Home

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.

I welcome feedback on this site and its content. Please use the contact form if you spot anything amiss with the site and use Disqus to talk about any of the articles.

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 | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration, firefox

Changing backspace to go back through history (FireFox for Linux)

Us old-time Windows bods get used to our keyboard shortcuts I’m afraid. One of the most useful is using the backspace key in the browser to go back through the browsers history. Unfortunately, this is not the default under Linux (alt-left arrow is the default). FireFox has an easy way to fix this. Put “about:config” in the address bar and “backspace” in the search entry. You should see the entry “browser.


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration, opensuse

What did I install? (For OpenSUSE)

One thing that I didn’t get around to doing since I moved from Ubuntu was to work out how to make a note of what has been installed. This is slightly complicated by the fact that you can install stuff straight from an RPM file as well as through YAST (from the repositories or 1-click links). Well, I finally got round to working it out and here is a summary. To see what you have done with the YAST installers, just look at the log!


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration

What Linux system files might need editing?

Whilst great strides have been made by the Linux community to provide GUI’s for many tasks, it is still a command line driven OS at it’s heart. This, of course, is one of its strengths as everything can be scripted too. However, for none IT techies, it is very daunting. Here I’m listing some of the system files I’ve had (or at least wanted) to change by hand. It’s a very quick reference, largely for my own benefit should I need to rebuild my system.


📖 Posts | 📎 Blogging | 🔖 blogger

Showing a less than symbol in a Blogger post

This took me ages to sort out so here is a reminder. If you want to post a less-than symbol in a Blogger entry (for example in some code or a math formula), you cannot use the standard HTML entity “<” as Blogger cannot cope with it for some reason. Instead use the hexadecimal equivalent “& # 60 ;” (NB: I’ve put spaces in so that Blogger doesn’t turn it back into a symbol!


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux, Windows | 🔖 distributions

What stops me finally parting company with Windows

Will I ever be free of Microsoft? Well, unlike many people I’m not really evangelistic about this. I’ll use whatever gets the job done properly. My main reason for ditching Microsoft products is due to their overly restrictive and greedy licensing without really giving real innovation in return. So why can’t I escape? Well one of the main reasons is that I am constantly faced with Microsoft products through my job as an IT consultant.


📖 Posts | 📎 Development | 🔖 mysql, sql

Update one table using data from another

If you want to update tbl1 with information from tbl2: UPDATE tbl1,tbl2 SET tbl1.col1=tbl2.colx WHERE …


📖 Posts | 📎 General | 🔖None

Welcome

I’m afraid that his is likely to be a pretty random collection. I will add stuff here that I come accross on the web that I think may be useful at some point. I will also add things that I discover as I’m writing stuff.


📖 Posts | 📎 Development | 🔖 mysql, sql

Cannot directly use the IF function on a MySQL query that uses GROUP BY

Cannot directly use the IF function on a query that uses GROUP BY. This tip provides an alternative that is cross-db. It is extracted from: http://surfnet.dl.sourceforge.net/sourceforge/souptonuts/README_mysql.txt SQL Characteristic Functions: Do it without if, case, or GROUP_CONCAT. Yes, there is use for this … if statements sometimes cause problems when used in combination. The simple secret, and it’s also why they work in almost all databases, is the following functions: * sign (x) returns -1,0, +1 for values x < 0, x = 0, x > 0 respectively * abs( sign( x) ) returns 0 if x = 0 else, 1 if x > 0 or x < 0 * 1-abs( sign( x) ) complement of the above, since this returns 1 only if x = 0 Quick example:


📖 Posts | 📎 Development | 🔖 php

Defaulting optional parameters

If you have a function that takes an optional parameter – e.g. function blah($xx,$yy='Default',$zz){ …. You can use the function and ensure that the optional parm always takes the correct default (even if the definition changes) by passing a NULL to it. e.g. … $mydate=blah($something,NULL,$more); .


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration

Fast storage using tmpfs

Here is a link to an article on using tmpfs (and the commonly pre-defined /dev/shm mount for tmpfs) as a high-speed, in-memory filing system. This is very handy for small-ish amounts of data in files that get a lot of access. Just remember that you will loose it if the host crashes! You can use this for SqlLite database files too. Create turbocharged storage using tmpfs


📖 Posts | 📎 Software | 🔖 cross-platform, encryption, security

Update on FreeOTFE

Thought I would add a quick update on using FreeOTFE under Windows and PocketPC. I tried it under Windows on a different PC and it does indeed work OK though it is nowhere near as polished as TrueCrypt. I’ve also tried again a few times on a PocketPC with limited success and I think I know what is happening. Firstly, you must install FreeOTFE for PPC into system memory and not on a storage card – not terribly surprising really.


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux, Software | 🔖 firefox, printing

Living with Firefox

I use Firefox all the time. Both with Windows and Linux but I don’t like the fact that it assumes that you are using Gnome under Linux and doesn’t really play nicely with KDE. Thankfully there are a few things you can do. To get printing to use KPrinter (the default KDE print dialog). Choose the printer called Postscript/default and then change the command that is run to kprinter –stdin. Now, whenever you print to that printer, you will get the KDE standard print dialog where you can choose the printer (most importantly, output to PDF) and change the settings.


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖None

One command system update (Without password)

Here’s a very handy tip about configuring SUSE to run a full update from the command line without requiring a sudo (and hence a password). One command system update (Without password)


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 networking

Speed of network copy

I needed to copy some big video files from my NSLU2 NAS box to my desktop a couple of days ago and noticed that, using Konqueror, the FTP protocol was significantly faster than using SMB. * Using ftp://192.168.n.n/DISK 2/video/… gave me around 5.5MB/s * Using smb://192.168.n.n/DISK 2/video/… gave me around 3.5MB/s Of course, the NSLU2 is constrained mainly by only having a 10M network interface but this is a very significant difference in speed.


📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration

Mounting disks by ID – Redux

OK, maybe I was a bit harsh with the verdict on mounting by UUID in my last post. Having played further with trying to get the right disk to boot by default, I realised that there is something rather odd about my ASUS motherboard. I seems to want to boot SATA drives in REVERSE order so that SATA disk 3 is booting before SATA disk 1 no matter what order I tell it boot in (via the BIOS).