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The Binary Times - Series 6 Episode 6

Sun 15 Sep, 2019

Timeline companion

Mark is back in the latest episode of the Binary Times audiocast.

 

01:29 Mark welcomes us to Series 6 Episode 6 of the Binary Times and dedicates the show to Jimmy Beacons. The weather looks like it's going to be nice in both Kilkishen and Bristol. Wayne thinks they're getting good enough to be weather reporters, Mark is not so sure.

02:58 The guys announce that they are now part of the Other Side Podcast Network. They've joined other such august free and creative commons shows such as CCJam, Crivins, the Duffercast, Tea, Earl Grey, Hot!, The Bugcast, TuxJam and Twine Radio.

05:41 Wayne tells us what he's been up to. Wayne's a fan of KVM for running Virtual Machines. He used to use Virtual Box and found some of the setting up involved easier with that. He's been having problems with bridging between KVM and Ubuntu MATE. If anyone listening has any ideas as to how to fix these problems he'd be more than happy to hear from them. Wayne feels limited knowledge about things like the Linux networking stack and the Linux Audio subsystem are holding him back. Mark agrees and says that is why he relies on specialist distributions like AVLinux to have Pulse Audio and JACK set up properly. This leads to a discussion around to distro hop or not. Wayne also tells us that he's starting up an IT support business and trying to help a customer choose the right laptop is proving tricky.

16:07 Mark tells us about his adventures in distro hopping. Mark has an old Core 2 Duo that he's been trying a bunch of different distros on, namely Clear Linux, Devuan, Haiku, Lubuntu 19.04, KDE neon and OpnSUSE Tumbleweed.

Clear Linux wouldn't install, as it complained that the hardware wasn't 64 bit. Users in the Dublin Linux Telegram group suggested that it could be due to using an EFI ISO, Mark didn't investigate that further though. He also mentions that the Dublin Linux Community are holding a Clear Linux event in November.

Mark thinks Devuan is quite cool. He also found out that Devuan is part of the Dyne foundation.

Haiku is an open-source operating system that specifically targets personal computing. Inspired by the BeOS, Haiku is fast, simple to use, easy to learn and yet very powerful.

Lubuntu 19.04 uses LXQt as its default desktop environment. Mark noted it only used 270MB RAM at startup. While very usable, it was a bit too basic for his wants.

Mark notes that KDE Neon only uses 370MB RAM at startup and questions the widely held belief that KDE Plasma is a heavy desktop environment.

OpenSuse Tumbleweed with the KDE Plasma desktop only uses 400MB of RAM at startup and that is the distribution that is currently on the machine.

The guys follow this up with a discussion on the real utility of old hardware in today’s web intensive, resource hungry computing, and then discuss laptops with discrete graphics cards.

34:35 Wayne wants to talk about signatures in Thunderbird. He wants to set up a signature for his new business and found the best way to do that was to create a new email, set up the signature as he wanted it, save it as an html file, then check a box to attach that file for the signature. It surprised him that it was done that way. He used a lifewire article to help him in completing this task.

37:49 Mark tells us about the latest humble bundles to catch his eye, including the humble RPG bundle, the IT Security by Taylor and Francis bundle, Become a Game Developer bundle and Level up your Python bundle.

41:12 Wayne moves the topic onto apt vs apt-get. Wayne lists out various apt commands and their apt-get / apt-cache equivalents.

apt dist-upgrade is an alias for apt full-upgrade

46:35 Mark talks about zypper, the equivalent of apt in SUSE land, and talks about a cheat sheet that's available to help you use zypper. The conversation moves onto OpenSUSE itself and YaST. Mark recommends reading the documentation before using OpenSUSE.

51:31 Under the Hood - Wayne's under the hood is how HTTPS works. Thanks Ben! He also talks about Stacer, an open source system utility.

Mark mentions the videos available on xiph providing insight on digital media as a worthwhile watch. Thanks once again Ben!

54:51 Irish saying of the show: "An líonra taobh eile" or the other side network.

Thanks for listening, we hope you enjoy the show as much as we did making it and of course all feedback welcome!

 

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The Binary Times - Series 6 Episode 5

Sat 31 Aug, 2019

Timeline companion

Ben Klaasen joins Wayne on this episode of the Binary Times Podcast

 

This fortnight we are joined by Ben Klaasen, a software tester, linux advocate and long time supporter and listener to the show.

We begin chating about using Linux in the workplace. Not every machine runs Linux perfectly, be warned. We seem to do the research without even noticing it to ensure Linux compatibility.

Ben purchased a standard usb Silvercrest video encoder from Lidl/Aldi, and it worked a treat. Here's the ffmpeg command used to convert video using this device:

ffmpeg -async 1 -vsync 1 -f v4l2 -video_size 720x576 -i /dev/video2 -thread_queue_size 1024 -channel_layout stereo -f alsa -i default -c:v libx264 -pix_fmt yuv420p -b:v 2M -crf 23 -c:a aac -b:a 128K -to 00:35:00 -preset fast -report "Free Text Output File Name.mkv"

Ben has started a new job with an emphasis on making working the workplace more humane. He then takes us through his Nextcloud history and setup and it was quite a journey.

Wayne chats about his upgrade to pfsense. He has been watching Lawerence Systems networking videos on Youtube. This video shows you how to set up pfblockerng. Using aliases in pfsense is also very helpful in making firewall rules.

Ben asks about Proxmox VE, Wayne has tried it but didnt really get on well with it. He prefers using KVM and Virsh for this purpose.

Wayne has been looking at the Xiaomi Redmi 4 and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 as possible dual sim contenders to run /e/. Ben chats about the fairphone 3 which has been released on the 27th August. Fairphone OS includes all google services, Fairphone Open doesn't: https://code.fairphone.com We then move on to chatting about trying to make ethical considered purchases.

Ben chats about the latest release of Thunderbird 68.

Under the hood - Wayne starts off chatting about some great Humble Bundle releases, IT Security", Keep Books Weird", and Python Programming books.

We also chat about the find command and Wayne introduces the -icase flag to make the search case insensitive

find / -iname kodi.log

Ben goes now to say how he uses command substitution with find to move around the file system...
find ../../../ -name \*justenough\*
That gives me the full path to the file, relative to where I am now...
dirname $(!!) gives me the directory name only...
cd $(!!) brings me to that directory.< br /> !! means "run the last command again.
$(!!) is the output of the last command.

Ben talks about NuShell and python-mario. These give nice new ways of interpreting data.

Irish saying of the audiocast is 'Beimid ar ais' which means 'We'll be back'.

We hope you enjoy listening to us as we enjoyed making it!

 

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The Binary Times - Series 6 Episode 4

Sun 17 Aug, 2019

Timeline companion

Its Mike Saunders back on the Binary Times Podcast

00:24 Wayne introduces us to Season 6 Episode 4 of the Binary Times. He's in a better mood as Bristol is cooler and cloudier, Mark's feeling great in a lightly raining, cloudy Kilkishen, and The Mike Saunders joins us once again from a sunny, beer garden time, Southern Bavaria.

03:24 The guys discuss the latest version of LibreOffice, that being LibreOffice 6.3. The latest version can be installed as a snap using the command sudo snap install libreoffice in Linux distributions with snap support. There is a video available on YouTube detailing the really cool enhancements that have arrived with LibreOffice 6.3.

31:32 The guys transition nicely into a discussion around the demise of the Linux Journal and print media in general. The good news is Linux Format and Linux Magazine are still available! Mike thinks someone may try to crowdfund another Linux Magazine and he'd be willing to provide any advice needed. Maker magazines seem to be doing well, all the same. Mike reminisces fondly about an interview with Lennart Poettering and the guys discuss the road rage level of anger that can be directed at people and organizations by the community.

53:14 Under the Hood

- Mark's under the hood is inxi -W [location]. More can be found out about the very versatile inxi on its man page.

- Wayne's under the hood is not really an under the hood but more what he's been doing, and that's installing /e/ on the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. The experience is far sweeter than his previous attempt with a Samsung Galaxy S3 and Mike thinks it might be due to more memory in the Galaxy S4.

Wayne goes on to clarify a mistake that was made in our last episode and that is the Blender Game Engine has been removed from Blender.

Wayne wraps up to say that metronomes are distracting when learning to play an instrument, bring on the drum beat with drumkits! He mentions two in particular, Drum bit and Virtual Drum Machine

Mike's under the hood is the observation that no application is complete without a weather function.

53:56 German saying for the show: "Eine App ist nicht vollständig, bis sie einen Wetterbericht erstellen kann" - Or An app isn't complete until it can produce a weather report!

We hope you enjoy the show as much as we did making it!

 

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The Binary Times - Series 6 Episode 3

Sun 4 Aug, 2019

Timeline companion

Its incredible were all still talking, here comes another episode of The Binary Times audiocast.

00:24 Wayne's barely able to welcome us to Episode 3 of Season 6 after an hour of faffing about in the searing heat of Bristol. Mark tries to say the right things and tell us it's raining in Kilkishen.

03:00 Mark tells us all about Dublin Maker Fair. He tells us he met some of the people from Dublin Linux Group and chatted with Conor from Linux Lads. There were physics experiments galore and a home made 3D printer to be seen. The Board Game Designers of Ireland were there too, and Mark received a game from one of the developers there. The game is great! Mark mentions that representatives of Techspace, CoderDojo and Raspberry Pi were there. Crafty Nathan Creations, a financial wizard by day, creator of cool costumes in his spare time, was showing off his Fallout and Metro creations. Mark goes on to tell us that students were on site who were building Ireland's first satellite, EIRSAT-1. Tog, the maker / hacker space in Dublin, was there also, providing good information on de-googling your life, with more information on that being found at Privacytools.io, myshadow.org, and a beginner friendly workshop on digital self defence near you can be found at cryptoparty.in. Mark felt right at home with everything going on and really enjoyed the day. He'd recommend it.

Mark goes on to tell us that he provided a Gigabyte Brix for his parents' home and installed Linux Mint 19.2 on it. This leads the lads on to talk about Timeshift, a system backup utility used in Linux Mint. Mark tells us that there's quite a good article on Linux Magazine about Timeshift also. Wayne asks about Déjà Dup and the guys breifly discuss the merits of various back up strategies.

Mark goes on to discuss some adventures he has had with pihole, and how he couldn't get pihole -r to work as he thought it should work. Wayne goes on to tell us some pi-hole issues he helped Paul with, DNS and DHCP issues. Wayne thanks Paul for the memory he sent on.

Mark rounds out his what has he been doing for the last fortnight section with a little chat about Blender and its latest release 2.80. Mark tells us about some of the uses Blender has been put to, including Yo Frankie!, a game show-casing the Blender Game Engine, Big Buck Bunny, an animated movie in which Frankie appears, Elephant's Dream, the first movie created with Blender, Sintel, a brilliant bit of animation and great story to boot, as well as Tears of Steel and Agent 327. Mark goes on to tell us the huge news that Ubisoft is joining the Blender Development Fund. Mark tells us about his own recent experience with Blender 2.80, tells us of its differences, and that Blender is an API breaking releases. Mark recommends using the snap or steam version to stay current.

33:34 Wayne tells us what he's been at, and he begins by announcing that he's ditched Ubuntu Touch and is back on Lineage OS with f-droid. Wayne feels that the cleanliness of Lineage and not having to think about his phone and it just being his daily driver makes his life easier. Mark asks Wayne about /e/. Wayne gives us his reasons as to why he's sticking with Lineage.

This brings the conversation around to old hardware and 32 bit computers. 32 bit Distributions mentioned are Slackware, antiX Linux, MX linux and Debian. Wayne questions the usability of Debian day to day. Mark suggests Linux Mint Debian Edition.

50:29 Wayne tells us that he's completely replaced his old routing setup with a pfsense box. He tells us he's using pfBlockerNG to block unwanted sites. He's quite happy with his new set up.

Mark tells us that his Turros Mox has finally arrived and his internet connection is soon to be upgraded. Mark is starting to suspect his phones are having an effect on his network performance.

1:00:05 Under the Hood - Wayne talks about Frank Karlitschek's self hosting talk and in particular the file link add on for thunderbird. It is an extension which makes it easy to send large attachments with Thunderbird.

Wayne also mentions Dave's suggestion of vrms to check your system for non-free software.

Mark's under the hood is the command apt-cache show [application]. This command gives you all the details of the application in question in the repository, including dependancies.

1:05:00 Irish saying of the audiocast is "Táim i dtrioblóid", or I'm in trouble, a reflection of the difficulties the guys had in getting this show together.

We hope you enjoy this audiocast as much as we did making it, please do get in touch and let us know what you think, we do love to get your feedback. Mark recommends checking out the new logos on Patreon.

 

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The Binary Times - Series 6 Episode 2

Sun 21 Jul, 2019

Timeline companion

Mark is a bit stressed and off to the Dublin Maker Fair

00:24 Wayne welcomes us to Episode 2 of Season 6 from a cloudy but sunny Bristol. A slightly stressed Mark tells us it's only kind of raining in Kilkishen and looks to stay that way til Monday. Dublin looks to be not as rainy and he's hoping it will stay that way since he and his family are heading to the Dublin Maker Fair. Mark goes on to tell us that Irish Rail's family tickets are very reasonable and incredible value for families. The guys discuss Mark's exploding head of ideas and blissful holidays.

04:51 Mark tells us that he's upgraded his openSuse 15.0 Leap instance to 15.1 using a guide he found. He tells us he's considering changing to openSuse Leap on his main desktop, much to Wayne's consternation.

Mark goes on to tell us about a couple of things happening now or soon, the first being the Decentralized Web Camp happening near San Francisco at the moment, brought to us by our friends at the Internet Archive. Mark says he will put a link in the show notes to some of the videos that are available from previous Decentralized web summits.

Mark also wants to mention that Sysadmin Day 2019 is happening next Friday, 26th July.

12:01 Mark asks Wayne what he's been at. Wayne tells us it's all a bit foggy. Snipe-IT being used full time at work, the users like it and the software is meeting their needs. In fact it's way more useful than what they were using before. Wayne goes through some networking hoops he had to go through with it. He has some usability feature requests he might ask of the Snipe-it people on their forum. Wayne's quite pleased with his back up stratgy which includes OneDrive and Rclone. The guys discuss the benefits of using Open Source Software.

18:24 Wayne tells us some more about his journey with Ubuntu Touch and relates some of the privacy features of the OS. In Ubuntu Touch you can open as many apps as you like at the same time but ‘open’ does not mean the same as it does with other operating systems. With Ubuntu Touch’s competitors, apps which are running in the background typically are able to monitor – some would call it spy on – the activity in the app which you are using. In Ubuntu Touch, apps running in the background (with a few exceptions) use no resources and there is a system in place to confine apps so that they are unable to see what other apps are doing. This is usually called ‘sandboxing’ and it is basic to the way that Ubuntu Touch works. It is not an afterthought but safeguard of privacy. The guys discuss openness, transparency, wishes for more development and core devs in Ubuntu Touch, especially around NextCloud. Mark suggests supporting them via Patreon and also suggests watching Frank Karlitschek's talk from this year's openSuse Conference. Wayne talks about Pico CMS.

31:25 Not under the Hood! Wayne tells us about ffmpeg. Wayne provides some examples, as follows:

ffmpeg -ss 00:00:30.0 -i input.wmv -c copy -t 00:00:10.0 output.wmv

where:

-ss : the start time hour\mins\sec

-i : the input file name, ie the master video file

-c : make a copy

-t : the duration of the video to be cut

You can use -to instead of -t to specify the timestamp to which you want to cut. So, instead of ffmpeg -i [input] -ss 30 -t 10 you could also do ffmpeg -i [input] -ss 30 -to 40 to achieve the same thing.

Joining video files (need to be converted into a suitable format for concatenation first) can be done as follows:

ffmpeg -i input1.avi -qscale:v 1 intermediate1.mpg

ffmpeg -i input2.avi -qscale:v 1 intermediate2.mpg

cat intermediate1.mpg intermediate2.mpg > intermediate_all.mpg

ffmpeg -i intermediate_all.mpg -qscale:v 2 output.avi

Wayne tells us that Winff is a gui frontend for ffmpeg, and is as easy to install as typing sudo apt install winff from the command line in Ubuntu. The guys talk a bit about Kdenlive as well.

39:34 Wayne talks about Windows licensing and the guys ponder why businesses use Windows

42:25 Under the Hood - Jon the Nice Guy Spriggs has suggested Language Tool as an open source alternative to Grammarly. Ben suggested Barrier, a Synergy clone, which are applications to share your mouse and keyboard with other computers.

Wayne suggests using dpkg -l from the terminal to list the packages you have installed on your system, assuming you're using a Debian based distribution.

Feeling the need to double up on Under the Hood, Wayne talks about fslint

49:01 Irish saying of the podcast - Oscail an fhuinneog, or Open the Window

We hope you enjoy this as much as we did making it!

 

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The Binary Times - Series 6 Episode 1

Sun 7 Jul, 2019

Timeline companion

Mark and Wayne, kicking off Series 6

00:24 Wayne introduces us to the first audiocast episode of Series 6! It's too hot in Bristol and it's misty and overcast in Kilkishen.

04:00 Mark announces The Open Source Community on Steam's Open Source Community You Tube Channel and their announcement video. They plan to feature the Open Source Community's Edition of the Binary Times Audiocast, so there's even more ways now to consume our content!

05:50 Mark tells us what he's been up to for the last two weeks, and it's not been contemplating the meaning of life. He tells us that instead he's been contemplating the meaning of markdown, with the help of Mastering Markdown, [3 Reasons Why Everyone Needs to Learn Markdown][05], the Markdown project homepageand one of Github's many guides, This leads to a discussion around the benefits of markdown.

11:01 Mark tells us he's been listening to the Mintcast podcast lately due to a listener's recommendation, and he's been enjoying the good content.

13:51 Mark goes on to tell us that he's started back into duolingo.

15:02 Mark tells us about Komun.org.

19:49 Mark goes on to tell us that his daughter is now using Ubuntu MATE and loving it, he sings the praises of the welcome screen and congratulates all those involved in making the distro happen!

22:27 Wayne tells us he's been stealing Nextcloud tips from other podcasters. Useful utilities in Next Cloud's App Store are AppOrder, Right click, and Text

23:40 Wayne goes on to speak about Ubuntu Touch. Wayne gives a shout out for Mateo Salta and all the hard work he's putting into updating apps. Wayne mentions Solitaire, UBports NetWalk and Network Scanner. Wayne goes on to tell us that he's been on ubuntu touch now for six weeks and is really enjoying it while moving in the right direction. Mark briefly mentions KOreader as a possible ebook and pdfreader. Wayne goes on to tell us that he's changed from the pdf format to epub.

31:06 Wayne admires the consistency of gestures in the apps of Ubuntu Touch.

32:15 Wayne relates some of the chat going on in the UBports Supergroup on Telegram, and it goes as follows:

Q: Do I still have the stock recovery running underneath UBports? Is there an Android layer running underneath UBports?

A: The recovery is replaced with a custom one. the bootloader is standard android bootloader though; and we run some small parts of Android in a container, as it's required to get the hardware to work

Q: Nice. So it's literally just enough of an Android custom bootloader to kick things off, and after that everything is FOSS? (apart from the binaries needed to interface with the hardware, of course)

Q: I did not understand it. Does ubuntu touch need some remaining android stuff/drivers/anything? Or does the ubports installer remove android completely

A: No, an Android container is run to work with Android services and drivers. It's minimal, but it is Android built from Android source.

Mark steers the conversation towards the Librem 5 and the Pinephone.

37:52 Wayne brings it back around to interface tips on Ubuntu Touch. They both recommend the UT Tweak tool. Wayne also tells us how to take a screenshot, and that is hold down the volume up and volume down keys simultaneously.

42:00 Wayne tells us how he used diff to resolve a situation at work. He goes on to tell us about his Windows 7 and Office 2010 woes at work. His suggestion to move to Linux did not provoke the reaction he expected. Wayne is wondering what remote desktop server is available in Linux. Wayne gives the phrase 'If I replace Outlook, there would be Outcry!' to Microsoft.

55:20 Pondering where time goes, the guys kick off Under the Hood

Mark's Under the Hood is related to Libre Office. In Libre Office, if you point at a button with drop down options in the standard tool bar menu and click and hold the left mouse button, you will see all the options.

Wayne's under the hood tip is related to Reader View in Firefox. To activate this, hold down Ctrl+Alt+R and you will be in reader view.

59:10 Irish saying of the Podcast: Táim an fear or I am the man!

We hope you enjoy the podcast as much as we did making it!

 

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Series 6 Episodes
Episode 6, Episode 5, Episode 4, Episode 3, Episode 2, Episode 1

Series 5 Episodes Series 4 Episodes
Series 3 Episodes Series 2 Episodes Series 1 Episodes

About The Binary Times

The Binary Times podcast is created by Mark and Wayne, who just like using linux and open source software and want to spread the word.

GNU/Linux is free and open source and it is an excellent choice of operating system for our ever changing times.

This podcast is released fortnightly.

A picture of the Raspberry Pi with breadboard

Electronic fun with the Raspberry Pi

This show aspires to touch on various aspects of GNU/Linux, with chat, musings, information, commands to help you get started or to advance within the GNU/Linux environment.

Special thanks

Many thanks to all recent supporters and contributors to The Binary Times Audiocast.

Thanks to Squid/Alex at the Steam Open Source Community for his support and donation.