19. September 2015 · Comments Off on Create YouTube Playlist Links – No Login Required · Categories: AutoHotKey, Video, Windows
YouTube playlists are a useful way to watch videos in sequence or for sharing a list of videos with others. However, at times it may be insecure to share playlists created from your personal account or inconvenient to log in into your account to create them. This guide describes how to create playlists in a single link that allows you to view your videos immediately, save them for later, or to share them with others – without logging into your YouTube account.

youtube filmstripA YouTube playlist can be created manually by concatenating the unique videoIDs, separated by commas, to the URL:


A completed playlist will thus look like so:

http://www.youtube.com/watch_videos?video_ids=video_id#1, video_id#2, and so on

Just paste the completed link into your browser to start the playlist. A more complete explanation of this process can be found at the following blog post:  How to Create YouTube Playlists without Logging In.

Creating playlists manually can be inconvenient, so a way to accomplish this automatically with a script was sought. Because the Windows command-line doesn’t easily support the clipboard without 3rd part tools, AutoHotKey was used instead since it can manipulate the clipboard more easily. AutoHotKey version was used for the script and tested on a system running WinXP.

AutoHotKey script: youtube_playlist2.ahk

To use the script, run it to monitor the clipboard for youtube.com/watch, youtube.com/embed/, or youtu.be; text which is used in normal, embedded, or shortened YouTube video links. The script generally ignores any other text, so in most cases, the script can be active and not interfere with normal clipboard activity.

After starting the script, a popup message (shown below) appears to alert the user that the script has started and informs the user that CNTL +Y will create the playlist link and copy it to the clipboard, and CNTL + Z exits the script.

AutoHotKey popupEach time a YouTube video link is copied to the clipboard, a Traytip displays the link that was processed and how many video links in total were copied and processed. Hit OK to continue. Wait 2.5 seconds between selecting videos (when the Traytip disappears) before selecting another video.

After selecting all your videos, use CNRL + Y to copy the final playlist to the clipboard. Another popup message (screenshot below) will appear. This popup indicates the total number of videos in the playlist, the final playlist link, how to exit the script, and reminds the user that the playlist link has been copied to the clipboard. The playlist link is ready to use by pasting it into a browser or in an email. After hitting OK you can continue adding videos or use CNTL + Z to exit. Exit and restart the script to clear everything out and start over.playlist final popupThe script can be customized by the user as desired.

14. March 2015 · Comments Off on Automate mp3 File Concatenation with Windows Command-line Tools · Categories: Audio, Batch Files, Windows · Tags:
Although requiring a bit more technical effort than using GUI-based applications, merging mp3 files with command-line tools allow for a faster and more complete merging process with more flexibility and customization options. This guide demonstrates how to use a batch file with free Windows command-line tools to concatenate two or more mp3 files, preserve the ID3 metadata, and repair and verify the integrity of the combined file. The information in this guide was tested on system running XP SP3 32-bit and should be similar for other Windows versions.

merging mp3s

Command-line vs GUI Audio File Merging Tools

The differences between using command-line or a GUI-based tools are similar across applications, but the command-line is especially useful for file merging since many GUI-based tools for audio files are limited in function and availability (especially for free versions).


Advantages – faster execution, all tasks can be completed by executing a single script, flexibility/customization (adding tools, changing options, etc.), free, uses less system resources

Disadvantages– requires coding or understanding code, takes more time and effort to configure, less intuitive


Advantages – quicker learning curve, more intuitive visually and for multitasking, more complete viewing and listing of information, easier switching between commands

Disadvantages – slower execution (additional programs are often required  for processing ID3 tags or to repair VBR headers), requires more system resources (video, drivers, mouse, etc.), limited options for advanced tasks (especially for free versions), limited availability of free versions

Command-line Tools

The command-line tools used in this guide are:

MP3Wrap (ver 0.5) – Wraps two or more mp3 files into a single file. The command-line executable is mp3wrap.exe

ID3 mass tagger (ver 0.78) – Copies the ID3 tag to the merged file. This is the download link for the older freeware version, which is the version used in this guide. A newer version (1.21.25) is available here for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems, but it non-free shareware. It includes a GUI and a command-line version.

MP3Val (ver 0.1.8) – Validates and fixes MPEG stream, frame, and header errors. Includes both GUI and command-line versions. The command-line executable is mp3val.exe.

Because MP3Wrap strips and replaces the ID3 tags with its own information, ID3 is used to copy the tags from one of the files. MP3Val repairs any errors in the pre-merged files copied into the merged file or produced during the merging process.

Command-line Syntax

Command syntax as used in this guide:


MP3 files can be merged using either the Windows command-line or with MP3wrap. The syntax for merging mp3 files at the command-line in Windows:

copy /b file1.mp3+file2.mp3+file3.mp3 outputfile.mp3

/b = binary file

Using MP3wrap:

mp3wrap outputfile.mp3 file1.mp3 file2.mp3 file3.mp3

additional commands for MP3Wrap: mp3wrap_cmd_help:

Copy Tags

Syntax to copy the ID3 tags from input file1 to the output file with ID3:

id3.exe -D file1.mp3 outputfile.mp3

-D = duplicate tags from filename

additional commands for ID3: id3_078_help

Fix and Validate

Syntax to fix and validate the output file with MP3Val:

mp3val outputfile.mp3 -f -nb -si

-f = try to fix errors

-nb = delete .bak files (suitable with -f)

-si = suppress INFO messages

additional commands for MP3Val: mp3val_cmd_help

Merging mp3 Files: Process


If using the provided batch file (see below), two steps are required.

1. Prepare the mp3 files

Ensure that the mp3 files to be merged have the same frequency, bitrate, and MPEG coding and layering. Otherwise, the output file may contain non-apparent errors, even if no errors were displayed during the merging process.

2. Drag and drop the mp3 files onto the batch file to merge

Drag and drop the mp3 files all at once and in the order to be processed onto the batch file. Rename/renumber the files as necessary to obtain the right order.

How the Batch File Processes the Files

  1. Displays the order of the mp3 files to be processed
  2. Asks the user to select between merging the files with the Windows command-line or MP3Wrap
  3. Merges the mp3 files into a temp file “temp_MP3WRAP.mp3”
  4. Transfers the ID3 tags from the first mp3 file to the temp file with ID3
  5. Fixes and validates the temp file with MP3Val
  6. Renames the temp file to the first mp3 file and appends “_merged” to the file name
  7. Exits

Example Batch File:

Be sure to change the extension to “bat” before using.



blogferret.com – id3.exe – ideal tool for tagging and renaming MP3 files

alexenglish.info – Concatenating MP3 Files in Linux

cephas.net – Merge multiples MP3 files into one

ghacks.net – ID3 Mass Tagger

02. December 2014 · Comments Off on Formula and Data Protection for Excel Worksheets · Categories: Windows · Tags:
This guide demonstrates how to lock cells in Excel worksheets to protect formulas or other data from being changed, while allowing selected cells to remain unlocked. This is useful to prevent accidental changes to the worksheet and to enhance navigability by allowing users to select only the modifiable cells. The information in this guide was tested on a Windows XP system using Microsoft Excel ver. 2003. The steps in this guide should be similar for other versions of Excel. An example worksheet provided for this guide is provided here.

Steps to Protect Excel Worksheets

1. Use the Control or Shift key to select individual cells that are to remain unprotected and modifiable by the user. The screenshot below shows the selected cells in grey. All unselected cells will be protected.

selected cells

2. Right-click over one of the selected cells and select Format Cells… from the right-click menu.

select format cells

3. In the Format Cell dialog that appears, select the Protection Tab and unselect both the Locked and Hidden options and then click OK.

format cells dialog

4. From the application menu, select Tools->Protection->Protect Sheet…

protect worksheet menu

5. In the Protect Sheet Dialog that appears, ensure that Protect worksheet and contents of locked cells a the top and Select unlocked cells from the list are selected and then hit OK.

protect sheet dialog

That’s all there is to it. The Tab key can be used to move between the selectable cells. All other cells are protected. To make changes to the worksheet, select Tools->Protection->Unprotect Sheet…

13. September 2014 · Comments Off on Retrieve and Embed Cover Art into Audio Files · Categories: TechBits · Tags:

Useful information from Tinyapps.org that shows how to retrieve and embed cover art into audio files with MP3Tag and the command-line application DisCoverArt. The blog post is reproduced in its entirety below:

Batch download and embed album cover art #

If you have a huge MP3 collection and just want to batch download and embed cover art without verifying each cover individually (and iTunes’ “Get Album Artwork” is insufficient):

  1. Download and install Mp3tag
  2. Download DisCoverArt and unzip contents to the Mp3tag program directory (e.g., C:\Program Files (x86)\Mp3tag)
  3. Open an elevated command prompt and cd to the Mp3tag program directory
  4. Run regsvr32 custommsgbox.dll and click OK when the success dialog appears
  5. Open Mp3tag
  6. File > Add directory… > navigate to your music folder > Select Folder
  7. Create a new tool:
    1. Tools > Options > Tools
    2. Click the New (yellow star) button
    3. Name: DisCoverArt Google 300×300 Artist+Title NoQuotes
    4. Path: Browse to the Mp3tag program directory and select DisCoverArt.exe
    5. Parameter: “%artist%” “%title%” -discomusic.com 0 1 300 300 jpg 1 1
    6. Check “for all selected files” > OK > OK
  8. Create a new action:
    1. Actions > Actions (you need to select at least one song in the main interface for this menu item to be available)
    2. Click the New (yellow star) button
    3. Name of action group: Save Coverart
    4. Click OK > click the New button again
    5. Select action type: Import Cover From File > OK
    6. Format string for image filename: %artist% – %title%.jpg
    7. Import cover as: Front Cover
    8. Check “Delete existing cover art” > OK > OK > Close
  9. Right click on column header > Customize columns… > check “Cover” > click “Move up” until it is at or near the top of the list
  10. Click the Cover column to sort
  11. Select all files without an entry in the Cover column (the author recommends selecting no more than 300 at a time to avoid problems)
  12. Right click on highlighted files and click Tools > DisCoverArt Google 300×300 Artist+Title NoQuotes
  13. Wait for all console windows to close
  14. Actions > Actions (Quick) > “Import cover from file” > OK
  15. Format string for image filename: %artist% – %title%.jpg
  16. Import cover as: Front Cover
  17. Check “Delete existing cover art” > OK > OK
  18. Close Mp3tag
  19. Getting the artwork to show up in iTunes:
    1. Open iTunes and click “Albums”
    2. Edit > Select All > Right click > click “Uncheck Selection” (album covers will appear)
    3. Edit > Select All > Right click > “Check Selection”

Another option is to download cover art with Album Art Downloader and embed with Mp3tag:

  1. Download and run Album Art Downloader
  2. File > New > File Browser…
  3. Enter path to music directory under “Search for audio files in:”
  4. Click Search
  5. Click “Select all albums with missing artwork”
  6. Click “Get Artwork for Selection…”
  7. Click “Automatically download and save results for the remaining queued searches”
  8. Click “Download and save results automatically”
  9. Click “Start”
  10. When the process is complete, embed the album art with Mp3tag by starting with step 14 above. The only change is in step 15, where you’ll need to use Folder.jpg as the format string.


Source: Tinyapps.org


12. September 2014 · Comments Off on Multi-boot UFD with Hi-Res Menus using Windows and Syslinux 6.xx · Categories: Batch Files, Graphics, Multiboot USB · Tags:
screenshot of main menuThis guide provides everything needed to create a customizable multi-boot USB flash drive in Windows with high resolution menus and customized splash screens. It provides a framework for creating a basic but functional multi-boot flash drive using Syslinux 6.xx as the primary bootloader. Basic menu configuration files and splash screen examples are provided. Experienced users shouldn’t find it difficult to follow this guide to create a ready-to-use bootable flash drive that can be customized to their needs. Users should already have some familiarity with Syslinux, installing Linux distros, and with formatting and partitioning flash drives.

For the sake of simplicity, this guide is limited to setting up Syslinux for a single partition using the BIOS modules. The instructions were tested and verified on a system running Windows XP SP3 and using Syslinux 6.02.screenshot of menu3 This guide is essentially a more up-to-date version and combination of two previous posts, Create a Multiboot Multipartition USB with Syslinux and Grub4Dos and Create Custom Grub4Dos, GRUB and Syslinux Compatible Splash Images.

Syslinux 6.xx

Syslinux provides two menu systems, the Simple Menu System and the Advanced Menu System. The advanced system must be compiled while the simple system includes the ready-to-use vesamenu.c32 and menu.c32 modules. This guide uses the vesamenu.c32 module.

Splash Screen Resolutions

Syslinux 6.xx can use splash screens in the .png or jpg formats at resolutions from 640×480 up to whatever is supported by the system. If the flash drive is going to be used on multiple systems, it would be best to use a typical resolution such as 800×600 that would work across most systems.


Since version 5.xx, modules are no longer stand alone and need additional libraries to work. A description of the changes can be found on the Syslinux Wiki at http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/Library_modules. In most cases, Syslinux will alert you of any additional libraries required when you try to use them.

(U)EFI (Unified/Extensible Firmware Interface)

Although there has been a lot of hype about (U)EFI (Unified/Extensible Firmware Interface) in general and support for (U)EFI began with Syslinux 6.xx, the (U)EFI modules are still fairly new, have a number of unresolved issues, and are not widely used at this time. UEFI in Syslinux is buggy and has problems on both Windows and Linux. Arch Linux describes some of the more relevant ones at http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/syslinux#Limitations_of_UEFI_Syslinux. Some of the issues with UEFI are:

  • UEFI Syslinux does not support chainloading other EFI applications like UEFI Shell or Windows Boot Manager.
  • UEFI Syslinux does not boot in Virtual Machines like QEMU/OVMF or VirtualBox or VMware and in some UEFI emulation environments like DUET.
  • Memdisk is not available for UEFI.
  • UEFI Syslinux application syslinux.efi cannot be signed by sbsign (from sbsigntool) for UEFI Secure Boot.
  • Using TAB to edit kernel parameters in UEFI Syslinux menu leads to garbaged display (text on top of one-another).

Other Syslinux issues/limitations:

  • Using Syslinux 6.02 on BTRFS volumes corrupts the superblock.
  • Syslinux cannot access files from partitions other than its own.
  • Using the memdisk module to boot most ISOs is often difficult or impossible.

Syslinux.org has admitted to these limitations and has often recommended other bootloaders such as GRUB, Grub4Dos, or Plop Boot Manager to compliment Syslinux. In spite of this, Syslinux remains one of the most functional and popular bootloaders not only for flash drives, but for other bootable devices like CDs, for most operating systems, and for chainloading partitions and hard drives. It’s very flexible and is an excellent choice as the primary bootloader for most situations. Adding another bootloader such as Grub4Dos however, greatly enhances the flash drive’s booting options.

Creating a Multi-boot Flash Drive steps:

  1. Format the flash drive
  2. Install Syslinux 6.xx
  3. Install modules and files
  4. Install or create splash screens
  5. Customize menu configuration files (optional)

1. Format the Flash Drive

Format the flash drive with FAT16 or FAT32.

2.  Install Syslinux 6.xx

Download and unzip the latest .zip version of Syslinux 6.xx from Kernel.org. The file size should be about 12mB before unzipping. Open a cmd window and cd to C:\syslinux-6.xx\bios\win32. Type the following to install Syslinux to the flash drive where x is your flash drive:

syslinux.exe -sfma x:

This installs ldlinux.c32 and ldlinux.sys to the flash drive.

3. Install Modules and Files


Look for and copy the BIOS versions of the modules shown in the directory tree for the root of the flash drive. An easy way to locate the modules is to use something like AgentRansack. Modules have a .c32 extension (except memdisk) and are located in various folders in the C:\syslinux-6.xx\bios\com32 directory. Place all of the modules in the root directory.

Configuration Files

The help text, menu.cfg, syslinux.cfg and other configuration files required can be downloaded from the configfiles download link below.  Download and extract them to the root of the flash drive.

Download the latest version of Grub4Dos from grub4dos-chenall. Extract the grub.exe and menu.lst files to the root of the flash drive.

4. Install or Create Splash Screens

Install ready-made Splash Screens

To get started, splash screens tested to work with the configuration files are provided below. Just unzip them to the splashimages folder. After installing the splash screen images, the flash drive is ready to test or use.

Link for the splash screens: splashscreens

Nine (9) splashscreen files are provided. Download them as an album and extract to the splashimages folder. Slightly change the filenames by removing the number and dash so the filenames match those used in the menu configuration files.

The correct splashscreen filenames are:

  1. cave_800x600_14.png
  2. fallleaf_800x600_14.png
  3. grassyhill_800x600_14.jpg
  4. mist_800x600_14.png
  5. nightlight_800x600_24.jpg
  6. ny_800x600_14.jpg
  7. road_800x600_14.png
  8. Spruce_800x600_14.png
  9. winter_800x600_14.jpg.

The link below displays a directory of what the flash drive contents should look like at this point:


Create and Install Customized Splash Screens (optional)

To create your own menu graphics, use the batch file below or another graphics program to create .png or .jpg format splash screens from your image files. Since the menus are already configured with light text, you may want to use a dark color to start off with. Generally, 14 colors works nearly every time and renders more quickly.

The batch file below is configured to use ImageMagick portable installed to the Utilities folder. If ImageMagick is already installed, simply change the line set IMdir=C:\Utilities\ImageMagick\ to your ImageMagick location. Use double quotes if the path contains spaces (e.g., set “IMdir=C:\Program Files\ImageMagick\”). Be sure to use the latest version of ImageMagick since the newest version has improved image conversion options and processing.


If creating a customized splash screen, place it in the splashimages folder in the flash drive and change the file name in the appropriate menu configuration file(s) as below so it can be used on the next boot:

MENU BACKGROUND /splashimages/your image name.jpg

5. Customize Menu Configuration Files (optional)

After the flash drive is working properly, try to install bootable applications or Linux distros by modifying the boot options in the menu configuration files for Syslinux or in menu.lst for Grub4Dos. Some menu label entries are already provided in the Syslinux menus that were verified to work such as Slax, Grub4Dos, and a few others.

That’s it. If anything gets messed up, everything can just be reinstalled to start again from the beginning. Good luck.



Syslinux – http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/SYSLINUX

Syslinux Menu – http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/Menu

Syslinux 6 Changelog – http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/Syslinux_6_Changelog

Memdisk – http://www.syslinux.org/wiki/index.php/MEMDISK#ISO_images

13. June 2014 · Comments Off on Disable the Splash Screen for Independently Installed PortableApps · Categories: TechBits · Tags: ,
splashConvertallPortableApps.com provides free and open source portable SW that can be downloaded and run separately from the PortableApps.com Platform™ management system. When launching apps independently from the platform, the splash screen can be annoying. Although an option exists to  disable the splash screen from the PortableApps.com Platform’s™ “Advanced Preferences”, this doesn’t apply to independent apps not using this platform. Thankfully, this is easily fixed by modifying a single file.

How to disable the splash screen for your application

  • Open the application’s folder and drill down to the /Other/Source directory.
  • In the Source directory open AppNamePortable.ini with a text editor. In some cases an .ini file already exists with the application’s name in this directory. In any case, there will only be one .ini file in this directory. Open this file and go to the next step.
  • Change the line DisableSplashScreen=false to DisableSplashScreen=true (see screenshot below. Click to enlarge).
  • Use “save as” to save the file with the name of the application and the .ini extension (e.g., ConvertAllPortable.ini).
  • Close the text editor and copy or move this file to the application’s main directory.

screen shot of disable splash

That’s it. The .ini file will override the default configuration when starting the application. There should be a noticeable difference in how quickly the application starts. If you still have a splash screen, make sure that the .ini file just moved to the application’s main directory is correctly named. For example, if the application name is ConvertAllPortable.exe, the .ini file should be ConvertAllPortable.ini.


25. December 2013 · Comments Off on BCM4311 Mint 16 – no wireless – no Internet connection · Categories: Linux, Networking · Tags: ,

Problem – no WiFi after Fresh Install

tux wonders why wireless doesn't workUpdate 03/27/2015 – According to a recent GHacks article, the Broadcom wireless drivers exist on the Mint installation media. If correct, that would be an easier solution and certainly worth trying. If not successful, then come back and try the solution described below.

After an upgrade from Mint 13 to Mint 16 using the “fresh upgrade” method again resulted in a system without wireless connectivity, this guide was created for future reference and possibly as an aid to others experiencing the same problem. The information here applies to the B43 driver, specifically for the 4311 PCI-ID/Chip ID, but the driver/firmware solution described may be similar for other Broadcom PC-IDs also using the B43 driver (see list below) and running on Debian/Ubuntu or derivative distros; however, keep in mind that derivative doesn’t imply compatibility in all cases. For further information about B43/B43 legacy wireless devices and driver/firmware solutions see http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Drivers/b43.

Similar PC-IDs for B43:

Note that in most cases PCI-ID correlates to the Chip ID, but that is not always the case, so identify your device using the PCI-ID.

Regardless of the PCI-ID, always check the distro’s documentation and user forums for the most up-to-date information. Broadcom wireless solutions change constantly and often vary from distro to distro.

System used for this Guide

The system used for this guide was an Intel Pentium T2310 / 1.46 GHz ( Dual-Core ) laptop with Mint 16 (Mate) freshly installed to the hard drive. The built-in wireless device was based on the BCM 4311 chipset. No other options existed at the time for connecting to the Internet except for wireless, which wouldn’t work after the OS installation.

Broadcom Wireless Issues

In the past, wireless connectivity issues in Linux for devices using the popular Broadcom chipset were a common problem that often turned into a difficult, confusing and time-consuming task. Considerable time and effort was often spent performing multiple trial-and-error driver installations, command-line troubleshooting, reading and evaluating technical documentation, and following suggestions from other users to get wireless working.

Although some Linux distros support Broadcom wireless out-of-the-box or provide options within the OS to install the correct drivers/firmware, most do not because of a variety of ongoing development, proprietary and support issues. When users search the Web for answers, this often results in page after page of possible solutions and troubleshooting suggestions, many which may be out-of-date and therefore may no longer work. The amount of information can overwhelm and confuse users desperate for an easy and quick solution. An informative Archlinux.org Wiki entry (2013), Broadcom Wireless, describes many of these issues and illustrates why so much confusion and seemingly conflicting information exists about getting wireless to work for Broadcom devices in Linux.

Current Support Issues

Fortunately, driver/firmware support and installation options for Broadcom wireless devices have steadily improved and don’t require as much user effort or technical expertise as before; however, this doesn’t mean that problems are now a thing of the past. Many users may still need another PC to hunt the Web for the correct drivers, may find themselves the frustrating catch-22 position of needing a LAN connection in order to install the drivers, or learn that the correct drivers are not clearly specified, or when specified, are not included with the installation media.

For some Linux distros, B43 driver/firmware installation can be an automated or a semi-automated process. Some distros feature automatic installation for B43 devices by detecting and installing the appropriate driver package during the OS install from the installation media or through a LAN connection, and some may include them with the kernel image. Others, like Ubuntu/Debian and their derivatives, may even provide customized installation files (like a deb file) from their support forums or web site that can be downloaded and double-clicked to automatically install the appropriate drivers/firmware. Note that some deb files don’t include the drivers and may require a LAN connection in order to download them separately (another catch-22 situation if you don’t have a LAN connection).

When any of the previously mentioned B43 wireless driver/firmware installation options are not available or easily identified, users can still enable wireless using an extraction tool and the open source or proprietary drivers to manually install the firmware – this is the process described in this guide.

Generally, three categories of wireless driver/firmware solutions exist for Linux users with Broadcom chip-sets:

1. brcmsmac/brcmfmac/brcm80211 – Open source kernel driver (newest, often included with the latest kernel images)
2. B43/B43 legacy – Open source reversed-engineered kernel driver (B43 only is covered in this guide, B43 Legacy is not covered)
3. broadcom-wl – Proprietary Broadcom STA driver

The necessary driver/firmware is dependent on the chipset/PCI-ID, type of wireless device, operating system, CPU architecture, and the OS version (note that some Broadcom wireless devices are still unsupported in Linux). Regardless of the chipset/PCI-ID, the distro’s documentation and user forums should always be checked for the latest information since driver solutions and installation options vary from distro to distro and even between versions within a distro.

Identifying the Wireless Device

To identify a Broadcom wireless device in Linux, type the following command (case-sensitive) into a terminal:

lspci -vnn -d 14e4:

lspci terminal
The above is the output of the lspci command. The PCI-ID is identified within the brackets on the 2nd line by 14e4:4311, where 14e4 is the identification code for Broadcom, and 4311 is the device. In this case, 4311 also identifies the Chip ID. The <access denied> after Capabilities is displayed because the lspci command was executed without using administrator privileges (sudo or su).

Additional wireless identification and troubleshooting commands can be found at the Ubuntu Community Help Wiki.

Tested Solution – Install firmware from driver source file

The verified solution for this guide was to use another PC to download the necessary files onto a USB flash drive and then transfer those files to the user directory on the Linux Mint 16 PC with no Internet connectivity. The files needed were fwcutter (a deb file) and the Broadcom-wl proprietary driver source file. Fwcutter is a tool written for BCM43xx driver files to extract firmware from driver source files.


1. Download b43-fwcutter for your architecture (bottom of page) from http://packages.debian.org/squeeze/b43-fwcutter. In this case, b43-fwcutter_013-2_amd64.deb was used, but an older version or a 32-bit version probably would have worked as well.

2. Download the source file from http://mirror2.openwrt.org/sources/. In this case, broadcom-wl- was used. Scroll down the page to locate the broadcom files entries.

3. Transfer the files to your user directory on the Linux Mint PC and double-click the b43-fwcutter file to install it. Ignore any warnings about the version being out-of-date.

4. Run the following commands to extract and write the firmware to /lib/firmware. Ignore any warnings.

tar xfvj broadcom-wl-
sudo b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware broadcom-wl-

5. Reboot the PC.

6. The wireless should now work. If so, look for and install any updated B43 wireless firmware/fwcutter/drivers using the Synaptic Package Manager. Do not use B43 legacy.

Other Possible Solutions

Broadcom driver is actually on the installation media. How to install:

Ubuntu community wiki. Solutions for a number of PCI-IDs (not tested):

Deb files. Automatically installs driver/firmware for deb-compatible distros from pkgs.org. Double-click to install (not tested):


B43 wireless information page:

B43 Driver download:

Linux Mint solution:

Ubuntu Community Help Wiki:


Recreating directory structures can be a tedious and error-prone chore, especially if using the right-click method to create multiple structures and folders. This guide describes three methods to easily copy directory structures (without files) in Windows: (1) with the command line, (2) with GUI tools dedicated for that purpose, and (3) by configuring a freeware file manager, FreeCommander, to enable this function.


Copying Directory Structures from the Command-line

For those comfortable with the command-line, two commands that can be used for this purpose are the Xcopy and Robocopy, both of which have tons of options. Although others, such as the FOR command could also be used, Xcopy and Robocopy are by far the most popular tools used for this purpose.


Xcopy is included in systems up to Vista. It’s a more powerful version of copy with additional features that can copy files, directories, and whole drives. Note that although Xcopy is included with Vista, it has been deprecated in favor of RoboCopy.

To use Xcopy to clone a directory without files, use the following syntax:

xcopy /t /e "C:\Your Folder" "C:\New Folder"

/t = Copies the subdirectory structure, but not the files

/e = Copies subdirectories, including any empty ones

When using Xcopy with the above switches, you will be asked to specify whether the target is a directory or a file before the Xcopy command executes, but if the command is executed from a batch file, no user interaction is required.

Note: Xcopy doesn’t display any progress or completed operations information when executed.

Additional Xcopy commands can be found here.


Robocopy stands for “Robust file copy.” It’s a standard feature for Windows starting with Vista. It’s can also be installed in WinXP as part of the Windows Resource Kit.

To use Robocopy to clone a directory without files, use the following syntax:

robocopy "C:\Your Folder" "C:\New Folder" /e /xf *

same as above but without displaying the status:

robocopy "C:\Your Folder" "C:\New Folder" /e /xf * >null

same as above and creates a log (overwrites existing log):

robocopy "C:\Your Folder" "C:\New Folder" /e /xf * /log:yourlogfile.log

same as above and appends to log (appends to existing log):

robocopy "C:\Your Folder" "C:\New Folder" /e /xf * /log+:yourlogfile.log

/e = Copies subdirectories, including empty ones.

/xf = Excludes files matching the specified names or paths. Wildcards “*” and “?” are accepted

Additional Robocopy commands can be found here.

Note: Robocopy displays progress and completed operations information when executed as shown in the below screenshot.

Freeware GUI Tools for copying Directory Structures

Two easy-to-use GUI (graphical user interface) apps dedicated specifically to creating directory structures without files are TreeCopy and Miroirs:

TreeCopy – Portable and freeware. Runs on Win95 to Win8.

treecopy screenshot

Miroirs – Freeware. Requires installation. Runs on XP/Vista/Win7

Miroirs screenshot

FreeCommander setup to copy Directory Structures

FreeCommander is a freeware file manager that can be configured to copy directory structures using a customized batch file with the Xcopy and/or Robocopy commands. FreeCommander Ver. 2009.02b was used for this example. These instructions are modified from those provided on the FreeCommander forums.

FreeCommander Instructions

Create a batch file with the following code and save it with any name desired such as “copyFolderStructure_freecommander.bat.” For Xcopy the batch file’s main code consists of:

xcopy %1 %2 /t /e

%1 and %2 are the first and second parameters passed to the batch file (structure to copy and target)
The /t and /e options are the same as above

For Robocopy the batch file’s main code consists of:

robocopy %1 %2 /e /xf *

%1 and %2 are the first and second parameters passed to the batch file (structure to copy and target)
the /e and /xf * options are the same as above

Note: a pause can be entered at the end of either of the batch files above to keep the command window open for viewing the output

Example batch files for FreeCommander:

From the menu, select Extras->Favorite Tools->Edit or use (SHIFT+CONTROL+Y). Click the image below to enlarge.

freecommander menu

Select none from the left-hand column named Categories, then click once in the Items column.

FreeCommander Tools Configuration

Use the Items:Add to list button that appears above the Items column to create an item, for instance Copy Folder Structure.

Select Seek program by clicking the blue arrow next to the program field to navigate to and select the saved batch file’s (e.g. C:\tools\copyFolderStructure_freecommander_robocopy.bat) full path into the program field.

Enter the following into the parameter field:

"%LeftDir%" "%RightDir%" %Dlg%

The variables, %LeftDir% and %RightDir%, pass the address of the left and right folders to batch file parameters %1 and %2. The %Dlg% variable is optional and may be omitted if desired. It is used to display a Run program window (screenshot below) before actually starting the script to allow the folder names to be verified. It also provides a way for the operation to be cancelled.


If desired, add an icon by using the blue button next to the icon field to navigate to the icon’s location.

Make sure the boxes are checked as in the Define Favorite Tools screenshot above before hitting OK.

Tool Selection
The toolbar now contains an entry for copying Folder Structures. The tool can be selected from the menu with Extras->Favorite Tools->Name of your tool or by using the favorites icon (make sure Extras is enabled in Extras->Settings->View->Toolbar if it’s not visible on the toolbar).

Using FreeCommander

To use, select the structure to copy in FreeCommander’s left pane and select the target directory in the right pane. Select and click your tool from the toolbar or menu as described above. After the Run program dialog appears, click OK to continue.

FreeCommander Select

Xcopy doesn’t provide an option to display progress or completed operations. However, with Robocopy, the output will display the copy operation details as shown below (a pause was used in this batch file):RoboCopy Output

If no errors occur, the folder structure will be copied as in the following screenshot:

FreeCommander copied

01. January 2013 · Comments Off on Common GRUB 2 Option Tweaks for Debian, Ubuntu and Mint · Categories: Linux · Tags:
Since version 1.98, GRUB 2 began replacing GRUB version 0.9x, which is now known as GRUB legacy. GRUB 2 represents a major revision over its predecessor to make it more portable and modular. And although GRUB legacy is no longer being developed, bug fixes for it continue, and it’s still used as the default boot loader for a number of Linux distros. Over time, GRUB 2 usage has steadily increased and while still a work in progress, it’s probably the most common boot loader for Linux distros. Although GRUB 2 is officially known as GRUB, Linux distro repositories may include GRUB 2, GRUB legacy, or both versions. Repositories that include both versions may make the distinction between them as GRUB 2 and GRUB, GRUB and GRUB legacy, or GRUB 2 and GRUB legacy. The naming inconsistency between distros can be somewhat confusing, but this is to be expected during any transition.

What is covered in this guide

This is not a comprehensive guide on GRUB 2; rather, this is a quick reference covering frequently used GRUB 2 tweaks and option edits for most Linux distros; particularly those based on Debian/Ubuntu/Mint or Slackware. For detailed information about GRUB 2, see the references at the end of this guide.

This guide assumes that the reader already has GRUB2 installed for a single boot or a multiboot Linux system. Note that all changes to GRUB 2 options must be done while logged in as root or by use of sudo. All commands and options described should be verified for correctness using the documentation for your particular Linux distribution.

GRUB 2 summary

Recent converts to GRUB 2 probably have noticed that the Boot menu basically looks the same as GRUB legacy. Although they appear similar, the way GRUB 2 generates its menu is very different. Also, GRUB 2 now places its files in three locations:

  • /boot/grub/grub.cfg  (GRUB 2 main configuration file, replaces menu.lst, a product of the script files in /etc/grub.d/)
  • /etc/grub.d/  (directory containing several GRUB 2 script files)
  • /etc/default/grub  (GRUB 2 customization file)

Most GRUB 2 files are updated/regenerated automatically during package updates, when new kernels are added, after installing additional OS’s on multi-boot systems, or whenever GRUB is manually updated after making changes to the GRUB options as described in this guide. Generally, editing these files is not recommended, not only because it can cause boot problems, but also because most of the files will be overwritten anyway during system updates. The single file that users can generally edit without issue is /etc/default/grub, which holds most of the settings that will be of interest to users reading this. This file contains customization settings such as the default menu entry, timeout, default boot, graphics, and more. An example GRUB file from Lubuntu 12.10 (original settings slightly modified) is shown below:

# If you change this file, run '<strong>update-grub</strong>' afterwards to update
# /boot/grub/grub.cfg.
# For full documentation of the options in this file, see:
# info -f grub -n 'Simple configuration'

<span style="color: #000000;">GRUB_DEFAULT=0</span>
<span style="color: #000000;">#GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT=0</span>
<span style="color: #000000;">GRUB_TIMEOUT=-1</span>
GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
<span style="color: #000000;">GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT=""</span>

# Uncomment to enable BadRAM filtering, modify to suit your needs
# This works with Linux (no patch required) and with any kernel that obtains
# the memory map information from GRUB (GNU Mach, kernel of FreeBSD ...)

# Uncomment to disable graphical terminal (grub-pc only)

# The resolution used on graphical terminal
# note that you can use only modes which your graphic card supports via VBE
# you can see them in real GRUB with the command `vbeinfo'
<span style="color: #000000;">GRUB_GFXMODE=auto</span>

# Uncomment if you don't want GRUB to pass "root=UUID=xxx" parameter to Linux

# Uncomment to disable generation of recovery mode menu entries

# Uncomment to get a beep at grub start
#GRUB_INIT_TUNE="480 440 1"

Quick Edits for /etc/default/grub

Note: A grub file can contain many more options than those shown in the above file. For a full list of options refer to the GNU Grub Manual (link in reference section below). Note that all GRUB 2 commands or changes to its files must be done while logged in as root or by using sudo.

As previously mentioned, the above sample GRUB 2 file is essentially the same as the default file for Lubuntu ver. 12.10. Note that the option entries listed in the above file may differ for other Linux distributions and/or versions. In most cases, users will want to make minor changes to the option entries that are common to all distributions and/or versions, such as timeout, default boot OS, displayed boot information (quiet splash), or the display resolution. To enable a listed option, remove the comment (#) in front of the option entry and change its value as appropriate. If a desired option is unlisted, it may be added to the end of the file. Also notice that the above file contains comments that provide information for enabling/disabling many of the listed options. After making any change to this file, it must be saved and GRUB updated in order for the changes to take effect on the next boot (see saving and updating section below). A few common option entries are described as follows:

Default option setting is 0.
This is the default menu entry to be booted. Zero (0) is the first boot option listed in /boot/grub/grub.cfg.

Default option setting is 5.
Sets the time in seconds that the boot menu displays before it automatically boots the default boot entry. If a key is pressed before that time, the timeout is cancelled, allowing manual selection of the entry with no time limit. The value “-1” causes the menu to be displayed indefinitely.

Default setting is distro dependent.
Passes arguments to the end of the boot command line for the kernel of the menu’s default entry. Added in addition to any arguments specified in GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX below. This option is often set to “quiet splash” to suppress boot information and display the splash screen. Note that “quiet” and “splash” are separate values. Remove “quiet splash” between the parentheses to display all boot information without a splash screen.

Default setting as above.
Passes arguments to the end of the boot command line for the kernels of all the menu entries.

Default setting is “auto”.
Sets the graphical terminal resolution. Only modes supported by the graphics card VESA BIOS Extensions (VBE) can be used. To determine the available screen resolutions, type “c” for a command line at the GRUB 2 boot menu and then enter “vbeinfo.” The syntax for the option value is widthxheight[xdepth]. Some common option values are 1400x900x32, 1024×768, and 800×600.

Recovery mode entries are generated by default.
Enable by removing #, which will disable generation of the recovery mode entries; otherwise, for each Linux kernel, at least two menu entries will be generated – the default entry and a recovery mode entry.

Saving and updating the edited /etc/default/grub file

After editing and saving the /etc/default/grub file the following command must be executed for the changes to take effect:

sudo update-grub

To restore the default settings for GRUB 2, reinstall GRUB 2 by executing the following command:

sudo grub-install /<target>

Where <target> /dev/sda, /dev/hda

GRUB 2 tools

Graphical tools for configuring Grub 2 have become more common as Grub 2 matures. One GUI tool available on many repositories is grub-customizer. See this How-to-Geek article for a description of this tool.

Changing the GRUB 2 background image


Good tutorials describing how to change the GRUB 2 background image:

The Geek Stuff – How to Change GRUB Splash Image, Background, Font Color on Your Linux



GNU GRUB Manual 2.00~rc1

openSUSE® – Chapter 10. The Boot Loader GRUB2

GRUB 2 bootloader – Full tutorial by Dedoimedo

Official Ubuntu Community Documentation – Grub 2

Grub 2 Basics by DRS305 – Ubuntu Forums


21. November 2012 · Comments Off on Change folders for Save/Open and Office dialogs with Placesbar Editor · Categories: TechBits · Tags: ,
Placesbar Editor is a freeware tool that provides a convenient way to change any of the five folders on the Places Bar menu to whatever you want without directly editing the registry. PlacesBar Editor works in Windows 2000/ME/XP/Vista and Office. For Vista and above, the ability to change the Places Bar is built into the operating system, but apparently not for the Basic and Home Editions of Vista or Win7. For Vista or Win7 versions other than the Basic or Home editions, see WinVistaClub’s article: How To Add Your Own Folders To The Places Bar Or Favorite Links. In any case, for XP and older systems, this is a must-have utility. For further information, see the review on PlacesBar Editor at Freeware Genius.

places bar



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