I rather stick to laptops than utilize hand held devices!

Friday, December 20, 2013
Every one seems to be under the impression that these so called handheld devices are going to replace laptops and even PC computers. Well I do not agree with that and I believe that this is all hot air.
In fact a while ago I bought my self a new laptop as I was in need for another portable device. I am not going to say much about it here since the only thing that matters to me at the moment is that the new laptop is twice as powerful than my 5 year old laptop (which I am still using by the way).  I say that with some certainty as I did a comparison between the two cpu's on the website http://www.cpubenchmark.net/.  
I had to buy my self a new laptop because the old laptop is not any more at the state where it needs to be at. The CD/DVD drive on it does not perform the way it should and it is way too loud. I should have it fixed because I really need a functional CD/DVD drive since I burn a lot of linux distributions on it but than I decided against that and I just gave it to my mom who needs it more or less for skype and browsing of the web.
So now I go off with my brand new laptop to various coffee shops where I see other people who bring in there laptops and hand held devices. The vast majority of people use laptops of course so any statistic that would show other wise would be rather hard for me to accept. Now from that segment of people using laptops there is a considerable amount of them using the apple laptops. I understand that some people are big fans for apple and or want to a quality device and they associate apple with quality but this is where I am going to disagree with them. I would not buy an apple laptop even if I was to put linux on it. I just do not see the point of spending that much money on it. Apple has just become a luxury computer brand and every thing with that apple icon costs at least 50% more than it needs to so the way I see it I could buy two quality laptops for the money that I would spend on an apple laptop but that lets leave that for now and focus now on the hand held device segment of the people I see in coffee shops.
In essence that little hand held device makes you a passive participant. It is just good enough if you come to a coffee shop to meet some one and you go online for a few minutes to pass the time while waiting for that person to arrive. That is the only aspect of it that I would give it a thumbs up although I my self would never use such a device. Just the idea that you are a passive participant makes me uneasy about it.
I need a laptop not because I play games on it and I need the computing power but I need to be able to install linux on it and use a whole bunch of programs that probably would not run too well on a processor of a mobile phone or even a hand held device. For instance I here and there use torrents. So I turn on my transmission bittorrent client and I start downloading some files of the net. So when I go and check how much of my laptops resources it is using I usually find that it is quite a resource hog but of course what can one expect when downloading files at speeds well over 500 kb/s. So of course there are moments when the cpu usage for transmission hits above 10%! I do not think that any hand held device at the moment would be able to handle running a bittorrent client for an hour or more to finish the dowload of lets say the new windows 8.
Of course though I would say no to a hand held device that would fit in the palm of my hand like a mobile phone on which I could do the above mentioned and a lot more it is just that there is nothing right now on the market any where close to it. I have heard of a mobile phone with Ubuntu on it and it costs more than the new apple iphone and the apple iphone 5s costs two times more than my new laptop. So why would I bother. I just put my laptop in my backpack and I am off. It also has another accidental benefit to it I guess since when I am chatting with some one at coffee I am not using it of course because the laptop requires all of my attention. It is not like with some people as I am told that have there smart phones on the coffee table and they constantly glance at them so that it seems like the device is at the center of attention and the other person or persons that they are drinking coffee with.  That does not happen with me and the way that I use technology.  In my life technology comes always second and that will never change. Any one who wants to talk to me in a civilized manner is automatically awarded a step above any communication channel that I have with the internet and any type of activity on my computer. 
Besides that only a laptop offers a screen large enough for me to chat on IRC with ease. How else would I be able to follow a conversation between dozens of individuals on #slackware,#gentoo,...and other channels.
On top of that I use network programs like arpwatch, nmap,...to keep a tab on who is on that public wifi. I think it is important to see if some one is doing odd things like changing mac addresses or even sniffing traffic although I would never open up my e-mail on a public wifi regardless of how safe I believe I am on it.
In essence hand held devices need to radically shift there purpose for me to ever consider them. I do not want to be a passive participant online. I want to be active and I need either a large enough screen and/or computing power that would enable to utilize various resource hungry apps. It would be nice if I would put the whole thing in my pocket instead of my backpack but until some thing major gets done in this area I am going to stick to laptops and desktop PC computers. As far as I am concerned there was no revolution in the computer world. The same thing was with the cloud. A lot of hot air and nothing has changed for me even though some have promised the end of desktop PC because we would play game on the cloud servers. I still laugh at that because I rather have more computing power than a small light weight portable device and that perspective is not going to change ever. So when ever a new more powerful line of processors come out I give my thumbs up and I give thumbs down for portable and weak hand held devices!

The evil Microsoft did it to skype!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I wrote up this document in order to document what happened to skype soon after microsoft bought it.. Skype installed EasybitsGo.exe on your computer with out your permission. The easybitsgo.exe runned as a process even though you click deny in skype when it asked you if you allow it to run.

When people who either updated skype or downloaded the latest version realized what had just happened and tried to remove EasybitsGo.exe soon realized that this was no easy task. One such was proved to be a dead end as Easybits provided a way to get rid of it was to install RemoveGo: http://www.easybitsmedia.com/support/RemoveGO.exe. However, that was a fake uninstall !!! Easybitsgo.exe would still run on your computer. People who simply tried to uninstall it reported that the server was still running in memory. The only way to get rid of it for sure is to go under tools-options-advanced and uncheck "automatically stop extras" also click on the "manage other connections to skype" link on the bottom and remove Easybitsgames. That was the easy and simple way but the more complete way was much more lenghty:

-Disable and remove 3rd party access to the easybitgo.exe file in Skype via Options > Advanced > Advanced Settings > Manage other programs’ access to SkypeRemove the Easybits Go program via the Install/Uninstall panel under your system’s control panel-Exit Skype and make sure the Skype.exe is not running in the list of running processes (via Task Manager). Also temporarily disable Skype from starting automatically when Windows starts.-Then restart your computer since the program will still be is use by the system.-Once restarted, go to [Drive Letter]:\ProgramData or [Drive Letter]:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data and permanently delete theEasybits GO folder.-Remove whatever shortcuts it may have placed in the start menu and desktop.-If you are confident enough to dig around in your registry, go toHKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software and delete the entire EasyBits folder -Go to the Windows\Prefetch directory and look for the file EASYBITSGO.EXE-364DAFD6.pfand delete it. Also do a search for ezPMUtils.dll and delete them all.-If you are on Windows 7, delete the go folder in this directory - Users > [YOUR USERNAME] >AppData > Roaming

This malware seems to have hitchhiked in on a "trusted" program: Skype. So that means inside Skype, there's a trojan downloader. It bypassed all the windows authenticity checks, alerts, certificate of authenticity verification and user permissions. That the trojan downloader inside Skype bypasses all these Microsoft Windows security features seems intentional. Just because we found one trojan downloader installed by Skype, doesn't mean we found all the exploits. This downloader facilitated Easybits to make vast changes to the registry. Apparently, Skype also didn't test this software before pushing it over their service. Or they didn't care. http://threatexpert.com/report.aspx?md5=f6a970c3351815ac9d932a792f23be45 shows lots of file modifications and registry entries. Skype is a broadband conduit to the web and has hooks to facilitate program calls to this conduit. Any program installed under Skype has the potential to compromise all the data on the machine and all shared data on the LAN. Additionally, this trojan downloader inside Skype might be exploited by other hackers.

The more customer installations EasybitGo can claim, the higher the value of the company. With the impending purchase of Skype by Microsoft, Easybit would potentially be dropped, perhaps to be replaced by a Microsoft games product. They seem to have struggled to push out this untested malware (over a holiday weekend) to establish themselves as in important integral Skype feature. In a last ditch effort to become part of the new Microsoft VOIP and messenger product that evolves from the Skype purchase, they forced this installation on users even though only 30% of Skype customers ever use the Skype game features. That means they overstate their customer base by a factor of three. I think this abuse and unwanted publicity may assure they won't become part of the new Microsoft product.

Not a wonder that game sessions have jumped to over 7 million sessions. If you run Skype in the background when you don't use it you are probably generating loads of game sessions.

P.S. Now that microsoft is the owner you can expect more of this. I guess when they bought skype they thought they also bought the users!

Windows vs. Linux

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I have decided that it was about time for me to write up a rather lengthy essay about the reasons why I chose to use linux over windows. Now I have here and there mentioned a couple of reasons but I have never delved really deep to uncover the majority of the reasons why I use linux. Since I have been using it now for over three years and I plan to continue using it in the future I suppose I have to have some concrete reasons on why I chose to use linux over windows. I figure nothing short of an essay would do. Now before I continue I want to strees the fact that use my comptuer for common tasks. So this writing is not intened some some really advanced computer users who know every nuke and crany of their systems. This piece is intended for I suppose the average guy who is interested in computers and is looking for ways to improve his computer use. Sure I am a script kiddie so in that respect I use the comptuer for other reasons and intentions than common people do but in reality those few activities really do not affect my decisions on why I chose to use linux over windows. Sure linux is better suited for hackers because some programs that we script kiddies use are specifically written for linux users. However, none of that directlly affects my decisions why I use linux predominanetly. I am sure that I have mentioned at least some of the reaons before at least once. Now I want to be sure to cover a good portion of them in this lengthy writing. Like I have said I am going to approach the problem from the perspective of a common user. So I am going to be desribing stuff that the common person would most likely encounter.

I do not intend to offend windows creators or the window users. I just merely want to state the cons and pros of each operating system the way that I see it. In fact I advocate the use of both operating systems. As long as a user knows the weaknesses and strengths of each and uses both accordingly to those strengths. For instance windows is great at playing games and linux for basically everything else. I my self am a gamer and I like to play games so I have no other option than to use windows. On my laptop I set dual boot so that I can boot into windows if I want to play games or into linux if I want to surf the net. That is a neat feature about linux. With Ubuntu it is really simple to set dual boot and one can have both windows and linux on the same computer. In fact you can install as many operating systems as you like. I once installed windows XP, OpenSuse and Ubuntu on my lappy. It all worked. I also tried dual booting with OpenSolaris but that did not work because as I realized after that the ubuntu grub does not recognize OpenSolaris while OpneSolaris gurb is going to recognize Ubuntu. So I made a simple mistake of chosing the right order. I should have first installed Ubuntu and after that OpenSolaris. Next time I am going to get it right. It is all good because I like to expmeriment and try out new things any how. That way I am gaining valuable experience.

Linux as they say is all about choice. For instance lets take the file browser. Windows has only one file browser and that is the windows explorer. Linux on the other hand has multiple file browsers to chose from. I remember I set out one day to look at all the file browsers that linux has to offer. Even before that day I was already thinking about maybe chaning the file browser and testing a whole range of them. Just thinking about it was giving me positvie vibes over a good period of time. I was mentaly preparing my self to start doing some serious testing. After all I do usually the same stuff on my comptuer over and over again so when I get a chance to do some thing new I am in a good mood. I like to change things make them better I suppose that is what hacking is all about. One definition of a hacker is to figure out how some thing works and make it better. I figured out how linux works and now I was trying to make it work better for my self. So I found my self looking at various websites to find information about these file browsers. That is what happens when I use linux. I regularly surf of to various websites determening whether the file browser, or the graphical interface or a certain program that I am using is really the best option for me. That is the beauty of linux. Some one as my self who may be determined to improving the desktop experience finds that linux is the gateway to all these adventures just waiting to happen and this is one of the main reasons in my oppinion that linux defeats windows by a huge margin.

Just the other day I was looking at some graphical interfaces. I wanted to find some thing similar to ion3 which is now no longer updated and I found several similar ones. I browsed their websites and I realized what a neat website the awsome website that is home of the awsome graphical interface is. I was deciding whether ion is really the best possible graphical interface or would some other one be more suited for me or more to my liking. It was just one of those moments that in combination with everything else that linux has to ofer makes it all worth wile. In the end I realized that nautilus is good and I stayed with it. However, one day some one might develop a better file browser for linux and I might use that one or I am just going to decide one day to use my linux desktop with out X11 and just go for midnigh commander. I have never had a similar experience on windows. That is why some times if feels dull working on windows. In fact some times it just feels mind numbing. There is no way to change any thing so there is no point in looking for a way to change any thing. There is just one hack that I know of which allows one to change the name of the start button and I have tried that once and I failed. It is not an easy or straight foreward process. You need to use another program to do that. For a moment there I felt good about my self because I was determening what I was going to use for my self.

I always use linux to surf the net. One of the reaons is because linux has programs that are not common and hackers who are looking to hack into computer are more likely to have exploit codes for windows and window programs. I usually use firefox to surf the net although I have promised my self countelss of times to stop using it and try out some thing that fewer people use. Firefox is a very popular webbrowser and hackers are more likely to look for vularebilities in it than for instance some thing much less used like lynx. Lynx is a webbroser for linux and I can at any time install it. Another reason I do so is because linux is faster than windows when surfing the net. That is a well known fact and I do not want to go into the technical side of it right now. Besides that it is much safer to use linux to surf the net because by deafault you use a limited account and you need to give adminstrator privilages to install some thing. Unless you know windows well and you do not use an account with administrator privileges to surf the net you are on about equal footing.

Another reason why I see prefer linux over windows are the screen savers. That may sound odd to some because in essence I wanted to write this essay to document why linux is easier to work with than windows. In essence I want to go under the hood and take a look at the engine that drives each to determine why one is better than the other. However, the screen saver is in essence an important part of your desktop experience. Maybe some can quite easily ignore it but if you have been using a computer as long as I have a good screen saver is essential part or your computer work environment. I can not tell you how many times I just set there gazing at the computer thinking about what I should do next when the screen saver would appear and distracted me from some endless pondering. Well I hope you get the idea by now. So on linux one has an amazing set of screen savers. On most linux distros at least in gnome there are so many options to chose from that to this day I have not even browsed through 10% of them. I have used even less so I could go on using linux for the next decade before I can say I have seen the majority of the screen savers that come by default. It is really neat when I do not have to surf the net looking for a screen saver like I have to do on windows if I want one. I have not used many screen savers on windows but back in the days much of this software was paid. I do not know how it is now. I have not searched for a screen saver on the net for a long time. I figure it is a waste of time. So that is one more reason why I like linux over windows. All the screen savers I ever need come by default.

Many programs that I need come by default in linux. Unlike on windows I first of all need to install Firefox. I have not used IE for many years and I never intend to again. So to do just that takes about 10 minutes. That is because I delete IE and a whole bunch of other crap that comes by default on windows. I can not stand when some software that I installed opens up IE to show me some website. Usually it asks you to register the software, donate or whatever and it is always IE that it opens up. My blood pressure just spikes on such events. While on linux I do not have to deal with that. Firefox comes with most distributions except for debian but they have ice weasel. There are of course many other applications that come with linux by default and no further installation is needed. For instance Xhcat. My favorite IRC application comes with most linux distributions while on windows I had to get some cracked software. I remember looking for it and it took me a while to find some thing that worked. I remember being very frustrated over that. Because Xchat is a network application and connects to other computers it is vital that I have the latest version because some one could have released an exploit for a particular version that I could be using and my computer could get compromised. So on windows I would have to look for new cracked Xchat programs often while on linux each new distribution that is released comes with the latest xchat version. I do not even have to worry about that. If for some reason I become paranoid I could just look at the newest linux distro that has come out download it, burn it and install it. That way I would have all the latest applications.

I hate the default windows look. The start menu and all that. I hate those folders that come by default like my pictures, my videos, and my music. I hate all those little things that I have to do on windows to set it the way I can live with. I am not going to say the way that I like because with windows there is nothing to like from my point of view. Each and every time that I make those changes it is exactly the same way. You see I have never really used vista because I knew it was crap from the reviews I read. So I never bothered to download it nor install it. So I am not going to talk about any differences between XP and vista because vista does not deserve serious consideration. So in this review I am going to completely ignore vista as if it never happened. Now with linux that is not the case. Now each linux distro varies in the way you configure the basic stuff to the way it looks. Even though you use the gnome graphical interface there are differences to the look of the gnome desktop from distro to distro. For instance suse uses a nice stub much like windows menu bar but on suse it looks much better. While Ubuntu, Fedora and others use the classical gnome look. On top of that one can use a multitude of graphical interfaces on Linux. I have used over the three years a dozen at least. Some of them include: KDE, gnome, icewm, fluxbox, xfce, fvwm, ion,...just to mentione a few of them. So when ever I get tired of one I can change. Sure on windows you can change the default look but it just adds some eye candy and this software is all paid for. Sure you can get some cracked software and I have done that myself but you only have so much to chose from and there may be only one or two that you could live with the rest not really going far enough. Besides that you do not really know if the software you got does not have some really well hidden virus or Trojan horse.

Another reason why I like Linux better than windows is how it handles USB keys and other external media. Every one knows the process of safely removing a USB key in windows. In Linux it is much easier. All you have to do is left click on the device and a menu appears. From the menu you chose, “unmount” and you are done. It is easy as that. It is just another one of those little things in Linux that makes it all worth wile. In fact if you do not want to do it that way there is another way to safely remove an USB key in Linux. In nautilus the common Linux file browser there is a side panel where all the devices are listed. Next to the device there is a small arrow and if you click it the device gets unmounted or safely removed. It comes really hand if you have several USB keys plugged in and you want to safely remove one of them because it is easy to tell which one it is while that is not always the case in windows. I get regularly confused when I am safely removing one of my USB keys from the computer in windows. It is not a straight forward process as it is in Linux.

One more reason why I find Linux to be better than windows is how you install things. With windows there is just one way to install some thing. There is an executable file which you double click and you follow the instructions. In linux things are quite different. Linux has some thing called the packet manager. There is nothing like this in windows and unfortunately it took me a while to learn how to use it. That is because I never read any tutorials beforehand. I just went into it armed with only an open mind, curiosity and love for tinkering. In short the package manager is going to install any program you want from a list of programs just by clicking the check box. You can install multiple programs at a time. To me this whole concept seemed like a world away from how I was used to doing things on windows. In fact I believe that was the first time I really experienced linux. All along I was using linux just to browse the net and work with files. It really was not at all that different in the beginning. Sure it looked different a bit but in reality I did not think of that much at all. Just installing linux did not seem to me to be a very big step. It was not difficult and besides that every thing seemed to work out of the box. So in reality I did not really experience linux until later when I first started to use the package manager. That is when I really started to think about linux and why it works differently than windows. Now after three years of experimenting and toying with linux it has become such an integral part of my life that windows never came close to and probably never will.

Another way to install programs is from source. Basically you open up a bash shell and you use several commands to install a program. The first thing that struck me when installing this way was how specific you need to be. You have to tell the bash shell where the file you want to install is first of all. I really felt like I was in control. It was not like on windows where the installer does all the work. Here I was doing the work of the installer basically and I felt like this was a really hands on approach which I really liked. It felt good for some reason. The only problem with this is that it does takes time and some times you run into problems which you have to resolve. Because I do not have that much time I rather stick to the package manager but nevertheles this is a very good approach to installing programs.

The last reason why I find Linux to be better than windows is that Linux is much more stable. I have a lot of faith in Linux. I know that it wont let me down while I can not say the same for windows. I always get some explorer.exe while I am in the middle of some thing and it really angers me. It is not just that it annoys me but it really angers me. That is one of the main reasons why it became for me so difficult to work on windows and as a result I moved on to Linux. It at one point became almost unberablle to work on windows. I just started to hate windows. Any way I have talked about this before. In fact it is one of the most talked about issues regarding the difference between windows and linux. I hear people many times talking about how unstable windows is and I do not just mean windows XP or any other desktop windows. I have even tested out windows 2003 which is supposed to be for servers and I never managed to get it running for a couple of days without rebooting. It just restarts it self for no reason. I was actually really looking forward to have windows server box where I could run all sorts of GUI applications that I usually can not under linux but nothing came out of that. For a while I did but like I have said it was not stable and I gave up then on the idea of running windows as a server.

So there you have it folks. I have finally documented most of the reasons why I prefer to use linux over windows. I have talked about stability before and that still is the main reason why I prefer to use linux over windows but I have not talked about it in such detail before. I believe that writing this is important for me because I do use linux a lot and I figure I need to state the reasons why I do so. If not for any one else than at least for my self. Maybe I am going to browse back at this document and remember why is it that I am using linux instead of windows. Because I do intend to use linux for the rest of my life. I doubt that windows is ever going to become as good as linux. I recognize that widows has its benefits and some times I need to resort to windows but for most of the time I use linux. Even after all this time linux is still an adventure for me. There is always some new distro that I can try out or graphical interface. I think that it is going to take a while longer before I can say that I have looked tested pretty much everything that linux has got to offer. It is difficult for me to say how far along I actually am but I think there is still quite a lot for me to see. So I am happy about that because I really like using linux and everything that it has to offer.

Minimiz your footprint on the web!

Thursday, February 10, 2011
The web browser is the main tool every one uses to communicate over the web.  Some times we use other applications like IRC, messengers,...but the browser is king.  Over the years I have used many but the one I used the longest and most often is the firefox web browser.  I have been using it for six years and I have no intention to stop using it.  I believe that it is the best.

Lately thought I have experimented with some new browsers though.  There has been much talk about chrome but I have not bothered with it much at all.  I have noticed some cool security features like XSS protection but besides that nothing else really caught my eye.  I have also played a bit with lynx on my linux box.  It looks promising and I am sure when I get more comfortable with it I am going to use it more often.  I can see the benefit of using it.  Some times I just want the text and nothing else.

As an alternative to firefox though I put my bets instead on Opera.  I remember when I heard about a new feature in the opera browser called opera unite.  I went to their site and noticed that Opera 10.10 that had that feature was already available for linux.  Sure enough I downloaded it and installed it.  After a while I managed to set up a folder which could be accessible from the net to download or upload to it.  I thought that was really cool.  Another feature called opera turbo I tested just the other day.  I happened to be using mibbit over a proxy and opera turbo turned on because it detected a slow network I guess.  Well later I stopped using mibbit and I used opera to surf the net with out a proxy but I forgot that opera turbo was still on.  Just by chance I checked my IP and that is when I noticed that I have some different IP.  I kept checking the network settings in opera.  I could not understand what was happening.  It was showing me that I have an IP from a different country.  Then I figured it probably had some thing to do with opera turbo.  Sure enough when I turned it off I was back on my IP.  I went immediately on google to check this out and sure I found a link to some forum where a guy experienced the same thing.

I have used this browser a couple of times but it never actually became some thing that I would use on a daily basis.  I hope now things are going to change and I say that because of the way I surf the net now days.  I have configured my firefox for security and lesser traceability.  Which means I have disabled cookies and javascript and I changed the user agent.  I have not even installed flash player on it so I can not even view videos.  It is pretty much just to view a site.  You can not do any thing on it in terms of logging into websites, posting,...Just to take a look at a site and if I feel there is some thing that I need to do on it then I fire up some other browser like opera or chrome and do the fun stuff on either of those two.

You may think what is the point of that?  It seems like a lot more work.  Well I figure since I really browse all day long I need to take some measure to secure my self.  Browsers can be exploited and since I have put so much effort and time in securing my OS in the past few years I figure why leave a weak spot in my web browsing?

Take a look at how little the site: http://showip.net/ shows about my firefox web browser.  It can not determine what OS I have or what web browser I am using.  Take a look also at my header and how little information is presented there.  It looks very clean and neat.  It is beautiful.  Any ordinary web browser that has not yet been configured for security and lesser traceability is going to show there all bunch of information and it is going to appear like a big mess.

Just for the sake of comparisement I am going to compare the header of my firefox web browser and my opera web browser that show on the http://showip.net site.  Note that my opera web browser has not been configured and it is exactly the way I installed it.


Firefox header:
Host: showip.net
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5
Accept-Encoding: gzip,deflate
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Keep-Alive: 115
Connection: keep-alive

Opera header:
User-Agent: Opera/9.80 (Windows NT 5.1; U; en) Presto/2.7.62 Version/11.00
Host: showip.net
Accept: text/html, application/xml;q=0.9, application/xhtml+xml, image/png, image/jpeg, image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, */*;q=0.1
Accept-Language: sl-SI,sl;q=0.9,en;q=0.8
Accept-Charset: iso-8859-1, utf-8, utf-16, *;q=0.1
Accept-Encoding: deflate, gzip, x-gzip, identity, *;q=0
Cookie: __utmz=153422714.1297338470.3.3.utmcsr=google|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=show%20ip; __utma=153422714.588881547.1297333889.1297334004.1297338470.3; __utmc=153422714; __utmb=153422714.1.10.1297338470
Cookie2: $Version=1
Connection: Keep-Alive, TE
Te: deflate, gzip, chunked, identity, trailers


You see the difference!  Just take a look at all the cryptic information from the opera header.  Now that is what you leave on every site you visit.  If any one cares to look at it what do you think looks better.  We spend all this time to make our homes, outfits, cars,...look neat and clean but how we appear at least to the administrators of our favorite sites no one seems to care.

8.7 on the richter scale is a catastrophe but apparently for a web browser it is a good thing.  I used the https://panopticlick.eff.org/index.php site to help me determine that.  8.7 bits of information is all that my firefox web browser provides to a site as opposed to opera which has not been configured and it gives out the max number, "of at least 20.44."

Any way if you want your firefox to behave as I have shown above and to provide as little information as possible then you need to do three things.  You need to disable javascript and cookies.  To change the user agent you need to type in the url bar about:config then create a new string and in it type "general.useragent.override" with out the quotes and you are done.

Goodbye Ubuntu!

Thursday, October 28, 2010
I have first encountered Ubuntu with version 6.06.1.  I knew almost nothing about linux back then and I just managed to burn to a CD this and another linux distro to install on my computer and use it for my desktop.  I installed it previouslly in a virtual environment to see what it was like.  So after some testing I felt I was ready to install it and use it for every thing that I need to for my daily work which was mostly surfing the net.  It was only then I really got the feel for linux and it was in fact that version that helped me in large part shift from windows and on to linux.

I really liked Ubuntu 6.06.1 because it started up so fast.  From the minute that I turned on the computer and clicked the fireforx icon I do not think that more then 10 seconds elapsed.  That really motivated me to continue using it because on windows I experienced quite the opposite.  In fact some times I felt like I had to waite for a minute for things to settle after loging in.  Windows are unstable and they like to crash especialy because I like to push my equipment to the limits and windows just was not working for me any more.  

Any way over the years I used other Ubuntu versions.  With 7.04 I realized that it was not as fast as the previous version was but any way it was good and I continu using it.  After that I had a lenghty period where I did not use ubuntu any more and I tested other linux distributions like Opensuse, Fedora (back then I was called Fedora core), Pardus,...to mention just a few.  Still I continued using Ubuntu especially after I learned about dual booting and since it has a simple GUI installer it was easy to install it along side another linux distro.    

So now I decided to give Ubuntu another try.  Well it was more of a chance decision because I was talking with some one on hotmail and the conversation turned towards ubuntu.  I remembered that the new distribution came out when I checked Distrowatch.  So I visited the site and noticed that it was five days after the release so I figured I might give Ubuntu one last shot and so I downloaded it and burned it to a CD.  In fact I downloaded it for AMD and intel chips because my laptop has AMD and I also wanted to give it a try on my desktop pc.  So the following is basically my diary of how I used Ubuntu 10.10. in the comming days.


1. Day: We have seashore installed by default in ubuntu 10.10 but it is completely useless with out the python nautilus extension crypt-manager.py that allows you to encrypt a folder by right clicking on it.  Crypt-manager.py is now provided with crypt manager but crypt manager can not be installed via repos nor did I locate any download link for it any where on the net.

All day my laptop that I installed Ubuntu on seemed to be under increased load.  The fan was really loud and the programs were opening really slow.  It did not really occure to me until I opened up system monitor and noticed 100% cpu usage and there was nothing in the processes that indicated to me what application it was that was using that much CPU.  So I figured it must be a frozen process so I reboted my machine.  I do not believe that I have ever had any such situation on any of my linux instalations and I have tested many.  It this is how this is going to continue I do not think I am going to last a week with ubuntu 10.10.

I was already thinking that would be pretty much it for the day 1 but I was wrong.  Well I guess one week was in fact a too optimistic view.  This is the second time today that I got a frozen porcess.  The same thing happened.  Well this time one of the cores went all the waz to 100% while the other one was stuck there around half of CPU usage.  I guess from now on it is just about how long I can survive with Ubuntu.  At this very moment I am already looking at possible replacements and I have a few in mind.

2. Day: I was on an IRC today not doing any thing particular on my computer when it suddenly froze.  I was still receiving irc conversations but I could not do any thing on my computer.  When I loged back on the IRC channel some one advised me to press alt next time.  Well I am going to try it and see if that does any thing.

Indeed it happened to me again and I kept pressing alt like crazy.  I guess it does work but the problem on Ubuntu was that it was crashing all the time.

3. Day: So I gave up on Ubuntu.  I still have it on my desktop pc.  I moved those few files I had to my USB key and I installed Archbang on my laptop.  It was not easy because it has a text installer and I had to use gparted to partition my HD but I know my way around linux now that I managed to pull it off any way.  

4. Day: On my Desktop PC I wanted to install FWbuilder.  I needed to portforward some ports.  I have to admit though that I have not really looked into iptables.  This is some thing that I am going to have to do soon because I am going to be using more advanced linux distributions but I preffered using OpenSuse because it has a nice GUI firewall interface in yast where you can easily make any adjustements to your firewall.  

So any way I install FWbuilder via repos.  I run it and the first thing that it says is that it does not work and that the Ubuntu team is working on it.  So after my initial shock and anger at every thing I installed some other GUI firewall and set my portforwarding ports there.  

9. Day: Well I was away from my desktop PC so I did not have a chance to use it and I was using archbang on my laptop.  So it must have been five days from the last time so I am going to make this day 9.    


I am not really sure what they did with 10.10 but it is even worse then Unity that I tested several days ago.  It just seems to me that some one on Ubuntu team has been sleeping.  I spent a while on their IRC channel asking for help and it was not easy getting answers.  They answered the questions they knew the answers but as soon as I started asking about why there was not option for encryption when I right click a folder there was nothing but silence.  I had to ask that over 10 times for some one to finnaly give me a direction to look at...I was basically pulling information out of them.     

I have used Ubuntu over the years to surf the net, test out various software, dual boot,...Now though I have no need for such a distro any more.  I pretty much know what I want in terms of the sofrtware that I want to use or graphical interfaces and I know linux by now well enough that I can use other linux distros to achive my goals.  So I have decided to never use it again.  Not just because ubuntu is a beginner distro and I am now looking towards more advanced linux distributions but even more so because it seems to me that every new release loses a little bit of that magic that I first experienced with 6.06.1.  It has really disapointed me this time so I am calling it quits.  Good bye Ubuntu.  Good bye Ubuntu community.    

My first minimal linux distro-a month with unity

Thursday, September 23, 2010
I installed Unity 2010.1 nicknamed Marrianne with kernel and openbox on my laptop about a month ago. I wanted to test out a minimal linux distro. I kept an eye on distrowatch to see the latest releases and since unity came out at that time I decided to give it a try. I also got tired of using desktop linux distributions like OpenSuse, Ubuntu,...because they install all these stuff on your computer that I never need. For instance I never play any games that come with the majority of those linux distributions.

Unity is based on mandriva and mandriva I used way back when I first started using linux because it is a beginner distro. A while back I installed mandriva powerpack 2009 but I did not really use it. Any way I did not really think that I would come across it in any form again but I guess I was wrong. I never much thought of it. Other then a beginner distro to advice people to use. So I was surprised when a friend mentioned it as a possible distro to use for a work environment. Funny now I am using one based on it.

It was easy to install and it was of course very fast since unity is so small. One of the first things that I noticed after installation was a little popup on the right bottom corner saying that a msec scan was made. I am really into these security programs and I was really excited about that. Any way I checked the file where this was written and this is what was said:

*** Security Check, Sep 07 11:13:46 ***
*** Check type: daily ***
*** Check executed from: /etc/cron.daily/msec ***
Report summary:
Test started: Sep 07 11:13:46
Test finished: Sep 07 11:13:49
Total of users whose home directories have unsafe permissions : 1
Total of open network ports: 10
Total of configured firewall rules: 0
Total local users: 29
Total local group: 29

Detailed report:

Security Warning: these home directory should not be owned by someone else or writable :
user=uuidd(491) : home directory is group writable.

These are the ports listening on your machine :
Active Internet connections (only servers)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address Foreign Address State PID/Program name
tcp 0 0 *:sunrpc *:* LISTEN 2108/rpcbind
tcp 0 0 *:sunrpc *:* LISTEN 2108/rpcbind
udp 0 0 *:sunrpc *:* 2108/rpcbind
udp 0 0 *:5353 *:* 2072/avahi-daemon:
udp 0 0 *:968 *:* 2108/rpcbind
udp 0 0 *:49622 *:* 2072/avahi-daemon:
udp 0 0 *:sunrpc *:* 2108/rpcbind
udp 0 0 *:968 *:* 2108/rpcbind

I may need to fix the permissions for my home directory (may need to check google on how to do that). There are also some open ports but that is all fine as rpcbind is a port that is open on virtualy all linux distros. I may need to install nmap and do a port scan of localhost just to be sure and double check on those ports.

Another great feature that I have noticed about this distro is that you can use it to make your own distribution with it. I did not even know that some thing like that was even possible. I always thought that LFS and suse studio were pretty much the only way to do such a thing so of course I was pretty excited about the idea of making my own distribution. I thought about that for the next week or two.

So I figured that maybe to make my own distribution I would get rid of every thing that appears to come from unity but that turned out to be a lot harder then I thought it would be. The only place where I was sucessfull was with the login screen and the menu bar where unity symbol appeared. Every where else I got mixed results. For instance I changed the boot loader to text only so that the unity logo would not appear but still some where along the text based boot loader it is going to mention unity.

Soon after the instalation though I realized that there were three apparent problems. The USB devices that I pluged in did not seem to work, chaning the wallpaper and I would have to add my self to the sudoers file. The last of course is the simplest to do. Changing the wallpaper was a bit more tricky. I first googled a bit and I found out where the default wallpaper was situated. It is in the /usr/share/gdm/themes/Unity folder so I thought that by replacing it I would in effect change the wallpaper. So I went and did that but nothing happened. So I had no other choice but to seek help on the IRC channel.

Unfortunatelly on there IRC channel they did not have a ready answer on how to change the wallpaper because we had to try out several things before we found the solution. In the process I had to install several things that I did not need like gimp, nitrogen,...It is not a big deal but it was a lousy beggining. I set out to install as few programs as possible and I did not expect to waste half a day on just chaning the wallpaper. Other than that the community seems nice but when they start to talk usually the talk about mandriva and the discussion more or less revolves around issue, problems, and perceptions concerning mandriva and it is hard to jump in and talk. I have here a typical discussion on #unity:

TheMatrix> proyvind: do yhe changes at Mandriva effect you much?
TheMatrix: to be honest, I actually think they'll affect me more in a positive way rather than a negative..
proyvind: well I hope the change will bring some good fortune your way
ashledombos: yo
ashledombos: WDyT aout rda's response to arnaud..?
I kinda think it confirmes the questions I raised earlier in the thread and speculations behind motivations..
proyvind: I think that if the two new parties don't work together it'll be like swimming apart from one another while tied together
of paddling a row boat but in opposite directions
lol :)
devnet: and it's rather obvious who's not interested in working together..
proyvind: shouldn't stop anyone from trying
one bad apple spoils the bunch
devnet: obvious we're trying :)
I think Mandriva the company will fail in the next few years anyway
so it'd be good not to burn bridges
well, mandriva isn't the ones burning bridges..
proyvind: from their perspective they definitely aren't either lol
and mageia isn't really likely to have much success on it's own with it's currently planned organization
people said Unity wouldn't be successful either :)
I see mageia as Unity and Mandriva as PCLinuxOS
I identify with mageia
you don't get 20+ developers leaving 'just because'
devnet: huh, where on earth did you get those numbers?
proyvind: url ?
there are only a few?
last I checked there were a crapton
devnet: do you actually have any knowledge of how many people that were assigned to working on the community distirbution at edge-it?
ashledombos: 'sec
proyvind: I don't need to know, if more than one developer leaves, there is a problem of perception
devnet: I'll answer it for ya
9 former employees
most of the staff working on the distribution has been located at conectiva for quite a while..
ashledombos: http://archives.mandrivalinux.org/cooker/2010-09/msg00515.php
proyvind: oh ok, did not subscribed cooker list
ennael, rtp, dams, boklm, rda, sevalienor, and tv
ashledombos: it's cross-posted to both mageia and unity in addition
tv left to move in with his gf outside of paris a year ago
and of those on your list only ennael was assigned to work on the community distribution
well proyvind, there are almost 200 ppl in their irc channel...I'd say there is plenty of interest to get them off the ground
whereas, perception is, at current moment, that Mandriva is doomed
entering a saturated server market in Europe won't be easy
it's a HUGE uphill battle
and I just don't see Mandriva surviving
I'd be suprised if they pulled it off
I'm not upset with Mandriva at all..nor am I upset with Mageia
I'm worried that development will slow down to a trickle and Unity will suffer because of lack of upstream movement
specifically, desktop movement...which won't be Mandriva's focus
devnet: you do realise that the european market i sn't mandriva's main target at all..?
internsting arnaud's response
proyvind: either way, it's a 3 dog race for Linux servers
proyvind: with a new *nix entry into the market (oracle, solaris, sun)
devnet: sure, but linux servers isn't it's main priority anyways
they stated it would be
devnet: amongst other things
hence why the desktop portion of mandriva was liquidated
it's not liquidated at all
I've read over 5 articles now saying exactly that
then they're totally wrong
that's what's gonna kill mandriva
secrets and perception

Any way the way you go around chaning the desktop wallpaper is by installing lxde from the repos. Now three results are going to show up and I installed all three just to be sure. There are also some other things that you probablly wont need that get installed with it like lxterminal, task manager,...So in PCman file manager under options you can then change the wallpaper. It tooke me quite a while to figure this out with the help of the unity community of course and I am very proud of that.

As for the USB devices not being recognized that did not bother me really until I went for vacation and I needed to use my USB wifi adapter. Now I rely on it because it is much better then the one that comes with the laptop. I pluged it in and every thing to go well but when I tried to connect to a wifi internet it said that it can not connect. I kept restarting the comptuer thinking that some how I could fix this but to no avail. It just was not recognizing my USB device. It was not that I could not connect to the internet because I was inside the cyber caffer and the router was just a few feet away. That is what happens some times with my USB key. I plug it in and it works but then I plug in a wifi USB adapter and it does not recognize the USB adapter and mysteriously it does not see the USB key either.

I forgot to take with me my live CD collection so I could not use the internet for serveral days. In a way that is good because I am always on the net but then again I could not send my moms e-mails telling her what a good meal I have made.

Some times when I shut it down it wont shut down but just hangs there. Then I have to hold the power button for five seconds to shut it down. Of course that is not too good for my laptop and I would like not to practice this in the near future.

Another issue that I seem to be having is that in the upper left corner some times firefox, xchat or some other program gets stuck there for the lack of a better word. I have not experienced some thing like that on any other distro and I was told on irc that it may be an x problem. 

I have been thinking of making my own distro with it but at this moment I have some serious doubts. At least until I figure out a way to fix these issues. The last time I was on their IRC channel they did not seem to be in the mood to deal with my problem but I am going to try again. I have not worked so hard in a while with any distro. For the most part in the past year or two I have been using all these desktop distributions that make every thing simple and you do not have to bang your head against the wall over any thing. I kind of like this feeling after so much time where every thing seemed easy. I really feel like I am sweeting over this one. Besides that it is a small community where you have this impression that you are not just another fish in the sea.

Over all the distro has some great features but in the end I believe that it is too much of a burden for me to continue using it. I was looking forward to making my own distro with the help of it but after all of this I have given up that thought. Besides that there is plenty of other stuff that I would like to use and try out. There is no point for me to continue using this distro.

Asus rocks!

Friday, August 20, 2010
Recently I helped some to chose a laptop for his son.  He told me that his son liked to play games a lot and he wanted to buy a gaming laptop.  Although personaly I do not think that laptops make good gaming platforms.  I played Modern warfare 2 on mine and some missions I could not play because my graphic card is a radeon mobility 2400.  The computer crashed when I tried to play the more resource demanding missions and when I discussed this with some one I got the impression that it might not have been the fault of the graphic card after all but maybe the processor which of course is not much either.  Maybe an exception would be the gaming laptop from Alienware but you have to be rich to buy that.  Any way we buy this laptop from Asus for him.  The kid was quiet most of the time although we were buying it for him.  Mostly me and his dad were talking and discussing.  When I spoted the assus laptop I just kept saying how I think that assus makes the best stuff in computers right now and I kept saying that over and over.  I have and USB wifi adapter from assus and it is absolutelly wicked.  I love the way it looks.  It also functions really well.  I do not mind paying more for asus. 

I knew well in advance that we were going to buy it so I gathered some stuff together to ease the process of installation of various software and stuff like that.  I stuffed it all in a blue bag so when I came home I just picked up the bag and walked into my room with the laptop.  I had before hand of course neatly cleaned that corner of the room where I wanted to work on it.  So I just layed it all there on the table and started unpacking.  I used a switch to connect my laptop and his to the internet.  I wanted to browse the net on my laptop while I was installing various software on his laptop.  This is what I have practiced a while now.  I have many times installed linux distros on my machine and during that time I did not have any thing to do so over time I got my self another computer which I could use during the time I was installing a linux distro on the other one.  I some times play games on one and then when I get tired I surf the net on the other one.  Any way so I set it all up and the fun began. 

I fist created a limited account on it.  That is the one I used.  That is the only way it is safe to use windows in fact any operating system.  Linux by defalut has a limited account and when you want to install some thing on it you give it superuser privilages.  It is something similar on windows 7 now.  Back in the windows xp days you had to log out of your limited account, then log into the adminstrator account and then you could install some thing on it.  At least that is how I started doing things when I figured out how dangerous it was to surf the net with administrator privilages. 

So when I unpacked it and looked at it for the very first time I was really blown away.  It looked so good.  Almost everything looks good when it is brand new but in the black color it really looked wicked.  I mean for some thing that costs 729 euros it is supposed to look good.  I showed it to my family and I said at first that I bought it for my self and then I told them the truth.  I also took it to a cyber caffe and I noticed that the waitress there was herself  amazed at the laptop.  I felt pretty good about that because my old laptop really does not look all that good.  So it was a good few days with it while I was configureing and installing stuff on it.   

Since this was supposed to be a gaming laptop one of the first things that I did was to copy my modern warfare 2 folder to his computer.  I placed it in the lower right corner of his desktop and then I started to play the game.  One of the odd thigs about this game/crack is that you do not have to actually install it on a computer.  There are some programs I know of that do not need any installation on a computer but I never much used them.  I always preffered the programs that you install.  I just hated that feeling that I have to look for that particular folder to run a program as opposed to just running it from the start menu. 

I also looked under the "hood," if you can call it that.  Once I removed the plastic cover I noticed that it would be easy to change the hardrive, the processor and the RAM.  Oh, I have not even mentioned what model it was.  It is a K52JR model.  I needed to know in part because I wanted to look at some videos on the net about it and maybe read some reviews.  I wanted to know if we had bought a good laptop.  I personaly think that we did.  Right now I do not remember any thing in particualr that I read about the reviews but I remember being very interested in any thing any one might say about this model.  So any way I screwed everything back and continued to work on installing stuff on it.

So here is the final pic of the laptop with everything installed.  You can notice the big Kaspersky applet in the upper right corner.  I installed Kaspersky to keep the kid safe from any harm on the net but of course anti-virus solutions even the best can not keep any one safe in my oppinion that is why I do not even bother using them.  That is why I was surprised with the applet thingy.  It looks pretty cool if you ask me and I was also surprised at how Kaspersky automatically scans an USB key when inserted.  That is pretty cool too as I regularly find malware on my usb key when I visit photocopy places.