TAILS The Privacy Distro


TAILS, the anonymizing distribution released its version 1.1 about two weeks ago – which means you can download it now. The Tails 1.1 release is largely a catalog of security fixes and bug fixes, limiting itself otherwise to minor improvements such as to the ISO upgrade and installer, and the Windows 8 camouflage. This is one to grab to keep your online privacy intact.

https://tails.boum.org/

Diagnosing Internet Problems


Recently I had been having some internet speed problems. There are several basic checks you can do yourself such as double checking your wired connections are all plugged in properly, making sure you are logged onto the correct wi-fi network :) and so on. You can even check to make sure your modem or router is not overheating (I once had one that was smoking).

So here are some tests you can run if you think you might have a problem, and what the heck, check it even if there isnt a problem so you know where you stand.

Pingtest checks your line quality by examining packet loss, ping rate and jitter rate. Low jitter means you have a stable connection.

Give yours a test here: http://www.pingtest.net/

I also like to use M-Labs Network Diagnostic Test (java required). Besides the basic up/down speeds, it also has sophisticated diagnosis of any problems limiting your speed.

Check it out here: http://www.measurementlab.net/tools/ndt

M-Labs also has NPAD test (Network Path & Application Diagnostics; java required) which is designed to diagnose network performance problems in your end-system (the machine your browser is running on) or the network between it and your nearest NPAD server (basically the last mile or so of your broadband). For each diagnosed problem, the server prescribes corrective actions with instructions suitable for non-experts.

Finally, you can also install NEUBOT (Ubuntu Linux, Windows, Mac). Neubot is a research project on network neutrality. Transmission tests probe the Internet using various application level protocols. The results dataset contains samples from various provides and is published on the web, allowing anyone to analyze the data for research purposes.

With this software you can also check to see if your internet service provider is throttling your internet speed for any reason.

Learn more & how to install here:

http://www.neubot.org/neubot-install-guide

Ubuntu users can easily install with DEB file...

http://releases.neubot.org/neubot-0.4.16.9-1_all.deb

At home I determined my wi-fi card was the problem and replaced it. At work, I found my ISP was throttling internet speeds when using Deluge (a bittorrent-like app). Knowledge is power!

Retrieve Your Ubuntu One Data

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

Canonical announced the file services for Ubuntu One has been discontinued.  Your data is available for download until the end of July - if you haven't taken action already, you need to do so now in order to ensure you have a copy of all your data.

In order to make it easy for you to retrieve all of your content, Ubuntu has released a new feature that lets you download all your content at once. The website https://one.ubuntu.com/ has been updated with instructions on how to conveniently download all your files.

In addition, you still can use Mover.io's offer to transfer your data to another cloud provider for free. And the Ubuntu One web interface is available for you to download individual files.

https://mover.io/connectors/ubuntu-one/

The previously announced option of downloading your files as a zip file is producing unreliable results for a small number of users and therefore that option has been removed. If you already retrieved your files as a zip file, Ubuntu encourages you to check for the validity of the zip file contents. If there are problems with that file, please use one of the options above to retrieve a complete copy of your data.

Remember that you will have until 31st July 2014 to collect all of your content. After that date, all remaining content will be deleted.

The Ubuntu One team

NOTE: To remove the annoying "Ubuntu One is closing down soon" pop ups, you can remove Ubuntu one with the following terminal command (I used this and it worked fine):

sudo apt-get autoremove --purge python-ubuntuone-storageprotocol

Just make sure it doesnt try to remove "ubuntu-desktop" :) Alternatively, if you dont trust the command line, Go into the Software Center and search for "python-ubuntuone-storageprotocol" and uninstall that.

Viber for Ubuntu Desktop


Viber is a text messaging app  that was designed initially for smartphones. They expanded to the desktop and feature an Ubuntu client as well. With Viber  you can make free calls and send free texts, stickers, photos, voice and video messages to other Viber users, on any device, in any network and country. Its pretty cool.

Viber automatically detects which of your contacts already have Viber, so all you need to do is select a name and start a conversation. No invites. No hassle.

With Viber's user-friendly interface, you can easily send messages and make calls. You can also change your profile picture, identify which of your contacts already have Viber, and see who else has recently joined.

Some of the Viber features... free text, photo and video messages with location-sharing, best-quality VoIP calls using 3G or WiFi, call non-Viber mobile or landline numbers at low rates with Viber out, group messaging with up to 100 friends, no registration, passwords or invitations required. It also lets you download "stickers" which are kinda fun.

I use Viber a lot since most of my friends and colleagues are on it.

http://www.viber.com/#desktop

Head over to Viber and download the DEB file and install it! That simple!

UbuntuOne Alternatives - Insync


Now that Ubuntu One is shutting down we continue to look for other alternatives. There is Grive which syncs your Google Drive files and there is Dropbox... both work fine. Grive is limited and Dropbox is expensive.

There is another option you might consider. Insync is probably the most powerful Google Drive client available. Insync extends Drive's web functionality to your desktop by integrating tightly with Windows, Mac and Linux so you can get work done. Pricing is very affordable. Best yet you can try it out for free for 15 days. Insync supports a variety of linux distributions. Go to their website to download your appropriate install file. For Ubuntu users you will want the 32 bit or 64 bit DEB.

https://www.insynchq.com/

Here are some Insync features: Linux support, multiple Google accounts, convert Google Docs to Office, built-in sharing without a browser, support for external & network drives, recent changes feed, desktop notifications, right-click share, on-demand shared files syncing, selective sync all folders + files folders you own, name your own folder, revert read-only files, *awesome* support.

Setup is easy. Just install the DEB file and when you start Insync for the first time it will walk you through connecting your Google Drive account. Once installed you will have an Insync indicator on your top panel as seen in the photo above. Clicking it shows you the options available which is far more then what Grive-tools can do.

Checking preferences gives your even more options and you'll be able to see how much space you still have available on your Google Drive.


Insync adds a bright blue folder for your Google Drive(s) and also bookmarks it for you as well making it easy to get to. Insync also features a handy set of icons on top of the folders or files to let you know if they are synced up or still trying to sync. Very similar to how Dropbox shows file and folder status.




If you dont mind using Google products and 15GB of storage space is enough for you, insync is a well designed option. Its better than Ubuntu One and just as nice as Dropbox, but without the heavy price. 

I love the multiple account feature, the top panel indicator, and I like the fact you can right click and add any folder on your computer to Insync without having to put the folder into your Google Drive folder. Very cool.


* You can get Insync for free if you share your Insync status on social media like Facebook and Twitter.

UbuntuOne Alternatives - Dropbox


Dropbox is a quality alternative to Ubuntu One which will be disappearing soon. Dropbox works well in Ubuntu and is easy to set up by downloading a DEB file and installing it. The integration and file syncing across computers and devices is perfect. Dropbox ONLY offers 2.5GB for free and charges $99 USD per year for 100GB of space. I wont go into too much detail here since most computer users know about Dropbox, but it is one of the top options instead of Ubuntu One.

https://www.dropbox.com/install

Dropbox is what I currently use (as well as Ubuntu One), but I am looking at other options that work just as good. Look for another article soon covering other alternatives to Ubuntu One. :)