2011 archive

happy birthday trivia

Astonishingly, today is the fifth anniversary of my first post to trivia. So, five years ago on christmas eve, I was writing a blog post. Five years later, it is again christmas eve and what am I doing? Hmmm.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/12/24/happy-birthday-trivia/

bah, humbug

At this time of year it is traditional to receive christmas cards from people with whom you may have only infrequent, if any, contact on a normal daily basis. If you are in a relationship, these cards will often be addressed to you as a couple or family, and be signed on behalf of other …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/12/24/bah-humbug/

the amnesic incognito live system

Or “tails” if you prefer, is a live CD/USB distribution based on debian which aims to help you preserve your privacy and anonymity when out and about. As the home website says, tails helps you to: use the Internet anonymously almost anywhere you go and on any computer: all connections to the Internet are forced …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/12/20/the-amnesic-incognito-live-system/

tunnelling X over ssh

OK, yes, I know there are probably already a gazillion web pages on the ‘net explaining exactly how to do this, but I got caught out by a silly gotcha when I tried to do this a couple of days ago, so I thought I’d post a note. Firstly, X is not exactly a secure …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/12/19/tunnelling-x-over-ssh/

tp-link respond

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the problems I had with a TP-Link IP camera. Today I received a comment on that post from a guy called Luke in the TP-Link support team. In that response he apologises for the difficulties I had and promises to investigate further. His response deserves as wide …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/30/tp-link-respond/

no you can’t have my mobile number

image of facebook login page

I guess, like me, many parents will have facebook accounts simply as a means of communicating with their kids. In the past I have used my account as a way of finding out what my kids actually do, or like in the way of music for example. This can be more fruitful than attempting a …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/23/no-you-cant-have-my-mobile-number/

the most influential people in UK IT?

This would be funny if it weren’t quite so tragic. A friend of mine has just pointed me to the Computer Weekly “second annual UKtech50” poll of “the definitive list of the real movers and shakers in UK IT – the CIOs, industry executives, public servants and business leaders driving the creation of a high-tech …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/23/the-most-influential-people-in-uk-it/

google buys advertising

In an interesting reverse of the norm, google paid for three full page adverts in the guardian a couple of days ago. Today there is yet another full page ad in the same paper. I assume they have run similar campaigns in other UK newspapers over the past few days, The ads are quite intriguing …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/23/google-buys-advertising/

do not buy one of these

image of TP-Link IP camera

  Standalone IP cameras have come down in price quite remarkably over the past few years. It is now perfectly possible to get a camera for between £50.00 and £75.00, and this makes them attractive for anyone wanting to set up simple “home surveillance” systems. I bought one recently just to see what I could …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/16/do-not-buy-one-of-these/

ubuntu de-throned

For the first time since early 2005, Ubuntu has fallen off the top spot on distrowatch. The new number one, by page hit ranking, is Linux Mint. I’m not at all surprised.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/09/ubuntu-de-throned/

do I trust this site?

image of SSL certificate view

Following a visit to EFF to read an article on e-book privacy, I met this: So. EFF uses a wildcard SSL cert issued by a company which was breached earlier this year.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/09/do-i-trust-this-site/


The reaction to Ubuntu’s move to Unity seems to be getting wider coverage. Over at LWN, Bruce Byfield blogged recently about the rift between the Ubuntu developers and its users. In particular he highlights Tal Liron’s entry to the Ubuntu launchpad bug wiki under bug number 882274. In that entry, entitled “Community engagement is broken” …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/09/dis-unity/

I prefer the chip wrapper version

My newspaper of choice is the Guardian. Recently they were forced to increase the cover price and ever since have been running a series of advertisements for various forms of subscription which will lower the cost from some £35.00 pcm (if you include its sister paper the Observer on sundays) to as little as £9.99 …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/08/i-prefer-the-chip-wrapper-version/

fully minted

image of linux desktop on my netbook

After exploring the alternatives to Ubuntu, I finally settled on Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) running Xfce as the desktop. I am now Ubuntu free and have a desktop that looks the way /I/ want it to look rather than the way some design nut wants it to look. I am also hopeful that the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/06/fully-minted/

there is no version 7

This week’s BOFH in El Reg rings horribly true: “I JUST WANT MY MENU BACK!” “You mean you don’t like the ribbon? It’s new!” “I don’t care if it’s new – I can’t find anything!” Back when I was a sysadmin we used to call users a “test load”.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/11/04/there-is-no-version-7/

time to ditch ubuntu?

I’ve used Ubuntu on my desktops/laptops and netbook for some time now. I think my first installation was 6.06 (the version 6.04 which was late by two months) and my desktops currently all run 10.04 LTS. I got over the minor irritation of the move of the window control buttons from the top right to …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/10/19/time-to-ditch-ubuntu/

I don’t have a start menu

XKCD cartoon number 806

You know those irritating conversations you have with “support” staff at your ISP whenever you have a problem which is even slightly off their script? Well xkcd has a solution. Use the code word “shibboleet”. It might work. Nothing else ever does. With thanks as always to xkcd

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/10/19/i-dont-have-a-start-menu/

clarity is not a virtue

Picking up my copy of the second edition I was reminded of the old obfuscated c contests. One of the earliest (anonymous) entries was this tribute to K&R’s famous printf(“hello world\n”); —————————————————————————- int i;main(){for(;i[“]<i;++i){–i;}”];read(‘-‘-‘-‘,i+++”hell\ o, world!\n”,’/’/’/’));}read(j,i,p){write(j/p+p,i—j,i/i);} —————————————————————————- c is not known as flexible for nothing.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/10/14/clarity-is-not-a-virtue/

mountain streams

In response to the news of Dennis Ritchie’s death, Ted Harding, a long time member of the anglia linux users group posted an interesting comment to the list this morning. Ted has kindly given me permission to link to that comment. Like Ted, I too hope we shall be seeing proper tributes to both Dennis …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/10/14/mountain-streams/

a double googol

It seems that google has lost a recent battle to wrest control of the goggle.com domain away from its owner. I wonder if they’ll want to have a go at me next.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/10/13/a-double-googol/

Dennis Ritchie dies

Now this is getting depressing. It seems that Dennis Ritchie (the “R” in K&R, author and creator of the C programming language and genuine legend in computing history) died last weekend. Bell Labs reported yesterday, and confirmed today, that Ritchie had died after a long illness. He was 70 years old. As a unix fan, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/10/13/dennis-ritchie-dies/

I have a policy

As I have said in many posts in the past, I care about my privacy. I also care about yours. Ironically however, I have not until now codified exactly what I mean by that, nor have I identified what I will or will not do to protect your privacy. This seems to me a little …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/10/11/i-have-a-policy/

that looks like a scam to me

The volume of spam backscatter I am receiving at the baldric.net domain currently runs at around 18-20,000 emails per month, nearly all of which is aimed at the info@ address I have mentioned before. My mail server is currently configured to reject mail to non-existent users at the SMTP level with a permanent failure message …

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Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/10/10/that-looks-like-a-scam-to-me/

rip steve jobs

Whilst I have never been an Apple fan, I was enormously saddened to learn of the death on wednesday of Steve Jobs. He was a visionary architect and was undeniably a charismatic, if idiosyncratic, leader in the world of computing and technology. Whilst his death was not unexpected, he will be missed.

Permanent link to this article: https://baldric.net/2011/10/07/rip-steve-jobs/