Some Dropbox tips

February 14, 2011 Leave a comment
Dropbox (from dropbox.com)

File synch and sharing utility. (image from http://www.dropbox.com)

I’ve been using Dropbox for a while now. Dropbox is a service that allows you to synchronize files of the Dropbox folder accross all your devices that have it installed AND the internet. You get 2GB with your free account and 250Mb for every person that joins if you invite them. I have around 4Gb at this point, free.

Its simplicity is what makes it so useful. When you install dropbox on your device (laptop, smartphone, desktop, etc) you will just see a folder called Dropbox (or My Dropbox in Windows). Everything that you “drop” in there, it will synch with the internet and all devices you have. Great huh?

The simple usage is great and the support for different platforms and devices makes it better. I have it on linux, windows and andriod.

If you are on a PC that you cant install dropbox (cafe, office, etc) you can still access your files through the dropbox website.

What I use dropbox for?

  • Small backups. Documents, Some pictures, etc.
  • Sharing pictures. You have a Photos folder. Every folder with pictures in that folder can be shared as an album with others.
  • General sharing. It is possible to share all kinds of files with others and even collaborate on documents with others worldwide.

KeepassX screenshot (picture http://www.keepassx.org)

Password management: Together with KeePassX you can have a centralized password manager.
KeePassX is a free application available for android, linux, windows and mac. It uses an encrypted database to store the passwords. Simply save the database file in dropbox and it will synch accross all your KeePass instances.

Truecrypt screenshot (picture http://www.truecrypt.org)

Encrypted content: Together with truecrypt you can save important files inside a container that will also synch across your devices. Create the container and save it to dropbox. You can now mount the container from all devices where you have dropbox and truecrypt installed. There are some limitations tho:

  • at the moment of writing is that there is no android app for truecrypt.
  • You can not access your encrypted files from the web.
  • Truecrypt needs admin rights to mount the container, e.g. you can’t access those files from a PC where you are not admin. This can be safer since if you encrypt the files you might not want to access those from an unkown PC.

There are other ideas like automating your backups using rsync and cron jobs in linux and task scheduler in windows.

You have any good ones? post them! to get the most out of dropbox.

Android USB tethering and Debian awesomeness

February 11, 2011 6 comments

Today the wireless network of my company was weird. I kept losing signal or simply losing connection. Ive never used my HTC Desire for tethering before but this time I had to.

I had my doubts that it would work out of the box, but it does.

  • Connect your Android device
  • set it to USB Tethering
  • debian will recognize it and connect over usb0.
  • enjoy.

My setup:

Debian 6 sqeeze

HTC Desire with Android 2.2

Thinkpad Edge 13″ (Intel) [Conexant CX20582 (Pebble)] Headphone Problem solved

February 10, 2011 2 comments

I am running  Debian Squeeze on my Thinkpad Edge. One of the problems I was having, was that sound was still coming out of the internal speakers after plugging in my headphones.

Add this line to the end of /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

options snd-hda-intel model="olpc-xo-1_5"

Then reload the module with

# alsa force-reload

That should do the trick!

Debian “Squeeze” on a 64bit machine

February 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Note: Command with $ means as user. # means as root.

Waited a long time for the latest release of Debian. This distribution grew on me and after trying many different this is the one I’ve used the most.

This is the first time tho, that I install any distribution on an amd64 architecture. I was really looking forward to this but unluckily I haven’t had the best experience.

Installation

I used the net installer from Debian. A small ~150Mb ISO image with the core system only. As you select your packages it will download them as needed,  which is really good, since you will only download and install the packages you actually need.

My first issue was that my Thinkpad uses non-free firmware for the WLAN adapter. because of this the installer could not connect over WiFi. I had to connect my Ethernet cable to have connectivity.

With that sorted out I finished the installation. Reboot and everything went ok. Gnome Desktop started.

Now to the real problems

WLAN Adapter

This wasn’t too much of a problem. I just ran:

$lspci
to find out what adapter my laptop has. It showed:
03:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Centrino Wireless-N 100
quick google to see what driver is needed and:
# apt-get install name of driver
in my case was firmware-iwlwifi. Follow this simple instructions to get this done.

If you do an
# ifconfig wlan0 up
and get some error about SCIOCSIFFLAG, just reload the module of your driver or reboot :P.

The Flash and Chrome issue

It turns out that Flash 10.2 “square” supports native 64 bit systems. Sounds great!

I downloaded the 64 bit version of Chrome. The integrated flash version was kinda outdated so I decided to go for the 10.2 (for the native 64 bit support). For some reason I couldn’t find the 64 bit version of flash from the adobe website. I looked everywhere!! I started Google-ing until I found some nice guy that pointed to a 64 bit version of libflashplayer.so. 32 bit versions won’t be found by Chrome.

Find here the plugin I installed.

to install:

$ tar xzvf flashplayer_square_p2_64bit_linux_092710.tar.gz
# mv libflashplayer.so /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

Start Chrome. Should work. In Chrome’s address bar type about:plugins to see what flash plugins is enabled.

With this sorted out there where 3 more issues I wanted to solve right away.

Dropbox

For this one, Download the source, not the .deb since this one is i386.

Unpack the source and go to the folder.

Run:
$./configure
This will show you all dependencies you might be missing.
Use Synaptic to download all these dependencies. If configure is successfull go ahead and
$ make
$ make check (optional)
# make install

Worked for me.

Skype
This one was also tricky. Skype’s support is really poor. I followed the instructions given by a guy in a forum:

Devian says:
April 30, 2009 at 8:01 pm
dont “force” ur debian amd64 to install a 32bit package
What we need to do is get this file http://www.skype.com/go/getskype-linux-static
Now we move the contents of the file to let’s say /opt/Skype
Create a script to launch skype
vi /usr/bin/skype
and put this into the script:

#!/bin/bash
cd /opt/Skype
./skype

then give permissions
chmod +x /usr/bin/skype
Now we need to copy the launcher from skype directory to the apps directoy
cp /opt/Skype/skype.desktop /usr/share/applications/skype.desktop
and modify the file
vi /usr/share/applications/skype.desktop
and change from this

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Skype
Comment=Skype Internet Telephony
Exec=skype
Icon=skype.png
Terminal=0
Type=Application
Encoding=UTF-8
Categories=Network;Application;

to this

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Skype
Comment=Skype Internet Telephony
Exec=skype
Icon=/opt/Skype/icons/SkypeBlue_48x48.png
Terminal=0
Type=Application
Encoding=UTF-8
Categories=Network;Application;

now we need to install some packages
apt-get install ia32-libs ia32-libs-gtk
and thats it u can have skype working
i’ve install skype in my Debian Lenny amd64 it works perfect

It does work great :).

Last but not least… Thunderbird
This one I did on my own. After the previous experiences with the other applications. Still tried to use the i386 available from http://www.mozilla.org with no luck.
So I started browsing their ftp server and came across this. It is called Miramar. I guess it is the name of the project of thunderbird 64 bits.

UPDATE: I am using Ice Dove, Thunderbird’s open source version since Miramar didn’t allow me to install Enigmail. Ice Dove works perfectly.

 

 

I hope i helped a little. I like Debian. But this search for 64bit packages is getting kinda annoying. hope it is just now when i still have some dependencies missing.

1 week living on the Edge (13)

October 30, 2010 1 comment

Yet another review on the Thinkpad Edge 13.

Overview
Unpacking
Box contents
Outside
Connection Slots
Performance
Battery life and Power Management
Price
Conclusio

I’ve been using the Thinkpad Edge 13 for a week now. It has been a great experience. I was looking for a light yet powerful laptop to take with me everywhere I go.

I bought a netbook a while ago but the lack of power was kind of annoying sometimes. These days you want things to be fast and snappy and having to give up performance for mobility was not what I wanted. The netbook is great and it was very cheap since I bought it in Taiwan in one of my trips but other than office and some web-browsing, I couldn’t really do much else.

I needed something that could handle running Virtual Machines and still have tons of browser tabs open.  Where I could edit my documents and also do some programming.

I started looking for a small notebook. A friend of mine suggested the Thinkpad Edge 13 (among others like the Dell Vostro). I went through the specs and found this one:

 



Overview:

 

  • Processor: Intel Core i3 u380 @1,33GHz
  • RAM: 4GB
  • HD: 500GB
  • Intel Graphics integrated (1366×768 max res)
  • Webcam
  • Windows 7 Pro 64bits
  • 6 cell Li-Ion battery
  • 13 inch screen

Pretty much what I had in mind. I thought about having independent Graphics chip but I do my gaming on my desktop 🙂

It also does not have a DVD drive, but hey, when was the last time you put a disk on your laptop?

 



Unpacking:

 

When I got the box I was surprised how light it was. I liked also the fact that you don’t get any junk like prospects or other propaganda. Just the warranty and a Quick-start guide.


Box contents:

  • The laptop: I bought it thinking I would get the glossy one. But I got the nice matte version.
  • Battery
  • Charger: Is very small and light. Like my Netbook’s. This is very important since I always carry the charger with me as well.
  • Warranty info

 



Outside:

 


Very nice looking. It looks quite elegant yet robust.

  • The build quality is great.
  • The keyboard feels awesome.
  • The touch-pad and the buttons fell very good too.

 



Connection slots:

 

  • 3x USB (1x powered)
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • Card-reader
  • eSATA
  • Speaker/mic combo socket
  • Power

 



Performance:

 

I didn’t do any performance tests or anything. I will describe only how it felt while in normal (normal for me) use.

It feels like I expected. Boots fast, pretty snappy when working and it doesn’t slow down when having a lot of things open. I had 2 VMs working (1 linux and 1 winxp, 1gb RAM assigned to each one) and they where running some tasks. In the winxp i was running log2timeline and in the Ubuntu VM I was testing some other tools (I’m experimenting a little with forensic tools). In the host PC (Win7 Pro) I had a bunch of tabs open (like I usually do), pdf’s and other docs and felt absolutely no hiccups. everything worked pretty smooth. I did set it to High Performance tho (read below)

 



Battery life and power management:

 

The battery is very good. It has 6 cells which gives around 4 hours on the default settings and normal workload (docs and browsing). It is a lot since the default power settings the performance and brightness of the screen are set above average (around 70%).

It recharges pretty fast too. It takes little over an hour to get to 98% and 1 more to get to 100%.

It offers a lot of customization options for power settings.

 



Price

 

At the time of writing (30th October2010) I paid 800€. It is the most expensive version of the Thinkpad Edge 13. It is worth it.

 



Conclusio

 

It does everything I hoped it would do. It lets me run my VMs without crippling the host. I can work without issue and very fast.

13 inch lets me stay mobile too and I still get a nice 1366×768 resolution (widescreen). I don’t miss my 15″ laptop one bit.

1 week is not a lot of time. But I felt like writing this now. I was impressed by the build quality. The keyboard and the nice screen. It looks good, elegant and robust.

Performance is quite good and for the price I think excellent.

If you can’t afford a more expensive x300 or any other Thinkpad, this is good choice.

Centi!

Back on Facebook… ugh.

September 23, 2010 2 comments
U think u are not but are... trapped.

U think u are not but are... trapped.

I couldn’t make it.
On May 31st: The Quit Facebook Day arrived and around 38.000 people registered to let the world know they were quitting facebook.
With the Diaspora project launching, people saw a ray of hope. The possibility to gain back control over your personal information and finally be free!
I was one of those. After a lot of thinking I weighted all pros and cons of having facebook and decided to quit.
After a couple of months (4 to be exact) with my facebook account deactivated I wanted to check if my information was deleted. Rumor says that they will delete your account after a period of time if deactivated.
I logged in and guess what? My account was still there. Just like i left it. All pictures, videos, posts, commments… EVERYTHING was there. It was scary. What other company keeps all that information stored for so long!? usually they clean up the servers and are glad to have all those precious ressources back, but nowadays personal information is the most valuable asset. They wouldn’t want to give that up. So I gave in and decided to get back to the Facebook world.

I started by posting some crap (things that get posted there usually are only crap) and catching up with all my “friends” that are not friends enough to catch up over email or a phone call.

But what really made me realize how hard is it going to be, for any other social network to match or even try to get close to Facebook, is the integration of Facebook with the internet and the support it gets from Mobile devices.

I recently got an HTC Desire. I LOOOVE this phone. But i have to admit the fact that i like it so much is because the Google integration and how it interacts with Facebook which plays also an important role here. I am a heavy Google user. Gmail, gTalk, gMaps, Calendar and everything else. But this phone interacts so nicely with Facebook that if you don’t have Facebook you are missing out some really nice features.

Yet again the question, how much do you really need these features. But they are for sure, nice to have.

Bottom line: Facebook took over the world and there is little we can do to stop it. Its fun tho. I am enjoying FB again.

Centi

Luis Suarez: A hero in Sky-blue

July 5, 2010 1 comment

Hero: (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hero)

a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal

Luis Suarez

The Hero in Sky-blue. Image Reuters

I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I am convinced that Luis Suarez IS a hero. I am not from Uruguay nor against Ghana. Both teams showed on the field what it means to defend the colors of your country. For them it is clear that wearing a uniform in the World Cup is a lot more than just showing yourself and know that they are representing millions of people when they jump in the pitch.

After 120 mins titanic battle, both teams had only 1 thing in mind: coming through. No matter what no matter the cost.

I am sure you know what happened: 120th minute. Ghana heads the ball on target, Luis Suarez is on the goal line and reacts… stops the ball with both hands! Following the rules he gets to see the red card and a Penalty kick is awarded to Ghana. In tears, Suarez leaves the field but suddenly the unthinkable: Gyan shoots high and Uruguay has another chance in the penalty shoot-out!

The rules are clear and in my opinion fair. Red card and penalty. The fact that Gyan couldn’t handle the pressure is not Suarez’ fault. He did what any warrior (all 22 players turned into warriors for me) would have done in the situation. He sacrificed himself for his team, his country, his colors.

Now Uruguay will face Holland without his fallen Hero but with the spirit of millions pushing them knowing that they made history and they can keep dreaming.

This could be a lesson for Argentinians and Brazilians. For me, they played too relaxed.. didn’t fight as Paraguayans and Uruguayans did. They did not show the “Garra” that other south american nations showed. Maybe they did give everything they had… If this was the case, they had only very little to offer. Being the best player (best technique and physique) is nothing without the heart.

Luis Suarez: A Hero in Sky-blue.

Centi.