mindstalk: (escher)
My boss apparently figured out the problem with the VMware clone: fakes3 (for faking a local Amazon S3 service) apparently behaves badly if given the local hostname (or just localhost?) rather than an IP address, and I'd probably edited the clones files to use a name because why wouldn't you.

And I tackled my VBox again, and got shared directories working! I'd found a different set of instructions, which worked for manual mount, and then even automount from fstab. Going back, I reproduced the error I'd gotten from the Arch instructions: I'd been using '/vmshare /vmshare' (Window and guest locations, a la VMware FUSE command syntax) when it actually wanted 'vmwshare /vmshare' (short name of the shared directory in VBox, guest location). "Protocol error" is a pretty terrible error message, but I can see now what I was doing wrong.

I also found VBox's Seamless Mode, which I don't quite see the deep point of yet, though it does reclaim screen space from the Windows title bar while still leaving the start/monitor bar at the bottom, but it's allegedly similar to VMware Unity Mode, except Unity says it doesn't support Linux Guests.

So VirtualBox seems strictly better than VMware in features, since it does everything one would want, while VMware doesn't do Unity or (more important to me) touchpad scrolling. OTOH we probably have the VMware clone at least behaving the way we expected it to. Though I'm not sure this was actually tested on it, I think it's a prognosis based on fixing something on the Ubuntu machine.

Also VBox is open source and doesn't charge you money for running more than one VM at once. OTOH we already paid VMware the money.

I haven't tried comparing performance.
mindstalk: (Default)
My Arch VMware still doesn't do touchpad scroll, not that I've tried.

I cloned it for my co-worker, edited the accounts, tested the system, it worked fine. Copied it to the shared hard drive, then to her laptop. And now it has quirky IP address or hostname lookup issues that we can't figure out, such that the boss decided to start over.

With OpenSUSE! He trusted the official VM tools, it didn't work. May have tried Open VM Tools, I stopped paying attention.

Co-worker moved onto Ubuntu, using an image from OS Boxes, which I view as potentially NSA/mafic front, but hey, it's not my IP. That seems to be working, possibly in all ways.

I was inspired to go back to VirtualBox, and started over from scratch. After 40-50 minutes, mostly waiting for packages to download and install, it was ready, with X and XFCE and Firefox. Display resizes, cut and paste works, even scrolling works! Everything... except shared folders; I thought I followed the Arch instructions, but I get a "Protocol Error".


I have continued to realize VMs are cool. I could have a second Arch VM and play with desktop environments without messing up my working one. Or play with Ubuntu and Red Hat without rebooting. Or you could skip "will Linux work on this laptop?", install VBox or QEMU on Windows, then go full screen and ignore Windows almost entirely.
mindstalk: (bujold)
LXDE was happy starting from startx, but it doesn't have a way to configure move-on-focus. Searching about "you can't" and "apply this 100 line XML file somewhere". So I moved on to xfce -- the full thing, not just xfwm. It's not happy starting from startx/.xinitrc, or I'm doing something wrong, but it provides its own startxfce4. It resizes, doesn't crash, and had a single step for turning on the One True Mouse behavior. Was also able to configure my usual X keys (I have some function keys mapped to window raise/lower/minimize). Plus it's supposed to be fairly light weight. So that's where I'm at for now. Haven't explored it much since; if it lets me move my windows around, I'm good. (I'm used twm after all, which pretty much is nothing but that.)

On the downside, touchpad scroll still doesn't work. This may be a VMware problem. I was working on a VirtualBox image, but it didn't go smoothly. First I tried export/import, which didn't seem to work -- frozen boot screen. But when I went to Close it, the proper display flashed up, and I've been able to find that it does boot and have my account. But it's not *usable*. Possibly X would fix that. I also tried a pure install, but after applying some tweak to make console resize, it didn't want to boot at all. I haven't had time to go back and try pure vanilla. And the VMware image I'm working with is getting more and more developed, it may be hard to switch.

I also found a program to make *Windows* use move-on-focus. I should probably tell you what it was, but I don't remember, and the info seems to be only on the office machine. But it's SO useful, at least for my workflow which uses overlapping windows a lot. (Often a full-screened browser or VM (or browser in VM) and some other window I'm taking notes in.)

OTOH I really wish I could make *Windows* raise and lower windows with a key.

New co-worker coming Monday, she'll need a VM too. Rather than re-installing, I simply cloned mine. Easy! And purged my limited personal info on it, a bit more work. And got the system working on it... that was a lot more work, we've got too much hardwiring of local IP address. Which will interfere with putting code in source control too, so we've got a double incentive to fix that.
mindstalk: (CrashMouse)
My new work laptop has Windows 7 Pro at base, which we need at some point, so for Linux we've been trying to put Linux into a VMware Workstation. Since I use Arch, I tried for Arch, even though it's not listed as supported. It's been a fun couple of days. Some of that my own fault: though I did wonder about boot information, I missed the "choose and install bootloader" instructions three times running. Some, well, while Arch does tell you to enable dhcp, you have to click through and read everything; it's easy to think it's up by default.

Then there's VM Tools. Supposedly even VMWare tells you to use "open-vm-tools" rather than what they provide, but a couple webpages said certain features would work with the official tools. But its installation script failed straight out of the ISO, on a clean install. That's never good...

There's a site OSBoxes.org, which provides VMWare and VirtualBox images of various OSes. No idea who they are, and I'd be paranoid about trusting some unknown OS image. OTOH, I did end up downloading a few to see if things would work at all -- Arch CLI, Arch KDE, Ubuntu.

Discovery: don't think I like KDE or Ubuntu's UI, but the latter did have full screen and cut-and-paste between Linux and Windows. The Arch ones didn't seem to, so it didn't seem worth trying to track down a difference in configuration.

One cool thing about VMs is that you get to treat 'machines' as documents. I'd started making copies and snapshots, and when messing around with official VM Tools failed and broke things, I was able to pop back to an instance before that. Woo.

And with that, trying open-vm-tools again *very carefully* and avoiding conflicting paths, I got shared folders working -- even without the auxiliary tool the docs said I would need. Sweet! But fullscreen and pasting still didn't work.

OTOH, by default I use startx and the ancient environment of twm. xfwm4 didn't 'work' either. Finally I tried Cinnamon... the window manager of which promptly crashes. But the session hangs around, and voila! fullscreen and paste! So I guess I'm going to need some sort of full session for this thing, not just a WM.

Also twm was able to take over the apps, and then the Failsafe Desktop or something becomes a window managed by twm. That's just surreal.

LXDE was happier starting from startx, and that's what I've got now.

Still missing: touchpad scrolling, which is a big loss. Hope I can get it...
mindstalk: (12KMap)
My phone (Android 4, CM 11) swipe input is weird when it comes to profanity. So, there are three levels: its first guess for your word, two alternates to the side, and then a list you can bring up. 'suck', 'sucking', 'shit', and 'dick' will never appear in the first two levels, even if I go slowly and letter by letter -- 'shi' turns into 'shot', with 'shirt' and 'shoot' as alternates. Peter thinks it's a probability weight thing; I figure it's hardwired, with a short list of words being simply barred from your being able to input them too quickly (i.e. accidentally.)

But 'fuck', 'fucking', and 'fucker' I can enter quite easily. 'cunt' too. And 'pussy', with a bit of care (it's hard to swipe a double letter.)

Peter thinks it's also probabilities weighted by how you've used the phone, but I use 'suck' and 'sucking' in texts far more than any of the others... I've probably never tried to swipe 'cunt' before.

My thought for a while was that maybe fuck* weren't in the dictionary at all, until I added them, so wouldn't be barred, but I checked my personal word list and nope, they're not there.

So I dunno. Maybe it's more of an "accidentally unprofessional" filter, like words on the edge of acceptability are barred so you don't tell your boss how much something sucks, but the designers figured if you want to go full vulgar you knew what you were doing. Not how I'd do things.... and no, I don't see a profanity filter I might have turned off.

Wait, I'm wrong! I just checked again, and yes, Android Keyboard has a "block offensive words" option which is off, so I probably did that at some point... and I'm *still* not getting 'suck' or 'shit' as choices above the third level.


Totally unrelatedly, I finally have Japanese input working on my laptop! 日本語よ! I'd tried UIM a while back, per the Arch Linux default recommendation, but it didn't work. Then I tried SCIM a few days ago, and it seemed to not work either, but later I found myself typing in Japanese suddenly. Ctrl-Space turns it on, Ctrl-Shift cycles through modes (Anthy [Japanese], Unicode, English/European [which doesn't seem to do anything]. I should look into configuring that, because I need Ctrl-Shift-C and -V to copy and past from/to my Terminator terminal, so there's an annoying conflict there. Still, woo!

Is this more than a toy, given my weak Japanese skills? Slightly: online dictionaries tend to work best with Japanese input, not romaji, so now I can actually use them. And I've started studying it again, so that helps.

today's events

2016-Nov-05, Saturday 15:53
mindstalk: (juggleface)
Crisis! I was going for my measuring cup, and a wine glass fell out of the cabinet and utterly shattered! Oh no! Except, it fell into the large kitchen sink. Total shrapnel containment! Except maybe for one piece on the counter, I don't know if it leapt up there or fell off when I was picking up pieces to put in the trash. But yeah, as far as shattered glass crises go, this was about as mild as it could be.


I'm not experienced or bold with hardware. But I've been worrying about my laptop fan for a while. Partly the temperatures reported by acpi -t[1], partly the knowledge that I'm much better at washing dishes than I am at dusting my household, and between me or my tendency to live on mildly busy streets, the dust piles up amazingly fast. So I randomly decided today to see if I could clean it out a bit. My old set of screwdrivers doesn't have one small enough for laptop screws; fortunately, in cleaning a few months ago, I found another set of screwdrivers I got who-knows-how, which does. Sometimes, hoarding really does pay off.

So I carefully took out and arrayed the screws -- I could have been more careful, put them in a cup, but I trusted my careful habits, mostly correctly in this case -- and eventually got one part of the bottom off, exposing the fan. There wasn't that much dust, actually; either it's piled up in the internals, where I'm not brave enough to go, or the fan actually works. There was some dust on the battery grill, and a lot on the fan grill -- kind of a lot: enough to obscure vision, not so much that I was rolling off felted mats. Then again, I took a hand vacuum to it quickly enough.

Apart from that, meh. Put it all back together, cleaned the table, turned it on, and hey, it still works! *And* it's claiming a much lower temperature than it usually does. Success?

But, we have some screws loose -- literally. Most of the screws are pretty short, but two were long and deeply recessed. And a couple seemed to just fall out of the laptop, too -- one long, one short. I thought I had everything lined up properly, and I don't remember any holes being screwless in the first step, but in the end I was a short screw short, despite supposedly having an extra. I don't think it'll matter, the panel is secured by two other screws (but it's a dust hole!), but, weird. As for the spare long screw, I put it in a coin purse.

[1] Such as they are: it was alternating between 56.5 C and 62.5. And not in the course of operation: one boot would be at 62, the next at 56. Now it's claiming 36.5. So I don't have a lot of faith in the accuracy, but insofar as it's measuring anything at all, that may have improved.
mindstalk: (robot)
most: the pager sequence now goes more, less, most. most's big thing seems to be displaying multiple windows. It's also good on scrolling sideways, but I just found less is too, so I'm not sure there's a difference there. OTOH, I just learned less can scroll sideways.

rlwrap: applies a readline wrapper to interactive programs that don't use readline directly, like ocaml or 'perl -de 1'. If you use rlwrap -m, then ^^ summons an editor on your input.

man 7: there's a whole lots of odd information there.

.inputrc lines for better history:
"\e[A" history-search-backward
"\e[B" history-search-forward
searches (up-arrow) with what you typed so far as a prefix. There's also ^R, which you type first, followed by what you're looking for, and use ^R again to search other matches.

I recall that years ago, zsh searched on prefix. Then for a long time it had gone to only searching on the first word. I finally got the behavior I wanted back, though it's more involved.
(* edit: these lines don't actually work for me. I thought I did but I must have tested in a shell with the other ones already loaded, not in a fresh shell.
autoload -Uz up-line-or-beginning-search down-line-or-beginning-search
zle -N up-line-or-beginning-search
zle -N down-line-or-beginning-search
[[ -n "${key[Up]}" ]] && bindkey "${key[Up]}" up-line-or-beginning-search
[[ -n "${key[Down]}" ]] && bindkey "${key[Down]}" down-line-or-beginning-search

autoload -U history-search-end
zle -N history-beginning-search-backward-end history-search-end
zle -N history-beginning-search-forward-end history-search-end
bindkey "^[[A" history-beginning-search-backward-end
bindkey "^[[B" history-beginning-search-forward-end

I don't know the difference between the two, if anyway. The -end stuff in the second case is to make it move the cursor to the end; otherwise it just leaves it where you left it, which I hate.

zsh tricks:
ls > file1 > file2, or ls > file1 | file 2. Duplicates the output. More compact than messing with tee.

I just spent an embarrassing number of seconds trying to see if "ls | cat | cat" would "duplicate output", before I remembered what piping *does*.

You can set zsh options so tab completion lets you scroll around the choices. My mind is blown. I'm not sure what the minimal set needed is.
setopt auto_menu auto_list
seems like a good starting point. But I'd just re-started the configuration wizard and turned almost everything on and stuff started being cooler.

I played with the shell fish ("friendly interactive shell") again. I'll probably never leave zsh at this point, but fish does lots of neat things out of the box, vs. having to turn them on in zsh via research or going through the startup wizard. I think zsh's completions are more powerful, but it's a close race.

[Edit: hmm, I just found that for ocaml, zsh doesn't provide anything, but fish does. I'd guess fish is doing its parsing of man pages thing, rather than knowing about ocaml from installation.]

kill completions:
phoenix@mindstalk ~/zoot> kill 
1            (systemd)  1430           (bioset)  1985  (systemd-journal)
2           (kthreadd)  1431           (bioset)  1990          (kauditd)
3        (ksoftirqd/0)  1432           (bioset)  2155    (systemd-udevd)
5       (kworker/0:0H)  1466           (bioset)  3048            (crond)
…and 46 more rows

[mindstalk:0] kill 3360
 3360 pts/3    00:00:04 zsh                                                    
18729 pts/3    00:00:00 zsh                                                    
18730 pts/3    00:00:00 ps 

bash (with bash-completion package):
[phoenix@mindstalk zoot]$ kill 
Display all 151 possibilities? (y or n)
1      1422   1474   1499   15636  18739  2      3048   3337   491    779
10     1423   1477   1500   16300  18740  2155   3049   3338   5      780
10445  1424   1480   1501   16972  18741  23548  3050   3353   637    782

(and lots more PIDs).

As you can see, fish and zsh try to give you useful information, or at least a name. zsh seems limited to the tty process, which bash lists all the processes, regardless of whether you can kill them. fish also lists every process. No doubt zsh completion could be configured to do so as well. (I'd actually want just listing all of my processes, not like I can kill root ones.)

Likewise, bash's idea of command option completion is to just list them; the other two shells give descriptions. (What I really learned tonight was that bash does such advanced completion at all.)

sudo !!
A very old simple trick for when you try to do something but it needs sudo. If I'd known about !! I'd forgotten until today, though I knew about !num to get at a specific history command.
mindstalk: (Default)
On IRC we'd been discussing procmail, and its lack of maintenance, and whether it *needs* maintenance other than security fixes. I snarked about wc not needing updates... then checked and found that its web page was dated Jan 2016, because GNU. This led to Ian complaining about ls having too many options, and he didn't even know about the dired output ones for emacs integration. I count about 56 options. That's a lot!

OTOH, I use a lot of them:

All my aliases use -F and -color=auto.
lt uses -ltr
Others use u, A, s, h, and d. That's 10.

I discovered L recently, and found it useful. Others on the list look interesting: --group-directories-first, R, S, X. 14 total! Still a fraction of the total, but I'm not going to say the others are useless.

Are they redundant with the Unix way? E.g. all the sort options could instead be piped to /bin/sort. OTOH that would be more verbose, and less efficient, especially for e.g. a numeric sort on filesize: easier to sort within ls, which has the numbers as numbers, rather than to print them as text to stdout, read them in again and convert, then print out again. Or more commonly, sorting by modification time, as a human readable thing? Ew.

*** Reference

-F: append / for directories and * for exectuables and @ for symlinks.
-color: colors by type
-l: detailed listing
-t: sorts by modification time, newest first
-r: reverses sort
-u: show last access time
-A: show dotfiles, but not . and ..
-s: show file size in blocks
-h: print size in human friendly form, like 4.3M
-d: shows properties of a directory, rather than its contents.
--group-directories-first: duh
-R: recursive
-S: sort by size, biggest first.
-X: sort by extension.

machine go boom

2016-Sep-06, Tuesday 03:00
mindstalk: (Default)
College (and other) friends and I have shared a server for many years, racked in some colo place. This instance, the third, was bought in 2003, and has served us far longer than we expected. In the past couple days we basically got to watch the RAID die in real time. Still not sure if the disk filling up was a trigger or result or unrelated, but today I watched it die with only 88% full disk. I got to see even some of my own files turning corrupt, like being owned by another user.

Robbie and another friend had unkind things to say about hardware RAID. We'd gotten hardware RAID, 3wire, set to redundancy mode for the server. We'd thought we were doing really well, with some tool reporting no disk failures... now someone else says it may have lied, with disk problems we weren't told about.

OTOH other friends say software RAID really wouldn't give performance or even safety guarantees. I dunno. But the damn thing did survive 13 years of probably somewhat heavy use, with our disks from one vendor; we sure got our money's worth.

The question now becomes "what next?" A bunch of us were still using it as an active server, like for mail, so a replacement would be nice. Previous machines were graciously retired and replaced on a plan; I'd kept urging us to go to machine 4 over the past few years, but people were lazy, and I was in no position to physically volunteer.

Of course, today we have VPS. Since I cleverly had mail going to my own domain, hosted on the server, I found I was able to get my own linode, transfer DNS, and get basic mail working, in under 3 hours. Hopefully at this point I won't *lose* mail, though I have yet to get procmail -- or some more secure replacement -- up; I really depend on filtering. And I don't know about spam... we had greylisting going, which probably prevented a lot of spam even before my powerful spamprobe filter; right now I'm exposed. But it's after 3am, it can wait a day or two.

Anyway, someone could probably replace our machine with a VPS quickly... if they had control over our DNS. That's probably one guy, on vacation right now. Whee. Also, while I backed up my own files, I never thought to grab the passwd or shadow files; if no one else did either, actually making accounts for everyone would be a pain.
mindstalk: (robot)
So with cold and allergies and stuff I've been sick tired and lazy, and limped along for a couple of weeks. Yesterday I got back to trying to whip my Arch install into shape. The big one was wifi, which kept not working, so I registerd with the forums and set about composing a very detailed post about my problems, pasting in lots of error messages and what I'd done to generate them. Then I thought to pass on some state, like the contents of wpa-supplicant.conf Whoops! Noticed I'd misspelled my WiFi network name. That didn't fix, but did generate new messages. Then I remembered process conflicts are sometimes a thing, so I was going to show I didn't have many of those -- whoops, two background wpa_supplicant processes. Killed those, still didn't work. Had noticed that the conf file had my actual passphrase commented out, in favor of some long hash; I swapped that -- ding! suddenly it worked. So the forum ended up acting like one of those teddy bears you explain bugs to before bothering another human about it, as that often clears things up, hence 'bugbears'.

I still posted in the end, but scrapped all the wifi stuff and just complained about tethering not working. Which turned out to be due to having upgraded my kernel, which orphaned some modules; once I rebooted, ding.

After that, getting my audio keys working took a lot of careful reading but very little work. Ditto for having lid-close not send my computer to sleep, but also turning the screen off. webcam worked after I put myself into the video group, as with audio -- I don't remember doing this with Ubuntu, but maybe Arch is more compartmentalized.

Not everything's done or perfect yet. I turned circular scrolling on, but you have to circle the center of the touchpad, whereas my finger reflexes and memory say that before, I was able to use small circles in the upper right quadrant of the touchpad to keep scrolling. No one knows what I'm talking about though; my best guess is that I was enjoying proprietary drivers with the Dell Ubuntu install, and the generic Linux is meh. I've seen Xorg options and played with synclient, but I don't see anything that controls what I've seen.

I'm still using twm, without dock or taskbar. I should probably fix that. I'm leery of big environments, though.

I have a few ripped DVDs, none of which play well, I'm not sure if this is the rip or the codecs. I think they'd worked better before... Haven't tried a physical DVD yet.

Overall it feels much faster now. I don't know if that's upgraded Firefox (though it's not just FF), upgraded Linux, lightweight environment, or having spent a week on my eee again making everything seem fast. It's been two weeks now, and thinks still seem fast and responsive compared to before.

Oh, and I had a working compose key, but now the command is failing, and the forums have failed me.

Not much progress on the Android front, apart from getting tethering working (my eee served to test that -- worked smoothly even with modded Ubuntu 10.04.)

Electronics 2

2014-Apr-30, Wednesday 03:13
mindstalk: (robot)
Ordered a used Galaxy S4.

Installed Arch Linux on my laptop, more or less. For the USB stick version, wifi-menu didn't work, but I was able to get wifi the alternate way. For the actual install... nope, not yet. Firefox has jumped from 21.0 to 28.0 for me, with a side effect that my preferred Garamond font is now used everywhere, but the flashplugin doesn't seem to work; Youtube videos crash, anyway, complaining about inability to find card '0', my sound card. I haven't tried installing media players yet to see if they'd fail too. Touchpad works surprisingly well; scrolling wasn't but synclient quickly fixed that. The Arch wiki *is* pretty good...

Edit: chromium was able to play Duolingo audio; Firefox *still* can't. I installed totem, which played audio from a saved FLV. Scratchy, I think, but that sometimes happened before; at least sound plays at all. And chromium can play Youtube just fine, without plugins, even. Hmm.

No, wait, now Firefox can play Youtube too. I don't even know what I did. Unmuted alsamixer, added myself to an audio group (which you're not supposed to do, but then you're not supposed to need to... ran speaker-test.) VDPAU errors are still being generated, but non fatal ones.

Currently running twm as a lightweight default. It's amazing how few processes I have... but I'd want the laptop sound keys to work. And a wifi applet, and a way to dim the screen...
mindstalk: (robot)
It's been a bad week for the devices of my household. Well, my N900 smartphone has been having growing trouble for the past few months, but recently it pretty much lost all ability to reliably keep a data connection up, especially for SSH. (Web seemed to do better for a while.) Then it was having more and more trouble with even voice; more and more I'd get a message like "General connection error, even emergency calls won't work, try rebooting". I've given up and moved my SIM card to my 2005 $50 Nokia 6110 ("the Indestructible"), so I'm missing 3/4 of my contacts and texting sucks... even the 9 year old battery holds useful charge way longer, though. The N900's wifi still works fine, so it's become my bedside wee hours computer.

This of course leads to "Operation: Buy A New Smartphone", which would be a lot easier if anyone made what I want. Physical keyboard, removable battery, expandable storage, up to date, Android or even freer but reliable and competent OS -- nope, does not exist. Dropping the keyboard seems to mean "Samsung" these days, with new problems of "costs a lot" and "possible Samsung bloatware and slow updates". The Galaxy S4 has a Google Play (pure Android version) which would be good except it's still $649, about as much as a regular Galaxy S5. But you can burn on Android stock ROMs yourself, apparently, or just skip over to Cyanogen, so I'm thinking of an S4. Or going back a generation to the S III, though that's still not trivially cheap. Or else selling out and getting a Nexus 5. The OnePlus One sounds fairly attractive but it's unclear when it'll even come out, let alone how problem free it'll be.

The Oppo N1 comes with a Cyanogen installer, which is cute, but it's a $600+ phone that doesn't even have LTE.

Versus the Nexus, the S4 does seem to have a better screen and camera, plus a few more sensors; I'm waiting for phone to fully turn into tricorders. I'm still not sure if all that plus the batter/storage is worth $2-300. I did note that I'm only using 19G of the 48G on my N900, so fitting into 32G shouldn't be too hard. I am amused that phone are just catching up with the N900's storage options from 2009. (32G internal, 16G microSD card. Actually things with cards go up to 64 or even 128 now.)


Right, other electronics. So I'd let my Ubuntu 12.10 laptop fall behind on updates, and finally caught it up. After which the sound wasn't working, the touchpad(!!!) wasn't working, and the wifi wasn't working. I get messages about various sound devices being removed. I tried full system update, that fails with errors. I think I need a clean install. Safest would probably be to revert to 12.04, since I know that works. Conventional would be 14.04. I'm thinking of flipping off Ubuntu and going with Arch and learning more about how my system works, though the Arch installation guide assumes I know a bunch of things I don't, mostly about formatting.

So I'm using my eee 901 again, with its eeebuntu 10.04. Shocking to again have a version of Gnome that doesn't suck. It's slow and small and has almost on no space after downloading the Arch ISO. But lightweight!


2013-Jan-12, Saturday 16:39
mindstalk: (Default)
I've been very unadventurous since the 2nd and 3rd. On the 2nd new sandals chafed very badly, scraping off a lot of skin near my big toe; it's still scabbed over. (I've had related problems before; this is why I often commit the fashion sin of socks with sandals. Sandals air out my feet, socks protect them.) On the third I stubbed another toe unprecedentedly badly, with bruising halfway down, and ongoing mild pain or discomfort. I finally saw a doctor yesterday; she thinks a fracture is unlikely, and anyway all they do is tape your toes together. But she did recommend keeping my foot high ("to keep toxins from pooling") and avoiding hiking. It's like I got a prescription to avoid pedestrian tourism and stay in a place where groceries come to me.


S's parents are here, and K brought Starbucks instant coffeee. I just tried some, and it was very dark, burnt, and bitter, just like everyone says of SB coffee in general. I've been trying some local instant coffee with Colombian beans and a price twice the alternatives; it's much better by comparison.


Last night I noticed my laptop tingling while plugged in; I asked G about it, and got a remedial education in basic electric wiring, current and neutral and ground. My adapter is only two prong, and my laptop's ground wire had been unaccomodated; he lent me one of his 3-prongs, and the tingling went away. The eee didn't have this problem, but he remembered it as being 2-prong, and it's a hard plastic clamshell, vs. the high-metal casing of the Dell.

I might as well share, in case any readers are as ignorant. The two usual prongs are channels for the current, which is like an artificial river. Electrons come in and flow out, pushed by the voltage, and a device can draw power by sapping the potential like a watermill taps a river. (We ignore AC and oscillating current.) But electrons can leak from the innards to the case, or else fields can draw in electrons from dry air, and so a third wire connects the case to ground, draining off such nuisance electrons before they zap you like a doorknob. The eee, being solidly plastic, is naturally insulated from such problems.

This also sheds light on a cheap metal lamp I'd bought in Boston ($4, with CF bulb) that had also been tingly. I'd figured that was just cheapness -- I doubt it has ground -- but he suggested flipping the plug if it's not width-polarized like many these days.

He also reminded me that grounding in Chile is hard, what with all the fractured dry soil; years ago he'd said the observatory dug down tends of meters and still couldn't find good grounding. He's found that neutral and ground are 20 volts apart, whereas they're usually equal in the US. Neutral is the power company's ground, ground is you, the power company is likely lots of dry soil away.

Socks often crackle or sizzle too; some of that is on insertion, due to crappy oxidized sockets; some of it was ongoing, probably due to the ungrounded plugs. Oh, voltage is 240 here, too.


Books: Hans Brinker (abridged), Night's Master (Tanith Lee), Death's Master (ditto), Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of Universe/Modern World, Years of Rice and Salt.


I still don't have my laptop Linux in an ideal state, but I don't feel like complaining about it too much. Well, a bit. konsole's colors suck compared to gnome-terminal, and kde-plasma picked up an ugly orange color on highlighted items that I couldn't change. kde/openbox is better, though I had to edit a file to get my keyboard shortcuts. konsole doesn't open urls as conveniently, but gnome-termnal keeps resizing itself under non-gnome.

OTOH, I did get firefox to stop doing so, by turning off its Ubuntu and Unity addons, to no obvious loss of functionality.


Cooperative game we've played down here: Flash Point, nicknamed Fire Rescue. More intuitive actions than Pandemic. Apologies if I'm repeating myself.


The house is sitting on an ant colony or something, and they keep trying to invade. Two days ago I woke to them crawling over the power outlet and computer. We spray a lot, which works briefly.
mindstalk: (squeee)
Some years ago I played with Livejournal styles, and customized it to use a font I liked. I later found I'd been using Windows, and the Edwardian Script ITC I liked there for display wasn't on Linux, but then I found Elegante, and it was even better. And I found URW Palladio, a Palatino derivative, for the body.

But these aren't common fonts, and while I tried putting in alternatives, like URW Chancery L or Monotype Corsiva or plain old Times, it's not the same. So all this time the way I saw my pages and the way you saw them probably weren't the same. Actually, on my eee, it wasn't the same either, since I'd forgotten how to get the fonts I liked.

But now, that's changed! I've learned about @font-face, and thus can serve the free fonts I want for my website. That doesn't work as easily for Livejournal, because Firefox doesn't like cross-domain font serves, but Google Webfonts has EB Garamond and FF will take that. And then it turned out that the the .htaccess magic here works too, so I can serve Elegante through LJ (and DW). Which means I could serve the URW Garamond No. 8 that I found before EB and am using on my computer, too, but eh, EB seems as good.

(I'd submitted Elegante to Webfonts, and I even got a friendly reply despite my not owning the font like they ask, but they don't like GPL as a font license and would like the author to submit under OFL. The author is some guy in Spain, I don't know if the e-mail I found is even him, the one in the license bounces.)

(Note Elegante is GPL, in the ttf-linex package of Ubuntu and maybe Debian? EB Garamond is Open Font License, and Garamond No. 8 under some custom free license.)

And ttf2eot converted the TTF (TrueType) files to EOT, so IE can probably stay with us cool kids. I don't have IE to test it with, though, I can just use my eee to verify that things work on a Linux box without the fonts.

So I predict a radical difference on everyone else's computers when they look now.

This is also how I've been seeing *your* LJ pages; I use "use my style". (Which also means I still see subjects on comments.)

Now if I could fix my DW style. It's very pretty but the header image has duplication and legibility problems.

Side note: seems odd that the Times website uses Georgia instead of Times New Roman. Wikipedia says even the physical paper doesn't use TNR any more. Though I guess Georgia is related.

Edit: worth noting this is related to my question about what fonts people use, not that anyone responded.

Office sort

2012-Mar-13, Tuesday 09:52
mindstalk: (Default)
This is mostly for the CS types:

Say you're in an office, and someone brings in a stack of 500 papers that needs to be sorted. How do you think they'll naturally approach the problem, and how as someone brimming with CS knowledge would you advise them to sort it?

Ubuntu fail

2010-Oct-24, Sunday 23:20
mindstalk: (angry sky)
Wifi support for netbooks seems to be regressing. With 10.04, I lost the ability to connect to some WPA networks (by report, those using TKIP encryption.) I still haven't found a fix I'm willing to try messing with. (I only found out about this after moving out.) 10.10 is out, and I just googled for wifi threads on it, and lots of people seem to be reporting connection failure in general, and not just on the eee. I sure won't be upgrading...

mindstalk: (Void Engineer)
In 2005 I got my first cell phone, inspired by moving (thus needing a new phone arrangement) and my father's illness (meaning more time in Chicago, competing with my mother's dial-up, and being a different # for friends right when I'd be stressed out.) I was commitment-phobic, so I got a $50 Cingular GoPhone (pay as you go) from Target. A Nokia 6010. By 1995 standards probably rather advanced -- web access! games! apps! -- but even by 2005, rather clunky and brick-like. Still, it served. Battery life without much use was like a week or two, and last summer my other niece attested that hers was indestructible, until she deliberately smashed it into a puddle.

Read more... )
mindstalk: (juggleface)
I have a new font for the titles in my LJ style, Elegante, created by Juan Jose Marcos Garcia. It looks like this -- my pic, I couldn't find any samples online! God knows if anyone else will see it. I have some other cursivish fonts in there. I downloaded it among many fonts, after I upgraded Ubuntu to Karmic, which brought Firefox 3.5.8, which refuses to honor some fonts such as URW Chancery which I was using before. FF doesn't seem to have a concept of 'cursive', either. I also gave up on the steampunk theme for Firefox; the right-click menu was missing stuff more and more.

Otherwise the upgrade went well. Nothing else broke, and the laptop buttons controlling sound started working again!

Well, I've got one complaint; the Pidgin text alerts are different in annoying ways. Not worth describing.

Joke I read: "You know the old joke, who wants to live to be a 100? A 99 year old."

* If reform fails, expect more health care deterioration Plus busting the budget
* Women in open source
* World poverty stats
* Debunking mammal pheromones
* Unemployment Hits 10.8%, Presidential Approval Drops to 35% -- for Ronald Reagan. Obama's doing a lot better.
* Leading school reformer reverses course on charter schools and No Child Left Untested.
* More Republican confusion on Medicare and government health care
* We're going brooooke! Or not.

* Bujold debunks "Shards of Honor started as a Star Trek fanfic". You have to scroll down a bit or search.
* Speaking of fanfic: Jewish Arthuriana

Tea Party "kill the nigger" level crazy: 1, 2, 3

* Creationists join global warming denial
* Gay rights pulled from Canada's immigration guide.
* Couple sued for not having a lawn
* 95 year old man without records

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