meta-data for shutter speed, ISO, ect. is blanked out after it's exported.

Overall I'm very pleased with how everything worked, and to make note I was working on my laptop, an Intel i7-4600U with 8GB of ram. Did just fine editing photos while traveling. For HDR and panoramic I'd recommend something a bit more desktopy unless you like the sound of a laptop fan on high in a small room for hours on end.

My choice to go full Linux has really come through, the more I keep reading, the more options I keep finding on how to do something better and faster than before. Just recently I looked at my Steam library, a total of about 700+ games and when I first started this it was around 200+ Linux/SteamOS games, now it's 383! Thats a huge jump and quite frankly I wasn't expecting that number to grow quite so fast but you can be I'm happy about it.

UPDATE: I found a nifty website to check your steam library for Linux compatible games.
One thing I forget about when counting my number is that once I feel I'm pretty much done with a game, it goes in the hidden section of my steam library so the numbers above are actually fairly inaccurate however keep in mind I did see a few bits of DLC in the quick and dirty linux checker site.
So in total, 1041 games, 471 of them on Windows, 493 on Linux/SteamOS and it also lists 77 of them as unknown, there were a couple of linux games in that unknown list but just as many windows titles as well. Overall I'm even more delighted to know these numbers! 47.4% for Linux, 45.2% Windows & the 7.4% of unknown.
It's been a while sense I've cleaned my library list and backlog, will be going into that at some point.

Full Migration from Windows to Linux - Report #3 Distribution

Sense my last report quite a bit has gone on in my migration and how I've managed to make it complicated, though better for it overall. With just about three months passed, a whole lot has happened in both the Linux world and the Windows world.

Windows 10... oh my. So the main thing that fueled this train-wreck towards Linux was my laptop. It had Windows 8 on it, so moving to 10 didn't seem like a big decline, in fact a major improvement to get rid of the metro screen! Before making the move however I looked around online but only for the things I was looking for (which is a major pitfall when trying to see if you like something or not), mainly benchmarks for games and overall performance. Was seeing if there was another Vista situation going on.

The big picture of Windows 10 didn't seem bad at all, so when the upgrade was ready for my laptop I took the dive. With Win8 I used the BitLocker function to encrypt my laptop, it's a portable system with my information on it so making sure all of that is safe even if I loose the laptop is a pretty high priority to me. After downloading and some "Yes I Agree" buttons I was finally able to enter information about encrypting my drive. This is the very moment I can recall flipping the table.
The Bitlocker was telling me to have my device encrypted, it must back up a unlocker key to Microsoft. No, this isn't Microsoft's laptop it's mine.
Spent the better part of an hour searching everywhere to see if skipping this was an option but no it's not an option.

After that hair-pulling event, everything was reverted back and for the most part left alone until I can "deal" with it later. Then the events of what was brought up from Report #1 happened and knew that learning Linux had to happen now.

To top everything off I've been discovering that Windows 10 tracks, well everything there isn't any part of the system where it isn't collection analytic data about what you're doing, sure it has some switches to toggle it off but that's putting trust into the system that it's keeping it's end of the bargain and with updates you have no choice but to accept immediately whats to prevent it from turning them back on. Then the ads. I go out of my way to pay for services or a product to make sure ads are ass far removed from my life as possible, putting them right into my desktop is just pure anger.

Sure I could go through the hassle of installing 3rd party tools in preventing the tracking of every single thing I do and block ads but Microsoft will go out of it's way to subvert such things and the problem is, I shouldn't have to. Before with installing Windows from disk/usb was the clean install, now it comes hard coded with bloat already on it.
To be honest as well, I'm tired of using a large swath of 3rd party tools over the years. Trying to make Windows my machine, well that's just chasing the dragon, you'll never reach it but it feels so close.

With most Windows users (I assume) the first Linux distribution to try is Ubuntu, which does it's best to be as user friendly as possible, sadly as a windows user it felt like I was just only using a reskinned Apple UI with about the same kind of frustrating (lack of) utility.
Luckily there was Kubuntu. I did use this for nearly 2 months and was a great platform for learning Linux while having the safety bubble of having a start menu and overall similar layout. However I was using Kubuntu 15.10 and things were bleeding edge with the new Plasma desktop and it was pretty much just as crashy as Windows Explorer. It was a bit more bloaty than I was really comfortable with, sure it ate memory but it wasn't that, it was the fact Plasma had so many extra functions I didn't need.

Kubuntu wasn't doing it for me so I had to find a solution. Linux Mint used Cinnamon as the desktop which gave me a nice warm blanket feeling but it always felt behind in both Linux Kernel version and program repositories. Even after all this I went back to Ubuntu (by this point it was 16.04) and ripped out the Unity Desktop and put in Cinnamon, I did my very best to try and make it work seamlessly, but even after looking up all sorts of fixes and work around the community tried to come up with I wasn't able to get Cinnamon to work as cleanly as I'd hoped. For example the desktop icons would vanish and the background would change (I found the fix for this but still it didn't hold that well), then there was when I tried to shut down from the menu it gave me this.

Needless to say I was tired feeling as if getting back on track using my computer would never come. The main thing that kept me from looking at other distros is that I enjoyed the LTS of Ubuntu based distros, but it wasn't working for me, so I had to give up LTS and PPAs and get myself something that made me happy to use.

After a few days of looking other distros I've finally came to the choice of using Fedora, it's sponsored by RedHat and they became the first $2 billion dollar open-source company, why not give this a try then. It uses GNOME 3 as it's desktop but if I was going to make a major change in how I use my PC already, might as well go all the...wait, whats this I found; Fedora Spins!

Now this is just fantastic, they offer Fedora pre-packaged with KDE Plasma, XFCE, LXDE, Mate, Soas and even Cinnamon!
The overall opinion I got from most people is that Fedora is semi-close to bleeding edge in it's repositories so it can be breaky at times but not majorly so from the sounds of it lately. This also works greatly in my favor as the major reason I used PPAs in Ubuntu was to have the latest release of things like Darktable and Kdenlive.

Fedora's repositories however are more strict on being free and open-source than other distros so to install something like, Steam I had to get, Fedy which you can grab here. It also lets you install things such as Adobe flash, different types of archive formats, DVD playback, Google chrome, Multimeda codecs, ect. Just lots of useful things for a modern workstation tip toeing on the line of free and open source but you know, functional with everything else. Though I do use OpenJDK for Minecraft rather than Oracles close source one. Even did a test with both of them and the frame rate is the same and in fact I'm pretty sure the OpenJDK loads complicated large chunks faster than the closed source one, so I'm good with that.

Reading the wiki on Fedora there is quite a bunch of interesting tid bits. The main one that caught my eye is that code changes are made upstream to other communities working projects so that any Linux distro benefits, unlike say Ubuntu which has been doing more of it's own thing lately. The lifespan of each Fedora version is fairly short, about 13 months, which at first made me a bit paranoid but with the amount of PPA's I had running before it was pretty much the same.
Every now and then I catch myself typing sudo apt install rather than sudo dnf install but that's just muscle memory tripping me up, I just find that amusing.

Fedora with Cinnamon has been a fantastic treat as it has exposed me to even more different sort of things in the world of Linux and lets me keep my warm blanket feeling complete with hotkeys that I'm already used to.
Wasn't aware of how much in the Ubuntu bubble I was in, until installing this distro.
Some neat-o features is that Fedora comes with SELinux (Security Enhanced Linux) and with a Firewall turned on by default. I am the sort of person to scoff at the notion of some sort of virus or spyware for Linux but it pleases my tinfoil hat to see these things here and that Fedora is thinking about the day when that sort of thing could happen (scoff).

Now to be fair Windows in general is not banished from my life entirely, my S.O. uses Windows as her daily driver with her desktop box and laptop. While she doesn't plan on moving to 10 at any point she can't migrate over as disruption in her workflow would cost money. Also I'm not willing to give up a large portion of my games but I'm not willing to dual boot either. I had built myself a MiniITX SteamOS Box from stuff I could find on sale or craigslist finds, works rather well as a SteamBox but I'm realistic and had to install Windows 7 on it. After installing 7 though I stripped it clean of everything possible, even the pretty eye candy (and sticky keys, nothing but pure hate), so it looks more Windows 98 than 7 at the moment but I'm fine with that, all it has installed is drivers and Steam, which boots at start up then right into big picture mode.
Everything is disabled so it won't randomly become 10 by "accident". For good measure I've also installed Aegis, if you need to hold onto 7 or 8.1 for a while longer I recommend using it.

Finally to bring this all around.
My laptop was the last device of mine to get Linux on it as I needed to make Lightroom backups just in case, changing any PSD files gimp can't open properly (such as CMYK files) and just for putting out fires whenever I needed it.
But at last Fedora 23 was to be installed on my Thinkpad Yoga! During installing I was more than pleased not having to agree to a EULA then being able to encrypt my entire drive and now it feels much more that I own this machine both hardware and software wise.

Slowly catching on to all the little nuances that is Linux, even went as far as to compile Darktable from source and use it without any problems. That was actually quite enjoyable.
In my next report I'll go over what software I've found works best for me and in fine grain detail.
Also a good book to get really into the terminal and understand how things work is The Linux Command Line, it has really cleared a few things up for me rather than trying to search for every single little thing the CLI in Linux can do.

Full Migration from Windows to Linux - Report #2 Software

What makes or breaks a platform? Software.

What gets people to use your software? Marketing.

Something I've noticed among every group of people, even ones that have some difficulty using a computer. They know the term "Photoshop" and at times it's not even directly related as the program itself in the name, it's now a term or lingo to call something Photoshoped. Pretty sure that there are some out there that use the term without knowing about the software in the first place.

So with that in mind...I'm an adobe junkie, been using Photoshop, Lightroom & Premiere sense the early 2000's moving away from that much to learn a new chunk of software is hard, hell a new workflow. That sounds harder!

But I've made a move and started using Kdenlive on Linux Mint 17.3 to edit videos of my sister and I playing video games (not original sure, but we have fun doing it). The first thing I tried was to simply load in the recorded video plus audio from the mic and dive face first into editing it and attempting to do all the same things I do with my editing style with Premiere. This includes just simple stuff as fading from and to black, audio dips in keyframe moments (when coughing) splicing the video when cuts are needed and fading into other video (example on a video here) and laying video over other video in a lower corner. Simple things sure but I found all of these things and more within Kdenlive, even a few things I wish Premiere had but I guess that isn't a problem any more! As for diving in face first you'll just waste time, find someone who has put up a tutorial (I found this guy who goes into some nice detail but do look at several videos). Even if you know how non-linear video editing works in practice the software is an entirely different tool even if it's doing the same thing.
There are different video editors for linux as well such as OpenShot and Flowblade, in the end you'll have to try them out to see which works best for you.

The video editor was the first thing I looked for to replace the windows end of things and after uploading the finished video it felt fairly easy that it was edited, rendered and uploaded all within some other software that I've never used before.
It's been a long time sense I've had to learn and use new software so this has brought back some old excitement to me from when I was learning all of this stuff back in the early days of windows about the only thing missing is the huge amounts of time I found myself with back in the 90s.

As things are going along now I've actually learned quite a bit more than the video editor but I'm slow to write this stuff. But the above is what I found and felt during all of that. Now to get into stuff that might actually be more useful.

I've been looking into a lot of different software to replace just about everything I do and as the name of some chunk of software is the first tricky step (at least it was for me) I figured sharing everything I found would be helpful to other trying to make a switch.

The left side will be the windows software to be replaced, the right side will have the replacement.
This is my personal list of what I found works for me.

  • Photoshop - GIMP + MyPaint
  • Lightroom - Darktable
  • Adobe Bridge - Shotwell
  • Adobe Audition - Audacity
  • Premiere - Kdenlive
  • Sketchbook - Krita
  • Winamp - Clementine
  • Imgburn - Brasero
  • Illustrator - Inkscape
  • cuetools - Flacon
  • Indesign - Scribus
  • ZBrush - Blender

With Photoshop and Sketchbook it's actually split between GIMP, Krita and MyPaint. With these different tools they are more powerful in the regards of what I'm after in the end.
There was also quite a few tools I used in windows that were already packaged for Linux such as Hexchat, Handbrake and Steam but thats another subject.

Now not everything either works out of the box or just in a different package ready to go. There are two programs I was nail biting over as they are less work-ish but can be seen as work however bring me great joy. FL Studio and Hammer (map making tool for source engine games). But there is good news everbody! They work just fine in WINE, FL studio took installing quite a bit of extras from WineTricks but I loaded up a huge demo project and plays just fine. Hammer was the one I was really freaking over but it ran and compiled a map just fine, the only thing I wasn't able to get going was running CSGO to let hammer see all of the resources but thats because I'm doing all of this testing on a Thinkpad X220 laptop with an Intel GPU and WINE makes fun of the Mesa drivers, however on my main machine with a Nvidia GPU I'm quite sure it will run perfectly fine but even if it doesn't I'll just have to manually tell hammer where to do everything.

I'm sure in time there will be different programs I try or even shift to and with that I'll do my best to post progress on it as I haven't seen very many people document this kind of shift and even as I write this there are other things coming to mind about what kinds of programs that can run on the penguin. Firefox and Chrome for example, sure anyone just loading up about any distro of Linux will see that Firefox or Chrome(ium) is loaded up but it's there and almost taken for granted.

Now for a change of pace. Originally I was going to go with Linux Mint and call it a day but I've been using the same semi-bland looking OS sense the age of time and while Mint is much prettier than windows I wanted some major eye-candy but it still needed to be highly functional. At one point I almost went for Debian and pump it full of themes but I'm lazy and I like PPAs that ubuntu based distro can use. With that I've found that Kubuntu is what calls to me, currently I'm using 15.10 and that has KDE Plasma 5.4.2, I've changed the overall look to Breeze Dark and oh my it sure is pretty.

Yeah I'm a sucker for 75% grey-blues with minimalists look to it. Down the road I'm sure that it will be changed to something more green with simple icons but thats an easy change for when I'm really settled in. There was a part of me that just wanted to load in Ubuntu and roll with it but KDE has everything I need along with that very familiar shart button in the lower left. And I can't get used to the window buttons being on the left, always feels like I'm borrowing another persons computer. One thing to note however is that by default single click acts as a double click when opening files and folders, I tried very very hard for a week to get used to it. Just Can't Do It. However it's an easily changeable setting in the mouse options, along with acceleration for whatever reason is a thing on by default as well.

Currently my plan is to install 15.10 on my main machine then roll it over to 16.04 in April, it seems Linux Mint can't do that sort of self upgrade yet though they did mention version 18 should be able to handle that. I will say for anyone migrating from windows, Linux Mint really is the easiest way to go as it even uses nearly all of the hotkeys I was used to, where as with KDE 5 I'm having to manually put in stuff like Meta+L to lock the desktop when I get up, or even just hit the Meta key for bringing up the shart menu to start typing in a name of something (which I use a lot rather than icon hunting with the mouse, though again this works in Linux Mint out of the box!)

This is everything I've discovered so far, once more things get moving there will be more updates to come. Hope this was helpful or just interesting.

Full Migration from Windows to Linux - Report #1 Rant

I knew very well at some point in the future that Linux would be my main driver for doing everything I do but there was hesitation as there is a very large list of things I figured could only be "windows only" but luckily that isn't quite true and a lot has come to my attention putting Windows 10 as not an option, ever.

First off, what happened?
I grew up with being able to take apart, repair and mod just about anything with electronics in it there wasn't any worry about getting around some proprietary thing and most of the time the circuit layout was even printed inside the case! The thing that happened isn't just one thing, but a lot of things mixed together to the point where I'm wearing a tinfoil hat and tinfoil pants, but being spied on wasn't even the biggest thing on my list the very top thing was the fact that I was loosing control over the machine(s) I use every day.

I will make note of the final thing that did me over was reading an article about Windows 7 loosing support for new hardware. Now I wasn't in the market for new hardware or anything but this was a wake up call to me as I did try Win10 on a laptop and only shortly after that did I find everything terrible such as delivering ads in the start menu and turning settings back on that I turned off along with Cortana never actually "off".

There is more but I'm skipping over the rest of that rant.

Now to be fair I never actually liked using Windows ever sense Vista (never had to use Vista thankfully) but it was what I had all my software and games on and Apple stuff wasn't any better with it's propitiatory-everything.
With all of that out of the way lets get to the good bits.

I have been using Linux before a lot of this so wasn't going in completely blind, played with a Raspberry Pi for quite a while feeling very free to screw up the entire thing and all I had to do was flash the SD card without a care in the world. So my first attempt to fully move into Linux was a bit of a foolish one, dual booting... It's just a terrible idea and let me explain from first hand experience.
In Mid of 2015 I tried to shift from windows to Linux head first by dual-booting with Win7 + Ubuntu 14.04 on my main rig and Win8 + Linux Mint 17 on my laptop. Disk space wasn't an issue and even had ubuntu on a seperate driver entirely (on both machines). Now I'm sure somewhere along the line I made a user error but Windows didn't help. At. All. One morning I wake to find that my main rig is having problems finding the boot record, I spend a good hour or two with my findings that Windows panicked and tried to rewrite in the MBR (Master Boot Record) but failed. Really not that big of an issue just live boot Ubuntu and grub-repair. Yeah, no. Something worse, I have no idea what the hell happened but the Windows drives have lost their file index so I can mount the drive but it can't see any files, oh joy. A wasted few days later I finally restore the NTFS file system and recover my stuff but I'm left with only reinstalling Win7 as the only OS as I still needed to work with Lightroom and all of the other software I wasn't ready to part from yet.
Then the laptop did almost the same thing but it was more of my fault. Win8 was encrypted with BitLocker and it depends on the bootloader not changing at all to make sure it's still on the same machine. I updated Grub2 and that makes new UUIDs so Win8 was asking for my BitLocker key, no problem thats backed up so I go grab it but only to remember I made a BitLocker key backup before installing Linux (I unencrypted it as per some instructions I found to make installing Linux easier) then re-encrypted Win8 but forgot to backup the key, the key was still on the laptop but not like I can get to it now! Everything on the laptop gets properly backed up though so I didn't loose any data, good news for once!

So with all of this hassle I couldn't keep messing with this so had to stick with Windows for the time being. Then I learned about the life cycle left on Win7 along with that article mentioned before, now 2020 may sound way off into the distance but I knew that if I didn't start finding and learning to use alternative programs for what I do that I'd be stuck with an insecure system, once more Windows 10 isn't an option.

What I didn't want was another situation where I'd be reinstalling stuff left and right, loosing data and so on so I revived my old thinkpad laptop (which I need to cover at some point) and made a plan. First thing was to research every kind of program there is out there and which one works best for my needs to replace the Windows version. This is the tiny detail that I didn't really do ahead of time as I could throw names of software out to other people using a Windows machine without a second though of how I knew the name of it or where was the first place I saw it at, just a thing. For Linux software I had to make this happen.

The software thing sounds like a big fuss but for me I do a lot of things. I could list them all but alternatives will be something later on.

So with this laptop ready to be reinstalling things over and over again I had a chance to sit and learn while being able to still do my normal work on the other machine when needed. I'm lucky in this regard as this isn't something everyone would be able to do/afford. Virtual machines are good for some things but for practicing how well a non-linear video editor will work or how well a game works on your current hardware, it just can't cut it.
Speaking of video editing, that is something I did with this tiny laptop. Took forever to render 1080p but working with the files and learning to use Kdenlive was quite fun and at the end of it all once I uploaded the video to youtube I had a great feeling of "yes, this can all work".

I will be posting more real information about whats going on rather than random rants but had to get this out of the way first

Long Term Tech - Sennheiser headphones

There is this constant pressure to replace things we own with the better and faster, normally coming bundled with some extra feature that doesn't work well but because it's 'new' most people overlook the flaws until about a year later when they are fed up with whatever it was they bought but just in time for the 'new' thing.

Sometimes however I'm able to find a bit of tech that works incredibly well without any extra frills and it never disappoints me in how it operates. 

This brings me to the Sennheiser 280 HD Pro.

2007 is when I bought this pair for $100, it has gone with me just about everywhere and I use it for everything from gaming, music, movies, editing voice over and editing videos. What has been the best for me is once I bought these I've never considered buying a different pair it has fit my head so well and produced a super clean sound.

If there was a counter somewhere for how much audio has come through these headphones I'm pretty sure it could reach 11,000 hours

What I find amazing about this pair is that they seal out sound very well, they are not even built in with some sort of bullshit noise-cancellation that requires power. I can't go on a plane without wearing these, they cut out all the noise of the engine, screaming children and constant coughing. Even without playing anything they keep a great majority of noise out. Traveling by plane or any long trip has been made easier with wearing these.

Even at this point about the only thing showing it's age is the padding and only at this point did I consider buying either a new pair or a different pair altogether. Part of me is easily tempted to buy something that has the term 'audiophile' slapped on the box somewhere but I'm to worried that the cost of a pair of headphones like that won't impress me.

Seams are slowly giving way but I still wear them with comfort.

Seams are slowly giving way but I still wear them with comfort.

I've recommenced this pair of headphones to so many people and the one thing I tell them is that the headphones are as neutral as you can get so what you're hearing is purely the sound from the device you're listening to. As someone who likes to hear every little nuance these headphones provide that and if I plug them into a headphone amp they just sound all the better.

Often times I enjoy going for long walks but most of the time it's sadly next to a road with traffic buzzing by but with these on I'm more than able to enjoy every note. Also as a bonus even in the cold of Alaska they work great as earmuffs! My face may be freezing but my ears are enjoying a cozy ride with some lovely jams.

Most of the gold plating is wearing away, still plays fine!

Most of the gold plating is wearing away, still plays fine!

I've used a few different music players with these headphones. The first one was the iPod Video, this was a lovely gift from a friend and at that time I didn't really know about lossless music but I did always rip CDs at 320kbps into mp3s, so that worked when I was out and about but it was plugged into my computer more than the iPod.
Had an iTouch for just a few months, it didn't last as iTunes was nothing but bloatware and no flac support.

The second player I bought (in 2011) was a nice jump up, it was a HiFiMan HM-601. At this point I found about flac and it was much nicer to load music on an SD card rather than through a proxy program. The first music I ripped to flac and played on this player was Daft Punk - Discovery and it was amazing. The HM-601 has a built-in headphone amp and my ears were ruined forever to this new standard of listening.

Most other times I have these headphones plugged into computer playing games mostly and while the internal amp of the HM-601 had spoiled me I was no longer satisfied with the built-in sound cards on most motherboards. Did some poking around and found the ASUS Xonar Essence STX has a dedicated headphone amp! Also it doesn't do any fake 7.1 surround in stero headphones (which a lot of gamer audio gear tried to pull off. Badly). It was just stereo sound and did it very well.

While the HM-601 is a decent player I found myself not liking it's clunky menu system, lack of album art support and other little nit picky details. However I was quick to find the Fiio X5, it took me a while to splurge on buying it as it breaks the cost of what I normally feel comfortable spending on audio gear of any sort. After reading what could be considered the 100th review I felt at ease as it had everything. Compared to my headphones it's very new, bought it in Sept 2014 but so far it's doing everything I wanted and more.

Fiio X5 and Sennheiser 280

Fiio X5 and Sennheiser 280

What I find most amazing through all of this is that through my transition into better audio gear the consideration into buying different headphones never really passed my mind as with every upgrade the headphones were able to keep up and let me know "Just listen to this".

While I don't really have to defend these headphones they get great reviews everywhere I look it just keeps me happy that there are sometimes something you buy that you can hold onto for a long stretch of time when people are encouraged (if not forced at times) to buy something new when it's only a year old.

Currently while writing this these headphones have been in operation for 8 years and are pumping some juicy music into my ears right now!
Someday these headphones will have to be retired but knowing me I'll attempt to get some custom padding made, re-solder the cord back together, ect. And now that I think about it even more I've had these over 1/4 of my life, clamped to my head!

Minecraft server at home

In this helpful guide I'm going to go through what I did to make a self-contained Minecraft server at home on the cheap and also keep it low power but can still run 2 or 3 separate worlds at once (depending on the amount of players)

The main thing that bought all of this together is MineOS Turnkey. This linux distribution of Turnkey is ready to deploy with a webGUI for both Minecraft and the OS itself so you won't have to struggle with staring at a terminal all of the time (but you will have to use it sometimes). You'll more than likely be going with the 64-bit version depending on your hardware and speaking of hardware.


AMD Athlon 5350 APU
Kingston HyperX FURY 8GB Kit (2x4GB) 1600MHz DDR3 CL10 DIMM - Black (HX316C10FBK2/8)
Sentey Mini ITX Ss5-2514 Computer Case

All of this so far brought me up to $222 but I didn't mention a disk drive, you can use really anything but I used a Crucial 128GB M4 SSD for the low noise and low power, though honestly you don't even need 128GB so if you can pick up a cheaper 64GB. With the 128GB SSD in mind everything came together for about $300 total. A HDD with work just fine if you're looking to go as cheap as possible.

On a final note you will need a USB thumb drive to create the boot stick. And an external monitor & keyboard for the very first install. Also I'd recommend getting a Uninterruptible power supply if you plan on leaving this on for other players for long periods of time. As this is so low power even the cheapest one will give you a safety net to power outages and brown outs.

Hardware setup

As this build is straight forward there isn't really anything to point out other than to put it all together and if you've ordered different parts you'll have to go on your own anyway, but here are some photos.

The front of the case. An internal 3.5-inch SATA drive for size comparison. I also printed the IP number on the case with a label maker.

The front of the case. An internal 3.5-inch SATA drive for size comparison. I also printed the IP number on the case with a label maker.

Power and Ethernet, in the end that's all the system needs to run as a server.

Power and Ethernet, in the end that's all the system needs to run as a server.

Cords are easy to keep out of the way, there is hardly anything in here!

Cords are easy to keep out of the way, there is hardly anything in here!

OS Setup

Everything is together and now you're ready to get MineOS on here. Note that you will need a monitor and keyboard for the initial setup.
First part is to download the ISO, head on over to and download the  version you need (likely 64 bit). While you're downloading grab Rufus, this is the bit of software I use to make bootable ISOs.

Once your download is done stick in your USB thumb drive and open up Rufus, from here all you have to do is make sure the drive letter is the same as the USB thumb drive and then click the CD image icon to open a window to find the ISO, load it up and hit start!

Once it's done safely remove the thumb drive and plug it into your soon to be stand alone minecraft server. When booting make sure the first bootable device is the USB thumb drive.
Go through all the steps of the install.

As this is a standalone server guided install with LVM is your bet option.

This is just confirming which disk to install to, and LVM is good to have for future changes.

This is tell you about what percentage of the HDD you can use, just hit ok.

90% is what it gives you by default and I use that just in case something happens and there needs to be something installed in that 10%.

This is the guided installers final report, if you are using a single disk drive bets are good it did everything perfectly. Hit yes.

This window is asking if it should install GRUB and yes you should.

Restart away and remove the USB thumb drive.

This is GRUB giving you options but it will auto start with the default selection in a few seconds.

Make a password for the root account, make a good one.

Make a password for the m account, this is for editing the minecraft servers, it should be different from the root password.

TurnKey Linux comes with a build in backup function called tklbam, you won't really need this so go ahead and skip it (sorry I'm highlighting apply here, just ignore that)


Install the updates!

Here is the final screen of the OS, write down all the IP numbers and their names you see above TKLBAM, you'll need this for later.

Firewall/Router setup

One thing I highly recommend to do within your router is to reserve an IP address for your server so you won't have to keep hunting down a new IP just in case your router needs to be restarted (or power loss).
You'll need to be able to make changes to your router, if you know the IP to that then you can skip this next bit. If you don't know your router IP, an easy way to check it on windows is to hit the windows key, then type on the keyboard:
Hit enter and a command prompt should come up, type in:
Hit enter and a list of numbers will show up, look for Default Gateway, this should be your router. For example the router is (most common home routers use this), now go into your browser and type in the address of At this point a dialog will ask for user name and password, if you haven't setup anything in your router it's a good bet that the user name will be admin and password could be either admin, 12345 or password. If you're having a hard time getting into your router go to the manufactures website and find a manual.
If you only have a modem from your ISP then there is a good chance it won't have more than one ethernet port anyway so you'll need a router.

Once in your router then look for DHCP Reservation list, here I can't really guide you as each router is always different but what you're doing is locking in the IP address with the MAC address of the server.

If you don't know the MAC address of your server check the box the motherboard came in, if it's not listed anywhere we will get the MAC address here in a bit.

If you never plan to let anyone access your server via the net you can ignore this part and head on to Minecraft setup.

To get payers from the net to access your local server you'll need to forward a port in your router so it knows internet traffic can directly look at the minecraft server. This is going to be different from router to router so I'll just direct you to about Minecraft. 25565 is the default port for the server but you'll have to open another port if you have more than one server.
If you plan on having another minecraft server you'll have to mess with the Iptables, here is the direct link to the page about how to do that.

Minecraft Setup

Nothing on fire yet? Good!

We first need to update the WebUI so it knows about the newest minecraft server version. Get the number listed as Web Shell from the server and direct your browser there, an example being

Your browser might complain about it not being a safe site but you're safe to keep going, it's just using https without a proper certificate. Once there you'll be greeted with a black screen and the prompt "core login" type in root and then enter, then type in your password, enter

You should be logged in as root, now type in the following with every new line being an enter key stroke.

cd /usr/games/minecraft

git fetch

git merge origin/master

It should show something as it does below in the screenshot.

While we are here, type in ifconfig then enter. Look for eth0 and then the HWaddr listed to it, that is the MAC address if you were having problems finding it.

Now direct your browser to the MineOS Web-Ui address, example being

Again the browser will warn you about it being insecure but you're fine. Enter mc as the user name and then your password and sign in. From here click Manage Profiles.

Click "Create Stock Profile" right now the most current is 1.8.4 but it could be newer for you.

It has made a listing for the 1.8.4 stock profile but it's now downloaded yet, hit the green update button and wait a moment (can take a bit if the hosting server is bogged).

Now lets make a minecraft server, click Create New Server. Give it a name and leave ownership to mc, click next.

I would reccomend entering in something in level-name as it helps in case you need to recover backups from the disk. level-seed is optional but if you know of a seed ahead of time here is your one and only chance. Everything else here is up to you, only thing to note is that if you're making more than one server running at a time give the server-port a different number (25566 for the second server, 25567 for the third, ect.)

Make sure the profile is the one newest one.
Both java_xmx and java_xms should be changed to something larger. To figure out how much, know ahead of time how many servers you're going to have. Lets say two and you have 8GB of ram remove 512MB for system stuff and then split that per server, so you'd have 3744MB of RAM to spare for the two servers and put the same number in both xmx and xms.
Enable Archive and Backup interval, I'm never that busy on the server so I only do 24hr but you can make it shorter.
Enable Start Server on Boot!


From here you can click each server and look at their settings and real-time log of what is going on. Go ahead and start your new server and log into it!

As you might of noticed my servers are still 1.8.3 and as time goes on I'll need to update the servers, this is really easy. Just do the same thing from when you logged into the Web Shell ( with the black screen and redo the three commands:

cd /usr/games/minecraft
git fetch
git merge origin/master

If you've had any windows/tabs open with the Web-UI close them and log back into it so it can refresh the changes. Click on Manage Profiles and click Create Stock Profile, select the newest version then the update button.
Click on the dashboard and select the name of the server you want to update and a new selection on the left should show up, click on server.config, it will be the first dialog box and in my case I'm rename it from vanilla183 to vanilla184 then hit enter. All done the server is now running the latest version of minecraft!
If you run into any problems trying to git fetch go here:

This is about the only thing you'll have to manually do, other than that linux will keep itself up to date and the servers will back up (if you've told them too).

Power Consumption

Powering up it spikes at 35 to 40 watts but once it's done things settle to 25 watts even with people playing on it. Planning on leaving it on 24/7? Well here are some numbers for you its kWh of a day is 0.6 and the kWh year is 219.
To put that into a perspective a 60 watt incandescent light bulb kWh of a day is 1.44 and the kWh year 525.6.

I have my server on a UPS, again optional but if you know you're area is prone to black outs/brown outs I'd say it's worth getting one.

Hope this was all helpful, let me know if there is any glaring errors to fix.

Post One

Welcome to the first blog post.

I've finally gotten myself going on making a website for all of the assorted amount of things that I make and do and they will have a lovely home here. Currently there are a lot of other sites to jump to for my content but as time goes on things will become more exclusive to this site.

For example this blogging area will soon have posts about how to make or build things, currently I have two linux related builds to go over and post. One is for a stand alone minecraft server with a low power, low cost usage with high functionality. The other post is about an at home NAS. I'm going to do my best going over every step in detail for non-linuxy users but we will see how that works out.

Future plans will be zbrush models, 3d printing figurines, computer builds, linux gaming, leather - lots of leather, photography and anything else that I find amusing.

For now there are plenty of other sites to look at but expect there to be goodies solely on this site soon.

Final note! I will be posting updates about my site mainly through twitter but also you can RSS subscribe to my site so whichever option works best for you.