Category Archives: Computing

Online privacy tips

By Leon J Williams

If you’re concerned about your privacy while online we have some tips for you!

There are 3 main issues that must be covered, your operating system, your web browser and your search engine.

Operating system:

ubuntu_logoIt has just been revealed that Microsoft (via windows and outlook) has been handing information to the US’s NSA (National Security Agency). To read more click here.
So why not give Linux a try? It’s legally free and versions like Ubuntu are user friendly.

Web browser:

tor-logoTor is king when it comes to anonymity Online. It operates using the familiar Mozilla Firefox browser but has been customised and tweaked to keep you anonymous!
Tor has been around since 2002 but still remains widely unknown.

Search engine:

startp_logoLike google but want to know your information isn’t being passed on without your consent? Try StartPage, it”s been around since 2009 and is run by Ixquick, part of a Dutch company.

EU fines Microsoft (again) for continued anti-competition

By Leon J Williams

Web browsersThe European Union (EU) has ordered Microsoft to pay £484m for failing to allow consumers a choice in web browsers.

Back in 2004 Microsoft was fined £381m for the same reason after which Microsoft did start to offer consumers a choice but this web browser option screen was dropped following a Windows 7 update in February 2011.

Microsoft said that this was due to a technical error but the European Commission dismissed this and is no doubt using this opportunity to make an example of Microsoft so that no other company thinks that it can get away with not implementing fair anti-monopoly regulations.
This move can only be seen as a good thing, shoring up EU funds and and allowing other, smaller businesses an opportunity to thrive.

Supporters of Capitalism say that it creates competition and they criticise Socialism for stifling competition but alas closer to the truth is that Capitalism destroys competition by creating monopolies, companies buy other companies and put their products first.
It is regulation that stops this, it is government intervention.

Web Browsers
Towards the end of last year we wrote about web browsers here.

We recommend either Opera or Firefox

US continues its clampdown on sharing

By Leon J Williams

The Chinese file sharing site has closed down after being blacklisted by the US trade representatives (USTR).
They had this to say:

“This Chinese-based site facilitates the downloading and distribution of pirated music and movies, not only through deep-linking services, but also by offering cyberlocker facilities and through its own innovative high-speed P2P [peer-to-peer] file-sharing system”.

My old favourite sharing facility was which sadly closed down in February 2012. What’s the best alternative?

1. ISO Hunt

2. Torrent Bit

3. The Pirate Bay

4. Kick Ass Torrents

5. Bit Snoop

Due to this sorry state of affairs in which sharing has become illegal (what next, paying for tap water? …oh yeah) a number of political parties have sprung up around the world (mostly in Europe though) since 2006 to support P2P file sharing (among other things such as direct democracy and civil rights).
Their name? The Pirate Party

If you receive a message like this when torrent searching:

In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at

Try using one of these proxy search engines first:

1. IP Conceal

2. Hide my ass

GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) 2.8

By Leon J Williams

GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is a powerful open-source image editing program, similar to Photoshop.

I am not well versed with this program and only recently have I been giving a more serious look at, I made a poster, a crossword and now a simple comic strip called Yellow & Green.

I have found that using GIMP on its own raises some difficulties, I made the poster solely with GIMP but the crossword I used GIMP and Libra Spreadsheet and for the comic strip I used GIMP and Libra Draw.

A quick web search and you can easily find help using GIMP for pretty much any specific thing you are trying to do.

First the crossword, I formatted the cells so that they are square, used the fill background option to black out the squares I didn’t want then I highlighted the crossword and pasted into GIMP, I did this because when uploading to the internet the file needs to be in an image format. GIMP usage on this is very minimal.

For the simple comic strip I mostly used GIMP and only used Draw for the peoples heads and the speech bubbles. Once I made one comic square I used that as a template and just copy and pasted it three times to make the four square sections of the comic.
As you can see from the comic it is very simple and basic, this is due to my personal limited knowledge and experience with GIMP and not a reflection of any limitations with the program, someone with more talent could do a much better job.

No apples in the Gateses’ house

By Leon J Williams

It will come as no surprise that Bill Gates’ children are not allowed to own Apple products, probably through fear of their children realising how crap their fathers products are though they put it down to not wanting to encourage the competition.

Windows operating systems still dominate the desktop market share with about 90%, Apple is in second with nearly 7% and Linux in third with 1.25%.

Apple wins the tablet and mobile ratings with 41% and Unix winning the Server ratings with 60%.

Windows: Unreliable/unsecured
Apple: Bloody expensive
Linux: Still struggles with MS games

Windows: Everyone’s using it, compatibility
Apple: Looks good, popular with media & design people
Linux: Free, reliable & consistent

ACA The Underground in 2007 was made using Linux SuSe (free edition) to produce the printed version, these days with the wordpress online version we’re using Linux Ubuntu.

Linux is free, the software is free, the tech support is free, specialists and hobbyists work together to make the systems stay free.

A kind of by the people, for the people approach.

Web Browsers 2012

Most widely used web browsers (world):

1. Google Chrome
2. Internet Explorer
3. Mozilla Firefox
4. Apple Safari
5. Opera

In Europe it’s slightly different:

1. Google Chrome
2. Mozilla Firefox
3. Internet Explorer
4. Apple Safari
5. Opera

We recommend:

1. Opera
2. Mozilla Firefox
3. Google Chrome
4. Apple Safari
5. Don’t use the internet