dimanche 25 août 2019

Hugin Panorama Creator with the Fairphone 2

The computer has more options for stitching photos together than digital cameras have. Hugin Panorama Creator is free software and gives excellent results. However, to work correctly, Hugin needs the correct information for the lens used to take the photos! It is uncanny how inadequate lens data can impede Hugin’s algorithms to the point of rendering them absolutely useless.

The Fairphone 2 is not actually a digital camera for a start, and it is a niche phone at that. No wonder, that Hugin knows nothing about its lenses.

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samedi 24 août 2019

Personal accounting automation, and password caching on Linux

Personal accounting management is a tedious task: logging in to each bank’s web portal, checking for new PDF documents to download, then downloading for each account a “computer-friendly” record of transactions since the previous visit. And this is only to get the data…

All banks seem to agree on using the PDF format for “official communication”. For files intended to be imported into accounting software, however, anything is possible: csv, qif, ofx, or even nothing (that’s Oney…). Besides, the downloading process is not always satisfactory: the HTML forms to fill may be a bit buggy, the downloaded files sometimes have the wrong encoding, the included labels may not be as informative as those found on the web site…

Then I discovered boobank, from the Weboob software collection. This awesome tool can automatically login to each bank, and then convert the web site’s paged list of transactions into a standard format, such as ofx!

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mardi 26 février 2019

Fun with Kanban, episode 2

So… You were aboard a space-ship, and you crashed on a planet after hitting an asteroid. Welcome to the excellent game Blackvoxel!

As we saw in the first episode, from the wreckage you salvaged a base machine, which is the foundation on which you slowly rebuild the technology and equipment you were used to.

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jeudi 21 février 2019

Fun with Kanban, episode 1

(yes, the title is a nod at something… guess what!)

You are aboard a space-ship, and you crash on the nearby planet after hitting an asteroid. Thus begins the tale of Blackvoxel. From the wreckage, you salvage a base machine, and you are still under the protection of your space-suit. Much like Matt Damon in The Martian, you are alone, and you have to make do with your environment and the salvaged equipment…

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dimanche 23 septembre 2018

IRIScan Mouse Executive 2 on Linux, sort of…

The IRIScan mouse is a neat little device! Its scanning function works really well and fast, for such a little piece of hardware, and the mouse function is surprisingly familiar: no extra weight, no extra bulk. It could be perfect.

But…

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jeudi 9 novembre 2017

Google Chrome is great? Think again…

The Chrome web browser won market-share fast, and still is. But people tend to forget who is behind Chrome.

Now Google (or should I say Alphabet?) decided that their Chrome browser feeling faster is worth breaking web sites and going against the established standards that make the Web an open platform. That’s bad.

I’ve been using Firefox since it first appeared, not because it is the fastest, nor because it is the best, but because it is free software, backed by an organisation that pursues its users’ best interests and protects their privacy. Here’s one more reason to do so, if one was needed.

The icing over the cake is that Firefox is getting really fast! If you’ve been using Chrome, think again…

lundi 6 novembre 2017

Git is available again… again!

Yeah… sorry about that… The long-awaited change of server that I had been planning for more than a year has finally happened :-) It took some time, and things are coming back online one piece at a time…

On the good side, Git has become easier to browse and use. See here: https://yalis.fr/git/

jeudi 20 avril 2017

Git is available again

When I setup gitolite on my server for Git access through SSH, of course I did test that cloning worked from outside my network. That was for my Paperweb project.

Later I configured port-knocking on the server to get rid of bot-based authentication attempts that were polluting my log files. Unfortunately, at this time, the “outside” server on which I have an account was down, so I could not leave my network to check that all was fine; from the inside of the network, all worked like a charm, though!

Same situation when someone asked me for the Paperweb code by e-mail because they could not get it the normal Git way. I had no idea that port-knocking was the problem: from my side of the firewall, all worked correctly…

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samedi 24 septembre 2016

Import an old mbox file into Thunderbird

I tried to import an old e-mail file from year 2000 or so, using Thunderbird’s ImportExportTools extension. And it failed. I first tried to split the mbox file, but eventually I found that X-Mozilla… headers were at fault! So, the solution is simply to run this command on the file before importing it in Thunderbird:

sed -i.bak '/^X-Mozilla/d' MboxFile

In case someone is interested, here is how I could split the mbox file into multiple eml files:

mkdir files.eml
awk '
BEGIN {f=0; o=""}
function new() {if (f!=0) close(o); f=f+1; o=sprintf("files.eml/%d.eml",f)}
/^From - / {new(); next}
/^X-Mozilla/ {next}
{print >>o}
END {new()}' MboxFile

This worked because each e-mail in my mbox file started with a « From - … » line. I’m not sure this is a universal rule, however.

mardi 13 septembre 2016

Vive le fairphone 2 !

Le Fairphone 2 est un excellent téléphone. Je ne savais trop comment présenter cette acquisition…

Quelqu’un l’a déjà fait, bien mieux que je ne saurais le faire. Allez-y, c’est très bien écrit :

https://grisebouille.net/fairphone-un-telephone-pour-libriste/

samedi 10 septembre 2016

Baisse du volume sonore sur la théière riviera&bar Yunnan

Heureux possesseur d’une théière électrique riviera&bar Yunnan, je déplorais toutefois le volume strident de son alarme sonore, dont le rôle est d’informer l’utilisateur des différentes étapes : ébullition, infusion, maintien au chaud… Il suffit d’ailleurs de consulter la FAQ du fabriquant concernant cette théière pour s’en convaincre ; une seule question à ce jour : « Peut-on retirer les signaux sonores du produit ? »

C’était insupportable ; j’ai donc atténué le volume sonore de son « buzzer ».

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mercredi 8 juin 2016

Light-weight port-knocking to protect SSH

A bit more than a year ago, I hardened my SSH server, which resulted in the near-disappearance of automated SSH login attempts. Alas, the script-kiddie tools have finally caught up with the current state of cryptography; or at least with the level of cryptography that I dare require, and still maintain compatibility with most devices that I use.

Fail2ban, although dormant all this time, still ran like the ever-vigilant Argos, and resumed its usual work as the attacks came back. But I do not like relying solely on fail2ban. So I decided to add port-knocking as a protection.

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lundi 30 mai 2016

A new self-hosted home server

My ageing eSATA SheevaPlug is running a lot of tasks:

  • web, e-mail, and xmpp server;
  • database server;
  • NFS and DLNA (media) server;
  • sync server for contacts, calendars, files, and Firefox profiles (old protocol);
  • and various means of connecting remotely.

It is now running Debian Jessie, after having run Lenny, and then Wheezy, which shows just how long it’s been running, considering the long lifetime of a major Debian version :-D

With only a half-GB of RAM, it’s come to the point where swap is being used on a regular basis, although not too much so far. As for the processing power, everything works, albeit slowly; reasonably so… so far. And more importantly, anything more is impossible (eg. nice ownCloud modules, or a sound server…).

The time has come to plan a replacement, which is the subject of this post.

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jeudi 21 janvier 2016

Command-line and Web Interface for Paperwork

I am very fortunate that one jflesch on GitHub decided one day to create Paperwork! This excellent program evolved very quickly and is still improving. I manage all my official documents, invoices, and such, in Paperwork. Scan by scan, PDF import by PDF import, I am slowly approaching the 2000 documents, or 5000 pages. This program has proved invaluable in the past year alone, both for speeding up the processing of new documents, and for looking for old documents.

Yet I miss one feature: the possibility to search the database of documents (which is on my home server) from any computer or mobile device, without having to launch Paperwork, which is only installed on the main family PC.

Besides, as I often connect to my server from distant places using OpenSSH, the possibility to do command-line searches would be a big improvement over my current use of find, grep, etc. Or I should rather say, my former use of find, grep, etc. Because…

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dimanche 17 janvier 2016

Secure personnal backup in the Cloud(s) using Linux

Like everyone, I have important data on my computer. Like everyone, I have a backup (several, actually) of this important data —you do too, don’t you?— But while this backup is good enough in case I have a hardware failure, it won’t help me if my apartment gets flooded or catches fire. That’s because the data and its backup are stored in the same place. Several solutions exist.

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samedi 16 janvier 2016

Extraire un tableau d’un PDF pour importer les données

J’ai recommencé à tenir mes comptes dans l’excellent GnuCash. Comme je n’ai pas le temps (ni l’envie) de tout saisir pour ensuite rapprocher les comptes, j’importe les données depuis les fichiers téléchargés sur Internet et je me contente d’affecter les revenus et dépenses, et vérifier que tout est normal.

Mais tous les organismes ne fournissent pas de fichiers directement exploitables. Beaucoup se contentent de fichiers PDF…

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lundi 3 août 2015

Synchronisation de fichiers légère, pour ownCloud et WebDAV

J’ai récemment commencé à utiliser ownCloud pour la synchronisation de fichiers. En fin de compte, malgré quelques problèmes à la marge, l’expérience est vraiment satisfaisante, à tel point que j’ai déplacé sur ownCloud tout mon « nuage personnel », précédemment sur un partage NFS. Néanmoins, si le client ownCloud standard convient lorsqu’il est disponible, il ne l’est pas toujours. En particulier :

  • Je transporte avec moi sur clef USB un bureau Linux léger basé sur TinyCore Linux, et pour lequel ce client n’existe pas.
  • Je possède aussi un vieil ordinateur portable qui doit se contenter d’un système d’exploitation obsolète à cause d’un composant vidéo bogué, qu’aucun système plus récent ne supporte (bien que cette même référence de composant graphique sur un autre ordinateur portable soit parfaitement supportée…).

Pour de telles situations, j’ai essayé d’utiliser DavFS, qui s’est avéré bien trop lent ; cela reste toutefois un bon second choix. Puis j’ai essayé le programme Java WebDAV-Sync, mais bien que celui-ci ait correctement effectué l’import initial, on ne peut pas dire que la synchronisation ait vraiment fonctionné : l’ensemble des données était à nouveau intégralement téléchargé à chaque nouvelle tentative de synchronisation !

Donc j’ai créé mon propre outil de synchronisation, dont les seules dépendances sont curl et bash, et optionnellement ssh. Ces dépendances sont disponibles partout, même sur Windows et quelques systèmes embarqués ;-)

This article is also available in English.

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dimanche 2 août 2015

Lightweight file synchronization for ownCloud and WebDAV

I recently began using ownCloud for file synchronization. All in all, although there are some minor hindrances, the experience is really satisfying. So much so, that I moved all my “personal cloud” data to ownCloud, from the previous NFS share. However, although the regular ownCloud client is just fine where available, it is not available everywhere. In particular:

  • I carry around on a USB stick a lightweight Linux desktop based on TinyCore Linux, for which the client is not available.
  • I also have an old laptop that is stuck with an obsolete operating system because the video chipset is buggy, and no newer OS will support it (even though the “same” chipset reference in another laptop works just fine…).

For these situations, I tried using DavFS, but this solution was much too slow; it is a great fall-back, though. Next I tried the Java program WebDAV-Sync, but although the initial download went fine, sync did not work all that well: the whole share was fully downloaded again each time!

So I created my own synchronization tool, the only dependencies of which are curl and bash, and optionally ssh. These dependencies are available everywhere, including Windows and some embedded systems ;-)

Cet article a été traduit en français.

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mercredi 1 juillet 2015

Aujourd'hui est un jour spécial

Jul  1 01:59:59 myserver kernel: [100093.877018] Clock: inserting leap second 23:59:60 UTC

dimanche 7 juin 2015

Both virtual and real users in the same domain with Exim and Courier

My personal server only served a few real users to this day, which means that each of us had an account on the server, that owned files and could run commands, schedule tasks, and so on.

I just extended my hosting perimeter, but I only allow email usage for my new guests so far. With this in mind, I did not want to create new Linux accounts, which would have needlessly weakened my server by exposing it to attacks towards these new accounts. Thus I created my first virtual users, for electronic mail.

I found several configuration examples on the Internet, but those mostly addressed situations where all users were virtual, often in several domains, or where a given domain was targeted at real users while others domains were targeted at virtual users. My wish was rather to allow new, virtual, users into my existing domains, the users of which were so far of the real kind only. Still, by taking from all those readings, it was not that hard to get there.

Cet article existe aussi en français.

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