Saturday, 19 July 2014

Going, Going....

...not quite gone

But, time is running out to retrieve your files from Ubuntu One.

This is the FINAL reminder to make sure you have retrieved all your data from Ubuntu One filesync, as we will be deleting all the content permanently on 31st July 2014. After that date, we will no longer be able to retrieve any of your files.

In order to make it easy for you to retrieve all of your content, we have released a new feature that lets you download all your content at once. Our website ( has been updated with instructions on how to conveniently download all your files.

In addition, you still can use's offer to transfer your data to another cloud provider for free. The Ubuntu One web interface is available for you to download individual files as well.

All of us in the Ubuntu One team would like to thank you for your support over the years.

The Ubuntu One team

Sources & References:

  • None

Saturday, 12 July 2014

If I'm A Suspect...

...Go to court, get a warrant and tap my communications - it's that easy!

I'm not a [insert religious/political preference here] terrorist, I'm not a paedophile, and I am not a convicted criminal - so why should my data be intercepted & retained by my own (and other) government for no better reason than the just-in-case justification? Passing emergency legislation in an attempt to ignore a court judgement is an outrageous abuse of political power!

"We are told this is a paedophile and jihadi 'emergency', but the court judgment they seek to ignore was handed down over three months ago and this isn't snooping on suspects but on everyone." Shami Chakrabarti

Oh, that's right, I also live in one of the most watched countries in the world. So much for living in a democratic nation! I wonder if Canada will have me...

Sources & References:

Password Mantras

My apologies, ordinarily I avoid post trawling, but I came across this essay via my Schneier On Security rss feed this morning: it made me smile.

Whilst I kind of like the idea that a password can be life changing and interesting,the fact is that these kind of sentence/word-string passwords can be (and are being!) cracked. If you want a memorable password, I still recommend the Schneier method or, use randomly generated passwords and keep them in a password safe.

Sources & Resources:

Sunday, 6 July 2014

He's Behind You: NSA & Tails

It seems that my posts about Tails may well have brought me to the attention of the NSA. Several news outlets are reporting on the NSA's use of a data slurping tool called XKeyScore. The scope and capabilities of this program are disputed (I suppose that's a necessary consequence of it being secret), but it's clearly designed to invade the privacy of non-American citizens.

"It's hard to tell how extensive this is. It's possible that anyone who clicked on this link -- with the embedded URL above -- is currently being monitored by the NSA. It's possible that this only will happen to people who receive the link in e-mail, which will mean every Crypto-Gram subscriber in a couple of weeks."
Bruce Schneier

Whilst I'm not an American citizen, it's nice to know that the NSA should be interested in me :) Nonetheless, insofar as I am aware, I have not been accused of any crime and I believe that I am granted the right of privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Liberty's interpretation of Article 8 & see also the UK's 1998 legislation) so it's not entirely clear why my own government would not only condone this invasion of privacy but also to participate in the wholesale data collection effort spearheaded by my American cousins.

I can feel a strongly worded protest to me MP coming on!

Sources & References:

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The XP Conundrum - It Can Only Be Love

I probably over-thought my recent acknowledgement that Linux is unlikely to ever temp XP users: I think there's probably a simpler explanation than the difficulties of adopting open source!

Figures published by both Newmarketshare and Stat Counter suggest that XP is alive and well and has even (slightly) increased its market share month-on-month. Windows 7 is way out on its own with over 50% of the market and Win 8 seems to be the new Vista.

The picture in the UK is slightly more encouraging for Redmond with Win XP at just 7.4% of the market but Linux remains less than 2% of both world & UK markets.

So, it seems that users are simply refusing to abandon their beloved XP unless it's for Windows 7. So much for my theory!

Sources & Resoruces:

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Eric The Half-A-Bee

Over the last couple of days, I've been using Allen Downey's excellent resources for brushing up my Python skills. For my interpreter, I use the Eric Integrated Development Environment and it works flawlessly on the laptop. However, I couldn't get it to install on the Dimension 8400. Summoning the application from the terminal resulted in a segmentation fault.

Fortunately, if you experience the same problem, you can install the program manually:

Download the latest stable version from the Eric SourceForge page to your Download folder. Select the latest version, and from the following directory, select the .tar.gz file. Then, when your file has downloaded, navigate to the file in the file manager of your choice, right-click the file and select the Extract Here option.

Open a terminal and change your directory to the extracted folder:

cd /home/[user_name]/Downloads/ericversion_number

Now, install the program with:

sudo python

That's it! Now you can enjoy Monty Python's track, Eric the Half-A-Bee.

Sources & Reference:

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Why I've got a Taste For Cinnamon

There comes a time when you just want stuff to work. Windows & Mac users have enjoyed this feature for years and, if Linux wants to be viewed as a viable alternative, it (at least, the stable versions) has to emulate its competitors.

The other issue facing Linux distros is that the release/support cycle must be longer if Windows users are to be persuaded to abandon their point & click systems. Ubuntu has led the way in this regard and it's nice to welcome the fabulous Mint distro to the long term support stable.

But, is Mint a viable system for new users? With the Petra release's forthcoming end-of-life, it was time to upgrade the various pc hanging around the apartment and an ideal opportunity to evaluate its potential as an out-of-the-box operating system.

As I'd been using (and thoroughly enjoying) the Mate desktop since migrating my systems from Ubuntu, I thought I'd simply upgrade to Qiana (17) using the GNOME 2 successor and maintain some continuity between releases. Installing Linux Mint's new LTS release on Inspiron 6400 was painless enough and the OS looked as great as ever but I had some niggles:

  • The wireless network applet left an on-screen artefact after displaying notification pop-ups.
  • Cairo Dock would flicker on mouse hover.
  • The main menu wouldn't always activate on demand.
  • Bluetooth wouldn't accept transfer requests even after installing Blueman.

To be sure, these are minor problems and I'm confident that, with a little effort, they could all be resolved. Nonetheless, whilst I've always been happy to tweak my Linux systems to get them working to my satisfaction (and I hope that this Blog bears testimony to that claim), for once it would be nice to have a system that worked out of the box. So, rather than spend hours resolving these problems, I thought I'd see if the Cinnamon desktop gave me any more joy.

Just like it's stable-mate, installing Qiana with the Cinnamon desktop is easy and it looks even more stunning than the Mate desktop. Even better, on the DELL Inspiron, the menu works as it should and there are no strange artefacts to worry about.

So far, so good. But, does Bluetooth work? Well, not out-of-the-box: but simply installing Blueman resolves the transfer problem and you can do that without even opening a terminal by installing from the Software Manager. Only Cairo-Dock to sort out and I'd already found the answer to that problem!

Ok, so not quite out-of-the-box: as always I had to install the b43 WiFi driver and setup Samba to get network shares but I'd have to do that with any Linux distro. This will always be a barrier to casual Windows users adopting Linux. Nonetheless, Mint is as close to the real deal as Ubuntu and, in my view, looks better. Moreover, Mint is more flexible and extensible: more in keeping with the tradition of Linux operating systems.

Sources & References: