Sunday, October 25, 2015

ubuntu 15.10; fvwm-crystal in debian

Installed the new Ubuntu 15.10 release yesterday; first time I've tried a non-LTS release in a while. They've made some nice improvements here and there. Installation took only about 15 minutes even with choosing to download updates during the install; Ubuntu's still great for getting up and running quickly. Spent a few hours after that adding apps and tweaking things to my tastes, though.

A shot of the default Ubuntu 15.10 desktop:

And, after a bit of tweaking:

My only complaints so far:

- Couldn't find an option in the installer for not installing grub rather than installing it to the MBR or to the / partition.

- Still had to go through and turn off the Unity online stuff -- any of that should be opt-in rather than opt-out. This is the price you pay for using Ubuntu -- you have to know to go into the Settings to turn that crap off.

- Speaking of price, when you download Ubuntu from their web site, they try to get you to donate money right before the download begins. Two shots here show the top of the page and the bottom of the page:

You can say "Not now" and the download proceeds. I guess there's really nothing wrong with any of that, but I don't like it.

- History in Synaptic (had to add Synaptic since Ubuntu doesn't include it by default anymore) is broken. If you bring up Synaptic's History, the window is blank, no text at all in there.  Here's what it looks like:

That's messed up! Yeah, there are bug reports on this. Plus, an older bug is still present -- the left part of the window isn't showing like it's supposed to, unless you use the cursor to drag the bar over to the right:

Anyway, everything that's supposed to show up in that window can be found in the files in the /root/.synaptic/log/ directory, so this isn't quite a deal-breaker.

Even with those few complaints, I ended up with what looks like another great Ubuntu installation. I still have Ubuntu 14.04 installed on another computer, for the moment. 15.10 is supported for only nine months, but by then the next LTS release will be out, and I'll certainly be moving on to that.


On separate note, I installed the window manager fvwm-crystal in Jessie Xfce. Here's a shot of the desktop (default, for the most part):

Took me some time to (kinda) get a feel for how things work. Given more time, I might warm up to fvwm-crystal, but at the moment I don't like it very much and I'm wondering, "Why bother with all that when there's Openbox?" To which the next guy might reply, "Why bother with Openbox when there's Xfce?" :)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Kool DE

19 years ago (Oct 14 1996), Matthias Ettrich announced his new project, the Kool Desktop Environment (KDE), as noted in this Softpedia article, which includes the following screenshot of KDE 1.1:

Back then, folks were still using these:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

football -- this week's top three games - v.1.1

My top 3 college match-ups for this week:

#7 MSU (6-0) at #12 Michigan (5-1)
#8 Florida (6-0) at #6 LSU (5-0)
Arizona State (4-2) at #4 Utah (5-0)

My top 3 NFL match-ups for this week:

Cardinals (4-1) at Pittsburgh (3-2)
Bengals (5-0) at Buffalo (3-2)
Patriots (4-0) at Indianapolis (3-2)

Previous week's (v.1.0) top three games (NFL) results:

Arizona 42, Detroit 17
Denver 16, Oakland 10
Patriots 30, Dallas 6

Previous week's (v.1.0) top three games (college) results:

Michigan 38, Northwestern 0
Utah 30, Cal 24
Florida State 29, Miami (FL) 24

Sunday, October 11, 2015

rethinking the name of a holiday

The City of Albuquerque is one of about a dozen U.S. cities that have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day (See: "10 US cities ask: Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day?"  and Albuquerque's proclamation, in .pdf format, here.

Brown University student M. Dzhali Maier writes:

I’ve always thought Columbus Day was a celebration of the massive economic, political and cultural phenomenon known as the Columbian Exchange. What is this, you ask? The Columbian Exchange was the massive introduction of Old World organisms, culture and technology into the New World, as well as the game-changing introduction of New World plants and animals into the fields, gardens, minds and architectures of Old World Europe. 

These introductions, which still very much continue today, began with Christopher Columbus and his epic voyage to what he thought was India...


According to Wikipedia, "The term ['The Columbian Exchange'] was first used in 1972 by American historian Alfred W. Crosby in his environmental history book The Columbian Exchange." Charles C. Mann wrote a lot about it in 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created.

I tend to agree with Maier's opinion: "Rather, keep Columbus Day. Celebrate the Columbian Exchange, not the man." Cristóbal Colón's voyages marked a turning point for the people of the world. I like the idea of an Indigenous Peoples Day, but not in place of Columbus Day.

make things a little bit nicer

To get transparency working in Fluxbox in openSUSE 13.2, I had to turn on "Pseudo-Transparency" (Fluxbox Configuration > Config > Transparency > Force Pseudo-Transparency):

From that same Transparency menu, you can then adjust the alpha for focused windows, unfocused windows, and the menu (alpha value: opacity increases to a max of 255).

You can also adjust the alphas for the slit and for the toolbar:

Then get yourself some coffee and get some real work done.

little free libraries

A couple of the "Little Free Library" boxes I'm finding around Albuquerque.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

lines in the sand

In  "The Case for Getting Rid of Borders—Completely" at The Atlantic, Alex Tabarrok writes:

What moral theory justifies using wire, wall, and weapon to prevent people from moving to opportunity? ...No standard moral framework, be it utilitarian, libertarian, egalitarian, Rawlsian, Christian, or any other well-developed perspective, regards people from foreign lands as less entitled to exercise their rights—or as inherently possessing less moral worth—than people lucky to have been born in the right place at the right time.

Just imagine: no borders. Isn't that what John Lennon did, years ago?

Imagine there's no countries 
It isn't hard to do 
Nothing to kill or die for 
And no religion too 
Imagine all the people living life in peace