Computer Software

Install Symbol Fonts in WPS Office

Issue: you get an error message saying Symbols will not display correctly when installing WPS office on Linux

For Ubuntu and derivatives use the Install Script

Computer Software

How do I install OS Elementary apps on Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya?

Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya fixes some issues which plagued earlier versions of Ubuntu and its derivatites. For example if you are on a Laptop with OS Elementary Luna, (built on Ubuntu 12.04) you will find for example you have no ‘hibernate’ facility. This is fixed in Linux Mint 18.2, so you might like to install this instead of OS Elementary, but add OS Elementary features to Mint. How do you do that?

How do you do that?

Elementary my dear Watson!

There is no Ubuntu version “loki”, so you have to use “xenial” Ubuntu repositories with elementary repositories.

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common 
sudo apt-get install software-properties
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-add-repository xenial main

sudo apt-add-repository xenial main
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ricotz/docky
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install plank

Tip: Elementary Tweaks is needed to configure the Docky Plank, but you cannot install OS Elementary Tweaks on Linux Mint 18.2 directly because OS Elementary Loki is built on an earlier version of Ubuntu. However you can built it from source after you have followed this Tutorial.  To do this, install Elementary SDK which is available in the Synaptic Package Manager once you add the PPAs above.

The Docky Plank will work perfectly well on Linux Mint, but you will not be able to change the theme without OS Elementary Tweaks.

Hint: type ‘elementary’ into the Synaptic Package Manager search box to find what elementary apps are available to your distro.


Computer Software

Install Amiga Emulator (Amibian) on Raspberry Pi

Steps required  ( Raspberry Pi 3 needed, if you have an older Pi Model, try RetroPie)

  1. Download compressed disk image and extract it. (Install the 7zip program on your Windows PC if you have not already done so).
  2. Write this disk image to an SD card.
  3. Boot this SD card on the R-Pi, and expand the file system.
  4. Return the SD card to your Linux PC and use the file manager to copy Amiga Kickstart ROM files and floppy disk files to the SD card. (The website suggests you use Midnight Commander to do this, but that’s harder).
  5. Boot the R-Pi and choose option 6 from the menu – settings. Enter your WiFi SSID and password.
  6. With the R-Pi now online, you can update the system.
  7. The command ‘raspc’ has he effect of ‘sudo raspi-config’

Software Tools Required:

A Windows Computer, A Linux Computer (or a dual boot) SD formatter. Disk Image Writer.

It is much easier to prepare the SD card on Windows.

If you are running Linux, you can just drag the Amiga Kickstarts and ADF files to the SD card.

I use OS Elementary Luna for this purpose. You need to run your file manager as root in order to be able to access the Raspberry Pi’s SD card when  it is in your Windows machine.

Add ‘Open as Administrator’ to Pantheon in Elementary OS Luna

Tips: if your R-Pi does not have Wifi, you can connect it to your laptop which does using an RJ45 Ethernet Interconnecting lead .Linux: From the Network menu, go down to ‘Edit Connections’ add a connection and choose ‘share connection’. Windows: enable Internet Connection Sharing as directed by the Windows Help system or Google it.  Note if you enable ICS on Windows, you must turn it off to allow file sharing.

The Amiga Kickstart ROMs are still covered by Copyright which is why they are not included in the Amibian distro.  If you own a real Amiga, you can make your own copy of the Kickstart ROM, however this is a waste of time since all the Kickstarts are available online. Downloading the Kickstart only infringes the copyright if you don’t own a real Amiga.

If you don’t own an Amiga, you can purchase an ‘Amiga Forever CD’ from Cloanto which includes the Kickstarts. This package is of more use to those who do not have a real Amiga.

The ‘Armiga’ will allow you to transfer real disks to an emulator without a real Amiga. It has a built-in Amiga compatible floppy drive, but it can only make disk images of standard diskettes which excludes many games which have copy protection.


Computer Software

Replace default Software Center in Ubuntu with Deepin

If you find Ubuntu goes off into ‘Never Never Land’ (with the Hard Disk whirring and whirring for no apparent reason) whenever you try to use the Software Center, try replacing it with Deepin Software Center.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/deepin-sc

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install deepin-software-center

sudo apt-get remove software-center

sudo apt-get autoremove software-center

That’s it.





Computer Software

JMRI on an original Raspberry Pi model B

JMRI start


The following link gives instructions on how to install JMRI on your Raspberry Pi automatically:

Tested on Wheezy ( the version of Raspian issued with the original model B) with Sprog II, works. Tested on Jessie works.

Detailed explanation for setting up R-Pi for VNC

The later version of Raspian, Jessie, issued with later versions of the Raspberry Pi can also be used on the original model B.  Jessie has a number of improvements which make JMRI easier to use on a Raspberry Pi.

A most useful improvement is the inclusion of VNC server which allows the Raspberry Pi’s desktop to be viewed on another computer.

How to install and use VNC is here

To access your Raspberry Pi from your Windows machine, you  need to download and install Putty.

Start a Putty session, select ‘SSH’ enter the IP address of your Pi eg:

VNC allows you can use the Raspberry Pi in ‘headless’ mode which means ‘without the Desktop being displayed even if a monitor is connected to the Raspberry Pi’.

Using the R-Pi without a Desktop improves performance slightly and is a good idea when you are using JMRI to control a layout. However, the good thing about VNC is that it allows the Raspberry Pi desktop to be displayed on another device, even if the R-Pi is not displaying the Desktop itself.

Instructions on how to do this are given at the Raspberry Pi website given above, but I will repeat them here. What you have to do (assuming your are running Jessie) is boot up the Raspberry Pi, and either with a monitor connected, or via VNC you have to go to the Raspberry in the top left of the screen, go down to ‘System Preferences’, and choose ‘Raspberry Pi Configuration’. Where it says ‘Boot’ change the option from ‘boot To Desktop’ to boot ‘To CLI’.  Restart the R-Pi to make the change take effect.

(If you’ve forgotten the procedure under Wheezy is  raspi-config from the command line. You may need to go back to Wheezy if you can’t get JMRI to work with SprogII under Jessie)

If you access the R-Pi via VNC from your Windows machine after the reboot, you will get a small black window, but do not imagine something terrible has happened – all you have to do is activate the virtual desktop on the R-Pi by command line. It tells you how to do this on the R-Pi website, but I will repeat it here

To create and connect to a virtual desktop:

  • On your Raspberry Pi (using Terminal or via SSH), run vncserver.

(You just have to type vncserver into the terminal)

  • Make note of the IP address/display number that VNC Server will print to your Terminal (e.g.
  • On the device you’ll use to take control, enter this information into VNC Viewer.

To destroy a virtual desktop, run the following command:

vncserver -kill :<display-number>

This will also stop any existing connections to this virtual desktop.

You can proceed with the next part of the project which is to install JMRI.

Open a terminal either on the Pi itself or via SHH from another machine.

sudo apt-get install git
git clone
cd JMR-Pi
sudo ./

If this doesn’t work, try again later. Sometimes GitHub gets very busy.

On your Android device, go to the Play Store and install Engine Driver for JMRI. In JMRI, under ‘Actions’ find ‘StartWifi server. Your Android device running Engine Driver can connect automatically without your having to enter an IP address.











Computer Software

Hornby R8245 Sapphire Decoder with auto model locomotive control

The Hornby R8245 Sapphire Decoder has a facility to create an “AI” (Artificial Intelligence) train which will run to and fro automatically without the need for any switches or sensors on the track.

R8245 is for DCC (Digital Command Control) users only.

Programming the auto-control cycle on the Hornby R8245
Sapphire Decoder

The FIRST thing you need to know is that CV 140 turns the Auto control Cycle ON or OFF.

The SECOND thing you need to know is the value to write to CV140.

The only value you need to remember is 12. Think of the 12 Days of Christmas!

The THIRD thing you need to know is the value to write to CV140 to
turn off auto control.

This is easy to remember:  It is a zero, zadda, zilch, nothing.

Now you have understood those basic things – writing 12 to CV 140 turns on auto control and writing a zero turns it off.

You can now enter the values needed for duration and speed..

In this example we are going to prorgramme an auto control cycle which
will make the train run for 30 seconds in one direction and then run back for 30 seconds at the same speed.

To wait initially for 5 seconds, write 5 to CV123
To travel forward for 10 seconds, write 10 to CV127
To set a speed of 20, write 20 to CV124

Now, having programmed the outward journey, you must
programme the return trip!
To wait at the station for 10 seconds, write 10 to CV131
To set reverse speed of 20, write 20 plus 128, (which makes 148) to CV132

To set a duration of 30 seconds for the return trip,
write the value 30 to CV135

And finally, to wait 5 seconds at your first station, write 5 to

That’s it!

The auto control cycle is now programmed. You can now
write 12 to CV 140 to the decoder to get the train going
by itself.

Things to remember!
Only set a slow speed and a short duration initially – once
the loco is under auto control, your DCC command station
cannot control it until a zero is written to CV 140.

An easy way to programme the Sapphire decoder is to use
Decoder Pro which is a part of JMRI

However you can programme the Sapphire decoder with
any DCC system.



If you are using Dynamis, move the joystick left or right to
find the loco with the Sapphire Decoder

On Dynamis, having selected your loco, press the fourth button, it will
say ‘Edit Name’Move the joystick until it says ‘PROGRAM. Press the 4th
button again. It will say WRITE ADDR ON MAINTRACK. Move the joystick


Computer Software

Free WPS Office for Linux Alpha21[2017-06-15]

The latest version of WPS office for Linux is available for download. Choose the download appropriate to your version of Linux. For example to choose the version appropriate to OS Elementary Loki, download:

For OS Elementary Luna (32bit), download

For other versions see main page.


Computer Software

Ubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, OS Elementary – which is best?

If you have got a laptop which is gathering dust in the bottom of the wardrobe it is time to bring it out and install Linux on it.

The more memory your laptop has determines which version of Linux is suitable.

If your laptop has 1gig of RAM or less, you will have to install OS Elementary Luna or Lubuntu or Xubuntu.

If you have more than 1gig of RAM, you can install the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS or OS Elementary Loki. This will allow you to install the latest version of the Chrome browser.

On an older machine with 1gig of RAM or less, OS Elementary Luna boots more quickly than Xubuntu or Lubuntu.

Lubuntu does not have desktop composition, which means windows can tear when you drag them.

Tip: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS has the latest NVIDIA video drivers included, so it will work on most machines. OS Elementary, Lubuntu and Xubuntu only have the generic video driver, so you may get an error such as a blurred or flickering screen.