Ubuntu

Remote desktop sessions to your Helsinki University work computer

SnapGene running remotely

If you have a work laptop, you can take it home to do work. But what if you have a desktop computer and need to access it from home? The technology to make this possible exists for more than 20 years, but if you think that University IT has made this easy for you, you would be wrong. In fact, I don't know anybody who knows how to do this easily.

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The magic sequence to wake up Apple's SuperDrive on Linux

sudo apt-get install sg3-utils (only needed the first time)
ls /dev (to check whether sr0 or sr1, usually it's sr0 unless you had already other USB drives connected)
sg_raw /dev/sr0 EA 00 00 00 00 00 01

Deleting files with "illegal characters"

In the cross-platform environment of our university, at least three different OS connect to the smb shared group directories. Apparently Macs are able to save files with characters that are not allowed on other platforms and which cannot be easily deleted. Recently we had several files which ended with a '.' (dot) or a ' ' (space), and we were not able to remove them via the GUI. In Windows 7, I managed via the command line with:
delete "file." or
delete "file "

Windows changes my computers clock

If I am not mistaken, Windows is the only OS, that uses local time for the system clock (instead of UTC). This means that in multiple boot configurations, every restart of the system into Windows will screw up the system time. In order to reset it (in Ubuntu 16.04), use
sudo timedatectl set-timezone Etc/UTC

Handbrake and protected DVDs

Ripping DVDs is a thing of the past, but occasionally I still need to do it. However, it happens so rarely that evertime I have either a new computer or a new Linux distribution and I need to install the necessary software. This time I am on Ubuntu 16.04. I usually use Handbrake and it is very comfortable, but handbrake sometimes fails to do the job. This time, I had to resort to MakeMKV. However MakeMKV only rips the video to an MKV container but it does not compress it.

1000 times too slow

This is all what was needed to connect the XP machine back to the network!

Helsinki University has outsourced parts of its IT infrastructure to Microsoft. Even if outsourcing is cheaper in the short term than generating equivalent services locally, the net effect is likely negative due to the lost jobs, know how and independence. It doesn’t need a conspiracy to explain this self-destructive behavior, just bad decision criteria, which do not include long term and externalized costs.

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