The Struggle with X11vnc Rebuilding Ubuntu Server

And then I got stuck again getting remote access to work. It’s funny out of all the great features, only the remote access is not the friendliest in Linux setup. There is no proper standard guide so far I could find on the internet for X11VNC. However, after a long spending trying out different guide that doesn’t work at all, I can now confirm only one guides actually tested working during my struggle.

Without doubt, this whole thing is funny and stupid. But as long the X11VNC able to work in startup on my headless server is all I need to access anytime. The first guide I follow is using the steps from Digital Drugs. I tested running the script below to confirm first before I proceed further.

start on login-session-start


/usr/bin/x11vnc -xkb -noxrecord -noxfixes -noxdamage -auth /var/run/lightdm/root/:0 -display :0 -passwd "MyPasswd" -forever -bg -o /var/log/x11vnc.log

end script

The TightVNC in my Window machine was successfully able to connect. Well, problem occurs. The password doesn’t recognize when I key in ‘MyPasswd”. So what went wrong? I have no idea to be honest. I went on looking on the previous guide by updating another code into the last script like below.

start on login-session-start


x11vnc -rfbauth -rfbport 5901 -auth /var/run/lightdm/root/:0 -display /etc/x11vnc.pass -forever -bg -o /var/log/x11vnc.log

end script

There are a lot changes and code remove in the script by following others. For example like the password column I replace with -passwd "MyPasswd" to sudo x11vnc -storepasswd /etc/x11vnc.pass in the script as recommended by many. Yet again, not working.

Frustrated as usual. I tried to remember to find my last bookmark and follow the steps of 'Setting up X11vnc' at Ubuntu Forum as shown below.

  1. Install x11vnc: sudo apt-get install x11vnc
  2. Set the password: vncpasswd ~/.vnc/passwd (vncpasswd is included with vnc-common, which is installed by default)
  3. Make it auto-start when the user logs in and show which port we're running on (useful if you run multiple vnc servers) the port will be put in ~/.vnc/port.txt: sudo gedit /usr/local/bin/sharex11vnc Paste in the following code:

x11vnc -nap -bg -many -rfbauth ~/.vnc/passwd -desktop "VNC ${USER}@${HOSTNAME}"|grep -Eo "[0-9]{4}">~/.vnc/port.txt

# comment out the following if you don't want a popup telling you which port you're using.
zenity --info --text="Your VNC port is `cat ~/.vnc/port.txt`"

  1. sudo chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/sharex11vnc

  2. System->Preferences->Sessions->Startup Programs then click Add and type in sharex11vnc

Add the code and restart, it finally works. This got me into thinking, are those scripts above are all wrong in the first place? But I can ensure that the first script that I tried does indeed work, just the password doesn't work even I change the password code. I'm not good in Linux, so it's hard to argue unless someone from the experts point out the problem.

FP Core Announced Limited 1-Year Premium Membership

The number is 2609 and it blows my wallet total BND300.00. Feeling awesome and crying. For just a limited 1-year Premium FP Core membership? Nope, together with WB002ex deluxe package of WB002 Steel Core and the Core trailer.

It's true that this whole deal is rather expensive. When the Steel Core first announced, I wanted to jump into getting one (US$79.90) on 2012. But after I discover getting only one would cost the shipping itself for US$49.99. Not unless I get three pieces (US$239.99) to keep the same cost. I gave up eventually and pass because it just too much to handle during my financial problem except now.

It's good that the newsletter came in early allow me to takes time to think. Yes, I did also calculate and compare with Transformers Collector's Club Membership I previously join that now cost US$82.00. When I think back how shitty the guys were handling my toy, I decided to hop in for Premium FP Core membership for a try. Of course, review post certainly going to be happen since this is the first 3rd party membership for the collectors. 

The deluxe packages deal:

  1. New WB002ex Core Trailer
  2. Original WB002 Steel Core Figure
  3. Soleron Ruthen (Red Core)
  4. 1 Year Premium FP Core Membership
  5. 3x free FP Core Exclusive Items

Local Toys Hunting in Sept 2014

Last Sunday I drive up early to capital before picking up my sister at 2PM from Singapore flight. Thinking it’s been a while I went hunting for toys in the local shop. My first stop is always at Toy R Us in Mabohai since my Stars point almost reaching 250 to claim for $10 voucher. I was hoping the Transformers Generation 3.0 would be still available there. Too bad, there aren’t any except the old triple changes stocks.

Many of them are AOE series but majority doesn’t attract my attention except the Evasive Prime for some reason. Still, I decided to spend more time looking around to decide which to go. When reaching the Lego area, I was surprise to find new theme called Ultra Agent. So far only saw Toxikita's Toxic Meltdown and Hurricane Heist set in the shelves. They both look great to be honest, but there are times you need to set a budget limit while shopping. If I happen to saw Ultra Agents Mission HQ, my reaction definitely gone crazy. Luckily it’s not there so wallet budget limit remain safe.

As for Evasive Prime, I somewhat remember the 3rd party upgrade is coming this month. Of course, I double check the mold and design to see if it really worth the spending. Well, the toy itself overall design is not bad so I go straight getting it. As for the upgrade, I will buy next month because I spend something big this week which I later going to write later. If you wonder what 3rd party upgrade I am looking forward next. The picture below says all

Success Deployment Home Server

Yup, my home server finally successful deploy yesterday. It sure took a while when I first assemble last month. But because of sudden switch to Linux using Ubuntu server distro as a start, I require more time to learned and get familiar with. I forgot the numbers of time I have reformat and reinstalled Ubuntu server just to find tweak the right setting.

Why I Choose Ubuntu?

I just get started relearning Linux so I believe Ubuntu is a good start since I do play with it before. I read a lot suggesting going for CentOS. Without doubt Ubuntu is one of the most widely used and supports in the world. Even you can find in the exam and free “Introduction to Linux” online course requires installing it for learning.

Installation and Setup

Installing Ubuntu is easier than before I got to admit. Although there are few options you will need to go through to understand more using server version. It is surprising you can create software RAID directly before going to the final step complete installing the OS. My setup for my two WD 160GB SATA is RAID1 configuration for the mean time until I invest mSATA and the PCI next time.

The next task will be playing around installing different GUI version to try which works best for the current system performance. However, I do made mistake using Unity in the end instead Lubuntu themes due to complicated guide causing misunderstanding the whole thing when configure remote access.

The Unity sure does sucking up the performance bad even I am running an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 with 6GB memory. Feel like I’m using Vista for some reason. So I switch to the Lubuntu desktop using Terminal to install. It's fast, however I discover it causes problem and back to Unity again. Not too much worry since it just a temporary setup.

Configuring X11VNC

When it comes with remote access, X11VNC is the best to go for. The only things scratch my head is configured to work properly. Yes, there are plenty of helpful guide on the internet. I am able to find the code and but got stuck in the next steps. I discover almost all of them didn’t include the crucial parts working in Terminal. It's like they expect you to know everything.

It took a while to understand after I decided to look into how-to edit file using Terminal. That was when I get the X11VNC running. Once done, I install TightVNC in my Windows, tested working and disconnect all the cables. The headless home server is finally ready.

Final Test and Network Sharing

The hardware I built does running stable despite I’m using one 4GB and 2GB memory ram mixed mode. The Transmission program is working great so far without require trying others except the sharing part.

Sharing between Windows and Linux are quite a bit tricky. I encounter some issue doing the sharing. I didn't know the Ubuntu won't mount the NTFS drives automatically other than main drive which is why the share I set always went back to default after reboot. No idea why, but I manage to found a great guide from Debian Help blog to solved most of my problem.

Well, everything is ready to roll and time to test out the Plex program streaming all my collections!

Planet Annihilation Review

First of all, I am Kickstarter who backed Planet Annihilation. I never participate in the Alpha and Beta because I trust the Uber guys able to make the game awesome. After the announcement of official released last week, I hit the Steam and update the game into full version. Run the game and not awesome. Yes, it didn’t live up my expectation. This is why I decided to post negative review and advice not to buy until the Uber issue more fixes and updates hopefully. I personally feel the game not in ‘complete’ stage yet and somewhat missing along the ways during the developments.

Here are the lists down of my problem encounter in the game:

  1. When I wanted to jump and conquer new planets further. The drop down info bar blocks the jump button. It was a bit frustrated finding a work around. Either I jump backward allow the screen auto zoom out or use the zoom in and out to reach the button. I do not know if this is a bug or design this way. I hope the guys can do some adjustment to allow moving more freely in the maps.
  2. The AI commanders sometimes do nothing on some planets after successfully building energy plant. I was able to win within 6-7 min.
  3. So far one times experience stuck in the loading screen for 10 min. I had to force to end the process to restart the game.
  4. Graphic glitches on my AMD Radeon 5770, turning off the HDR and Shadow to medium does help a bit. *I just learn about the latest official drivers release last week. I’m going to test it due to positive feedback from testers
  5. Unable to cancel units in Orbital factory
  6. Sometimes the unit doesn’t patrol.

My disappointment:

  1. The galactic wars could have done better in the single player mode. There are so much missing features (upgrades, super weapons etc) and game play style I am expecting to be different in the RTS world. Too bad, it turns out just a simple game blowing out the planets.
  2. I do not understand why all units and buildings have to be same for all fractions. I believe they can do better than this. Yes, I know game balancing is important. Perhaps the Uber thinking the modders will do the rest or just save up for DLC?
  3. I thought every each of the commanders would either come with special weapons or abilities that could reflect in the battle experience. Sadly, they only just for deco. I wish such ideas would happen. Maybe, again, game balancing issue or just let the modders do the magic work instead.
  4. You can’t save game in single campaign. Yes, you can’t. Your commander died, you restart the entire game. Dammit!

Final Thought:

Uber does indeed create different RTS experience. However, the Galactic War mode fails me and the game play style doesn’t suit as well which instead got me bored slowly because of the limited access to the tech. Secondly, like I mention above. All units and building are the same. There’s no way to customize units, no tech upgrade and even the commanders don’t their own special abilities and weapons, just a deco in the game. How can you not get bored playing with it?

The new concept of game play and implementations are somewhat great. It just turns out fail products and may have to rely on the modders to fix it. I may not have the right to complains since I back Uber in the Kickstarter, but seeing the end result does indeed disappointed. Sorry to say PA just can’t out beat both Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander despite the two are old RTS games. If the guys could learn what missing on the previous game, PA could have come out differently. I know you can build orbital station and blow up planets. It just didn’t turn out what I expect to be in the end. I could be wrong and they may have something up in their sleeves on the next update. As for now, finger cross.

DIY Home Network Attached Storage Project #4 (END)

The FreeNAS is total disaster. Restoring the RAID setting after I tried to detach from the list proves to be big risk and problematic. I tried to reinstall the OS and attach as normal storage doesn’t even works because the two 160GB HDD still contains record of the RAID setting. I never thought the issue can be so complicated to fix. Luckily I am playing with empty data.

I plan to try Open Vault Media which is alternative to FreeNAS. The idea of must using the entire HDD is yet another issue because 160GB is simply too big for less than 400MB OS. I have an older IDE HDD model left around, it just very noisy when it’s running so I don’t like to be disturbed during my sleeping hours. Another option I can think of is getting low cost mSATA SSD to run. I got my eyes at KingFAST product for smaller storage size. This means I had to shell out for mSATA PCIe from eBay as well to minimize the use of the notebook storage.

To my misfortune for this month, the old car broke down and cost me BND$120.00 for repair (not including upcoming insurance and road tax). This whole thing is going to on hold for a while once I have sufficient budgets to secure the two parts. So to avoid wasting more time and effort getting FreeNAS works, I decided to hop in latest Ubuntu OS server instead. This will move to new topic.

Microsoft Office 2013 Sudden Broke

If you are one of the users who got into trouble with Microsoft latest patch update that break your OS last month especially happens on Window 8.1. The Office 2013 is no different. The problem I always face during troubleshooting is cannot open any office programs and see any errors. I have been dealing with this problem for quite sometimes and found that it was cause by June Public 2014 Update that affect Click-to-Run office version until today. When I read the news from the Info World and follow up the problem in the community. To my surprise the newer update still capable breaking the Office 2013. Microsoft seriously fuck up no matter it just impact with 1% user base in their record!

This is terrible time wasting troubleshooting ever for Office because I am supporting Acer products in the market that comes with pre-install with Office 2013 CtR version. Imagine how many customers pay that come with Office 2013 broke after silent update in the background? I don’t really care the ACER reputation but my profession is affected and requires explaining the problem comes from Microsoft mess. The worst cases you are working in the site without internet access and the license backup tool doesn’t work. I have to find a way or just go back to my office just to activate the license.

How to fix when your Office 2013 broke?

The fix is simple. First thing you need to do is get your product key ready (Genuine) or if you purchase directly from online using Office account. Just enter your email username and password during installation. Most importantly, backup your documents data before perform program uninstalling.

Using Microsoft Fix It tool is highly recommended for full clean uninstall to ensure no left over stupid update. But if you use the normal method removing Office 2013 from Program, it will still workable. However, there are chances the problem continues to remain with the download update.