Topic: Computer

Hardware, software & hacks

Nextcloud and Netdata

I’ve been using Netdata on my servers to monitor many system parameters for quite a while now. What missed so far is Nextcloud. I filled this gap with a plugin for Netdata. The plugin uses the API which is provided by the “Monitoring” app to display the number of active users.

You get the source and description at Github.

Nextcloud and OnlyOffice in Android

As reported at OnlyOffice, you can now also use OnlyOffice in Android with Nextcloud, although you do not need a separate app for Android – it is part of the current Nextcloud app for Android. On the server you need at least Nextcloud 18 and the latest OnlyOffice integration for Nextcloud (4.1 or newer). OnlyOffice also runs collaboratively in the same way as in the browser – all changes are sent directly to the server and if other users are also editing a file at the same time, their changes can be seen immediately.

However, there is one thing to note:

If the file has not yet been downloaded (no green check mark), tapping the file name will open it in OnlyOffice. If the file already exists on the device (green check mark), it is opened directly when tapped – i.e. if an another office app is installed on the device, that app will be used to view or edit the file.

In addition, you can also use the context menu, which opens when you tap the three dots on the far right and then select “Edit”. In this case the file is always opened with OnlyOffice.

Update 2020-03-09

The free open source version does not provide editing functions any longer – neither in the app nor in the browser. If you need this, you have to buy on of the packages of the “Integration Edition” (currently beginning at 935 EUR one time payment per server for a maximum of 50 concurrent connections).

Update 2020-03-20

After I created a feature request at Github to get back the mobile editing or at least a cheaper license for private and home users, Ascensio decided to offer a cheaper “Home” license for 99 USD. Also see the comment at Github.

New year, new illegal copy of Periodical

New year, new scroungers who think they can easily make money from my work. Again an illegal copy of Periodical with plenty of advertising, published at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.boom.peri (February 11, 2020. If this URL is no longer available, it has already been deleted):

As usual there are no sources available and every reference to the original source was removed.

Update 2020-03-25

Meanwhile Google responded to my notice and the app was removed :-).

Renoise in 4K

Many years ago I discovered Renoise – a so called “tracker” to create music on the computer. Eventhough I haven’t really looked into this I still have a valid license and checked if the project still exists.

Indeed Renoise is still active even after nearly 20 years. Since version 3.2 it also supports native resolution and scaling in 4K:

Collaborative text editor in Nextcloud

Nextcloud text editor, sharing options

In June 2019 Nextcloud introduced an interesting text editor which uses Markdown as format but does not show this optically – the user interface is very tidy and text will always be shown and edited formatted. You can use Markdown syntax when entering text but in addition there is a toolbar at the top of the editor. To create a new file you can use the “+” symbol in the Nextcloud file manager as usual.

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Why I don’t use WhatsApp

Recently you could read the following news at heise.de (https://heise.de/-4421379) (translated):

WhatsApp has a vulnerability (CVE-2019-3568) that allows unauthorized remote access to the device. The attacker can simply smuggle the spyware into a device through a WhatsApp call, even if the called party does not pick it up. Since Monday evening there is a patch.

Also, there were reports last year that WhatsApp will scan messages to show personalized ads, which is probably the case now.

These and several other events of this kind (I also recall the “Cambridge Analytica” scandal on Facebook) have kept me from installing and using WhatsApp on any of my devices and I will not do that in the future.

Those who use WhatsApp should be aware that you are potentially vulnerable. On the one hand WhatsApp’s source code is not open source, so no one knows what backdoors and security vulnerabilities exist, and on the other hand WhatsApp is also an attractive target for attacks due to the huge number of users.

Alternative to WhatsApp

As an alternative I can recommend “Signal”. This is a free messenger whose sources are also disclosed and which is also recommended by security experts. Even Edward Snowden uses and recommends this app. As with WhatsApp, the mobile number for logging in and contacting other people is sufficient, whereby the operator of Signal does not have access to this data and all messages are encrypted and can only be read by the persons involved.

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Why DAVDroid was renamed to DAVx5

For synchronizing address books and calendars on my Android smartphone I’v been using  DAVDroid for quite a while. It is Open Source and also available on F-Droid. However it is now called DAVx5 – why?

The reasons are explained in this tweet – using “droid” as part of a name violates a trademark of Lucasfilm. Also see this extensive article at Priceonomics. Therefore the creator of DAVDroid decided to change the name to “DAVxxxxx” and replace “xxxxx” by “x5” – even though the official statment says something different ;-).