The personal website of Jacob Steelsmith.

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Secure remote desktop using Ubuntu Linux

Remote desktop, or using a remote session, is a very important part of advanced computing. The ability to do this securely is important as well.

Using ssh, Xephyr and a light weight desktop manager, an encrypted, secure, fairly fast remote desktop setup is fairly easy to implement.

First, you'll need to install SSH on the remote machine:

$ sudo apt-get install openssh-server

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.

Illegal immigrants stealing jobs

When I hear someone ranting and raving about illegal immigrants stealing jobs, I just can't agree. Are people really lined up for the jobs illegal immigrants normally work?

Dave Ross from his self-titled radio show on 710 KIRO covered the story of Dan Fazio from the Washington Farm Bureau who is looking for Americans to legally work the farms for $10 per hour. Dave put an "APB" out looking for "any born and bred legal American -- of any age - who's worked on a farm picking fruit in the past year." His response? ZERO. And Mr. Fazio is having problems finding legal workers at that rate, even offering to bus youngsters in.

KDE and gnome comparison

I'm just keeping track of some of the differences between kde and gnome in this blog. This will change over time. I realize that you can use a kde application in gnome and vice versa. Still...

*Default torrent client in KDE, ktorrent, is much more advanced than the default torrent in Gnome (transmission).

*No main system settings spot in Gnome.

*Amarok cannot organize podcasts by date, but rhythmbox can. Also, Amarok does not delete podcast entries.

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Converting uif files to iso using Ubuntu

I had the need to convert a .uif file today. Most of the posts I saw mentioned using wine and a program called MagicISO. But, I finally found an easier and more *nix way of accomplishing this.

The brilliant Luigi Auriemma wrote and made freely available a small tool called uif2iso which is a small utility that, as it implies, converts a uif file to a usable iso image.

Drupal module: captcha

A vital module for any modern Drupal website that allows commenting, posting or form submissions of any kind is the captcha module. Any dynamic website that takes user submission should implement some form of "human authentication."

I have two sites, this one and my family's and my family's had just started receiving submission spam, both from the contact form and user registration.

Problem in Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy using todisc

After using tovid to create a video, I would normally use todisc to create the DVD file structure, but ever since my installation of Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy, I kept getting this error:

sox soxio: Failed reading `-': unknown file type `raw'

Sox is a utility used to process audio. The default Hardy installation of tovid doesn't install some necessary libraries and dependencies by default. Use the command:

sudo apt-get install libsox-fmt-all

Linux tip: sudo

At work yesterday, I had to solve a problem with a strange error.

Sorry, user <user> is not allowed to execute '/usr/bin/command' as root on <box>

Reading the work order (which did not include the error message, just that the user could not access a file), I thought it had to be a permissions issue, and in a sense I was right, but not a file permissions issue as I suspected.

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Bash: if statements

An if statement in shell scripting looks something like this:


if [ "$VAR" = 1 ]
then
#do something
elif [ "$VAR" = 2 ]
then
#do something else
else
#do something by default
fi

Notice we're quoting the variable to protect from shell expansion.

There are a variety of file tests one can use:


if [ -e /tmp/test.file ]
then
#do something
elif [ -d "$VAR" ]
then
#do something else
else
#another default action
fi