Ivor O’Connor

August 31, 2013

Best Login Technique?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 12:15 pm

I keep coming across terms like “OpenID”, “SAML”, “OAuth”, and “Persona“. I like the idea of a one click login these specifications provide.

Currently the OAuth seems to be the 800lb gorilla in the room. It’s allowing you to login with your facebook or google accounts. However it appears quite evil for two reasons. The first is that many sites require access to your address book and everything else about you. Including age, sex, address, and probably what you had for dinner last night. I have resurrected my empty facebook account to deal with this.  They are welcome to send as much as they want to the empty address and friends list there. And if I had put my real age and address there I’d be surprised since I have never ever trusted facebook. The second problem with OAuth is the specifications are not well specified. So to get it to work you pretty much have to pay for maintained libraries that are constantly being reworked to handle the poorly specified standards. All-in-all I’d say OAuth is purely evil along with facebook and google.

OpenID and Saml appear to be old and no longer contenders. However the newest on the block Persona looks great. They go out of their way to make it easy to use. So no expensive libraries. Furthermore there is no exchange of your social security number, bank account numbers, address book, or all of those other details OAuth tries to supply.

Persona looks good but after I implement it I may not be so pleased.


August 25, 2013

How to install KDE, Mate, Cinnamon, and XFCE all on Mint.

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 2:49 pm

Steps needed for when I next need to do this. (Use defaults when prompted.)

  1. sudo apt-get install xfce4
  2. sudo apt-get install cinnamon
  3. sudo apt-get install kde-full

Or even better:

  1. time sudo apt-get install xfce4 cinnamon mate-core mate-desktop-environment kde-full

time sudo apt-get install xfce4 cinnamon mate-core mate-desktop-environment kde-full
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
cinnamon is already the newest version.
mate-core is already the newest version.
mate-desktop-environment is already the newest version.
kde-full is already the newest version.
xfce4 is already the newest version.
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 17 not upgraded.

real    0m0.513s
user    0m0.484s
sys    0m0.016s

August 24, 2013

Optimal Linux Reboot

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 11:43 pm

I’ve been having problems with Linux Mint 15. Today I figured out a way to stop the nonsense. Once and for all. Forevermore.


I first downloaded every Linux ISO I thought I might want to try. Starting with Linux Mint 15 64 bit Mate, Cinnamon, KDE, and XFCE. I downloaded about 9 ISOs. Then I got out YUMI and made a USB thumb drive containing 10 different Linux flavors I could boot into. Then I tried the various distros to see which would give me trouble with my sound, graphics, wireless settings, etc.. Some distros worked better than others.

I was happiest with Linux Mint 15 but not all the versions worked right. So I then got the idea of installing all four desktops on one installation. That is XFCE, KDE, Mint, and Mate. So now when I boot up I can choose the desktop based on what I need or want to do.

I have been using XFCE almost exclusively for a long time. KDE though is so totally different it gives a new feeling to life on the computer. Like I am living 100 years in the future. It’s a dimension and time in space I can visit whenever I get bored. Currently though I’m using Mate to write this. I kind of like Mate and plan on using it for a while. Maybe I’ll switch from XFCE to Mate eventually. Too early to tell though.

YUMI to figure out the best Linux distros out there and then installing all the desktops on the distro is the optimal way to find the best Linux to boot into. I’ll use this technique to keep fresh.

August 13, 2013

Atheists smarter than religious believers – study

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 9:22 pm

The article http://rt.com/news/atheists-more-intelligent-religious-433/ at RT seem rather circular in logic. Here is their definition of “intelligence”:

The paper defines intelligence as the capacity for analytical thought, problem solving and the understanding of complex ideas. In this way, it assumes that subscribing to a set of religious ideas not grounded in science and reason would repulse an individual with above average intelligence.



August 12, 2013

Hyperloop Details

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 9:19 pm

I haven’t seen reference to this on the official sites or published anywhere else. Check but Elon Musk’s 57 page PDF at http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/hyperloop_alpha-20130812.pdf before it is announced!

August 11, 2013

No Speech Recognition Software?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 10:16 pm

Why are there no utilities to take a sound file and convert it to text. WTF!

The command “cat” should be modified to work on sound files. Then you would issue a command like:

cat somePodcast.ogg | s2t > somePodcast.txt

There should be time stamps in the somePodcast.txt too. Maybe by default every 10 seconds.

It’s hard to believe this has not yet been done.

August 8, 2013

Tutorial / Example VI Using SSH To Edit Remote Hosts

Filed under: howto, IDE, Linux, vi, vim — ioconnor @ 1:28 pm

Your local vi (gVim/Vim) with many of the settings you have painfully setup can be used to edit files on remote hosts. So you can keep your cool colors, most of your key bindings, and most of your tools. I say “most” because obviously your local copy does not have the same environment as the remote copy. If you try to hit the compile key it may not do what you expect. Same is true for your tags file.

:e scp://myusername@myserver/mydirectory/myfile

I have a list of files I routinely edit. So I edit that list of files putting that command on a line and then execute it from that line. Works wonderfully.  I do that by pressing ** over the line in question and having “:map ** “zyy:@z” that line in the equivalent of the ~.vimrc file.


It’s amazing how saving a few keystrokes makes things run so much more smoothly.

August 4, 2013

Triple AAA Blues

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 10:54 pm

I got a flat tire today. I’ve never had to use my spare tire before. Didn’t even know if there was a spare tire. There was. A little donut. Couldn’t get the jack out though. It seems welded in place. (Probably a trick to it but oh well.) So I call triple AAA.

I do not carry my triple AAA card with me. I figure they have me in their records. They did not! Not via name. Not via address. Not via car. Not via drivers license. Not via phone number. The guy tells me to talk with his supervisor and then puts me through the voice mails system which tells me I must wait until Monday and hangs up.

I try it again. I get the same results with a different person. They can’t even look me up through my insurance number.  (I DO carry my insurance card in case I get pulled over.) Triple AAA apparently does not cross reference the insurance number to the membership number. (Unless it is to harass me about having to discontinue my insurance unless I renew my membership, then they somehow cross reference. A less cynical person might be outraged about Triple AAA but I’ve long since crossed that cynical line.) However while looking through my emergency packet to hand to the police when I get pulled over I find a photocopy of a very old expired photocopy of a membership card. Right before she blows me off. She politely looks that up and and tells me I am in the system after all. Apparently they had my name spelled with one character off and that is enough to deny me service. (I then asked her to go back and tell me what is on record for my address, my drivers license, my phone number, etc., and all was correct. So I asked why did she and the other person asked for all that if they were not going to use it…? I suspect they like to see people stranded on the side of the road squirm as they deny everything.) As I was about to pass my phone to the Triple AAA truck that happened to be beside me taking care of another person they hung up…

This Triple AAA truck in the same parking lot had been waiting for me. When Triple AAA disconnected me he said sorry he can’t wait any longer and had to leave. Furthermore he was sorry he could not call them himself. Apparently Triple AAA made that illegal recently. Triple AAA found it too expensive if they made their service accessible. So you can not flag down a Triple AAA truck and get service. If you have no phone you might as well not be paying for Triple AAA service. Again I’m not shocked. Insurance companies and banks always have the tallest most extravagant buildings in every city throughout the world. They didn’t get them by being honest.

The third call is wonderful. They know who I am before I start talking. I give them my address. They say a Triple AAA truck will be there in 30 minutes. The Triple AAA truck got there in about 20 minutes. Unfortunately he is missing the adapter to his air hose and must wait for another truck before he can fill my donut tire! Really! Seriously!! I waited a few minutes to give him time to possibly get his stuff together and find it. But when he comes over to talk I hand him an adapter. (I had bought a bunch of fittings for my new air compressor and still had them in the car.)

I now know the secret of getting the tire jack out. I now also have a flat fixer and a battery powered tire pump in with the donut. First and foremost though I am putting an automatic quarterly reminder in my calendar to call Triple AAA to make sure they can find my records. I will also put copies of the membership card in my emergency kit and my spare tire compartment.

Does Triple AAA go through their membership records and change your data on purpose so the agents can not find your records? Or are the agents trained not to find customer records unless they have their card number? Either way Triple AAA needs auditing. On an ongoing basis with huge penalties paid to watch dog institutes.


Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 2:57 am

BittorrentSync is a wonderful idea but like everything has peculiarites that must be worked around. Here is what I have noticed and my work arounds.

1) Windows does not know how to handle the more complicated file and directory names seen on linux. So file names get “cleansed” and quite a bit does not get syncd properly. Try not to sync pure linux with windows. Instead you need three directories or more. One for windows only stuff. A second for files that can be used on both. A third for files only meant for linux. This configuration works nicely.

2) Excessive CPU utilization. BittorrentSync probably needs to be reworked to scale well. (I’m assuming it works fine with little CPU utilization with only a few files.) With hundreds of thousands of files and 100s of GBs of space the CPU utilization is always somewhere between 30 to 100% on every computer connected to the sync. My solution is keep BittorrentSync turned off most of the time.

These problems will probably be fixed. They are constantly coming out with new releases. It is a good idea and everybody should give it a try. It is a wonderful addition, perhaps replacement, to dropbox.

Optimal Hard Disk Layout?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ioconnor @ 2:38 am

With hard disk space so cheap every OS can be put on a disk. So on this computer I’ve installed windows 7. Then mint 15 xfce and 14 xfce. Then a shared partition where these OSs can see each other’s data.

Originally I was going to have W7 & M15 but Mint 15 has problems. For instance USB headsets do not work. Everything, including USB headsets, work automatically with Mint 13 and 14. Mint 15 will probably be fixed in the next few months. So by keeping the OS installed I’ll know when things improve.

Here is where YUMI comes in. With YUMI it’s possible to install countless distros. Simply put the distros on the thumb drive and then choose which one you want to install on each computer. Or multiple ones on one computer like I’ve done.

The best way to move forward in linux land is to never write over your existing OS by upgrading it or installing the new version over it. Instead add the new OS version to the thumb drive, make a new partition of 20GBs on the hard disk, and install the new version from the thumb drive. Life is good.

Why don’t people come out and say this should be a standard way of laying out your hard disk and upgrading OSs?

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