Category: Computers

Using your iTunes xml file with Linux PlexMediaServer

My home network setup consists of a Linux box (running Linux Mint), a “Hackintosh” (a hp compaq 6000 pro small form factor pc running macos sierra), a mac mini (macos sierra also hacked to install on a 2009 mac mini), and then a laptop running RHEL6.  I also have a 2 disk buffalo NAS and a 2 disk lenovo NAS with a 4 bay SATA enclosure with 2x2TB disks hanging off it.

My Linux server runs several different background services for my primary source of streaming video to my roku – these consist of sabnzbd+, sonarr, and plexmediaserver.  On my buffalo NAS I have almost 18000 mp3s which are mounted as /Volumes/Music and added to my itunes library on the mac mini. This same NAS share is mounted as /Music on the Linux Mint machine.

Here’s how I got them into the iTunes channel in plex.

  1. First you need to set the option in iTunes to share its library via an XML file.
  2. This will put a file called iTunes Music Library.xml in your “Music” folder.
  3. via cron or something, set up a process to copy this file over to the /Music share on the linux server and post process it to change the Location tag  – /Volumes/Music/Music needs to become just /Music/Music :
    # scp mini2:Music/iTunes*.xml /Music/itunes_temp.xml
    # cat /Music/itunes_temp.xml | sed ‘s%/Volumes%%’ > /Music/iTunes\ Music\ Library.xml
  4. In the server settings for Plex Media Server, there is option under Server -> Channels (click “Advanced”) and you can enable the iTunes channel.  Enter /Music/iTunes Music Library.xml in the box “
  5. Restart plexmediaserver :
    # sudo systemctl restart plexmediaserver.service

Enjoy your itunes music in plex.  Now just to figure out how to get Alexa to play it back 🙂


Linux data recovery with photorec

A friend recently gave me an old computer to try to recover  photos off

I pulled the drive from the computer – which had a nice Windows ME sticker on the side 🙂

20GB Western Digital drive.  Plugged it in to my debian linux machine using a USB adapter like this one :AGPtek SATA/PATA/IDE Drive to USB

Then I made sure to install the testdisk package which provides a program called photorec

root@fedora:~# sudo apt-get install testdisk

Plugged the drive in, and using the dmesg command I can see the drive was recognized by the kernel as /dev/sdb

root@fedora:~# dmesg|tail

[ 310.582814] sd 7:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0
 [ 310.583761] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] 39102336 512-byte logical blocks: (20.0 GB/18.6 GiB)
 [ 310.584632] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
 [ 310.584639] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 00 38 00 00
 [ 310.585518] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Asking for cache data failed
 [ 310.585525] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
 [ 310.615912] sdb: sdb1
 [ 310.619622] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI disk
 [ 316.129542] FAT-fs (sdb1): Volume was not properly unmounted. Some data may be corrupt. Please run fsck.

using fdisk, I can see the drive contains a 2GB partition (/dev/sdb1) but that is all – not a whole lot of disk space to search for photos:

root@fedora:~# fdisk /dev/sdb
 Welcome to fdisk (util-linux 2.29.2).
 Changes will remain in memory only, until you decide to write them.
 Be careful before using the write command.

Command (m for help): p
 Disk /dev/sdb: 18.7 GiB, 20020396032 bytes, 39102336 sectors
 Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
 Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
 I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
 Disklabel type: dos
 Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type
 /dev/sdb1 * 63 4192964 4192902 2G e W95 FAT16 (LBA)

Command (m for help): q

my file manager window pops up with the automatically mounted drive and as I click through, there isn’t a whole lot there.  Makes me wonder if a reinstall of windows was done (and forgotten about).

So I start out by making a dd copy of the partition and then one of the full drive – potentially including 16-18GB of “empty” space, but better to be safe than sorry.

root@fedora:~# dd if=/dev/sdb1 of=/Downloads/backup/disk1.img bs=1024M
root@fedora:~# dd if=/dev/sdb of=/Downloads/backup/disk2.img bs=1024M


root@fedora:~# man photorec

PHOTOREC(8) Administration Tools PHOTOREC(8)


photorec - Recover lost files from harddisk, digital camera and cdrom


photorec [/log] [/debug] [/d recup_dir] [device|image.dd|image.e01]


Looks easy enough, let it rip.


root@fedora:~# photorec /d /Downloads/backup/recovery disk2.img

First photorec screen, select the drive which we have already specified on the command line as disk2.img


Second screen, note we select “No partition” here, so it will scan the whole disk image, not just the partition


Screen 3 – this is a windows FAT drive so select that for the partition type so it knows how to scan the disk image.


Screen 4 – select “Whole” to scan the whole disk. This scans the disk image sector by sector looking for files.


Screen 5 – the scan starts, you can watch it increment the different file types (txt, jpg, gif, exe, etc …) as it finds them.


Screen 6 – nearing the end of the the first scan just of the windows partition, only took it about 20 minutes. Full scan of the whole disk takes much longer.


Screen 7 – summary of what it found. It will split the recovered files using the name supplied on the command line as the base name, so 500 files in recovery.1, 500 files in recovery.2, etc …


At the end of it all, I end up with several of the “recovery.1, recovery.2, … directories, each containing  500 files . This recovers EVERY file type, windows files (*.exe, *.dll, *.chm), text files (*.txt), as well as mp3, jpg, gif, bmp.  The thing about the images it recovers is that the basic windows interface is rendered using icons and smaller images, so there are just a ton of files to sift through at the end.

I ended up removing everything I knew was junk

# rm recovery.*/*.exe recovery.*/*.dll recovery.*/*.chm recovery.*/*.bmp

Afterwards I copied all of the recovery.* directories to a thumb drive for my friend to sift through and figure out which files he wanted.




Bing Misses the mark – BING Failure #2

I have been doing a little Geneaology research lately and found that my Great Grandfather sold a family product named Laws’ Bluing – which was a laundry additive to whiten clothing.  Google gives me 10 results for the search of “Laws Bluing”.  As much as I hate it, I decided to give a try.   I think they missed the mark just a little …



Using mosmap on your Joomla Contact page

Want to integrate the mos_map plugin to appear on your Contact Us page? here’s how

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Mac OSX : Controlling your CD/DVD Drive from the command line

One of the things I love about my Mac is the access to the *nix command line.  Controlling your CD/DVD drive from the GUI is something that may work well on a “real” mac, but on my “hackintosh”, some times it doesn’t work as expected.

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Crunchbag linux … i think i like it!


Update 2017 – The post below was written a couple years ago.  CrunchBang has been discontinued but replaced by Bensen Lab’s Hydrogen.

Now based on Debian Jessie – this has been updated some what but still comes with much of the CrunchBang goodness 🙂

You can get Hydrogen here :

First impressions — hmmm … could be a keeper.  for the terminal program alone …  Crunchbag replaced gnome-terminal with Terminator.  Took me a while to get used to it, but I think its going to become my primary terminal program.crunchbag

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Web “scraping” the easy way

Quick Intro:  Say you go to the ABC website and want to get the contents of the alert at the top of the page, which is enclosed in a <div> with the class “alertContent”.

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OSX – right click, attach a file to a new email message

Maybe I am just a new age Mac guy – or because I am a convert, but I love my right mouse button.  I was using a PowerPC iMac for a while and kept wanting to throw it across the room, because it was using one of the old apple mice that only had a single click… ARG!

Anyway,  here is a trick to add a short cut to the OSX Right click menu. Ever spend several minutes searching for a file and then have to go through the hassle of starting a new email message to attach the file to …

check this out.

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Wondering if a site is running Joomla?

So what, I am a Joomla Hacker 🙂

I have tried several different ways myself to hide the fact that sites are running Joomla – from hacking in a custom path to the template directory, to using mod_rewrite to simplfy URL references to the /plugins/… directory.

One quick and dirty trick I have found that seems to always bypass these hacks is by appending ?tp=1 onto a URL that I think may be a Joomla site … the parameter tp=1 is a trick that tells Joomla to display its module positions.

So, try it yourself – where else?


Fedora 11 updates – Mirrors broken

Yuk – Switched to Fedora 11 recently – ran into problems today installing updates … [Errno 14] HTTP Error 404: Not Found
Trying other mirror. [Errno 14] HTTP Error 404: Not Found
Trying other mirror. [Errno 14] HTTP Error 404: Not Found
Trying other mirror. [Errno 14] HTTP Error 404: Not Found
Trying other mirror. [Errno 14] HTTP Error 404: Not Found
Trying other mirror.

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