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Yesterday I took the first of a few days of Annual Leave, looking to spend some time with the family after a fairly chaotic few months with work and brigade committments.

Mother-in-Law still in town from Wellington, we took the kids to Ambury Park - a great experience for urban kids! - and then decided to hit Ruby Red Cafe in Mangere Bridge for a coffee/fluffy break.

My mother picked up the tab, and ordered our usual collection of Soy Fluffies (for the kids) and coffees for the rest of us, Soy as required....

Unfortunately the person behind the counter heard 'two flat whites' when mum said 'two soy fluffies'.
So when two unwanted coffees (that our kids could hardly drink!) turned up and we refused them, there were apologies and the correct order did arrive fairly promptly.

Sadly though, no refund was coming. Although the waitress had offered one, by the time it came to it, the guy behind the counter refused, saying he made what we ordered.

Mum being mum, she wasn't interested in the conflict.... but for me it's simple; as a retailer you take the hit and offer the refund in the interests of return business. I know we won't be going to Ruby Red again - what's it cost them in loss of business?

(Mum learnt a lesson too; get a read-back of the order and question when the charge looks too high!)

BlakJak.net returns after being down since last evening. Looks like something ran amuck and used up all my memory. Will be monitoring the situation more closely... !

So today, in amongst other bits and pieces, I set about trying to figure out why my old Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop - now connected to the TV in my livingroom - was constantly failing to play DVDs. In one case the title would load up, but none of the chapters would play.

Googling the errors that came up (oh thanks VLC for the constant references to 'fake' error messages), I finally found a useful hit on the Ubuntu Forums.

The bottom line was indeed that I needed libdvdcss2 - this is after I installed 'ubuntu-restricted-extras' to ensure I had all the codecs I needed. Of course, throwing that into apt-get install gives you this:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Package libdvdcss2 is not available, but is referred to by another package.
This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
is only available from another source
E: Package libdvdcss2 has no installation candidate

The above link describes how to install it (on my Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installation.. which is definately not Medibuntu):

$ sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

And just like that, it worked.

So knowing that my Ubuntu 10.10 was about to go out of support, I took the plunge and made two calls:

1) Ubuntu's move to Unity was not to my liking, and

2) I'd like to move to the new LTS; 12.04.

So I went to Xubuntu; the Xfce based Ubuntu variant.

Unfortunately, as it's only March 2012, 12.04 is only just into Beta stage. So my installation is Xubuntu 12.04b1 64bit.

First impressions? I like it. However there's been a few odds and sods i've had to deal to manually, and eventually i'll tie them into this blog article.

Browsers
I operate with Firefox as my main browser, and Chrome/Chromium as my second browser, used for mainly work-related things or where i'm testing for browser incompatibilities. Unfortunately Chromium doesn't seem to play well with other browsers, and where Firefox is otherwise configured as the default, this isn't necessarily true...

Anycase this was my fix to make Firefox take all the stuff that Chromium was stealing, in this case links presented via Pidgin IM:

root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# rm gnome-www-browser 
root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# rm x-www-browser 
root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# ln -s /usr/bin/firefox gnome-www-browser
root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# ln -s /usr/bin/firefox x-www-browser

More coming soon as I work through the kinks. On the whole i'm pretty damn happy with it so far, including the fact that it's able to run Gnome apps.

Running two browsers for a variety of reasons (Firefox, primary, Chrome or Chromium, secondary) on all my platforms meant I kept the habit up when I started using Linux more frequently.
My main machine (both work and home) is now Ubuntu 10.10 (likely to be upgraded further soon when 10.10 goes out of support) and though i'm also fiddling with Linux Mint, i'm not using it fulltime yet... (but I digress).

Recently I've noticed somewhat annoying behavior where having received an email with embedded links into Thunderbird, clicking on supplied links would variously use either Firefox or Chromium without apparent pattern.

Eventually I worked out that http:// links were opening in Firefox and https:// links were opening in Chromium.

In frustration (as everywhere I could see, 'default browser' was set as Firefox) I posted to NZLUG and a very helpful post this afternoon revealed the winner:

Use gconf-editor and check the following:
  /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/http/
  /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/https/

Whaddiyaknow... default http handler was indeed 'firefox %s' and default https handler was 'sensible-browser %s'.

Running sensible-browser called Chromium. (what a conceited name to use!)

Changing it to Firefox appears to have put things back where I'd expect them to be; Firefox is my default, and Chromium has particular uses.

The relative obscurity of some of these fixes is occasionally somewhat frustrating, so i'm publishing this in the hope it'll benefit others. I've also put it up on Ubuntuforums.org attached to another post with similar symptoms, albeit a different fix.

The New Zealand Network Operators Group Conference 2012 was held in Christchurch this year, and I was fortunate enough to attend.
The usual conference form is Workshops / Multi-Day tutorials Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, half or full-day tutorials on the Wednesday, and the conference proper on the Thursday and Friday made up of a series of technical presentations (from 5 minutes to 45 minutes in length) on a variety of topics of interest to Network Operators.

NZNOG is the only event of its type in the NZ ICT calendar and serves as a useful way to keep up with current events, new developments and innovations in the NZ Networking scene.

Of course, there's always the light hearted side of things; Network Geeks are renowned for their beer-drinking prowess and well, NZNOG never fails... the proportion of NOGgers who don't drink do nevertheless get to have a great time.

I have Photos (See http://gallery3.blakjak.net/index.php/Events/2012/NZNOG-2012 and ) Video (see below) ;-)


BlakJak.net has been dark yesterday and most of today in protest of the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA). The U.S. Congress is about to censor the Internet, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed, and a significant amount of the Internet sits outside of US Jurisdiction. I've darkened my website in support of those attempting to kill off attempts to pass laws that breach our our global rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity. Learn more at AmericanCensorship.org (for the American Viewpoint) or for a New Zealand take on things, check out Vikram Kumar's Blog and recent guest post to the National Business Review (Similar content, but with some very interesting responses). Vikram is Chief Executive of InternetNZ, the non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the Internet in New Zealand. Among other things he notes that domain names within .com/net/org - like my one - would also be forfeit.

There's plenty of good media out there explaining why SOPA and it's ilk are BAD.
I'll link you these:


(November 2011)
and

(Yesterday).

One hopes that the amount of mainstream attention this is getting, will cause lawmakers to wake up.
In a wider sense it's disturbing how often 'blackout' responses are becoming relevant. Almost like lawmakers don't like to listen to their electorate, or to experts, when suggesting law changes. Sigh.

A headusp that due to what I can only describe as a clerical error, the virtual machine that hosted linux.net.nz has been deleted in the last few days.

I've temporarily set up a Listserv on the NZOSS infrastructure (which I host) to keep folks in the loop. All the people whos email addresses I had in my inbox associated with NZLUG and Auckland LUG have been subscribed. Others are welcome. Details are here. I will update this page as I hear further.

Update: Dylan Reeve, who owns/co-ran the linux.net.nz hosting server, has explained what went on in a blog post of his own. :( Until Nic returns from his holiday we're not sure where the various LUG's stands, except that Nic does think he has backups of all important data (notably the list membership database and mail archive for the list) as of a few months ago. So the data loss may not be huge in that front.

Can't speak for the website however....

More as I hear.

After having to challenge yet another unsolicited connection attempt on LinkedIn today I was inspired to throw some words into Google and see if anyone else had published anything regarding LinkedIn Connections.

I came across the following interesting reads:

I installed OpenShot yesterday and published my first Youtube vid edited with it: And i've embedded it here just coz it involves cats, and we all love cats... right?

Later on I observed that VLC was no longer installed on my machine.
I also observed I had some videos that wouldn't play anymore (in totem) due to missing Codecs.

I was prompted to check my apt/history.log file after someone on Facebook doubted the correlation... I suppose I should stop openly blaming things without checking... so glad I looked:

Here's an extract:

Start-Date: 2011-12-27 19:36:05
Commandline: apt-get install openshot
Install: melt:amd64 (0.5.6+git20100727-1, automatic), libavformat-extra-52:amd64 (0.6-2ubuntu3.2, automatic), openshot:amd64 (1.2.2-1), libatlas3gf-base:amd64 (3.8.3-22ubuntu2, automatic), libmlt++3:amd64 (0.5.6+git20100727-1, automatic), libsox-fmt-base:amd64 (14.3.1-1build1, automatic), libquicktime1:amd64 (1.1.5-1, automatic), python-mlt2:amd64 (0.5.6+git20100727-1, automatic), libsox-fmt-alsa:amd64 (14.3.1-1build1, automatic), libavutil-extra-50:amd64 (0.6-2ubuntu3.2, automatic), libcvaux2.1:amd64 (2.1.0-2, automatic), libavdevice52:amd64 (0.6-2ubuntu6.2, automatic), libpostproc-extra-51:amd64 (0.6-2ubuntu3.2, automatic), libmp3lame0:amd64 (3.98.4-0ubuntu1, automatic), openshot-doc:amd64 (1.2.2-1, automatic), libhighgui2.1:amd64 (2.1.0-2, automatic), libswscale-extra-0:amd64 (0.6-2ubuntu3.2, automatic), libgavl1:amd64 (1.1.2-3, automatic), frei0r-plugins:amd64 (1.1.22git20091109-1.1, automatic), libqt4-svg:amd64 (4.7.0-0ubuntu4.4, automatic), libcv2.1:amd64 (2.1.0-2, automatic), libxvidcore4:amd64 (1.2.2+debian-1ubuntu2, automatic), libgfortran3:amd64 (4.5.1-7ubuntu2, automatic), librtmp0:amd64 (2.3-2, automatic), libsox1b:amd64 (14.3.1-1build1, automatic), libmlt-data:amd64 (0.5.6+git20100727-1, automatic), libopenjpeg2:amd64 (1.3+dfsg-4, automatic), libmlt2:amd64 (0.5.6+git20100727-1, automatic), libavcodec-extra-52:amd64 (0.6-2ubuntu3.2, automatic)

Remove: libswscale0:amd64 (0.6.2-1ubuntu1~ppa1~lucid1), libavutil50:amd64 (0.6.2-1ubuntu1~ppa1~lucid1), libavcodec52:amd64 (0.6.2-1ubuntu1~ppa1~lucid1), gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg:amd64 (0.10.11-1), vlc-nox:amd64 (1.1.4-1ubuntu1.7), vlc-plugin-notify:amd64 (1.1.4-1ubuntu1.7), libpostproc51:amd64 (0.6.2-1ubuntu1~ppa1~lucid1), libavformat52:amd64 (0.6.2-1ubuntu1~ppa1~lucid1), vlc:amd64 (1.1.4-1ubuntu1.7), vlc-plugin-pulse:amd64 (1.1.4-1ubuntu1.7)
End-Date: 2011-12-27 19:38:00

plenty of vlc packages removed as a result of installing OpenShot... and a swag of codecs...
reinstalled vlc and let totem go codec hunting, at least I have a list of what's missing now should I need it... I should've paid more attention to what it was up to I think!

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