Evil geniuses and world domination are 2 of our goals... we also like Dr Who

Easter tombola win..

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Yay, won an Easter egg from the office Easter charity tombola.  This year the charities are Promise Dreams and Lingen Davies Cancer Support.


Update from OIAHE

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Back in 2010 I did a brief OU course for introduction to Linux.  I wrote an article about it because I was unsure how I managed to lose 55% of the marks for a task as part of the Assessment.  I wrote a complaint to the OU, and then went through the OIAHE process.

The update so far is – the OIAHE have written with what they call a preliminary decision that my complaint is Not Justified.  Needless to say that I have written back to the OIAHE to highlight the flaws in the assertions they made when reaching their preliminary decision.

Now the way I look at things relating to this episode is that I paid to learn elements of Linux from the Open University, and that I certainly learned a lot from it.  But I believe that the answer I put in task 5 did not match the marking guide for the course, and the question was therefore marked as incorrect.

I even have it from the OU that the answer I gave was correct.  In a letter dated 12 July 2011 the Director, Students said :

“…whilst she(Dean and Director of Studies) had no doubt that the task was correct, the module’s aim was to teach process as well as outcome, and it had been felt that your response to the former could have been more comprehensive.”

So if a question has been accepted as correct, but marked as incorrect, doesn’t that look like someone not keeping their marking guide up to date?  It looks that way to me.


My advice if you are studying T155 Introduction to Linux.

  • Don’t think.
  • Don’t try anything new.
  • Consume the information provided for you in the course, and only the information provided for you by the course.  After all, they are a University, and they never make mistakes.
  • Regurgitate only the information supplied to you by the University
  • Don’t rock the boat, be compliant.
  • Accept the judgment of establishment
  • Believe me, experimentation and research is not worth the risk.

If you’re thinking about studying T155 Introduction to Linux, my advice would be : Save your cash.  £200 is a lot to pay for a course.


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So, it was Mr Johnson the creepy janitor all along…

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This appeared in my twitter feed this afternoon..

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RT @biglesp RT @StephenMullen: Why one wife now chooses to shop alone https://t.co/PIoDSoL6

Compiling for KDE

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It was our Great Aunt’s funeral earlier this month.  I won’t lie – it wasn’t an easy time, but I console myself that she had reached the grand old age of 93, and had led a good life.  As evidenced by the turn out.

I bumped into distant relatives that I hadn’t seen before, and some that I hadn’t seen since Christmas.  After the service we went to what I suppose could be called a wake.  It was held at a hotel – the family had hired out a room, and me and Dave  were talking to our cousin.  Now – I won’t name names here, as I don’t have her permission, but we started talking about what she was up to.

She is an avid cross stitcher, and was showing us some photos on her phone of some of her pieces.  Now – a phone screen can’t do justice to the effort and quality that goes into these cross stitches, but it got me thinking :

“Surely there’s some software that can do this”

and by jingo there is.


KXstitch is a software package that creates cross stitch patterns from images.  This post details how to install KXStitch from source, on a vanilla Ubuntu installation… “But Mike…” I can hear you all asking   “Surely it’s available in the repository”  – well no.  The author of this application is currently working ona new KDE4 version. “Ahhh – but isn’t it a snap to compile this code anyway”?

well – no.  See Ubuntu now ships with the Unity desktop environment, meaning that you need to install a ton of supporting KDE libraries to enable the compilation of applications dependant upon KDE architecture.  Prepare yourselves – this is going to require some downloads so not the sort of this to try over a slow or 3G connection – but here goes.


    1. Get the Source
      cd ~
      sudo apt-get install git
      git clone git://kxstitch.git.sourceforge.net/gitroot/kxstitch/kxstitch
    2. Get the pre-requisites
      sudo apt-get install kdelibs5-dev
      sudo apt-get install cmake
      sudo apt-get install libmagick++-dev
    3. Build it
      cd ~/kxstitch
      sudo ./build.sh
    4. Run it
    5. Profit

Some screen shots of the application in action

Cross Stitch of Frankenstein

Cross Stitch of Frankenstein

BluePrint for Content Packaging

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Spurred on by the recent rebranding of the Google Play Store, I have created a BluePrint on Ubuntu – to support this I have also created a Wiki page on the Ubuntu Wiki site.  Interested in Content Packaging?  Pop over the the BluePrint and contribute!

Play time

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Today Google launched their re-branded Android Market place to Google play.  This is interesting for me as I have an android phone and had wondered what this new play malarky was all about.  According to the register this new store puts applications 4th on the list, below music, books and movies.

Back when I did the oggcamp content packaging presentation I tried to highlight the advantages that packaging your content would provide to both consumers and producers, and it looks like Google have started to embrace it.  What is equally interesting is the dropping of android from the store name.  Could we see a generic Google store selling content soon? After all applications are only java applications, and it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that the virtual machine could be made to work on Linux…

Given Ubuntu on android, Ubuntu TV, I think we seriously need to look again at packaging content in addition to applications if Ubuntu wants to compete with Google here.


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We popped into Dominos pizza last night. Here’s what I posted on the Dominos Facebook page….

Read more..

The demise of megaupload.

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Back at oggcamp, I gave a brief presentation about what I saw as the dangers of storing content with cloud providers.  My arguments were based on the fact that your provider may go put of business, putting your content at risk.

And now we have the Megaupload case. If you used cyberlocker services such as Megaupload, how safe should you be feeling right now?

The absolutely safest way to host your content somewhere that you control right? I would suggest that if you wanted to be more sure of safely storing your content somewhere, that you consider the possibility if storing it in more than one place. What I would like to investigate is some publishing mechanism that automatically pushes updates to sites.

Imagine you have written a cool book – you host your content in launchpad and an ubuntu package is built whenever you update. But perhaps you also want to make if available on an ftp site. What if launchpad could push your content to an ftp address once complete? I plan to investigate this possibility.


When Launchpad successfully builds a binary deb file is created.  What I want to do is to write something that will allow the server to pull a specific file from a DEB file.


I have a PPA which I have used to store the content of the Linux Reality podcast – you can find it here.


So – let’s take episode 100 as an example:

You can find the Deb file here.


What I am working on is a plugin which allows the user to add a link to a page or post like so :

[debsplorer https://launchpad.net/~computa-mike/+archive/lrtest/+files/linuxreality100_0.1-1_all.deb /usr/share/file.ogg]