Dirty Cow Linux Kernel Bug – Fix

Dirty Cow – DANGER WILL ROBERTSON!!!

It has been recently reported, that there is a bug in the Linux kernel, called “Dirty Cow”. It can effect some devices and computers running versions of Linux, like Android phones, web servers, and even the Raspberry Pi.
dirty cow bug

You can find out a little more information about this bug on The Hacker News blog. Also, here is a post on the RaspberryPi.org blog, on how to fix it on the Raspberry Pi.

New Raspbian Desktop – PIXEL

Have you seen the new Raspbian desktop for the Raspberry Pi 3? 

The new Raspbian desktop has a smooth new look. And, it’s called PIXEL!

new raspbian desktop

So what is new?
It has a new startup splash screen. It comes with some scenic pics that you can use as the desktop background. There new icons for the desktop, program menu and taskbar. It also installs the chromium browser and real VNC (optional).

I think it’s pretty cool, though the chromium browser can bog things down a bit.

To learn more and get PIXEL, check out this blog post on the raspberrypi.org website!

Kodi (XBMC) Media Center for PC and More!

You may have seen a few posts where I mention Kodi and you might have wondered, “what is that and what does it do”? Well, here you go!

kodi play buttonKodi is an open source media center program, designed to bring all your pictures, music and video, stored on your computer or tablet, together in one place. It will play media in many different formats and from DVD’s and CD’s as well! You can also use it to stream online content. There are even Apple and Android mobile apps available, to enable your smart phone to be used as a remote.

The software is available for Windows, Mac, Android and many Linux distributions, free to download. And, comes with many free addons you can install and use to watch online content, right away (subscriptions may be required)!

food networkOne of my favorite shows is Diners, Driv-ins and Dives, on the Food Network, but I have missed a few of the latest episodes. Kodi has the Food Network Add-on. So I added it and now I am able to stream the show and catch up.

Kodi is also available as a stand alone OS.

raspberry pi 3I use my Raspberry Pi 3 as a mini desktop and media center and have it installed through Raspbian. But, you can also use it installed as a stand alone OS on an SD card, USB flash drive or hard drive, with LibreElec (which is my favorite), OpenElec or OSMC. I have an old HP that had Windows Vista on it, that I removed and installed OpenElec on. The video card has HDMI out, so it was easy to connect to use on the TV. Worked great until my power supply on the PC died (I have had it a while).

You can also use Kodi with other streaming services!

I have PlayOn, which is a paid service where you can stream and record content from all your favorite TV show and movie websites, and watch them anytime you want. It’s like a streaming DVR. And, you can set it up to play your recordings through Kodi or add the app to your device. You can even access PlayOn from other devices to play content, as long as you have the server running on a Windows PC or a Mac. It’s pretty cool and available to try for free!

You can learn more about Kodi here or visit the wiki page here for all the different ways to set it up. And as always, if you need some help, call on me, your friendly neighborhood computer nerd!

LibreElec Wireless Access Point Setup Raspberry Pi 3

Use LibreElec to setup a wireless access point, to connect to Kodi from Your Phone. It’s simple to do and no Internet is required!

LibreElec (What is that? Learn more here.) has a very simple way to setup a wireless “tethered” access point. Then you can connect your android or iOS device to the access point like if it was wifi (without internet). Then access your media on the kodi media center with your favorite kodi mobile app.

I am not going to explain all the steps required to get it installed on the Raspberry Pi, but of course, 1st you have write the LibreElec image on an SD. You will find the images on the downloads page. I only have a Raspberry P1 3, so I only know how it works for that image. I also have a Pi Zero, but I tried it, and it wouldn’t set up.

Once you have the image booted up and kodi is setup on the Pi 3, navigate over to SYSTEM. Mouse over it and the settings menu opens under it. Click on LibreElec.

libreelec access point setup

Then once in that section, mouse over Network. Then Enable “tethered” Wireless Access Point.

13925176_1808460812732764_7095050222711522370_n

wifi access pointYou will then see the SSID name (LibreELEC-AP) and the Passphrase (initially the Passphrase is libreelec but you can change it to something more secure) to use in your wifi phone settings, to connect to. Search for the connection under your phones wifi settings, tap it and when prompted, enter the Passphrase. If it’s all good, it should connect.

Note: You will need to connect back to your regular wifi and download your favorite kodi remote app. Then connect back to the access point and setup the app. I used the “Official Kodi App” and it detected the access point right away when add the new host and tapped, “find kodi”. I saved it and it connected.official kodi app

Then you can load up a USB flash drive with your favorite music, videos or other media, plugged into a USB on the Pi, and add it to kodi, and make it sort of a portable media player.

I set mine up to work in the car to play music through the stereo auxiliary port. I connected a computer speaker line from the Pi’s analog audio output, to the auxiliary stereo input, and enabled it on the car radio. For power, I used a cigarette lighter USB car charger that outputs (5V) 2.4 amps.

You can also connect a USB wifi dongle to access the internet when needed.  And, you can connect other devices with kodi at the same time, like a tablet, to the access point and play media from it. I have not tried that though.

Anyway! Hope that helps somebody!

Setting up my Pi 3 as a Wireless Access Point?

wireless access pointI am going to try to setup my Raspberry Pi 3 as a wireless access point so I can connect to it, without an internet connection. So one of these days I can control it for stuff like a robot car. Anyone out there doing this with their Pi? Have any advice? I am using this guide on this website here.

Update…I couldn’t get it to work correctly. Oh, well. Will try again later.

File Sharing from Your Raspberry Pi to PC using Samba

How to set up file sharing on the Raspberry pi using Samba Share.

There are many, many posts on the interwebs with instructions on how to set up file sharing on your Raspberry Pi. There are also many videos on youtube. But one site I found had some pretty simple instructions, using Samba. But, below I added a little more detail.

Open a terminal and install samba using this command (or access your Pi through ssh):

sudo apt-get install samba samba-common-bin -y

Be sure and type Y to continue.

Once complete and add user pi to the local smbpasswd file:

sudo smbpasswd -a pi

You will be asked to add a username and password.

Then you need to edit the samba config file to set permissions.

sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf

file sharing using samba

Use the down arrow key on your keyboard to move to the area that says, Global Settings.

file sharing using samba

And make sure where it says “workgroup = workgroup”. Then uncomment (remove the # sign) the line that says “wins support”and change the no at the end to yes.

For now, save the file by holding down ctrl button on the keyboard and then hit the x key. Lift off of the ctrl key and x and then hit the y key and enter. It should save it.

Then you need to make a share folder. You can do it through the command prompt in the terminal (at prompt type mkdir and then a name for your new folder) or open your file directory and create a “share” folder. I just simply created one named “share” in my /home/pi directory. But you can also give access to any existing folder there, like the Picture folder, as long as you add the correct path (example: /home/pi/Pictures).

Now open the samba conf file again with sudo nano /etc/samba/smb.conf and move the cursor down until you get to the very end of the document. Then put in your path to the file.

Something like this:

[share]
path = /home/pi/share
available = yes
valid users = @users
read only = no
browsable = yes
public = yes
writable = yes

Save changes (ctrl x, y, enter).

Then back at the prompt, restart samba.

sudo /etc/init.d/samba restart

Then you should be able to browse your shared folder on the Pi with from most PC’s.

Now, this is what worked for me. If you know a better way, please comment below!

Learn more about using Samba, here.

Updating Raspbian OS

It’s a good idea, once you have installed the Raspbian OS on your Raspberry Pi, to check for updates to the software, and periodically. Especially before installing other software.

lxterminalTo do an update, open the terminal (click on the little monitor icon in the taskbar) and type in, sudo apt-get update and hit enter. Once it’s done, it will go to the command prompt (pi@raspberrypi), then type in sudo apt-get dist-upgrade and hit enter. Once that is done, reboot your Pi. Then your OS should be all updated!

If you want to learn more about other update settings, like if you are running low on storage space, on the sd card, visit the Raspberry Pi website, here!

Raspberry Pi Zero – I finally got one!

What is a Raspberry Pi Zero?

The Raspberry Pi Zero has 1Ghz single core cpu, 512mb’s of RAM, a mini hdmi port, mini usb port, and a micro usb for power (you can us a 5v 2a phone charger).

raspberry pi zero

And costs only $5 before s/h or tax! IF you can find any in stock!

I bought mine from a shop called Pimoroni in the UK. Took a couple of weeks to get here but nobody else had it in stock at the time! This is one of those items, if you want it and find it, you better buy it! Another popular place to get one is Adafruit.com. They sell out fast though! You can use this website here to see when they are back in stock in the usual stores that sell them.

The 1st thing I did with mine was install a retropie on it, to see how it handles with less CPU speed or memory than what’s on the Pi 3. Worked pretty good! Also handled Kodi with no problem!

Now to plot what else to do with it!

I want build one of those handheld retro game consoles that has the controller and screen, built into it. But, the kits to build them with, are kind of pricey for my budget. And, like the Zero, they are always out of stock!

I was also thinking of using it to control the volume on some powered pc speakers I have connected to my TV. I will have to find out if that is even possible!

Or maybe, a build a remote control robot car! That would be cool!

And, hopefully I will be able to share some of my experiences here.

What have you used the Raspberry Pi Zero for?


Raspberry Pi Portable Power Supply

portable power supply for raspberry piAre you looking for a portable power supply for your Raspberry Pi? This might work, depending on what you are doing with it.

I found this Pocket Juice charger at Walmart for $11.88. It was over in the school supplies section. It has an output of 2.4a max. Just about the right amount of power for the Pi 3 to run on.

If you look online it says 2.1 max output, but on the back of the charger and packaging, it says 2.4 max.

backofcharger

So anyway! I bought one and tried it with the Pi 3 running the Raspbian OS. I browsed the internet, played a few games on retropie and watched a couple of shows on LibreElec (Kodi) and it held up. But, I only had a wireless mouse, keyboard and a game pad connected to the USB ports. So, not really “loaded down” with peripherals that use a lot of power.

It has a row of 4 blue light bars on the top when fully charged. I probably had it plugged into the Pi for about 3 or 4 hrs at the least, and it still had 1 bar left before I shut down the Pi. I have not tested whether or not you could charge it and run the Pi at the same time.

So for $11.88, it’s not much of a risk to take, to see if it worked or not. And if not, I could use it to charge my phones.