Goodbye Twitter – you were useful for (quite) a while.

After getting rid of my Facebook account a long time ago, finally, I have decided to pull the plug on Twitter as well. I have become increasingly wary of the changes of the platform as it seeks for a way to monetise it's user-base. The timeline has increasingly become infested with annoying ads and no way of getting rid of them. Since Twitter effectively killed the whole app ecosystem with their changes to API rules and banning anything that became useful to a substantial number of people. Another major annoyance has been Twitter's insistence in seeing itself as a 'media platform'. The last thing I need is another media consumption time-sink. The changes I.M.O. is completely misunderstanding their initial user base. While most 'media' people always complained about 140 characters, it served a purpose. Since Twitter started messing with the timeline (letting some algorithm decide what I might find useful) I have been toying with the idea of letting go of my Twitter account. The last straw was the last Australian federal election which really hit home what a toxic echo chamber this platform has become. Even though I have never followed any serving politician it was hard not to get drawn into some of the 'discussions' being a person interested in Agriculture, Environment & Energy policies and following a few accounts in those interest areas. I have better (more productive) things to do than being sucked into hyper-polarised #auspol threads (and frankly - when reading some of the replies…

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Using DNSMadeEasy as Dynamic DNS provider on Synology Diskstations

Since Synology (despite requests) still has not added DNS Made Easy as a listed provider (despite listing some really obscure services - go figure!) here is the steps to add a custom provider. DNS Made Easy Setup Create a new A-Record Set the name Set the IP (initial - any valid IP) Tick the "Dynamic DNS" tickbox Enter your chosen Dynamic DNS Password Save the new record When saving the record you will see a "Dynamic DNS ID" - note down this number. This will become the hostname on the Synology setup. Synology Setup Click "Customize" to add a new DDNS provider Name: DNSMADEEASY Query URL http://cp.dnsmadeeasy.com/servlet/updateip?username=__USERNAME__&password=__PASSWORD__&id=__HOSTNAME__&ip=__MYIP__ Click "Add" to add a new DDNS service Service Provider: *DNSMADEEASY Hostname: Dynamic DNS ID from DNS Made Easy Username/Email: your DNS Made Easy email Password/Key: your chosen DNSMadeEasy DDNS password Once you save the new DDNS provider you should see the status to go "Normal" in a green color. This means the update was successful. You should now be able to PING the DNS record or if you log in to DNS Made Easy the IP address should have changed to the external IP of your DiskStation.

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SShuttle – quick and temporary VPN over SSH

Every once in a while you find a gem. One of these for me is SShuttle - until now I have not known about this one.    by  Stephan Geyer  Sometimes you need to quickly forward all your traffic via a remote server quickly. And while you can do all of this manually using OpenSSH it's not a quick one-step process (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/SSH/OpenSSH/PortForwarding). Dynamic SOCKS5 proxies are great if all you need is browser traffic, but there is always software that won't play ball with SOCKS. Use-case: I just been trying to get Ubuntu Make to install Eclipse IDE and the local AARNET download mirror is just refusing to cooperate (https://github.com/ubuntu/ubuntu-make/issues/90). A quick forward to a remote VPS fixed the issue without headaches Install sudo apt-get install sshuttle Run sshuttle -r username@servername.tld 0.0.0.0/0 -vv That's all - it sets up routing & iptable rules transparently and removes them after use. Kudos goes to https://github.com/apenwarr - thank you. A VERY useful utility !!! Source link: https://github.com/apenwarr/sshuttle

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Accessing your cloud desktop from Chromebook

One of the main reasons for setting up a cloud desktop is that I tend to use a lot of different devices some of which are not very powerful. One of my favorite devices of late has been a HP 11 Chromebook. I originally bought it for a new employee and wanted to check myself how this thing stacks up to do day-to-day computing tasks more efficiently than a standard laptop without all the headaches of running Windows (viruses, endless driver installs, bloatware, malware, ...). We already have several people at work working exclusively from Chromebooks and they absolutely love them. Long story short - I ended up keeping the Chromebook for myself as it's an absolutely great secondary device for me. I can carry it with me everywhere (doesn't weigh much more than a tablet, roughly the same size as a tablet & has a keyboard and is so much more useful than a tablet). Initially I was using it more as a secondary device, but lately I have been thinking that I will not even take my main notebook at all for travels. The problem with this is that I do (sometimes - very infrequently) need access to software not available on such a limited device. Accessing your Cloud Desktop via SSH (I know there seem to be people allowing direct VNC access - but that is just asking for trouble) is highly recommended. I also use RSA keys instead of password authentication. Copy SSH Private Key (generated…

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Removing ‘Video Call’ default in Google Calendar

This 'feature' has been annoying me for a while and after this has caused some confusion with some of my clients I decided to go and look where to disable this. Why this has been made a system wide default is beyond me. Rather than in the users Calendar Settings this is actually in the Google Apps Admin Console (https://admin.google.com/) Console --> Google Apps --> Settings for Calendar --> Sharing Settings Disable the "Automatically add video calls to events created by a user" setting. Direct Link: https://admin.google.com/AdminHome?fral=1#AppDetails:service=Calendar&flyout=sharing

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Installing Custom ROM on Galaxy S4 International from Ubuntu

Or as an alternative title "Liberating your Galaxy S4 Hardware from Samsung Bloatware". Unfortunately there is lots of (ad-infested) blogs and forums with dodgy pieces of information on this topic and I found it pretty hard to get descent concise information. So hopefully this might help some poor Linux User liberate their phone. Whilst this has been tested on a Samsung GT-I9505 S4 International LTE device (JFLTEXX series) it should be applicable to other similar Samsung phones that are not fastboot capable (ie. all but the Galaxy Nexus range).   by  Janitors  NOTE: If you have encrypted your device do yourself a favor and do a factory reset BEFORE you start the process (otherwise you will be stuck in a boot-loop as the encryption key will be gone and the device will not start without it). See note below to recover to stock Samsung image if you need to. Rooting This area is the hardest to get decent (Ubuntu relevant) information. However (contrary to some forum entries out there) Heimdall is the most workable solution to use from Ubuntu - binary .deb packages are available from https://bitbucket.org/benjamin_dobell/heimdall/downloads. There is both a commandline package as well as a GUI available for Ubuntu 12.10 and 13.04 as well as other Linux distros. Note [2014-11-24]: Had to upgrade my daughters S4 Mini and I noticed that Heimdall is now in the default UBUNTU Repositories. You can install simply by 'sudo apt-get install heimdall-flash' now. Make sure the device has Developer mode enabled Go to Application…

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Chromebook tips to get started

Just got myself (actually it's for our Office Manager back in OZ) one of these Chromebooks while in Europe (since Google Australia with their absolutely hopeless hardware strategy do not seem to be able to ship any devices - Nexus 4 anyone ?) . Since the first days turned out to be a bit of a frustrating experience, I thought I share some of the findings as I had a hard time finding much useful info on troubleshooting ChromeOS. Wireless Connection (WIFI) Do not use WPA (or for that matter WEP) connections with ChromeOS. I had extreme difficulties browsing webpages on the Chrombook. Some pages would load, some pages would not load at all. There seemed to be no consitency to it as some would load one day, but not another. Somewhere in the Google Groups there seemed to be people reporting issues with wireless connections using WEP. It turned out that the Wireless Modem Router (Telekom Austria supplied Pirelli PBS modem) where I was staying was set to WPA encryption only by default. Once I figured out how to set the unit to WPA2 (which these days should really be the default anyway) things started to actually work consistently. Check the sections below (specially chrome://diagnostics) to see how you can find out what's going wrong. However to save some trouble & frustrations, before you do anything make sure your Chrombook connects using WPA2 ! Terminal CTRL+ALT+T will launch the Chrome Shell which is a slightly odd and very cut-down…

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Organisational micro-blogging for all

Having seen more and more articles on the use of micro-blogging tools in educational and corporates settings, I am constantly surprised that one of the most useful options from my point-of-view seems to be constantly overlooked. Micro-blogging is like Twitter, but private to your organisation. It is a great way to capture those more informal internal discussions. It can help distribute useful information (such as links) throughout your organisation or help kick-start conversations. The major advantages of StatusNet as a platform over competing proprietary systems (such as Jammer) are: Ownership of information: you can host StatusNet yourself and StatusNet fully supports DataPortability.org to get your data exported from StatusNet as well. Customisation: since you can host Status.net yourself it is possible to fully customise it to suit your needs. Integration potential: since StatusNet is Open Source software you can easily integrate and build upon it. To download Status.net head to http://gitorious.org/statusnet/ or try a personal account with Identi.ca. You can also use a cloud-hosted version provided by StatusNet http://status.net/cloud. A Yammer import tool is also available for users looking for a Yammer Alternative. However being a tool that is private to your organisation does not mean your users will be isolated. There is the ability for your user to connect StatusNet with with their Twitter account should they wish to post messages outside. Note: this is a cross-posting from my work blog at http://www.brightcookie.com/blog

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Offline RSS Reading on Ubuntu

I sometimes have time to read RSS feeds when I have no Internet connection. Granted this is happening less often these days with wireless connectivity pretty much ubiquitous, but I frequently have that need. Most often it's in an air-plane when you want to catch up on non-essential news and don't have any connectivity. This is where Lightread comes in handy. It synchronizes your Google Reader Account with excellent integration into the Ubuntu UI (desktop notification of new items ...). sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cooperjona/lightread sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install lightread

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OpenVPN Install on CentOS 6 Server

I recently had a need to install a VPN service in a OpenVZ container. Since I normally only use Hardware emulating VM's I ran into quite a few issues in terms of low-level networking support on this Container Virtualisation System. Turns out that you are stuck with a TUN/TAP solution as most services won't enable PPP services on their infrastructure. Also Ethernet bridging is not available (at least on the service I used) so you're stuck with NAT IP masquerading. Considering the options I thought best served with using OpenVPN server. Install Server yum --enablerepo=epel -y install openvpn Server configuration cp /usr/share/doc/openvpn-*/sample-config-files/server.conf /etc/openvpn/ These are the contents of /etc/openvpn/server.conf local XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX #Server External IP port 1194 proto udp dev tun ca ca.crt cert SERVER.crt key SERVER.key #keep file secret dh dh1024.pem server 10.8.0.0 255.255.255.0 ifconfig-pool-persist ipp.txt push "redirect-gateway def1 bypass-dhcp" push "dhcp-option DNS 8.8.8.8" #using Google Public DNS push "dhcp-option DNS 8.8.4.4" #using Google Public DNS keepalive 10 120 comp-lzo max-clients 5 user nobody group nobody persist-key persist-tun status openvpn-status.log log /var/log/openvpn.log verb 3 mkdir -p /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa/keys cd /etc/openvpn/easy-rsa cp -rf /usr/share/openvpn/easy-rsa/2.0/* . vim vars #Set the country (KEY_COUNTRY) #state (KEY_PROVINCE) #locality (KEY_CITY) #organisation name (KEY_ORG) #support email (KEY_EMAIL) Create certificate authority ./vars ./clean-all ./build-ca The CA key and certificate should not be in the keys directory inside the easy-rsa directory. Create certificate for the server ./build-key-server NAME_OF_SERVER Answer the questions and commit the certificate into the database Create the Diffie Hellman files These files are used for the actual…

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