Friday, January 22, 2010

AI an All-Star Starter

The Answer?

My question is, how can Allen Iverson, with almost no NBA teams wanting him as a starter following his stints in Denver, Detroit, and Memphis, end up being a starter in the NBA All-Star Game?

Ahead of Boston's Rajon Rondo and Chicago's Derrick Rose?

For the record:

Rondo: 39 games. 36 minutes per game. 14.0 points per game. 9.6 assists per game. 2.5 steals per game. 52.7 % from the field. Boston's record: 27-13.

Rose: 40 games. 36 minutes per game. 19.1 points per game. 6.0 assists per game. 0.8 steals per game. 46.3% from the field. Chicago's record: 18-22.

Iverson (with Philadelphia, because I'm not counting the three games at Memphis): 16 games. 33 minutes per game. 14.8 points per game. 4.5 assists per game. 0.7 steals per game. 44.4% from the field. Philadelphia's record: 13-28.

I mean, you be the judge.

Oh, speaking of the Memphis Grizzlies, how have they fared since AI bailed on 'em?

Well, they're sitting at 22-19 after a 1-8 start. Right, they've won 21 of their last 32 games. They've won 7 of their last 10.

The Grizzlies don't miss Iverson one bit. They are a better team without him.

That's the kicker. Denver became a contender in the West once Iverson left for Detroit. Detroit got him and had their worst season in years. He left Detroit, and it remains to be seen whether Detroit is better now that he's gone, but it doesn't look like they're any worse (remember, they also lost Rasheed Wallace to free agency).

Does AI make the Sixers any better? Doesn't look like it.

Yet, he's a starter in the All-Star Game?

Something's very wrong with this picture.

RootSudo still gets me sometimes

From the Ubuntu documentation:

"By default, the root account password is locked in Ubuntu. This means that you cannot login as root directly or use the su command to become the root user."

Still, I find myself in Ubuntu, or today, in Mint, doing one of these numbers:

steve[~]$ su
su: Authentication failure


But there are a few ways to get a root prompt in Mint and Ubuntu (be sure that you know what you're doing before you try running any of these commands!!!):

steve[~]$ sudo su
steve-desktop steve # exit

sudo su -
steve-desktop ~ # exit

sudo -s
root[~]$ exit

sudo -i
steve-desktop ~ # exit


I've seen questions posted about this stuff where someone would simply reply, "read man sudo and man su." But have fun with the section of man sudo that explains the -i option:


The -i (simulate initial login) option runs the shell specified in
the passwd(5) entry of the user that the command is being run as.
The command name argument given to the shell begins with a ‘-’ to
tell the shell to run as a login shell. sudo attempts to change to
that user’s home directory before running the shell. It also ini‐
tializes the environment, leaving TERM unchanged, setting HOME,
SHELL, USER, LOGNAME, and PATH, and unsetting all other environment
variables. Note that because the shell to use is determined before
the sudoers file is parsed, a runas_default setting in sudoers will
specify the user to run the shell as but will not affect which
shell is actually run.


Anyway, for those of you, especially Linux Mint and Ubuntu users, who really want (or need) to understand this stuff, the Ubuntu Community Documentation RootSudo place is a good place to start out:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

debian sources list generator

My good pal ComputerBob pointed this one out to me -- a tool for generating a Debian /etc/apt/sources.list.

There's also a generator for Ubuntu sources.

Beautiful! Could have used this one a long time ago. Added it to my bookmarked web pages today!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

mint 8 gets a good review

Check out the Linux Mint 8.0 review at IT Reviews. A few problems with audio, but as the reviewer said:

As for the rest? Everything worked, and worked well. For a home machine Mint has real credentials. It adapted to our test home network easily enough and found our NAS drives with no hassle. It's also efficient, comes with a wisely-chosen collection of software and achieves an admirable balance between power and lack of hassle. The best Mint yet, as you'd hope, but also a real temptation for Windows users looking to move across to Linux.

I'm still using Mint 5.0 (Elyssa), which is the most recent LTS (Long-term support) version; I like sticking with LTS versions so I'll probably skip Mint 8.0. I think that Mint 9 will be the next LTS version.

minty firefox rant

You can see an example of Linux Mint's Google start page here.

This is the #1 source of revenue for Mint. Here's how Husse explains things at the Mint forums:

"...when someone clicks and ad and actually also when an ad is shown the people that advertised pays a small amount and part of that goes to Mint because the ad is displayed on our customized search (much like you pay a newspaper when it prints your ad)
The customized search has drawbacks as Google for some reason does not display a normal search result page
In comes "Mint search enhancer" which restores the functionality - not only the links on top but also the "Cached" option
Strange as it may seem this creates a steady, not too small, flow of income to Mint, making it possible to pay for servers and the salary for Clem
Of course donations and sponsors also help and are very welcome, but that's the smaller part of it all"

I don't really have a problem with any of that, but once I get Mint installed I get rid of the Minty Firefox. I go with the regular Google start page. It's no big deal to change things.

In fact, as soon as I get around to it, I go to the Mozilla site and download Firefox, so in the end I don't even use Mint's Firefox.

Should I feel guilty that I use Mint without helping to support it?

Too bad, I don't feel guilty.

I believe that during the installation or initial set up, like maybe when the mintAssistant runs the first time you log in, you should have the choice of supporting Mint with the Minty Firefox and Google, or not.

Or maybe the first time Firefox starts up in Mint, a page could open up or a window could pop up where the situation is explained, and the user is given info on how to change things.

I've spoken about this at the Mint forums, about how I feel that Mint should be more "up front" about things, and that they should give users a choice in this, right from the start.

Here's the kind of thing I got back at the forums:

MALsPa: "I would like it better if the whole thing was explained up front..."

mick55: "Does Microsoft explain up front that installing their products
entitles them to remotely access your PC whenever they want to
and search your entire hard drive to see if you are running illegal software?"

That pissed me off. Has nothing to do with what Microsoft does.

I like the things that Mint forums poster buddhaflow said:

How it should work is this: Linux Mint Google is the default search. Standard Google is an option in the drop down list. That way, people can easily choose, and can switch back and forth between the two at will.

As it is, people are getting frustrated, and they have a valid reason to be. Furthermore, when they switch away from the Mint page, they are permanently on the default Google page, without any easy way to switch back if they want to support Mint. This would be the best option for everyone.

Another thing I've mentioned is that I'm not aware of any other distro that does something like this with Firefox and Google. Maybe I just missed it, but I've said something about that fact twice now at the forums and so far nobody's replied with an example of another distro that gets revenue this way. So, it's fine with me if Mint does it, and it's fine with me if other distros follow suit, but I still don't like the way it's dropped in there without the user knowing anything about it beforehand.

The word quite often used at the Mint forums to describe this whole thing is "adware."

I know that some users have dropped Mint over this issue. But not me -- I just get rid of the "adware."

Call me a freeloader, then. But perhaps most people who use Linux are freeloaders. I don't think of myself as a freeloader, though, because I spend a great deal of time at the forums of the distros that I use, and I feel that I contribute to them in that way.

End of rant.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

15 example series

the has a great series of articles going where 15 examples are provided for a specific Linux command or functionality.

So far, they've gone over examples of the following (follow the links to see):

find command, crontab examples, grep command, history command, ping command, and wget examples.

The latest covers the top command.

Speaking of top, Linux users might prefer to try out htop instead -- it's even cooler than top. (In Mepis 8, it was not there by default, but was easily installed via Synaptic.) Check out these two screenshots:



Of course you can click on these screenshots, open them in another tab or in another window or whatever, to get a better view.

Friday, January 8, 2010

sports crap

Three things in the sports world that I've been complaining about lately.

First, the "Make-Believe" BCS Championship, as I think Tony Bruno was calling it last night on Fox Sports Radio:

Alabama wins it. Ho-hum, who cares. Five teams finished the regular season undefeated: Cincinnati, TCU, Boise State, Texas, and Alabama. By virtue of a combination of public opinion and "computer opinion," only Texas and Alabama were allowed to compete for the "Make-Believe" BCS Championship. The BCS, aka (by me) The Bullsh*t Championship Series.

Second, Gilbert Arenas:

What's up with bringing guns into the locker room? Aside from police officers, who else works someplace where it's okay to bring a gun to work? And... Arenas said he brought the guns to work to get them out of the house, away from the kids. Snap! Maybe it's a bad idea to have them at work, too! Ya think?

Third, Pacquiao and Mayweather:

Now, some folks say there's two sides to this, and maybe they're right. It seems crazy that Pacquiao would walk away from something like $40 million dollars over "principle." Maybe he should have just taken the dang drug test.

Still, I'm with Pacquiao on this one. For one thing, it isn't Pacquiao who has a reputation of ducking tough fighters. That reputation belongs to Mayweather. As Bob Arum said of Mayweather, "He will never fight anyone that will remotely give him a tough fight."

The drug testing demands that the Mayweather camp came up with were unprecedented. Why, all of a sudden, did Mayweather come up with those demands? He never forced any previous opponent to submit to the same type of drug test.

It all makes Mayweather look bad, and makes it look like perhaps he's the coward that others say he is. But I won't go so far as to call him a coward because it certainly takes a lot of guts to ever step into a boxing ring.

But Mayweather should have dropped those stupid demands and just got in the ring with Pacquiao. Using the testing as an excuse was just a cop-out. I agree with Pacquiao for not giving in.

will the cloud bring death to the desktop?

In the article "Death to the Desktop! Long Live the Cloud!" writer Ken Hess says: " computing will replace our fat, bloated, virus-riddled, failure-prone desktop with something far more agile and elegant: A lightweight browser-based system."

Check out his earlier article, "Whose Platform is it, Anyway?" And take a look at the comments following the articles, and the LXer comments that were prompted by the "Death to the Desktop..." article.

Why can't we have both cloud computing and desktop computing?

Well, we do.

And we'll continue to have both. Mr. Hess is wrong. Or, at least, not completely right. (He knows how to write a provocative article, though.)

I see myself using a combination of cloud computing and desktop computing, depending on the situation, depending on what works best for me. I think that the fact is that most of us are doing the same thing right now, and have been for some time, and will continue to do so.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Well, Boise State didn't get a shot at the "national championship," but they did finish the season undefeated.

Back in October, I was wondering if Boise State would get a chance to play for the BCS championship if they went undefeated.

Tonight, they completed a perfect season by beating TCU, 17-10, in the Fiesta Bowl at Glendale, AZ. Thursday, Alabama and Texas will face off for the BCS championship at the Rose Bowl. Boise finishes 14-0.

Boise State certainly deserved the shot that they didn't get. Instead, they'll have to be satisfied with a great season, capped by an exciting win over TCU, who was also undefeated coming into the game.

With the score tied at 10 with about 9 minutes to play, on 4th down and 9 from their own 33, Boise State converted on a fake punt, a pass play from punter Kyle Brotzman to Kyle Efaw that went for 30 yards. Minutes later, Doug Martin took it in from 2 yards out for the go-ahead score.

TCU still had some game left, getting down to the Boise State 30 on the Horned Frogs' final drive, but then an interception iced the game for Boise.

I'd vote for Boise State as the national champions just on principle, if I had the chance. They might not be good enough to beat Texas or Alabama, but the shame of it all is that we'll never know.

Office Alternatives

Here's an article that lists six alternatives to Microsoft Office: (
ABIWord (
Google Docs and spreadsheet (
ThinkFree Office Online (
Zoho (
NeoOffice (

Linux users have several other options when it comes to office suites, including GNOME Office and KOffice.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Why Linux is Better?

Topics from the "Why Linux is Better" web page:

- Forget about viruses.
- Is your system unstable?
- Linux protects your computer.
- Don't pay $300 for your operating system.
- Freedom!
- When the system has installed, why would you still need to install stuff?
- Forget about drivers.
- Update all your software with a single click.
- Why copy software illegally if you can get it for free?
- Need new software? Don't bother searching the web, Linux gets it for you.
- Jump into the next generation of desktops.
- Does your digital life seem fragmented?
- Choose what your desktop looks like.
- Why does your Windows get slower day after day?
- Do something for the environment.
- No back doors in your software.
- Enjoy free and unlimited support.
- Too many windows? Use workspaces.
- Don't wait years for bugs to be solved; report and track them down.
- Are you tired of restarting your computer all the time?
- Let your old computer have a second life.
- Play hundreds of games for free.
- Help other countries, and your own.
- Use MSN, AIM, ICQ, Jabber, with a single program.
- Get a great music player.
- Keep an eye on the weather.

Topics at that page discussing reasons to stick with Windows:

- There is proprietary software you can't live without.
- You're a hardcore gamer.
- You work in the book/printing industry.
- Your hardware is not yet supported.