The Joy of Code

A few weeks ago, in episode 25 of Linux Matters Podcast I brought up the subject of ‘Coding Joy’. This blog post is an expanded follow-up to that segment. Go and listen to that episode - or not - it’s all covered here. Not a Developer I’ve said this many times - I’ve never considered myself a ‘Developer’. It’s not so much imposter syndrome, but plain facts. I didn’t attend university to study software engineering, and have never held a job with ‘Engineer’ or Developer’ in the title. [Read More]

Do you know Simone?

Over coffee this morning, I stumbled upon simone, a fledgling Open-Source tool for repurposing YouTube videos as blog posts. The Python tool creates a text summary of the video and extracts some contextual frames to illustrate the text. A neat idea! In my experience, software engineers are often tasked with making demonstration videos, but other engineers commonly prefer consuming the written word over watching a video. I took simone for a spin, to see how well it works. [Read More]

SAP Upgrade: The Sound of Silence

This is the seventh in an increasingly infrequent series of Friday Tales From Tech Support. Some stories from the past featuring broken computers and even more broken tech support operatives - mostly me. London. Summer 2002 In the early 2000s I worked as a SAP Technical Consultant which involved teaching courses, advising customers, and doing SAP installations, upgrades and migrations. This story starts on a typical mid-summer, warm and stuffy day in London. [Read More]

Today is my Birthday! I got ADHD

This is a deeply personal post. Feel free to skip this if you’re only here for the Linux and open-source content. It’s also a touch rambling. As for the title, no, I didn’t “get” ADHD on my birthday; obviously, that’s humourous literary hyperbole. Read on. LET age = age + 1 Like a few billion others, I managed to cling to this precious rock we call home and complete a 52nd orbit of our nearest star. [Read More]

Guess Who's Back? Exodus Scam BitCoin Wallet Snap!

Previously… Back in February, I blogged about a series of scam Bitcoin wallet apps that were published in the Canonical Snap store, including one which netted a scammer $490K of some poor rube’s coin. The snap was eventually removed, and some threads were started over on the Snapcraft forum Groundhog Day Nothing has changed it seems, because once again, ANOTHER TEN scam BitCoin wallet apps have been published in the Snap Store today. [Read More]

Mini EV: Two Years On

tl;dr I have had a Mini EV for a little over two years, so I thought it was time for a retrospective. This isn’t so much a review as I’m not a car journalist. It’s more just my thoughts of owning an electric car for a couple of years. I briefly talked about the car in episode 24 of Linux Matters Podcast, if you prefer a shorter, less detailed review in audio format. [Read More]
mini  ev  car  review 

Exodus Bitcoin Wallet: Follow up 2.0

On Tuesday, I blogged about a series of Bitcoin scam apps published in the Canonical Snap store. Edit: This section updated on 2024-02-23 to include a Canonical response as two new forum posts from sabdfl (Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical). Two things! Three things! Zerothly, today we have a response from Canonical. There are actually two new posts from Mark. One in response to the thread asking whether crypto apps should be banned from the Snap store, and the other an acceptance that identity verification might need to be stronger on the Snap store. [Read More]

Exodus Bitcoin Wallet: $490K Swindle

Edit: There’s a short follow-up to this post: Exodus Bitcoin Wallet: Follow up. tl;dr: A Bitcoin investor was recently scammed out of 9 Bitcoin (worth around $490K) in a fake “Exodus wallet” desktop application for Linux, published in the Canonical Snap Store. This isn’t the first time, and if nothing changes, it likely won’t be the last. This post turned out longer than I expected. So if you don’t have the time there’s a briefer summary at the bottom under “In summary (the tl;dr)” along with my suggestions on what Canonical should do now. [Read More]

Ubuntu Summit 2023 was a success

Last week, I wrote about my somewhat last-minute plans to attend the 2023 Ubuntu Summit in Riga, Latvia. The event is now over, and I’m back home collating my thoughts about the weekend. The tl;dr: It was a great, well-organised and run event with interesting speakers. Here’s my “trip report”. Logistics The event was held at the Radisson Blu Latvija. Many of the Canonical staff stayed at the Raddison, while most (perhaps all) of the non-Canonical attendees were a short walk away at the Tallink Hotel. [Read More]

Ubuntu Core Snapdeck

At the Ubuntu Summit in Latvia, Canonical have just announced their plans for the Ubuntu Core Desktop. I recently played with a preview of it, for fun. Here’s a nearby computer running it right now. Ubuntu Core is a “a secure, application-centric IoT OS for embedded devices”. It’s been around a while now, powering IoT devices, kiosks, routers, set-top-boxes and other appliances. Ubuntu Core Desktop is an immutable, secure and modular desktop operating system. [Read More]

Heading to Ubuntu Summit 2023

Ubuntu Summit This weekend the Ubuntu Summit begins in Riga, Latvia. I originally had no plans to attend until a recent change in circumstance, and a late space became available. The Ubuntu Summit is “an event focused on the Linux and Open Source ecosystem, beyond Ubuntu itself. Representatives of outstanding projects will demonstrate how their work is changing the future of technology as we know it.”. Essentially it’s a conference-style event with multiple tracks hosting speakers talking about Ubuntu and Linux-adjunct topics. [Read More]

You stole my lighter!

This is the sixth in a series of Friday Tales From Tech Support. Some stories from the past featuring broken computers and even more broken tech support operatives - mostly me. Scene setting My first job out of college was for the auspiciously named “National Telecom” as a “Computer Operator”. Back then, this was a job, rather than something you just do day-to-day. I mean, it’s quite likely many of you have “operated” a “computer” in order to read this blog today. [Read More]

Ninety percent updated in a week

The other day I wrote about snapcraft metrics, a tool that enables publishers to extract application metrics from the snap store. Something I’ve noticed which I wanted to share, was how quickly automatic updates roll out to an application’s user base. So I took the metrics from an application that I published in the snap store and scrubbed the names and version numbers. I charted below the speed that devices roll over from one release to the next. [Read More]

Updating snap packages: OBS Studio

tl;dr. The OBS Studio snap is now updated to the latest stable release, 29.1.3, after a “brief” hiatus. Another day, another updated snap, which had been languishing a bit. I wrote about updating Spot yesterday, and today, as per the title, it’s OBS Studio. As I mentioned previously, there’s a bunch of outdated snaps in the store, and I want to help fix that. Hopefully, with these blog posts, others might learn how, and be motivated to either publish new applications or step up and update existing ones. [Read More]

Updating snap packages: Spot

I recently lamented that there’s a bunch of broken and outdated snaps in the snap store. Well, some of them are my responsibility, so in the spirit of “be the change you want to see”, let’s get them fixed and updated. I thought I’d highlight one or two as I go through them, to highlight any important or interesting changes. Today I took a look at Spot, which is a very decent native GNOME Spotify client by Alexandre Trendel. [Read More]

Boot to BBC BASIC: Agon Edition

Agon and Agon Last month I visited the RMC Cave where we got a sneak peek at the Agon Console8 from Heber. The Agon Console8 is a consolised version of the more general-purpose Agon8 Computer. They come in a natty retro case, and features twin 9-pin joystick ports. I’d not heard about the Agon line of Open Source devices before, but they tickled something in me. I’m somewhat fascinated by computers that boot directly into BASIC. [Read More]

Snapcraft metrics

I was a guest host on Late Night Linux podcast, episode 249 last week, filling in for Will. We each bring along a ‘discovery’, I brought snapcraft metrics to talk about. I thought I’d write up how I use them, for listeners of the show as it’s hard to articulate this very well verbally. My snaps I have about twenty snaps in the snap store. Some, like Bombsquad and ncspot have been published for years now. [Read More]

Easy Korean BBQ chicken loaded fries

As with all recipes on this blog, they’re designed to be easily made, tasty, and not elaborate. I’ll also not put lengthy backstories for them. I was in Exeter yesterday and stumbled into Brewdog where I discovered their delicious loaded fries. So today, I had a go at making something similar. The amount I used here could be shared between four people as a chunky sharing starter. Scale it down for a main meal or snack. [Read More]

Hand over the PCMCIA card, Sir

This is the fifth in a series of Friday Tales From Tech Support. Some stories from the past featuring broken computers and even more broken tech support operatives - mostly me. Scene setting This is another story from my time working on the helpdesk for a large accounting & consulting organisation in central London. A slight difference though, this story is second hand, so take it with a pinch of salt. [Read More]

Fixing a broken snap build - part two

I wrote previously about debugging a broken x16emu snap. In short, something went wonky with ld. I started a thread on the snapcraft forum and Ken VanDine came to my assistance with an answer and a pull request. I grabbed that pr, and it did indeed build successfully.. $ snapcraft --use-lxd Launching instance... Executed: pull alsa-pulseaudio Executed: pull gnome/sdk Executed: pull x16-roms Executed: pull x16-emulator Executed: build alsa-pulseaudio Executed: build gnome/sdk Executed: build x16-roms Executed: skip pull x16-roms (already ran) Executed: skip build x16-roms (already ran) Executed: stage x16-roms (required to build 'x16-emulator') Executed: skip pull alsa-pulseaudio (already ran) Executed: skip build alsa-pulseaudio (already ran) Executed: stage alsa-pulseaudio (required to build 'x16-emulator') Executed: build x16-emulator Executed: skip stage alsa-pulseaudio (already ran) Executed: stage gnome/sdk Executed: skip stage x16-roms (already ran) Executed: stage x16-emulator Executed: prime alsa-pulseaudio Executed: prime gnome/sdk Executed: prime x16-roms Executed: prime x16-emulator Executed parts lifecycle Generated snap metadata Created snap package x16emu_b16509b_amd64. [Read More]