Icedove and Enigmail

A tip for any Debian user trying to get PGP to work in Icedove, Debian’s re-branded version of the Thunderbird Mail client: All the tutorials and forums on the internet telling you to install Enigmail from Thunderbird’s Add-on menu won’t work. It’s not there. Enigmail isn’t compatible with your version of Thunderbird, which is… Icedove. The solution is simple but not obvious; Enigmail needs to be installed from the package manager, a simple

aptitude install enigmail

should do the trick! 😉

Finding photos of a known size

Recently I did a friend a favour and installed Linux Mint on her laptop as she was a bit frustrated with Windows. Unfortunately I assumed she’d backed up everything before handing it over to me, so I re-partitioned the whole drive to ext4. She hadn’t.

On the bright side the computer was quite new and the only thing she wanted from the disk were some photos she’d taken. Well, that just made it my lucky day because there just happens to be a tool specifically for recovering photos (and a myriad of other filetypes) from disks that have been written over: TestDisk

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Renaming USB Devices in Linux

Sometimes you want to change the name of a USB device, for example because it has no name or because it has a new purpose. I usually give my USB flash drives my own name so that if I lose them, people will know who to return them to.

Modern desktop environments make it easy to rename your device by simply clicking it and selecting ‘rename’ from the context menu. However, sometimes you might want to do this from the command line 😎 perhaps because you have no desktop environment, or your desktop environment does not allow you to easily rename your device, or because you feel you could do it faster this way. Continue reading

Namibian Mobile Broadband Settings in Linux

I originally posted this as a Note in the Linux Namibia Facebook group when I still had a Facebook account but I’ve decided to cross-post it here because not everyone uses Facebook and because I still see people having trouble with this. After a few lessons in XML in my Internet Technology course, I contacted local networks and with the cooperation of network staff, I was able to add a little code so that the recent (10 August 2011) update to the mobile-broadband-provider-info package in Ubuntu adds support for Namibian providers MTC, Leo and Telecom. Namibians often seem to have trouble using their cellphones or dongles to get connected on Linux, and the network staff, being unfamiliar with Linux, usually aren’t much help either. This should solve that.
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Checking Computer Specs With No Operating System

After my previous post about checking computer specs in Linux somebody asked an interesting question: how do you check your computer’s specifications if you don’t actually have any operating system to check them with?

In my opinion the easiest way to do this would be to download a disk image of a live CD for a lightweight Linux distribution, such as my favourite: ArchLinux. Once you’ve burned it to a disc you can put it in your computer and boot directly from the disc. ArchLinux is light and fast and will allow you to log in as root with command line access, where you will be able to run the commands I talked about in my other post to find your computer specs even for a computer with no OS or in other cases, for example where you don’t have permission to check with the current OS. If you’re not familiar with Linux don’t worry, follow the on-screen instructions and just type the commands I described. When you’re done checking you can turn off the computer and take out the CD and things will be just as they were before.