I picked up the Adafruit PiUART for console access over USB (incredibly useful when something is wrong with networking and you don't have a monitor handy).

1. Log into Pi and run sudo raspi-config: Interfacing options > Serial > Would you like a login shell to be accessible over serial? > Yes, Finish and reboot.
2. Connect to laptop. Turn on.
3. In Windows open Device Manager, find COM port number.
4. Open Putty, stay on main Session page, but select Serial radio button under Connection Type. Put in your COM port number under Serial line, and 115200 under Speed. Click Open.
5. A terminal window pops up, but is blank, and does nothing. Still attached, turn off Pi, and turn back on again. The window will be displaying the usual boot up info you'd see if a monitor was attached.

Apparently "That's because there's a serial console defined in the /boot/cmdline.txt".

But at least it's working.
Let's try a post without pictures for now. How to get an unaffiliated cloak on freenode:

Step 1; register a nickname [as detailed here]
Step 2; join #freenode and wait patiently for a staffer to show up
Step 3; ask politely for a cloak [as here]
Step 4; once cloak is applied, thank your staffer, and check your info

Simple, and awesome. Going to test it from work tomorrow to see how well it works.

*edit* Using the webchat.freenode.net clients still set the realname to something based on your ip, but using a client that sets realname to something silly like 'purple' (hi pidgin), is a pretty good combination.
Want to compute checksum/digests of your downloads? On Fedora, easy peasy;

openssl dgst -$protocol $file

$protocol examples; sha1, md5. Check man page for more.

You can then check the digest against the one supplied on the website and/or throw it into a search engine and see what comes up.
We have many different kinds of Operating Systems, each with its own pluses and minuses. I think this is a very good, and important, thing. It means you have the scope to find the one that suits you just right, to enable a kind of symbiosis between you and your machine. I remember the days when you had to use Windows. I, everyday, encounter people who tell me I have to use Mac. Multiple times a day I come across people who tell me why their *nix flavour is the best. It drives me nuts. In my personal sphere the worst offenders are the Debian and Ubuntu users. I've no problem with people talking about their OS, engaging in open discussion is healthy and enlightening. It's when that conversation happens to the exclusion of all other OSs that I get annoyed. And not simply because I'm a Fedora user.

Increasingly in college we're having Ubuntu forced upon us. It makes sense, there are people in my course unfamiliar with linux, and it is widely believed to be the easiest to get into. But, they say X works with linux, when they mean Ubuntu. They give instructions only for Ubuntu. Documentation is only written for Ubuntu. There is a massive dependency on "do this and it just works". Only, when you're on another flavour, and trying to figure out why it doesn't, there are no pointers, and the instructors can offer no help. It kinda defeats the purpose don't you think? To replace one ubiquitous system with another, with equally limited knowledge of how it actually works.

Okay, my little rant is over. Here's some things you might find helpful, if you're a Fedora user.
  • When you yum install python you mightn't get everything you need. I was told to get python-usb, what I needed was yum install pyusb.

  • If you're doing a forensics course and you're being told to grab things like vinetto and reglookup you'll notice they aren't in your repos. You need the CERT repo. Save the PGP key, and add it: rpm --import forensics.asc. Download the repo rpm for your version of Fedora, and install it: rpm -ivh cert-forensics-tools-release-13.rpm. (I realise I do this in a kooky way, and there are probably better ways, but I'm set in mine :) Now, updatedb to sync before you use yum. You can install everything: yum install CERT-Forensics-Tools, or just what you're looking for, e.g. yum install reglookup.

  • gvimdiff. I had vim installed, I'm pretty sure I had diff installed. But I couldn't get gvimdiff (or vimdiff) to work. It magically sorted itself out when I realised the g => yum install vim-X11.

  • There, now we can all get back to enjoying the diversity.
    I've had problems with VMWare, so I have decided to give VirtualBox a go. Points to note;

  • Virtualbox rpms in Fedora (13) repo don't work. Download direct from VirtualBox.
  • You create the machine first, and then when you start it for the first time you will be asked to point it to an .iso to install the OS. Have any product keys ready.
  • To use shared folders you need to install Guest Additions. It's already bundled, just not installed. Follow tutorial here.
  • Wireless. You have to enable it when your VM is shut off. Follow these steps.
  • Ever get that oddly uncomfortable feeling whenever you sit down to use a computer that's not yours? Even if it's the same OS, everything is just in the wrong place, all your shortcuts missing, it's distressing.

    Ever wanted to simply bring your Desktop around with you, no matter where you are?

    First thing you might try, especially if you're a Linux user, is persistent Live USB. Like a Live CD, only on a USB stick, and you can save files to it.

  • Put the Live CD into the CD-drive. Reboot your machine, and at the BIOS make sure the CD-drive has priority in the boot list.
  • If you're using the Ubuntu 10.10 Live CD it will ask you to either try it, or install it. Try it.
  • Plug in the USB key (2.6GB+), and wait until it automagically appears on the Desktop.
  • Go to the menu: System > Administration > Startup Disk Creator
  • The iso and USB key should be auto-populated, but check to make sure.
  • The slider is how much persistent storage you want. For me it went up to 4GB (for an 8GB stick).
  • Press the 'Make Startup Disk' button. Wait.
  • When done you will have a bootable Live USB disk with persistent storage.

    (Don't want to burn a CD? You can download the iso, and use the in-built Live CD creator tools, most distros have them. Or use UNetbootin (Windows version too).)

    Great? Well, not really. Every single time you boot in it asks you to Try It or Install It. That takes extra time, it gets annoying. What I really want is a portable computer drive, an OS on a stick!

    So I can just choose Install It and point it at the USB key? Nope. It will pick up your hard-drive and try to include those existing partitions. Which will either mess up your existing MBR/grub/lilo/etc, or mean the key will only boot in that machine. Some people say to disable the hard-drive in BIOS, then try it. My older laptop doesn't have a BIOS option to disable the hard-drive, and when I tried it on my EEE it also disabled its ability to detect my USB flash key (a type of hard-drive). So, I was left with one alternative. (Okay, so there are others, but this is the simplest.)

  • Remove the hard-drive.
  • Boot into Live CD (iso no good here as the hard-drive is gone).
  • For Ubuntu: Choose Try It. Then plug in USB key, when it automagically appears, start the Install, either from the Desktop icon or the menu.
  • For BackTrack: Choose Live CD from the boot menu. Type 'startx' for a graphical interface if so inclined. Plug in the USB key. Run install.sh on the Desktop.
  • Make sure it picks up your USB key, and only your USB key. Continue installation as usual.

    There. Done and dusted. You will probably have to change the BIOS boot order on most machines you plug it into, but as long as it isn't password protected that's okay. Go, enjoy the comforts of home, wherever you are!
  • Problem:
    In a very long script I have to construct several paths for use. Problem is the paths are getting mangled. Most easily seen with echo.
    For example:
    var = /opt/big_program
    new_var = ${var}/sub_folder
    echo "Look at what happens: ${new_var}"

    /sub_foldert happens: /opt/big_program

    The end of the first variable must contain a 'return line' character, and is resetting the cursor before it continues, overwriting what's already there. Chances are this file (or one it reads the paths from) was created on Windows, which uses a different character to signal the end of a line.

    To fix, run:
    sed -i 's/\r//' $file_name

    Props, and endless thanks to the poster of the solution here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1239902
    Okay, so you've registered your nickname with freenode, but everytime you log in through Pidgin it asks you to identify.

    Instead of typing /msg nickserv identify your_password every single time, add NickServ as a buddy, and set up a buddy pounce.

    - Right-click buddy, select 'Add Buddy Pounce'
    - Select Pounce when ... Signs on.
    - Select Action ... Send a message.
    - Type 'identify your_password' in the text box.
    - Select Options ... Recurring.
    - Then press Add to save and exit the dialog.

    Now when you sign in Pidgin will identify for you. Much better.
    Need to install a program called 'alacarte'. Then right-click the menu.

    Is there a command line way to do this? Doesn't look like it.
    - Manually mounting
    - Manually setting permissions to read/write

    Today, creating live-USB discs, and manual reformatting.

    It began like this. The screen on my laptop broke. Big stripe from top to bottom, width of the hinge, all gone white. But that was okay, I took out the five year insurance, so off it went for repair. This left me with just my EEE netbook. It had a nicely functioning Fedora 11, but it's coming to the end of it's life now. I didn't want to upgrade to 12 before as I felt they were trying too many new things all at once. And I'm apprehensive of the new bootloader. But now with 13 they've had time to get it all working nicely. Time to take the leap.

    I looked up the options. Upgrading seemed attractive. preupgrade looks fairly shiney, but my /boot partition was too small at the previously recommended 200MB, and my router is in a really awkward place to enable me to sit plugged into it for a while. So, other options, upgrade from media, install from live media. I didn't have any blank CDs or DVDs handy (I've an external DVD-drive so that's not a problem for my EEE), so I thought I'd try out the Live CD on USB thing. But the live CDs don't upgrade, only install. And sure, they've changed the recommended partitions, /boot is now 500MB, and /home gets its own. Okay, why not, let's give it a go.

    Well, the good news is the images came down quickly. The rest is a bit of a saga.

    A bit of a ramble )

    In summary, I don't know why I had these problems when others don't seem to. Every program I used was Fedora based. The only thing I can think of is that the USB drive was NTFS before I reformatted it for the first time. Or that the instructions are incomplete. But, what I learned is how to manually use mkfs and that (by default at least) it doesn't assign a label. Also, I'll think I'll stick to DVDs in the future.