December 18, 2012 Leave a comment

I mentioned this on +Mike Elgan ‘s post about Grokr, but the new iOS app ate up 24% of my battery life in an hour because of it’s constant use of location services. Has anyone else tried Grokr and if so, are you experiencing the same thing? My phone was idle during this battery drain. After deleting the app, the phone ate up another 3% in battery in the following two hours, so it’s safe to say it was most likely Grokr.

There has to be a better way. I hope Grokr can get it straightened out. For now, though, I’ll pass.

Categories: Uncategorized

Accept or Reject

December 3, 2012 Leave a comment

So I posted my photos on Facebook last night using Shotwell on Ubuntu 12.10. Everything appeared to go as the night before, which was messages of success. The only difference this second time around was that I didn’t create a new album; I was uploading to an existing album.

This is apparently an important difference.

When I went to Facebook, my photos did not appear on my timeline. When I went to the album, I was notified that I had to either accept or reject the photos because they were being uploaded by an unauthorized application. As a bonus, the acceptance routine seemed broken. It didn’t give any response when used, though if Facebook was closed and reopened, the number of photos in this state would change, but erratically.

This is clearly Facebook’s thing and another reason why that network and platform makes me insane. I don’t like that it’s where all my friends and family want to be.

The more disappointing thing about this, though, is per the quick research I did on this, this whole issue is due to the way Shotwell is communicating with Facebook. I could spend a few hours sorting the issue out, but I don’t want to, not during my vacation. I want to be out enjoying myself and taking more photos. This little glitch is demonstrating once again that Ubuntu, while quite close to where it needs to be, is still not close enough to “plug and play” or “it just works” for Joe Consumer. I’ll still use it and when my vacation is complete, I’ll deconstruct this issue so I can help make this experience less painful for other Shotwell users because that’s what I like to do. It does, however, make me hesitant to recommend a Linux solution to Joe Consumer.

This is a little thing. And it can probably be solved rather easily, but vacationers don’t want to solve things during their time off, they want to use the tools as described. I guess we still have work to do before we’ll see Linux on the desktop/laptop for the masses.

Edit 03 Dec 12 1023 CT: I think I was able to resolve the issue by removing Facebook from my Online Accounts manager in Unity and then re-adding it. I’ll know more tonight when I try to do my daily recap of vacation activities.

Categories: Facebook, Ubuntu


December 2, 2012 Leave a comment

So the husband and I are on vacation for the next week. Yesterday we arrived in Houston, and we are going to explore this part of Texas until Wednesday and then drive to Louisiana, where we’ll spend the latter half of the week in New Orleans. This is our first time to Houston and we haven’t been to New Orleans since 1999.

The geek side of me is excited about this trip because this is the first vacation I have been on since 2005 that is not completely Mac centric. The only computer I have in tow in my ThinkPad T430 running Ubuntu. I have my Nexus 7 tablet specifically because I wanted to see how helpful Google Now would be during the trip. I am still using my iPhone 4 because my Verizon contract doesn’t expire until the 1st of February and I was told that you never know what Santa is going to bring because Santa sometimes pays full price for a phone to avoid losing an unlimited plan.

So far photo management has been good, but not great. I am using Shotwell but I can’t find a way to add descriptions to the photos. Shotwell also crapped out a couple of times when uploading to Flickr right from the software. For a couple of the photos last night I ended up uploading them right through the Flickr website interface, which worked just fine. If anyone can help me with Shotwell, I’d certainly appreciate the input from the masses.

I had turned off Google+’s automatic uploading of photos because my iPhone 4 battery life struggles as it is, but right before typing this I turned it back on. Google+ might end up being my go to for photo management, but I don’t see a way to share to Flickr or (gasp) Facebook.

Other functionality with this new tech setup is working brilliantly. Google Now suggested several interesting restaurants around our hotel room. I think it goes without saying that the Nexus 7’s Google Maps application far exceeds the iOS 6 Maps app. Just for kicks I tried the iOS 6 map app from the airport to Houston and the first instructed turn tried to take me into an “Authorized Vehicles Only” area that would have eventually led me to an active runway, but had I crossed the runway, I would have made it out of the airport and on my way onto Interstate 45. So we are sticking with the Google Maps on the Nexus 7 for the rest of the vacation.

I’m not going to spend a huge amount of time tweaking my Ubuntu setup because I honestly want to spend more time just enjoying the vacation with my husband, but I’ll be doing more Shotwell exploring tonight when we get back from our day’s activities.

Categories: Android, iOS 6, Ubuntu


November 24, 2012 Leave a comment

So last night I was sleeping peacefully when my iPhone and Nexus 7 lit up the bedroom like a beacon in the dreamscape. Startled by this (it’s almost as bad as the phone ringing in the middle of the night), I jumped up, wide awake, to see what the urgent message was about.

The message was something to the effect of, ‘Someone tried to get into your Facebook account and we’ve locked it.’ Since the account was locked, I knew it could wait until morning, so I went back to sleep. Kudos to Facebook for being proactive with my account security.

So what I needed to do this morning was change my passwords on my accounts. I was due for a password change anyways (I try to do it once a quarter or so), so I thought I would share my little password generation method with the masses in hopes that you’ll find it helpful.

We all know that passwords are a pain in the butt. They need to be something that you’ll remember, but they can’t be something that will be easily guessed. The days of using “password” as your password should be long, long gone. However, I do use a password that can be easily remembered. I start out with a phrase or word that is meaningful to me. For example, on my wedding day, I made a promise to my husband, so I’ll start with that word:


One thing that you should always do is use a mixture of both lower- and uppercase letters in your password, so let’s change the first letter to an uppercase letter.


It’s still a pretty simple word to guess, right? The second step in my password generation is adding an adjective or an emotion to the word. Not only does it make the password harder to crack because you’re changing the password to a phrase, it also makes it easier to remember. My promise to my husband makes me happy, so I’ll add a word that indicates this.


The exclamation point at the end drives the point home and makes the password even more secure.

The next thing we want to do is we want to change the vowels to symbols that look like their alphabetic counterparts. This is a loose interpretation of leet speak and it adds another layer of security to your passphrase.


The last thing I do is add an indicator as to what service this password is going to be used on. Now some people might find this odd, but this gives me the ability to use the same password or phrase on all my accounts but still have unique passwords for each. I am going to use this password for my Facebook account, so let’s add that to the mix.


One approach to this might be if Facebook is the first thing you go to in the morning, put the FB at the beginning. If you have a Twitter account that you tend to go to after you go to Facebook, you could put that at the end, so you’d have


Your password still has meaning to you, but is much more secure because you’ve added these different layers of customization and security to it.

Happy surfing and feel confident knowing that you’re surfing safely!

Categories: Security

Todo.txt CLI Enhancements.

November 11, 2012 1 comment

I need to do have a To Do list. As I get older I find that I can’t remember things nearly as easily as I used to be able to and because of this I end up forgetting to do something that needed to be done. Because I tend to have a strong perfectionist streak, I feel really bad when I forget something. So I decided I really needed to do something about it.

I’ve read up on GTD (Getting Things Done) and have incorporated many of the principles into my workflow. Since I was originally all Mac based, I originally went with OmniFocus from the Omni Group. OmniFocus is a brilliant program and syncs well between the Mac, iPhone and iPad. However, one of the challenges with using OmniFocus is for those of us that use cross platform solutions; there’s no way to get to my OmniFocus setup from a non-Apple environment. When your primary laptop is a Linux based machine, that’s not going to work out so well.

So then I moved to Remember The Milk. While it is definitely not a strict GTD type of environment, Remember The Milk has lots of cross platform goodness and a pretty good web-based application. I liked the theory of it a lot, especially the ability to enter things in using a natural language such as “Take out the garbage on Thursday by 10:00 p.m.” The problem with RTM was that I just could not wrap my head around the web application. I know that this is kind of odd, because I write web applications for a living, but there was something that just felt too complicated about the app. I believe that one of the primary things about a GTD app is that it should do it’s function but stay out of your way as much as possible.

And this is where the KISS, or “Keep It Simple, Stupid” principle comes in. I decided to move my ToDo needs to a plain-text file that synchronized between my computers using Dropbox. I could access it from home and from work. I decided to do all this using Gina Trapani‘s todo.txt CLI.

Todo.txt is sheer simple brilliance.

Not only can I use any text editor to manage my plain-text ToDo list, ToDo.txt CLI also gives me the ability to easily manage my tasks right from the command line. As long as I can get to my server, I can get to my tasks. Couple this ability with the excellent, simple iOS and Android apps, and I’m golden.

I have a method for tracking my tasks on my ToDo list. I use deadlines for myself when I can, usually with a “due:” notation before it. I also categorize my tasks (using “+Project”) and the context (“@Context”). This makes searching my task list that much easier.  For example, if I want to find something that has to do with garbage (like the task Take Out The Garbage), I can do this (where I have ‘t’ as an alias for my ‘’ script:

$ t list | grep garbage

After typing these commands for a few days, I finally got around to building some aliases in my .bashrc to make it that much easier.  Here’s what I am doing these days:

Anything that needs to be processed into a project and context can be found like this:

alias tinbox='/home/machias/ list | grep -E "Inbox|inbox"'

Anything that has a due date of today, or is a daily task, or has to be completed on a certain day of the week, can be found with this alias:

alias today='/home/machias/ list | grep -E "Daily|daily|`date +%Y-%m-%d`|`date +%A`"'

Again, pretty simple stuff but still quite valuable.

Once you adapt a keyword type approach to your Todo.txt, you will find that the possibilities are endless. If you’re looking for a simple way to stay organized, give it a try!

Categories: bash scripting, CLI