Sunday, December 13, 2009

First Ubuntu Hour in NC

Our fist one was a roaring success! We had hundreds of people walking through over the course of two hours from 10:30 am until 12:30 pm yesterday. It was absolutely amazing!

But many of them were there for the Crafts Fair that Krankies was hosting that day. The "Mountain People" arrived first. Folks that made the drive down from the Asheville and points south area. Arriving early they grabbed prime seats right beside the coffee condiments section: good choice as anyone fetching custom coffees or their own fixin's had scooch right by us. These "Mountain People" were (should I use real names or IRC nicks, hum, maybe first names only) Amber, Daniel and Jeremy.

Daniel is the closest to my camera and little did he know that his life was in danger.

I arrived fashionably early for an 11:00 am event around 10:45. I would have been there earlier but for the huge crowd I couldn't find a parking place.

My old bud Dewey was already there waiting on his caramel coffee (shudder) chatting with the "Mountain People". Once I got my light roast black (more caffeine that way) I moseyed over and joined the Ubuntu bunch. I met Daniel and Jeremy for the first time; I met Amber at SELF, greeted Dewey and hinted two customers out of their table.

We were just talking away when Adam arrived from Sanford. He reported an hour and a half drive from Sanford and it was very good to meet another person that I'd only known before by an IRC nick.

Daniel and Dewey started hacking away at some kernel mod that would allow hibernation to work better on Dewey's laptop.

We were having a great time. I went and got a refill during a lull from the incredible crowd that was there for the Ubuntu Hour, er Craft Fair. When I came back something had happened to Amber. I'm not sure what happened but she was well attacking Daniel but Dewey was laughing. I missed something....

It was just amazing! Then she calmed down like nothing had happened. Everyone in the joint was looking. I mean hundreds of people just looking to get some good coffee and buy some locally made crafts. Yall, you really have to watch out for this woman. She may have sanity issues, er problems.

Dang, she drove the "Mountain People" to Winston...gosh guys I hope yall made it back home okay!

Seriously we all had a great time getting to know each other face to face instead of just over the internet. It was very good to meet Jeremy and Adam. I've had several "I meant to get there's" and "it was too busy" messages via IRC personal messages and IM's.

I had a great time yesterday and hope to meet some more people next month when we do it again on January 9th, 2010.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ubuntu Hour

Next Saturday, the 12th of December, 2009 we are going to have the first Ubuntu Hour event in North Carolina. It will be held at Krankies Coffee in beautiful downtown Winston-Salem from 11:00 am until noon. I suppose longer if folks hang out longer.

Actually Krankies isn't in a real pretty part of downtown Winston but it is a pretty cool place. Not only do they roast their own coffee beans but they also have an ABC license so beer is available too. 11:00 am might a bit early to have a beer but it is a Saturday.

Look for a post from me about this time next week for a report with photos. It's going to be a smashing success with a couple hundred people in attendance. I'm just kidding about the size, two will be cool but I'm expecting a dozen or so.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Titlebar Rollup

The default for current Gnome is to maximize the window when one double clicks the titlebar which to me seems redundant as there is a maximize button.

Why have two actions do the same thing?

Well with current Gnome in Ubuntu Karmic the behavior of double clicking the title bar of a window is easy to change.

Just go to System > Preferences > Windows and click the drop down menu under Titlebar Action. Select Roll up and close the dialog window.

Now when you double click the title bar the window will roll up. If you are using Compiz you can have some cool animations when the window rolls up.

I find this just as easy to use as minimizing a window, well actually probably a little faster and it looks cool to have a bunch of title bars floating around ;-)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Upstart Trickery

A friend asked about how to get Ubuntu Karmic to skip gdm (gnome display manager) startup on bootup. Removing gdm removes too much due to dependencies.

Scenario: Boot Ubuntu Karmic to a console login; login; type "startx" to start the GUI environment, not necessarily Gnome.

Thus far the only way I've found to do this is by editing /etc/init/gdm.conf. Change the line that reads "stop on runlevel [016]" to "stop on runlevel [0126]". Then reboot the system; just restarting gdm didn't work on my tests.

At this point my test system, which is a Virtual Box installation, boots to a console login as expected. When I issue the "startx" command Gnome starts up as expected _but_ the Ubuntu One client asks for access to the keyring and networking is not started. I'm not so concerned about Ubuntu One asking for keyring access as I am about not having networking up. That is rather trivial if one is comfortable booting to a console login.

If anyone knows of a better way I'd love to hear about it.

This forum post may offer another way but it doesn't take into account that Karmic is using grub2 which means there is no longer a /boot/grub/menu.lst file.

Seeking insight...

Friday, November 13, 2009


Remember those things?

I do. I was cleaning out the closet in the bat cave the other week and ran across a cache of floppies. Most were Debian from my days of "dialup desperation". 40 hours to download and install Debian over dialup.

I digress...among those floppies were two with nice Kodak wrappers.

Ah, some pretty cool old pics! I can't believe I sent these through some regular photo processing place! anyway...

That got me thinking about the camera that took those shots. It is gone. The camera that I've used for several years; broken by my own carelessness; the camera that I have now and the wonderful woman that gave it to me.

Back to thinking, some guy replied to my lug's (google lug) mailing list on a thread regarding ImageMajick. I thought this guy is more gui oriented than ImageMajick likes.

Well why not use gthumb? So I took a bunch of shots of old storage media; floppies, see the title of the post. I took 30-40 shots; what the hell it's digital just delete the ones you don't like. Selected seven from my hours of labor (should have been doing laundry).

See now that one needs deleting. Colors are way off, there is no center of interest...

Oh that's the one I used the tools included in gthumb to shift the colors!

Well the reader is now bored and expecting something just amazingly great. Hum, aw, uhm well gthumb doesn't have a way to write on a photo. I had to use gimp to do this.

But I did open the image in gimp from gthumb. Yep, when I was your age we took 15 floppies to boot up.

Ah man I'm supposed to be somewhere else right the last one is, oh me taking a photo of me. I know calm down everyone; sorry I didn't mean to start an internet riot.

That's the amazingly great things gthumb can do. well one it can't. It has this option for creating a "Web Album...". Maybe I'll check that out tomorrow...

I'm not really here...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The other Lynx

There is another lynx. It hasn't been around as long as the cat; has been around longer than Lucid Lynx. It is a text based web browser named lynx.

I've used it enough to have my mc set to use "lynx like" navigation.

Here's what lynx looks like on Lynx....

Oh gee, about the same it did in '99 :) BTW, I couldn't search from the field where I have "ubuntu" entered; I had to go down a few fields to just above "Google Search".

So there is a screenshot of lynx running on Lucid Lynx ;-)


Friday, November 6, 2009

Koala is out so of course...

I had to upgrade to the Lynx. Oh gee did I spell that right!? Yes I did.

Seriously there was a session today during the Ubuntu Open Week about running Ubuntu+1. Which is to say running the next release of Ubuntu. To me this is like running Debian unstable; sometimes it's stable sometimes it's not. Actually this is the first time I've tried it with Ubuntu.

I did a mix of command line and gui. First the command line part:

sudo cp /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list.bak

That makes a copy of the current sources list so one can restore it. However if an upgrade goes south it's not all that helpful.

Next is a combination of command line and gui. I have a terminal open so I just type what I want to do. Which is...

sudo gvim /etc/apt/sources.list

That's what *I* want to do. The reader may be more comfortable with another editor; use what you like. I use the gui buttons to find/replace karmic with lucid. Save and exit. Note: a ":x" will save and exit in vim and gvim; one less keystroke than ":wq".

After that save and exit be sure to disable any third party repos. I forgot to do that and it has not caused me any problems yet.

Now make damn sure you want to do this....

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Let that run; I had 256 packages that needed to be upgraded earlier today; I said yes.

Now I'm posting this from a running Lucid Lynx installation. Well yeah it is in Virtual Box but still...

Kinda cool to run it this early. I _do expect it to break as that is the point of a development release.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Touchpad Taps

Touchpad taps have been disabled in Ubuntu Karmic and possibly some other distros based on Debian. Probably Debian as well because my research indicates this has made it into the current Karmic from some changes made to Xorg in Debian and brought into Ubuntu Karmic.

The developers in their great wisdom strike again. Now no offence developers but I hope you are reading all the posts on the Ubuntu Forums, a poll on Brainstorm and bug reports on Launchpad. This end user thinks the choice to disable touchpad taps by default was completely absurd. I hope it gets changed before Karmic is released.

The good news is it's very easy to change the behavior. Just click "System > Preferences > Mouse > Touchpad tab" and click the enable radio button. A screen shot is below...

See, very easy to restore what most folks consider normal reasonable behavior.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Karmic Koala Alpha6

Oh Cool!

I've been testing Karmic Koala on my daily use desktop machine using Virtual Box. And I "upgraded" my ancient (6.75 years) Toshiba laptop when Karmic Koala was at the alpha 5 stage.

I'm disappointed in some of the new artwork. The new icons are good looking but the default colors are just too brown to my eye.

I took a screenshot of the virtual install a couple of days ago.

Karmic Koala Alpha 6karmic

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Grand Parents Rock

I am one.

A Grandfather of four wonderful, challenging, baffling boys.

I use GNU/Linux.

I have used GNU/Linux for about ten years at the time of this writing.

I do not, that is NOT, ask my children for help. Generally I provide help.

This grandfather does not understand the "it is easy enough for my grand" posts to the internet. Oh, sorry intertubes or whatever it is that makes it work...

Yo, codeboy/girl I'm your daddy, er granddaddy. And your kids will one day look at you as sooooo old.

In conclusion I ask that everyone on the internet, intertubes, big pipes, whatever, please stop referring to grandparents of any gender as weaklings in understanding technical challenges.

We grandparents, well some grandparents, are quite capable of using GNU/Linux.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Learning Screencasting

Maybe I should call this part, no.

Part -1

That's negative one. Not even at zero yet ;)

I've tried several screen capture apps on my desktop to capture compiz effects but never tried to do any sort of howto nor anything with audio. Now I'm giving it a go on my laptop; mostly because it displays at 1024 x 768.

I've learned that youtube prefers mpg files over mp4's.

That's take three. Recorded with gtk-recordMyDesktop, converted to mpg from the original ogv file using DeVeDe.

Friday, April 17, 2009

OpenSim on Jaunty

Last night I went to the PLUG meeting held in a local coffee shop.

One fellow there is very interested in SecondLife and in running the OpenSim server. We started looking around the OpenSim site and found the build instructions for Ubuntu 8.04/8.10. I already had some of the packages so I installed what I was missing. Then grabbed the source package from OpenSim. I used the latest stable release not the SVN version.

It took 291 minutes to build OpenSim on this machine. Oh, what's the machine you ask. It's a Toshiba Satellite 1415-S173, new in January 2003, 1.8 Ghz Celeron, 386 M ram with 16 being used for the on board nVidia GeForce4 420 Go running the Jaunty Jackalope release of Ubuntu.

By this time the meeting was breaking up so I went home to continue playing. Besides the SecondLife viewer won't run on this machine.

Once home I continued following the directions on the OpenSim wiki. I copied the example OpenSim.ini.example to OpenSim.ini, read over it, looks okay. Okay here goes...starts up fine and I go through some config steps and I'm off running my own OpenSim server. Very plain jane mind you but running none the less.

More in a bit...this thing put the image way up top when I wanted it here.

Time to wander back to the bat cave (the computer room). I fired up the current stable release of the Second Life viewer for Linux on spinach (my desktop machine also running Jaunty). I used the suggested command lines from the OpenSim wiki. It stumbled, or maybe I stumbled a few times getting logged in but once in I discovered the character I had created, Norman Bates, had a female body. This is the only screenshot I have of the client on spinach. He's a bit unstable at the moment.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Snow Day

I'm sort of testing doing a post with an image.

Well inserting the image was easy enough. But it's not quite where I want it in the post. I'd like my text to start above the image.

This was taken about 6:30 am on the one day it snowed this year. Well snowed to amount to anything.


The firsty on blogspot.
First blog post that is...

Trying to get this to take posts from my other site....