mintCast 351 – Greasy Joysticks

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0:16 HPR Spot
1:26 Show Start
2:44 Linux Innards
50:34 Vibrations from the Ether
1:04:09 Check This Out
1:07:14 Outro

First up, in our Wanderings, I nuke an SSD on accident, Joe gets buff…er, Tony fills a doggy bag, Moss is grateful, and Erik Linuxes all the things!

Then in the news, Mint’s 20.1 Beta is available, Kentucky Fried Chicken reduces, reuses and recycles, XFCE sees an upgrade, and Gnome not far behind.

In security, Solarwinds…

BI-WEEKLY WANDERINGS:

  • Leo
    • As promised, rebuilt my NAS during the holiday downtime
    • Traded the Pi 4 for the NAS for Nextcloud.
    • Nextcloud storage lives in BTRFS now!
    • Neal Gompa, of Fedora and openSUSE fame, advises a move to the HWE kernel for better btrfs support.
    • My ESXi server bit the dust… sort of.
      • I was convinced an SSD had died, but it was the OS flash drive
      • Nuked the SSD for testing and realized it was fine…
  • Joe
    • Enjoying time off with the kids. Still haven’t killed any of them yet so things must be going ok.
    • My doctor told me my cholesterol was high again so I need to come off the diet that I am on and try something else.  Going to try out calorie restriction and see if coach Greg knows what he is talking about.  High volume, low calorie dense foods, while maintaining a low caloric intake.  He has a new cookbook but I am not paying those prices for it.
    • At this point the PSP’s have paid for themselves including all the replacement parts.  Thanks listener Dustin I hope it is treating you well.
    • I was able to pick up a broken Samsung Gear S3 at a decent price and tried to get it to work.  I was able to get the battery to charge but I was not able to get it to turn on.  I was able to find a temporary replacement motherboard for it on eBay for 15 dollars without the pedometer or the heart rate monitor which will allow me to test the functionality of the screen and make sure that the problem is the motherboard and not the screen.  Either way I used the profit from the PSP’s to get and I have had fun trying out different things to get it working.  I will be keeping my eyes open on ebay for others that look promising.  I have plenty of replacement parts at this point if I can find one that has just a dead battery or a broken back screen.  But I want to get the test board first so that I can make sure I know what the issues are. I should mention that the item was water damaged and I went through the normal process to try and fix that (IPA and a toothbrush).
    • Lots of exercise while on vacation.  Have done a lot of bike riding and weight lifting.
    • Someone got me an Arcade 1Up machine.  The Space Invaders version.  Which is really cool.  It is an expensive gift to have come from someone not family.  Probably one of the cooler gifts that I have ever gotten.  Definitely going to be modding it after a whole lot of research. 
      • I have already built several USB encoders in the past so that will not be much of an issue.  I will probably use a 3B+ or the batocera ThinkPad so that I can easily hook up a keyboard for quick fixes and setup.  May drill a hole in the side for external USB ports.
      • I will order the display adapter and I have not decided how the control setup will be yet because I do want to be able to play the most amount of games on it that I can including fighting games.  Might be hard for games that require shoulder buttons but not impossible. 
      • I will also have a temporary setup that allows the use of a controller and that could also cover for any games that I cannot get the arcade setup for.
      • I am going to see if I can get some boards and some drill bits and make multiple arcade setups.  Well I would like to, it depends on the cost and the time involved.  But the atmegas for the USB encoders are not hard to make and not expensive, the various arcade buttons can be if I go for good ones.
      • But first I am going to put it together stock and play with it like that
  • Tony Hughes
    • Enjoying Christmas as much as possible with the restrictions here in the UK we had one guest for Lunch on Christmas day which I cooked. After he went home we went for a Christmas day walk and popped in on a relative of my wife who lives 10 minutes walk away. We were in time to say Hi to some of her cousins and her aunt on a Zoom call, we only stayed 5 minutes or so but it was nice to connect with family on the holiday.
    • For the last week it was mainly planning and preparing for Christmas Day baking traditional mince pies, shopping for and preparing everything for the Christmas meal. I like to prepare all the vegetables ready for cooking the day before saves work on the day and I can relax a little. I also cooked the chicken the night before to give me oven space on the day. Only 2 meat eaters so not a massive bird but plenty for leftovers and our friend to take a doggy bag home for his leftover meal.
  • Moss
    • I received some Yule money from Firecat which allowed me to get the computer desk, UPS and monitor I needed to finish setting up my studio space. I need to get a drill bit so I can mount my mic boom and then I’ll be done. 
    • I got a new sponsor on Sponsus! My second…
    • I’ve been hunting for that next great distro to review. I installed Ultimate Edition, which looked really great — like a major media company wanted to make Ubuntu look flashy — but it didn’t write GRUB anywhere it can find. I tried Mageia 8 Beta2, but couldn’t find how to use or install dnfdragora, which is listed as the second choice in package management (it would be my first choice). I tried to install Slax and SolydK, but they refused to install on a UEFI system. So I installed Lubuntu 20.10. I don’t think we’ve reviewed anything with an LX-type desktop yet. I’ve had no issues, and LXQt looks like it has come of age at last.
    • Just prior to yesterday’s team meeting, I decided to reinstall Mint 20 on my desktop and restore it from my latest Timeshift backup. Nope. I then spent several hours trying different things, and the ultimate solution was to nuke the SSD and start over. I installed Linux Mint 20 MATE on it, and was going to leave it there but I just couldn’t, so I split the SSD in half (partitioned, people, I’m not a lunatic), and split the second half ⅔-⅓. I put OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 on the larger partition and Bodhi 5.1 on the smaller. I have those two mostly set up, and as of right now I’m 100% (I think) on the Mint partition being back up to snuff.
    • I’ve had a few promises of articles for It’s Moss dot com, but nothing has yet been submitted. mintCast listeners, this is for you, please submit stuff. I’ve kept up with a couple of blog posts of my own, usually echoed to my blog at LinuxQuestions.org. 
    • Mom is still in the rehab home, and has to pay for her room now as she ran out of days covered by Medicare. But there are other family issues: My uncle and aunt moved from their home in Yakima WA to a senior center in Utah, but my aunt was seriously injured on the trip, had to spend some hospital and rehab time before moving on to Utah, but died shortly after arriving. During this, my uncle went to the hospital with Covid, but he’s back at the center and doing ok (he was back home with his wife before she passed).
    • We have been running out of shows to watch, so we went scanning for old ones we missed. I don’t know how we missed Haven, but it’s on the list now, and we also found Locke & Key (sort of the same thing as Stranger Things but based on a comic) and, to keep things light, Mr. Iglesias, a Welcome-Back-Kotter remake using comedian Gabriel Iglesias and a mostly minority cast taking place in his native Long Beach (which is also where my grandmother lived, so I know some of the places).
    • Dresden-wise, we have started Book 9, White Night.
  • Erik Lietz
    • Office on Mint 20 – since the last episode I was part of, we have completed our transition to Mint 20 on all of our production machines. Transition went well and other than our Windows VM – very stable. 
    • Microsoft Office in a Windows VM – I forgot how long it takes to install Microsoft software. 
    • Switching away from AutoCAD – looking at BricsCAD, which is a Linux native CAD program that may replace AutoCAD for 2D drawing work and most of our 3D design work. 
    • Nextcloud on Intel NUC. For the office, we bought a pre-configured Nextcloud setups on an Intel NUC. I love the NUC form factor. This system has a customized version of Arch Linux tuned to run Nextcloud. Now I just need to wrap my head around using Nextcloud. 
    • Intel NUC as automated off-site backup. Seeing the form factor of the Intel NUC (and really liking them) we got 2 of the NUC’s to set up as off-site daily backup machines. I haven’t gotten into these yet but the idea is to use a minimal installation of Ubuntu Server or Debian using Rsync as the transfer system. 
    • https://www.howtogeek.com/116032/how-to-encrypt-your-home-folder-after-installing-ubuntu/ 
    • https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-use-7zip-to-encrypt-files/ 
    • Raspberry Pis for kids workstations. My wife and I are setting up individual computer stations for the kids using Raspberry Pi 4Bs with 4 GB. I’m hoping they will be desktop replacements. Not sure yet if I will use the Raspberry OS or Ubuntu MATE. 
    • PinePhone! I got my PinePhone last week. It’s the Manjaro edition phone with their FOSH operating system. The build quality on the phone is very good, especially for the price. The Manjaro operating system is a little buggy. I haven’t gotten a phone call to go through yet. Some apps like Telegram work just fine. It does have a fully functioning terminal. After some checking online, I think I am going to get an SD card for it and then try a couple of different operating systems. From what I can tell either Sailfish OS or Ubuntu Touch are the two OS’s that are the most polished right now. (Moss: /e/ and Lineage OS are better than Ubuntu Touch, about the same level of polish as Sailfish, and Sailfish doesn’t sell to the US.)

THE NEWS: 

SECURITY UPDATE:

  • The SolarWinds Hack
    • As far as we know malicious updates were released in new versions of Orion, SolarWinds’ network outage monitoring utility, back in March.
    • FireEye discovered this month because they were on the list of hacked companies, which is how they caught on initially.
    • A big downside is that FireEye makes red team tools. Essentially reconnaissance and hacking tools for penetration testers. Now that code is in the hands of malicious actors.
    • Turns out, over 18,000 of 33,000 customers were using Orion in their networks including, seemingly, every department in the US government that has IT staff, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, and hospitals, just to name a few. More infections noted in every continent but Oceania and Antarctica.
    • We don’t know much about other companies, even the named ones, since this is a damaging issue.
    • Solarwinds has been noted as using a password “solarwinds123” and asking customers to disable antivirus on machines using Orion.
    • …Screaming scientists at the beginning of a catastrophe film.
    • SUSE not affected by SolarWinds Orion vulnerability

Conspiracy Time: The CEO of Solarwinds, Kevin Thompson, signaled he would be moving to another position at the end of the year. It happened, and a successor appointed, a day before the FireEye announcement.

Announcements:

Wrap-up:

Before we leave, we want to make sure to acknowledge some of the people who make mintCast possible …

  • Owen Peery for our audio editing, Josh Lowe for all his work on the website, Hobstar for our logo, and Londoner for our time sync
  • Bytemark Hosting for hosting mintcast.org and our Mumble server
  • Archive.org for hosting our audio files
  • HPR for our backup Mumble room
  • The Linux Mint development team for the fine distro we love to talk about <Thanks, Clem!>

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