I travel a lot with my job, and therefore I use a range of different wifi networks. These are often secured in different ways and to different standards. Or they aren’t secured at all. I recently suffered a fairly major credit card fraud, and I don’t really know how they got the details. This has made me think that I need to be able to secure my internet activity on my own terms at times.
I have therefore set up my own cloud hosted VPN that I am currently testing. This allows me to encrypt my internet traffic between a cloud server and my laptop even if the network isn’t secure. Once tested I will post up how I have done it. My plan is to have three private VPNs, one in the UK (my home server), one in the US on a Rackspace cloud server, and one in Iceland.
I updated Opensuse 12.3 the other day. Caused a few issues, one was repeated crashes on login to KDE. I seem to have fixed it by adding my user to the ‘video’ group. These is also a fix for the following error.
GL applications report that they can’t operate /dev/nvidiactl.
I have had this error with certain applications trying to use the binary Nvidia drivers. Not sure if the fix is complete yet as the system seems to be a little bit sluggish and if I try to open nvidia-settings it doesn’t work. I will update when I have more info. I might re-install the nvidia drivers and see if that helps.
Update: So nvidia-settings does work, it just takes ages to open.
I had a minor brainwave to reduce the power consumption of my home server. Take out the GPU and use the on-board GPU. This was only recently made possible by the fact that I changed my monitors and the new ones have VGA connectors as well as HDMI and DVI. Something I had failed to connect with the possibility of reducing the home servers power consumption. The upshot is that I would be unlikely to recover the cost of upgrading it to newer parts for a long time as its power consumption is like to be pretty close to any upgraded kit.
Having issues with audio on my new computer. It has HDMI output and an on-board sound card. KDE decided that it would stop playing sound and grey out all the devices. Arrrgh! Sound is frequently a sticking point with Linux. I use Opensuse 12.3 and this is how I force KDE to take another look at the system config to get sound going again.
I re-named the following files:
Renaming them makes KDE regenerate them, that got the devices back for me.
The control of the volume is still a bit flaky. it occasionally deafens me.
Every now and then you have to take things in hand and sort out computers. Its like spring cleaning, its also about as interesting as spring cleaning. I have recently got a new work computer. Long time overdue, but it was worth the wait. Should prove things massively. So, time for a computer inventory and some sorting out.
Retiring the old work machine means that I have an excellent case for my home server. It also has a much better power supply. The old PSU was having trouble starting all the HD up at boot and I wanted to add another 2TB. The new PSU and case is better, quieter and has enough power.
Possible upgrade to the server is on the cards. I think it would benefit from a new m’board and CPU/Ram. I am thinking a low power Celeron (35W). This would have a two fold effect on power consumption, as it would remove the need for it having a GPU (as it does currently), and the CPU would be less. Its main jobs are backup and music server, so its not over taxed. In the future I think it I will move some database tasks to it.
- Work: Intel i7 3930K, 64GB, 120GB SSD, 2TB HD.
- Home WS: 4x Opteron 8360SE, 32GB Ram, 150GB HD, 750HD.
- Home Desktop: AMD Phenom II 1090T, 8GB Ram, 30GB SSD, 500GB HD.
- Server: AMD Athlon 4050 (45W), 4GB Ram, 150GB Sys. 4TB Storage.
- Windows Box: AMD Athlon 6000+, 4GB Ram, 320GB HD.
Possible upgrades. I have 3 500GB HD that I think I will add to the Home WS, I also have an ATI 6850 GPU that could go in that. The Home Desktop could do with a CPU boost, perhaps an AMD FX 8350. The Windows box is long overdue for an upgrade really. I just don’t use it very much at all. I am thinking of moving the GPU out of the WS into it. If I get back into music production then I might upgrade. That or I might save up for a Mac Mini.
I published my first project to GitHub! Up till now I have been a user of SVN but I have long wanted to publish some useful bits of code. I have done my first one! Its a non exact string matching program. Its pretty rough round the edges and in need of some updating but now all updates will be to the benefit of anyone that has an interest in them.
ObscurusCode is now an organization on GitHub too!
So just who are these police and crime commissioners anyway? A scrap of (future recycling) paper dropped through my door that told me how to find out. Go to a website, perhaps even follow them on twitter. Yes, I could go to a website to find out who these people (who are all going to work tirelessly to represent my interests) actually are. It would be better if they came to see me, but a sparse twitter feed and a website of empty platitudes is all you need these days (by the way Kingsley Smith, shouty bold capitals are never good). I suppose I am asking to much that the candidates might actually want to meet the people who’s interests they so earnestly what to represent. Perhaps they look at us down the cameras that seem to have replaced beat bobbies in Durham.
I don’t know if other residents of Durham have noticed but cameras seem to be the way to police these days. Walking through Durham centre cast your eyes skywards in the Market Place, down Silver street, and up Claypath. Large cameras watch us from up high, making sure we aren’t getting up to no good. The pattern is the same in the suburbs. I live in Gilesgate Moor, apart from the odd sighting of a police car scuttling through I have never seen a police person (we don’t discriminate in Gilesgate). We do however feel snug in our homes, comforted by the ever watchful eyes on polls that maintain ‘constant vigilance’. Watching the local children kicking footballs at houses, tipping bins over, and trying to push people of bikes. I’m sure a seat is being kept warm in the ‘control’ room for the new commissioner of crime (and policing).
The problem with cameras is that they become normal and then melt away into the background, we forget that they are watching. This is bad for two reasons. Firstly, being under constant big brother surveillance becomes normal which doesn’t seem like a good thing. Secondly, the criminals forget that they are there too, and then I suspect they stop working as a deterrent and are only useful to pick up the pieces later. Actual real beat bobbies are different, they could turn up randomly, talk to the residences (tell children off for trying to assault cyclists). Actual real police and crime commissioners would be better too. Sadly, its much easier to trick yourself into believing that you are engaged with the public with a twitter feed and a website.
I have recently needed to mount an ext3 formatted partition on my MacBook Pro laptop. Silly me thought all I would need to do is plug it in and at most mount it with the command line. Not so…
First you need to install the new fork of the ext2-fuse module called OSXFUSE. Download and run the install. Make sure you tick the box to install the MacFUSE compatibility layer otherwise you will have problems later.
Next install Fuse-ext2, once done if you plug in a ext2/3 drive it should just mount automatically. Currently it is read only. I restarted my computer after installation but this might not be required. I was due a restart anyway.
Why they can’t include native support for a few more formats I don’t know. Seems very silly not too.
Perhaps this is an even better way of keeping things alive.
Use the following options either on the command line or in your /etc/ssh/ssh_config file (thats the path for Opensuse).
I think this method might be more reliable.
Something that annoys me is when after a period of a couple of mins a firewall kills your ssh connection! Then you have a dead terminal that can take ages to timeout. So this is a solution, keeping it alive…
ssh -o TCPKeepAlive=yes email@example.com
Dead easy. I also have an alias in my .bashrc file in my home directory.
alias shortname=’ssh -C -o TCPKeepAlive=yes firstname.lastname@example.org’
So all have to do is type ‘shortname’ in the terminal and it would connect me to some.host.com. Much better. The big ‘C’ btw is for compression.