Tuesday, July 26, 2016

mrs. obama at the dnc

Great speech. Here's the text (copied from http://www.npr.org/2016/07/26/487431756/michelle-obamas-prepared-remarks-for-democratic-national-convention):

Thank you so much. You know, it's hard to believe that it has been eight years since I first came to this convention to talk with you about why I thought my husband should be President. Remember how I told you about his character and conviction, his decency and his grace — the traits that we've seen every day that he's served our country in the White House.

I also told you about our daughters — how they are the heart of our hearts, the center of our world. And during our time in the White House, we've had the joy of watching them grow from bubbly little girls into poised young women — a journey that started soon after we arrived in Washington, when they set off for their first day at their new school.

I will never forget that winter morning as I watched our girls, just seven and ten years old, pile into those black SUVs with all those big men with guns. And I saw their little faces pressed up against the window, and the only thing I could think was, "What have we done?" See, because at that moment, I realized that our time in the White House would form the foundation for who they would become, and how well we managed this experience could truly make or break them.

That is what Barack and I think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight — how we urge them to ignore those who question their father's citizenship or faith. How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country. How we explain that when someone is cruel, or acts like a bully, you don't stoop to their level — no, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.

With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are their most important role models. And let me tell you, Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as President and First Lady, because we know that our words and actions matter not just to our girls, but to children across this country — kids who tell us, "I saw you on TV, I wrote a report on you for school." Kids like the little black boy who looked up at my husband, his eyes wide with hope, and he wondered, "Is my hair like yours?"

And make no mistake about it, this November, when we go to the polls, that is what we're deciding — not Democrat or Republican, not left or right. No, this election, and every election, is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives. And I am here tonight because in this election, there is only one person who I trust with that responsibility, only one person who I believe is truly qualified to be President of the United States, and that is our friend, Hillary Clinton.

See, I trust Hillary to lead this country because I've seen her lifelong devotion to our nation's children — not just her own daughter, who she has raised to perfection — but every child who needs a champion: Kids who take the long way to school to avoid the gangs. Kids who wonder how they'll ever afford college. Kids whose parents don't speak a word of English but dream of a better life. Kids who look to us to determine who and what they can be.

You see, Hillary has spent decades doing the relentless, thankless work to actually make a difference in their lives — advocating for kids with disabilities as a young lawyer. Fighting for children's health care as First Lady and for quality child care in the Senate. And when she didn't win the nomination eight years ago, she didn't get angry or disillusioned. Hillary did not pack up and go home. Because as a true public servant, Hillary knows that this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments. So she proudly stepped up to serve our country once again as Secretary of State, traveling the globe to keep our kids safe.

And look, there were plenty of moments when Hillary could have decided that this work was too hard, that the price of public service was too high, that she was tired of being picked apart for how she looks or how she talks or even how she laughs. But here's the thing — what I admire most about Hillary is that she never buckles under pressure. She never takes the easy way out. And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.

And when I think about the kind of President that I want for my girls and all our children, that's what I want. I want someone with the proven strength to persevere. Someone who knows this job and takes it seriously. Someone who understands that the issues a President faces are not black and white and cannot be boiled down to 140 characters. Because when you have the nuclear codes at your fingertips and the military in your command, you can't make snap decisions. You can't have a thin skin or a tendency to lash out. You need to be steady, and measured, and well-informed.

I want a President with a record of public service, someone whose life's work shows our children that we don't chase fame and fortune for ourselves, we fight to give everyone a chance to succeed — and we give back, even when we're struggling ourselves, because we know that there is always someone worse off, and there but for the grace of God go I.

I want a President who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters — a President who truly believes in the vision that our founders put forth all those years ago: That we are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story. And when crisis hits, we don't turn against each other — no, we listen to each other. We lean on each other. Because we are always stronger together.

And I am here tonight because I know that that is the kind of president that Hillary Clinton will be. And that's why, in this election, I'm with her.

You see, Hillary understands that the President is about one thing and one thing only -– it's about leaving something better for our kids. That's how we've always moved this country forward –- by all of us coming together on behalf of our children — folks who volunteer to coach that team, to teach that Sunday school class because they know it takes a village. Heroes of every color and creed who wear the uniform and risk their lives to keep passing down those blessings of liberty.

Police officers and protesters in Dallas who all desperately want to keep our children safe. People who lined up in Orlando to donate blood because it could have been their son, their daughter in that club. Leaders like Tim Kaine — who show our kids what decency and devotion look like. Leaders like Hillary Clinton, who has the guts and the grace to keep coming back and putting those cracks in that highest and hardest glass ceiling until she finally breaks through, lifting all of us along with her.

That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves — and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters — and all our sons and daughters — now take for granted that a woman can be President of the United States.

So don't let anyone ever tell you that this country isn't great, that somehow we need to make it great again. Because this, right now, is the greatest country on earth. And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader who is worthy of my girls' promise and all our kids' promise, a leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children.

So in this election, we cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best. We cannot afford to be tired, or frustrated, or cynical. No, hear me — between now and November, we need to do what we did eight years ago and four years ago: We need to knock on every door. We need to get out every vote. We need to pour every last ounce of our passion and our strength and our love for this country into electing Hillary Clinton as President of the United States of America.

Let's get to work. Thank you all, and God bless.

Sunday, July 17, 2016


Sometimes it's best to go with an app that is not native to whichever desktop environment you choose to use. Two apps that I always add to any Linux installation, regardless of which DE or WM I'm using: SpaceFM file manager and Geany text editor.

For example, in GNOME, Nautilus (aka "Files") is a nice file manager, but not as useful to me as SpaceFM -- for one reason, because of the latter's multi-pane views:

Likewise, the GNOME text editor, gedit, isn't nearly as feature-rich as Geany, lacking (among other things) word autocompletion:

In LXDE, Openbox, and Fluxbox, I prefer to bring in xfce4-terminal to use.

Some other apps I use which are not native to any Linux DE: Chromium and Firefox for web browsing; Mirage and Geeqie for image viewing; and, the VLC Media Player.

If the default apps don't quite cut it for you, there's nothing wrong with going "non-native." Whatever works!

gnome shell in 16.04

Not everyone likes GNOME Shell, but it's one of my favorites. I like GNOME 3 a lot better than the old GNOME 2.

I added GNOME Shell (version 3.18) to Ubuntu 16.04 by adding the gnome-shell package. A few shots and a little info:

I like GNOME Shell without any extensions, but I downloaded the gnome-shell-extensions package from the Ubuntu Xenial repos. That gave me these extensions (as viewed from GNOME Tweak Tool):

I tried the Workspace indicator extension. It works fine; it sits on the top panel, and with the cursor hovering over the icon, the user can switch workspaces with the mouse scroll wheel. Alternatively, clicking on the icon brings up a workspace list:

I decided that I don't need Workspace indicator because I'm used to quickly switching between workspaces from the Activities overview:

Applications menu is another extension that looks useful; it replaces the Activities button with an Applications button on the top panel:

One that wasn't included with the gnome-shell-extensions package, but that's found at the GNOME Shell Extensions site: Dash to Dock, one of the extensions mentioned in the OMG! Ubuntu! article, "5 Best GNOME Shell Extensions for Ubuntu".

I'm good with GNOME Shell's many default options for launching apps. Of course, one can always launch apps from gnome-terminal, or by bringing up the Run dialog box with the Alt+F2 key combo:

Or there's the Dash dock in the Activities overview:

Currently running apps are indicated by a blue line under the icon in the Dash.

Or, two or three letters of an app name typed into the Applications overview's search box quickly brings up what you're looking for:

Finally, it's really no big deal to simply click on the Dash's "Show Applications" button:

From here, you can view frequently used apps, or all apps. Under "All", I've got only three "pages" of apps, all in alphabetical order. Not at all difficult to find any particular app. You can use the scroll wheel to see more apps on the other "pages":

One thing I don't understand is why dconf-editor and gnome-tweak-tool are not included by default. GNOME's System Settings is nice, but sadly incomplete:

gnome-tweak-tool and dconf-editor provide many additional tools:

One last note: I like the Variety wallpaper changer for handling my desktop backgrounds. Once installed and set up, Variety parks an icon in the hidden tray at the hotspot at the lower-left corner of the desktop screen. Clicking on that icon brings up the Variety menu:

Variety's quite simple to set up, and works great with GNOME Shell:

GNOME Shell is excellent for me, even without any GNOME Shell extensions in use. The GNOME Shell paradigm agrees with me. They mostly keep things simple, which is nice at times. I have no problem getting around the desktop and getting work done. Not everybody's cup of tea, but as they say, "Linux is about Choice." Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

two community projects

MEPIS and CrunchBang were two great Linux distros. Each was, for the most part, a "one-man distro," and when their respective primary developers ultimately quit the projects, development effectively ceased.

However, each distro had a devoted (and, talented) group of community members who stepped up to the plate, resulting in MX Linux and BunsenLabs Linux, which are both mainly based on Debian Stable, as were their respective predecessors.

Here's how MX is described at the MX Linux page:

MX Linux (antiX MX) is a special version of antiX developed in full collaboration with the MEPIS Community, using the best tools and talents from each distro and including work and ideas originally created by Warren Woodford for his MEPIS project... Relying on the excellent upstream work by Linux, we deploy Xfce4 as Desktop Environment on top of a Debian Stable base...

And, from bunsenlabs.org:

BunsenLabs Linux is a distribution offering a light-weight and easily customizable Openbox desktop. The current release is Hydrogen, built on top of Debian Jessie. The project is a community continuation of CrunchBang Linux.

I have MX-15  "Fusion" (MX-15_x64.iso, about 985 MB) and BunsenLabs "Hydrogen" (bl-Hydrogen-amd64.iso, about 836 MB) installed in a dual-boot set-up on my "test" machine, an old Compaq Presario CQ57 notebook. I'll take a short look at both distros here.

MEPIS shipped only with KDE, but the MX folks went with Xfce. Here's a look at the default MX-15 desktop, from the live session:

I explored the MX-15 live session and posted about it back in January, in "a gem of a distro"; no need to repeat all that here.

Here are a few MX-15 screenshots taken after I installed the release (and tweaked a few things to my own tastes) last month:

BunsenLabs "Hydrogen" may not come quite as loaded with tools and goodies as MX-15, but the MX folks have been at it longer, and at this stage MX is the more polished distro, seems to me. That's completely understandable, and it's no knock on BunsenLabs, which actually seems to be put together quite well, from what I'm seeing so far. As was the case with CrunchBang, BunsenLabs ships with a pre-configured Openbox set-up. Here's a shot of the default BunsenLabs "Hydrogen" desktop:

Actually, with the first run there's a post-installation script that opens up in Terminator:

I decided to skip the post-installation script because I didn't think I needed it, but it can be run later with the following command:

$ bl-welcome

As pointed out above, BunsenLabs "Hydrogen" is basically Jessie with Openbox. Here's what's in /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie main non-free contrib
deb http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates main contrib non-free
deb http://httpredir.debian.org/debian jessie-updates main contrib non-free

And there's this line in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/bunsen.list:

deb http://pkg.bunsenlabs.org/debian bunsen-hydrogen main

BunsenLabs uses sudo by default, which, as I recall, was how things were done with CrunchBang.

A short list of some the default apps I'm seeing:

- Iceweasel
- Geany text editor
- Thunar
- Terminator
- LibreOffice Writer (but not the rest of LibreOffice)
- Gnumeric
- Galculator
- Mirage
- xfce4-screenshooter and scrot
- VLC media player
- Conky
- tint2 panel
- Nitrogen (for handling wallpapers)
- obmenu for editing the Openbox menu
- Openbox Configuration Manager
- lxappearance
- GParted

The menu includes links to Debian documentation, the Debian Wiki, the Debian Handbook, etc., and also one for the Arch Wiki (!).

So far, I have made very few changes to the "Hydrogen" installation, as I'm quite comfortable with the defaults, for the most part. Firefox-ESR was added, and I set that as the default web browser instead of Iceweasel. I changed the cursor theme from DMZ-White to DMZ-Black, and increased the number of workspaces from two to three. By default, the screen locks when the screensaver comes on, forcing the user to enter the password to get back to the desktop, so after a bit of fumbling around I managed to stop the screen from locking by creating ~/.config/autostart and copying /etc/xdg/autostart/light-locker.desktop into it, then (in the new file) changing the Exec=light-locker line to Exec=light-locker --lock-after-screensaver=0. I had to reboot the system for that to take effect.

Otherwise, I've mostly stayed with the default set-up for now. Here's a look at the desktop, with a few apps running on Workspace 1 and the menu opened up on Workspace 2:

For more info, readers may want to check out Dedoimedo's review of MX-15 and DistroWatch's review of BunsenLabs "Hydrogen."

Saturday, May 7, 2016

a simple fix

Geeqie, one of my favorite image viewers for Linux:

Some may recall an image viewer from several years back, called GQview; Geeqie is a fork of that app. You can still find GQview in Arch AUR, but I don't think it's being maintained.

Running Geeqie, you can toggle back and forth to/from fullscreen mode by tapping the "f" key. However, I noticed that I couldn't get fullscreen mode to work in either LXDE or Openbox in Arch. I couldn't understand this, because it worked fine in Xfce on the same Arch installation.

When trying to go to fullscreen mode in LXDE or Openbox, I did get a second Geeqie icon on the panel, but that was it:

I started up Geeqie from the command line and tapped the "f" key to see what output I got:

From The Geeqie User Manual, section 10.3 ("Window Options"):

10.3.3.  Full Screen


Selects the location and position of the full screen window. 'Determined by window manager' will leave the window placement up to the window manager. 'Active screen' places the window on the same screen as the Geeqie main window. 'Active monitor' does the same, but limits the full screen window size to the monitor containing the main window [...]

So, I went into Geeqie's preferences, to the Windows tab; in the "Full screen" section, I changed "Location" from "Determined by Window Manager" to "Active screen":

Now, Geeqie's fullscreen mode works fine in Openbox. Command line output now looks like this:

fullscreen.c:301: Original vindow is not visible, enabling std. fullscreen mode

Problem solved. Hope this helps somebody.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

trying lxde in arch

I first set up this Arch installation with Xfce and the xdm-archlinux display manager. Decided later to add LXDE; and, I switched display managers, going with LightDM, which is nice for choosing from different desktop environments/window managers at login.

# pacman -S lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter
# systemctl -f enable lightdm.service

For info and instructions about display managers for Arch, man pages and the documentation at the Arch wiki prove essential.

To get a screenshot of the greeter screen, first I had to add xorg-server-xephyr:

# pacman -S xorg-server-xephyr

Then I used dm-tool to run start a nested display of the greeter screen, and took a screenshot of that:

$ dm-tool add-nested-seat --fullscreen

Alt-F4 gets you back to the desktop. Also, see dm-tool --help.

In Arch's default LXDE, I wasn't able to change the number of desktops/workspaces. The thing to note here is that not all options for configuring Openbox are available with the lxappearance-obconf plugin (and that obconf is needed to change the number of desktops in LXDE). So:

# pacman -S obconf

A clean look at how I've got the desktop set up at the moment:

Sunday, February 28, 2016

keeping curry's scoring in perspective

Golden State's Steph Curry is having another great year, but this season (his 7th in the NBA) will be only the first time he's led the league in scoring.

Number of scoring titles for NBA players not named Jordan or Chamberlain (three or more scoring titles):

Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City) - 4
Allen Iverson (Sixers) - 4
George Gervin (Spurs) - 4
Bob McAdoo (Buffalo Braves) - 3
Neil Johnston (Philadelphia Warriors) - 3
George Mikan (Minneapolis Lakers) - 3

Very short list. Oh, and Michael Jordan led the NBA in scoring TEN times; Wilt Chamberlain did it 7 times.

Source: http://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/pts_per_g_yearly.html