Thursday, January 5, 2012

Feature of Buxfer

I've been a Buxfer user since early 2009. After doing lots of research over the internet I chose Buxfer to be my personal money managing software. There are lots reasons I like Buxfer. First of all I had the freedom to add my own manual accounts and transactions. Also it allowed me to do transfers between my accounts. I wasn't forced to enter my online banking log in information to download transactions. It was a great piece of software. Also mobile version of the website is very user friendly and I could enter my transactions on the go. This is why I'd choose a cloud finance software over a desktop one any day for personal use.

However since early 2011, Buxfer seems to be loosing it's quality. Site went down for 4 days in January 2011 and they lost a moth worth of my transactions. This is not acceptable for a finance software. It makes you seriously wonder about their back up procedures and security of very confidential information.

Again December 2011, there seems to be few bugs such as balances wasn't updating properly and scheduled transactions were massed up. I emailed the owners of the company and it took them days to fix these issues. I still have a issue with my tags which hasn't been fixed for months now. That is when I started to look for a alternative tool to Buxfer, but my search for a new finance tool has not been successful so far.

However I found 2 alternative services that are free and almost meet my requirements. 

1. GNU Cash -

GNU cash is a free open sourced accounting software. It does everything Buxfer does for you. One of the problems I faced is this is a desktop application. So I need to have access to a PC that this software is installed. However this software runs on Mac, Linux and Windows which is very flexible. You can save your data file on a file sharing service such as Dropbox and have access to that file from multiple locations. However what puts me off is not having access to my data on my iPhone.

2. Clearcheckbook -

This is a service very similar to Buxfer. You can have almost all the features you'd get with Buxfer. There's a basic free membership and a paid premium membership. Premium membership allows you to upload data files such as CSV. Also it can predict your financial feature based on your current and scheduled transactions. But there is a one problem. You don't get the fancy smooth user interface that Buxfer gives you. Also if you add a new tag or a transaction, you'd need to refresh the page for it to appear on your widgets. However they have a quite fancy iPhone app, it's lot better than Buxfer's mobile web app. 

Anyways I've decided to stick with Buxfer for a little bit longer and backup my transactions every month. If they decided to shut Buxfer down in the near feature, I'd sadly have to switch to one of the above solutions. I'm hoping insted of shutting Buxfer down, the owners would open source it or sell it. So one my favorite service can remain on the internet... 

SSH login without password

Your aim

You want to use Linux and OpenSSH to automize your tasks. Therefore you need an automatic login from host A / user a to Host B / user b. You don't want to enter any passwords, because you want to call ssh from a within a shell script.

How to do it

First log in on A as user a and generate a pair of authentication keys. Do not enter a passphrase:

a@A:~> ssh-keygen -t rsa 
Generating public/private rsa key pair. 
Enter file in which to save the key (/home/a/.ssh/id_rsa): 
Created directory '/home/a/.ssh'. 
Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase): 
Enter same passphrase again: 
Your identification has been saved in /home/a/.ssh/id_rsa. 
Your public key has been saved in /home/a/.ssh/
The key fingerprint is: 3e:4f:05:79:3a:9f:96:7c:3b:ad:e9:58:37:bc:37:e4 a@A

Now use ssh to create a directory ~/.ssh as user b on B. (The directory may already exist, which is fine):

a@A:~> ssh b@B mkdir -p .ssh 
b@B's password:

Finally append a's new public key to b@B:.ssh/authorized_keys and enter b's password one last time:

a@A:~> cat .ssh/ | ssh b@B 'cat >> .ssh/authorized_keys' 
b@B's password:

From now on you can log into B as b from A as a without password:

a@A:~> ssh b@B hostname B

A note from one of our readers: Depending on your version of SSH you might also have to do the following changes:
Put the public key in .ssh/authorized_keys2
Change the permissions of .ssh to 700
Change the permissions of .ssh/authorized_keys2 to 640