Author Archives: Atif Mumtaz

Managing a Service on Linux with systemctl

Managing services on a Linux server is essential for any DevOps/System administrators job requirements. Sometimes we want to shutdown a service permanently; Like Apache, or MySQL. We do not want it restarted automatically when we reboot the server. Or we want to make a service automatically enabled. Using systemctl makes the job a lot easier.

The standard way to do that is using systemd process. Which is now available on most Linux distros. On Ubuntu 15.x on wards, including 16.04 and above versions, this can be easily accomplished using systemctl command line tool provided through systemd.

Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.

Popular Open Source 3D Printers

Just a decade ago, 3D printers were a novelty. Costing upwards of US$5,000 for a desktop edition that could convert some powder into plasticky objects. But not only have the prices fallen, but many have gone completely open source. Not just the CAD software, but also the hardware that make it all go.

The best thing about 3D printers is that there are many of them based on an open design. Like RepRap and Prusa out there. So the printers offers so many choices of sizes, quality, features that its truly a maker world.

Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.

Open Source Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

It is the holiday season and a time to share and exchange presents. And what better way to share some love this holiday season than by giving your loved ones an open source gift. After meticulously going through all that is to offer, we have chosen the following open source gift recommendations.

Our judges panel assured us that one can never go wrong with these gifts. They are all sure winners. So lets see. We also reviewed what our users like to read on XenStreet and therefore were more inclined towards the gifts that you like. For example, our coverage of Linux Distros and Raspberry Pi were more popular than other posts. Hence, our inclination to find something around them.

Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.

Krita – Open Source Software for Digital Painting

If you ever wanted to be a digital painter, comic illustrator, animator, or just plain curious and could not afford to buy expensive painting softwares, then Krita software application is for you. It’s a professional grade, free, open source software and available on all major platforms including Mac, Windows and Linux.

The application has been around for quite sometime and has been slowly evolving. One key feature that differentiates this software from others is the fact that it is designed by artists for artists. In recent times they also ran KickStarter campaign to raise funds for additional features for the artists.

Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.

Wekan – Open Source Alternative to Trello

Wekan is an open source collaborative project management tool similar to Trello like boards. It offers some of the Kanban functionalities and features as well.

On Wekan one can easily create boards, on which cards can be created (e.g.for assigning tasks to someone etc) and managed between a number of columns (e.g. state of work in a flow). Colored labels can be assigned for grouping and filtering. There is no limit to how many people you add which makes it really easy for collaboration.

Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.

The Zero Terminal – Pocket Computer that works!

The real joy of tinkering with Raspberry Pi is to build something nifty and fun. To hack a really whacky and crazy idea into a working prototype. That we all love and feel passionate about. Recently, we came across this amazing hand-held Linux Terminal called, The Zero Terminal, is built by the hacker codenamed NODE. His pocket sized computer actually works!

Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.

State of Future Index PK-SOFI Launched in Islamabad

I got a chance to attend the launch of the Pakistan State of the Future Index (PK-SOFI), this weekend in Islamabad. The PK-SOFI Index is a 10-year future index which indicates if the future of the country, relative to other countries in the study, is getting better or worse. And the future seems bright for Pakistan. The PK-SOFI index indicates significant improvement in the future for the people of Pakistan.

The objective, as stated by its founders, “is to create and foster an ecology of foresight perspectives in Pakistan. And enable decision-makers to opt for appropriate policy choices and establish strategic narrative in support”. Quite ambitious, but definitely the right step for an emerging economy of over 200 million population like Pakistan.

Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.

OpenAg – Open Source Food Computer

MIT Open Agriculture (OpenAg) is a wonderful execution of an open source initiative for controlled-environment agriculture platform referred to as “Food Computer”. All hardware, software and even data is open sourced so that it becomes an open standard for agriculture research.

OpenAg is the brainchild of Caleb Harper as a joint initiative of the MIT Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.

Intel Edison bites the dust – No more in IoT space

Has Intel finally thrown in the towel in the IoT space? Earlier this year, Intel announced that it will discontinue their IoT platforms namely, Galileo, Joule, and Edison. We wrote about Edison when it came out with the promise of really taking on the IoT space head on. However, it failed to create the momentum that was needed to take off. Alas, it never happened and Intel Edison bites the dust.

Raspberry Pi IoT devices have been imitated by others and numerous clones exist in the market. But many of these imitators do not seem to last long. Like Intel, they bite the dust when they lose momentum. We recently covered CHIP computer, which too is suffering from inability to build and ship their US$10 computer on a board to customers. Many such stories abound.

Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.

C.H.I.P. and Pi Zero W – US$10 dollar Computers

We love the little C.H.I.P. Single-board computer. And it boasts some really powerful specs for only US$9. Yes, only US$9. While Raspberry Pi is not far behind in competition with their own Pi Zero W, but we still love the little C.H.I.P. Both CHIP and Pi Zero are available for US$10 with eerily similar specs.

These somewhat really minuscule computers are even more powerful than the original Raspberry Pi that came out five years ago.

CHIP and Pi Zero W offer an opportunity for hobbyists to build even cooler gadgets with really cheap computers as compared to high end raspberry Pis. CHIP offers some wonderful products, including PocketCHIP, which is a fully portable computer in your pocket. It comes standard with battery, screen and a working keyboard for around US$70. Perfect for hackers, gamers or hobbyist to carry something around.

Techie by day, blogger by night. Love the outdoors, enjoy traveling and building new and interesting things. Follow me if you want to know something.