Friday, November 30, 2012

Kudos, 2 of 2

This is also a file transfer story. We use a Windows share at work, and whenever it's upgraded or I upgrade my Linux box, it takes me a while before I regain access to the share. The problem is two-fold:  I don't speak Windows terminology, making the instructions I have from our sysadmin and from various web sites I've visited seem like gibberish to me, and I don't need the stuff on the Windows share  often enough for it to really matter. Nobody would put anything really important on a Windows share anyhow, right?

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, 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!

Kudos, 1 of 2

A couple days ago I couldn't transfer files between my desktop and Android because something dysfunctional called Samsung Kies was running on the Android, making it possible to see top level directories from my Mate box, but nothing below--it showed each directory as empty. It didn't really take so long to find the setting under Wireless and Network to disable Kies (USB is a networking technology, after all) but my first reaction was to fire up AndFTP on the Android, and it transfered the files quickly, painlessly, and wirelessly.

AndFTP is a great little sftp client for Android--I recommend it very highly.

Kies is software of no discernible value that Samsung stuck on the Galaxy 5, apparently so they can say they mucked with some of the software, or added "value."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Alan Greenspan Gets It

Alan Greenspan, quoted in We Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider, "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: thew Iraq war was largely about oil."

This was in 2004.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Update to Linux Mint 14 Backports--A Mistake?

Not much of a mistake, because my plans were already that as soon as I get some free time I'll blow Mint away, replacing it with Lubuntu/Mate.

 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

Amazon, This Will Take Some Getting Used To

Amazon has a new "feature" which I find to be quite annoying. I decided it's time to read Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, and so visited Amazon. It's not available for Kindle, and is fairly expensive as a physical book, so a summary of the book caught my attention, and I thought it was pretty inexpensive:

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.

This is Weird

This is Google's summary that pops up when one searches for William Seward:
When I saw the location of birth, I thought it interesting, but plausible, that Florida was as specific as they could get. Then with the place of death, Auburn, I thought I had spotted something that needed fixing in Wikipedia. I assumed Auburn, AL, but I also know there are other Auburns, and so intended to look it up. But then I visited the actual Wikipedia page, which provides this information:

Florida, NY and Auburn, NY. So Google decided (likely with no human intervention) that if they said "Florida," people would automatically think of a place in NY, and if they said "Auburn," people would immediately realize it was the Auburn in New York. Oops.

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

100% Mono-Free

[ I didn't write the below with the intention of coming across as bragging, but if your Linux has Mono and mine doesn't, mine's better. So there.]

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

Daily Ignorable Warning Message

Most days the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tells me I have 15 free articles remaining this month. then I delete cookies and the count starts back at zero.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why Ubuntu, Unity, Gnome 3, etc., Are Losing Popularity

Several times I've bemoaned the fact that Linux is getting more-and-more like Windows on a year-by-year basis. Of course, now, with Unity and its ilk, we're expected to use an interface that looks like a smart phone on a full-size monitor with an actual keyboard and mouse. Perplexing.

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 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.