Network Monitoring with Ubuntu

I am starting to publish the final results of my Fulbright research. Here is an article I published on the Ubuntu Linux Community wiki about creating a network monitoring server to analyze traffic on your network.

It has proven to be an essential tool for my resaerch and for improving the campus network at Mzuzu University. If you want detailed analysis of who is doing what on your computer network, this Network Monitoring Bridge is for you.

Faster browsing over slow connections with Loband

Today a friend at the university showed me Loband, a service that simplifies web pages, in order to make them download faster over slow internet connections. Loband strips out colors and images, leaving only the text and links of the original web page. Images are replaced with an “i” logo, and by clicking, you are able to load images on-demand.

Loband doesn't work well with most webmail applications, but has been working great for me for reading news websites. It filters out many of the image heavy advertisements.

To use Loband: just go to and type in the URL of the website you would like to simply in the gray bar at the top of the web page.


Recovering Deleted files with Linux and Sleuthkit

Ever accidentally delete a file you really needed from the recycle bin? Ever format a disk and install a new operating system only to find later that you forgot to save off some really important files first? The former recently happened to us here at the Univeristy in Mzuzu... we thought doom was upon us until we stumbled upon a open (free to change, use, and distribute) software utility called Sleuthkit (

When we realized our disaster, we started searching Google for "data recovery", "recover my files", etc. Listings appeared for companies charging hundreds of dollars for data recovery services and software. We tried some of the trial versions of the commercial software, but nothing was able to detect our files. Finally one of us here in the office in Mzuzu stumbled upon Sleuthkit, an amazing utility that was able to recover out deleted files from a formatted disk and didn't cost us a penny!

Buying a car in Malawi

We bought a car today! And so we say good buy to the mini-busses for a while. Buying a car in Malawi was an entertaining experiment and a wonderful insight into the economy here. In all the process took about one week from when agreed to buy the car. Everything here is done in cash, so it made things the transaction a little tricky. We were able to wire money from the US to our recently opened Malawian bank account. It took about 4 days for the transaction to take. We then wrote a check to ourselves for an amount equal to about a foot and a half tall stack of bills in Malawian Kwacha. The largest bill in Malawi is 500 Kwacha (this is about $4.50). If you can imagine buying a car with a stack of five-dollar bills you will quickly be able to visualize the chunk of change we were carrying with us. So we loaded our chunk into a backpack and a friend of ours drove us to the office of the owner of the car. The office is in a rougher end of Lilongwe, a place where you really wouldnt even want to walk around with as little as $10 in your pocket (hey, we really needed wheels). There we traded the stack for the car you see here... a pretty good deal if you ask me.

What is a Blog?

“Blog” is a term used to describe a specific type of website. The term “blog” comes from joining two words “web” and “log” into one. In fact, “web log” is a perfect description of what blogs truly are- online journals! Blogs are websites consisting of a series of regularly posted entries that are usually displayed on the web page in chronological order. Blogs can be written by one author, known as a blogger, or have many contributors (bloggers) writing entries about a common topic or theme. Blogs almost always encourage participation from their audiences and usually provide an easy way for readers to respond to an entry and publish their comments on the same web page.