They haven’t officially announced it at the time of writing, but Linux Mint 14 (Nadia) was released a couple of days ago.
Naturally I had to download and install! I used the MATE 64bit edition and for various reasons I installed Cinnamon on top.
I decided on a complete reinstall including formatting my Home partition, so I backed up everything and formatted.
As usual the process was painless. Nadia installed without a glitch. However the process was not without a couple of minor problems which led to a little frustration.
The first problem that I encountered was a strange one. While running through the list of packages (listed on the Software page of this site) I installed Audacity. When I ran a test I discovered the problem – Audacity had no menu-bar! After trying the usual reinstall and the like with no success I resorted to the Internet. As usual I had to wade trough a series of solutions that didn’t work, but eventually found one that did.
The solution involved a hack to the code using the following:
In the above, you may want to change “pluma” to your own editor, such as “gedit”.
In the editor insert the following lines :
export UBUNTU_MENUPROXY=0 prog-audacity
Save the file and then run
sudo chmod a+x /usr/bin/audacity
That sorted the problem and now Audacity runs as normal.
This may just be a temporary glitch such as a missing library, but my Internet searches gave no clues.
As a footnote, I also ran into problems installing Google Earth. I remembered seeing a mention of this on the Mint blog, so I tried Clem’s fix. It worked, so it appears the bug hadn’t been fixed before full release!
Almost immediately I found a major flaw in the fix above.
I use Audacity Nightly which was updated shortly after I posted this. That of course overwrote my modification.
A bit of further research led to a permanent solution.Apparently it is a wxwidgets problem.
A lot of people who run websites like to play around with Statistics.
I confess I am no exception but I have always had a problem – which service do I use for gathering statistics? I decided to run a block of them in parallel on the same site to see how their figures compare. The figures I quote are all from precisely the same time-block.
The first off is Awstats. This is preinstalled on most web servers and is generally accessed via the control panel. It is the only server-based service on my list.
AWStats is fine for keeping an eye on such things as bandwidth, but beyond that is of little use unless you are running a very basic HTML site. Its problem is that it counts everything and that would include the myriad of crawlers and spiders out there.
The Hits figure above is completely meaningless as it counts every single file downloaded from the site including all images. Its only real value is as a bragging point if your audience is not fully aware of the meaning of “hits”!
Google Analytics is a free service and is widely used. What I like is its stability, and the fact that it now gives live updates (up until a while ago it only updated on the hour). Its interface is not very intuitive as it is obviously aimed as much at the business user as the occasional hobbyist. Once you have climbed the learning curve however, it is an immensely powerful tool.
Histats is another free web based system which I recently discovered. This has a simple rather attractive interface which provides all the essentials. One feature of Histats which is quite clever is that it compares the current day’s figures on a live basis and compares them with previous figures to give a reasonably good prediction of the full day’s figures. It also provides an insight into “live visitors” with such details as their location, what they are currently viewing and for how long.
I have been using Woopra since they were in Beta testing, a few years ago. Their service is web based, though I still prefer and use their [sadly obsolete?] desktop application. Woopra is free for any site up to 30,000 page impressions per month. After that, you start paying! They too give a live view of visitors, showing what they are doing on site, to the point where you even see what they have typed into a comment box. The live view shows their geolocation, number of previous visits and visit history as well as OS, Browser, Platform etc.
This service provides the facility to send any visitor a live message when they are on-line. Apart from trying it with a friend or two (who were pre-warned) the only time I ever used this facility was to send messages to a Troll who was annoying the site. That was extremely effective. No more Troll!
One area where Woopra falls down is in their historical figures (hence the lack of “Visitors” figure above. Maybe this is available in their subscribed version?
Recently I was introduced to HitSniffer. This is another web based service which has a very attractive and simple interface. Like Woopra, it provides details on live current visitors and their history with all the relevant data – geolocation, Browser, OS etc. It also names each visitor by their web “moniker” even if they haven’t commented on a blog, however they do that? Some of their historical figures can be more than a little suspect. As an example, my Hitsniffer shows zero visits to this site from a Linux platform, when I know this is patently false.
Errors apart, I love this system as the interface is clean, crisp and live. It comes with a very large range of features including a neat and simple historical graph laid over the current week, so trends are immediately obvious. It does however come with a drawback – it isn’t free! Not only that but the basic package (at $5.99 per month) cuts off at a mere 10,000 page impressions per month, whereupon the price ups to $10.99 a month for the next 10,000 pages. This would price it out of the market for your average blogger, except for the really dedicated or wealthy.
Summary of the figures
Of course the big problem with all of the above is which one is showing the correct traffic?
The only answer that satisfies me is “none of them”!
You can see from the above figures that absolute figures vary wildly from system to system. Ignoring AWStats, is the site getting 15,227 or 43,047 page impressions? Why is there such a huge disparity? Maybe someone can give a definitive answer, but I can’t.
To the average user, absolute figures aren’t important. Absolutes only come into play when offering a site for advertising. The important thing is the relative figures. It is quite important to know if your traffic is climbing or dropping. It is quite important to know where your traffic is coming from and what countries are visiting.
Which package shall I continue to use?
My preference would be HitSniffer, but to avail of the package which would suit my needs, I would have to spend more than my entire hosting and domain registration budget.
As I now use Linux Mint as my operating system of choice, I need some way to run a few programmes that are specific to Windows, such as Windows Live Writer (which I am using to write this!).
A long time ago I set up a Virtual Machine to run Windows 7. I installed Live Writer and Office (which I never managed to install via Wine despite claims that it can be done). Since then, I backup my “VirtualBox VMs” folder and restore it after any upgrade. My Windows 7 therefore remains pristine and fully working.
Lately however I have been running close to full disk capacity in my VM, with only 1Gb to spare. My first thought was to create a new VM and install a copy of Windows 7 there. That worked with no problems as I expected, however try as I might I cannot get Live Writer to work properly. Of the three blogs I work on, one loads with no problems whatsoever, the second connects but refuses to recognise the theme and the third won’t even recognise the fact that it’s a WordPress installation. All three blogs have identical setups so I am baffled as to the cause of this.
The solution to my problem I have now discovered is extremely easy. I simply increased the size of my virtual hard drive.
Open a terminal in home/VirtualBox VMs and CD into the folder that contains the virtual Machine (in my case it was “Win 7”). Then run the command
VBoxManage modifyhd “Win 7.vdi” –resize 30000
Naturally you need to change the “Win 7.vdi” bit to your own VM name (and the quotes are necessary if there is a space in the name), and set your own new disk size (the number is Mb, so 30000 = 30Gb). Note also that there are two dashes in “–resize”.
There is one further step though. Running your VM will still show the old disk size, which may cause a moment of frustration or even panic! The reason is that you have increased the hard disk but with an unformatted area.
In my case I simply went into Windows’ Disk Management (enter “partition” into Search to find it) and expanded my current disk to fill the new free space.
My Windows 7 Virtual Machine now has an extra 10Gb of free space!
I recently did a full format and reinstall of Linux Mint 13.
I installed the MATE version from DVD but installed Cinnamon on top, and am using that as my default desktop.
As part of the build, I had to connect to my printer. It’s a Hewlett Packard Officejet J4680 wireless multi-function printer and it is well supported by Linux.
Setting up the printer was no problem at all. However, when I went to test the scanner I ran into problems. While I could print pages to my heart’s content, Simple Scan just flatly refused to recognise the scanner.
I searched the Internet and found a few people with the same problem, but no solutions.
It then occurred to me that the setup of the printer had actually been too easy! It just connected and that was that, with no downloading of drivers or anything. I disconnected the printer and logged into MATE. I went to reconnect the printer and it promptly downloaded the drivers. Even better, Simple Scan now worked.
I logged back into Cinnamon and all works smoothly.
It’s not an elegant solution to the problem, but it did solve it.
I have just reinstalled my full system of Linux Mint 13 MATE/Cinnamon and all is working well bar one fault – I tried to play a YouTube video and it played back at at least twice the speed. Naturally audio was non-existent too.
My first suspect was the browser, so I tried running a local MP4 file in Gnome Movie Player and ran into the same problem which eliminated the browser or any plugins.
The culprit, as I discovered is Pulse Audio.
I have Pulse Audio Volume Control installed and found the solution straight off – I went into the Configuration tab and set my soundcard configuration to "off".