[Insert project title here]

An Android fitness tracker application. Feedback from the preparation forum was positive, there is enough scope to expand or contract the project as needed. Importantly, it is “substantially within the sphere of information technology”.

Taking approaches from IT Systems Planning for Success (TM353) and an Agile approach from Software Engineering (TM354) meets the requirements. There is a substantial part of the application that needs synchronise with a server, utilising another level 3 module Developing Concurrent Distributed Systems (M362).

What I haven’t decided is the title!

Install Android Studio on Ubuntu


Android Studio is a great development environment and is available on Ubuntu. I’m using Ubuntu Mate 16.10 “Yakkety Yak”.
First install a Java Development Kit (JDK). OpenJDK is pre-installed or you can use Oracle Java 8 (there is a great guide here). I don’t wish to argue over your choice – I need to use the latter (my tutor does). Download Android Studio here. – I extracted it to /opt; ran the installer; and used my home folder for the SDK. If you are using 64 bit, you need the 32 bit GNU standard C++ library:
sudo apt install lib32stdc++6

For Arch you need to enable “multilib” repository:

<code><span class="pln">sudo pacman </span><span class="pun">-</span><span class="typ">Syu</span> <span class="pun">&amp;&amp;</span><span class="pln"> sudo pacman </span><span class="pun">-</span><span class="pln">S multilib</span><span class="pun">/</span><span class="pln">lib32</span><span class="pun">-</span><span class="pln">libstdc</span><span class="pun">++</span><span class="lit">5</span><span class="pln"> multilib</span><span class="pun">/</span><span class="pln">lib32</span><span class="pun">-</span><span class="pln">zlib</span></code>

Virtualisation support is interesting. I read two tutorial and Google’s guide. The former makes reference to command line options not in version 2.2.2. These posts suggest this is a bug, but it may now be default behaviour. First enable that virtualisation in BIOS (check if enabled using “kvm-ok”).

sudo apt-get install qemu-kvm libvirt-bin ubuntu-vm-builder bridge-utils
sudo adduser dougie kvm
sudo adduser dougie libvirtd

This results in an error.

Using the system version of libstdc++.so.6 works. Add the following to /etc/environment:


It seems snappy but with no feedback I’m unsure if accelerated.

So I now have a development environment set up for my project. The next hurdle is to choose a title. So far it is a: development project; distributed application; and uses Android.

A quick thank you

I needed wxMaxima but the version in the repositories is a little older (one major revision). Compiling from source is straightforward but a recent discussion I had with students showed they shied away from it.

So I figured I’d try packaging and a couple of hours later and I’ve a copy in my PPA. I’m unsure who maintains the packaging guide so I wanted to say thank you on Ubuntu Planet hoping those involved see it. Its great when you want to try something, find comprehensive instructions and can wrap it up in a few hours.

Forget everything you knew about coding (or perhaps remember, depending on your age)

This Christmas I’m going to embrace the past.

COmmon Business Oriented Language (COBOL) 85 standard was the first language I was taught. Napier University was a feeder into the banking and insurance industries in Edinburgh at the time and they had sizeable COBOL farms. It proved profitable too, as a number of students I knew went to the US to alleviate Y2K bugs in thousands of legacy applications. COBOL had fallen out of favour in US colleges.

Continue reading Forget everything you knew about coding (or perhaps remember, depending on your age)

I killed my PS3

I’ve been playing the brilliant “Assassin’s Creed – Brotherhood”. So much so that I’ve killed my PS3 – it now overheats and turns itself off after about three minutes (if its booted from cold), beeps three times and flashes the power light. Mind you I’ve had it for about four years.

I bought a new one (surprised that the hard disk size going up seems to have reduced any price decreases over time).

Seems like a faulty fan – sounds like a bearing grinding. Anyone any experience with them?

Linux is not a get of jail free card

I’ve been having line problems with my ISP – British Telecom. To cut a long story short we see a 75% speed drop, phone BT, jump through umpteen hoops and they reset the profile at the exchange. The fault is with the line and it’s intermittent.

That doesn’t really bother me. The customer support agent told me to use BT’s speed diagnostic tool. Now aside from why their tool would be better, its not really an option as its a poorly written Java applet that doesn’t seem to work with Firefox or Chromium in Linux. Now I dare say I could get it to work but why spend the energy? When I mentioned it to the agent, he told me BT doesn’t officially support Linux and helpfully suggested I keep a Windows laptop handy.

Are you kidding? Keep a Windows laptop handy? There are reasons why I use Linux, there are reasons people use Macs and Windows too – they chose to. What the hell has that got to do with my ISP? I have no software from them, it’s a wireless access point they provide. Do you know what operating system it runs? Linux.

Samsung ML-1915 with Ubuntu

I picked up a cheap laser printer, a Samsung ML-1915. It isn’t automatically configured by Ubuntu 10.10 as it requires the Samsung Unified Linux Print Driver.

The page explains what to do but in synopsis, you need to add the repository and install two packages, obviously check out the site before blindly following me:

Add the repository to /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://www.bchemnet.com/suldr/ debian extra

Now, I know Ubuntu has the apt-add-repository command but that will add “pangolin release” instead of “debian extra” and will create a source entry too – which will give you an error:

W: Failed to fetch http://www.bchemnet.com/suldr/dists/debian/Release
Unable to find expected entry  extra/source/Sources in Meta-index file
(malformed Release file?)

If you did then you need to remove the offending deb-src http://www.bchemnet.com/suldr/ debian extra entry.

That done, add the GPG key and update the apt cache.

wget -O - http://www.bchemnet.com/suldr/suldr.gpg | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install samsungmfp-driver samsungmfp-data

It will then pick up and install when you plug it in. Samsung themselves provide a 30 odd Mb driver file, here. There are a whole list of the differences here but for me, I prefer Debian compliance and not installing anything I don’t need.

Oh and a big thank you to everyone who sent me suggestions of what to do in San Diego. People can be surprisingly open and friendly – especially within our community.

Twitter vulnerabilities, using Windows, studying and new WordPress themes.

Graham Cluley, a Senior Technology Consultant at Sophos, has a nice blog piece on the Twitter worm from earlier this week. To cut a long story short, he reminds us of the importance of sanitizing inputs.

Still, it was more productive than my week with my Open University module that starts in October – T175 (Networked living: exploring information and communication technologies). The OU can be very Windows dependent but this course seems to be pretty much delivered in Virtual Learning Environment (what the OU calls Moodle). I ran the course DVD, which is a Windows Flash standalone thing which got me to revive the OU Ubuntu Users group, sending out emails, starting a mailing list and trying to get things going again.

So why was it unproductive? Well, I haven’t booted Windows in ages – there were a million updates, one of which was for the wireless driver. Update completely borked the wireless and I wound up restoring the drive. That aside, one thing I really like about Ubuntu (and most distributions) is a centralised update manager – Windows has Adobe, Java, Windows Update, Firefox and McAfee all trying to pull updates at the same time. It makes the system completely unusable for the first ten minutes it’s on!

Any way, I decided to build a new WordPress theme. Same colour scheme, more rounded edges – should be available in the next few days.