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gfranken's blog

With the latest Kubuntu 15.10 (Wily)

Filed under
Just talk

I love the KDE desktop—I really do. However… here are some grumbles.

Issues with Kubuntu 14.10

Filed under
Linux

I installed Kubuntu 14.10 a couple of weeks ago. Here's two issues I've discovered, the first one is solved, but the 2nd one isn't.

1) Kdenlive will play videos from the Clip Monitor, and in the Project Monitor. However, after rendering the video, audio is lost.

2) It's not possible to mount an nfs share automatically in /etc/fstab. You have to use
sudo mount -a and enter the root password.

Computer Equipment and Screen Recording Revisited

It has been about 3 years since my primary hardware machine has been upgraded. I already had 16GB of RAM, two 1920 x 1200 monitors, a Filco mechanical keyboard, and a graphics tablet. OK, I admit that the CPU is showing a little age, but it was an AMD Phenom II X4 965 quad-core processor, and that still has some life left in it.

So I decided to update my graphics card, which was an Nvidia GeForce 440.

Mandrake Derived Distros

Filed under
Linux

Todays special is about Mandrake derived distributions, namely,
OpenMandriva Lx 2014 alpha vs Mageia 4 final vs ROSA 2012 R2 final vs PCLinuxOS 2013.12 final.

In (my limited) testing, I've used the X86_64 versions favoring the KDE desktop, and I've used the NVidia binary drivers provided with each distro.

Here's my experience with each one:

PCLinuxOS 2013--An Old Friend Revisited

Filed under
Linux

I first heard about Bill Reynolds (AKA "Texstar") when I was using Mandrake Linux 7 (later called "Mandriva") many years ago. Back then, Texstar was putting together updated KDE releases for Mandrake Linux, as Mandrake would only typically update their KDE release once or twice a year.

Windows 8.1 "The Worst Ever"

Filed under
Just talk

I've taught High School Computer Science for 25 years--Computer Programming, Web Page Design, Word Processing, Database Processing, and Spreadsheet processing. I have Linux on all my home computers with a dual boot into MS Windows 7 on my main computer. I don't use Windows 7 very often--but, I can find my way around in Windows 7. Since I have no experience with Win 8, I've thought all the recent hoopla about Microsoft's Windows 8 and 8.1 was just inexperienced grousing.

Casual Programming and Linux Screen-Recorders

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Linux

After being retired (for four years) from teaching high school Computer Science, I decided to get back into programming again. I once taught a beginning programming class using the Ruby language, and I thought that would be a good way to get back into programming. So, I decided I needed a “Ruby refresher”, and I wanted to learn more about that language than I taught in the classroom.

Lost mime types under kde

Filed under
Linux

I downloaded the source to the (video editing) application "kdenlive" (version 0.9 just released), and following the instructions on the kdenlive web site, compiled it, and installed it on my Linux Mageia Cauldron laptop. Maybe I did something wrong, maybe not. Anyway, disaster ensued.

LibreOffice 3.5.0beta2--one person's experience

I've been working on a complex document for the last year or so. This document is now 25 pages long, and includes a dozen images in frames with captions, with text running around the images, a table of contents, Gradient backgrounds on major headings, 2 drawings, varying headers and footers (with borders and shadows), lists, varying page styles, footnotes, and font styles.

I've been working on this document long enough that I started it with openoffice. I then switched to LibreOffice with its first release. And now I'm editing it with the LibreOffice Christmas Eve (2011-12-24) 3.5.0beta2 release.

Invariably, up to now, in a 2 hour work session, openoffice/libreoffice would crash at least once. Sometimes more.

Interestingly enough, this latest LibreOffice beta has not crashed once in three 1 hour work sessions. It may only be a beta, but I'm a believer.

Gook work LibreOffice folk.

Nook Ebook Reader & DRM

I'm 62 years old, and I've always been a reader. So, a few months ago, I finally coughed up the money to purchase a Barnes and Noble Nook ebook reader. Despite being a Linux user and occasionally enjoying tinkering with the innards of things, I haven't rooted my Nook, or installed any other OS variant—it is completely stock.

Unlike my wife's Amazon Kindle (with its E-Ink display), my Nook's battery doesn't last long. The other day I was reading a good short novel I had just downloaded from Barnes and Noble. I'm about half way through the novel when my Nook's battery level gets very low.

Here's the rub: my charger unit has an intermittent electrical short, and I can't immediately plug it in to continue reading while recharging my nook (a couple of days later, I fix this).

But I want to finish reading my novel now! I've got the time, and I'm really into the story.

Hard Drive Purchase and Thailand Flooding

Filed under
Just talk

My 2nd desktop is largely reserved for video editing. As it often the issue with video editing, storage space is getting scarce. The sata hard drive has 320 GB, and it's getting full. Time to purchase a new hard disk drive...

BIOS Flash update under linux.

Filed under
Linux

I figured it was time to do a BIOS update on one of my main Linux boxes. The MSI NF 980-G65 AMD motherboard came with an AMI BIOS dated September 2009. This MSI motherboard is based on the NVidia NForce 980a chipset, and has built-in NVidia Geforce 8300 video (which I do not use).

Powering up this system has always been a little flaky, requiring a couple of reset-button presses before it would boot into Linux (it would hang at the BIOS splash screen). After boot-up, the system always ran great.

Alright, so on to the BIOS update. MSI has the live update online program which requires, of course, Microsoft Windows, and the Internet Explorer browser. Well, I don't have these on this system, and don't want to put them on it.

In the AMI BIOS setup program, I see the M-Flash option. I try this, but can't get it to work. Some research on the Internet indicates that it's very likely you'll wreck your BIOS using M-Flash anyway, so that's out.

Mageia 1 Alpha2 -- A Status Report

Filed under
Linux

On September 18, 2010, in response to Mandriva's liquidation of its “Edge-IT” subsidiary and the attendant layoff of a substantial share of its developers, a group consisting of former Mandriva developers and Mandriva community contributers announced their intention to form a non-profit organization and release a fork of Mandriva Linux called Mageia Linux.

How is the Mageia 1 release shaping up? This status report takes a look at Mageia Linux 1 Alpha 2 release (updated daily), from a KDE-user perspective.

Mandriva Linux 2011TP (Tech Preview) - Quick Look

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Reviews

After laying-off a significant portion of its employees, is Mandriva going to remain a viable distribution? While many distros, including Mandriva, are furiously working on their Spring 2011 releases, Mandriva announced a two-week slip from their previously announced release dates. As a compensation, Mandriva gathered up its packages from its 2011 development repositories (called "Cooker"), and released a pre-alpha 2011 TP (Technology Preview) iso. The coming Alpha version is due to be released February 14 with Alpha2 slated to be released February 28. So, here's a quick report on the Technology Preview release, and how things are shaping up.

Printer Woes

Filed under
Just talk

The last day of this year in Southern Oregon is sunny, clear, and cold. Sitting here and basking in the morning sun streaming through the window mitigates my foul mood regarding the state of printers.

Screencasting Under Linux--A brief Story

Filed under
Linux

Since my recent retirement from 34 years of mathematics and computer science teaching, I've been working on creating creating screencasts for teaching how to use various kinds of computer software. So, I need to record my screen while narrating audio. What follows is my story of what it takes to do this under Linux.

Should Pulseaudio Die? What do you think?

Filed under
Linux

When I was installing and testing Mandriva 2010 Cooker (new development) releases this last Fall season, I kept having persistent problems with sound. Eventually, the advice in the Mandriva Cooker forum for KDE users became: "Disable Pulseaudio, and set Xine as the preferred back end over GStreamer (in the KDE multimedia settings).

Desktop Recording on my Laptop

Filed under
Linux

I bought this Acer Aspire 6930 laptop about a year ago. It is my first and only laptop--and came with Windows Vista pre-installed. Since I value good video performance, I selected a sub model of Acer laptop that has on board Nvidia GeForce 9600M GS video (confession time--yes, I use the proprietary NVidia driver). Since it came with Win Vista, I had 3GB of RAM, and a 320 GB hard disk drive. Plenty of horsepower for Linux, except for ...

Recommended: Rosewill Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter 802.11b/g

After teaching high school computer science for 33 years, I had never owned a laptop computer. I'd always wanted one, but they were just too expensive. Finally, last year, after saving up for a long time, I bought a laptop for me, and 6 months later, a laptop for my wife.

The built-in wireless on my wife's laptop has little range, and isn't very reliable.

Which KDE 4 Distro for my Laptop?

Filed under
Linux

I have a Mandriva Spring 2009.1 RC 2 install on my main production box. I have Kubuntu Jaunty on my experimental box. Which to install on my Acer Laptop?

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Security Leftovers

  • Atom Installer
    One thing that I miss about using Ubuntu is PPA’s there are lot’s of PPA in Ubuntu and you can hack around and install all types of software which are required for your usage. In the Fedora side of the world there are copr repos but they don’t have as many repos as in Ubuntu and you can’t build non-free software (don’t get me wrong here, I love FREEdom software but couldn’t resist not using some beautiful non-free applications such as Sublime). I am creating a work around for this by using shell scripts which are open source (cc0) but when those scripts are executed they install non-free software on your system.
  • MKVToolNix 9.9.0 MKV Manipulation Tool Released with New GUI Improvements, More
    MKVToolNix developer Moritz Bunkus announced today, February 20, 2017, the release and general availability of MKVToolNix 9.9.0 "Pick Up" for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows. MKVToolNix 9.9.0 represents a month of hard work, during which the developer managed to add a bunch of new and interesting features, fix as many bugs reported by users since last month's MKVToolNix 9.8.0 point release, as well as to improve the build system, especially in regards to the man pages of the software.
  • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.9.2 and KDE Applications 16.12.2, More
    The developers behind the Chakra GNU/Linux operating system have announced today the immediate availability of all the latest KDE technologies released this month in the stable repositories of the distribution. Yes, we're talking about the KDE Plasma 5.9.2 desktop environment, KDE Applications 16.12.2 software suite, KDE Frameworks 5.31.0, and KDE Development Platform 4.14.29, all of which can be found in your Chakra GNU/Linux's repos if you want to run the newest KDE software.

today's howtos

Leftovers: Ubuntu

  • IOTA: IoT revolutionized with a Ledger
    Ever since the introduction of digital money, the world quickly came to realize how dire and expensive the consequences of centralized systems are. Not only are these systems incredibly expensive to maintain, they are also “single points of failures” which expose a large number of users to unexpected service interruptions, fraudulent activities and vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious hackers. Thanks to Blockchain, which was first introduced through Bitcoin in 2009, the clear benefits of a decentralized and “trustless” transactional settlement system became apparent. No longer should expensive trusted third parties be used for handling transactions, instead, the flow of money should be handled in a direct, Peer-to-Peer fashion. This concept of a Blockchain (or more broadly, a distributed ledger) has since then become a global phenomenon attracting billions of dollars in investments to further develop the concept.
  • Return Home and Unify: My Case for Unity 8
  • Can netbooks be cool again?
    Earlier this week, my colleague Chaim Gartenberg covered a laptop called the GPD Pocket, which is currently being funded on Indiegogo. As Chaim pointed out, the Pocket’s main advantage is its size — with a 7-inch screen, the thing is really, really small — and its price, a reasonable $399. But he didn’t mention that the Pocket is the resurrection of one of the most compelling, yet fatally flawed, computing trends of the ‘00s: the netbook. So after ten years, are netbooks finally cool again? That might be putting it too strongly, but I’m willing to hope.

Linux Devices

  • Compact, rugged module runs Linux or Android on Apollo Lake
    Ubiqcomm’s 95 x 95mm, Apollo Lake-based “COM-AL6C” COM offers 4K video along with multiple SATA, USB, GbE, and PCIe interfaces, plus -40 to 85°C operation. Ubiqconn Technology Inc. has announced a “COM-AL6C” COM Express Type 6 Compact form factor computer-on-module built around Intel’s Apollo Lake processors and designed to withstand the rigors of both fixed and mobile industrial applications. The module offers a choice among three Intel Apollo Lake processors: the quad-core Atom x5-E3930, quad-core x5-E3940, and dual-core x7-E3950, which are clocked at up to 2.0GHz burst and offer TDPs from 6.5 to 12 Watts.
  • Internet-enable your microcontroller projects for under $6 with ESP8266
    To get started with IoT (the Internet of Things), your device needs, well, an Internet connection. Base Arduino microcontrollers don't have Internet connectivity by default, so you either need to add Ethernet, Wi-Fi shields, or adapters to them, or buy an Arduino that has built-in Internet connectivity. In addition to complexity, both approaches add cost and consume the already-precious Arduino flash RAM for program space, which limits what you can do. Another approach is to use a Raspberry Pi or similar single-board computer that runs a full-blown operating system like Linux. The Raspberry Pi is a solid choice in many IoT use cases, but it is often overkill when all you really want to do is read a sensor and send the reading up to a server in the cloud. Not only does the Raspberry Pi potentially drive up the costs, complexity, and power consumption of your project, but it is running a full operating system that needs to be patched, and it has a much larger attack surface than a simple microcontroller. When it comes to IoT devices and security, simpler is better, so you can spend more time making and less time patching what you already made.
  • Blinkenlights!
  • Blinkenlights, part 2
  • Blinkenlights, part 3
  • [Older] Shmoocon 2017: The Ins And Outs Of Manufacturing And Selling Hardware
    Every day, we see people building things. Sometimes, useful things. Very rarely, this thing becomes a product, but even then we don’t hear much about the ins and outs of manufacturing a bunch of these things or the economics of actually selling them. This past weekend at Shmoocon, [Conor Patrick] gave the crowd the inside scoop on selling a few hundred two factor authentication tokens. What started as a hobby is now a legitimate business, thanks to good engineering and abusing Amazon’s distribution program.
  • 1.8 Billion Mobile Internet Users NEVER use a PC, 200 Million PC Internet Users never use a mobile phone. Understanding the 3.5 Billion Internet Total Audience
    As I am working to finish the 2017 Edition of the TomiAhonen Almanac (last days now) I always get into various updates of numbers, that remind me 'I gotta tell this story'.. For example the internet user numbers. We have the December count by the ITU for year 2016, that says the world has now 3.5 Billion internet users in total (up from 3.2 Billion at the end of year 2015). So its no 'drama' to know what is 'that' number. The number of current internet total users is yes, 3.5 Billion, almost half of the planet's total population (47%).