Lost Hammer

Into the boundary once more. Survived the gallop to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill for a bit of staff call and pillaging of the grocery emporia. Returned safely just in time to monitor the evening “news” programming on the electromagnetic audio-visual receiver and was enlightened of a feud – with litigation – between the lord high mayor of Huntsville and the city’s foremost slum developer. And the argument is over ethical misconduct! Which is not only itself humorous but is intensified by the fact that a legal resolution is being sought. Gad!, makes the La Brea tar pits seem trivial in contrast.

Not uncomfortable this morning and the gym was not too noisome. Being Thor’s Day I listened to Linux podcasts, these episodes being ones of the “UK Ubuntu podcast”. One of the delightful discussion topics was whether Canonical/Ubuntu is discorporating? And this was an old podcast circa U 13.10 release. The response was mixed wth a tenor of functionality winning out over ergonomics and rationality. IOW, U server is pretty good.

I recently ran across this cartoon: [Link]

and it seemed somehow relevant. Perhaps it was the closing lament that it is hard to run FOSS projects if no one wants to participate. Evidently all the organizational administrative and management groups have vacancies exceeding applicants and the pedestrian geeks are leaving faster than Rattus Norwegicus the Titanic.

So how can you run FOSS projects if you have no volunteers? Answer: abandon FOSS and become MegaHard or Fruit. 

Since it is now past the release of U 14.04 and Canonical has not gone away, the matter has not been as revolutionary as it seemed back then. But it did give me occasion to consider my own experiences. I started out in Linux with a market survey. I first tried Scientific Linux and found it rather too stiff. So I took up Ubuntu. And then Canonical introduced Unity and I rediscovered hate, loathing, and nausea. So I switched to Kubuntu and Xubuntu. And began to have other problems which are still unresolved as to cause. 

And then Canonical decided to abandon the hinterland. The elimination of an update ISO was the tipping straw, to mix metaphors. So now I use other distros, both Debian based and one supposedly a derivative of U but somewhat neutered (or is it spayed?) And both are supposed to be rolling release so I hope to avoid the practice of Nuke And Pave that was too often the only viable option with Ubuntu.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi. And hopefully no Canonical troopers shooting through knotholes in Casterllum SCP.

Discontinued Distribution

There are times, I am told, when only violence will settle a problem. No, I don’t mean pogroms or what is inaccurately called genocide. Since the only genus we have left is homo, what with the Romans being reduced to not a city state, so genocide only applies if we are going to extinguish humanity. Which is a bit much for this nuisance.

My primary gripe with Linux is upgrades. They are the riskiest aspect of using the OS. They are what almost completely generates the term “nuke and pave”. Which I hope is self-explanatory? 

Anyway, I have been doing a lot of N&P (hopefully that is also self-explanatory) the last year. Mostly due to a combination of hard drive failures and something really whacked in an install of Ubuntu with KDE grafted on since Unity is so painful and aproductive. But for the last two months I have been getting increasingly stressed as a new Long Term Support release loomed, arrived, and I waited for the upgrade release.

Several years ago the hassle of selling actual media got to be too much for Canonical, probably offended some financial delusion of Saint Mark, and they started trumpeting the idea of direct by internet upgrades. Updates direct by internet were working pretty well, as they still do, but that’s nominally a few Mb rather than a few Gb! But they offered downloadable CD/DVD image files of the upgrades as well.

That turned out to be a necessity for me. Being a good user, I tried the direct by internet upgrade. I forget the numbers but it was one of those half-year things. If failed spectacularly. I downloaded a DVD image of the new release and did an N&P. Six months later I tried again and again downloaded a DVD image of the new release and did an N&P.

Thereafter I downloaded an upgrade DVD image and that worked pretty well. But when the next LTS (Long Term Support – read organizational version) came out I camped. And when a new LTS came out every two years I downloaded an upgrade DVD image and upgraded.

This year they announced that they were discontinuing the upgrade DVD image. Exclamation point. I was left with three choices: do nothing – not a good security strategy; try the direct internet upgrade; or N&P. I opted for the latter since if it failed, as I expected, I would have to exercise the third anyway.

So I did all the back up stuff, engaged the upgrade process, and it failed spectacularly!  The good news is that I now have statistical significance! The direct by internet upgrade process does NOT work! At least here in the hinterland. The other good news is that I am cutting ties with Canonical. If they can’t support me minimally with an upgrade DVD image then I ain’t going to support them. My deskboxes are now Ubuntu-free. They are still running Debian based distros but not Ubuntu based. And the few lapboxes I have still running Ubuntu based will be replaced as I can touch them. 

Canonical, you are herewith discontinued in Castellum SCP. The pony to poo ratio has finally gotten TOO low!


One of the most wonderful and enjoyable things about buying a refurbished computer is powering it up, inserting a Linux DVD, booting it, and overwriting Winders Ate with a usable and enjoyable OS. 

Its rather like taking a horrible disease and making something wonderful and useful out of it. 

I think Temujin said something about this sort of thing?

Change of Path

Almost to week out. And schule is resessioned? Maybe? Sorta? I am confused, mostly because I was told they were earlier in the week and then yesterday I drove past the terminal schule and the place only had educationalist motorcars in the park. And the bandwidth still is abysmal.

Off to the park this morning with a bit of difference. My usual constitutional diversion podcast seems to have dissipated and so I switched to listening to the lees of this week’s Linux Luddites podcast. I alternate this podcast with the Ubuntu podcast from the land of tyrants so I am not sure what I will listen next week but that’s then. Anyway it was a bit strange. Real English, albeit a but butchered, instead of an oleo of Jawjan and Brit, and techninal instead of geek. And the negative comments about the ubuquitous shitty keyboard were enjoyable but a mixed bag of (semi) lauding Unity but trashing Ubuntu (by a correspondent) was a bit confusing. Anyway, not the effect I am used to so this may be a bit of finding Livingston.

I did see a compliment of MegaHard, albeit at the expense of Fruit, the other day. Some journalist was asking why MegaHard could do a decent (??????) slab keyboard and Fruit couldn’t. Maybe the keyboard wasn’t made in the Heavenly Kingdom? This is sort of a mind gristle. Fruit has always extruded these strange keyboards. Like the keys HP put on their calculators in the middle years. Like chicklet gum with that didn’t crunch. MegaHard, on the other hand, has always extruded keyboards that are best used by people how lack sensation in their upper phalanges. I had an employee once who was addicted to one of MegaHard’s “ergonomic” keyboards. The ones that looked like a Hollywood swimming pool. Turned out that was symptomatic of other problems between the ears.

That’s the problem with the world these days. Not Global Climate Change and the extinction of humanity. Not the civil war between Democruds and Repulsians, which admittedly does give some intriguing insights into how far society lets the metally ill demonstrate and destroy before (ever?) restraining them for the common good. Where is that common good these days? Certainly not keyboards!

I am currently using a DAS. It is a dim shadow of a decent keyboard like a Northgate or the original Itty Bitty Machine keyboard. But it is the best of a soory despicable lot that I have been able to find. Evidently no one wants to do I/O these days. It took me a while to notice but the resolution of monitors these days is rather sparse and getting high resolution is tragically expensive. Comparable to buying your own third world country. With or without Ebola.

One of my coleagues has suggested that this is part of the robot conspiracy. Its a campaign to divorce us from doing constructive work with computers. Then we will be helpless when the computers rebel and dispose of the politicians. And probably the rest of us. Unless climate change gets there first and the computers get the planet from us the same we we got them from the dinosaurs.

But I’m going to keep looking. Because with the right keyboard we can make the politicians either behave or sit in rubber rooms.

See! I told you that walk was different.

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Towers Toppling

Summer endeth! Schule resessions tomorrow and the educationalists must report today so in the most local of terms, thus endeth summer. And I rather regret it in a way. Now the gym will be flooded with arrogance and people and noise and annoyance and bullying and all those things that have been absent the last couple of months. And being thus depressed I turned to matters of similar gloom.

The first is a gloom for Apple and MegaHard and even, amusingly, Mozilla. It seems [Link] that android OS cellular telephones make up 0.85 of the global cellular telephone market. Since this is greater than 0.793, android may be considered to hold a Lanchestrian monopoly of the cellular telephone marketplace. So long as they have this monopoly they dominate the marketplace. Which means things are pretty dismal for the other players.

What is amusing is that the previous Lanchestrian monopoly in the digital electronics/computer market was held by MegaHard with Internet Stumbler. And that monopoly was broken by Mozilla with FireFox. So these monopolies don;t last forever but they do last too long – usually. And have rather nasty effects.

I have to admit that I use an android cellular telephone. Can’t abide Apple. Dark side from my POV. And MegaHard is worse. But I would switch to FireFoxFone in a flash if I could.

The second gloom is that tablet sales are somewhere between even and declining. And the flagship manufacturers are definitely declining. Apple is close to hurting, making this gloom 2 for them. And MegaHard is evidently irrelevant except among anal retentive corporations who buy employees MegaSlabs that get left at office. The antithesis of BYOD evidently. And I suspect totally ignored beyond the bullpen?

What is not clear is whether we are seeing the beginning of the end of MegaHard? They are fast losing ground in all theaters. Unless they have a “wonder weapon” hid back they are likely going to be overrun or, at least, marginalized.

And I shall be happy. At least as soon as Scientific Word 6 comes out.

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Return of the Jeddack

To quote someone whose name I cannot recall, "I’m back!" The last few days have been quite trying.

Sadly it has been such a blur that I can’t recall dates too well, but basically, I did an update on Kubuntu and did the required restart. That’s when things went from mediocre and annoying to flaming pit of Tartarus bad. Basically I got advised that the system couldn’t find the boot sector or several other sectors. I ran repair and finally, after a liter or so of perspiration, got the system to boot and immediately was confronted with the direst SMART warning I have ever seen. According to that, my hard drive was breathing its last.

This is not the first time this has happened. It’s the third. Once with Ubuntu running KDE and Unity, twice with Kubuntu running just KDE. So yes, the correlation is that KDE or some foible of (K)Ubuntu is to fault. Happily I don’t store anything on my OS HD in the way of data than I have to. (There’s also this thing under Ubuntus that the data drive periodically (?) loses its permissions and I have to reset them.) So I decided that I needed to expand the range of the experimentation.

I went into the corpus and extracted the old HD, still bright and shiny but with really RED SMART indicators and implanted a new, smaller HD. Incidentally, it is getting harder and harder to find small (100-500 Mb) hard drives. And I switched from Kubuntu to Debian Wheezy. Still running KDE because I do like my eyecandy. (Hey, I’m an ORF. I have an inalienable right to moose heads and antimacassars!) And that has been a bit of an experience.

I have always been told by colleagues that Debian is a somewhat stogy distribution favored by power users. The last few days have given me great insight into this. Or at least, more insight than I would have liked. The stogy is demonstrated by the lack of "APT-ADD-REPOSITORY" from the catalog of Python scripts. The distro also installed without either an app store or a discrete package manager. Right there about half of my vectors of working with repositories were in a null space.

Happily, I could add Synaptic and Apper is better than Manjaro’s Octopus (or whatever it’s called?) But finding repositories has proven to be harder than Livingston to find. And the version is a bit antiquated, at least compared to the Ubuntus. I can’t even install Typecatcher because the library won’t support it. And it is still using FF 17. Which is great because I want to use ScribeFire old version. Although I am using Blogilio now and it’s actually got spell check which I have NEVER seen before in any other distro.

I keep think of Goethe and his "That which does not kill us makes us stringer." Definitely applicable. I now have a growing appreciation of how the Ubuntus are for nebishes and wimps, and I don’t mean particles in the latter. Shuttleworth is definitely a democrud. One of the "I’m an aristocrat and everyone else is mentally incompetent" variety.

Anyway, maybe now I can get back to issuing some blots. They won’t be any better, but my Heinlein sense has been renewed.

Broken Society

Alas, now is the summer of our disservice. Yesterday was a foul day. The new part for my primary motorcar, necessary for my self-transport, did not arrive as promised by the warehouse and hence the date when I can retrieve the motorcar from the dealer’s maintenance shop is delayed. The fellow from the fencing company scheduled to repair FD SCP’s marvelous and recently purchased fence was totally unpresent. And the electrician to repair various things I am unpermitted to assay was late unto almost nil.

And because of the electrical work I had to shut down my deskboxes and I have still not gotten them back to minimum performance.

Happily the walk in the park was modestly pleasant, I had the facility to myself, no feral felines nor conscript parents – the latter are venomous and scabrous, you know, and the podcast did not trigger regurgitation.

On a brighter side I ran across an article [Link] that basically announced that W8 is one with Vister for inept incompetence. And MegaHard has already announced W9 for later this year.

Frankly, beyond the confirmation that MegaHard has gone whackers I am not greatly interested. But I was interested enough to view another article [Link] That indicates that Apple is also losing ground. It is almost enough for one to entertain, frivolously, that rationality is spreading.

This is one of those times when I am glad that I am neither a Winders nor an Apple user. I do still use a WXP client for my writing but that is only until the next version release of the client which is supposed to support Linux. With that I can consign MegaHard to the pit. Except for FD SCP’s sewing stuff.

So maybe there is some hope for the day after all?

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