Updates from September, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • John Cartwright 2:41 PM on September 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Linux is everywhere. 

    Linux powered airlines.

    Linux powered airlines.

    Linux is truly everywhere, even on the airlines. This is a photograph taken on Vietnam airlines where the entertainment system appears to be running a variant of Red Hat Linux. The system is booting up and loading the kernel and the various services are loading and it seems to be trying to access a SD card. The fact that they are running GNU/Linux instead of MS Windows is a good sign, the Linux operating system is more reliable than Windows XP. Source on the Linux airlines posting here: http://www.saigonnezumi.com/2011/07/10/linux-on-vietnam-airlines/. This is good, we need more Linux powered machines around instead of the ubiquitous Windows XP installations. I am trying to get Fedora 15 installed to be able to use the Gnome 3 shell and try to work out how to make a cool theme for GTK 3.0. The Gnome Shell is a different desktop environment to the Gnome 2 and Unity desktops, but I think it is actually very good once you get used to it. Ubuntu 11.10 is supposedly switching to the Gnome Shell interface instead of the Unity desktop and we will have to wait and see what becomes of that. Once I get Fedora 15 installed I will be able to install Apache and MySQL and work on a new project for my website. Stay tuned for the results.

    What do you think I should add to my website to better engage my visitors? Please leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

  • John Cartwright 4:21 PM on September 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Microsoft redeveloping OLE? 

    Simpsons computer users.

    Simpsons computer users.

    Microsoft are developing a new way for applications to communicate with each other and share files such as images or sound betwixt programs such as a photo editor or a sound editing application. A URL for instance can be automatically sent to Facebook or Twitter without the need to actually visit the Social Networking website. This sounds rather like the old OLE system in the older versions of Windows. That allowed exporting part of a document to another application, but did not include sharing files with a Social Networking website, which could be used by malware authors to share a users data with another computer without their knowledge. This was apparently done years ago with the Amiga desktop computer, so it is hardly a new concept, just more bloat and features to create more security holes in Windows, as if it does not have enough of them already. I am sure that Gnome had something like this where applications could communicate with each other. For example, editing a HTML document in GEDIT and viewing it in the Epiphany web browser, if you edited the document in Gedit and then saved it the Epiphany web browser would automatically refresh to show the changes. That is a good example of the interconnections between applications that the Gnome desktop could offer. The original Gnome desktop used this to good effect. http://www.freedesktop.org/wiki/Software/dbus. Window surely is losing more and more market share to mobile devices like tablet computers running the Google Android operating system that is a closed system based on the Linux kernel, that must be why Windows 8 has the Metro tablet interface. The crew at Redmond are trying to capture the tablet PC market with the new interface instead of just trying to create a more secure and reliable desktop operating system. Linux have done that with their operating system it has a lot more security despite the recent attacks on the servers hosting the Linux kernel and the Linux Foundation.

  • John Cartwright 12:13 PM on September 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , reading, STDIN   

    Useful C++ snippet. A better way to read in a sentence with STDIN. 

    Tsar Bomba on a car. A misfire?

    Tsar Bomba on a car. A misfire?

    This is a very useful C++ code snippet for reading in a line of text into STDIN. Hopefully this will be useful to someone.

    #include <iostream>
    #include <string.h>
    #include <sstream>
    using namespace std;
    int goku(void) {
    	cout << "Hello, Please enter your name.\n" << endl;
    	return 1;
    int main(int argc, char **argv) {
    	string name = "";
    	getline(cin, name);
    	cout << "Welcome "<< name << ".\n"<< endl;
    	return 0;
  • John Cartwright 8:25 PM on September 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , recovery, Sabayon, testdisk   

    Testdisk data recovery is very easy indeed. 

    Testdisk recovering a partition table on a 500GiB hard disk.

    Testdisk recovering a partition table on a 500GiB hard disk.

    I have recently corrupted a hard disk on my machine by accidentally typing fdisk -I /dev/ads:12 in FreeBSD and overwriting the partition table. Therefore I am using testdisk from http://www.cgsecurity.org. I got this installed on Sabayon by typing emerge testdisk and waiting a couple of minutes. After this, I selected the /dev/sda device and performed a deep search of partitions and I am able to recover my Debian installation. The testdisk software is the best solution for attempting to recover your files that you previously thought were lost.

    Get more information from the Wiki website here: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk.

    Update: I have finished the testdisk operation and I managed to recover my Debian installation on /dev/sda. This shows how good this software is. The two NTFS partitions are damaged and can not be recovered, but the Debian installation is what mattered.

    What do you think of this?

  • John Cartwright 5:43 PM on September 22, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Gnome 3 traditional layout in Ubuntu 11.10? 

    Sabayon Gnome 2 desktop.

    Sabayon Gnome 2 desktop.

    This is a good question, should they add the traditional Gnome 3 layout in Ubuntu 11.10? Linux Mint are staying with the traditional layout when they switch to Gnome 3 and Ubuntu should keep the traditional layout as well, the simpler design of Gnome 2 over Unity is why I prefer to stick with it instead of installing Ubuntu 11.10 or 11.04 with the new Unity desktop. Not everyone is enamoured with the new desktop environment that is forced on to the users of Ubuntu with the new interface. I prefer the Gnome 2 desktop, but that will be removed from the Ubuntu 11.10 repositories very soon and then you will have to use Xfce or Lxde instead. Someone needs to fork() the Gnome 2 code and support a version of Ubuntu that still uses this code-base, even though they would be sticking with GTK 2+ that would not matter, they could back-port code from GTK 3 and still bring in many of the new features of the newer GTK code.

    There is a post here that gives some useful information on installing the Gnome classic desktop on Ubuntu 11.10, this involves a Gnome fallback mode that looks like Gnome 2 but is using GTK 3.0 code. I have tried this out and it is pretty good I guess, if you have not got any access to Gnome 2 then this will be a pretty good alternative for you. The screenshot to the right shows the Gnome 3 classic desktop with the Gnome 2 look featuring the two panels and the Gnome 2 styled menus.

    Gnome 3 fallback mode.

    Gnome 3 fallback mode.

    This is to be available in Ubuntu 11.10 as a substitute for the lack of the Gnome 2 desktop, but as I have said before it still uses the GTK 3 code and is a poor substitute for the former Gnome desktop. Better to find an Ubuntu distribution that will keep GTK 2.0 and Gnome 2, as I would doubt that you could install GTK 3.0 and GTK 2, they would conflict with each other. I am using Sabayon Linux 2.4 at the moment, that has Gnome 2.30.2 and I am perfectly happy using that instead of the latest and greatest Linux desktop. If people are happy enough using one style of desktop, then why change it suddenly to something totally different just to make it look like Mac OS X?

  • John Cartwright 7:08 PM on September 21, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: borg, cybernetics, deus ex, ,   

    New transistor can interface with living tissue. 

    Deus Ex.

    Deus Ex.

    Scientists have created a novel new transistor that can interface with living tissue. This will lead naturally to cybernetic implants rather like those in Deus Ex, with many positive implications for medicine. Allowing cybernetic eyes for the blind to help them see as well as better bionic ears for the deaf, we could be like the Borg in the future, and if the cybernetic enhancements available in reality end up being the same as in the game then we are in for quite an interesting future. There are some interesting comments here that are for and against this concept. http://au.gamespot.com/pc/action/deus-ex-human-revolution/show_msgs.php?topic_id=m-1-60262222&pid=944090. These transistors use the body`s natural processes to communicate and obviously are a step up from older technologies used in implanted technology like pacemakers. The future would be like Ghost in the Shell, with humans getting a full cybernetic body and possibly keeping their human brain and interfacing it with an artificial body giving them superior strength and endurance.


  • John Cartwright 3:33 PM on September 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: abbot, , hopeless, , juliar, labor, rudd   

    Australian labour government totally hopeless. 

    If cloud computing is to take off then we need faster and more reliable Internet connections to able to E-Commute and have less people on the roads in the mornings and more people working from home. That would ease the strain on the public transport system and the ailing roads that are already worn down from heaps of trucks running on them, if they had kept the rail freight system going then we would not have that problem at all, now the train tracks are rusting away. Sort of like the country itself really, it needs an overhaul and a new government, getting rid of the Labour government for good is the first thing we really need, they are making electricity more and more expensive to pay for, they have blown out budgets; they have spent millions of dollars on infrastructure like the desalination plant at Kurnell and other wasted Labor projects. Julia Gillard and her cronies need to be kicked out and never return, we need someone in power who will repair the damage they have done to this country and get us back to the way we once were. And bring back rail freight and get some of the trucks off the roads and fix the ailing infrastructure that has been neglected for far too long by our hopeless Labor government.

    This is happening more and more with the globalization of Australia, we are moving everything overseas instead of putting money into making this country rich. everything is being sold off at a bargain price. That is happening all the time as well as the failed labor projects like the millions of set-top boxes that were planned for the elderly to allow them to be able to enjoy free-view digital television. http://laborwaste.com.au/failed-government-programs/67m-worth-of-set-top-box-red-tape-thetelegraph-com-au/. But the labor party are always trying to please the people with their stunts.

    Read the rest here: $67m worth of set-top box red tape | thetelegraph.com.au. This is another example of labor wasting taxpayer money on failed projects. The next election will be very interesting, not to forget they are trying to censor the Internet and suppress free speech that is critical of the hopeless labor administration. As outlined on this website.

    But chains are what we will get under a labor governed Australia. The agenda of the labor party cronies and the greens is that of controlling the public and quelling any criticism of the current administration. the climate change con is another example, where people are forced to go with less power and take shorter showers to save the planet and cut carbon dioxide emission into the upper atmosphere even though carbon dioxide is heavier than air and does not rise into the upper atmosphere at all. So the advertisement on the television that shows the black balloons rising into the Earth`s atmosphere and polluting the air is bullshit. The plants we eat need CO2 to breathe and then they put out O2 that we breathe. That is why we need to stop cutting down the trees and use something else instead of wood to make paper. But the best thing we can do is not to take too much notice of the green agenda. Sure, we should save power and installing solar panels does not hurt, but taking it too far is not going to help Australia. China are still going to be putting out much more pollution than Australia and they have no CPRS and no plans for one either.

    Conroy’s mandatory internet filter is yet another veiled attempt by the Left to control the narrative and censor criticism and debate. As has been said online Protesting the internet filter makes Hitler angry. But then we may soon have a pirate friendly ISP – Piratpartiet. The people will keep rising up against manipulative governments – we want freedom, not chains.

    China are a huge manufacturing nation and construct many, many new coal fired power plants all the time but are implementing cleaner coal plants that use less coal to generate the same amount of power. That is something that we should have here. But our government is of course totally hopeless at managing anything.

  • John Cartwright 2:17 PM on September 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Microsoft.MSDN,   

    windows 8 alpha leak september 2011. 

    Windows 8 Metro User Interface.

    Windows 8 Metro User Interface.

    The alpha build of Windows 8 has been leaked onto the world wide web. The previews are available here: http://dev.windows.com/, later today. They are incomplete developer builds, so do not expect to be able to install these and run your business or other critical applications, but they are perfect for testing out the new features of Windows 8 and giving valuable feedback to Microsoft. There is no activation or product key required to install this version of Windows, but I am not sure if you can keep these installed and essentially get a free installation of Windows 8 out of this. But Windows was going to be leaked anyway and Microsoft are taking a leaf out of the Linux book and putting up alpha builds on the web for people to try before they commit to downloading the full release. Hopefully, with all the feedback they will receive from those testing Windows they will not make another Windows Vista or Windows Millennium Edition. The new Metro interface is not very popular, I would hope that they would keep the Windows Classic interface that is a good alternative to the Aero styled UI seen in Vista and Windows 7.

    Download the ISO images now: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps/br229516

    Windows Developer Preview with developer tools English, 64-bit (x64).

    DOWNLOAD (4.8 GB)

    Sha 1 hash – 6FE9352FB59F6D0789AF35D1001BD4E4E81E42AF

    All of the following come on a disk image file (.iso). See below for installation instructions.

    • 64-bit Windows Developer Preview
    • Windows SDK for Metro style apps
    • Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows Developer Preview
    • Microsoft Expression Blend 5 Developer Preview
    • 28 Metro style apps including the BUILD Conference app


    Windows Developer Preview English, 64-bit (x64).

    DOWNLOAD (3.6 GB)

    Sha 1 hash – 79DBF235FD49F5C1C8F8C04E24BDE6E1D04DA1E9

    Includes a disk image file (.iso) to install the Windows Developer Preview and Metro style apps on a 64-bit PC.


    Windows Developer Preview English, 32-bit (x86).

    DOWNLOAD (2.8 GB)

    Sha 1 hash – 4E0698BBABE01ED27582C9FC16AD21C4422913CC

    Includes a disk image file (.iso) to install the Windows Developer Preview and Metro style apps on a 32-bit PC.


    Live Connect.

    Sign up for the Live Connect technical preview.

    Live Connect provides developers a set of controls and APIs that enable applications to integrate Single Sign On (SSO) with Windows Live ID and enable users to access information from SkyDrive, Hotmail, and Messenger.


    System Requirements.

    Windows Developer Preview works great on the same hardware that powers Windows Vista and Windows 7:

    • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
    • 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
    • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
    • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
    • Taking advantage of touch input requires a screen that supports multi-touch
    • To run Metro style Apps, you need a screen resolution of 1024 X 768 or greater


    Notes about installing the Windows Developer Preview.

    • You can’t uninstall the Windows Developer Preview. To reinstall your previous operating system, you must have restore or installation media.
    Install on: Windows Developer Preview with developer tools Windows Developer Preview (32-bit or 64-bit)
    Windows 7 and Windows Vista Clean install only You can keep accounts, files, and settings
    Windows XP Clean install only You can only keep accounts and files
    A clean install is supported on all builds. You will only receive the full set of installation options when setup is launched in Windows.

    How to install the Windows Developer Preview from an ISO image.

    The Windows Developer Preview is delivered as an .iso image that must be converted into installation media stored on a DVD or a USB flash drive. On Windows 7, the easiest way to convert this file is to use Windows Disc Image Burner. On Windows XP and Windows Vista, a third-party program is required to convert an .iso file into installable media—and DVD burning software often includes this ability.

    Note: The .iso file that has the developer tools requires a large capacity DVD called a DVD-9, as well as a DVD burner that can handle dual-layer (DL) DVDs. Most modern burners should be able to handle this format.

    Are you an MSDN Subscriber?
    Go to the MSDN subscriber page to see more developer preview downloads available.

  • John Cartwright 4:47 PM on September 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , shills, sound, ,   

    Desktop Linux still a very good and secure operating system. 

    As I type this, the kernel.org website is still down and the Linux kernel is still hosted on Github instead. What is going on here? This attack on software freedom, possibly perpetrated by Microsoft shills that want everyone to be stuck on closed source software instead of the free and open source alternatives that are more secure and reliable than Windows and Google Android. I have just installed Ubuntu 11.04 with the Unity desktop as I had Lubuntu 10.10 installed along with my Debian GNU/Linux installation and Windows 7 x64 Ultimate. I am using Ubuntu 11.04 as it supports more features of my hardware like listening to music using the speakers over HDMI. This works in Windows 7 and with Ubuntu 11.04. I have installed Ubuntu once again despite the Unity desktop and I am actually starting to like it. I am trying to get my Compro DVB t-300 tuner card to tune digital tv channels in Linux, but I am not having much luck, the tuner has problems actually tuning in a channel, it works just fine in Windows, I think I will get a better card with a more compatible chipset, the only part of the card I have had working on Linux is the analog tuner, but that is horrible. Xawtv can tune the analog channels easily, but I will have to get a more compatible device to use Linux to watch any digital television.

    The situation we are enduring where the Linux websites and the operating systems reputation as a whole is under attack by trolls in the Ubuntu forums and the famous woman who could not use Ubuntu due to her lack of knowledge of the Linux desktop and could not do her typing. But she is an obvious plant by Microsoft and is the butt of many jokes now on the Internet. But she was just being used to make Linux look bad and she really would not have wanted everyone talking about her like that, but that is what Microsoft will do to take on the competition in the open-source world that turn out such incredible products as OpenBSD, FreeBSD and Linux, not to forget the excellent software available on these operating systems such as Libreoffice, Firefox and the two main desktop environments KDE and Gnome. Those two desktops are the two major players in the desktop wars with many using KDE and many others using Gnome. Ubuntu 11.10 oneiric ocelot is set to ship with Gnome shell instead of the Unity desktop, I have used this desktop in Fedora 15 and it is quite attractive and usable. Hopefully changing the GTK theme and restyling the Gnome desktop will be possible on the Gnome shell desktop just as easily as it is with the Unity desktop in Ubuntu 11.04. If it is using the Gnome 3 desktop, then it will have GTK 3 as well and that uses CSS stylesheet code to write the themes instead of the XML code used by GTK 2.0. Hopefully many great GTK 3 themes will appear on gnome-look.org.

  • John Cartwright 11:24 PM on September 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , foundation, , , , ,   

    Desktop Linux under attack. 

    South park computer users.

    South park computer users.

    The recent attacks on Desktop Linux enacted by the cracking of the Kernel.org website and the more recent attacks against the Linux Foundation websites has cast a cloud over desktop Linux. The Kernel.org website is still down for maintenance and the security of the Linux kernel is in doubt. The story on Slashdot says that the SSH keys users have been implementing to access these websites have been compromised and to create new ones as soon as possible. It is not known who is behind these attacks, whether it is Apple, Microsoft or some rogue member of some rogue government. Linux can be a very secure operating system with NSA Selinux and a recent kernel version,but after this I will stick with and wait this out until the whole Linux Foundation and Kernel.org websites are back up and they have implemented greater security measures to make sure this does not happen again.

    Linux is a great alternative to Windows and is used in many developing nations like Brazil due to the freedom and reliability of the free operating system from Red hat and Canonical that create Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu respectively. The Red Hat Linux distribution led to the excellent and free Fedora distribution that has many great features like the aforementioned NSA Selinux security framework. Novell Apparmor is also a good thing as you can sandbox the Firefox web browser to ensure security, as even though you are running a very secure operating system, a malicious script or plugin could still steal your information. But the noscript extension is the internet users best friend for ensuring better peace of mind for you and your machine. I will wait and see what happens with this in the future, I would not want Linux to be permanently harmed by this, then I would have to move to FreeBSD or OpenBSD and use a UNIX operating system in future. The OpenBSD operating system is a very secure operating system with an extremely low number of remote exploits and other security holes.

    Getting back to the Kernel.org cracking attack, where malicious attackers gained root access to a Kernel.org server and from there they gained access to a number of other servers. The serious thing about this compromising of Linux servers is that once an attacker has gained access and installed a rootkit, you can not easily find out what they have changed as they could have installed modified versions of tools like /bin/ls and /bin/ps so that when you are navigating the system you will only see what the attacker wants you to see. Then you will have to hope you had something like Tripwire that could may look at a database of Linux system files stored on a read-only CDROM and this can be compared to the files on the hard disk and therefore discover whether any files have been modified. Storing the tripwire binaries on the disc as well would be the best solution to ensure they are not compromised as well. This procedure is explained very well in this mailing list posting.

    http:[email protected]/msg00046.html

    I am sure that in future better security procedures will be followed,but I am afraid this looks like a plain and bold attack on software freedoms that will result in companies such as Apple and Microsoft dominating the software market with no competition from FOSS software at all, there is the Google Android OS but that is a malware infested mess, it maybe based on the Linux kernel, but it is a closed source version and it is not very fast either I have heard. I have an old Symbian based mobile telephone instead of a Google Android `phone. I did not want to be tied to the Android app-store, I wanted to use something older but the Nokia E72 I own now is a perfectly good mobile ‘phone and has a 5 megapixel camera and an office suite including a business card scanner and the simple versions of word and excel that are available for Symbian.

    And there are many applications available for the Symbian OS that are free to download off the Internet as well as the ability to download books off Project Gutenberg and read them with a simple Java powered reader. I am reading Return of the native at the moment, an excellent story about a man who returns to his village and marries a woman who he gives a lift to on the way. Who turns out to be one of the loves of Damon Wildelve, a philandering publican.The wide expanse of Egdon Heath is described admirably by the author Thomas Hardy and the characters are very whole and very easy to engage with.Books have a magic that movies do not have, having to see the images described in the book in your minds eye instead of on a cinema screen in 3D is one of the reasons that I prefer to read books instead of watching too many modern movies.

    • Bink 9:25 AM on September 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Move to OpenBSD now and be ahead of the game!

    • Goku 10:13 AM on September 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I have used FreeBSD in the past, I might end up moving to that OS if the Linux desktop is under threat. But OpenBSD is the most secure version of desktop UNIX.

  • John Cartwright 6:42 PM on September 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , syncing,   

    Syncing your Apple Ipad with a GNU/Linux machine. 

    I have uploaded a couple of very useful PDF files, Syncing your Apple Ipad with Linux and a Sysadmin permissions Ebook.



  • John Cartwright 3:49 PM on September 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: aircraft, islam, memorial, pilots, planes, ,   

    9/11 anniversary today. America remembers. 

    World Trade center towers. The famous TIME magazine cover picture.

    World Trade center towers. The famous TIME magazine cover picture.

    The tenth anniversary of the shocking attacks on 9/11 September is upon us and we are once again reminded of the threat of terrorism that still hangs over us today. The attacks on that fateful day are still the most shocking act of terrorism that we have ever seen, and it does not help that there were threats made on the eve of the anniversary that required greater security such as bag searches. The war in Iraq has cost over US$3,000,000,000 and this does not count the huge cost of rehabilitation and medical care for all the injured veterans that will be coming back from the war. If we had not endured that horrible day in September and if America was not wasting trillions of dollars on this pointless war and the money had been spent on space travel and advancing science and technology instead, then America would probably be admired by the world including the Islāmic nations, instead they are in debt and are hated by most of the world, not to forget the oppressive regime the people are suffering under with TSA thugs in the airports forcibly pat down searching children for bombs and AK-47s.

    This despite the fact that one of the Mythbusters Adam Savage, recently brought a couple of 12″ razor blades on a plane by accident. This goes to show that the Transport Safety Authority is a sham and we need to fix other problems before we can properly tackle terrorism. America as a whole need to repair their relationship with the Islāmic nations and pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible. The whole security upgrade is of course a necessary response to the 9/11 hijackings but it is going way too far when the police state is placing TSA employees in football stadiums and movie theatres to search innocent Americans for explosives and weapons. How far will the security go? Will they be forcing passengers on planes to strip naked before getting on the plane? And those who object to the security measures they are putting in place in airports are labelled as terrorists. http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/tsa-administrative-directive-opt-outters-to-be-considered-domestic-extremists_11242010 This on top of the calls by the government for people in the mall to act as domestic police and to report any suspicious activity performed by other users of the shopping mall. This could be anything that anyone finds suspicious, even if they just do not like you. This is not the America we really want is it?

  • John Cartwright 12:27 AM on September 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Gnome Shell in Ubuntu 11.10 repositories. 

    Blackbox desktop. My Linux desktop circa 2004.

    Blackbox desktop. My Linux desktop circa 2004.

    I have found a blog here: http://www.webupd8.org/2011/05/gnome-shell-is-finally-available-in.html that has an interesting article about the Gnome Shell that is now available in the repositories for Ubuntu 11.10. The Gnome Shell is available in Fedora 15, and is arguably better than the bloated and buggy Unity desktop. The screenshot on the page even looks just like Fedora despite the Ubuntu wallpaper. The Gnome 2 desktop option will be removed and the Unity 2D mode will be used instead, even though Gnome 2 is a very stable and usable desktop environment. But hopefully someone will fork() the Gnome 2 code and it will still be available in some form. This picture to the right is my Linux desktop from 2004, with the cool Anime wallpaper and custom AVP Eterm background. Those were the days.

    But today the Ubuntu developers just want to copy Mac OS and not just deliver a stable and reliable distribution like the Debian team can, like how difficult is that? I am using Debian Stable now to type this in Firefox 3.5.16 and it all just works without any problems, not to forget that Ubuntu is dumbing down the user interface and making the distribution slower and bloated without any real gains in productivity. But if they want to drive upgrades for more RAM and a faster CPU/GPU then so be it, if that is their goal they are just like Microsoft. I have only 2GB of RAM and my Linux desktop is screaming fast. Windows 7 is slower, but still very usable. I prefer to use Debian though.


  • John Cartwright 10:01 AM on September 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cenobite, , Hellraiser, pinhead, re-make, revelations   

    New Hellraiser film not so good. 

    I have switched to a better theme framework for my WordPress page. I am going to leave this as the default look as the theme is not as narrow as some of the WordPress themes I have tried, the proper menu on the left makes this easy to navigate and I think it looks rather good. My forums have had some posts, but I would like some more people to get in there and post more questions about any computer problems they may be having, then we can build a thriving Linux community site. Being a good fan of the Hellraiser movies and having seen Hellraiser 1,2,3,4,6 I was initially excited to hear about the fact they are making yet another Hellraiser movie, but if Doug Bradley will not be reprising his role as the lead Cenobite the movie will not be the same at all. Clive Barker has disowned this film and has clearly stated that nothing in this ninth incarnation of the Hellraiser franchise came from him at all.

    Reading the description of what happens in the film on the Wikipedia page it sounds to me like a very poor film, rather like Hellraiser 5,6,7. But these days they are not really making any new movies only re-making old ones over and over. I wish they would make a proper Doom movie, but I have heard that they wanted to re-make the classic Australian film Mad Max in a film named Fury Road. This comment is the most fitting I could find to describe this whole situation. The re-make of Clash of the Titans sucked as well, the mechanical talking owl was not in the film, and the whole point of the film was just to show off CGI. The original Hellraiser film is still the best version of the Hellraiser series and the most frightening film, same with the Nightmare on Elm Street movie, which did not need a 2010 re-make. Although the many sequels to Nightmare on Elm Street were not that bad in my opinion and had many cool death scenes. The thing about fighting someone in a dream is that anything can happen and even solid rock steps can become a bog sucking your feet in and making the climb very difficult. Why is it so hard for modern moviemakers to create true horror movies any more? The modern films like SAW are just killing people with machines and gore, but they have no real horror elements.

  • John Cartwright 1:18 PM on September 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , real,   

    New images of Moon landing site released by NASA. 

    Apollo lunar landing site.

    Apollo lunar landing site.

    New images have been released by NASA of the Apollo moon landing sites showing the lander and other material on the lunar surface. As well as the many tracks left by the lunar rover buggy that the astronauts rode around the lunar surface. The LRV vehicle is also visible on the right of the picture. This does confirm that the moon landing was real and that the lunar rover has left tracks all around the landing site. This goes to show that the moon is very rocky as reported by the astronauts who did the first landing. I hope this will put some of the moon landing conspiracy theories to rest and then we can move on from such stupid accusations.


    I have always enjoyed looking at the moon knowing that people have set foot on its surface. Sadly in the future only private enterprise, China or India will be going there in future.

  • John Cartwright 1:48 AM on September 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , temps   

    Very dusty computer. The importance of keeping your computer clean and free of dust and lint. 

    Very dusty computer.

    Very dusty computer.

    It is very important to keep your computer clean and free of dust, to stop it looking like this, so get to it. Not only is it ugly, it can damage your components as the heat-sinks get clogged with dust and lint therefore the air from the fan can not freely blow through the heat-sink and the CPU or GPU can overheat. So set a time and take off the side of your computer(s) and give them a clean. It does not hurt at all. This will save you money in the long term, your hardware will not fail early and this will save you money. having to purchase a new CPU due to the fact that your old hardware was killed by the overheating would be a devastating thing to go through if you need your computer to do your work and the computer is regularly shutting down without warning. That is a sign that your hardware is overheating and you need to check the CPU fan. If you have a PCI Express graphics card then you will need to check that as well, easy if you are running Windows, Piriform Speccy allows you to monitor the temperatures of your hardware and see if anything is awry. There is a guide on this page explaining how to setup lm-sensors on Linux to monitor the temperatures of your hardware: http://www.debian-administration.org/articles/327. This will be useful for those who are using Linux and want to take care of your hardware. Another posting about the lm-sensors utility here: http://superuser.com/questions/25176/how-can-i-monitor-the-cpu-temperature-under-linux.

    A good way to clean hardware is with a can of compressed air. This is good for blowing the lint and dust out of your fans and the heatsinks easily. This can on Amazon is only £14.97. Ages ago I got hold of a couple of old PS2 mice and I plugged one into my Gentoo box and after a short delay it was working fine, after that I plugged it in and it worked instantly just like a USB mouse, how good is that? I did not know that Linux had PS2 hotplugging but there you go. The only problem I have is that if I mounted a NTFS partition on my first hard disk, I could only access it as root, but that was solved if I re-built the kernel and enabled the FUSE support to mount the drive with ntfs-3g, although if I mounted the partitions on my external hard drive I can access them just fine over USB, but this was just a matter of tweaking and that is something that Gentoo is good at.

  • John Cartwright 2:13 PM on September 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 6.0, , , , , , , ,   

    Viewing crontab and a backup script. 

    This is a command that will list the contents of your crontab file if you have one. You need to use the sudo command as unprivileged users are not allowed to list the contents of this folder. The best way to view the contents of your crontab file is to use the crontab -l command. The crontab -e command will allow you to edit the crontab for your user. The editor uses a buffer in /tmp and will check the syntax of the file before saving, rather like the visudo command.

    # Where your crontab files are created on Debian Stable.
    sudo cat /var/spool/cron/crontabs/$LOGNAME

    And this is the backup script that my crontab is running. A very simple perl script that will backup a folder and its contents to a *.tgz file.

    use strict;
    use POSIX;
    my $date = strftime "%T-%A-%d-%B-%Y-%H:%M:%S", localtime;
    my $myhome=getenv("HOME"); # Your home folder.
    #print "Backup beginning\n\n";
    my $FILE="/mnt/mediamore/$date.tgz"; # where the output file goes.
    my $TARGET="$myhome/Documents/*"; # What folder to back up.
    `tar -cjPf $FILE $TARGET`;
    #print "Backup Complete\n";
  • John Cartwright 9:54 PM on September 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , lts, LVM, , passkey, ,   

    Ubuntu Security tips. Very useful webpage. 

    Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 framebuffer console.

    Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 framebuffer console.

    There is a very useful posting here: http://rationallyparanoid.com/articles/ubuntu-10-lts-security.html That gives many useful tips on how to secure your Ubuntu distribution during installation and how to properly configure it afterwards. There are tips on setting the title-bar buttons back to the right of the window and how to properly re-enable the root user.

  • John Cartwright 11:57 PM on September 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Interesting C program and Linux kernel source safe after all. 

    This is a little program I wrote in C that picks a random monster to attack the player. I think I already have this posted somewhere, but I thought I would post this once again as someone might be interested in this again. Programming in C instead of more modern programming languages like C++ is heaps of fun, the Linux kernel is written in C and it works just fine, the server hosting this fine website is running on a Linux box in a swamp guarded by an Alligator named Snappy. And he does the job of good hosting management just fine.

    /* Emacs style mode select: -*- linux-c-mode -*-
    * This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
    * it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
    * the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
    * (at your option) any later version.
    * This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
    * but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    * GNU General Public License for more details.
    * You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
    * along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software
    * Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA  02111-1307  USA
    int cool(void) {
      int i;
      int k;
      i = 15;
      k = 0;
      k = rand() % i;
      return k;
    const char* x[] = {
      "Baron of Hell", "Demon", "Hellknight",
      "Cyberdemon", "Mancubus", "Revenant",
      "Heretic Imp", "Zombieman", "Sergeant",
      "Beholder", "Moloch", "Satyr",
      "Afrit", "Ettin", "Maulator",
    int main() {
      char *player;
      player = getenv("LOGNAME");
      printf("%s was slaughtered by a %s.\n",player , x[cool()]);
      return 0;

    Recently I got a 1680×1050 flat panel display to replace my 17″ CRT and it is connected via the HDMI output instead of the older VGA output. I temporarily had it connected as well as the CRT and experimented with dual monitors with Gnome 2. The monitors setup in the Gnome settings menu allowed me to select it as a second monitor and drag windows from one desktop to another, this was very easy to setup; easier than what I have heard from users trying to set this sort of thing up on Ubuntu 11.04, they had a lot of problems, this is very bad when on Debian Stable you can just use a couple of mouse clicks and the dual monitors are working perfectly right away. This makes me wonder if Ubuntu is really moving forward or taking us backwards. I only have the flat screen right now, it was easy to adapt to this after using a CRT for so long. Once you have used a CRT for a long time and then switch to a LCD panel, it looks concave, but this goes away quickly. After the kernel.org servers were cracked into there has been some scaremongering about the source being tainted, but there are many reasons why this would be quite difficult. more information here: http://linux-foundation.org/weblogs/lwf/2011/08/31/the-cracking-of-kernelorg/.

  • John Cartwright 1:51 PM on September 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , delivery, dominos, hut, , nash, pizza, , ,   

    Dominos Pizza company planning a moon base store. 

    Pizza Hut moon base. Would it look like this?

    Pizza Hut moon base. Would it look like this?

    The Dominos Pizza company are planning to build a store on the moon, the Pizza Hut company delivered a pizza to the International Space Station and now Dominos wants to outdo them by constructing a dome-shaped restaurant on the moon. Construction firm Maeda Corp has come up with the design for the dome-shaped building that will be using local materials on the moon and the company estimates the entire project will cost Y1.67 trillion – some £13.4 billion – of which Y560 billion (£4.5 billion) will be required to transport 70 tons of construction materials and pizza-making equipment to the moon aboard 15 rockets. This is a huge amount of effort to expend to build a simple Dominos pizza shop but if they build this on the moon, then surely they will be able to build a proper moon base as well. How long will it be until a Hilton hotel is on the moon? But seriously the thought of having a pizza store on the moon or anything built on the moon is an amazing thought. We need a moon base to expand the reach of humanity and begin our travel to the stars.

    This is being envisioned by the Japanese arm of Dominos and they seem to be quite serious about this too. I am sure that if the Japanese can reach the moon, then other private enterprise firms can too. Sure America are heading for a recession and their economy is going down the toilet, but at least the Japanese can afford to dream of conquering our nearest neighbour in space. The moon base would have to be constructed of very tough and thick material to protect against solar radiation and to keep the occupants warm, but I am sure this can be done. If only they could build something that can be seen from Earth, but something like that would be prohibitively large. Still, the idea of having the Japanese beat America to a moon base is good. Are they going to create giant fighting robots to fight off alien invaders?If they can really do this then will they eventually build a store on the planet Mars as well? Now that would be cool. I am not sure if they are really going to do this or if this is a publicity stunt, but it sure is a good plan. I hope the Nazis that supposedly live on the moon appreciate the tasty pizzas.

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