Microwave Biscuit

1,000 Spam Comments Blocked and Counting

Posted in Wordpress by microwavebiscuit on September 30, 2007

I just noticed that my total spam blocked has crested over 1,000. Thanks Askimet! I really think that Askimet is an awesome tool and in the entire time that I’ve been writing this blog not ONE spam comment has made it through. I’ve also not had ONE legitimate comment marked as spam. That’s a pretty good record!


This morning’s coffee

Posted in ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on September 19, 2007

I got a Starbucks this morning and I just noticed that on the cup is “The Way I see It #255” which says:

We will end poverty and stop HIV/AIDS within our generation when guided by African principles such as ubuntu that underscore our interconnectedness. With greater compassion for others, we would no longer accept hunger and disease as facts of life.

— Cedza Dlamini
Youth Emissary

The News

Posted in General, Music, Politics by microwavebiscuit on September 18, 2007

It’s not unusual for me to get aggravated about the world of news but today I managed to get ticked off (enough to blog about) twice on my “My Yahoo” page.

First, here’s a screen grab of the “Top Stories”:

Top Stories

Notice the interesting usage of the word “Soar” in two different headlines.

Next, music news:

Music News

First of all, I really don’t think that “reform” is the right word there. Someone may correct me but I would use a hyphen in there as in: re-form. Secondly, how exactly are they going to re-form without Sid? Yes, I know Glen Matlock was the “original” Sid but they’re getting back together to celebrate (rip off aging Punk rockers??) Never Mind the Bollocks 30th anniversary and it seems quite cheesy to me. Perhaps they can take the show on the road and sell $400 gold circle seats.

So, there you have it. I suppose I get annoyed at the news on a daily basis (whether it’s the news itself or the reporting of it) but occasionally I get a bit bent out of shape enough to comment.

X Server Memory

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on September 13, 2007

I’ve noticed for quite sometime that as my computer is running over several days that the “xorg” process begins using more and more memory until eventually the performance of my machine suffers and I need to restart X. Is it the X-Server process that is “leaking” memory or is it something else leaking into the X process? Restarting X is not a terrible hassle but it doesn’t seem like normal behavior. Any thoughts?

Interesting Photo

Posted in General by microwavebiscuit on September 8, 2007


Originally uploaded by phoch_98.

I went into my bathroom last night and when I turned on the light I noticed this lizard on the outside of the frosted “privacy” glass that we have. I ran and grabbed my camera and when I came back he (she? it?) was still there so I snapped a few pictures. It wasn’t easy getting the exposure, focus, etc correct and I found that the best picture came out with the flash on.

Also – just to add a little open source to this post, I imported the photo to my Ubuntu PC and then uploaded it using KFlickr which is a handy little app!

Found the right tutorial

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on September 6, 2007

Thanks to Nikhil Fernandes who left a comment on a previous post I found the tutorial I was looking for! http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=383053

This describes exactly what I am trying to accomplish including how to secure it with public/private keys. I’m very happy with the solution and now I can access my Ubuntu PC when on the road from Windows.

Thanks again to all who posted comments and advice.

More on VNC/SSH

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on September 5, 2007

First off – big thanks to all who have left comments on how to configure it. Via a combination of various approaches I seem to have it set up ok now. I ran into a couple of issues which were as follows:

  1. I had the DenyHosts package installed to prevent malicious attacks. In attempting to configure VNC/SSH it determined that I was in fact a hacker (or hax0r). Every time I attempted to connect it kept re-adding me to the hosts.deny file. I can’t figure out how to “reset” DenyHosts to allow me in. For now I have disabled it.
  2. Some of the tutorials I had been following were geared towards X forwarding which is different than what I had in mind. It’s kind of interesting in that you can create a new X session that you connect to and launch apps from. Nice feature but what I really wanted was the remote access provided by “Remote Desktop”.
  3. I have not yet setup the port forwarding on the router I have which means I can only access the machine from within my network. I plan on keeping it that way for a bit until I feel a bit more “secure” in my solution.

So the ultimate solution was pretty much what Stefano left in the comments:

It’s pretty straightforward, really.

* Make sure that all the users on your computer have secure passwords (even better, use SSH keys rather than passwords)
* Install ssh_server
* Make sure that port 22/TCP is forwarded in, from your router.
* Set up some kind of dyndns, so you know your home IP address.
* Turn on “Remote Administration”, and set a password for it, rather than requesting permission.

On the road:
* Use putty to ssh into home, before connecting go to port forwards, and add a local forward from 5901 to
* Then connect
* Then you can use a VNC client to connect to “localhost:1″

Although the part about “use ssh keys” is a mystery to me. I know I’ve read about doing that before somewhere but for the life of me I can’t remember how.

Updated Weather Wallpaper

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on September 5, 2007

Weather Wallpaper has been updated to version 0.2.0 and the author has added quite a bit of functionality. There is now a preferences dialog which allows for configuration of imperial/metric units, x and y offsets for the weather info (to reposition it on the screen) along with a host of bug fixes. If you are using it, I’d recommend upgrading. You can get it here: http://mundogeek.net/weather-wallpaper/.

I experienced a small bug and reported it on the launchpad site. Another contributor posted a fix. So, if you upgrade and have any issues, try this:

Change lines 558-566 to:

statusIcon = gtk.StatusIcon()
    # Run the thread which updates the wallpaper
    updater = Updater()

    # Create the status icon
    menu = gtk.Menu()

Also – notice the cool new wordpress feature for Syntax Highlighting!

Looking for a tutorial

Posted in Linux, ubuntu by microwavebiscuit on September 5, 2007

I would really like to be able to remotely access my computer when traveling however I’m very concerned about opening up my PC for attack. What I’d really like to be able to do is use VNC/SSH to get full access to my PC’s resources from a Windows laptop when on the road. I’ve read a few things here and there but nothing that seems to be a complete guide to both setting up remote access and securing it completely.