VPNWiz – Cisco VPN GNOME GUI for PCF files

The fine folks over at PhrankDaChicken@Ubuntu have come up with an excellent and simple GUI for the open source Cisco VPN client (vpnc).  The nice thing is that you won’t have to decrypt the group password in your cisco PCF file as VPNWiz will read the PCF files directly!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had much luck with the vpnc plugin for NetworkManager when connecting to my office’s VPN.

VPNWiz - Cisco VPN GUI for Gnome

VPNWiz - Cisco VPN GUI for Gnome

VPNWiz uses cisco PCF files to connect a GNOME linux desktop to a cisco vpn server.

Download the VPNWiz zip file, and run the install.sh file.

Go to “Apps -> Internet -> VPNWiz” to start it – follow the wizard to connect.

Click on the VPNWiz icon in the system tray to disconnect.

Get VPNWiz here.

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Rip a dvd with HandbrakeCLI on Ubuntu Linux 8.04 (Hardy Heron) for the Sony PS3 (mpeg4 / h.264)

After much trial and error, I chose HandbrakeCLI for ripping a dvd to a h.264 mpeg4 file that I can play on my Sony Playstation 3 console. Please note that HandBrake does quite well on live action video but not so good on animation.

% sudo aptitude install build-essential
% sudo aptitude install zlib1g-dev jam yasm
% wget http://handbrake.fr/rotation.php?file=HandBrake-0.9.2.tar.gz
% tar zxvf HandBrake-0.9.2.tar.gz
% cd HandBrake
% ./configure
% jam
% cp HandBrakeCLI ../bin  # to copy the binary into the user's bin dir

We need yasm installed to pick up any cpu extensions that our cpu supports. For example: MMX MMXEXT SSE SSE2 3DNow!

Now that we have a working HandBrakeCLI binary built for our system (works for 32bit or 64bit depending on which system we built it on).

I wrote a very simple script that will rip the dvd (legal dvd rip btw) into a mp4 file, copy it to the media-server which will be picked up automatically by mediatomb.

make_ps3_hb.sh:

#!/bin/bash

# make_ps3_hb.sh  [genre]

nice -n 15 ~/bin/HandBrakeCLI -i /dev/dvd -e x264 -b 1200 -B 160 -R 48 -E faac -f mp4 -P=16 -x level=41:subme=5:me=umh -T -2 -d -7 -8 -O --crop -m -N eng -o "$1"

if [ -f "$1" ]
then
  if [ $2 ]
  then
    echo copying $1 to media-server /home/jason/Videos/$2
    scp "$1" "jason@media-server:/home/jason/Videos/$2/$1" && rm -f "$1"
  else
    echo copying $1 to media-server /home/jason/Videos
    scp "$1" "jason@media-server:/home/jason/Videos/$1" && rm -f "$1"
  fi
fi

Handbrake documentation is available on the Handbrake wiki website.

UPDATE: If you’re looking for a GUI front end for HandBrakeCLI on Linux, check out RippedWire by th3rmite.

Screenshot: HandBrakeGTK 1.0.1 - Queue Tab

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