Make your firewall more secure – Lifehacker

Well worth a look to see if you’ve set up your firewall and security correctly for your home network.

Is your firewall doing its job? Find out with ITSecurity’s guide to making your firewall (and, ultimately, your PC) more secure.

The 10-step guide covers topics like tweaking firewall settings to match your specific needs, adding multiple layers of security (including anti-virus and malware tools) and choosing strong passwords. Sure, much of this advice is common knowledge to Lifehacker readers, but you probably know someone who could benefit from it. Share, people! The guide has a friendly tone, with plenty of real-world examples to make it easily digestible. Good stuff. If you like it, the same site offered tips on fighting spam a few weeks ago. — Rick Broida

10 Steps to Make Your Firewall More Secure [ITSecurity]

Sync your podcasts to your iPod under Ubuntu

This is a big deal for me, not so much getting it working, more that it is one of the few things I’ve been booting back into Windows for. I am hoping fairly soon to remove the Windows partition from the hard drive, and reclaim it all for Ubuntu.

Anyway, the setup is this:

1) Dock the ipod with Ubuntu open. This should place the iPod using the name you’ve give it previously on your desktop. Find the location it has mounted the iPod at using right-click and properties, and make note of this.

2) If you don’t have it installed, sudo apt-get install amarok.

3) Go to System > Preferences > Removable Drives and Media, and on the Multimedia tab, change the command for portable music players to /usr/bin/amarok (or whatever your location is for amarok)

4) In Amarok, go to settings > Configure Amarok > media devices. Add device, choose the Apple iPod Media Device, and enter the name you gave the iPod, and its mount point.

5) That is the main part done, now you need in playlists to add any URLs of podcast feeds, and configure each feed so that it automatically scans for updates, downloads when available, and adds to the media device transfer queue (just check each option when configuring the podcast.

6) When you connect the iPod, it should now launch Amarok, and queue any new shows to transfer to the iPod. At the moment I just highlight the shows and transfer them, but I am sure I can find a command to do this automatically.

So that is a bit of work to get sorted, but worth it to keep Ubuntu open! If you try this yourself, let me know how you get on.

Keep up with online video at Vidmeter – Lifehacker

Vidmeter helps you keep track of the hottest videos out on the internet:


Web site Vidmeter keeps a running tally on the latest, most popular videos from across the spectrum of social video sites.

Vidmeter is similar to previously-mentioned Internet TV Charts, but with a much more useful interface. While watching internet video isn’t necessarily the most productive way to spend your time, you can at least be sure you’re getting a look at the most popular stuff out there. The only problem with sites like Vidmeter is that several of the most popular videos at any given time can be pretty poor. What would be really nice to see is a service like Vidmeter that tracks the most popular videos in categories, like technology/how-to videos. If someone has a good method for tracking internet video based on categories or search criteria, I’d love to hear it in the comments. — Adam Pash


Dolby to Turn Volume Down on Loud Commercials –

What isn’t quite stated here that I believe this should get rid of the need to turn your telly down massively when adverts come on. I was listening to someone talk about this the other day, and apparently the volume isn’t turned up by the tv company, the sound is recorded at a higher level of compression. Anyway, if this deals with it I want it built into my telly, and yesterday.

Dolby. That’s all I have to say and you think of “audio” and “surround sound”. What’s that company up to recently? Dolby Volume: a technology that equalizes the volume across all audio coming out of your TV. The system aims to deliver consistent volume for TV channels, programs, and commercials.

Dolby Volume models how “humans perceive audio” to eliminate variable loudness in the audio stream, automatically. Dolby claims user intervention completely is unnecessary (aside from the initial setup). The system handles up to a 30dB in reduction or amplification. Ars Technica mentions that Dolby did not address what Dolby Volume does when explosions or other sudden noises are meant to happen.

News source: Ars Technica

Read full story…

Bit of a catch up

Well it has been a while since I’ve written about myself, what with being away in London learning Java for a week, and posting lots of news stories instead. I’m about caught up now, so I hopefully will try and settle into a pattern with a little more balance. BTW, be aware that the comments on the news stories for the moment link to the actual story, rather than to my comments section. Should hopefully get chance to fix that soon.

I’m a bit full tonight, having cooked Nigel Slater’s perfect coq au vin. It is a great recipe, and with a few shortcuts I made it relatively quickly. I also cooked the full version (justabout) over New Year, and it is marvellous.

Being the New Year now, I have to put some of my resolutions into action. So this weekend I’m giving up smoking, and I’m also going to try and watch my weight a bit, so that it doesn’t add any more, particularly as I’d like to lose a little too. So I may make mention of what (if any) I lose. I am going to keep track of it, so I get an idea of what I’m doing that is right or wrong.

We’ve also decided on our holiday for this year, we’re off to New York in October hopefully! I’m bricking it about the flight, but seeing as I managed a couple of hours each way to France last year, I think I can about cope with it as long as I keep me head stuck in a book all the way. Will be well worth it once we get there though, can’t wait.

This has also partly been the motivation to get a new camera, a proper digital SLR. I’m hoping to buy it in the next month, and start taking some high-quality pics to put on flickr and for my own general amusement. And to occupy me whilst I am giving up smoking. Hope I can pull that off.