Mittwoch, 29. April 2009

Ubuntu 9.04 BBC iPlayer Adobe Realplayer mashup

If you have a recent Ubuntu 9.04 - the Jaunty Jackalope - released in April 2009 installed and also the Realplayer 11 (version and Adobe Flashplayer 10 (version 10,0,22,87) and think to yourself, "Hey, I can listen to Scott Mills on BBC Radio1 this afternoon" on the BBC iPlayer - uhm...most likely, but probably not that easy.

I have three different audio-chips on my pc (onboard, pci-soundcard, hdmi-audio-output on the graphic card).

Right now, the Realplayer is set to Alsa, Pulseaudio is running too and it all works fine with the pci-soundcard. I will post a real Howto, when I find the time. Until then, don-t give up. Google further, if you are looking for help, but be assured, it will work.

Tweetdeck with Linux

If you know Twitter and don-t know Tweetdeck you should quickly jump to their page and find out about it.

Here is what you can do:

* Tweet directly from TweetDeck
* Stay up to date – view all new tweets in real-time
* Use columns to create your personal dashboard
* Create Groups to easily follow friends, colleagues or other interest groups

* Update Facebook and follow your Facebook friends
* Follow topics in real-time with saved searches
* View @replies and direct messages and manage your conversations
* Never miss an important tweet with notifications

* Share your photos and videos with Twitpic and 12seconds
* And many more Twitter favourites including Stocktwits, Twitscoop and all the most popular URL shortening services

But before you go there you should listen to this little advise: FIRST DOWNLOAD ADOBE AIR and install it (I assume you know how) and only then you can click on the "Download" button, which will allow you to install this application.

I had to figure it out myself, but want to spare you the time.

Dienstag, 28. April 2009

ATI Radeon 4670 with Ubuntu 9.04 - minor issues

After installing Ubuntu 9.04 there is always the exciting and annoying element called 'proprietary videocard driver'. While the process with NVidia-drivers under Linux became a piece of cake, the installation process with AMD/ATI-drivers, while equally 'easy' as a process, turns very mixed results.

the aticonfig --buildpkg is not the problem. The proper xorg.conf-settings can be, very much so for new Linux-Users, who are not interested in the history of X11, XFree, XOrg etc, as an alternative to the seven tomes of Marcel Proust's "A la recherche du temps perdu" which is accurately translated "In Search of Lost Time"

So while I had some hard-lockups when using the 3D-acceleration, when I turned off the fancy Desktops-Effects, everything became fine. I have to see if it has to do something with the overlay-mechanism, since I catch this hardware-cold only under certain circumstances (i.e. switching video into fullscreen).

But instead of looking to find the bug, I thought, I would rather write about it. After all. If you don't care about fancy wobbly windows and rotating cubes, you are fine. The question is, why would you want a Radeon 4670 at all?

Sonntag, 26. April 2009

InSecure Internet Surfing for Dummies (Client-Side/Userlevel)

"Think before you click."

Goal: Surf the web without having to fear infecting your own PC with worms, viruses, scripts, etc... exposing your data, unintentionally sharing files, somebody wiping your hard disk, reading your stored passwords and so on...

Status quo: Face the facts: You will never be secure browsing the web as a normal user. Just forget the idea. If you do not establish a trusted, certified, encrypted connection, that is monitored and has to verify each packet or hash sums of it, you are always exposed to attacks of all kinds. What you still can do, as a user, is letting go of old thinking and accept the facts.

Browse the web without having to fear that your data on your harddrives are exposed to attacks. Hiding partitions, encrypting your home/user-file-directories should be recommended, but you don't have to if you follow the concept below:


the most recent Knoppix DVD is 6.1 - I like the artwork for 5.3 by Thomas Saur (?)

Howto do it
: I use a Knoppix(Debian)-Live-DVD. You can install the complete Operating System on a 4GB-USB-Stick and have even 1GB left on it, for a encrypted read-only home-partition, where you can store your configuration. You can use any Linux-Live-CD (Knoppix/Ubuntu/openSUSE/etc...). Your harddrives are in read-only mode. You can make them invisible if you have not already encrypted them.
Beware: there is still the chance that somebody will read your tmp-files/ram etc. Every communication between you and a server and/or service on the web is as secure as the protocols underneath allow it to be. If you can, use secure protocols all the time. If you can, use encryption all the time. But the vulnerability you offer, is way lower than surfing from your 'installed system'. If you want to download files, simply use an extra partition, where you can dump that stuff. (Run multiple scan's on these downloaded files before you read/execute them. Be aware that all scenarios which include transactions of data through the net are still open to attacks (passwords in clear text, non-secure protocols between client and server, etc...) - avoid any online-service that does not use secure protocols, encryption or other form of trusted computing. Minimize the risks.

Security vs. Convenience - it always comes down to the following question: "How much time are you willing to spend vs. how much risk are you willing to take?" Most people don't know the risks and they don't want to know.

After you finished your web-browsing everything you might have catched throughout the session will be deleted on your side (but 'phishing-attacks' during the session might still have taken place). Think of your use of the internet as a jump into radioactive waters (FALLOUT 3). Don't be online all the time. Be aware that you are open to malicious attacks. Yes, Microsoft for example, improved their default security options a great bit. Vista and more so Windows 7 offer very good measures for unexperienced users. Still the biggest threat to a 'normal user' is the notion to lull them into coziness. Neither Microsoft, nor Anti-Virus-Software, nor Mac or Linux will save you from malicious attacks.

Conclusion: This concept does not apply to all circumstances. Homebanking is as insecure as it always was. PIN/TAN and even iTAN transactions have been exploited. "HTTPS" sounds nice, but do you really now that the DNS-Server sent you to the 'real' MyBank-Website? Fake certificates are no prob for the net-mob. Your beloved Outlook or MS Office has to struggle through Wine if you really, really think you need it. But if you are paranoid (like me) or don't want to hassle with attacks that might infect your PC (even under Linux) or Anti-Virus-Software which has it's own vulnerabilities (been late, false negatives, etc), I figured, this is the best way for web-browsing.

Disclaimer: This does not work for 'safe surfing' (your kids web). This does not work for System-Administrators. They have to maintain networks and 1000s of connected computers, with infected programs and corrupt data floating around. They are mandated to use AV-Software and they better do. The nightmares of professionals is another story.

Thanks for reading this. Talk me down. Drop a comment.

Donnerstag, 16. April 2009

Introduction and Basic Profile

Von Blogger Pictures

Alex 'BuckyBit' Covic

PHONE: (+049) 0431 60 82 461
MOBILE: (+049) 01522 3460077
8486 4F01 8FC1 96EE 2128 DB5D 675D 465A 7FA9 60A5

My PGP-Key (see below)
My resume (german)...
follow me on Twitter
my Facebook-page...
my Flickr-page...

Who Am I?

I support the Free Software Foundation
I support the Electronic Freedom Foundation
I support the Debian-Project
I am still not a member of the German Unix User Group
I am still not a member of the German Linux User Group neither *

First Computers: Apple II, Amiga 500, Commodore64, x86 since 286 and Dr-Dos, Linux since Kernel 0.99

Origins: born 1967 in Munich, Germany - my Mother migrated after World War 2 from Yugoslavia to West-Germany.

I graduated successfully with something called ("Mittlere Reife") at an absolutely insignificant german school before actually starting 20 years of studies on my own, outside the institutions. I was regularly visiting the libraries of the LMU and TUM (mentioned in Thomas Pynchon's" Gravity's Rainbow"), secretly attending some lectures at these two main universities, without being a student.

I also spent around 15 years regularly visiting the Technical Library of the Deutsche Museum (where Einstein was a fellow before the Nazis kicked him out) and the BSB (amongst the world largest libraries, with a huge collection of academic magazines).

At the same time, I earned my living with low-income jobs, mostly in retail, while studying and socializing with my student-friends at night.Later on, I quit my job and lived unemployed for several years - even being homeless and having no legal papers.

I have 25 years of computer experience in my blood. I worked the last ten years in it-consulting, telling small businesses what hardware to buy, what software to use, setting things up and running, aquiring people to work as admins or to write apps for the clients.

Before that, I worked ten years in book-retail. The last employee-gig was 7 years for a book-chain (think of Barnes-n-Nobles of Germany). As an assistent-manager I was responsible for sales of computer-books and software. I made a revenue of US-$ 2 Mio for the company per year.

I started reading philosophy - besides science-fiction books - at the age of maybe 11 or 12. I use the word 'philosophy' in the broadest sense - I was reading everything, I could get my hands on: from the history of philosophy, the philosophical models, to mathematics, scientific models, methodology, biology, logic, political theories, sociology, neuroscience, physics.

interested in: scientific research: from genomics to quantum physics,
(computer) architecture/languages, parallel computing, functional programming, grid,clusters,cloud-computing,
global economy, international politics, media business, social issues, internet politics, and also organic food, 17/18th century literature, american football...

not interested in: ego/page-ranking, celebrity-gossip, iPhone/Apple-fans, google-ads/-bots, WoW, marketing-speech/pr-lingo,, newsgroup-trolling, racists, homophobes, misogynists, child-molesters, religious fanatics, political hacks...
favorite editor: emacs-nox
favorite shell: bash 4.0
favorite language: Haskell/Latin
favorite linux-distro: Debian
favorite tv-show: Star Trek (orig. Series)/ The Colbert-Report
favorite podcast:
favorite website: (books/reviews/article-metasite)

Although I'm primarily a Unix and Linux guy (Networks, Security, Virtualization), I have also spent time on many other platforms..

people I follow on the web (which I never met in real life):

Richard Stallman
Alan Cox
Dan Ts'o
Joe Duffy
Thomas Pynchon
Jeff Gerstmann

recently addicted to some web-tv-soap insanity,
presented by Vinnie and Jeff Persona4 Endurance Run.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)


*) I am not a member of the above organisations. I support them by donation and public awareness.