Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

30 Apr 2005

SSH Cracker

Some little toerag has been trying to log into my box via SSH. So far they haven't been able to get in, but I've stepped up the local software firewall, behind the hardware firewall/router/ADSL box.

It looks like the attacks are coming from compromised boxes across the globe - so far my attempts to notify the ISP responsible has failed.


Overton Biodiversity Society

Yesterday my better half gave a talk to the OBS discussing the results of our hedgerow survey. Attendance wasn't fantastic, but the talk was very good, even better than I knew it was going to be.

Anyhow, my better half is a good public speaker, and a good web designer too, her official OBS web site is very effective - and I only helped a little.


26 Apr 2005

Tell A Friend

The Linux Box are currently running their Tell-A-Friend Project. The idea is that each happy Linux user should try and convert at least one unhappy Windows user to the joys of Linux/Unix.

They make some good and generally valid points. Linux does have it's weak areas, for example it's not a good platform to run fancy games on. They also list the many positive advantages that Linux has over Windows. However, I think the article misses one key point, while Linux is safer and more secure out of the box than Windows, you really need to know what you are doing whichever OS you run if you really want everything to be safe and secure.

A clueless user, currently running Windows XP is still going to be at risk, even if upgraded to the latest "newbie" Linux distribution. What ever people run, and I'd prefer them to run Linux, user education is the key to safe computing.


25 Apr 2005

Blosxom At Work

After a long hiatus we are now actually using Blosxom properly at work. The new boss has been very supportive, and co-operative, so we have actually got content for the "Diary of Success". It's not that his predecessor wasn't supportive, rather the take-over distracted him somewhat.

It's a small step but it's free and open-source, and it's very visible on the company Intranet. I also got a signature for 10 Red Hat Enterprise ES Linux licences today, so that's also good. I'd prefer Debian, but any version of Linux is easier to work with than Windows...


Blosxom At Work

After a long hiatus we are now actually using Blosxom properly at work. The new boss has been very supportive, and co-operative, so we have actually got content for the "Diary of Success". It's not that his predecessor wasn't supportive, rather the take-over distracted him somewhat.

It's a small step but it's free and open-source, and it's very visible on the company Intranet. I also got a signature for 10 Red Hat Enterprise ES Linux licences today, so that's also good. I'd prefer Debian, but any version of Linux is easier to work with than Windows...


20 Apr 2005

On Air With The Linux Box

Not only have the nice TLB people published my articles, but they have also broadcast one on the web. Get your fresh Ogg or MP3 files here: The Linux Box Show, Episode 7.


18 Apr 2005

15 Seconds of Fame

The Desktop Adapted for Dad article I submitted to The Linux box seems to have gone down rather well. I suppose I should now write a second part filling in more of the details, and adding the latest news from my dad's trial of Desktop Debian.

However I need to figure out why a computer I'm building will boot from a 2.2 kernel, but not from a 2.4 or 2.6 kernel. I really must write a Perl article too, I promised it so long ago...


15 Apr 2005

Munich To Copy My Father

After an on off relationship with open source the city of Munich is to finally adopt Linux for their 14 000 desktop systems. Strangely enough they have not selected a commercial distro, rather they have picked a pure open source distro "Debian" on which to base their solution and selected to pay two local firms to support "Debian/Munich".

Where my father leads, large municipalities follow...


14 Apr 2005

Fame on The Linux Box

The nice people have published my Safe Computing article on their rather nice web site: here. It's a nice little site, with some cute graphics, and the usual mix of Linux and FOSS stories.

I do now feel guilty that I've not written another article I promised The Perl Review.


13 Apr 2005

The Linux Box

I was so pleased with setting my father's computer up for him, that I wrote my experiences down and submitted them to my local LUG Wiki and posted on my site here. I mentioned it to the nice people at The Linux Box and they are going to publish it on their site as an original article.

I just need to make some minor tweaks and get my editor to look over it, and it will be done. Then I'll feel guilty that I've not written another article I promised The Perl Review.


10 Apr 2005

Debian For Dad - Report

Adapting a Debian Sarge system for my father was quite enlightening, after sending a report to my local LUG mailing list, I've also added it to our Wiki page: www.hants.lug.org.uk/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?LinuxHints/DesktopAdaptedDad.


ADSL For Dad

My father has only had his computer for a few weeks, and now he wants to connect to the Internet faster, and easier. Given the age of the PC I gave him, I don't think faster will make any real difference, but an always on Internet connection would make his life a lot easier.

It's quite cheap these days to get some form of data capped ADSL deal, for under £16 per month, and ADSL router/switches are dirt cheap (£30-40). The thing that is really tempting is that if I did set him up, SSHing in to maintain the box would be a lot easier for me.


09 Apr 2005

Kubuntu 5.04 (Hoary Hedgehog)

This week the Ubuntu people released the April 2005 (5.04) version of ubuntu. The previous version was very well received, it's a very slick and polished desktop Linux distribution based on the rock solid Debian GNU/Linux distribution. The previous release was based on the GNOME desktop technology, but I prefer the KDE technology.

This version comes out in two versions, the original GNOME version, and a KDE based version called "Kubuntu". In practice the only difference is the defaults and the packages on the initial install disk, one version can easily be upgraded to include the other version, via Debian's fantastic package management system.

For a server system I still prefer traditional Debian, it more stable, too stable according to some, but in a sever environment it's nice to know you can keep something for years and it will keep running, and constantly be security updated, without breaking anything.

In a home desktop environment you can be a little more risk taking, and I am seriously considering an ubuntu version of Debian for my next desktop system. Mind you I need to get a new computer first... Work are always throwing out kit, which is still serviceable, and there is always the radical option of buying something new!


07 Apr 2005

No Sound

For the past few days I've been puzzled as to why Galaga doesn't make any noises on my Debian Woody box, but is perfectly noisy on my father's Debian Sarge box. Today I discovered that XMMS wasn't making any noises either.

Rather than try and figure out what had happened to my OSS drivers, I went for the obvious, and looked to see if the speakers were plugged into the sound card. Low and behold when I gave my father his computer I had somehow managed to unplug my speakers from my computer when I moved his computer out of my computing "stack".

Problem sorted, and Galaga now makes noises...


03 Apr 2005

LUG Button

Hampshire Linux User Group

My Local LUG now has a button to put on web pages. So I have it here in this blog entry. It's a nice site with lots of useful stuff in it, well worth visiting. The members of the LUG are nice helpful people, and the mailing list is worth joining if you need help.


Ginger Cordial

While visiting friends and family up north this week I bought some "Rocks Organics" Ginger Cordial. It's rather powerful stuff, but great. Today I checked their web site out, www.rocksorganic.com, it's a bit primitive, but it's fully functional, so I'm not going to complain.

Ironically enough they are based only round the corner from me, so I went all the way to the English/Scottish border to buy something made in the next county.


02 Apr 2005

Debian For Dad - Done!

I gave my father his new computer running Debian "Sarge". He Seems very happy with it, and seems to be able to handle starting it up, dialling up to the Internet, and basic email and web. He appears to be very please with the games, and I'm really delighted that he likes it.

I'm really glad I chose Debian GNU/Linux rather than Windows:

  • Debian cost me nothing, buying MS Windows XP would cost more than the computer is worth. Adding MS Office XP would be insanity.
  • Linux is much safer than MS Windows, it's running a secure modern firewall, and all unnecessary services are disabled or uninstalled.
  • It's easy for me to maintain over the Internet, MS Windows is almost impossible to support and maintain properly via the Internet, without extra third-party software.
  • Linux/KDE is a better desktop environment than MS Windows XP, that I have been easily able to configure for a new user, with poorer eye sight than myself.

All things considered, I've been amazed at the speed at which a retired person with virtually no exposure to a computer before in their life has been able to get going. While he could not have set up this computer to run Linux, there is no way that he could have set up Windows XP either. Indeed I think to get Widows to the same level of configuration is considerably harder.


Ice Cream

We've been on holiday for the last week visiting friends and family. I've not seen my friend since he came to see me when I was working in the US. It was great to see him, and to learn that his family dairy farm survived the foot-and-mouth outbreak a few years ago unharmed, and that their ice cream business is growing stronger.

They now have a fancy farm shop and a restaurant in town, so if you are ever in northern Cumbria or western Northumberland then do try and look for Cumbrian Cottage Ice Cream, it's rather Jolly nice.