Install HWSD Viewer on an Ubuntu 14.04-based system

17 Aug

The Harmonized World Soil Database (HWSD) is a 30 arc-second raster database put together by a consortium of organisations: FAO, CAS, IIASA, ISRIC and JRC. It is a monumental collection of data about soil from all around the globe, and is therefore an important tool for researchers.

You can download the raw data or  visualise it on ISRIC’s online viewer, but there is a (closed-source) viewer app specially created to visualise, browse and query the data offline, the “HWSD Viewer”, which unfortunately was only developed for Windows.

To make the viewer work on and Ubuntu 14.04-based system (like KXStudio 14.04, but probably many other OS), you need to:

  1. Make sure you have Wine installed;
  2. Install the viewer, using the binary accessible from this FAO page;
  3. Install the missing runtime libraries thanks to Winetricks, with the following command:
winetricks jet40 mdac28

That should sort you out!

Specifically, what the Winetricks command resolves is:

  • The error message “This setup does not support installing on this operating system.” when trying to install MDAC from the Microsoft website;
  • The error message “Provider cannot be found. It may not be properly installed.” when the software realises Jet40 is not available.

HWSD viewer

Save

Save

Save

Save

Gallery

Multi-rate HEVC with x265 for adaptive HTTP streaming

15 Aug

Another in-depth look into multi-rate video encoding by my friend Damien Schroeder.

damienschroeder

Version 2.0 of x265 has recently been tagged. It has been more than two years of work since version 1.0. Since then, HEVC has become more visible with wide adoption on devices and in software. From a streaming perspective, adaptive HTTP streaming is now the most common streaming technology to watch live or on-demand content on the web, for example with the DASH standard.

Remember, adaptive HTTP streaming requires a video to be encoded at different representations, that is, different qualities, which is generally achieved by encoding the same video at different (spatial) resolutions and different signal qualities. Depending on the encoder and on the encoding mode, the signal quality can be tuned by varying the quantization parameter (QP), or varying the target bitrate when using rate-control. In the case of x265, the so-called constant rate factor (CRF) can also be used to tune the quality of the…

View original post 1,183 more words

Fnac.com vous emprisonne en rendant la suppression de compte fastidieuse

5 Jul

J’ai récemment créé un compte sur Fnac.com afin de télécharger quelques ouvrages en format EPUB, sans DRM (il y a quelques titres disponibles dans leur catalogue). Malheureusement, comme beaucoup, je n’ai pas lu les conditions générales de vente avant de faire ça.

En effet, après avoir réalisé que mon compte n’allait pas m’être d’une grande utilité, j’ai décidé de le supprimer (j’essaie de conserver une liste des comptes que j’ai créés sur Internet, et de les supprimer rapidement s’ils ne vont plus (ou peu) m’être utile dans le futur). Quelle n’a pas été ma surprise quand j’ai vu qu’ils demandent aux utilisateurs de leur envoyer une copie d’une carte d’identité ou d’un passeport pour supprimer votre compte et vos données de leurs serveurs. (Voir l’article 14 de cette section ou l’explication dans la page d’aide dédiée.)

J’ai horreur de ce genre de pratiques, qui à l’évidence existent seulement afin de rendre extrêmement difficile la suppression d’un compte, pour que vous décidiez au final d’y rester, contre votre grès. Les conditions générales de vente stipulent que cela est conforme à la « réglementation en vigueur » mais il me semble que cela ne s’applique pas nécessairement à la simple suppression d’un compte en ligne.

Voilà ce qui m’a été dit lorsque j’ai demandé la suppression de mon compte par e-mail :

Conformément à la réglementation en vigueur, votre demande de clôture doit être signée et accompagnée de la photocopie de votre pièce d’identité portant votre signature.

Merci également de nous préciser une adresse postale pour la réception de votre réponse qui arrivera sous un délai maximum de 2 mois.

Quelle pratique d’un autre temps ! Je crée un compte en deux seconde sur leur site, puis pour le supprimer je dois leur écrire une lettre, leur fournir une pièce d’identité et attendre qu’ils me disent si ça leur plaît par voie postale ??

La démarche de désinscription est décrite sur plusieurs sites, dont me-desinscrire.fr et moncompte.info. Des commentaires indiquent qu’ils conservent également des données après la suppression, et que c’est une des seules entreprises à exiger une pièce d’identité. Est également justement évoquée le risque que vos documents d’identité soient volés en chemin.

Mon conseil : ne créez pas de compte sur Fnac.com, et si vous en avez déjà un et qu’il ne vous sert pas, supprimez-le en précisant que ces pratiques sont abusives.

Mise à jour (2016-07-11) : après m’être plaint de la difficulté de la démarche, et avoir demandé que l’on me communique la « réglementation en vigueur » à laquelle ils font référence, j’ai reçu un e-mail du service client pour me notifier de la suppression / désactivation (les deux termes sont utilisés de façon inconsistante à différents endroits) de mon compte, malgré le fait que je ne leur ai pas envoyé les documents d’identité demandés. Preuve selon moi qu’ils n’en ont pas vraiment besoin, et que c’est uniquement destiné à vous garder contre votre grès.

 

 

LibreOffice 5.1 becomes “still”, time to upgrade

28 Jun

If you haven’t done so already, it is the right time to upgrade to the LibreOffice 5.1 branch given that, with the release of the 5.1.4 version a few days ago, this branch becomes the “still” (i.e. more stable and secure) branch. Plus, the 5.0 branch reached end of life back in May, which means there won’t be any security fixes any more.

The 5.1 branch brings exciting new features (full release notes here), including:

  • Improvements to formula wizard (Calc)
  • New commands to add rows and column (Calc)
  • New statistics dialogue for calculating regressions (Calc)
  • PNG export (Calc)
  • Many improvements to formula engine (Calc)
  • Reorganised mode selection (Impress)
  • New “equalise” command for shapes (Impress, Draw)
  • Restart counter from presenter console (Impress)
  • Four new transitions (Impress)
  • Import MathML from clipboard (Math)
  • Improved trend line (Chart)
  • New and improved import/export filters (which means better format compatibility)
  • Reorganised menus
  • Lots of sidebar improvements (new sidebar, reorganised items, new buttons and icons…)
  • Special characters in spelling dialogue

On an Ubuntu-based system, you can upgrade to 5.1 by using the following commands in a terminal.

If you already had a PPA installed, remove it. For example, for the 5.0 PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:libreoffice/libreoffice-5-0

Remove LibreOffice entirely:

sudo apt-get purge libreoffice*

Add the new PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/libreoffice-5-1

Update your repository info:

sudo apt-get update

Finally, install LibreOffice from the new repository:

sudo apt-get install libreoffice

That’s it!

Note: If you are on Linux Mint, your LibreOffice version might be “pinned” and you will need to do a bit more to upgrade. See this post for example. You might also need to install re-install libreoffice-gnome for it to look right.

Fix different locales being used in terminal output on Ubuntu 14.04(-based) distros with KDE

22 Jun

I was having an issue with a number of different languages being used simultaneously, and in a seemingly random fashion, in my terminal output (and in other apps), on my KXStudio 14.04 install. I remember having played around with locales a while ago, but I could not figure out how to go back to my terminal using only one language.

After searching for a bit, and figuring that /etc/default/locale wasn’t the source of the issue, I found that I had to edit ~/.KDE/env/setlocale.sh for it not to conflict anymore. It was specifically the following line that contained a bunch of different languages:

export LANGUAGE=en:fr:es:de

I replaced the series of language codes with the same value as the other lines, en_GB.UTF-8 in my case:

export LANGUAGE=en_GB.UTF-8

Save the script, and restart your computer. You should be good!

Hopefully this saves a few people some pain!

More on languages: this AskUbuntu question.

 

Install Clementine 1.3 on Puppy Linux Tahrpup 6.0

16 Jun

I installed Puppy Linux for the first time, on my old decaying netbook that serves as a music station. Puppy Linux is more than a distro, it is a multi-faceted Linux project that experiments with different concepts. It also is a solution for resuscitating an old computer as it is very light and snappy for a number of reasons. The stock audio player Guayadeque is a great app, but I was missing my good old Clementine for the network remote feature.

On the Ubuntu 14.04-based Tahrpup 6.0 version, the stock version of Clementine is quite outdated. To install the more recent Clementine 1.3, you will need to get the right DEB installer from the Clementine website (the one packaged for Ubuntu 14.04, in its 32-bit architecture version), execute it, and then resolve the missing dependencies.

On my fresh install, the missing dependencies were:

  • libprotobuf
  • libechonest
  • libglew
  • libgstreamer-plugins-base1.0
  • liblastfm
  • libfftw3
  • libcrypto++

To install them, you can use Puppy’s PPM tool located in “Menu > Setup”, search them and click one on each of them to add them to the list of packages to install. You just need to click on “Do it!” when you have them all listed.

A way to check for package dependencies is to use the built-in tool “Check dependencies installed pkg”, accessible from “Menu > Setup”.

After that, Clementine should run, but if you get a crash when trying to play a track, you might want to also install the following gstreamer 1.0 plugins in order to decode most formats:

  • gstreamer1.0-plugins-good
  • gstreamer1.0-plugins-bad
  • gstreamer1.0-plugins-ugly

Upgrade CKeditor when migrating from Drupal 6 to 7

10 Jun

Here is a quick fix that might help you if you are migrating from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7.

If your CKEditor version is stuck at 3.6 in your status report, but you are sure you have the latest version of the module in your module folder, you might think that Drupal 7 deliberately only offers the CKEditor 3 branch.

Actually, you can use CKEditor 4 by checking if the path to your installation is right, and by making sure you have the actual latest library files in the right folder.

First, download the module and unpack it into the right module folder (probably sites/all/modules/contrib). You might have to remove a pre-existing CKEditor module folder. (Or better, rename it to ckeditor_old for the time being, and delete it when you are sure everything works fine.)

Then, download the library files add the library files into the ckeditor/ckeditor folder (where the COPY_HERE.txt file is).

Finally, you can change the path to the CKEditor library files by going to your website’s /admin/config/content/ckeditor/editg page and pointing to %m/ckeditor in the “Path to CKEditor” field.

This should allow you to use the latest version of CKEditor. Check in your status report that the right version appears. If everything goes well (and if you have copied your custom configurations to your new installation, specifically to the ckeditor.config.js file, if needed), you can delete the old module folder and the old library files.

PDF of Zotero’s default bibliography styles

30 May

Back in July 2015, I made a PDF that shows what all the twelve default Zotero bibliography styles look like.

I just found the file and thought that it would be a waste not to share it.

Here is the whole description of the file document:

This is a list of all the default bibliographic styles included in Zotero v. 4.0.27.5 as of July 2015, to make it easy to find the one that works best for you. The text was copied to clipboard and pasted in an ODT file, using the language option “English (UK)” when available. (Right click > ‘Create Bibliography from Item…’; Output Mode = Bibliography; Output Method = Copy to Clipboard)

It is possible to get additional styles from the ‘Zotero Preferences > Cite > Styles > Styles Manager’ menu. (At the time of writing, more than 7800 styles were available in the Zotero Style Repository.)

Notice how styles differ in how they handle a large number of authors.

At the end of this document is a RIS export of the publication for reference.

Hopefully this is helpful to others! Here is the PDF: Bibliography styles

Ebay and their encryption double standard

9 May

I am not often using Ebay, but every so often it happens to be one of the only options for a specific kind of purchase. I recently bought a product to expand my MPC’s internal memory, and tried to communicate with the seller by using my email account (as an Ebay “guest” user).

I have been automatically signing my emails with PGP for a while now, and haven’t had any major problem (except for a Brisbane council issue that somehow filtered my emails because of the unrecognised attachment, an issue that was fixed a while ago, at least in the particular section I have been volunteering at).

Interestingly enough, Ebay rejected my signed (unencrypted) email, with the following explanation:

To better protect our members from identity theft and unwanted emails, we don’t allow encrypted emails. Because your recent email message to [xxx] was encrypted, we didn’t send it.

Please remove the encryption and resend your message.

The notification email links to a messaging help page [snapshot] that states the following:

Emails that are encrypted before they are sent (or are automatically encrypted when sent) will not be delivered through eBay Messages. Encryption is a way of scrambling or coding information before it’s sent, and then decoding the same information when it’s received. If you’re using encryption software, you may need to turn it off before sending messages.

At first, I thought I sort of understood why they would filter out encrypted emails: so they can apply a keyword-based spam filter. However, I still haven’t heard about spammers making use of encryption. It seems to me that encrypting is an obvious massive obstacle to the main objective of spamming: sending large amounts of emails that are not specifically targeted. Encrypting would require the spammer to collect each recipient’s public key and scramble each separate message accordingly… It does not sound likely to become a common spamming practice, which leads me to think that there might be other incentives for Ebay to only have plain-text messages transiting through their servers (data collection and analysis, anyone?).

Add to that the fact that Ebay obviously does a terrible job at telling apart signed plain-text emails from encrypted emails…

In their help page titled “Keeping you safe on Ebay” [snapshot], they state the following:

We use procedural and technical safeguards, including firewalls, encryption and Secure Socket Layers (SSL) to help protect your personal information against loss, theft and unauthorised access and disclosure by users inside and outside the company.

In “Protecting your privacy” [snapshot], it is said that Ebay provide:

Secure communication for all external parties—including customers, vendors, and any business partners outside of eBay—by monitoring every email message, except in countries that have laws prohibiting monitoring of email. If an email contains private information, it will be encrypted through our eBay Secured Email system.

However, the users using encryption themselves (or even just PGP signatures) are considered a threat and denied privacy. What about people who want to make sure they are keeping a particular transaction private from a member of their family, a threatening community, a potential online criminal organisation, or from an oppressive government, for whatever reason?

Funnily enough, at the time of writing, the link to “eBay Secured Email” is a dead link, so good luck if you want to find out more about this particular “system”…

This issue draws me further away from Ebay – as if I needed more reasons.

Get the right locale for Evolution

27 Apr

An issue that has been bugging me for a while is that Evolution (3.10.4) somehow has the French locale even though most of my system is in British English (I use KXStudio 14.04, with the default KDE 4.13.3). Changing the locale and language preferences in the system settings wouldn’t help at all. That might have had to do with me playing around with settings and languages and software versions a lot, but there you go: I am not sure how I got there, but I found a solution.

This Linux Mint Forum thread put me on the right track. It seems there is a mismatch between the Evolution version that is installed and the base language pack in use (i.e. the Evolution version for which the strings in language-pack-en-base are written).

Here are the steps to get the extra file you need to change the language in evolution. (In my case, I wanted the en_GB locale, but you can replace it with whatever you want; you can also replace the version numbers with the corresponding Evolution version you have installed on your system.)


wget "https://download.gnome.org/sources/evolution/3.8/evolution-3.10.4.tar.xz"
tar -Jxvf evolution-3.10.4.tar.xz evolution-3.10.4/po/en_GB.po
msgfmt -cv -o ./evolution-3.10.mo ./evolution-3.10.4/po/en_GB.po
rm -rf evolution-3.10.4

This will extract and copy the right locale file into your /usr/share/locale-langpack/en/LC_MESSAGES/ folder. Close and open Evolution, and you should have the menus in the right locale. (Keep in mind that some email folders will still be in the original language if they were created that way in the first place!)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.