Sunday, 27 March 2011

Protect your identy from hackers on your webcam laptop

My laptop (Acer 5742) has a built-in webcam, however unlike my last laptop there is no operation LED and way of knowing if it is on or not.  Just in case someone did get into my system from outside and manage to switch on the webcam, I have constructed a tertiary level of protection just by using a piece of black tape.

Get a length of tape 2 inches long, fold one third over itself, stick side to sticky side.  Then mount it on the laptops webcam.

If you ever need to use the webcam, just fold the cover back.

Pictures of a Projector Bulb about to die

This arc lamp has a cracked, cloudy appearance, it is caused by too often switching the lamp on and off too often without letting the unit cool down.  People think that it is important to use the lamp the least amount of hours -true, but this is the other extreme.

OpenShot, Video Editing for Ubuntu Linux

Currently Ubuntu comes with a simple video editor called PiTiVi, although it is stable and works, it lacks the ability to do anything decent.  For instance creating titles, fades, transitions...  I came across OpenShot this morning and it is truly awesome.
I has all the features PiTiVi has and much more, plus it can run natively on the Gnome desktop unlike Cinerella.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Wireshark No Interfaces, sudo permissions how to fix!

When I open Wireshark in Ubuntu, there are no interfaces.  That is because Wireshark needs to be run with sudo permissions to access the interfaces.  It is not a good idea to run Wireshark from sudo as there are 30K lines of code running with full admin permissions and it will warn you about it as well.

Below is the preferred way.

sudo su
groupadd wireshark
usermod -a -G wireshark stretch
newgrp wireshark
chgrp wireshark /usr/bin/dumpcap
chmod 750 /usr/bin/dumpcap
setcap cap_net_raw,cap_net_admin=eip /usr/bin/dumpcap

If setcap does not exist then:
sudo apt-get install libcap2-bin

check to see if sucessful
getcap /usr/bin/dumpcap
/usr/bin/dumpcap = cap_net_admin,cap_net_raw+eip

logout and log back in!

Friday, 25 March 2011

OpenOffice is Dead, move on to LibreOffice NOW!

OpenOffice has being the saviour from the M$ wage, but now it has being
brought out by Oracle so it's future is unknown.

A group of OpenOffice people have started LibreOffice, which is a free and
open source improvement on the current OpenOffice program, adding heaps more
features and functionality. It drives exactly the same way as OpenOffice

LibreOffcie is being rolled out in the next version of Ubuntu, 11.04 and is
available to download right now. Windows users are also encouraged to
remove OpenOffice and replace it with LibreOffice.

On Ubuntu to remove Openoffice and replace it with LibreOffice, copy and
paste the foloowing text into your browser.

sudo apt-get remove openoffice*
udo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libreoffice


Thursday, 24 March 2011

WTF a monkey that lookes like MJ?

This is a uncanny image, perhaps Bubble and Michael Jackson created some kind of love child...

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Sun Microsystems Ultra 10 CPU disassembly, UltraSPARC IIi

I found a pair of these babies the other day ready to be scrapped.

Looking inside this Sun unit, it seemed alot like a ordinary PC.

Disassembling the CPU module would be interesting as it was a 64 bit processor...

The flatness of the CPU was amazing and the connection to the board was not soldered or involved metal pins, rather conductive pads.

Way ahead of their time and in the bin now :)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Free Marketing hits a Brick Wall, Sharpen you own Disposable Razor

Sharpen your disposable blades to give them a second chance.


Build a Cheap/easy Linux based Motion Detection CCTV system

This is a guide for those that want to build a cheap CCTV server for your home or business.

It uses a analogue camera to do two things:
  • Motion capture surveillance footage only when needed
  • email pictures of captured footage to you inbox

It requires some computer skills, but you probably will be smarter afterwards.

Hardware Required:
  • Asus EEE PC 701 Netbook $260
  • Easycap DC60 USB Video Capture Adapter $8.90
  • Video Camera $0 free

I picked the netbook up online from and figured it would be useful for some small project. It sat around doing nothing for a while until I was given a camera for free. I thought the two would be perfect for a CCTV project. The camera had a composite video output so the first task was finding a cheap video to usb adaptor. I picked one of these up from after checking that there were Linux drivers available.

  • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS netbook remix
  • driver for the usb adaptor
  • motion
  • mutt
  • msmtp

The netbook came installed with Xandros. I replaced that with Eeebuntu 3.0 soon after I got it but that distro is getting a bit old. For this project I wanted something that was still being maintained and would suit a netbook. I settled on the netbook remix of Ubuntu 10.04.

The drivers for the USB adaptor were available from The documentation was great and it came with test scripts.

Motion was available in the repos so I picked that. I did have a look at Zoneminder but I wanted to keep the number of running processes to a minimum and Zoneminder was a bit of overkill for what I needed.

I wanted a way to email off the pictures motion took using just the command line. I picked mutt. Installing it from the repos installed postfix as the MTA. The problem was my ISP kept rejected the emails from postfix. Then I found an excellent guide at so I removed postfix and used msmtp instead..

Setting up
Install Ubuntu
Build/install usb driver
apt-get install motion
apt-get install mutt
apt-get purge postfix (use msmtp instead)
apt-get install msmtp
configure mutt /home/user/.muttrc
configure msmtp /home/user/.msmtprc
configure motion /home/user/motion.conf

I configured .muttrc and .msmtprc using the directions from I then tested it with "echo test | mutt -s test". Great success.

I left most of the settings in motion.conf as is, the most important change I made was to add "on_picture_save date | mutt -s motion -a %f" to get it to send an email everytime it took a picture.

I also opened a port on my router so I could monitor the camera remotely using motion's built in webserver.

Credit goes to my mate P, who wrote this.