Shared Bookmarks, do they exist?

I’m after a system where by users of my community computer labs can enjoy a new entry in their bookmark bar of items which are of particular interest and use.

Our system we use requires each user to have their own username and password and thus their own firefox profile, so we can’t do what the windows 7 labs would do which is just to add the bookmarks to the Internet Explorer session as the ‘User’ user.

So I had a look at social bookmarking services like delicious, but none of them provide a way to specify bookmarks or tags (which work) in a way that allows bookmarks to be populated.

I also looked for some scripts that perhaps might be able to open the firefox profile bookmarks html and edit it and sync one particular part of it up with a master file. But I haven’t been able to find such a thing.

So I turn to you dear reader; do you know of anything like this? Please comment below.

Why we need Free Software ‘holes’

Rachel Botsman made a really impressive TedTalk where she talks about consumption, more importantly about how as a society we should use our ‘stuff’ more effectively by sharing it or bartering it more.

What really stuck in my mind was the phrase “What you need isn’t a drill that you buy and use once or twice, what you need is a hole”

And it’s true, what we don’t need is software, what we need is the product that software gives us. But if that’s the case and the product is the most important part, why should anyone care about Free Software? After all, Free Software doesn’t always get you the better result, it certainly didn’t 10 years ago.

I rationalise Free and Open Source as a forward thinking politic. One where governments neglected their duty to protect the commons and the products of the public sphere. Instead FOSS is where clever people, have created legal strategies in order to artificially create an environment, where sharing and collaboration can really take place with the required legal protection they need to not be abused.

The worst thing that you can do if you need a hole, is to hire out the same drill from the one and only drill making company that charges you $300 a time, never sells their product, bribes and have the law protect their monopoly from users making their own. The better long term strategy is to always have a drill in common with others (or other hole making device) and to have it set up in such a way as to allow unfettered access as well as shared responsibility to it’s upkeep.

The lessons I learned are as a developer, I need to keep the user’s requirement (hole) in mind, and not what amazing software I can build (drill). That’s a design focus which I will try and hold close and I’m glad is becoming more accepted in the admittedly drill focused culture in foss.

As a user I’m made more aware of my responsibility as a participant in the greater commons to help maintain and grow the bank of software we have available to all and not just my opportunity.

What are your thoughts?

Ubuntu's Internet Connection Sharing

I was doing a bit of a search for internet connection sharing this evening, you know like you do. And what I found was a bit of a mish-mash.

Plenty of people on the forums are currently or have in the past advised a method which is highly complex and involves a great deal of custom configuration. Take this thread: Howto Share internet connection in the Tutorials and Tips section of the forum. You get to this when you do a search for “Internet connection sharing ubuntu” and this forum post is from 2005.

To correct some of this misinformation, I’m posting here this evening a quick video guide for how you deal with sharing from one ethernet port to another. I’ve asked my good friend David Edwards to record his first video, he uses WindowsXP for all of his own work and doesn’t use Ubuntu normally.

So to share any internet connection method to your ethernet:

  1. Connect to your internet connection via WiFi, Ethernet or GSM as you usually do.
  2. Right click on the network manager icon
  3. Select “Edit Connections…”
  4. Go to your “Wired” connection tab.
  5. Click the “Add” button
  6. Enter the connection name “Shared Internet”
  7. Select the IPv4 tab
  8. Under Method, select “Shared with other computers”
  9. Click “Apply”
  10. Click on the network manager again, this time with the left button
  11. For the target ethernet port, select the new “Shared Internet”.
  12. Now plug in your computer via ethernet.

If you want to share your internet connection via wifi, then you need to use the “Create new wireless network…” to make a wireless network that other computers will be able to connect to. This automatically shares your internet connection.