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So you want to become a neckbeard?

2 min read

Having wasted too much time installing Ubuntu on a laptop recently, I thought it would be helpful for the future self to document the issues.

Issues

I'm seeing one or more of the following issues with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS:
  • Missing text on the login screen
  • second monitor switching off
  • Hangs
  • Won't boot  directly into the OS
Install Ubuntu 16.04 LTS which is not a piece of garbage.
Migrate SSH keys from Putty to OpenSSH https://askubuntu.com/questions/818929/login-ssh-with-ppk-file-on-ubuntu-terminal/818932
What are the correct permissions for the .ssh folder? Typically you want the .ssh directory permissions to be 700 (drwx------) and the public key (.pub file) to be 644 (-rw-r--r--). Your private key (id_rsa) should be 600 (-rw-------). Lastly, your home directory should not be writeable by the group or others (at most 755 (drwxr-xr-x)).
How do I connect to our team networkshare automatically on startup?
sudo su
apt install cifs-utils
echo "//path/to/windows-share /mnt/team cifs credentials=/etc/samba/credentials,uid=1000 0 0" >> /etc/stab
cat > /etc/samba/credentials <<EOC
username=UserName
password=PassWord
EOC
chown root.root /etc/samba/credentials && chmod 400 /etc/samba/credentials
Change the username and password appropriately verify your userid is 1000 with id -u UserName
I skipped  creating a passphase for my encrypted home directory, how do I do it now?  run "ecryptfs-unwrap-passphrase" in the terminal
How to stop the mouse sticking to the edges of the display https://askubuntu.com/questions/119281/what-is-the-function-of-the-sticky-edges-on-off-setting-in-di...
Can't install vagrant plugins Download vagrant from vagrantup.com
nfsd is not installed sudo apt-get install nfs-kernel-server
vagrant booting vms reports a timetout delete (rm) the IdentityFile mentioned in vagrant ssh-config

This document will get updated as I stumble and fix other issues.

App Alternatives

Clipboard manager https://hluk.github.io/CopyQ/
Remote connection manager https://snapcraft.io/pac-vs
Google Drive https://www.howtogeek.com/196635/an-official-google-drive-for-linux-is-here-sort-of-maybe-this-is-al...
Phrase Expansion https://leehblue.com/ubuntu-text-expander/ https://github.com/leehblue/texpander
Screen Recorder Kazam (https://askubuntu.com/a/29954), installs well with apt. Alternatively Simple Screen Recorder.

The quest for the perfect notetaking tool

1 min read

I'm always looking for a cross platform good value note taking solution and the latest find in this space is Zim - a desktop wiki

Zim is a notepad like desktop application that is inspired by the way people use wikis.

I have the following requirements:

  1. Cross platform native client (not web)
  2. Supports images (copy paste and by upload)
  3. Capture webpages or supports pasting in part of webpages, that can be updated (not just a study tool)
  4. Rich text that can be exported in usable formats.
  5. Linking between notes.
  6. Fast full-text search
  7. Some form of organisation / tagging.

So far I have excluded EverNote (too expensive), OneNote and Apple Notes (no cross platform native clients) and markdown files (no images).

 

A People Centred Web

2 min read

Have you ever tried to leave a social network? Want to be free to move web platforms because your needs have changed? Perhaps you might no longer agree with the business practices employed by the service provider, or no longer see the value in paying for having content monetised.

Currently, this means you have to build up new social connections and can't move over your friends as they might not be on the new network. This is a dark pattern employed by the investor-heavy digital media giants to keep people siloed, making it easy to move in but burdensome to move out.

Social networks can then add messages and events on top, keeping the money making engine oiled with an persuasive analytics layer. Other places like media hosting providers where it seems a subscription fee supports the music uploaded to the system but causes artists to lose control over their fan base.

The silo is responsive and cushy yes, but ultimately the users are at the whims of the platform. I have accounts on hundreds of websites because every site wants to identify their users. Sites start their own network; to build things on top off.

It seems to me that it is very wasteful to keep building social graphs and user account systems when we can do so much better. Instead, have the person be in control of the people they interact with, and manage the information that is displayed to them!

Imagine launching a dashboard app that sits on your computer and is independent from any information sources. It's free of tracking and open source to us all and doesn't do too many things. It doesn't belong to anybody but yourself. It's just a window where information from friends can be shown in a timeline. It can connect to a friend's dashboard so you can stay in touch. Hey what's new? It manages who you follow.

Web services you visit can ask permission to add information on your dashboard. Want to see when concert tickets are available for your favourite artist? Allow them to display that. Allow the event provider to display dates of the next group meeting, and the music hoster to add in new tracks from that producer you follow.

Never again be stuck in a silo. Disconnect a source and attach another. A social reader for the new generation.

Open your mind

1 min read

Interesting article about developing your passion and keeping and open mindset.

The belief that interests arrive fully formed and must simply be “found” can lead people to limit their pursuit of new fields and give up when they encounter challenges, according to a new Stanford study.

Read the article

Fix slow DNS responses on Ubuntu

1 min read

I've been finding that browsing has been slow for me lately on my linux box, which has Ubuntu 16.04 installed. After some investigation it seemed worthwhile to try to install a DNS cache to speed up DNS queries. This has sped up successive DNS queries from 21ms to 0ms, removing sluggishness.

sudo apt install bind9
cd /etc/resolvconf/resolv.conf.d
sudo echo "nameserver 127.0.0.1" >> head

Apply the configuration as follows:

sudo resolvconf -u

The improvement can be seen by using dig to query a domain and looking at the Query time output. After the first dig, subsequent digs return in 0 ms.

More Private Browsing

2 min read

If you visit this site you will know what browser cookies are and that they are used to store information about you across visits to that website. A typical website will store a few to a few hundred cookies on your computer.

Each cookie has an expiry date for when they are no longer valid and then automatically deleted by the browser. Did you know the lifetime of some of these cookies are several decades in the future and that they are routinely used by data brokers and analytics companies to gather data on you?

That's why I've recommended installing a plugin like PrivacyBadger, to prevent these tracking cookies from being passed back to websites that track you across websites.

But you can also override the maximum lifespan of these cookies. I've experimented and 10-14 days seems to be a good medium between having to login to all your websites all the time and maintaining privacy.

On Firefox, open about:config and search for network.cookie.lifetime, you will find network.cookie.lifetime.days (set this to 14) and network.cookie.lifetimePolicy (set this to 3 to override the default behaviour or letting the website decide).

On Chrome or Vivaldi browsers it's possible to set these values by installing my FreshCookies addon, which does not contain any tracking itself.

Hide Trackbacks 1.1.1

1 min read

Hide Trackbacks is a WordPress plugin that hides pingbacks and trackbacks from your website comments.

I've updated the plugin to indicate it works correctly with WordPress 4.9 and earlier.

We're building a dystopia just to make people click on ads

1 min read

We're building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren't even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us -- and what we can do in response.

This is why I run PrivacyBadger to block tracking, not ads.

Brexit

1 min read

[caption id="attachment_2699" align="alignnone" width="245"]A perfect illustration for Brexit A perfect illustration for Brexit[/caption]