QR Code Generator from Zebra Crossing

Need a QR Code for something?

If you ever find yourself in need of a QR Code generator, follow the link below to try the Zebra Crossing QR Code generator. The generator has the ability to create codes for Phone Numbers, Detailed Contact Information, URLs and a bunch more. The main project website can be found at http://code.google.com/p/zxing/ where you can read about the project’s roots and get a link to the Android tool for offline (and online) code deciphering.

QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project.

ZXing QR Code Generator Interface
Contact Information Entry Form

Things That I Want: blink(1)

blink(1) Icon from IFTTTWhat is a blink(1)???

While checking out what channels were available on If This Then That (ifttt.com), a.k.a IFTTT, I decided to look further into the blink(1) connector and see what it was.  The product page can be found at http://thingm.com/products/blink-1.html.

For those not familiar, the blink(1) is an rgb LED notifier that can plug into virtually any devices USB port. Once there, it can be configured to notify the user (or others) of virtually anything, and when combined with ifttt.com, it really blows your options wide open.

The blink(1) project is entirely Open Source, including the design, hardware and software.  It includes drives for Linux, Windows, Mac OSX, Raspberry Pi, Linux firmware based routers and more.

Freebie! Crossover Mac and Linux on 2012-10-31

CodeWeavers' CrossOver XI IconCourtesy of the folks over at CodeWeavers, they are giving away free licenses of their flagship CrossOver application. Unbelievably the licenses they are giving away include a 12 month support entitlement as well. Make sure you check into http://flock.codeweavers.com on October 31st between midnight and 11:59PM (Central Standard Time – GMT -0500) to get your license.

For those of you unfamiliar with CrossOver, it is a front end application for the Wine project that allows you to run Windows applications on Linux and Mac OS X. If building your own “bottles” isn’t your thing, you can now use “CrossTies” for well know Windows applications.

Read more

Application of the Week Series Starting Wednesday

Application of the WeekOver the years I have been known as a go-to resource when friends and colleagues have had the need for an application to do things ranging from the everyday to the totally obscure and complex. Having surfed through 1000’s of sites and tried and tested 1000’s of applications over the past 15+ years, I’ve been able to find more than a few applications that have become indispensable in my day to day work and life, and would like to share some of them with you.


Beginning this Wednesday I will be starting up my Application of the Week series. The posts will cover Windows, Linux and/or Mac, with a primary focus on tools that are Open Source, Low Cost or Free. The applications themselves will be covering the vast majority of uses for the novice through advanced user, parent, friend and volunteer support person.

How-To: Multiboot Fedora 17 and RHEL 6

How To Multi-boot Fedora 17 and RHEL

Fedora LogoAfter doing a bit of digging I hadn’t found any articles around for folks that had had issues with GRUB2 on Fedora 17 with multibooting Fedora and RHEL.  On my laptop I had run Windows 8 and RHEL 6.2 prior to installing F17.

After the installation was completed (successfully) I rebooted and went about my day.  The problem was noticed a few days later when I rebooted to get into my RHEL installation and found it wasn’t in my GRUB menu any more (technically it was gone as of my Fedora install).

After some digging, I had been unable to find an identical issue.  What I did find was a quirk that happens when the GRUB OS scanner looks through your local disks for installed Operating Systems.  The quirk is that it won’t check on unmounted LVM based partitions for installations.  This meant that my RHEL install went entirely unnoticed during the F17 install.

To fix this is actually pretty straightforward.  First, make sure that you have any LVM partitions mounted. Second (as root), run:

grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub.cfg

Once this is done you should then be able to boot into your RHEL installation from the GRUB menu.

Password Managers 101


While trying to manage what seems like a few hundred passwords covering multitudes of websites, remote systems and client systems, I have tried a wide variety of applications and methods to stay on top.

With the unfortunate news about one major site after another suffering password breaches over the past year, the age old advice of “Never Reuse Passwords” must really be taken to heart.

The main tools that I have used since 2004 have been Microsoft Excel, KeePass and most recently (for the past 6 months), LastPass.  All of these methods have their pro’s and con’s, which I will discuss through the rest of this article.

Read more

How-To: Use an SSH Config to Simplify Remote Shell Access


If you happen to have more than one SSH session that you need to use on a regular basis or happen to have various identities one of the easiest ways to manage them is by using a config file.  In this case the file is going to be ~/.ssh/config (you can use /etc/ssh/ssh_config to make options available to all users on the system).

Important! When using a config file make sure you place your most specific information (i.e. hosts, etc) at the beginning of the file.  SSH takes the first matching directive and will ignore any further down the file.

In my use, the options used have been fairly limited to the Host, HostName, User and Dynamic and Local Forwards, X Forwarding and TCPKeepAlive.

An example of an entry is:

Host myserver
HostName www.myserver.com
User joesomebody@myserver.com
LocalForward localhost:9091 remotehost:9091
ForwardX11 yes

 If you manage multiple servers or hosts and are required to used different identities when connecting a config file can make life a lot easier as you can specify what identity to use with the “IdentityFile” variable. Using this you can specify what key file to use on a per-host or network basis.  Wildcards make this easier.

Host *.clienta.com
User joe@clienta.com
IdentityFile ~/.ssh/id_rsa_clienta

 From the ssh_config manpage:

A pattern-list is a comma-separated list of patterns.  Patterns within pattern-lists may be negated by preceding themwith an exclamation mark (‘!’).  For example, to allow a key to be used from anywhere within an organisation except from the “dialup” pool, the following entry (in authorized_keys) could be used:


If you have used a config file make simplify your host access let me know in the comments

Putting the Boot to USB Keys (Or How to Make Your Flash Drive Bootable and Save the Environment)


USB Plug
While reading the comments to my weekly read of the Distrowatch Weekly, I came across this comment from “serge” from Canada…

Pls. try to “boot from USB key” instead of polluting the Earth with CDs :) (by serge on 2012-06-04 12:30:37 GMT from Canada)
Hi Jesse:

This is NOT a criticism, but just a comment on the possibility of trying to lower the amount of plastic being wasted and polluting our Earth. If the distro allows, what do u think of using a USB key and boot from it. Ubuntu has its own utility, or there are other utilities to make a USB key from any distro’s ISOs. It’s so easy and the USB key can be re-used again and again, especially for testing.

Thanks and love your writings on Distrowatch.

It got me to thinking about the real impact of our beloved rapid release cycle, and what I can do to help. I commit to always using a USB flash drive whenever possible in place of my typical CD/DVD.

If all of us *nix users take this small step we can make a huge difference.

To go along with my commitment, I am also creating a page on how to graft your favourite distribution on to your flash drives. Check back soon for this How-To.

How-To: Add a New Item to GNOME 3’s Open With Menu


GNOME IconAfter fighting through a painful time in being able to get my Portable version of Sublime Text to be able to open text files via the right click menu I figured that it might be handy to post a quick guide to the future use by the GNOME 3 community.

Technically the process isn’t too difficult however what I ran into was a brutal time finding out what was required.  GNOME doesn’t have an option in it’s configuration applications, nor was there anything readily visible in it’s configs to add or edit how MIME Types are handled and with what.

Check out the rest of the post for more information and sample .desktop file contents. Read more

Fedora 17 – A Fresh Beefy Miracle Review

Fedora LogoWhile the name can bring to mind any number of images, the latest rendition of Fedora (a.k.a. Beefy Miracle) is now a Beta.

Version 17 of the Fedora Core OS brings with it the most recent versions of GNOME 3 (3.4.1 of the gnome-shell with the first round of updates), KDE 4.8, G.I.M.P. 2.8 featuring a unified window (Woohoo!!!) and a tonne of other updated goodies. Read more