skip to main content - dyslexic font - mobile - text - print

Hacker Public Radio

Your ideas, projects, opinions - podcasted.

New episodes Monday through Friday.



Host ID: 198

episodes: 89

hpr1735 :: Free tutorials for teachers

Released on 2015-03-27 under a CC-BY-SA license.

I have received a very generous offer from Bernard J. Poole, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh. He has a series of LibreOffice Tutorials and has asked me to publicize that they are available free of charge to all of our LibreOffice fans on Hacker Public Radio. You can find his tutorials on his web site at He is particularly aiming his tutorials at educators who might use LibreOffice in the classroom

hpr1725 :: 49 - LibreOffice Calc - Creating a Template with Styles

Released on 2015-03-13 under a CC-BY-SA license.

The last few tutorials have looked at the techniques you need to master to use Styles and Templates effectively, but putting these into practice is essential to understanding them, I believe. So it is time for us to actually built a Template that incorporates a few styles and put the whole package together. For my example, I am going to create something useful for a consultant who needs to keep track of time for billing customers.

hpr1715 :: 48 - LibreOffice Calc - Cell Styles

Released on 2015-02-27 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Our next topic is Cell Styles. If you are already familiar with Styles from Writer, think of Cell Styles as the equivalent of Writers Paragraph Styles. Just as a single Writer document can have a variety of Paragraph Styles applied to different paragraphs (e.g. Headings, Lists, Paragraphs), a single spreadsheet can have multiple Cell Styles. And the same arguments for using Styles also apply. If you have consistently used Cell Styles in your spreadsheet, you can update the appearance easily just by changing the Style instead of needing to go through the file looking for every cell that needs to be adjusted. And by using Styles you can apply a large number of formatting choices to many cells with just a few mouse clicks. So it really does pay to learn how to use Cell Styles.

hpr1705 :: 47 - LibreOffice Calc - Page Styles and Page Settings

Released on 2015-02-13 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Page Styles in LibreOffice Calc set the properties for entire sheets of your workbook file. In any given Template you can have different sheets with different Page Styles if you wish, but for any given sheet you can only have one Page Style. And dont be confused by the difference between a sheet in the file and a page when printed. One single sheet may take many physical pages to print, but it is all one sheet and it is all governed by a single Page Style.

hpr1695 :: 46 - LibreOffice Calc - The Object Model and Using Templates

Released on 2015-01-30 under a CC-BY-SA license.

As I said in the last tutorial, Templates can be understood as a container for a number of settings, most particularly Styles. This follows the object model, which is a lot like those Russian dolls inside of each other. The File for your spreadsheet is an object, and it contains individual Sheets which are objects. Each Sheet contains Cells which are objects. And each Cell contains various Characters which are objects, which can be used to represent numbers, formulas, addresses, labels, etc. Objects exhibit two features we always want to keep in mind. First, objects have properties that are particular to the kind of object. The properties of a file might include who the author is, where the file resides on the system, any access restrictions (like making the file password-protected), and so on.

The properties of each sheet might include things like the name of the sheet, the orientation (landscape vs. portrait), headers and footers, etc. Then the properties of the cell might include the type of cell and how it is formatted (text, currency, general number, etc.). And finally the properties of the Character include the font family, font style, font size, and so on.

hpr1685 :: 45 - LibreOffice Calc - Styles and Templates Introduced

Released on 2015-01-16 under a CC-BY-SA license.

When we were looking at Writer we saw that Styles and Templates are key concepts to using any word processor. They are not quite as central in spreadsheet use, and one can be a proficient user without resort to them, but they do give you control over the appearance of your spreadsheets, and can give the sheets you create uniform appearance. We discussed these ideas in great detail in our Writer tutorials, so I am going to hope that some of that knowledge has carried over here. Still, lets get to some basic concepts:

hpr1670 :: Digital Signatures and Certificates

Released on 2014-12-26 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Digital Signatures are something that is very important in understanding security on the Internet. While we have seen it in the context of personal e-mail, the applications are much broader, in particular to the use of certificates to establish communication.

Recall from our discussion of e-mail that there are two things you can do with an e-mail using PGP or GPG. First is you can encrypt the message, which you do using the public key of the recipient, and then they can decrypt the message using their private key. The other was putting a digital signature on a message. But how does that work? - For more go to


hpr1665 :: 44 - LibreOffice Calc - Working With Pivot Tables

Released on 2014-12-19 under a CC-BY-SA license.

We take a look at one of the most powerful, but somewhat frightening, features of modern spreadsheets. But knowing the basics of pivot tables should make them a bit less frightening to the newcomer.

hpr1655 :: 43 - LibreOffice Calc - Creating Pivot Tables

Released on 2014-12-05 under a CC-BY-SA license.

We take a look at one of the most powerful, but somewhat frightening, features of modern spreadsheets. But knowing the basics of pivot tables should make themn a bit less frightening to the newcomer.

hpr1653 :: Ruth Suehle at Ohio Linux Fest 2014

Released on 2014-12-03 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Ruth Suehle gave the next-to-last keynote at Ohio LinuxFest 2014 on 2014-10-25. In this talk she discusses the significance of open hardware and maker culture, and how this is something we all should participate in. Maker culture is an essential part of the free and open culture we belive in when we talk about open source. And we need to be vigilant to protect our values in the hardware space. As an example she tells us about Bre Pettis and Makerbot, which at one time were very open, but have turned aginst this value as they became more successful. In the final analysis, it is up to us to protect open hardware by voting with our dollars/euros/whatever.

hpr1645 :: 42 - LibreOffice Calc - Data Manipulation 2: Standard and Advanced Filters

Released on 2014-11-21 under a CC-BY-SA license.

You can set a Standard Filter from within the AutoFilter drop-down, or you can go there through the Data menu by selecting Data>Filter>Standard Filter. Now lets look at the question we ended the last tutorial with: How many females over the age 40 had a case in 1978. We saw we could get this by manually putting checkmarks in every age that was greater than 40 using AutoFilter, but how do we do this using Standard Filter? - For more go to

hpr1640 :: Symmetric vs. Asymmetric Encryption

Released on 2014-11-14 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Previously we looked at Public Key encryption, which is also called Asymmetric Encryption because it uses two different keys for the encryption and decryption. This allows us to solve one of the biggest problems in secure encrypted communication, which is key distribution. Because the public key can be freely distributed, you dont need to maintain security around the process of distributing keys. Symmetric encryption, on the other hand, relies on a shared key that is used for both encryption and decryption. An example of this is the one-time pad, where you printed up a pad of paper that contained various keys, and each one was used only once. As long as no one can get the key, it is unbreakable, but the big weakness was key distribution. How do you get the one-time pad into the hands of your correspondent? And you would need to do this with separate one-time pads for each person you needed to communicate with. These are the kinds of problems that made asymmetric encryption so popular. Finally, symmetric key crypto cannot be used to reliably create a digital signature. The reason should be clear. If I have the same secret key you used to sign a message, I can alter the message, use the shared secret key myself, and claim you sent it. - For more go to


hpr1639 :: Ken Starks at Ohio Linux Fest 2014

Released on 2014-11-13 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Ken Starks gave the closing keynote at Ohio LinuxFest 2014 on 10/25/14. In this talk he discusses his work with the REGLUE project (formerly the Helios Project) which bulds computers to give to disadvantaged kids in Texas. And if you look there may be something like this in your town that you can help with. And if not, why not start one? This talk was recorded by Randy Noseworthy, and he asked me to post it to HPR.

hpr1635 :: 41 - LibreOffice Calc - Data Manipulation 1: Sorting and AutoFilter

Released on 2014-11-07 under a CC-BY-SA license.

The next major area of investigation for this series is how we can do data manipulation in Calc. Although Calc is not a database, it can be used for some data analysis and manipulation. When I worked for the finance department of a hospital, it was very common for the financial analysts to get a data dump from a centralized system as a CSV file, load it up in a spreadsheet, and then slice-and-dice the data to get the answers they wanted. It is not anywhere near what you can do with a good relational database and a structured query, but you can do some quick-and-dirty analysis here. - For more go to

hpr1625 :: 40 - LibreOffice Calc - Other Functions

Released on 2014-10-24 under a CC-BY-SA license.

We spent a lot of time looking at some Financial and Statistical functions. I don't propose to go into the remaining types of function in nearly the same depth. That would draw out the series without benefit to most people. But I do want to highlight some of the functions in the other categories so that you have an idea of what is possible in Calc. Remember that if you need to know more about them Google is your friend. - For more go to

hpr1624 :: Penguicon 2015 Call for Talks

Released on 2014-10-23 under a CC-BY-SA license.

I am the coordinator for the Tech Track at Penguicon 2015, which is a combined FOSS/Science Fiction convention held every spring in the Metro-Detroit area. The 2015 event will happen April 24-26 at the Westin Hotel in Southfield, MI. The theme for the upcoming year's event is Biotechnology and medicine, looking at how technology is affecting our health and life. But we want a lot of different talks as well, so I will be happy to accept proposals that look at things like cloud computing, security, hardware hacks, and anything else that would be of interest to geeks and hackers.


hpr1620 :: Passwords, Entropy, and Good Password Practices

Released on 2014-10-17 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Right now for most of us the key to any security in our online life is the degree of entropy in our passwords. So what is entropy, and how does it affect our passwords?

Entropy is in general the degree of randomness or disorder in any given system. Sometimes it is very easy to assess, such as a password of 1234, which all too many people use. Because it is a simple sequence, there is no real randomness at all, and would be quickly guessed. And as we saw in the last tutorial, such passwords are quickly discovered in a dictionary attack. There are things you can do to make it less likely that your password will be cracked and used against you. - For more go to


hpr1615 :: 39 - LibreOffice Calc - Inferential Statistics Functions

Released on 2014-10-10 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Inferential statistics is what you do to say that something is likely, or that it is not due to chance, or things of the sort. It goes beyond simply describing what is in the numbers and lets you say something about what the numbers in a sample might mean for the population that generated the sample. There are several type of Inferential Statistics that I want to address in this tutorial, beginning with the idea of a confidence interval. - For more go to

hpr1605 :: 38 - LibreOffice Calc - simple Descriptive Statistics

Released on 2014-09-26 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In Statistics there are generally speaking two types of analysis, broken down between Descriptive and Inferential statistics. The difference has to do what what claims you are making about the data. If you are simply stating something about the data (e.g. there were more men than women in the sample) that is descriptive. But if you make a claim that something is not likely to occur by chance, for instance, or that something is statistically significant (and both of those statements are essentially the same thing) then you are in the realm of inferential statistics. Calc has functions to do both kinds of analysis, and this tutorial will examine some of the common descriptive statistics in Calc and how they are used. - For more go to

hpr1598 :: Hashing and Password Security

Released on 2014-09-17 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Today, the most common way of providing security in giving access to data or systems is through the use of passwords. Practically every online site now expects you to create an account with a password, which will let you post comments, order products, conduct business, or just post to social media. The implication is that insisting on passwords provides some level of security. Now, following on our last tutorial we should ask a few questions about just how effective this measure is, since someone posting in your name to Twitter is significantly different from someone accessing your bank account. And since the assets being protected are very different, it would be reasonable to approach the problem of security somewhat differently in these cases. But given the ubiquity of passwords as the authentication for online accounts, we need to look at the security involved. Note that I am approaching this from the standpoint of the owner of the site in question for this tutorial, and will follow up with a look at your own role in this.
For more go to


hpr1595 :: 37 - LibreOffice Calc - More Financial Functions

Released on 2014-09-12 under a CC-BY-SA license.

We take a look at a number of related financial functions in this episode, and discover that they are strongly related by using the same variables over and over. We construct a Mortgage Repayment Schedule, and look again at the principles of good spreadsheet construction.

hpr1585 :: 36 - LibreOffice Calc - Financial Functions - Loan Payments

Released on 2014-08-29 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this episode we discuss the function for determining the loan payments on a car loan, compare a manual calculation with the use of the PMT function, and derive some useful lessons.


hpr1581 :: Sensible Security: The Schneier Model

Released on 2014-08-25 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Back in 2001 there was a certain incident on September 11 that lead many people to go OMG! We are doomed! We must increase security! Do whatever it takes! And the NSA was happy to oblige. And on 7/7/05 an attack in London added to the frenzy. I think it is fair to say that these security agencies felt they were given a mandate to do anything as long as it stops the attacks, and thus was the overwhelming attack on privacy moved to a whole level higher. To be clear, security agencies are always pushing the limits, it is in their DNA. And politicians have learned that you never lose votes by insisting on stronger security and appearing tough. - For more go to


hpr1575 :: 35 - LibreOffice Calc - Introduction to Functions

Released on 2014-08-15 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this episode we review what a function is, discuss the different types of functions available in LibreOffice, discuss the concept of arguments in mathematics, and present a general process for using functions in Calc.


hpr1565 :: 34 - LibreOffice Calc - More on Chart Editing

Released on 2014-08-01 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this episode we review the options for editing your chart, do a brief recap of the object model, and create an example of a chart with a secondary Y-axis.


hpr1557 :: Encrypting E-mail on Android; Importing Keys

Released on 2014-07-22 under a CC-BY-SA license.

We have looked at e-mail encryption on both Thunderbird and G-Mail, and that is good, but in 2014 a lot of people use mobile phones and tablets for their e-mail. So it makes sense to look at how we can do this. The solution I am going explore here involves two components, the K-9 Android mail client, and APG, the Android Privacy Guard. I am going to stick to what I know, so if you are looking for help with iPhone or iPad, the best I can do is suggest that you try a Google search. On Android, while many people use Gmail, K-9 is a very popular client for people looking for a more traditional POP3 or IMAP client to handle their e-mail needs. So this should be a good solution for many people. As regards APG, I am not aware that anyone has done an audit of this program. It seems to be the most widely recommended, and is probably OK, but I am making no larger claims for it. - For more go to


hpr1555 :: 33 - LibreOffice Calc - Creating Charts

Released on 2014-07-18 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In creating a chart or graph you have a number of options that can make your chart easier to read and understand. In this episode we look at these options and explain what each of them does.

hpr1545 :: 32 - LibreOffice Calc - Introduction to Charts and Graphs

Released on 2014-07-04 under a CC-BY-SA license.

There are many Charts and Graphs available in LibreOffice Calc, but choosing the right one makes a difference. In this episode we review your options and help you to make the right choice.

hpr1535 :: 31 - LibreOffice Calc - Sheet Editing and Navigation

Released on 2014-06-20 under a CC-BY-SA license.

This episode covers various editing techniques you might use, including multiple sheets, and adding, removing and hiding rows and columns. We also discuss how to navigate around a multiple sheet spreadsheet.

LibreOffice Calc, like all spreadsheets, contains a large number of cells in various rows, columns, and sheets, and navigating that can get a little tricky. As we saw previously, each cell has an address, which is marked by the column (letters) and the row (numbers), always in that order. But in fact the address can be larger because we never discussed sheets.

By default, when you create a new Calc spreadsheet you will have three sheets in it, which you see as tabs along the bottom of the screen. They will be called Sheet 1, Sheet 2, and Sheet 3 at this point. But these defaults can be changed by going to Tools–>Options–>LibreOffice Calc–>Defaults. On this screen you can decide how many sheets you want to have on a new document. While the default as it comes is three (similar to Microsoft Excel) you can change it. On my copy of Calc I changed it to 1, because most of the time I never need more than one sheet for my work. I can also change the default naming of new sheets here. Instead of each sheet being “Sheet 1″, Sheet 2″, etc. I could make it something else, like “Tab 1″, “Tab 2″. and so on. I never bother with this though, because I will always name my sheets for what they are doing in a given spreadsheet (e.g. look at what I did when I created the simple model for “What-If” analysis.) And if I need to add a sheet, I can just go to Insert–>Sheet to bring up a window to specify where the sheet should go, what it should be named, or even insert a sheet from a file . A CSV file would be a very good choice here, such as if you wanted to bring in data from a database or another spreadsheet for use in the current spreadsheet.

hpr1529 :: TrueCrypt, Heartbleed, and Lessons Learned

Released on 2014-06-12 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Two recent events have shed light on some fundamental issues in getting security in Open Source projects. One of them is a serious bug referred to as "Heartbleed", and the other is the first part of a security audit of the TrueCrypt encryption program. By looking at both of these together and doing a Lessons Learned we can draw some conclusions about what is needed to have security in Open Source projects.


hpr1526 :: Penguicon 2014

Released on 2014-06-09 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Show notes: In late fall 2013 I became involved in the Penguicon convention, which combines Open Source technology with Science Fiction to create something that I believe to be unique. I ended up taking responsibility for organizing the Tech Track, and we ended up with around 70 hours of programming. I recap some of the highlights of my own personal experience of this event, both as a participant and as an organizer.


hpr1525 :: 30 - LibreOffice Calc - A Savings Model

Released on 2014-06-06 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In the previous tutorial we discussed the fundamental ideas of building models and doing “What-If?” analysis. Now we need to take these ideas and put them into practice so you can see how this works. To do this I will create a simple model of savings over time. Now, I do want to be clear that this is a very over-simplified model and should not be taken as a good predictor of actual results. The idea is to illustrate the techniques involved in building a model and doing “What-If?” analysis.

So. what are the variables, parameters, assumptions, etc. that we need? I have identified these in my model:

  • An initial amount of money already saved. This is the starting amount you have.
  • An amount of money you add to your savings each year.
  • The rate of return on your savings

For the remainder of the show notes please see

A copy of the spreadsheet created for this program can be found at

hpr1524 :: WASHLUG 20150515 GPG and E-mail

Released on 2014-06-05 under a CC-BY-SA license.

This is a recording of a talk I gave at my local Linux Users Group, the Washtenaw Linux Users Group, or LUGWASH. In this talk I cover some of the theory of encryption, how to generate keys, and using this with Thunderbird, with Gmail, and on an Android phone.


hpr1515 :: 29 - LibreOffice Calc - Models and "What-If" Analysis

Released on 2014-05-23 under a CC-BY-SA license.

The next topic is extremely important because it addresses where most beginning users of spreadsheets get into trouble. First, understand that building models and doing "What-If" analysis is fundamental to the success and widespread adoption of spreadsheets all over the world. A model can be thought of as a mathematical representation of a process of some kind. It could be financial, such as projecting my sales over the next year, or perhaps working out when my car loan will be paid off. Or it could be scientific, such as projecting out the reaction times and quantities in a chemical reaction. The only real requirement is that whatever you are modeling has to be something that can be represented using mathematical formulas of some kind.

"What-If" analysis takes this model and lets you experiment to see how how changes in different variables affect the results in your model. If I am figuring out when my car loan will be paid off, I might ask how paying an extra $20 per month against the principle would affect my results (presumably, it should lead to getting it paid off sooner if I set the model up correctly.) Or in the case of the chemical process, how would different temperatures or pressures affect the reaction times and quantities? By experimenting with different values in my model I can do this comparison easily. But only if I built the model properly in the first place.

For the remainder of the show notes please see

hpr1505 :: 28 - LibreOffice Calc - Fills, an Introduction

Released on 2014-05-09 under a CC-BY-SA license.

One of the key techniques in using a spreadsheet is to master the art of fills, which lets you fill a column or a row with data without having to type in every cell individually. And this technique requires that there be a predictable pattern to the contents of each cell as you fill them. But you can do a lot with this technique, and we will want to use this when we do our first model, which will be a simple savings model.

But first we need to build the tools in our tool kit, and fills are a big one. To begin with, you can fill either rows or columns, though columns are more frequently filled using this technique. Still, it is good to know you can do either. The simplest fill begins with a cell that has some kind of contents. For example, lets say that cell B1 contains the word "Rain". If you click on the cell, you will see it highlighted with a thick black border

For the remainder of the show notes please see

hpr1500 :: Key Signing

Released on 2014-05-02 under a CC-BY-SA license.

One of the issues in using public key encryption is ensuring you know who you are communicating with, and that you have correctly matched the owner to the key. Otherwise, your communication could be intercepted and decrypted by a third-party. The way we solve this problem is with key signing, which is often done at key signing parties. We discuss all this with Tony Bemus of the Sunday Morning Linux Review.


hpr1495 :: 27 - LibreOffice Calc - Calculations and the Formula Bar

Released on 2014-04-25 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Since the main purpose of a spreadsheet is to perform calculations it is appropriate that we consider just how this is done.

In general, a cell of a spreadsheet can contain one of three things:

  • A number
  • Text
  • A formula

All calculations are done using formulas. A formula occurs whenever a cell has contents that begin with an equals sign, which is the signal to Calc that it needs to perform a calculation. For instance, if a cell contains "A3+B3", Calc would examine this, see the letters and the plus sign, and decide that the contents of the cell were a text string. After all, it cannot be a pure number with those other things there. But place an equals sign in front, so that the contents now read "=A3+B3" and Calc knows that this is formula, and will perform the calculation. And one of the best ways to interact with a cell that contains a formula is to use the Formula Bar, which normally appears just above the cells of the spreadsheet proper:

For the remainder of the show notes please read:

hpr1485 :: 26 - LibreOffice Calc Cells

Released on 2014-04-11 under a CC-BY-SA license.

LibreOffice Calc: Cells

All spreadsheets have the same basic structure, a table of rows and columns. Columns are headed up A, B, C, and so on. After Z, the next column is AA, then AB, AC, AD, and so on. The maximum number of columns is 1024. Rows are numbered 1,2,3 and so on, and the maximum number of rows is 1024*1024, or 1,048,576. At this time I am not aware of any plans to increase these numbers, though that could change if competitive pressures make it necessary.

Where a row and column intersect, there is a cell, which is given the address of the column followed by the row, e.g. A1, but never 1A. This is very useful since you can use the contents of a cell in a calculation by simply using the cell address. For example, to add the value of cell B4 to the value in cell C3 and store it, you would write “=B4+C3″ in the cell where you want to store the sum. Learning to use cell addresses is extremely important, so get in the habit of doing this at every opportunity.

For the rest of this article see

hpr1482 :: 02 What is on my podcast player

Released on 2014-04-08 under a CC-BY-SA license.

What is on my podcast player

My web site is at h

Remember to support free software!

hpr1481 :: Encryption and Gmail

Released on 2014-04-07 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Last time we looked at how you can use GPG and Enigmail to digitally sign or encrypt messages in Thunderbird. But today many people use web-based mail, and one of the most popular is Googles Gmail. Others include and Yahoo, but using any of them is pretty similar. So since I have a Gmail account handy, I will use that to demonstrate encryption in web mail accounts.

The important thing you must keep in mind is that this relies on you using your GPG keys to either sign or encrypt the message before it leaves your computer, what Steve Gibson calls Pre-Interent Encryption, or PIE. The flaw in what Lavabit did (discussed in previous lesson) was to use keys that the mail provider controlled, and these keys could be (and were) demanded by the the government.. If you use your own GPG keys that you control, no provider (Google, in this case) is even capable of giving anything to the government other than a blob of random nonsense.

To do this, I will use an extension for Googles Chrome Browser called Mailvelope. This is also available for Firefox, but in my case I use Chrome to access my Gmail account., so using a Chrome extension makes sense for me. The first thing to do is go to the Chrome store, search for Mailvelope, and install it.

For the remainder of the show notes please see


hpr1479 :: 01 What is on my podcast player

Released on 2014-04-03 under a CC-BY-SA license.

What is on my podcast player

My web site is at h

Remember to support free software!

hpr1475 :: 25 - LibreOffice Calc What Is A Spreadsheet

Released on 2014-03-28 under a CC-BY-SA license.

LibreOffice Calc: What is a Spreadsheet?

There are different ways to answer this question. Functionally, spreadsheets are a tool for mathematical calculations, but have branched out into related areas like data analysis. Some people even use them as a quick-and-dirty database tool. If you are in a financial profession of some kind you probably live in spreadsheets all day.

Spreadsheets are original “killer app”. Early examples were implemented on mainframe computers in the 1960s, but the big step was the creation of VisiCalc for the Apple II in 1979, which was then ported to the IBM PC in 1981. VisiCalc set the conventions that guided all subsequent spreadsheets, and the essential methods have not changed since then. VisiCalc was called the first killer app because people would buy the computer just to run the program, and the usefulness of spreadsheets is what promoted the initial entry of personal computers into the corporate world, with all of the change that has caused.

For the remainder of this article please see

hpr1465 :: 24 - LibreOffice Writer A Brochure Project

Released on 2014-03-14 under a CC-BY-SA license.

The written version of this show can be found at The European version of the brochure. The American version of the brochure.

hpr1462 :: Encryption and Email with Thunderbird

Released on 2014-03-11 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Now it is time to take a look at practical uses of encryption, and the number one use is for e-mail. Encrypted communication via e-mail is very desirable if you want to keep a secret. In the U.S. the current legal precedents say that any e-mail left on a server is not protected since you would have no expectation of privacy. This precedent was set many years ago when POP3 was the standard for all e-mail and people did not usually leave e-mail on a server. These days, many people use web-based e-mail or use a newer standard called IMAP which by default stores everything on the server. Perhaps you are one of these people, and thought that you had a right to expect privacy, but in the U.S. you dont, and I would expect that in many other countries the situation is no better.

There have been attempts to provide encrypted e-mail service from a service provider, but the problem here is that the provider usually has to have to the key in order to encrypt the e-mail, and if they have the key they can be compelled to give it up. Recently in the U.S. there was a case involving Ladar Levison who ran such a service called Lavabit. Lavabit encrypted mail in transit using TLS encryption, and he had the keys. When his service was used by Edward Snowden, the government came to get the keys. Now, Levison would have given them the key for Snowdens e-mail if he had been served a warrant, as he always made clear to his customers that he would obey proper legal demands. But in this case the government demanded that he turn over all of the keys for all his customers, and this was too far for Levison. He shut down his service rather than cooperate, and is a bit of a hero for that. But it illustrates that you are at the mercy of the service provider. If the government made this demand to Lavabit, you are safe in presuming they had made the same demand to other providers, and that they all cooperated with the government and said nothing to their customers. So it would be mistake to rely on 3rd party mail service providers to give you privacy. You need to control it yourself. But of course, after the last few lessons you know how to do that, and have your secure keys created. You just need to put them to use.

For the remainder of the show notes please see


hpr1455 :: 23 - LibreOffice Writer Other Page Layout Options

Released on 2014-02-28 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Other Page Layout Options

As we mentioned in beginning our look at Page Layout, you have some options other than just Page Styles and Frame Styles, useful though they are. So let’s spend a few moments looking at these other options and see how they work.


Tables can be a useful tool for more than just displaying tabular data. You can place different object in each cell of a table and so have some control over how things are laid out on the page. You could, for instance, place your sub-heads in a left-hand column, and the associated text in an adjoining column, which gives you the same effect as using the Marginalia style. And you can add pictures, charts, and other objects as well. You can even insert a table into a cell of another table to get more fine-grained control. In fact, in the days before Cascading Style Sheets and Javascript, tables were the primary way of laying out Web pages, though these days that is frowned upon, and in any case most Web pages are now created using some kind of CMS software like WordPress, or Drupal. The idea of using tables was more attractive when we realized you could turn-off the cell borders and make them invisible. Of course, in Writer documents that only works when they are printed. When opened on a computer the table borders are still visible, as indeed they would have to be for you to edit the document.

For the remainder of this article please see

hpr1445 :: 22 - LibreOffice Writer Other Frame Styles

Released on 2014-02-14 under a CC-BY-SA license.

This continues our look at frames by looking at frame styles for things other than text.

LibreOffice Writer Other Frame Styles

In the previous tutorial we looked at using the frame style for text, which is not called the Text style, but the Frame style, which may be confusing. This is a very common use of frames, but there are others. To start the discussion, let’s get back to the basic concept of objects. LibreOffice is an object-oriented program and you should keep this in mind when dealing with this software.

A piece of text can be an object, and it can contain other objects (paragraphs, sentences, words, characters), or it can be contained within other objects (section, chapter, document). In the case we are looking at, a frame is an object, which contains other objects, and is in turn contained within larger objects (page, section, document). Depending on the objects being contained, the frame styles can be different, and that is what we need to look at now.

Please see for the rest of the article

hpr1440 :: Creating a Key Pair - GUI Client

Released on 2014-02-07 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In the previous program we explained how to use the command line tools to generate encryption keys. This time we look at the GUI clients that some people may prefer. Using KGpg as an example, we can see that it does all the things we did last time on the command line.

hpr1435 :: 21 - LibreOffice Writer Frame Properties Completed

Released on 2014-01-31 under a CC-BY-SA license.

This is the second of two programs that look at Frame properties in LibreOffice Writer. In the first program we looked at how to size and position Frames. Here we look at other things you can do, such as name your frames for linking, wrap text around frames, set the borders and backgrounds, and even add columns to the frame. This finishes the look at the Properties window and what you can do there.


This tutorial can be found in written form on my Web site at

hpr1425 :: Ahuka 20 LibreOffice Writer FramesIntroduction and the Type Tab

Released on 2014-01-17 under a CC-BY-SA license.

This episode introduces the discussion of Frames in LibreOffice Writer by opening the Properties window and looking at the first tab, Type. Because there is so much to discuss about this tab, it is the only one we will look at in this episode. In the next episode we will wrap up the discussion of Frame properties by looking at the other tabs in this window


The written version of this tutorial can be found on my Web site at

hpr1421 :: Statistics and Polling

Released on 2014-01-13 under a CC-BY-SA license.

We are given polling results constantly in news stories, and even more so when an election is near. But how accurate are these polls? What are the limitations? And what kinds of questions should you have when looking at these surveys? I will attempt to answer these questions in this podcast.

hpr1415 :: 18 - LibreOffice Writer Working with Page Styles

Released on 2014-01-03 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this episode of our LibreOffice series we take the concept of Page Styles, and show how to use them to create an elegant document.

Some useful sites

My web site is at

This program has a written page at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1410 :: Generating Keys on the Command Line

Released on 2013-12-27 under a CC-BY-SA license.

This is the third in our Security and Privacy series, and explains how you can generate keys on the command line in Linux using GPG.

This article appears on my web site at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1407 :: Mars Needs Women, and Hacker Public Radio Needs Shows

Released on 2013-12-24 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Hacker Public Radio welcomes everyone to record shows and contribute them to the network. In this show we discuss the many ways you can do that. It is very easy to contribute a show and get involved, so we encourage everyone to join in.

hpr1406 :: ORCA fundraiser

Released on 2013-12-23 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In today's show Ahuka tracks down Jonathan Nadeau, from the Accessible Computing Foundation to discuss the running campaign to improve the Orca Screen Reader.

  1. ORCA fundraiser:
  2. Accessible Computing Foundation
  3. Sonar

hpr1405 :: 18 - LibreOffice Writer Page Styles Introduced

Released on 2013-12-20 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this episode of our LibreOffice series we introduce the concept of Page Styles, and take a look at how their properties can be controlled.

Some useful sites

My web site is at

This program has a written page at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1395 :: 17 - LibreOffice Writer Overview of Page Layout Options

Released on 2013-12-06 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this episode of our LibreOffice series we begin our look at how you control page layout.

Some useful sites

My web site is at

This program has a written page at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1391 :: Google Play Music All Access

Released on 2013-12-02 under a CC-BY-SA license.

This program is about the new online streaming music service from Google, called Google Play Music All Access.

Like many people I enjoy listening to music, and having my music with me everywhere is important. And I have a large music collection to draw on. Trying to have everything with me at all times is a bit of a problem, though, considering how much music I have. Right now I own a number of portable MP3 players, two of which are full of music that I carry with me. My pockets can get very full that way, though, and while I like listening to tracks I own, what about finding new stuff? My MP3 players have never suggested anything to me. This is where the cloud services come in.

You can find the rest of the show notes together with screen shots at

hpr1390 :: 02 - Encryption Basics

Released on 2013-11-29 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this episode of our Privacy and Security series we look at the fundamentals of encryption and how it has developed over the centuries. We will also develop a basic idea of the current asymmetric public key cryptography.

Some useful sites

This article appears on my web site at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1385 :: LibreOffice 16 Writer Nested Lists Controlled via Styles

Released on 2013-11-22 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this episode of our LibreOffice series take the Nested lists and see how we can control them using Styles.

Some useful sites

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1375 :: LibreOffice 15 Writer Nested Lists Introduced

Released on 2013-11-08 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this episode of our LibreOffice series we look at Nested lists, a tricky but powerful techinque to use.

Some useful sites

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1373 :: 01 - Why Do We Need Privacy, And Isn't It A Waste Of Time Anyway?

Released on 2013-11-06 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this episode of our Privacy and Security series we look at two issues. The first is why we need Privacy, and the second is whether it is practical in the 21st century. I hope to show that we do need it, and that it is both practical and surprisingly easy to do some simple things to obtain it.

Some useful sites

This article appears on my web site at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1365 :: LibreOffice 14 Writer A Numbered List Style Deconstructed

Released on 2013-10-25 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this episode of our LibreOffice series we take one of the Numbered List styles in LibreOffice Writer and go through the Properties window to learn how it is put together

Some useful sites

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1355 :: LibreOffice 13 Writer A Bullet Style Deconstructed

Released on 2013-10-11 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In this episode of our LibreOffice series we take one of the Bullet List styles in LibreOffice Writer and go through the Properties window to learn how it is put together

Some useful sites

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1345 :: LibreOffice 12 Writer List Styles Introduced

Released on 2013-09-27 under a CC-BY-SA license.

This episode of the LibreOffice series introduces the concept of List Styles in LibreOffice Writer. We discuss List Styles in general and tour the Properties window for List styles.

Some useful sites

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1335 :: LibreOffice 11 Writer Character Styles

Released on 2013-09-13 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Mentioned in the program:

Some useful sites

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1325 :: LibreOffice 10 Writer Paragraph Styles in Templates

Released on 2013-08-30 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Mentioned in the program:

Some useful sites

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1315 :: LibreOffice 09 Writer Working With Paragraph-Level Styles

Released on 2013-08-16 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Some useful sites

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1305 :: LibreOffice 08 Writer Tab Styles

Released on 2013-08-02 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Some useful sites

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1295 :: LibreOffice 07 Writer Heading Styles

Released on 2013-07-19 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Some useful sites

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1285 :: LibreOffice 06 Writer Creating a Paragraph Style LibreOffice

Released on 2013-07-05 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Some useful sites

My web site is at h

Remember to support free software!

hpr1275 :: LibreOffice 05 Writer Style Properties 2

Released on 2013-06-21 under a CC-BY-SA license.


My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1267 :: LibreOffice 04 Writer Style Properties 1

Released on 2013-06-11 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Some useful sites

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1242 :: What's Wrong With Free, Anyway?

Released on 2013-05-07 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In looking at the distinction between free of charge and free as in freedom, some interesting issues emerge. I argue that free of charge is often not what we should be lookiing for if we want good software options. But because I like going the long way around behind the barn to get anywhere, I start off in the Music business.

Links to things I mentioned

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1190 :: LibreOffice 03 Writer Introduction to Styles

Released on 2013-02-22 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Some useful sites

My web site is at

Remember to support free software!

hpr1149 :: LibreOffice 02 Writer Default Template

Released on 2012-12-27 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Some useful sites


My web site is at h

Remember to support free software!

hpr1144 :: Who Owns Your Files

Released on 2012-12-20 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Indie and Creative Commons

  • Soundcloud - This is a music and audio sharing site, primarily.
  • Free Music Archive - Lots of CC-licensed music.
  • Jamendo - One of the premiere CC music sites.
  • Bandcamp - I just learned about this site from my friend Craig Maloney, who does the Open Metal Cast. This site has Creative Commons music from bands who want to build a relationship with their fans and sell them music. Good artists like Amanda Palmer are here.


When it comes to books, you really are at the mercy of the individual publishers. Most music labels have finally come to accept that no DRM is the best way to go, but must book publishers are still being dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming. But there are some good places to find e-books that respect your freedom.
  • Project Gutenberg - This is the granddaddy of the DRM free book sites. Project Gutenberg makes available books that are in the Public Domain, i.e., where the copyright has run out. These are mainly older books, but a lot of classics are in here. They make books available in all of the major formats.
  • Baen Books - This publisher specializes in the harder Science Fiction, but they really understand the new media landscape. They not only offer most of their books DRM-free and in multiple formats, but they also have the Baen Free Library, where they offer selected books free of charge. The hope is that with the first taste free, you will want to buy more. And it works. I went there to see what they had, discovered that they had the entire collected works of one of my favorite authors (James H. Schmitz) for sale, and bought the lot of them.
  • Tor/Forge - A major publisher in the Science Fiction and Fantasy fields, they just moved to going DRM free a few months ago. They did this because other publishers had been successful in so doing.
  • Angry Robot - Along with Baen, a pioneer in selling DRM-free books in the Science Fiction and Fantasy fields.
  • Avon Romance - A major publisher of romance novels, they just announced that they are experimenting with DRM-free ebook sales.
  • O'Reilly Media - The premiere publisher of technical books, they pretty get everything right. They sell e-books without DRM. When a new edition of a book you already bought comes out you can "upgrade" for a nominal fee (e.g. I upgraded my Kevin Purdy "Android" book for $1). And with older books that they think are no longer worth in print, they are removing the copyright and making them freely available.
  • - This site has a lot of overlap with Project Gutenberg, but also has some newer works that have been made available, such as Charles Stross's Accelerando.
  • Fictionwise - Although heavy on the Science Fiction and Fantasy, has a lot of offerings in other genres as well. Reasonably priced and DRM-free.
  • Cory Doctorow - Cory was one of the first authors to make a point of offering all of his works not only DRM-free but free of charge in e-book formats from his Web site. But you know, when the book he co-authored with Charles Stross Rapture of the Nerds came out recently I went to the Google Play store and bought it.
  • DriveThru Fiction - An interesting site that also has Comics and RPG games available.
  • Apress - A publisher of technical books that also offers reduced-price e-books if you have already purchased the print title. This is something I'd like to see more of.
  • Packt Publishing - Another technical book publisher with DRM-free books.


This is where there is still a big disappointment. Audible, which is by any measure the clear leader here, insists on DRM on all of their books, which is why I refuse to get an account. Audible is now owned by Amazon, which sells music tracks as MP3 files without DRM, so there was hope when they bought Audible that we could get DRM-free audiobooks, but that was not the case. Fortunately, there are alternatives.
  • eMusic - This is the same site I mentioned above for DRM-free musci tracks. They also offer a subscription plan for audiobboks, $10 a month gets you one book. Selection is not as good as Audible, but their list is growing all of the time and I have had no trouble finding books there that interest me. I recently listened to Walter Isaacson's biogrpahy of Albert Einstein through a book I bought here.
  • Podiobooks - This site offers audiobooks in serialized form, much like podcasts offer you a file every week. Heavy on the Science Fiction and Fantasy at this point, but worth checking out. Scott Sigler and J.C. Hutchins are both available here, for instance.
  • Scott Sigler - Scott used free content to get his name out, but still offers free audio versions on his web site even though he now has a publisher.
  • Cory Doctorow - Cory in addition to offering free ebooks also offers audiobooks that are DRM-free on a "name your own price" basis. Among the readers on his books are Neil Gaiman, Wil Wheaton, Spider Robinson, and Leo Laporte. He even sells files and CDs in Ogg format if you prefer to get your files that way. Due seriously gets freedom, but if you know anything about Cory Doctorow you know that.

My web site is at h

Remember to support free software!

hpr1136 :: LibreOffice 01 Introduction to Office software

Released on 2012-12-10 under a CC-BY-SA license.


Some useful sites

My web site is at h

Remember to support free software!

hpr1093 :: Separate Presentation from Content - 2 Office Software

Released on 2012-10-10 under a CC-BY-SA license.


Ohio LinuxFest is September 28-30 in Columbus, Ohio. Go to for more information.

My web site is at h

Remember to support free software!

hpr1088 :: Penguicon 2012

Released on 2012-10-03 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Penguicon is at

LoCoCast is at

Indiana LinuxFest is at

Science Fiction Oral History Association is at

Hurrican Electric is at

Washtenaw Linux Users Group is at

Follow my blog at

To submit a talk for Ohio LinuxFest, please go to for more information.

Remember to support free software!

hpr1073 :: Separate Presentation from Content - 1 The Web

Released on 2012-09-12 under a CC-BY-SA license.

The W3C page on why you should do this:

The The Universal Usability page:

Wikipedia has an article at:

CSS Zen Garden shows how the look of a page can change with the same content :

Ohio LinuxFest is September 28-30 in Columbus, Ohio. Go to for more information.

My web site is at h

Remember to support free software!

hpr1063 :: Freedom and Licensing

Released on 2012-08-29 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Linux Action Show is at

Free Software Foundation is at

Linux Format Magazine is at

Follow my blog at

To submit a talk for Ohio LinuxFest, please go to for more information.

Remember to support free software!

hpr1013 :: Saving Programs From TiVo

Released on 2012-06-20 under a CC-BY-SA license.

kmttg, which I use to download from TiVo, can be found at:

The Java Runtime Environment should be in your distro's repositories, but you can also get it at:

tivodecode is available at the kmttg site as above.

curl, mencoder, and ffmpeg should all be found in your distro's repositories.

Handbrake can be found at:

Comskip can be found at:

AtomicParsley can be found at:

kdenlive can be found in your distro's repositories or at

And finally, all of the information in this program can also be found at my web site at:

To submit a talk for Ohio LinuxFest, please go to for more information.

Remember to support free software!

hpr0983 :: Freedom is not Free 5 - Get Involved

Released on 2012-05-08 under a CC-BY-SA license.
Rounding off his series on "Freedom", Ahuka finishes off with "Get Involved" Remember that you should check out the following link, and

hpr0981 :: Review Indiana LinuxFest 2012

Released on 2012-05-06 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Indiana LinuxFest is at

My web site is at

To submit a talk for Ohio LinuxFest, please go to for more information.

Remember to support free software!

hpr0973 :: Freedom is not Free 4 - Money

Released on 2012-04-24 under a CC-BY-SA license.

In the fourth of his series "Freedom is not Free" Ahuka discusses how you can contribute money to support projects.

hpr0957 :: Freedom is not Free 3 - Documentation

Released on 2012-04-02 under a CC-BY-SA license.

hpr0943 :: Freedom is not Free 2 - Bugs

Released on 2012-03-14 under a CC-BY-SA license.

hpr0933 :: Freedom is not Free 1 Introduction

Released on 2012-02-28 under a CC-BY-SA license.
Richard Stalman Free Software foundation

Richard Stallman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Richard Matthew Stallman (born March 16, 1953), often shortened to rms, is an American software freedom activist and computer programmer. In September 1983, he launched the GNU Project to create a free Unix-like operating system, and he has been the project's lead architect and organizer. With the launch of the GNU Project, he initiated the free software movement; in October 1985 he founded the Free Software Foundation.
Stallman pioneered the concept of copyleft, and he is the main author of several copyleft licenses including the GNU General Public License, the most widely used free software license. Since the mid-1990s, Stallman has spent most of his time advocating for free software, as well as campaigning against software patents, digital rights management, and what he sees as excessive extension of copyright laws. Stallman has also developed a number of pieces of widely used software, including the original Emacs, the GNU Compiler Collection, the GNU Debugger, and various tools in the GNU coreutils. He co-founded the League for Programming Freedom in 1989.

The Free Software Definition

A program is free software if the program's users have the four essential freedoms:

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Free as in Freedom

Free as in freedom oggcast -
Free as in Freedom is a bi-weekly oggcast, hosted and presented by Bradley M. Kuhn and Karen Sandler. The discussion includes legal, policy, and many other issues in the Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) world. Occasionally, guests join Bradley and Karen to discuss various topics regarding FLOSS.
You can email feedback on the show to, or join bkuhn and other listeners in our IRC channel, #faif on

Free Software Foundation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a non-profit corporation founded by Richard Stallman on 4 October 1985 to support the free software movement, a copyleft-based movement which aims to promote the universal freedom to create, distribute and modify computer software. The FSF is incorporated in Massachusetts, USA.
From its founding until the mid-1990s, FSF's funds were mostly used to employ software developers to write free software for the GNU Project. Since the mid-1990s, the FSF's employees and volunteers have mostly worked on legal and structural issues for the free software movement and the free software community. Consistent with its goals, only free software is used on FSF's computers.

How you can support free software

  • Bug Reports
  • Documentation
  • Financial Support
  • Advocacy

hpr0901 :: Ahuka: Intro and How I Got Into Linux

Released on 2012-01-16 under a CC-BY-SA license.
Another hosts steps up to the plate and introduces them selves to the Hacker Public Radio elite. Today it's the turn of Ahuka who opens with the now traditional "How I Got Into Linux" show.

His website is at

Become a Correspondent