Category Archives: Info Links

Miscanthus giganteus

I recently saw a stand of Miscanthus giganteus at Cutler Gardens in Binghamton,NY. It is an impressive grass standing at 10-11 feet tall. I am thinking of ordering some rhizomes to grow some. It would make a nice natural privacy fence. It sure looks cool too, even when it dies off it still stands nice and tall. I imagine the snow will eventually knock it over in the winter. When I saw it, I looked it up on the little pamphlets available at the gardens and of course on Wikipedia.
Who would have know that it can be actually used as a biofuel! What an interesting plant and it is a so called C4 plant as well just like corn, it can more efficiency convert water and CO2, via photosynthesis into plant material, giving it an edge in creating biomass.

I found a place to order the rhizomes too…

Using mount with bind to access usb drive via vsFTP

I have a USB stick plugged into my Raspberry Pi for external storage, mostly to put music on for the Sockso Music Server to get at. But I wanted to use it a bit more for generic storage. FTP is great, you can get to it from any machine and the command line for it is the same on Win or Linux. So I can walk up to any machine, not have to install a thing and reach into a folder with FTP.

For instance, I have an infected Windows Machine, I don’t dare stick a USB stick in it. Instead I go to the command line, ftp to the Raspberry Pi and grab the tools I need from there.

The Issue

The issue was that I tried to symlink from the ftp directory to the USB drive. vsFTP will not follow symlinks for security reasons.

The Solution

Mount the directory you want under the FTP directory using bind. /media/sda is the USB stick mount point and the whole thing gets mounted under the FTP dir using…

sudo mount --bind /media/sda/ /home/ftpuser/usb-drive/


FTP on Raspberry Pi. An easy way to make shared folders

Alternatives to FTP

Upgrade from Ubuntu 13.04 to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS in 5 steps

When we got back from house sitting this winter and back into my regular house, I finally got around to installing a newer version of Lubuntu Linux on my desktop at home, I wanted to get away from using Windows XP and didn’t feel like installing a new version of Windows. The original Wildcat video card on the PC didn’t support Linux well, so I installed an old GeForce card I had sitting in a box from a carcass machine. It was a moment where I said, why didn’t I think of this years ago! I first installed Linux 5 years ago on it, saw that the video didn’t work quite right and didn’t really dig any deeper than trying a lot of settings changes, the gave up and lived with it. I used XP heavily on it and I have to admit I was pretty OK with the way XP was working on it, so it was a case of leave it alone if it is OK.

I actually left the other video card ( an expensive Wildcat card, large unit fits the full footprint for the bay. It cost $2K for the company that bought it for CAD/CAM usage originally) in place. I found a setting in the BIOS for Legacy detection of video, it was set to AGP, I switched it to auto, seems to work!

But, now I have it pretty much set up and working good. The machine has 2 identical hard-drives that have copies of the same stuff and 2 copies of Win XP, one on each drive. Plus I back it up to an external server, when I remember to, its been too long already! I can start it in Linux (Lubuntu 14.04 LTS or Ubuntu Server 12.04, for testing) or one of the 2 XP’s, but I am pretty much going to keep using Lubuntu Linux on it, faster than XP was and doesn’t crash, it just works better in general.

Tutorial Page

The tutorial page below  worked well. I had the Lubuntu 13.04 CD for Lubuntu from trying it out on one of my old servers a few years back. I used it to install on my desktop because the unit  doesn’t have a DVD player and Lubuntu 14.04 LTS is just a tad oversized for a CD. When the install was going on I just selected the root directory to go in the same place (on sdb5 in my case) as the old 9.10 Ubuntu install. At this question it was choose OTHER and not side by side or wipe drive for me.

Then I used the steps in the tutorial to migrate from Lubuntu 13.04 to Lubuntu 14.04 LTS. (I did try Lubuntu 15.04 which fits on a CD, but it did not run, checked the disc and MD5 sum too, but it just might not be compatible with the machine). The only things I did above and beyond the tutorial was to run..

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

…before and after installing Lubuntu 14.04 LTS. And after the final update and upgrade I ran…

sudo apt-get autoremove

…to remove pieces of Lubuntu 13.04 that were not needed with Lubuntu 14.04 LTS.

Wake on LAN via Windows


To wake a machine from a Windows computer there are a few choices.


wolcmd for the command line from is good to use in scripts or by itself. It works 100% of the time for me.

 wolcmd yourmacaddr localserveripaddr 9

wolcmd can start the Linux server using wolcmd <-download page, from

Wake on LAN GUI

A GUI version of the wolcmd tool from WakeOnLanGui

WOL Magic Packet Sender Tool

WOL Magic Packet Sender, uses a WOL Setup MSI file.  I have used this quite a bit and it does work nicely. It is the first one that I used and have it on my Windows machines.


At you can wake your machine directly from the Internet as well without loading any application via this page –>

There is even a way with the Depicus site to make up a URL that will have the MAC address, IP address and Port as parameters to send a magic packet. I’ve tried it and it works.





CD recording from the Linux command line using cdrdao

I’ve been interested in a way to burn right from the command line, with a possibility of using one of my Linux computers with a mode as a burn station, ideally I could throw in a CD, it would detect it and start the copy process and eject when done. This post is about a small step in that direction.

I researched it a bit and tried the example given by this page….

But, I modded the  $HOME/.cdrdao file a bit to include a list of cddb servers that I pulled off of,,  plus added a timeout for the cddb set to 10 seconds.

The .cdrdao file goes in your home directory and it acts like a configuration file for the cdrdao program. The help site above goes into details. But, briefly the write buffer at 128, which is 128 seconds, at an 8x burn gives 16 seconds of under-run protection. The device has to be set correctly. My CD burner is at /dev/sr0. According to the help.ubuntu site above, running sudo cdrdao scanbus, will produce an output that yields the device name. For me it didn’t yield a /dev type of connection but rather a 1,0,0 bus attachment type of readout. But I hovered over the CD in the file manager and found out the device mount point from there which was /dev/sr0.

Output from running sudo cdrdao scanbus
Cdrdao version 1.2.2 - (C) Andreas Mueller <>
  SCSI interface library - (C) Joerg Schilling
  Paranoia DAE library - (C) Monty

Check for current driver tables.

Using libscg version 'ubuntu-0.8ubuntu1'

1,0,0 : QSI     , CDRW/DVD SBW-242, UD22

Paranoia Mode

Paranoia mode is interesting as it provides some repair of the ripped audio, from

--paranoia-mode mode
              Sets the correction mode for digital audio  extraction.  

0:  No checking,  data  is  copied  directly from the drive.
1: Perform overlapped reading to avoid jitter. 
2: Like  1  but  with  addi-tional  checks  of the read audio data. 3: Like 2 but with addi-tional scratch detection and repair.

              The extraction speed reduces from 0 to 3.

Below is the code that I pull from the site and modded by adding the cddb_servers and cddb_timeout this code is used to create  the $HOME/.cdrdao file

#---$HOME/.cdrdao --#
write_buffers: 128
write_device: "/dev/sr0"
write_driver: "generic-mmc"
read_device: "/dev/sr0"
read_driver: "generic-mmc"
read_paranoia_mode: 3
write_speed: 8
cddb_servers: "","","","","",""
cddb_timeout: 10
 A few good command line options for cdrdao

I also fire the cdrdao command with the options –with-cddb to include the text info onto the burned CD and –eject to eject the CD on a completed burn.

sudo cdrdao copy --with-cddb --eject

This code can be put in a bash script. I created to make it simple to fire off from the command line.

Download as ->

Rename to, put in home and run chmod 755 on it to make it executable

chmod 755


So far I have used this method to burn about 10 CD’s in the first week I finished trying this and tested them out in a CD player and ripped them both with Media Player and iTunes, all worked well!




Windows 9 gets a start menu again

People complain pretty hard about Windows 8. I hear it all the time. I’d kind of wish they would give Linux a try, but that is not the reality for most. With the advent of Win 8, bad timing for Microsoft. I think a lot of people are hanging on XP still actually because it was so good as far as start menu and etc. I was in Staples and the county library, they both still use XP. Microsoft is possibly missing a market here. They plan on having a core that will go across all platforms. If they could offer an easy upgrade route on older machines XP->9. I am thinking like the way there is a light version of Linux Mint or Lubuntu. They could get some XP diehards to switch to 9. In other words, new kernal, stuff under the hood, but simplified desktop and lower processor load version.


But here is an article and a preview of 9….

I am not surprised that the start menu is back in 9.