Emulationstation Pixel Desktop Shortcut No Command Line

How to create a emulationstation desktop shortcut to get to back to RetroPie from the Pixel Desktop, without going to the command line!

You can easily install the Pixel Desktop from the RetroPie setup menu (Configuration / Tools >> Raspbiantools >> Install Pixel Desktop Environment). It takes a while, but once installed and after restarting Emulationstation, it will be in the Ports menu on RetroPie.

Enter the desktop with whatever button you setup to enter the games with, on your controller.

*Note: You will need a keyboard and mouse to navigate the desktop!

Once you are at the desktop, right click somewhere on the background and choose, “create empty file” and name it, emulationstation.desktop.

Then download the icon below (right click and save as), and move it into your /home/pi directory.

emulationstation desktop shortcut

Then right click the new empty file and choose, “Text Editor” from the list. Then in the editor, copy and paste or type this information below in the box and save.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Games
Comment=EmulationStaion
Icon=/home/pi/emulationstation.png
Exec=pkill Xorg
Type=Application
Encoding=UTF-8
Terminal=false
Categories=None;

I found this code here.

The icon should change to the ES icon, once saved. Then test it by double clicking the icon. It should take you back to the Ports menu on RetroPie. You may have to reboot for some settings to take effect.

And there you go, you can now exit the Pixel Desktop with the emulationstation desktop shortcut! Fun!

Netflix on the Raspberry Pi 3 – How-to

A Simple Way to Get Netflix on Your Raspberry Pi 3!

netflix on raspberry piLike many others, I have longed for the day that the Raspberry Pi would be able to play videos natively from Netflix. And like many others, I have tried several different ways to make it work, to no avail, but I kept trying.

So, why keep trying?

Well because the Pi 3, should be able to play video from Netflix. It has the right amount of processing speed, ram and runs on a modified Debian based Linux distribution. After all, it plays fine on a smart phone, with even less specs than the Pi. And it even runs in the Chrome browser on a Linux OS (albeit x86 based), and plays Netflix video, just fine.

So, I thought maybe Netflix just has some sort of block on ARMv7 based processors (which the Pi 3 has). Or a block on running on open source software, afraid they would get hacked or something. But many Linux distributions are open source, so that isn’t it either!

Then what is it?

Well, I am not exactly sure. I could go into a bunch of technical stuff to try and explain it, but I really don’t know exactly what I am talking about. I do understand it a little bit, but not totally. It has something to do with a Chrome plugin called widevine, that allows Netflix video, and other protected video content, to play in the Chrome browser. Widevine is automatically installed and enabled, when you install Chrome on your computer.


netflix on chromiumBut, the Chrome browser will not install and run natively on the Pi. Instead you have to install and run Chromium, which is an open source modified version of Chrome. Chromium however, does not come installed with the widevine plug in. But it is available through a code package that installs Chromium and the required patch for widevine to work, thanks to someone named krusti8 found on the raspberrypi.org forums. The code also installs a Netflix shortcut under the internet menu section on the Pixel desktop, called the Netflix Launcher.

netflix launcher

To install it on the Pi 3, it’s probably a good idea to 1st do an update. Open the terminal and type sudo apt-get update and hit enter. Once done and at the prompt again, copy and paste this code:

wget https://github.com/kusti8/chromium-build/releases/download/netflix-1.0.0/chromium-browser_56.0.2924.84-0ubuntu0.14.04.1.1011.deb
sudo dpkg -i chromium-browser_56.0.2924.84-0ubuntu0.14.04.1.1011.deb

It will start downloading and takes a little time installing. It actually installs in two parts, so you need to watch for when it finishes installing the 1st part, and then hit enter for the second part at the command prompt.

This was pretty simple! I got it up and running on my Pi with no issues! Now I can watch Netflix directly on the Pi! Without streaming from another PC or without using some other virtual windows emulator! Woo Hoo!!!! Thanks kusti8!

Enjoy!

Easier Way to Set Resolution Raspberry Pi

Are you using the Raspbian Jessie OS on your Pi? Need to change or set the resolution to better fit your screen or monitor?

Did you know you can now change or set the resolution on the Pi without editing the config.txt file manually? Yep! With the latest OS update, you can now change or set resolution directly through the desktop GUI.

Note: This is done pretty much the same way under the PIXEL desktop, but the menu just looks a little different.

Just click on the Menu button on the task bar, and click on Preferences. Then look for Raspberry Pi Configuration on the bottom of the list.

change resolution raspberry pi

Then look about 3/4 way down the System tab section for, Set Resolution.

Click the down arrow and choose your setting, then click OK.

Then click OK at the bottom of the Config box and choose to reboot!

When it brings up your desktop, you should see the change! Simple as that!

If you don’t see these setting on your version of the desktop, you may need to do an update. Open a terminal and type: sudo apt-get update (If prompted during update install, choose yes to continue). Then reboot!

Change Task Bar Location & Background Images – RPi

How to change the task bar location and add or change the background image or color, on the Raspbian Raspberry Pi Desktop!

Change Task Bar Location

When you first install the Raspbian OS and startup your Pi, you will notice the task bar location and application quick launch icons, are at the top of the desktop.

change task bar location

Did you know, the task bar can be moved to the bottom, left or right, of the desktop? And, you can edit the quick launch icons too? Here is how to do that.

1st, right click in a blank space of the task bar to bring up the task bar settings menu, and click on “Panel Settings” in the list.

taskbar preferences

Under the Geometry tab, you click on the location you want the task bar and it will move there. There are a few other settings there you can change, if you want to change the length and width, etc. Click OK to save the location.

panel loation

Edit the Quick Launch Icons

Usually, the default quick launch icons in the task bar are the web browser, file cabinet, terminal, Mathematica, and Wolfram. But these icons can be edited to what you want.

app launch barUnder the same Panel Settings menu where you changed the task bar location, click on the Panel Applets tab at the top.

It will bring up a box like the one here to the right. Click on Application Launch Bar in the list and then click on the Preferences button and it will show a box like the one below.

add remove apps

On the left side of the box, are the icons that are already there in the tray. Click on the ones you want to remove and click the remove button in the middle of the box. On the right side are applications you can add. Click on the ones you want to add and click add button in the middle of the box, at the top. You can also switch them around with the up and down buttons. Then click OK when done.

As an example,  I removed Mathematica and Wolfram icons and added the Sense HAT Emulator, to the quick launch tray.

task bar new app

How To Change the Background Image

With the new PIXEL desktop Raspbian update, you can choose from several images to use as a background. Just right click in any area of the current desktop background and it will bring up a window box with a list. Click on Desktop Preferences, at the bottom of that list.

desktop background

Then to change the background, click the little folder icon next to Wallpaper, to bring up other background image choices.

desktop preference

Choose the one you want (it shows a small thumbnail preview to the right) and click open and it will be set as your background image.

change background image

Or you can also just use a background color, if you want.

Just above the line that has the image, is the Wallpaper mode. Select “Fill with background color only” in the drop down list. Then adjust the color wheel and click on the color you want. Once done, click OK and then click close to close the box. Then the background will change to the color you picked.

bgcolor bgcolorselectok new background color

You can also use both, a color and a background image. Play around with these settings until you get the desired look you want, on your Raspberry Pi!

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.

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 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.

Changing the Desktop Clock on Raspberry Pi 3

So I had setup my Raspberry Pi 3 with an install of Raspbian, and fixed the time to show the current time in my timezone. But noticed it was still set to 24hr clock.

In case you don’t know how to change the time on the Raspbian install on a Raspberry Pi 3, you just go to the Menu bar. Select Preferences>Raspberry Pi Configuration and click on the Localisation Tab. Then click on the buttons and select the information relevant to where you are (if you live in the US, be sure and change your keyboard setting, or it can be off on some things when you type). I think you can just change the timezone if you want. By the way, it doesn’t show the standard selection like CST, EST etc. So if you live in America, you just select the closest city to you in your same timezone. Like I am from Texas and my area of Texas is in the same timezone as Chicago, which is central time. So I selected that and it works. Then click ok and reboot. Then it should show your correct time but maybe in 24hr time format.

Anyway, to fix it to show the 12 hr time format, you right click on the time in the task bar and then chose digital clock settings, and then in the clock format box, change it to %r instead of %R and click ok. But then that will show the time format with the seconds ticking at the end. If you want to remove the seconds like I did, you change it to %l :%M %p and click ok.

There you go!

Starting Emulationstation Installed On Raspbian

How to start Emulationstation, that was installed manually from the RetroPie script, on Raspbian, for Raspberry Pi 2/3 (updated 7/26/16).

This post is in reference to my post on installing a Retro Gaming System on the Raspberry Pi 3. Click Here to read it.

So let’s say you are a beginner like me and you installed RetroPie on your Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, through Raspbian using the manual setup script. And, you are trying to figure out how to start it up so you can play some games. Well, you would think that after installing it, there would be some sort of icon or way to launch it from the desktop on Raspbian. Or you could go to the LX terminal, located on the desktop, and type “sudo” something, right?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like many other programs you installed on your Pi through the terminal. RetroPie is built on a program called Emulationstation (ES), and you have to start ES to run RetroPie. But, ES can’t be started through the LX terminal on your desktop either with “sudo something”. I tried that, it will give you an error and say you must stop X, and there is no launch icon. It can only be started from root. And no, not the root folder on your desktop. I mean, outside of Raspbian, through the command line interface (CLI or short).

Here is how to get to the command line interface, so you can run ES.

Go to the Start Menu-> Preferences->Raspberry Pi Configuration.start emulationstation from raspbian desktop

Then look for “Boot” under the System tab (what it automatically opens to). Switch the “To Desktop”, to “To CLI” and then click ok, then choose Reboot.

start emulationstation from raspbian desktopThen it will reboot (you will see all the script stuff like in the pic below) to the command line prompt (you may have to log in with your username and password. if you haven’t changed the default username and password, it would be username: pi and password: raspberry).

cli prmpt

Then here is where you will type in “emulationstation”. Then you should see the ES logo load up and start RetroPie to a screen to setup your game controller.

emulationstation

To get out of ES and back to your desktop, you can push whatever button on your controller you chose to setup as the “start” button, and select Quit. Then at command prompt type, startx, and it will load the desktop.

That’s It! Took me a while to read between all stuff on all the forums, scratching my head, but I eventually got it. If there is an easier way, please share it with me in a comment, below!

Now, you can get it on like Donkey Kong!…..never mind….sounded good in my head! lol! Have fun playing those old games!

P.S. Once you change the setting under the preferences to boot to CLI, it will boot to that, until you manually change it back. You can just go to your preferences again and change it back to boot to the desktop.