“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Linux

May and Technological Bits.

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I have neglected technological innovations for far too long, Linux Journal explains how to put that operating system on a fingernail or SD card.

Tiny Core has reached V3.6, give it a go. It’s not obvious and you do have to read the manual, but it will rejuvenate even the oldest machine, remember RTFM.

All of this wonderful hardware comes at a price:

“When the allegations were put to Foxconn by the Observer, manager Louis Woo confirmed that workers sometimes worked more than the statutory overtime limit to meet demand from western consumers, but claimed that all the extra hours were voluntary. Workers claim that, if they turn down excessive demands for overtime, they will be forced to rely on their basic wage: workers in Chengdu are paid only 1,350 yuan (£125) a month for a basic 48-hour week, equivalent to about 65p an hour.

The Wine development version has reached 1.3.19, go for it, install Linux, then Wine and forget M$ crap.

Oh, there is a new version of Ubuntu, 11.04 and here’s what you might do after installing it.

Don’t try this at home, How to install Burg boot loader in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. Might be worth a try instead of the awful Grub2.

Big companies and their power, Tethering apps ‘blocked’ in Android Market.

Some reviewers really like it, Xubuntu 11.04: Solid, Sleek, and Speedy.

This tutorial explains how to get out of Microsoft’s grasp, How to install Photoshop in Ubuntu and LinuxMint.

Not a bad idea, Firefox Sync.

Malware to watch out for, protect your phone too!

The idea of a USB sized computer is superb, it could seriously undercut expensive, useless hardware, but will meet resistance I am sure:

“David Braben, an UK game developer has created a tiny computer which is about the same size as an USB stick, should cost about $25 and it will ship with Ubuntu by default.

The USB computer is going to be used in teaching computer programming to children and will be distributed by a new charitable foundation called “Raspberry Pi Foundation” within the next 12 months. “

I am fond of Mint and so are others, Linux Mint 11 (Katya) Preview and Testing Version Released!

For those with a slightly less than technogical view of the world, the social implications of all of this, How Social Media Creates a Rough Draft of History.

Feeling musical? Use Linux.

Finally, always have Parted Magic 6.1 ready.

Written by modernityblog

09/05/2011 at 15:33

Ubuntu October 2010.

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Slow blogging whilst I get my feeble brain into gear, I nearly missed this, Ubuntu 10.10.

Maverick Meerkat has finally been released.

I am not sure what to make of it yet, as I haven’t played around with Ubuntu for a while, but this is their press release, which doesn’t say much.

I think lubuntu 10.10 is probably a better bet.

As ever, test on a spare machine, first.

Written by modernityblog

12/10/2010 at 01:35

Facebook, Wine And Bits.

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I haven’t posted much on technology for ages, so I thought for those of you more interested in politics that I would briefly outline things.

Facebook has added “location-based services”, but if you want to turn them off here’s how to do it.

A new version of Wine is out, it allows you to run Windows applications under Linux and is first rate.

There is more than one way to execute Windows applications on Linux, using Virtual Box is another method and virtual images are exceedingly flexible, if you have the space.

Perplexed nontechnical readers may be wondering why they would want to run Linux? Basically it’s an alternative to Microsoft’s operating systems, Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7.

Linux does essentially the same, better and often quicker.

Linux will run on comparatively slow hardware and make it usable, it is free and comes with access to thousands of applications, also free. Microsoft operating systems tend to need lots of memory and modern hardware to run at acceptable speeds.

If there’s a job you do under Microsoft Windows then 98% of the time you can find a good as, if not better, Linux alternative, free.

I won’t deny that initially Linux can be a little bit hard to set up, sometimes, but once it is there you’ll find it rocksolid and you won’t need to reboot every couple of hours, as with Microsoft operating systems.

Linux is used extensively in business and a sizeable percentage of Internet service providers will host their pages under Linux, my bet is that WordPress runs on Linux so you are reading these pages courtesy of Linux, either directly or via Google, which extensively uses Linux.

I favour several versions of Linux, (there are lots!) PClinuxos, MEPIS, Antix Linux and Mint. They’ll do for starters.

Basically, you download a big image (called an ISO) burn it to a CD, reboot and install using that, following the defaults, but reading the screens very carefully. Have a spare CD ready.

The alternative is to use Unetbootin. Have a blank USB ready, it will overwrite it completely. Download and execute Unetbootin, it will prompt for which version of Linux you’d like, after which it will download the ISO and burn it to the USB stick. Again, once it has been successful, reboot and install if you wish.

Personally, I would start using a spare machine if you have one, an old one, just to get use to the installation procedure.

These copies of Linux will boot a Live version running from the CD/USB and then give you the option to install on the hard drive if you want. You will need to partition the disk (the hardest part), which makes space for Linux. Then do the install. Easy. Normally takes anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes!

Have a play around on that spare machine and you can’t do much damage.

Written by modernityblog

23/08/2010 at 14:32

Betas To Come?

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Firefox 3.6 is coming shortly, beta 2 just released.

Kindle and PCs. Not a good start.

Glenn Beck and the First Amendment, which he likes when it suits him.

Skype might have some serious competition, from Google.

DistroWatch Weekly makes interesting reading.

Nice, short guide to dealing with M$ malware.

Flawed fox ?

Bing’s security problems.

PCs for us oldies.

Microsoft hates those chippers, might turn out to be a PR disaster, eventually.

Murdoch’s mistake, I think he hasn’t quite understood the web or modern technology, as he thinks he can charge for content from his papers, more likely is that most people will stop sourcing their material from News International titles.

Twitter the wisdom of the ages?

Rather funny.

Who’d own an Iphone?

Home Secretary’s misplaced photo-op with McKinnon’s mum.

Intel Reader, good idea, stupid price.

More on Iphone’s own goals at Facebook.

Kindle DX rejected.

Devils in the detail? The Vatican uses Linux!

Epiphany moves to Webkit.

James Bond’s Phone MK II.

Written by modernityblog

13/11/2009 at 11:53

Bits and Failures.

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10 failures in computing.

Intel’s strangle-hold on the chip business.

49 goodies.

Tighten up your Java, not the coffee.

Smart phones and the people that use them.

Moblin looking good.

How Google uses Linux.

Roll your own Ubuntu.

More on the Skype and Ebay saga.

A Koala fan.

Firefox fixed again.

Written by modernityblog

08/11/2009 at 04:12

Not A Review.

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In keeping with a diverse mix of topics I thought I would return to not reviewing Linux distributions, in my own incomplete and unscientific fashion, here’s something on Absolute Linux 13.0.3.

Absolute is Slackware based, using a similar install but lacks an indicator on progress and time. After installation the desktop is nice and tidy, there’s no Wine in Absolute’s repo, but it is a simple process to get the Slackware one from WineHQ and install. It uses Gslapt for package management and LILO as Boot manager.

There’s a nice range of programs and a lot of thought has been given to the user experience, changing fonts, etc is very easy, other distributions could learn from Absolute.

At rest it used about 90MB of memory and was fairly responsive on an old Dell 400 Mhz laptop. I couldn’t find how to autologon and music CD’s didn’t play automatically (granted I didn’t RFM), other than that it wasn’t too bad, a commendable 7.5/10.

If Absolute learnt to use grub instead of LILO I might even think of occasionally using it. A good option for a netbook.

Written by modernityblog

05/11/2009 at 02:25

Don’t Speak Ill Of Ubuntu.

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Just as Windows 7 needed some competition Ubuntu stumbles, the media and forums are full of horror stories on the new Karmic Koala.

My experience wasn’t so bad, but the changes to X were always going to be the Achilles heel, and whilst I agree with tight release schedules I think that a longer Beta period with concerted feedback is required.

Canonical should aim to recruit a massive external Beta test team, and using a very varied hardware mix try to trap these minor annoyances before the public releases. Having a small team just dealing with X issues would probably speed things along too.

Update 1:
Konstipated Koala – worth a read.

Update 2: More on X problems with Ubuntu 9.10.

Update 3: Mandriva 2010 is out, could be a nice alternative? It is not obviously fully released yet (officially), but if you look at the Paris FTP servers with the 2009 edition, then go to the top level directory you will see a 2010.0, that’s it.

Written by modernityblog

03/11/2009 at 14:29

Hacks and Bits.

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Even big Newspapers get hacked.

The Guardian and identity crime!

A rather canny idea, use GPUs as bits in a Supercomputer.

Questions of Debian, I had a not undissimilar problem with Sidux ages back.

A forseeable side-effect of sacking IT workers, your computers systems will have more problems!


Fake Google Chrome OS.

Like a better Opera?

Ubuntu a newer version.

Chrome’s slow take up.

Written by modernityblog

31/10/2009 at 05:43

Size and Linux.

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As requested more Linux, a review of sorts, rather subjective and unscientific, pay no attention!

There is a strong tendency amongst developers of Linux distros to emulate Microsoft.

No, not in a nasty way, rather to include everything and the kitchen sink, just in case.

The end result is that a fast operating system is burden with bloatware and unnecessary frills, KDE4 is a prime example.

But I am not going to moan about KDE4, if people like it, fine, I don’t and prefer less inflated software, so trying to find a really small usable Linux-based operating system for a small and slow machine is hard. Not impossible, but harder that it ought to be.

Antix Linux is fine for most things, but I wanted something smaller, compact and workable even on the smallest of old PCs. That way, when you put it on a half way decent machine then it should positively zip along, like a greased whippet. Well, that’s the idea.

So in an unscientific way I picked Puppy, TinyCore and SliTaz as possible choices.

Firstly, Puppy. It gets good reviews and it is about 100 Mb to download, boots up well enough, finds the NIC and allows usage straight from the LiveCD. But you can’t (as with other LiveCD) installs packages until it has been dumped on a hard drive. That’s where the problem begins. Whilst Puppy works well as a LiveCD the installation routine seems like an afterthought, written on the way back from the pub. It is very chatty and less than straightforward. Installation to the hard drive does work in version 4.3.1 but seemed a bit buggy on the X setup, looping, shutting down and going thru the same script again and again. It can work, I know cos I got it working ages back on an older version, but it seems happier on as a LiveCD or USB stick setup. Why the developer couldn’t have followed others when putting together the installer I’ll never know. All in all strikes me as a bit eccentric. But if it works for you, OK. 5/10.

TinyCore is, I believe, from one of the ex-authors of Damn Small Linux. It is very small about 10Mb, and then later on you add the packages. I confess I had wanted a chance to trial this out, but the install is weird. Not too complex, but I couldn’t see an easy way of “re-use an existing partition” for a full hard drive install, still the LiveCD boots up well enough and you could run from there without touching the hard drive, from what I’ve read. I must concentrate and re-do this one, sometime, it has great potential. An optimistic 7/10.

Finally, Slitaz, which took the field by storm a few years back. Sadly it seems to have stopped pushing itself, but is still just around. A 30 Mb download, burn to CD and reboot. Slitaz comes over as the more conventional of these three distros. Install is simple, follow a menu, and 10 minutes later it is on your hard drive, using GRUB. It made the old wreck of a PC that I tested it on usable, a Dell laptop, 400Mhz Pentium 2, 256Mb of memory and an old 5 Gb disk. Slitaz comes in two version, a stable release and a cooker. Software installation on Slitaz is using its own package management, but it is functional and not hard. All in all it feels like a normal distro, but a smaller one, with all the necessary bits and pieces in place. Very commendable. 7.5/10, as Slitaz seems to be in hibernation for the moment, I hope it doesn’t fade out as so many promising ones do.

Written by modernityblog

20/10/2009 at 17:33

Tinkering With Distros.

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Foolish me, a week or so ago I thought I would have a quick play with some Linux distros and see if any could beat Antix for functionality, speed and ease of use.

After installing four of them, I came back to Antix, more prepared to over look its few failings.

So to remind myself for the future, here’s my incomplete, partial and rather limited summary of what I found.

First up Salix, which is at version 13 so you’d expect a polished product and it is, if limited. Salix seems to be Slackware plus XFce 4.6.1 and that’s it. No customized Salix admin apps, so if you like all that XFce provides all well and good, but if not you’ll probably play around on the command line to sort things out.

Pro: Slackware and latest XFce. Better package management.

Cons: Textual install limited to LILO. New Xorg doesn’t always make sense of screen setup. Need to manually fix static IP setup. Overall an unscientific and subjective 5/10. No LiveCD installer.

Zenwalk 6.2, has a lot of history, improving incrementally. I used version 4 onwards on some slow machines. Again Slackware and XFce, not bad but package management is lacking. Offers EXT4 file system but issues when you are installing with other older Linuxes.

Pro/Cons similar to Salix, X setup slightly better,but more importantly the lack of grub and the idea that it might have to co-exist with other distros on the same machine doesn’t seem to have occurred to the developer, is a bit annoying.

Not bad but no compelling reason to keep. 6/10

Xubuntu 9.10 beta 1. I had hoped that this version would revise my poor opinion of recent Ubuntu releases, but sadly it didn’t. Installation didn’t seem to offer a “re-use this partition” option, so had to blank out the chosen one manually. Wanted to use new EXT4 file system, no obvious option to revert to EXT3. Resorted to manually setting up static IP, seems a bit sluggish, fair but not compelling. This newer Xorg setup is a regressive step. On the plus side, faster boot, co-exists well and the latest XFce is nice. 7/10.

Finally to Mint 7, the older version based on Ubuntu 9.04, and there the similarity ends. Installation was fast, still best to zap the desired partition first. Shame they don’t offer a “re-use existing partition” option as MEPIS does. Downsides: Openoffice, not Abiword, Xorg setup seems flaky and not too smart with dual screens. Plus side, networking was easy to setup and plenty of thought has been given to Mint’s customizing tools. Not bad at all. Overall a bit bloated with Ubuntu stuff but offset by good design and consideration for the user. 8/10.

I’d recommend that Ubuntu get Mint to do the Xubuntu version next time, their’s is a nicer way and less rushed.

Written by modernityblog

18/10/2009 at 02:53

Technical Odds And Sods.

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80 tons down the drain? Almost.

Demon slip up? ISPs should know better.

Living on Mars, a step closer.

Polar ice is melting faster.

Intel ports Linux Netbook OS to the desktop.

Competition: Chrome OS and Moblin vs. Window 7. Moblin 2.1 looks good.

Sick of IE? Turn it into Chrome with a plugin.

Worst ever gadgets ?

Wine is steaming along to 1.1.30 dev, if only Debian distros would pull their fingers out and update more frequently.

Aussie Electric avoids a melt down with quick wits.

Spiders come to the aid of the web.

Test your browser using SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark, on an oldish machine, Iceweasel 3.5.2 (Debian’s version of Firefox) polled 2102.2ms +/- 0.4. Whereas chrome (still alpha(ish)) managed 936.2ms +/- 5.2%. The figures under XP, but same machine, were about 10-15% slower.

Amazon paid a heavy price for being Big Brother.

Seven uses for VLC.

Written by modernityblog

07/10/2009 at 00:18

Technical Bits And No More Office.

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Technology rears its ugly head again and here’s a sampling of some technical bits.

IBM drops MS office.

Nice LED bulbs, if you’ve won the lottery or are Fred the Shred.

Now there’s a surprise, not, an ex-Minister climbing on the nuclear gravy train.

1000 channels of crap on TV, but at least they are in 3D?

Opera 10, and why one user thinks it is wonderful.

Windows 7 and Vista flaws.

CAD for Linux.

Facebook’s on a diet, much better.

Want to learn Swedish for free? Wikiversity has more.

Faster Wi Fi agreed.

Let’s hope those wonderful cantenna will continue to work and allow Wi Fi over miles, not yards. If you are lazy, they sell them too.

More kernel improvements.

Mint on XFce is out, I haven’t tested it and probably won’t for a long while, but when I played with Mint about 6 months ago I liked it, a little top heavy for my tastes but functional.

A review of Mandriva 64 Linux which again is fairly functional, could lose some weight but not bad.

Any fans of Tomorrow’s World left ? Here’s the first edition and the BBC archive has a lot more.

Stable Chrome? XP for the moment, its not too bad under Linux and speedy too.

ARM are going to take on Intel and some cheaper/smarter netbooks might result.

Written by modernityblog

20/09/2009 at 13:01

Technical Bits Late August 2009.

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More bits from around the web.

Literacy and computers, nice combo.

Moon sized broadband.

64 bits too much? Bigger Chrome.

Opera 10.00 is getting closer and even runs on Linux!

Wanna be James Bond?

Wine is ever increasing and some tips on Firefox, which seemingly “…takes a snapshot of all of your open tabs every ten seconds, so that if you close your browser, you can open it to where you left off.”

Roll on Chrome.

10 habits of superstitious users.

Need speed? How about 12 cores?

Finally, Sony’s new e-books. If only they get text to speech.

Written by modernityblog

26/08/2009 at 17:22

Iran and Technical Odds and Sods

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A few technical bits that have occurred in the last month or so, firstly Iran:

“Around a quarter of Iran’s 65 million people are believed to have Internet access. Iran has long used filtering to restrict certain news and political or pornographic Web sites. However, since the election, the number of blocked sites has increased.

Besides Twitter and YouTube, the BBC’s Farsi-language news site is still blocked, and Web sites associated with opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi — who says he won the election — are constantly shut down. In the last week, two new Mousavi sites have been created after others were targeted.”

Breaking the silence of suffering children.

The Tiny Core distribution has a lot of potential, and 8.2 of Antix Linux is out.

Finally, tethering seems to be popular amongst smart phone owners. Basically, the mobile device is used as an external modem for a netbook/laptop, probably connected via a USB cable and the smart phone then provides the onward link to the Internet either via 3G or Wifi.

Update 1: Thanks to ganselmi for reminding me about Nokia’s role:

The Guardian explains:

“The mobile phone company Nokia is being hit by a growing economic boycott in Iran as consumers sympathetic to the post-election protest movement begin targeting a string of companies deemed to be collaborating with the regime.

Wholesale vendors in the capital report that demand for Nokia handsets has fallen by as much as half in the wake of calls to boycott Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) for selling communications monitoring systems to Iran.”

Wired continues:

“According to the Journal, a system installed in Iran by Nokia Siemens Networks — a Finland-based joint venture between Nokia and Siemens — provides Iranian authorities with the ability to conduct deep-packet inspection of online communications to monitor the contents and track the source of e-mail, VoIP calls, and posts to social networking sites such as Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. The newspaper also said authorities had the ability to alter content as it intercepted the traffic from a state-owned internet choke point.”

Update 2: The Iranian State’s measures to control access to the Internet largely failed, thanks to the ingenuity of Iranians, but the fight over the web still goes on, and Iranians have a new ally: Haystack

“Haystack is a new program to provide unfiltered internet access to the people of Iran. A software package for Windows, Mac and Unix systems, called Haystack, specifically targets the Iranian government’s web filtering mechanisms.

Similar to Freegate, the program directed against China’s “great firewall,” once installed Haystack will provide completely uncensored access to the internet in Iran while simultaneously protecting the user’s identity. No more Facebook blocks, no more government warning pages when you try to load Twitter, just unfiltered Internet.”

Their blog is here with updates.

Written by modernityblog

28/07/2009 at 13:22

Windows 7, Dead In The Water.

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I wouldn’t like to speculate on the future of Microsoft or Windows 7, scheduled for release mid-October if the rumours are to be believed, but with Google releasing Chrome OS then the people in Redmond must be feeling rather unwell, the FT has more:

“Among the main attractions promised for the Chrome OS is much faster “boot” time to give users instant access to their e-mail and web browsers. That echoes a wider challenge to Microsoft from other software makers who have also targeted the slow start up times of PCs.

In other veiled attacks on the Windows operating system, Google added that users “want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them”, and that they “don’t want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates.”

Microsoft has faced considerable criticism over the slowness of its Windows Vista operating system, though the next version of its operating system, Windows 7, has already drawn good reviews for working far faster, particularly on low-powered, cheaper machines such as netbooks.

Google said the Chrome OS would first appear on netbooks in the second half of 2010, and that it was announcing the software now because it had already started discussions with hardware makers that wanted to use it in some their machines.”

Over at the Google blog I noticed this part:

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.”

Written by modernityblog

08/07/2009 at 08:25

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