2014 was a great year for Tux Machines. The site moved to a new server with much higher capacity and better caching, Rianne and I moved to a better house, and we finally set up a tree the way we wanted to. Financial contributions from readers were enough to subsidise a laptop for Rianne and she now happily submits a lot of links from there.
In 2015 we expect to improve both volume and quality of links. We are going to think of ways to improve the Web site and we openly welcome suggestions from readers. The goal is to make the site more informative more efficiently. We wish to help readers steer away from cruft and gossip and instead identify news of importance, without repetition unless new information and details arise. █
I got my new Chromebook... Yes, you've heard me right, but wait before you raise your eyebrows...
I installed Ubuntu on it as my default OS, though I can go back to Chrome OS any time I want. I don't see any point in doing it.
Roy helped me do the partitioning, configuration and tweaking. We configure it in a way so that I can use it in my work, not just for Facebooking, tweeting and chatting's sake.
I am still exploring the machine, basically familiarising with the keyboard and all the function settings on it. The Kubuntu environment which I chose will need some adjustments; also the applications which I downloaded are a bit different from the other laptop's (which I used to work on).
Change is good, but it requires a lot of patience and adaptation to the new environment.
I like my Chromebook very much. It is one of the best gifts I have received from my husband. It is more practical, it gives me more confidence to learn and to develop more of my computer skills. Innovation is fast-moving and technology is progressing, so you definitely need to catch up with it. Unless you want to be left behind by choice... █
TOMORROW is my birthday, so we are going away to Liverpool for a while. Over the holidays we won't be too active in this site, at the very least because there is no major news, no announcements of substance, and we also wish to spend some time with our extended family.
As always, anyone in Tux Machines can create an account and submit stories to the front page (as of late only spammers have been doing that almost every morning). We encourage readers to submit any links which they find relevant and of interest to the community. █
I installed Kubuntu 14.10 a couple of weeks ago. Here's two issues I've discovered, the first one is solved, but the 2nd one isn't.
1) Kdenlive will play videos from the Clip Monitor, and in the Project Monitor. However, after rendering the video, audio is lost.
2) It's not possible to mount an nfs share automatically in /etc/fstab. You have to use
sudo mount -a and enter the root password.
Fireworks continue to appear all over the place, even a day after Guy Fawkes Night. Yesterday the city was full of smoke (as though it is under heavy fog all around), but that is just an annually-recurring tradition. It's very bad for the environment, but hey, lots of people enjoy it.
Over 400 Guy Fawkes tried to destroy the House of Lords, just as some gang or a person has been trying now for nearly two months to keep Tux Machines offline. Thankfully, however, the attacks are not succeeding anymore because we have refined our defenses and the offending zombie PCs are being banned left and right (all day long). Surely the plot has been foiled. All we need now is effigies. █
It has been a month since my relatives from Bradford visited us here in Manchester. Our usual routine if they come to spend the holidays with us is to go to the gym to work out, to run on the treadmill and play pingpong. The best part of the workout, which we enjoy the most, is swimming afterwards. We get relaxed at the jacuzzi and then get hot and sweaty inside the sauna. It is a good exercise and offers relaxation after a stressful day of work. We have so much fun in the gym.
We arrived home around 8:00 pm after having a good round of walk in Manchester City Stadium. We were lucky to see the Manchester City football team; they had a match against Roma, so crowds were flooding in the streets. There were about a thousand spectators coming to watch the game who walked past us.
At home I prepared the meal. We had candlelights and red wine to enjoy while having our soup, vegetable salad and chicken for dinner; mango smoothies were the final dessert.
After the meal we chatted about the economy, healthcare, jobs, business, and technology in the U.K. I have learned a lot from Albert, my aunt's husband. He is an economist.
Albert explained to me that he was struggling with his PC. It was a brand new PC. It had a touchscreen and the laptop was thin and powerful. Albert's problem was not the laptop. As it turns out, his problem was Windows. The computer came with Windows 8. He already wasted a lot of money because shops exploited him. He did not even have an office suite installed. The computer was useless. He hardly used it. He hardly even had any files on it.
I then explained to Albert about GNU/Linux. I told him about Stallman and GNU. I also told him about the dirty tricks of Microsoft and about the true Bill Gates, including his involvement in GMO. Albert listened to me and he wanted to know more. I hope he learned something from me, just as I had learned from him.
The following morning I asked my husband for help. He was working all night and in the morning he was available to help Albert. Based on Roy's analysis, the machine was full of malware or some other mess. It was almost impossible to do anything with it. Windows 8 was hard to work with and it was hardly even possible to download and install a program like LibreOffice. The interface was confusing. It took ages to do very simple things.
Albert insisted that we should install GNU/Linux, but we didn't have a recent version of a distro at that time. Either way, Albert was so frustrated with Windows that he was willing to throw it all down the drain, along with his files.
This was my first time seeing Windows 8. I usually use Android or KDE. Microsoft Windows has become full of pop-ups, spam, marketing and other garbage. I am glad to use GNU/Linux and Albert will soon join us. By all means, Albert now wants to use Open Source and he already learns how to use LibreOffice. █
These are some instructions i put together to get plexweb working from home over https using an NGINX reverse proxy. Might be useful to someone.
Summer is finally over, but summertime or the climate hasn't officially changed yet. I wonder if I can still do something out of the ordinary, but the weather is disrupting my planned activities outside. Sometimes there is sunlight, but the next minute the dark clouds covers the beautiful sky and it makes the day dull and cold.
Two days ago my husband and I went to stroll inside the mall and ended up buying some personal stuff in a store. While I was in a queue to pay my husband was in a hurry to add this tiny bit of stuff which I didn't recognise at first. I thought of ignoring and not buying that tiny little thing. Then my husband said "look what I found" and then I asked what is it -- it's tux! Tux Claus. Soon I saw a tiny penguin dressed in Santa clothes; the design was simple ,but it was artistically made. I know it is still early, but we're both excited to add Tux under our Christmas tree and be merry. █
TUX MACHINES HAS BEEN under attack for nearly two weeks now. We need not really comment on our technical means of defence and how we mostly overcome these attacks (we are not giving too many clues to the attackers, who are mostly deflected with blacklists and redirects for the time being), but for the most part the Web site continues to run and to serve visitors. That's what is important. We work hard to keep posting the latest news and not let distraction, aggravation or sabotage get in the way. It is hard to imagine who would want to attack a site like this. This site is not even political or controversial.
In more general news, Manchester has had a nice and warm September. It continues into October (so far). Today we started seeing some hybrid (partly electric) double-decker buses and today we also found out that the health club we always go to has been voted best in the north west and third-best in the UK for the second year in a row. We still post some news whilst out of the house (if a wireless connection becomes available) and this morning the weather was so fine that we managed to play some badminton outdoors.
Life goes on and no level of attacks on the site is going to stop it. There are many ways to combat DDOS attacks, so they are merely a nuisance. The attackers should know that they are only wasting their time; there are much better things to do in life. Those commandeering Microsoft Windows botnets would be better off targeting the KKK or something, not a GNU and Linux news site. █
My husband has been spending many of his hours fighting blow by blow in the back end, saving Tux Machines from a cyber attacker who really spent his freaking time hammering the website in an attempt to cripple Tux Machines. At first I was bit astonished by how the website behaved while I was posting some articles, I thought of checking the load to make sure the server worked well and to see that every visitor's page request had been served well, only to know that slowness of the website was been masterminded by an attacker. Perhaps this person is so desperate to put the Tux Machines website down, perhaps an enemy of FOSS and Linux advocacy.
We want to reaffirm our visitors and readers and apologise for the slight inconvenience and weired behavior of the website for the previous hours. All we have done is to protect our readers and visitors from this an acceptable gesture even until now he/she has been trying to penetrate the website. My message to this attacker is, leave Tux Machines in peace and go find some games to play with. █
There are rogue bots hammering on this site all day long. It has gone on for quite a few days and it is getting worse. The bots are getting harder to block. Strategies are changing. They are all acting like zombies/botnet and they all have a "Microsoft Windows" in their HTTP header.
The corporate media seems preoccupied with a bug in GNU Bash. It predicts gloom and doom, just as it did when there was a bug in OpenSSL that Microsoft partners dubbed "heartbleed" (although not so much actually happened in terms of damages).
Perhaps it is time to remind that media that Microsoft, with its back doors, is causing turbulence on the Web. Among the outcomes there are GNU/Linux Web sites that are brought down, with administrators who work around the clock trying to block Windows-running PCs from trying to take down their sites. █
Aggregators in Tux Machines have been universally disabled (temporarily we hope) after a week or so of heavy load that took the site down (well, over capacity and hence not accessible). The culprit seems to be mostly -- although not exclusively -- a bunch of bots that hammer on the aggregators with spammy requests. It's sad that so many hours need to be spent just keeping script kiddies out of the site, resulting in fewer bits of output, slower pageloads (performance degradation), and restlessness (monitoring alerts all day long), not to mention crafting of rules that merely keep the site running. Running Tux Machines is not quite as peaceful and trivial/simple as it may seem from the outside. It's like a full-time job, or at least it feels like it, especially whenever the site gets flooded by rogue bots, necessitating special attention 24/7. █
What privacy can you expect?
TODAY we have taken a bit of a break. It's Sunday after all. But here is a bit of a site status update.
The site's design has evolved a bit and it hopefully makes navigation a little better. SPAM is still a problem, but we do our best to keep it out of the sight of visitors. It's the result of a permissive policy that lets everyone publish a story, blog post, etc.
In terms of server load, we are still coping most of the time, but sometimes there's a flood of SPAM/rogue traffic that renders the server virtually unreachable. We use some ad hoc filters for to address this nuisance, but if we are away, then the site can be paralysed for a long time. We still need to find better solutions to that.
Thanks in advance for any feedback you may have and thanks for reading Tux Machines. █