mintCast 313 – A New Leaf (mp3)

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  • First up, in our Wanderings, I do security training, Bo trains in France, Tony goes on vacation and hugs his VPN tightly, Moss tries out OpenMandriva with more success this time, Josh replaces his PC with the new Raspberry Pi 4, and Joe reads more and considers creating a podcast;
  • In our ALL NEW security section, we talk about DNS over HTTPS;
  • Then, in our news, Linux Mint is beta testing the 19.2 updates, Ubuntu considers ZFS, some Raspberry Pi successes and flaws, and more.

BI-WEEKLY WANDERINGS:

    • Leo
      • Security Training all last week
    • Bo
      • Going to France for training
    • Tony H
      • Well I’ve been away for 2 weeks vacation and got back last Sunday, Had a wonderful time traveling to Iceland, and Visiting the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
      • While I was away I found that I couldn’t access any of the content hosted on Archive.org It turns out my 4G mobile ISP blocks archive.org as Adult content so after finding this out I was able to resolve this issue by installing a free VPN called Proxy Master and now when I’m using my 4G data allowance I am able to access any podcasts hosted on and the archive.org website.
      • Since I got back I have installed Debian 10 (Buster) onto my Toshiba Z30 for testing out as my Distrohoppers OS for this month. So far I’m liking what I see and as this will eventually form the base of LMDE 4 this is looking positive for the future Mint release.
      • And finally I have received my Raspberry Pi4 and this section of the show notes were written on the Pi via Google Drive. I’ve not tested it comprehensively as at the time of the show I’ve only had it just over 3 days but I am so far i’m impressed, Yes it was definitely the right thing to get a heat sink, and if using for very CPU heavy processes you will need a heat sink with a fan, a fan shim from Pimoroni is a fairly cheap solution to the problem of cooling on the Pi4. But for a light use case such as a cheap homework PC or a kitchen PC for looking up recipes on the net, streaming music, or having a TV show on in the background while your cooking this is a fantastic device. Yes you will have to factor in the cost of the peripherals and micro SD card but even the 4Gb model could be set up for less than $100/£100 mark assuming you have a HDMI monitor/TV spare. One point to note is if you plan to use it on WiFi then you will need to be close to your WiFi router or a repeater, as the WiFi card struggles to find a weak signal.
    • Moss
      • I installed OpenMandriva Lx 4, with a very tiny level of success — when I set displays to use my external monitor, it freezes up. I have reported the bug to the OM4 team. I also reported a bug to the Calamares team, for one which displayed in both installs of OM4 and Feren OS.
      • I attempted to load OpenSUSE 15.1 Leap as a live disk, but it just wanted to install. I looked at the installer, and it tried to do some things I didn’t want it to, and offered some issues I didn’t even get, so I aborted. It might be easy to install on a computer by itself, but without evaluating it a lot more, I don’t recommend it.
      • Tony Hughes and I are going “experimental” in this month’s Distrohoppers’ Digest — instead of just encapsulating our ratings and presenting the review as such, we will be talking our way through each step, including successes and frustrations, we took during installation. My review is on the current Feren OS version, which just got an update on July 13.
      • Speaking of which, after a lot of issues (some related to the Calamares bug), I reinstalled Feren OS, with a lot of help from the developer. I’m still curious as to whether it is a distinct distro, as it takes Linux Mint Cinnamon and mostly just adds a lot of theming stuff, but if it weren’t distinct from Linux Mint, I would not have had so many problems getting this far. And I’ve been beating my head repeatedly against any available wall in using the theming in this distro — whereas a few years ago, it only took a simple pair of mouse clicks to change the theme. (Feren OS Next uses Plasma 5… have to check that out.)
      • I helped a co-worker who was trying to edit her resume — it looked good on her phone, but WordPad totally messed it up visually. I helped her install SoftMaker FreeOffice 2018, and everything was fine. I was amazed at how good Windows 10 has gotten at hiding essential things from users, such as how to reassign file types to programs.
      • I got a VGA cable to attach my wife’s new Hitachi 26” TV to her T430. The specs for the TV are amazing and the price was right, but the PC doesn’t recognize it beyond 1024×768, leaving me to wonder whether her PC needs a BIOS update. I’ve spent some time getting advice on how to fix it, but nothing has worked yet. We just bought adapters so we can use HDMI cables, *should* fix the issue, arriving Wednesday.
      • I have managed to sell (or rather, give away with a small exchange of money) some of my old computer equipment. I only attempted to boot one of them, and it did not turn on, but I sold that one with its killer video cards and two others, all seemingly non-working, and threw in a bunch of other stuff. So this kid plugs in the first two computers and they booted fine, including my old Dell which stopped booting almost 4 years ago. I would like to say I am not crying a lot about essentially giving away hundreds of dollars of equipment just because it didn’t work for me, but that would not be true. I am using the money to buy a Lenovo IdeaPad 110 with an AMD A6 chip for the price of a new Pinebook, and our listener Jackie Moore donated what I needed to get over the top without being asked. I still have two old computers left, the Linux box and the Hackintosh (in identical boxes), and now that I know the stuff works I’m not going to let them go so cheaply.
      • We received a couple support letters for my wife’s immigration case. Still have a lot of work to do. And my health insurance just canceled my ability to use the local health clinic and assigned me to one 24 miles away, despite the fact that there is a clinic in the same system walking distance from me. I think I’m changing insurance providers. And no matter how hard you try, you won’t get me to talk about cat litter.
    • Josh
      • I recorded my first impressions video of the pi-top [4] which is a cool portable pi solution now on kickstarter. Watch my video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz23Uifwp_8
      • Won 2 awards at J.P.Morgan – Arm Young Coder of the Year & Student of the year. I won a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga!
      • PI 4 CHALLENGE
        • I ordered a Pi 4 20 minutes after release, I’m impatient.
        • I had the mad idea of replacing my PC for a week with the Pi 4
          • SoC: Broadcom BCM2711B0 quad-core A72 (ARMv8-A) 64-bit @ 1.5GHz
          • GPU: Broadcom VideoCore VI
          • Networking: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 802.11b/g/n/ac wireless LAN
          • RAM: 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM
          • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
          • GPIO: 40-pin GPIO header, populated
          • Storage: microSD
          • Ports: 2 × micro-HDMI 2.0, 3.5 mm analogue audio-video jack, 2 × USB 2.0, 2 × USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, Camera Serial Interface (CSI), Display Serial Interface (DSI) USB C!!!!!
        • The software uses buster, it’s buggy
        • Some packages don’t work
        • It’s much faster than the 3B+ and other models
        • The ram is a welcome addition
        • USB 3 is really fast
        • Dual Displays are really nice
        • It’s super usable as an entry level PC
        • For me, i only managed 4 days as I needed windows
        • The specs are more comparable to a mobile than the claimed desktop
        • More work to do on software to catch up to the hardware
  • Cooling is needed!!!
      • Arctic USB fan cooled it by 20ish degrees
  • Joe
    • Re-reading the Dragon Knight series
      • Read it as a kid and really enjoyed it
      • The audiobook is very well done
      • Highly recommend
    • Also reading the Amber Cycle
      • Book series is ok
      • Do not recommend the audiobooks.  The quality is low and the books are convoluted enough to be hard to follow
      • I will see if I can find the hard copies and give it another run through to compare
      • [Moss – I’m a big Roger Zelazny fan, and Amber is by far his worst work (although easily his most commercially successful). He had 3 Hugos and a Nebula and no money…so he wrote Amber. And no, I don’t need to say any of this out loud.]
    • Thinking about starting a section for audio listening or spinning off another podcast for audiobooks/dramas/podcasts that I would recommend for others
    • Debating what new phones the wife and i should get
      • S10
      • Oneplus
      • Wait for the new Note
      • [Moss: Why not an X4?]
    • Enjoying the new Swamp Thing DC streaming is doing really well with the shows that they are making.
    • Got an Echo Input while they were on sale to test out with some bluetooth speaker
      • Have plans for a project that the wife asked for
      • Take an old clock and replace the face with the input and hang it over the top of the bed
      • Have the clock and need to figure out the rest

THE NEWS:

  • Linux Mint June Monthly News
    • Pinning Items in Nemo means your most used files or folders can be listed at the top of the window
    • Conditional menus allow users to script their own actions. Some of the examples used in the blog is “Set as Wallpaper” and “Convert DTS Audio to AC3.” There really aren’t any restrictions on what can be achieved here.
    • The Cinnamon Menu will now make it apparent what version of the generally named apps you’re running. Before, you might see two Text Editors. Now, you’ll see exactly which one you’re launching added. Also, if you have the Flatpak version of the app installed, the menu will now make it apparent whether you’re running the version from the repository or the Flatpak.
    • Scrollbar settings now allow users to hide it altogether right from the menu
    • Xapps
    • Mintbox 3’s will be beefy.
    • Snap – Clem seems to be a bit worried about snap cornering the market, but not the snap technology itself. He uses the example of Spotify in the blog and wonders aloud what would happen if Spotify drops .deb support. Fedora is already in this predicament since they don’t ship snapd either and there is no RPM option. They’re forced to use snap, or not use Spotify. Clem goes on to wonder what might happen if Canonical walls off snap and requires an Ubuntu One account. From this perspective, Flatpak is the most open option. Opinions?
      • This is something that has some urgency behind it because, like Fedora and Spotify, we’ll be affected too. Chromium installations from the repository might well change to a simple link pointing to snapd. So, if you want Chromium, but don’t want snapd, you’re out of luck on Linux Mint.
    • Dropping 32-bit support starting with Linux Mint 20. 32-bit holdouts can continue using Linux Mint 19 until 2023. (Leo opinion) This was inevitable and is ultimately a good thing!
    • New Slack Channel for the Media has been created. (Leo’s cynical opinion) Hopefully this will combat some of the clickbait articles, though if it generates money, the more unscrupulous writers will forge ahead without regard for the truth.

SECURITY UPDATE:

  • DNS over HTTPS
    • What is it?
      • A way to encrypt your DNS requests.
      • As it stands, any DNS request (read: ALL OF THEM) you send is sent in cleartext. No encryption, no obfuscation. Your ISP and anybody else that can listen to your communications, malicious or not, can see where you go and when.
    • Who should use it?
      • Firefox Users LOL
      • (Leo’s opinion) Everyone. I’m a privacy hawk.
    • How does it work?
      • Under preferences in Firefox, hit the — menu -> Preferences -> Enable DNS over HTTPS
      • When you make queries in Firefox (i.e. go to google.com or instagram.com) it bypasses any DNS server that you’ve set on the host machine and sends them to the server you specify, or if you don’t specify one, it uses Cloudflare’s solution.

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