Archives for the month of: February, 2013

Was sad to see a lack of GNU/Linux in the science community… Though I salute the lone Ububtu user in that one computer lab


Protips on dual-booting:

1.) Use GRUB.

2.) Order is essential- I advice booting the live CD, cutting partitions, then rebooting and installing windows, then going back to finish Linux, and that way you get GRUB right the first time

3.) BACK EVERYTHING UP. You”l have to re install to get it right 99% of the time, and shrinking partitions is nasty business

4.) Things will go smoother with a more minimal Linux distro like Arch Linux, Slackware, or Gentoo, because you have a lot more control over what goes where

5.) Grab a calculator, write stuff down, and get your partition sizes right the first time. Again, resizing partitions is nasty business

Will be bringing laptop and blogging live from UK’s engineering day, hopefully we’ll see Linux in use in science!

Just got a Numark Mixtrack running through Mixxx, an open-source DJ program, and with a Behringer mixer thrown in the mix, I am ready for my gig!

Mixxx is great, though I wish it could detect key signatures… oh well.

Mix installs straight from apt-get or pacman, but on rpm-based distros you’ll need to compile from source (not a big deal)

(Arch users, be sure to get the kernel module: sudo modprobe snd_seq_midi)

There’s no need to pay for thousand dollar software just to blare some tunes, just use Mixxx!

Just installed Arch Linux on my laptop, and am head over heels in love with it. Previously I had to install slackware instead due to UEFI compatibility issues, but on my laptop such things went fine. The command-line network manager is intuitive and easy to use, pacman is the best package manager I have experienced. Arch Linux is also the only “advanced” distro I’ve used which had practical gnome 3 support, which sealed the deal.

The installation process was not easy in the least, but after the port-compiling nightmares of getting xorg running in FreeBSD this felt like a breeze. WiFi card works out-of-the-box, ATI drivers didn’t give me any static, and pacman got gnome3 and xorg in minutes. After installing the rest of my regularly used software, such as xchat, Google Chrome, and VLC, the total install is still around 5GB. Would definitely recommend. The only issue I still have is that the WiFi network manager won’t connect to the gnome3 GUI interface for it, though fixing that is under way.

However, my love for Arch isn’t based in its performance, but in its philosophy. The Arch Way is precisely the way I envision programming and development should be, and is the future of computer science. Patches on top of patches may work to produce behemoth 50GB operating systems like Windows 7, but they will never perform as optimally or elegantly as a patch-free done-right-the-first-time OS like Arch Linux or FreeBSD.

Although I was blown by all else, I was appalled by Arch’s community. More “advanced” distros are notorious for their stuck-up users, which are exactly who I encountered upon seeking help on their Freenode channel. The documentation was very complete and well-written, so I was able to avoid asking for help too often, but doing so was not a pleasant experience.

More on the Arch Way:

(P.S. I wrote this article in Vi, just for whimsy)
(or at least the first draft, I unfortunately do not know how to publish directly to wordpress via command line)

Vi or Emacs is an essential for those planning to use GNU/Linux or BSD for any length of time.

I used to think otherwise, but Vi has just such amazing commands, like movement between corresponding parenthesis, on-the-fly macros, and just more efficient control in general.

The “awkward” goes away instantly if you just pretend “command mode” is the same as holding down the CTRL key.

this is the best guide I’ve seen on Vi:

Now have working ssh server for tunneling around internet restrictions, and encrypting traffic. Viva la revolucion!

Trying Xfce on FreeBSD, because Gnome and KDE are simply too big… not sure what to expect whatsoever.

It’s still taking forever and a day to compile though

FreeBSD server is up!

just took a computer from the back room my parents haven’t turned on in years and turned it into a fully functioning ftp and ssh server with FreeBSD.

I had some issues with the CD drive and biostar motherboard not liking each other, but after installation all is well. Network and graphics card drivers worked out of the box, so all is well. (I know this isn’t GNU/Linux, but FreeBSD is similar in both license and structure so I feel it’s ok to blog about on here).

I would definitely advise taking that old PC you haven’t used since Windows ME and installing FreeBSD, if nothing else just to have a guinea pig for learning about UNIX-based operating systems on. You could also use it as a personal VPN, extra firewall, or package filtration machine since it was just sitting around anyway. The community is helpful, and all is well-documented, so even for a new user it’s not hard to get into!

How the CFAA Works

Types of Offenses (7 Prohibitions)

There are seven types of criminal activity enumerated in the CFAA: obtaining national security information, compromising confidentiality, trespassing in a government computer, accessing to defraud and obtain value, damaging a computer or information, trafficking in passwords, and threatening to damage a computer. Attempts to commit these crimes are also criminally punishable.

Protected Computer the term “protected computer” means a computer

(1) exclusively for the use of a financial institution or the United States Government, or, in the case of a computer not exclusively for such use, used by or for a financial institution or the United States Government and the conduct constituting the offense affects that use by or for the financial institution or the Government; or

(2) which is used in interstate or foreign commerce or communication, including a computer located outside the United States that is used in a manner that affects interstate or foreign commerce or communication of the United States.

18 U.S.C. § 1030

In MBTA v. Anderson, No. 08-11364, (D. Mass. filed Aug. 19, 2008), Plaintiff claimed that defendants violated or threatened to violate the CFAA by releasing the findings of their research regarding the security holes associated with the MBTA fare charging system. The court found that a violation of the CFAA only occurs if the person knowingly causes the transmission of programmed information to a protected computer. Because the defendants in this case were only seeking to transmit information to a non-computer audience, the court found that the MBTA was not likely to succeed on a claim under the CFAA.

via Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) – Internet Law Treatise.

The part about “financial institution” has me rather worried… I’m no expert at law, but I’m pretty sure this means business owned or corporate computers are protected under the same rights as those necessary to national defense, which is extremely worrisome.

Although intruding upon or damaging a business’s computer is still a crime, I don’t feel like that repercussions should be so severe.

My other worry is later on, where “damage of reputation or goodwill” is labeled. The ability to find and bring to light injustices within our government was not only among the founding ideas of our nation, but the age that followed.