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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Thu, 21 Feb 2013

Things OpenBSD doesn't have that keep me from adopting it as my primary desktop operating system

I've used OpenBSD as my primary desktop OS before, but it's been a long time. Since then my main laptop has run Linux -- a bit of Fedora and Ubuntu and a whole lot of Debian.

I still dabble in OpenBSD, and I've done a few installs of version 5.2 recently on older test hardware.

I love the whole vibe of the project: the care that is taken with the base system and even the ports and packages that you add later, the like-clockwork development schedule that puts incremental improvement and not breaking things ahead of whiz-bangery, the best documentation anywhere (they care about the man pages and offer a by-your-own-bootstraps FAQ).

It feels solid. I've run every BSD I could at one time or other (FreeBSD, NetBSD, DragonFlyBSD, PC-BSD, GhostBSD, DesktopBSD) and have had more success with OpenBSD than any other. That's me. And my hardware.

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Aftermarket replacement battery on the cheap for the Lenovo G555

I've had the Lenovo G555 for about 2 3/4 years at this point, and I've had another part fail -- the battery.

A laptop battery losing its ability to hold a charge after two years is by no means unusual.

Laptop batteries can be pricey. I've seen them go for -- and that's for a computer that's worth maybe .

When my LCD power inverter went when I had the Lenovo for about two years -- a bit early -- and I was able to replace what is usually a part by spending and change on eBay, I decided to look around before committing to a new battery.

I saw aftermarket batteries going for anywhere from to . That's quite a range. Some claimed to be better. Those offered a two-year warranty. Most of the time, it would take another to in shipping to complete the transaction.

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This social-media post was generated out of my #ode blog http://bit.ly/Vx4RHw

I'm experimenting with a feed out of this Ode site whose sole purpose is to originate and archive my posts to social-media services such as Twitter.

Ideally I will be pointing the RSS of a specific subset of posts either at Twitter directly, or at http://dlvr.it, and the only things I will be posting to social networks will both originate and live here.

This is a "push" system that doesn't gather any responses to these social-media postings, but I could always gather and repeat that history here, provide a link to same, or just forget about it and be happy having my "original" posts contained within this portion of my Ode blog.

Later: The super long URL in the header ran right out of the box, so I used bit.ly to shorten it.

The link referenced in the title is the URL to this very entry: http://stevenrosenberg.net/blog/social/posts/2013_0220_twitter_out_of_ode

Even later: problems with this method include: The link doesn't track from the blog to Twitter. Instead the Twitter post goes back to this blog entry. That might not be so bad -- Any link I want can be at the top of the blog post, and the reader can go from Twitter, back here, then to the outbound link.

But it would be better to at least have the flexibility of originating a Twitter post with a unique link and pushing that to the social-networking service rather than a link to a blog post. There is probably some way to do this with the Twitter API (and maybe even the Twitter-related Perl modules). Something to think about.

Wed, 13 Feb 2013

Get a VPS from InceptionHosting for 4 euros -- that's about $5.38 -- per month

I have no way of knowing how good or bad InceptionHosting is in terms of service, but the UK-headquartered company has somewhat of a presence in the U.S. and is offering VPSes -- virtual private servers -- running Linux for prices beginning at 4 euros per month. The latest exchange rate puts that at .38.

If you have a few extra bucks a month and want to mess around with a VPS, I sure haven't seen anything cheaper.

Tue, 12 Feb 2013

vModSynth looks totally awesome

I don't have time to look too deeply into this, but if you love the idea of analog synthesizers with gobs of patch cords going from one module to another, you may love vModSynth. Just look at the screenshot above (click it for a full-size view).

As developer Rafał Cieślak says:

vModSynth allows you to play with a modular synth on your computer. You are free to choose any modules you wish, you can connect them however you want, and you will hear the result immediately. The synthesizer intentionally resembles the look of a modular synthesizer (I was inspired by modules manufactured by synthesizers.com), and it imitates behavior of one.

Ubuntu developer Mike Rooney, who was blogging with Octopress, moves to WordPress

I see via Planet Ubuntu that Ubuntu developer Mike Rooney, who had been blogging with geek-favored Octopress, has now moved to WordPress.

He acknowledges that most people seem to be moving it the other way (from WordPress to Octopress), but he cites a few things that he couldn't get past in the Ruby-on-one-side, static-HTML-on-the-other world of Octopress:

  • Hard to set up on OS X
  • Doesn't like Markdown
  • Hates lack of copy flow
  • Wants portability in composing entries (from machines without his private key)

WordPress has all of this, of course. It's not geeky sexy like Octopress, or the Jekyll project on which it's based.

Acknowledging that something isn't working for you and seeking something that does? Nothing wrong with that. And a whole lot right.

By the way, I love Markdown. And you can get it in WordPress

Sat, 09 Feb 2013

GNOME 3.4.2 in OpenBSD 5.2 -- I have it running

I decided to pull out a test machine -- the old Gateway Solo 1450, circa 2002 -- and try to install GNOME 3 in OpenBSD 5.2.

As you can see from the screenshot above, I was successful. Tips from Call for Testing helped.

This is an old laptop, so there is no 3D acceleration. That means it's Fallback Mode only for GNOME 3 on this machine.

But it's a working GNOME 3.4.2. Here is what I have in /etc/rc.conf.local:

 ntpd_flags=        # enabled during install
 multicast_host=YES
 pkg_scripts="{ dbus_daemon avahi_daemon"</code>

Here is my ~/.xinitrc:

 exec /usr/local/bin/ck-launch-session /usr/local/bin/gnome-session
Thu, 07 Feb 2013

It's easy to see what's happening in OpenBSD development

Though developers for OpenBSD have a reputation -- deserved or not -- as less than warm and fuzzy, the project is nothing if not transparent in terms of letting the world know what they're working on.

I'm sure other projects are as good at detailing what has changed from one release to the next. But this is one area where OpenBSD excels.

Look at http://www.openbsd.org/plus.html for the changes between OpenBSD 5.2 and -current (the current development version). Every change is in there.

Most of what's new in the 5.2 release can be seen at http://openbsd.org/52.html, and the full changelog is at http://openbsd.org/plus52.html

The source is always available and up to date on the web -- http://www.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/cvsweb/ and via the CVS version control system.

You can follow the latest in ports -- software you can compile and run -- at http://openports.se/.

It's not like other open-source projects don't make their source available because they do. But I find it very, very easy to figure out what's happening in OpenBSD because of the systematic way the project's developers go about their work, which includes detailing what they've done in these changelogs as well as in the man pages for the operating system.

It appears that some machines can run GNOME Shell in OpenBSD 5.2

If the graphical stars align, it looks like it's possible to run GNOME Shell -- and not just Fallback Mode -- in GNOME 3.x when running OpenBSD 5.2.

A lot of the progress in getting GNOME running on OpenBSD goes to the developers at m:tier (more here, who are also offering binary updates to the OpenBSD base system.

So what other BSDs offer GNOME 3 packages without a whole lot of trouble? I'm not sure any at this point.

I have run GNOME 2 and Xfce 4 in the past on both OpenBSD and FreeBSD (and Xfce 4 on DragonFlyBSD), and a familiar environment goes a long way toward making you productive in an less-familiar OS.

ShyPosts directory test

I am trying to "hide" everything in this directory with the ShyPosts addin for Ode. Did it work?