Monday, September 29, 2014

Using mediamonkey to move all my music cd's to my NAS device

I have a Buffalo linkstation. I've decided to use mediamonkey to rip all my CD's and put them on my NAS device in m4a format. This way:
  1. I have them all stored in one place in high quality
  2. My kids have a format useable for apple devices, and can copy them to wherever they need to
  3. I can play the music directly from the NAS

My procedures:
  1. Put CD in drive of computer
  2. Open Mediamonkey
  3. Tools-->rip audio cd
  4. Make sure mediamonkey shows the song names. Some albums will have to be hand-updated.
  5. Verify that the destination is the NAS device
  6. Select "eject CD after ripping"
  7. Select "jitter corrected"
  8. Verify that the format is M4A
  9. At the bottom of the screen you will see status, as in "converting file 2 of 11..."

Ripping music to my NAS device

I am a newb to ripping, to devices, to Apple, to portable music...well jsut about everything except how to use ancient ole Windows.

And I'm trying to downsize my possessions, so I'd like to digitize all my music and toss the CD's and their cases.

My research started here.

Once I read through the choices, I decided to try ripping one CD to Apple Lossless, just to see if I could play it from my NAS device in a Windows computer. I wanted to try this first because I want the music to stay as high quality as possible, and I want to use my NAS device in three ways:
  1. Storage place for all my ripped CD's.
  2. Place from which to directly play music
  3. A place from which my kids can copy music to their devices, which tend to be more Apple than Windows.
So I tried googling how to rip with Apple Itunes, and flailed about until I found this procedure. I have no idea if it's efficeint:

  1. Insert CD in drive of my Windows computer and open Itunes.
  2. Itunes should ask me if I want to import the CD into my library. I say yes. 
  3. Watch the progress and wait for the chime.
  4. Now select all the songs, and copy them to the folder of my choice on my NAS device. I found I had to create a folder containing the name of the album.
Once done, I saw that the filetype Apple created for me is .M4A. I googled to see whether m4a is indeed lossless, and it is.

I realize right away that organization is going to matter. But I don't really know how best to access my music from the NAS device.

So now I need to focus in on first things first. Even if I get the organization wrong, that's not a nightmare. What WOULD be a nightmare is to rip the music into the wrong format, as I'm expecting this project to take several months to complete.

Next I decided to see if I could play songs through the Webaccess feature of my Buffalo NAS device. But I couldn't figure out how to select more than one song at a time so I decided to download "webaccess for windows pc" to see what that would do. I couldn't figure it out so I'm abandoing webaccess for now. This is the second thign I couldn't do from webaccess. The first was to play movies.

So back to playing music from my NAS device. I now seem to have these songs in Itunes, but I dont' want that, right? Now I'm realizing I've gotten entangled with Itunes, when all I thougth I was doing was using Itunes to rip. So now I want to get away from itunes. So I'm starting over.

I find mediamonkey and try that.

  1. When I try to play multiple m4a's from my NAS device in Ubuntu, I get a choice of playing the songs in "Videos" or "Rhythmbox." But I seem to be able to play only one song at a time in Rhythmbox, and found that the "Videos" choice works the way I expected.
  2. To use mediamonkey, I had to download the codec for m4a, and it was a trial, so I may have to pay for the codec. 
  3. If I try to play the songs from the computer on which I installed mediamonkey, I seem not to be able to choose a different player when I right-click on the song. But I can change the default easily enough with the Windows setting "Set associations." I was just surprised that there was no "open with" option.
  4. However, if I try to reach the NAS device from my other computers (including win7, win8, and ubuntu) I can choose the player I want to use. 
  5. I'm getting a chromebook, so I googled whether I can even get to the NAS device with my chromebook, and found out that currently chromebooks do not support local network storage. However, there's big demand for this function. Also I learned that Chromebook does not come with a media player, but I'm guessing I can find one.
Tentative conculsions:
  1. I can get from mediamonkey the codec that I want. This seems the most versatile for my intended purposes I outlined at the beginning of this blog.
  2. I don't know at what point I will have to pay for a license for mediamonkey, but it's only around 50 bucks and I've already determined this is worth it for what I'm getting. The codec pack is $12. So far, I haven't paid for either.
  3. Mediamonkey does a nice job of setting up the folder structure by artist, then album, then songs.
  4. I tried webaccess again with the songs I placed on the nas device using mediamonkey. This time, for some reason, I was able to select multiple songs. But all that does is open each song in a new browser tab, and then they all play at the same time. so enough of webaccess. I guess webaccess is just a play from which to access media, but not actually use it.
I'll write another post with my actual procedures for using mediamonkey.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Beware some Kindle mishaps

I have a Kindle Fire that I love. But I've had two problems with Amazon concerning my Kindle:

  1. When I choose slow shipping on a product so I can get points toward free kindle books, I learned that they don't keep track for you. And you can't find out by putting a kindle book in your cart, because there is no such thing. You have to know how many points you have. I entered a chat to verify that this is true, and it is.
  2. I tried signing up for the $9.99 per month "Kindle Unlimited" only to find out it costs $10.69 with tax. But what pushed me over the edge is that the page on their site that says what will be charged each month says $9.99. And in a chat to verify this, the support rep didn't seem to understand the problem. She kept saying "It's for the government taxes. We have no control over this." But of course they do. They need to say on the page "You will be charged $9.99 plus tax." Duh. I was annoyed enough that I cancelled my subscription and insisted on getting my first month's payment back, with which she complied. 

Force delete files and folders on Buffalo NAS

When using Windows to manage files and folders on my NAS device, I sometimes run into the situation where I cannot delete a file or folder.

My remedy is to go into the web access from the admin panel. Curiously, I can delete from there.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

SMTP settings for Gmail for Buffalo email notifications

Gmail notifications for Buffalo NAS requires correct settings, but it also requires changing a security setting in gmail. Below are the screenshots. First is the gmail setting. Second is the Buffalo setting.

I didn't like the idea of making my gmail address less secure. And what I found annoying is that I thought I could compensate by enabling two-step verification. But gmail doesn't allow "two-step verification" to exist alongside "access for less secure apps."

So instead I created a dedicated gmail account just for the one purpose of getting notifications from my NAS device.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Install apps in Ubuntu without the terminal

Install apps in Ubuntu without the terminal

Ubuntu has an easy to use terminal. For example, you can quickly install your application via terminal with sudo dpkg -i DEBIAN_PACKAGE or sudo gdebi DEBIAN_PACKAGE

But for an alternative, you can install .deb files by downloading them and right clicking on them to use the GDebi package installer.

If you don't have the GDebi package installer, you will first have to install it in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install gdebi
The gdebi utility has two components: gdebi for a command-line tool, and gdebi-gtk for graphical front-end. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First things to do when getting a Windows 8 computer

  1. Remove lock screen using the regedit method
  2. Add the classic start menu
  3. Disable or suppress the metro screen

Disable the lock screen in Windows 8

Disable the lock screen in Windows 8

  1. Launch RUN
  2. Type regedit and press enter
  3. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\Personalization (create it manually if it doesn't exist.)
  4. Select Personalization key. 
  5. In right side pane, create a new DWORD NoLockScreen and set its value to 1
  6. Close regedit and log off or restart Windows
  7. To restore lock screen, just delete the DWORD or set its value to 0.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Crashplan can backup and restore NAS devices in Ubuntu


Windows has some technical flaw that makes it impossible for Crashplan to backup a NAS device.

But Crashplan can backup that same NAS device if you're running it from Ubuntu. I keep some old laptops lying around for geek purposes. Recently, I stomped on Windows on two of them, replacing Windows with Ubuntu. Here's what I did next.

First we need to install Crashplan into Ubuntu:

  1. Download the latest version of Crashplan for Linux
  2. Extract the TGZ file to downloads
  3. Open the Terminal and enter this:
    cd ~/Downloads/CrashPlan-install
  4. Press Enter
  5. Then enter this in terminal:
    sudo ./
  6. Press Enter. Read and advance through the prompts
  7. If you get a message like this, follow the advised steps:
    "CrashPlan requires Java to run."
    "If you wish to install JRE for CrashPlan to run, type Y and press Enter"
  8. Press Enter to read through the EULA, enter yes, press enter
  9. Advance through the rest of the prompts. Take the defaults (sometimes that's pressing enter and sometimes that's saying 'Y')
  10. The Crashplan app opens after the installation completes
  11. Sign into your Crashplan account
  12. Click "start backup" to back up to crashplan central, and then click "change" to change the folder that will be backed up. You will see that the nas device is not yet visible under "media."
Now we have to mount the Windows share
 (note: this is the equivalent of what we're doing in Windows when we "map" a drive)
  1. Install CIFS:
    sudo apt-get install cifs-utils
  2. Create the mount directory
    sudo mkdir /media/windowsshare
  3. Then edit your /etc/fstab file
    sudo gedit /etc/fstab
  4. Add this line to the fstab file where servername is the IP address of the NAS device (and remember to save the file):
    //servername/sharename  /media/windowsshare  cifs  guest,uid=1000,iocharset=utf8  0  0
  5. Now mount the Windows share:
    sudo mount -a 
  6. Reboot


    Now configure Crashplan
      1.  Click cancel in Crashplan backup
      2. Now try again to change the source folder, and under "media" you will see "windowsshare"
      3.  Find windowsshare and mark the folders within it to be backed up to Crashplan Central
      4. Um. Yay? 


      1. After a few months, my Ubuntu machine was suddenly throwing these messages:
        •  ubuntu mount error 115 
        •  only root can mount [food] on [foo]
        I discovered that the IP address of my NAS device had changed. So I went back into the fstab file and changed the IP address. Solved!

      To do right away after installing Ubuntu on a computer

      1. Turn on the firewall. To do that, go into the terminal and type this: sudo ufw enable
      2. Turn on automatic security updates. To do that, go into system settings, then software & updates,  then updates, then where you see "When there are security updates," choose "download and install automatically"
      3. Install cav-linux (Comodo antivirus for Linux), then run /opt/COMODO/ to sign the EULA. Then run it from the desktop to configure and set up scheduled scans.I was unsuccessful in installing cav-linux on my 32 bit machine.

      Thursday, September 18, 2014

      When Secunia says Adobe Flash Player is insecure

      When Secunia says Adobe Flash Players is insecure, open this web page in each of your browsers:

      Take the recommended updates.

      Monday, September 1, 2014

      Replace Windows 7 with Ubuntu intead of Windows 8

      I admit it. I've been a Windows bigot. But now that Microsoft has announced its termination of Windows 7 support as of January 13, 2015, I'm fed up. I am not going to pay for its godforsaken Windows 8 on all my computers, maybe just one or two. and only if I find important incompatibilities between the Libre suite and MS Office.

      Ubuntu, an open source operating system that comes with a pretty good equivalent of MS Office, is free, and light on resources. I've read that LibreOffice is now largely compatible with MS office, with the exception of macros and some programming interface that I know nothing about, so I probably don't care. I plan to experiment so that maybe I can ultimately put Ubuntu on every last one of our computers and not pay Microsoft one more dime.

      Some of my computers are in use for operating media and are on high shelves, so to operate my computers, I've gotten in a habit of logging in using Teamviewer.

      So here is what I did.

      A. I downloaded an ubuntu iso (called Trusty Tahr), and used a burn tool to burn it to a DVD.  (I used imgBurn from CNET.) You can find it here CNET

      B. Then I used the DVD to install Ubuntu and I also installed Teamviewer right away:
      1. Retrieve any usable product keys from Windows before you install Ubuntu. I use both produkey and magical jellybean keyfinder and store all the information away.
      2. Insert the Ubuntu DVD into the DVD drive.
      3. Run it.
      4. It will give you the option to try it, install it in Windows, or install it on top of Windows.
      5. Install Ubuntu to replace Windows.
      6. When Ubuntu signals there are updates, install the Ubuntu updates. Do this before adding teamviewer.Then go into a terminal in Ubuntu and do the following:
      7. mkdir ~/tmp
        cd ~/tmp
        sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
        sudo apt-get update
        sudo dpkg -i teamviewer_linux.deb
        If something goes wrong with the last command you might need to run sudo apt-get install -f.
      8. You can run Teamviewer from the terminal, or from the ubuntu icon
      9. Click on "connection" in teamviewer and click on "setup unattended access," put in a password.