Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Open Source Hardware Today

The spirit of open source software means providing access to the source code, friendly licensing models and community support (documentations, forums and social gatherings). Computer and electronic hardware have always been proprietary as it involved large sum of money and required access to specialised machines and technology in order to design and build hardware.

In October 2016, it is announced by Open Source Hardware Association the rollout of Open Source Hardware Certification Program (read more). Hopefully it will help to address the long time conflict of patent law with OSS licenses in regards to hardware. That's right, OSS relates to copyright laws in almost all cases I know, but when it comes to hardware, most of it refer to patent law.

The most well known license for open source hardware is the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). CERN list their licenses, hardware repository and projects that use their license at http://www.ohwr.org

More projects on hardware can be found at
Raspberry Pi

With the certification coming out, a growing list of open source hardware vendors and project, looks like the stars are shinning for open source hardware enthusiast and business.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Learning to code for kids

Here are 5 websites to start the young minds with coding. In no particular order;


Use of the famous programming blocks of different shape and colours to do coding. Adobe Flash is required for the web interface.


Use web interface to complete snippet of codes. This is not for the uninitiated. You have a choice of using the text editor Emacs, Vim or the standard IDE that supports several popular programming languages. This includes C, C++, Java, Go, Paskal, PHP, Python and Ruby. If you are looking to learn logics and algorithms, this is it.

Code Academy

Provides programming courses for free. Personal learning plan and quizzes with advisor are included in the paid subscription. Its starts off with learn to HTML and CSS.


Place to learn coding with contribution from many difference sources. Some element of Scratch with specialised themes and gamification to learn coding. Lots of resources for lesson plans.
A sweet start would be Coding with Anna and Elsa.


Create 3D animations and learn programming for those familiar with the use of computers. This product of Carnegie Mellon University teaches C++, Java and C#.

Any of these made it to your your favourite sites?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Pokemon Go the Start of The Unity

Recently Pokemon Go, a location based game have taken the game industry by storm. Literally more people are getting up and going around in search of Pokemons, Poke stops, Gyms and other parts of the games. This is a little off open source topic, but its a rather attractive game using location base and augment reality.

Niantic Labs was founded by Google before it separate to a separate company known as Niantic. Pokemon Go is a successful product of Niantic as indicated by the number of installations.

Looking at the permission that must be allowed for the game to run, its literally having a access to a wide range of information. Millions of users are allowing access to Niantics.

Could this be used for big data? possibly the first signs of Unity, as in the Matrix?

Graphics on the different type of Pokemon in case you need to take on Unity in the future. How many of each type do you have? and whats the strongest?
  • Bug
  • Dark
  • Dragon
  • Electric
  • Fairy
  • Fighting
  • Flying
  • Normal
  • Poison
  • Psychic 
  • Water

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

NMap, SSH and Matrix the Movie

Matrix the movie is one of the coolest movie with concepts that provoke thoughts of technology and politics.

Ever thought that open source was involved? Surprise, surprise, trinity was referring to the use of Nmap and SSH exploits.

See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2003/05/16/matrix_sequel_has_hacker_cred

Monday, June 20, 2016

Backup Thunderbird 45 on MS Windows 10

Just after installing the Kubuntu Jaunty 9.04 Linux, its time to restore some of my stuff. Firstly, I need communications and this is via my Thunderbird.

Thunderbird email client allow access of emails from online email providers and a local storage of email. It may be necessary to move these local emails and local Thunderbird profile to another PC or to be saved as a backup.

Here is the manual method. Save the local configurations by copying the files as listed in these locations to the backup location.

  • Thunderbird 45.1.1
  • MS Windows 10


Step 1. Identify location of the files for backup.

There are a few ways to do this, one of which is to open Thunderbird menu (3 horizontal lines), click Options-> Account settings. Then follow the steps below.
1. Signature. Right click the email account-> Account settings. In the right window, look for
Attach signature from a file instead

2. Email configuration profile. Right click the email account-> Account setting ->Server Settings ->Local directory

3. Local folders for offline access. Right click the Local folders ->Server Settings ->Local directory

4. Digital certificates. Right click the email account-> Account setting ->Manage Identities...
Then choose the email profile(s) and click Edit and choose the tab for Security.

Step 2. Stop Thunderbird and compact all large folders.


Empty all Deleted folders

Step 3. Copy files in Step 1 to the new location.


Step 1:
Copy the directory profile back to the new system

Step 2:
In the terminal create an email profile that uses the old directory, type

thunderbird -profilemanager


Friday, May 20, 2016

Howto convert photos to line drawing with GIMP

GIMP provides a large tool set to edit photos. This software is provided with GNU License and is available to use on Linux and MS Windows computers.

Artistic look from photos can be created with a few steps in GIMP 2.8.8.

Start GIMP and open the photo (which is in colour).

Step 1: Select the photo.
From the main menubar, click Select ->All or press "Ctrl+A"

Moving dots/dashes should be around the photo.

Step 2: Remove colour from the photo.

Click the menu Colors ->Desaturate... and choose a shade of gray based on Lightness or Luminosity or Average. Click "OK"

Alternative method:
Click the menu Colors ->Hue-Saturation... and slide Saturation value all the way to left or -100.

Step 3: Strip gray tones

Click the menu Filters ->Edge-Detect ->Difference of Gaussians...
Default checks the boxes Normalize and Invert. Radius 1 value is 3.0 and Radius 2 is 1.0.

Note: At this point if it results in a blank image, remove the Alpha channel

Step 4: Raise the lines

Click the menu Colors ->Brightness-Contrast...

Increase brightness value and reduce contrast value until image appears. Click "OK"

Step 5: Enhance the light lines

Click the menu Colors ->Levels... and click "Auto".
In the graph like "Input Levels", slide the triangle till to left until the desired tone. Click "OK"


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Centos 6 Checklist on Systems Security

Linux Security Checklist

A reliable server is only as good as it is maintained and due processes applied. A systems security checklist template for Centos 6 mentioned below serves to meet the basic security requirements. A more stringent and targeted checklist can be developed further.

This mainly records existing system details and follow common practices. Some stuff like SELinux is mentioned as permissive as this is what I have at the moment. Details should be updated to specific server needs. Another useful checklist is for web application deployment and can be found at http://tboxmy.blogspot.my/2011/06/linux-security-checklist_14.html.

Centos 6 Checklist on Systems Security (link)

Contents of the checklist includes;

Section A. Details of the system
Section B. Services
Section C. Essential files
Section D. Examples.