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Thu 29th Apr 2010 @ 23:07 2010: Gummi Bear Anatomy

Somebody has far too much time on their hands... Gummi Bear Anatomy

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Wed 21st Apr 2010 @ 00:04 2010: Young people and attitudes to online privacy

Yet another link to a Bruce Schneier post... This time on online privacy, particularly as relates to young people, though I think that the risks and actual understandings are pretty similar across most demographics.

Those of us who read privacy agreements, EULAs, and discussions around them, are in the minority, regardless of the age group questioned. Most other (some would say "normal") people go with the flow and accept that, since everybody uses MySpace/Facebook/Twitter/fad-of-the-day, then it must be okay.

(did you know that MySpace data is already for sale?)

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Mon 19th Apr 2010 @ 23:49 2010: GIMP Resynthesizer

Thanks to OMGUbuntu for the tip, the Resynthesizer for the GIMP image editing package is really clever.

apt-get install gimp-resynthesizer

Then select an area, right-click on it, and choose Filters->Map->Resynthesize.

PathNo Path

(click for larger images)

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Sat 17th Apr 2010 @ 01:21 2010: Oracle distributing Free / Open Source Software - do they know how to do it?

For a long long time now, we have been able to download the latest Solaris release (SPARC and x86) from This is still the case; a few people have found inconsistencies in the terms recently, which I may mention in a later post, but it is likely to be due to Oracle trying to get a grasp of how to deal with the idea of giving away non-Free software.

The latest version of all this is a post on the OpenSolaris website-discuss mailing list, where Derek Cicero of Oracle said on Wed Apr 14th:

FYI - Oracle is no longer offering a free OpenSolaris CD shipping program at this time. As a result, we have removed all links and icons from the site. If you would like to download OpenSolaris, please visit the Downloads page at

This is unlikely to directly affect many people - the download is still available, via, you can download regular Solaris 10 (including older versions) for free from

You can also order an Oracle Enterprise Linux DVD via - and download it from in exchange for your email address.

So - you can get free ISOs of all your favourite Free and Open Source operating systems from their various vendors, if you know where to look. You could get OpenSolaris DVDs posted to you until recently; you can still get Oracle Enterprise Linux DVDs, and (via Ubuntu too, from the various vendors. I'm sure that there was a scheme whereby you could get branded Solaris 10 DVDs posted for a nominal cost (around USD$30) but I can't find that easily now.

So there is not a lot of news here, but people are keeping a close eye on how Oracle deal with Solaris and OpenSolaris availability, looking for clues as to how Oracle plan to progress with this technology now that they own it. Oracle seem to have made a few mistakes already - confusing people as to whether the software is free to use, or a 90-day-trial-only license, or otherwise, and have now dropped the free-DVD programme.

I am sure that all will come to light in time, but for now, I am downloading as many ISO images as I can!

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Sun 11th Apr 2010 @ 00:14 2010: RedHat 5.5


H-Online have a summary of the new features in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5. Rumours are that 6.0 should be the next version, expected before the end of the year, running a 2.6.32 Linux kernel.

The Release Notes contain all the most relevant updates; the announcement contains a summary.

There are lots of KVM enhancements, and support for new Intel, AMD and IBM Power CPUs, PostgreSQL 8.4 database, and Samba 3.3 for better Windows 7 support. On the desktop side, there is better audio and Wifi support, is upgraded from 2.4 to 3.1.

The "-@Conflicts" keyword to Kickstart sounds like a useful addition, though I'll need to read up on exactly what it does (and does not) do before using it for real.

On the down side, the system requirements go up to 1Gb per logical CPU. I am already working with 4-chip, 6-core servers (total 24 cores) - if RHEL5.5 really requires 24Gb for such a machine simply to run the OS, a 64Gb machine would only have 40Gb of RAM available for the application; that seems rather hungry, particularly for Linux.

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Sat 10th Apr 2010 @ 18:51 2010: Schneier on Privacy

In response to those family and friends who wanted to know,this is why I left Facebook, put very succinctly as Bruce Schneier is so very good at doing.

[social networking companies] are motivated to continually ratchet down the privacy of their services, while at the same time pronouncing privacy erosions as inevitable and giving users the illusion of control.

He also has another talk here (see his blog post about it).

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Sat 10th Apr 2010 @ 00:43 2010: Microsoft Office 2007 trial - expires 2002

I've been sent a .XLS file which doesn't do much in - I suspect that it has some VBA stuff in there which requires Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Excel. I don't know, but I think that I may need to buy Microsoft Office just so that I can process this spreadsheet for my accountant.

There's a good way to find out - Microsoft offer a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office for free-of-charge download.

Wait, what's this? How can a trial of Microsoft Office 2007 expire five years before it was written?

Still, there's an easy way to work around that - set the clock to some time before December 2002. But no, they've thought of that!


Update I tried it on a VirtualBox Windows XP install on my Acer Aspire One, and its 1.6GHz CPU is "less than 400MHz" apparently:


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Thu 8th Apr 2010 @ 22:29 2010: Hack'n'Blog - I promised a link just as soon as the server is up and serving web pages (otherwise the google-juice would count for nothing) - so here it is - Hack'n'Blog, a great blog with all sorts of interesting content.

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