Monday, September 1, 2014

Drunk Driving

I'm with Rick Perry on his criminal indictment after reading the New York Daily News. I'm against drunk driving because it kills innocent people, including a lot of people like myself who are just walking or bicycling along the side of the road trying to get some exercise and fight against the sedentary lifestyle of the modern age.

Certainly if politicians are disgraced for having an affair or hiring a prostitute, then they should step down for drunk driving, which is far worse. Dear, if you don't want the governor to defund your department, then don't drive drunk.

Politicians should vaporize marijuana rather than drink, because marijuana is less harmful--but they should only use mind-altering substances when they do not intend to be driving. Driving under the influence of any substance, even pot or too much coffee or legal medication such as pain-killers--is wrong, pure and simple. DON'T DO IT! Better to sleep it off in your car and drive home later than to play roulette with your own life and some poor strangers. Texting while driving or playing around with the radio or any other sort of distracted driving is also wrong, although many people don't seem to be aware of that, and enforcement against these negligent practices will be difficult due to the burden of proof. Busting a drunk or high driver is easy by comparison.

I'm looking forward to an era when our cars drive themselves, and one will speak the destination in order to get there, and they will run on electricity rather than gasoline. I think we can generate sufficient energy from the Sun, if enough research and development can ever be devoted to making that happen.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Munich to Dump Linux

I'm a pretty open-minded guy, so if igor says there's something amiss in the Linux desktop scene, there's something amiss. Microsoft is eating Linux for breakfast. Munich, Germany is all set to dump Linux for Microsoft, because Linux sucks. This news jibes with my own experiences trying to introduce some of my customers to Linux. Well, they don't like it. Why don't they like it? Mainly because they can't get some of their hardware to work and can't manage their photo collection in a civilized manner with Linux. Photo management is probably the most important thing for a computer besides Internet these days. There needs to be a Manhattan Project among Linux devs to work on that application, but instead Linux gearheads spend all their time reinventing the wheel with twenty different desktops and a couple hundred different distros. Microsoft just focuses upon creating one single killer desktop, meanwhile, that slays all the Linux competition. Another area that needs to be addressed in Linux is the problem of associating applications with filetypes. Most Linux distributions are completely retarded in this area. They open a dialog window requiring the user to hunt down a binary executable somewhere in the file system in order to open, say, an .htaccess file in a text editor. Well, that's a lot of silly nonsense, that's what that is. Instead of fixing this rather obvious problem for the end user, distros are instead working on what? Integration of the desktop model with that of smart phones? I don't know what KDE is doing, and I'm not sure KDE knows, either. XFCE is doing nothing. Aah, well, I think one can appreciate the viewpoint of Munich. At the end of the day people just want their computer to work and not have to spend a lot of time and effort in order to make that happen. At the end of the day, maybe it is worth it to pay Microsoft a hundred bucks or so to ensure the computer will work the first time, rather than the fifty-first time after a thousand hours of troubleshooting. KISS applies--Keep It Simple, Stupid.

The one thing Linux does well is Internet surfing, and that is mainly thanks to Mozilla supporting Linux with Thunderbird and Firefox. Okular is another killer app in Linux, superb for .pdf files. LibreOffice is great, although it does have limitations in terms of compatibility with Microsoft Word, and I'm sure that was a huge issue for Munich, just like it was a problem for me and my users. However, users expect a lot more from their computers than just surfing the Internet. Everybody and their brother has a digital camera these days, and the first thing they are going to do in Linux is try and manage their photo collection. Well, after a look at Gimp and Digikam, most users are going to ask me how much I will charge to install Windows and ACDSee. Those projects need a lot more developers and a lot more money in order to compete. However, I think the most logical alternative would simply be to entice ACDSee to support Linux. Probably the only group with the clout to do that would be Canonical, but they're busy plotting to take over the mobile phone market.

No More Passwords

In the not-so-distant future, people will wear rings containing a universal password--in a matter of speaking--for all their personal online services and data. This ring will transmit via direct physical contact to a computer or other device that has been granted access to that individual ring. Devices that have not been granted access will not be able to access the ring. The ring will allow browsing sites without logging in and with near-perfect security. Mobile phones and computers owned by the user will be inoperable and in lockdown mode, broadcasting their GPS location to their owner, should anyone other than the owner attempt to access them.

I say the ring contains only a password "in a matter of speaking," because passwords are insecure by their very nature, subject to brute-force attacks. People of the future will look at passwords as a primitive stepping stone to the next generation, which is algorithm-based. An algorithm encoded within a ring can decrypt any encrypted data owned by the user and log in to any web site instantly. This method of encryption cannot be defeated, because the encrypted data is not sequential and is not key-based, but deciphered using a complicated matrix-based algorithm which varies for each individual and which also varies depending upon the time of day and time of year, body temperature, and perhaps some other environmental factors as yet to be determined. To decode such data is impossible, regardless of available resources. . .

The ring functions as a unique key that can be stolen or copied, perhaps, but needs physical possession. Thus, hackers without access to the ring are without any luck at all. Theft will consist of old-fashioned robbery or burglary to obtain the ring. But a ring is relatively easy to secure, certainly easier than many alternatives such as passwords. If one's person is safe, then one's data is safe. This is both a natural and very simple method of safeguarding data, requiring little more vigilance than people ordinarily exercise in safeguarding precious gold and platinum rings. However, there will have to be a way for law enforcement to inactivate stolen rings following a complaint of theft and DNA confirmation that the real owner is who he says he is.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Security 101

Facts


1. Any competent programmer can devise a nonsequential, noisy encryption scheme that unlocks by algorithm, not key, and thus cannot be defeated by any method.

2. Such a run-of-the-mill coder can also devise a virus that cannot be detected by any method.

3. No complicated software can be certified virus, malware, and trojan-free with 100% certainty, even if the source code is exhaustively reviewed by a national security agency over a period of a hundred years and with a billion-dollar budget. (If you are in any doubt about this, review #1 & #2.)

4. No complicated software can be certified to be free of all present and future security vulnerabilities, intentional or unintentional.

5. People who download programs or operating systems from Pirate Bay are either kidding themselves or don't care because they have taken precautions such as running the software in a sandbox, etc.

6. People who think it is fine and dandy to install software from China, etc. are in the same boat as the #5 group.


The bottom line is this--and everyone using the Internet today needs to know this not now, but yesterday--computer programs are just as complicated, diverse, and potentially harmful and untrustworthy as human beings. Therefore, the same rules apply. Consider the source, reputation, and available references. Take precautions and reduce risk. And continue observing.

DistroWatch Silly Over Deepin

Distrowatch is silly to repeat their assertion that anyone who doesn't have an open mind about Deepin is "tribalist."

Probably more than half the people reading this blog don't know what Distrowatch is or Deepin is, but I digress. Research 'em if you like. I usually start at Wikipedia for my research. On the other hand, most people won't care. I care, not because it's a fascinating subject, but mostly because I'm right, and it always feels good to be right about something.

Now looky here, Distrowatch. If a Linux distro pops up from, say, Brazil or even Japan, then I'm OK with it. Different tribes than mine, but no biggie. Hey, live and let live--the more, the merrier. Brazil and Japan have something I respect. It's called Freedom of the Press. Nice concept. It means web sites like DistroWatch don't have to sit a-quivering in their shoes that the police are going to bust down the door and drag them away by their hair for writing something on their web site. Ain't that nice, Distrowatch? I think so.

So Distrowatch, that's why I won't install a Chinese-made Linux distro on my computer. It's not because they're from a different tribe than mine. It's because China ain't free. Someone slips a trojan or a subtle, intentional vulnerability into Deepin. . . then there's no one in China that can talk about it without fear of the police. Point made. End of discussion.

One would think that people with an education--ahem--would already know all this, but perhaps they have a certain motive to pretend otherwise. Hmm . . .

Putin the Putrid

Bush's Folly (Iraq & Afghanistan) becomes all the more costly now that China and Russia are asserting their aggressive natures. Bush blew too many trillions on little cesspools around the world that didn't matter and dug the country into a hole of debt from which we may never emerge. I honestly don't see a way out of the national debt besides massive inflation that will see the dollar's purchasing power plummet. I expect a day to come when a gallon of milk costs $20. Of course, paying off the debt will be easy then, because the government will be printing money. Here, China, here's your dough, have a nice day.

Whenever Republicans gain power, massive debt is the result, because Republicans know only one thing: Spend, Spend, Spend, to enrich their cronies and spread war all over the world. Iraq was just revenge for dissing Bush's Daddy. Spending trillions of dollars over there was in no way wise. I can think of a lot of uses I would like to see even a single trillion dollars spent, and none of those ideas involve giving lots of money to the arms industry to blow up Iraq. The entire reason this country is in the doghouse economically is because Bush chose to focus on a region of the world he knew little about rather than focus on his job. Playing toy soldiers might be more fun, but paying attention to the financial markets was what Bush ought to have been doing. Should the government have done a better job of regulating and enforcing existing laws in the financial markets? Not yes, but Hell, yes.

Now Russia is threatening the world with nuclear weapons, which highlights the need to develop new measures against the real threat to U.S. security. Russia was and is now the only real threat. Russia is led by an immature little tyrant with a noodle for a brain. Bringing up the possibility of nuclear war is just the latest example of Putin's putridity. Only an evil person would threaten such an evil fate for all of humankind. Of course, he is poisoning Russia's relations with the rest of the world.

Nothing good ever emerges from the mouth of Putin. He is father of lies. From now on, I call Putin "Putrid," because the decay and stench about his spirit is all too apparent.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tacita

Even when immersed in the darkness--do you know? or have you forgotten again?--even then. . . thou art cradled in the arms of the goddess. The light surrounds you, and no harm can come to you. Thou art joined to the light and become that light that spans alpha and omega, so there is no beginning and no end. When one story ends another begins and so on forever and ever.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Replace 'Em

What we need to do in Western countries is get rid of recent immigrants that hate the West, like this scum, send them back to Iraq or wherever they come from, and replace them with immigrants that like the West. Wannabe jihadists have no business getting a free education, meals, and protection on the taxpayer's dime. There are tons of people around the world that would be grateful to the U.S. just to be allowed a visa. Replace the Islamofascists with some of our gentle and mild friends south of the Border, I say. Law-abiding and hard-working people are welcome, but fanatics are not. Whatever policy is allowing evil-doers to come in needs to be changed, and existing fanatics need to be sent to the land of fanatics, the middle east. They can pay for an inflatable raft to get back to their mess or else swim, because the taxpayers cannot afford to provide them with a free cruise either. We've got enough debt and problems as it is without having to deal with crazy terrorists that blindly follow a barbarous anti-human cult. Anyone with half a brain can see through the ridiculous delusions, pretensions, lies and nonsense of the Islamic jihadists. It's sad we even have to hear about them in 2014, but their presence is a reminder that we descended from humbler origins.

UK Intelligence close to nabbing Foley's Killer

Looks like Foley's murderer's days are numbered, judging by media reports. What galls is that the vermin that shot the video could not, given a million years and infinite resources, have developed a camera, nor a computer, nor an Internet capable of broadcasting the video. I doubt they could discover the means by which to produce fire. All their technology comes from the West, and all their barbarism and wickedness is the product of their own culture.

Alas, if only--long ago--if only the West had presented a united front, instead of pointless in-fighting, we would not be playing whack-a-mole right now in 2014. This brings to mind the old saw, "a stitch in time saves nine." Eliminating the central problem in 1946 would have been a relatively easy task. Instead we allowed Saddam and other local tyrants to rule unchecked, a lingering malignancy that festered and now erupts with pus and gore.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Islam's Prohibition of Alcohol

This 1508 engraving by Dutch artist Lucas van Leyden illustrates a story about Mohammed and the Monk Sergius. Mohammed, when in company with his lover Sergius, drank too much wine and fell asleep. Before he awakened, a soldier killed Sergius and placed the sword in Mohammed's hand. When the prophet wakened, the soldier and his companions told him that while drunk he had slain his lover. Therefore Mohammed forbade the drinking of wine by his followers.

One cannot but admire the sergian abstinence from alcohol, however. I propose a toast--of simple tea, of course--to the good Monk Sergius.

Hamas Kills Unarmed Civilians

So, Hamas rounded up a bunch of random innocent men off the street, called them "informers" and summarily killed them. No surprise. Cannibalism is common among primitive species. After all, cockroaches eat their own kind. Besides, the main criteria Hamas has for its victims is that they be unarmed civilians that aren't firing back.

Hamas needs to be more thorough, though. In order to root out the informers, the first thing Hamas has to do is execute everyone in Hamas. That's the only way to be sure.

Linux for Light Duty

Since upgrading from Linux to Windows 8.1, I do feel more productive on my workstation. There was long list of "can't do that" when I was using Linux and a lot of little annoyances. Having to enter a password to rename a file is just one example. I bought a remote control and tried to get it to work in Linux. Well, there's something you need in order for that to happen, some odd package that needs to be hunted down, installed, and painstakingly configured--it has about five or six different configuration files with a very long list of settings. I forget what the thing is called, but I tried it, and after about four hours of tinkering with it, I finally succeeded in getting the remote control to work in Linux. Trouble was, there was a lengthy delay when pressing buttons on the remote control, and sometimes Linux would not interpret button presses at all, for whatever reason. Having a remote control that works some of the time, but not all of the time, is not a tenable situation.

At the same time I threw in the towel on Linux, one of my customers did, too. She had been eager and willing to give Xubuntu a try, but there's a huge problem with Linux. Other than Internet surfing, retro video games and basic word processing, there really is not much in the way of cutting-edge apps available to the Linux user. Want to manage your photo collection? Lots of luck with Digikam or Gimp. If you are one of the few that use Linux and you edit or manage photos--and many people do nowadays--welcome to the Land of Suck. Gimp is a turkey. I would never dream of using Gimp, not in a million years. Digikam is almost plausible. Digikam looks like ACDSee might have looked in beta back in the 1990s. The trouble is that ACDSee won't work in Linux. No one really minds paying money for a photo manager, but it needs to be easy to use. Dear mister Developer: People don't want to learn to use your program. You need to program an intuitive creature that adapts to the human user. I don't know where some of these Linux devs learned their design principles. I think if someone set out to make a program completely impossible for the average user to use, then Gimp would be the end result. The first problem is that Gimp will not save to a universal format like .jpg, .gif, or .png by default, and the second problem is that Gimp opens three different windows, and then there are about a thousand other problems. Each new version of Gimp or Digikam offers some useless tweak that I never heard of and would never use in an entire lifetime, when really a complete overhaul of the UI is all that is needed. Improve the UI, and you might get some users. Keep it cryptic and stay small-time.

For the home user, Linux remains useful for two main purposes: htpc (despite certain limitations such as remote controls) and light desktop use such as internet surfing, word processing, and retro games like Dungeon Crawl. My rule of thumb now is Windows for heavy-duty work and Linux for light duty.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bravo to the IDF

The whole reason for existence for Hamas is to kill teenage pedestrians. Apparently the Palestinian terror group has declared war on anybody that walks instead of drives. The kidnappers and murderers, Hamas praises as "heroic." That's a pretty odd definition of heroism, if you ask me, and reflects a twisted and depraved mind that is of no value to anyone. Perhaps there was a time when a single member of Hamas was a human being, but no more. Hamas is aligned to absolute evil, by their own admission, and what they are admitting is that any action taken against them is justified. When cockroaches abound, one reaches for the roach spray. Cockroaches breed like--well, cockroaches. One must take care of the entire nest. Bravo to the heroes of the IDF for their heroic mission in Gaza!

Right Abideth

Right is what matters. Only the good can see that. Their Eye sees that which is hidden from the wicked, a secret path. This is a great gift denied to those that are evil.

The wicked, seeing only the obvious, assume that only they matter, but their understanding, like that of simple creatures, is not necessary.

Right abideth

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Not a Big Fan of Islam

Islam has gotten the worst reputation of all religions in the world, but the cult deserves that reputation. I think there is something wrong with a cult that holds sway to varying extents over a billion humans but has contributed little to the fund of human knowledge outside the 16th century. Other than terrorism, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and billionaire and millionaire sheiks jet-setting around the world doing their whoring, gambling and drinking away from the eyes of their people, it is not clear what Islam contributes to the modern world, if anything. Had there not been such a heavy concentration of Muslims on oil-producing regions, then we would not be hearing about Muslims at all. The superstitious Muslims believe oil was given them by Allah as a reward for stroking his beard. They seem to pour all their money and energy into building grander mosques and launching so-called "holy" wars of one sort or another. I don't think a war could possibly be holy. Maybe childbirth is holy, because it is certainly miraculous, but not war. War is ugly business, and ISIS has waged the ugliest kind of war seen since the Middle Ages Ancient times. I struck out the Middle Ages, because people of the West in the Middle Ages were a little bit more civilized and advanced than the ISIS fighters, who are evil incarnate.

The Challenge

One of the hardest things about growing up is learning ways to avoid crazy and violent people. In school, one is exposed to sociopaths, psychopaths, and every species of criminal, as yet unidentified. One not only has to avoid getting mixed up in violence against or with those individuals but also to avoid their memes or thought-patterns, which perpetuate a culture of violence.

When I think about all the times I was tested, I think it's amazing that I am still alive. I have no feeling whatsoever for my old schools and regard them in the same light as an ex-prisoner would his prison. I never dreamed I would make it even to thirty, but here I am. The human animal is remarkably resilient and resourceful. Marijuana, which was strictly forbidden in school, was one of the means by which memories of the school were annihilated. The other means were simply the passage of time and replacement of bad memories with good memories. I don't know why the modern world thinks it is a good idea to make school into a Hell, but it does. The more hellish the school, the better, in the opinion of most. I would have been much better off in a library by myself.

The requirements for a proper education are as follows:

1. Books.
2. Time.

Teachers and other students are unnecessary distractions.

I understand nowadays the boneheaded politicians are pouring billions of dollars down the drain on fancy computer gadgetry for the classroom, such as electronic blackboards, online videos and computers. All of that is just pure waste designed to enrich the cronies of the political elite. Anyone with normal intelligence should be able to perceive the potential for corruption. If Shakespeare, Plato, Lincoln, Churchill, Einstein, et al, learned the old-fashioned way, then what the hell is wrong with the old-fashioned way? What the hell is wrong with modern kids that they need all these gadgets? They don't. A means to extract money from the public coffers, pure and simple--money that would be better spent augmenting teacher's salaries.

The Angry Month of August in Ferguson

Rioting and looting certainly isn't going to make friends of the people that run the stores in and around Ferguson. They are going to support the police, after cleaning up the broken glass and counting how many thousands of dollars they have lost to thieves. I don't know why people express admiration for Martin Luther King, Jr. on the one hand and yet discard his methods. King was a master at public relations. He appreciated the value of the moral superiority. Apparently some people in the community are cynical opportunists. The entire situation points to a larger problem of hopelessness and lethargy in Ferguson. When there are a lot of young people around with nothing to do, then that is a recipe for trouble.

Of the police shooting, I think that the circumstances are suspicious, at least judging by media reports. I don't think it is possible to make an instant judgement without gathering further information. The reports I have read are sketchy at best. A lot of people seem prepared to make instant judgements based upon skin color. Being white does not automatically make one a racist, as some seem to believe.

I don't approve of the rush to judgement by some in the media, such as my favorite magazine, Mother Jones. It does not necessarily follow that the incident was purely born of racism; and perhaps the white policeman was not the one who was racist. There are black racists as well as white racists, and it is naive to ignore the possibility. The incident in Ferguson involved three men, no more. Only one of those men was white, and he is not the elected representative of all white people in the world, nor all white people in Ferguson, nor all white cops on the Ferguson police force. He is only one man, albeit a police officer. Apparently there was a wrestling fight between him and the victim, and the victim pushed the police officer back into his car, where his pistol discharged, and then the victim, who had now committed the crime of assault on a police officer and discharge of a firearm, ran away, reaching about thirty feet from the vehicle before he was shot. That is my understanding based upon what I have read so far. This seems like an incident based more upon the psychology of two individuals than it does a calculated pattern of racist oppression. Let justice take its course, and I hope that justice is fair, balanced and insightful.

There may need to be some changes made in the methods used by the Ferguson police force, because quite obviously their public relations are in the toilet. If a police force does not have the support of the community it serves, then it cannot be effective and trouble will be the only possible result. I think the police chief should be replaced, and someone with greater social skill and political acumen should replace him.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Windows 8.1 Replaces Netrunner 14.04

I overwrote Netrunner 14.04 with Windows 8.1 Pro and could not be happier. Windows 8.1 has the key feature that Netrunner 14.04 lacks. It is possible, in Windows, to right-click on a text file and open that file immediately into a text editor of my choice, in this case Notepad++. With Netrunner 14.04, everytime I tried to edit a text file, Netrunner would pester me for the exact location of the text editor, because apparently the operating system does not know where any of its applications are stored. Well, I am not the operating system, and I don't know, either; I rather expect the operating system to keep track of things like that for me, and if it does not, then the operating system has no business operating in 2014 and needs replacing.

I didn't mind so much the requirement of a password to edit a text file, which is a standard security measure among Linux distros, although it is boneheaded and wrong. But asking the user to go and find the text editor executable among the hundreds of paths on the hard drive is really the final insult. I regret to say I spent a collective hour over the course of several weeks trying to find the executable for Jedit before I finally realized the obvious, that Netrunner must be replaced at all costs, because it is costing me time and energy. There were other problems with that old thing, but this was by far the worst. I really don't know what the devs are working on, but apparently they never consult the users when determining their priorities.

As for the much-maligned Windows 8, I do not concur with all the naysayers that hate Eight. Yes, it is slightly more difficult to use than Windows 7. The main problem is the lack of a Start button. A lesser annoyance is the infernal Charms menu. I turned off all the tiles in my Charms menu, just to avoid any potential bandwidth drain. I think they are stupid, but they can be rather easily avoided by pressing Win+D whenever they pop up. I was pleased to read the Charms menu will be eliminated in Windows 9, and indeed the main reason I purchased Windows 8 was to be able to purchase a low-cost upgrade to Windows 9 when it is released.

In the past, keyboard shortcuts were for power users. The main thing to keep in mind with Windows 8 is that keyboard shortcuts are more useful than ever. I am able to short-circuit most Windows 8 annoyances and design blunders by using keyboard shortcuts. Simply being patient and taking the time to learn the quirks of Eight will suffice to overcome all confusion. The lack of a Start button can be rather easily circumvented by following the simple instructions found here to create something that approximates a Start button. This is not entirely sufficient, but is adequate. I have taken to allowing more icons on my desktop than usual in order to make programs more accessible.

I think that corporations and individuals in general are just following the money. They see a lot of money in mobile gadgets, and so they ignore or redesign their successful existing products to please mobile users. In the process, they annoy their true customer base, those with desktops, the people who tend to do actual work on the computer. I wish that more engineers would head corporations and fewer business managers. What is needed are people who understand how things work, not people who understand how to make money.

I also think mobile gadgets are stupid. Just plain old stupid. The proper place to operate a computer is seated at a desk in front of a very large screen with an optimal input device of one's choice. Staring at a device with a three inch screen and no mouse or keyboard is not my cup of tea. I do not know how anyone can get any real work done on such a gadget. And when one is out in the world, outside of a secure and controlled environment, among strangers and motor vehicles, it is not such a great idea to be staring at a screen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Be Safe on the Internet

Most people don't realize just how dangerous the internet can be, especially to Windows users. Everyone that is not a tech gets a computer virus sooner or later. The typical response is to discard the old computer or put it in the attic and buy a brand new one, an unnecessary waste of money. Where knowledge is lacking, the wallet must compensate.

To all users, I recommend the following. Use Firefox, and do not install any toolbars, but do install the addons AdBlock and NoScript. NoScript requires extra effort on the part of the end user, but the payoff in security is worth it. I do not install NoScript for clients unless specifically asked, because I appreciate the annoyance it can cause. For myself and loved ones, I will always install NoScript and train them how to work with it to have a safer browsing experience. Only scripts that have been specifically greenlighted by the user will be permitted to run. I also teach my users to be extremely skeptical of anything they read on a web site, in particular regarding their computer, but even beyond personal computer security, much of the information one finds on the internet is paid advertising or else people looking to "monetize" (the verb they choose) their web domain.

Also, backup an image of your Windows system to a separate hard drive--built-in Windows functionality available via the Control Panel--it only takes 20-60 gigs of space and will save your bacon in the event of operating system loss. I image my Windows systems every 3-4 months to capture any new program additions or removals. Be aware that backing up the system image is different than a complete backup. Microsoft does not make the differences quite clear to the user, but I discovered the differences through the time-honored method of trial and error. A system image backup captures the operating system and all files needed for Windows operation. A complete backup captures that as well as media files that may be stored on different drives. Everything should be backed up, but the system image is really important, because it allows very fast restoration of Windows in the event of a malware infection.

This is the best advice I can give to Windows users with my 30 years of experience, other than to consider giving Xubuntu a try for light duty such as Internet browsing. I use Xubuntu or SolydX on three different systems and consider it a worthwhile tool. It boots faster than Windows, is free, does not require much in the way of configuration, allows a high degree of customization, and requires very little in the way of system resources. Mine all run fine with 2 gigs of RAM in each box. The limitations of Linux have been described elsewhere on this blog.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bigoted Against China?

DistroWatch expressed their disdain of my rumour-mongering:

I can tell you that my reviews contain only my observations, facts I can gather and my opinions on the experiences I have. I see no reason to consider rumours about which products may or may not include malware without proof. Almost all governments use spy tools and find ways to introduce back doors into operating systems. Those which do not make their own software back doors purchase such tools from companies in other countries. People who point fingers solely at Chinese products and complain about intentional back doors are either ignorant of other governments' actions or simply bigoted. I think it is worth noting that China has been restricting sales of selected closed source products because their government is just as concerned about American technologies as American organizations are concerned about products made in China.


I'm biased against China, because it is a tyranny. Period.

Look, if China puts a backdoor in a Linux distro, and anyone in China talks about it, that blabbermouth is going to prison for a long time. If Distrowatch headquarters itself in China and starts talking trash about the government, then they can experience the tender mercies of Chinese tyranny first-hand. Funny how apologists for China like Distrowatch are careful to locate their offices and their families outside of tyrannical regions, while publishing an astonishingly all-positive review of a Chinese distro--the most positive review I've yet read in Distrowatch--for some as-yet undisclo$ed rea$on. I'm bluffing, of course--I don't actually know where the Distrowatchers are located. But if they call my bluff and declare themselves to be located in China, then that would be interesting.

Contrast China with the U.S. of A. If our NSA puts a backdoor in a Linux distro, and anyone in the U.S. talks about it, the blabbermouth is going to be featured in the media and earn a lot of money and recognition and career advancement for doing so. As for Eric Snowden, he signed a contract of non-disclosure, from what I understand, and so the Obama Administration is essentially pursuing him for violation of his contract. I don't approve of the Obama Administration's hunt for Eric Snowden. I believe that Eric Snowden did the right thing in principle, if not in execution. But in the U.S., we have people who do the right thing. A conscience is a very American trait.

So, yeah, I'm against tyranny, and for free speech. I am biased in the sense that I favor good over evil. And I do believe that such things exist--that there is a definite good and a definite evil that characterize the actions of human beings. And I think that choosing good matters. I have explained why many times in this space and will continue to do so.

Ignorant? I rather think DistroWatch pretends to be ignorant--of history, politics, current affairs--whether they are so or not. But perhaps they understand certain other matter$ well enough. I really doubt Distrowatch is as mind-numbingly naive as they pretend to be. Breezing by China's tyranny with the "all governments use spy tools" line just won't cut it with anyone that has any kind of education, but might deceive a certain percentage of geeks that only know computers and nothing else. Perhaps China calculates that even a tiny 1-5% penetration into the Linux market will help with its cyberattacks.

Distrowatch should go have a chat with some of the bloggers busting rocks in China's labor camps who dared post unfavorable reviews of the government. Then they can decide for themselves whether all nations really are the same. Trust China for your software? Why not trust them with all of your personal and private data, and see where that gets you? Because if China writes your software, then China gets your information. I refuse to believe that bonafide software engineers, developers, technicians, whatever they are, that have been in this business and writing about this business for years on end cannot understand this extremely simple and obvious concept. There has to be another motive lurking about in the shadows other than "all governments engage in spying, so hey, what's the biggie?"

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Upgrade from Netrunner 14.04 to Windows 95?

I really need to upgrade from Netrunner 14.04. Everytime I try to edit a text file from within FileZilla, Netrunner goes haywire. The operating system cannot find Jedit. I have to drop to a command line, chdir to the correct directory, and enter "sudo jedit [ name of text file ]. What's the point of having a GUI desktop if I have to use the command line to load a text editor? None at all.

"Primitive" doesn't even begin to express my feelings here. I don't know what audience Neanderthal is designed for, but it certainly wasn't designed for anyone that needs to get work done.

The screenshot below illustrates what I call the "KDE Stupidity". There is no option for setting any default text editor in the operating system, because KDE is philosophically opposed to people getting actual work done.What does the dropdown menu display? Why, nothing, of course. There are no text editors available, according to Netrunner, despite Kate, LibreOffice and Jedit being installed on the system. A more schizophrenic operating system I never hope to see.



I did find "File Associations" in the Settings, but although it seems promising, it just doesn't work; the text editor is not known to FileZilla. Editors are listed, but the paths to those editors are not passed on to an application such as FileZilla, perhaps because FileZilla is a non-KDE app.  There is only one way to edit a text file from FileZilla when Neanderthal rules the roost, and that is to drop to a command line, chdir to the right location on the drive, and sudo jedit [ name of text file ]. And everytime I have to do that, I rue the day I ever installed Neanderthal on my machine, and go hunting on Ebay for install disks for Windows.

In Windows, editing a text file takes all of one second. I right-click on the file, load Notepad++, and I'm there. What did I, the user, have to do in order to set up this miraculous convenience? Why, absolutely nothing, other than install Notepad++. With Neanderthal, editing a text file is a complete nightmare. The operating system simply is not designed for any kind of useful work at all besides, I suppose, surfing the Net, hence the name.

I don't honestly know what KDE has been working on the past twenty years other than screensavers and desktop effects. It would be nice to have a text editor available to edit text files without having to drop to the command line. Perhaps that feature will be available in KDE by 2015?

Update: I bought a copy of Windows 8 Pro today, although Windows 95 would have been a dramatic improvement. I can't think of a better use of $100 that to be able to edit a text file whenever and wherever I please and not have to think twice about it.

Netrunner, your days are numbered. I'm going to format c:\ and get rid of the blasted thing once and for all. No more "uh, I dunno where your text editor is, go run and find it." No more of Muon's infamous "Enter your password to update your system. Okay, you entered the right password, but I still won't let you update, because I've got a bug. Thank you for helping test this alpha-ware software." No more "can't install such-and-such because it's not compatible." No more "Oops, your desktop crashed. Were you wondering why Firefox froze, and the keyboard and mouse were unresponsive? Well, that's why." No more "you cannot use the Netrunner forum and get help with technical issues, even though you did register, because the Netrunner forum registration is broken, just like Kubuntu's." No more, "Oh, were you searching for that .htaccess the past ten minutes and wondering why you couldn't find it? It's because I decided to hide it from you! Hee hee!"

As for text editors, KDE installs Kate by default and seems to prefer it, but even Kate is not accessible to FileZilla. I could possibly make do with Kate, if it would just load for once after a right-click. But Kate is not a programmer's text editor. Kate is cute, I'll grant you, but Jedit is a real programmer's text editor. Jedit is what I use when I want to get things done. Jedit is the Notepad++ to Kate's Notepad. When KDE has Jedit installed and working in all apps, including FileZilla, then it will have arrived. It will be a civilized operating system. Until then, KDE is not ready for prime-time, and sorry, but I just don't have time enough in my day to help alpha-test it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Good for Target

I admit to being a little surprised that Target came out for gay marriage. I had considered boycotting them a while back when there was news that they had contributed money to some kind of anti-gay organization, but in the end concluded that Wal-Mart was no better and probably worse, and besides, Target seems a little bit nicer or cleaner, somehow.

Good for Target. I think it just shows they're smart. Not a terribly courageous gesture in this day and age, but smart enough.

I never did understand conservative opposition to gay marriage. Marriage is a conservative value. It may be the most conservative value of all values. In the past, I think some right-wingers opposed gay marriage in a knee-jerk reaction without really thinking about the idea very much. Gay marriage represents the ultimate in conformity and assimilation and brings gays "into the fold." I don't see how anyone could be opposed to that unless they're just blinded by a negative attitude.

Big Ag Strikes Again--This Time, Toledo

Mother Jones, one of the few good sources of news in the U.S., has a great article on why Toledo is battling toxins in its water supply. And no, the toxins aren't Toledo's fault.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Four Things I Hate about Linux

1. Hidden files. Why? If the file merits existence, it should be seen by the user. Many hidden files, such as .htaccess, contain critical configuration settings that must be modified to get things to work. Just stop it with the hidden files. Probably fifty million man-hours around the world have been lost because some developer thought it was wise to hide files from the user. This is anti-social sadism on the part of developers.

2. This infernal pop-up which arises in every Linux program. Trying to edit a text file from within a program like Filezilla is impossible. Instead, one must drop to the command prompt, because the Linux GUI is useless. Even if one does, somehow, track down the location of the text editor using the Browse button, Linux permissions will not allow the saving of the text file. Potential time lost? 5 - 10 minutes per attempt to edit a file. In Windows, I can load a text file from any program using Notepad++, and it takes me approximately one second to do so. Why is Linux retarded?


 3. Networking in Linux. I hate networking above all other things. But Samba is a program that is confusing in the extreme. It is designed for a server, which means it is about a trillion times more complicated than necessary for a home network. What do all the settings mean? Why do I need or want to enter a password to access a directory on a networked computer at my own home? Why is everything so slow on the network? Why isn't there some kind of GUI? Over the years, I cobbled together a configuration file for Samba that I use in every Linux distro. I spent many hours sweating over that thing, trying to figure out what it all means, but I still don't understand half of  it. I don't envy the new user to Linux that has to figure out home networking for the first time.

4. Muon. I don't like the Kubuntu Software Updater or the Kubuntu Software Manager. I can't find the programs I want in them, for one thing. In keeping with the general Linux philosophy, the program I want are "hidden". I can find the programs I want in Synaptic, but not in Kubuntu's programs. As for Muon Software Updater, it's buggy. It used to be a lot buggier, but it still has strange problems. Synaptic just works all the time, on the other hand.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Chrome Faster than Firefox? Horsefeathers!

I call horsefeathers on the Internet for all the claims that Google Chrome is faster than Mozilla Firefox.


Horsefeathers, horsefeathers, h o r s e f e a t h e r s !


Maybe Chrome is faster when watching videos. But I don't watch videos and don't give a monkey's tail about YouTube.

Firefox is fast where it counts--web sites that I must use to get work done. And it uses far less memory. Chrome opens up a new instance for every page, which makes about as much sense as paying a hundred dollars for a pack of gum. So not only is Firefox faster, but the system as a whole runs faster when the user has enough sense to steer clear of Chrome. More memory equates to a more responsive user experience on any properly configured operating system.

I used Chrome for a month at work. Then I switched over to the latest version of Firefox. The difference was like night and day. Firefox was faster all the time. The only tweaks I made were installing the AdBlock add-on and expanding Firefox's cache from the rather conservative 350-odd mb to 1 GB.

I really don't understand all the buzz about Chrome, unless Google has bought a lot of positive buzz, which seems likely to me.

I write my blog purely for pleasure--to vent and call horsefeathers--and receive no payment from anyone. Even Google won't pay me for ads due to some weird technical glitch on their end, so I'm completely unremunerated.

But the mainstream media is presumably in the game to make a profit somehow or another. Whenever I read something that sounds peculiar to me, the very first thing I think about is how much money changed hands for that article to appear on a popular web site, and who is it that wants to shape public opinion, and why.

Friday, August 1, 2014

How Much Did Hamas pay for the Telegraph?

I read the Telegraph the other day, and it sounded like a propaganda organ for Hamas. I wonder how much money they are taking from Iran?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How much does a positive review cost?

How much did the tyrants in China pay for all the positive reviews that Deepin has received in the Linux press--reviews that completely miss the main point, that Deepin was developed by a fascist tyranny for a reason that has not yet been revealed.

Hint: the reason probably has to do with using the personal computers of unsuspecting nerds around the world to steal passwords, information, bandwidth, and computing power.

I watched a BBC Storyville documentary the other day called "China's Bleak House," that reveals how China treats the poor. Those poor people that dare to complain about their treatment by corrupt officials are beaten, tortured, dispossessed of whatever meager possessions they have, separated from their families, witness their families getting beaten, and have all manner of ill visited upon their heads for merely asking for justice.

It was a depressing show, and I tuned out late in the show when a peasant woman was pushed in front of a train by goons. The police did not bother investigating her murder, and they did not even bother cleaning up the body parts. Her friends walked along the tracks the next day and found parts of her jaw bone, skull, and even a large portion of her hand. This illustrates what I think about China. It may have pilfered a lot of our technology and stolen our jobs, but the country remains tyrannical and does not give a damn about its working class. It is one of the worst places in the world to work.

I think Westerners that install things like Deepin on their computers have no knowledge of world affairs or history.

However, there are a lot of Westerners that would gladly buy their food from China and absorb all manner of heavy metals and carcinogens into their bodies because they think all countries are equal. Good luck with that. For my part, I think I will buy my food from local farmers and get my software from people that live in democratic lands where people can provide feedback without worrying about the police coming a-knocking on their door.


Deepin?

I'm surprised none of the reviews I've read about Deepin, including at Distrowatch, make any bones about Deepin being developed in China. You know, the same country that has been hacking Western corporations, governments and private citizens for years. China has about a million reasons to want to push a Linux distro, and none of them are benevolent. In Distrowatch's interview with a developer, I read that Deepin has 30 developers. Actually I thought there would be more, given that the Red Army is actively engaged in computer hacking. I would not touch a Chinese distro. Lose the illusion! China is a tyranny; there is no free speech, no real justice system and the government does whatever the heck it wants to do, whenever the heck it wants to do it. No matter how many positive reviews Deepin buys for cheap in the online press, the fact remains it derives from a highly suspect source.

Hamas and Its Tunnels

Instead of building hospitals or trying to improve the economy, Hamas builds tunnels to murder and kidnap civilians. The responsibility for the current conflict is all on the side of Hamas. No country in the world would accept terrorists pouring across the border through secret underground tunnels.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Here's for Linux Mint XFCE

One thing I like in Linux Mint Xfce and that I don't see in Netrunner KDE is the ability to right-click a file, choose a program to open it, and then teach the desktop to always use that program in the future. With Netrunner, it's an ongoing battle to have it use Jedit to open up .sql, .html, .shtml. Netrunner wants to always use Kate, which is extremely limited and has a lot of problems dealing with plain text files. I cannot even open, as root, using Jedit, a text file at all in Dolphin and have given up on what should be an elementary procedure that even Windows 3.1 was capable of managing.

What I have had to do in Netrunner as a workaround is drop to the terminal in the directory with my .sql file and enter sudo jedit suchandsuch.sql each and every time I need to edit the file. That annoyance is enough to make me not want to use Netrunner in the future, and combined with KDE's propensity to freeze, then reboot the desktop for no apparent reason makes me not want to choose KDE in the future as a desktop. I think I will stick with good, old, tried-and-true XFCE, Linux Mint edition, thank you very much.

It is impossible to register for Netrunner's forum, so raising the issue there is a no-go.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vandals in Paris

The vandals in Paris that torched Jewish businesses should be prosecuted for hate crimes. Perhaps France does not understand the meaning of the rule of law. If mob violence is to rule, then what is the point of having a government at all?

The only reason that some people, especially in Europe, go on against Israel is not because of ethics, but because their hearts are cold and their minds are blank, and they're playing the game of hopping on the bandwagon with the apparently popular choice.
 
A country such as Israel has every right to defend itself against rocket attacks. There is not a country in the world that would turn a blind eye if rockets were pouring in across their border and terrorists were creeping out of underground tunnels and murdering teenagers. Nations go to war for far less. Building underground tunnels into a neighboring nation constitutes a violation of border. Hamas invaded Israel. Period. End of story.

It would be a different matter, aye, if Israel launched a war unprovoked. Some people live in an alternate universe where they pretend that is the case. Some people don't care what the facts are. There are a lot of people with tribal loyalties that will just hurrah for their team no matter what their team is doing.

What needs to happen for peace is that Hamas needs to stop pursuing violence as a means to an end. They need to disarm and engage the Israelis in sincere negotiations in good faith--and, yes, give even more than they think they should. They need to show themselves as bigger than their enemy thinks they are.

As long as they remain small-minded and intent upon perpetuating a cycle of hate and violence, then hate and violence is all they will ever get, even if it persists for ten thousand years.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Way to Report War

I don't like hearing about numbers of Palestinians killed and numbers of Israelis killed. The way to report on war is in totals--the total number of human beings killed. They are the same and genetically not very different.

The reason that the war persists is that Iran and Hamas continue to refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist. There is no point dwelling in the 1940s and continuing a generations-old conflict over what happened before most people were even born. Israel is a civilized state that operates in a rational manner and by rules and procedures. Hamas is nothing but a gang of thugs addicted to the bribes given them by Iran.


Hamas is like a flea infection in a big woolly dog. Periodically, the dog has to be given a thorough flea bath to kill the fleas. The flea bath is very unpleasant. The dog doesn't like it and complains, but it's necessary, because otherwise the fleas sneak out and kill human beings. The dog is not intelligent enough to remove the fleas on its own and needs help to do so.

CNN has a good essay exposing Hamas and its culture of lies, stupidity and cowardice. It is not a culture worth preserving.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Putin's Russia Sucks

Putin is an idiot, and Putin's Russia sucks.

Shooting down an airliner for no reason is the capstone on Putin's life and career as a thug.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

KDE Likes to Crash

One of the rude bugs of KDE is that it likes to crash when I'm browsing the Internet. Firefox will suddenly freeze for a solid minute, after which Netrunner throws up an error message saying, "The KDE desktop had to be restarted because the graphic environment was reset." That is very annoying, and it's something I never experienced in Xubuntu.

I turned off most desktop effects and will continue paring them down to zero if the bug persists.

Right at the moment, I'm busy hunting for the option that will let me set up keyboard shortcuts. KDE hides this away for an unknown reason. In Xubuntu, I found the option in about a minute. I'm still searching in KDE's wilderness that they call a Settings Manager...

Update  the answer to keyboard shortcuts in KDE is here and, compared to Xubuntu, it's ridiculously complicated. I'm beginning to think that XFCE is much more advanced than KDE. The supposed advantage to KDE is the bells and whistles, but if they cause the desktop applications to freeze at random intervals, then that is not of much use to anyone at all. Reliability is the most important factor in a desktop, bar none. I would rather go with XFCE being 99.9% reliable than with KDE being 99.89% reliable, because that .01% error rate is going to cause a lot of irritation in the long run.

Update # 2 I think I found the answer after about a half hour's Googling. Settings | Shortcuts | Custom Shortcuts actually allows entering in a simple command such as /sbin/shutdown -P now, which after doing a sudo chmod u+s /sbin/shutdown works like a charm. I suppose, in retrospect, the shortcut manager was rather obvious, but I don't find Netrunner's organization of settings obvious at all. What precisely is the difference between the categories "Hardware" and "System"? Actually, nothing. Hardware is the system, and the system is the hardware. Advanced | Other just seems strange. I rather like Windows' way of listing everything when one selects the traditional view of Control Panel. Sure, it's a long list, but it is organized alphabetically, and once one has looked it over a couple times, one can find things quickly. I really don't like the categories in Netrunner's System Settings, because they are unintuitive and not helpful. Xubuntu's settings could use some tweaking too, but they are light-years ahead of Netrunner in terms of ease-of-use. Whoever designed Xubuntu's settings understands. He just understands.

I'll continue using KDE. Perhaps it is unfair to hold it to the same reliability standard as Windows 7. Microsoft, after all, has legions of full-time programmers and testers. I really like Netrunner overall, at least when my browser isn't freezing up on me.

However, next time I'm in the market for a new desktop, I think I'll pass on buggy KDE and go with tried-and-true XFCE. I like a desktop most of all that just works.

Grobbing Around

The Grob is particularly effective against the English. Throws the Englishman for a loopity-loop-de-loop.

[Event "Live Chess"]
[White "anon"]
[Black "igor"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "1451"]
[BlackElo "1354"]
[TimeControl "12|0"]
[Termination "igor won by checkmate"]

1.c4 g5 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.d4 g4 4.e4 d6 5.Nge2 Nf6 6.Ng3 h5 7.Be2 Nbd7 8.Nf5 Rg8 9.Nxg7+ Rxg7 10.O-O c5
 11.d5 Ne5 12.Bg5 Nh7 13.Bh4 Ng5 14.f4 gxf3 15.Bxf3 Ngxf3+ 16.Rxf3 Bg4 17.Qa4+ Bd7 18.Qd1 Nxf3+ 19.Qxf3 Bg4 20.Qf2 Bh3
 21.Bg3 h4 22.gxh3 hxg3 23.hxg3 Qd7 24.g4 O-O-O 25.Kh2 Rh8 26.Rg1 Rxg4 27.Ne2 Rxe4 28.Rg3 Rxc4 29.Qxf7 Rc2 30.Rg8+ Rxg8
 31.Qxg8+ Kc7 32.Qg2 Qb5 33.Nc3 Rxg2+ 34.Kxg2 Qxb2+ 35.Kg3 Qxc3+ 36.Kg4 Qe5 37.h4 c4 38.h5 c3 39.h6 c2 40.h7 c1=Q
 41.h8=Q Qxh8 42.Kg3 Qe5+ 43.Kf3 Qce3+ 44.Kg2 Q5g3+ 45.Kf1 Qef2# 0-1

How to Complain about the USPS

As the United States Postal Service employs many thieves and lowlifes, there is no guarantee that complaining will get one anywhere. However, this site offers information on how to complain against the government-run monopoly when it does its usual bit of stealing, lying and obfuscating.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Netrunner's Closed Forum

Another thing Netrunner has in common with Kubuntu is that it does not have an accessible forum. Registering for that thing is an ordeal, if it is at all possible. I solved all of their little puzzles to prove I'm human, clicked on the email verification, logged in, and was not logged in. No error message--nothing. Their forum is broken, just like Kubuntu's was when I tried it a year ago. I tried Netrunner's forum about six times without any luck. I don't really need the forum, anyway. I was just trying to register to praise the design. Sometimes I err on the side of over-enthusiasm. Perhaps a bit of distance is a good thing.

Linux distros that have functional forums include: SolydXK, PCLinuxOS, Linux Mint, and Ubuntu.

Linux distros that have broken forums include Kubuntu and Netrunner.

If one considers a functional forum to be helpful from time to time, then that will have an impact on the choice of distro. For now, I'm willing to go without, because Netrunner is similar enough to Ubuntu that I can just use Google to answer questions I may have. If I ever run into any kind of difficulty, however, then I'm thinking that Linux Mint KDE might be a good choice for the future.

Netrunner 14.04 is a Nice Strong Cup of Awesome

I haven't the time to compose a proper review, but just a quick note that Netrunner "Frontier" 14.04, 64-bit Kubuntu edition, is out of this world. I thought I'd be tweaking for hours to get the desktop nice and comfortable, but no. Netrunner is a distro that knows what users want and delivers it to them with a nice pretty bow on top.

If you want to check out a modern operating system outside of Microsoft's realm, then be sure to torrent a copy of Netrunner.

I haven't tried the Rolling Release and have no plans to do so--Manjaro seems Greek to me--but I can definitely vouch for the Frontier edition.

KDE is looking mighty good these days on an Intel Haswell Celeron G1820.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Current Thoughts about Linux

Ubuntu should be rocky the next few years as Canonical rolls out Mir. I think that's why Linux Mint is avoiding Canonical's non-LTS releases. I don't know what I'm going to do with my Xubuntu 14.04 rigs. Probably in a year or so, I will feel the need to switch distros.

Xubuntu 14.04 is great, but Xubuntu's destiny is dependent upon Ubuntu and the choices that Canonical makes.

I've found SolydX to be fast, lean, and reliable. I may switch over to SolydX in the future.

Xfce has always given me far fewer problems than KDE and that is the main reason I use it. It seems to me that KDE is evolving at a fast and furious pace all the time, and that the desktop never settles down into a stable state. It's radioactive. There is something to be said for conservatism, for stability and predictability. Basically, XFCE does everything I want it to do. It could be a little bit nicer here and there, but I turn on the computer to run applications, not to stare at a desktop. The desktop is a mere conveyance, a road leading to Thunderbird, Firefox, Skype and other tools. The desktop should be reliable first of all and be easy to update.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Liberation

Retirement from the dating game and everything that goes along with is pleasing to me, particularly when I observe the shenanigans that others get up to.

I kissed a lot of frogs before I found my Prince.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Time to Bury Jedit

I buried Jedit today, because the blessed text editor has not been updated in years. I cannot copy and paste text from Jedit to another application without jumping through hoops. I always forget what cryptic command is required. In every other application written in the last ten years, a simple ctrl-C and ctrl-V suffices, but not in Jedit. For that reason, I uninstalled the program and will use the far more advanced Mousepad instead. Mousepad has the capability of copying and pasting without difficulty.

I Have Fixed the Two Desktop Problem in Dungeon Crawl

Ever since I connected two monitors to my workhorse computer, which runs Xubuntu 14.04, I've had difficult playing Crawl, because it wants to span both desktops, placing the center between the screens. Playable, perhaps, but most untidy and not something I can tolerate. In my limited spare time, I have looked high and low for a workaround. Today, I found one. The solution will be found in my updated script file for Linux users.

Update: I found that wmctrl doesn't really work as well as I thought at first. While crawl will confine itself to one screen, the screen is then messed up. The player stats are missing and a lot of textual information gets truncated.

I found an even simpler solution in modifying init.txt in /usr/share/crawl/setting:

### Note: setting window, map or font sizes to '0' implies auto-sizing.
 tile_full_screen      = false
#The resolution on one of my monitors is 1680 x 1080
#Crawl likes to bleed into the next monitor if I set width to 1680
 tile_window_width     = 1670
 tile_window_height    = 1040

Friday, June 6, 2014

Consider all the Options

Most users use Windows merely due to marketing and advertising and the simple fact it is everywhere--in stores, in the media, and on their friends' computers. To climb a tree and look beyond one's backyard into the wider world and see what else is out there requires effort. Not much effort, I'll grant you, but effort. Those who like to consider all the options, and not just the most popular ones, try Linux. Log onto any of hundreds of Linux-oriented web sites to begin the ride. Today, I would recommend trying out Linux Mint Cinnamon, version 17 LTS.

One can't really go wrong with the Linux Mint brand, and it's a good basis to start with. I personally use Xubuntu and SolydX, which are also easy to use, but Linux Mint may be a little bit gentler for beginners in some ways. For instance, Linux Mint has a thriving, well-populated and well-moderated online forum, while Xubuntu defers to Ubuntu's forum. Linux Mint also has the beginner and ease-of-use in mind. I do like SolydX as well, but having to explain updates might make me sound a bit long-winded, and one may be more likely to encounter minor difficulties in that scenario. I have the impression that Linux Mint receives more end-user testing, because the testing process of Ubuntu is augmented by the testing process of Linux Mint's team. Testing minimizes the probability of problems, and whatever problems do arise are probably already known and have workarounds or solutions.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Silk Slippers

To walk in silk slippers suits me. I only wish to get where I am going without attracting unwelcome attention. I keep my life simple, because my work is extremely complicated. If life were complicated also, then how could I be expected to focus upon complicated tasks and complete them in a satisfactory manner and on time?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Nice Guy

There's nothing wrong with having a reputation for being a nice guy. Some people think it is without value. Some people prefer to boast or use humor or sarcasm. I think that the brand of nice guy is easier to maintain and more effective in the long run. Perhaps it just suits my nature more than the alternatives. The corollary to this rule is that one must be assertive about one's needs and desires in order to achieve them. There is such a thing as being too nice. There is also the danger of people taking advantage of one's good nature. I've become pretty good about detecting cheaters. About the only people that can deceive now are those that have become close to me for one reason or another. They can deceive me, but only because I have allowed them into an inner circle of trusted people. If they do deceive me, they will only do so once. My memory is long and precise in such matters.

Hurricane Season

Remember those huge computers that scientists in white lab coats operated in 1950s and 1960s-era science fiction movies? I dreamt one was in my front yard, and I was trying to understand how to use it, because a hurricane was coming, and the contraption could predict the hurricane's location and severity. When I awoke, I knew exactly what the dream was about. It was obvious to me. Hurricane season, indeed. I only hope that I can sleuth the system in time to deal with the weather.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Bill Maher & Richard Dawkins

I'm not a big fan of Bill Maher. He had Richard Dawkins on his show and could think of nothing better to talk about than Islam. I know enough about Richard Dawkins to know that there are a lot of other subjects, more interesting, more stimulating and more intellectual to talk about than the state of Islamic fundamentalism in the world. Why beat a dead horse? At least Jon Stewart got a little deeper on the Daily Show when he had Dawkins. Bill Maher likes to flog pet subjects to death. I suspect he likes to pose as the liberal that is "standing tall" against America's enemies. In other words, he is playing to the same audience that tunes into FOX news.

The only people who don't like Dawkins are the ones that have never read his books and have only heard of him second-hand.

If Only I Had a Raw Computer

None of my many computers are raw, and more's the pity. Each of them are fully configured with a stable Linux-based operating system. As a distro-hopper, this makes me feel glum. Why can't I hate one of my operating systems anymore? That's the problem with leaving Windows. There's nothing to hate anymore.

Xubuntu is fine. SolydX is good. Those are the only two Linux distributions I use. Their GUI environment, XFCE, is clean, fast, flexible, and customizable, and that's all I want in a desktop GUI.

I'd like to try out Linux Mint Debian Edition Cinnamon, but I don't have a raw computer and can't justify starting all over again. There's an old law I abide by. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I like to leave well enough alone. I've done all the learning I want to do in regard to Linux, and to be honest, there really wasn't much I had to learn. Linux is a lot easier for the end user nowadays than it ever was in the past. I think that anyone that can handle Windows will find Linux to be, if anything, easier to use, mainly because all software comes from one source, and device drivers are installed automatically. If all software comes from one source, then the risk of malware is reduced dramatically. It's too bad that Windows never enjoyed the awesomeness of the software repository, which in my opinion is the greatest feature in Linux.

Why Cinnamon? Just because I miss Linux Mint. I really like Linux Mint's style, and it's hard to put my finger on the reason why, but perhaps the update process has something to do with it. Updating is very important, and not all Linux distros really have that process fully optimized. Some Linux distros have not put enough effort into streamlining the update process. The Debian-based editions are semi-rolling releases which are upgradable into perpetuity at least in theory. Now the Ubuntu-based editions of Linux Mint do suffer from the defect of not being upgradable. A complete reinstall is still required apparently with each new version. Xubuntu requires no such thing, so I don't know what the deal is here, but this is part of the reason I prefer to stay with Xubuntu for the time being, although I have noticed bugs popping up lately when I am doing nothing more exciting than using Firefox or Thunar. If the amount of bugs in Xubuntu reaches a certain level of annoyance, then one weekend when I feel particularly energetic, I will jump ship for LMDE Cinnamon.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Death

Death can be a useful device. The worst that can happen, after all, is death. If one accepts and fully embraces the possibility of dying, to the extent that is possible, then what more is there to fear? Of course, to be fearless, yet not foolhardy, is good, because courage allows one to seize opportunities and do what is necessary in the moment. Courage is the stuff of heroes. Should one be afraid of standing up in front of an audience of ten thousand and giving a speech? Look out into the sea of eyes and imagine them a mere two hundred years from now. Imagine empty eye sockets, skulls, skeletons, because they will all die, as will you. Life is just a brief moment. One might as well weave a good story rather than a bad one. Who wants to watch a bad show, let alone perform in one?

The thought of being afraid becomes preposterous and even amusing in comparison to the absolute certainty of death. Therefore I find death useful as a reminder and a guide in life. I like to go for walks in cemeteries and read the names and dates and mottoes on tombstones and imagine the people that were here before me. I like to carry death around with me, a little shadow imp perched upon my shoulder, scythe in hand, as a reminder of what matters, to help in distinguishing what does not matter. What does not matter is so much of the nonsense in ordinary life that spins our wheels. We are temporary, here for just a moment, and then we are gone, and it is as if we never were. I am not really sure what can be considered important in the cosmic sense. Perhaps principles are important. Decisions are important. At least to us they are important, to our society, and perhaps they are also important to those who watch and listen.
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions