R2-D2 is not dumb. But my phone is. “[It] talks in maths. [It] buzzes like a fridge. [It's] like a detuned radio.”1
My phone has a communication problem. It beeps and boops, and sometimes screams to let me know that something is going on, but something is missing there. It’s all a bunch of noise. What exactly are you telling me, phone? Yes, there are some custom notifications to a certain degree, but normally they under the rules of a 3rd party. How do I know the difference between an emergency, an update, or an unimportant piece of information without constantly having to look at my phone? The answer is NOT a watch. In that case, maybe my phone shouldn’t have notifications at all!
Is it possible to tell me who is contacting, by what means, the type of information, and deliver the message at an appropriate time and in an appropriate fashion?
Is it possible to communicate with my digital, social, and spacial environments and tell my when my ship’s hyperdrive has been deactivated BEFORE I attempt to make the jump to lightspeed?
A *smart* phone could do that.
Dumb phone, you can beep and boop all you want, but you’re not the phone I’m looking for. Into the garbage chute!
 Radio Head – Karma Police
Last weekend the german Ubucon took place in the town of Katlenburg-Lindau. It was the 8th Ubucon in Germany and it was the third time that I attented an Ubucon as a visitor and as a speaker.Preparation
It was the second time that I participated in the organisation of the Ubucon. Last year I was part of the organisation team for the event in Heidelberg. This time the organisation was rather „silent“. In my opinion it was sometimes too silent on the mailing list. The town where the event took place was rather small, therefore there were fewer speakers and also fewer visitors compared to the last two years. First I didn't expect that the event would be great, but luckily I was wrong!The event Friday
The first day of the event was friday. All visitors and speakers got a name plate with their full name and their nickname at the front desk. Last year, my name was actually too long. This time only one character was missing. Atleast I got used to mistakes in my name. :-)
The opening keynote was hold by Torsten Franz who was also the head of the organisation team. After this, he was talking about „10 years Ubuntu, 10 years Community“. Later a part of the visitors went to the first Social-Event which took place at a castle next to the school. Personally I didn't go to this event.Saturday
The second day started at 10 o'clock in the morning. It was the first time that I did a workshop, which also started on that time. I talked about „Git for Beginners“. At the beginning we had a few issues with the Wifi. This also affected my workshop, because it took a rather long time for the participants to download and install git. Therefore, I changed a few things of my workshop, so afterwards the participants didn't need a working internet connection. I planned about 3 hours, but we finished after about 2,5h.
On the rest of the day, I didn't attend any talks. I rather talked to all the other nice people :-). At the evening we had two Social-Events. A big part went to „Theater der Nacht“ („Theatre of the night“). The other smaller part stayed at the school, where two persons played Live-Music. The Live-Music was quiet good, but all the other people who went to the Theatre said, that it was really great. It seems that I missed something. Bernhard took a few really nice photos in there.Sunday
On Sunday I only attended to talks. The first one was about LVM, the other one about systemd. Both talks were hold by Stefan J. Betz. and they were really informative and also a bit funny.
At the afternoon the Ubucon ended. We had really many people who helped to clean up and pack everything. Therefore, many people could leave earlier than expected.The location
The location was great! I didn't expect that a primary school was a good place for a Ubucon, but it is! The technical infrastructure was really good. The school had several „Smartboards“ with projectors. At the entrance area there was a big hall, where you can sit and talk if you're not in hearing a talk. In this hall there were several computers with different Linux-Distributions and Desktop-Environments.
It was the first time that we had a Gaming-Lounge. There were two rooms which contained four Ubuntu-PCs with large TVs and also two Table football. The idea was great and also the rooms were nice. There were many people who played games there. I hope that we will have a similar Gaming-Lounge on future Ubucons.
All speakers got a nice gift-bag from the local organisation team. This bag mainly contained several items of the region. In my bag there were a few sausages, wine, beer and a sauce. Personally I don't eat and drink that stuff, but it was a really good idea and gesture!
On all our Ubucons, the entrance fee of 10€ includes the money for food and drinks. On the last few years we had only two or three different types of bread roll. This time we also had bread rolls, but we also had Bockwurst and different types of soups. All of them were really tasty and everybody had a bigger choice to eat something which they like.Conclusion
This years Ubucon was great! Compared to last years Ubucon we had a smaller amount of attendees but this time the organisation team in Katlenburg was really good. They had different really good ideas, like the Gaming-Lounge and the gift-bag for all speakers.
I simply hope that next years Ubucon will as good as this years Ubucon. The place is not fixed yet, we are going to search for another place for next years Ubucon. By shifting the place of the Ubucon every year, all attendees will see different cities and you can also meet different new nice people. The latter reason is my main reason why I attend and help to organize the Ubucon.
If you're looking for a few nice photos of this years Ubucon, have a look here. Bernhard Hanakam took some really good photos.
I’m still buzzing from this morning. No, it’s not because of the “crystal meth”1; nor is it because of the amazing cold brew coffee2 that’s sitting in my fridge. I’m on a mental high from listening to a great mind. This morning I went to see Cory Doctorow at the Vancouver Writer’s Fest, and I’m a better person because of it.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t initially too keen on attending the Writer’s Fest, but I said to myself, “hey, this is Cory Doctorow.”
In fact, I’m not really that into books and reading much3… but this is Cory Doctorow.
And, I’m really not that entertained by copyright talk… but, hey, this is Cory Doctorow.
If it wasn’t obvious already, I’m a pretty big fan of Cory Doctorow. He’s kind of an Alchemist of the Internet Age, except that he’s not afraid to share his knowledge. I had followed him for a while on boingboing, and I was inspired enough to read Little Brother. (Before doing so, I thought I should read George Orwell’s 1984, and so I did … for the first time. Yes, I’m not very well-read… yet). Little Brother was so impressive that I continued to buy the audiobook of Homeland. I didn’t have to pay for it, but I chose to because I valued the author and his work, which completely supports Doctorow’s Laws for the Internet Age.
At the Vancouver Writer’s Fest, Cory Doctorow gave an overview of his new book, by eloquently summarizing three laws that he had come up with for the Internet Age. It was followed by a discussion on some of the values discussed in his writing. When asked about his views on “free and open source software,” Cory was quite excited to share Ubuntu with the crowd
The entire discussion was probably one of the best overviews of Internet freedom that I have ever heard, and having such a master-of-language deliver the message made it all the better. I was educated, entertained, and encouraged to read and write more freely. You might say that I have turned over a new page with regards to information.
If you get a chance to see Cory Doctorow during his current tour, then by all means do so, because, hey, it’s Cory Doctorow!
 Those who attended the event will get the inside joke.
 I learned about this from Cory Doctorow via Little Brother.
 Irlen Syndrome
The publicity around these programs and the strength of the Google and Debian brands attracted a range of female candidates, many of whom were shortlisted by mentors after passing their coding tests and satisfying us that they had the capability to complete a project successfully. As there are only a limited number of places for GSoC and limited funding for OPW, only a subset of these capable candidates were actually selected. The second round of OPW, for example, was only able to select two women.Google to the rescue
Many of the women applying for the second round of OPW in 2013 were also students eligible for GSoC 2014. Debian was lucky to have over twenty places funded for GSoC 2014 and those women who had started preparing project plans for OPW and getting to know the Debian community were in a strong position to be considered for GSoC.
Chandrika Parimoo, who applied to Debian for the first round of OPW in 2013, was selected by the Ganglia project for one of five GSoC slots. Chandrika made contributions to PyNag and the ganglia-nagios-bridge.
Juliana Louback, who applied to Debian during the second round of OPW in 2013, was selected for one of Debian's GSoC 2014 slots working on the Debian WebRTC portal. The portal is built using JSCommunicator, a generic HTML5 softphone designed to be integrated in other web sites, portal frameworks and CMS systems.
Juliana has been particularly enthusiastic with her work and after completing the core requirements of her project, I suggested she explore just what is involved in embedding JSCommunicator into another open source application. By co-incidence, the xTuple development team had decided to dedicate the month of August to open source engagement, running a program called haxTuple. Juliana had originally applied to OPW with an interest in financial software and so this appeared to be a great opportunity for her to broaden her experience and engagement with the open source community.
Despite having no prior experience with ERP/CRM software, Juliana set about developing a plugin/extension for the new xTuple web frontend. She has published the extension in Github and written a detailed blog about her experience with the xTuple extension API.Participation in DebConf14
Juliana attended DebConf14 in Portland and gave a presentation of her work on the Debian RTC portal. Many more people were able to try the portal for the first time thanks to her participation in DebConf. The video of the GSoC students at DebConf14 is available here.Continuing with open source beyond GSoC
Although GSoC finished in August, xTuple invited Juliana and I to attend their annual xTupleCon in Norfolk, Virginia. Google went the extra mile and helped Juliana to get there and she gave a live demonstration of the xTuple extension she had created. This effort has simultaneously raised the profile of Debian, open source and open standards (SIP and WebRTC) in front of a wider audience of professional developers and business users.It started with OPW
The key point to emphasize is that Juliana's work in GSoC was actually made possible by Debian's decision to participate in and promote Outreach Program for Women in 2013.
I've previously attended DebConf myself to help more developers become familiar with free and open RTC technology. I wasn't able to get there this year but thanks to the way GSoC and OPW are expanding our community, Juliana was there to help out.
This Giant Octopus that I’m talking about is GOOGLE. Google has it’s giant arms everywhere in the tech world and it’s mind is only on one thing: PRIVACY INVASION.
Today, I read a post by Oli Warner about Paypal’s app on the android and the permissions that it requires the user to accept when installing or updating (see image on right, credit Oil). Google is the only one that tells the developers that you must allow these permissions when the app is installed. This allows developers to easily take your data, or even a hacker, and use that data and do whatever they want with it. That is a huge risk that people are taking when they don’t read the permissions when they install/update.
I ask to protect from Google’s evil and use CyanogenMod with it’s Privacy Guard or some other app that protects you. Or even better, install F-droid and go Google free. Also, please use Firefox, not Chrome.
There are other evils that Google has but that will be another post for another day.
P.S Read THIS also.
P.S.S.: I want to thank Oli for posting his post. It’s one thing that I was ranted on but never really wrote a post about the issue.
In a previous blog post, I hinted at a recent happy development in my life/career that I would like to share with you today...
Many of you know me from my involvement in building local communities that are passionate about Ubuntu. I've been at this for nearly 7 years now as a volunteer and it's something I'm very passionate about. (Note: Friends and family sometimes use different adjectives.)
Over this time, I've had the privilege to meet and to work with many brilliant people in Vancouver BC, the community-at-large and also in the part of the community that is Canonical. (Yes, it's all community.) I've met rock stars, both literally and figuratively. They've encouraged and inspired me and finally opportunity knocked, and I answered.
I am happy to announce that I am Ubuntu's newest Community Manager.
My focus (at least initially) will be growing a large and thriving community around the architecture that powers the world's fastest computers. Think really big iron. Think Watson. Think chess. But more than that, think solving real-world problems the fastest way possible, with Power!
Ubuntu already has the beginnings of a great story on Power. I am tremendously excited about the potential of the "magic" that is Ubuntu with Juju and MaaS to launch solutions on Power hardware nearly effortlessly. I'm here to help the community that wants to change the world make that happen.
Please join me. If you're a Power advocate, developer, architect, systems administrator, researcher, or anyone who's just interested in Ubuntu on Power, please send me a note and introduce yourself. Let's work together!
randall AT ubuntu DOT com
image by Thom Watson
and modified by me.
This title is kind of a misnomer, as of course, all this goodness is available to Ubuntu 14.04 users, so it’s more of a “Things that happen to line up with” Ubuntu 14.10.
- The OpenStack Charms have been updated for Juno: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UtopicUnicorn/ReleaseNotes/OpenStackCharms
- We now have a bunch of new Hadoop and big data charms, check out the story here.
- You can find them here, in the bigdata-charmers section.
- Juju 1.20.10, too many changes to list, check out the release notes: (you’ll also find it in the stable PPA)
More new items next week, hint hint!
For the last week I’ve been working with 230 other Ubuntu people in Washington, DC. We have sprints like this pretty frequently now and are a great way to collaborate and Get Things Done™ at high velocity.
This is the second sprint where we’ve invited some of the developers who are blazing a trail with our Core Apps project. Not everyone could make it to the sprint, and those who didn’t were certainly missed. These are people who give their own time to work on some of the featured and default apps on the Ubuntu Phone, and perhaps in the future on the converged desktop.
It’s been a busy week with discussion & planning punctuating intense hacking sessions. Once again I’m proud of the patience, professionalism and and hard work done by these guys working on bringing up our core apps project on a phone that hasn’t event shipped a single device yet!
We’ve spent much of the week discussing and resolving design issues, fixing performance bugs, crashers and platform integration issues, as well as the odd game of ‘Cards Against Humanity’ & ‘We Didn’t Playtest This At All’ in the bar afterwards.
Having 10 community developers in the same place as 200+ Canonical people accelerates things tremendously. Being able to go and sit with the SDK team allowed Robert Schroll to express his issues with the tools when developing Beru, the ebook reader. When Filippo Scognamiglio needed help with mouse and touch input, we could grab Florian Boucault and Daniel d’Andrada to provide tips. Having Renato Filho nearby to fix problems in Evolution Data Server allowed Kunal Parmar and Mihir Soni to resolve calendar issues. The list goes on.
All week we’ve been collaborating towards a common goal of high quality, beautiful, performant and stable applications for the phone today, and desktop of the future. It’s been an incredibly fun and productive week, and I’m a little sad to be heading home today. But I’m happy that we’ve had this time together to improve the free software we all care deeply about.
The relationships built up during these sprints will of course endure. We all exchange email addresses and IRC nicknames, so we can continue the conversation once the sprint is over. Development and meetings will continue beyond the sprint, in the virtual world of IRC, hangouts and mailing lists.Tweet
Most of us are aware of the recent protocol flaw vulnerability in SSLv3. Officially designated CVE-2014-3566, it is more commonly referred to as the “POODLE” (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption) vulnerability.
The vulnerability is a result of a flaw in the way that the (now old) SSLv3 protocol behaves and operates. There is a Ubuntu-specific question on the POODLE vulnerability on Ask Ubuntu (link) which answers common questions on it. There is also a more general question on the POODLE vulnerability on the Information Security Stack Exchange site (link) with more general details on the POODLE vulnerability. If you would like more details, you should refer to those sites, or read the OpenSSL Whitepaper on the POODLE vulnerability (link).
As this is a protocol flaw in SSLv3, ALL implementations of SSLv3 are affected, so the only way to truly protect against POODLE is to disable SSLv3 protocol support in your web application, whether it be software you write, or hosted by a web server.Disable SSLv3 in nginx:
Since the recommendation is to no longer use SSLv3, the simplest thing to do is disable SSLv3 for your site. In nginx, this is very simple to achieve.
Typically, one would have SSL enabled on their site with the following protocols line or similar if using the example in the default-shipped configuration files (in latest Debian or the NGINX PPAs, prior to the latest updates that happened in the past week or so):
ssl_protocols SSLv3 TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;
To resolve this issue and disable SSLv3 support, we merely need to use the following instead to use only TLS:
ssl_protocols TLSv1 TLSv1.1 TLSv1.2;
Note that on really old implementations of OpenSSL, you won’t be able to get TLSv1.1 and TLSv1.2, so at the very least you can just have TLSv1 on the ssl_protocols line. You should probably consider updating to a more recent version of OpenSSL, though, because of other risks/issues in OpenSSL.Update OpenSSL to get TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV Support:
More importantly than just disabling SSLv3, you should definitely update your OpenSSL, or whatever SSL implementation you use, to receive support for TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV. There is an attack vector that would make you vulnerable to POODLE by starting a TLS session, but then falling back to SSLv3, and then open you to the POODLE vulnerability. By updating, and then having the use of TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV, you will be protecting yourself from protocol downgrading attacks which would also make you vulnerable to POODLE.Ubuntu Users: OpenSSL:
Fortunately for all users of Ubuntu, the OpenSSL packages were updated to protect against SSL downgrade attacks. This is detailed in “USN-2385-1: OpenSSL vulnerabilities” (link). Simply running sudo apt-get update with the security repositories enabled should get you the OpenSSL update to address this.nginx from the Ubuntu Repositories:
Due to the vulnerability, and Debian already having these changes done, I was able to get in a last-minute update (courtesy of the Ubuntu Security Team and the Ubuntu Release Team), into the nginx package for the Utopic (14.10) release, which happened officially yesterday (October 23, 2014). In Utopic, the nginx package’s default config does NOT have SSLv3 on the ssl_protocols line. All other supported versions of Ubuntu do not have this change (this means that Precise and Trusty are both affected).PPA Users:
Of course, many users of Ubuntu and nginx like the newer features of the latest nginx Stable or Mainline releases. This is why the nginx PPAs exist. Originally maintained by some of the Debian maintainers of the nginx package, I’ve taken primary responsibility of updating the nginx packages, and keeping them in sync (as close as I can) to the Debian nginx packaging.
As of today (October 24, 2014), both the Stable and Mainline PPAs have been updated to be in sync with the latest Debian packaging of the nginx package. This includes the removal of SSLv3 from the default ssl_protocols line.Debian Users: OpenSSL:
Fortunately, like Ubuntu, Debian has also updated the OpenSSL packages to protect against SSL downgrade attacks. This is detailed in “DSA-3053-1 openssl — security update” (link). Like in Ubuntu, this can be fixed by running sudo apt-get update or similar to update your packages.nginx in the Debian Repositories:
If you are on Debian Unstable, you are in luck. The Debian package in Unstable has this change in it already.
If you are on Debian Testing or Debian Stable or Debian Old Stable, you’re unfortunately out of luck, this change isn’t in those versions of the package yet. You can easily do the aforementioned changes, though, and fix your configs to disable SSLv3.
Who actually checks the permissions of applications they're installing? A little while ago a Paypal update stalled because it required extra permissions. This is what happens if an app you have already installed wants more power. I was more than a little surprised with what I found.
It's easy to overlook app permissions. After all, you want something, and if there's no tangible sacrifice attached to it, people don't see the problem.
I do. I run a few servers so security is something that's always in or around my consciousness. The prime tenet of data security is to only give access to things that need it.
The Paypal app can, as it turns out, do a raft of things that include your peripheral hardware. Like magnetic stripe readers, scanning credit cards and ORCing cheques. I've still no idea why it needs SMS/MMS, calendar, location and app inspection access... So answers on a postcard.
That isn't really the point. My first problem comes in that Paypal are normalising applications doing a permission land-grab at install time. Something that was installed to let me do lightweight management of my account (and get notifications) has blossomed (or mutated) into this beast that can now inadvertently --I'm sure-- act as a particularly effective tracker and wiretap.
Now, you can probably trust Paypal; they've only been shown to be moderately evil in the past... But who is to say that will always be true. They could change their Terms and Conditions (if they even need to) and start snooping on you. Or they could get hacked. The Paypal app could be a vehicle for other malicious software to escalate its own privileges. In either case the result is the same. You've installed a bug. It can track you, it can watch you, it can hear you and it can smuggle data off your phone without you ever realising.
Paypal should have considered this before adding more and more and more to the same application. It isn't hard to split functionality out to plugins that have separate permissions, leaving cranky old users like me with their simple access and giving coffee-shop-hopping Alice and Bob super-quick access to all that naff stuff they like to do.
The wider problem --as comments are highlighting-- comes in how developers attribute these permissions and how users grant access to apps in Android. This is all handled when we install or update. We see a screen like that on the right and have three choices: give Paypal a ton more privileges on my device, ignore it indefinitely, or remove it.
If an iOS app wants to use the camera, you're asked when it wants to use the camera. That might seem like Vista's UAC all over again, but that's the call here... And I think Apple have it a million time more right. Android needs to start thinking about permissions in an interactive sense.
And all this does start to highlight one of the broader problems with resource access control like that implemented in Android. Access control is great when it's used for things that applications need to do. The model falls apart when one application gets all its permissions up-front, regardless of your usage. iOS seems to allow for in-app permission requests which mean you won't give it camera permission until it needs it and even then you can refuse it. It's up to the application to handle its lack of authorisation. This is a million times better.
Another aspect to this is that because I've been unwilling to grant Paypal all this access, I've had an old version mouldering away for some time. Avoiding old, unmaintained code is the second tenet of security.
Given I only use the Paypal app to manage my Paypal account, I think I'll uninstall it.
There has been a great discussion following this on Hacker News. Feel free to kick in your two cents there or here.
Today started with some UOS planning which is happening in a couple short weeks. If you haven't yet put it on your calendar, please do so! And plan to not only attend, but consider submitting a session as well. The users track might be just the place for your session. Session topics can be about anything ubuntu related you might want to share or discuss with others.
As the week has progressed I've enjoyed getting to know the core apps developers better. Today we met with all of them to hear feedback on how the projects have been going. Lots of good discussion was had discussing how things like meetings and reviews work, individual project needs and actions that could be taken to improve all of the projects. It's wonderful to have everyone in the same place and able to talk.
After lunch the QA team discussed manual testing and proposed utilizing moztrap for some of the manual testing they are undertaking as part of the CI process for ubuntu touch images. While it is too early to say what implications this will have on manual testing from a community perspective, I'm happy to see the conversation has begun around the current issues facing manual tests. I'm also happy someone else is willing to be a guinea pig for changes like this! For image testing, the qatracker has served us well and will continue to do so, but I hope in the future we can improve the experience. In fact, we have done work in this area recently, and would love to hear from anyone who wants to help improve the qatracker experience. So, whether or not a migration to moztrap occurs at some point, the future looks bright.
The core app developers also got a chance to both get and receive feedback from the SDK and design teams. The deep dives into applications like calendar were very much appreciated and I expect those suggestions will filter into the applications in the near future. As usual the core apps developers came prepared with suggestions and grievances for the SDK team, as well as praises for things done well.
Finally to end the day, we discussed developer mode on the device. Rather than talk about the history of how it was implemented, let me share with you the future. Rather than locking adb access via a password, we'll utilize certificates. The password based solution already will ensure your locked device isn't vulnerable to nefarious humans who might want to connect and steal your data or reflash your phone. However, things like passwordless sudo will be possible with using certificates. In addition if security is the bane of your existence, you will be able to enable developer mode without setting a password at all.
Whew, today was very full!
With each and every cycle, the same question is being asked over and over again:
Should I upgrade to the latest release? or should I keep my system as it is?
Well, luckily with Ubuntu GNOME, you don’t need to worry much or be confused at all. We shall make life super easy for you so relax and read this post
As of this very moment, Ubuntu GNOME has ONLY two main releases:
- Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 (Trusty Tahr) LTS.
- Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn).
The answer to the endless question is very easy, more than what you may think:
- If you would like to run and use the latest packages/software we are offering with our latest version of Ubuntu GNOME – that is 14.10 Utopic Unicorn – AND you do not mind a short term support release (9 months only) THEN go ahead and upgrade – please read this.
- If you would like to run and use a rock solid system with long term support (3 years) AND you care less about using the latest packages/software THEN do not upgrade and stick to Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 LTS.
Tip: a side from upgrading, of course you can always do a fresh new install but please do NOT forget to backup your files – either way. Better safe than sorry.
So, mystery is solved. You need to ask yourself before asking anyone:
What do I need?
Run the latest release? or run the Long Term Supported release? you are the only one who knows the answer to that question and we have tried to make life easier for you. Now, you know what to do with each and every cycle
If truth to be told, Ubuntu/Canonical Team has made life easier. It is either you keep and use the LTS version that is supported for 3 or 5 years (depends on which flavour you are using) OR you use the latest release and keep upgrading (or do fresh new installation) each 6 months.
You need to understand there is NOTHING wrong to keep the old version and there is NOTHING wrong to upgrade to the latest one. This is entirely up to the user to decide based on his/her needs.
By the way, this applies to Ubuntu and all its official flavours. Starting from 14.04 (Trusty Tahr), all Ubuntu and its official flavours have LTS releases. Every two years, there will be an LTS release and every 6 months, there will be a Short Term Support Release that is supported only for 9 months.
Hope this will help many who are confused and keep asking
Thank you for choosing and using Ubuntu GNOME!
Non-Technical Leader of Ubuntu GNOME
Today Bad Voltage celebrates our first birthday. We plan on celebrating it by having someone else blow out our birthday candles while we smash a cake and quietly defecate on ourselves.
For those of you unaware of the show, Bad Voltage is an Open Source, technology, and “other things we find interesting” podcast featuring Stuart Langridge (LugRadio, Shot Of Jaq), Bryan Lunduke (Linux Action Show), Jeremy Garcia (Linux Questions), and myself (LugRadio, Shot Of Jaq). The show takes fun but informed take on various topics, and includes interviews, reviews, competitions, and challenges.
Over the last year we have covered quite the plethora of topics. This has included VR, backups, atheism, ElementaryOS, guns, bitcoin, biohacking, PS4 vs. XBOX, kids and coding, crowdfunding, genetics, Open Source health, 3D printed weapons, the GPL, work/life balance, Open Source political parties, the right to be forgotten, smart-watches, equality, Mozilla, tech conferences, tech on TV, and more.
We have interviewed some awesome guests including Chris Anderson (Wired), Tim O’Reilly (O’Reilly Media), Greg Kroah-Hartman (Linux), Miguel de Icaza (Xamarin/GNOME), Stormy Peters (Mozilla), Simon Phipps (OSI), Jeff Atwood (Discourse), Emma Marshall (System76), Graham Morrison (Linux Voice), Matthew Miller (Fedora), Ilan Rabinovitch (Southern California Linux Expo), Daniel Foré (Elementary), Christian Schaller (Redhat), Matthew Garrett (Linux), Zohar Babin (Kaltura), Steven J. Vaughan-Nicols (ZDNet), and others.
…and then there are the competitions and challenges. We had a debate where we had to take the opposite viewpoints of what we think, we had a rocking poetry contest, challenged our listeners to mash up the shows to humiliate us, ran a selfie competition, and more. In many cases we punished each other when we lost and even tried to take on a sausage company.
It is all a lot of fun, and if you haven’t checked the show out, be sure to head over to www.badvoltage.org and load up on some shows.
One of the most awesome aspects of Bad Voltage is our community. Our pad is at community.badvoltage.org and we have a fantastically diverse community of different ideas, perspectives and viewpoints. In many cases we have discussed a topic on the show and there has been a long and interesting (and always respectful debate on the forum). It is so much fun to be around.
I just want to say a huge thank-you to everyone who has supported the show and stuck with us through our first year. We have a lot of fun doing it, but the Bad Voltage community make every ounce of effort worthwhile. I also want to thank my fellow presenters, Bryan, Stuart, and Jeremy; it is a pleasure getting to shoot the proverbial with you guys every few weeks.Live Voltage!
Before I wrap up, I need to share an important piece of information. The Bad Voltage team will be performing our very first live show at the Southern California Linux Expo on the evening of Friday 20th Feb 2015 in Los Angeles.
We can’t think of a better place to do our first live show than SCALE, and we hope to see you there!
After six months of development, the latest version of Xubuntu has been released! Xubuntu 14.10 “Utopic Unicorn” features the latest in Xfce development and is the first step towards the next Long Term Support release in 2016.
- The login screen received a minor visual refresh and greater customization options.
- The new wallpaper for this release adds a splash of pink to the Xfce mouse.
- To celebrate the 14.10 codename “Utopic Unicorn”, pink highlights have been added. These highlights can be reverted or easily changed to another color with the installed “Theme Configuration” utility.
- Xfce Power Manager 1.4 sports several improvements over previous releases. Brightness controls have been extended to better support backlit keyboards and new laptop displays. The updated panel plugin shows device charge status, adds display brightness controls, and fixes “Presentation Mode” — letting you disable automatic screensavers.
- With the latest Xfce Display Settings, managing multiple monitors is no longer a hassle. Just drag and rearrange the displays to your liking.
- With the updated Xfce window manager, the Alt-Tab switcher has been updated with a refreshed appearance and the ability to select windows with your mouse or by touch.
- With the latest Whisker Menu and changes to the default configuration, applications in the Settings Manager are now searchable.
- With Catfish 1.2, previewing files has been greatly simplified. Easily switch between details and preview mode. When the search index becomes outdated, Catfish will also notify you to update.
- Parole 0.7 introduces a new Clutter-based backend and finally supports video playback in Virtualbox. The media controls are now contained in a slide-over overlay (with a configurable timeout).
- Light Locker Settings has been improved, further integrating with Xfce Power Manager to handle screensaver settings.
That’s it for this release, now to get ready for 15.04 “Vivid Vervet”!
I have just upgraded to Ubuntu 14.10 and the first thing that I wanted to do was thank Mark Shuttleworth, the Canonical team, and the rest of the Ubuntu community. You have turned my world on its head (and that’s a good thing).
10 years of Ubuntu is worth mentioning and celebrating. I have known and supported Ubuntu for 8 of those years (so far). To put things in context, outside of liking Star Wars and following my personal beliefs, there have been nearly no other things that I have participated in consecutively for that long.
Ubuntu has changed the way that I think about technology, and the way that I interact with people in my community. That’s right; Ubuntu is not just software. I learned this from one of my good friends that I met through Ubuntu. In addition to the new friendships that Ubuntu has fostered, it has also strengthened some of my older friendships.
Ubuntu is about learning, sharing, and growing together. And that’s why I look forward to the many more years to come. Congratulations, Ubuntu!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the 2014 Chromebook survey. Certainly not exhaustive but the numbers do indicate what folks are evaluating when considering a Chromebook. Take a look to see if you agree or disagree.Survey Synopsis
- Build Design: Clam Shell
- Build Material: Polycarbonate Plastic
- Build Finish: Faux Metal or Black
- Preferred SoC Architecture: Intel x86
- Acceptable Octane Score: 9000 to 10000
- Minimum RAM: 4GB
- Minimum Storage: 32GB
- Smooth Performance: @ 5-10 open tabs
- Touch screen: Not required
- Resolution: 1920×1080 Full HD
- Screen Panel: IPS
- Screen Surface: Matte
- Screen Size: 13.3″
- Keyboard: Backlit
- Touchpad: Enhanced with pinch to zoom
- Battery: 8 HRS minimum typical operation
- Battery: Full Charge in less than 2 HRS
- Speakers: Enhanced upward facing
- Webcam: 720p
- Microphone: dual noise cancelling
- Memory Card Reader: Standard SD
- USB Ports: USB 2 & USB 3
- Thunderbolt Ports: None
- Bluetooth: Advanced v4
- WiFi: 802.11 a/b/c/n & 802.11 ac
- Video Out: HDMI
- Target Price: $400.00 US
I was surprised how few votes the hybrid design received (7%). Although heavily marketed in the Windows ecosystem a quick look at the best selling laptops on Amazon’s confirms the dominance of the clam shell design. The Lenovo Yoga design was voted as the next best alternative to the clamshell.
Although Apple prides itself on its metal designs many folks are saying polycarbonate is acceptable in the Chromebook ecosystem.
I will admit this question is entirely subjective and founded on personal tastes but it is a very important consideration when designing a product. Some designers would state black and white are conservative and colors more daring. A faux metal finish honed from polycarbonate is an interesting choice. The Toshiba Chromebooks are a good example of this and early reviews of the Chromebook 2 are generally favorable. The obvious middle ground to color is to offer covers/skins which cater to those who want something more.
Intel’s dominance in the laptop space has to be respected. Although ARM is gaining in performance the real competitive advantage to ARM is price. The new Nexus 9 certainly speaks volumes about Google’s commitment to ARM but for this survey folks expressed a preference for Intel by a three to one margin.
Using Google Octane as the yardstick to measure acceptable performance, about half of the respondents stated a value of 9000 to 10000 would be acceptable. None of the current ARM SoCs meet this standard and only some of the Intel. My observation is folks with a Chromebook or a Chromebox powered by an Intel Celeron 2955U are satisfied with its performance. Some may argue with the right mix of features and price an Octane score of 8000 is sufficient.
Hands down folks want and will spend extra for 4GB of RAM.
Not typically offered in Chromebooks, but respondents voiced the desire for 32GB of local storage. The driver for this may be the ability to store off line content.
Where is all of this horse power going – 10 to 15 open tabs.
This was another surprise to me. Touch screen is heavily marketed but most folks said no thanks.
- 1920×1080 Full HD
- IPS Panel
- Matte Finish
- 13.3 Inches
Back lighting is the most requested keyboard option. I believe what folks are really asking for is a keyboard which can be seen in low lighting. There may be other ways to achieve this result without back lighting.
A touchpad with pinch to zoom makes perfect sense without a touch screen. This may be a Chrome OS software enhancement.
- Eight hours or more of battery performance is today’s standard.
One of the early complaints of Chromebooks was the amount of time required to recharge the battery. With today’s longer battery life this may not be much of an issue.
The Chromebook Pixel set the design standard for speakers and for best quality they need to face up.
- HD webcam is today’s standard.
If you are going to hang out with your friends noise cancelling microphones are pretty much a requirement.
- I agree, a standard SD card reader is very convenient.
Another surprise for me. Folks want USB v2 & v3 ports. Maybe the real answer is USB v3 with backward compatibility to v2.
- No thanks
Got to have bluetooth and make it v4.
As Chromebooks depend upon WiFi so heavily, leveraging the fastest possible WiFi makes perfect sense.
- Without question, HDMI is the new standard for video out.
Here is the million dollar question – can a Chromebook be manufactured to these specs and sold for $400?
Today was the release day of Ubuntu 14.10, code-named “Utopic Unicorn” and my only thoughts are going to this gif from the movie, Despicable Me:
Really, I do think it’s fluffy and awesome! The only two features that I noticed that I was able to upgrade from 14.04 to 14.10 without any issues on both of my computers. That is a first for me. The other one is the updated icons for the folders of the videos and downloads. Those do look better than the old ones.
The only thing that I don’t like is that the Unity notifications for new messages is too small. I hope there is a way to tweak that.
P.S. I did go to the Online release party but I didn’t really enjoy my time since there was too much chatter but it was still fun nagging the bot with !isitout. ;)
- General bug fix release as we prepare for LXQt.
- Many LXDE components have been updated with bug fix releases.
- An update of the artwork (more icons, theme update, more compatibilities ...)
- The Ubuntu 14.10 release v3.16 based kernel
- Firefox is updated to version 33
- Gtk updated to version 3.12
- Xorg 1.16 has better support for non-pci devices
Please, be kind to read the Release Notes before install. Download it now while it's hot!