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Rant from Bill Gates

"Then it told me to reboot my machine. Why should I do that? I reboot every night -- why should I reboot at that time?

So I did the reboot because it INSISTED on it. Of course that meant completely getting rid of all my Outlook state."

--Email from Bill Gates regarding Windows Usability 2003

Full text of email can be viewed at the Seattle PI's website.

Usability guru says surfers much less patient with websites

BBC News is reporting on the annual report into web surfer's habits by usability guru Dr. Jacob Nielsen.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Nielsen has reported that web users are becoming more impatient and are "more ruthless" when it comes to the web.

Linux tip: get number of files in a directory

Just a quick post. To get the number of files in a directory under linux, use the following command:

$ ls -l | wc -l

This will output the number of files in the present working directory which can be output by using the command 'pwd'.

Automatix for Ubuntu

Automatix is an automated installation program that offers many installations that are either unavailable in Ubuntu (for legal reasons or otherwise), or difficult. Automatix includes many installs such as Acrobat reader, Wine, Crossover, which allows the installation of Windows programs like Office and PhotoShop, pesky proprietary codecs, libcss2 for decrypting DVDs and much more. These are all installed using a GUI.

Managing processes and long jobs in Linux

If you have a long job using the command line in Linux, here are some tips.

Some jobs, such as compiling a program or using vacuumdb in postgres require a long time. Normally, you cannot use the same command line when running these jobs. If you are using ssh remotely, you're stuck (unless you login again).

Now you can add a space and ampersand at the end of the command and this *should* send this to the background. But I've found this doesn't always work. But even if it does, the following does still apply.

rsync and Ubuntu

Imagine you have a very important disk you want to mirror, or have a copy of. This could be a remote disk, like on a website, or even a directory.

You could copy and paste the files, at least if they are local disks, or use FTP. Problem solved, right?

Now, imagine you have two disks, both of which have data, but you need them to match. This was the problem I ran into with over 100 GB of data. I solved this in ubuntu using rsync.

To install, use apt-get:

$ sudo apt-get install rsync

Secure ftp using Ubuntu

I recently wanted to setup an automated backup system for a company I purchase hosting through (who promptly shut off full backups), and wanted to do so using FTP to my home computer.

The first thing I did was setup vsftpd. This is an FTP daemon that provides the ftp service. After installing the daemon and creating the system account with /bin/false as a shell, I edited /etc/vsftpd.conf. I didn't run it on a non-standard port, although you can for greater security. I did NOT enable anonymous access and neither should anyone else not requiring them.

Web 2.0 security concerns or not

Jeff pointed me to an article, supposedly breaking news, that described a "new" "web 2.0" threat, trojans using XML feeds as command and control, and using social networking sites, or other "web 2.0" sites like MySpace to store stolen information.

Disk usage in Linux

Here are some simple commands to use to get the disk usage in Linux.

$ df

will give you the disk usage for all mounted drives, including available and percentage of use.

Filesystem 1K-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda2 17077684 7868596 8341580 49% /
varrun 1038144 272 1037872 1% /var/run
varlock 1038144 0 1038144 0% /var/lock
udev 1038144 84 1038060 1% /dev
devshm 1038144 0 1038144 0% /dev/shm

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