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#1 2020-09-13 15:40:33

From: France, Oullins
Registered: 2020-09-12
Posts: 2

using Facebook Container Tab in Firefox

Send and Receive Text Messages SMS with Element.
What makes Matrix uniquely different from other messaging platforms is the ability to have bridges to other chat services.
Matrix has all the signs of being the great chat unification platform that adequately reduces complexity in  communication .
Element feels complete, well polished and is enjoyable to use so using Element as my front-end, I should be able to access many of my various chat platforms that I am in quite nicely.
I will describe the process to set up a SMS Matrix bridge utilizing the  appropriate ly named project SmsMatrix.
The  instructions  on the GitHub project page are adequate and I want to supplement that with some more explanation and my experience in using it.
Bottom  Line Up Front : The SMS Matrix bridge is fantastic.
Although I am still in the early stages of using it, I truly believe it will streamline my SMS  communication  and it will hopefully reduce the likelihood of missing incoming messages in the future.
Step 1 – Create Bot account on Matrix.
As per the project GitHub readme, there is currently there is no end-to-end encryption  implemented  in this SmsMatrix so it is advisable to use our own Matrix server.
Since SMS itself is not a secure form of  communication  and since I don’t have the wherewithal nor desire to do this, I will happily use the server for the time being.
This could change in the future.
My first step is to create a matrix account for my “Bot”.
To do this, I navigated to to create a  new account .
On the initial page there is a button to “Try Element”, select it.
The top option, and the one you should select is “Open in your  Browser .” It is advisable to set up the bot using Element as it is is very straight forward and easy to do.
Next you will need to create the account for your bot.
I recommend it is something you understand well and while you are at it, go ahead and store it in your  password manager , Bitwarden, because what else is there really.
Once you verify via email the Matrix account, you will have to decide how you wish to safeguard against losing access to encrypted messages.
Here you can generate a Secure Key for this bot.
Although it isn’t really necessary for this purpose, due to the lack of end-to-end encryption with SmsMatrix, you will have to do that or enter a security phrase.
Either way, you can store that information in Bitwarden, once again.
Go ahead and leave that browser window open, for the time being.
You may want to refer back to it at some point.
At least, I did.
Step 2 – Install SmsMatrix.
This has a sub-step of setting up F-Droid.
If you already have F-Droid installed, skip down a bit.
This is necessary since SmsMatrix isn’t in the Google Play store and I want to keep it updated and not think much about it.
Alternatively, You can just install the SmsMatrix APK.
To install F-Droid is pretty simple.
Navigate to the page and select the blue “Download F-Droid” button on the home page.
There are a few steps involved in making F-Droid work on your system but it is straight forward.
Download the APK, side-load (install) it, you will be required to set the permissions of your mobile device to allow it.
Once installed, open up F-Droid and search for SmsMatrix in the store.
If you find that I should add that information here, let me know.
Step 3 – Configure SmsMatrix.
The configuration of SmsMatrix is very straight forward.
Use the Bot Username and Password previously set up.
Since you use the convenient Bitwarden password manager, this step will be no problem at all.
Enter the Homeserver url, which, in my case is the server.
Enter the Devicename, which can be whatever you want.
Finally, I left the SyncDelay and SyncTimeout just as it was by default.
Select “Save” and you are done.
Wait for your next text message to arrive and you will be pleasantly surprised, 12 seconds later.
Step 4 – Profit.
Profit from the convenience, that is.
When you receive your next text message, the bot will create a chat with your user account, place it in the “People” section, and rename the account to the phone number or contact information if you have it in your address book.
Within that chat, you are able to respond to the message, just as you would any other Matrix chat and the message will send out to the recipient.
Another fun little note is that if you change or update the contact name, the next SMS you receive, the bot will update that account name.
I found that to be very slick.
What I Like.
All SMS messages you receive are right there in your list of direct messages in the People section.
Sending a message to an SMS recipient or a Matrix recipient is no different from your perspective.
It quite literally doesn’t matter and to the other end of the SMS, they will not know the difference.
What is such a slick feature is that SmsMatrix will update the chat, automatically, to whatever the contact is in your address book.
I was amazed to see this and was pleasantly surprised by this fantastic feature.
This bridge makes SMS so much more accessible.
I don’t like to actually have my phone in my hand or near me much of the time.
When I arrive home, it tends to get plugged into the charger and set in the corner of the kitchen on the counter and often forgotten about unless there is a rare occasion of a phone call… which is often just a robocall.
What I Don’t Like.
I don’t see a way to initialize a text message from Element to an SMS recipient.
I tried several things, unsuccessfully such as [phone number] but that didn’t work.
As far as I can figure out at this time, the only thing I can do is respond to an SMS conversation.
This is sort of unfortunate as it does require me to use my phone just a bit more than I would like.
I truly have no idea how you would implement access to the address book and start a conversation but it sure would be a welcomed addition.
Element / Matrix is real close to just replacing the need to use my phone or some other web interface to access my SMS so it doesn’t make for a complete interface but it is so very close.
Once you get the conversation going, you are golden.
There is no message history, available through the Element client.
Based on how SmsMatrix initializes the chat, I don’t see how you would anyway.
Not a deal breaker but combine that with the need to start the conversation from the phone, it does make for a bit of context loss in the conversation thread.
After establishing the SmsMatrix bridge, should I send a message from the phone, SmsMatrix won’t show that message in the Matrix conversation thread.
This could be a problem, depending on how you end up using SMS from that point forward.
This also makes the bridge just a bit… fiddly or at least not exactly a solid-feeling experience.
I have only been using Element for a short while on openSUSE and so far, I am quite happy with it.
I have not yet found anything irritating about it.
It is a bit more spartan than Telegram as it doesn’t have all the fun little things like gifs and the breadth of stickers.

What makes Element / Matrix so exciting is the bridging capability and the SMS Bridge

although, not perfect it is really quite fantastic.
I will just have to make sure that I use the mobile Element client to respond to messages and resist using the SMS application    I have shamefully been using for messaging from my desktop to send SMS.
I can say now, that I am no longer using it.
I suppose I can keep it bookmarked for those occasions where I have to initiate an SMS but once a conversation is established, using Element would be the way to go.
Assuming that Element / Matrix isn’t too resource intensive, I think this might be my modern day solution for a unified messaging platform.
I will see as I continue to use it, and add more bridges.
I am incredibly optimistic that I will be able to make my communication on the various platforms much easier and hopefully, leave fewer messages unread.
Next step, Facebook Messenger.

I don’t particularly enjoy Facebook Messenger

the interface is awfully slow and cumbersome.
If that works well, I will most certainly espouse the glory of Matrix… some more. | Matrix Chat Client on openSUSE
, Communication, , Messaging, Mobile         Leave a comment          2 September 20202 September 2020          6 Minutes                    Element | Matrix Chat Client on openSUSE.
All the kids have been talking about the wonders of Matrix as the future of decentralized, secure communication.
I have known about it, seen bridges being used in the openSUSE discord and Telegram rooms.
Most of my experience has not been great, generally there were significant delays.
I have used a few clients, on a web client, which I didn’t care for and I also used Quaternion a Qt based client but I have had issues with the encrypted messages bit.
I found the user experience to be rather… lack-luster at best.
Mostly, I found the whole thing quite confusing.
Accessing new rooms wasn’t self-evident, understanding what Matrix is and isn’t was confusing and I therefore found it frustrating to use.
My experience, has been that I really preferred Telegram for communication.
A revived curiosity came about when I heard of the splendors of Matrix being espoused by the folks on Destination Linux; Noah and Ryan especially.
They really pushed the idea that this is the future of communication.
I still mostly dismissed it, thinking that my Telegram experience was satisfactory.
Then I heard Noah talk about how Matrix has revolutionized his communication workflow.
Matrix has opened up functionality of which specifically, he described how he can text message, as in SMS, on Matrix.
Now I was truly intrigued and decided that it was time to look into this once again.
I could endure the pain of learning this to eliminate my SMS frustrations.
I know I could use the Element web client for Matrix but I don’t like web clients.
If I have to have a browser open to use an application, I do not like the experience, it feels disconnected.
Now if you wrap that web app in something like electron and make it feel like a part of the system, that changes things.
They feel more complete like a real application and give me what is quite important an icon in my system tray that notifies me of activity.
The emphasis here is, I want a system tray indicator of messages or activity.
Any communication application that doesn’t give me this is immediately on the chopping block with a need to be replaced.
Element meets my criteria and the process began again for using it.
I checked the openSUSE Software Repositories and Snap Store, but it wasn’t available.
It does, however, exist as a Flatpak (at the time of writing).
Setup Flatpak and Flathub Repository.
The first step is to set up Flatpak and the main repository Flathub to get access to the Element-Desktop Flatpak.
Generally speaking, Flatpak is set up on most distributions.
At least, most distributions don’t make it difficult to get going if not already configured for you.
Though I am gearing this towards using openSUSE, there are instructions for other distributions available.
You can go here for the Quick Setup for openSUSE or stay here and I’ll provide the quick, down and dirty ways to get it going.
For those that prefer the click around and install, navigate here for the click to direct install method.    or you can use the more fun method and install it in terminal     sudo zypper install flatpak    Next, add the Flathub repository, in terminal, as root run this.
If the Flathub repository is already set up on your system, it will not add another (see the --if-not-exist bit on the command).
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub    Optional Additional step is to install the Discover graphical application explorer backend so you can graphically explore and install Flatpak applications.
sudo zypper install discover-backend-flatpak    Now you are set with installing Element or any other Flatpak for that matter.
Installation of Element.
I am presenting three methods of installing Element on openSUSE.
Though, the third method my make the previous instruction of setting up the Flathub repo redundant.
Method One – Terminal.
The quick and easy way to install Element is from the command line because the command line is awesome.
sudo flatpak install im.riot.
Riot    Unfortunately, Flatpak application names are kind of silly in comparison to Snaps but I am sure for good reason.
Read through and agree with the changes.
Method Two – Graphical with Discover.
The graphical way may indeed be less confusing.
Since Discover, the KDE graphical application explorer has been pretty great as of late, I recommend it for exploring Flatpak applications.
It is as simple as searching for “Element” and you will get the green and white logo at or near the top of the list, selecting it and install.
The nice thing about Discover is that you can scroll down and see the source of the package.
If there was another source for Element available, you can very easily select the source repository.
It’s a real nice feature of Discover.
Method Three – From the Flathub website.
Finally, You can also use the install file from the Flathub website where you will be provided a *.flatpakref file that some application managers like Discover can unpack and utilize.
Riot    I didn’t actually test it but it should work… maybe… if it doesn’t, be sure to let me know.
With whatever method you choose, it installs and integrates quite nicely into your menu and is immediately executable.
There is no funny business to be had, weird hacks or changes that are necessary to run the thing.
It is simply, install and go.
First Run and Impressions.
When I started up Element, I was greeted with the login screen.
It has a clean and modern feel to it that looks like time was taken to give the right visual appearance.
Since I remembered my Username and Password using my brain-backup, Bitwarden.
Next you are going to have to authenticate your session.
If you have created a passphrase on your other session of Element, this is where you can enter it.
If you haven’t done this, you can verify it later.
I skipped this step for now so I can show you a really cool way you can verify your session.
After skipping this, you are presented with your Matrix session.
Since I have been using it for a little while now, I have a few contacts and rooms to which I am connected.
You are also given a notice that you need to verify this session.
Since I had been using Matrix on Quaternion, I didn’t think much of getting it all set up, but I was quite wrong.
So it appears that I have not had any messages encrypted using Quaternion, it was all out there in the open.
Since I wanted to ensure that my session is verified and has encryption enabled, I had to go through the process.
The method that I think is rather unique and easy to accomplish is to use the interactive emoji verification.
Since I started with Element on the mobile client, for reasons, I begin the process on the mobile client to verify my Desktop session.
To get there, go into your Settings > Security & Privacy > Show All Sessions.
There you will see the sessions logged into Matrix.
Selecting the session titled “Element Desktop (Linux)” with the adjacent red shield icon will reveal some options.
You are given two options to verify the “Not Verified” session.
Manually Verify by Text and Interactively Verify by Emoji.
The mobile will give you a spinning circle and ask you to “Please wait…”             On the Desktop Client you get a focus stealing Incoming Verification Request pop up in the application.
Which is what you want to be able to have trusted end-to-end encrypted messages.
A new dialog will display informing you of the incoming verification request.
Once the two devices have made their handshake, you are asked to confirm the emojis are in the same order on both sessions.
Easy to do, hold the mobile up adjacent the monitor and observe that they match.
I just happen to find this method to be clever and amusing.
That is it, you now have your desktop and mobile Element clients.
This makes your security all green and your sessions trusted.
It would be advisable to set a passphrase or generate a security key for you encryption key.
I did this in the mobile application and copied it to my Bitwarden for safe keeping.
You can also use a Security Phrase as well.
This will just help you should you log into Matrix from another Element client.
My original intent was to go into how to set up bridges to other services, and the like, but I am already bumping up against my self-imposed word limit.
So, I am going to separate out and make a kind of series of blatherings about Matrix chat using Element.
This is enough to get you going with your mobile and desktop machines having properly setup and trusted clients.
Now, it’s time to do some searching for rooms to have conversations.
I’ll figure out how to bridge my other things another time and get back to that place of a centralized communication client I once enjoyed about a decade ago.
What I Like.
The Element client makes using Matrix quite enjoyable.
Previously, using Matrix was a bit of a lack-luster, almost a science experiment kind of feel to it.
Sure, it worked but it didn’t have the polish and great user experience I have using Telegram.
I can say, with much confidence, using Element feels like a real product.
It feels just as good as any other messaging client.
It is still early days for me so it’s still all new and exciting.
I have previously talked about in on of my noodlings how it would be nice to consolidate all these different messaging services like the good ol days of MSN, Yahoo and AIM rather than have all these different chat clients scattered about.
I don’t use MSN, Yahoo or AIM anymore but I do have several others.
I find the breadth of available bridges rather astounding.     What immediately interests me most is SMS and Facebook messenger.
Those are both services I loath using.
I would consider using IRC as I can see the utility of being able to stay on top of chats going on there and possibly Discord and Telegram but I don’t think it likely that I will be replacing Telegram or Discord anytime soon.
openSUSE does have Matrix bridges into the Telegram groups and Discord rooms so no more work needed there.
I will be playing around with these.
Most importantly, I appreciate that there is a dark theme so that you aren’t forced to stab you eyes with the painfully bright light hues.
This is essentially a minimum requirement for me at this point.
If I cannot get a dark theme, I don’t want to use it (Ahem, Hangouts).
What I Don’t Like.
Understanding how this whole encryption thing works, and how your credentials are stored on the main Matrix server.
I understand that your key is encrypted at your end and stored on the Matrix server but what exactly does that mean, I am not sure.
I thought the benefit of Matrix is that it is all decentralized.
It took me a bit of time to get my head wrapped around what Matrix was vs Element.
I would hear, “Matrix is the protocol not the client” and I didn’t quite grasp it.
I also don’t like it that some clients just don’t work that well.
Now that Element is here, I can see it as being the main client to be used, maybe even universally.
Parts of the setup of Element / Matrix are a bit dubious but much of that has been cleaned up quite nicely.
Next Steps.
Where to, from here.
Now that I have a client for Matrix that is pretty darn great, I am going to explore the other possibilities.
I see a lot of potential in simplifying my life with communication.

I loath using Facebook Messenger and the way I am using SMS has not been ideal

Matrix has the possibility of removing two irritations of mine and I look forward to making this happen.
I have decided to break out the bridges to their own discovery experiences and will blather about those in the future.
Matrix is now a highly polished, accessible experience for secure communication on the Internet.
It is a decentralized system but also has a centralized hub for simplicity of connectivity.
It really appears as though they have the little papercuts worked out and have really made available a great system to be used by any.
It’s still early days for this Element Client but things are looking pretty good.
I don’t expect I will get friends and family on it anytime soon as it is a bit more work than Telegram but for those other tech enthusiast out there and for simplicity of my communication platforms, this looks like the ticket.
The real question is going to be, how reliable this and the bridges are to use long term.
Do I recommend Element as a Matrix chat client.
I look forward to its continued use.
, Communication, Flatpak, , , Messaging, Mobile,          1 Comment          31 August 2020          9 Minutes                    Facebook Container Tab in Firefox.
Guard Your Privacy Online.
An unfortunate reality to life online today is that some popular sites do not respect your privacy at all.
The issue is not the data that you knowingly and freely give them.
The issue is that they collect data on you without explicit consent.
Oh, sure, you do agree to their “terms of service” that are written in legalese and all the important bits are buried in the depths of it.
Facebook is quite possibly one of the worst offenders to stalking you around the internet.
It’s one thing to be “watched” when using the Facebook properties as it only makes sense that they are monitoring what you do, what you post and so forth, it’s another thing for them to track you when you go to other sites.
That is stalking and although legal, it is not at all ethical.
The solution, using Facebook Container Tab in Firefox.
The purpose of this article is to give you a layer of protection against being stalked by Facebook.
If this is all the information you need to convince yourself of the benefits.
Install Firefox, .

If you haven’t already been using it then install the Facebook Container tab

This is the first of what will be many security and privacy tips that I hope average folks can use.
Although most of what I write targets Linux and specifically openSUSE Linux; I am straying just a bit.
This article also assumes that you have some idea how to install software on your particular operating system.
If you are running a modern Linux distribution, you likely have Firefox installed by default.
There are some unfortunate exceptions of which I cannot recall nor do I care to recall at this time.
openSUSE, Ubuntu, along with its flavors, Fedora and MX Linux have it installed by default.
Windows, and MacOS, you will have to navigate here:    For a Linux user, Firefox should be in the main package repository.
Consult your specific distribution if, for some extremely odd reason, you do not have it already installed.
You can also use the aforementioned link to get a tar.gz archive and follow those instructions there.
Firefox truly is the best browser you can have on any computer and this Facebook container tab really cements it in for me.
To get the add-on, follow this link:    Why it’s Important.
Many sites are collecting as much personal data from you as they can to make a dollar off of you.
To be clear, I am not bothered by advertising on websites.
What I am bothered by is advertising that stalks you.
I also have to acknowledge that this site uses Word Ads so there is something I don’t like going on there (I’ll have a better solution eventually).

One of the worst offenders is Facebook

Even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you visit a site that has some sort of Facebook tie-in, they will create a kind of “shadow profile” on you and stalk you around the web.
For those that have a Facebook account, which includes Instagram, and you want to use it in a safer, more privacy respecting fashion.
The Facebook Container Tab extension on Firefox the best way to use a site that is hostile to your privacy and prevent excessive tracking.
It helps you take control and isolate your web activity from Facebook.
What Does it Do?.
Facebook Container works by isolating your Facebook identity into a separate container that makes it difficult for Facebook to track your visits to other websites with third-party cookies.
In effect, you are only allowing Facebook to track what you do on their web properties, not on the entirety of the Internet.

Facebook Container Add-on    How it works

This extension secures your Facebook tabs.
When you close the tab, it deletes your Facebook cookies, and logs you out of Facebook.
The next time you navigate to Facebook it will load in a new browser tab (the “Container”).
It can be distinguished with another color or in my case, it underlines the tab.

Facebook and Instagram tabs are underlined to identify it being in its own container

Once the extension is installed, you don’t have to think much of it.
Log in and use Facebook normally.
The browser will automatically detect if you are going to a Facebook property.
Should you click on a non-Facebook link or navigate to a non-Facebook website in the URL bar, these pages will load outside of the container, in effect preventing the stalking and monitoring of Facebook.
Something that has become quite common is seeing a “Facebook Share” buttons on other sites.
If you should click on that share, .

Firefox will load them within the Facebook Container

You should know that using these buttons passes information to Facebook about the website that you shared from.

Facebook share… beware     The Price of Security Costs in Convenience

How you engage other websites outside of Facebook may be impacted by the container tabs.
Most of what I view doesn’t have this encumberment but you are not likely me.
As is such, some website features will not function as you may expect.
Since you will be logged into Facebook only in the Container, embedded Facebook comments and Like buttons in tabs outside the Facebook Container will not work.
This is how Facebook is prevented from associating information about your activity on websites outside of Facebook to your Facebook identity.
If you have used Facebook credentials to log into into In addition, websites.
First of all, bad idea.
Giving Facebook keys to other accounts is a terrible, terrible idea.
That is like throwing your wallet and keys in the front yard with a sign pointing down to detailed instructions about which keys access your home, car and bank account.
If you want a password manager.
You can read about Bitwarden here and decide for yourself if you want to use it.
If you would like to sign up for a free account, navigate here.
Facebook credentials will generally not work properly with this extension because it is designed to separate Facebook use from use of other websites.
This is the cost of convenience but I have provided a much better solution with Bitwarden.

What Facebook Container Does Not Do

This extension does not prevent Facebook from mishandling the data it already has or that you have given to it.
Facebook will do what Facebook does.
Whatever you do on Facebook, automatically assume that you have permitted all of Facebook and any of its partners to pass around your data like a dish of mashed sweat potatoes at a family dinner.
Facebook has access to everything that you do while you are on, or and WhatsApp.
This includes Facebook posts, comments, photo uploads, likes or other emotional responses as well as any and all data you share with Facebook connected apps.
Ideally, none of us should use Facebook but that is one of the “city centers” of the Internet.
Likely, it is a service you find valuable and you should have tools to limit what data Facebook can obtain.
This extension focuses on limiting Facebook tracking, but other ad networks may try to correlate your Facebook activities with your regular browsing.
Additional Notes.
This extension alone is not going to prevent every bit of tracking in association with Facebook.
This is but one layer or one other line of defense to protect you.
In addition to this extension, you can change your Facebook settings, use Private Browsing, enable Tracking Protection, block third-party cookies, use an Ad blocker like uBlock Origin and/or use Firefox Multi-Account Containers extension to further limit tracking.
Implementing all of these bits at one go may not work out for you so add them one at a time to see how many conveniences are wroth giving up for a little more security and privacy.

You may wonder if Mozilla collects data from your use of the Facebook Container extension

All they receive are the number of times the extension is installed or removed.
If you would like to learn more and its specifics, feel free.
It’s open source.
There are already container features that are built in to Firefox.
When you enable Facebook Container, you may also see Containers named Personal, Work, Shopping, and Banking while you browse.
If you wish to use multiple Containers, you’ll have the best user experience if you install the Firefox Multi-Account Containers extension.
More information about containers can be obtained from the Mozilla support site.
What I like.
I have, in effect, cut Facebook off from stalking me around the internet.
They are not able to monitor my activities outside of Facebook and make advertising recommendations to me based on my interests.
Isolating Facebook in a tab and closing it truly cuts Facebook off from my browser and computer.
Think about it.
With other solutions, like using Google Chrome, when you “log out” of Facebook or close the tab that had Facebook running in it.
There is still code running on your computer and reporting back Facebook on your activity.
This happens regardless of whether or not you have a Facebook account.
Container tabs allows the freedom of the information without the associated costs in loss of privacy.
What I Don’t Like.
I don’t like that this extension isn’t activated by default.
Although, I do understand why they would not as the uninformed or oblivious user would think there is something wrong with Firefox and potentially abandon it when some external sites Facebook plugins wouldn’t work properly.
Rather than frustrate the user by having it active by default (which would be my choice), they deactivate it and let the informed user protect themselves.
The Android mobile Firefox client does not support this extension and that annoys me quite a bit.
I am not sure why the mobile app is crippled.
Perhaps it is a different web engine.
I know that Firefox uses the WebKit instead of the Gecko rendering engine on iOS but I don’t know about Android for sure.
That’s all I can think of for what I don’t like about it.
This is the only way I will use Facebook, on my computer using Firefox.
I do not feel comfortable browsing Facebook without it having its healthy boundaries set.
Security on the World Wide Web is not as simple as it once was.
Many sites, generally from “big tech” are not being very respectful of your privacy and are preying on your ignorance of their actions.
They get away with it by creating these massive End User License Agreements (EULAs) that you have to agree to in order to use their site.
They don’t make it clear that just by browsing to their site, they are implanting code on your computer’s browser to track and monitor you and what you do, mostly for ad revenue but maybe for other nefarious activity.
Facebook containers will prevent some of that stalking.
It will contain the tracking but that is it.
This is one of many steps that should be taken when making voyages across the “scary internet”.
Prepare yourself and your computer.

Use Firefox and enable the Facebook container tabs

even if you don’t have a Facebook account.
Your identity, privacy and security are quite important in so many ways.
This is a no-cost option with a minor penalty in loss of convenience.
Check it out, see if it is sustainable.
Once you see the benefits of container tabs, you won’t regret the decision to go Firefox.
Download Firefox from Mozilla.orgFacebook Container from addons.mozilla.orgBitwarden a Secure Password Manager on openSUSEGet Bitwarden Password ManagerMulti-account Containers from addons.mozilla.org
Mac OS, Security, Web Browser, Windows         2 Comments          21 August 2020          8 Minutes                    Noodlings | BIOS Games Serving the NDI™ Plugin.
Another prime number… and no the title doesn’t make sense.
It’s just a nonsensical way to string everything together.
19th Noodling on a mid-August night.
18 Episodes… 18 is a fun number.
Divisible by 2, 3, 6 and 9.
The age you can vote in the United States.
Fun facts about chocolate milk can be found here    BIOS Update Dell Latitude E6440 on Linux.
My BIOS was 4 years out of date.
I thought it was time to update it.
I went to the Dell Support page and noticed that they only had *.exe files available.
I sighed and was initially frustrated because my initial supposition was that I was going to have to have a working copy of Windows to do the update.     AntiMicro | Map Keyboard and Mouse Controls to Gamepad on openSUSE.
Installed a game called Pokemon Insurgence on Lutris and there was no way to play the game with a gamepad.
Rather than try to fight things, set out for an application that would map the keyboard controls to the WiiU Pro Controller that has become my gamepad of choice.
CPU Downgrade.
After receiving this message following a BIOS upgrade, I was forced to purchase a lower powered CPU for my AMD Workstation.
OBS NDI™ Plugin on openSUSE.
The NDI plugin offers a fairly easy way to send OBS video signal (presumably other applications can take advantage of this too) to another OBS instance on another machine.
This can come in handy for numerous reasons such as splitting up workloads between machines by capturing output from one machine, such as gaming computer, to stream with a dedicated unit that interfaces with YouTube.
BDLL Followup.
What have you done that would cause you to lose your Linux card        New Prototype Builds Bringing Leap, SLE Closer Will be Available Soon.
The release manager for openSUSE Leap, Lubos Kocman, has updated openSUSE’s develop community on efforts to bring the codes of Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise closer together.
20200805 Stable 99MozillaThunderbird (68.10.0 -> 68.11.0)Several CVEs addressed.
transactional-update (2.22 -> 2.23)Subpackages: transactional-update-zypp-config.
Version 2.23.
Add “run” command to be able to execute a single command in a new snapshot.
Add “–drop-if-no-change” option to discard snapshots if no changes were performed (BETA, required for Salt integration).
Removed previous CaaSP Salt support (gh#openSUSE/transactional-update#33).
Avoid “file not found” message on systems without /var subvol.
20200806 Stable 99mariadb.
xen (4.13.1_04 -> 4.14.0_02).
20200807 pending Stable 99urlscan (0.9.4 -> 0.9.5).
20200810 Score of a moderate 84epiphany (3.36.3 -> 3.36.4).
gcc10 (10.2.1+git465 -> 10.2.1+git501).
gnome-mines (3.36.0 -> 3.36.1).
kernel-source (5.7.11 -> 5.8.0).
zypper-lifecycle-plugin (0.6.1490613702.a925823 -> 0.6.1596796104.87bdab7).        Computer Chronicles – Fifth Generation Computers (1984).
The pioneers in the field talk about 5th generation computers capable of Artificial Intelligence and heuristic learning; giving computers context.
In 1984, computers were already being used to make knowledge based decisions.
The Computer Chronicles – Fifth Generation Computers (1984)        Take some time to have fun.
Good, clean wholesome fun.
Go for a walk, enjoy the weather on any day that it is possible.
Take some time to cherish each moment, whether it is good or bad, find the positive in the situation and make it a point to say “thank you” as often as possible.
AMD, , , , Dell, Gaming, Hardware, , , , , ,          Leave a comment          12 August 202013 August 2020                             OBS NDI™ Plugin on openSUSE.
The NDI plugin offers a fairly easy way to send OBS video signal (presumably other applications can take advantage of this too) to another OBS instance on another machine.
This can come in handy for numerous reasons such as splitting up workloads between machines by capturing output from one machine, such as gaming computer, to stream with a dedicated unit that interfaces with YouTube.
This has advantages in that you can move the machine doing the heavy lifting into another room or across the room as to not hear the fans and so forth.
In my case, my primary machine is getting long in the tooth.
I prefer the setup I have as far as the screen layout and height of the computer as well as the location.
I use my AMD Desktop / server / workstation machine to talk to YouTube or Twitch directly with that OBS instance and record locally in effect freeing up my laptop from quite a bit of the workload.
The Challenge.
At the time of writing, there isn’t an RPM available and the instructions out there along with what to expect seems lacking at best, so, I thought I would take what I know and compile it into one easy, step-by-step guide here for openSUSE.
Your mileage may vary depending on your distribution.
For starters, you need to get the software packages from GitHub.    Download the following:    The version numbers may have changed but you should get the “libndi*” and “obs-ndi*” packages    This is a Debian package meant for Debian/Ubuntu so you may be thinking, “how am I supposed to use this?” …and that is a reasonable question.
The solution is a tool that is not often talked about.
It is also likely not recommended by most people but I am not most people.
That tool is called “Alien“.
To install Alien, navigate here and just click on the appropriate experimental package for your version of openSUSE:    Alternatively, you can use the terminal method, which will very a bit between distributions    Tumbleweed.
sudo zypper ar utiltiessudo zypper refsudo zypper install alien    Leap 15.2.
sudo zypper ar utiltiessudo zypper refsudo zypper install alien    To explain each of the lines that I am expecting you to put in the terminal because you should NEVER just trust some random commands on the internet.
First of all, I stand behind this as CubicleNate, and I do my best to not be wrong and I’d like to keep doing these things.
You can also reacho ut to me directly using any of these methods.
Once the installation of Alien is complete.
You will have to take the two deb packages previously downloaded and convert them.
Using a terminal, navigate to the location of the downloaded packages and run the following    sudo alien -r libndi*.deb  sudo alien -r obs-ndi*.deb  sudo zypper in ./libndi*.rpm obs-ndi*.rpm    Now your are ready to set up OBS.
OBS Setup.
Using this reference, I made the adjustments to my firewall but it didn’t work.
Perhaps I am missing something and I would love to edit this article accordingly but opening up both tcp and udp ports 5960 through 5968 as well as having the mDNS port active did not allow me to utilize the NDI plugin with firewalld active.
Either the documentation is out of date, in correct or there is a user error on my part and I couldn’t find the appropriate logs to tell me otherwise.
Therefore, I just deactivated the firewall on both the source and destination machines.
sudo systemctl stop firewall    This is the point where you should be sorely disappointed with these instructions but again, I would like to improve this and will gladly listen to any input.
The next step is to open up OBS-Studio (v25 and latter is required) on both machines.
On the source machine, go to Tools > NDI™ Output settings        Then set the output preferences.
In my case, I had not interest in sending the “Preview Output” only the “Main Output” and label it with the hostname; just in case I might do this with another machine.
On the Destination OBS machine, you have to add the NDI Source.
This is just one of the many options you have available as a source.
For the source name, select the drop-down and the appropriate available source.
I didn’t mess with any of the other settings so your mileage may vary on this portion of the instructions as well.
And that is it.
Your NDI Source is just another input like a webcam or video signal and you are off to the streaming or production races.
The whole firewall thing has me a bummed out a bit.
I have wrestled around with it far too long but at least I know that lowering my “shields” will allow for transporters to work.
Not ideal but I am within my firewalled off house, I just happen to like security in layers.
I want to note that the latency on this is VERY low.
I mean incredibly low.
I have tested this by playing a game on one machine and using the output on another machine with almost no latency perceived.
It is quite the incredible technical miracle and I am quite grateful.
I also want to make the vintage computer tie-in.
The NDI plugin is developed by Newtek, the makers of the Video Toaster that was very popular on the “big box” line of  computers from the 1990s.
So, in a way, I feel like I have a little bit of that incredible Video Toaster tech on my openSUSE machine.
OBS-NDI on GitHub™-integration-into-obs-studio.528/updatesNDI Problem Solving PDF.
, , , Multimedia, , ,          1 Comment          11 August 202012 August 2020          4 Minutes                    AntiMicro | Map Keyboard and Mouse Controls to Gamepad on openSUSE.
Installed a game called Pokemon Insurgence on Lutris and there was no way to play the game with a gamepad.
Rather than try to fight things, set out for an application that would map the keyboard controls to the WiiU Pro Controller that has become my gamepad of choice.
I know I heard it was possible on a podcast some time ago and since I was probably doing something else and didn’t have a notebook handy to write down whatever it was, I began my search and found this AntiMicro as a solution.
A quick note, this is not a comprehensive and exhaustive analysis of all of its features.
I am covering just a portion of the features.
AntiMicro is in the official repositories for both Leap and Tumbleweed.
To do the graphical click method, navigate here:    Alternatively, you can install it through the more exciting and personally gratifying method of the terminal:    sudo zypper install antimicro    For other distributions, search “antimicro” in your favorite software management system.
The Problem Game.
The game I wanted to set up to use a controller is Pokémon Insurgence.
I observed my oldest child watching a play through on the YouTube and he spoke of interest in the game.
I found the game on the Lutris site with an easy installation process.
The game I wanted to set up to use a controller is Pokémon Insurgence.
I observed my oldest child watching a play through on the YouTube and he spoke of interest in the game.
I found the game on the Lutris site with an easy installation process.             The issue is, there was no way to have this game use any control pad.
Only the keyboard.
I thought this annoying and didn’t play the game… until AntiMicro, that is.
The configuration of AntiMicro is incredibly straight forward.
So much so that this little write-up is almost unnecessary but I thought I would share my experience anyway.
When the application starts up and the system is absent any controllers, you will be presented with this screen.
What is pretty fantastic is that when you do activate, or plug in a controller, there isn’t any fiddling required.
The application immediately reacts and presents some straight forward options.
I turned on my Wii U Pro Controller, my controller of choice on those periodic cases that I decide to play a game.
The application immediately presented options.
At this point, you can push buttons on the controller and identify the buttons and in this process, I did discover that the A and B are swapped as well as the X and Y.
I looked at the Controller Mapping configuration and it looks like the physical locations are correct but the labels seem to be incorrect.
I would call this a small papercut issue but it is indeed an issue.
So beware of the labels and make sure that the button and the action are correct.
It is best to verify.
I took some screen shots of the input configuration portion of Pokémon Insurgence so I could map the keys out.
For the arrow key configuration, you can very easily map it all onto the DPad and the joystick of your choice.
I set both to control the movement of the character.
There is, kindly, a present drop-down to make this selection.
Each of the other keys can be assigned but do take note that you assign the correct key to the correct button and verify labels.
When you select the button, you can then select the corresponding key.
Not relevant for this game but just to make note, you can also map mouse movements which, I see as being valuable if you want to configure a controller to manage mouse movements without using the Steam to do so.
After completing and subsequently tweaking my button selection.
I was able to play a solid 10 minutes of Pokémon Insurgence on my Linux machine quite happily.
At this rate, I might get through it in the next 6 years or so.
What I Like.
The configuration is splendidly simple to set up.
It is very intuitive and does as you would expect.
I appreciate how easy it is to set up and get going with it.
The on screen information about what you are doing is very appreciated.
Rather than digging through help or readme files, the important information presents itself.
Finally, this is a Qt application so it integrates nicely into Plasma and my dark theme looks great.
It is as though the interface was tested against Breeze dark as there were not any unreadable bits to the application.
What I Don’t Like.
The one little papercut of the reversal of some buttons is unfortunate but not a deal breaker.
It’s only important if you actually read the buttons and not go by the action flash.
The mouse controls isn’t exactly as I was hoping.
The movement of the cursor didn’t exactly have the variable movements I was expecting but there are so many options, there is, perhaps one that would give a kind of gradient movement.
So, this is not really a knock on the application as the default is probably best for most users.
I would say, this is a knock on me for not being satisfied with what is likely a sane default.
AntiMicro is a fantastic application, especially if you play old DOS games or other emulated games that don’t have adequate controller support.
This also has the bonus feature of being able to easily map your controller to act as a mouse which may be a nice addition to a media set-top box for the living room.
I am glad I stumbled on this and I wish I could give attribution to where I recently heard about it but seeing as I don’t recall, I will miss the opportunity to link to that source.
If I do find this I will add an edit.
If you have some games that don’t play nice with controllers, try AntiMicro, it just may give that old game a fresh coat of paint.
, Hardware, , , Qt         2 Comments          10 August 2020          4 Minutes                    BIOS Update Dell Latitude E6440 on Linux.
…Sort of.
It didn’t require using Windows.
My BIOS was 4 years out of date.
I thought it was time to update it.
I went to the Dell Support page and noticed that they only had *.exe files available.
I sighed and was initially frustrated because my initial supposition was that I was going to have to have a working copy of Windows to do the update.
My last Dell Latitude, a D630, the BIOS updates required a lot of fiddling on my part.
At the time, I would burn a special FreeDOS CD with the BIOS update EXE on it.
I figured I would have to do the same with this computer.
The good news is, that is not the case and it could be I am the last person to know this bit of information.
I am not sure how well known this process is, but the good news is, you don’t need Windows to do the BIOS update.
Where I went to get the BIOS is here:    I searched for “BIOS”         After a bit of searching, I found this page at that explains how to update the BIOS on Linux or Ubuntu systems.    In short, the way to do this is to take the downloaded BIOS update.
EXE and put it onto a FAT32 formatted USB Drive.
It is quite important that you use FAT32.
An easy way to check is to use Gnome Disks, Gparted or KDE Partition Manager to verify.
Once verified that you are indeed using FAT32, copy the BIOS update.
EXE to the USB Drive.
Reboot the computer and one the Vendor image appears, press F12 for the One-time boot menu.
Then select BIOS Flash Update.
The flash update tool is a simple GUI.
Select the button to the top right with an ellipsis.
Next, you will be presented with a file dialog GUI where you can navigate to the USB drive.
Ensure you select the correct file and follow the prompts.
If you do not see the file, select the drop-down tool adjacent File System:        Select the appropriate BIOS.
EXE then OK         Next select Begin Flash Update.
The big warning is to keep your computer plugged into the “mains” and do not interrupt the process as it could possibly “brick” your system.
The process takes a few minutes to complete and the computer will automatically reboot.
Assuming it all goes well, you really shouldn’t notice a difference as the issues being fixed are under the surface.
Just to check, that the BIOS is indeed now updated.
I ran this in terminal:    > sudo dmidecode --type 0     Then you will get the resulting output.
# dmidecode 3.2Getting SMBIOS data from sysfs.
SMBIOS 2.7 present.
Handle 0x0000, DMI type 0, 24 bytesBIOS Information       Vendor: Dell Inc.       Version: A24       Release Date: 06/13/2019       Address: 0xF0000       Runtime Size: 64 kB       ROM Size: 12288 kB       Characteristics:               PCI is supported               PNP is supported               BIOS is upgradeable               BIOS shadowing is allowed               Boot from CD is supported               Selectable boot is supported               EDD is supported               5.25"/1.2 MB floppy services are supported (int 13h)               3.5"/720 kB floppy services are supported (int 13h)               3.5"/2.88 MB floppy services are supported (int 13h)               Print screen service is supported (int 5h)               8042 keyboard services are supported (int 9h)               Serial services are supported (int 14h)               Printer services are supported (int 17h)               ACPI is supported               USB legacy is supported               Smart battery is supported               BIOS boot specification is supported               Function key-initiated network boot is supported               Targeted content distribution is supported               UEFI is supported       BIOS Revision: 65.24    I was just glad to see that 5.25″ floppy service is still supported.
Just in case it comes up, I can still utilize it.
Due to my laziness and inhibition to use Windows caused me to avoid pursuing updating my BIOS.
Dell, on newer systems (~2015 and later), have built in a service to perform these updates outside of the operating system and has removed or eliminated your excuses for keeping your system up to date and more secure.
I am glad I took the time today to figure this out and do the proper thing in keeping my system updated. in the terminal | dmidecode.
Dell, Hardware, ,          2 Comments          9 August 2020                             Noodlings | Hardware is for the Terminal.
18 is such an adult number.
Perhaps I am truly becoming a grown up podcast here.
18th Noodling of mid-summer musings.
18 Episodes… 18 is a fun number.
Divisible by 2, 3, 6 and 9.
The age you can vote in the United States.
LG 29″ UltraWide | Monitor Upgrade and Configuration on Linux.
I have historically made my hardware decisions based on price, generally I get what I can get for as low or as reasonable as possible.
Basically, I go for free or near-free and fabri-cobble something together.
After seeing some other computer setups, I have really thought that I want to be able to function more effectively and efficiently than I had been.
One of the areas that I have been less than happy has been my monitor layout.
I have been pushing 3 displays with my Dell Latitude E6440 and for the most part, it has been meeting my needs but there were some work flows that have not been working out so well.
Tmux Terminal Desktop.
I can’t say that I ever spent my childhood wishing I had the ultimate terminal desktop but the more I have played on Linux, the more I have spent time in the terminal and I really can’t explain why I find it so charming.
Perhaps it is the low memory usage of the applications.
The clever modern implementation of certain terminal applications.
I can’t really say, but there is something incredibly charming about the terminal.
Turn off Monitor using CLI.
This is another gift to future me from present me.
I made the mistake of not properly writing this down before so I had to search for the answer.
The problem is, sometimes, it seems as though Plasma is not shutting off my external screens consistently.
I can’t say why but I have a suspicion that it is due to a specific communication application as I can almost guarantee that it is preventing my screens from turning off.
I don’t have definitive proof of this so I am not going to put it in writing.
BDLL Followup.
Keyboards and mechanical keyboard talk        Release Team to have retrospective meeting about openSUSE Leap 15.2.
Members of the openSUSE community had two retrospective meeting on the release of openSUSE Leap 15.2 after receiving feedback from the recent survey.
Leap 15.2 Install party @ GOLEM – A quick report.
Italian Linux users did an openSUSE Leap 15.2 Launch Party, at the local LUG (it’s called GOLEM, it’s in a small town in central Italy), and Dario Faggioli made a quick report.
20200729 Stable 99plasma5-workspace (5.19.3 -> 5.19.4).
20200730 Stable 99MozillaFirefox (78.0.2 -> 79.0) Numerous CVEs addressed.
snapper (0.8.11 -> 0.8.12)Subpackages: libsnapper5 snapper-zypp-plugin.
fixed error when using mksubvolume to create /tmp (bsc#1174401).
yast2 (4.3.17 -> 4.3.19).
20200731 Stable 99ghostscriptCVE-2020-15900.patch fixes CVE-2020-15900 Memory Corruption.
cf. (bsc#1174415).
kernel-source (5.7.9 -> 5.7.11)iwlwifi: Make some Killer Wireless-AC 1550 cards work again (bnc#1012628).
dpaa_eth: Fix one possible memleak in dpaa_eth_probe (bnc#1012628).
m68k: nommu: register start of the memory with memblock (bnc#1012628).
m68k: mm: fix node memblock init (bnc#1012628).
clk: qcom: gcc: Add GPU and NPU clocks for SM8150 (bnc#1012628).
ALSA USB-audio bug fix, driver improvements for realtek audio.
Improvements to USB Serial.
Intel_th added support for Jasper Lake CPU.
20200801 Score of a moderate 80autoyast2 (4.3.31 -> 4.3.32).
yast2-packager (4.3.5 -> 4.3.6).
Several Python packages received updates.
20200802 Pending Score of a Stable 92bash.
gcc10 (10.1.1+git290 -> 10.2.1+git465).
nodejs14 (14.5.0 -> 14.6.0).
rhino (1.7R3 ->
skopeo (1.1.0 -> 1.1.1).
20200803 Pending Score of a Stable 93aaa_base (84.87+git20200708.f5e90d7 -> 84.87+git20200507.e2243a4)Too many improvements to list but suffice to say, lots of code cleanup and bug fixes.
adwaita-qt (1.1.1 -> 1.1.4).
dnsmasq (2.81 -> 2.82).
polkit (0.116 -> 0.117)memory management fixes.
read-only-root-fs (1.0+git20200121.5ed8d15 -> 1.0+git20200730.1243fd0).
As an aside, bluetooth audio is properly working again.
20200804 pending Stable 97iso-codes (4.4 -> 4.5.0).
ncurses (6.2.20200613 -> 6.2.20200711)fixed pound sign mapping in acsc.
additional changes for building with visual Studio C++.
Computer Chronicles – Printers.
At this time, printers were divided up in two classes, impact and non-impact.
Emerging technology in in laser printers was being developed.
Life can be full of surprises, sometimes you can get a curve-ball thrown at you.
It might really throw a wrench in your plans and mess up your plans in life.
Don’t put it off, don’t ignore it.
Face that challenge head on.
Begin immediately on unwinding the bailiwick.
I promise you won’t regret that decision.
, , , , , , , ,          1 Comment          7 August 2020                             Turn off Monitor using CLI.
This is another gift to future me from present me.
I made the mistake of not properly writing this down before so I had to search for the answer.
The problem is, sometimes, it seems as though Plasma is not shutting off my external screens consistently.
I can’t say why but I have a suspicion that it is due to a specific communication application as I can almost guarantee that it is preventing my screens from turning off.
I don’t have definitive proof of this so I am not going to put it in writing.
My intent is to have a shortcut for turning off all my screens instead of just locking them and hoping that the desktop environment will do its job of turning them off.
I do want to point out that when I was using Windows, both 7 and 10, I had this problem too so it is absolutely not an issue with Desktop Linux.
It is fun being able to understand how to talk to a Linux machine through the terminal using the CLI (Command Line Interface).
The more you know about how to work with it, the more you will ultimately enjoy your journey in Linux.
Here is my solution.
The Commands.
The commands I found out there in the vastness of the world wide web lead me to this that I have tested on multiple machines.
Two were running Tumbleweed with Plasma and the other Leap 15.2 with Plasma.
xset -display :0 dpms force off    The other command is to force the screen on.
This is useful as I have had issues where after undocking my machine, my screen would forget to turn on.
I can’t say the reason why but this could also use a Global Shortcut     xset -display :0 dpms force on    The Script.
I created a little shell script for turning off my screen called
I can’t say for sure how all distributions handle this but I have a bin directory in my home folder, so this is where I have chosen to place this script.
~/bin    Using nano, I created a bash script for this.
nano ~/bin/    Then filled it in with this information    #!/bin/bashsleep 1xset -display :0 dpms force off    The purpose of the sleep 1 line is to give me a chance to get my hand away form the keyboard and mouse so I don’t inadvertently cause the desktop environment to wake the screen.
Next I made the file executable.
There are many ways to do it but since we are playing in the terminal:    chmod +x ~/bin/    To test this out, using krunner or open a terminal and type should turn off your screen.
If not, something is wrong and maybe we can figure it out…    Custom Shortcut.
It is not real practical to open up krunner or a terminal just to shut off the screen when I have the power to create a custom shortcut in Plasma.
Here is how to do it.
First open up System Settings and choose the shortcuts module.
Your system settings may look a bit different but I am sure you can figure it out.
I have faith in you.
Next you have to select the “Custom Shortcuts” submodule.
At the bottom of the list there is an Edit button with a down arrow.
Select that > New > Global Shortcut > Command/URL    Name it whatever makes sense for you.
I chose the name “Screen Off” to make it pretty clear.
Set your shortcut.
I chose Meta+Alt+O.
Next, Select the Action tab and enter the path of the script you just created.
In my case, it is:~/bin/        Select Apply and test it out.
Plasma is real easy to customize to your liking.
I am very happy with this small modification to make my desktop experience a bit more suited to my personal taste.
I don’t expect that this is a very common use case but since I know I am an edge case in much of what I do, this helps me to remember and hopefully there will be at least one person that can use or adapt this to their own case.
I am not a terminal expert so if there is any way that this can be improved, please contact me or comment below
, , , , ,          2 Comments          3 August 20203 August 2020                             Tmux Desktop on openSUSE Linux.
I can’t say that I ever spent my childhood wishing I had the ultimate terminal desktop but the more I have played on Linux, the more I have spent time in the terminal and I really can’t explain why I find it so charming.
Perhaps it is the low memory usage of the applications.
The clever modern implementation of certain terminal applications.
I can’t really say, but there is something incredibly charming about the terminal.
My pursuit of having a terminal based “desktop” was Inspired by Linux Unplugged Presentation.
A rather nice article and I fell into this hole of terminal excitement    Build your own Desktop in the Terminal Linux Unplugged Article    After some exploration and some fiddling.
I have put together a little resource for today me and future me.
Hopefully this has some interest for you and I am open to other suggestions for making my Terminal based Desktop even better.
Tmux Terminal Desktop.
The possibilities are seemingly endless as the bandwidth required to sustain this is really quite low.
, , ,          3 Comments          3 August 2020          1 Minute                 Posts navigation.
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