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Posted on by Arnon Erba in How-To Guides

Julia, the fast-moving and popular open source programming language for scientific computing, allows for the usage of multiple BLAS implementations. Pre-built Julia binaries ship with OpenBLAS due to licensing restrictions surrounding the Intel Math Kernel Library, but by building Julia from source you can replace OpenBLAS with a free copy of MKL obtained from Intel’s Yum or Apt repositories. As of the time of writing, there are instructions for this process on the Julia GitHub repository.

Determining the BLAS Vendor

Regardless of which BLAS implementation you choose, it is nice to check that Julia is actually using the one you want, especially if you are building Julia from source. In recent versions of Julia, you can run the following two commands in the Julia REPL to find your BLAS vendor:

julia> using LinearAlgebra
julia> LinearAlgebra.BLAS.vendor()

The second command should output a string indicating which BLAS implementation your Julia installation is currently built with.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in News

Rufus, the lightweight and portable program for creating bootable USB drives on Windows, has reached version 3.0. Rufus, primarily developed by Pete Batard of Akeo Consulting, remains one of the easiest and most powerful ways to create bootable USB drives on Windows. Its simple user interface is easy to navigate, and Rufus is able to create bootable USB drives from a wide variety of Windows and Linux ISO files. It supports MBR and GPT partitioning and can even be used to create bootable DOS disks.

Released on May 29th, the version 3.0 of Rufus brings a new user interface and many other changes (pulled directly from the changelog):

  • UI redesign to follow the flow of user operations (with thanks to Fahad Al-Riyami for the concept)
  • Drop Windows XP and Windows Vista platform support
  • Switch all downloads to SSL and use https://rufus.ie as the new base URL
  • Add ARM64 support for UEFI:NTFS
  • Fix delays when querying floppy drives during device enumeration
  • Improve support of efi.img files on Linux ISOs
  • Improve support for non-ISO9660 compliant openSUSE Leap ISOs
  • Improve translation support and remove manual positioning
  • Internal fixes and improvements

You can grab a copy of Rufus at its new website, https://rufus.ie/. Rufus can be run directly from the downloaded .exe file — no installation is necessary.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in How-To Guides

The easiest way to perform a direct CD-to-CD or DVD-to-DVD copy in Nero 2014 is to use Nero Express. Once you’ve opened it, select “Image, Project, Copy” from the left-hand sidebar and choose “Copy Disc.”

The next screen you see should look like this:

On this screen, there are a few options you need to make sure are enabled. First, make sure that the “Source drive” and “Destination drive” are set correctly. You’ll want to pick the drive containing your original disc for the source drive and pick the drive containing the blank disc for the destination drive. Keep in mind this only works if you have at least two CD/DVD writers/burners in your computer.

Next, make sure that “Quick copy” is checked. This will allow Nero to copy the data directly from the source drive to the destination drive without having to write to your hard drive in between.

You may also want to check “Verify data on disc after burning” in the lower half of the screen. This will have Nero check if any errors occurred during the copying process.

When you’re all finished with the settings, click “Copy” in the lower right and wait for the process to finish.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in General

If you’re ready to move up from Notepad for editing code, give Brackets a try. It’s completely free and is offered by Adobe developers. It provides a minimal but useful environment and a beautiful interface, and is designed to integrate with Adobe Extract. If you’d prefer the non-Extract integrated version, you can grab that from the Brackets site as well.

brackets

Posted on by Arnon Erba in General

(Editor’s note: Though Linux Live USB Creator still works (2016), I have a number of other lighter-weight programs I would recommend. Archived.)

Linux Live USB Creator, or LiLi, is a free program for Windows that allows the user to burn .iso files of Linux distributions to thumb drives. The program has some really neat options like the ability to create persistence files, hide files on the thumb drive, and check the integrity of the .iso file.

Pros: LiLi supports a LOT of Linux distributions (you can see them all here) and every time I have used the program, it has produced a working, bootable Linux Live thumb drive. LiLi also self-updates whenever it is opened. When selecting options for burning the thumb drive, there are traffic lights that tell you whether or not your selections will work.

Cons: The entirely transparent window background is unique but a little quirky, and I have had a few issues with the program freezing or crashing. These freezes seemed to relate more to the interface then to to the actual program.

Conclusion: LiLi is a perfectly acceptable way to create bootable Linux thumb drives in Windows. And yes, you can simply use the Linux Live thumb drive to install Linux on a computer. Unless you specifically delete the installer file, it will be there.

Posted on by Arnon Erba in General

(Editor’s note: Tails is way past version 0.13, so this post is useless for practical purpose. Another one for posterity.)

I stumbled across Tails a few weeks ago while searching for stuff for getting around network blocks. Long story short, I found the Tor project website and noticed a link for “Tails – A Live CD/USB distribution configured to use Tor safely.” I liked the sound of that, so when I got the chance I clicked on the link and began to read through the documentation. It turned out that Tails was still in version 0.13 and that the documentation looked pretty complicated. Also, to burn Tails to a thumb drive like I wanted to do, you had to have a version of Tails already burned and booted because the official thumb drive installer program is part of Tails. I was bummed over this as I didn’t want to burn a CD, so I checked around and realized that Lili (Linux Live) USB Creator, a program that I already had, can burn a live version of Tails to a thumb drive. The only catch was that it didn’t allow for persistence files, but that didn’t matter for the way I wanted to use Tails.

Anyway, I got thumb drive set up and booted from it. Tails loaded to the login screen (see images) at an acceptable rate of speed, which was when I noticed some reasons that Tails isn’t version 1.0 yet.

Tails seemed to work okay; the custom browser Iceweasel opened when I logged on and said that I was using the Tor network. Oddly enough, however, the clock wouldn’t synchronize. Though a pop-up said that Tails was setting the time, the clock displayed completely incorrect times on multiple boots on various computers.

One cool feature that Tails provides is Windows XP Camouflage mode (see image). This is under “Advanced Options” at the login screen and loads a custom desktop/window manager that changes the wallpaper, windows, and toolbar to Windows XP style. The effect is fairly convincing though the Start button and fonts don’t look completely right upon close inspection, and from a few feet back someone not extremely familiar with XP would probably mistake Tails for the 2001 version of Windows.

The drawback with this feature is that, well, it’s Windows XP. The reason you would need the camouflage feature would be to fool people around you into thinking that you’re using the computer’s original operating system. However, many computer nowadays run Windows 7 – and now Windows 8 – so an XP camouflage isn’t all that useful.

In the end, it’s clear that Tails is still under development. However, I think it has the potential to become a very powerful tool. This touches on my vision that someday everyone will carry around small, portable, bootable drives that have their own operating system and security systems.

If Tails gains a Windows 7 camouflage mode and undergoes some more refinements, I think it just might hit the spot. In any case, I’ll be watching for new versions.