Friday, June 30, 2017

Watchtower Library 2017 in Ubuntu 16.04

As you may have heard, the Watchtower Library is now being updated by internet instead of by a newly printed DVD every year.

So even though (as the image shows) their will never be an official 2017 version, I wanted to check on the installation and usability of the library under the current LTS version of Ubuntu, 16.04.

The first thing I did was to make sure that the newest stable version of Wine was installed. I did this by following the instructions at

Here are the steps I used to get the most stable version of current Wine, which is 2.0.1.:

If your system is 64 bit, enable 32 bit architecture (if you haven't already) by running this command in the terminal:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Then I used these commands to add the newest version of Wine to the repository, which will allow you to install it.

wget -nc
sudo apt-key add Release.key
sudo apt-add-repository

Once i did that, it's time to update your packages list and install the newest version of Wine.

Wine needs to install wine-mono and wine-gecko in order to run wine apps. Don't be alarmed if it asks you to install these, just say yes to these steps.

In the terminal, run the command sudo apt-get update.

I chose the stable branch, so then I used the command sudo apt-get install --install-recommends winehq-stable.

Once you do this, you can just run the install file on the DVD via Wine.

I was very impressed at the easy, perfectly smooth installation and operation of the library on Wine 2.0.1.

This is usually where I tell you about the problems I came up with, and the solutions I used.

Thankfully I can't do that here, because I had none. It worked perfectly.

For those of you not using Ubuntu or an Ubuntu based distribution, you can get help for the major versions of Linux here:

Here is a picture of the library working without playonlinux on my current setup:

As always, if you run into problems with the library, please feel free to email me at I may take some time to respond based on how busy I am, but I am always willing to help my brothers and sisters with these issues.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Ransomware infections occurring around the globe

While reading up on some posts made about DEF CON, I saw this posted: "An NSA-derived ransomware worm is shutting down computers worldwide"...

After scrubbing for information and sources to see if this was legitimate, I was able to verify it.

Congrats to Ars Technica, who seem to have broken with the story first.

While ransomware is not new, why this made news is the fact that there are so many confirmed cases, and so fast.. 75,000 confirmed cases in a relatively short time...

In case you are new to the term, ransomware encrypts your images, music, movies, videos, basically everything on the computer, and then won't let you access them without paying a fee to the ransomer. The worst part is quite often even after you paid the ransomer, they still don't decrypt your files, meaning all of those files are now unusable forever.

Ransomware is so insidious it makes me pine for the simple dos viruses of the 80's and 90's... but I digress.

What makes this particular round of infections worse, is the fact that these ransomware infections seem to stem from old NSA tools known as Wcry (among other names).

Since this is such an evil menace to society, I wanted to share this as much as I could and get the word out quickly.

Here are my sources, ars technica and bbc:

Monday, April 10, 2017

Ubuntu 18.04 will have Gnome as a default desktop, not Unity

In a blog post by Mark Shuttleworth named "Growing Ubuntu for cloud and IoT, rather than phone and convergence", he made it clear that Unity would no longer be the defacto, or default desktop.

"I’m writing to let you know that we will end our investment in Unity 8, the phone and convergence shell. We will shift our default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS."

He goes on to say though that Canonical is NOT going to abandon Unity. They just will no longer spend their time improving it. It will still be in the repos, and that he is sure that the community that enjoys Unity will continue to support it.

The reason he gave for the switch back to familiar Gnome country was the fact that the majority of the Linux community didn't see Unity as innovation, but simply fragmentation of yet another forked project.

"In the community, our efforts were seen fragmentation not innovation. And industry has not rallied to the possibility, instead taking a ‘better the devil you know’ approach to those form factors, or investing in home-grown platforms."

I think I see his point. Gnome has been so universally adopted by major distributions, that moving back to Gnome 3 and focusing on polishing other avenues of Ubuntu, like the snap system, are a win win in his book.

To me their will be little change. I am still an ardent XFCE fan, and as such, am still using Xubuntu.
Gnome 3 and Unity both have always felt so heavy on resources, but that's a discussion for another time.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Watchtower Library 2016 in Ubuntu 16.04

After talking with a brother about difficulties with this version of Watchtower Library, I was able to get the library to work.

I again used playonlinux, simply because playonlinux makes sure you have the proper libraries and other tools to run the version of wine needed.

For 2016, we need Wine 2.3.

First I had to have playonlinux install wine 2.3, because non of my apps have used it before.

To do that, in playonlinux I had to go to tools and then "manage wine versions"

Then I chose wine 2.3. (my cursor on the image below is showing me selecting the staging version, but that's only because I already installed wine 2.3.

playonlinux will need to download and install a new gecko and a few other things for 2.3.

Now we need to install watchtower library as a "non listed" program. this option is at the bottom left of playonlinux. Here's a screenshot of the option we need:

We need to choose a different version of wine during the install process

Make sure you choose 2.3

And the 32 bit option here is the least buggy

After it goes through the installs, we get this:

As you can see, it works.

I did notice whenever I close the library, wine does complain about a crash. But the library works fine so far for me.

If you have any other issues or comments, by all means either comment on the disqus section velow or email me at


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

C.H.I.P., A nine dollar computer!

Searching through the backside of the internet, I stumbled upon this!

It's glorious!

It runs an ARM processor, and my favorite, Linux!

The version of Linux it uses is a debian based (Thank you chip peeps!) in house blend called CHIPOs.

Here's some info on CHIPOs 4.4, released in July 2016:

It does have a gui for those of us who like the CLI's blinking cursor, but also like to use technology from after 1980 (i.e. a mouse).

The gui is LXDE according to the screenshots.

If you always like the idea of exploring something like a RaspberryPi, but still thought 30-40 bucks was too much money, this should be up your alley!

Here's what had to say about C.H.I.P.:

C.H.I.P. does serious work
Use C.H.I.P. with Gnumeric to create spreadsheets or AbiWord to word process. It's all there. They’ll even open up the Word and Excel documents you may already have.

C.H.I.P. does internet
Use the IceWeasel browser to surf the web. Check out websites, send emails, post on social media, watch videos, and more. Waste time the same way you would on any other computer - the internet awaits.

C.H.I.P. does (lots of) games
Connect bluetooth controllers to C.H.I.P. and play thousands of games – both retro and new. Been missing that amazing DOS game from your childhood? C.H.I.P. plays it! Remember that game that mom wouldn’t buy you back in the day? C.H.I.P. plays it! (Don’t worry, we won’t tell).

C.H.I.P. is Perfect for Projects!
(seen at the website)

C.H.I.P. has specs!

WiFi B/G/N Built-in!
Plug C.H.I.P. in and hop on the internet in 60 seconds flat.

1GHz Processor
C.H.I.P.'s R8 processor allows C.H.I.P. to be small and powerful enough to handle any task you can throw at it.

4GB of High-speed Storage
C.H.I.P. comes with storage onboard, so there’s no need to purchase an SD card. C.H.I.P. is ready to go.

512MB of RAM
C.H.I.P. comes with enough RAM to start your projects right away.

Bluetooth 4.0
Wirelessly connect keyboards, mice, and controllers to C.H.I.P. With a few clicks and an old stereo, turn C.H.I.P. into an AirPlay or Bluetooth speaker.

C.H.I.P. Works with ANY Display
C.H.I.P. is designed to work with any screen. Old or new. Big or small. Connect via C.H.I.P.’s built-in composite output or add a simple adapter for either VGA or HDMI.












C.H.I.P. Pro

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A light powered by nothing but gravity!

When I first saw this light introduced on the YouTube channel "Smarter Every Day", I knew I had to write about it.

This is the kind of tech I love to see. Powered by something we literally do have an infinite amount of, gravity.

Here is the S.E.D. video I just referenced:

And here is what the creator of GravityLight, Deciwatt has to say about their unique invention:

"GravityLight is a lamp that is designed to hang from suitable fixtures in a house or dwelling. It uses a bag that can be filled with heavy items and winched up. As the bag descends it drives a generator through a gearbox which provides direct electrical power for a single LED. Additional SatLight lamps can be connected to the main GravityLight unit to extend lighting. Multiple Satlights can be linked together (recommended max of 4)." -

For a video from the Deciwatt people about GravityLight, look here:

Here's a picture of GravityLight with 2 "Satlights". The satlights are excellent and necessary, light not directed where we need it is somewhat useless.

If you would like more information about GravityLight or the Deciwatt company, it's available at their official website,

Friday, November 18, 2016

Microsoft strengthens ties to open source, becomes a Linux Foundation "platinum member"

I couldn't believe my eyes this morning. I know they have done a few things open source, but I always thought that was an attempt to appeal to the growing throngs of Linux and Open Source users...

I'm starting to rethink that opinion..

Here's the word straight from the horses mouth, the Linux Foundation:

"SAN FRANCISCO – November 16, 2016 – The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit advancing professional open source management for mass collaboration, today announced that Microsoft has joined the organization at a Platinum member during Microsoft’s Connect(); developer event in New York.

From cloud computing and networking to gaming, Microsoft has steadily increased its engagement in open source projects and communities. The company is currently a leading open source contributor on GitHub and earlier this year announced several milestones that indicate the scope of its commitment to open source development. The company released the open source .NET Core 1.0; partnered with Canonical to bring Ubuntu to Windows 10; worked with FreeBSD to release an image for Azure; and after acquiring Xamarin, Microsoft open sourced its software development kit. In addition, Microsoft works with companies like Red Hat, SUSE and others to support their solutions in its products.

"As a cloud platform company we aim to help developers achieve more using the platforms and languages they know,” said Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group. “The Linux Foundation is home not only to Linux, but many of the community’s most innovative open source projects. We are excited to join The Linux Foundation and partner with the community to help developers capitalize on the shift to intelligent cloud and mobile experiences.”

Microsoft already contributes to several Linux Foundation projects, including Node.js Foundation, OpenDaylight, Open Container Initiative, R Consortium and Open API Initiative.

John Gossman, Architect on the Microsoft Azure team, will join The Linux Foundation Board of Directors.

“Microsoft has grown and matured in its use of and contributions to open source technology,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of The Linux Foundation. “The company has become an enthusiastic supporter of Linux and of open source and a very active member of many important projects. Membership is an important step for Microsoft, but also for the open source community at large, which stands to benefit from the company’s expanding range of contributions.”

To view a full roster of Linux Foundation members, please visit

About The Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world's top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at" -the Linux Foundation