Sunday, October 4, 2015

big ten, pac-12 football

Big Ten

Would you drop Ohio State from #1 and/or Michigan State from #2 after those close calls? I'd keep OSU at #1; whatever, they keep winning. Spartans, I don't know, maybe TCU or Baylor should get the #2 spot.

UofM QB Jake Rudock could face his former team if and only if Iowa (5-0, 1-0) and Michigan (4-1, 1-0) meet in the Big Ten Championship game. And, how cool would that be? Well, it's mathematically possible!

Who's got the best defense in the Big Ten? Maybe Michigan? In the four games after losing 24-17 at Utah, the Wolverines have given up 7, 7, 0, and 0 points. But Northwestern has also posted two shutouts (against Eastern Illinois and Minnesota), and held Stanford to 6 points.

Next three games for Michigan:
- Next Saturday, Northwestern (currently 5-0), at The Big House.
- Oct 17, MSU at The Big House.
- Oct 31, at Minnesota



Arizona: Are the Wildcats really this bad? Last two games, UofA gave up 56 to UCLA, then gave up 55 at Stanford.

Arizona State: Are the Sun Devils really this bad good? ASU lost at Texas A&M 38-17, lost to USC 42-14, then won at UCLA 38-23.

Already, only 3 teams remain undefeated in Pac-12 play: Stanford (3-0), Cal (2-0), and Utah (1-0).

Pac-12 teams play nine conference games; some teams (UCLA, for example) have to play 5 Pac-12 games on the road; others (USC and ASU, for example) get 5 at home.

Cal's remaining games look particularly rough: Road games at Utah, UCLA, Oregon, and Stanford, and home games against USC, Oregon State, and Arizona State. Yikes! On paper, that looks like a 1-6 finish!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

screenshot of lightdm login screen (debian jessie)

I was trying to get a screenshot of my lightdm login screen after I'd added Openbox to Debian Jessie Xfce. The steps I used:

First, I installed ImageMagic. From a terminal in an Xfce session, I ran:

# apt-get install imagemagick

Next, I created the file ~/, with the following inside:

chvt 7; sleep 5s; DISPLAY=:0 XAUTHORITY=/var/run/lightdm/root/:0 xwd -root -out ~/screenshot.xwd; convert ~/screenshot.xwd ~/screenshot.png; rm ~/screenshot.xwd

(In the above, chvt 7 is the number of the virtual console. It takes a screenshot 5 seconds after the script has been run and saves the screenshot to the home directory.)

Then, I made the script executable.

Then, to take the screenshot, I logged out of the system, pressed Ctrl+Alt+F1 at the login screen to go to console mode, logged in as the normal user, got root access, and ran the screenshot script:

# ./

Once the script ran, it took me back to the login screen and after five seconds it took the screenshot and saved it in the /root directory with the filename screenshot.png. (I then copied screenshot.png to my home directory.)

To do this, I (somewhat loosely) followed the steps I found in this article: How To Take Screenshot Of Login Screen In Ubuntu 14.04

Monday, September 14, 2015

basically, he just went to the rack

The great Moses Malone passed away this weekend at the age of 60. Malone was the first guy to go straight out of high school to play professional basketball when he was picked in the 1974 ABA Draft by the Utah Stars. His pro career spanned 21 seasons and included stints with two ABA teams and seven NBA teams, most notably the Houston Rockets and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Malone was an ABA All-Star in 1975, and a 12-time NBA All-Star. He won three NBA MVP Awards, and won the NBA Finals MVP Award in 1983 when he led the Sixers to the title.

He was called "Chairman of the Boards," and for good reason: No player finished with more combined ABA and NBA rebounds. He led the NBA in rebounding six times in a seven-year span, including five straight times from the 1980-81 season to the 1984-85 season. The greatest offensive rebounder the game has ever seen, he led one league or the other in offensive rebounds nine times over the course of his career. He's the NBA record-holder for career offensive rebounds, single-season offensive rebounds, and single-game offensive rebounds.

Malone had per game averages of 24.8 points and 17.6 rebounds for the Rockets in the 1978-79 season, his first time leading the league in rebounds per game; in one game that season, against the New Orleans Jazz, he powered his way to a career-best 37 boards!

As a scorer, he averaged at least 20 points per game in 11 different seasons. His 31.1 points per game for the Sixers in the 1981-82 season was second in the league only to the great George ("Iceman") Gervin's 32.3 mark.

Old timers will fondly remember Malone's "Fo, fo, fo" prediction back in 1983; Malone was saying that the Sixers, who also had Julius ("Dr. J") Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Bobby Jones, and Andrew Toney, and who had gone 65-17 during the regular season, would go undefeated in the playoffs. As things turned out, Philly went 12-1 in the playoffs and swept the Lakers in the Finals.

A short article at Grantland: Moses Malone: 1955–2015

Malone's bio at

And, here's a link to Malone's career stats page at

Sunday, September 13, 2015

just asking

The rational scrutiny of religious faith involves asking believers only two questions:

How do you know that?

What makes you so sure that the claims of your faith are right and the claims of other faiths are wrong?

-- Jerry A. Coyne, in Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible

Friday, September 11, 2015


Nice article from The Atlantic: Grace Jones’s Disciples

But as i read through it, I kept thinking about how the author was writing only about the image, the show, and not at all about the music.

I've never seen Grace Jones in concert; I've heard only three or four of her albums, and I have only two of those (Nightclubbing and Living My Life) left in my collection. Don't recall looking at much video of her, either. For me, it was really only about the music, the sounds, the words to the songs, all that. Those things alone were enough to make her special and unique.

Miles Davis used to talk about how it was all about the sounds, and few were as bold and creative with sounds as he was. The two opening cuts on Living My Life -- "My Jamaican Guy" and "Nipple to the Bottle" -- are perfect examples of this, and, to me, are up there among the best opening one-two punches I've ever heard on a music album.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

still not happening

Here's the deal: Back when I installed Ubuntu 14.04 last year, I also added GNOME Shell to it. Sometimes I log into Unity, other times I go with GNOME Shell.

In the GNOME Shell session, under System Settings > Brightness & Lock, I have "Dim screen to save power" checked, and "Turn screen off when inactive for:" is set to "10 minutes."

Yet, the screen never turns off. There's no problem in the Unity session -- the screen turns off after the time interval that I've set. But I can't get it to work under GNOME Shell. I've resorted to running the following commands:

$ xset +dpms
$ xset dpms 600

That'll make the screen turn off after 600 seconds (10 minutes) of inactivity. But I have to do that every time I start a new GNOME Shell session.

I haven't seen this issue with GNOME Shell in other distros, only in Ubuntu. I'm not sure if it has something to do with having GNOME Shell installed along with Unity, or if some other settings are messing things up, or if it's just a bug from Ubuntu.

I've actually given up on trying to find a fix. Next year when 16.04 comes out, I'll install GNOME Shell and see if the same thing happens.

Monday, August 3, 2015

simple panel

Playing around with fbpanel (for the first time in a long time!) in Openbox in Debian Jessie, I ended up with probably the simplest panel I've ever used. Placed at the upper left side of the screen, this panel contains time and date displays, a taskbar showing icons for running apps, a "show desktop" icon, a volume icon, and an icon for fbpanel's main menu.

I couldn't get fbpanel's pager to look nice in this configuration, so I decided to go without it. That works out fine because I can switch workspaces with the mouse wheel, with the cursor anywhere on the panel or on the empty desktop, and Openbox pops up a message showing me which desktop I've moved to.

A right-click on the empty desktop brings up my Openbox menu.

Here's a look at fbpanel's main menu:

If you install fbpanel in Debian Jessie, check to see if ~/.config/fbpanel/default has been created. If not, you can run the following, which creates the file from /usr/share/fbpanel/default:

$ fbpanel -p default

I edited ~/.config/fbpanel/default until I got a panel configuration that I liked, then added the following to ~/.config/openbox/autostart:

fbpanel &

For more info, see man fbpanel.

Might be time to switch back to fbpanel as my preferred panel for Openbox (I've been using tint2 for some time now).

Another look, after more tweaking: