Posted in System, Security, Apple

All about security

 

Apple often claims that security and privacy is a main subject for the company.  They mean it.  I always wondered why there were so few second hand and stolen iPhones in parallel and offshore markets.  Well, because it’s pointless to steal them.  Just like that.  Only those who know nothing about Apple’s technologies will make this mistake.  And won’t repeat it.  Let’s see why.

 

P1000591

 

First setup

When you turn on a brand new iPhone the whole process may seam annoying and a general hassle for an Android or Windows (do they exist?) user.  But it’s worth it.

You’ll be asked to set up your account with email, PIN code (6 numbers), security questions and fingerprint.  And of course your geographical area, main preferences and phone number.  Once everything is configured, is advisable to open an account in the official forums.  You never know when you will need help.  And Apple users and forums are just as techie and active as any Linux’s.  Oh! And of course, a two factors authentication will be set as well.  Just in case.

You will be also offered to import all your data from an existing phone or account, regardless operating system  (yes, they import from Android).  That’s up to you.

Apple will offer you to sync your stuff to iCloud. This will include documents, photos, music, calendars, contacts and everything else you have stored in your computer.  It’s a good idea to accept as it makes your information available in any other (trusted) device regardless operating system.

Every time you use a different device, Apple will ask you whether you trust it or not.  If you don’t trust the device but still want to use the service you can do so but it means you’ll be asked again next time you use that particular device.  If you do trust it, you won’t be asked for a period of time.  After, you will need to confirm again that you still trust that device.

Then you may want to install some other apps.  Apple delivers a useful and sleek system.  It’s pretty much ready to use but you will always want to add something like Telegram or iWorks.  So you have to go to the App Store.  Every single time you want to install something you’ll be required to use the Touch ID.  If not, nothing will be downloaded nor installed.

Same goes for system upgrades.  Apple updates all their supported devices constantly and consistently.  Upgrading is simple and smooth.  And secure.  Again, you’ll be required to prove that you are really the owner of this particular phone. Thrice.  First to download the upgrade and then to actually upgrade.  And then again after restarting.

Which takes me to the next topic: turning on and off an iPhone.  It may look stupid, but they really nailed with this.  Turning it off is KISS: You press a button and turn it off.  That’s it.  No annoying questions or further complications.  And then turning it on will force you to authenticate yourself twice.  So it’s certain that you… are still you.

The first time you use any Apple apps, it will require authentication, usually with the Touch ID (fingerprint) but sometimes with the PIN code.

Finally, if you ever lose your phone you can find it with the  “Find my phone” utility (works also for cases of forgetfulness)  and/or remotely delete all your data and set the device back to its original state.  You can also block it, so nobody else will be able to use it.  Just in case a superhacker FBI agent decides to break in.  Normal people is put off with the usual two steps authentication.

 

Amazing isn’t it?  Next article:  Configuration and use

 

 

Posted in Debian, Open Source, System

Debian and beyond

 

It’s not new that I have Debian installed on a netbook that a friend of mine borrowed me.  You can read here  and  here,  if you want to know more.

So I installed it with XFCE, Mate and Cinnamon as desktops.  I used Mate but didn’t like it and quickly abandoned.  I used Cinnamon and although I like it better, I got tired of GTK3 themes looking alike and that it’s a bit slow for this machine.

My desktop today
Debian with Cinnamon

Feeling increasingly unhappy with my desktops I decided to give XFCE a go.  Last time I used it, I found it ugly and not really better than any other desktop, so I dropped it rather fast.  But now, I thought that after so much time they could well have improved appearance and usability, and selected it on LightDM.

 

XFCE is awesome!

screenshot xfce gtk appearance
XFCE showing Cairo Dock and GTK beauties

This desktop is exactly what I wanted.  It’s pretty and fast.  And if you add a docker it’s perfect.  It comes with a long list of themes by default, plus including whatever themes you have installed for other desktops.  It’s highly configurable, like Mate, but fancier.  I didn’t even needed to install anything extra, just chose from the default list and gave the panel some transparency.

The only point against it, is how to set a wallpaper. It forces you to choose from pre-selected folders and can’t choose a child directory.  But!  There’s a workaround for it.  Go to the folder where is the image you want as wallpaper, right-click on it and select  “Set as wallpaper”.  Voilá!  Your desktop has new background.

 

Beyond XFCE Debian

Screenshot xfce with Cairo Dock
XFCE with Cairo Dock resembling OSX dock

Cairo Dock has many themes and ways to enhance/refine its appearance, plus many options about its behaviour, apps, desklets, etc.  It’s very complete and useful and isn’t heavy at all.  I use it on a 1GB RAM machine and it doesn’t affect the overall performance.  To add programmes to the dock just grab them from menu and drop them in the docker.  You can also add customised shortcuts. Just right-click on the dock and a menu with options will show up.

The one downside I found is that even marking it to start at the session beginning it doesn’t, and it’s not listed in XFCE startup applications.  I have to manually start it which is kinda annoying.  Particularly for someone like me, absent minded.

Screenshot xfce with Plank
XFCE with Plank Dock

Plank Docker on the other side is much more simple but still pretty and configurable.  You have many options and you can change the icons appearance, add animations and install new themes if the default ones aren’t your cup of tea. It’s very light and start with session as one would expect a docker to do. To add new programmes to the dock you can open them, and once open you right-click on the docked icon and select  “Keep on dock”.  Alternatively, you can drag and drop programmes from desktop or menu.

The downside is that Preferences seems to be nowhere. No right-click will show it. What to do?  Type on a normal terminal :

plank --preferences

and the preferences window will show up instantly.  I couldn’t find any easier way to call Plank Settings. If anyone knows, please, post it on comments.

 

Oh, oh… KDE

Screenshot_20170618_215500

Plasma 5 is compatible with all the docks available including two dock extensions (plasmoids).  In the screenshot we can see KDE Plasma with Cairo Dock.  Like in XFCE, it works nicely and it’s very configurable. It doesn’t start with session though, you will need to start it manually or select  “Start with session” from contextual menu. Planck also works nicely although you’ll need a bit more of work to get it themed properly. If you mark it to start with session, it should.

As a side note, the plasmoid Latte gives option to KDE native dock.  Sadly, it’s really bare what it offers and configuring it is complicated. Compared to other desktop agnostic dockers, has nothing to do.

 

Extras

Plank themes collection:  https://github.com/LinxGem33/Plank-Themes

Cairo Dock:  http://glx-dock.org

Plank Settings (varies between distros):  https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2303311

Docky (abandoned):  http://wiki.go-docky.com/index.php?title=Installation

 

Thanks for reading, hope this was helpful or at least interesting for you

 

 

Posted in Fedora, Hardware, System, Users

Problems with USB ports

 

If you’re experiencing problems with USB ports, ABRT is throwing system error messages or you something odd related to USB during the boot, here you have two ways to find out what’s going on.  Once you know there are two possible ways to sort it out. Let’s see.

 

Commands

If the error, or at least the error message, just happened, you can run this command:

journalctl -xe

and this will show you what just happened.

If you only notice the problem time later, you can run this another command:

dmesg

and search for errors related to USB ports.

 

Looking for a solution

Now you know what happened you can search for it Google with a simple search, or in wiki pages or books, or in forums, groups and mailing lists.  If it’s not urgent, always try the Google Search first.

 

Aftermath

Write down the solutions that worked in a note and keep it handy.  That will save you time and headache in the next opportunity an error occurs.

 

Hope this is useful for you, thanks for reading!

 

 

Posted in Philosophy, System, Users

Now Windows is Linux friendly

 

Before switching discs in my laptop I prepared two DVD  (I have no spare USB sticks or SD memories),  one with Windows 8.1 and one with Fedora 25 Workstation.  Much to my dismay I later come to learn that Fedora doesn’t boot from optical devices like CD & DVD, so I used the only Linux I had, an OpenSuSe USB stick I’ve got from OpenRheinRuhr.

Now… for years we were all told  “Install Windows first because Linux recognises Win partitions but the viceversa doesn’t apply”.  So I installed Windows first.  And it did recognised the existing partitioning including, yes, Linux volumes.  I wanted to start over so I just deleted everything and assign it to Windows.

But it’s not just that.  With a small app, you can use your Linux partitions from Windows as if they were… well, other partitions.  Office recognises ODT formats and opens them without errors or complains  (it used to make a fuss years ago).  And… oh, this is my favourite!  Windows doesn’t label Linux/Open Source stuff as virus as it always did.  And visiting Linux pages doesn’t trigger a lot of alarms in your system saying it’s dangerous and evil and you should leave that site to never come back.

So if you’re planning to make a dual boot of your computer, go ahead, Windows won’t get in your way anymore.

 

 

Posted in Hardware, OpenSuSe, System

Update on touchpad issues

 

As you could read in this post I experienced issues with my touchpad for a month or so before finding  (almost by luck)  the solution.  Now I come to know that this solution is Fedora specific.  I recently installed OpenSuSe in my laptop and went to the touchpad configuration.  As I expected  (SuSe uses software that is slightly older than Fedora)  everything worked except scrolling.  Therefore, I deactivated my touchpad and started using mouse again.

Today I decided to use the solution provided by a dev in Riot as you can see here, but it turned out that this command doesn’t work in OpenSuSe.  I thought I had to resign to keep using mouse but before giving up I tried my touchpad again.  And it works.  The command doesn’t work but an update solved the issue days ago.  I just didn’t know.

Now I’m happy using my touchpad again.  On OpenSuSe.