With the recent news scandal about the NSA surveillance program code named PRISM more people is starting to question their use of cloud services thinking about their privacy. I’ve talked about free network services and ugly cloud stories but this is the ugliest of all stories going mainstream.
But in addition to that list, Peng Zhong created a web site called PRISM Break with a nice and easy to understand list of software, both desktop and web services to help protect your privacy.
I’ve already been using several of these programs and discovered new ones. It might be scary to run your own instances of web services or change the software you’ve always used, but freedom and privacy are worth a shot. I hope these list gets bigger with new software developments and current offerings get better as more people use them and get more attention.
Recently I’ve been working on a project for a client that makes use of CSS3 columns in its layout design. The problem with CSS3 columns is that it’s not supported by any stable version of Internet Explorer so far (surprised? no? good!). At the time of this writing IE9 is the latest version.
Luckily there’s hope. The CSS3 Multi-column script helps render columns in browsers that do not have this capability. All you need to do is download the file and add it to your HTML after all your stylesheet declarations. It will read all your CSS3 column declarations and render the content accordingly.
The script uses some crossdomain ajax calls to work its magic, but IE8 does things differently. I’ve patched the library with the fixes needed for it to work correctly in IE8.
Two weeks ago, I messed up my Galaxy S phone. I was having trouble with the back key activating by itself without touching it. As I’ve said before, I use Darky’s ROM instead of the crappy Samsung/Telcel default one. So searching for a possible solution, I found out that you could update your touchkeys firmware.
Well, I went ahead and updated it. To my surprise, it completely disabled my touch keys (the back and menu buttons). So, if you have the same problem with you back button key, DO NOT upgrade your firmware if you’re using a custom or unofficial ROM…or keep reading… Now my problem was worse than before! I then searched for a solution on that, and the only answer was: return to the default ROM and upgrade the touchkeys again, then revert back to your custom ROM.
That’s when my long journey began. Back when I changed to Darky’s ROM, I used Clockwork Recovery to do so. And of course, I made a backup of my current ROM. Turns out that, to restore from a backup, you need to be on the original ROM (or the ROM that backup has). And well, I had no other place to get that, since I thought my backup would solve it all. So I ended up spending almost all saturday looking for the original Samsung Galaxy S ROM from Telcel Mexico, until I finally found it!
To flash your Android device, you’ll need a program called Odin which is a leaked Samsung application that unfortunately runs only on Windows machines. There’s an open source, cross platform flashing software called Heimdall, but I couldn’t get it to work correctly, there’s not much documentation, so I couldn’t figure out my problem. I hope that project grows and evolves into a more stable alternative to Odin. So, I had to borrow a Windows XP netbook from a co-worker for a day so I could use the Odin software to Flash my phone.
Yesterday’s big news was that Google released their own “open source” browser called Google Chrome. They released only the binaries for Windows, and even thought they claim to be open source, I don’t see where I can get the source code yet.
But what really bothers me is the license agreements for Chrome:
11. Content license from you 11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.
This means that if you publish a blog post, upload a photo or release a song or software, Google has the right to use it for whatever they want, royalty-free.
Identi.ca is a free software microblogging service, similar to Twitter, based on the Status.net code base. I recently needed to update my status from Emacs, since its faster for me and easier. I’ve been using an an Emacs mode to update my Twitter account, but there was nothing to use for my Identi.ca account. And seeing there’s a Vim plugin, I thought someone, like me, needed an Emacs mode too.
Replace servername with your server (if connecting to Identica service, use identi.ca as server name), yourusername and yourpassword with your information.
You can also authenticate using OAuth, specially if you log in with an OpenID account which has no password. To use OAuth authentication (requires using oauth.el), add the following to your .emacs file:
(setq identica-auth-mode "oauth")
If you want to post from the minibufer without having identica buffer active, add the following global keybinding. Add this to send status updates
the buffer ‘*identica*’ will appear and you can see your friends timeline.
Press the “i” key to toggle icon mode to see user pictures.
To view your replies timeline
To view the public timeline
To view your friends timeline (the default timeline)
To view a user’s timeline
To view a group’s timeline
To view a tag’s timeline
To refresh the buffer’s timeline press “g”.
To post an update of your status, press
type your message in the minibuffer, and hit Enter. You will see ‘Success: Post’ in minibuffer.
To send a direct message to a user, press
On the minibuffer, you will be prompted for the username, then for the message.
To repeat (re-dent) a message, press
while the cursor is on the message’s line.
To favor a message, press the “F” key (shift f) while the cursor is on the message’s line.
Additionally, you while typing your message you can press <F4> key while the cursor is over a URL to shorten it using any of the following URL shortening services: Ur1.ca, TightURL, Goo.gl, TinyURL, To.ly and Is.gd. To expand an short url in your timeline, position your cursor over the short url and press ‘e’ key, it will be replaced with the expanded version in a few seconds.
Hope it can be of use for anyone using Emacs for almost everything, like I try to do, and would like to hear some feedback.
You can also help out if you’ve liked Emacs identica-mode and have some spare change. It would be great to support this project by making any kind of donation on the “tip jar” in appreciation of the hours invested on its development and improvement.