Title photo
frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Mon, 01 Feb 2016

Learning more Perl for my Ode Counter add-in

I learn better, or should I say I only learn how to program when I have an actual problem to solve.

My current "problem" is figuring out how to generate more data out of my Ode blog's filesystem for my Ode Counter add-in.

I already report on the number of blog entries, how many are "real" entries and how many are Ode-generated social-media updates, plus how many images are in the filesystem and how many of those appear in actual blog posts.

Another thing I have wanted to do since I began using Ode was have the system generate a Categories/directories list in HTML for both a dedicated "site map" page as well as a sidebar display.

Read the rest of this post

Sat, 30 Jan 2016

Computer science and me and computer science and me

I might as well come right out with it.

I'm going back to school. Community college. For computer science.

Ilene thought I should do it at least a year ago. She's smart that way. It took me awhile to come around. Back then I thought a curriculum anchored in the C++ language (with smatterings of C, Java and C#) and not today's languages of the web (Javascript, Python and Ruby ... OK, really just Javascript) was not for me.

I was ready to do it all on my own: find a language and a framework and a reason to learn them and go. (A few months ago, I even learned a little Go.)

Read the rest of this post

Thu, 28 Jan 2016

I think Brave is going to be big

The @brave browser is going to be big if it can meld the speed of Chrome with a users-first mentality

Linux advice: How to get started with Debian (or any Linux) web server

I answered this question on Quora and figured that I might as well put the answer here, too:

The question: Are there any good resources (Books) to get started on a Linux (Debian) web server?

Here is my answer:

You should definitely get The Debian Administrator's Handbook.

Then there is everything on the Debian documentation page.

And the good thing about Debian is that most posts and other references that explain how to do something in Ubuntu will also work for Debian.

With that in mind, just about any book or site that helps you run any kind of Linux web server will help you with Debian.

O'Reilly is releasing a new version of The Apache Cookbook in two months. I highly recommend it.

I also recommend two No Starch Press books: How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know and The Linux Command Line: A Complete Introduction

This part is not on Quora:

I've been thinking for years that the technical publishing industry has thought of Linux as "done," and would continue to wind down their previously robust book schedules.

That pretty much happened, but seeing a new "Apache Cookbook," plus these two excellent titles from No Starch as well as a third, The Linux Programming Interface: A Linux and Unix System Programming Handbook, I see four very compelling Linux books that aren't woefully out of date.

They may not be focused on individual distros, but that is a strength, not a weakness.

Mon, 25 Jan 2016

The year ahead in C++

The year ahead in C++ http://meetingcpp.com/index.php/br/items/cpp-in-2016.html

Dave Cross: Why learn Perl?

Dave Cross: Why learn #Perl? http://perlhacks.com/2016/01/why-learn-perl Plus his whole site is great: http://perlhacks.com

Sat, 23 Jan 2016

I'm enjoying GNOME 3 today. That is all.

Today I'm enjoying GNOME 3 in Fedora 23.

The GNOME desktop, at this stage in the 3.x series, is definitely in the iteration stage after a long time in the "sorry about the lack of functionality but not sorry" stage.

If my Citrix apps didn't suffer a bit more in GNOME than in Xfce (mainly because Citrix doesn't care all that much and my apps' developers don't care at all), I could see myself in this environment more of the time.

The dark theming helps. I do the same in Xfce, and in some ways dark theming (aka Adiwata Dark) is maybe a little bit further along in GNOME because it meets with the project's minimalist goals.

Or that's how I'd like to think about it.

In related dark-theming news, Fedora did fix yumex-dnf to work with dark themes (no more dark blue type on black). Now it has to fix the trouble with kernel updates (in which old kernels are NOT deleted, while they are in regular ol' console dnf).

One unfortunate thing: The Eclipse IDE looks like HELL with dark theming. Eclipse developers, you wound me.

Wed, 20 Jan 2016

Geany builds Java and C++ programs, does it on everything

As I ease in to learning how to code in C++, I have a couple of "real" IDEs at my disposal (chiefly Netbeans and Microsoft Visual Studio), I was pleased to find out that my favorite not-quite-an-IDE Geany will build and run both Java and C++ code.

And Geany can do this on Linux/Unix, Windows and Macintosh computers. (It uses the Unixy g++ even in Windows for C++ code.

I even tested a Perl script in Windows, where I'm using Strawberry Perl. Geany will automatically run a Perl script (on a Perl-equipped Windows computer) when I click on the "Execute" button. It opens Perl in the Windows terminal and runs the script without needing to leave the "IDE."

Note: I did install Microsoft Visual Studio Community because I have a feeling I'm going to need it (though instinctively I lean toward Netbeans, and practically am using Geany).

One thing I'm learning about C++ as I dip the very tips of my toes into its vast waters: Like Perl but more so, there is definitely more than one way to do it.

Tue, 19 Jan 2016

Twitter intermittent this morning and last

Both today and yesterday, Twitter has been less than healthy

Mon, 18 Jan 2016

Go has been updated in Fedora

Go has been updated to 1.5.3 in #Fedora http://koji.fedoraproject.org/koji/buildinfo?buildID=711203 #golang

Right now, this is the current Go release. That makes Fedora a great platform for Go programmers.

Fri, 15 Jan 2016

I dislike 'listicle' articles that are just clunky photo galleries

I dislike 'listicle' articles that are just clunky photo galleries -- I'm looking at you, @zdnet

Thu, 14 Jan 2016

Lengthy list of what's wrong with Linux

I found this very long list of things wrong with Linux http://itvision.altervista.org/why.linux.is.not.ready.for.the.desktop.current.html

Wed, 13 Jan 2016

Revisiting GNOME's Web (aka Epiphany) browser

The Unix/Linux desktop environment GNOME's many components include a full web browser that used to be called Epiphany and now goes by the very non-Googlable name Web. Yes. it's a Web browser called Web.

Back in the GNOME 2 days, I used it a lot. That wasn't just the GNOME 2 days but the Gecko days, when Epiphany was based on Mozilla's Gecko engine rather than Apple/Google's WebKit.

In the early WebKit days, I think Epiphany/Web went downhill a bit.

Now I use Google Chrome much of the time, though I know in my heart that I shouldn't. I'm usually logged into Google Services for my job, and Google is getting into everything I do.

These days Firefox is just frustrating. Once I get 10 tabs open, it tends to hang when Chrome doesn't.

Maybe a basic browser like Epiphany/Web can help me. Maybe not.

I'll give it a try and let you know how it goes.

Update: Epiphany/Web works very well. I can't say for sure that it's "lighter" than Google Chrome, especially since it uses the same Webkit engine.

What I can say is that for general-purpose web-browsing, it is very fast and stable. And I bet Google is tracking me a whole lot less.

Epiphany is a simple browser. Like Firefox was in its early days.

It's well-integrated as a GTK3 application, so it'll look good either in GNOME 3, or (in my case) among all the other GTK3 apps I'm using in the Xfce desktop environment.

For search, Epiphany defaults to Duck Duck Go which bills itself as "the search engine that doesn't track you," and so far I'm happy with it. It's nice to have an alternative to Google, even in a Web browser using the same engine as a browser that is most definitely tracking you.

I'm not saying I will give up on Google Chrome, especially for my , but when it comes to personal browsing, I can see myself in Epiphany much of that time.

How to do a slide presentation with Ode

From the Ode forum:

How to do a slide presentation with Ode

Get the Presentation theme here.

The Counter addin, version 2, for Ode sites

I've been meaning to get back into the Counter addin that I wrote for Ode with Rob's help, and over the past few days I added some functionality to the code and deployed it on my site, where you can see the results in the right rail.

The original Counter addin only counted posts, which in my case are files in the documents directory with .txt suffixes.

Since I now create many of my social-media updates with Ode, I added some code to count those entries and report how many of the overall entries are "full" posts and how many are social updates.

While I was in there, I wanted to play around with regular expressions, so I also added a count for the number of jpg and png images both in the entire documents directory (which includes themes) as well as in my images directory (where I try to keep all images that go into posts).

It's definitely fun to write a very little bit of Perl and have something happen on my live site. It's a nice feeling, for sure.

The addin uses the File::Find CPAN module to crawl your filesystem and count the files.

The way the Counter addin works is that you download it (for now I'm hosting it here) and unzip it, stash the addin's directory/folder in your addins directory (mine is under /data/addins), add some HTML with calls to the addin to your theme (generally in the sidebar area), and it should just work.

Once again, thanks to Rob Reed for creating Ode and helping me get off the ground with this addin.

If you missed the link above, download the new Counter addin from my site.

I still have some code cleanup to do, and I will probably add some documentation, licensing information and acknowledgments. But this version does work.

In the future, I can see this addin, or something like it, creating even more dynamic (or even static) content for the sidebar of an Ode site. It could help build a list of directories and certainly could provide more statistics on how many posts you have under any given directory.

But for now I can instantly see how many posts and social updates I have written (and you can, too).

Fri, 08 Jan 2016

I cannot run my Citrix apps with GNOME

Every now and again I try to run my Citrix apps with GNOME. Xfce still does it better. Probably Citrix's fault, but it is what it is

Tue, 05 Jan 2016

I am not saying the LA Review of Books is the city's most important web site

I am not saying @LAReviewofBooks is the city's most important web site. Not saying it isn't, either https://lareviewofbooks.org

What makes Elixir so attractive for some developers?

From http://ruby2elixir.github.io: What makes Elixir so attractive for some developers? http://ruby2elixir.github.io/posts/2015/12-29-what-makes-elixir-so-attractive-for-some-developers.html

Mon, 04 Jan 2016

Free C++ books -- great list from @TFETimes

I just found this great list of free C++ books from @TFETimes

I picked up about five.

I've also returned to reading books

Back to reading books (and couldn't agree more with @hughmcguire) https://medium.com/@hughmcguire/why-can-t-we-read-anymore-503c38c131fe

Tweets on my laptop originate here

Tweets on my laptop originate here: http://stevenrosenberg.net/blog/updates. Explanation: Tweet from any blog

@MethodDan updates his condition

.@MethodDan of #LinuxOutlaws updates his medical condition http://danlynch.org/blog/2015/12/got-a-date/, plays some tunes http://ratholeradio.org/2015/12/ep152/

Sun, 03 Jan 2016

Geany is the IDE for people who don't understand IDEs

Like me.

I've got plenty of IDEs on my laptop. At least one has been here a while (Padre, focused on Perl). A few have been here a short time (Eclipse, Netbeans, whatever incarnation of IntelliJ comes with Android Studio).

I've barely used any of them. There is a learning curve.

I never really needed Padre. I write scripts with text editors (often gedit, sometimes Notepad++ if I'm in Windows).

I like Netbeans, and I am able to create, compile and run simple Java programs with it.

I tried to create a C++ program in Netbeans after adding C and C++ support but got held up at the make/configure script portion.

That was after I created a script in gedit and used g++ on the command line to compile it. That works.

So I turned to Geany, the "IDE" (heavy quotation marks) I've been using not just for my rudimentary Java programs but also for most of my general text editing (I need cr/lf line endings for my company's main CMS, and gedit is kind of broken in this regard).

Since I have OpenJDK and all the C build tools installed on my Fedora system, Geany happily builds and runs my Java programs and my now-sole C++ program (see it above). Not much of a learning curve. Click the build brick, then click the "run" gears.

That's it.

There will be a time in the near future when I will need to run a "real" IDE. I will need training wheels.

Things I'm going to do in 2016 to further my programming goals

I have a plan for 2016 to dramatically increase my programming knowledge and experience.

When that plan is further along -- I'd say I'm at 25 percent this week, will be at 50 percent next week and 100 percent by the end of the month, I will provide the details. But I can promise that I plan to do more and make more progress in 2016 than any year previous.

I am aiming to use git and/or GitHub for as much of my programming workflow as possible, both for my new projects and practice as well as my previous projects, however small (or ungainly) they are.

The key is balancing this new push to learn with my home, family and work lives. I hope I can do it.

Thu, 31 Dec 2015

Things Fedora 23 fixes: Yumex DNF display with dark theme

Like any software upgrade, going from Fedora 22 to 23 has its wins and losses, however temporary in both cases.

In the "wins" category: Yumex-DNF, the graphical package manager that isn't GNOME Software now displays normally with the Adiwata dark theme that I've been using.

Hopefully there is improvement across the board in GTK3 application rendering with dark themes.

Google Chrome EditEdit issue in Fedora 23

I'm noticing this issue when using Ode's EditEdit in Fedora 23. It looks like the line spacing in the CSS for the "composing" windows is screwed up. See the screen grab above (click for full-sized image).

You can see that the top line in the "Title" windows is cut off on top, and the lines are a little cramped in the "Body."

I need to check this in Firefox to make sure it's not some kind of overall Fedora 23 issue (I just upgraded my OS from Fedora 22), and I'm sure I can adjust the CSS for EditEdit to make this problem go away.

Update: It looks fine in Firefox:

Update: This has something to do with the Courier font. Rather than go crazy about it, I'm just going to knock it out of the EditEdit CSS.

Fedora upgrades DO happen overnight

Fedora upgrades DO happen overnight -- with 7000+ tasks between upgrades and cleanup, I just let it run. F23 now lives on my laptop

Upgrading Fedora 22 to 23 -- 3654 packages for me

Upgrading #Fedora 22 to 23 -- 3654 packages for me

Easy instructions for Fedora 22 to 23 upgrade

Easy instructions for Fedora 22 to 23 upgrade from Fedora Magazine https://fedoramagazine.org/upgrading-from-fedora-22-to-fedora-23/ I needed --allowerasing

Starting the Fedora 22 to 23 upgrade

Starting the #Fedora 22 to 23 upgrade -- can DNF really do it?

Tue, 29 Dec 2015

Great Fedora Magazine interview with Kevin Fenzi

Fedora Magazine did a "How Do You Fedora" interview with Kevin Fenzi, longtime Fedora contributor and Red Hat employee who does so much for Xfce in the distribution.

You know what I'm using like crazy in Xfce? Clipman

You know what I'm using like crazy in Xfce? Clipman http://www.mylinuxrig.com/post/1441513640/clipman-helps-remember-what-you-cut

dlvr.it is one of those services that keeps plugging along

http://dlvr.it is one of those services that keeps plugging along. It runs my @twitter feed out of this blog, and my company uses it, too

Mon, 28 Dec 2015

The @realdonaldtrump and @passthejoe -- Twitter brothers from different mothers

.@realdonaldtrump and @passthejoe (that's me) joined @twitter about the same time - 2009. Sure, he has more followers, but I just crossed 1K

From Whole Earth Catalog to Cool Tools

Unearthed my circa-1980 Next Whole Earth Catalog, the web before the Web http://www.amazon.com/The-Next-Whole-Earth-Catalog/dp/0394707761

Getting started with blog advertising

So you want to start selling advertising on your blog or website?

There's always Google AdSense, which doesn't pay all that much. And there is NO customer service. I had a client blackballed from the service for doing something I KNOW they didn't do, and there is no recourse.

But looking around, it appears that you can do this outside of Google and make a lot more money.

Michael Hyatt says if you have 10,000 unique visitors per month, you can make it happen. And it looks like he used the Boston-based BuySellAds platform to help him do it.

Things he did included:

  • Launching a reader survey
  • Setting up an advertising page
  • Creating an "advertising kit"
  • Signing up with an advertising service (again, he used BuySellAds) Then capping it with:
  • Pitching an irresistible offer

If self-help and career/life coaching is your thing, MichaelHyatt.com is all about that. He also offers a podcast and a bunch of products like e-books, print books, audio books and even a WordPress theme.

Not having spent a lot of time at his site, I imagine that Michael thinks of a blog as part of the overall marketing/monetization strategy in your life (or your business' life, I suppose).

Does this blog have 10,000 unique visitors per month?

Even I was asking that question after reading this. The purpose of this blog isn't direct monetization (or its content would be a whole lot different instead of "whatever the hell I'm thinking about" and "here's what I'm putting on social media").

I don't really pay much attention to the traffic. I don't even have a "real" analytics setup. I just rely on the AwStats functionality that my web host bakes into my account.

I usually get between 4,000 and 7,000 uniques per month, but I host a few other things on the stevenrosenberg.net domain, and I had a huge spike in November 2015, doubling the number of uniques to 14,000.

It turns out the spike was due to Los Angeles County election results that I host here for my employer. I should definitely move those to a company server, and I actually do have one now that can handle it (it's all Bash scripts, chewing gum and super glue). For the next election, I will.

I'm not saying I will never sell advertising on my "personal" blog, but I don't see it happening. I might do it if I started one or more "specialty" blogs that had some focus, but this isn't that blog.

Sun, 27 Dec 2015

Ornette Coleman remembered by Neneh Cherry

Ornette Coleman remembered by Neneh Cherry aka @misscherrylala http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/dec/27/ornette-coleman-remembered-by-neneh-cherry-jazz-saxophonist

Sat, 26 Dec 2015

JDK 1.8 for OpenBSD

JDK 1.8 for OpenBSD http://openports.se/devel/jdk/1.8

OpenBSD 5.8 looking very good

OpenBSD 5.8 looks very good http://www.openbsd.org/58.html Even offers JDK, which I don't remember from 4.4 days

Great introduction to @OpenBSD at openbsdjumpstart.org

Great introduction to @OpenBSD at http://www.openbsdjumpstart.org

Generate a random number between 1 and 100 in JavaScript, Ruby, Python, Groovy, Perl and Bash

News that the random number generator in JavaScript was fixed (I didn't know it was broken) prompted me to wonder how easy (or hard) it is to generate a random integer between 1 and 100 in as many languages as I could.

Of course I used Google and the sites it found for me to come up with these methods.

Generating random numbers is important in programming, and it's very important that those numbers be truly random. That's why the problem with JavaScript's random numbers seems so serious, especially with JavaScript's ubiquity not just on the client (where it's carrying a heavier load than ever) but now the server via Node.js.

So you want to generate a random number between 1 and 100? Here are n ways to do it:

Random numbers in various computer languages:


Use node to run this line in your terminal (you do have node installed on your computer, right? If not, you should):

Math.floor(Math.random() * 100) + 1


It's even easier in Ruby (use irb to run this in the console):

rand(100) + 1


In Python, it takes a couple of lines. You can run this in the python console (type python at the command line, then start typing your commands):

import random print(random.randint(0,100))


I have been experimenting with Groovy, a dynamic language that uses the JVM (the Java Virtual Machine). If you have Groovy installed, start the graphical Groovy console with the command groovyConsole.

Math.abs(new Random().nextInt() % 100 + 1)


While Perl doesn't have an interactive shell like Ruby and Python, you can run a one-liner from a terminal using the perl command. Here is a random number between 1 and 100 in Perl:

perl -le 'print int(rand(100)) + 1'


You can also do it in the Bash shell with $RANDOM:

echo $RANDOM % 100 + 1 | bc

Analysis: Ruby offers the easiest, most elegant way to generate a random integer from 1 to 100 with a one-liner. But you can do it in most every dynamic language.

Notes: I'm sure this can be done in a Perl one-liner

Tue, 22 Dec 2015

Own your social entries, create them from any device

The ideal is a free, open, federated social-media platform like Identi.ca or Status.net, but even those services, when run by others, are subject to a certain bit rot. They're here today, but will they be tomorrow?

We live in a world of mega-services like Twitter and Facebook. Multi-billion-dollar important companies. And in our zeal to communicate, we spend hours creating free content for them in exchange for free service.

Still, they offer value. If the few people we want to share our thoughts with also subscribe to a given service, there is value. That's how Facebook grew.

On Twitter, I can tell you that having 900 followers does not provide a lot of eyeballs for my tweets. I'm lucky if 40 people see them. Twitter is all about the now. A tweet's sell-by date is maybe a half-hour after it's created.

I think short, social-media-style updates are valuable.

But I want them to be my own. I have that, pretty much, when I create them through my blog and distribute to social-media services from there.

From my laptop, I'm about 90 percent of the way there. I'd like sharing links to be a little more automatic. Like on mobile devices. Android has "intents." Apple has the same thing, but I don't know what they call it.

And mobile is the place where I have the furthest to come.

If I were using WordPress, I bet the WP app for Android (and iOS, too) hooks into "intents" and allows link sharing.

But I don't use WordPress.

My Ode blog works off of a traditional filesystem on the server. There is no database. Create files, and with a few tweaks and pokes, you have a live blog entry.

I don't want to go back to a database. Flat files on a server is not just Ode's but every static-blogging tool out there's killer app.

So what I need is a mobile app that hooks into "intents" to allow link sharing and produces the files I need, gets them on the server and does what I need to make those files appear on the live site.

It shouldn't be too difficult. (Famous last words.)

It's what's driving me to learn Java and Android development. That and everything else.

Having a problem to solve and making something to do that. What could be better?

Don't hate me because I like Netbeans

Was prepared to hate Netbeans, but I kind of like it

Mon, 21 Dec 2015

Go's net/http not fast enough? Fast HTTP is up to 10 times faster

Go's net/http not fast enough? Fast HTTP is up to 10 times faster https://github.com/valyala/fasthttp #golang

Sat, 19 Dec 2015

Personality type: I'm an INTP

Every take one of those personality-type tests?

I did. Turns out I'm an INTP:

INTPs are independent, reserved, and live in a world of ideas. They can work well on a team but prefer to work alone in sporadic bursts of energy.

Although private, INTPs can at times seem totally outspoken because of their directness of communication and economy of words.

Other people may assume that INTPs say very little, but this is only when there is nothing to say. The general chitchat of social life is not for them.

They prefer to speak only about areas that interest them, things they consider important.
Fri, 18 Dec 2015

The problem with packages -- and I mean actual boxes that Amazon delivers to your doorstep

I run a lot of stories about package thieves, people who either trail delivery vehicles carrying packages from Amazon and scores of other online retailers and grab the goods, or who just troll neighborhoods looking for boxes already on doorsteps and then drive up, take the booty and drive away.

Many of us are ordering more online than ever. We got Amazon Prime and have really stepped up what we have delivered to the house by various couriers -- USPS, UPS, Fedex, OnTrac, Amazon contractors, and probably others.

So what do we do to keep those packages from being targeted by thieves?

You can always get the packages sent to your office, where delivery is usually made to an actual person. I've use this method sometimes, though not as much as I used to when I only made occasional orders.

That aside, I think we need a better solution for home package delivery.

What I'm thinking of is some kind of large, secure box that you can bolt to your front porch. If it can be designed so items can be placed into the box but not easily removed without a key, that would provide an extra measure of security for home delivery of items that can fit into the box.

I'm sure there is already a commercial product that does this very job. I'll look around to see what I can find. If you know of something that fills this role, let me know about it.

Debian and Fedora

At this point, I've probably been running Fedora a lot longer than I ever ran Debian.

I am following too many people on Twitter. That is all.

I am following too many people on Twitter. That is all.

Confession: I love reading Penelope Trunk

Confession: I love reading Penelope Trunk. Her subject (life and work) is compelling, as is what I think is her brutal honesty http://blog.penelopetrunk.com

Most secure mobile device is Apple's iPod Touch

Researchers say iPod Touch is the most secure mobile device due to lack of SIM card http://www.zdnet.com/article/want-a-secure-privacy-smartphone-the-experts-suggest iPhone is second-best

7 reasons to develop your next web app with Meteor

7 reasons to develop your next web app with @meteorjs http://www.sitepoint.com/7-reasons-develop-next-web-app-meteor from @sitepointdotcom

Blogging without Internet is easy when you're just writing text files

I'm in one of more than a few places I've been in recent days with my laptop but no Internet connectivity.

I can write an Ode entry with no problems. This would be just as true for the many static blog engines that are if not all then at least some of the rage among the more geeky bloggers out there.

Like I'm doing write now, all I have to do is use my favorite (or any available) text editor, write into a file and upload it to the server later.

And in my case, I have helper applications (chiefly Unison) and short scripts that make those uploads virtually automatic when I do.

Fedora 22 with Xfce deep into the cycle -- most 'stable' Fedora release ever for my laptop

Fedora 23 has been out for awhile and I haven't yet upgraded the HP Pavilion g2-2210us laptop I've been running and upgrading since I first installed F18 on it in mid-2013.

One reason I'm not upgrading, though under examination illogically, is that Fedora 22 is the best-running, most "stable" release I've ever run on this now-2 1/2-year-old hardware.

Read the rest of this post

Thu, 17 Dec 2015

Mumble returns to Fedora

Mumble returns to @Fedora https://fedoramagazine.org/mumble-returns-fedora

Wed, 16 Dec 2015

O, Change Case add-on for Google Docs, you complete me, or at least supply a must-have feature

One of the biggest holes in web-based collaborative editing software like Google Docs (and Microsoft's Office Live Word Online - I checked) is the inability of the programs to allow the conversion of a block of lower case letters to upper case and vice versa.

You'd think this would be core functionality. Knowing what I do of programming, most languages provide utilities/methods that do this very thing. And pretty much every "local" text and/or document editing program offers this as core functionality.

So why don't Google Docs and Microsoft's Word Online offer it?

Beats the hell out of me.

I got annoyed enough that I set out in search of Google Docs add-ons to bring case-changing capability to the editor I'm using every damn day for work.

The add-ons were not hard to find or install. I decide on Change Case by Alec Tutin.

It does exactly what it's supposed to do, and that's good enough for me. If you use Google Docs with any degree of seriousness, you NEED this add-on.

Tue, 15 Dec 2015

I re-rebuilt the Dishmaster faucet again, plus re-did shower valve job

I rebuilt our Dismaster faucet about a week ago, a couple of weeks after a washer-assembly replacement failed to stop it from leaking.

That's because the valve seats were shot. I have never replaced the valve seats before, mostly because I had no idea how to get the old ones out.

The Dishmaster is designed like no other plumbing fixture I've ever worked on. Not that my experience is so vast.

The washers are mounted on plastic assemblies that snap on to the valve stems and turn freely on them. That enables the washers to make a tight-enough seal against the valve seats without grinding when you continue to turn them (unless you turn them a whole lot).

It kind of, sort of mimics the feel of a ceramic-disc faucet while still using a rubber washer against a metal valve seat.

A couple of weeks ago, I pulled the valve stems and replaced those washer assemblies. Not as cheap as regular washers by a long shot, but not a total deal-breaker, pricewise, either.

When that didn't work, I knew I had to figure out how to replace the valve seats.

First of all, I couldn't find the Dismaster M76 model's valve seats at any of my local plumbing or hardware stores. I had to order them. I got them from Casler Hardware, where the prices were good, though the shipping costs were high. Prices were higher [direct from Dishmaster], but I was more confident that Casler would ship quickly, so I chose them for this particular order.

Once you get the valve seats and the all-important Union O-rings that seal the faucet at a critical point, you can read the instructions, or just [see them on the Web].

You remove all of the outside parts of the faucet, then unscrew it from the back at what are called the unions, I believe.

Then you use a hex-key wrench to remove the valve seats from behind instead of the usual way (from in front with a valve-seat wrench). Curiously, the valves seats hold in the bolts that join the front of the faucet to the "unions."

Read the rest of this post

Sat, 05 Dec 2015

Perl is Back and Ready to Roll with the Big Data Crowd

Perl is Back and Ready to Roll with the Big Data Crowd http://thenewstack.io/perl-back-ready-roll-big-data/

Fri, 04 Dec 2015

'Learn Linux in a Month of Lunches' by Steven Ovadia

Librarian and Linux user and advocate Steven Ovadia of the excellent My Linux Setup blog is writing a book, "Learn Linux in a Month of Lunches," available now in "early-access" form from Manning and as a full book sometime in summer 2016.

Steven's blog is an excellent resource, and he's a pragmatic advocate for free software who does a lot of good.

And in contrast with the early 2000s, when there seemed to be new Linux/Unix books every month, we are in a persistent drought when it comes to how-to books about Linux and related technologies.

So I think "Learn Linux in a Month of Lunches" is just the thing new and prospective Linux uses need to help them make the move from Windows and OS X to the freedom and flexibility offered by Linux and its many distributions.

You can get the first six chapters of the book today in electronic form, with additional chapters delivered as they are ready. It sounds positively Dickensian (in the novels-delivered-as-monthly-parts way, not in the children-working-in-a-bootblacking-factory way, to be clear about it).

Spam spam spam spam

Spam spam spam spam http://www.zdnet.com/article/spam-whats-yours-is-mine-book-reviews-the-loss-of-internet-innocence/

Wed, 02 Dec 2015

@pragdave on @elixirfountain

@pragdave on @elixirfountain https://soundcloud.com/elixirfountain/elixir-fountain-2015-09-25-dave-thomas

Saša Jurić: Why Elixir

Saša Jurić: Why #Elixir http://theerlangelist.com/article/why_elixir

Clark Kampfe: Elixir is not Ruby

Clark Kampfe: #Elixir is not #Ruby http://zeroclarkthirty.com/2015-11-01-elixir-is-not-ruby.html

Jerel Unruh: Why I'm excited about Elixir and Phoenix

Jerel Unruh: Why I'm excited about #Elixir and #Phoenix http://jerel.co/blog/2015/11/why-im-excited-about-elixir-and-phoenix

Elixir School

#Elixir School http://elixirschool.com/

Tue, 01 Dec 2015

Aaron Lebo: The UNIX philosophy and Elixir as an alternative to Go

Aaron Lebo: The UNIX philosophy and Elixir as an alternative to Go http://lebo.io/2015/06/22/the-unix-philosophy-and-elixir-as-an-alternative-to-go.html #elixir #golang

Mon, 30 Nov 2015

Geek News Radio is about to begin

Geek News Radio is about to begin http://sixgun.org/geeknewsradio @geeknewsradio

Wishing @MethodDan a speedy and full recovery

Wishing @MethodDan a speedy and full recovery http://danlynch.org/blog/2015/11/wheel-of-fortune

Thu, 19 Nov 2015

Great list of GNOME Shell Extensions

A great list of GNOME Shell extensions from @reddit

Watch Hulu on Fedora Linux with the fakehal package and Netflix without it

The Hulu video service -- which really, really wants you to pay them money instead of watching for free -- is not easy to watch in Linux.

They require the HAL library, something Linux hasn't used in years.

There are plenty of tutorials on how to get Hulu working in Ubuntu, but fewer for Fedora.

It's pretty easy to get it so you can watch Hulu in Fedora (version 22 in my case).

You do this:

  • Install the fakehal package available here
  • Use Firefox to watch Hulu -- Chrome still won't work

It's as easy as that. Video quality was good on Firefox. Now that I can watch Hulu successfully in Fedora, I am more inclined to subscribe.

Netflix: While Netflix doesn't have this problem, on Linux you have to watch in Chrome and not Firefox. Call it #confusing.

Tue, 17 Nov 2015

Are search and social-media links to paywalled content a bait-and-switch?

Do search and social-media links to content tucked behind paywalls represent a form of bait-and-switch, "tricking" users of those services into clicking links for content they cannot see without a subscription or paying a one-time fee?

Do words like (nonfree), (fee to read) or (subscribers only) make it more acceptable to promote non-universally available content via search engines like Google and social-media sites like Twitter and Facebook?

My quick answer is that creators of content are able to use the "open" Internet network to distribute their content and restrict access via software. It's a form of privacy.

But I do not like when links to that content appear on my social-media feeds without a warning that the content isn't accessible with payment. Give me an appropriate warning about the nature of the transaction ($ for content) and I can decide whether to click, ignore or remove from my feed altogether.

Sat, 14 Nov 2015

Ernie Ball Power Slinky strings on the Fender Lead I, plus musing on guitars in general

After years of using flatwounds (generally D'Addario Chromes beginning with a .012) on my Fender Lead I guitar, I decided to go light(er) and roundwound with a set of Ernie Ball Power Slinky nickel-wound strings (.011, .014, .018p, .028, .038, .048).

And I'm liking the sound and playability very much. While I like the feel of really heavy strings (I use D'Addario Chromes, the .013 set, with an .014 subbed for the high E and a .018 for the B string), I think those strings overwhelm the solidbody Fender guitar. Or least that's how I feel for the way I play it.

I really like the plain 3rd string, which contributes to the overall evenness of volume and tone.

Even with only a bridge humbucking pickup, the Lead I has a very wide tonal range, and I can easily dial in a good jazz sound.

So much depends on the way you have everything set up -- the knobs on the amp and guitar, the way you play it. I generally use a heavier touch and keep the volume lower.

As I say above, I've gravitated to really heavy strings, but now I'm thinking differently, and I really like this Ernie Ball set. The lower strings, and the low end of the instrument in general, have a lot less muddiness (and a lot more definition).

The guitar, which I've had since I bought it new in what I think was 1979 (but the serial number indicates 1980) is a nice, heavy instrument.

I've pondered "converting" it to a Lead II with two single-coil pickups. I even have a Lead II pickguard ready to go, but I've just never gotten around to that mod (I would need the pickups, pots and tone capacitor, and then I'd have to figure out the wiring).

I'm using the orange Roland Cube 60 amp that, like pretty much every electric guitar I've ever had, I purchased when I was in high school.

About the only guitar I've "let go" over the years was the nice handmade classical that I used during my time in the music program at CSUN. I can't even remember the name of the company, but it was a nice guitar. It had a cedar top -- you could really smell it. I'm more of a spruce-top person, so I'm not all that sorry I don't have it, but it was a very, very nice instrument, and I think I'd enjoy playing a well-made classical guitar built with really good wood.

Takeaway: Players of different kinds of music on the guitar think that they need a certain type of instrument, strings and amplifier to credibly make a certain kind of music. For jazz that seems to be an archtop guitar, heavy flatwound string and amps with a whole lot of headroom so you don't have to drive it too hard to get the volume you need. While I agree with the amp requirement, and I absolutely love the sound of an archtop guitar (both electric and acoustic), when it comes to strings (light, heavy, flatwound, roundwound) and even type of guitar (solidbody, flattop, classical, full archtop, archtop with bridge in a block of wood), there are plenty of viable, sonically rich options.

Note: The Ernie Ball strings image came from the Musician's Friend site. I used an iPod Touch to take the Fender Lead I and Roland Cube 60 photos. The sweet case that Ilene sewed for the iPod Touch can be seen next to the guitar.

Thu, 12 Nov 2015

Adding Java, Perl, Ruby and Node to Windows

I like options. And contingency plans.

So I've been adding development tools to my Windows partition (currently stuck on Windows 8 since the 8.1 upgrade won't play nicely with my Win 8/Fedora dual boot).

I upgraded Strawberry Perl, added Ruby and Node, made sure I had the full JDK 8 and removed an older version of Python. I downloaded a new Python but haven't installed it yet (mostly because I'm not using Python at the moment).

I also have Netbeans ready to install, and I'm thinking of giving Geany a try in Windows. I use it a lot, especially these days for Java because I can compile and run in the editor. Otherwise I use Notepad++ for my editing.

I don't have everything working on this side, but I can certainly mess around with Perl, Ruby, Java and JavaScript. I know I could get a full Linux command line environment with Cygwin, and while I'm not yet ready to say that defeats one purpose or other, it's not something I'm considering at this particular moment.

Me and Unix and the '80s

That's me on an ADM-3A terminal at UC Santa Cruz some time in the late '80s. I'm using whatever version of Unix the university had at the time. I can see from the screen that I'm running the talk program with one of my friends on UCSC's Unix B system.

Unlike the other Unix machines (all named with various letters), Unix B was open to anybody who wanted to start an account.

With the help of a photocopied manual called "Unix for Luddites,"available for a couple bucks at the campus' Bay Tree Bookstore, you could learn vi for writing, nroff for formatting and a smattering of shell commands to get your papers printed on a mysterious, before-its-time laser printer somewhere deep in the campus computer center. Your work would eventually end up in cubby holes for later pickup.

While the ADM-3A was the coolest, most retro-looking terminal, even back then you were a little lucky if a DEC VT100 (or similar) was available. Its screen was green and clearer, its keyboard less mushy.

You were really lucky if one of the even-newer Wyse (unsure of model numbers) terminals was in your college's computer room (or the college next to yours; though a Porter student, I gravitated toward Kresge's much better computer lab/room). The Wyse terminals had amber screens that were even clearer than those of the DECs and (more importantly) featured nice, clicky keyboards.

But for sheer design, the ADM-3A was (and is) a classic.

It's cold out here in Van Nuys

44 degrees at 5:30 a.m. in Van Nuys

Wed, 11 Nov 2015

Facebook vs. Tsu -- it's complicated

Facebook vs. Tsu -- it's complicated http://www.wired.com/2015/11/facebook-banning-tsu-rival-social-network

What is Tsu?

What is Tsu? A social network that shares revenue with users http://www.tsu.co/about

Mon, 09 Nov 2015

Learn development skills with Outlearn

Learn development skills with Outlearn https://www.outlearn.com

Learn Go From Scratch

Learn Go From Scratch https://www.outlearn.com/learn/matryer/golang-from-scratch #golang

Why Meteor will kill Ruby on Rails

Why Meteor will kill Ruby on Rails http://blog.differential.com/meteor-killin-rails

I am reading 'Learning to Program' by Steven Foote

I am reading "Learning to Program," by Steven Foote, an introductory programming guide focused on JavaScript with a novel twist: Lessons are taught through the creation of Google Chrome browser extensions.

I'm only on Chapter 2, but things I already like about the book: It's for beginners but doesn't act like Node.js isn't a thing, I really like the idea of creating browser extensions, and it looks like it goes through a good number of programming concepts.

And Mr. Foote's writing style is clear and inviting.

Sun, 08 Nov 2015

The Go Cookbook

The Go Cookbook http://golangcookbook.com #golang

Wed, 04 Nov 2015

I am very interested in this book: 'Learning to Program'

I am very interested in this book: 'Learning to Program' http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Program-Steven-Foote/dp/0789753391 #JavaScript

The Fedora Developer Portal

I stumbled upon the Fedora Developer Portal via a link from Reddit that actually first took me to the Deploy and Distribute page, which offers overviews on how to create RPM packages and create/use a COPR repository. Then there's the Tools page on DevAssistant, Vagrant and Docker, and the Languages & Databases page to help you get your development environment together.

And this only scratches the surface of what you can do in Fedora (and other Linux operating systems such as Debian and Ubuntu).

I guess I'm a developer in that I write code sometimes, and Fedora is a great way to get a whole lot of fairly up-to-date tools without having to chase down updates from individual projects.

Fedora is developer-centric. That's what people use it for. So if that "bias" works for you (and it does for me), Fedora is a great way to go.

Note on Fedora Workstation: While I do have all of the Fedora Workstation packages on my system and can run its GNOME 3 desktop environment whenever I get the urge, I find that the Xfce desktop environment fits better for what I do both professionally and otherwise with this computer. You can get Xfce on any Fedora system via the package manager, or install it directly with the Xfce Spin.

Like anybody who uses Linux (or any other system) for a length of time, I have applications and configurations that I prefer, though the Fedora Xfce Spin is a great place to start.

Sat, 31 Oct 2015

I just installed Groovy

I just installed Groovy http://www.groovy-lang.org #groovylang #java

Book: Modern Programming Made Easy

Modern Programming Made Easy - A Simple Guide to Programming by @adamldavis https://leanpub.com/ModernProgrammingMadeEasy #java #groovylang

Leanpub is extremely refreshing

.@Leanpub is extremely refreshing - the concept, the web site and the books http://leanpub.com

Book: Ambitious Ember Applications - An Ember.js Tutorial

Book: Ambitious Ember Applications - An Ember.js Tutorial https://leanpub.com/emberjs_applications by @ryakh #EmberJS @leanpub

Building Web Apps With Ember.js

Building Web Apps With Ember.js, a book from @oreilly http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920030782.do


EmberWatch http://emberwatch.com #EmberJS

The Ember.js home page -- start here

Ember.js, as it's called, 'a framework for creating ambitious web applications' http://emberjs.com

7 reasons to use Ember.js

7 reasons to use Ember.js from @codeschool http://blog.codeschool.io/2015/10/26/7-reasons-to-use-ember-js

Meteor.js is a full JavaScript app platform

Meteor.js is a full JavaScript app platform https://www.meteor.com not that I haven't mentioned this already

Fri, 30 Oct 2015

Fix for Firefox dark theme issues in GNOME 3

Hey Linux users, are you using GNOME Tweak Tool to choose the "Dark" theme, making your GTK3 applications dark and causing problems with white-on-white text in the Firefox browser?

I have. Even though I almost never use GNOME 3, I do have it installed, and the GNOME Tweak Tool's "dark theme" switch enables me to turn GTK3 applications like Firefox "dark" in their styling. Except that often you can't read text boxes on web sites because the "dark" theme turns the text white while also leaving the background white.

Read the rest of this post

Thu, 29 Oct 2015

First chapter of The Go Programming Language

First chapter of The Go Programming Language: http://www.gopl.io/

An Introduction to Programming in Go

An Introduction to Programming in Go, the free book: https://www.golang-book.com #golang

Wed, 28 Oct 2015

ZDNet: Why I dumped my iPhone 6 and went Android

ZDNet: Why I dumped my iPhone 6 and went Android http://www.zdnet.com/article/why-i-dumped-my-iphone-and-went-android

ZDNet: Record number of Android users switch to iPhone

ZDNet: Record number of Android users switch to iPhone http://www.zdnet.com/article/5-reasons-a-record-number-of-android-owners-have-switched-to-iphones

I want GNOME to be better than Xfce, but it's not

I want GNOME to be better than Xfce, but it's not

I answered a Linux question on Quora

I answered a Linux question on Quora.

In the interest of running my own writing on my own site, here is what I said.

The question:

I want to revitialise my old Windows 7 laptop with Linux. I want to use this as an excercise in learning about Linux too. The laptop is a Samsung RV 510. What distributions could I consider?

My answer:

Try whatever strikes your fancy, as they say. Back when I was getting started with Linux (around 2007), every distribution I tried taught me something. Puppy, Debian, Ubuntu (and Xubuntu), Fedora, CentOS (I ran versions 2 through 5 at the time), Damn Small Linux, Knoppix, Slackware, Wolvix (a favorite Slackware derivative of mine) and Zenwalk all showed me something different and taught me something I carry with me today. I never did much with Mint or anything with Arch (though it has the best wiki in Linux), Gentoo or OpenSuse, but I do recommend them, too.

I also spent a lot of time with OpenBSD, which I ran as my main system for six months (installed from a floppy because I couldn't get the CD-ROM to work on my trash-bin laptop at the time) and less but very productive time with FreeBSD and DragonflyBSD.

I even ran Solaris on a Sun Sparcstation I bought over eBay.

I don't distro-hop nowadays. On my last laptop (2010-2012, RIP), I started with Fedora because I find that new hardware works better with its newer bits. When I "broke" that system, I moved to Debian and stuck with that until the laptop died.

On my current laptop (since 2012), I started with Fedora 18 and have been sticking with it ever since (now on F22) with Xfce. I love Fedora, but I still consider Debian my "home" distro, even though I appreciate the new everything that Fedora constantly brings to the table.

Since I use Linux as my daily OS and don't distro hop, I go for what's practical and what works for me. That's Fedora with Xfce right now but could just as easily be Debian or Xubuntu.

Linux distributions are more alike than they are different. That's the "secret" that you might learn (or at least I did) when you try a lot of them.

Whenever you try Linux on "new" (either really new, or new to you) hardware, you're going to need to be flexible. One distribution might work better than another, and another might need more work on your part. Your desire to do that work also matters, and I can tell you that I've stuck with Fedora for so long on my current laptop because it has worked so well for so long. There are always issues, and my laptop is at the point in its life where Debian Stable treats it quite well, so I might go for the "stability" that it offers (which is really more "not changing," than "works better," so if it works, great; if not, not so much).

tl;dr: Try it before you buy it. And since it's all free, you've got nothing to lose and everything to learn.

Now and then: I'm adding this after the original post to clarify how I went from distro-hopper to what I am now, which is a person who rides the same distro as long as possible.

What changed was that I started relying on my Linux-running computer to safeguard my real data. And it needed to work every day, every month, etc. So I go with the "big" distros, and I make them work.

Sunrise is a calendar app on pretty much all platforms

Sunrise is a calendar app on pretty much all platforms - blog: http://blog.sunrise.am get started: https://calendar.sunrise.am

Tue, 27 Oct 2015

Jeff Atwood: The state of JavaScript on Android in 2015 is ... poor

Jeff Atwood: The state of JavaScript on Android in 2015 is ... poor https://meta.discourse.org/t/the-state-of-javascript-on-android-in-2015-is-poor/33889

Mon, 26 Oct 2015

GNOME not offering more than Xfce

Decided to run GNOME 3 today. While everything is working, it's not smoother or better than Xfce.

Sat, 24 Oct 2015

Ode test of the dollar sign

Can you see this word?

Here it is with backticks:

Here it is on a line with backticks:

Can you see the ?

It begins as a dollar sign: $

Here it is as a code block set off by a tab/indent:

And here it is at the beginning of a line with backticks:

I imagine this is a potential problem because of the way Ode passes data from the script to the HTML.

My question: Is there a way to "escape" the $ so it appears on the live Ode site without resorting to backticks?

It seems that I can get a single $ but not a with backticks.

See the markup: Here is this file as plain text.

Great links from Green Ruby News

I'm getting all of these great links from Green Ruby News http://greenruby.orguni

Mattermost is like Slack except you host it yourself

.@mattermosthq is like @slackHQ except it's open source #golang #reactJS http://www.mattermost.org

Fri, 23 Oct 2015

MadEye is a collaborative web editor backed by your filesystem

MadEye is a collaborative web editor backed by your filesystem https://madeye.io/

Thu, 22 Oct 2015

Geany DOES have themes, and now I do, too

I try to switch to dark themes on as many parts of my computing workflow as possible.

The desktop environment, my applications -- I try to make it all dark.

Why? It's easy on the eyes.

I'll go into my full dark-theme setup later, but for now I'd like to share my discovery of the dark themes in the Geany text editor.

I didn't think Geany had themes, let alone dark themes. Turns out it has both.

And I've been using Geany a whole lot because a) copy/paste of text with Windows-style line endings is broken in Gedit (it comes out Unix style) and b) I'm using Geany to work on my Java code because it will compile and run it right in the editor.

I found a link to the Geany Themes site on GitHub. I downloaded the whole thing as a .zip file (I probably should just use git to fork it onto my local drive), then dropped the colorschemes directory into my own ~/.config/geany directory (making it ~/.config/geany/colorschemes) and then in Geany I could choose a Color Scheme under View - Change Color Scheme in the application's menu.

Right now I using the Monokai color scheme.

All I need to do now is figure out how to execute either a Perl or Go program and get the output into the editor (like I do with Gedit Snippets), and I can use Geany instead of Gedit to write this blog's entries, which include a script-generated timestamp for Ode's Indexette add-in.

Update: It is possible to insert a custom-formatted date into your file in Geany under Edit - Insert Date - Use Custom Date Format, using Edit - Insert Date - Set Custom Date Format to set it. For my Ode datestamp I used tag : Indexette : index-date : %Y %m %d %T. Unfortunately it outputs the date in my local timezone instead of UTC, which is what I use in my Ode site. I don't see any way of making the "Custom Date Format" output UTC, so this makes Geany that much less useful for the purpose of writing for Ode.

I tried the Mini-Script plugin, but that is cumbersome, and I even overwrote one of my scripts on accident because of its less-than-ideal user interface.

In short, there's nothing in Geany like Gedit's Snippets plugin, which is ideal (and makes Gedit itself ideal) for writing Ode entries.

Mon, 19 Oct 2015

More tilde clubs

The original tilde.club is full. Here are more.

What is tilde.club?

What is tilde.club? FAQ: http://tilde.club/~faq Medium explanation: https://medium.com/message/tilde-club-i-had-a-couple-drinks-and-woke-up-with-1-000-nerds-a8904f0a2ebf

The new Disqus Admin interface is nice

I like the new Disqus Admin interface https://disqus.com/admin/moderate