Category Archives: Software News

Get power on pdf files and modify them on the fly with pdfmod (PDF Mod) and PDF Editor on Ubuntu

Since its invention, the pdf format has been the most versatile standard to share documents with a fixed layout. Everyday we share, read and create a lot of pdf files but sometimes we would like to modify them to create “new” personalized version more suitable to our needs.

For example, sometimes you need to extrapolate just a page from a pdf files or you want just to create different versions of the same file with few variations for your colleagues. For all these purpose pdfmod is the right solution for you.

Pdfmod has not been developed for some years because the versions we were able to find for Linux were the 2011 ones but, for what we know and tested, it still runs on all main platforms as Linux, Windows and OSX. Pdfmod is  a little bit different from other similar programs because it allows you just to modify the pdf file changing pages order, deleting pages or adding new pages from other pdf files. It also allows you to change some main metadata (title, author, keywords and subjest) of your pdf file in just few clicks and, of course, you can save the modified copy of the original pdf file.

These features could be basic for more sophisticated people but I can assure you that, if you have the need to do this kind of work different times in a week, pdfmod is the software you will use more often. Installation on Ubuntu is very simple, you just have to open a terminal and type:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pdfmod-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pdfmod

and you will find a new PDF Mod launcher into the Accessories menu.

To get complete power on your pdf files we suggest pdfedit (PDF Editor) which allows you to “break” protected pdf files and modify them. To install pdfedit, use Synaptics Package Manager or the Ubuntu Software Center.

Don’t forget, when you use pdfedit you just have to open the “target” pdf file, save it using the Flatten feature you find into the Tool menu and open again the “new” file to modify it without any restriction.

Easy to install and simple to use, in few words the above described programs worth a try!  AddThis

Time to clean-up! Ubuntu – Linux suggestions.

Christmas time is ending and today we really don’t know how many relatives used out computer for “just few minutes” or “to quickly (sic) check the emails”. In few words, our Linux PC could have been overstuffed with unwanted temporary files and we haven’t had time to update it. So, it’s time to clean-up!!

First of all I suggest to use BleachBit because, for my experience, it’s the most powerful software to clean temporary files, log files and unwanted traces on your computer. BleachBit is easy to use and, as we described in previous post, very effective.

Then we have to check if our system is really updated so we can use the usual ways as Synaptics Package Manager or quickly run a some simple commands through Terminal to update, upgrade and remove old packages or Kernel.

For this purpose I collected three simple commands and chained them in a single line:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
&& sudo apt-get autoremove

In this way you will be sure that you can start again to work on your Ubuntu as before the Christmas time! AddThis

How to install “old” add-ons on Firefox 5. The easy way!

Firefox add-onsI usually update my Firefox as soon as possible but often, especially after installing the new version 5 on a Ubuntu 11.04 platform, I had to lose many add-ons that I previously selected and used daily. To avoid this problem I found some tips on the web and I tested all of them with different results.

Solution 1
– download the .xpi file from its official Firefox add-on webpage using the right mouse button (Save Link As) on

– unzip the .xpi file with Archive Manager and open install.rdf using a Text Editor;

– find this line: em:maxVersion and change the value from e.g. 4.0.* to 5.0.*;

– click on   icon in the Firefox Add-ons Manager, select “Install Add-on From File…” and follow the visual instructions.

Unfortunately this solution didn’t work always during my tests

Solution 2
– open a new Tab on Firefox and type: about:config;

– agree to the warning message;

– search all the lines with the string extensions.checkCompatibility and set the values to false

– restart Firefox and enable or install your “old” add-ons.

Solution 3 – The easy one!
– open a new Tab on Firefox and click on Tools –> Add-ons;

– search for the Add-on Compatibility Reporter and install it;

– restart Firefox and you will be able to install all the old add-ons.

Sometimes you will discover that installing “old” add-ons doesn’t mean that they really run on Firefox 5 but, in my experience, more than the 70% of them will be good for the new version. Have fun!! AddThis

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The dawn of Morpheus’ era. Google’s supremacy and your privacy: short considerations about Google+

In the last days, I tested Google+ and it really works! It’s fast, well-organized with a really intuitive graphical interface and, for the “first time”, I was able to start conversations with different groups without worrying to say something inappropriate to the wrong person. The problem is that it wasn’t the very “first time” I had the possibility to share a conversation because, for some months, I was one of the testers of Diaspora, an open-source project, which was financed through

Diaspora is a start-up project in its alpha release and the most interesting supported features are the https streaming and the possibility to create separate conversations with preselected groups. During the past months Diaspora has not  grown fast but this kind of timeline is not unusual considering the number of developers involved, the financial capital used and all the different problems that a start-up has to solve during the first year of existence. The Diaspora’s real added value was the idea of a more secure social media through https and dedicated conversation shared between homogeneous groups of people.

On the contrary Google hasn’t had this kind of problems while developing a similar project, Google+. Anyway Google is so well structured and financially powerful that can reach the goals in a very short time if someone, at Mountain View, really believes on the future possibilities of a project. In few words, this is the natural dominance of a big player in an imperfect market where the start-up can be annihilated by a faster and richer competitor which is able to use more human resources and capitals.

I personally believe that Google, in such a way, has contaminated the natural software “diversity” growth and has too easily prevailed over the Diaspora’s guys. I am not talking about copyrights or trademarks which have often damaged the software development, I am talking about software evolution, the “natural” selection that allows small groups of people with better ideas to survive and prevail over the bigger companies. We cannot be sure that, after the completion of Diaspora, new valuable projects wouldn’t have springed from that team. Perhaps it’s time to critically ask ourselves if Google has become too big and too powerful over the web and if we need a new generation of laws or rules just to perimeter it (not to censure its works or split the company).

Back to Google+, I can strongly affirm that all the features I tested were well programmed and extremely intuitive to use. Moreover, Google+ integrates many other Google products (e.g. Picasa, YouTube, Voice, etc..) and you can share a lot of contents directly with the right people using the, now “famous”, Circles feature.

But at this point, we need another old -no software related- question mark. How many information about our lives are stored in Google servers? All the Google online software are successfully principally due to their high level of usability. None force you to use Google’s products, you are 100% free to decide but usually you have specific accounts to manage your photographs, favourite RSS, documents, phone directory, emails and now also your friends, family and more… All these information profile you and your personal attitudes better than ever. Using the right mathematical function, Google potentially has an accurate profile of you than no one else and sometime it is reasonable to believe that Google knows us better than we do.

In this prospective the “digital identification” card someone proposed some years ago to better regulate the web and check the people online activity, sounds prehistoric. The natural evolution of the net, connected to the lack of a real liberal regulation, has created a “nice” superpower company that potentially has the possibility to share our most intimate data with third parties influencing in a way or another our destinies. Can the privacy disclaimers we accept with each Google service protect our data in a bullet-proof way? Personally I have some little doubts!

On the other hand, during the last year we assisted to the dawn of more decentralized online services (,,, etc..) and payment systems ( which are able to guarantee a more efficient encrypted privacy. To  extremely simplify the concept it is possible to say that these new technologies represent a possible future horizon that will be developed in few years. Consequently, it is reasonable to predict that two parallel Internet will exist in the near future.

The first is the logical evolution of the web we know today with a more “efficient” control developed by Governments and specialised “agencies”. The second will be something near to what we watched in the Matrix saga. A semi-secret Internet, developed by unknown “experts” where the privacy will be one of the most valuable elements and where we will use a new generation of dynamic encryption software. If we consider that nowadays it is technically possible to build low-cost telecommunication satellites, the only residual barrier for the creation of this new web is represented by the cost of the vectors to bring them into the space. Waiting for a cheap orbital launcher, new technologies have been experimented to build alternative webs. The transmission of encrypted computer data through the radio frequencies is one of the most interesting projects. But this is another story also because we should consider the risks related to a second new encrypted Internet if not used in a proper way…

To conclude, let me say that Google’s people are the best but now, it is time they start thinking a little bit less about online software or visionary technologies and much more about the potential social and freedom risks of their work. There are not precise rules about these topics because just few politicians have a real knowledge about the “digital frontier” and for this reason they have the terrific possibility to regulate themselves in the best way and be really transparent. History rules, when there is not effectiveness regulation, there is the risk that, sooner or later, lobbies persuade politicians to law in a wrong way. If we think about what happened in the last thirty years we can focus our attention on specific tragic events which allowed Parliaments to overreact and chain our civil rights and our privacy in a way that has not roots in our democratic societies.

On the contrary, with new democratic and “illuminated” rules or self-reforms, honestly created by real experts, there will less needs for a parallel Internet and perhaps the dawn of Morpheus’ era will be postponed for a while. At the moment we can only hope that Google people are not became too old to consider that they could change their point of view. The current Google technological path is just one of the many they can develop. Now this path seems to be efficient and, of course, profitable but perhaps the near future needs something different and less dangerous for our privacy and civil rights… (to be continued, sooner or later…). AddThis

System Recovery Tools: a possible cross-platform approach through open source and proprietary solutions

The following system recovery tools will be useful to you if you are facing problem of data loss or if your system is simply crashing. It is advisable to burn copies of these tools much before any disaster strikes.

Open Source and Free approach:

G4L aka Ghost for Linux is one of the system recovery tools that is mainly a cloning and hard disk and partition imaging tool. This tool is similar to “Norton Ghost”. The images created are compressed optionally and transferred to a FTP server instead of opting for cloning locally. Ideally, of the several tools described above it is advisable to use the most suitable tool for your needs. The tool that will be most useful during a crisis like a crash or server failure will be a better tool.

The Ultimate Boot CD is one of the system recovery tools which will be very helpful when you want to run CDRom-based diagnostic tools thereby consolidating as many diagnostic tools into one bootable CD as possible. Since you can now boot from USB memory devices a script you can run “Ultimate Boot CD” from USB memory stick and a script on the script on the CD will enable you to boot newer systems from your USB sticks. This is many steps ahead than many of the other recovery tools. Moreover it gives you the flexibility of booting your system with a USB memory stick.

Knoppix is one of the system recovery tools which is essentially a bootable CD with GNU/Linux software. It ensures automatic detection of hardware and supports a wide range of devices like sound cards, most of the graphic cards, USB and SCSI devices and other peripherals. It can be used as an educational CD, a Linux demo or for system recovery purposes. Alternatively it can be used as a commercial platform for software demos. There is no need to install anything on the hard-disk as the CD is capable of storing 2GB of software installed in it. Thus this tool is a truly multi-purpose recovery tool.

Proprietary solutions:

O&O Disk recovery: This software tool scans every portion of your hard-disk, digital camera or memory card for lost files. It is so effective and reliable that it is possible to reconstruct data even when files systems have been destroyed or formatted. More than 350 types of files like music formats, word documents, movie, graphics, Excel workbooks, photo and access databases can be recognized, reconstructed and restored.

SuperDuper is one of the system recovery tools makes recovery effortless as it creates a completely bootable backup effortlessly. The strengths of this software are that it is user-friendly, easy to use with a built-in scheduler that it makes backup automatically. Moreover it performs well independent of the processor that is both on Power PC Macs as well as Intel PCs. It is particularly useful when your software application with the latest update is not working or when your hard drive begins to make noise. It is also very handy when you want to restore a stable copy of your system though you do not want t lose your existing system files or cases like this. AddThis mp3 link

Some Linux security tips for Rootkit Hunter

If you run Rootkit Hunter and you haven’t modified your stock Red Hat configuration of the SSH service (sshd), chances are it will find that you allow root logins. Rootkit Hunter considers these as possible security risks. However, to fix this, you can simply login as root, fire up a text editor, and edit the file


Make the following changes:
You’ll find a commented line like this:
#Protocol 2,1
Uncomment it and change it to:
Protocol 2
This will disallow logins using the older versions of the protocol

Look for the commented line
#PermitRootLogin yes
Uncomment the line and change it so it reads:
PermitRootLogin no
This will configure sshd NOT to allow root logins.

After this, be sure to restart sshd (assuming you run the service in the first place so:
Service sshd restart

By the way Rootkit scanner is scanning tool to ensure you for about 99.9% you’re clean of nasty tools. This tool scans for rootkits, backdoors and local exploits.

AddThis mp3 link

Stay safe! Install Rootkit Hunter on Linux and FreeBSD

Rootkit Hunter is a Unix-primarily based scanning tool that scans for rootkits, backdoors and possible local exploits. It does this by comparing SHA-1 hashes of vital files with known good ones in online database, looking for default directories (of rootkits), improper permissions, hidden records data, suspicious strings in kernel modules and particular tests for Linux or FreeBSD. Most instances rootkits are self-hiding toolkits utilized by blackhats, crackers and script kiddies, to keep away from the attention of the system admin. If you’re unsure  as to whether your system is compromised, you will get a second opinion from sources such as Linux-oriented forum. If your system is contaminated with a rootkit, cleaning it up will not be an option. Restoring can be not an option unless you might be expert, and have autonomous and an impartial means of verifying that the backup is clear, and does not include misconfigured or stale software. Never trust a potentially compromised machine! Basically a clean install of the OS is always advisable after backing up the system. AddThis mp3 link

Upload, store and download files with no limits! (up to 2GB single file, no space or time limitations)

Depositfiles is a very flexible online hosting service to upload files (up to 2GB) and share them with your colleagues and friends. There is no limit to the quantity of files you can store on Depositfiles and you can protect your files and folders with a password. Depositfiles has a gold plan with faster uploads and downloads but we obviously tried the free one. After the registration, you can start uploading your files. You can choose between a multiple or a single file upload and, if you prefer, it is also possible to use your favorite FTP client. The online interface is complex but intuitive and after few tests you will able to upload big files, create folders and annotate your online file links. The free plan upload is enough fast and smooth; e.g. we were able to upload an Ubuntu 10.10 iso image in almost 3 hours. In the Tools section you find the code for a flash uploader for your website and a files checker to be 100% sure your uploaded files are till active also after months. The Depositfiles Filemanager software is free and very useful add-on for your browser if you plan to download different diles at the same time. Moreover, Depositfiles has 4 different loyalty programs which allow you to earn points to use in pro features. AddThis mp3 link

Rediscover Prism by Mozilla (Ubuntu, MAC and Windows tips)

In 2007, when Prism was launched, there were some enthusiastic reviews about this application. Then the widget era began and Prism popularity decreased. Anyway, Prism is still a powerful application for all that people who desire to run their more often used web application saving RAM and CPU resources. Prism, based on XULRunner, is multi platform, easy to use and very flexible. To use it on Ubuntu you can launch the Terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install prism

or using the Synaptics Package Manager (System —> Administration —> Synaptics Package Manager). Then go to Applications —> Internet —> Prism and a small windows appears. Now, fill in all the required information: the web application URL, the name you prefer, settings and do not forget to click on the Desktop shortcut option. At this point you will find a new rough icon on your Desktop with the name you chose. The first time you use it, with the right mouse button click on it and go to Properties —> Permissions and Allow executing file as program. If you want to change the icon you have to click on it (with the right mouse button), go to Properties —> Basic and choose your favorite icon clicking the icon on the upper left corner. If all are steps are annoying for you, it is possible to use Prism as add-on for Firefox. In this case, on Firefox, go to Tools —> Add-ons —> Get Add-ons and type Prism on the search bar. You will install Prism as a simple add-on for Firefox. Now, you can automatically generate a Prism application just clicking on Tools —> Convert Website to  Application when you are in the web application page.

On Windows or MAC we suggest to download the standalone package directly from the official web page or install Prism as Firefox add-on following the same steps we described for Ubuntu. If you use the Prism standalone package you have to decompress it in your favorite location. For Windows users: when you set up a new Prism application, try the tray menu option but do not forget to click on the Desktop shortcut or you will not be able to find again the application after you close it.

In my experience, Prism is really useful with all the Google web applications, with Zoho services and Pandora. Try and enjoy it! AddThis mp3 link

Save your status, energy and time using the Hibernate shutdown option on Windows XP

Usually, when you shut down your Linux OS, you have the option to Hibernate your computer. Using this option you are 100% sure that, when you power-on again your PC, you will find exactly the same programs, browser tabs and system configuration you. In Windows XP you have the same option but often it is hidden. If you have access to your XP computer as Administrator, you can follow the following instruction to restore it: Start —> Control Panel —> Power Options. Find the Hibernate tab and then click on Enable Hibernation. That’s it! AddThis mp3 link