Virgin Media and Google fall out?


I just received an email from Virgin stating that there will be changes to their email service.

Hello,Your email service is about to get a mini-makeover. This email will tell you what’s happening, how it affects you and what to do next.You might not know, but we worked hand-in-hand with Google to provide your email service. But now, they can no longer help us do this. So we’ve created our own. We’re looking forward to bringing you an even better service, jam-packed with more innovations over time.What’s happeningOver the next three months, we’ll move from our old Google-based service to an all-new, and improved Virgin Media email service.But don’t worry, all your old emails and contacts will be transferred over, safe and sound. Your email address and password will stay exactly the same too.In fact, if you use our Webmail service, the main thing that’ll change is how the email service looks. Instead of the familiar Google layout, you’ll see our simple new Virgin Media email layout.Sending, receiving and managing your emails on the new system will be a doddle. But it’s a good idea to get up to speed on all the changes and see how the new service looks by visiting to do nextWe’ll be making the switch automatically over a 3 month period, so stand by to see your new look email service soon.In the meantime, here’s what to do next:-Check you’ve got the most up to date version of your browser (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari etc), to access our new Webmail service hiccup-free.-Unfortunately Google Talk won’t be available on the new email service – if you love keeping in touch this way, it’s easy to set up a new Google account and register for the Google Hangouts chat service.-If you had filters or rules set up to help you manage your email, you’ll need to set these up again on the new service after the move.-If you access any other mailboxes through your Virgin Media Mail, using services like Mail Fetcher or POP aggregation, you’ll need to set this up again after the move too.All set? You’ll have the new email service at your fingertips soon.And remember, just visit to make sure you’re all set for the big day.

Happy emailing,

The Virgin Media team

So, why are Google doing this? Virgin used to run their own email service back when they were NTL, then they partnered with Google, something I talked about here.

As far as I’m aware, BT still use Yahoo for their email service.

Is this a new trend for Google, or did Virgin media just piss them off?

Google launch Google for Work Connect (GWC)

As is the trend recently, Google have gone from piling everything into Google+ to actually breaking things out of it. Not only has Photos been integrated into Google+ but soon it will be coming back out of it again.

The start of this was when it was added to Google Drive.

So, what have Google been up to now? Well, they have launched Google for Work Connect, a social site for Google Apps administrators.


Where previously something like this would no doubt have been launched within Google+ in some way, probably a private community, they have actually put the effort in to create a seperate site. This feels much more like the Google pre Google+ years. They were constantly piling out sites for this that and the other, which then after a muted response would go away taking what little community it had with it.

Do I think that Google for Work Connect will be any different? No, personally it looks to be yet another attempt at a social community. I’m getting a little bored of everything becoming a “social” site now, almost so much that I’m pining for the old school bbcode forums.

We’ll see what happens, but I don’t Google for Work Connect being around much longer then the end of the year.


Twitch Hacked

No additional details as of yet but Twitch is sending out emails to users of its service details are as such:

We are writing to let you know that there may have been unauthorized access to some of your Twitch user account information, including possibly your Twitch username and associated email address, your password (which was cryptographically protected), the last IP address you logged in from, and any of the following if you provided it to us: first and last name, phone number, address, and date of birth.

For your protection, we have expired your password and stream keys. In addition, if you had connected your account to Twitter or YouTube, we have terminated this connection.

You will be prompted to create a new password the next time you attempt to log into your Twitch account. If applicable, you will also need to re-connect your account to Twitter and YouTube, and re-authenticate through Facebook, once you change your password. We also recommend that you change your password at any other website where you use the same or a similar password.

We apologize for this inconvenience.

The Twitch Team

They are not including a link so its unlikely to be a scam.

I’m glad I have LastPass since having it is ensuring all my passwords are different. Doesn’t help much with personal information though.


BlackHorse Finance, maybe check your domains before you run a competition

I recently became aware of a prize offer draw thing, with Black Horse Finance, essentially part of TSB.

The leaflet was the usual, and I quote:

“Every customer who completes the survey by 31 December 2014 will automatically be entered into a prize draw and have the chance of winning £250 worth of store vouchers…”

So, why not I thought, pop some details in, and have a slim chance of winning something..

Well, Black Horse, if you’re going to run a competition until December 2014, maybe check your domain runs until then?


Sourceforge Unusable on Mobile

Well, it would seem that Sourceforge hasn’t tested how the ads on their site affect the experience on mobile.


Great, your site is basically unusable.

LastPass for Android Brings all the power of the desktop plugin

I’ve been using LastPass for, probably about a year now. If you don’t know, it’s a password management tool. For me, it allows me to keep a different random password for each site, and not have to worry about remembering them.

As well as this, it allows you to do extra things such as security audits, which will go through the strength of your passwords, complexity, if there are any duplicates, etc and return an overall score. It will also check the usernames against a database of known leaks, for example the Adobe Hack, the LinkedIn hack and the hack. This obviously won’t stop the fact your details were leaked, but it will certainly help to remind you to change your password for that site.

Well, the android app has been going through several changes recently, not all of them have been that great, so much so I preferred the old application, but now, they’ve added the ability to fill your username and password from the LastPass app into Chrome, or any other app as long as you’re running at least Android 4.3 for the Chrome fill and at least Android 4.1 for any other app.

Good job LastPass, it was about time though :)

Google fix 30 minute purchase issue


In the news recently there has been some complaint with regards to the fact that if you were to purchase something in Google Play Store on Android, you have 30 minutes to install as much as you want without reentering that password.

It looks like you have the ability to change this in the Google Play Store settings, I’d recommend asking for a password everytime if you are handing your device to your children, or, don’t hand your device to your children. Do they REALLY need those magical fantasy fish?

SeLinux, the NSAs front door back door??

Lion Face Door Knocker

NSA Knocking on Linux Doors

An article on the front of the latest Linux Format caught my attention, it announced “Beat the NSA” I presume the article is going to offer various options such as using openvpn and encrypting your drives and emails etc, etc. An article which they wrote a few years back but was titled “Beat the hackers” so I’m not expecting much of an update with regards to material.

The thing that I can’t help get out of my mind with regards to the NSA and Linux is that it was the NSA who developed SELinux.

Yes, SELinux, that mechanism that helps to protect your Linux box even after intrusion by way of policies identifying what a process can and can’t do and what a file in what location should and should not be able to do.

That is, assuming that the sysadmin hasn’t already set enforcing to disabled (not usually a recommended approach).

So, when the NSA developed this, were they being nice to the Linux community, were they the good guys then (I’ll have to admit I viewed them in an entirely different light back then) or have they written back doors into many popular Linux distributions right before our eyes? I hope someone has reviewed the code recently.

Installing Ubuntu Touch onto Nexus 7 2012 from Fedora 20 (in depth)

Ubuntu Touch on Nexus 7 (2012)

When I started looking at installing Ubuntu onto my rarely used Nexus 7 2012 edition tablet, I hadn’t considered how much of a right pain in the arse it would be if you weren’t running Ubuntu.

Turns out, if you’re running Ubuntu, it should be a walk in the park, if you’re running anything else, in my case, Fedora 20, it’s more complicated.

So, this is a guide to installing Ubuntu Touch onto a Nexus 7 2012 (mine is 8GB WiFi only, your mileage may vary).

What I will guide you through is the following.

I will show you how to install the AndroidSDK Tools
I will show you the steps to take a backup (if you so wish)
I will show you how to unlock your device
I will show you how to install the developer release of Ubuntu Touch

This is a collection of various guides and my own experiences, I had about 10 installs of it manually with it booting to a black screen before I turned to IRC and received some guidance, it was still not straight forward though. Most people in that channel had Ubuntu, so tough crowd. They were all nice though, not one told me to RTFM, maybe because there isn’t one?

{Before continuing, please read the disclaimer here: }

Some foolish assumptions:

1) You are happy to lose all the data on your Nexus 7 as it is now.
3) You are willing to risk bricking your device for a developer release of Ubuntu Touch
4) You have a working installation of Fedora (I’m only claiming this will work on 20 but should be fine on many previous releases)
5) YOU ARE HAPPY TO LOSE ALL YOUR DATA! Don’t come crying to me if you brick it too. I’ve installed this many times and it’s not bricked mine, if you manage to brick yours, sorry, you were warned.
6) You know your way around the Linux system a bit (this guide was getting huge, it starts off detailed, but tails off after I added this assumption.
7) $ means running as user, # means running as root

OK, with that out of the way, lets proceed, allons-y!

Step 1) Getting yourself the android gubbins, adb, fastboot, etc, in detail:

Download the SDK from here,

At the time of writing, it was around 475MB and there are two versions:

1) for 64bit systems
2) for 32bit systems

Unpack it in your home directory, then rename it to ~/AndroidSDK

Add into path variable ~/AndroidSDK in .bash_profile file in your home directory. So use your favourite editor to open up that hidden file to edit.
For example add to the end of your PATH list the following, you split the options up with colons ‘:’


So, it should look something like this:


Keep the rest of the file unchanged, save it.

Now, you’ve done that for your user, however, we’re going to be using some other tools, such as sudo and the root users profile. So, make yourself root, either using sudo or su and edit their ~/.bash_profile too and add that AndroidSDK line, HOWEVER, you will need to make $HOME the full path to your home directory, otherwise it will use /root, which is wrong, unless you’ve installed it as root, which is also wrong (well, bad practice).

I mentioned sudo, if you’ve not already got it, install sudo:

# yum install sudo

Once that is installed, add your user account to the sudoers file in /etc/sudoers, again, bad practise to do this as it opens up the option to run any command as root under your account, but for purposes of this, put this into /etc/sudoers


this would be near something looking like this in the commands section:

root ALL=(ALL) ALL

Once you’ve added that, near the top of the file, you also want to add the path to AndroidSDK like we did before, but this is so sudo works, it doesn’t use PATH it uses a SECURE_PATH variable which is defined in this file. So, add the path variables to that secure_path, for example, mine is:

Defaults secure_path = /sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/home/lee/AndroidSDK/sdk:/home/lee/AndroidSDK/sdk/tools:/home/lee/AndroidSDK/sdk/platform-tools

Save the file.

Now, as root, run this command to invoke the paths in your bash_profile:

source ~/.bash_source

as yourself, run the same command. This avoids having to log out and back in again.

Now, running the following commands should output something familiar:

$ echo $PATH
# echo $PATH
$ sudo echo $PATH

Happy, good.

Now, what we have should be the Android bits in our paths as root, ourselves and running as sudo, so to check that, you can type into a terminal, this:

$adb version

my output is: Android Debug Bridge version 1.0.31

#adb version

$sudo adb version

they should all be successful and return information.

For thoroughness, also check this returns something, as it is also used:

$fastboot help

#fastboot help

$sudo fastboot help

This is the safest way to check fastboot, none of the above should return “command not found” if it does, then you’ve set one of the paths wrong in the above, go over it again, verify where your SDK tools etc are and amend as needed.

Editing your udev rules for device detection:

For ease, I’ve provided my udev rules here:

Please append or copy this to the directory /etc/udev/rules.d/ you will need to be root to do this, or at least running the command as sudo

Enable debugging mode in your Nexus 7:

If not enabled, enable developer mode, by tapping Settings -> About phone -> Build number (x 7 times)
If not enabled, enable USB debugging in Settings -> Developer options -> USB debugging
Power on your Nexus 7, and plug it into your computer.

Run this command to check that you can see your device after a minute:

#adb devices

You should see something like this:

List of devices attached
012a2509bb200c12 device

2) Backup your Nexus 7 (if you want to, if you don’t care about returning to this state, skip this step)

To do this, navigate to a directory you want to save your backup to and run this command:

$adb backup -apk -shared -all

You will need to accept the prompts on your Nexus 7 screen and allow the backup to happen.

This will then backup to your directory for later if you want to restore your Nexus 7.

3) OEM Unlock your device to allow the custom bootloader and recovery to be installed:

If the device is already unlocked, skip this step. These steps will wipe all personal data from the device. If you want to keep this, then backup yourself, AND do step 2. If step 2 doesn’t work, or you can’t restore from it, this isn’t my fault.

With the device powered off, power on the device by holding the Power button + volume up + volume down.
The device will boot into the bootloader. Android lying on it’s back.
Plug the device into the computer via the USB cable.
On your computer, start a terminal. Type sudo fastboot oem unlock, followed by Enter

On the device screen, accept the terms of unlocking.
Boot the device by pressing the power button (pointed by an arrow with Start on the screen).

Device factory reset

If you get stuck in a bootloop rebooting the tablet after unlocking the bootloader… Here’s what you do:

During the bootloop.. hold the power button + volume up + volume down button simultaneously to get yourself back into fastboot mode as you were previously.
In fastboot mode.. use the volume keys to scroll to Recovery and the power button to select it.
In Recovery (Android robot on his back with a red triangle)… tap the volume up button and the power button simultaneously which will bring you into stock recovery. Again.. Don’t hold the buttons, just tap them simultaneously. Also make sure you’re holding the correct volume button. Up will be the volume key on the right.
Once you’re in Recovery.. perform a factory reset/data wipe and then reboot your tablet… you should now be back to the Welcome Screen.

4) Enable Debug mode and start adb:

Follow these initial steps on your device:

If not booted, boot the device into Android
Enable USB debugging on the device

on Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0) go to Settings and turn on USB Debugging (Settings > System > Developer options > USB debugging).
on Jelly Bean (versions 4.1 and 4.2) you need to enter Settings, About [Phone|Tablet] and tap the Build number 7 times to see the Developer Options.

on 4.2.2, (settings > about > tap on build number 7 times to activate the developer options menu item).
On either Android version you must then enable USB debugging via Settings > Developer options > USB debugging. You will also need to accept a host key on the device.

On the workstation-> adb kill-server; adb start-server
Plug the device into the computer via the USB cable.

Depending on the installed Android version, a popup will show up on the device with the host key that needs to be accepted for the device to communicate with the workstation.

Note, ‘adb devices’ should not show the device as ‘offline’. If it does, unplug the device, run adb under sudo on the workstation (sudo adb kill-server; sudo adb start-server), then plug the device back in.

In some cases, the device will continue to show offline, and the host key popup will not appear if the USB connection method is ‘MTP’ (default for some devices and versions of Android). Unchecking all options in the USB connection method (Settings -> Storage -> Menu -> USB computer connection -> MTP, PTP) seems to resolve this adb connection issue for some users.
Save the version of the current image on the device, if on Android, to use as a reference to revert back to. The version can be found by going to Settings > About Phone > Build Number.

5) Install Ubuntu flashing tool.

On the guide here: you will see many references to phablet-flash this is packaged in phablet-tools but is generally Ubuntu only, a helpful member of the Ubuntu community rewrote this Python tool into Go, another programming language which is easier to install.

So, firstly, install Go and Bazaar and any dependencies:

yum install golang bzr

Now, make a directory for your Go programs:

mkdir ~/gocode

then add it temporarily to your path:

export GOPATH=$HOME/gocode/

run this command to check it’s worked:

echo $GOPATH

Install Ubuntu-Device-Flash:

go get

This, all going well, should download and install to gocode in your home directory, it doesn’t take long, seconds.

6) Flash your Nexus 7:

Change into the tool directory go the ubuntu-device-flash Go program:

$cd $GOPATH/bin/

Ensure your Nexus 7 is off, and plugged into your computer via USB.

Put your Nexus 7 into bootloader mode, with the device powered off, power on the device by holding the Power button + volume up + volume down.

Now, in a terminal, run this command to begin the flashing process, this should take care of everything, the whole process will take more then 10 minutes but should be less then 30.

./ubuntu-device-flash -bootstrap -channel=trusty

Now, it will go off to the website, download the trusty (developer version) of Ubuntu Touch for Nexus 7 (it detects your device) and install all the bits.

If successful, your Nexus 7 should reboot into recovery a couple of times, and reboot, once done, it should be at the Ubuntu Touch screen, if the screen is just black, and has been like that after rebooting, press the power once, it should wake up with Ubuntu Touch on your screen. If not, start again, probably from the bootloader screen mentioned above.

Thanks for reading, this is VERY VERY rough and too detailed in parts and not detailed enough in others, you might call it a brain fart. I’ll improve it if the interest is there.

Restoring Android (taken from: )
The Ubuntu Touch Preview image is not for everyone and may not suit your current needs (yet). The images can be found here. If you wish to roll back to an Android factory image, follow these steps:

Recall the version that was installed before flashing.
Download the factory image corresponding to your device’s model and version (initial table has links).
Ensure the device is connected and powered on.
Extract the downloaded file and cd into the extracted directory.
run adb reboot-bootloader

run ./ (use sudo if lack of permissions on the workstation don’t allow you to talk to the device).

If you want to lock the bootloader after restoring the factory image, follow these steps:

Power on the device by holding the Power button + volume up + volume down.
The device will boot into the bootloader.
Plug the device into the computer via the USB cable.
On your computer, press Ctrl+Alt+T to start a terminal. Type sudo fastboot oem lock, followed by Enter

Your device should boot into Android after the process is finished.

Once booted into Android, to restore your data you will need to do an initial setup of Android so you can enable the developer tools.

Once USB Debugging has been turned back on, plug it into you PC via USB if it’s not already and on your computer navigate to the folder where you stored your back and run this command:

$adb restore backup.ab

Follow the prompt on your tablet, press Restore my data.

Wait a while, if its a big backup, could take a long time.

That’s it. Hope this helped at least one person out there, even if it’s myself in a years time.

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