Monday, February 16, 2015

Keeping an Eye On System Resources / 2 Fantastic Tools

By JayR

    I'm back here today just as a reminder that I actually have this blog, and while I am at it I would like to mention two very nice tools for monitoring your system resources : GKrellm System Monitor, and Htop.

    GKrellm is a visual representation of pretty much all the necessary stuff you want to keep an eye on. CPU core's usage and temperature's, your Ethernet, and Disk Drive's activity. This is not something you absolutely have to have, but it sure can come in handy from time to time.

    Htop, is without a doubt a must have to be stashed within your Lil Bag of Linux Tricks, a complete listing of all currently running process's with the ability to selectively change priority or kill the process completely or only selective portions.

JayR :_)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Audio Video Production : Why I Chose KDE for my DE

By JayR

    Let me start off by saying one thing, people reading this blog I hope will keep in mind that this is a place for my personal and public thought's, it is not intended to be news.

    For the past several years I have been beating my brains out trying to piecemeal together my own custom built Linux distro, I can tell ya right now that's not gonna happen anytime  soon. At one time I was hell bent on the Cinnamon and the Mate desktop environments for Linux. I'll sum it up this way Cinnamon is pretty much a Mint Linux deal, and I have lost so much respect for the distribution in the past year, I seriously doubt it will ever become a viable player. Mate is a complete throwback to the once almighty Gnome2 desktop of ages ago. The point I am making here is it's ancient stuff, they are both based on Gnome and GTK, and I am wore out, mentally and physically, I just want something that works, and GTK is a complete disaster, and not it.

    Linux, contrary to popular belief is a formidable player in the Audio mixing business, however when it comes to Video, the graphic(s) card drivers are only so-so at best, pretty much they are no where near the polished product of their Windows counterparts. Now lets tack on this extra weight. Gnome is DEAD, GTK is DEAD and i seriously doubt if the Dev's are on top of anything.

    KDE however bizarre it seemed to me at first with the Plasma 4 and soon to be version 5 is one of those gotcha kinda things, it was like, Oh-Ok now I understand, damm this is so simple. It has got to be the hands down most versatile Desk Top Environment I have yet to encounter.

    Now here's the biggie, QT is here to stay, GTK needs to go away. This is kinda cliche but QT is rapidly becoming a very up and coming player within APP Development circles, and it is pretty much universal, it will run on just about anything. And KDE is QT.

Just my personal opinion

JayR :_)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Virtual Worlds Filming Graphics Quality on Linux : Screen Tearing Issues : Doing Battle The Easy Way : 2 Simple Rules

By JayR

    Dealing with screen tear while panning a scene for a Machinima or Presentation shot using Linux as your production ( pre ~ post ) OS environment can either make or break your entire day's worth of work. There is no need to pull your hair out, following 2 simple rules does not require your full understanding of the issues involved, a fairly basic procedure and easy routine to get into the habit of performing will easily do the trick.

     Power Consumption and Composting, that's it ! This may sound funny to people coming from the Windows crowd, both of these issues are usually handled by MicroSoft's DirectX api. and rarley present a problem. Mac's I have only used for audio production, not much experience in the Video department, however both the OSX and Linux api. for graphics system calls is OpenGL, the same as is used in a number of Virtual World Type Enviornments. ( Open Sim, SecondLife client software and cross platform Video Games...... )

    Chances are you will be dealing with either AMD / ATI or Nvidia hardware, and who knows what Linux distribution or desktop enviornment you may be using. This should make little difference, your only concearn is the two basic underlying conditions, power consumption and composting ( or ) PCaC
    rule #1 : Allways adjust for Maximum Preformance Mode Power Consumption, in other words turn off all power saving features in the Video Driver(s) settings Control Panel. !! OFF !! ( my current KDE and Nvidia enviornment is displayed below )

    Open your X Server Settings, then adjust the OpenGL Image quality to the maximum performace level allowed, repeat this procedure for your power usage as well.

    rule #2 : Get used to having to fiddle around with the various Composting options available to you. That being said. Go to your System Desktop Settings Control Panel and locate the Desktop Effects area of adjustment.

   Look around for an Advanced tab, and make several adjustments to the Composting Type of OpenGL being used 1.x ~ 2.x ~ 3.x  ( dissregarding  XRender alltogether )

       Next choose the OS graphic display sub system ( usually GTK ~ QT or X ) at this point, 90% of the time it will be "Native" to the sub system, "Raster" has more specific purposes I will not be discussing here.


    Moving right along to your Scaling method adjustment. ( in my case Crisp, Smooth or Accurate ) ~  ( where as Smooth does just what you think it would ).

    OK VSync is next, ( Screen Tearing Prevention ) Vertical Sync is important, I can not strees this enough. My advice is to just use common sense here.

    For that matter, performing all of the above and then running a few short tests by panning with your camera view controls horizontaly back and forth several times, should allow you to see noticeable differences in moving image content quality.

    Last but not least of your concerns is your main Control Panel's, Power Management section,
( sometimes referred to as Energy Saving ), never forgetting the goal is not saving electricity, on the contrary we want as much juice as we can get.  You should also take a look at your Rig's BIOS as well, kill all functions that conserve power. My last bit of advice is to use some sort of heat sensor monitoring app during the testing procedure and your actual usage.

    Trail and error, a bit of patience, and within a short period of time you will be a Pro / LOL I just had to toss that in there :_)

    As with most things in the Linux world, you can more than likely automate the process with a few simple scripts. Once you have settled upon your best setting's per usage requirements it's just depends on the user, and what they ( you ) want, and feel comfortable with.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Nvidia 343.x Graphic's Driver Available : An Easy Installation Procedure For *Buntu* 14.04 based Distributions

By JayR

    I was just noticing this morning that Nvidia has released the 343.x series driver for Linux recently. The installation procedure is a bit convoluted as usual, but no where near as difficult as it used to be in the past. The first thing you will want to do is take a visit to the official Nvidia site and do a driver search in order to determine which one will actually support your hardware. Driver 340.x will be the last to support 500 and below series cards and or chip-sets.

    If you are unsure of your current model try this command from a terminal prompt
$ lspci -vnn | grep -i VGA -A 12
This should provide you with some basic information " Nvidia Corporation [GeForce]
Where is a G series,GT or GTX, as far as I know 340.x will be the last to support the 500 based cards and below from here on out. I do not really recommend downloading and installing the tar ball directly from Nvidia unless you really know what you are doing. It is much easier to add the xorg-edgers ppa to your system. Follow the instructions located on this web page, by the way it also a few other this web page.
Once you are done with that, reboot your machine and go into rescue mode, activate network connection, then DKPG update, then Clean, then ROOT type in 
$ sudo nvidia-xconfig
$ startx
once logged in reboot again, things should be back to normal, but with a brand new latest and greatest driver.
That should do it, in my next post I will be dealing with screen tearing while panning in various virtual world environments and how to lessen it.
JayR :_)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hardware Failure's : Seem To Be Plaguing Me As Of Late

By JayR

   I don't know where my luck took a turn for the worse recently, I have been through 3 hard drive failures in the past 6 weeks, all of them Seagates, I don't know what the heck happened to this once stable brand, but that's it for me, I will never purchase one of their product's again, including Lacie which was bought by Seagate last year. All three drives were just past the now 1 year only warranty period, they previously had a 3 year warranty.

    Anyways I did replace all of them with WD Blacks OEM's that include a 5 year warranty, and I can safely say the Western Digital's coverage is excellent. No Questions Asked, as long as the drive has not been physically abused. I have had to return 2 WD Hard Drives in the past 4 years, no problems whatsoever, box it up and pay the shipping and, about a week later you should have a refurbished Black series HD replacement, with a 1 year warranty period.

    Oh well, by this time next year I hope to convert to SSD's, I just installed a Samsung 500GB into an ASUS laptop for a friend a few weeks back, and damn talk about fast. The difference compared to a spinning mechanical disk is astounding.

JayR :_)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I'm Saying Goodbye To Sabayon Linux : The Killer Linux Distro, "Not For Everyone" !

By JayR

   Boy I gotta tell ya I absolutely am in love with Sabayon Linux, unfortunately the rapid pace of  remaining up on the total cutting edge has just plain and simply done worn my brain out to the point of being totally numb. LOL / I cant keep pace.

    So I am very sad to admit, I'm getting to old for this sort of stuff, at least I can maintain a reasonable state of sanity following Debian and Ubuntu.

    It has been a wild and thoroughly enjoyable ride using Sabayon Linux the past 10 month's or so, I can hardly believe the amount of knowledge I have absorbed during the process. However it's time to get back to my Debian / ( Ubuntu ) Root's.

    I still haven't figured out exactly what I am going to do with this blog, for the time being it is merely a sounding board for me, a place to keep my public thought's alive wile using Linux as an alternative to Win & OsX.

JayR :_)

Why I Chose To Place The Cinnamon and Mate Desktop's On The Back Burner In Favor of KXStudios Version of KDE

By JayR

    Oh boy this has been a tough go around for me with the Cinnamon and Mate DE's, and it boils down to this, plain and simple, neither are ready for prime time yet. If I am offending any Mint Linux folks out there, oh well :_(

   All I can tell ya is that both are very buggy, and that's expected considering the relative newness of each environment. I have high hopes for Cinnamon, I truly believe it will one day become a truly outstanding User Interface for the Linux OS.

    The Mate DE, unfortunately I believe is loosing ground fast, perhaps in the hands of the Mint Linux team they can pull off a miracle, and eventually combine the two of them into one coherent Desk Top, as it stands right now the amount of conflicting LIB's, although rather small seem to cause very bizarre behavior once combined.

     Both Mate and Cinnamon are forks of Gnome 2, and each has their own idea's of what is good, and what's not. For instance the Mint Menu extension ( exclusive to the LinuxMint distribution ) is horribly broken, slow as a snail, and completely worthless as far as editing the actual menu is concerned. For that matter Mint 17 ( the folks that are heading up the Cinnamon project ) feels extremely bloated and sluggish in comparison to just about every other DE I have tested so far, besides Gnome,Unity and the stock KDE. Believe it or not those are even worse, but at least they are not hopelessly broken, and once you figure out how to turn off all of the completely worthless Eye Candy Crap, you end up with a workable UI  on all 3. Mate and Cinnamon are both broken right out of the box :_(


JayR :_(