After all the recent bad news about video formats on the web. See also this film about software patents.


Ubuntu encrypted swap

It is easy to enable home folder encryption on Ubuntu, it is an option during installation, but for swap it is not clear how to do this. Looking for instructions online results in lots of different ways to do it. However, just running sudo ecryptfs-setup-swap should do it.

Virtual resolution on Linux

Suppose you have a netbook with a small screen (say: 1024×600 resolution) and you want to use some applications that expect higher resolutions.

On Ubuntu for example you can open the terminal (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal) and enter the following:

$ xrandr --output LVDS1 --panning 1024x768

LVDS1 seems to work for my netbook and is used as an indication for the internal panel in the netbook. Use xrandr without options to see all possible display outputs. To restore the display, change the panning option to 1024×600 again.

Lessig Wireside Chat

Another interesting presentation, this time by Lawrence Lessig.

This is a talk about copyright in a digital age, and the role (and importance) of a doctrine like “fair use.” Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, and is essential for commentary, criticism, news reporting, remix, research, teaching and scholarship with video.

Eben Moglen “Freedom in the Cloud”

One of the most inspiring talks in a long time, including Q&A!

Eben Moglen, Professor of Law and Legal History at Columbia University, and founder, Director-Counsel and Chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center, spoke about “Freedom in the Cloud: Software Freedom, Privacy and Security for Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing” on Friday, February 5, 2010.

Audio, Video.


I finally uploaded some software I created as part of my thesis. NokiCert makes it possible to upload certificates to a Nokia S40 phone using its Bluetooth connection. The installed certificate can then be used to trust MIDlet suites you signed yourself, or through a third party like CAcert. With this you can easily experiment with self-signed MIDlet suites as they will be placed in the identified third party domain.

This will save you about $200 as you don’t need to apply for a code signing certificated at one of the trusted CAs installed already in the phone. Also, if you work with NFC capable Nokias you will need to have a signed MIDlet suite to access the secure element.

NokiCert Main Window

HTML 5 and video codecs…

Lots of fuss about the HTML 5 video codec. What is it gonna be? Theora or H.264. I would say both. Youtube, for instance, has a low quality version of the video and a high quality (HD) version. Why not encode the low quality “baseline” version as Theora, and the high quality version in the format-of-the-week (i.e.: H.264). It would be a bit like the “alt” tag for embedded pictures on the web. This approach does neither increase the disk storage requirements, nor the required bandwidth for Youtube, and the content is available to everyone. When the time is right, the high quality codec might be replaced with either Theora, Dirac, or On2’s (recently bought by Google) codec. I’m probably forgetting something here… 🙂