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Topics - Jason Wallwork

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1
Website / Thumbnails for graphical attachments are bigger now
« on: January 16, 2018, 01:52:30 am »
I sized up the thumbnails used in image attachments in posts so they will show up larger now. The thumbnails are the way the image attachments appear until you click on them. Maximum width is now 800 and maximum height 600. Trying to make sure that it will show up and be readable on most laptop screens, without having to enlarge to full-size. Of course, you can still click on the image to see the full-size version of it though you may to scroll.

If members would like the thumbnails still larger, let me know.

2
One feature that Chrome has that Firefox doesn't, is the ability to turn off Location, Notifications, webcam and microphone for all websites so you're not nagged constantly. If you're like me and really don't need the website to guess where you are (or are creeped out by it) and don't need website notifications, it's great to have the ability to turn off these "features". Location isn't so bad but it seems like now that every website is using notifications and I find it super annoying.

Looks like Firefox 59, due in mid-March will have this feature added. Until then, this article shows you how you can do it using Firefox's about:config page.

3
Linux Applications & Android apps / Firefox Quantum
« on: January 12, 2018, 04:11:26 pm »
I remember that Firefox had changed a couple of months ago but I thought at the time that they were just cosmetic changes that didn't really change how users would interact with the browser other than in Preferences. Actually, the changes are considerable.

I'm experimenting with it for a week to see how it stacks up to Chrome which I've loved since its incarnation. Turns out there are sizable UI changes (lots of great stuff I think) and the render engine was entirely revamped so it was faster than Chrome. At least, that was two months ago, not sure how it compares now, but I have to say, after using it for just a day, it does feel faster. Here's an excerpt from a glowing review of it in Wired written by a Chrome fan, but do read the full review. It's intriguing.

Quote
Quantum feels like a bunch of power users got together and built a browser that fixed all the little things that annoyed them about other browsers. It has a QR code reader built in. It has a menu item for copying a URL, and if you've ever tried to copy and paste a long URL on your phone you know how nice that is. Firefox even makes screenshots more intuitive: it can capture a section, everything on your screen, or the entire webpage all at once. You can even turn on "Night Mode" and invert the colors on most blindingly white websites. All these things are so fiddly in other browsers, requiring bookmarklets and extensions to work. Firefox just put them all in the browser.


4
Security / Meltdown and Spectre website
« on: January 11, 2018, 09:39:08 pm »
Didn't realize these nasties had their own website!

https://meltdownattack.com/

Most of it is technical but the Q & A is more accessible to everybody and I found this interesting tidbit:

Quote
Why is it called Spectre?

The name is based on the root cause, speculative execution. As it is not easy to fix, it will haunt us for quite some time.

I'm guessing every program that was ever written that used speculative execution has to have those lines fixed or at least run through a compiler that removes those instructions. But that's just a guess.

5
Security / Ubuntu updates released for Spectre and Meltdown CPU bugs
« on: January 10, 2018, 12:47:43 pm »
In my screenshot below, it shows my Linux Mint 18.3 desktop with 3 pending updates. Click on it for a full-sized version. The top two are regarding the recent flaws revealed in processors with speculative processing and fix them and it also looks like they might also have code to handle the AMD issue, judging by the release notes.

Still, these are serious patches. The urgency is marked as low for them probably because there haven't been any vulnerabilities in the wild (yet), though the CVE rates this issue as Medium. But the bigger thing here is that the impact is 4. Note that the numbers used beside updates in LM isn't the priority, it's the impact on the system as a whole. And because these are kernel-related updates, things could break.

Apply them one at a time as recommended in the legend and do an image beforehand. I assume this means to apply an update and then reboot and use your computer enough to make sure it works before applying another update. With level 4 updates, I tend to just install one each day until they're all done. Timeshift, which comes with Linux Mint 18.3 is great for backing up an image, btw. But you could use Clonezilla if you prefer.

These updates are upstream from Ubuntu so other Ubuntu-derived distros should have them now, too.

This is one of the features I like about Linux Mint. Any other distro, you might apply all these patches together and not prepare an image backup beforehand and end up with an unbootable system. The impact level warns you of this.


6
General Discussion / Loblaw $25 Gift Card
« on: January 10, 2018, 11:27:07 am »
You've probably been living under a rock if you haven't heard about this but just in case, here's how you can get a gift card from Loblaws loaded with $25 for shopping in their stores.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/the-catch-what-loblaw-wants-for-its-25-gift-card-1.3750041

There are also pending class action lawsuits which may net more money but agree to accept this card will not prevent you from joining one of those. These other lawsuits still have to be certified by a judge before you can join them. I will post info about joining those, too, as soon as I see it.

7
Meetings / Weekly PLUG MUG: Monday, January 15, 2018: Sign-Up PLEASE!
« on: January 10, 2018, 10:30:57 am »
Every week, members and non-members alike, are invited to hang out with other PLUGgers for coffee and snacks. We call these nights PLUG MUGs. There will be free wireless internet and no agenda; just friends hanging out and talking about everything from Linux to X-rays. This week, it is being held at 7 pm at:

Tim Horton's
898 Monaghan Road (near Lansdowne St. W.)
Peterborough, Ontario


Map

Please let us know you're coming by posting below! By the way, you don't have to be there right at 7 pm, that's just a suggested time. We fully expect people to show up at different times. If you're not coming at 7-8 pm though, do let us know when so we can wait for you.

Synchronize your watches!! <^8# See you there!

8
Distributions / Lindows/Linspire/Freespire reborn!
« on: January 03, 2018, 12:44:44 am »
Anybody remember the commercial Linux distribution known as Linspire and it's free community spin-off known as Freespire? It started out as Lindows many years ago and had probably the first super-easy and fast installation of Linux and looked remarkably like Windows. They had to change their name after a trademark dispute with Microsoft. I think it was originally free but they sold certain programs they prepackaged for Linux and then they changed to a commercial model only and because most of the code was GPL, other developers created a free version called Freespire, or maybe they did? I don't recall exactly. After a few years of this the company disappeared as did Freespire later, that is, they didn't keep up work on it. Well, it's back. PC/OpenSystems LLC purchased it and have released new versions of Linspire and Freespire, the second containing only Free programs (like of like Debian, that way) is free of charge. Linspire has more and is available for $80 which seems overly expensive to me, especially for basically what's a new distribution now. Full announcement and link to download Freespire here:

http://www.pc-opensystems.com/2018/01/freespire-30-and-linspire-70-released.html

9
Meetings / Weekly PLUG MUG: Monday, January 1, 2018: Sign-up PLEASE!
« on: December 28, 2017, 06:34:35 pm »
Every week, members and non-members alike, are invited to hang out with other PLUGgers for coffee and snacks. We call these nights PLUG MUGs. There will be free wireless internet and no agenda; just friends hanging out and talking about everything from Linux to X-rays. This week, it is being held at 7 pm at:

Tim Horton's
898 Monaghan Road (near Lansdowne St. W.)
Peterborough, Ontario


Map

Please let us know you're coming by posting below! By the way, you don't have to be there right at 7 pm, that's just a suggested time. We fully expect people to show up at different times. If you're not coming at 7-8 pm though, do let us know when so we can wait for you.

Synchronize your watches!! <^8# See you there!

10
Get the flu shot. The strains that were circulating in the Southern Hemisphere during their winter have already appeared here and it packs a wallop. Even if you never get the flu, keep in mind that some people can't get the flu shot (including newborns) and getting your flu shot also protects them. And not having gotten the flu despite not having gotten flu shots in the past isn't a good reason any more than not having getting snow tires because you've never had an accident is.

https://globalnews.ca/news/3782452/heres-why-canada-may-be-in-for-a-miserable-2017-18-flu-season/

https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/flu-influenza/influenza-surveillance/weekly-influenza-reports.html


11
Marketplace / Looking for a printer that works
« on: December 21, 2017, 07:50:46 pm »
Looks look my printer may have given up the ghost. Seems that the paper feed rollers aren't grabbing the paper making a god-awful noise trying. Of course, I so seldom print, I don't find this out until *after* I've bought replacement inkjet cartridges! Seems so wasteful to buy something new even though it will come with a bit of ink. Does anybody have an old printer they no longer use? I don't care what kind though it'd be cool if it used to use #61 inkjet cartridges.  It'd be ideal if it was Linux compatible. Hoping for free, but willing to pay a small amount, say $20 if it works since I'll have to get cartridges for it.

If nobody has one they're trying to get rid of, any recommendations of a good model that hasn't given them trouble or has cheap ink cartridges?

12
Meetings / No PLUG MUG for Monday, December 25, 2017
« on: December 19, 2017, 08:56:23 pm »
No PLUG MUG coming Monday since it's Christmas. Happy Holidays everyone!

13
Meetings / Weekly PLUG MUG: Monday, December 18, 2017: Sign-up PLEASE!
« on: December 18, 2017, 01:50:13 pm »
Every week, members and non-members alike, are invited to hang out with other PLUGgers for coffee and snacks. We call these nights PLUG MUGs. There will be free wireless internet and no agenda; just friends hanging out and talking about everything from Linux to X-rays. This week, it is being held at 7 pm at:

Tim Horton's
898 Monaghan Road (near Lansdowne St. W.)
Peterborough, Ontario


Map

Please let us know you're coming! By the way, you don't have to be there right at 7 pm, that's just a suggested time. We fully expect people to show up at different times. If you're not coming at 7-8 pm though, do let us know when so we can wait for you.

At this meeting and at the December PLUG meeting, we'll invite comments on whether or not to continue with this new day and location for MUGs.

Synchronize your watches!! <^8# See you there!

14
Distributions / Q4OS Review in Register
« on: December 09, 2017, 02:23:09 am »
Reading through some articles saved in Pocket and found this from the end of October about Q4OS.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/10/30/q4os_distro_review/

Has anybody tried this?

15
Meetings / December 2017: PLUG Meeting Notes
« on: December 05, 2017, 01:15:02 am »
I presented on new features of Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon tonight. Great turnout tonight where we also shared pizza, chips, cookies, eggnog and pop. Thanks to Bob and Rachelle for arranging a large part of the food including the pizza and to those others that brought snacks.

The new features I presented tonight came directly come from this page on the Linux Mint website. If it interests you enough to upgrade from 18.2 there is an upgrade article in the Linux Mint blog. Of course, it's a good idea to also check the release notes to make know about any known issues with particular hardware.

Note that some of these features are new features to Linux Mint and will also apply to the MATE, Xfce, and KDE versions. You should check the new features page for the other desktop versions to be sure. Note that at present it's just the beta versions of Xfce and KDE that are out right now although the final versions should be out within a month or so.

And for those that are new to Linux or LM entirely, refer to the attached slideshow from the September 2017 meeting.

Updated: Attached slideshow and explanatory text.

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