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.


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


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 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.

The Supermind

Everyone is wrapped up in their busy personal world. No one would be an exception to that, because it is the human condition. We have one pair of eyes, two ears, one brain, and so on. How often do we give a thought to what our neighbors experience? How often do we look at the "big picture?" There is a danger in getting tunnel vision, in living too close to the fire that consumes.

I find value in imagining the supermind watching all from a high level. In this respect, she is like the god of my ancestors, but is my own conception, independent of ancestral theology, and what I imagine is only an avatar and not the actual entity. She observes and is amused.

Not all may observe events from a remove. Some have chained themselves to the material world of cause and effect. Some conspire with their captors to remain locked within the material world. Theirs may be an interesting world imbued with drama and meaning. If that is so, perhaps they enjoy this drama much of the time. On the other hand, their world may be depressing and bleak. In such instances, it is most helpful to transcend, to attempt a glimpse, however imperfect, of what the supermind perceives. Some have tried and failed. Some are still trying.
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions