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Leftovers: Fedora, SUSE and Programming

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  • Updated NeuroFedora Computational Neuroscience ISO image available

    We've been working on making more software available in NeuroFedora. Neuron is now built with IV support, so models from ModelDB that use these should now be runnable using NeuroFedora.

    The Computational Neuroscience ISO image has been updated to include these improvements. After receiving some feedback, we've also added Julia and R to the image. The new version, 20191201, is available for download here. The checksum file is also provided. So please test your download for correctness before you proceed to use it.

  • Time needed to dist-upgrade Fedora

    Every couple of months I upgrade my main home computer to the latest Fedora. As this process is not instantaneous, this means some time without internet, wifi, smart home controls etc. This time I decided to measure how long it takes exactly.

    Hardware is mid-range home server: Core i5 CPU, 16GiB of RAM, storage is 2x HDD in btrfs raid1, over LUKS, bcached on NVMe drive.

  • SUSE Revives Patches For Exposing /proc/cpuinfo Data Over Sysf

    Back in 2017 were patches for exposing /proc/cpuinfo data via sysfs for more easily parsing selected bits of information from the CPU information output. That work never made it into the mainline kernel but now SUSE's Thomas Renninger is taking over and trying to get revised patches into the kernel.

    Renninger sent out revised versions of the "sysfs-based cpuinfo" on Friday that within /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpuX/info/ would expose nodes to easily parse pieces of cpuinfo like bogomips, cpu_family, flags, model, model_name, stepping, vendor_id, and more. Reading the information via sysfs with a single-value-per-file makes it much easier for parsing compared to having to parse the entire /proc/cpuinfo output and complements other CPU information already accessible via the very convenient sysfs.

  • Do's and Don'ts of implementing a hamburger menu

    The infamous hamburger menu is one of the examples where I see bad practice very often. Surf the web one day using a screen reader or using only your keyboard and you will most likely experience some of the problems as well. Let's have a look at the most common errors and how to avoid them.

  • The GCC Git Conversion Heats Up With Hopes Of Converting Over The Holidays

    Decided back at the GNU Tools Cauldron was a timeline to aim converting from Subversion as their default revision control system to Git over the New Year's holiday. For that to happen, by the middle of December they wanted to decide what conversion system to use for bringing all their SVN commits to Git. As such, now it's heating up ahead of that decision.

    Eric S Raymond announced the conversion work in progress. Right now he's been working on addressing the remaining problems with Reposurgeon in being able to convert the GCC SVN repository to Git. Following those lingering issues being resolved, he's seeking broader review of the Reposurgeon "recipe" and then "the conversion progress starts to become desirable."

  • PyGotham 2019 Speaker Coaching Recap

    I’m one of the organizers for PyGotham, the yearly Python programming conference in New York City. This year thirteen PyGotham speakers received training from opera singer and speaking coach Melissa Collom, paid for by the conference and free for the speakers. Eight of the speakers were new to the conference scene; Melissa helped them focus on delivering value to their audience, structuring their talks clearly, and speaking with conviction. All the speakers who responded to a survey said they felt more confident and they were more likely to propose conference talks again.

    Here’s what some of our speakers said:

    “Melissa helped me pick out the areas I needed to improve, that I could work on for maximum impact in the limited time that I had before the conference. More importantly, she told me what she thought were my strengths and it helped me immensely to know what I had working for me.”

    “It was fun and Melissa made me feel comfortable to be myself! She brought out the best in me. The positive and constructive feedback was helpful and provided in a supportive way.”

  • Marco Zehe: The myth of getting rich through ads

    In addition, the web hosting was expensive, but not really performant. And they often let essential software get out of date. My WordPress at some point had started complaining because my PHP version was too old. Turned out that the defaults for shared hosts were not upgraded to a newer version by default by the hoster, and one had to go into an obnoxious backend to fiddle with some setting somewhere to use a newer version of PHP.

    I then decided to try something completely new. I exported the contents of my three blogs and set up blogs at WordPress.com, the hosted WordPress offering from the makers themselves: Automattic. I looked at their plans, and the Premium plan, which cost me 8€ per month, per blog felt suitable. I also took the opportunity to pull both German language blogs together into one. I just added two categories that those who just want to see my tecnical stuff, or the private stuff, could still do so.

    With that move, I got a good set of features that I would normally use on a self-hosted blog as well, so I set up some widgets, some theme that comes with the plan, and imported all my content including comments and such. I lost my statistics from the custom plugins, but hey, I had lost years of statistics from before that when I decided to no longer use JetPack on my self-hosted blogs, too, so what.

    And I did two more things. I added a “Buy me a coffee” button so people could show their appreciation for my content if they wanted to. And I opted into the Word Ads program, that would display some advertisement on the blog’s main page and below each individual post. I simply wanted to see if my content would be viable enough to generate any significant enough income.

    [...]

    When I compare my experience to that of my wife, who runs both a guide and a forum for the popular Sims FreePlay game in Germany, it is clear that even she with her thousands of visitors to both the guide and forum does not always generate enough traffic to get the minimum Google Adsense payout threshold per month. And that is just enough to cover her monthly domain and server costs, because the traffic is so heavy that shared hosting cannot cope. So she has to run a dedicated v server for those, which are way more expensive than shared hosting.

    So, ads on the web are really not a sustainable model for many. Yes, there may be some very popular and widespread 8content-wise) blogs or publication sites that do generate enough revenue through ads. But the more niche your topic gets, if you don’t generate thousands of visitors per month, ads sometimes may cover the costs of a service like WordPress to run your blog, but only if you are on one of the lower plans with less control over what your blog can do or the ads that are being displayed.

    I believe that a more engaged interaction with the actual audience is a better way to generate revenue, although that, of course, also depends on readers loyalty and your own dedication. I think that initiatives like Grant For The Web are the future of monetisation of content on the web, and I may start supporting that once my move back to self-hosting is complete. I’ll keep you posted.

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5 open source tools I can't live without

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How to Install Microsoft Edge Browser in Ubuntu and Other Linux

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today's leftovers

  • A Quick Look At Ubuntu 20.04 LTS vs. 20.10 With The Core i9 10900K - Phoronix

    With Ubuntu 20.10 due for release this week I have begun testing near-final Ubuntu 20.10 builds on many more systems in the lab. Larger than our normal distribution/OS comparisons, here is the culmination of running hundreds of benchmarks (366 tests to be exact) under both Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with all available updates and then again on the Ubuntu 20.10 development state while testing on Intel Comet Lake. Aside from specific improvements for bleeding-edge hardware like Intel Tiger Lake performing better on Ubuntu 20.10 or when looking at cases like the Intel and Radeon graphics performance being better on Ubuntu 20.10 due to the newer Linux kernel and Mesa, for general CPU/system workloads the performance has largely been found to be similar to that of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. The other caveat is for workloads being built from source, Ubuntu 20.10 now ships with GCC 10 rather than GCC 9. GCC 10 doesn't normally yield any night-and-day differences in performance but in some cases for newer CPU microarchitectures there has been some improvements there or with features like LTO.

  • TSDgeos' blog: Make sure KDE software is usable in your language, join KDE translations!

    Translations are a vital part of software. More technical people often overlook it because they understand English well enough to use the software untranslated, but only 15% of the World understands English, so it's clear we need good translations to make our software more useful to the rest of the world. Translations are a place that [almost] always needs help, so I would encourage you to me (aacid@kde.org) if you are interested in helping. Sadly, some of our teams are not very active, so you may find yourself alone, it can be a bit daunting at the beginning, but the rest of us in kde-i18n-doc will help you along the way :)

  • News – WordPress 5.6 Beta 1 – WordPress.org

    WordPress 5.6 Beta 1 is now available for testing! This software is still in development, so we recommend that you run this version on a test site. [...] The current target for final release is December 8, 2020. This is just seven weeks away, so your help is needed to ensure this release is tested properly.

  • Google Patches Bug Used in Active Attacks Against Chrome

    Google has discovered and patched a serious vulnerability in Chrome that attackers are actively exploiting at the moment. The bug is a high-severity heap buffer overflow in FreeType, a free font-rendering engine that Chrome, among many other projects, uses. A member of Google’s Project Zero vulnerability research team discovered the vulnerability and subsequently found that attackers were already exploiting it. Google patched the flaw in Chrome 86.0.4240.111 for desktop browsers and the maintainers of the FreeType Project pushed out an emergency release of the library to fix it, as well. “I've just fixed a heap buffer overflow that can happen for some malformed .ttf files with PNG sbit glyphs. It seems that this vulnerability gets already actively used in the wild, so I ask all users to apply the corresponding commit as soon as possible,” Werner Lemberg, one of the original authors of the FreeType, said in an email to the FreeType announcement mailing list.

  • FreeType 2.10.4 Rushed Out As Emergency Security Release

    The FreeType text rendering library is out with version 2.10.4 today as an important security update.

  • Intel: replace thermal compound “every few years”

    Thermal compound (sometimes called thermal paste or grease) is applied to fill minuscule gaps in the materials in the heat spreader (the metal covering on top of the processor) and the heatsink. Eliminating these gaps is essential to ensuring efficient heat transfer into the heatsink. The thermal compound that is used in your computer generally won’t go bad or degrade in its useful lifespan. It will get displaced over time, however. You’d need higher temperatures than what you’ll typically find in a computer for other failure modes to come into effect. The displacement is caused by thermal cycling that results in an effect known as “thermally induced pump-out.” As the components heat up and cool down, the processors’ heat spreader (its metal top) and the heatsink will expand and contract. This effect will, over time, pump the thermal compound out from in between the two metal plates. You can find illustrations and a more technical explanation in the source links below.