Episode 412 Show Notes

Welcome to mintCast

the Podcast by the Linux Mint Community for All Users of Linux

This is Episode 412!

This is Episode 412.5!

Recorded on Sunday, May 14, 2023

wi-ing the fi again, I’m Moss, didn’t get shot im Joe, Sweet Mamma, I’m Bill, buying pies for his girlfriend, I’m Majid

— Play Standard Intro —

  • First up, in the news, Mint News for April, Mozilla Thunderbird is adding paid features and services, Raspberry Pi OS updates, sudo and su get Rusty, Flatseal gets GTK4, new Framework laptop gets Ryzen 7040 series, Kingston firmware contains lyrics, YouTube tests blocking adblock, Star5’s Vision 2 RISC-V gets Ubuntu, and Microsoft wants Firefox to switch to Bing;
  • In security and privacy, India bans open-source messaging apps “for security reasons”;
  • Then in our Wanderings, Bill tells a story, Joe gets political, I conquered wifi, and Majid goes back in time.
  • In our Innards section we talk about Pimiga;
  • And finally, the feedback and a couple of suggestions

— Play News Transition Bumper —

The News

20 minutes

  • Mint News for April
    • from blog.linuxmint.com (londoner)
    • We mentioned some of the upcoming changes in theming for Mint 21.2 Victoria in episode 410, four weeks ago. In his latest blog post, Clem talks about more changes on the way.
      Tooltips & Notifications will use accent colors, to “be beautiful and noticeable”.
      An update in Ubuntu’s shim-signed (sic) broke the compatibility of all Linux Mint (and past Ubuntu and derivative) ISOs with secureboot. If because of this you are unable to install Linux Mint, it is recommended to disable Secure Boot. The team is currently working on a fix for future ISOs.
      An EDGE ISO release with kernel 5.19 is due this Summer (or Winter if you’re in the South Hemisphere).
      LMDE 6 is on the way, based on the upcoming Debian 12 (set for release in June) with up to a month separating the Mint 21.2 and the LMDE 6 releases.
      Work continues on hardening the security aspects of Warpinator.
  • Mozilla Thunderbird Is Adding Paid Features and Services Joe
    • from howtogeek.com (londoner)
    • Mozilla has been ramping up work on its Thunderbird email client over the past two years, with another major update planned for later this year. Mozilla has now confirmed that additional features and services are in the works that will cost money.
    • The Thunderbird team released its 2022 financial report May 9, outlining how the project’s income increased by 21% compared to 2020, almost entirely thanks to user donations. That has helped pay for an expanded team, cleaning up Thunderbird’s code and interface, and turning K-9 Mail into a new Thunderbird app for Android devices. Mozilla is still expecting most of the work to “pay off in our 2024 release,” with some improvements appearing in a Thunderbird 115 “Supernova” update coming this year.
    • There is one surprise in the financial report: confirmation that Mozilla is working on paid features for the mail client. The blog post explains, “Thunderbird is also expanding beyond the core experience you already use. We’ve been exploring additional sources of revenue in the form of new tools and services to increase your productivity. We’re planning to introduce some of these, in Beta status, later this year. Rest assured that we have no plans to charge money for the powerful Thunderbird experience you enjoy today (nor do we plan to remove features and charge for them later).”
    • It’s not a surprise that the Thunderbird team is working on paid features, since many of the changes going into the mail app have direct infrastructure costs (like Firefox Sync support) beyond the usual development costs. It could also help keep Thunderbird around for the long haul, as many people are willing to pay outright for features and services who might otherwise never donate to the project.
    • Mozilla hasn’t shared any details about the paid features, so we can only speculate for now. It might be interesting to see Thunderbird partner with a hosted email service like Fastmail on a packaged product, or perhaps a paid version in the Mac and Windows app stores, like LibreOffice. Mozilla already offers a VPN service that integrates with Firefox.
  • Raspberry Pi OS updates with new kernel, chromium – Majid
    • from 9to5Linux
    • The Raspberry Pi Foundation released today a new version of their official Raspberry Pi OS distribution for Raspberry Pi computers that brings updated components, bug fixes, and various performance improvements.
    • The biggest change in the Raspberry Pi OS 2023-05-03 release is the kernel bump from the long-term supported Linux 5.15 LTS to the long-term supported Linux 6.1 LTS. Of course, this should translate to better performance for your Raspberry Pi computer.
    • In fact, existing Raspberry Pi OS users like me were already running Linux kernel 6.1 LTS if they would execute the rpi-update command in a terminal emulator. But now, Linux 6.1 LTS is the default kernel on new Raspberry Pi OS images that you can download from the official website if plan on installing on your Raspberry Pi computer.
    • Various apps have been updated in the new Raspberry Pi OS release. The most important one is Chromium 113, which is Raspberry Pi OS’ default browser. Not only it includes all the latest security updates, but the Chromium 113 release brings WebGPU support by default, which may improve the performance of Web Apps and your overall browsing experience.
    • Also included are Raspberry Pi Imager 1.7.4, RealVNC Viewer, RealVNC Server, Mathematica 13.2.1, and Matlab 23.1.0. Another interesting update included in this release is the updated VLC hardware acceleration patch, which should offer you better performance when playing video files.
    • The libcamera and libcamera-apps components have been updated as well to improve IMX296 sensor tuning, improve the handling of audio resampling and encoding using the libav library, improve the performance of Qt preview window rendering, improved thumbnail rendering, add support for 16-bit Bayer in the DNG writer, add handling of generalized statistics, and address an overflow issue that would cause incorrect calculations in the AGC algorithm.
    • Also updated is the picamera2 library, which received an MJPEG server example that uses the hardware MJPEG encoder, an example showing a preview from two cameras in a single Qt app, the ability for the H.264 encoder to accept frame time interval for SPS headers, advertise the correct profile/level, and support constant quality parameter, as well as to add new Exif DateTime and DateTimeOriginal tags.
    • A handful of bugs were addressed as well, including an occasional segfault in the CPU temperature plugin, an X11 server crash that occurred when changing the screen orientation, as well as X11 server DPMS not working, and some new language translations have been added.
  • sudo and su are being rewritten in Rust for better security Joe
    • from Phoronix
    • With the financial backing of Amazon Web Services, sudo and su are being rewritten in the Rust programming language in order to increase the memory safety for the widely relied upon software.
    • A team from Ferrous Systems and Tweede Golf with financial support from AWS have begun rewriting su and sudo in Rust to further enhance Linux/open-source security.
    • Details on this effort can be found via memorysafety.org. The in-development Rust code can be found via sudo-rs on GitHub. The milestone page outlines their plans and goals for the effort.
  • Flatseal 2.0 released with GTK4, libadwaita Moss
    • from OMGLinux
    • When it comes to managing Flatpak app permissions there’s no better tool for the task than Flatseal — and this nifty utility just received a big update.
    • Flatseal 2.0 rolls out a refreshed UI making full use of GTK4 and Libadwaita. The app looks more in keeping with the modern GNOME desktop, and is deft at adapting to smaller screen sizes, with the app contracting into portrait-friendly proportions where required.
    • This release is also said to improve the app in other areas, such as typing to search for applications and offering autocomplete of XDG directories in related fields. The latter change will appreciated by developers regularly needing to fine-tune filesystem access.
    • In all, a welcome set of updates to an app that no self-confessed Flatpak fan should be without.
    • Want more details on Flatseal 2.0? Read developer Martín Abente’s blog post. You can find Flatseal on Flathub, or if you have it installed already (and it hasn’t updated yet) run flatpak update to upgrade to the latest release.
    • Note: Flatseal 2.0 uses the GNOME 44 runtime. If this isn’t installed it will be downloaded. Runtimes are large downloads but multiple apps can make use of them (so they only need to be downloaded once). Still, keep this in mind if installing on a capped connection.
    • A followup release is on the way that makes use of more libadwaita widgets and adds perhaps the most-requested feature: being able to detect when apps have been installed (or removed or updated) while the app is open — so look out for that.
  • Framework Laptop gets Ryzen 7040 Series -Majid
    • from Framework blog
    • When they announced the Framework Laptop 13 (AMD Ryzen™ 7040 Series) at the Framework Next Level Event in March, they were only able to share a very limited set of information on what is powering it. With the processors now officially unveiled by AMD, they’re able to share much more detail – using Ryzen 5 7640U and Ryzen 7 7840U processors, both of which offer incredible CPU and GPU performance. These are both pre-orderable today, with batches shipping as early as Q3 this year.
    • The Ryzen 5 7640U processor has 6 CPU cores clocked at a base frequency of 3.5GHz and up to a max boost of 4.9GHz, while the Ryzen 7 7840U has 8 cores and 16 processing threads clocked at a base of 3.3GHz and up to 5.1GHz max boost. These are all Zen 4 cores, which feature AMD’s fastest processor technology ever. These chips are fabricated on TSMC’s 4nm process node, meaning that even with such high performance, they are also extremely efficient. We’ve designed the thermal system to be able to handle the processors at up to 28W continuous load if you need to do some heavy crunching too.
    • Ryzen-powered Framework Laptop users are also in for a treat when it comes to graphics performance. The Ryzen 7040 Series processors feature the latest generation AMD Radeon 700M Series graphics, the first AMD RDNA 3-based integrated graphics. The Ryzen 5 7640U has Radeon 760M graphics with 8 Compute Units while the Ryzen 7 7840U has Radeon 780M graphics with 12 Compute Units. This means the Framework Laptop 13 (AMD Ryzen™ 7040 Series) can handle a range of modern game titles directly.
    • If you want to use an eGPU, you can do that too! This is because the Framework Laptop 13 with Ryzen™ 7040 Series processors has two fully capable USB4 ports, with the back left and back right Expansion Cards slots. The front left Expansion Card slot can handle both USB 3.2 and DisplayPort Alt Mode, while the front right Expansion Card can use USB 3.2. This does mean there is one Expansion Card slot that can’t support the HDMI or DisplayPort Expansion Cards, and most OS’s will provide a warning if you forget. You can charge your Framework Laptop through any of the four Expansion Cards as well.
    • You can upgrade your existing 11th Gen or 12th Gen Intel Core Framework Laptop using the new Mainboard, and you can use the Mainboard as a standalone computer, putting it in the Cooler Master Mainboard Case or 3D printing your own. If you’re upgrading your Framework Laptop to the new Mainboard, remember that you’ll need DDR5 SO-DIMMs up to DDR5-5600, along with a Ryzen-compatible RZ616 or similar WiFi card.
  • Coldplay Lyrics Hidden in Kingston SSD Firmware Moss
    • from BleepingComputer
    • What has firmware got to do with pop rock, you ask? That’s the question that crossed a security researcher’s mind as he analyzed Kingston’s firmware and stumbled upon the lyrics of a popular Coldplay song buried deep within it.
    • The researcher, surprised by this finding, reached out to BleepingComputer disclosing the details of the firmware version—and the Coldplay song.
    • Kingston is a household name, known for its flash memory products including hard drives, USB drives, and card readers.
    • Iowa-based security researcher Nicholas Starke reached out to BleepingComputer after he analyzed a few bytes of an SSD (solid-state drive) controller firmware distributed by Kingston that left him astonished.
    • Available on Kingston’s official support website at the time of writing, the ZIP file contains a little more than just firmware—a type of software that provides low-level control functionality for a device’s hardware.
    • While the contents of the ZIP file hardly raise an eyebrow and contain release notes along with a working firmware (*.bin) file, it’s what’s inside the ‘.bin’ that you can’t unsee.
    • “I found Coldplay lyrics in SSD controller firmware,” Starke told BleepingComputer after analyzing Kingston firmware versioned “SKC2000_S2681103.”
    • Firmware versions SKC2000* typically run on Kingston’s PCI Express solid-state drive products such as the KC2000.
    • Released in January 2020, the specific version S2681103 delivers improvements to Kingston’s data storage hardware performance and security.
    • BleepingComputer downloaded the firmware file from Kingston’s official website and confirmed that it contained strings comprising lyrics of Coldplay’s 2002 hit, The Scientist.
    • “I have absolutely no clue why it is in the firmware,” Starke, a seasoned reverse engineer who was picking apart the file for his research project, told BleepingComputer.
    • “I’ve seen many many firmware images in my time and this just seemed out of place,” said the researcher who admits to never seeing anything “quite like it” especially in deeply embedded component firmware; a hard disk controller, like this one.
    • Do these hidden lyrics serve any functional purpose, for example, as sample data for testing, or is it a mere prank by the company developers?
  • YouTube Is Testing Blocking AdBlockers – Majid
    • from 9to5Google
    • Ads make huge portions of the internet free to use while still letting creators be supported by those ads. However, there are ad blockers out there, and YouTube is now testing blocking users who have an ad blocker enabled.
    • A Redditor first spotted earlier this week that, on trying to use YouTube.com, a pop-up appeared saying that ad blockers are not allowed on YouTube. Videos were blocked from streaming unless the user then allowed YouTube ads or signed up for YouTube Premium, the subscription service that allows users to watch content on YouTube without ads.
    • It’s a surprising message to see, given that YouTube hasn’t addressed ad blockers for years and years now. The message adds that “ads allow YouTube to stay free for billions of users worldwide.”
    • A YouTube employee has since confirmed to the r/YouTube moderation team that, for now, this is just an “experiment.” For now, YouTube is only testing blocking ad blockers.
    • Really, it’s easy to see why YouTube might enact such a rule. Ad blockers strip away the income generated from videos which pays for the ever-increasing storage and bandwidth needs of that content. But, at the same time, the user frustration is also pretty clear. YouTube has been escalating its ad load tremendously in recent years, and YouTube Premium isn’t particularly affordable for occasional viewers at $10/month.
  • Star5’s Vision 2 RISC-V Gets Ubuntu (Bill)
    • from Ubuntu.com
    • May 10, 2023: Canonical published the optimised Ubuntu release for StarFive’s VisionFive 2, the world’s first high-performance RISC-V single board computer (SBC) with an integrated GPU.
    • Open standards and collaboration are strategic to both hardware and software across industries and geographies. In the last decade, open source and open standards have reshaped our world. RISC-V is the most prolific and open Instruction Set Architecture in history, which has led the hardware community to embrace open standards and collaboration at this level.
    • This open Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) is enabling a new era of processor innovation through open-standard collaboration with rapid industry-wide adoption. To become the industry standard ISA across computing, the RISC-V ISA enables software and hardware design freedom on architecture. The architecture can be applied to a broad range of processors, from low-end microcontrollers to high-end server-grade processors.
    • Founded in 2018, StarFive is a Chinese high-tech company with independent intellectual property rights, providing world-leading RISC-V-based products, including CPU IP, SoC, development boards, etc. StarFive is a leader in RISC-V technology and ecosystem development in China.
    • VisionFive 2 is the world’s first high-performance RISC-V single board computer (SBC) with an integrated GPU. Compared with its last generation, VisionFive 2 has been fully upgraded with significant improvements in the processor work frequency, multimedia processing capabilities and scalability. Its superior performance and reasonable price make VisionFive 2 the leading affordable RISC-V development board to date.
    • “VisionFive 2 is the first RISC-V single-board computer with an integrated GPU and an exciting step forward for the whole RISC-V ecosystem, ” said Frank Zhao, Software Vice President of StarFive. “We are excited to have Ubuntu, the most popular Linux operating system, successfully running on VisionFive 2, thanks to our collaboration with Canonical. The operating system and open source software is key to high performance RISC-V applications. We are dedicated to supporting RISC-V ecosystem development, and StarFive will make further contributions to the open-source world with Canonical.”
    • The availability of Ubuntu running on the StarFive’s VisionFive 2 comes as the result of the joint work between Canonical and StarFive engineering teams. StarFive and Canonical have a track record of collaboration, in August 2022 Ubuntu was enabled on the first-generation VisionFive board. Canonical’s team has ported Ubuntu to the StarFive VisionFive 2 SBC, backed by the StarFive engineering team, as part of a long-term collaboration between the two companies.
    • Ubuntu, backed by Canonical, provides a commercial-grade Linux distribution that is also free to use by innovators and developers. “It’s a true pleasure to collaborate with innovative and visionary companies such as StarFive, and we are thrilled to announce the availability of Ubuntu on the VisionFive 2 SBC. The VisionFive 2 SBC is a high-performance and low-cost development platform that the developers and professionals will use for a range of edge compute use cases,” said Gordan Markuš, Silicon Alliances Director at Canonical. ”This partnership will provide users with a seamless development experience, allowing them to leverage the best of open source software and RISC-V through Ubuntu and VisionFive 2.”
    • An Ubuntu image is now available for StarFive VisionFive 2 SBC, and additional follow-up work is expected to include new features and ports to the latest Ubuntu releases.
  • Microsoft wants Firefox to ditch Google, switch to Bing Moss
    • from OMGUbuntu
    • Here’s a (hopefully toy) cat to toss amongst the pigeons – Microsoft is rumored to be eyeing up a deal that would make Bing the default search engine in Mozilla Firefox.
    • The rumor, by way of The Information, claims senior Microsoft execs hope to seal a deal with Mozilla to make Bing the default search engine as soon as this year, as the browser’s existing big-bucks deal with Google is coming up for renewal.
    • Now, Firefox making a search engine switch isn’t new. Mozilla tested Microsoft’s Bing as Firefox’s default search engine back back in 2021; and those with longer memories may just remember a time when Yahoo! was the default search engine in select countries.
    • Despite Firefox’s modest marketshare these days (sob) the browser remains an important part of the web landscape. It is a free, open-source alternative to Google Chrome across platforms, and a technical and ideologically counterpoint to the encroaching Chromium-based monoculture.
    • Plus, Firefox remains one of the most widely used web browsers on Linux. That makes any search engine switch a veritable “hot button” issues among FOSS fans (who it’s fair to say, view Microsoft with suspicious eyes at best).
    • But with Bing boasting AI-powered features these days — something Google is hot on the tails of, as per this week’s I/O event — there’s arguably never been as much interest in Bing as there is now. Might that momentum help tips the scales in its favor with Mozilla?
    • It’ll certainly need to offer something other than just more money for a switch like this to stick — the Yahoo! deal was incredibly short-lived due, in part, to Firefox users ignoring the default and making Google the default anyway.
    • What do you think Mozilla should do?

— Play Security Transition Bumper —

Security and Privacy

10 minutes

  • India bans open source messaging apps for security reasons. FOSS community says good luck – Majid
    • India’s government has reportedly banned 14 messaging apps on national security grounds, including some open source services.
    • News of the move appeared in local media last week, citing government sources for news that apps including Element, Wickrme, Mediafire, Briar, BChat, Nandbox, Conion, IMO and Zangi were banned on the recommendation of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Ministry cited risk of terrorism in the region of Jammu and Kashmir – a majority Muslim territory administered by India but also claimed by Pakistan. India accuses Pakistan of backing independence activists in the region – and imposed years-long connectivity restrictions that meant only 2G services were available – on the grounds that it made it harder for separatists to organize.
    • This latest crackdown targets messaging apps India reportedly believes could be used by separatists to plan attacks without authorities being able to intercept their chatter. That’s the logic India nearly always uses – indeed, that just about any government uses – when shuttering networks or banning content and apps.
    • But the Free Software Community of India – a collective of FOSS users and developers – has taken issue with the banning of peer-to-peer open source messaging apps Briar and Element.
    • The Community cited reports that India banned the two services because they do not have in-country representatives who can be held legally accountable for activity conducted with the apps. It points out that’s a slightly ridiculous position given FOSS relies on decentralized collaboration.
    • “There seems to be a lack of understanding on part of the government on how these P2P software as well as federated apps work. These applications have been crucial for communication during disasters and are used regularly as communication medium in workplaces,” the Community argued in a blog post.
    • “The ban, we believe, will not serve the purpose as there are many anonymous alternate apps that can be used by terror outfits to fill their purpose.”
    • And of course the source code for FOSS projects is readily available – thus the name – making bans on an app the first move in a likely futile game of whack-a-mole, rather than an effective enforcement tool.
    • As timing would have it, the Briar project’s blog last week detailed the project’s efforts to build mesh networks out of Android devices during internet outages – so that messages can continue to flow even if the internet is down.
    • “When an Android device thinks that its internet connection doesn’t work, either due to a captive portal or due to certain Google domains being unreachable, apps on the device are still able to connect to IP addresses that remain reachable, and the device can still resolve DNS queries for other domains,” the blog stated on May 4. “Even though various parts of the UI indicate that the system considers the Wi-Fi connection to be offline, the system does not seem to block any traffic as a result of this assessment.”
    • “For our project, this is good news: it means that even when access to the global internet is blocked, it should still be possible to communicate with other devices on local networks or national subsets of the internet. While other mechanisms could still influence the ability to form mesh networks, the Android operating system itself doesn’t seem to get in our way.”
    • In other words: “You want to block Briar? Go ahead and try.”

— Play Wanderings Transition Bumper —

Bi-Weekly Wanderings

30 minutes (~5-8 mins each)

  • Bill
    • Story time, kids! So as I’ve said before – in terms of online scams, the two most vulnerable demographics are: People who don’t know any better; and people who think they know better. As it turns out, I fit firmly into the second of those two categories. So for some time now, my wife has been vocalizing her desire to get a “stay at home” job – meaning “online.” I’ve resisted the idea since the beginning because I rightly believed the possibility of getting scammed was greater than the possibility of successfully finding a legitimate opportunity. About three weeks ago, what I thought was an amazing opportunity fell into my lap. I was contacted by a woman on my Facebook friends list on Messenger offering me a paid posititon where she would provide me links to homes for rent, and I would post those to Facebook Marketplace. I told her that I didn’t have time do it, but my wife was looking for something like that. She (I say “she”) gave me some information to pass along to my wife, which I did. Amanda was very excited for the chance to make some money. The woman online said the work would pay 650 dollars a week. Amanda was immediately immersed in the work. So a week went by and it was time to get paid. When payday came the person online offered to pay using whatever method my wife preferred. I told her not to give out our bank account information. We opted instead to use the Facebook pay which can then be electronicaly deposited to our checking account. The person online agreed, and we thought all was well. Boy were we wrong. The message Amanda got at first was that the person online was having trouble with Facebook pay, and could Amanda please take a picture of her drivers license and send it to them so that they can get it worked out. This is when my spidey sense started going off. Amanda refused to send information like that so the person responded saying that they would try it again on their lunch break. Mind you I was being updated in real time about the situation. Around about 12 Noon Central Time I decided to play a little game I like to play where I pretend to be someone working in cybersecurity, offering my assistance getting the Facebook pay to work. The person responded by saying they were having trouble with it whereby I asked if there was another payment platform they would be more comfortable using. They said yes – they preferred either CashApp or Paypal. I said ok – we’ll use CashApp. Amanda set up the account, sent them the cash tag, and I wanted to believe all would be well. You are probably wondering at this point how I could be so stupid. If I have anything to say in my defense it is that sometimes we live in the world we wish existed instead of the one that really does. We were smart enough to not give any information to open us to a direct attack on our finances, but we hadn’t considered much beyond that. About 20 minutes after sending the Cashtag, Amanda got a message stating she would have to send a $30 realtor fee in Bitcoin in order to recieve payment for her work. It was at this point I was convinced we were being scammed. What was happening was Amanda was sharing the listings (which were fake by the way) on her market place. When people responded, she passed the communication on to the “person” online. That “person” would then do a bogus online application process whereby scamming information from those people as well as a security deposit. At some point someone got wise and reported Amanda for scamming – fraud as it were. Amanda’s account was suspended. From Facebook’s point of view it was assumed her account got hacked because there was no pattern of this kind of thing happening on her account before. She needed only to set a new password on her account and she was back to Facebooking. I can only imagine the damage that was done. I guess the old adage is true “if someting seems to be too good to be true, it almost certainly is.” Although my wife has suffered some depression as a result of the damage she feels responsible for, I take full responsibility for everything. I have in this moment fallen victom to my own arrogance and hubris. Folks – if you think it can’t happen to you, it absolutely can. I thought I knew better and I was wrong. I only hope the damage was minimal and nobody sent any real money, or personal information.
    • So to gracefully steer away from a story of woe and intrigue, I am slowly migrating the websites I manage from the Raspberry pi’s to Docker containers on the two big x86 machines behind me. This will offer slightly better performance and make the job of managing the servers a bit more streamlined, especailly from the road. So far I’ve moved LinuxOTC.org, my personal blog site and 3ftpodcast.org onto Docker containers, where I’m watching the performance for a couple weeks before I move mintcast.org over. I believe this will also reduce my power consumption if only by a little bit. People visiting the sites shouldn’t notice any difference other than perhaps a bit better performance. I will keep everyone updated with my progress and at that time if there’s any problems I welcome the input from the community.
  • Joe
    • Well I had some fun times and some terrible times over the last 2 weeks.
    • As some of you know I was helping out last week during the election for school board college board and was supporting a friend for his run for city council.
    • There was block walking and poll greeting going on. Bill was not able to be there on the last day of voting so I stood in for him and helped his wife at the city municipal building. I ended up with a terrible sunburn but Bill won by 58 votes out of 7500 ish voters.
    • While driving out there one of my windows broke. The cable snapped and it dropped all the way to the bottom. The fun thing was I did not have a vice grip so I had to build a clamp to hold it in position using some spring clamps and a couple of bolts and nuts to hold everything in the closed position I was able to get the window to lock into the up position. This is not an ideal fix but until I get some additional revenue I will just have to deal with it. It is not the first time it has happened on my car it is the 3rd. We paid to have it fixed once and it cost about 300 dollars. Next time I will buy the part and do it myself but for now I am going to just have to deal with having only 2 windows that work.
    • That all sounds very normal and boring. But while I was standing out shaking peoples hands and asking for their vote, 9 people were dying 2 miles away in a mass shooting. It is a little bit humbling to think about. I dont want to give that too much attention so I will move on.
    • I also had a good email conversation with Brad Alexander about headphones and differing opinions. This will be included in the show portion vibrations from the ether
    • But that did convince me to fix a couple of my sets of retractables and get them back into rotation. One of the pairs of 810s that I have been repairing for years finally disintigrated and can no longer be used. I can still use the parts but the plastic and some of the electronics is done for. The spools are still good though as is the battery
    • I was also able to get a couple of pairs of 820s working and one from the 1100s I think? I had to replace some of the mmcx connectors for internal shorts but I like how everything has turned out so far. Still a couple of other 810s to work on and I tried out a pair of 830s but then I lost them. They are still unmodded and in my bedroom somewhere. Not a fan of the controls.
    • On the 3d printing front I have not done much. Printed a can holder for Jackie and some more hair pins and thats it. Everyone has enjoyed the hairpins.
    • I have fielded several offers from jobs but nothing has worked out yet.
    • I still need to send Moss his audio interface and I need to plan a trip to Florida to visit my dad and Grandma. Only my youngest will be going with us and I think even the dogs are staying home or going with one of the girls. Hopefully I will be able to take some time and relax. Maybe hit a beach or something.
    • So yeah I got the soldering iron out even though I had to use one of my usb c batteries to power it since my pinepower took a crap.
    • I have been using my Dell Venue 11 pro quite a bit again. That and the onegx. One of them running Ubuntu and one of them running mint. The venue 11 is not a powerhouse but it still does very good at browsing and video watching as well as the typing that I use it for. And being able to switch between the 2 devices is helpful with the batteries. I think I need to get two new batteries for the keyboards that I have but those are like 50 bucks each.
  • Moss
    • I tried using blend OS again. The Plasma version installed but suffered from disappearing menus. Rudra told me the Gnome version was completely stable, so I installed that, but after installing it, I could not get any other repos (Ubuntu, F-Droid) to install, so I’m writing it off for now. It has gotten a lot better since v. 1 but it’s just barely not ready. I wish I hadn’t had the problem with menus on Plasma (Rudra says others who tried Plasma had the same issue, and he’s working on it), it looked pretty good. Majid just turned me on to the Discord and Telegram groups for blend OS; Rudra told me tonight that there are many times more users already on blendOS than on Ubuntu Unity.
    • More teaching. Seems like the closer it gets to the end of the year, the less teachers want to show up for work. Huge improvement (for me) over getting only 1 assignment through January and February.
    • We apologize for the lack of a streaming show this past Saturday. We had a good conversation, with myself, Majid, Respawn and Josh Thacker, but none of us knew how to set up the stream.
    • I’m starting to practice for my next concert, next month’s Festival of the Living Rooms. I don’t have an exact day or time yet but I should before the next show.
    • My modem/router’s wifi went away. Don’t know why. I called Xfinity, they said it wasn’t them. I called Netgear. They checked a few things and had me reset the modem. It didn’t work. Now I didn’t even have Ethernet. Netgear got Xfinity on a 3-way call and said it wasn’t their fault. Xfinity scheduled me for a tech appointment for this morning. Yesterday morning I figured it out – when I first got this modem back in January, the Netgear tech found that the automatic DNS setting was giving an unusable DNS, and he had me change it to Google’s DNS (later I changed it to another DNS server). But that setting got reset when the modem did, and the Netgear tech I got this time didn’t think of that. But I finally remembered. It’s working now, no thanks to the 2-year support plan I signed up for. In fact, I can’t find they ever even opened a support ticket on this – and on my Netgear account, my modem is still not listed as “registered”.
  • Majid
    • So looking at getting a new box purely for distro testing. Some reasonable deals out on eBay. I think the fact that Windows 11 doesnt support older then 8th gen Intel chips (something to do with tpm and secure boot) means that there are quite a lot of machines about.
    • Tried out Pimiga. More in the innards.
    • Son got a new phone so wanted to sell his old Pixel 4. was running lineageOS. I thought best way to try and sell it would be to flash the stock android 13 image from google. Seemed like a pretty painless procedure. Much easier on linux then on windows as needed to download loads of drivers. Linux didnt need any setup. But kept having ADB access issues. Not sure why, did some googling. First thought it was a browser issue as was using firefox. Known issue with the firefox snap on ubuntu, so tried the deb firefox. Then found out that the tool only works with chromium based ones. Tried with Brave and Vivaldi (my browsers of choice). Still not working. Wondered if it was just a Linux thing. Came up with the bright idea to use that Macbook I had bought (mentioned few weeks ago). Worked easily (with Vivaldi again). Is this what people mean when they say “Macs easier to develop on”? I dont know.
    • thinking of using BTRFS on my next install. thoughts welcome
    • Been getting back into my Islamic theology and jurispudence lessons with my teacher after a hiatus for Ramadan.
    • Feeling a bit overwhelmed with my management roles at work, so gonna cut down some clinical sessions. Will mean a pay hit. Lets see if I can afford it. Especially as the wife has decided home improvement is required.
    • Small matter of a King being crowned. Had a bank holiday as a result. I dont mind Charles. But seeing Camilla being crowned was grating. The other celebrations (concert, lunches, Big Help Out) seemed a bit manufactured. Seemes the real star of the show was Penny Mordaunt MP who held the Kings sword. Was the “Pippa Middleton Bum moment” of the coronation!
    • I too can be political! Following the state elections in India, and its good to see the Hindu Nationalists/Fascists lose in Bangalore!

— Play Innards Transition Bumper —

Linux Innards

30 minutes (~5-8 minutes each)


  • As I probably mentioned in my “how I got into Linux” piece a few weeks ago, I was a big Amiga fan. (Amiga means girlfriend in Spanish apparently) (actually, female friend)
  • Often check out retro channels on YouTube looking at how to run old Amiga games or get Amiga looks for my machines. In the past, used winUAE (on windows) and RetroPie to run Amiga games. Bought the Amiga Forever machine which was a single-board emulation box. Have also contributed to the Amiga Forever project by Cloanto.
  • Recently came across the PiMiga
  • Pimiga is a workbench replacement for the Commodore Amiga. Built for Raspberry Pi 400. It is based on ClassicWB with Scalos workbench replacement. User provided ROMs make it work.
  • The main advantage of PiMiga is you can get a ready setup disk image containing everything you need to get running playing games.
  • Recommended Hardware
    • Raspberry Pi 4 or Pi 400 with proper power supply
    • 2 GiB or greater
    • Mouse
    • SD Card – 64 GB minimum recommended
    • Display – 1080p recommended
  • Download Pimiga
  • In order to download the Pimiga image, you will have to use a BitTorrent client.
  • The image is compressed with 7 zip (7z) and requires the appropriate decompression utility.
  • Kickstart ROM is the Amiga BIOS
  • Pimiga is shipped as NON-WORKING. In order to run the Pimiga, you will require the Amiga 1200 kickstart ROM. Pimiga contains NO Amiga ROMs. There are a couple options to get the appropriate ROM.
    • AmigaForever Android App
  • Installation
    • The quick and easy way to get Pimiga on the SD Card for your Pi is using the Raspberry Pi Imager. After selecting Choose OS scroll to the bottom of the list and select, Use Custom. I used a 32GB I had
  • Once the writing is complete, do not remove it from the computer. Open your file manager and observe that there are three partitions on the SD Card: boot, rootfs, and KICK.
  • Kick Partition not Visible?
    • Should you not see the “KICK” partition, Eject disk and reinsert.
  • Locate the A1200 ROM image as mentioned in the aforementioned step. Locate the Kickstart v3.1 A1200 ROM and copy that .rom file to the KICK partition and rename it to kick31a1200.rom.
  • Unmount the SD Card and put in the Pi4/400. setup is complete
    • First Run
    • Once booted to Pimiga, say wow, then Press F12 and choose “QUIT”
    • The image auto logs in as as user pi with password pimiga. Note this if you need a sudo command in Linux.
  • Expand the file system
    • In terminal, run
      • sudo raspi-config
    • This will expand the image to use your entire space on your microSD card to give you more space avail if larger than 82g. (image size) Amiga OS will show the free space of the card.
  • Configure All Locale Settings
  • Wifi
    • setup wifi country and wifi ssid/username/password for your needs.
  • Display
    • Default is CEA MODE 16 1920×1080@60hz
    • The CEA MODE 31 1920×1080@50hz can be selected if you are in a PAL region and it wont support @60hz, however this “may” cause audio to skip sometimes. Should there be issues, reset to CEA MODE 16 .
    • 99% of all modern hdmi devices support 50 or 60 Hz regardless.
    • Amiga is set to PAL with UAE1920x1080x32 by default.
  • Sound
    • if you would like to use the 3.5mm or USB audio Pi4/400
    • edit the file asound.conf with sudo nano /etc/asound.conf
  • Volume can be turned up if too soft by typing
    • sudo alsamixer
  • Joystick / Controllers
    • Controllers need to be plugged in at boot. No hot swapping for you.
  • configure in emulator f12/input port 1 drop down.
  • select your controller, resume, or save config resume.
  • if not using a controller leave Amiberry setting to disabled for port 1
  • or keyboard may place a 2p when pressing “2” and other weird key issues.
  • Bluetooth device
    • The Pi4 and Pi400 have Bluetooth 5.0 built in. To pair a device, quit emu.
    • To turn on Bluetooth:
      • sudo bluetoothctl
    • it should say “agent registered” if on
    • this also puts you in a [bluetooth] mode (type exit to quit this)
    • now type help to see commands,
    • to pair a device. In terminal type:
      • scan
    • Then pair and the mac address of the device
    • example: [bluetooth] pair 11:22:33:44:55:66
    • web search “bluetooth pi” if you get noobstuck
  • USB
    • insert any USB drive into USB at power on.
    • device will be mounted via Linux to /media/usb
    • available in Scalos Workbench as DH5:
    • this is configured in the emulator as a folder mount in /media/usb
    • any format/filesystem that Linux can read will work.
    • Note: USB is NOT hot swappable!
    • If you remove/re-plug in, you must power off and back on. A warm reboot will not do this!
  • Tip: inside of the OS, open your usb icon then right click choose view/ all files to show them or just use directory opus on the dock bar
  • How was the experience? Well the pi400 is the perfect device for this. Did have some issues when it comes to game demos to work
  • Good fun
  • ?rose-tinted nostalgia

— Play Vibrations Transition Bumper —

Vibrations from the Ether

20 minutes (~5 minutes each)

  • Brad Alexander
  • Hey Joe,
  • So I heard some of the mintCast with the call for hosts. And while I don’t think I would be the proper demographic for being a host, since a) I am mostly FreeBSD these days, except for my wife’s desktop and laptop, which run Devuan, though I still admin Ubuntu (and FreeBSD) at work; b) I hate most new things that have been introduced into Linux lately, including (but not limited to) systemd, Docker, etc., so I would spend most of my time comparing BTRFS to ZFS and so forth. I’d end up annoying the listeners and coming off like the graybeard sysadmin…Pretty much since I am :D; c) I’d probably end up annoying at least you and Moss, since I am rather decidedly conservative. So what else do you need done on the backend? Anything said graybeard could do?
  • Second, could you suggest a decent set of Bluetooth earbuds that won’t break the bank and don’t suck? I have traditionally gone with the LG Tones. I have had the 730s, 750s, 810s, 830s, 910/912s, and 920s, I have a set of 910s, but they cracked at one of the seams, and I have a set of 810s now, but I prefer the ones that retract with the button. I also find that I like the neckband type because I always feel like I am about to lose one of the earbud style phones…The problem is that the quality on the Tones has seemed to go into the crapper over time. The 920s were not as good as the 910s, the 830/835s were not as good as the 810s and so forth. And the SL5/SL6/XL7s don’t even seem to be in the same league as the older ones. Got any thoughts? Or maybe a pair or two you’d like to part with? 🙂
  • Thanks man,
  • –b
  • Joe Boylan
  • On Fri, May 5, 2023 at 6:27 AM Joe Boylan <[email protected]> wrote:
  • Well, I am going to have to disagree with you. It is better to have differing opinions and viewpoints in both politics and OS’s. We like having the petty dabbler alongside the neckbeard that way we cover all the people that might be listening. As long as we can all maintain civility, having someone with an opposing political viewpoint is always appreciated. If an idea cannot weather scrutiny it is not much of an idea.
  • Dude, you have no idea…And it is mostly the younger generation that is guilty of that intolerance and lack of civility. There are subjects I can’t even bring up when talking to my daughter, because she will shut down.
  • As to the headsets I have to agree with you, it is getting harder to find quality neckband headphones and the best of them seems to be the 810’s. But all the neckband styles are getting harder to find as more people want the true wireless. I cannot even keep myself in old broken stock as that is getting more rare and expensive. I have not yet found a quality replacement. which is one of the reasons I have been trying to get better at 3d design and printing. So I can make my own that are not terrible. I am still working on that. I am also still on the hunt for decent sounding in ears that I can get at a low cost and convert to mmcx. If you have any old retractables lying around we can figure out how much it would cost to ship back and forth and see what I can get working.
  • I hear ya. I have three sets of Tozo earbuds, but I’m really not impressed with them because unlike the neckband, they always have to be in a pocket or something. And I am not sure if you can multi-pair them or if that wouldn’t be more of a pain in the ass than it’s worth. So I have one set of T9s paired with my Nokia N900, and one pair of NC2s paired with my iphone, and the other NC2s with my Pocketbook Era reader (that has decent text-to-speech). I keep one of the phone NC2s and one of the Era NC2s in each box, so that if I have my reader and need to take a call, I can put the other bud in my ear.
  • I was thinking about picking up a pair of HBS-830s, if I can find one for a decent price. The only thing I’m not sure about is having the forward/reverse on the same rocker switch as the volume…Do you have any experience with them? —
  • Brad Alexander
  • Oh, the other thing I was thinking was to get my HBS0910s working again was to put some gorilla glue into the area of the crack and trimming/sanding it down if needed. Thoughts? —
  • Joe Boylan
  • I just started wearing a pair of 830s with all the controls on the left hand side. It is unmodded and I don’t know what lot I got it in. It takes a little bit of getting used to as most of the others have the music controls on the right and with the 830s you have to single click for volume control and long press for forward/back. They lose some granularity when it comes to skipping between tracks and making small jumps in a file. They are decent and I would take more if I could find them.
  • Superglue on its own is a bit brittle and I normally would say give it a try and use it til it breaks but I recently had it suggested to me to use the bag from a teabag to add structural support. It almost completely disappears when saturated but it might prevent the glue from cracking and breaking in the first few uses. —
  • Brad Alexander
  • Ironically enough, when I was looking for my gorilla glue, I found another pair of HBS-910s that appear undamaged (though the cord on the right ear is about 1″ shorter than the left one, but whatever)…I’ve been experimenting with these, and since I am only planning on using it for my book reader, it should be fine.
  • The only downside is that these are bluetooth 5.0 (?), so they have much shorter legs than the bluetooth 5.2 or 5.3 (?) of the newer earbuds.
  • The other thing I don’t like about the 830 series is the fact that it has google assistant built in, likely with no way to disable it. I am not a fan of home automation or the googs/amazon/siri spying on me. I have as much of that turned off as I possibly can…
  • Brad Alexander
  • Okay. I figured out what is going on with that second set of HBS-910s. That is the one (and I think I sent you pictures last year) where the insulation on the right earbud’s cable was shredding. So I have a pair of 910s that the left earpiece is cracked where it meets the band that goes around the back of the neck, and the second pair that has a shredded cable insulation. How difficult is it to swap out one of those two earpieces? is it a plug and play type of thing? —
  • Joe Boylan
  • As long as you break off the cover that hides the last screw I don’t think that there is anything preventing you from using a left side on a right or vice versa. Two solder joins and the only thing you really need to be careful about is removing the spool as the things are delicate and the top can come off and then will never go back together correctly.

— Play Check This Transition Bumper —

Check This Out

10 minutes

  • Meet Snapshot, GNOME’s New Camera App – Majid
    • From omglinux.com (via londoner)
    • GNOME devs have released the first version of a new camera app which could replace the classic Cheese webcam utility.
    • GNOME Incubator app Snapshot debuted on Flathub this weekend (April 29), and the tool’s description explains that it is designed to “take pictures and videos on your computer, tablet, or phone.”
    • Quote from Joey Sneddon: “And having tried it out I can confirm —shock!— that’s exactly what it does.
    • Naturally, there’s a wider scope with Snapshot versus Cheese. The former is designed to cater to the needs of those who run GNOME on mobile devices (both now and in the future) as well as those on traditional desktops and laptops with webcams, like the latter.
    • Accordingly, there are mobile-minded features built-in to Snapshot such as the ability (where supported) to switch between front and rear facing cameras.
    • You can browse images/videos taken with the app, inside of the app. When viewing these there is a share button that allows you to open snaps in local compatible apps for editing, saving, or sharing.
    • Images are saved as Jpeg in ~/Photos/Camera, videos save as WebM files in ~/Videos/Camera.
    • Snapshot is not a 1:1 feature replacement for Cheese. The latter boasts a bevy of special effects, a handy burst mode, built-in “flash”, lets you set a photo and video resolution, and provides controls to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, of the webcam image.
    • Snapshot lacks those, and a few other important ones like being able to set a reflection mode (most of us are more familiar with seeing ourselves in reverse). We do get a set of countdown timers for photos, and a 10 second count-in before video’s start recording.
    • Will more features be added to Snapshot? Very likely, and certainly in the coming months as GNOME 45 development gathers steam. The hope is that this app will be featured-filled and mature enough to ship as a core app in the GNOME 45 release.
    • For now, Snapshot is ideal for taking pics, recording short clips with sound, and — most important use case of all — checking that your webcam works and you don’t look a total mess just before you join that super-important Zoom call!
    • For screenshots see the omglinux.com link above.

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