Welcome to my blog. This is mainly about IT, information management and Cyber Security with occasional forays into general technology, science and maybe even politics and beliefs.

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There are 299 pages currently on this site. 235 blog posts, 58 knowledgebase pages, 6 about pages and 0 project pages.

Latest posts and knowledgebase articles

📖 Posts | 📎 Virtualisation | 🔖 networking, virtualbox

VirtualBox Host Interface Networking Update

Great news! The latest versions of VirtualBox have sorted out the issues of host networking. So all of the messing around that you used to have to do, especially under Linux, is now over. So ignore the previous post, it is no longer required.

📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 blogger


Hi, thought I’d better put an update on here as to why I haven’t done any posts here recently. Well, I’ve not done much with Linux recently. My OpenSUSE 11.0 desktop machine works and does pretty much everything I ask of it. At the moment, that is largely managing my photographs and not much else. This is because I’m out and about on a big project and so I’m using my monster laptop (Dell M1710) and that is running Vista as I have to be able to run Outlook, OneNote and other MS Office applications at full speed.

📖 Posts | 📎 Linux, Networking, Virtualisation | 🔖 bridging, opensuse, virtualbox

Bridged networking in OpenSUSE 10.3 & 11.0 (For VirtualBox)

I prefer to use VirtualBox rather than VMware as it seems to be rather faster and less resource hungry than VMware Server (the only free version of VMware with a GUI). Also VirtualBox seems to have better Linux host support (sound, etc.). However, there is one thing that VMware is better at – setting up the guest network on the same network as the host. Under VirtualBox this is called “Host Interface Networking” and, with a Linux host anyway, is a right royal pain to set up.

📖 Posts | 📎 Development, Linux | 🔖 backup, bash, batch, scripting

Shell script to Back up critical files (using RSYNC)

Following up from my article on backing up USB drives, this recipe backs up the critical files on my desktop to remote storage (a NAS device on my network). Note that PC2 is the desktop to be backed up, SLUG1 ( is the NAS device and USER1 is the user id doing the backup. #!/bin/bash # Backup Key PC2 files to Slug1 # Sync 2007 picture folders ##rsync -rl /home/user1/pictures/2007/ [email protected]

📖 Posts | 📎 Development, Linux | 🔖 backup, bash, batch, scripting, usb

Automatically Backing up a USB Drive with RSYNC (KDE)

USB Drives of all kinds need to be backed up and the best backup is an automatic one (it’s the only way to make sure that it gets done!). So here is one recipe for doing just that using RSYNC and some BASH scripting magic. I’ve split this into two files. You don’t have to do this of course and one may well be better for you. I used two because I can run the second one manually as well.

📖 Posts | 📎 Mobile, Software, Windows Mobile | 🔖None

Windows Mobile applications I use

To round off my mini-series about software I use, I thought I’d do one on Windows Mobile (AKA Pocket PC or PPC). * Pocket Informant * Keepass PPC * Microsoft Reader * MobiPocket Reader * PIM Backup * Pocket Navigator (Memory Map) * Laridian Pocket Bible * WeatherWatcher * Google Maps * Tombo * Tom Tom Navigator * SuperDoku * Bejeweled2 There are one or two other small utilities I also use and I have a bespoke WM6 installation that includes some tools.

📖 Posts | 📎 Software, Windows | 🔖None

Windows applications I use

Following on from my post about what stops me from dropping Windows altogether, I thought that I would put together a more complete post about the Windows applications I find myself using. * Memory Map – If ActiveSync is installed, the standard license allows you to push a copy of the Windows Mobile version to a handheld along with extracts of (or whole) maps, POI, routes, etc. It is also best to plan routes and add new POI on the desktop as its easier than the small interface on the handheld.

📖 Posts | 📎 Virtualisation | 🔖 opensuse, usb, virtualbox

Enabling VirtualBox access to USB ports (OpenSUSE 11.0)

By default, OpenSUSE 10 & 11 come preconfigured WITHOUT usbfs active. Unlike Ubuntu, everything is ready to go but the fstab setting is “noauto” so it doesn’t seem to get loaded even when VirtualBox wants it. The fix for this is simple and is listed in the VirtualBox User FAQ. In “/etc/fstab” change the line for usbfs to: usbfs /proc/bus/usb usbfs auto,busgid=XXX,busmode=0775,devgid=XXX,devmode=0664 0 0 Where XXX is the group id of the vboxusers group which can be discovered in YAST or from the command line: grep vboxusers /etc/group That’s it, no other changes should be needed.

📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration, fonts

Font sizes and DPI

This seems to be a problem that won’t go away. It seems inordinately hard to get a good looking set of fonts of the correct size. It is not that there aren’t some nice fonts available; there are, at last, some fonts under Linux that often look superior to the Microsoft ones. It’s just that it is difficult to get the whole look and feel correct. This is especially true when mixing Gnome based applications (Firefox and Thunderbird for example) and KDE.

📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 distributions, opensuse

Thoughts on OpenSUSE 11.0

Here are my experiences installing OpenSUSE 11.0 on my desktop PC (I had already successfully installed it on a VM). I opted for a KDE 3 desktop – I don’t like Gnome especially and KDE 4 is not ready for day-to-day use as far as I am concerned. No problems at all with mixed IDE/SATA drives and GRUB 😉 * Usual problems with NVidia drivers (corrupt screen on first entry to KDE).

📖 Posts | 📎 Linux, Software | 🔖 firefox

Linux Applications I use

Finaly got round to installing OpenSUSE 11.0 on my desktop so I thought this would be a good opportunity to keep track of the software I actually use. I’ll edit and update this entry over time. System * VirtualBox (virtual machine, cross platform) * Wine * TurboPrint (paid for printer driver) Makes having a Canon inkjet printer worth-while again! Rather expensive for what it does but it brings the features you would expect from a good, proprietary printer driver.

📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration

Flashing the BIOS from Linux (Phoenix BIOS)

I haven’t looked at the BIOS on my ageing ASUS A8N-SLI motherboard for ages – in fact not since I switched it fully to Linux – so how do you update the Phoenix BIOS without DOS or Windows? I don’t bother with a floppy disk any more and creating a DOS boot CD just for this once every x years job is a faff! Well there is an article here that might help.

📖 Posts | 📎 Linux, Virtualisation | 🔖 virtualbox

VirtualBox, sharing a Linux hosts file system in a Linux guest

When you want to access the hosts file system from a guest OS in VirtualBox, you need to mount the virtual share. However, the default mount: sudo mount -t vboxsf <VBox-share-name> <mount-location> Will mean that only root can write to the shared folders. You need to tweak things to get a system that an ordinary user can write to. Here is the script I use: #!/bin/bash echo " " echo "Script to mount the host disk under VirtualBox" echo " " USR=whoami SHARE='Host-Root' MNT="/home/$USR/VBoxHostRoot" echo " Mounting $SHAREto $MNT.

Development Virtual Machine (VirtualBox)

I’ve been thinking ahead to a change of job recently. Knowing that I’ll be getting a new Windows based laptop and needing to have development capabilities and having developed a taste for Linux 😉 I’ve used my favourite VM tool VirtualBox (now owned by Sun) to create a sparlkly new OpenSUSE 11.0 virtual machine complete with Apache, MySQL, PHP, etc. as well as office tools such as Open Office, mind/concept-mapping and diagraming applications.

📖 Posts | 📎 Linux, Windows | 🔖 security, freeotfe, truecrypt, keepass

Keeping information secure but accessible across platforms

One of the issues with Linux is that I can’t use it under all circumstances. In particular I usually have to work with Windows at work. So I need cross-platform tools, especially now that I also make extensive use of a smartphone/PDA. So here is a timely post – with the number of people in UK government departments carelessly loosing private or secret information, how do we keep this stuff secure while still being accessible from different platforms?