All posts by leftyfb

‎”Tying the knot on 10-10-10″ geocoin

For anyone interested in geocaching or helping raise money for our upcoming wedding, these geocoins are now for sale. The pictures do not do them justice. They are very high quality minted coins to commemorate 10-10-10, the date of our wedding. They are also trackable on for those that take part in the outdoor activity.

Thanks for your support.

UPDATE: Site is now removed, sorry
Purchase these at

FOSScon 2010 followup

Sorry it’s taken so long to post about this. So last Friday I and a friend of mine, Joe, took off from North Eastern Massachusetts headed for Rochester NY for the inaugural 2010 FOSScon. Joe has just finished taking courses at Lincoln Tech and is about to take the tests for A+, Network plus and MCP certifications and is excited to get into the world of FOSS and technology. It was supposed to be a 6.5 hour drive which ended up being about 9 since I had forgot I set my GPS to avoid tolls. If we had been on time, would have just caught the tail end of a pre-event dinner meetup that was put on at the last minute. Oh well, lesson learned for next year. Non-the-less, it was a nice ride through upstate NY during the day. Couldn’t have asked for better weather.

The next day we got to the event just as the opening keynote about BaseKamp was starting. Basekamp is “a non-commercial organization of people researching and co-developing interdisciplinary, self-organized art projects and based in Philadelphia.” A very interesting and established project which does a lot of good for the community.

Next we were on to the Resume workshop by Jim Bondi from the IT Cooperative Education Program Advisors at RIT. Since Joe will be hitting the ground running to find a job after his classes and externship, this workshop was one he really wanted to hit up. Being in the field a while and being on both ends of an interview myself, I didn’t think I would get much out of this as I actually did. A lot of the information given should be common sense, but some people just don’t put it together when writing their resume. I was also able to chime in with some comments based on experience to questions from the other attendees. Joe thought the talk was very informative and prompted him to go back and update his resume based on some of the advice given.

Lunch was where I think we learned how to improve a bit for next year. It was prettymuch everyone for themselves. Not saying I was expecting a free meal, but we should have had something organized so would have spent less time figuring out what was around for food and who was going to go where with who and spend more time mingling and discussing the talks, workshops and just shoot the breeze (read: geek out). In talking with some of the people who organized the event, this was noticed and will be something to be worked on for next year. Joe and I ended up eating a local bar and grill less than a mile away. While others had to trek quiet some miles away and had to rush to get back in time.

The next workshop Joe and I decided to attend was “Life without GUI”. Again, with Joe just getting into IT and FOSS, this would have been a great thing for him to learn some neat tricks on the command line within Linux. Unfortunately, I don’t think this workshop went very well. For one, I think they started earlier than they should have. We walked in after they had already gone through some decent tips. And to be honest, I don’t think the speaker was very good at teaching basics to people who aren’t on the same level. There was some butting of heads during the talk with differences of opinion and a blatant refusal to go over any simple commands like ls, cp or pwd even though we had a few extra minutes to spare. I was pretty disappointed with this workshop which could have been very valuable for Joe and even myself but instead was just brushed away as a waste of time. Maybe we learned how not to give a workshop.

Then we were off to “Learning how to fish: A self-help guide to finding Linux help on the internet” by Jorge Castro from Canonical. This talk was a complete opposite from the previously mentioned. Jorge is insanely good at giving a presentation. He first went on about how people perceive getting help in open source projects and hit the nail on the head doing so. Then he went on to how things should be done. Everything from how to properly use google, search forums and contacting the right people to get the most bang for your buck. Add to that, Jorge was very good at keeping everyone included in the discussion by asking questions from the audience and even adding in some topics that were brought up. Very well done.

After the talk we had some time to kill before the last keynote. I got to meet up with Jorge a couple others while we checked out the vendor section where Linode and the Free Software Foundation still had tables setup. Had some discussions with the Linode vendor, got some free tshirts and talked about some FOSSy type things. Then we found out there would be lightning talks before the final keynote. People scrambled to throw together some presentations. It was pretty impressive to see ideas just come up and people putting together lightning talks so quickly. The 5 minute talks went really well. Everything from Jorges talk about Unity in future versions of Ubuntu to a wiki project dedicated to the city of Rochester, NY and the people that live there.

Finally, we had the keynote from Jonathan Simpson from Freenode. This was an overview of the whole event, it’s goals, what it took to get here and the future of FOSScon. He also talked about the Geeknic and FOSSevents projects. Both of which I am very interested in and will hopefully be taking advantage of in the near future. There were some raffles being held in which Joe won a free digital copy of any O’reilly book he wanted.

At the end of the day, it was a very successful event. We got to take part in some great discussions and meet up with a bunch of new people. Some of which I have talked with online previously, some having discussions with for the first time. I am definitely looking for next year’s which should be bigger and better.

Thanks to Andrew Keyes for the photography and allowing me to use the pictures in this post. You can find the whole set of pictures on Flickr.

off to FOSSCON

I just registered and booked a hotel to attend FOSSCON this Saturday. The official description of the event is as follows:

The people behind FOSSCON are free software enthusiasts, user group members, coders and users — just like you! Free software is all about community and this is a very grassroots event, organized by the community and for the community. Our common goal is to provide a space for us to all come together in the northeast.

I’m hoping to meet up with lots of people from the open source world and attend some interesting and informative talks and workshops. If there’s anyone that would like to meet up during or after the event, feel free to post a comment here or contact me at leftyfb at ubuntu dotcom. Hope to see you all there!

“…But our princess is in another castle!”

For the past few years the Ubuntu Massachusetts Local Community team has been asked to present Ubuntu at the LPANE / Intel Nor’Easter Lanfest and this year was no exception. In the previous years we brought laptops and some low end desktops with wine barely running some low end games and showing off some of the open source games available at the time. We just didn’t have the proper equipment to demo. We did get some interest from people wanting to run Ubuntu dual boot for when they’re not gaming. But most people were really itching to bring their gaming experience to the Ubuntu desktop and until recently that wasn’t really an option (without a lot of work).

This year I was able to acquire a decent desktop and a 32″ LCD TV which I brought from home. This coupled with the latest innovation from the wine project enabled us to demo games from the Steam platform like Half-Life:2 and Team Fortress 2. We also had Starcraft playing perfectly. A lot of people were surprised on how well the games ran and excited about the progress Ubuntu and the wine project has made. We ended up doing 2 installs during the event and gave out a bunch of CD’s and what little swag we had.

The plan for next year is to have another decent gaming rig, possibly 2 or 3 so we can demo the recently announced Steam linux client, possibly even compete in some tournaments with an Ubuntu sponsored team.

All in all, it was a very fun event. Thanks to Martin for coming with me at the last minute and manning the table while I took off for a couple hours to geocache with Tom, the event organizer. Thanks to Justin who helped man the table the entire weekend and demo games. Thanks to Tom for having us at the event again and thanks to my fiance Sara who baked 4 batches cookies for everyone and packed me enough food and caffeine to last the 2 days and for supporting me in these projects.

P.S. we tried to get our table right next to the Microsoft Windows 7 tent which had one guy and a couple laptops and had a minesweeper tournament but another vendor got there before us. Take that any way you like and feel free to leave comments.

Here are some blurry pictures taken with my iPhone and old camera

the system is down

In this case, it’s medibuntu. Or more specifically, their Ubuntu repository. As far as I can tell it’s been down for about a week now and was also down a while back for some time. For anyone who needs to utilize this pretty important resource, there seems to be mirrors out there which I wasn’t aware of. Enter Andrew’s blog post on

Firstly you’ll have to find out where your Medibuntu repo is located. Run this in a terminal:
ls /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

If the file exists, press ALT + F2 and enter:
gksu gedit /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

If running the above command lists the medibuntu.list as not found (“ls: cannot access /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list: No such file or directory”), then do the following:
Press ALT + F2 and enter:
gksu gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Then for both cases, search for the lines which point to the main Medibuntu repository, which should look something like this:
deb lucid free non-free
deb-src lucid free non-free

Of course, if you’re not using Lucid, it’s going to say “karmic” or “jaunty”, etc.
Replace these 2 lines with any of these 3 mirrors:
Mirror 1:
deb lucid free non-free
deb-src lucid free non-free

Mirror 2:
deb lucid free non-free
deb-src lucid free non-free

Mirror 3:
deb lucid free non-free
deb-src lucid free non-free

If you’re not using Lucid, replace “lucid” in the above lines with “karmic”, “jaunty” or whatever Ubuntu version you’re using.

Finally, a remote desktop service for linux that doesn’t require opening firewalls!

As the topics says, we finally have a remote desktop solution without the need to open ports on a firewall or do reverse tunnel trickery. I’ve been using TeamViewer for a long time now to support my Windows and Mac customers and to remotely control the same at home. Now I have one single solution for all of them.

I downloaded and tested the desktop app right away. At first I just thought it was a client. But then I noticed it was giving a key/pass for someone to connect. I said to myself … “noooo , it can’t be”. Then I connected to my laptop remotely using the teamviewer client on my iphone  over 3G.

Even better, the service is completely free for personal usage. I will be looking into buying a license since I use it often and they certainly deserve the money.

Welcome to the linux community Teamviewer!

samba, stop being so selfish!

So not long ago I noticed that some of my samba shares weren’t working properly. By that, I mean, I could access the main share, but some of the subdirectories were giving me an “access denied” error when trying to traverse them. It was one of those things where it was just an annoyance that I didn’t have time to research and fix so I was just working around it in different ways.

A little digging into my shares I narrowed down the issue to only subdirectories that I had Symlinked to other directories not within the original folder. The link was fine, the Linux permissions were fine, as were the the settings in my smb.conf. Regardless, I still couldn’t access the symlinked subdirectories.

Off to google. The second link pointed to an ubuntu forums post where others were having the same issue. One of which had traced it back to a security news post on samba’s website. Apparently the default setting:

wide links = yes

is too much of a security risk and has now been changed to “no” unless you set it manually in the smb.conf. So to get my shares working properly again, I added the above as well as:

follow symlinks = yes

unix extensions = no

A “sudo service samba restart” and all is as it should be. Yay google! 🙂