How To Make PIA Work On Linux When It Keeps Disconnecting

TL;DR: you probably have an encrypted home folder.

I have just had to install the PIA (Private Internet Access) VPN on a brand new Linux Mint 18.2 machine and I was surprised to see that, despite the installation completing successfully with no error messages whatsoever, connecting to any VPN server would not work. The application would start connecting, only to disconnect every time about a minute later.

I had no firewall blocking VPN access this time, neither on this machine or on the network, so it had to be something else. And I wasn’t the first one to stumble on this issue. The first help resource I tried was this support article which recommends to trying different ports. Needless to say, it didn’t help.

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How To Enable File Uploads In MediaWiki (Tweeki Theme)

The MediaWiki official documentation for enabling file uploads is very thorough, but if this is a new installation (and it’s probably likely if you are enabling file uploads), it can be somehow stripped down to get the functionality simply up and running quickly. I still recommend reading the whole documentation to make sure you tweak the system in the best possible way, and so you don’t forget the necessary security precautions.

Also, if you are running the Tweeki theme for MediaWiki, there is one step that is not mentioned in the official documentation and that got me stuck for a while. So this article shows you how to enable file uploads in MediaWiki when you are using the Tweeki theme.

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How To Have The Ping Command Make a Sound

There might be cases where you are testing your network and it would be useful to know if your ping command is working without having to keep an eye on your screen. Imagine being in a server room behind a switch, while your computer is somewhere else in the room: it would be great if you could hear some sound while ping is working, and no sound when ping stops working (so you know when you have disconnected the correct cable).

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How To Configure VLANs On a NETGEAR ProSafe Switch

Configuring VLANs on NETGEAR ProSafe switches has never been a very pleasant experience for me. Maybe it’s because I am used to the Cisco way of doing it which, at the end of the day, feels way more intuitive to me even if you have to take some time at the beginning to understand and remember all the CLI commands.

NETGEAR’s GUI, however, is just plain confusing to me, and it took me quite a few tries to get it working. Part of the reason is because I might be stupid, of course, but I also think that NETGEAR’s horrible documentation and “support” should take at least some of the blame.

Also, I really don’t think it’s necessary to have a Basic and an Advanced way of adding VLANs. If you need to configure VLANs, I assume you know what you are doing, so why the hell should there be a Basic option? Just get rid of that crap and leave just one option.

Anyway, rant over, this is a guide on how to configure VLANs on a NETGEAR ProSafe switch. For this tutorial, I have used a ProSafe GS116Ev2 switch, but I assume every other switch in the same line will be very similar if not identical.

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Understanding The New AMD Ryzen Naming Scheme

It looks like AMD is back, but this time, for real. The new line of Ryzen processors is receiving very good reviews online. Personally, I am keeping a close eye on these CPUs, and my next workstation build is very likely going to be Ryzen-based (a Ryzen 5 1600, probably, but I am still open to suggestions on this).

Now, AMD suffers from the same problem that Intel has, albeit a bit less pronounced: their naming scheme is atrocious. Unless you follow hardware updates closely, you will find it very difficult to differentiate between models just by looking at the model name. Understanding what your best choice is by looking at the product name alone is close to impossible (Intel 6900K vs 7700K anyone?).

The goal of this article is to make sense of AMD Ryzen’s naming scheme which, so far, makes way more sense than Intel’s in my opinion, but it still needs some clarification, especially since the technology is brand new.

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How To Use Xcode’s Auto Layout To Center Elements In An iOS App

Centering elements in Interface Builder is very simple, because Xcode will snap items to the vertical or horizontal center of the canvas, the same way that other Apple apps help you center items in a document (Pages and Keynote are the first examples that came to my mind).

However, when it comes to iOS apps, just because an element looks centered in the canvas, doesn’t mean that it will be centered all the time on every device: if you switch to a device with a different screen size (even in the simulator), the elements won’t be centered anymore.

This is because, in Interface Builder, you place elements with fixed positioning by default. If you want your app to look the same on every screen size, you will have to use a technique called Auto Layout.

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How To Add A Launch Screen To An iOS App

I have recently started to play around with Swift programming as I always wanted to code something for iOS, but always ended up either lacking the time to do it, or developing for Android, a platform with which I am more experienced since my university days.

One of the most confusing things for me, coming from Android development and its interfaces in plain XML, was getting used to Interface Builder in Xcode, finding the elements I need, ultimately, getting the storyboard files to do what I want them to do. Also, navigating the Xcode project settings is no easy task for a beginner, so I am still finding roadblocks every time I try to do the most simple tasks.

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A Few Performance Tests Using Powerline Adapters

Powerline adapters are a pretty cool way to keep your network wired without having to run cables through the walls, particularly handy if you are renting your place (but even if you own the house and you don’t feel like doing this type of work).

Obviously, wiring the house would be the best choice, but when this is not possible, powerline adapters are a very good alternative, and probably still better than just connecting every device via Wi-Fi.

However, the performance of these adapters vary based on a lot of factors, from the distance between the adapters, the quality of your electrical system and, perhaps most importantly, where you decide to plug your adapters into.

Every powerline manufacturer recommends to plug them directly into a wall socket for maximum performance. You should avoid plugging them in anywhere else, including power strips or UPSs. If you do, they will likely still work, but you won’t get the maximum throughput supported.

I used to have a long ethernet cable running from my core switch in the office to the router in the other room, but since getting a dog who apparently loves to eat copper, I had to find an alternative. I removed the chewed ethernet cable and added two powerline adapters into my network, so it was a great opportunity to run some basic performance tests to see how positioning the adapters will affect the network speed. Here are the results.

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VirtualBox VBoxManage convertdd VS convertfromraw

If you need to convert a computer image (for example, taken with dd) to a VirtualBox VM, you might have seen a few tutorials online that show you how to convert the disk image to the VirtualBox own VDI format. Some of this guides mention either the convertdd or the convertfromraw command to achieve this, but are there any differences between the two?

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