Showing posts from October, 2016

Displaying Chinese subtitles in VLC and Notes on Chinese input in Fedora 24

Chinese encoding has changed over time and users may need to review encoding in VLC before Chinese language subtitles can be displayed when playing back video.

This article applies to VLC 3.0.0 on Fedora 24 Workstation with Gnome 3.

To display Chinese characters in VLC during video playback:

1. Install the language packs using dnf if needed.

For Simplified Chinese, install langpacks-zh_CN.noarch.
For Traditional Chinese, install langpacks-zh_TW.noarch.

Note: By default, Fedora 24 already installs adobe-source-han-sans-tw-fonts.noarch.

2. In VLC, click Tools > Preferences > Subtitles / OSD.

3. Select Universal, Chinese (GB18030) from Default encoding, and then click Save.

4. Load Chinese subtitles by clicking Subtitle > Add Subtitle File.

If you need to edit Chinese text, add Chinese language input from Region & Language settings.

To add Chinese language input in Fedora 24 Workstation Gnome 3:

1. In Fedora Gnome Settings, click Region & Language.

2. Under Input Sources,…

News360 discontinued for Windows 10 Mobile/Windows Phone 8.1

Unfortunately, one of the best news aggregators is halting support for Windows 10 Mobile and Windows Phone 8.1.

News360 on a Windows Phone performed well even with conservative hardware. Swiping through available news articles and even sharing them online aren't unique features, but News360's spartan UI and simplicity made it a better option over flashier alternatives such as Flipboard.

Although the app is still currently available for Windows 10, the tablet version isn't always a better option. In Portrait mode, News360 doesn't scale well on Windows 10 tablets, and doesn't perform nearly as smoothly as it did on Windows 10 Mobile/Windows Phone 8.1.

NAS4Free Basics: Setting up the iTunes service

NAS4Free includes iTunes support as one of its basic services. With iTunes support enabled, users can access supported formats and playback media from iTunes.
This article uses a Macbook Air (2015) running macOS and a Toshiba NB20 running the latest version of NAS4Free using from an SD card. The NAS4Free iTunes service was tested with iTunes To set up NAS4Free iTunes support:
1. Ensure that the device running iTunes is on the same Wi-Fi network as the NAS4Free server. 2. Log in to NAS4Free web GUI using a web browser. 3. Click System > Advanced Setup > Advanced. 4. Enable the Zeroconf/Bonjour option and then click Save & Restart. 5. Click Services > iTunes/DAAP.
6. Select Enable.
7. Input a Server name.

Note: The Server name will appear in the list of sources in iTunes.

8. Specify a database directory. In the following example, the folder /mnt/storage/temp is selected. 9. On the Content area, click ... and navigate to a folder with media content.

Note: Remembe…

Unsolicited Question: Where do I find the updated firmware for the D-Link 600M router?

The D-Link DIR-600M was released in very few markets so the updated firmware is not available from the U.S. support site  and the Global support site, which actually includes updates for discontinued products.

The most recent firmware, however, is available from the support site for D-Link India, with a warning that it should only be installed in products sold in India. The D-Link India support site provides two versions of the firmware. The first listed firmware is for D-Link products provided by Hathway, an India digital cable TV and broadband provider. The other version of the firmware is a stock D-Link firmware for D-Link 600M products.

Installation for the D-Link firmware for the DIR-600M has no issues, regardless if you purchased the product in a different location other than India.

ExpressVPN on Fedora 24 and Windows 10 Mobile Part 2

Continued from  Tested: ExpressVPN on Fedora 24 and Windows 10 Mobile Part 1

ExpressVPN RPM for Fedora
Having used the provided ExpressVPN .deb package on a workstation runningUbuntu 16.04 LTS, the next step was to check functionality on Fedora. ExpressVPN provides a similar .rpm file for users running Red Hat's mainstream Linux distribution.

Installation was straightforward and Fedora 24 Gnome 3's GUI package manager installed the rpm without issues.

The ExpressVPN software, which is commandline only, has the same set of commands as the Ubuntu version. As always, activate your service first by running the following command:

expressvpn activate

Enter your ExpressVPN activation code to authenticate your system and start connecting to ExpressVPN's servers.

ExpressVPN on Fedora 24 and Windows 10 Mobile Part 1

ExpressVPN is set up manually on Windows 10 Mobile devices. ExpressVPN's support site provides an illustrated set of steps for connecting to the service using a recent Windows 10 Mobile device, so reviewing the procedure here is unnecessary.

In general, you need the following information before you go through the configuration steps:

ExpressVPN usernameExpressVPN passwordVPN server addresspre-shared key Note that the username and password you input in Windows 10 Mobile is for the service, not your login information for ExpressVPN's website (which is your e-mail address and personal password).

One of the disadvantages of manually setting up ExpressVPN on a PC or smartphone is that you don't have the luxury of switching VPN servers as you would in an app. You would have to manually enter a different VPN address in the VPN settings each time, or add a new VPN connection with a different VPN server address.

The ExpressVPN app for iOS, Android, Windows 10,Ubuntu/Fedora (CLI),and…

NAS4Free Basics: DLNA and access using mobile devices Part 3

Continued from NAS4Free Basics: DLNA and access using mobile devices Part 2

5. Kodi for Android on an ASUS MemoPad HD7 (Android 4.4) - Kodi has always been reliable when it comes to playing back networked content and it proves it again with NAS4Free's Fuppes service.

NAS4Free DLNA access from Linux and Windows 10 Mobile I tested DLNA access from Rhythmbox with Grilo plugin and Totem movie player on a Zotac ZBOX Nano running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.
I've worked with UPnP on Debian, openSUSE, and Ubuntu previously and there's no doubt playback of media from served content is possible. However, configuration varies depending on your setup. For Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Rhythmbox had no problems playing back MP3s from the NAS4Free DLNA server after the Grilo plugin was enabled and the Rygel package was installed. 

Totem, on the other hand, has never been very good with UPnP and was only able to display the folders in the Channels tab. Attempting to open any of the media, however, resulted in…

NAS4Free Basics: DLNA and access using mobile devices Part 2

Continued from NAS4Free Basics: DLNA and access using mobile devices Part 1

Testing the DLNA service
Initial indexing of content streamed over UPnP using the NAS4Free server is dependent on the speed of the Wi-Fi network, and the client hardware and software. A Linux machine set as a DLNA/UPnP client connected to the network over Ethernet, for example, can quickly index supported files faster than an iPad 2 using an app. No additional router settings were configured for this article, despite using an OEM Wi-Fi N router.

I tested NAS4Free DLNA/UPnp by playing back an old Doctor Strange image, a few songs from Emma Bunton's second album, and downloaded videos using the following apps:

1. Player Xtreme on an iPad 2 (iOS9) - Player Xtreme took a few minutes to index images, MP3s, and videos. Once it did, however, it successfully played back ripped videos and MP3s, as well as display images.

Note: DLNA support is only available for Player Xtreme Pro. However, the developers of Player Xt…

NAS4Free Basics: DLNA and access using mobile devices Part 1

Although DLNA has its issues as a streaming method, it's a mature standard and fairly easy to set up on your NAS4Free server.

It's highly recommended that before you set the DLNA service, ensure that all your clients can access the NAS4Free server using a Static IP address. By default, the static IP address of the NAS4Free server is

Note: This article uses a netbook set up as a NAS4Free server. For details, refer to the series of articles here at Unsolicited But Offered. If you have problems connecting to your NAS4Free server, refer to this article and this one for Windows clients.

To set up NAS4Free's DLNA service:

1. Log in to the WebGUI using a web browser from one of the clients on your network.

2. Click Services > DLNA/UPnP Fuppes.

You can use either Fuppes or MiniDLNA for serving up DLNA/UPnP content.

Note: If you've set up a DLNA server in Linux or FreeBSD, then you're probably familiar with the advantages (and disadvantages) of using…

Windows 10 Mobile access in Linux

As with Windows Phone 8.1, Linux users can access both the external micro SD and internal memory of Windows 10 Mobile devices. No additional software packages are required to access the internal memory of Windows 10 Mobile smartphones.

This article made use of a Lumia 650 with a 64 GB Samsung micro SD card running the October build of Windows 10 Mobile. The Lumia 650 was accessed using a Fedora 24 Workstation with Gnome 3 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with Unity desktop.

To access the contents of a Windows 10 Mobile device in Linux:

 1. Ensure that the Windows 10 Mobile device is not locked.

 2. Connect the micro USB cable from the Windows 10 Mobile device to the Linux machine.

 3. Tap Yes when the Use USB data connection? message is displayed on the Windows 10 Mobile device.

 4. Launch Files and wait until both the external micro SD card and Windows device are mounted.

Note: Both Fedora 24 and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS spit out an error message once the Lumia 650 is detected. Close the error message an…