Only Ubuntu left standing

Headline news, Mac users not as secure as they first imagined

A laptop running a fully patched version of Microsoft's Vista operating system was the second and final machine to fall in a hacking contest that pitted the security of Windows, OS X and Ubuntu Linux. With both a Windows and Mac machine felled, only the Linux box remained standing following the three-day competition.

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the week before… Over the Air

Yep its only one week till Over the Air and the whole team is working all hours possible to nail everything down and make sure the event is top notch. Seriously the event is going to be great, but we're trying to make it even more special that great. We've over come some major barriers to make this event happen and I'm sure theres even more to come when you all start opening your laptops and trying to connect at the same time. Were confident the network (3g and Wifi) will be stable enough to take 400 people hitting it at the same time, but the space we have is going to be pretty tight. Hence we had to put a maximum limit on tickets and yes all the tickets are now gone.

This logestical nightmare of guiding people around the maze which is imperial college also requires added help, and we're still looking for runners to help with over the air. We're still also looking for people who have signed up and want to help, obviously helpers will het a little gift for there help and can choose the hours they want to work, while the runners will be paid to be there 12 hours at a time and have no real choice about jobs they get allocated to. Email me if helper or runner is something your interested in (please, only people on the list can be helpers now).

Theres a lot more to come from over the air including details about the competition, maps, etc. So please keep an eye on the site and expect a email to everyone who signed up really soon. Also don't forget to sign up to the backnetwork which you should have got an invite to if you signed up successfully. Also if you don't think you will make over the air, please for sake of everyone just ping us a email, so someone else can take your spot. We have quite a few people waiting in the reserved queue for dropouts. We do want in as many people as possible but safety first of course.

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First day of looking at Flats in Manchester

So after looking at ton of flats in Manchester city centre today, I've drawn the list down to a top 3. Now don't get me wrong, Almost every flat I've looked at has been perfectly liveable and worthy of consideration, but these flats have that wow factor which has pushed them in front of the rest.

  • St Georges Island, Kelso Place, Castlefield Manchester
    This place is furnished with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (one En-Suite), secure parking and a balcony which stretches the complete length of the flat. The view is great and the only downside is the location is quite far from oxford road, so it would be almost 20mins walk to work or to the northern quarter. Deansgate station is about 5-10mins away which isn't too bad. Its also got 24hour conceirge and is right next to the canel.
  • Nile, City Road East, Knott Mill, Manchester
    Is a lot like the last one but no 24hour conceirge and the balcony is much smaller. However its a stone throw from Deansgate station and actually walkable to oxford road within 15mins..
  • Church Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester
    This one was pretty impressive and set the standard for a while till later in the day when I saw the others. The major difference is its location. Its actually across the road from the Arndale centre and located in the northern quarter. According to some people, its a great area and is recommended over anywhere else in Manchester.

Tomorrow I will have a look at, and this is just between 4-6pm!

  • The Lock, Winkworth Road, Manchester
  • The Hacienda, Winkworth Road, Manchester
  • Beaumont Building, Salford, Manchester
  • Skyline Chambers, Northern Quarter, Manchester
  • Green Building, Salford, Manchester
  • Agecroft House, Winkworth, Manchester
  • W3, Winkworth/Oxford Road, Manchester
  • Home 1, Winkworth, Manchester
  • Meadow View, Northern Quarter, Manchester
  • Home 2, Winkworth, Manchester
  • The Linx, Northern Quarter, Manchester
  • Market Buildings, Northern Quarter Manchester
  • Oxford Place, Oxford Rd, Manchester
  • Barton Place, Northern Quarter, Manchester
  • The Citadel, Northern Quarter, Manchester
  • The Ropeworks, Winkworth Road, Manchester

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Home Server setup

So after the long wait for the Ubuntu home server group to launch something instead of just talking about it. I found in one of the forums a link to

Please checkout the people at as they are working on a similar initiative I think. Currently they are based on Fedora Core 6 but they are also looking to build a similar distro around ubuntu.
Would this perhaps be interesting enough to cooperate with?

ok i finished setting up amahi.

Amhi has a good aproach ,namly
create a dhcp , and samba domain controler for the user.

The Information about the ips and the domain name is read viva the web.
Each must have an account at With this account he gets a dynamic dns account like

amahi is in early beta stage (but far further than uhs). The useradministration is not quite finished ( personal oppinion)

Now I need your Comments on Amahi. If i should provide some screenshots .. let me know ..

I think we have the following opportunities:

  1. amahi is as far to base OUR development on it
  2. merge with amahi ( unlike )
  3. keep our own way and reinvent the wheel.

So I had a look around and actually I'm very impressed except a couple of things. Its very tied to the website and is made for people who have no knowledge of unix/linux at all. This is great but a little too black box for my liking. I also don't like the idea of opening ports for the software and switching off DHCP in smoothwall. Amahi will do everything and granted seems to be aiming its self right at the Windows home server market. Its no Network magic, thankfully because you do still feel more in control of whats going on. So although I hate duplication, I think Ubuntuhomeserver and Amahi should be different projects doing simlar things.

I've been thinking about what changes I want to make to my home network and home entertainment system when I move to Manchester. Theres things which I should be doing like getting rid of my large workstation/servers in favour of maybe one huge server and a couple of laptops. Why? well the power usage of a laptop compared to a workstation is just something else. The form factor means no more problems with getting monitors into weird places is no longer a problem and lets be honest, laptops go really cheap now, specially if you don't care about battery power or scratches, etc. It doesn't matter if it has the orginal cds or not, hell it almost doesn't matter what videocard or memory is in it. As long as Ubuntu will install on it.

While talking about Ubuntu and laptops, I've decided I'm going to pick up a cheap laptop for my replacement to the Xbox and Xbox media centre. I'm getting more and more HD content via podcasts like pop!tech and its a real pain to convert them each time. I figure this is a better option that a Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. Although I got to say I was able to watch live Flash streaming via yesterday using the Wii's Opera browser and it worked really well. BBC iPlayer doesn't work because it needs the upgraded Flash 9 plugin.

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2 Bedroom Penthouse in Manchester – Wow!

Manchester to Salford

I've been subscribing to a range of RSS feeds from Nestoria and jumping up and down looking at the amazing range of flats and their prices in Manchester. For example check out these few amazing Penthouse finds.

Ducie Street, Manchester – 725 pcm

A stunning penthouse property located just off Ducie St. behind Piccadilly Station. This property is ideal for a professional couple looking for a new apartment to move into with luxury furnishings. It is also ideal for two persons sharing with the benefit of two good sized bathrooms. The property has an open plan living room and kitchen with panoramic views from two sides over East and West Manchester and is unique in its size, shape and location with those views. The property is available immediately and viewing is highly recommended.

Manchester City Centre, Manchester – 800 pcm

The Philip James Partnership are proud to present this sixth floor two bedroom penthouse apartment in Manchester City Centre. The apartment is fully furnished to a good standard, boasts a parking space and comprises briefly of: two double bedrooms with master en suite, modern bathroom and open plan living space with kitchen, lounge and dining area. Located in Macintosh Village, just off Whitworth Street, it is the perfect base for City living and viewings are highly recommended

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Tickets for Over the Air going quickly

Free - sign up now

Its all go, over half the tickets are gone. But you can see why… With sponsors like Nokia, Google, Yahoo!, sun microsystems, Vodafone betavine, Adobe and dotmobi. supported by the BBC and arranged by Mobile Monday and a great speaker line up. You'd better get in there quickly as this is going to sell out soon.

If your coming from far, there's now advice for staying in a cheap hotel at so will i see you all on 4th april for some mobile hacking…

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New Hat for myself part2

Wearing Dans hat

Dan's usually wearing a pretty cool hat, so I posed for a shot with his hat. What do you all think? I admit its not the best picture and it was taken at BarCampBrighton2 after 3 hours of sleep and a ton of Redbull. I think when I'm wearing a shirt instead of tshirt it will work better.

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The attention economy is only just around the corner

APML logo

One of my proposals for Xtech 2008 was accepted. I submitted two, one around APML and the other around Data Portability. As expected the Data Portability one got dropped, I guess because its maybe a little light and fluffy for a conference like Xtech. So I'll be talking about APML, which hopefully will be up to version 1.0. I'll be covering both the actual XML format but also the practical uses and services which have sprung up since APML.

The attention economy was talked about at the end of 06 to death. Through all the hype, a couple of guys from down-under started to make sense of attention and proposed APML (Attention Profiling Markup Language).Unfortunately little is known about APML and there is a lot of mis-information on APML. As one of the working group members I will run through what it is, its purpose and why its important.

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I’m going to Manchester


So as some people might have guessed I'm moving from London to Manchester. This might be quite a shock for some but after the messy divorice and the sale of the house, I thought again about the BBC's offer to help staff move to Manchester early. Clean break from the expensive city which I started to think of as home.

I went up to Manchester about 2 weeks ago to see what it was like and except for a little abuse about being from the south it wasn't bad at all. What struck me about Manchester was the buildings. There are tons of modern flats covering most of the central area of Manchester city centre and there really reasonable in price because there are so many of them. I went for a viewing of a range of flats just off oxford road/street and was shocked to find high ceilings, lots of space and a great view. Not only that, but I would have been 1min walk from both BBC Manchester and Oxford road train station. This type accommendation in London would set you back a least one grand and a bit every month. But in Manchester its less that 600 pounds a month.
I was also suprised at how modern everything was. Like the picture, everythings clean stone and glass in the centre.

There are some serious business reasons to go up to Manchester too. A lot of people feel the BBC is too London centric. And Backstage also gets a lot of flack for running most of the events in London including Over the Air. Well not any more, now the centre of Backstage will be Manchester and London 2nd. I'm hoping to unite a North and South a little better through the work at backstage. Yes there is a divide but I don't think its about trying to out do London, its about playing to your strenghts. As Adrian McEwen wrote there is a fear that running events in the north will not generate much interest. Well there are events planned which will change this. The success of BarCampManchester and the upcoming Think Digital conference alongside BarCampNewcastle, should be a true idicator that the North is important and new interesting events can be successful. (Oh did I mention Backstage is sponsoring and supporting the last two?)

Anyway back to moving. So I don't know the exact date yet, it depends on when I find a flat I like in Manchester I guess. But the house I'm living in right now has sold and so at some point soon, there will be a complition date which means I will have to move before that date. Everything squared off at work, so I can move reasonably quickly without too much distruption.
Obviously I will be back and forth between London and Manchester but I do want to throw a large scale party in London at some point to say bye to friends. This may co-inside with a large london geekdinner I've been planning on Saturday 26th April. So please try and keep that date clear if possible. Hey I may even drink that night…

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The world’s 50 most powerful blogs – who cares?

I was talking to Sarah our friendly PR woman the other day about all this stuff to do with iPlayer, when I spotted a print out titled The world's 50 most powerful blogs. I launched into a rant about how full of crap these lists are. Just like the Technorati top 100, etc. the Blogosphere has finally grown up and dropped the need for such lists, but mainstream media still thrive on this type of stuff. I mean what the hell does powerful really mean anyway? Are we talking power in numbers of people, reach, hits, advertising revenue, influence or what? Its stupid and we're better off without these popularity contests. I mean how can you compare Engadget to Boingboing? There very different just like the huge long tail of the blogosphere (yes I hate the term too). Its all about personal preference and we're fools if we forget this. Subscribe to what you like, not whats popular. Rant over…

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Send to Flickr

Bahi sent around the call for testers a while ago and I thought actually Kflickr's and fspot's been ok but both very bloated for a simple uploader to flickr. So I thought I'd give send to flickr a try.

It does work as shown above but I've already got a few bits of feedback already.

  • The icon on the gnome desktop does not scale to a size bigger that 32×32 it seems. It needs a scalable icon.
  • There's no ability to rename the file names or set collections.
  • I assume proxy support is done via gnome?
  • It would be nice to have some little notification when its finished uploading or be able to have the uploading progress bar as a notification
  • The whole application seems to disappear once the upload is finished. Need some confirmation of upload.
  • Good call on the right click option.

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Signup now for Over the Air

Over the Air banner

You can now sign-up for Over the Air, the 48 hour development event happening in Imperial College with MobileMonday and supported by the BBC. There are other sponsors to be announced very soon…

The last few months have been pretty crazy in the mobile world. The iPhone has caught many peoples imagination running. Its sold ok in the uk but not that well. However its certainly shaken up the mobile makers and operators. But the one to watch has to be Android which seems to be the most wanted device of 2008 (next to the pacemaker). It promises so much and seems to be so perfect to people like myself who have been cursing there windows mobile phones. The devices are powerful but the software and operating system although not bad, just felt under powered. So something like Android would be amazing. But it gets even better in the form of truly open handsets such as the Openmoko

On top of these two changes to the mobile world, the UK mobile operators have all announced and launched all you can eat data plans which people can actually afford. These changes plus HSDPA/HSUPA (3.5g) dongles along side almost ubiquitous wireless across most cities. Finally means you can be online all the time and not at a stupid jaw dropping price.

Its not hard to see why I think having a hackday style event made a lot of sense. All these things are now within the reach of developers and almost designers. Its not just mobile too, its also wireless devices. At Hackday, the Nabaztags counted for 3 of the hacks. I'm sure there will be more and people may even experiement with the Chumby and other weird and wonderful devices.

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