Ubuntu kiosk edition v1.0

Updated 05/24/2011: Click here for the newest kiosk build based on Ubuntu 10.04.1.

Updated 04/08/2010: I have posted the new version of a kiosk build based on Ubuntu 9.10 here.

Updated 03/16/2010: I am working on a kiosk build using 9.10. This should be posted soon.

One of my projects at my current employer was to use Ubuntu as a public kiosk after our Windows kiosks started prompting users for credit card information. After building the image up on a test machine, I used the excellent remastersys project to build an image to use for future maintenance. I am making this image available here.

This is a live CD that is currently built on Ubuntu 8.04.1 LTS and has most of the extra software removed, such as the games and unnecessary utilities, and is suitable for both wired and wireless kiosks. Please read on for notes and implementation.

My thoughts on the T-Mobile G1

I have owned the T-Mobile G1 since October. I had been looking for a replacement for the T-Mobile Wing for some time, and being a fan of open source and Linux, I was very excited to read about Android (even exploring Android development using their SDK), and even more excited to learn T-Mobile had the initial offering of an Android based cell phone.

Clean Ubuntu and find large packages

While working on a wireless kiosk using Ubuntu, I had the need to shrink the Ubuntu installation. Part of creating a custom install, using remastersys, is creating a live CD iso image.

I did, of course, remove the unnecessary software and programs like the games and cd burning software (see http://www.staldal.nu/tech/2008/12/08/packages-you-might-want-to-remove-...) and I ran several commands including localpurge and deborphan (see http://strabes.wordpress.com/2006/10/16/clean-up-unnecessary-packages-on... ).

The Seattle P-I goes up for sale

Rumors are now circulating that Seattle's oldest newspaper, the Seattle P-I, may be going up for sale, and if no one buys, may close. Unfortunately, the progression of technology cannot be without some casualties.

Another local newspaper has been advertising for a ColdFusion programmer on and off. I have to wonder how long the newspaper can remain relevant. It will be a sad day when the last issue goes to print; Similar, I imagine, to the last buggy rolling off the assembly line.

The importance of complex passwords

An incident at the popular web service called Twitter has brought to light the importance of complex passwords. A hacker decided to try to break into a popular user's account at the service. He did so by writing an automated tool that used what's called a dictionary attack to try and guess the user's password. He went to bed and let the tool run all night. The next morning, he found he had broken into the user's account, finding the user's password was set to the word "happiness."

Microsoft, Windows 7, and Linux

I read an article on Slashdot detailing an announcement by Microsoft. This announcement states that Windows XP will be available to OEMs, or computer system builders, until May 2009.

Vista was supposed to replace Windows XP on new computers in January of this year. However, sales of Windows Vista and a public outcry persuaded the company to extend the sales of OEM copies of Windows XP through 2010.

By Eliot Spitzer?

"It is time we permitted the market to work: This means true competition with winners and losers; companies that disappear; shareholders and CEOs who can lose as well as win; and government investment in the long-range competitiveness of our nation, not in a failed business model of financial concentration and failed risk management that holds nobody accountable."

Stealing homes

A story caught my eye on msnbc.com with the headline "activist moves homeless into foreclosures."

Expecting a real human interest story, I was appalled at the spin introduced in this story. Essentially, a man by the name of Max Rameau is helping homeless people break into and occupy foreclosed, vacant homes. And I guess he's not alone.

Topics:

The matrix runs on Windows

"I'm going to learn Ubuntu?" =)

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Online backup for Linux: SpiderOak

I have been looking for an online backup solution for Linux for quite some time. There are many solutions out there, but as far as I have found, they are all written for Windows or Mac. I had been using duplicity with a remote server, but to purchase my own server for this use would be cost prohibitive compared to the solution I found.

I then read a post on an Ubuntu forum recommending SpiderOak as an online backup solution for Ubuntu.

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