Configure Static DNS Entries in Ubuntu

Here is quick tip to configure custom DNS services like OpenDNS and Google Public DNS servers on gnu/Linux. Using custom DNS services offers performance benefits and enhanced security.

Append add 'dns-nameservers' to your /etc/network/interfaces file. This over-rides the DNS servers assigned by the DHCP service.


Happy Browsing!

Managing Configuration files with etckeeper

Managing your /etc configuration files using version control is a good practice. Trust me, someday this will save your skin.

In the post I'll share setup notes for using etckeeper with git version control. You can install etckeeper and git using system package manager.

# Initialize etckeeper
sudo etckeeper init 

# Commit all your /etc/ configurations into git
sudo etckeeper commit '...enable etckeeper...'

# Check the commit history of file 
$ sudo git log /etc/passwd
commit 322b63ede6cf3073a8f48a883b49d5b3b60fdfb9
Author: arky <arky@localhost.localdomain>
Date:   Wed Mar 5 07:11:47 2014 +0000

    ...enable etckeeper...

There is very little etckeeper documentation out there. You can learn more from this dated Ubuntu Server 10.04 etckeeper wiki page.

So-Fi Sunrizer Solar bag with flexible panels

Robert Kaiser walks in with his Sunrizer bag and says "Here is what you need for Africa". This designer bag sports a flexible solar panel and provides USB connections to charge your devices while you carry. Stylish, Waterproof and rugged enough to hold your laptop, mobile phones, music player and charger cables. Love this bag but at €179.00 EUR it's expensive.

Checkout out for more solar products.

Using Archivemail to pruning Mailman archives

The mailman server I maintain for a local non-profit is running out of disk space.Time for some spring cleaning. Decided to archive all mailing-list archives older than 2 years. Grabbed the nifty Archivemail python program and installed with 'python'.

The archivemail is a tool for archiving and compressing old email in mailboxes. It moves messages older than the specified number of days to a separate mbox format mailbox that is compressed with gzip.

Don't forget to back up mailman mbox files before you start pruning mailman archives.

# Prune mbox file
$ cd /var/lib/mailman/archives/private
$ archivemail --days=550 name-of-list/list.mbox 

# Wipe and rebuild archive
$ cd /usr/lib/mailman
$ bin/arch --wipe 

Sugar Learning Platform

Last weekend I attended the Vietnam Tech Conference 2014 in Hanoi. The event brought together educators from across south east asia to learn and share about the use of technology within the classroom.

My talk introduced the Sugar learning platform that was developed for OLPC laptops. Designed from the ground up especially for children. Sugar User Interfaces moves away from traditional 'desktop' metaphor. It makes collaborative learning a fun experience. There are numerous activities that promotes self-learning.

What is Sugar on a stick?

Sugar on a Stick is a Fedora® Spin Live USB operating system featuring the award-winning Sugar Learning Platform and designed to fit on an ordinary USB thumbdrive ("stick").

It will run on any recent x86-based computer that can boot from a USB stick (check the BIOS settings if it doesn't work straight away). This includes most Windows and Linux PCs and x86 Macs.

You can use SoaS to demo Sugar almost anywhere without disturbing the contents of the computer you use, and if people like what they see, you can install Sugar on a Stick to their hard drives or other sticks from the demo stick.

Learn more about Sugar on a stick here.