So today, in amongst other bits and pieces, I set about trying to figure out why my old Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop - now connected to the TV in my livingroom - was constantly failing to play DVDs. In one case the title would load up, but none of the chapters would play.

Googling the errors that came up (oh thanks VLC for the constant references to 'fake' error messages), I finally found a useful hit on the Ubuntu Forums.

The bottom line was indeed that I needed libdvdcss2 - this is after I installed 'ubuntu-restricted-extras' to ensure I had all the codecs I needed. Of course, throwing that into apt-get install gives you this:

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Package libdvdcss2 is not available, but is referred to by another package.
This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
is only available from another source
E: Package libdvdcss2 has no installation candidate

The above link describes how to install it (on my Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installation.. which is definately not Medibuntu):

$ sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

And just like that, it worked.

Not sure why Xubuntu didn't take a leaf from Ubuntu and make Vino a better integrated tool.. however you can install it, and you can configure it, and use it.
I used instructions from Ehow but the gist is:

# apt-get install vino

followed by

# vino-preferences

followed by creating a new auto-startup entry for

# /usr/lib/vino/vino-server

http://www.nzta.govt.nz/resources/rules/glazing-windscreen-wipe-and-wash-and-mirrors-1999.html#31

Something that came up recently.. again...

The Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 states in part:

emergency vehicle means a vehicle used for attendance at emergencies and operated—

(a) by an enforcement officer:

(b) by an ambulance service:

(c) as a fire service vehicle:

(d) as a civil defence emergency vehicle:

(e) as a defence force emergency vehicle

enforcement officer means—

(a) a constable:

(b) a Police employee who is not a constable who is authorised for the purpose by the Commissioner of Police:

(c) a person who is appointed to that office by warrant under section 208 of the Act or who holds that office by virtue of the Act

Fire Authority has the same meaning as in section 2(1) of the Forest and Rural Fires Act 1977

fire service vehicle means a vehicle that is—

(a) owned by the New Zealand Fire Service Commission or a Fire Authority; or

(b) operated by the New Zealand Fire Service, a defence fire brigade, or any brigade responding under a co-ordination agreement and approved by the National Commander of the New Zealand Fire Service; or

(c) operated and approved by a Fire Authority

And also states

Use of beacons

(1) A person must not operate a beacon fitted to a vehicle unless the beacon has been approved for fitting to the vehicle, and is—

(a) a blue beacon or a red beacon fitted to a vehicle operated by an enforcement officer in the course of that officer's duty; or

(ab) a blue beacon fitted to a vehicle operated by—

(i) a customs officer (as defined in section 2(1) of the Customs and Excise Act 1996) to exercise a power to stop conferred on the officer under section 144 of that Act; or

So knowing that my Ubuntu 10.10 was about to go out of support, I took the plunge and made two calls:

1) Ubuntu's move to Unity was not to my liking, and

2) I'd like to move to the new LTS; 12.04.

So I went to Xubuntu; the Xfce based Ubuntu variant.

Unfortunately, as it's only March 2012, 12.04 is only just into Beta stage. So my installation is Xubuntu 12.04b1 64bit.

First impressions? I like it. However there's been a few odds and sods i've had to deal to manually, and eventually i'll tie them into this blog article.

Browsers
I operate with Firefox as my main browser, and Chrome/Chromium as my second browser, used for mainly work-related things or where i'm testing for browser incompatibilities. Unfortunately Chromium doesn't seem to play well with other browsers, and where Firefox is otherwise configured as the default, this isn't necessarily true...

Anycase this was my fix to make Firefox take all the stuff that Chromium was stealing, in this case links presented via Pidgin IM:

root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# rm gnome-www-browser 
root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# rm x-www-browser 
root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# ln -s /usr/bin/firefox gnome-www-browser
root@hawkeye:/etc/alternatives# ln -s /usr/bin/firefox x-www-browser

More coming soon as I work through the kinks. On the whole i'm pretty damn happy with it so far, including the fact that it's able to run Gnome apps.

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2008/0072/latest/DLM1102252.html?search=ts_act_fire+service_resel&p=1#DLM1102252

Policing Act, Part 3, Para 49

Use of term Police or New Zealand Police in operating name

(1) A person commits an offence who, without reasonable excuse, carries on an activity under an operating name that includes the word "“Police”" or the words "“New Zealand Police”", in a manner likely to lead a person to believe that the activity is endorsed or authorised by the Police or any part of the Police.

(2) A person who commits an offence against this section is liable,—

(a) in the case of an individual, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding $5,000:

(b) in the case of a body corporate, to a fine not exceeding $20,000.

Something I was inspired to look up post a discussion on Facebook...

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2004/0427/latest/DLM303083.html

Land Transport (Road User) Rule 2004 (SR 2004/427) (as at 01 October 2011)

.1 Drivers must not exceed speed limits

(1) A driver must not drive a vehicle at a speed exceeding the applicable speed limit (being a permanent, variable, holiday, urban, rural, temporary, or other speed limit).

(2) The fact that a vehicle is driven at a speed that does not exceed the applicable speed limit does not excuse an alleged breach of a provision of any other Part of this rule.

(3) A driver who drives at a speed exceeding the applicable speed limit is not in breach of subclause (1) if the driver proves that, at the time the vehicle was being driven,—

(a) the vehicle was being used by an enforcement officer engaged on urgent duty and compliance with the speed limit would be likely to prevent the execution of the officer's duty; or

(b) the vehicle was an emergency vehicle being used in an emergency and was operating a red beacon or a siren, or both; or

(c) the vehicle was being used (on a road subject to a speed limit of 60 km per hour or more) to convey a member of the Executive Council engaged on urgent public business, or to convey any other person authorised for the purpose by the Minister and engaged on urgent public business in the execution of the person's functions.

Running two browsers for a variety of reasons (Firefox, primary, Chrome or Chromium, secondary) on all my platforms meant I kept the habit up when I started using Linux more frequently.
My main machine (both work and home) is now Ubuntu 10.10 (likely to be upgraded further soon when 10.10 goes out of support) and though i'm also fiddling with Linux Mint, i'm not using it fulltime yet... (but I digress).

Recently I've noticed somewhat annoying behavior where having received an email with embedded links into Thunderbird, clicking on supplied links would variously use either Firefox or Chromium without apparent pattern.

Eventually I worked out that http:// links were opening in Firefox and https:// links were opening in Chromium.

In frustration (as everywhere I could see, 'default browser' was set as Firefox) I posted to NZLUG and a very helpful post this afternoon revealed the winner:

Use gconf-editor and check the following:
  /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/http/
  /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/https/

Whaddiyaknow... default http handler was indeed 'firefox %s' and default https handler was 'sensible-browser %s'.

Running sensible-browser called Chromium. (what a conceited name to use!)

Changing it to Firefox appears to have put things back where I'd expect them to be; Firefox is my default, and Chromium has particular uses.

The relative obscurity of some of these fixes is occasionally somewhat frustrating, so i'm publishing this in the hope it'll benefit others. I've also put it up on Ubuntuforums.org attached to another post with similar symptoms, albeit a different fix.

The New Zealand Network Operators Group Conference 2012 was held in Christchurch this year, and I was fortunate enough to attend.
The usual conference form is Workshops / Multi-Day tutorials Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, half or full-day tutorials on the Wednesday, and the conference proper on the Thursday and Friday made up of a series of technical presentations (from 5 minutes to 45 minutes in length) on a variety of topics of interest to Network Operators.

NZNOG is the only event of its type in the NZ ICT calendar and serves as a useful way to keep up with current events, new developments and innovations in the NZ Networking scene.

Of course, there's always the light hearted side of things; Network Geeks are renowned for their beer-drinking prowess and well, NZNOG never fails... the proportion of NOGgers who don't drink do nevertheless get to have a great time.

I have Photos (See http://gallery3.blakjak.net/index.php/Events/2012/NZNOG-2012 and ) Video (see below) ;-)


BlakJak.net has been dark yesterday and most of today in protest of the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA). The U.S. Congress is about to censor the Internet, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed, and a significant amount of the Internet sits outside of US Jurisdiction. I've darkened my website in support of those attempting to kill off attempts to pass laws that breach our our global rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity. Learn more at AmericanCensorship.org (for the American Viewpoint) or for a New Zealand take on things, check out Vikram Kumar's Blog and recent guest post to the National Business Review (Similar content, but with some very interesting responses). Vikram is Chief Executive of InternetNZ, the non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the Internet in New Zealand. Among other things he notes that domain names within .com/net/org - like my one - would also be forfeit.

There's plenty of good media out there explaining why SOPA and it's ilk are BAD.
I'll link you these:


(November 2011)
and

(Yesterday).

One hopes that the amount of mainstream attention this is getting, will cause lawmakers to wake up.
In a wider sense it's disturbing how often 'blackout' responses are becoming relevant. Almost like lawmakers don't like to listen to their electorate, or to experts, when suggesting law changes. Sigh.

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