Still Alive and Still Lazy…

Though I have long been away I still live and wheeze. The weeks drag and life goes on.

On the OSS front, I have upgraded to Ubuntu 9.10 and after fixing the mess they made of Pulseaudio in their distribution, I am very happy with it. The tools it gives me rock hard. I just turned some video into a video DVD quickly, cleanly and without error. The same process when in Windows land required $100 paid to Nero, triple the transcoding time, and many wasted discs. DVDStyler is great. I just wish I had found it before Nero had sucked up my cash. It also works in Windows. I have no idea why the Nero program took 90 minutes longer than DVDStyler to transcode, but the improved speed was great. My only issue was that I used text as chapter buttons in my project and it didn’t anti-alias that so I got “jaggies.”

Now I am looking for a good IDE and enough motivation to overcome my fear of C++. Any suggestions world?

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New Software!

I am trying to get back to apartment hunting, but the lure of Google Earth is too great. I just installed version 5.0 on my machine. Before the Ubuntu upgrade to 9.04 I couldn’t get 5.0 to run for more than a few seconds, so I have that to be happy about today.

Ahhh… Ubuntu… not the distro I wanted to use, but it is working.

I come from a Fedora background but Fedora 10 was bad for me. It would run at first and then when it did its first software update it ate my NIC drivers and refused to connect to anything. Sometimes it would segfault when I restarted. Bye bye Fedora, it was fun while it lasted.

I flirted with OpenSuse briefly as well, but after a very pleasant installer experience, I restarted only to find that the well-designed installer had eaten my MBR.

So I tried Ubuntu. It worked immediately, but was lacking a few features I needed. For example, even if you are installing off a LiveCD, what kind of Linux comes without LVM? It took a little CLI work, but I got that working. The community is good, the forums are helpful, and the distro is well-balanced and clean. After a bit of time with vanilla Ubuntu, I switched to the Kubuntu desktop. KDE 4.2 is usable and far better than 3.5 as far as I am concerned.

My Linux excursion has been pleasant this time, and the upgrade from 8.10 to 9.04 went smoothly. The upgrade finally got my Sansa View mp3 player functional with Linux, but the new version of Amarok (my favored music player) has left me cold. Version 2.0 seems to be completely incapable of pushing playlists to the View, and as far as I can tell, to any other player either. My choice words to Amarok’s devs – don’t move to a new version unless you can support features you had on the last one.

Speaking of my Sansa View and Linux, it has some strange behavior when it is plugged in. When I am in KDE and plug it in, it fails to connect for a bit then shuts itself off and restarts. If Amarok is running, it will connect properly. When I am in Gnome and plug it in, it gets properly mounted, but functionality is still a bit strange. I used GEdit to change a playlist I had on the device, but it wouldn’t let me save it as a new file. I could overwrite the old list, but couldn’t create a new one.

Oh well, enough for today. I have more books to sort and old media to destroy. I am thinking of doing a post on hard drive destruction for computer novices, because paranoia isn’t just a mental derangement – it’s a survival trait.

Posted in Bitching, Linux, Moaning, OSS. Comments Off on New Software!

My Testimony…

In my last post, not even an hour ago, I mentioned Firefox and AdBlock. I think I must say more about these wonderful programs.

About Firefox, if you are using Windows and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer you should give Firefox a try. It’s more secure, more customizable, more stylish and let’s face it, all the cool nerds are using it.

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Next we have AdBlock which is an extension for Firefox. Extensions are little programs you can download for Firefox and it’s Mozilla stablemates (I’m also a big fan of Thunderbird) that allow you to extend your program and add whatever features you think your web browser needs. AdBlock removes ads, banners, and can stop some Internet nastiness by blocking some unscrupulous “advertising” companies. I use it on most sites, but I disable it on respectable sites I want to support, like BoingBoing, /., WordPress, and the like. Get yourself some Firefox and install AdBlock – you’ll like it.

If for some reason you can’t use Firefox and AdBlock there is another way on a windows system to stop a lot of ads, but I’ll have to save that for another time.

PS: Can’t install software at work? Same here. Get yourself a nice little USB key and go to You can get a nice version of Firefox and some other really good software there that can run off your thumbdrive without requiring installation.

Posted in OSS, Privacy. Comments Off on My Testimony…