Category Archives: Software

Installing Google TensorFlow Neural Network Software for CPU and GPU on Ubuntu 16.04 by https://is.gd/KfiGpp

TensorFlow is an open source software for performing machine learning tasks. Google, its creator wanted to expose a powerful tool to help developers explore and build machine learning based applications and so they released this as an open source project. TensorFlow is an extremely powerful tool specializing in a type of neural network called the deep neural network.

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LastPass Exploit Shows That Last Password You Made Probably Wasn’t Your Last by https://is.gd/J4T5iA

LastPass is one of the most prominent password managers around. It’s extremely convenient but if it were hacked, it would be quite the pain in the arse for users. In a blog post, the company has warned that a major exploit has been discovered and outlined what action users should take immediately.

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The TPP global trade treaty is very bad news for information security. Here’s why

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

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 kickstarter.com

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 (www.yacy.net, www.faroo.com, www.majestic12.co.uk, etc..) and payment systems (www.bitcoin.org) 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