Brother printing blank pages on Linux

The Brother HL 2140 is a good printer but getting it to work on Linux Mint is a bit of a hassle. There are many forums online with the problem of the Brother printing many blank pages. Finally, I found one with the solution.

First, be familiar with the CUPS page on your machine: localhost:631/jobs/. Here, you can see/add/remove your printers and your print jobs. The CUPS drivers were installed by default for me on Linux Mint 18.

On this website, you can add a printer, for which it should detect your Brother printer on USB. When selecting the driver though, you need to select “Brother HL-2140 Foomatic/hpijs-pcl5e“. For me, it was no longer recommended, but it was the only driver that did not print only blank pages. A test page will verify your printer is working.

After this, you should try out Google Cloud Print so you can print from your phone and when you are on the road to your home printer.

Sources

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Plex Media Server Review

I am very impressed with the Plex Media server. It runs on all your operating systems but I have it running on Linux. It sets up the server and accessing the server through any of the Plex apps. It then will scan your folders on your hard drive, gather TV Shows into series and seasons, download an image for each TV Show or movie, description for each, and then keep track of your watched status. It works at home on a local network, on your phone, or at someone else’s house. The streaming is fluid. As long as you keep your laptop on, you got a home media server ready. It also is good for streaming your own, home videos to your TV. I highly recommend it.

They offer a Plex Premium account that has good features like offline content for smartphones and syncing with devices and the cloud.

Problems

  • Have needed to restart my laptop after the server had trouble indexing.
  • Lost TV show progress when upgrading the Plex Media server.

Sources

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Google Ad Words Review for increasing page views

Google Ad Words was an interesting experience. I had a $20 budget that I spread across multiple weeks. My blog has a specific audience so I had to buy views for specific terms like “OwnCloud”. There are many features like campaigns if you are an actual business trying to see what ads are the best bang for a buck. They also make sure you know you can call Google and get assistance setting up your ad campaign, along with coupons.

The results? Really good. I saw 200-400% increase per day. I had the best months, weeks, and days for page views in my blog’s history. Most of my views were for only a few, popular articles. After it ended, my page views went back to normal.

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Picking a Linux Distro for a Server

An old laptop that is going to be running a home server is going to be limited on computing resources, so it is worth looking into running your server with as little overhead as possible.

I was looking for the server to have less software so upgrading would be less of a hassle. Less software packages means less downloads, less chance of problems, and less dependency issues. Less also means more performance!

I tested out the Ubuntu Server since it seemed to be the most well built of the Linux server distros. I was not impressed.

The Live USB created in Linux Mint did not load. I needed to flash from Windows with USB Pen Drive and with Lili USB Creator. During installation, you need to select the type of server you want to run and the programs you will need, something I was not ready to select. After that, Ubuntu Server was installing GRUB onto the USB flash drive. I forget how I got around that but the installation would hang when creating the ext2 file system. After 1-2 hours to complete the installation, I had a command line. Trying to experiment with just a command line is annoying. I want a GUI to do updates, install software packages, use Google Chrome.

So after all of that, I wanted a normal Linux distro with some overhead of a GUI, a web browser, print drivers, and everything else. So I put Linux Mint on the laptop and installed server software that I needed, when I needed it.

Sources

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Raspberry Pi OpenVPN Server

I heard about the Raspberry Pi VPN on the Security Now! Podcast, but I found it a few months later when looking how to set up a VPN on (you guessed it) a Raspberry Pi. The set up is almost super easy. There were prompts for how to configure the Raspberry Pi and what domain I would be using. You do need to have the Pi configured with a Pi OS, along with an Ethernet cable, micro SD card, USB charger, and one-time uses of monitor, HDMI cable, USB mouse, and USB keyboard.

If you do not have a dynamic IP address or a domain name for your home, you will have to redo the setup when your ISP changes your home’s IP address. I opted for using a domain name but the OpenVPN configuration shows my IP address. I will update this post when my IP address changes.

Your VPN’s download speeds will be equal to your home’s upload speed, with added lags due to running through a VPN and other network activity at home.

This is great for getting around public WI-FI blocking of Netflix and Amazon Video, since a paid VPN will be blocked by these providers. Nobody should be blocking your home’s IP Address (if they are using blacklists).

Sources:

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Mac Flag’s Broken Flags

While Mac Mail is simple and works, it has a problem syncing flags with Microsoft Exchange server. It can add messages as flagged, but when removing the flags, the messages will no longer be shown as flagged but the counter will still continue counting. What is the point of flags if they are always flagged!

The one solution that worked for my from the Apple Discussion Threads is to bounce Spotlight form the terminal:

cd ./
sudo mdutil -i off
sudo mdutil -i on /

This is not ideal and I suggest cleaning out the flagged messages (or remembering what they are) in case all the messages get removed.

Sources

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Removing Windows 10 Apps

The apps that come with Windows 10 are neat but they seems to always want to run and they mess with VirtuaWin. So, you can try to

  • Uninstall them from the menu. Right click on an app and select Uninstall.

But that option will be removed for the native apps.

  • Open Powershell
  • Run Get-AppxPackage *windowscommunicationsapps* | Remove-AppxPackage

For more information, please see the sources below.

Sources

How to Uninstall Windows 10’s Built-in Apps (and How to Reinstall Them)

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