Category Archives: Open Source
We live in a post Snowden era. Where privacy of an individual is compromised by secret and clandestine spy agencies like NSA, Mossad or MI5. At the same time, unprecedented information is gathered about our online activities by enterprises hoping to sell us something that we may want. This has led us to a point where it is really a frustrating experience surfing the web without someone trying to sell us something that was probably gathered from our browser history. Even behemoths like Google, Facebook and Microsoft are culprits in this act. Well, Mozilla wants to change all that.
Mozilla has built a little plugin for its Firefox browser called Private Eye. This little software tracks all those who are tracking us. And then displays a list of all those sites.
It was not long ago, when Kano announced their intentions through a Kickstarter campaign to build a “computer and coding kit for all ages” powered by a Raspberry Pi. They asked for a meager US$100,000 to achieve their ambitious goal. The idea was an instant hit with backers. Within a short time, Kano amassed over 13,000 backers which ultimately resulted in 1.5million dollars successfully raised for the project!
The kit consists of a Raspberry Pi computer, hooked with a speaker, a wireless keyboard and connected to the internet through Wifi. The computer can be connected to any monitor/LCD screen through the provided HDMI cable.
Google Chrome, iTunes, and Microsoft Word are only some of the most popular programs that people use every day on their computer. But did you know that there are alternatives to the aforesaid programs that provide fantastic features?
Thanks to the accessibility of tutorials in the Internet age, hundreds of non-commercial programs have been developed to suit the needs of different end users. Indie game developers, for instance, have long jumped in on the bandwagon of using HMTL5 for the creation of games. Gaming Realms, one of the oldest software developers of casino games and operator of entertainment site Pocket Fruity, now uses the more modern HTML5 in the development of its titles to deliver high-definition gaming to its clients. HTML5 is widely used for its ability to port games to different platforms.
In little over three weeks time Ubuntu 14.10 will be officially released to the general public. But, if you cannot wait that long, you can download the pre-release beta here.
The new upcoming release, code named, Utopic Unicorn, is an incremental improvement over 14.04 LTS released earlier this year. Packages like LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird mail client are upgraded to the latest as well as the internals like the newer version of Linux Kernel and Unity interface were upgraded as well.
Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin have just launched a pioneering initiative to open source Soft Robotics Toolkit to help researchers, engineers and robotics enthusiasts to model, design, build and operate robots made from soft and flexible materials.
Their mission as stated int heir official news blog is:
Using principles drawn from conventional rigid robot design, but working with pliable materials, engineers are pioneering the use of soft robotics for assisting in a wide variety of tasks such as physical therapy, minimally invasive surgery, and search and rescue operations in dangerous environments.
The open source users community in Pakistan has been growing steadily over the years. In 2013, Open Source Foundation Pakistan (OSFP) was established as a non-profit in Pakistan with the aim of fostering the use and adaption of open source technologies within the government, businesses and homes.
Its founding President, Mr Jahanzeb Arshad explains that “the aim of OSFP is to raise awareness about open source software. It’s not only about price but actually it’s the freedom.” He adds, “Freedom to use, share, change and distribute.”
In order for us to build a successful baby monitor, we need our Raspberry Pi to perform the following tasks:
- Capture live video feed of the baby
- Stream live video feed to browser to be viewable by any device (Phone, Tablet, PC etc)
- Capture live video feed and save it onto a hard drive for later viewing (Nanny Cam)
- Capture audio (optional) of the baby and stream it. For me, this is not a high priority.
We need the following hardware tools to build our baby monitor:
- Raspberry Pi + Casing + Power supply (or battery pack)
- Pi Camera + Casing (Some people have converted their USB webcams to do this, but I prefer the Pi Camera for this tutorial
- SD Card preferably 8GB with Raspbian installed on it.
- Wifi USB dongle (incase if you do not want to use the ethernet port for LAN connectivity)
- A micro hard drive or a USB flash drive for video recording (optional)
The above items can be easily purchased from dozens of vendors across the globe and information can be sourced from Raspberry Pi website.
The new Linux Mint 17, Qiana, was finally released on Friday May 16. It offers many improvements over its predecessor, Mint 16. The good thing about the latest version is that it is based on Ubuntu 14.04 which is Long Term Release (LTS) version, hence, updates and patches will be supported up till 2019. Which is probably longer than the life of your computer on which you install it.
Linux Mint 17 features MATE 1.8, MDM 1.6, a Linux kernel 3.13 and an Ubuntu 14.04 package base.
- Offline Driver Installation Support: Drivers Installation does not always need internet. As at times we do not have internet or the drivers for wifi are not natively supported. We can always update the drivers offline through CD/DVD or USB stick.
- LTS Support: Support Drivers and updates till 2019.
- Update Manager: Improved UI including updated icons and information displayed. It loads faster as it no longer checks for internet, or locks up because of APT cache session. The update manager, also logs all types of updates (even system) which is great.
- Login / MDM Improvements: Multi-monitor support is improved. Support now available to Log into the system using a username not listed on Login Screen.
- Language Settings: Vast improvement over the previous Language Support menu. Easy to add new languages and apply them system wide.
- Linux Mate 1.8: This is the newer version of Mate that is supported in Mint 17. It is lighter and faster than the previous version and has many minor iterative improvements making the overall experience better.
It is available in both 64bit and 32bit versions for all major hardware. It can be downloaded from their website here.
Connecting to Microsoft Exchange is never that easy. Especially, if one is trying to do it using open source and free softwares. There are plug-ins to be installed and configured, additional libraries to be installed. And it gets murkier as Exchange also has many versions (Pre 2007 is not web services based). In short, it requires a bit of tinkering on a Linux platform.
Evolution, by Novell is an excellent mail client. It offers not only mail, but calendaring, note taking, address book management and many other features offered by the popular MS-Outlook. What’s more, it even looks like Outlook. Hence, it is ideal software for those migrating from Windows desktop to a Linux. However, and some odd reason (maybe licensing issues) it does not support Microsoft Exchange out of the box. One has to install the drivers/plug-ins to get it going.
Like many others, I have struggled to get the plug-ins going for Exchange. Especially the off-the shelf versions do not always work perfectly. However, I have found one recent guide available online that gets the work done in matter of minutes. And yes, exchange works fine after that.
ExRatione has done an excellent job in putting together a script and a guide to install evolution from scratch with full support for MS-EWS (Microsoft Exchange Web Services). Use this guide to get it going and you will not be disappointed.
Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux distributions currently out there. Distrowatch website ranks them as #1 and Mint’s own webpage gives itself a rank of 4. There are hardware vendors providing specialized boxes running it like our previously reviewed Mintbox. So what makes it so wonderful and popular? We decided to review the latest available edition 16.
Linux Mint is yet another derivative of Ubuntu Linux, which means, all Ubuntu (and Debian) software technically should work without modifications on Mint, including system updates. Which is great.