mintCast 326 – One Byte Opposition (mp3)


First up, in our Wanderings, Special Guest Alan Pope finds gold in the loft and plays 30+ year old games online, Leo wins at gifts, but fails at MicroK8s, Tony Hughes plays with Ubuntu Studio, more Matchbox cars, and donates some tech, Joe tries to repair a pebble, fixes more headphones and listens to lots of books, Tony Watts converts 8mm film to digital, plays with a dual monitor setup on his Thinkpad and reconfigures his recording setup.

Then, in our news – Dell shows a new developer XPS 13 laptop at CES, there is a new enterprise Chromebook from Samsung and EA boots Linux gamers out of multiplayer Battlefield and more.

In Security – It’s time to update Firefox… again. And Cablehaunt spooks your modem.

Bi-Weekly Wanderings

  • Alan P
    • Found a bunch of old audio cassettes in the loft. Bought a cassette player off ebay to sample them into a PC (thinkpad, of course) and then feed them into an emulator if they’re computer stuff.
    • Some of them were programs that I’d written with a friend over 30 years ago.
    • Also played some old 8-bit games with my friend Martin Wimpress on our new twitch channel “8bitversus”. We decided to start playing games online when a friend in the Ubuntu Podcast telegram channel suggested it might be fun to watch. I was a massive sinclair spectrum fan, and he was a commodore 64 fan. In these streams we take turns choosing games and get the other person to play games on the other persons platform. It’s fun!
  • Leo
    • Got handed a desktop sans case from a friend that wasn’t using it anymore and was moving out of state. I’ve been wanting to build a new server for quite a while to get more into Docker and other enterprisey-type things and I saw it as a sign to forge ahead!
    • i5-6600k, 16GB 2400MHz RAM, ASUS Fancy Pants motherboard, and a 700W PSU.
    • Planning on moving the services I have at home, like Nextcloud, from snap and VMs to MicroK8s, but am having some issues with getting the Dashboard to listen outside on a local LAN subnet.
    • Making slow but steady progress on the manual Raspberry Pi Zero W motion camera setup.
  • Tony H
    • Having issues with Ubuntu Studio that I had installed on my Dell 7440 i7 it was reporting errors every time I started it. So I swapped out the M2 SSD with a 2.5” SSD and did a clean install to this drive. More problems, the new iso would not boot, so I ended up finding and using the original iso off my portable HDD to make a new bootable USB install drive this worked and I have a clean install of Ubuntu Studio on the Test laptop for January’s test distro. One issue I have found so far is not an Ubuntu issue but a Firefox issue, I can no longer copy my Firefox folder over to the new machine and have all my bookmarks as they were previously installed. Yes I have a FireFox account but it does not seem to be doing what it is supposed to and syncing bookmarks which is a pain when you have several Hundred of these that you would like to access. Previously it was a doddle to copy my FireFox over to a new install and it was one of the reasons I still use it. And yes my desktop PC is linked to the laptop as far as sync is concerned, just not doing it.
    • Recording the latest Distrohoppers Digest episode with Moss, it went out on Friday.
    • Continuing to play with Matchbox models, pick up a couple of bargains over the holiday but now it’s time to start actually restoring a few. Started on a Ford GT superfast restoration and have a couple of others on the go as well. I’ve ordered some replacement parts from one of the model suppliers here in the UK to enable me to restore some of the models with parts missing, but where possible I try to use parts from other models bought for this purpose. Yesterday I went to a collectors Fair / swap meet and bought a few things and did a couple of swaps, thinking next time I may get a table to sell a few things that I have surplus, in the collection.    
    • Going back to PC stuff, I made a donation of some Pi stuff and a couple of Laptops to a friend of my friend Les Pounder. Drew works in Egypt and is hoping to teach local children Computing, but has absolutely no equipment, or didn’t have until Les sent him some Pi’s and an old Lenovo x61s with Raspbian x86 installed so the children will be using the same software on all the machines. One of the PC’s I am sending is an x61s and also a Dell E6220 with some random Pi stuff and a couple of Pi’s to the cause. It’s easy to forget that having access to fairly cheap older hardware via various sources such as ebay is beyond the financial ability of many in much of the world, and for some even in the rich countries. A shout out to Zeb from Destination Linux who did a 24Hr marathon YouTube stream of Euro Truck simulator over the holiday to raise funds for Free Geek, in the US you can find them HERE. There are similar projects in the UK one is the WEEECharity based in the North West so if you want to help people in your own community bridge the digital divide consider a donation of unused and unloved hardware or bung them a small donation to help out. 
    • Finally joined the BDLL Euro show, realised at the last minute that it was the second Saturday of the month, so after a quick check in with the crew dropped out of the pre show mumble chat and jumped into the BDLL Zoom after installing the Zoom client as I was on the Ubuntu Studio laptop, after a bit of a glitch at the beginning with the hardware it went OK for the rest of the 2 hours. 
  • Joe
    • Someone gave me an equallogic ps6500  Toyam gave it to me.
    • I have no idea what to do with it
    • Honkeymagoo sent me a pair of pebble watches to work on
      • They both needed battery replacements
      • I failed miserably
      • Ruined one of the ribbon cables that go around the side on one
      • Did get the new batteries connected but was not able to get them to turn on
      • Other then the ribbon break i am not sure what I did wrong
      • One of the boards did get hot at one point but I reflowed the connection for the battery and it settled down
      • Interesting highlights.  I did have to solder a cable onto one of the battery boards.  Just used some wire from some ethernet cable that i had sitting around.  The cable is a little stiff for this application but when i checked the voltages it came out fine.
    • Jim Butchers Codex Alera
      • Good series.
      • Had to replace my copy because the old one was corrupt.  
      • Not sure if it is my hard drive with bad sectors or one of the ones that I used for a backup
    • The book of 5 rings
      • Interesting but because of the type of book and the fact that i am going over it with audio i think i am going to have to go through it several more times before i get the most out of it
    • Shattered Bonds, book 13 in the Jane Yellowrock series
      • Good book, not the easiest to follow.
      • Jumps around a bit and references some obscure aspects of the long series before it
    • Alex Verus novels again
      • Really good series.
      • Better after a couple of read throughs and getting in all the details
    • Also was able to get a python class in this morning.  We should start meeting weekly again. I think the next class that we are going to take may be centos
    • Working on old headphones again
      • Replaced the cable on my daughter’s cheap little headphones
      • Not even sure what brand they are just grabbed an old aux cable and replaced the broken cable
      • I have found that full cable replacements are sturdier and more reliable than patching the cable or replacing the jack
    • Fixed one set of 770’s by shortening the cable on one side
    • Fixed one set of 510’s by shortening the cable on one side and replacing the other
      • I had a problem with the replaced side
      • I tried shortening the original cable first but the sound was dim so i just did a replacement.  
      • Sound was still dim on that side so what I ended up doing was putting some flux down on the board and running my iron over a bunch of the connections while the device was on and playing music(do not try that) this reseated whatever was loose and fixed the sound issues
    • Fixed 2 sets of 810’s and a set of insignia’s by opening the speaker up and shortening the cable from that side
      • 1 more 810 to do that on
      • This is a very difficult fix because of the small size and the fact that it doesnt like to go back together if you get too harsh taking it apart
        • One of the 810s have another problem that i am not going to be able to fix but the insignias work well
          • The 810s i was able to get the earpiece working but it is much dimmer than the other side.  Next time i am setup i may try to reflow some of it 
          • But I think the problem is the connections on the spindle are wearing out so i may take it all the way apart and try to clean that up
          • The insignias work well for audio books but have terrible call quality in and out
        • The other 810 is working good
    • Full cable replacement on some earforce recon 50x’s that i found at goodwill for 4 dollars
      • Will probably also do the same for my other pair of 60p’s
      • This model has a separate line going to each ear one with the cables for the mic
      • The only issue that i have found is when the mic is in the correct position the left and right channels are reversed
    • Did a full band replacement on the z2’s.  Glad the replacement model worked.
      • Was not an exact match on the hinges but was close enough to the same size that i was able to get it together
      • Had to switch back to the standard sized ear cups because this band is narrower than the original
      • Much more clamping force but still comfortable
      • Used the earcups on the razer kraken z2’s
    • Attempted to replace the full cable from the board to the earpiece on a pair of 780’s but was plagued with problems and had to set it aside before i got frustrated while wielding a soldering iron. But as i mentioned before that is a difficult fix.
    • Picked up a pair of Meze 99 neos for 20 dollars
      • These headphones are 200 new on Amazon
      • Work perfectly and sound great
      • I am using a portable amp to push the headphones when i want a good sound
    •  Also picked up a pair of razer krakens for 15 dollars.
      • Had some problems where the left speaker was acting as the mic instead of the mic but was also pushing through sound
      • This had the side effect where everything that played on the headphones was transmitted in complete clarity back through the mic connection.
      • Attempted a cable fix directly at the 3.5mm jack but this did not work and left me somewhat confused as to the actual pinout of the device. Essentially when i had it hooked up right it was doing the same thing as before.
      • Cut the cable again above the included remote as that is the next likely place for an issue to arise. Hooked up a second cable from there and still got the same issue
      • Did a full cable replacement and while testing i found out that the mic is completely shot.
      • Works as a pair of headphones until i find another solution but i think i may mod an old mic from another system. 
      • Basically bypassed the surface mount board that is built in and hooked everything up direct except for the offside speaker
      • Sound good and are comfortable
      • I have a couple mono connectors that i might be able to use, i will need to look more closely 
      • Did not realize that it took proprietary ear cups but the ones i bought for the z2’s to add extra padding worked fine with the extra built in edge material.
      • Even covers up the hole from where i removed the mic 
    • Gave serious consideration to recording the whole thing and while i could have done it from my phone i had 2 problems
      • My phone is my bluetooth testing device
      • If I were planning on posting anywhere i would have had to refrain from cursing. And I was not about to do that.
    • For those of you that are wondering I go through a lot of bt headphones and my kids go through a lot of cans.  Dont think they are going to be using the meze’s though
    • Ordered some new tips for my soldering iron as the ones from microcenter dont quite fit
      • These do fit and work very well.  
    • My server is down after the most recent round of updates.  Not sure what is wrong yet. Need to put the video card back into the server. Which is annoying.  
  • Tony W
    • Miracle Morning 
      • First heard about it from User Error
      • S.A.V.E.R.S. explained – “The Miracle Morning”
      • More about habit and discipline than time spent or results 
      • Will stick with some variation of this morning routine
    • Music keeping me very busy (4 “gigs” in the last 4 days)
    • Converting old 8mm video using VLC
    • Thinkpad dual display conundrum
    •  Recording setup revisions
      • New boom stand (cheap Neewer)
      • Presonus Audiobox
      • Still using budget Behringer XLR mic
    • Have really been enjoying convenience of true wireless earbuds
      • Using Anker Liberty Soundcore buds that were a Christmas gift
      • Plex on the go is great for breaks


Security Update:

  • Mozilla Patches Zero-Day Being Actively Exploited in 72
    • The Firefox team updated version 72 one day after initial release because of a Type Confusion flaw that is being exploited in the wild.
    • These flaws essentially do not look at some specific input and run whatever is given to it. This can cause issues when privileged data is requested.
    • Upgrade to Firefox 72.0.1 or Firefox ESR 68.4.1 to fix this issue.
  • Cable Haunt Vulnerability Affects Hundreds of Millions of Cable Modems
    • Users of cable modems with Broadcom chips are affected.
    • The spectrum analyzer on the Broadcom chip, typically used for debugging and testing purposes, can be leveraged to:
      • Change default DNS server
      • Conduct remote man-in-the-middle attacks
      • Hot-swap code or even the entire firmware
      • Upload, flash, and upgrade firmware silently
      • Disable ISP firmware upgrade
      • Change every config file and settings
      • Get and Set SNMP OID values
      • Change all associated MAC Addresses
      • Change serial numbers
      • Be exploited in botnet
    • ISPs or manufacturers can fix the issue with a firmware update. There’s not much you can do about it. However, the complexity of the attack is very high, so unless you’re under the microscope, you’ll likely not be affected.



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

  • Josh for all his work on the website and the livestream
  • Bytemark Hosting for hosting and our Mumble server
  • for hosting our audio files
  • The Linux Mint development team for the fine distro we love to talk about (Thanks, Clem!)

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