Random Musings

An occasional blog

Just a thought

If you want to directly contact me related to something you’ve seen on the Ubuntu Forums, and want to keep it out of the public gaze, please use the PM or email options on my profile.  On the other hand, if you want to notify the forum staff about a particular post that’s problematic, use the “Report post” feature of the forum software.

Whatever you do, don’t send an email to lisati@voogdnz.net. I haven’t used that email address for year, and if your email makes it past the spam filters, you’ll probably be referred back to this blog. Neither should you use lisati.ubuntu@ymail.com – most of the emails that arrive there these days is spam.


Advice from Dr Google

Using search engines, such as those provided by Google and Bing, can be massively useful. It can provide a lot of interesting reading, particularly when you’ve chosen your search well.

It is always a good idea, however, to be smart with which links you click. Sometimes the results won’t be relevant to what you’re searching for. Other times, the results will be to information that is seriously out-dated or flawed. And, of course, there are things you won’t want to see – some things are not easily unseen.

Seeking medical advice online can sometimes provide you with useful information. but should not be seen as a 100% infallible substitute for competent advice from a suitably qualified professional.

Similarly, seeking technical advice can often point you in the right general direction, but because technology is constantly changing, you should not assume that that the first link you visit will provide a suitable solution.

In short, don’t assume that the advice offered by Dr Google will be suitable for your situation. You might need to do some further homework before you apply the “solution” you have been reading about.

What’s in a name?

One sometimes sees a distinction online and in stores between a “PC” and Apple products. Presumably this dates back from the 1980s, when a big thing was made out of compatibility with the IBM PC – Apple wanted their products to stand on their own merits. Until then, having a computer at home was largely the realm of hobbyists – you built it yourself.

Making a distinction between a “PC” and Apple products doesn’t make sense to this writer. We’re not talking about being Politically Correct, but Personal Computers. If the latest laptop from Apple isn’t a form of personal computer, then what on earth is it?

New Phone

On Fathers’ Day (yesterday) I picked up a new phone to use as a spare/backup. It’s a Skinny F328, manufactured by ZTE. My first impression is that it’s a good starter phone that should do the trick if you’re mainly interested in the occasional call.

The screen size is a bit bigger than I’m used to on similar phones, and the keyboard easier to use for my clumsy fingers than a couple of old semi-retired phones in my collection of mobiles. Compared with my older phones, the keyboard does have a slightly spongy feel – this might be something to pay attention to.

Texting is a little bit different to other phones I’ve regularly used, the default text entry mode seems vaguely reminiscent of phones we had about 20 years ago. Thankfully it’s easily changed by using the # key, but I haven’t yet found a way of setting my preferences as default.

The phone comes with a camera which has a flash. For people who like to make selfies, the bad news is that there’s no front camera. Although image quality is better than other phones I’ve used from the same manufacturer, my initial impression is that it we shouldn’t expect the same quality as we might expect from a good android phone.

As is the case with other similar phones, there are basic internet capabilities but no wifi. My preference remains with desktop or laptop while using internet at home, or possibly one of our android devices while we’re out and about.

I haven’t had the phone long enough to get a good feel for the battery life.

As for connectivity, it comes with bluetooth (not sure which version), and the phone is capable of connecting to 2G and 3G networks. It is currently locked to a provider that doesn’t use 2G.

And here are the obligatory photos of cats.

Dear Brother Catch Spammers,

This was sent to one of my honeypot addresses, and originally posted here by mistake. The joys of running honenypots, spam traps, and multiple blogs! It’s fairly typical of the nonsense that comes my way.

From: elena baltach <elenabaltach7777@gmail.com> (a repeat offender)


Dear Brother Catch Spammers,

Greeting in the Name of God my dear brother and you are welcome for
the humanitarian works project, I want you to follow up with the
necessary instructions here below by contacting my lawyer
Mr. Richard Menseh to enable him give you the contact of the bank
for the fund transfer into your account without any delay.

That is why you must work dearly with Mr Richard Menseh. Do not let
anybody to be involve in this matter so that they will not corrupt
your good intentions.

You should contact my barr Mr Richard menseh through this email
the nurse taking care of me will
print it for me.

May the Good God continue to help and guide you with wisdom that
trancend all understanding.
May Fire of revival continue to burn in your life.

1. Your full name:
2. Address/ Home or Office:
3. Your Private Email:
4. Occupation:
5. Marital status:
6. Nationality:
7. Age
8. Current Telephone/Fax Number.

My good brother you can call Richard Menseh on this His private
telephone number +228 93 54 50 63  for more detail or any where you
needs my urgent attention in regards to this very transactions okay.

I hope everything is well understood now?

I await for your immediate anticipations response as soon as possible.

Best Regards
Mrs Elena

Malware and other nonsense.

I sometimes receive unwanted email via the email address associated with my forum account, usually with a forged “From:” address. Please don’t do this, it wastes my time. It aso confuses my email provider no end when I ask them about why malware and other such rubbish is allowed in by their spam filter, but blocked by their outgoing filters when I try to report it. They usually reply with some comment about using the “report spam” button, which they don’t currently provide on their webmail. When I was running my own email server a few years ago, it wasn’t that difficult to implement the same checks for malware and spam for both incoming and outgoing email.

Donations to help replace the dilapidated old hardware I used to use for my server would be welcome, so I can more easily set up my own email system with own rules that I can customize to my own liking.

Preferred email address

If you need to contact me, please use the contact form associated with this blog, or use the contact details on my profile at the Ubuntu Forums.

I’m not about to publicize my email address here, it is likely to become a spam magnet. I’d feel a lot better if the idiots and rogues helped me to keep things organized by sending something to one of my SpamTrap email addresses.

Please use code tags

When you ask for help on a forum, it can be helpful to include the output of the computer’s response to what you’re doing. Copying and pasting of terminal output often works better than including a screenshot. On a system running Ubuntu, highlighting the text you wish to copy, using Ctrl+c to copy the text from the terminal output, and using Ctrl+v to paste it into your forum post will normally work. Please remember to have[CODE] at the start, and [/CODE] at the end. This does not necessarily mean that you are posting “code” or “codes” – it’s a preference that seasoned forum users have, as it usually preserves formatting better than using [QUOTE] and [/QUOTE]. Remember to disguise email and IP addresses.

Duplicate posts

From time to time, Ubuntu Forums gets rather busy, and it seems like it’s not actually saving posts. Please be patient. and check that your post has actually taken before clicking on the “Submit Post” button a second time – use a new browser window if necessary. You can check which of your posts are visible by clicking on the Quick Links drop-down menu, then clicking on “Find all my posts.”

Command line and code.

I’m old school and believe that what you type in at the command prompt isn’t necessarily a code, but is nearly always consists of one or more commands (which is why the command line, sometimes referred to as “terminal”, is called the command line). It might seem like some kind of secret code to someone who doesn’t understand what it does, but the intent is to command the computer to do something. What I type might sometimes include codes, but it’s still a command. I might enclose it in “code tags” when sharing it on a forum, but that has more to do with formatting than what it is.