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Sat, Jul 06, 2024 10:07 pm

Installing Private Internet Access (PIA) VPN software on an Ubuntu system

To install Private Internet Access (PIA) Virtual Private Network (VPN) software on an Ubuntu Linux system, download the .run file from Download the Best VPN for Linux in 2024 — Set Up in Minutes. Change the permissions on the file with the chmod command to make it executable then execute the .run file.

$ chmod +x 
$ ./ 
Verifying archive integrity...  100%   MD5 checksums are OK. All good.
Uncompressing Private Internet Access  100%  

Private Internet Access Installer

Installing PIA for x86_64, system is x86_64
[sudo] password for jim: 
 Added group piavpn
 Added group piahnsd
 Copied Private Internet Access files
 Allow non-root /opt/piavpn/bin/pia-unbound to bind to privileged ports
 Created var folder
 Installed icon
 Created desktop entry
 Set wgpia interface to be unmanaged
 Created piavpn service
Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/ → /etc/systemd/system/piavpn.service.
 Started piavpn service

You will then see a window where you can establish a VPN connection or take a tour of the software.

PIA Login

[/network/vpn] permanent link

Fri, Jul 05, 2024 8:57 pm

Selecting an Audio Track Language When Playing a Video with Windows Media Player

If you have a video file with multiple language audio tracks stored within it and need to change from the default audio track, say Italian, to another track, e.g., English, you can do so on a Microsoft Windows system, such as a Windows 11 system, using the default audio-video application that comes with the Windows 11 operating system, Windows Media Player (WMP) 2022. To change the language for a video that contains multiple language audio tracks, move the mouse pointer to the first icon on the right at the bottom of the Windows Media Player window (it is a rectangle with a few short horizontal lines at the bottom of the rectangle); you should see "Languages and subtitles (Ctrl+L)" appear when you move the mouse pointer to it.

Languages and Subtitles icon

Or you can just hit Ctrl-L, i.e., the Ctrl and L keys simultaneously, to bring up the option to select the language for the audio associated with the video.

Select Audio Language Track

The menu that appears that allows you to pick a language also allows you to choose a subtitle file, such as a .srt file, if you have one for the video.

[/software/audio_video/WMP] permanent link

Mon, Jul 01, 2024 9:01 pm

Calculating a date x number of days from a specified date using Excel or Calc

If you wish to know the day, month, and year of a date in the future or past that is x number of days from before or after today or some specified date, you can perform the calculation in spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel, or the free and open-source software (FOSS) programs LibreOffice Calc and OpenOffice Calc, by placing a date in a cell and then using addition or subtraction on that date to determine the desired date. E.g., if you place 7/1/2024 for July 1, 2024 in cell A1, you could use the formula =A1 + 280 in cell A2, if that cell is specified with a date format (you can right-click on the cell and choose Format Cells to verify a date format is selected for the cell) to calcuate the date that is 280 days from July 1, 2024. You would then see 4/7/2025 for April 7, 2025 in cell A2, if you use the month/day/year format for the date in cell A2. Or you could put the formula =A1 - 280 in the cell to determine the date that was 280 days before, i.e., 9/25/2023.

[/software/office] permanent link

Sun, Jun 30, 2024 9:12 pm

Determining the version of a PDF document

If you have a Portable Document Format (PDF) file and wish to determine the version of the PDF standard used for the document, that information is stored in the first line of the file. You can open the file with a text editor, such as the Windows Notepad application on a Microsoft Windows system and view the first line to determine the PDF version used for the file. You will see %PDF-x.y where x.y is the version of the PDF standard used in the creation of the file, e.g., %PDF-1.7 for version 1.7.

On a Microsoft Windows system, you could also open a PowerShell window (you can type PowerShell in the Windows Search field and click on the application when you see it returned in the list of results) and use the Get-Content cmdlet and the -First parameter followed by the number one. E.g.:

PS C:\> Get-Content "July 2024 Newsletter.pdf" -First 1
PS C:\>


  1. PowerShell Get-Content equivalents to Linux head and tail commands
    Date: March 22, 2024

[/os/windows/PowerShell] permanent link

Fri, Jun 28, 2024 9:17 pm

Mirroring Disks with Windows Disk Management

I added two Western Digital 10 TB hard disk drives to a Windows 11 system. I wanted to have the second hard disk drive (HDD) mirror the first, which is a Redundant Array of Independent Disks 1 (RAID 1) configuration. You can configure Windows to mirror the drives using the Disk Management utility that comes with the Microsoft Windows operating system. To run the utility, you can open a command prompt with administrator privileges and then type diskmgmt.msc and hit Enter. You will then see a window showing all the drives attached to the system. In this case, the new 10 TB drives are shown as "unallocated", since they have not been partitioned and formatted yet.

Two unallocated drives

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows] permanent link

Mon, Jun 24, 2024 10:30 pm

Installing OpenSSH server software on an Ubuntu Linux system

To set up an Ubuntu Linux system as a Secure Shell (SSH) server, you can take the following steps:
  1. Open a terminal window.
  2. In the terminal window, issue the command sudo apt-get install openssh-server.
  3. Enable and start the ssh server service by issuing the command sudo systemctl enable ssh --now. If you wish to enable the service, but not start it immediately, you can omit the --now at the end of the command, i.e., you can use sudo systemctl enable ssh and then later issue the command sudo systemctl start ssh to start the service.

[ More Info ]

[/os/unix/linux/ubuntu] permanent link

Sun, Jun 23, 2024 7:19 pm

Determining the version of an installed package on an Ubuntu Linux system

If you wish to view information for a package installed on an Ubuntu Linux system, you can use the command apt show packageName or dpkg -s packageName where packageName is the name of the relevant package. If you are only interested in the version number for a package, you can pipe the output of either command into the grep command.

$ apt show net-tools
Package: net-tools
Version: 1.60+git20181103.0eebece-1ubuntu5
Priority: optional
Section: net
Origin: Ubuntu
Maintainer: Ubuntu Developers <>
Original-Maintainer: net-tools Team <>
Installed-Size: 819 kB
Depends: libc6 (>= 2.34), libselinux1 (>= 3.1~)
Task: ubuntukylin-desktop
Download-Size: 204 kB
APT-Manual-Installed: yes
APT-Sources: jammy/main amd64 Packages
Description: NET-3 networking toolkit
 This package includes the important tools for controlling the network
 subsystem of the Linux kernel.  This includes arp, ifconfig, netstat,
 rarp, nameif and route.  Additionally, this package contains utilities
 relating to particular network hardware types (plipconfig, slattach,
 mii-tool) and advanced aspects of IP configuration (iptunnel, ipmaddr).
 In the upstream package 'hostname' and friends are included. Those are
 not installed by this package, since there is a special "hostname*.deb".

$ apt show net-tools | grep "Version:"

WARNING: apt does not have a stable CLI interface. Use with caution in scripts.

Version: 1.60+git20181103.0eebece-1ubuntu5
$ dpkg -s net-tools
Package: net-tools
Status: install ok installed
Priority: important
Section: net
Installed-Size: 800
Maintainer: Ubuntu Developers <>
Architecture: amd64
Multi-Arch: foreign
Version: 1.60+git20181103.0eebece-1ubuntu5
Depends: libc6 (>= 2.34), libselinux1 (>= 3.1~)
Description: NET-3 networking toolkit
 This package includes the important tools for controlling the network
 subsystem of the Linux kernel.  This includes arp, ifconfig, netstat,
 rarp, nameif and route.  Additionally, this package contains utilities
 relating to particular network hardware types (plipconfig, slattach,
 mii-tool) and advanced aspects of IP configuration (iptunnel, ipmaddr).
 In the upstream package 'hostname' and friends are included. Those are
 not installed by this package, since there is a special "hostname*.deb".
Original-Maintainer: net-tools Team <>
$ dpkg -s net-tools | grep "Version:"
Version: 1.60+git20181103.0eebece-1ubuntu5

Another command that will show you the installed version of a package on a Ubuntu systems is apt-cache policy packageName.

$ apt-cache policy net-tools
  Installed: 1.60+git20181103.0eebece-1ubuntu5
  Candidate: 1.60+git20181103.0eebece-1ubuntu5
  Version table:
 *** 1.60+git20181103.0eebece-1ubuntu5 500
        500 jammy/main amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status

[/os/unix/linux/ubuntu] permanent link

Fri, Jun 14, 2024 9:13 pm

Set up Hyper-V on Windows 11

Microsoft provides a capability to create virtual machines (VMs) within the Windows operating system via Hyper-V. To set up Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization software on a Windows 11 system so that you can create and use virtual machines on the system, you can type Turn Windows features in the Windows Search field at the bottom of your screen and thn select the Control Panel option to "Turn Windows features on or off" when it is displayed. In the Windows Features window, scroll down until you see Hyper-V. If you click on the plus sign next to its check box, you will see there are two subcomponents, Hyper-V Management Tools and Hyper-V Platform.

If you check the Hyper-V check box, the two subcomponents will both be turned on. Click on OK when you are done. You will then see "Searching for required files", which should be followed by "Applying changes" and then the completion window where you will be notified that "Windows needs to reboot your PC to finish installing the requested changes." Click on the Restart now button to immediately apply the changes or you can click on Don't restart to apply them at a later reboot of the system.

[ More Info ]

[/software/virtualization/Hyper-V] permanent link

Sat, May 25, 2024 10:05 pm

Using MakeMKV for ripping DVDs and for other A/V tasks

If you wish to "rip" a DVD, i.e., create a video file on a disk drive from the DVD, one free program you can use on Microsoft Windows systems or Mac OS X systems is MakeMKV. The software can also be used to extract a video file from an ISO image of a DVD.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/software/audio-video] permanent link

Fri, May 17, 2024 3:10 pm

View RDP Firewall Rule using PowerShell

If a Microsoft Windows system is running the Microsoft Defender Firewall, firewall software that comes with Microsoft Windows systems, you can check on whether connectivity is allowed on a particular network port from a command-line interface (CLI) using PowerShell. You can determine whether the Windows Firewall is active on a system from a command prompt using the command netsh advfirewall show currentprofile. If the value of "State" is "ON", then the Windows Firewall is active on the system.

C:\>netsh advfirewall show currentprofile

Domain Profile Settings:
State                                 ON
Firewall Policy                       BlockInbound,AllowOutbound
LocalFirewallRules                    N/A (GPO-store only)
LocalConSecRules                      N/A (GPO-store only)
InboundUserNotification               Enable
RemoteManagement                      Disable
UnicastResponseToMulticast            Enable

LogAllowedConnections                 Disable
LogDroppedConnections                 Disable
FileName                              %systemroot%\system32\LogFiles\Firewall\pfirewall.log
MaxFileSize                           4096



You can check on whether the firewall is permitting connectivity on a particular network port, e.g., TCP port 3389 for the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), from a PowerShell prompt, which you can obtain by typing powershell in the Windows "Search" field at the bottom of the screen and then clicking on Windows PowerShell when you see it returned by the search function. At the PowerShell prompt, you can issue the command Get-NetFirewallPortFilter | Where-Object { $_.LocalPort -eq 3389 } | Get-NetFirewallRule. If you wished to check on whether firewall connectivity is permitted for some other protocol, substitute the port used by that protocol, e.g., port 22 for Secure Shell (SSH) connections.

[ More Info ]

[/os/windows/software/security/firewall] permanent link

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