Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Setting up ClearOS as a Google Cloud Print server

I have ClearOs 6 running 24/7 as my main Internet-facing router, providing firewalling and routing for my LAN.

I also have a number of Android devices, and it has always annoyed me that Google Cloud Printing seemed to require a Windows PC switched on.

Some Googling revealed that a Linux CUPS server can be made to share its printers with Google Cloud Print. so I decided to try to set this up.

First, I installed the Advanced Print Server into ClearOs, from its Marketplace (it's free).

Then I set up my printer by following the instructions.

Then I logged on to the server as root, using putty.

I downloaded cloudprint from, and unzipped it to /usr/share/cloudprint.

I installed the packages it needs (mostly worked out by trial and error)

yum install python python-pip gcc python-devel cups-devel

pip install pycups argparse cloudprint[daemon]

pip install --upgrade cloudprint[daemon]


(The square brackets are typed in as shown - they aren't code for an optional argument.)

This gave me a url to put into a web browser to add the printer to my Google Cloud.

In order to have this run automatically, in daemon mode, at startup, I added

cloudprint -d

to /etc/rc.d/rc.local 

That was pretty much it (aside from all the messing about finding out what was needed). Note that I did not do everything in one go, the way I have documented it, just installed each bit I needed when I found out what I had didn't work.

Hope this helps anyone else wanting to do it

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Free Accounting Software

I have continued to work on my accounting software, while using it in my business and for my personal accounts (in separate databases).

I have added a number of new functions:

  • Import statements from QIF files
  • Copy and paste statement data from bank web pages
  • Investments (shares, unit trusts, etc.)
  • Import data from Quicken
I'm really keen to get some more beta testers - anyone running Windows or Linux want to try a free small business accounting or personal package to run on their own computer, but which they can access from any computer, phone or tablet?

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Quick Books replacement

I knew it was a while since I had posted anything on here, but I didn't realize how long! Comes of being too busy, I guess.

In my small business, I have been using Quick Books for years. Although when I started the business I had been working for an accounting software company, I still chose Quick books because it was simple and easy to use - no remembering obscure account codes or customer numbers, everything works by name.

Since upgrading to Windows 8, Quick Books has become significantly less functional - none of the pages that use the Internet Explorer web control work any more - they just come out blank. However, it is no longer possible to upgrade or buy Quick books - you have to subscribe to a web service instead.

Doing this was just not worthwhile for a small business like mine, so I had a look at alternatives. Unfortunately, none of the alternatives I could find would import my existing Quick Books data. As I know a lot about accounting software, and figured there would be lots of people in the same position as me, I decided I should write my own.

I have just completed a beta test version, which has the following features:

  • Imports data exported from Quick Books. Journals are exported using a Quick Books report. The only limitation is that all sub-accounts must have unique names, as Quick Books does not distinguish between sub-accounts and main accounts in its journal report.
  • Does all the basic accounting tasks:
    • Sales invoices, credit notes, payments
    • Customer maintenance
    • Product maintenance
    • Optional Days:Hours:Minutes or Hours:Minutes units on product quantities, to make life easier for people like me who do hourly billing.
    • Purchase invoices, credit notes and payments
    • Supplier maintenance
    • VAT
    • Banking, cheques, deposits, transfers, reconcile
    • Name maintenance
    • Accounting, journals, VAT return
    • Reminders
    • Memorised transactions
    • Import (from Quick Books, CSV or tab delimited files)
    • Data integrity check
    • Backup and restore data to json format
    • Audit trail shows details of every transaction added/deleted or changed
    • Payment history shows details of how each payment is allocated to invoices.
  • Provides helpful features like Quick Books:
    • Names (Customer, Supplier, Cheque payee, etc.) all either selected from drop-down lists, or use auto-complete (type part of a name, and choose the full name from a drop-down list).
    • Choosing an existing name for a payment, cheque, journal, etc. automatically populates the form with whatever values were used last time.
  • Uses either SQLite or MySQL database (set in a configuration file)
  • Runs as a Web Server (on port set in configuration file), so can be accessed by any web browser (Chrome recommended for best usability). Tablet and phone friendly, so you can use it from anywhere with access to the computer running the server.
  • Runs on Windows or Linux (uses Mono on Linux, .Net on Windows).
  • Customisable - the user interface is all in HTML/CSS/Javascript, so if you understand these you can customise the user interface however you like.

    I am therefore looking for people who would like to beta test the software. You get a free copy of the software, along with updates as bugs are identified and fixed. You also get free support via email during the beta test programme. Add a comment here, or contact me via my web site