Calculate SHA hashes from the Terminal (OSX & Linux).

MAC OSX (10.11.4 El Capitan)

Calculate SHA-1 checksum:

shasum ~/Downloads/linuxmint-17.3-xfce-64bit.iso


shasum -a 1 ~/Downloads/linuxmint-17.3-xfce-64bit.iso

Calculate SHA-256 checksum:

shasum -a 256 ~/Downloads/linuxmint-17.3-xfce-64bit.iso

shasum OSX

Linux (Mint 17.3 – 3.19 Kernel) 

Calculate SHA-1 checksum:

shasum home/matt/Downloads/english_17.3.pdf

Calculate SHA-256 checksum:

sha256sum home/matt/Downloads/english_17.3.pdf

shasum in Linux

Raspberry Pi – SD Card Contents.

Raspberry Pi SD Card Numbering System.

This is just a list for my own benefit to keep track of the contents of my various Raspberry Pi SD Cards.

I am creating this post so that I may know what is on each of my SD Cards, without having to boot them using the RasPi.

I am forever formatting, installing, updating, upgrading, and reformatting each card, as I am not able to determine what OS (and which version) is on each card (several of the cards look identical), which projects I have attempted on each card, at what stage each of the projects is up to, and what the plan is for each card.

  • Dick Smith 8gig Labelled 1: Raspbian 20.12.13 – Setup for projects on the PiDish break-out board (Shut down switch: currently)
  • Verbatim 8gig Labelled 2: Fresh install of Raspian 7.1.14 – PiGlow testing, WiringPi, 
  • Kodak 16gig Labelled 3: Fresh install of Raspian 7.1.14 – Not yet booted (maybe for Camera / Surveillance Use )
  • Dick Smith 8gig Labelled 4: Formatted, Fresh install of Raspian 7.1.14 – Not yet booted.
  • SanDisk Micro SD 8gig (Adapter) Labelled 5: Formatted – Fresh install of Raspian 7.1.14 – Not yet booted.
  • Unknown 8gig SD Card Labelled 6: Formatted – Fresh install of Raspian 7.1.14 – Not yet booted.

Verbatim 8gig Labelled 2:



Function: Experimenting with the PiGlow.

Fresh format with Raspbian.

Installed the i2c Driver Modules for the


sudo nano /etc/modules

and add


at the end of the file (then save and exit).

(Do this from the Command Line environment rather than from within X using the LDXE Terminal Emulator. I had heaps more success doing it from the real CLI using sudo than with the emulator)

Next, make sure the following modules are NOT blacklisted within: raspi-blacklist.conf

sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/raspi-blacklist.conf

If they are blacklisted out, like this:

blacklist spi-bcm2708
blacklist i2c-bcm2708

Comment out these two entries (like the below) and save/exit the file.

# blacklist spi-bcm2708
# blacklist i2c-bcm2708

Also make sure that you have installed the i2c libraries and python support with:

sudo apt-get install python-smbus

Next, Install WiringPi.

WiringPi is (c) 2012-2013 Gordon Henderson

And is available here:

First, grab GIT (should already be part of the newest Raspbian images):

sudo apt-get install git-core

Next, update and RasPi:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Obtain WiringPi using GIT:

git clone git://


cd wiringPi
git pull origin

And finally, build and install using the script (note, WiringPi’s author warns that this script makes use of the “superuser” account, therefore, please feel free to inspect the content of ./build before you trust it with God-Like powers on your Pi).

cd wiringPi

Once installed, you can check the installation with the following commands for Version number and gpio pin status:

gpio -v
gpio readall
WiringPi (c) 2012-2013 Gordon Henderson
WiringPi (c) 2012-2013 Gordon Henderson

Why stop at WiringPi? GET PYGLOW!! 

PyGlow is a fork of PiGlow by Jason (@Boeeerb

PyGlow was forked by @ben_leb (


First create and navigate to your PyGlow directory:

mkdir pyglow
cd pyglow

Next, obtain the latest version of the PyGlow python module:


The above command will download the module which performs all the glow-lovin action.

Download a test script and take the PiGlow for a test drive:

sudo python

The ‘examples’ directory contains some files useful for learning how to make the most of the device, and the software.


Create an OSX 10.9 Mavericks Recovery bootable USB!

OSX 10.9 Mavericks - App Store Page
OSX 10.9 Mavericks – App Store Page

This is just a small post to highlight that I have updated the site to include a specific page for Apple/OSX information.

My latest addition to this page details the method I used to create a bootable recovery USB for OSX 10.9 Mavericks.

No, I didn’t research how to do this because I am bored or have nothing better to do……after I updated OSX to Mavericks 10.9, and Ubuntu to 13.10, some aspect of the process fried my partition table which systematically resulted in a failure to boot anything other than OSX despite trying multiple methods of repairing the partition table/EFI using gdisk and rEFInd among several other techniques. Needless to say, nothing worked and in the process of deciding to delete the Ubuntu and Windows 7 partitions to start again (by installing fresh versions of Ubuntu 13.10 and Windows 8.1), I accidentally wiped the OSX recovery partition.

Anywho, that left me in the unenviable position of having a MacBook with NO RECOVERY CAPACITY in case I did anything else stupid to my partitions or my partition tables.

One thing lead to another, and I researched a way of creating an external OSX Mavericks USB recovery drive, which when tested, worked flawlessly and in exactly the same manner as my original MacBook recovery partition.

So, anyone with a recent MacBook who tinkers with partitions and partition tables SHOULD CREATE A RECOVERY USB FOR OSX, just in case they find themselves without a bootable version of OSX or a bootable OSX recovery partition/tool.

OSX's createinstallmedia tool.

Install the Logitech F710 Gamepad within Windows 7 & 8.

Wireless Gamepad F710

I’m posting this is because every time I wipe my PC, I have a nightmare figuring out how to re-install my beloved Logitech F710.

(The official support site for the F710 Gamepad is here, but be aware, I find it to be of limited use!)

Step 1 – Ensure that fresh batteries are in your Logitech Gamepad F710.

Step 2 – Place the F710’s receiver in a spare USB port on the computer, preferably one that is NOT in close proximity to any other RF interference (other wireless USB devices receivers, WiFi antennas etc).  Mine works much better when used in conjunction with the USB-extender cable that came with the gamepad (just to ensure that the receiver is far enough away from any RF interference that the MacBook is putting out).

Step 3 – Install the Logitech Gaming Software/Profiler from the Logitech F710 support site linked above (as far as I can tell, this software doesn’t help install your F710 in any way, shape or form with regards to drivers etc……. although, it can be useful in testing your gamepad following installation to ensure the buttons/sticks/functions are all operating correctly).

Step 4 – For Windows 8: Go to your Desktop and right click the hidden “USB/Safely Remove Hardware” icon in the task bar and select “Open Devices & Printers”, find the F710 (which Windows will tell you the driver is missing for), and open up “Properties”.  For Windows 7: Go to Control Panel – Hardware & Devices – Device Manager: then highlight the F710 within the Device Manager and select “Properties”.   (In Windows 8: Do not try to open the Device Manager using the Right-of-screen “Settings” or “Devices” menu, although this seems logical, it WILL lead you on a wide goose chase to nowhere particularly useful for installing devices)

Step 5 – Once you have the F710’s device properties tab open, go to the Hardware tab, and again select Properties.  Go to General, and click the “Change Settings” button and approve the UAC (User Account Control) request.  Once the F710 panel opens up again, select the Driver tab, and click the Update Driver button.

Step 6 – Once the new panel opens up, select “Browse my computer for driver software”, and then “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer”.

Step 7 – Navigate Windows to the Windows/xBox 360 Wired Controller driver and install that despite any warnings Win7/8 may throw up.

Step 8 – Allow windows to complete the installation of the F710 using the xBox Wired Controller driver, and then test the device using the Logitech Profiler software.

Yes, yes, I know…..its a painful process, and in 2013 it should be simpler than that, but this is the quickest and most efficient method I have found to install the F710, and trust me, I have spent several hours every six months following a system-wipe trying to install this device.

Next up………………How to install the F710 in Ubuntu 13.04/13.10!


-Update 29 Jan 2015

In Windows 8.1

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with the Logitech F710 Wireless Gamepad with Windows 8.1 running in a Parallels Desktop 10.1.2 on the Mac and I have not needed to manually install any special drivers in the manner detailed above. For the first time since I bought the F710 (in early 2013), the device has just installed itself automatically when set to the “X” setting on the front of the device (inbetween the two trigger buttons).

In Mac OSX 10.10 Yosemite

Since I’ve installed the Steam desktop client on the Mac partition, I have also been playing a few of the games using the F710 directly in the Mac OS without issue.  Using this “one weird tip discovered by a mom” (as the lame internet banner ads remark), I’ve found that the F710 works flawlessly without any need for driver installation or configuration:

  • Make sure the F710 is set to “D” on the front switch between the triggers (opposite to Windows which uses “X”)
  • With the controller’s nano TX/RX dongle unplugged, press & hold the Logitech button (centre top) while you insert the receiver into a free USB on the Mac
  • To check the installation, navigate to ABOUT THIS MAC -> SYSTEM REPORT, where you should see the F710 listed as “Logitech Cordless Rumblepad 2” (or similar) under USB hardware.


F710 Installed in OSX 10.10




Quick Linux Post: CLI SysAdmin Tools


Linux CLI SysAdmin Tools.

Here is just a really short post regarding a collection of CLI SysAdmin tools.

These tools definitely warrant a page in their own right, but I just don’t have the time at the moment.

(And I just wanted to get them down before I forgot them)

I will be expanding this topic at some point (probably in a separate page), but until then, this will have to do!



Shows system processes in real-time

Displays a dynamic list of processes which (by default) updates every few seconds, and

Focuses on the most CPU-intensive processes

top z

Top enables several commonly used ‘hot keys’ which serve various handy purposes, some of these are:

q – quits the application

z – toggles colour/monochrome

t – toggles summary info

m – toggles memory info

space – refresh display

A – toggles display by categorising processes into groups based on various system resources

f – enters an interactive configuration menu for ‘top’ field management (ESC to return to top display)

r – allows ‘renice’ command to be applied to a particular process via its PID

k – allows ‘kill’ command to be applied to a particular process via its PID



Displays who is currently online / logged into the system

Can provide information regarding what they are doing

Variation can include:

w username


w matt

as examples




Displays a static process tree within the terminal



more to follow………………………..

apt-get moo

Wasting time…….With Linux! #2!!!

Easter Eggs

More shenanigans from the command line within Ubuntu; EASTER EGGS!

In the coming months, if I get wind of a heap of these, then I might dedicate Linux Easter Eggs their own page, but for now a humble post will suffice.

Go on, try these out in your Ubuntu or Linux Mint installation, you know you want to!

For the apt-get VS aptitude Easter Eggs, you may firstly need to install aptitude depending on your distribution’s bundled software. In the case of Ubuntu 13.04, aptitude is NOT part of the main installation (though it is in LM15), and therefore has to be added afterwards with either the Ubuntu Software Centre or (ironically enough) apt-get. For the latter, the following should work:

sudo apt-get install aptitude

Then, try this out to get started:

apt-get moo
apt-get moo
Channel your inner bovine!

and to answer the age-old question regarding the difference between apt-get and aptitude:

aptitude moo
aptitude moo
These guys are no fun..


aptitude -v moo
aptitude -v moo
If at first you don’t succeed..


aptitude -vv moo
aptitude -vv moo
And again….


aptitude -vvv moo
aptitude -vvv moo
And again…


aptitude -vvvv moo
aptitude -vvvv moo
And again…


aptitude -vvvvv moo
aptitude -vvvvv moo
And again….

and finally (after long last)……

aptitude -vvvvvv moo
aptitude -vvvvvv moo
And finally……

and continuing the apt-get VS aptitude (and to a lesser extent, ‘cows’) theme, here are a few more:

apt-get -h | tail -n 1

and…….not to forget:

aptitude -h | tail -n 1
apt-get VS aptitude
apt-get VS aptitude

Within previous versions of Ubuntu (well, 8.04 at least!) there was also the ‘Wanda the fish” Easter Egg.

I downloaded and installed 8.04.4 LTS (Hardy Heron) within a Virtual Box VM just to test this one….

Open the quick-command ALT-F2 and type:

free the fish

and…….you will be rewarded with ‘Wanda the fish” swimming around your desktop for a few minutes, a la below:

Wanda the fish
Wanda the fish – Just above the task bar in between the Terminal and Run Apps.
Wanda the fish
Free the fish!

Humorously enough, if you try the same stunt in 13.04 you are greeted with:

Wanda in Ubuntu 13.04
Wanda in Ubuntu 13.04…..Kill Joys!

In case you were about to ask; No, clicking on the file/application or otherwise interacting with it in any other way doesn’t illicit any response (that I have found, anyway!).

Customise the command line.

An old post by the creator of Life Hacker, Gina Trapani, regarding customisation of the command line.

I like to refer to it every now and then for inspiration (as a novice Linux practitioner).

I haven’t got the time for it specifically tonight, but I definitely would love to play around with Terminal/CLI customisation and post the artwork up here.

The link to the article by Gina is here, but until you get there, here is something to whet your appetite…

The source of the image below, and another great Life Hacker article is here (The Top 10 Command Line Tools)….

One of the more creative CLI customisation!
One of the more creative CLI customisation!


Wasting time…….With Linux!

Inspired by the movie Inception, I thought that I’d have a go at getting three operating system’s deep with everyone’s favourite free VM generator, VirtualBox!

Below is a screen-capture from my system running three flavours of Ubuntu deep.

My specs are: Late 2012 (10,1 Model) MacBook Pro Retina 15in, Intel® Core™ i7-3720QM CPU @ 2.60GHz × 8, 16gig RAM, 512gig SSD: Running Ubuntu 13.04 x64 (on its own partition).


The stunt: Ubuntu 13.04 with VirtualBox running Linux Mint 15 XFCE; running VirtualBox which in turn is running Lubuntu (rather slowly).

Powered by Linux & executed by VirtualBox.
Powered by Linux & executed by VirtualBox.


Next time I get really bored, I might try going deeper, but I will really need to plan out the resources granted to each VirtualBox VM.

For this example I think I granted 10gig RAM to Linux Mint, and 2gig to Lubuntu, but doing anything within Lubuntu was like wading through molasses (in snow boots).

Hope you enjoyed!