A dollar per month contribution, and why LibreOffice needs it

By Eric Bright

We need your help here at The Document Foundation. LibreOffice needs your support. In this article, I am going to ask you for help. I am going to ask you for a commitment to a monthly donation to The Document Foundation.

If I am successful, at the end you will be convinced as to why LibreOffice needs your help, why even a small donation will help, and why a monthly contribution, even if small, makes a huge difference compared to a larger, one-time donation. Here is the story!

Costs! The old, ugly, familiar costs!

If I ask you to donate $1 CAD to The Document Foundation, you might ask yourself, “What? $1? What is that supposed to achieve? Are you kidding me?” read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2020) A dollar per month contribution, and why LibreOffice needs it. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2020/09/a-dollar-per-month-contribution-and-why-libreoffice-needs-it/

I don’t “need” LibreOffice

By Eric Bright

I don’t need LibreOffice. I WANT LibreOffice.

I am not exactly sure if anyone really “needs” LibreOffice as a product. LO is more an idea, an ideal, than it is a product. For one thing we have had exactly zero customer since the time of OpenOffice all the way to today.

No one needs LO. I am almost sure about it. I, as one, already have MS Office 365 down my throat by virtue of teaching at a college here in Toronto, Ontario. I don’t “need” to use LO.

If you don’t have a ton of money to pay for an MS Office license fee, then you have many other options: read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2020) I don’t “need” LibreOffice. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2020/09/i-dont-need-libreoffice/

LibreOffice – Designed by Committee

By Eric Bright

Tree Swing graphic by S Hogh 1993
Designed by Committee

Update 3 2020-10-10: 1- Typo corrected (thank you einpoklum for pointing that out) Update 2 2020-09-07: I stand corrected: 1- “ungraceful,” I am told I was, not “ungrateful” 2- The LO forked happened before AOO. That is true. Duly noted and corrected 3- There were many more reasons that lead to the eventual LO fork. Absolutely true Update 1 2020-09-07: I was informed by people involved with TDF that: 1- LO is based on “an extremely old, complex C++ codebase full of legacy stuff” [I knew that] 2- I was blaming the programmers for the issues the code has [not true. Read the post again] 3- I was being “ungrateful” [not true. Read the post again] 4- The LO does have some serious issues [🤷🏽‍♂️] 5- The contributors have been trying to help and fix them [absolutely true] 6- I am “blaming developers for not doing more” and hence am getting in the way of those who are trying to help [really? 🤨] 7- I “mis-informed” my friend from whom I asked for insights [read the post and see if that is true] 8- I am advocating for more “committee” to fix the problem of something being “designed by a committee.” [conflating concepts, sarcastic, a red-herring/straw-man cocktail, playing with words. Read the ... 🤦🏽‍♂️] What a wild-goose chase! This is exactly how the AOO’s BoD were reacting to all criticisms back in the days. I came to the same conclusion as those critics of AOO once did: There is no point in all these, since history repeats itself. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2020) LibreOffice – Designed by Committee. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2020/09/libreoffice-designed-by-committee/

The Internet’s Own Boy

The Internet’s Own Boy follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26. Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity. This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.” read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2020) The Internet’s Own Boy. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2020/07/the-internets-own-boy/

Scribus is finally usable

By Eric Bright

The DEV version

Scribus icon

UPDATE 2018-07-07: Updated the URL to the portable version.
UPDATE 2018-02-20: Listed the latest test version.

You need to give Scribus 1.5.4-test, i.e. the development version, a try. It is a totally different beast now.

I always used to test the 1.4.x branch now and then, and it was a GUI disaster. Today, I stumbled upon the 1.5.4-test version and got the portable copy of it from here:

https://portableapps.com/apps/office/scribus-portable-test

Holy smoke! It is usable! It is usable! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Almost all of my complaints about the 1.4.x branch was totally addressed and some. I might actually switch from InDesign to Scribus after all. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2018) Scribus is finally usable. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2018/01/scribus-is-finally-usable/

How to convert Zarnegar files to RTF, Word, or HTML formats

تبدیلِ فایل‏هایِ زَرنِگار به وُرد

By Eric Bright
Update July 23, 2021: mentioned the Zarnegar to Word conversion possibility, corrected typos
Update Mar 05, 2021: added a new tool
Update on Feb 05, 2020: contents & link update
Update on May 19, 2018: link update)
Update on Dec 28, 2017

Solution

1- Download Zar2RTF Converter from here:

Zar2RTF and Zar2HTML

2- Use the software to convert your Zarnegar files to RTF or HTML. Once you created one of those files, saving them as a Word document under .docx or .odt will be trivial and can easily be done with LibreOffice. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2014) How to convert Zarnegar files to RTF, Word, or HTML formats. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2014/08/how-to-convert-zarnegar-files-to-rtf-or-html-formats/

Pay a higher fee or suffer

Fast Lane means pay a higher fee or suffer:

Without net neutrality ISPs will have enormous incentives to keep regular customers hostage until they pay up higher fees to access the Internet; that is to say: pay a higher fee or suffer.

If a pay-to-play Internet becomes reality, most of us will be left behind while the money-cow moves to the more expensive plans and packages offered by ISPs. ISPs will start to favour them and neglect the rest of us who might not be able to afford the new fees. So, inadvertently it shifts the ISPs away from net neutrality into a discriminating Internet. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2014) Pay a higher fee or suffer. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2014/05/pay-a-higher-fee-or-suffer/

How to digitally sign an e-mail – Updated

UPDATE 2018-05-17: web links are updates.

I made a post in 2009 explaining how to digitally sign an e-mail with FireGPG. Unfortunately, FireGPG is discontinued and no longer supports Gmail. So, we need to do it differently now.

Objective: To sign your out-going emails through an online email provider such as Gmail or Yahoo mail.

Operation Systems: Any.

Browsers: Firefox or Chrome.

Add-on or extension for the browser: Mailvelop (get it from https://www.mailvelope.com/)

It works with: Gmail, Yahoo mail, Hotmail, and most other online, email providers. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2014) How to digitally sign an e-mail – Updated. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2014/03/how-to-digitally-sign-an-e-mail-updated/

StupidFile! – Cannot Delete File On Desktop

by Eric Bright

Updated on February 12, 2019

Objective: removing an apparently irremovable file or folder.

Affected OS: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and newer versions

Symptoms:

You have a FOLDER on your desktop with a FILE in it, which you cannot delete.

You’re given this message:

“Cannot read from the source file or disk.”

Possible “solutions” that might not work:

  • You tried to find how to delete it; you googled it, read all newsgroups, posts in some professional forums, asked your friends, downloaded
    IObit Unlocker (and an article about it), EMCO MoveOnBoot, LockHunter, CopyLock, KillBox, Delete Doctor, Deleting Invalid Data Files [see the end of this page for more information on this program; this program is more than what you may guess], DeleteFXPFiles, and Unlocker (it has an x64 version too and a Win7-x64 works only with the x64 version of Unlocker), installed, and performed what they suggested; and finally frustrated by failure.
  • You downloaded Process Explorer and examined every single process running in memory to find a sign of a program that may be using _something_ in that folder. You closed all programs, every resident applications, and all running processes that can be closed. You also closed even some of Windows process and stopped as many services as possible; no sign of any file handle to anything related to that folder… result: negative.
  • You have uninstalled many programs that you suspect they may cause the problem;… negative.
  • You booted up in Safe Mode, tried to EndTask explorer.exe while doing some hacks in cmd prompt like deleting the folder and…
  • You read “How to Delete a Locked Files,” “How to delete a file when…,” and “How to delete locked files on Windows 10” article;… negative.
  • You tried to do “Open with…” then created a file with the same name, saved over the existing one… with no luck.
  • You have no Spyware, no virus and nothing suspicious at all.
  • You did chkdsk c: /f, RegSeeker, NortonDiskDoctor, Regedit (see also this), and lots of command line instructions that you read in forums;… negative (in regedit, you cannot even see any entry with the same name as that stupid file in your Windows registry.) (more about chkdsk.)
  • You have tried ShellExtensionsView (or its LiberKey portable version) to disable the suspected PGP context-menu plug-in, which sometimes causes some problems; … negative.
  • In the end, before installing a fresh damn Windows, why don’t you try this one:

Last resort:

At a cmd prompt type the following:

RD /S /Q [drive:] path

Example:

[on Windows XP]

C:\Documents and Settings[your log-in name]\Desktop\>RD /S /Q foldername
read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2012) StupidFile! – Cannot Delete File On Desktop. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2012/06/stupidfile-cannot-delete-file-on-desktop/

Ubuntu and the Unity Paradigm

By Eric Bright

The first few days with Ubuntu 11.10 and its Unity

My system crashed completely. Everything in my Win7 installation is useless now. After saving my documents and whatnot from my dead Win7 installation using Ubuntu, now I’m thinking of giving up on Windows. I’m sick of it now. I’m sure Linux is going to give me a lot of headache and nightmares too, but in a long run, I think it’s the right decision to move away from Windows. I’m going to need a lot of help with stuffs in Ubuntu in near future and I’m counting on you. Wish me luck. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2011) Ubuntu and the Unity Paradigm. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2011/10/ubuntu-and-the-unity-paradigm/

The big brother…


It’s time to download and use the tor browser again, and some e-mail encryption apps. Welcome to the police-state of the federations of Canada a.k.a. 1984.

 

 

 

 

Please cite this article as:
Bright, Eric. (2011) The big brother…. BlogSophy.
https://sophy.ca/blog/2011/09/the-big-brother/

How to digitally sign an e-mail

Written by Eric Bright

Last update on August 29, 2013

2nd updated on August 25, 2011

First published on Feb 3, 2009


[UPDATE: This solution would not work with Gmail any longer, because the Firefox add-on that I was using at the time is not supported any more. Read the instructions for the updated method of signing your email here.]

Requirements:

  • Operating systems: Win XP, Vista, or 7
  • Softwares: GnuPG, Firefox, FireGPG (it’s a Firefox add-on), GPGshell
  • A gmail account
  • Enough time
  1. Go to Tools > Add-ons > Get add-ons
  2. Search this: FireGPG [UPDATE: this extension is discontinued. It will not work with Gmail any more because the Gmail support is removed from the extension. Here is the blog-post explaining the discontinuation.]
  3. When the add-on is found, install it [UPDATE: the add-on (or extension) is not available on Firefox Add-on web site any more. You can get it from here though.]
  4. Download GnuPG from here
  5. Install what you have downloaded (the package contains GnuPG: 2.0.17 and several other applications. You only need GnuPG)
  6. Restart your Firefox
  7. Go to Tools > Add-ons > Extensions
  8. Browse down to find FireGPG and then click on Options
  9. You will probably get the following message: Error : FireGPG is unable to access the gpg executable. Make sure GPG is installed or specify the path in the preferences.
  10. Click on Ok
  11. Go to the GPG tab
  12. Put a check mark next to Specify the path of GPG
  13. Click on the Browse button and browse to the folder you just installed your GPG into. It is usually in the following location by default: C:\Program files\GNU\GnuPG\gpg.exe  (note: in a 64bit Windows, it would be installed in C:\Program Files (x86)\GNU\GnuPG\gpg.exe) Select it and press Open
  14. Now you are back to the FireGPG Preferences dialog box. Click on Ok
  15. Close Add-ons
  16. Now you need to make secure keys to sign your e-mails so NO one can forge your emails any more. Here is how to make new keys and how to use them:
  17. Download this GPGshell from here: http://www.jumaros.de/rsoft/index.html
  18. Now you should have a file with this name gpgsh377.zip on your desktop (or wherever the downloaded file is put automatically.) Unzip and install GPGshell
  19. When you are asked if you “want to use blah blah blah for the GPGshell-HomeDir” say Yes
  20. Now you need to set-up your computer’s Environmental Variables’ PATH. To do so, Right-click on My Computer (or on Computer if you use Vista) and select Properties
  21. Click on the Advanced tab (“Advanced System Settings” and then “Advanced” tab under Windows 7)
  22. Click on the Environmental Variables
  23. Then browse down in the System Variables list-box and find PATH
  24. Press the Edit button
  25. In the Variable Value field, add the following C:\program files\GUN\GnuPG and make sure that it is separated from the next entry by a semicolon (or if you added it to the end of the string, it should be separated from the last item by a semicolon that looks like. (Note: it would be C:\Program Files (x86)\GNU\GnuPG if you are using a 64 bit system)
  26. Press Ok, three times I guess
  27. If you are on a Win XP machine, you need to restart now for the changes to take effect. Vista/Win7 does not need a restart
  28. Now, open Start > GPGshell > GPGkeys
  29. It’s the first time you are running this application, so you might not have a pair of keys. Then the program asks you to “create your own key now”. Say Yes
  30. GPGkeys’ Key Generation dialogue box will open up. In the User ID section, fill in the Name, Comment, and your E-mail that you are going to use. Example: Name: Andi Ramfield Comment: My first key ring E-mail: [email protected]
  31. Now click on the Generate button
  32. A command-line window pups up. After it finishes its work, you will get a dialog box asking you to protect your key by a passphrase. Click on Yes
  33. A new command-line window comes up again. Now enter your passphraes (like a password, but can be much longer). Example: AnDi-RaMfIeLd-7531. You should repeat it one more time to confirm the passphrase
  34. Now the GPGkeys main window comes up. You are done with making a pair of Public key and Private key. You keep the Private key in a safe, and give the Public key to others. You should send me one copy of the Public key that you just created. To do that, in the GPGkey window, right-click on the key you just created. Then select Export. Put it on your desktop. The key that you export has to have pub.asc at the end of its name. That means that it is a public key, not your private key
  35. Now log-in into your Gmail e-mail account (or Yahoo or Hotmail or whatever). Go to Compose Mail and write something
  36. Select the text you wrote
  37. You will see several buttons added to your tool-bar. One is Clear sign. Click on that button while the text in the compose area is still selected
  38. FireGPG -private key window will pop up. Select the key you created and click on Ok
  39. You will be asked to enter your passphrase. Enter it and bang! You have your text digitally signed
  40. But for me to be able to verify your signature, you should attach your public key that you Exported on your desktop. So attach it to the email that you signed (you need to do it once and I will have it on my computer for as long as it is not expired)
  41. Ok! Now, you signed the text, and attached your public key. When I get your e-mail, I download your attached public key too, install it on my computer, and will be able to Verify your signature later

That’s it!

The good thing is that I can send you Encrypted e-mails as long as I have your un-expired public key and no one on earth, not even me, can open it [possibly for a long time]. To open it, one has to have your Private key. The Firefox’s add-on, i.e. FireGPG, will decrypt the received encrypted text if it still has your Private key. read more...

Please cite this article as: Bright, Eric. (2009) How to digitally sign an e-mail. BlogSophy. https://sophy.ca/blog/2009/02/how-to-digitally-sign-an-e-mail/