Pocket app for Chrome

Standard

Being very fond of Pocket (formerly Read It Later) (Android app) I wanted to have Pocket available on my desktop. And so I installed the Pocket add-on for Firefox and the Pocket extension for Chrome to easily save any article.

I have also been waiting for an offline Pocket app for Chrome and I finally found out that there was one released on August 2013.

In this post I share a tip I use to launch Pocket and start reading in no time. Instead of opening Chrome then navigating to the Apps tab and launching Pocket, I resorted to creating a shortcut of Pocket on my desktop. Continue reading

Installing Promethean ActivInspire Software On Ubuntu 12.04 or 13.04

Standard

To install the Promethean Activboard Driver and ActivInspire Software On Ubuntu 12.04 or 13.04 follow the steps below:

Note: Please note that Promethean supports only 32 bit Ubuntu systems. I have not tested it for 64 bit systems.

sudo apt-get install libjpeg62

From the Ubuntu Software Center add the following repository in “Other Sources”:

deb http://activsoftware.co.uk/linux/repos/ubuntu precise oss non-oss

Back in a terminal run:

wget http://www.activsoftware.co.uk/linux/repos/Promethean.asc && sudo apt-key add Promethean.asc

then

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install activinspire activtools activdriver

Now logout and login again and try running Activinspire.

source: [n00bs on Ubuntu] How To Install The Promethean Activboard Driver And ActivInspire Software On Ubuntu 13.04 http://www.n00bsonubuntu.net/content/how-to-install-the-promethean-activboard-driver-and-activinspire-software-on-ubuntu-13-04/

OpenDNS: Parental control and internet protection

Standard

I have been searching for a way to filter out inappropriate internet content. I thought one time that a tool (something like iptables) must exist that has an index of such sites and their IP’s which can be used to filter them out or block them. I thought maybe one could use such an index if it exists to feed it to a modem or router and have the modem/router do the job. Unfortunately this is not possible. Actually any modem or router has the ability to block and allow certain domains but that would require the manual labor of entering each specific domain, which is inefficient in any case.

After some searching I found out about something called OpenDNS and FamilySield. It turned out that OpenDNS is actually what I have been looking for. It does everything I was thinking of and even more. So hereafter, I “outline” the four main steps to get OpenDNS working on your network hoping that this might actually be of use to you. Continue reading

Mainframs, Unix, CERN computing center, Ubuntu driving Mercedes-Benz

Video

Here’s a couple of interesting videos I’ve watched recently:

Mainframes and the Unix Revolution

If you liked this video, I suggest you read the book “Turing’s Cathedral”. Check the review.

Continue reading

Book review: “Turing’s Cathedral” by George Dyson

Standard

Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe
by George Dyson
Pantheon (2012-03-01)
9780375422775
Amazon.com link
goodreads link

I was drawn to this book by its title & cover design. “Turing” in the title plus the punched cover directly meant (at least in my own mind) that it was about Alan Turing and the Universal machine.
Before this book I knew little about Turing’s universal machine and the origins of the computer. I knew about Von Neumann only by the name.

After reading this book, I got more interested about computers. I now have an awareness about how powerful the computer is (especially in our times) and how inefficient we (or at least me) are using it. Now I know the origins of the ENIAC, MANIAC & their derivatives. Know I know what an “app” was like in the 1950’s.

Turing’s Cathedral (still not sure why “Cathedral”!; maybe referring to the computer as the cathedral?) is an exciting read especially for the computer enthusiast, mathematicians, physicists, and scientists in general. It is eloquently written and describes things in details.

What I liked most about it is that it has references to actual scientific papers written the creators of the computer. As a matter of fact I have selected a couple of papers too read.

I finished the book without even knowing it. It suddenly stops without prior notice, as if there is a continuation that has been cut.

I really enjoyed reading this book and recommend it for everyone, literally everyone.

until next time…

Extraterrestrials & the Digital Universe -Von Neumann & Edward Teller

Standard
Hello,

I’ve been reading George Dyson’s Turing’s Cathedral lately & today I read something interesting about intelligent life & computers from the age of John von Neumann & Edward Teller, which I’d like to share [1]:

Von Neumann rarely discussed extraterrestrial life or extraterrestrial intelligence; terrestrial life and intelligence were puzzling enough.

…”There is every reason to believe that any planet on which a large variety of molecules can reproduce by interconnected (or symbiotic) autocatalytic reactions, may see the formation of organisms with the same properties.” One of these properties, independent of the local conditions, might be the development of the Universal Machine.
Over long distances, it is expensive to transport structures, and in expensive to transmit sequences. Turing machines, which by definition are structures that can be encoded as sequences, are already propagating themselves, locally, at the speed of light.

…Those best able to survive the passage of time, adapt to changing environments, and migrate across interstellar distances will become the most widespread. A life form that assumes digital representation, for all or part of its life cycle, will be able to travel at the speed of light. As artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky observed on a visit to Soviet Armenia in 1970, “Instead of sending a picture of a cat, there is one area in which you can send the cat itself.” [p.290]

The host planet would have to not only build radio telescopes and be actively listening for coded sequences, but also grant computational resources to signals if and when they arrived. The SET@home network now links some five million terrestrial computers to a growing array of radio telescopes, delivering a collective 500 teraflops of fast Fourier transforms representing a cumulative two million years of processing time. Not a word (or even a picture) so far -as far as we know. [p.291]

In a discussion with Edward Teller, the authors quotes Teller:

 “…If there is life in the universe, the form of life that will prove to be most successful at propagating itself will be digital life; it will adopt a form that is independent of the local chemistry, and migrate from one place to another as an electromagnetic signal, as long as there’s a digital world -a civilization that has discovered the Universal Turing Machine- for it to colonize when it gets there. [p.292]

Online Security: Rules to stay safe online

Standard

Some basic rules of thumb to use when online to increase your safety online, ordered in order of

  • General
    • Never open or reply to any email from an unknown. Consider it suspicious.
    • Never click a link given by a stranger or even by a friend if you’ve not asked for it.
  • Browser related
    • Disable redirects (links might redirect you to fake pages!)
    • Use HTTPS instead of plain HTTP
    • Block JavaScript & Java
    • Block Ads
    • Block 3rd parties in web pages (most of which are hidden)
    • Control cross-site requests
    • Erase internet history, private data, cookies
    • Erase Flash Local Shared Objects (LSO), also known as long-term Super-Cookies

Note: Pages might not load well enough with the above; you will often need to allow some services & parties, but at least its under your control!

  • Chatting
    • Follow the “General”
    • Use a good Instant Messenger
    • Use encryption

And remember, a computer is as smart as its user is & secure as cautious its user is!

Disclaimer: Please be warned that following the above rules increases your online security but it is by no means guaranteed to be completely safe! As a matter of fact, there’s nothing as being completely safe online!

Thanks for reading

last update: 2013-09-15