Answer to Chromium’s “Unable to Load Font File!” Error in Video

I found that when using Chromium to play Video it would occasionally display the titled error message inside the video viewbox of pages like YouTube and Vimeo. The video won’t play at all. Turns out this is caused by the system not having enough memory left (had too much going on). Kill some applications to retrieve ~100MB of RAM and reload the page. Then everything works fine.

Some bike photos from an afternoon ride…

Squeaking palm-rest on T410/T420/T430? Easy fix.

I’ve had annoying palm-rest squeaking on all the Thinkpads I’ve owned, usually when I rest my hands on the rests to begin typing. The creaking would continue as I increased and decreased pressure on the palm-rest whilst typing.

I only recently took my T430 apart to figure out how to stop the creaking. For me, the noise was coming from the right-hand palm-rest, directly next to the fingerprint sensor and above where the smartcard reader blanking piece sits.

There are two solutions. The first works if the creaking comes from the top palm-rest rubbing where it meets the lower half of the laptop’s body. Continue reading

OwnCloud – Upload failed. Could not find uploaded file.

The precise error Owncloud would give at the top of the screen when I tried to upload a file was: Upload failed. Could not find uploaded file.
I spent ages trying to fix this with nothing online to help (which is why I’m writing this now for other’s, in case others are as ignorant as I am).
Go into /etc/php/php.ini and ensure that upload_tmp_dir is set to a directory included in the open_basedir path further up the file. The open_basedir set of directories is a list of base directories all PHP code can interact with. If your upload directory is not in there, any uploaded files are sent in the ether and then lost – with Owncloud complaining that it ‘can’t find them’. Owncloud can’t see the directory if it’s not one of those included in open_basedir.

Gnome Startup Crash when coming from KDE

Had some problems with Gnome failing to start and crashing with the weird sad face image and ‘Oh no, something has gone wrong’ error. If you check the error journal with ‘journalctl | grep gnome’ you may see some errors relating to PolKit. This can be checked against specifically with ‘journalctl | grep polkit’. If PolKit is throwing errors, installing polkit-gnome again. This seemed to repair paths, dependencies or whatever and after this Gnome booted successfully.

Fix for no emoticons on Motorola Moto G 2014

The new Moto G has an issue where emoticons do not show in any application correctly – where they should be is a blank space. This ‘bug’ has been shipped with the phone, but it is a misconfiguration left in by the developer and is easy to fix.

Go into the stock messaging app (not hangouts) and enter the settings. Find the ‘Character Encoding’ setting and change it from ‘7 bit’ to ‘automatic’.

This configuration seems to be a system-wide settings, and all applications will now display emoticons successfully.

Utilising OpenVPN and a Firewall to create an Intranet with private services

This post will explain how I’ve effectively created an intranet using my Digital Ocean Droplet, OpenVPN, and UFW. I’ve assumed that you’re technically capable and already have a good understand of routing, firewalls, sockets, services etc.

The first thing you’ll of course need is a server – be it a VM, Raspberry Pi, or VPS. If you do go the VPS route I recommend checking out Digital Ocean.


Once you’ve got the server you’ll need to setup and configure OpenVPN. I won’t explain how to do that as it’s a relatively long process, but the best guide is probably here on the Arch Wiki. However once you understand it, it’s easy to make configuration changes in the future. In the OpenVPN settings you’ll need to enable ‘client-to-client’ communication, specify ‘tun’ for a tunnel device type (as we want a routed IP tunnel) and at various places in the config specify the IP range you want to use. I used as that is a private range and not externally┬ároutable (any gateway/border┬árouter should drop the packets). In addition I found that using TCP as opposed to UDP was a better choice for the VPN, my phone does do some random reconnects sometimes when packets get out of order, but I’ve found that when browsing the web YouTube and GIFs are far more reliable. You can switch OpenVPN to TCP by changing the proto udp directive to proto tcp.
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