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.

You may find quite a few errors and formatting issues right now. That’s because I’ve just moved from a self-hosted WordPress blog to a cloud hosted Hugo blog. I’m still sorting out the finer details. Please use the contact form if you spot anything.

There are 274 pages currently on this site. 231 blog posts, 37 knowledgebase pages, 5 about pages and 1 project pages.

Latest posts and knowledgebase articles

📖 Posts | 📎None | 🔖 distributions

Distributions January 2008

I was getting very frustrated with SUSE recently. Mainly because of the slow and flaky package management but also due to my scanning difficulties. So I decided to do a quick test of a couple more Linux distributions. Here are a few quick notes. MEPIS 7.0 Release 3 There is a password on the Live CD login with no information on what it is (guessed demo) Install to disk has to run as root – it silently logged when run as demo with no indication as to why In the disk partitioner, there were no partition names or labels to give a guide to existing partitions – both SUSE and Mandriva give better information No wizard to help install my Wacom graphics tablet (this works great under SUSE) THERE IS NO SETTINGS WIZARD FOR NVIDIA!

📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 configuration

Mounting disks by ID

One think I discovered in my January foray into other distributions is that mounting disks by ID which is now the default in many distributions (such as SUSE and Ubuntu) is not such a good idea when you might be ripping some out. In fact, Linux does not seem to take kindly to having hard disks ripped out at all! I had to manually edit the device.map, menu.lst and fstab files of my existing distributions to get them working again after removing my two PATA drives that have driven me mad with buggy GRUB configurations.

📖 Posts | 📎None | 🔖 distributions

Things to dislike about SUSE 10.3

OK, so we’ve have the good things about openSUSE 10.3, now for the bad. * The repository and package installation management in openSUSE 10.3 sucks – bigtime! * I’m often getting failures to read the control files from the Internet (though normal browsing works fine), * it is slow – really very very very slow, * and you do seem to get weird dependency issues more often than other distros, * there are too many fairly standard packages missing from the default repositories so you have to configure third party ones (at least this is often easier with the 1-click install facility now available), * 1-click install seems to often fail or takes >5 minutes to jump into life, * Why do I have to keep importing new repository keys?

📖 Posts | 📎 Hardware, Linux | 🔖 grub, hard drives, pata, sata

More on the GRUB bug (with mixed PATA and SATA drives)

I’ve mentioned this one a couple of times so I’ll give a bit more detail because it is a nightmare to solve if you don’t know what is going on. If you have both a parallel ATA (PATA, this is the way most hard drives were connected on desktops and laptops until around 18 months ago) and a serial ATA (SATA) hard disk controller on your PC (as many do) and hard drives connected to both controllers, you are going to get hit by the GRUB PATA/SATA bug.

📖 Posts | 📎None | 🔖 distributions

Things to like about openSUSE 10.3

It works well out of the box. Things it doesn’t do wrong I didn’t need to get round the GRUB bug since SUSE treats PATA and SATA disks as pseudo SCSI disks and nothing gets confused when rebooting. It didn’t kill my graphics card with a buggy NV driver. My Soundblaster Live card works correctly with digital output and everything. My old, serial connected, Wacom graphics tablet just works. Once installed, Compiz Fusion just works.

📖 Posts | 📎 Linux | 🔖 distributions

Distributions December 2007

Linux is a very fast moving landscape so I tend to do a major update of my systems once or twice a year. Although I moved over to Linux at the start of 2007, I decided to do another move in December as my main installation was getting rather tatty from too much experimenting! So I went back through the distributions that I had looked at before, namely: * Ubuntu (along with the variants Kubuntu and Mint) now at 7.

📖 Posts | 📎 Blogging | 🔖 blogger


Having finally made the switch on my personal machines from Windows to Linux early last year, I decided I’d like to share my experiences of “living with Linux”. As an IT professional, I’ll probably never be completely free of Windows, I use it all the time at work so I’ll also be looking for tools that work across both platforms. Regards, Julian.

📖 Posts | 📎 Development | 🔖 php

Handle web parameters gracefully in PHP

# Handle web parms (Call as: myParms('report');) # Ensures that the given parm is always set function myParms($var) { global $$var; if(isset($_REQUEST[$var])){ $$var=$_REQUEST[$var]; } else { $$var=''; } }

📖 Posts | 📎 General, Linux | 🔖 pdf, scanning

Mining the Paper Mountain

One of the biggest problems with trying to de-clutter my life is the “paper mountain”. This is all the stuff that comes through the front door on a depressingly regular basis. At least the majority of it is now from organisations that we actually do have legitimate dealings with as a family (bank, etc.) but it still piles up on the table by the front door and then adds to even bigger piles in the office.

📖 Posts | 📎 Identity Management | 🔖 openid


JanRain: “Internet-scale identity services with OpenID” Products MyOpenID Identity Provider Jyte.com Claims, cred & contacts BotBouncer.com A free CAPTCHA service for OpenIDs OpenIDEnabled.com By developers, for developers Schtuff.com A free Wiki service