Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Debian "E: The value '...' is invalid for APT::Default-Release as such a release is not available in the sources"

Debian OpenLogo
Debian OpenLogo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Received this error as I've been playing around with Synaptic  (package manager) and adding some Linux Mint Debian, (LMDE) repo sources (They're stale so don't bother as it appears MINT isn't supporting it anymore).

In the middle of this I had changed from Jessie (testing) to unstable and being "unstable" had some problems logging into Gnome-Shell afterwards. Evidently I had broken packages - hell it was a mess, let's not mince words!

Somehow Synaptic had selected "Debian" as the default repo during this, and as I cleaned up my sources list, didn't notice this - there is no sources list called Debian.
So, next time launching Synaptic it complained about 'Debian' being invalid and hence the error message in this article title!

So, like any reasonable Linux user faced with problems, I Googled for a solution. Well, none of the solutions worked for me - probably because they weren't Debian and/or Synaptic specific.
To cut to the chase here is where Synaptic stores the default release setting: '/root/.synaptic/synaptic.conf'. Hope this helps someone else!

Guess the moral of this story is not to rely on a package manager and use 'apt-get' and/or 'aptitude' from the command line - which I usually do. What can I say, me likes to try new things once in awhile. lol

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hello Virgin, Bye Bye Mobilicity

Image representing Virgin Mobile USA as depict...
Image via CrunchBase
Well, finally moved my mobile phone account from Mobilicity to Virgin Mobile Canada.
For approximately $10 more than what I was paying at Mobi, I get LTE with 1Gbyte of data.

Sure Mobilicity was "unlimited", but what good is unlimited data when it doesn't work when needed, or if it does, works at a snails pace?
I'm speaking as one that wasn't a bandwidth hog - I never even came close to 500 Mbytes of data at my heaviest usage - most of the time my Nexus 5 was on WiFi.
Besides, we all know that Mobilicity is in receivership, under court protection and it's days are numbered.
So, we'll see how things go with VirginMobile Canada - I'll keep this uptodate in this regard.
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Monday, January 13, 2014

NSAs ANT Division

National Security Agency
National Security Agency (Photo credit: Scott Beale)
Der Spiegel has done some excellent work on this story, detailing a 50 page catalogue of exploits that the NSA is known to do and in some cases even showing the cost in monies for each. Quite the interesting stuff to read.
"After years of speculation that electronics can be accessed by intelligence agencies through a back door, an internal NSA catalog reveals that such methods already exist for numerous end-user devices.
When it comes to modern firewalls for corporate computer networks, the world’s second largest network equipment manufacturer doesn’t skimp on praising its own work. According to Juniper Networks’ online PR copy, the company’s products are “ideal” for protecting large companies and computing centers from unwanted access from outside. They claim the performance of the company’s special computers is “unmatched” and their firewalls are the “best-in-class.” Despite these assurances, though, there is one attacker none of these products can fend off — the United States’ National Security Agency". Read more ...
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Monday, January 6, 2014

Glen Greenwald

Portrait of Glenn Greenwald -creator of Unclai...
Portrait of Glenn Greenwald -creator of Unclaimed Territory blog and contributing writer at Salon.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Have to admit that yours truly respects this fellow - he's helped to provide context to the Edward Snowden documents that in their raw form are quite laborious to trawl through.
From Glenn's bio:
"I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of four books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and "Great American Hypocrites" (examining the GOP's electoral tactics and the role the media plays in aiding them), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites)"
Highly recommend that if one is interested in government surveillance that one follow his  blog, apparently non-subscribers can view the blog for free by clicking through the ad for a Day Pass - today's post is good too.
Cheers. I do plan to post more on this subject going forward, as I'm concerned about what's happening to our democracies in the name of fighting another war - this "war on terror" .

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Helen Thomas - Asking the Tough Questions

Helen Thomas, Journalist
Helen Thomas, Journalist (Photo credit: Michael Foley Photography)
Consortium News today published a great summary today on Ms. Thomas. Seems to be pretty unfair how the Pro Israel lobby rallied against her, after all her years of service to the American people via the White House Press Corps.

I personally grew up in a Christian religious fundamentalist family. We were taught that the Israeli people were God's chosen people. As I grow older, and have become more aware of events happening around the world, I realize that this is wrong - Indeed most of the belief system of Christianity are wrong, but that's a story for another post.

I encourage one to read this article by Ray McGovern - a former CIA analyst whom briefed presidents.

Answering Helen Thomas on Why | Consortiumnews
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mobilicity Customer? BEWARE!

Mobilicity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yes yours truly is a subscriber, and after a year I'm not so much a fan any more.

The problem, or my issue(s) with Mobilicity started shortly after subscribing, (about this time last year) when I discovered that their website doesn't use https.

Https is a secure protocol used by websites that process sensitive information, mainly financial.

Upon visiting Mobilicity's website one is warned, (in this case by Google-Chrome) that the website certificate has expired. Not good!

The question I ask, is how can a company that expects one to give them our credit card information and access to our banking particulars be so amateur, when producing their own website - I mean our information is wide open to anyone sniffing on the network, and/or a man in the middle attack?!

Now, I readily admit that yours truly is attracted to Mobilicity because of their prices, and so called lack of BS, but read on - they appear to have their own source of BS.

Now on to today's problem, and the reason why I'll probably be leaving Mobilicity.

I have, since last year, always paid 3 months in advance - something that Mobilicity gives one the option to do for a discount. The new anniversary effective today, (May 07 2013) I decided to pay for May, rather than the next 3 months.
So, in light of that decision, the last week of April I deposited $70+ into my mobilicity account, to cover the $50 monthly cost. All is well you say?

Not so, dear reader.
This morning my cell phone went dead (no phone/data service). Apparently Mobilicity thinks that I haven't paid my account for the upcoming month, hm ... time to make a phone call.

So, I call Mobilicity customer service, (I assume since it was auto-routed) and talk to a CSR going by the name "Dennis", who tells me he is from Central America - he does speak with a Latino accent.

So, playlng things low key I start by saying that just found out my account was suspended. After a short pause he says sanctimoniously,  yes, for non-payment.

I tell Dennis that is incorrect, I hear a pause, Dennis starts to say something, then abruptly pauses. Dennis then says, you deposited $70.00 into your account from your "wallet" and bank account, however sir your plan is for 3 months, therefore it was suspended.

This is asinine on two accounts:

  1. When opening the account last spring at the Mobilicity store on Parliament and Wellesley Streets, Ashfuk, the sales representative at the time, when asked, said that changing to a monthly term in no problem -- Just ensure that the proper dollars are either in your wallet or your account prior to anniversary. Which I did.
  2. What kind of company doesn't automatically renew for the lesser term if the money is in the account?! I mean just suspending the account before checking is absurd, not to mention, bad business practice.
So, yours truly informed Dennis to change it to monthly, effective immediately,  and to re-enable my service.

I also told him that I expect, Mobilicity to give me a credit of one month due to their screw-up  Unfortunately I was waiting for an important call - An employment opportunity, which I appear to have missed!
Thanks so much Mobilicity!

Anyone have recommendations for another provider that can accept Mobilicity protocol scheme? Think it's HSPA+

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Want to Know How Bitcoin Works?

The bitcoin logo
The bitcoin logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Unless you've been living under a rock, a cave or not on the internet, you've probably heard of Bitcoin.

Our friends over at the KHAN Academy have done this nice and thorough Bitcoin 101 on how the Bitcoin ecosystem works.

The KHAN Academy is well known for it's free tutorials on programming and math, so it's great to see such tutorials on Internet phenom like this. They have a pretty extensive "101" section on the financial industry as well -- not just bitcoin.

Enjoy the article (it's done in movie form) and I would especially recommend one read the comment section. Further questions are answered there.
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sikh Vaisakhi Parade on Lakeshore Blvd., Toronto

Today while out doing my 30k bike ride, forgot about the annual Sikh parade we have in Toronto. It's very colourful, and a nice "loud" with ladies passing out treats along the route.

Managed to snap a few pictures too. Not cropped, unfortunately, had to snap fast and no time for post.

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