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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 286 pages currently on this site. 232 blog posts, 47 knowledgebase pages, 6 about pages and 1 project pages.

Latest posts and knowledgebase articles


📖 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.


📖 Posts | 📎 Development, Virtualisation | 🔖 virtualbox, cross-platform

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.

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📖 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?


📖 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.