Category: life

Using Sky Go in Linux

It’s been a good few months for me and Linux. One by one, all the reasons that I’ve kept a Windows partition around have disappeared. Football Manager now runs on Linux, the Zune HD can be synced in Linux, and now Sky Go can be used under Linux too.

Sky Go uses Silverlight, which has had a Linux implementation before now in Moonlight, but it didn’t support the DRM that Sky uses. However, a new project called Pipelight supports DRM and works like a charm.

To install Pipelight in Ubuntu, first add the required PPA

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pipelight/stable
sudo apt-get update

Now install Pipelight

sudo apt-get install pipelight-multi

You’ll have to agree to some EULAs and the like, but it should install fine.

Now, for Sky Go to work, you need to enable Silverlight 5.0, instead of the latest version, 5.1. To do this, run

sudo pipelight-plugin --enable silverlight5.0

Now, restart your browser, I recommend Firefox, on my machine it wouldn’t work under Chrome. I’ve been very impressed by the reliability and quality of the video, so time to delete that Windows partition for once and for all I reckon.

Customer Service

Customer service, two words that when put together strike dread into people. It conjures images of interminable waiting and terrible automated phone systems. Heaven forbid if you have to send something back to be fixed. Have you your proof of purchase? Warranty? CCTV footage of you buying the product? Good, prepare to wait a few weeks for a repair, if we decide that it’s covered by the warranty and eventually get round to fixing it.

Read more →

365 Online

I’m a Bank of Ireland customer, and use their online banking extensively. And it pisses me off regularly.

To transfer money from one account to another, you have to set up a ‘benificary’ on the site. The procedure was as follows; Enter all the details, then wait about 4 days for a letter to arrive in the post with a code to enter online.

Waiting for the letter to arrive means it takes ages to set up an account which is infuriating. That’s why I was delighted to see they’ve changed the policy when I logged in today, now instead of sending the code in the post, they’ll text it to you. Finally, they’re catching up with other banks online services. Great, saves loads of time.

So, I put in my phone details to register for the service. Now, to confirm my registration, they’re going to.. send me a letter.

facepalm

Final Year Project Thoughts

So that’s it, done and dusted, final year is finished and with it my 4 year college degree.

The inspiration for this post comes from reading a similar post by my friend and former CompSoc compatriot Nathan Shaughnessy. You can read his blog post here.

Basically, there’s a few things that were nice to have in mind in relation to your final year project, and this is to pass them along to others that may be going through the same process soon. Read more →

O2 Mobile Broadband – Strange Experience

I’ve recently moved into a new apartment for the summer months while I finish my work placement. The place is great, nice and compact, and about a 1 minute walk from work, sorted!

The cloud to all this silver lining is that the place had no tv or broadband. AGHH!! Terrifying I know!

After completing Halo 3 on heroic (using my computer monitor as a screen) we sorted out the TV, then set about sorting out broadband. Now I don’t expect to be living in the apartment I am in for more than a few months, so normal broadband isn’t really an option, I can’t sign up for a 12 month contract.

I had a look at the 3G mobile broadband options available around here and there were 3 options, O2, 3, and Vodafone. All weigh in at about 50 to 60 euro for the modem, and then 20 quid a month, or 30 quid if you’re looking at short contracts. Hmm, not ideal.

Luckily for me I then came across an offer that O2 are doing with HEAnet (Higher Education Associan NETwork) for college students. €13 a month on a 12 month contract, with the modem for FREE! Then, the real icing! €15 a month, on a 30 day contract that can be canceled at anytime! DING DING DING Jackpot!

HEAnet

Perfect, it’s only a measly 5GB of usage, but it should be enough for some lightweight usage. So off I went on my merry way to the local O2 shop in the centre of the city to sign up for this wonder deal, ID and proof of address in hand. I went up to the 8 foot tall shop assistant (seriously, the guy was huge!) and asked him about the deal. He was ready to get me signed up when he mentioned “€13 for 12 months”. Whoa!! Stop right there big guy, I want the one month contract thing! “That deal has been canceled since July”. “July?” I spluttered incredulously, “You mean in the last two days??”. “Yep” he replied and I left the store, heartbroken, not even giving the aspiring street artist clamoring for my attention so much as a nod.

As I reached my bike I realised I was standing outside another O2 shop, so I thought, I’d chance my arm, maybe they don’t know about the so called ‘canceling’ of this deal. One day (their computer system was down) and a couple of forms later, and I am now sitting on a 30 day contract with my free modem.Take that giant shop assistant.

o2

This turn of events really shocked me, one rep in one shop said one thing, while in another shop, quite literally 50 yards up the road said another, and processed my application without any trouble. The mind boggles. I suppose the moral of the story is to shop around, even if the shop is a different outlet of the same company.

Anyway, the heel of the hunt is that I now have my mobile broadband and am looking forward to trying it out on my bus journey later. I might post a review on this site depending on my experiences

modem

Neteller – Use a Laser Card as a Credit Card

Now that I have entered gainful employment for my college work placement programme, my thoughts quickly went to deciding what I would buy with my wages. As a tech head, gadgets are generally top of the list, and the cheapest place to buy gadgets is online. With me so far?

The problem with wanting to buy online is that the majority of shops only accept credit cards, a luxury I do not have. I do however possess a Laser Debit Card, and while some Irish shops do accept this type of card, it leaves you painfully restricted as to where you can shop, and therefore you often end up paying more than you should.

Ah I hear you chime up, 3V vouchers! Basically, a prepaid Visa card from Permanent TSB. I have used these in the past, and they are good, and do the job nicely, if a little expensively. The problem I have with 3V cards is the hassle of having to find a shop that a) sells the things and b) has employees who actually know what the hell they are. If I could buy 3V vouchers online with a Laser card, they would be perfect. There must be a better way I thought.

Thats when I came across Neteller, Neteller are an Internet payment company, most popular for their gambling services, and were very popular with Americans looking to gamble online, which for some inane reason is illegal in most states.

neteller logo

I signed up to an account, not because I’m harboring a secret gambling habit, but because of the promise of their Net+ cards.

To my surprise, I then got a phone call from a very friendly and helpful Neteller rep, something one does not expect when signing up to an online service.

To use the Net+ cards, first one must prove ones identification by sending them a scanned ID over the net. I was very cagey about doing this at first, but after some research, I went for it.

A few days later, my account was ‘Extended’ which meant I could start using all their features, the process works like this,

1. I deposit money into the account by choosing the debit card option and selecting the ‘Maestro’ card from the dropdown box (I figured since my card has a Maestro logo on the back it was worth a go). The money comes straight out of my account, plus a 1.7% charge, which is, as far as I can see, the only charge levied against me.

UPDATE

Murray in the comments informs me that AIB laser cards only have 15 digits, and for that reason will not work with Netellers depositing function. Sorry guys, I don’t know of a way around it, BOI laser cards work fine.

Noel has pointed out that if your AIB laser card has 19 digits, you’ll be fine and can use Neteller no problem.

2. I pick the Neteller Net+ Virtual card option on the site, and it generates a Mastercard No, with an expiry date and security code

Screenshot of card

Screenshot of card

3. Jot the details into the website of your choice, all websites accept Mastercard, and the payment will appear on your Neteller account.

4. ????

5. Profit!

There you go, use a Laser card as a credit card without leaving the house, simple really.

List your computers specs in Ubuntu

I was looking for a way to get all the specs for my laptop all together in a similar way to how belarc advisor does for Windows, I found this pretty easy way on the fedora forums –

Run the following command in your terminal – sudo lshw -html >> info.html

This creates a file called info.html in your home directory that, when opened in firefox will give you all your systems information.

I’ve moved

I’ve started blogging on technology weblog network Tech In Hiding, its a new project and I’m hoping to have alot of fun with it, so from now on, all my post will be made on my Tech In Hiding blog, at http://techinhiding.com/shane

I’ll be leaving all of these old posts on here for archival purposes, so that they’ll be accessible, cos there is alot of handy info in them.

Keep reading my posts! Come and check me out!

Why closed source development stifles creativity, and profits

Many people, especially in the Linux community bang on about how open source software is much better than closed source, but then again, how many open source billionaires are there around the place?!

People who develop closed source software and hardware do very well for themselves, just look at practically every software of hardware company in the world, they keep their technology and methods totally under wraps, and this means that other people and companies can’t go out and copy their ideas, which makes sense in a commercial sense.

But i have one particular example where closed source technology is costing the consumer and, crucially, companies millions of dollars. That example is the current format war between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD.

This format war has been raging for a long while now, and to be fair, most people are pretty sick of it by now, with one studio only releasing movies on one or the other format. The reason for this expensive and annoying bickering is that both sides, mainly Sony for Blu-Ray, and Toshiba for HD-DVD, have spent lots of money developing their formats and don’t want to see that money go down the drain.

Now imagine this hardware was developed in an open source world. Because companies keep their plans under wraps, Toshiba and Sony probably weren’t aware that they were each developing new, largely similar, with some exceptions, formats, so they ploughed on. If they had been aware of each other, and technology was developed in a transparent and open source way, it might have gone down like this;

Sony: “Hey man, i hear you’re developing a new optical format! Funny thing, we are too!”

Toshiba: “No way! Get outta here! How’s it going for you?!”

Sony: “Pretty good, we’ve got up to about 50Gigs, only thing is, were having awful trouble with those damn blue lasers, and its real hard to set up manufacturing plants to make our format”

Toshiba: “50?! That’s brilliant! We’ve got lower capacity but ours is real easy to manufacture and uses cheaper lasers!”

Sony: “Well hey, how about this, I’ll give you a hand with the capacity thing if you’ll show us how you got the thing to be so easy to make!”

Toshiba: “Wow, then we’d have like, a single super format, with all the advantages and none of the disadvantages! Great idea, cos people’ll know that this is the next gen format and it’ll fly off the shelves! We’ll make loads of money, instead of battling against one another!”

See? If the 2 companies had been more open about the whole thing, we’d have a single, brilliant format, marketing would be concentrated and uptake of the new format would be much greater, as people wouldn’t have been crippled by the fear that they could be left with the high def equivalent of a Betamax player!

Closed source hardware development, not always best for profits!

Hello world..

This blog’s been a little bit stagnant over the last while, i’ve been a bit busy, but when i heard that technorati is saying that people are posting to blogs less often than they used to, i was determined not to become just another statistic!

So, whats been catching my eye recently?

Well one thing in particular is the alky project, this is attempting to provide a way to use direct x 10 on both Linux and Macs. Quite an optimistic goal. They claim to have had some success already, but I’m going to wait and see before making judgement on this, it would be amazing if they managed it, but it would be an amazing feat for a team which to my knowledge, comprises of a single person, and is totally funded by donations. Check out http://www.fallingleafsystems.com/ for more details.

I see that Automatix has now been released to work with Feisty. You may have been surprised that I’ve never blogged about this tool,which many people think is an absolute life saver for new ubuntu users. There is a reason. I personally don’t like these programs, I began using Linux to learn about it, getting ti grips with Synaptic etc. To have a script automating all of this would make my effort pointless, and, unless you really need things set up super fast, take the extra time to do it yourself, it’ll pay off in the long run.

-slibuntu out-