Manjaro Linux + Google Chrome Remote Desktop (Working from AUR)

So I had been trying to get local remote access, tried all the big boys without much luck, and have had Google Remote Desktop (CRD) working before but it only opened a new Gnome session, which didn’t give me that “remote home” connection – so I began to fiddle and figured I’d writeup this little tutorial for someone lost in the woods like I was!

So first off, installing – use the package manager of your choice and add the CRD package from AUR (if you haven’t enabled AUR, there is no time like the present, but once you search for it, build it.

Now if you just do that you’re not done. Not just yet – in fact, it’s actually nicely already documented on the AUR page for CRD – I highly recommend you read it but the short version is this set of instructions:

Brinsky commented on 2019-12-06 13:58

Here’s how I got this working with the new web app (remotedesktop.google.com):
Build and install the package
run crd --setup
(Optional) Configure execution of your preferred window manager in ~/.chrome-remote-desktop-session
Go to http://remotedesktop.google.com/headless
Click “next” and “authorize” through each instruction
Copy/paste and run the provided “Debian” command, which should look like the following: DISPLAY= /opt/google/chrome-remote-desktop/start-host --code="<UNIQUE_CODE>" --redirect-url="<https://remotedesktop.google.com/_/oauthredirect>" --name=
Set up a name and PIN
Wait for successful output containing “Host ready to receive connections.”
Run crd --start

Now that should get you going fairly well – did for me! But if was not loading the active desktop at all, and in turn, I couldn’t access my desktop like say on a Mac/Windows rig – so reading through the AUR & Google search I found the link to the “Ubunutu” fix for this, which works exactly the same on Manjaro! So off we go to the helpful blog post.

Follow the blog post exactly, in all of this you are not a “terminal” person this guide requires a little leg work in the terminal, don’t let it freak you out, it’s going to be okay! So if you hit this error below like I did:

SyntaxError: Non-ASCII character ‘\xe2’ in file /opt/google/chrome-remote-desktop/chrome-remote-desktop on line 711, but no encoding declared; see http://python.org/dev/peps/pep-0263/ for details

The fix is incredibly easy – edit the quotes if you copy + pasted as I did you might have carried over “special” quotes which look like “ vs ” see the slight slant? In the file on 711 where there are quotes in the editor backspace each one and just makes a plain quote instead and save again and the restart should end with a happier note!

And that should do it! Stuck? Leave a comment. Happy to help debug if I can, I hit some other issues but most for me was “Oh that’s something I can fix” and I just did it so didn’t log every pitfall but the encoding type above was one that I hit and figured others may hit the same issue so hope it saves you a few minutes of research and helps you get free half-decent remote access without cost or too much fuss.

81GB + B2 = $4/yr

So while I have backup servers easily with 81GB of storage I could utilize, I don’t. Many reasons including no sense in putting in my data to a mix which could if found be more “tempting” than my blog for instance. Sure sure I use security galore, keys, hardware security devices like Yubikeys etc. but to top it off, storage isn’t cheap for how I do backups so 81GB if precious.

Enter B2 – for nerdy people like myself, it’s similar to AWS but considerably cheaper – now if you are reading this and saying “Backups… I need those” B2 is part of another company I HIGHLY recommend called Backblaze – B2 is their developer side of things, Backblaze is their amazing backup system – I use it on my Mac’s and it works awesome, even complains if I haven’t used my laptop in a while and it wants a backup! Been a life saver too in issues of deleted files that didn’t make it local.

So why am I use b2? Well, Linux isn’t exactly mainstream and yes there are backup systems you can get – homebrew is my thing lately, trying to find “NORMAL” in life with everything going on and thus since I am familiar with b2, tonight I crafted the command line to basically emulate what I do locally to my backup M.2 drive, sync my home directory so if anything happens here at home? It’s accessible, and I can get a Linux box up and running again even on basic cheap hardware if needed, Manjaro has it covered.

So the plan I have is two-fold:

  • Daily Backups to the M.2 Drive scheduled to run nightly and keep the home-dir up-to-date.
  • Weekly Backups to B2 – this is for an emergency so no sense in daily off-site backups, plus data usage it covers includes things like say a steam game so careful to be mindful of how much I am backing up.

Now I considered just doing Monthly vs. Weekly, but I’m looking for some just in case – but at around $4/yr for all of this storage – yes, please.

There are apps that do automate this but I found them slow. One made an IMAGE file, another tried to create an archive – this literally is just whirring by on my monitor as I type, currently showing 1.1GB of data already moved in less than 30 minutes so needless to say happy with the speed, and the backup process.

If you don’t have backups on your devices this also is related to say your smartphone – consider getting something – most offer basic backups – but both iOS and Android offer backups baked into the operating system, use them. If you are anxious about them having the backups then ask yourself why aren’t anxious they already have 100% access to your device? If it’s important – back it up.

For now, things are in motion, and I’m a bit nauseous so I’m going to go and chill out for a bit, but if interested let me know and I’ll post the scripts & cronjobs if you are a linuxy person – if you are a Windows/Mac user – let me know if you have questions about Backblaze or want to know about any other online type backups I can offer if you’d rather go with “someone you know” and I can get you some basic pricing for options for backup. Till next time? Good night!

The Cancer Update

So here’s the update, it’s been 3 insane days but here’s where we are with things.

Monday we got the results of the PET/CT and it’s a mixed bag:

  • Primary Tumor (Esophagus) – Stable, no growth, no loss – standing still, looking good (honestly I think it’s better as swallowing is INSANELY better) so good stuff.
  • Cancer Markers up, it’s in the system actively and some involvement possibly in the lungs 🙁
  • The Standing Treatment Plan: Not too effective. Basically its doing some good as I see it to hold the current mass at bay, but it’s not doing that “all over” clean up we need.
  • Doc suggests a second set of eyes from City of Hope again to really just tag team it and get us on a new plan based upon maybe something new they know!

So that’s where we ended on Monday, thus Daisy got to work on a 2nd opinion from City of Hope – well she took and called got us an appointment for Thursday, but let’s just say Thursday… well became Tuesday. As yesterday at around noon we left home for a trip down to City of Hope as they were able to see us at 2:45 – which led to the following:

  • New plan called Full Fury (sounds epic right?) same course treatment schedule – every 2 weeks, pump for 3 days, few new drugs in the mix, but only one new side effective which can be managed with drugs.
  • Genetic Testing Started – This can open up some new doors for more targeted treatment – results will be in next Tuesday so that’s neat I think, but warned them as a redhead I am a mutant, but they said it didn’t matter lol
  • Was blessed with decent traffic but a day on 1 hour or so of sleep, plus no meds trying to balance out a little left me well, exhausted.

Enter today, follow up with my oncologist, and he agreed on the plan, so he’s kicking it to insurance, we start Monday.

After a wild day though I crashed for like 6 hours, we have a plan, and I have a week off to recoup, and I needed the sleep, I woke up and ran to my mailbox at the UPS Store, was amazed to find blessings galore, some chocolates from a customer thanking me for help & wishing a merry Christmas, and a church I host sent a gift which is HUGELY a blessing and will help pay for a few medical bills I have that need to be sorted – so in all of this still one truth: God is Good.

Currently battling blood sugar inflation due to the steroid I took earlier today, but going to do some light work around the house as energy allows and sugar burns off – but figured I’d get a bit more detailed update than what I normally post to facebook, but thank you all for your prayers, support, even helping with cravings of even boston baked beans 😀 love the support always, helps me stay positive knowing I’m thought and cared for more than I may know on a day to day basis.

Have a blessed night all, I’m off to burn off some sugar!

Just a sterotypical Monday.

Oi. What a day. I’ll get to the cancer stuff another day, but computer-wise – really?!

So basically what happened is I sat down to test a drive, and when I looked at it – seemed all good… however turns out I have the same M.2 drive – didn’t realize I bought the same one as my primary system drive, and after having an Android phone format the new M.2 portable setup, I thought “why did it do so many partitions?! I just need the single one for storage.” The reason? That partition layout was my main drive.

Thankfully it simply trashed a partition that didn’t contain my primary data, but it screwed up my boot setup so I figured “I tinkered with this install, let’s just rebuild it.”

So a quick run of this:

rsync -azvv --progress /home/cbrown /run/media/cbrown/m2baby/.

I freshly backed up 81GB of data in like 1 hour? Then was able to install Manjaro fresh and clean and shiny, then took a snapshot of my installed apps and restored that, while data restored, then once it was done an hour later (okay an hour and a little change, disk access was a little busy) I rebooted, and I’m 100% good to go, Wavebox, Chrome, etc. all loading up fine even Steam Games.

Never was able to do that with Windows in the olden days, unless I had a good snapshot – it was reinstall like mad, then re-configure, re-everything – but all my apps carried over without issue, only thing left to check is to see if screen savers kick in with Xscreensaver installed we shall see!

But a typical Monday ended in an adjusted backup script to the new M.2 portable stick, but with rsync’ing it 81GB stays fresh and only brings new goodies – so again I could complain, but in the end, it all just worked.

I’ll talk a bit about what’s going on in Cancer land in a few days, as I have no real “solid” answers, to some degree, but in the end more docs to talk to, some good/bad news – but I have a peace, thus why I am not rushing out saying “HIT THOSE KNEES! LET’S PRAY!” now you can always pray – but not looking to worry anything with at some level, unknowns. More soon though!

For now wrapping up the day, nice to have a working station again, tomorrow if I’m up – tuning up the Hackintosh as my new gateway to the network – lots on my head to do, but for now hoping to wind down and sleep soon. Night all.