I helped an elderly friend set up his new PC yesterday. His
previous machine, over a decade old, was running Windows XP. I had set
up an Ubuntu dual-boot a few years back, and he liked playing the games.
But then the Linux boot stopped working--there was a message to the
effect “hd0 out of disk”, which sounded like a GRUB problem (“hd0”
being a GRUB disk name, not a Linux disk name). I booted up
SystemRescueCD, and found that disk space was ample. I did an fsck on
the Linux volume, and found no filesystem problems. I ran a badblocks
scan, and it reported several bad sectors, though oddly they only seemed
to be in the Windows partition (if I interpreted the numbers
Naturally I searched online, but the hits I found for that error
message didn’t seem very helpful. Reinstalling GRUB didn’t help, so I
concluded there were likely other hardware problems, so time for a new
He got an entry-level dual-core AMD box from PBTech--their own house
build, in a CoolerMaster case--for well under a grand. Nothing fancy,
but good enough for his needs--mainly Web browsing, e-mail, a little
bit of word processing, and those games.
The PBTech box came without an OS. He could have got Windows 10 for it,
but considering he would be facing a learning curve coming from XP
regardless, I suggested going 100% Linux for all his daily needs, to
see if that would work. He could always spend the $160-odd extra on
Windows later if need be.
So I set it up with Linux Mint, since that seems to be everybody’s
favourite :). He was already using Firefox on Windows, so moving all his
Web bookmarks across was easy. The Mint install put an icon for
Thunderbird on the desktop by default, so I decided to try that for
e-mail. Getting his address book across from Outlook Express was
fairly straightforward, once I figured out how to map the exported CSV
field names correctly. The mail messages were slightly more fiddly, but
I found this extension
which directly loads Microsoft’s .dbx files, and that seemed to work OK.
Then he wanted to play CDs. When we put in an audio CD, it came up with
options to run Banshee (media player) or Brasero (disc burner). The
Banshee media player wouldn’t play the CD directly, it insisted on
ripping it to the hard drive first. This was not really what he wanted.
I had a look round, and found KsCD, which will indeed play audio CDs
without trying to rip them to audio files first. As far as I know, this
is the only GUI Linux app that can do so.
So, day 1 ended on a reasonably successful note. He was already
noticing how much faster the new machine was. So we’ll see how it goes
'Intel is discontinuing its Galileo, Joule, and Edison lineups of
development boards. The chip-maker quietly made the announcement last
week. From company's announcement:
Intel Corporation will discontinue manufacturing and selling all skus
of the Intel Galileo development board. Shipment of all Intel Galileo
product skus ordered before the last order date will continue to be
available from Intel until December 16, 2017. [...] Intel will
discontinue manufacturing and selling all skus of the Intel Joule
Compute Modules and Developer Kits (known as Intel 500 Series compute
modules in People's Republic of China). Shipment of all Intel Joule
products skus ordered before the last order date will continue to be
available from Intel until December 16, 2017. Last time orders (LTO)
for any Intel Joule products must be placed with Intel by September
16, 2017. [...] Intel will discontinue manufacturing and selling all
skus of the Intel Edison compute modules and developer kits. Shipment
of all Intel Edison product skus ordered before the last order date
will continue to be available from Intel until December 16, 2017. Last
time orders (LTO) for any Intel Edison products must be placed with
Intel by September 16, 2017. All orders placed with Intel for Intel
Edison products are non-cancelable and non-returnable after September
The company hasn't shared any explanation for why it is discontinuing
the aforementioned development boards. Intel launched the Galileo, an
Arduino-compatible mini computer in 2013, the Edison in 2014, and the
Joule last year. The company touted the Joule as its "most powerful
dev kit." You can find the announcement posts here.'
-- source: https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/17/06/19/1720201
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 858-5174
Unfortunately, I haven't had any inspirations as to topics for the
upcoming meeting on June 26th. Any ideas or suggestions? Any cool
software or distro that you'd like to demo?
Personally, I've never seen an installation and day-to-day usage of
Arch Linux (adding/removing applications, configuring services,
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 858-5174
Debian 9 "Stretch" has been released...
After 26 months of development the Debian project is proud to present
its new stable version 9 (code name Stretch), which will be supported
for the next 5 years thanks to the combined work of the Debian
Security team and of the Debian Long Term Support team.
Debian 9 is dedicated to the project's founder Ian Murdock, who passed
away on 28 December 2015.
This is new news to me, however it looks like its been known about for years.
According to this<http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170607-why-printers-add-secret-tracking...> BBC technology article, colour laser printers add yellow dots to each page printed that identify the date and time it was printed and the printers serial number.
"At that point, experts began taking a closer look at the document, now publicly available on the web. They discovered something else of interest: yellow dots in a roughly rectangular pattern repeated throughout the page. They were barely visible to the naked eye, but formed a coded design. After some quick analysis, they seemed to reveal the exact date and time that the pages in question were printed: 06:20 on 9 May, 2017 – at least, this is likely to be the time on the printer’s internal clock at that moment. The dots also encode a serial number for the printer."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) maintained a
List of Printers Which Do or Do Not Display Tracking Dots<https://www.eff.org/pages/list-printers-which-do-or-do-not-display-tracki...>
...but "This list is no longer being updated."
"(Added 2015) Some of the documents that we previously received through FOIA suggested that all major manufacturers of color laser printers entered a secret agreement with governments to ensure that the output of those printers is forensically traceable. Although we still don't know if this is correct, or how subsequent generations of forensic tracking technologies might work, it is probably safest to assume that all modern color laser printers do include some form of tracking information that associates documents with the printer's serial number. (If any manufacturer wishes to go on record with a statement to the contrary, we'll be happy to publish that here.)
(Added 2017) REMINDER: IT APPEARS LIKELY THAT ALL RECENT COMMERCIAL COLOR LASER PRINTERS PRINT SOME KIND OF FORENSIC TRACKING CODES, NOT NECESSARILY USING YELLOW DOTS. THIS IS TRUE WHETHER OR NOT THOSE CODES ARE VISIBLE TO THE EYE AND WHETHER OR NOT THE PRINTER MODELS ARE LISTED HERE. THIS ALSO INCLUDES THE PRINTERS THAT ARE LISTED HERE AS NOT PRODUCING YELLOW DOTS."
The Wi-Fi Alliance has issued its “Home Design Standard”, a set of
recommendations that it hopes will see new homes outfitted properly for
wireless networking from the beginning
Some of the reader comments suggest that UK builders at least, seem to
have no clue. But surely even builders’ families must appreciate the
value of wi-fi in their own homes nowadays...