NetHui 2011 – Day 1: Digital Citizenship – Cyber-Safety

Digital Citizenship – Cybersafety

Stream led by: Martin Cocker (NetSafe) – NetHui Digital Citizenship Forum

Martin started off the session by outlining there things are in New Zealand, as well as providing a context for the terminology which would follow. In this regard, Digital Citizens were defined as those using technologies to have:

  • Greater productivity (via use of technology)
  • A better education experience
  • Connections with e-government
  • The responsibility to “Balance” the digital society
    • Politically, we can vote out non-performers
    • Commercially, we can only influence via our adoption and usage of technologies.
    • We can’t vote for everyone (politically) but we can influence via usage and adoption

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NetHui 2011 – Day 1

You could tell that you’d arrived at the NetHui because every seat anywhere remotely near a power source was occupied by someone hunched over an electronic device, either furiously tapping away at a keyboard or swiping at a screen.

Skip to:

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Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty) + WiFi working on EEE

When Ubuntu 11.04 released, things went backwards for the EEE. If the wireless adapter was enabled, Natty would hang soon after login – it turns out this was due to a kernel issue similar to that experienced in its predecessor.

But, as per many things in the open software world, the community has come up with a solution which I’ve summarised below.

  1. From here, download the latest kernel files which should be named as follows:
    • linux-headers-2.6.39-999_2.6.39-999.[LatestDateTimeStamp]_all.deb
    • linux-headers-2.6.39-999-generic_2.6.39-999. [LatestDateTimeStamp]_i386.deb
    • linux-image-2.6.39-999-generic_2.6.39-999. [LatestDateTimeStamp]_i386.deb
  2. Then, from a terminal window, install them in the SAME order they were downloaded i.e.:
    • sudo dpkg -i linux-headers-2.6.39-999_2.6.39-999.[LatestDateTimeStamp]_all.deb
    • sudo dpkg -i linux-headers-2.6.39-999-generic_2.6.39-999. [LatestDateTimeStamp]_i386.deb
    • sudo dpkg -i linux-image-2.6.39-999-generic_2.6.39-999. [LatestDateTimeStamp]_i386.deb
  3. Restart your EEE (with WiFi enabled) and login.

Good luck! (YMMV)

Skype Beta 2.2.0.25 for Linux – Webcam WORKING!

Skype for LinuxUgh – finally, after much backward and forward (even to the point I dragged out a Windows laptop) I’ve tracked down the issue which was stopping my embedded webcams (which otherwise works in all other applications) from working with the latest beta of Skype for Linux.

The solution is this (thanks Ubuntu Forums):

for 32-bit Linux / Skype

sudo mv /usr/bin/skype /usr/bin/skype.original
sudo echo -e "#!/bin/bash \nLD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype.original" > /usr/bin/skype

for 64-bit  Linux / Skype

sudo mv /usr/bin/skype /usr/bin/skype.original
sudo echo -e "#!/bin/bash \nLD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype.original" > /usr/bin/skype

I found the command to build the script didn’t work out for me

$ sudo echo -e "#!/bin/bash \nLD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype.original" > /usr/bin/skype
bash: !/bin/bash: event not found

So, I built my own script

sudo nano /usr/bin/skype

and pasted in the lines to build the script

#!/bin/bash
LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype.original

Of course, the script needs to be made executable

sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/skype

Then all that remained was to make sure no instances of skype were running, and re-launch skype from the menu.

For me, the video came up once Skype had loaded, from other discussions, some people may need to restart their machines.

Visualising Public Data – Auckland Transport

Chris McDowall is a very, very clever person. In addition to all the other cool stuff he’s done in the NZ data space, he has just released this post on taking the Maxx public transport data feed of movements over a day, and plotting it out on a map. It’s hypnotic and astounding in the sheer volume of movements – but you need to see it to appreciate how cool it is.


An animated map of Auckland’s public transport network from Chris McDowall on Vimeo.


Well done Chris, my hat is (once again) off to you sir – keep creating…

Notes from Barcamp Auckland 2010

Barcamp Auckland is an annual gathering of developers, designers, start-ups and social-media types. It’s a full day event held in an ‘unconference’ like style, where the attendee (see my attendee & interested folks list on Twitter) set the schedule – and people turn up to discuss topics which interest them.

The following are the session notes I took during this years Auckland Barcamp

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Profiling my Power

To celebrate the introduction of the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS*) in New Zealand today (1 July 2010), I thought I’d publish the following article on what I’m doing in terms of residential Power Monitoring.

Read on for:

The Back Story

A few years ago, I was working on what devices would sit in an ‘average’ connected home and, given the sheer volume of ‘things’ – it be came clear that not only would a homeowner need to justify the existence of each device, but also their unseen costs in terms of installation, maintenance and ongoing power usage.

To answer the last of these, I bought a device called a Centameter which, aside from the benefit of being designed in NZ, measured the current power usage via an induction clamp and transmitter which sits in the power meter box and sends the data through to a LCD display.

After a couple of attempts to elicit a response from the manufacturer, I asked an electrical engineering friend of mine to see what information they could pull from the display unit as we wanted to capture and graph this data over time. The short story is, while we could get some information out of the device, the time required to make this meaningful far exceeded what he was able to donate to the project so things were shelved – until now.

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These *are* the Droids you’re looking for…

Hat tip to @VodaphoneNZ for re-igniting my interest in having another crack at the following post which I originally wrote for an internal publication for my employer. I’ve changed some of the phraseology,but the basic content – apart from the opening paragraph – remains pretty similar. Once again, these are my personal opinions and are presented as such.

Vodafone NZ Tweets about it's new Android lineup [24th June 2010]

If you are in any way connected to the mobile phone world, you would have heard of the Android phones, an increasing number of which are now starting to make their way into the New Zealand market. Vodafone have been quietly selling android phones since the middle of last year, and third party importers have been importing them in increasing numbers since around the same time. With the release today of ‘FroYo’ (Android 2.2), Vodafone NZ have come out with an impressive looking list of devices sporting the Android stack.

The disappointment for me being that, like other Telcos in the space, a number of the devices announced are running some fairly old versions of the stack, and there is no clear message for the as to how to update their devices, or indeed if this is even possible. I’d certainly like to see the Telcos, or the community, or a collaboration of the two – to come out with some simple HOWTO guides (or simple “Sorry – but you can’t” messages) around updating the device to more recent software. Let me know in the comments if you have come across anything which may help the average Joe (or Jane) with this…


What is ‘Android’

‘Android’ is a software stack including an operating system, middleware and core applications – kind of like Windows on your PC. It was first unveiled in 2007 by a firm who was subsequently bought by Google, who’ve since released most of the code under the Apache (software and open source) license. And that decision is what has captured the attention of the community.


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Tabnabbing – An Even More Evil Phishing Attack

Image by Flickr user 'Toasty' http://www.flickr.com/photos/toasty/1276202472/Wow – I’ve just finished reading a recent blog post by Aza Raskin (creative lead for Firefox) and he presents an interesting new phishing attack vector for us to be(a)ware of, that of ‘Tabnabbing’.

For many of us, phishing attempts, (that is – attempts by ‘evil’ sites or emails to pretend they are from legitimate sources and then dupe the user into revealing login credentials or other useful information) are fairly easy to spot. Some are stupidly obvious such as the now well known tale of the government official who needs to get large sums of money out of the country, others are less blatant and use shortened URL services or minor misspellings to trick people into clicking their links. But now, joining the ever growing list of ways to socially engineer an inattentive user into revealing useful information, is some very clever javascript which seeks to fool us when we’re not looking!

The attack is structured as follows:

  1. The attacker gets a user to browse to a staging site
  2. When the user switches focus to another tab, the staging site then changes the favicon, and the content displayed on the page to something which the user will be familiar with – in his example, Aza uses a Gmail login or ‘credentials expired’ page.
  3. When the user next scans their open tabs, they recognise the familiar tab and switch to it – believing it to be the genuine article.
  4. Because it’s an existing open tab, they implicitly trust that the domain is what it should be – and from there the credentials are captured – and the user is redirected back to the legitimate site, oblivious that they’ve been scammed.

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A PC for the Kids: Introduction

With my wife adopting a new notebook we’ve found ourselves with an additional, usable machine which we’ve earmarked for our boys use.

The unit in question is a rather dated IBM Thinkpad R51 which ran fine with Windows XP, but given that our boys are now of an age where they are being more inquisitive, I’ve decided that something a little more robust would better fit the bill than the aging Windows OS.

As a keen open source OS user myself, I’m planning to drop Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) onto the notebook and then lock down the configuration to allow the boys to experiment, but not break the environment.

So, looking at the task list ahead of me, I’ll be looking to run through the following:

  1. Install the OS (release date is 29/04/2010)
  2. Install and configure parental control on the boys user accounts
  3. Lock down the rest of the system on the boys accounts
  4. Let the boys at the notebook and observe what usability issues crop up
  5. Tweak

The next few articles getting posted to the blog will be following through this list so I’ll be making extensive use of search engines, forums and any other resources I can leverage to get the best info to make this happen as painlessly as possible. Suggestions in the comments please 🙂