Posts Tagged ‘screen’

Quick shortcut to lock your Linux computer desktop (Few words on Linux screensavers)

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Locking the PC while going for a coffee break, Lunch or toilet is longly used to secure physically your PC display from spying eyes or prevent you from  someone to install a spying software or leak private data from PC HDD to an USB drive.
People who are coming from the wonderful MS Windows OS   are certainly used to quick shortcut key combination to lock PC screen with:

Windows key + L


So how to do Lock Screen on Linux?

On Linux locking your Screen the Quick Shortcut is:


Locking the screen is done (depending on the Linux distribution) by using by either using historically famous XScreenSaver if non-gnome / KDE graphical environemnt is used or if in Linux Gnome GUI with  gnome-screensaver and on KDE desktop manager with kscreenlocker.


Exact command executed on CTRL + ALT + L keypress on GNOME is:

gnome-screensaver-command -l

On KDE to manually lock screen command is:


Nomatter whether with GNOME or KDE its worthy mention that xscreensaver is more Screensaver rich than kscreenlocker and gnome-screensaver as it includes about 200 different Screensavers making screen nice to watch when you come back from a lunch.

For people with Windows key keyboard who are too used to using Windows XP / 7 lockreen WIN + L key shortcut to make Windows (key) + L keys combination work on Linux with GNOME desktop:

System -> Preferences -> Keyboard Shortcuts

Make Win + L keys combination work on Linux with KDE desktop

  1.  "System Settings" (KDE menu).
  2. Choose "Keyboard & mouse" (on "General" tab).
  3. Choose "Global Keyboard Shortcuts" on the left.
  4. Choose "Run Command Interface" from "KDE component" dropdown list.
  5. Choose "Lock session".
  6. Select "Custom".
  7. Click on "None" (button changes to "Input…").
  8. Compose your desired sequence by pressing appropriate buttons on your keyboard.
  9. Click "Apply".


For other desktop environments like Window Maker you can use xmodmap command to bind Win + L keys

Heroes of Might and Magic 2: Best old-school turn based strategic game to play on your Android mobile phone

Monday, June 16th, 2014


Probably many people which are my age (I'm aged 30 now), spent many days and sleepless nights being totally addicted playing probably one of the most addictive (and in my view greatest strategy game of all time) – Heroes of Might and Magic II (HOMM2).
In that thoughts it will be a great news for you if you're owning smartphone that you can turn-back some nice memories and play (for free) a port of Heroes 2 for Android.

Free Heroes 2 Android port is it is made to support multiple screened devices so game  version could be played on both Android Tablet a tiny screen smart phone or a middle sized mobile. Also Free Heroes 2 mobile port allows you to choose 'The Magnifying glass' option on first game boot, so if you're on a tiny screened mobile you can still zoom by pointing on a game object. Free Heroes 2 Android port is there thanks to Gerhard Stein who is also an author of OpenTyrian mobile phone port and the amazing old computer jump-and-run arcade Commander Keen. Game pointer controls of FHeroes2 are pretty convenient and playing the game is almost as confortable as played with a PC mouse.
Free Heroes 2 is port of Free Heroes 2 engineFree implementation of Heroes of the Might and Magic II engine in SDL and because SDL is platform independent Free Heroes is also available for both Windows / Linux. Maybe here is time too mention that Heroes2 original DOS game works perfectly on any modern Linux distribution when started through DOSBOX DOS emulator.

By default Free Heroes2  has no game campaign support yet. In order to enable campaing support into Free Heroes 2, download FULL Heroes 2 gameput data files to mobile SD card to dir app-data/net.sourceforge.fheroes2 and campaign option will be there too.


Heroes of Might and Magic 2 – The succession Wars (or HEROES2, as it is widely known in Gamers communities) is a turn based strategy game  from year 1996 developed by Jon Van Caneghem by his New World Computing company it was marketed under on the market under brand of 3DO Company. Heroes II was voted the sixth-best PC game of all time by PC Gamer in May 1997. Heroes2 has also a game expansion pack called the Price of Loyalty released in 1997 as well as Heroes of Might and Magic II – Gold – from 1998. The game graphic design looks very beautiful and combined with the soundtrack makes playing it an awesome and calming experience. The game is very notable especially for soundtrack which is all of a beautiful classical music.

(Picture taken and copyrighted by Wikipedia)


The titular heroes (horse) are player characters who can recruit armies, move around the map, capture resources, and engage in combat. The heroes also incorporate some role-playing game elements; they possess a set of statistics that confer bonuses to an army, artifacts that enhance their powers, and knowledge of magical spells that can be used to attack enemies or produce strategic benefits. Also, heroes gain experience levels from battle, such that veteran heroes are significantly more powerful than inexperienced ones.

On a typical map, players begin a game with one town of a chosen alignment. Each town alignment hosts a unique selection of creatures from which the player can build an army. Town alignment also determines other unique traits such as native hero classes, special bonuses or abilities, and leanings toward certain skills or kinds of magic.


Towns play a central role in the games since they are the primary source of income and new recruits. A typical objective in each game is to capture all enemy towns. Maps may also start with neutral towns, which do not send out heroes but may still be captured by any player. It is therefore possible, and common, to have more towns than players on a map. When captured, a town retains its alignment type, allowing the new owner to create a mixed army. A player or team is eliminated when no towns or heroes are left under their control. Usually the last player or team remaining is the victor.

As heroes visit special locations called obelisks, pieces are removed from a jigsaw puzzle-like map, gradually revealing 'The Ultimate Artifact location to the player. Once found, it confers immense bonuses to the player capable of breaking a stalemate: the grail can be taken back to a town and used to build a special structure, while the ultimate artifact provides the bonuses directly through possession.


Whenever a player engages in battle

The game changes from the adventure map display to a combat screen, which is based on either a hexagonal or square grid. In this mode, the game mimics the turn-based tactics genre, as the engaged armies must carry through the battle without the opportunity to reinforce or gracefully retreat. With few exceptions, combat must end with the losing army deserting, being destroyed, or paying a heavy price in gold to surrender. Surrendering allows the player to keep the remaining units intact. Battles can be led army army to army or castles / villages can be fight and (captured) occupied. Owning a town gives your hero daily an income of money later used to buy and upgrade castle buildings.


Also you your moved heroes could overtake mines producing different goods like minerals, sulfur, gold, emeralds etc. Building different buildings and building war units for army usually cost gold and some kind of resource.

Game Story

Heroes II history continues after Heroes I. Ending of Heroes I results in Lord Morglin Ironfist's victory. In the following years, he has successfully unified the continent of Enroth and secured his rule as king. Upon the king's death, his two sons, Archibald and Roland, vie for the crown. Archibald orchestrates a series of events that lead to Roland's exile. Archibald is then declared the new king, while Roland organizes a resistance. Each alignment is represented by one of the game's two campaigns. Archibald's campaign features the three "evil" town alignments, while Roland's campaign features the three "good" town alignments.

If Archibald is victorious, Roland's rebellion is crushed, and Roland himself is imprisoned in Castle Ironfist, leaving Archibald the uncontested ruler of Enroth. The  ending, however, results in Roland's victory, with Archibald being turned to stone by Roland's court wizard, Tanir.

How to promptly interrupt Windows shutdown in case of shutdown, restart mistake

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Its really annoying, when some Anti-Virus software or application updates itself and requires a Windows restart. It is even more annoying when you have 50 windows opened and suddenly they start closing one by one. In such cases it is precious to know there is way to Cancel Windows Shutdown using command line:

Just press Windows (button) + R: type in;

shutdown /a

and press enter.

That's it a quick cmd prompt will flash through the screen and Windows will stop shutdowning 🙂 Enjoy

tmux – FreeBSD, BSD* and Linux alterinative to GNU screen terminal emulator

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

tmux gnu screen (newer) alternative terminal emulator for Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD
After my yesterday blog post explaining basis GNU screen use, I've decided to blog a bit more on the topic as I find terminal emulation to be quite interesting 🙂

Just like on on GNU / Linux, GNU Screen is available and installable via FreeBSD port – /usr/ports/sysutils/screen. Though screen is compatible with FreeBSD, it is not from scratch written to run on BSD architecture, but rather ported. Besides, that within the fild of terminal emulation, there are plenty of recent developments and feature richer programs available from install already. One of those I reference is tmux..  tmux's is superior to screen in that it is a re-writen terminal (from scratch) terminal emulator – multiplexer (as referenced in man tmux).

Another fundamental difference is it comes licensed under "less restrictive" BSD license (interesting fact is BSD has only 3 clauses), whether to GNU Screen applies GPLv 2 / 3 (4 freedoms clauses).
Tmux is presently existing for multiple architectures besides BSD including Linux and even as I check in its documentation has support for HP-HX and IRIX.

To install / use tmux on FreeBSD / NetBSD install port /usr/ports/sysutils/tmux with

: freebsd# cd /usr/ports/sysutils/tmux
freebsd# make install clean

Installing mux on Debian GNU Linux is available straight from default package repositories, i.e. :

debian:~# apt-get install --yes mux

It is inteersting fact to mention, since OpenBSD 4.6 – Mr. Theo De Raddt and friends decided tmux to part of the base system! This means a lot since OpenBSD has always existed with the main ideology to be the most secure UNIX / BSD based OS around. This fact probably means from purely secure stand point tmux might be better choice than gnu screen

Another reason why tmux might be better alternative to Screen for BSD users besides security, is its configuration is much more simplistic whilst compared with Screen. If you have used screen, already you should surely know how complicated things are when it comes to configuration and screen (set) variables.

tmux's pre-defined command bindings are similar to SCREEN's, the difference is instead of Screen's:

CTRL + a + (letter)

key bindings are invoked with:

CTRL + b + (kbd letter)

People who already are acustomed to screen (like myself 🙂 )  would not be easy to re-learn use CTRL + b, thus it is helpful to revert default tmux CTRL + b  to screen's CTRL + a.

$ echo 'set -g prefix C-a' >> ~/.tmux.conf
$ echo 'bind-key C-a last-window' >> ~/.tmux.conf

Moving over virtual windows in tmux just like in screen can be done using:

CTRL + a + 1 … 9

One has to be careful, as pressing CTRL + a should be done with a llittle delay before pressing the next letter, otherwise the command does not take affect.

Detaching emulated session, in tmux is done like in screen with pressing:

CTRL + a + (d [half a sec delay before pressing])

Attaching to latest detached tmux session is done with:

tmux attach


There are plenty of other stuff and applications but here I will not get in detail as it is all  in man page.

is great for BSD users,
but for Linux users  byobu is  more interactive and user friendly (out of the box – with no need for extra configs)

Here are 2 screenshots from tmux website:
advanced tmux use 4 squares split virtual terminals / tmux use screenshot

tmux screenshot with shared multiple wins

Using GNU screen for opening multiple shells within a single shell / Handy way to keep constant SSH connections to servers from 1 single shell

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Handay way to keep ssh connections persistent after ssh logout / Using GNU screen for opening multiple shells within a shell

As GNU / Linux user I use screen window manager to manage multiple SSH connections (all over one ssh connection) to a host over the last maybe 10 years. Though screen is generally popular it is still possible some novice sysadmin did not use it or (hope not) never heard of it. For those who don't use GNU screen still, give it a try; launch it within a (system bash, csh etc.) shell and then inside the main screen window launch multiple screen internal sessions (by pressing simultaneously) keys CTRL + ALT + c .

Each CTRL + ALT + c makes screen open a new "Virtual Window (pty)"  inside itself, the multiple screen sub-instances are kept in memory of main screen program loaded in memory. In a way Virtual Windows of screen in logic are very Similar to Apache's Webserver Apache Parent and Child processes.

Anyways to test screen type in console:

pcfreak:~$ screen

And press enter twice, it will launch under screen a new instance of your current logged in shell (if you logged in bash will open bash if zsh – zsh etc.)

Afterwards, you can open multiple Virtual Screens as I've mentioned with pressing CTRL + ALT + c.
Moving between all open screen sessions is done with simultaneous press of:

CTRL + ALT + pTo move to previous screen Virtual Window Shell Session
CTRL + ALT + n
– To move to next screen Virtual Window Session

The most useful from all screen functionality is DETACH. You can detach (like save state of) curreng GNU Screen active sesion by  pressing together:

CTRL + a + d – Detach current active GNU Screen session

Screen supports detaching multiple sessions (whether 2 or more screen sessions run with identical user credentials).

An example use of multiple detached screen sessions would be if you login via SSH with a certain user lets say user myuser and later detach by pressing CTRL + a + d after which open new session, you will get in shell message similar to:

[detached from 1549.pts-11.pcfreak]

The msg indicates new screen session is detached. Onwards run screen once again, for sake of test typing in same shell once again:

pcfreal:~$ screen

After screen loads its second session press again CTRL + a + d – to detach second active session, again you will get msg:

[detached from 15691.pts-0.pcfreak]

Next on you can use screen to list all active window sessions by issuing:

pcfreak:~$ screen -list
There are screens on:
        1549.pts-11.pcfreak     (10/27/2012 09:45:58 PM)        (Detached)
        15691.pts-0.pcfreak     (10/24/2012 02:50:06 PM)        (Detached)
2 Sockets in /var/run/screen/S-hipo.

To attach to detached active GNU screen session, use:

pcfreak:~$ screen -r PID_OF_SESSION

For example to attach to 1 listed screen session 1549:

pcfreak:~$  screen -r 1549

To attach to second one 15691:

pcfreak:~$ screen -r 15691

The -r  switch stands for re-attach and second part of PID name like in above example pts-11.pcfreak pts-0.pcfreak is just indicating the hostname where screen was detached as well as the pty (pseudo tty number assigned to detached session), the time included shows the exact time in which main screen session was started for instance for screen 1549 it is 10/27/2012 09:45:58 PM.

The 2 Sockets in /var/run/screen/S-hipo displays the directory location of the screen socket, on each screen user startup a separte directory is created in /var/run/screen, the attach detach of screens is done via using a UNIX socket (fifo named pipe):

pcfreak :~$ ls
1549.pts-11.pcfreak|  15691.pts-0.pcfreak|  byobu.reload-required*
pcfreak:~$ cd /var/run/screenS-hipo
pcfreak:/var/run/screen/S-hipo$ file 1549.pts-11.pcfreak
1549.pts-11.pcfreak: fifo (named pipe)
The use case of screen are really up to your imagination, however for running programs which require you to have a permanent interactive terminal, like lets say: Midnight Commander (mc), iptraf, tcpdump, irssi (IRC chat client), ettercap, sniffit 🙂 screen is really *precious sysadmin tool
screen is great for PuTTY users who dislike that putty doesn't by default support tab-bed multple SSH logins (you might like to check my previous post where I explain about Putty Connection manager which supports tabbed ssh)
Actually, i'm so accustomed to SCREEN, that it is quite hard to imagine the times when it was not. I guess sysadmin life was much difficult back then 🙂

Many people who still remember irc clients like BitchX and epic and the IRC times should remember, how well known and frequent people used to detach those progs or even detach eggdrops with specific TCL scripts inside separate screen sessions.

The most useful use of screen of course is to open multiple SSH sessions to different server nodes and keep permanently logged in on hosts by detaching the screen session.

I can think of 3 main advantages of using ssh inside single screen session:

1. At any time you can login to just one server instead of (for exmpl. 10 servers), and use this one server as a reference through which you can "stuntly" check statuses of all 10 hosts with no need to login 10 times via SSH or with a Putty client (if logging from Windows)
 2. If you're using unstable often interrupted lets say modem (dial up) line to connect to the Internet and you need continuation of previously interrupted SSH ssh login due to interrupted connection

 3. You can save a lot of time and effort of typing passwords multiple times at ssh login prompts 

Of course there are disadvantages too;

From security point of view it is a weak practice to keep logged in to multiple servers via SSH from one single screen session. If someone sniffs user password with which screen is started and attach to the screen session he will suddenly be granted to access to 10 more servers! 
Anyhow for  lazy people who believe to maintain high security policies, e.g.:

 a. do not login to SSH sessions from Windows hosts
 b. use some kind of UNIX / Linux / BSD based OS
 c. login from a host used only by a single person
etc. etc. ,  keeping screen detached with multiple sshs might save you a lot of time; this is especially if you have to login 10 times to the servers a day changing location – lets say if you use (notebook and travel a lot).

GNU screen also understands some commands, which can configure the Shell Prompt of it as long as color gamma of main and sub-screen (virtual) sessions. To have a screen shell prompt outline and blue color gamma as in the picture in beginning of my post you can download and use my .screenrc into your ~/.screenrc i.e.:

pcfreak:/~$ cd ~
pcfreak:/~$ wget -q
pcfreak:/~:$ mv .my-screenrc .screenrc
Another good screenrc configured to make your screen sessions more user friendly is here.

Below I include a screenshot on how screen sessions looks like, whenever above "user friendly screenrc" is used:

Screen custom screenrc in gnome terminal Debian Squeeze Linux screenshot
 It might be helpful to mention, there are newer piece of soft with richer screen functionality one of those newer virtual window managers (alternative to GNU screen) is byobu. I've tested byobu myself and I feel
Sometimes, when a screen session is interrupted, because screen running host is restarted or shutdown, dead screen sockets remain.

pcfreak:~$ screen -list
25542.pts-28.pcfreak (Dead ???)

1636.pts-21.pcfreak (Attached)

In case you see some screens, like this you should use screen -wipe to cleanse socket pointing to already non-existing screen:

pcfreak:~$ screen -wipe

Screen has plenty of other command shortcuts, all of them are starting with a key combination of CTRL + a + )some kbd letter)

CTRL + a + aDoes switch between first and last screen open windows

CTRL + a + HTurns screen log on for active screen session

Ctrl + a + mTurns (on/off) screen monitoring for activity of a screen shell (useful if you left kernel, openoffice or some huge app to compile

CTRL +a + _Turns monitoring and reports outside of screen session if a running shell inside screen is not active for more than 30 seconds

CTRL +a + shift + SIs very handy as it splits the screen between all logged in active screen sessions (Use control CTRL + a + tab to switch between splitted windows)

how to GNU Screen split windows Linux gnome-terminal shot

Ctrl + a + x locks the screen, in the same fashion as Screen Lock is done inside a GUI environment GNOME, KDE etc. Once pressed it can be unlocked after you type in your user pass. This is very handy if you have to go to toilet and you don't want your colleague to snuff in your console 🙂

It is also possible to switch between screen sub-virtual windows using:

CTRL + a + (number starting from 0), e.g.:

CTRL + a + 0
CTRL + a + 1
CTRL + a + …
CTRL + a + 9

There are plenty of other helpful functionalities which you might want to look in the manual (man screen) – check in the manual section DEFAULT KEY BINDINGS section

P. S.  – Some of screen keybindings, does not work in gnome-terminal and konsole and other terminal clients which already had a key bindings set to CTRL + a + whatever key. If that's the case you can change screen assigned keybindings through .screenrc

If you google around you will find a dozen of tricks you can do with screen, since my only goal of this article

30 years anniversary of the first mass produced portable computer COMPAQ Grid Compass 1011

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Grid Notebook Big screen logo

Today it is considered the modern laptop (portable computers) are turning 30 years old. The notebook grandparent is a COMPAQGRiD Compass 1011 – a “mobile computer” with a electroluminescent display (ELD) screen supporting resolution of 320×240 pixels. The screen allowed the user to use the computer console in a text resolution of 80×24 chars. This portable high-tech gadget was equipped with magnesium alloy case, an Inten 8086 CPU (XT processor) at 8Mhz (like my old desktop pravetz pc 😉 ), 340 kilobyte (internal non-removable magnetic bubble memory and even a 1,200 bit/s modem!

COMPAQ Grid Compass considered first laptop / notebook on earthy 30 anniversary of the portable computer

The machine was uniquely compatible for its time as one could easily attach devices such as floppy 5.25 inch drives and external (10 Meg) hard disk via IEEE-488 I/O compatible protocol called GPiB (General Purpose instrumental Bus).

First mass prdocued portable computer laptop grid COMPAQ 11011 back side input peripherals

The laptop had also unique small weight of only 5 kg and a rechargable batteries with a power unit (like modern laptops) connectable to a normal (110/220 V) room plug.

First notebook in World ever the COMPAQ grid Compass 1101,br />
The machine was bundled with an own specificly written OS GRiD-OS. GRID-OS could only run a specialized software so this made the application available a bit limited.
Shortly after market introduction because of the incompitablity of GRID-OS, grid was shipped with MS-DOS v. 2.0.
This primitive laptop computer was developed for serve mainly the needs of business users and military purposes (NASA, U.S. military) etc.

GRID was even used on Space Shuttles during 1980 – 1990s.
The price of the machine in April 1982 when GriD Compass was introduced was the shockingly high – $8150 dollars.

The machine hardware design is quite elegant as you can see on below pic:

 COMPAQ grid laptop 1101 bubbles internal memory

As a computer history geek, I’ve researched further on GRID Compass and found a nice 1:30 hour video telling in detailed presentation retelling the history.

Shortly after COMPAQ’s Grid Compass 1011’s introduction, many other companies started producing similar sized computers; one example for this was the Epson HX-20 notebook. 30 years later, probably around 70% of citizens on the globe owns a laptop or some kind of portable computer device (smartphone, tablet, ultra-book etc.).

Most of computer users owning a desktop nowdays, owns a laptop too for mobility reasons. Interestengly even 30 years later the laptop as we know it is still in a shape (form) very similar to its original predecessor. Today the notebook sales are starting to be overshadowed by tablets and ultra-books (for second quarter laptop sales raised 5% but if compared with 2011, the sales rise is lesser 1.8% – according to data provided by Digital Research agency). There are estimations done by (Forrester Research) pointing until the end of year 2015, sales of notebook substitute portable devices will exceed the overall sales of notebooks. It is manifested today the market dynamics are changing in favour of tabets and the so called next generation laptopsULTRA-BOOKS. It is a mass hype and a marketing lie that Ultra-Books are somehow different from laptops. The difference between a classical laptop and Ultra-Books is the thinner size, less weight and often longer battery use time. Actually Ultra-Books are copying the design concept of Mac MacBook Air trying to resell under a lound name.
Even if in future Ipads, Android tablets, Ultra-Books or whatever kind of mambo-jambo portable devices flood the market, laptops will still be heavily used in future by programmers, office workers, company employees and any person who is in need to do a lot of regular text editting, email use and work with corporative apps. Hence we will see a COMPAC Grid Compass 1011 notebook likes to be dominant until end of the decade.

Three Ways to Reduce Addiction to Mobile Phone ( GSM ) use

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Mobile Phone Caricature Reduce Mobile Addiction / 3 ways to reduce mobile phone addiction / Use your Mobile less

1.: Don't use a ring tone or use a short landline phone ringtone on incoming calls

In the past, we all had a local stand line phones, most of the landline phones rung using a very specific ring sound which was almost identical on all phones around the world. This ringing tone used was following some telephone standards. The result was everyone could distinguish a ringing phone in a room or closed space and tell for sure, this sound is generated by a phone. Nowdays with the boom of cellular phone ringtones, there is almost noone who uses a standard old-fashioned telephone ringtone as a ring melody.

The consequence of this is in our minds we start loosing the boundary between whether communicating on the phone or communicating without it.
In younger people this boundary between phone line and a physical communication is more evident than in adults (as youngsters has grown in society where mobile was used everywhere). The implication of this is more and more people are starting to perceive mobile communication as so natural as the person to person communication. Spending big part of the day talking over the phone mostly senseless things, not being consciously aware that this is done due to a heavy phone addiction and repeating behaviour trait stored sub-consciously.

Today everyone chooses a custom mobile phone ringtone melody (popular or impopular) song and sets it up to be a standard incoming call signal. As you can guess there are consequences on the mind, as the ringtone set is heard ten times or more a day during each and every phone call. The result is just like with alcoholics or drug addicts, the more you take from a certain "good" the more attached you become to it. Hence the more we listen to a certain song chunk daily on incoming calls, the sub-conscious becomes dependent on hearing this sound at least a number of times daily. If a day passes without no-one calling us and we don't hear the ringtone indicating a call the sub-conscious stored dependency starts popping up and we could start feeling lonely and we feel like calling someone (and we often do). Obviously this is dependency and even if someone might argue me this is a severe addiction which as every other addiction could be very dangerous and hard to fight.

As I prior said due to the fact that the phone use dependency is built in our minds starting with the phone ring melody, we can reduce this dependency by switching off the phone ringtone completely or at least changing it to a unique beep which is not likely to be heard or seen somewhere in your surrounding environment.

By setting the ringtone to some popular song we see on (TV, Radio or Internet on daily basis) this might become a trigger for us to associate hearing this sound with talking on the phone and hence make you increase the time you spend on the phone ,,, so be careful ,,,,

2.:: Stop Mobile Beeps and sounds on menu navigation

All new mobiles sold on the market are configured to have buzzling sounds on events and various beeps on keypad lock / unlock and menu navigation.
This sounds are there mostly to make you more alert and concentrated on using your mobile and often as a consequence whether one uses his mobile his awareness is comletely taken by the phone screen (you're totally "absorbed" by the phone use).
Besides designed to alert you the Managers and CEO's who decided to have a heavy beep sounds on mobiles made it having probably something else on mind? The beeps on keypad navigation makes the user emotionally and sub-consciously attached to the Cell Phone. The idea here is like in popular music streamed on radios and TVs and mostly everywhere …. The more you listen to a song, the higher the mind trait it leaves in you, so later when one hears a music pattern or a whole song, which he / she listened already thousands of times this brings back "good" old memories. It is very simple actually our minds are constructed in a way that the mor certain "information" is heard / saw / smell the bigger the mind influence this leaves on us. Back to the mobile sounds, the more you use the mobile phone with turned on sounds, the more addicted and mind stucked the beep and melodies during use of the cell phone becomes in the mind. For example many people take a look at their mobile automatically (without being consciously aware) and do the activity of (unlock) and (lock) the phone screen not knowing they do it automatic. More or less we all do such an auto-mated learned behaviour because of the subconscious dependency that is built in our minds. Whether we lock and unlock the mobile phone almost robotically, we do it because our sub-conscious mind plays a trick on us and "force" us to do a previous learned activity (association in our mind with the unlock / lock beep sound).

3.::: Use your mobile in different ways

Any modern mobile is quite advanced in functionality and there is more than one way to initiate a phone call. E.g. the mobile has a shortcut buttons assigned to do quick phone calls, quickly evoke SMS menu etc.
Learn them and occasionally use the shortcut buttons instead of the menu navigation. Our minds like changing patterns and doing things different.

Even if you have no chance to do a things via a certain menu, you can always change the position of the phone screen to different distance to eyesight 🙂 You can for example type on the keypad following the menu steps by watching from left or right eye periphery or you can use the menus with your phone screen turned backwards 🙂 If you're used to type on the keypad or touch screen with right hand try doing it with the left hand 🙂

This will take time but the fun worths it. Plus the most valuable thing in using the mobile in different ways each time is there is no specific inflicting pattern associated in your mind and hence the depepdency set in your sub-conscious mind on phone use is lesser.
Actually there are too many various "hacks" one could come up with on how to use mobile as differently as possible. It is up to your imagination. Though using the mobile "each-time-different" can be sometimes more time-consuming it surely makes your phone use amusing.

Human Modern Progression a move forward to Degression

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

I've been thinking about our modern day progression and what our "progressed" society looks like in reality.
We think we have progressed, we have built machines that serves us well (computers). We plan for a bright painless easy future day by day. This bright "perfect" society future is nothing more than the dream of communism in its complete form.

But in what sense we have actually progressed ?? Everyone who really sees what happens around us notice the big changes we experience. On the surface it looks like our life has become much easier with all this technology surrounding us. The number of computers which is said to help us to leap towards this bright future increases day by day. With this however increases the need to support technology. Suddenly it happens that the old believe that computers are just a tool to make our life earier becomes a modern day slavery. Most of the developed or under development countries people are nowdays almost full time spending in front of the computer screen on the internet. We put our lifes in the mercy of man-created computers and it has become impossible that we live or exist independetly without them.

Computers are everywhere around us starting from the work Desk, at hand with a notebook, ipad, mobile phones, cars, airplanes. There is rarely to see any technology we use which works with not some kind of primitive or advanced computer embedded ,,,
In the rise of computers as we know it computer was just a tool to help us along with the other overall thought and inventions development. Now from just being a tool to help us progress Computers become the common ground on which almost everything in life works.

I'm sure many people who started learning computer technology 15-20 years ago (like me) never imagined computers will integrate so heavily in our daily activities as they eventually did.

We use computers for the sake of planning which in "spiritual language" is predicting the future or prophecise what is about to come in the short future. In reality what we do mostly even not realizingly is to try to predict and modify the future through technology.
This concept is also existing in most sci-fi movies, made in last 60 years. Mobile phones revolution give the humanity a tool through which telepathy we've seen in so many SCI-FI is reality. The mobile phone is just a platform through which (phone calls) or better said voice telepathy has become possible. In that manner of thoughts it is obvious that Video phone calls is a voice + visual telepathy. The Skype revolution and Video and voice conferences is brought was just until recently seen on the sci-fi movies where spaceship crews communicated with other spaceship crews by using a Visual conferences like skype.

It is really hard to believe that for just few years now everyone can speak with ease with everyone else on the planet in the same way just like we've seen in the movies as some foreign abstract concept!

Now suddenly most people on earth are equipped with technology with gives them the power to do everything but it is my firm believe people are not ready to wisely use this power. Therefore instead of using this higher technology wisely technology is used mostly senseless and the more technological advancement grows and becomes more accessible to the masses the more the tendency to use the technology for shit grows.

I'm sure people who have a good knowledge on programming and how computer works are already seriously aware of this enormous problem.
Another severe problem with the raise of technology is the language slang it introduces. This tech-slang is adopted quickly all around the society and suddenly as a result the human language as we know it is seriously substituted by a vague tech words mambo-jambo words. Actually the adoption of tech buzz words in modern day society language makes a great harm for the reason communication between people becomes less descriptive and therefore harder.
In short the result of this tech slang language inside our national languages is inability for people to communicate properly. This tendency is well seen if you for example try to make a comparison between old and newer movies. The newer the movie the less meaningful it is. It is true newer ones has much more as a visual adds than the predecessor but when talking about consistency the newer films are missing this point seriously.

As newer generations are born and raised up with this newer movies and "advanced" TV and computers this people doesn't even have most of the time the opportunity to see older human taped knowledge.
Even for youngesters who have somehow a wise parents enough to teach them in a religious way or just have the "luck" to have parents with old world mindset it will be extremely hard if not impossible for this kids to understand the old knowledge, as most of their same age school / university fellows will only talk about the newer things.

Besides all this, computers as they grow needs more and more support "nurturing" so day by day more and more people has to be busy with managing and supporting tech stuff. Suddenly it is no longer clear if computers serve us or we serve them, this tendency is already somehow evident but not so clearly as it will be in the short 5 to 10 years.
Therefore we slowly but surely are moving to a society which might become "enslaved by technology". Why I say here enslaved, because if we spend our time on fixing computers and technology and working with one virtual reality (which is non-reality) in essence this means we no longer have a physical freedom in the sense it was God given.

There is no doubt computers at present appears to do us a big good, but if you think a bit strategically it is obvious this good has it's price. By adopting all this technology without questioning ourselves on how this will impact our human freedom, we build a computerized jail around us. At first this jail appears to be so wide that it seems it does not interfere with our freedom, but with the introduction of newer and newer computer technology this jail becomes narrower as to the point where it could threat our physical existence freedom.

For those who could argue my thoughs I will ask two simple questions to show you how dependent we've become on technology;;;

What was the last time you switched off your mobile for a week ?

What was the last time you didn't used computers and the internet for a week time ?

Obviously rarely we can find someone that will answer positively to this question or even the thought of switching off from this so globalized society by dropping off tech stuff for a week seems scary.

This constant connectiodness that we're day-by-day heavily exposed to is scary, because it steals little-by-little our natural freedom for seclusion / pravicy / solitude.

This freedoms, were essential and especially for Christian saints and many of the people in the Holy Bible if we read closely we will find out they have used this freedom in parts of their lives especially the seclusion to hear and understand God's will for their life.
Since technology is stealing us the freedom to seclude ourselves this means it steals our basic natural freedom to communicate with God and our natural self ,,,

The consequence of this separation from God and unification with "the world" surely will lead to spiritual blindness and lack of good foundation or higher life purpose, in other words lost path in life.

This is happening all along right in front our eyes now.
Maybe the worst thing of globalization is it doesn't unite people on a soul level but rather separates them. The unification that tech boom gives to people is in the "virtual reality" but this is not a real unification as it is unification in a media which is not real.

Yes Virtual Reality is not real, that's why it is called Virtual isn't it?
I've been thinking over all this problems more and more and I'm starting to come to conclusion that people who wish to keep their essential physical freedom need to GET OUT from this tech lie, we have lived in.
For this however more people need to first realize that;;;


2. People who want to live without technology need to organize in groups (and get used to a natural living growing food, being near to a natural springing water, taking care for each other, living in a Christian commune like – like in the old days)

Actually if we read the old testament's story of Moses escaping the upcoming flood, I believe what is about to come to us as a consequence of this out of boundaries technologization is pretty much like the old testamental flood (this should happen sooner or later).

Moses was wise enough to make himself an Ark and prepare himself for the storm. Today most people are so busy that they don't see the storm coming. I'll be glad to hear from people who has the same thinking as me and want to organize in a groups and live an old humble way of life without technology.
I'm convinced people who have realized all this tech short future bad consequences on humanity, need to have a common communication media and share their knowledge on how we can find a way to live tech free in this age. I'm curious am I the only one with such thoughts or other get into this insight too. If you have come to conclusions I did please contact me in comments. Thank you.

Viewing JPEG,GIF and PNG in ASCII with cacaview on GNU / Linux – Review on caca-utils text mode graphics utilities

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Stitch 80x45 libcaca mascot cacaview viewing JPG, PNG, GIF images as ASCII on Linux libcaca

Probably, many don't know that it is possible to view normal graphical pictures (JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP) etc. in plain console tty.

Being able to view pictures in ASCII is something really nice especially for console geeks like me.
The images produced sometimes are a bit unreadable, if compared to the original graphics, but anyways most of the pictures looks pretty decent 🙂

Viewing in console / terminal images on GNU / Linux is possible thanks to a library called libcaca, caca labs libcaca project official website here.
Below is a shot description of libcaca:
hipo@noah:~$ apt-cache show libcaca0|grep 'Description' -A 4
Description: colour ASCII art library
libcaca is the Colour AsCii Art library. It provides high level functions
for colour text drawing, simple primitives for line, polygon and ellipse
drawing, as well as powerful image to text conversion routines.

In Debian, Ubuntu and other deb Linux distros viewing GUI images with no need for Xserver or any kind of window manager in plain ASCII is possible with cacaview.

cacaview is part of a package called caca-utils. caca-utils is providing few other great utilities for ASCII freaks 🙂 along with cacaview console ascii viewer prog.
The package> is available for Debian distributins since many years, so even on a very old Debians like Debian – (Potato, Woody, Sarge) the package is available in default free package repositories ready to install via apt

To install apt-get it as usual:

noah:~# apt-get --yes install caca-utils

Here is a list of the binaries the package provides:

hipo@noah:~$ dpkg -L caca-utils|grep -i /usr/bin/

1. cacaserver a tiny program allowing network streaming of applications written in caca

Belkow is a chop, from man cacaserver

cacaserver reads libcaca animation files in its standard input and
serves them as ANSI art on network port 51914. These animations can be
created by any libcaca program by setting the CACA_DRIVER environment
variable to raw and piping the program's standard output to cacaserver.

Clients can then connect to port 51914 using telnet or netcat to see
the output.

The example section of the manual points 1 example use of cacaserver to stream the console output from cacademo.
cacademo binary is a short presentation ASCII DEMO in the spirit of the old school assembly demos (demoscene) .
To run it to bind on port 51914 one has to type in bash shell:
hipo@noah:~$ CACA_DRIVER=raw cacademo | cacaserver
initialised network, listening on port 51914

Then to check out how the demo looks, open telnet connection to the cacaserver host; In my case the cacaserver is binded and streamed over IP

hipo@debian:~$ telnet 51914

Immediately you got the demo shining; Below are two screenshots of the demo played after succesful telnet connection:

Cacaserver - caca for the network screenshot Matrix cacademo

cacademo running over telnet network connection – Matrix

cacaserver running on Debian GNU / Linux drug addict like spots streamed via telnet

Blur spots cacademo shot of cacademo streamed via network

You see the demo looks quite awesome 🙂

2. Running cacafire to stream over network

Another possible example use of cacaserver is in conjunction with cacafire libcaca test application:

noah:~# CACA_DRIVER=raw cacafire | cacaserver
initialised network, listening on port 51914
cacafire is a short application written to render ASCII via libcaca and is just displaying a screen with ASCII (moving) burning fire.
It is quite spectacular if you, ask an unexpecting friend to connect to your host to 51914 🙂

Cacafire Screenshot Debian GNU / Linux cacaserver streaming ASCII demo via network port 51914

Besides that bored sys admins, could run cacafire in console to hypnotize themselves watching dumb the burning fire screen for few hoursor just use it as a screensaver 😉

3. cacaview a program to display a graphic images in console using ASCII art

cacaview takes just one argument – the picture to be displayed.

Below is a screenshot of cacaview ran from my gnome-terminal displaying a ASCII text version of the MySQL server logo

hipo@noah:~$ cd /disk/pictures
hipo@noah:/disk/pictures$ cacaview mysql_logo.png


cacaview displaying MySQL database logo in ASCII using caca for X

Whether cacaview is invoked in GUI, the libcaca X support is used, so the text image is visualized in new window with graphics, if however it is invoked in plain let's say tty1 libcaca displays the graphics pictures drawing it with only text characters.

Here is also a screenshot, I've made while viewing a GIF website logo in ASCII in plain tty console:

hipo@noah:~$ cacaview /disk/pictures/logo.gif

cacaview plain tty console screenshot of a website logo graphics pictures 17-05-2012

The logo is in cyrillic, so for latin speaking people some of the characters in the two words seen will be unreadable 🙂

cacaview even supports viewing, the next and previous picture in line, like in any modern graphics image viewer program.
To view a bunch of graphic pictures in ASCII with cacaview pass it *.*:

hipo@noah:~$ cacaview /disk/pictures/*.*

For simplicity the common unix * is also supported, so I find it quicker to do:

hipo@noah:~$ cacaview /disk/pictures/*

Showing pictures forward and backward (Previous / Next) picture is done with n and p kbd keys, whether;
n - next;
p - previous

cacaview doesn't crash or stop but skip unknown file formats – if for instance encounters filenames which are not images; lets say you have *.rar archive files along with other pictures.

The complete list of keys cacaview supports are:
br />

? show the help screen

n, p switch to next image, previous image

Left, Right, Up, Down or h, l, k, j
scroll the image around

+, – zoom in and out

z reset the zoom level to normal

f switch fullscreen mode (hide/show menu and status bars)

d toggle the dithering mode (no dithering, 4×4 ordered dithering, 8×8 ordered dithering and random dithering)

q exit the program

4. Converting graphics images to ASCII art like (plain text pictures)

The tool that does "the trick" is img2txt. img2txt has a bit more options while compared to the rest of the aforementioned tools.The following list of arguments are recognized:

  • the size (font, height)
  • brightness
  • contrast
  • gamma and dither
  • format type of out the output pic

Anyways I found that the basic just in / out arguments passed are enough to produce pretty good results:

hipo@noah:~$ img2txt hipo_avatar.gif >hipo_avatar_pic.txt

The original hipo_avatar.gif file looks like so:

hipo avatar gif picture before img2txt convertion to text

After above img2txt command is run and hipo_avatar_pic.txt to see the colorful output ASCII art img2txt produces, cat it:

hipo@noah:~$ cat hipo_avatar_pic.txt

The image result if screenshot looks quite beautiful and even, can be considered or used as an ART effect image (filter) 🙂

Console Screenshot hipo avatar pic ASCII img2txt output picture

The picture colors are plain ANSI color, so in order to display properly the picture with colors on another computers or Operating System you will need at least basic support for ANSI colors.

Plenty of output file formats are supported by img2txt

Here is the complete list of supported output formats:

ansi : coloured ANSI
caca : internal libcaca format
utf8 : UTF8 with CR
utf8 : UTF8 with CRLF (MS Windows)
html : HTML with CSS and DIV support
html3 : Pure HTML3 with tables
irc : IRC with ctrl-k codes
bbfr : BBCode (French)
ps : Postscript
svg : Scalable Vector Graphics
tga : Targa Image

libcaca is available for FreeBSD too, but the caca-utils is not available as a port yet, though probably the deb or rpm packages can easily be ported to BSD.

Well that's all, Enjoy.

Facebook use in organizations harmful for company businesses – How to block facebook access to company or organization network on Linux routers

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Facebook harms company and organization employee efficiency picture, Falling company efficiency diagram due to facebook employee use

I don't know if someone has thought about this topic but in my view Facebook use in organizations has a negative influence on companies overall efficiency!
Think for a while, facebook's website is one of the largest Internet based "people stealing time machine" so to say. I mean most people use facebook for pretty much useless stuff on daily basis (doesn't they ??). The whole original idea of facebook was to be a lay off site for college people with a lot of time to spend on nothing.
Yes it is true some companies use facebook succesfully for their advertising purposes and sperading the awareness of a company brand or product name but it is also true that many companies administration jobs like secretaries, accountants even probably CEOs loose a great time in facebook useless games and picture viewing etcetera.

Even government administration job positioned people who have access to the internet access facebook often from their work place. Not to mention, the mobility of people nowdays doesn't even require facebook to be accessed from a desktop PC. Many people employeed within companies, who does not have to work in front of a computer screen has already modern mobile "smart phones" as the business people incorrectly call this mini computer devices which allows them to browse the NET including facebook.

Sadly Microsoft (.NET) programmers and many of the programmers on various system platforms developers, software beta testers and sys admins are starting to adopt this "facebook loose your time for nothing culture". Many of my friends actively use the Facebook, (probably) because they're feeling lonely in front of the computer screen and they want to have interaction with someone.

Anyways, the effect of this constant fb use and aline social networks is clear. If in the company the employeed personal has to do work on the computer or behind any Internet plugged device, a big time of the use of the device is being 'invested' in facebook to kill some time instead of investing the same time for innovation within the company or doing the assigned tasks in the best possible way

Even those who use facebook occasionally from their work place (by occasionally I mean when they don't have any work to do on the work place), they are constantly distracted (focus on work stealed) by the hanging opened browser window and respectively, when it comes to do some kind of work their work efficiency drops severely.
You might wonder how do I know that facebook opened browser tab would have bad interaction with the rest of the employee work. Well let me explain. Its a well known scientifically proven fact that the human mind is not designed to do simultaneously multiple tasks (we're not computers, though even computers doesn't work perfect when simultaneous tasks are at hand.).
Therefore using facebook in parallel with their daily job most people nowdays try to "multi task" their job and hence this reflects in poor work productivity per employee. The chain result cause of the worsened productivity per employee is therefore seen in the end of the fiscal quarter or fiscal year in bad productivity levels, bad or worsened quality of product and hence to poor financial fiscal results.

I've worked before some time for company whose CEO has realized that the use of certain Internet resources like facebook, gmail and yahoo mail – hurts the employee work productivity and therefore the executive directors asked me to filter out facebook, GMAIL and as well as few other website which consumed a big portion of the employees time …
Well apparantly this CEO was smart and realized the harm this internet based resources done to his business. Nowdays however many company head executives did not realize the bad effect of the heavy use of public internet services on their work force and never ask the system administrator to filter out this "employees efficiency thefts".

I hope this article, will be eventually red by some middle or small sized company with deteriorating efficiency and this will motivate some companies to introduce an anti-facebook and gmail use policy to boost up the company performance.

As one can imagine, if you sum up all the harm all around the world to companies facebook imposed by simply exposing the employees to do facebooking and not their work, this definitely worsenes the even severe economic crisis raging around …
The topic of how facebook use destroyes many businesses is quite huge and actually probably I'm missing a lot of hardmful aspects to business that can be imposed by just a simple "innocent facebook use", so I will be glad to hear from people in comments, if someone at all benefits of facebook use in an company office (I seriously doubt there is even one).

Suppose you are a company that does big portion of their job behind a computer screen over the internet via a Software as a Service internet based service, suppose you have a project deadline you have to match. The project deadline is way more likely to be matched if you filter out facebook.
Disabling access to facebook of employees and adding company policy to prohibit social network use and rules & regulations prohibiting time consuming internet spaces should produce good productivity results for company lightly.
Though still the employees can find a way to access their out of the job favourite internet services it will be way harder.
If the employee work progress is monitored by installed cameras, there won't be much people to want to cheat and use Facebook, Gmail or any other service prohibited by the company internal codex

Though this are a draconian measures, my personal view is that its better for a company to have such a policy, instead of pay to their emloyees to browser facebook….

I'm not aware what is the situation within many of the companies nowdays and how many of them prohibit the fb, hyves, google plus and the other kind of "anti-social" networks.
But I truly hope more and more organizations chairman / company management will comprehend the damages facebook makes to their business and will issue a new policy to prohibit the use of facebook and the other alike shitty services.

In the mean time for those running an organization routing its traffic through a GNU / Linux powered router and who'd like to prohibit the facebook use to increase the company employees efficiency use this few lines of bash code + iptables:

# Simple iptables firewall rules to filter out
# Leaving open from your office will have impact on employees output ;)
# Written by hip0
# 05.03.2012
get_fb_network=$(whois|grep CIDR|awk '{ print $2 }');
/sbin/iptables -A OUTPUT -p tcp -d ${get_fb_network} -j DROP

Here is also the same filter out facebook, tiny shell script / blocks access to facebook script

If the script logic is followed I guess facebook can be disabled on other company networks easily if the router is using CISCO, BSD etc.
I will be happy to hear if someone did a research on how much a company efficiency is increased whether in the company office facebook gets filtered out. My guess is that efficiency will increase at least with 30% as a result of prohibition of just facebook.

Please drop me a comment if you have an argument against or for my thesis.