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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Sat, 30 May 2015

Getting rid of workspaces in GNOME 3

It's not that I don't like virtual desktops (aka workspaces) in Linux.

On the contrary, I love them.

But when I'm using the horrible Citrix-delivered applications my company provides, switching to another workspace (or virtual desktop) causes those apps to lose their connection to the server.

So I have to be disciplined in order not to switch to another workspace.

In Xfce I removed the desktop pager from my panel.

And just now in GNOME 3, I was searching for an Extension that would do this for me. I found an out-of-date Extension that included a very good workaround in the comments:

This extension didn't work for me on Fedora 20/GNOME 3.10. Instead I used GNOME Tweak Tool and set the 'Workspace Creation'=Static and only 'Number of Workspaces'=1.

I already have GNOME Tweak Tool, since you really can't run GNOME 3 (successfully anyway) without it. I went into the Workspaces portion of the utility and did just that.

Now my Workspaces are gone, as is the ability to even go to them with ctrl-alt up/down-arrow, and I should be safer than ever to use GNOME Shell for my Citrix work ... unless minimizing apps, or switching between them, kills the connection.

More later

Tue, 26 May 2015

Gear review: The iRig 2 guitar interface to iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad

The iRig 2 guitar interface

Here's my short and not so sweet review of [IK Multimedia's iRig 2] guitar interface to the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and some Samsung Android devices.

The iRig 2 was floating around the office, and I figured that I'm a guitar player, I've always been interested in headphone-amp type solutions, and maybe this would enable me to play an electric guitar, with the aid of my iPod Touch 5th Generation, and leave amplifiers behind.

Here's the challenge: I play jazz mostly. I don't like distortion. Jazz guitar for the most part requires a lot of headroom but no distortion.

Can the iRig 2 handle it?

First of all, the iRig 2 is an inexpensive device. It's something like $39. That's cheap. So how much can you expect from it? How good is the onboard preamp?

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Dodgy Windows 8 leads to me running Citrix on Fedora Linux

I wasn't even going to write about how I used to run Citrix on Windows 8 instead of Linux on my HP laptop because my particular Citrix-delivered application reacted poorly to the horrible DSL Extreme broadband service at home and its frequent (every three minutes or so) total dropouts. Maddeningly, the crucial link to "reconnect" to my application was present the Firefox and Chrome web browsers under Windows but absent in those same browsers under Linux.

No, I was instead going to write about how to configure Citrix in Linux to allow you to access local drives via your Citrix apps. I'd like to thank the Ubuntu community for that very helpful portion of an overall Citrix-on-Linux page that has helped me many times.

But since I'm already going this road, here is how and why I decided to do my Citrix-based production work in Fedora Linux instead of Windows 8.

Initially I thought I "had" to use Windows for the ungainly Citrix-delivered apps that my employer requires, including Adobe InCopy (which I wouldn't wish on anybody) and a proprietary CMS from Hell. That was when I was having Internet issues at home and kept getting disconnected from my Citrix apps.

But since then I've "solved" my broadband issue, and the connection is slow yet consistent (as opposed to slightly faster but extremely inconsistent; thanks DSL Extreme, who I'm dropping as soon as my contract ends).

So once I had "consistent" broadband, I thought I was home free. I could run my Citrix apps under Windows 8 (the 8.1 upgrade fails for me every time, probably because I dual-boot Fedora, and an encrypted Fedora at that) and all would be well.

Except that Win 8 started crashing. Yeah, I'm stressing the #$%& out of it, but that's how I work.

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Static blogging systems written in Ruby

I'm always looking at new blogging systems, and here are a few links about systems written in Ruby:

http://www.sitepoint.com/static-blogging-g-face-middleman-vs-jekyll/

http://www.sitepoint.com/wordpress-vs-jekyll-might-want-make-switch/

http://www.sitepoint.com/6-static-blog-generators-arent-jekyll/

https://middlemanapp.com/basics/blogging/

You might already know about Jekyll and its close cousin Octopress, (I do), but this is the first I've heard about Middleman, which is billed as a general static-site generator written in Ruby that can be configured to produce a blog.

I dumped the links above with little context because I waiting to explore where they lead, as I hope you will, too.

Trying to remove LXDE from Fedora 21 breaks Xfce, and why Fedora makes for a sturdy Citrix platform

I installed the LXDE desktop environment a while back. Part of me just wanted to check it out because it has been awhile. But I also was "auditioning" it as a potential working environment in Fedora because I'm now doing a lot more of my $dayjob work via Citrix Receiver in Linux instead of Windows.

As a current Xfce user, moving to LXDE isn't quite the culture shock as it would be going from, say GNOME or KDE to the LXDE environment.

Things I liked in LXDE included that it picked up on the Adiwata Dark theme I'm using in GNOME and had a lot more "darkness" to it than Xfce picks up when I choose Adiwata on that side and Adiwata Dark in GNOME. Doing the latter makes GTK3 apps show up with a dark theme, though all GTK2 apps are as white as the Xfce Adiwata theme makes them.

Things I didn't like included a lack of screen animation when clicking an application button in a panel (I never knew if I really clicked it or not) and (more crucially) no way to manage touchpad tap-to-click in a GUI.

Yeah, it came down to touchpad management. Xfce is good at it. LXDE is not.

So I stopped using LXDE, barely used GNOME 3 (too many issues with Citrix and too hard to configure the way I want/need it to be) and focused on Xfce as my go-to desktop environment.

I recently removed the desktop pager from my upper panel to keep myself from accidentally clicking into a second desktop and causing my Citrix apps to lose their connection to the server. It's barbaric. But I can accept it.

And now LXDE has been hanging around unused on my Fedora system for more than a little time.

I figured, why not remove it?

So I went into my favorite Fedora package manager, searched for LXDE and removed everything that came up.

Bad move.

There were things in that mass package removal that Xfce needs.

After that ill-fated software removal, Xfce lost its wallpaper. And its ability to pretty much work at all. Applications would launch, but they would no longer refresh on the screen. And I couldn't do much of anything.

How did I set things right?

I went into Yumex again -- yes, it did work -- and added back all of the LXDE items.

Now Xfce works once again. And I still have LXDE.