I don't think I really need this app after all.
Monday, December 17, 2012
I don't think I really need this app after all.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Sunday, December 9, 2012
It's still not a very good dictionary application, being hopelessly bad at offering possible corrections. Ispell is very good. No other dictionary comes close.
- CS Lite Mod (1.4.8): cookie management
- Download Statusbar (0.9.10)
- HTTPS-Everywhere (3.0.4)
- NoScript (2.6.3)
- Padlock (0.5.0)
- Web Developer (1.2.2): reliable referer blocking
- Global Menu Bar Extension
- Ubuntu Firefox Modifications
Friday, December 7, 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Friday, November 30, 2012
Tonight I decided I'd figure it out once and for all (yeah, that'll be the day), or at least until the next upgrade obliterates any semblance of backward compatibility. After the usual browsing through useless web sites ("hit Alt-F2 and type smb:// yadda yadda, to which Linux Mint replies, "Huh?"), I stumbled across http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/SMB-HOWTO-8.html, David Wood's SMB HowTo v1.3, 20 April 2000. The key is to know the command /usr/bin/smbclient. The age of the HowTo is great since this suggests that this is not something I'm going to have to toss out with the next upgrade.
Also, smbclient provides a nice, simple interface similar to ftp. Handling spaces and similar crap in file names is a bit clumsy, but it's clumsy within scripts as well.
Anyhow, David Wood, wherever you are today, thanks!
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
This was in 2004.
Monday, November 26, 2012
I downloaded an MP3 tonight. Not an unusual event. I right-clicked the MP3 with the intention of looking at the audio properties, which were nowhere to be seen. So, it turned out my system was all-of-a-sudden using Thunar. WTF? I know I had XFCE installed, but why was was Thunar suddenly the default?
I uninstalled Thunar, and tried again. Again, no audio properties. What's this? Nemo? WTF? So I uninstalled Nemo. The next time I clicked on Places, I got Caja, which should be okay. But still no audio properties!
WTF Mate project? This is Caja 1.4.0, presumably newer and better than what I had been running, but clearly not better. The same sorts of mistakes, over and over and over. When did update become the opposite of upgrade? After NT4? After SunOS 4? When did the Linux crowd decided to match Windows feature-for-feature and became as Windows-like as possible?
Sunday, November 25, 2012
As I went to click the purchase button, I noticed the "good" price was for a rental, so suddenly it was not a good price. Why make the rental price so much more prominent than the purchase price? It's especially more prominent in the search. Smells like bait-and-switch to me.
page, which provides this information:
Now I need to see if anyone famous was born in Athens or Calcutta (Ohio, of course) or Lisbon (Maryland) and see where Google says they were born.
Friday, November 23, 2012
I had mono as a college student, and can't say it was a great experience. Lately my Mint and Ubuntu systems have also gotten mono, which is apparently required for Banshee, and is also not a great experience. I'm not sure if it's Banshee that's sickly-slow or mono, but either way, the first thing I do with a new install is make sure neither is present.
Maybe some day Banshee will work well. But that day is not upon us, and so since I prefer to hear a song in the same week in which I click play, it's other players for me.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Sunday, November 11, 2012
So it looks like I might try Cinnamon again since it appears that one can disable edge-tiling, which I and apparently several other people find very annoying. The fact of the matter is that with a large monitor, wanting to maximize a window is a much less common operation than is moving a window, and edge-tiling badly violates the keep the common case fast principle. I often move windows to the top of the screen. With edge-tiling, this takes longer, since it is often followed immediately by an unmaximize operation.
Googling about this annoyance, I came across a discussion at http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1970815 which is a great example of inability to read coupled with arrogance. One of the posters complained that adding these sorts of features, making them default behavior, and not making it clear how to disable them wastes peoples time. Gerryl: This is dangerously close to operating with MS Windows. How are us mere mortals supposed to find out and address these kinds of issues?
The next posting agrees. I agreed (though without bothering to log in and say so). Then markbl responded
This is unfathomable. markbl knows better than gerryl what gerryl (and presumably me) will think it's a good idea once we get used to it? Maybe riding around in donkey carts would also start to seem like a good idea once one gets used to it. Maybe sitting in this pot of water that keeps getting warmer will someday seem like a good idea (wait, aren't we doing this is a society by continuing to pump carbon into the atmosphere?).
Furthermore, maybe it's been buried somewhere as an option, but once it suddenly becomes default behavior, or someone first encounters it when evaluating environments (as I did in Cinnamon), it's a new and potentially negative experience.
People acclimate to bad things, e.g., new user interfaces for Blogger and Gmail, but that doesn't mean we should be happy about it.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Friday, October 26, 2012
(2 + i)(2 - i) = 4 -2i + 2i -i^2 = 4 - (-1) = 5
I love the BBC 4 program In Our Time. Listen to the discussion of the history of complex numbers at http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/iot/iot_20100923-1035a.mp3
Thursday, October 25, 2012
The Gnome screenshot tool has always fallen a bit short in the usability department. How do I change the default directory for storing screen shots? How do I make it default to "select area to grab"? I've always just lived with it, but tonight decided to do a little legwork to learn how to make it default to what I wanted, and I found something better.
I've long used ImageMagick for image editing. In some respects Mirage is easier to use, but Mirage doesn't handle as many image formats. I suppose the GIMP is more popular, but it's a usability nightmare. Google led me to a wonderful page at the Webmaster Tips Blog.
Assuming one has ImageMagick installed, taking a screenshot of a selected area on the screen is as simple as typing
and then selecting the area of the screen to copy.
As a concrete example, suppose I want to capture some text from above in file selectArea.png:
The result is this, in a file called selectArea.png:
I like it.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Monday, October 15, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
To make emacs better-behaved, it seems the following in one's .emacs file is sufficient:
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.pdf\\'" . fundamental-mode)) (add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.ps\\'" . fundamental-mode))Thanks to Stefan Monnier at https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/gnu.emacs.help/TGVh05FGzK8
My .emacs file (really, my emacs-custom.el which is loaded from my .emacs) has been growing since Fall 1988, and I don't see that changing, especially as new puppies start monkeying with emacs' behavior. Of course, I do trim detritus from time-to-time.
Actually there might be some stuff in there from my time at William and Mary, 1984-1986. Zippy says "yow."
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Now suppose I want to select and paste this address, and click at the right edge of the displayed "URL." This is the result:
As can be easily seen in the image, if as user is not careful, a critical portion of the URL is lost. Even an attentive user still must repeat the select operation. Either way, time and effort are wasted.
Fortunately, though this is a bad UI decision, there is an option to force Opera to correctly display the URL correctly. Navigate to Opera|Settings|Advanced|Browsing. The penultimate checkbox under this tab is Show full web address in address field. Check this and the address bar will function correctly:
Friday, September 14, 2012
A more amusing bug that I've noticed today is that if an instructor posts an HTML document that includes a commented-out link to an image, Blackboard prompts to upload the image. Dumb. Why interrogate the user about HTML source from a tool that is clearly incapable of parsing HTML source?
Monday, September 10, 2012
LXDE seems to be missing some very basic things, but it also does some very basic things right. In Mint, there are no themes (okay, maybe if I wanted to spend my life looking through themes designed for 12-year-olds) that provide significant contrast between the window with focus and the other windows. LXDE does this in an attractive fashion. It has panels, rather than the brain-damaged crap the Gnome project is trying to foist on people.
Why am I more willing to spend time adding functionality to LXDE than to figure out how to customize, say, Mate? Mate is a very heavy-weight environment. Overall Mate is well thought-out and well-implemented, and it is available for more secure environments than Mint, but it is yet another attempt to make Linux into a Windows clone.
With a new Mate installation, I have to spend hours uninstall useless crap, disabling useless background daemons, etc. LXDE saves this hassle--I have a machine I can halfway trust before pounding on it for a week.
LXDE is a better idea than Mate, and a much, much better idea than Gnome Shell. It's worth spending time on. Or so I think so far.
Friday, August 24, 2012
- The elevated tracks, the "L," are very nice for newcomers since one can spot the tracks from some distance, and once the tracks are identified, finding a station becomes a simple process.
- The announcements are recorded, clearly recorded, as opposed to the garbled live announcements used by, for example, the DC Metro.
- I saw a status display today that showed all elevators in the system in operation. The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) web site today claimed all lines operating normally. The DC Metro hasn't been in such a state for a long while, unless maybe it was brief and I missed it.
- At one station, and really at just one exit to one station, upon exit there are compass points embedded in the sidewalk. I left the Grand Station's NW exit (also labeling exits by compass points is great) wanting to go west, looked down upon exit, and saw that west was straight ahead. This is such a great thing, and so simple, I think all subway systems should adopt it (the red line at Grand is underground, as is much of the system). [ Added 2012-08-25: the Chicago Avenue stop on the Brown line also has compass points of this sort at an exit. ]
Yes, I know that the phrase Chicago's CTA is redundant.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The Lumix has a Leica lens, which is a significant advantage. I took this with a Leica-equipped Lumix (a DMC-TZ1), and don't think it would have been as good with a Canon. Really. But there were two drawbacks to my old Lumix (three drawbacks, really, but more on that later):
(1) The Lumix was noisy in low light situations. Right or wrong, I think Canon has done a better job with the electronics. The newer Lumix might be better.
(2) The Lumix uses a proprietary battery. Multiple times on my last trip with the Lumix, I used both of my batteries' charges, and was stuck. The batteries were expensive and degraded over time. The current Lumix batteries are apparently 1100mAh 3.6V, or just under 0.4Wh, but after a couple years, who knows?
The batteries were the deciding factor. The Canon uses a pair of AA batteries. Sanyo Eneloop NiMH are cheap, under $2.50 each, have long lives (1500 charge/recharge cycles advertised), and are 2000mAh each. So two Eneloops are 2 * 0.2 * 1.2 = 0.48Wh. Advantage, Canon, plus the Sanyo Eneloops have a low self-discharge rate and are cheap, and I can carry as many with me as I want. In a pinch I can pick up alkalines just about anywhere.
The third drawback to the Lumix? A drawback shared with the Canon, no optical viewfinder. With just an LCD viewfinder, the camera is very difficult to use in full sunlight. With both my old Canon and my old Lumix, I often thought that rather than point-and-shoot, I had to shoot-and-hope, not knowing what was in the picture until later.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Thursday, August 9, 2012
One of the last gadgets looks vaguely like the moon over a mountain. I never clicked it before, or if I did, I didn't get the point. Besides, who wants to virtually moon mountains? The idea is to click the moon & mountain and place it on the drawing. The result is a red X over the text broken image. Double-click on the X, and then click on browse. Pick an image. So far I've loaded a couple png images, and it works like a dream--perfect!
I don't remember when I started using dia; perhaps as recently as '06. I used idraw on SunOS systems in the late '80s and early '90s. The alternative was xfig which was overly complicated, and impossible to use without reading a manual (like, e.g., the GIMP). After leaving OSU, through '98, I was often stuck using NT machines (NT 4 was Microsoft's most usable OS, however). I don't remember what I was using--probably I just avoided doing anything that wasn't easy in whatever Microsoft's drawing program was. But around the turn of the century I went full-time Linux on the desktop (had been using it for servers since '95 or so--Slackware, then Red Hat, then Debian) and it was a good move, though I believe I'll soon flush Ubuntu & Mint down the toilet where they belong.
But I digress. Dia: great! Dia: easy to add images! Dia: highly recommended! Dia: apparently available for Windows. Wikipedia has a bare-bones dia overview.
Today Google agreed to pay apple $22.5M for allegedly breaching Safari users' browser settings to set cookies. That's evil. The payment is apparently a record high, but for Google is just a slap on the wrist
But then the above-linked Business Week article quotes Google to say "...[we have taken] steps to remove the ad cookies, which collected no personal information, from Apple’s browsers.” This strikes me as fundamentally dishonest. No, cookies gather no information. However, web servers accessing cookies left previously do gather information, so placing the cookies aided Google's gathering of information about users' browsing behavior. And a user's browsing behavior strikes me as private.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
In the late '80s I taught intro CS on Macs, and they were utter crap. Cooperative multitasking? One-button mice? Give me a break. A former colleague used to say that a computer user's intelligence is directly proportional to the number of buttons on his mouse. I realize, as did he (I think), that the generalization doesn't hold, but copying and pasting in Windows is really clumsy due to the 2-button mouse limitation, and it's hard to imagine a Mac being any better. Of course, Macs still use one-button mice, and my early-learned disdain for Macs survives, though without any actual Mac usage in the past couple decades.
I've been married more recently than I've spent more than 10 minutes using a Mac.
Is Solaris any better? The word on the street suggests not, especially since Sun got bought out. How about BSD? I want the system to be invisible and let me do my work. I guess I want SunOS 4, but not really...
The biggest albatrosses around Ubuntu/Mint's indistinguishable necks? Unity and Gnome Shell, and the notion that we're more interested in crippling desktop and laptop computers to look like smart phones than in, again, actually getting our work done.
Here is Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy's statement that sounded tremendously ignorant. From CBS News:
I will not be taking part in any Chick-fil-A boycotts; no need: I never go there anyhow. UMBC unfortunately opened one on campus, and it is unbelievably bad. They have nothing that tastes like chicken.
I might, OTOH, patronize a Chick-fil-A Wednesday as Santorum suggests: "Oh Chick-fil-A, you have such good chicken sandwiches." Of course, we would both know that's not true.
Finally, Steven Colbert weighed in on the issue:
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Different machines have different characteristics, so maybe I want different settings. Maybe I want different bookmarks, history, and apps at home and at work. Maybe I want to try out a setting or an app, but not spread it across all my systems until I decide I like it. Maybe an app is stealing data. Do I want it spread across all my machines quickly and automatically?
I think this is a feature that some people will want. But the way Google is going about it, nagging us to log in every time we start the browser, apparently with no setting to disable the request, feels coercive. And when a corporation attempts coercion, I worry about ulterior motives.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Why do people give shysters like this their money? Interestingly, they provide very little info online. That in itself should be a red flag.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Sunday, July 8, 2012
After a search (powerful idea, no?) of the Kindle help forums and learning there is no search, I sent Amazon customer service a query in case there really was, but no.
So how could a text-based application, like an e-reader, possibly be shipped without a search function? How could Amazon possibly make this omission? Really, how could they consider the Cloud Reader ready to ship without a convenient way of searching a book?
How can an organization that did such a great job on the Kindle do such a poor job on the web-based stand-in?
sudo aptitude purge liboverlay-scrollbar-0.1-0 liboverlay-scrollbar-0.2-0 liboverlay-scrollbar3-0.2-0 overlay-scrollbar
Clearly overlay-scrollbar is screwed up. Oddly, this was removed from Linux Mint 12, but somehow snuck back into Linux Mint 13.
Thanks to MartinVW and LewRockwellFAN at http://forums.mate-desktop.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=113&p=1422
As an aside, it appears that this scrollbar crap is intentional. The following is from a posting elsewhere on "Ayatana scrollbars":
Overlay Scrollbar – The overlay scrollbar, or the Ayatana Scrollbar, is a feature designed to solve a non-existent problem. According to the official description, it was designed to “improve the user’s ability to focus on content and applications” and to “ensure that scrollbars take up no active screen real-estate” thereby “reducing the waste of space and distracting clutter that a traditional scrollbar entails.” That is pure nonsense. It just creates more problems than it solves. In fact, it does not solve any problem, because as stated earlier, there is no problem to solve, as far the scrollbar is concerned.
Aside from making you “look” for the scrollbar before you can use it, it creates an inconsistency in the system because some applications, like Firefox, will have the traditional scrollbar, while native Ubuntu applications will have the overlay scrollbar.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Recently my 64b desktop developed a bad stutter. I originally thought it was a rhythmbox problem, but it turned out to be a PulseAudio problem. The fix is here--thanks to MRA2011!
In emacs or a lesser editor open /etc/pulse/default.pa, change this line:
load-module module-udev-detect tsched=0
Then restart PulseAudio,
- LED flashlights and lanterns are wonderful. In my 5 nights of blackout, none of my flashlights ran out of juice. Also, I have a Rayovac LED lantern which went strong through the whole thing.
- A battery-powered radio is a must. I have a Sangean PR-D7 with 6 NiMH AA cells. When plugged into the wall it keeps the batteries charged. Even at the end of the outage, after several hours of use, it was reporting a full charge.
- NiMH batteries are great. I'd hate to be one of those out searching for batteries during the outage. Searching for breakfast was enough trouble.
- Being able to keep my cell phone charged was a major plus. For the first day or so after the storm, the Sprint cellular network was having it's problems and at least one 911 service in northern Virginia was reportedly not accepting calls from cell phones, but having phone service is important. I have a Goal Zero 19006 Guide 10 solar charger, which provides plenty of power for my cell phone and my Kindle.
- Candles should be saved for more extreme situations. Last night out on a walk I noticed a house in the neighborhood burning candles. This seems dangerous to me, and with minor preparations entirely unnecessary for just a few days without power. Of course, with no way of charging batteries, eventually candles become a natural choice, but why mess with fire before you need to?
Monday, July 2, 2012
- The US is not maintaining current infrastructure: electricity, water, transit, sewer, etc.
- The US is moving much more slowly than, say, Germany, on modernizing the electrical grid.
- The fossil fuel industry lobby has a strong enough sway on politicians and Fox "News," especially now that there is no limit in this country to how much a corporation can give to a political cause, that a significant portion of the US public still hasn't figured out that global warming is happening and that we are largely to blame. This follows the patterns of the tobacco lobby, the evolution debate, and the Copernican revolution. Powerful forces repeatedly oppose science and the public interest.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
As an example of the humor (please note the word 'extremist') I'll present this:
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
There was a shorter piece tonight on Marketplace as well.
[ Note added 21:00: BTW, no knock on Laura Sydell--I'm glad she reported the piece and she did a fine job. It's more that developers and privacy advocates need reminders like this that most people have no idea how much data their browsers are sending to corporate servers. ]
Another issue is that as people start responding from their Facebook addresses, will others trust that the sender really is who it seems to be? Will people open bogus Facebook accounts to spoof other people? Clearly yes, but that happens with most providers. Again, probably not really a big deal.
Of course, current Facebook users are annoyed because they have to either change the contact info in their profiles back to their preferred e-mail addresses or start checking e-mail in multiple places. Do you really want e-mail between your financial institutions and yourself going through Facebook? I don't think so. Do you really want work-related e-mail going through Facebook? I don't think so.
It'll be a little while before I respond to e-mail from Facebook accounts. Hopefully others will resist this power grab.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
The following NEW packages will be installed:
bluez bluez-alsa:i386 gcc-4.6-base:i386 glib-networking:i386
gstreamer0.10-x:i386 gtk2-engines:i386 gtk2-engines-murrine:i386
gtk2-engines-oxygen:i386 gtk2-engines-pixbuf:i386 gvfs:i386 gvfs-libs:i386
ia32-libs ia32-libs-multiarch:i386 ibus-gtk:i386 lib32asound2 lib32gcc1
lib32stdc++6 libaa1:i386 libacl1:i386 libaio1:i386 libao-common libao4:i386
libasn1-8-heimdal:i386 libasound2:i386 libasound2-plugins:i386
libasyncns0:i386 libatk1.0-0:i386 libattr1:i386 libaudio2:i386
libaudiofile1:i386 libavahi-client3:i386 libavahi-common-data:i386
libavahi-common3:i386 libavc1394-0:i386 libbz2-1.0:i386 libc6:i386
libc6-i386 libcaca0:i386 libcairo-gobject2:i386 libcairo2:i386
libcanberra-gtk-module:i386 libcanberra-gtk0:i386 libcanberra0:i386
libcap2:i386 libcapi20-3:i386 libcdparanoia0:i386 libcomerr2:i386
libcroco3:i386 libcups2:i386 libcupsimage2:i386 libcurl3:i386
libdatrie1:i386 libdb5.1:i386 libdbus-1-3:i386 libdbus-glib-1-2:i386
libdrm-intel1:i386 libdrm-nouveau1a:i386 libdrm-radeon1:i386 libdrm2:i386
libdv4:i386 libesd0:i386 libexif12:i386 libexpat1:i386 libffi6:i386
libflac8:i386 libfontconfig1:i386 libfreetype6:i386 libgail-common:i386
libgail18:i386 libgcc1:i386 libgconf-2-4:i386 libgcrypt11:i386
libgd2-xpm:i386 libgdbm3:i386 libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0:i386 libgettextpo0:i386
libgl1-mesa-dri:i386 libgl1-mesa-glx:i386 libglapi-mesa:i386
libglib2.0-0:i386 libglu1-mesa:i386 libgnome-keyring0:i386 libgnutls26:i386
libgomp1:i386 libgpg-error0:i386 libgphoto2-2:i386 libgphoto2-port0:i386
libgpm2:i386 libgssapi-krb5-2:i386 libgssapi3-heimdal:i386
libgtk2.0-0:i386 libgudev-1.0-0:i386 libhcrypto4-heimdal:i386
libheimbase1-heimdal:i386 libheimntlm0-heimdal:i386 libhx509-5-heimdal:i386
libibus-1.0-0:i386 libice6:i386 libidn11:i386 libiec61883-0:i386
libieee1284-3:i386 libjack-jackd2-0:i386 libjasper1:i386 libjpeg-turbo8:i386
libjpeg8:i386 libjson0:i386 libk5crypto3:i386 libkeyutils1:i386
libkrb5-26-heimdal:i386 libkrb5-3:i386 libkrb5support0:i386 liblcms1:i386
libldap-2.4-2:i386 libllvm3.0:i386 libltdl7:i386 libmad0:i386
libmikmod2:i386 libmng1:i386 libmpg123-0:i386 libmysqlclient18:i386
libncurses5:i386 libncursesw5:i386 libnspr4:i386 libnss3:i386 libodbc1:i386
libogg0:i386 libopenal1:i386 liborc-0.4-0:i386 libp11-kit0:i386
libpango1.0-0:i386 libpciaccess0:i386 libpcre3:i386 libpixman-1-0:i386
libpng12-0:i386 libproxy1:i386 libpulse-mainloop-glib0:i386 libpulse0:i386
libpulsedsp:i386 libqt4-dbus:i386 libqt4-declarative:i386
libqt4-designer:i386 libqt4-network:i386 libqt4-opengl:i386
libqt4-qt3support:i386 libqt4-script:i386 libqt4-scripttools:i386
libqt4-sql:i386 libqt4-sql-mysql:i386 libqt4-svg:i386 libqt4-test:i386
libqt4-xml:i386 libqt4-xmlpatterns:i386 libqtcore4:i386 libqtgui4:i386
libqtwebkit4:i386 libraw1394-11:i386 libroken18-heimdal:i386 librsvg2-2:i386
librsvg2-common:i386 librtmp0:i386 libsamplerate0:i386 libsane:i386
libsasl2-2:i386 libsasl2-modules:i386 libsdl-image1.2:i386
libsdl-mixer1.2:i386 libsdl-net1.2:i386 libsdl-ttf2.0-0:i386
libsdl1.2debian:i386 libselinux1:i386 libshout3:i386 libslang2:i386
libsm6:i386 libsndfile1:i386 libsoup-gnome2.4-1:i386 libsoup2.4-1:i386
libspeex1:i386 libspeexdsp1:i386 libsqlite3-0:i386 libssl0.9.8:i386
libssl1.0.0:i386 libstdc++5:i386 libstdc++6:i386 libtag1-vanilla:i386
libtag1c2a:i386 libtasn1-3:i386 libtdb1:i386 libthai0:i386 libtheora0:i386
libtiff4:i386 libtinfo5:i386 libudev0:i386 libunistring0:i386
libusb-0.1-4:i386 libuuid1:i386 libv4l-0:i386 libv4lconvert0:i386
libvisual-0.4-0:i386 libvisual-0.4-plugins:i386 libvorbis0a:i386
libvorbisenc2:i386 libvorbisfile3:i386 libwavpack1:i386
libwind0-heimdal:i386 libwrap0:i386 libx11-6:i386 libx11-xcb1:i386
libxau6:i386 libxaw7:i386 libxcb-glx0:i386 libxcb-render0:i386
libxcb-shm0:i386 libxcb1:i386 libxcomposite1:i386 libxcursor1:i386
libxdamage1:i386 libxdmcp6:i386 libxext6:i386 libxfixes3:i386 libxft2:i386
libxi6:i386 libxinerama1:i386 libxml2:i386 libxmu6:i386 libxp6:i386
libxpm4:i386 libxrandr2:i386 libxrender1:i386 libxslt1.1:i386 libxss1:i386
libxt6:i386 libxtst6:i386 libxv1:i386 libxxf86vm1:i386 mysql-common odbcinst
odbcinst1debian2 odbcinst1debian2:i386 oss-compat skype xaw3dg:i386
0 upgraded, 246 newly installed, 0 to remove and 14 not upgraded.
Need to get 105 MB of archives.
After this operation, 288 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? n
It appears that many packages listed are specifically 32b--this on a 64b version of Linux Mint. I went back and checked, and I did click the 64b Ubuntu link and the .deb downloaded has a 64 in its name. So, WTF, Microsoft?
Monday, June 11, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
When visiting a Wi-Fi hotspot, do you really trust their DNS settings? By default client machines using DHCP will get their DNS settings as well as other addressing information from the DHCP server, which would be the router at a wireless hotspot. Trustworthy? Why would anyone think so?
First, don't bother with the Gnome/Mate/Cinnamon networking applet. It will let you make the change, but doesn't successfully change the system configuration. Instead, find the Network Settings. In the Mate menu it's at System|Administration|Network. It should something look like this:
Click on the padlock where it says "Click to make changes" and enter your root password. Click on the connection you want to configure. For this example I'm using a desktop on a home network using Verizon FiOS. Feeling neither trust nor love for Verizon, I'd rather not trust their DNS servers. Instead, I'll use OpenDNS. Here's a little piece at the bottom of their home page:
One unfortunate aspect of the GUI management of DNS settings is that with wireless connections, the settings must be made for each access point, which means that the first time you connect to a new access point, the DNS server address will default to the access point or its DNS server. Fix it as above and then restart networking.
At the Google page there is a link to a nice little introduction to DNS security.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
- Stupider: storing the user passwords. Any site that can come up with your current password is run by bozos.
- most likely hashes will be unique, and
- even if two hashes are the same, they almost certainly do not correspond to the same password.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
The USPS will not stop junk delivery since that is their new profit model. We are no longer the postal customers--businesses of low ethical standards are the customers. I can't help but wonder whether this plan to stem USPS losses short-term will generate long-term ill will. Other than just having to go directly from the mail box to the recycling bin every day, I have to look through the incoming trash carefully, as I believe that one time I discarded the water bill with the junk.
I'm old enough to remember looking forward to the mail coming each day. I like our postal deliverer, and like the fact that she comes through the neighborhood regularly. In addition to being friendly faces who often learn the names of locals, postal deliverers spot things wrong in neighborhoods and occasionally call emergency services. Maybe we could shut the postal service down and the federal government could take some of the savings and send communities grants to be spent on police officers actually walking through neighborhoods, as opposed to speeding through neighborhoods driving while interacting with radios, laptops, donuts, etc.
Around the same time the USPS announced their intent to further promote junk mail, our local mail drop box disappeared, making it harder to bounce spam back to the USPS.
- First class letters can be refused and returned to the sender.
- Letters addressed to valued customer can be sent back addressee unknown. If I'm a customer, and they value me, I wouldn't be receiving such tripe. It's clearly not addressed to me.
- Letters addressed to postal patron can be returned, because unless you are generating bulk mail, you're likely not really much of a postal patron.
- Unaddressed mail might as well be dropped in a mail box in the hopes that it gets to someone who wants it. Okay, just recycling it is probably better.
OpenJDK 7 had previously been installed in the normal way (sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk openjdk-7-source openjdk-7-doc), so that wasn't the problem. The problem was that in /etc/alternatives, some of the tools linked to JDK 6, and some to JDK 7. Blech. An obvious quick fix was to write a script to update all the soft inks, pointing all to OpenJDK 7. This seemed like a hack (in the original CS sense, where a hacker is a careless or unskilled programmer), so I decided to "do it right."
Uninstalling OpenJDK 7, uninstalling OpenJDK 6, and then re-installing OpenJDK 7 seems to have fixed things.
Monday, June 4, 2012
In Libre Office Writer click Tools|Autocorrect Options. Then select the Word Completion tab and uncheck Enable Word Completion. Also uncheck Collect Words, because there is no need to collect words for a feature that will never be used.
In Calc, click Tools and then Cell Contents, and uncheck AutoInput.
[ Note added 10 September 2012: above I should have written OpenOffice and LibreOffice as one word each, not two. Oh well. ]
Sunday, June 3, 2012
sudo apt-get remove zeitgeist zeitgeist-core zeitgeist-datahub
This is a followup to Nice Little Improvement in Linux Mint 13.
Zoho provides 1GB free, but limits upload sizes to 50MB, which was an issue once. This also means I'm unlikely to archive recently-purchased or ripped music there, since those tarballs typically exceed Zoho's limit. So I expect to lean toward Zoho for most of my incremental backup needs, trimming them when they exceed 50MB. If nothing else, Zoho will provide an impetus to limit the size of each.
Question: why a 50MB limit on files when the overall space limit is 20 times that? I guess I can use split.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
So I just installed Linux Mint 13 last night on my primary desktop. This is the Mate 64b version. Last week I installed the 32b Cinnamon version on my laptop, and after a couple days, installed Mate and started using that instead. Cinnamon's a valiant effort and to be applauded, but has some significant usability problems.
As long as I'm detailing what I got rid of in Linux Mint 13, here's the initial additions I make and a complete list of what I remove. Additions first:
- ccrypt emacs tcsh
- ispell rhythmbox mirage
- openjdk-7-jdk openjdk-7-source openjdk-7-doc
- haskell-platform ghc-mod
- texlive-latex-base texlive-latex-base-doc texlive-latex-extra
- avahi-daemon avahi-autoipd
- xchat xchat-common
- bluez bluez-alsa bluez-cups bluez-gstreamer
Thursday, May 31, 2012
I installed Linux Mint 13 RC on my laptop, and switched to Mate.
Mate works fine on my laptop. Mate keyboard shortcuts for volume up/down and play/pause do not work on my desktops.
So, why is switching to Cinnamon a bad idea, IMHO?
- Cinnamon has no no grouping of menu items on the panel.
- Bumping a window being dragged against the top panel causes it to maximize--a most annoying bug.
- Nautilus 3.2.1 under Cinnamon shows selected files as pink with no text, or perhaps pink text on a pink background. Sometimes I like to be able to see the name of and related info for a selected file. Really. This is with the list view, which is my preferred default.
- Under Cinnamon, ImageMagick's pan icon is missing window controls (e.g., close) which should be in the upper right.
- [ Added 2012-06-02: Cinnamon removes the ability to move the save file dialog within a web browser. ]
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
My main question was performance, and I see no difference on that account between Mint and Ubuntu 10.04. And it works. Thumbs up to Linux Mint 13 with Mate 1.2.0.
Send and Archive is also a nice feature. When replying to an e-mail, rather than separately sending and archiving, one can send and archive with a single click.
The rub, however, is that send and archive doesn't have an undo control, and so now if I fail to proof a message, tough, it is gone. Ultimately, one has to decide which feature is more important, and I'd rather appear literate than save myself a click now and then (well, several times per day).
Friday, May 25, 2012
I'm concerned the Drive might work more reliably with a client on my machine, which is not going to happen:
- Google as of recently had no Drive client for Linux, and
Saturday, May 19, 2012
They also say they are going from 3 (they clearly mean 2) years to 5 for LTS, which is a good move, but came too late to avoid my blowing away yet another Ubuntu system for Linux Mint.
Added a dozen hours later, after reading some fine print regarding the Linux Mint 13 RC at http://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=2010, I thought I would point out yet another thing the Mint team is doing more intelligently than we've become accustomed to from the Ubuntu folks: Linux Mint 13 is also an LTS (Long Term Support) release and it will be supported until April 2017.
Fours years is good. Especially as compared to two.
I've been using Linux Mint 12 for awhile, and 11 briefly before that, ever since I got fed up with Gnome's decision that the user interface is unimportant.
Thursday a grad student asked me if I'd tried Cinnamon, which apparently he has liked on a few different platforms. This left me with a choice: work on the finals I would be delivering, or mess with Cinnamon. I chose Cinnamon, though I now must admit that my IS 247 exam suffered from insufficient proofreading.
I like Cinnamon, and recommended it to a friend, who didn't see much difference between it and what he had been running (probably Gnome Classic or Mate) on a Mint system. I responded with a summary of my experiences with Cinnamon to date:
First, switching to Cinnamon on my recommendation should be worth some placebo effect. If not:
The panels are configurable, and it's okay to have just one.
TFM: the wrench & screwdriver in the main menu leads to a different place from System Tools|System Settings wrench & screwdriver. If you select Menu|Wrench & Screwdriver, one of the options is Hot Corner. Make it visible, place it in a corner not otherwise critically used (it's translucent) and play with it.
I was using Gnome Classic with no effects, because with effects keyboard shortcuts didn't work. With Mate my volume controls (alt-up, alt-down) didn't work. This does everything Mate does without breaking keyboard shortcuts (big deal) and also allowing effects (not a big deal).
I really like Hot Corner.
Cinnamon has more themes than Gnome Classic, but still not one I really like. A little googling, though, led me to a page on creating themes, and it does look simple, except I'll be editing CSS and am unclear regarding what some of the tags are. I'll either find docs or experiment.
What I really want are larger fonts in the panel and top bars on windows that change colors noticeably between selected and not selected.
There is one clear-cut bug that I've seen: Under Cinnamon, Gnome Terminal 3.0.1 doesn't consistently switch its cursor to solid block (from outline) when the window has focus. A minor aggravation.
I have an old (ca. 12/2005) Dell laptop running Ubuntu 10.4 LTS. Ubuntu's LTS is rather short, and has expired, so I think I'll blow that away in favor of the Mint13 RC, Cinnamon, and Mate. If Mate is less buggy in the Mint 13 environment than Mint 12 (they use the word mature to describe it, but I have yet to see evidence of that) it might be a good choice. Anyhow, the new Mint 13, Cinnamon, and Mate on modest hardware seems worth learning about.