• Birthday Calendar with ownCloud via CalDAV

    Thunderbird Lightning

    Not a big issue in this blog post but an important one. Maybe I can save you some valuable time if you ever look for such a function.

    As you know I’m a heavy user of ownCloud and you also might know that synchronisation is a big topic for me. And the third thing you should know that forgetting a good friend’s birthday really su… well, it’s no good style. This almost happened to me some days ago because I couldn’t check it on my Notebook with Thunderbird. My setup looks like this: All contacts (with birthday tags) in ownCloud, and these CardDAV address books are synced with my Android phone and Thunderbird/SOGo-Connector on my notebook, as well as the CalDAV calendars with Lightning.

    For Android there are several free software apps which enable the inclusion of birthdays from your contacts into any calendar app. Some calendar apps even can do it theirselves. But for Thunderbird there are only some outdated add-ons. All of them don’t work with TB31 anymore and if you modify the install.rdf-file to make them run anyhow, they’re very buggy or just nonfunctional. And if you look in your ownCloud instance (where contacts’ birthdays are visible in the calendar tab) for a downloadable/syncable calendar you’ll reach the same conclusion like me: There is none.

    But there is! [Read More...]

  • Guter E-Mail-Stil

    Heutzutage ist schriftlicher Stil in E-Mails ebenso wichtig wie eine angemessene Sprechweise oder standardisierte Floskeln und Höflichkeiten in Briefen. E-Mails sind trotz Short Messaging wie per SMS, WhatsApp oder Facebook weiterhin die bedeutenste digitale Kommunikationsmöglichkeit.
    Das ist auch der Grund, weshalb ein guter E-Mail-Stil so enorm wichtig ist: Wir werden von E-Mails regelrecht bombardiert, auch wenn man den Spam nicht einmal mit einberechnet. Daher sollten wir uns und unseren Kommunikationspartnern die Sache erleichtern, indem wir einen guten, effizienten und dennoch freundlichen Umgang und Stil pflegen.

    Der Erstkontakt

    Sollte man derjenige sein, der eine E-Mail versendet, sind bereits einige Dinge sehr wichtig:
    [Read More...]

  • Wirklich sichere WhatsApp Alternativen

    Gravestone with WhatsApp logoNachdem diese Woche bekannt wurde, dass Facebook es endlich geschafft hat, WhatsApp-Gründer Jan Koum und Brian Acton mit einer stolzen Summe von rund 16 Milliarden US-Dollar zum Verkauf ihrer Firma zu bewegen, fragen sich viele, was sich nun in Sachen Privatsphäre ändern wird – und wie man dem entgegenwirken kann. In diesme Artikel werde ich erläutern, was man bei der Wahl des richtigen Messengers beachten sollte, warum Threema nicht die Lösung ist und was wirklich sichere Alternativen sind.

    Grundlegendes

    Prinzipiell geht es hier um zwei Aspekte von Datenschutz: Erstens der Schutz vor (halb)staatlicher Überwachung und zweitens der Schutz seiner persönlichen Daten vor privaten Konzernen, meist Werbetreibende.
    Beides sollte jedem von uns sehr wichtig sein, denn WhatsApp befördert noch kritischere Daten als Facebook heutzutage. Wissen wir mittlerweile, dass wir vielleicht nicht unbedingt unseren 300 “Freunden” auf Facebook unsere peinlichsten Momente per Video mitteilen sollten und dass dort vielleicht auch der künstige Arbeitgeber mitlesen kann, so chatten wir auf WhatsApp viel privater mit einer zweiten Person oder einer sich kennenden Gruppe. Die Hemmschwelle, mal eben lustig-peinliche Bilder zu schicken ist niedriger, genauso wie es einfacher ist, sich anzügliche Nachrichten und Medien hin- und herzuschicken. Bisher haben nur die wenigsten damit ein Problem gehabt, denn es blieb ja privat. [Read More...]

  • I love ZNC because #ilovefs

    I love Free Software!

    Today is I love Free Software day 2014. Using the slogan “I love Free Software but I love you more” this day should not only be used to thank our significant others for their love but also to say “thank you” to people who work hard to ease one’s everyday tasks with the software they develop.

    Have you ever been in an IRC channel?
    If not, you should try it, it’s a great and easy way of communication and very common.
    If yes, then the term “IRC Bouncer” might be familiar to you. It keeps “you” online 24/7 in the channel, although your device at home is offline. During this time, your slot in the channel is reserved by your bouncer.

    ZNCIn this blog post, I’d like to present ZNC to you, a beautiful piece of Free Software which you can install easily on a server, is highly configurable and consumes only little server resources.

    “What the hell should this be for?!” you’re asking? Well, since I’m presenting ZNC, I can give you a few examples of the mightyness of this software:

    • Basic Functions
      • If you’re leaving the channel, ZNC can set an individual away status and reply to anyone how’s calling you directly in the channel or in a query that you’re unavailable at the moment
      • You can add multiple IRC networks with only one account and one port. Similar bouncers like psybnc are unable to do this. You can edit your networks separately, for example with different nicknames or away messages
      • You don’t want to quit IRC even if you have to because the ongoing discussion is so interesting? No problem with ZNC. ZNC can buffer the channel chat and queries to you, so you can everything if you’re back again. This also helps if you had connection issues and come back a few minutes later – you’ll never miss anything again

    Well, these are only the basic functions. Below I added several others which have convinced me to keep using ZNC and nothing else. Of course, it’s Free Software (Apache 2.0 License) and it’s quite actively developed. If you have no server or no time to install something on it, you can also use one of the many ZNC providers for free.

    If you like ZNC as much as I do, please consider helping them to improve the software or just donate to keep the very useful wiki alive!

    Further cool functions you might find useful: [Read More...]

  • Why free choice of routers is a must

    In my opinion, the latest NSA leaks reached a new level of boldness.
    Oh wait, maybe you are one of the people that keep saying “Of course NSA is spying on all of us, but I’m safe: I use Tor/VPN, deleted my Facebook account, and I completely switched to secure operating systems, so I got this going for me.“. If so I congratulate you, these are important steps and I hope there will be more people like you.

    NSA Headwater Implant

    NSA Headwater Implant

    But as the introducting sentence states, the latest information of NSA’s mass surveillance goes much further than only spying in social networks and intercepting phone calls. This time, it’s about your home and your network itself. To be concrete: It’s about your router located somewhere in your rooms. Internal, top secret classified presentations show that NSA is actively searching for vulnerabilities in industry and home routers and is buying exploits if needed. And if all of these steps aren’t enough, they just implant a backdoor chip granting full remote access.

    If you hear about an massively exploited vulnerability or a cooperating router vendor, I would expect you to switch the router or at least install updated/other firmware on the device. But what if you are not able to this because your Internet Service Provider (ISP) forces you to use his and no other device?

    [Read More...]

  • Mounting a SFTP storage in GNU/Linux

    This (longer than expected) post explains how to transfer files securely between your device and an external storage. The first part may be useful for you if you only have little knowledge of terms like (S)FTP(S) and want to learn something about widely used technologies. The second part will help you to mount an external storage so you can manage all files as if they are on your local device and the third, fourth and fifth part will concentrate on easing the mounting process by the help of hostnames, Private/Public Keys and a shell script.
    This guide will be very detailed and is also (and especially) suited for beginners. Maybe also some advanced users can learn something or give hints for improvements.

    But let’s be honest: All in all, this post will show you again, why Free Software, GNU/Linux and Open Standards are great, easy to use and why Windows users are to be pitied.

    I. Short excursus

    (Nearly) everybody knows FTP. FTP is a protocol which enables you to transfer files between your device and a remote space. Maybe you want to present your documents or images to visitors of your homepage and simply want to upload these files on your webspace. In most cases this could be done by the use of a seperate program like FileZilla.

    So far so good, but there’re several problems. Two of them:

    1. FTP is insecure. Period.
    2. Using an external program (and not your personal file manager) is really annoying if you want to edit the files very often. A realistic example: You have a complicated script running on your website which you’d like to edit in a graphical editor. Using an external client forces you to download the file, open it in your editor, save it and upload it again. Some FTP clients like FileZilla have the functionality to ease this pain in the a**, but trust me: after the twentieth reupload you want to toss your computer away…

    Now we know why FTP is insecure. So what alternatives do we have?

    [Read More...]

  • Organising micro task emails in Thunderbird

    The title of this post sounds very significant but to be honest, it’s a small thing.

    Everybody has her/his/its own workflow regarding emails. For example me: I LOVE folders! When it comes to the crunch I probably would be able to organise my whole life into folders.
    Well, at least this is what I thought until I began my internship at FSFE. I was used to a high income rate (do you say so?) before but something changed: Normally I read my emails and if something’s important, I open a new task in my taskmanager or simply write it down. In the office I also read lot’s of emails and can put them easily in folders via filters (in Thunderbird and with qmail/maildrop on my mailserver), for example emails in mailing lists.

    But now it is more often the case that by reading those emails, there are beginning some mini-tasks: Commit this translated file on the server, answer these emails, send out that package to a fellow (but not today, do it next Monday), and most importantly, book some restaurants for the General Assembly. You see, these are all small tasks, but they exist. In dozens. And I’m quite sure they will increase. But creating for each micro task a new task in my task manager (Getting Things Gnome by the way) is overload as well.
    For that I’m a forgetful technocrat sometimes, I wanted to pre-empt any mistakes and searched for methods to mark/tag those emails when reading them. Afterwards it should always be possible to find these marked/tagged with one click. In short, I needed a Remembrall, that additionally tells me, what I exactly forgot.

    Dear ladies and gentlemen, here’s my odyssey of finding the perfect method for me: [Read More...]