Der Fall Uberspace

Heute postete @leitmedium folgendes:

Woraufhin ich mich fragte, ob ich bei den Ubernauten noch meine Sachen lassen will. Natürlich las ich auch den Blogpost vom Geschäftsführer von Uberspace. Und nach einem Gespräch mit meiner Frau, deren Fähigkeiten kritisch zu denken meine übersteigen, bin ich zu dem Schluss gekommen, meine Sachen bei Uberspace zu lassen.

Ich halte nichts von einem Verein der die Legalität des Geschlechtsverkehrs zwischen Kindern und Erwachsenen zum Ziel hat. Allerdings sehe ich auch nicht, warum die Ubernauten eine entsprechende Seite sperren sollte. Solang die Inhalte nicht gegen geltendes Recht verstoßen mögen die Inhalte Mist sein, aber sie sind trotzdessen legal. Die AGB der Ubernauten sind auch recht eindeutig: sie hosten alles, so lang es nicht geltendes Recht verstößt. Das heißt, dass dort die Antifa genauso ihre Inhalten platzieren kann, wie autonome Nationale. So lang die Inhalte legal sind. Das bedeutet halt auch, dass sie nicht die Inhalte von Anti-Abtreibungsgegnern sperren, weil irgendwelche reaktionäre Idioten der Meinung sind, dass das eine schlechte Idee sei. Ich muss sagen, dass mir das lieber ist, als ein Provider, der AGB hat, in denen steht, dass er diese und jene Inhalte sperrt. Und wenn ich nicht mit seiner politischen Meinung übereinstimme, ist auf einmal der Kram weg. Ein großer Freund von Willkür bin ich nicht.

Die Aussage das Infrastruktur politisch ist, halte ich übrigens für Unsinn. Außer die Infrastruktur fängt auf einmal an Dingen den Hahn abzudrehen, der ihr nicht passt. Schon mal überprüft, welcher Strom- und Internetanbieter der NPD-Parteizentrale zuliefert und daraufhin gewechselt?
Die Frage müsste wohl eher lauten, ob Webhosting Infrastruktur ist oder ob nur das Kabel Infrastruktur ist. Die Ubernauten haben für sich die Frage damit beantwortet, dass sie Infrastruktur sind. Andere Anbieter mögen das anders sehen. Ich persönlich sah Webhoster eher als Infrastruktur an. Aber vielleicht müsste man sie auch eher wie einen Vermieter ansehen. Würde ich umziehen, wenn ich herausfinde, dass mein Vermieter auch eine Wohnung vermietet, die ein entsprechender Verein als Geschäftsräume nutzt und er davon weiß? Ich fänd’s nicht gut, würde aber vermutlich in der Wohnung bleiben. Ich find’s nicht gut, dass so Kram bei den Ubernauten liegt, aber fände ich es besser, wenn sie Dinge sperrten, die ihnen nicht passen? Wenn ich das wollte, müsste ich wohl eher zu einem Provider, der eine politische Richtung verfolgt. Aber da liegen meine Prioritäten anders.

Um aber am Schluss noch ein wenig abzuschweifen, muss ich sagen, dass ich die meisten Aktionen in der Richtung inzwischen meist ziemlich bigott finde. Und ich nehme mich da nicht aus. Accounts, die ich eh nicht nutze, werden schnell mal dicht gemacht, bei Accounts bei denen ich echten Nutzen habe, wird über die Probleme gerne hinweg gesehen und weitergenutzt1. Ich frage mich zum Beispiel, warum viele ihren Twitteraccount noch halten, wenn Twitter doch gerade mit sehr problematischen Inhalten noch viel problematischer, nämlich gar nicht, umgeht. Wird der jetzt auch gekündigt? Was ist mit Dropbox, die mit Condoleezza Rice, eine mehr als fragwürdige ehemalige Politikerin in ihren Reihen hat? Facebook, die ihre Kontrolle dazu nutzen Experimente mit den Emotionen von Menschen durchzuführen, ohne dass sie davon wissen? Und wenn wir schon dabei sind, wann habt ihr das letzte Mal ein Produkt von Nestlé gekauft? Die sind vermutlich einer der schlimmsten Konzerne, die es auf diesem Planeten gibt. Bei mir ist es gar nicht so lange her, nachdem ich mir mal die Marken, die zu Nestlé gehören, angesehen habe. Aber ich schweife wirklich ab.


  1. Den Vorwurf könnt ihr mir auch gerne mit Uberspace machen, aber deswegen sprach ich mit meiner Frau drüber, um genau dies auszuschließen. Hätte sie gesagt, dass das Mist ist, was die Ubernauten machen, hätte ich mir was anderes gesucht und ggf. auch erstmal alle Inhalte von mir so lang vom Netz genommen.

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Sollte Tor erklären, wie man sich davor schützt?

@leitmedium hat einen Artikel geschrieben, dessen Essenz meiner Meinung nach ist, dass das Tor-Projekt erklären sollte, wie man sich gegen Belästigung unter dem Mantel von Tor schützen kann. Meiner Ansicht nach könnte so ein Wegweiser aber zu einem großem Problem für Tor werden.
Tor weißt auf seiner Webseite nur auf die positiven Seiten der Anonymität hin. Allerdings ist Tor für mehr als nur ein Tool für Dissidenten, Journalisten und andere die Anonymität im Netz benötigen bzw. dadurch ihren Zugang zum Net vergrößern können. Auch Hater und Stalker nutzen Tor, um ihre Identität zu verschleiern. Man könnte sagen, dass Tor ein Dual Use-Werkzeug ist. Die Frage ist nun, wer hat die Verantwortlichkeit Opfer vor dem Missbrauch durch Tor zu schützen bzw. wer sollte zumindest die notwendige Aufklärungsarbeit leisten. Ich denke nicht, dass das Tor-Projekt dies leisten sollte, weil es dadurch seinen Gegnern nur Munition liefert. Würde das Tor-Projekt auf seine Webseite schreiben, wie man sich gegen den Missbrauch schützt, können wir vermutlich die Tage zählen bis ein Beamter des BKA oder ein CDU-Politiker genau dieses nutzt. Die Argumentation wird sein, dass unter der Maske von Tor soviel Schindluder betrieben wird, dass das Projekt selbst darüber aufklären muss, wie man sich dagegen schützt. Und dann kann man es auch gleich verbieten. Der positive Nutzen Tors ist schließlich ein Dorn im Auge der üblichen Verdächtigen. Und in diesem Spiel werden sie auch jede Möglichkeit nutzen. Eine schönere Vorlage könnte Tor gar nicht bieten. Ich vermute übrigens, dass man im Zuge dessen, dann auch noch gleich VPN-Dienste für Privatpersonen verbieten will. Schließlich kann man solche Dienste auch für Belästigungen nutzen.

Eine Aufklärung für Opfer ist notwendig. Aber das Tor-Projekt sollte dies nicht leisten. Eher müsste es eine unabhängige Seite geben, die diesen Dienst leistet. So eine Seite könnte dann auch gleich noch auf Missbrauchsstellen der sozialen Netzwerke, Beratungsstellen, den Umgang mit Behörden etc. hinweisen und auch Erfahrungsberichte beinhalten.

Aber würde das Tor-Projekt so etwas anbieten, könnte es insgesamt weitaus mehr schaden als nutzen.

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Vorschlag: Sprachservice für Podcaster

Meines Wissens nach haben die Öffentlich-Rechtlichen eine Aussprache-Datenbank für ausländische Begriffe.
Podcaster und YouTuber haben aber ähnliche Probleme: Wie spricht man ausländische Namen, Ortsnamen oder auch z.B. Levelnamen aus Videospielen richtig aus? Meistens gibt es dann vergebliche Versuche und man fragt sich: warum haben sie nicht bei jemanden nachgefragt?

Daher schlage ich vor, dass ein Vermittlungsdienst auf die Beine gestellt wird. Für den Anfang habe ich ein Google Sheet aufgemacht, in dem sich bereitwillige Menschen eintragen können mit Name, Sprache und Kontaktmöglichkeit. Zwecks Sortiermöglichkeit bitte eine Zeile pro Sprache, falls jemand mehrere Sprachen anbieten kann.

Podcaster, die Probleme mit Begriffen haben, können den Leuten dann eine Mail schicken und sie bekommen eine mp3 oder ähnliches zurück.

Da Sprachfähigkeiten in der Regel Fähigkeiten sind, die eine langjährige Ausbildung benötigen, vor allem bei Sprachen aus anderen Sprachfamilien, sollte diese Dienstleistung meiner Ansicht nach nicht kostenfrei erfolgen. Das Minimum sollte ein Flattr-Klick pro Begriff sein, aber mehr geht natürlich immer. Aber das können auch Podcaster und Nachfrager ggf. untereinander aushandeln.

Wer Interesse hat beizutragen, trägt sich bitte per Kommentar im Google Sheet ein. Und jeder der denkt, dass das eine praktische Sache wäre, verteilt es bitte im Netz weiter.

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Manjaro – user friendly for various degrees of user friendliness

Recently I switched to Linux. At first I used Linux Mint but it’s philosophy that there shouldn’t be dist-upgrade but a clean install every six months was not very comforting. Then I heard about Manjaro in an episode of Going Linux about Sonar GNU/Linux. Sonar is a distribution which is specialized for disabled people and they just switched from some distribution to Manjaro. In the episode I heard phrases like “Manjaro does for Arch what Ubuntu does for Debian”. Quite a claim. And since Arch is a rolling release and thus I didn’t have to worry about dist-upgrades anymore and Manjaro is based on Arch but in user-friendly, I gave it a try. Right on the frontpage of the Manjaro-website they boast there is the following sentence in big fat letters:

“Professional and user friendly Linux at its best.”

Sounds great, so I tried it for a short time and my laptop worked with it fine. Thus I decided to abandon the Mint-install and switch to Manjaro and stay with it. I do not want to waste time with switching distributions, even so it is tempting.

Unfortunately Manjaro is user friendly for various degrees of user friendly. Let’s compare it to other distributions, I would call user friendly like Mint or Ubuntu1. I installed Mint and everything worked out of the box. I connected my external hard drives and could read and write to them, I connected my secondary display and in contrast to OS X it directly detected the correct resolution, if I needed some software, I could usually find a deb-package except Gnome Shell, stuff like i3 worked like I would expect it from the manual etc.

Then I started to install Manjaro. I know that it does not yet have reached the state of a 1.0 but it boasts to be user friendly. The graphical installer couldn’t be used by me because when I chose English as UI-language, I couldn’t choose a German locale. Thus I used the command line-based installer which is menu-driven. It worked but I needed the help of Google to set it all up with an encrypted hard drive. I ended up with an XFCe-desktop like I expected. Then I installed Gnome3 because that is actually the desktop I wanted to use and missed from Mint. That worked but suddenly the splash-screen was messy and when I switched to the TTYs I could see parts of the splash screens. The only way I could get rid of it, was to edit my grub-file, thus the splash-screen doesn’t show up anymore.

I tried using the graphical install-tool called Pamac which also supports AUR. AUR are the Arch User Repository. As far as I understand it there are official repositories but those have not a lot of software. So users can add new software via the AUR and with the package manager of Arch, you can easily install them. Unfortunately Pamac had quite often the problem that when I tried to install more than one package from the AUR or had to install dependencies, then it usually stopped working. But I could never got it fail consistently enough to write a bug report. Henceforth I abandoned it and started using the command-line tool called pacman. And learned how to use AURs. Later I found out about yaourt and packer which made my life easier. But really user-friendly is something else.

For more fun: I just learned about how to remove orphans with pacman in manjaro and it just removed git from my system.

Next thing: I installed vim. And when I installed it, it was quite a recent version, nothing like the old stuff Mint gives you (350 patches behind or so). There I had to compile my vim from hand to get something fairly recent. When I opened the first time a markdown-file my vim gave me errors that it is not compiled with python. Thus I had to google and found out that I have to install gvim because the vim-version just gives you a watered-down version and only gvim is compiled with (probably nearly) everything possible. Why? An Ubuntu or CentOS have for example various vim-packages like vim-tiny, vim, vim-gnome etc. So you can quite easily see what you get. I just wondered why my vim won’t work with python and had to google again. Please Manjaro, be friendlier to the user and tell her straight what she gets.

When I wanted to dip my foot into i3, I found a meta-package called i3. I thought that this is great and easily installed. Then I started i3, pushed win+d which should call up dmenu and nothing happened. I really wondered what the problem is. Searched the i3-manual and yes, that should call up dmenu. Well, dmenu wasn’t installed. The i3-meta package handles dmenu as optional because it isn’t required to install dmenu to run i3, even so the i3-user manual on the i3-website prominently speaks about dmenu. When you offer something like a meta-package, you shouldn’t offer a piece of software that is mentioned in the manual of that software only as an optional install but just install it. I didn’t install i3-wm, I installed i3. Yes, I oversaw that dmenu is optional but it shouldn’t be optional in the i3-package but should be included.

When I installed Openbox, it was pretty barebones, too. I expected the full experience since there is a Manjaro-edition with Openbox but nope, not really. And I cannot even find packages that give me a decent configuration.

After installing Gnome 3 I had to set up by myself that the laptop suspends when the lid gets closed. It is configured correctly in XFCe, so why don’t they apply configurations like this to other desktop environments as well?

My secondary display is not detected correctly and shows the same problem as in OS X. Now I have to figure out, how I get it to work in 1280×768 :(

But my absolute favorite is how Manjaro handles external hard drives. I have several disks that are formatted with ext4 and several with HFS+. When I connected the ext4-disks in Mint, I could just use them. Manjaro mounts them by default with user root and group root and the permissions that only they can write to them. Asking in the forums just led to what I could find easily: change by hand on the command line owner and permissions. I know that I can configure it somehow with udev and udisks. But why do I have to? Manjaro claims to be user friendly. It should work as a user expects it who comes from user friendly distributions or beware from Windows or OS X.

I do not expect behavior like that what I described above from Arch or Gentoo. Those distributions are not aiming to be user friendly in my opinion. But Manjaro states that it is. Thus the distribution developers/maintainers should think about the needs of true users. Right now Manjaro is like Arch but at least you have a ready available desktop environment and some applications after installing it. That makes it a bit more user friendly but it is far from user friendly.

I really like Manjaro. It is some work and I have to tinker and learn more about my system. And things work mostly the way I want them to work2 but I would not dare for example to install it on the laptop of my brother-in-law who asked to install Linux instead of Windows on his new used laptop. There I installed Ubuntu since I know from several non-technical persons that they have no real problems with it and could fix their problems easily. With Manjaro, well, I do not waste my time on more inner-family-support calls. But I will keep it on my laptop.


  1. Ok, Mint is based on Ubuntu, so well…

  2. There are some pieces of software I cannot get to work but I had the same problem on Mint with other pieces of software like Gnome 3.

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Using a fingerprint-reader on Thinkpad with Linux

I had the problem that just using fprintd on my system as an authentication-method lead me to a state where I always had to input my fingerprint or fail three times until I could finally type my password.
In the pam.d-config-files not fprintd should be used but fingerprint-gui. That works then also for the TTYs and when you have registered several fingers, you can use them all and not only your right index-finger for authentication.
There is an Arch-How To for this: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Fingerprint-gui

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Apples Lock-In

As you maybe know I switched recently to Linux and Android and lived before that the Apple-Lifestyle. I had a 2011 MacBook Air, an iPhone 4S and an iPad1. So I really could see what Jobs meant with his e-mail when he wrote”tie all of our products together, so we further lock customers into our ecosystem”.

This is only a critique about Apples way locking someone in. That doesn’t say others do not try the same. Google tries to get you into their eco-systems or Amazon wants you to lock you into the Kindle-ecosystem. Therefore Google can show you more ads and Amazon can sell you more Kindle-books etc. But their lockin-strategy involve to be ubiquitous thus I can at least change the manufacturer of my laptop or my phone. Yes, I know Apple is in the hardware-selling business but not being able to change hardware and operating systems is in my experience worse than having several apps for reading ebooks on my device.

So, let’s start.

iCloud

I’ve seen more and more applications adopting iCloud as a medium to share documents between devices. Usually you need the same applicaiton on all your devices. Like iA Writer on the iPhone and iA Write on the Mac and the iPad to get to those documents. So if you saved your documents to iCloud, you won’t be able to get them onto another operating system.

Contacts and Calendars

Apple uses Caldav and Carddav, standards, to synchronize calendars and contacts between devices. It should be easy to get read/write-acces to them, right? Right? Nope. You can share a caldav-URL easily but that is read-only. If you want to give someone write-access, you can do this only easily when they are also in the Apple-ecosphere. And I cannot remember having something similar available for Contacts at all. Sure you can export all the data and get ics-files for your calendars and vcs-files for your contacts but I cannot use iCloud easily. And I need to use iCloud for syncing because I am doing stuff together with people and we are all accustomed to use the the Apple-service.

Fortunately some other people wrote software to get those URLs2 but you have to find that first.

iTunes

iTunes won’t let you sync music to other devices than iOS-devices and iPods, everybody knows that. And getting your music collection onto those devices iTunes is the only way to use. Btw. I know several people who switched away from iOS-devices or wouldn’t get one because they dislike iTunes or cannot use it for some reason like using Linux.

And iTunes Match is only usable with iTunes and iOS-devices. It’s nice to have but when I thought about switching, I didn’t want to give up that functionality. Contenders have at least software for iOS and Android to make that possible.

And then there is the DRM. It is not necessarily Apples fault but the content industry that wants DRM. But if I do not have iTunes available, I cannot legally watch the video-content I aquired licenses for. Yep, I am into buying DVDs3 again.

Podcasts.app

I checked it today and couldn’t find any way to export podcasts. To be honest it is the only podcast-app on iOS that I know that doesn’t allow exporting subscriptions as opml. But afaik it works great together with all the other Apple-products.

Update: You can export your list of podcasts from iTunes and you can sync the app with iTunes. But you cannot export a list of podcasts right from the podcast-app on the iPhone.

Apple TV

Nice device, if you are living the Apple-lifestyle. Step away from the path and it becomes pretty useless afaik.

Facetime and Messages

Oh, you want to use Messages or facetime with someone who doesn’t have an Apple-device? That’s your problem. All the people you know have iOS-devices, but you don’t? Well you can’t use what they might be accustomed to.

Apps

This is actually a problem of all operating systems and ecosystems. But this was a reason for years for not even thinking about switching to another mobile OS. I just spent too much money on apps, that I won’t be able to use anymore. This was really hard to overcome in my mind.

The Future

Thinking about upcoming releases and the lock in, Continuity comes to mind. The feature in which you can start working on something on your computer and seemlessly continue to work on it on your iOS-device. Sounds great, but moving away from Apple and that feature will be lost.

Conclusion

Using only Apple-products is great. Everything works pretty much seamlessly together but moving away one step and a lot of things just break. Thus Apple really tries to get you to use their new features, so you integrate them into your workflows. And when you use only Apples products and some of their third-party-developers like Omni, you are becoming dependent on them and cannot switch easily to anything else. After all you have to rethink how you get things done at the end of the day. With using those features you gain some utility but also loose a bit of freedom of choice in the future.

I don’t have a grudge against Apple that they are doing what they are doing. It is an important strategy to get more sales. But I see often complains about other companies that try to lock you in, but Apple mastered it imho.


  1. which I still have and use

  2. A solution for desktop-computers is here. For syncing iCloud-calendars on Android you need iCloud Sync for Android and for syncing contacts you need Sync for iCloud Contacts. Or if you have already the URLs you can probably, just use apps for adding caldav- and carddav-support to Android which makes it a more general approach.

  3. And maybe sometime in the future Bluerays but HD doesn’t give me enough bang for the buck that I will start using Blueray in the near future.

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Installing Oracle JDK in Mint

When I installed the Android Developer Studio and started it, I got the message that OpenJDK has performance issues and that one should install the JDK/JRE by Oracle. Oracle offers only tar-balls and rpms, thus I needed to find a way to install it. Thanks to Google the solution wasn’t far away but for making it easier findable for me, I post the way I did it in the end here as well in a more generalized way.

Download the JDK from Oracle, then start by removing OpenJDK:

sudo apt-get update && apt-get remove "openjdk"

Then go to your downloads-directory and untar the tar.gz (tar -xzvf jdk-$version)

Create a folder in /opt for the jdk:

sudo mkdir -p /opt/java

Move the JDK to the folder:

sudo mv ~/Downloads/jdk$version /opt/java/

Make the JRE and JDK the default
sudo update-alternatives --install "/usr/bin/java" "java" "/opt/java/jdk$version/bin/java" 1

sudo update-alternatives --set java /opt/java/jdk§version/bin/java

sudo update-alternatives --install "/usr/bin/javac" "javac" "/opt/java/jdk$version/bin/javac" 1

sudo update-alternatives --set javac /opt/java/jdk§version/bin/javac

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Switching from OS X to Linux

After my switch from iOS to Android, I switched now from OS X to Linux. I wrote already about my reasons for switching. I switched in 2004 from Linux to OS X because my laptop got stolen and I needed a new one. My requirements were a unix-style operating system where I have nothing to do to make it work and a small laptop with great battery runtime. The iBook 4G 12″ was the best in that regard back then. Last year I tried my luck with running Linux for 30 days and talked about it in some podcast-episodes of mine. The short version: running Linux from a USB-stick on a MacBook Air is not a very bright idea to get to know if Linux is any good. It works somehow, but not well.

But in the last couple of months or maybe it is a process which went already for a year or longer, I moved more and more of my workflow to open source-tools that are also available on Linux. The last things that were a problem were my iPhone, OmniFocus and 1Password. Since I switched now to Android, the iPhone is no problem anymore. Because the OmniFocus-client I tried on Android wasn’t good enough, but the todotxt-client (Cloudless) was really good, I switched my todo-workflow over to todo.txt. So the next hurdle was gone. And then I found out that you can run 1Password 4 in wine with working browser-extensions. So somehow the most important parts should work. I thought several times about switching to Linux but thought that I actually like my MacBook Air and have no real issues with OS X, so there is no good enough reason for it. But then one of the laptops in our household is on the verge of dying and a new Apple-computer is just too expensive right now. So I decided to go for a used Thinkpad X201. I added a 250GB SSD, got me a docking station and will get a 9-cell-battery in the near future. That is still cheaper than a used MacBook Air and far cheaper than a new laptop.

This blog post is about my experiences with getting the laptop up and running to a state that I want to and can work with. You will find some advice, links and nice software I found.

Installing Linux and first software

I started out with installing Mint 17. Why Mint? Well it is partly the fault of @tante. I asked him what I sould use: Ubuntu, Mint, Arch or Gentoo and his anser was Mint. Arch and Gentoo are closer to the bleeding edge and need more maintenance and Ubuntu is often a bad fork according to him. And what I read in the past it seems that Ubuntu goes more and more its own ways and therefore might get shunned from the community. The latter one is just my own concern. Installing Mint on the X201 was a breeze. It installed and every piece of hardware in the laptop worked out of the box. When I put the laptop into the docking station, everything continued to work and even using a secondary display over the display port worked. My secondary display is an old TFT-TV which I got only correctly to work with OS X with the help of SwitchResX and fiddling around. With Mint, it worked out of the box. So far so good.

Installing software was mainly no problem. Steam was installed fast and it didn’t need long until I could play my first games of VVVVVV, Super Hexagon, Super Meat Boy and Shadowrun Returns on my Linux-machine. In comparison to the past, I could suddenly play the games I want to play problem free on Linux. What a blast.

The version of vim is something like 300 patches behind in the repositories of Mint, so I had to compile it by myself. That was rather easy by following a guide called Building Vim from Source.

Let the fun begin

And then I started with the not so easy stuff. I wanted carddav-sync for syncing my contacts between my phone, my laptop and owncloud. I needed caldav-sync with calendars from iCloud, I wanted emulation of retro-console- and arcade games, I need Japanese input, I want to use mutt instead of a GUI-mail client, I need 1Password etc.

Syncing Carddav with owncloud

There are two ways I got cardday-syncing to work. But first you need the correct URL from Owncloud. I got the working one from logging into my owncloud, going to contacts and then push in the lower left corner the button for the Carddav-Link (a small globe). Mine looks like:

https://owncloud.foo.bar/remote.php/carddav/addressbooks/user/kontakte

And after getting that, which was actually the hard part because I couldn’t find it and googled which led to lots of wrong results, it was easy to get it working.

Number one is Evolution. There you can add a new addressbook with your credentials and the link and then it just worked for me.
Number two is pycarddav. That worked as well, but I have no idea yet, how to get stuff into it. But at least I can pull my addressbook. I have a cronjob that runs it every 10 minutes. And with pycarddav I have an easy way to get completions for addresses in mutt.

I cannot recommend Thunderbird for syncing with carddav because Thunderbirds sync can only pull one e-mail-address from a carddav-addressbook per user. And if there are multiple addresses, it will choose one randomly.

Syncing calendars from iCloud

My wife is still all Apple and we need shared calendars, so I haven’t have a look yet how owncloud works with multiple users, calendar sharing and I remember only that it wasn’t that easy to get it to sync with OS X and iOS. So we still use iCloud for our calendars. The problematic part was again finding out the right URLs. I used a software from http://icloud.niftyside.com/ which I installed on my Uberspace. It was just unpacking it into a directory of the webserver and visiting the site. Then entering my credentials and I got all the URLs. There is even a URL for carddav, so you might even be able to sync your contacts with iCloud.

I am using again Evolution to sync my calendars. It works fine.

mutt and offlineimap

I had already settings which worked quite well but needed a bit of fixing up. I followed mainly The Ultimate Guide to Mutt to get everything to work. The only real problem I had in the end was getting offlineimap working as a cronjob. I ended up putting my passwords into the .offlineimaprc because I just couldn’t get Gnome Keyring to work with a cronjob and only the pure offlineimap-command worked in a cronjob. When I used for example “offlineimap -q -f INBOX -u quiet”, it didn’t work. Only “offlineimap -u quiet” (or whatever interface you want) works for whatever reason. I added hooks for Mairix in offlineimap and added a keybinding in mutt for doing a fast-sync of the inboxes, when I see on my phone that mail arrived and I am too curious.

Emulation

In the beginning it looked a bit desperate in terms of emulation. I only found command line emulators and had problems getting everything to work. But then I found solutions.
a) Nintendo-consoles (NES, SNES, GBC, GBA): Higan which is in the repos of Mint 17.
b) Sega-consoles (Master System, Game Gear, Mega Drive/Genesis + CD + 32X): Kega Fusion which I needed to install from the site

For arcade games you can search for MAME and for the rest you might have to use a command line-client.

If you use an XBox360-pad there is a better driver than the built-in one which is called xboxdrv. If you need to map your joypad to keyboard-buttons there is the tool QJoyPad which does it. It is a bit weird to use, but it works.

The rest

The easiest way to get Japanese input working was ibus with anthy. As dictionary software I am using gjiten and installed additionally the wadoku in the edict-format.

For syncing I am using Bittorrent-Sync which has nowadays a nice GUI-tool in Linux as well: Linux Desktop Gui Unofficial Packages For Bittorrent Sync.

I am accustomed to have escape and control on my caps-lock-key. Control for key-combinations, escape when I just press it. This is great when you use vim a lot. For getting this mapping to work, I use xcape. This works only in X, but on my private laptoop I am most of the time in the GUI anyways.

For getting 1Password to work, I have a blog-post for you. If you are a YNAB-user, it works fine in Linux with wine as well.

After testing out several Twitter-clients in Linux, I ended up using the Chrome-app of Tweetdeck which works quite well. For App.net there is Cauldron which works as good as on Windows and OS X.

For music I am using Google Music All-Access in combination with the Nuvola Player. With that player I get native integration into the desktop with Google Music, at least as native as it gets with Flash in the app. I get notifications for song changes and can use the media keys of my keyboard.

My GUI-client for todo.txt is DayTasks which is better than the other clients I tested. It is quite nice, when I do not want to use the command line interface of todo.txt.

The only thing which I did not figured out yet is a workflow for creating screencasts for Let’s Plays. There is ScreenStudio but this didn’t really work in an initial test. And from time to time Cinnamon just freezes – everything freezes except the cursor. Restarting X helps but this is not really satisfying. I did not yet find out what the reason might be.

Conclusion

So far I am positively surprised. The hardware worked out of the box and the laptop is really neat. If I wouldn’t have certain demands, I could have started to work directly after the installation of the system. The system is really fast, the fans are not too loud, when I am running tons of stuff, it seems to have lower RAM-needs than OS X and all in all it works and is pleasant to use. I enjoy having the docking station which makes live easier since I do not have to unplug my external HDDs and controllers when I take my laptop with me, but just remove the laptop from the docking station. I wonder if I stay as satisfied with this system, as I do with my Android-phone right now. Would you have told me a couple of months ago that I go from all OS X and iOS to Linux and Android, I would have laughed. But right now, everything works and is fun to use. I wonder what I will think in a couple of months once the novelty has worn off.

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Nie wieder Packstation

Ich habe seit kurzem eine schöne goldene Karte von DHL damit ich u.a. Packstationen verwenden kann. Also dachte ich mir, dass ich zwei Bestellungen dahin liefern lasse. Was soll schon schief gehen?

Eine Menge. Hier eine Beschwerdemail, die ich gerade an DHL geschickt habe und den Verlauf mehr oder minder dokumentiert.

Beschwerde bei DHL

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

langsam glaube ich, dass das Konzept Packstation von Schildbürgern entwickelt wurde.
Lieferung FOO ging aufgrund eines Softwarefehlers bei Amazon ohne Postnummer raus. Mal abgesehen davon, dass ich nicht verstehe, dass das Annahmesystem bei dem Ziel Packstation Zustellungen ohne Postnummern zulässt, läuft es weniger als rund. Das Paket wurde in eine Packstation eingeliefert, dann wieder entnommen. Laut einer Mail, die ich von ihrem Social Media-Team habe, weil die Postnummer fehlt. Da ich den Inhalt langsam aber sicher dringend benötige, habe ich direkt bei Amazon eine neue Bestellung losgetreten und kulanterweise eine Expresszulieferung eingetragen bekommen.
Ihr Paketzentrum allerdings schickt das Paket ohne Postnummer wieder los zur Auslieferung.

Also rief ich bei DHL an und versuchte eine Erklärung zu bekommen. Zugegebenermaßen war ich recht aufbrausend (sie werden gleich verstehen warum), aber als ich am Ende des Gesprächs nach dem Namen der Call-Center-Agentin fragte, sagte sie Auf Wiederhören und legte auf. Das Gespräch fand am 11.07. gegen 16:20 Uhr statt. Evtl. steht ja ein Name im Log zu dieser Sendung. Ich würde mich wegen des Auflegens gerne über die Dame hiermit beschweren.

Meine zweite Lieferung (Sendungsnr. BAR) ging mit einer unvollständigen Postnummer raus. Wieder ein Fehler des Absenders, wieder verstehe ich nicht wie so ein Paket überhaupt angenommen werden kann. Ich vermute doch, dass Postnummern Mindestlängen haben und ohne Postnummer scheint eine Einlieferung in eine Packstation ja nicht möglich. Dieses Paket befindet sich seit gestern 10:55 Uhr in der Auslieferung. Laut ihrem Social Media-Team und ihres Callcenters könnte es eventuell vielleicht möglicherweise doch ankommen. Nichts genaues wusste niemand. Ja, diese Wortwahl ist sarkastisch gemeint. Die Dame im Callcenter bei meinem Anruf heute Mittag war sehr freundlich und erklärte mir, dass ich bis morgen warten solle, ob das Paket eingeliefert wird und falls nicht, soll ich mich am Montag noch einmal melden. Auf Twitter würde meine Kurznachricht zu diesem Thema “Srsly? WTF?!” lauten.

Fassen wir zusammen (oder auch TL;DR): Zwei Sendungen gehen raus ohne bzw. mit verkürzter Postnummer an Packstationen. Beide werden von DHL angenommen. Beide kommen vielleicht oder auch nicht an, vermutlich eher nicht. Aber die Erkenntnis zu erreichen beim Auslieferer kann bis zu drei Tage dauern. “Srsly? WTF?!”

Das waren meine ersten beiden Bestellungen an eine Packstation. Nie wieder.
Übrigens eine Bestellung, die am Mittwoch losgeschickt wurden, die auch über DHL lief aber zu mir nach Hause geliefert wurde, war am Donnerstag da. Diese Bestellungen wurden beide am Dienstag losgeschickt.

Ich wäre sehr dankbar für eine Antwort, die mir erklärt warum das alles so schief läuft.

Ich werde diese Mail und auch ihre Antwort auf meinem Blog veröffentlichen unter http://niels.kobschaetzki.net/blog/2014/07/11/nie-wieder-packstation/ ‎

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Niels Kobschätzki

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1Password 4 in Linux

First: huge thanks to @thatswinnie and @PhilippeLM . Winnie for pointing me to Philippe and Philippe for pointing me to the right forum-entries and his helpful posts to get it to work in Linux with 1Password 4 and Firefox. Supposedly it works with the Chrome-extension, too.

Please take note that this solution is not officially supported by AgileBits and can probably break with any update. But let’s hope that it doesn’t.

So 1Password is a pretty popular password-manager for OS X and there is also a version available for Windows. In addition there are great companion apps for iOS and Android1. Since I have licenses for all the versions, I wanted to continue to use it on Linux. But how?

First you have to install Wine. There should be a package for it in the package manager of your distribtion. Then start Wine once, so it can configure itself.

Next up, download 1Password for Windows and open the downloaded exe. It should be opened by Wine and start the installer. Just let it do its thing. Then you have to edit the following file ~/.wine/user.reg2 for disabling browser validation.
Search for [Software\AgileBits\1Password 4] and add beneath it a new entry:

“VerifyCodeSignature”=dword:00000000

Save the file, open 1Password and restart the 1Password Helper. This option is in 1Password in Help – Restart 1Password Helper.

Then you have to download and install the Browser-Add On/extension from AgileBits. Restart your browser and it should work. I had to restart the 1Password Helper once more and after that it worked flawlessly for me.

Update: I have now my real machine and couldn’t get it to work even with this manual. To get the 1Password-extension working I had to open the preferences of 1Password, had to go to the Browsers-tab and check “Unlock on Secure Desktop”. After a restart of Firefox, it worked.


  1. I am syncing the different installations with the help of Bittorrent Sync. OTA-sync with my own infrastructure. The iOS-version gets synced via iTunes.

  2. The reg-files are representations of parts of the windows-registry for Wine.

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