I updated or perhaps it more accurate to say I back dated my laptop. I had been running Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail. Then Friday night I made the upgrade to Saucy Salamander but it’s in Beta and some of the functions I like stopped working. So after a little deliberation I made the switch back to Ringtail however, I am using the GNOME desktop and not Unity. It’s quite a bit different but so far I like it.

This post as are most of the other tripe I write is being written on a desk top that is running the Tails live operating system. Make that a kick ass live operating system. There is much to like about it. The TOR/Iceweasel browser. Open office products for productivity, Audacity for sound recording needs and even the gimp for dealing with images, many of the programs that I use the most are all included with Tails. I don’t need a firewall or anti-spy ware because when the system goes down everything disappears down the rabbit hole. According to recent revelations from EFF, Glen Greenwald et el the NSA has their own servers that mimic other hosts, with the exception that the NSA is placing tracking software on a users–make that adversaries, computers*. We the general public, the people of the world going about our everyday lives are the adversaries, the enemy. An excerpt from the Guardian’s web site.


Other efforts mounted by the agencies include attempting to direct traffic toward NSA-operated servers, or attacking other software used by Tor users. One presentation, titled ‘Tor: Overview of Existing Techniques’, also refers to making efforts to “shape”, or influence, the future development of Tor, in conjunction with GCHQ. . . .


. . . Several attacks result in implanting malicious code on the computer of Tor users who visit particular websites. The agencies say they are targeting terrorists or organized criminals visiting particular discussion boards, but these attacks could also hit journalists, researchers, or those who accidentally stumble upon a targeted site.


The Tails live operating system effectively supplants this because, if they manage to plant anything on the Tails system its gone upon reboot. The exception is if a user decides to allow some hard disk storage that will remain after termination of the live system or if files are saved to a USB drive. In my case the internals (hard-drive) is non functioning, it’s dead kaput. My desktop uses only RAM and a DVD drive that houses the DVD on which the live system is stored. The hard-drive in its dying state a few weeks ago gave rise to using the tails system. That and the Ubuntu live trial that is incorporated with the install. It occurred to me while observing the last minutes of my hard-drive existence, though I lacked awareness of it at the time. That I could use the Ubuntu, and or the system restore disk as a functioning computer system. Then and there out of the mist of my addled mind there returned to me the Tails system. Arguably though all three would work, Tails is the most complete turn key operation.

Why is that? Because it’s engineered to be that way the TOR browser and Vidalia bridge are included. Last night I spent at least an hour getting TOR to work on my laptop. Something about Raring Ringtail 13.04 doesn’t jibe with TOR at first glance. After attempting several work around’s—including cutting and pasting in additional code it all came together. The problem is just like last time, whatever I did worked I just don’t know what it’s that caused TOR to work.

1. NPR news report, how the NSA refer’s to the people it spies on. See also article that appeared in the Guardian.