Category Archives: Uncategorized

In-house updates: Software page changes

I made a huge change to the Software page, inverting the entire structure and including not just the larger applications that I use, but also some lesser tools that I keep on hand.

It’s something of a watershed moment, since I feel like it’s time I acknowledge I spend more time at the console than I do in a graphical environment. For the past year or so, perhaps longer, I’ve populated that page with mostly graphical applications, and let the terminal equivalents ride at the bottom.

But it’s a new year and rather than keep pointing people at this page when I want to show the programs I actually use, over the programs I just suggest, I redrew the entire thing and put those things at the top. Console first, then graphical, and with much less space given to the latter.

The downside is that the page is considerably larger than it was yesterday. Including everything I have installed means there needed to be a brief synopsis of what it was and why it was useful. Quite literally I used the output of prt-get listinst, trimmed out core utilities and libraries, and went to work with what was left.

So if you’re using Firefox on a 56K line be forewarned: There’s a giant-sized page in place there now. Of course, if you’re using elinks at 120Mhz on a 54g wireless connection (like me), you’ll hardly notice a difference. ;)

I think they’re all gone

It took me longer than I expected, but I think I have trimmed out all the image tags that link back to, and either replaced or gutted images from posts that previously piped ads into here. Three years of more-or-less daily posting, and at an average of around one image uploaded for every two or three posts I made, and I think you can probably guess about how many images that involves.

It might also explain why posts even as new as a few months ago were popping up as ads. The bandwidth is formidable, and it might just be that they got tired of piping things to me.

The good side of the time it took, is that I also used the opportunity to tighten up some very old posts from the earliest days of this blog. When I started using, there was no tag for source code, and I often used blockquote tags to set off statistics or numbers. This time I polished up things like the dusty old speed tips for Edgy, or some extremely early speed tests of Windows 2000 against Xubuntu.

It’s also interesting to see how things changed over time, but sad to see so much of it disappear. In places where I used ImageShack the pictures are still there, but unfortunately elsewhere they’re gone.

I’ll say it once more, for the last time: I learned my lesson here. I can stomach the extra steps it takes to insert a post with the bloatastic backend, if it means I never have to sift through posts looking for ads again. I’m sad that it took so much time to weed out the pollution, and sad that so much of my early Ubuntu days are imageless. :(

Looking for broken screenshots

I’ve been fighting a running battle with these days, trying to scout out all the images that expired and are being replaced with a giant postcard-sized advertisement for their site. Some of those pages are almost three years old, and if it’s possible, I’d like to either make new screenshots or take out the image tags.

And besides, I’ve been running an ad-free blog for years (unless you count the four or five shameless product endorsements), and I’m not going to start advertising now. (Although the crafty ad feeders keep telling me I could make as much in traffic here as I do in my real-life job. :shock: )

If you see a page of interest that is showing a filler and not a screenshot, please send me a note. I’m in the mood to redecorate, and the first things that need to go are the dead images. Thanks. ;)

Bang the drum slowly

It’s October 26 here now, and I feel obligated to mark the day briefly, in public. To call it an important personal day would be a stretch, but it does bear some significance to me that Yahoo plans to pull the plug on GeoCities today.

Don’t misunderstand me: I am not now and never was so much a GeoCities fan that its passing becomes a heartbreaking event. But when I heard it was shutting down I had to take a moment and check a link that I hadn’t visited in almost a decade.

Yes, it’s shameful but true. A long time ago, when I was still new to these Intarnets, I tried to build a page or two on GeoCities. This was easily 1997 or 1998, and it was never more than a few scratchy HTML files linked with a random image or two. I never went so far as to smatter the page with rotating gif images, or embed midi tunes for my favorite TV shows. It was mostly an experiment, a sandbox, a place to dip my toes and check the water before getting serious.

Lo and behold, those cruddy little pages were still there. They hadn’t seen an update in a decade, and probably hadn’t been seen my any living being in almost as long (spiders don’t count ;) ). It was embarrassing, but nostalgic at the same time.

I should probably pull those files off the servers before they’re deleted, but I don’t remember my password for the account. I looked at the plan to file all those sites away for “eternity,” but honestly, I could care less about my files. They’re a decade old, barely related at all to my life now, and I’d probably just throw them out anyway. Yahoo is doing me a favor, so to speak.

It’s still sad though — like your remembering your first bicycle, or finding an old teddy bear in the closet. Not so dramatic or serious as some other personal milestones, but I’m sure you understand.

Anyway, I’m probably not the only person to look back on GeoCities as an entry point to the 21st century. Maybe this is how future generations will mark their own maturation — by whether or not their first presence on the Web is still accessible, or if it was reset to a string of zeros on some corporate server somewhere. Welcome to the new human empathy.

P.S.: Link? Absolutely not. ;)

Scheduled downtime

It’s been about two and a half years since I moved to Japan, which means it’s about time for me to make a return trip to my own country, visit a relative or two, and perhaps enjoy a few places in between. The agenda includes a few spots around the globe, but being the secretive person that I am, I won’t give up any more information than that. ;)

But more importantly, that’s the reason I probably won’t be posting to this site over the next few weeks. Please don’t take that as some sort of sign that I have abandoned my quest to run Compiz on a Pentium :lol: , but instead that I am taking a short hiatus. I don’t find blogging to be particularly taxing (quite to the contrary: It’s rather effortless, because it’s rather pointless) but with transportation, schedules and other issues to worry about, I am omitting that one extra activity, whenever necessary.

The good news is that the Pentium is coming with me. Yes, it might not have a battery, and it might not be practical for anything but taking notes, and it might weigh a freaking metric ton … but I figured: Why not? It has survived this long, it deserves to go on vacation for once. Goodness knows it probably spent most of its days either at work or on a shelf, and I come from one of those cultures where inanimate objects can, under certain circumstances, be described as possessing a sense of disappointment at their lot in life.

All that is beside the point. When practical, I’ll jot a note and post a snapshot. “Postcards from the Pentium,” will be the coffee table book. ;)

So until later this month. … Cheers, and be kind to one another. :mrgreen:

– K.Mandla

A few on-site changes

I’ve made a few small changes on the blog here, not that any of it is really worth mentioning, except that it might incur other, future changes.

First, foremost and probably saddest, is that I finally dropped Kazehakase off my list of software I endorse. “Endorse” is probably a strong word; “suggest” is probably better.

The rumors were true and whatever progress there was with Kazehakase seems to have tapered off a while ago. The last update was around May of last year, and I couldn’t find a way to see if there was any activity on the mailing lists; the links all appeared dead.

It’s a shame: Kazehakase was one of my favorite lightweight browsers. It did a lot of things Firefox couldn’t do — or at least, couldn’t do without the help of an extension — and had its own unique style. But at the same time, it was fairly easy to learn, quick to configure and had enough options to make it quite flexible.

You can still use it, of course — that’s the great part of open-source software, it’s out there and will be for a long time. And it’s not the only option: NetSurf is fantastic for lightweight machines. There’s Midori, which is WebKit-based and quite good. Dillo2 is an utterly amazing piece of work. uzbl is guaranteed to astound. There are others.

So I don’t cry over Kazehakase. I see it as a chance to look for something new.

The other changes are not so dramatic — I trimmed a few (actually, a lot) of the blogs off the side of this site. Quite a few had gone stale … something which had not gone unnoticed.

Originally I kept those links as a convenience to myself, but over time I find I pick-and-read at random a lot less. In the future I’ll probably allow that list to thin itself out, and stop adding them over time. And to be honest, if you just want to jump from site to site for Linux news and information, there are better sources than my humble home page.

But the offer I’ve made repeatedly in the past still stands: If you think you would like your site listed there I’m more than willing. If it goes stale or deviates too far from “Linux” as its core topic, then I might have to trim it away.

But by all means, let me know. Cheers.

Happy third anniversary

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if it’s an anniversary or a birthday. Whatever you call it, August 2009 marks the end of a third year for this blog, and another month closer to a fourth anniversary for me with Linux.

I don’t have any wisdom to impart or advice to offer — or at least, none that you probably aren’t already aware of, if you’re reading this page at all. If you’re not currently using Linux or some variation thereof, I strongly recommend it. Switching is a life-altering experience. No joke.

And that goes for starting a blog too — the part about not having any wisdom to impart, that is. ;) I only did this because I wanted someplace to take notes for future reference, and it became something gnarled and monstrous. Like a B-grade science fiction movie.

Anyway, this has all been mentioned before, and suffixed with the same thing I say every year. If you visit, I thank you, and if you find something useful, I am pleased. Starting this blog for my own benefit was the obvious thing to do at the time; if that same action has been of benefit to someone else as well … that’s a great bonus.


GFDL 1.3 adopted

A quick note: I’ve reviewed the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.3, and decided it’s acceptable to me. I’ve revised the About page to include the text of the license and references. Some of the downloadable items — like the Ubuntu setup pages, or the older versions — will still be listed as version 1.2, but only because I don’t see the need to adjust and repost all those ancient files. Version 1.2 will do fine.

Any software (and I laugh at the term, considering my programming skills) you find here will still be licensed under the GPL version 3, unless version 2 is listed. Again, I see no need to go through the effort of changing all those licenses to make the jump to v3. Version 2 is acceptable.

If you’re not familiar with the terms of the license, it basically states the narratives and software are free for your use and copying, but that adjustments or adaptations of what I’ve written have to be rereleased under similar terms. Translations, according to GDFL 1.3, are considered adjustments and must likewise reappear under v1.3. For details, please review the terms of the license; if you have questions, please e-mail me directly through the contact form on the About page.

And it’s true: You don’t have to credit me if you use something, but it would make me feel good if you did. :mrgreen:

Trimming the list, again

In the few moments I had this morning, I trimmed away a lot of the blogs on the list at right. If yours was there and it’s not any more, I probably visited it yesterday, saw nothing Linux-related posted in the recent past, and removed it. Let me know if I made a mistake.

If you want your blog or site added, by all means send me a note and I’ll check it out. The standing rule applies though: If you get lazy, or if your blog is more about your cat than Linux, well. … :twisted:

Translate this blog

Thanks to Cedric, for sending me on a short search for translation links. Google’s embedded script tool for translation is, of course, off limits on, like so many other useful and interesting gadgets.

On the other hand, there is a page that describes how to hard-link the sidebar widgets into Google’s translators. If you want to translate out of another language, you’ll want to search-and-replace through the links that are listed there. A little more HTML and you get something like what you see on the right.

No, it’s not technically a widget, but so long as strict HTML is still kosher, I suppose it’ll do. Enjoy. ;)

P.S.: I don’t endorse or suggest relying on mechanical translations, in the case that you’re following instructions on how to set something up. Occasionally even the best translations are a bit … askew.