Saturday, February 6, 2010

carmelo or durant?

A statistical comparison of the Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony and the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant:

Carmelo Anthony, 6'8", 230 lbs., drafted with the 3rd pick out of Syracuse by Denver in 2003:

29.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.3 apg, 38 games played, 37.9 minutes per game.

46.4 FG%, 36.1 3PT%, 86.1 FT%, 3.1 TOs per game, 1.3 steals per game, 0.4 blocks per game.

Denver is 1st in the Northwest Division at 34-16.

Kevin Durant, 6'9", 230 lbs., drafted with the 2nd pick out of Texas by Seattle in 2007:

29.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.9 apg, 49 games played, 39.9 minutes per game.

48.8 FG%, 37.4 3PT%, 87.9 FT%, 3.8 TOs per game, 1.4 steals per game, 0.9 blocks per game.

Oklahoma City is 4th in the Northwest Division at 28-21.

The two players are currently tied for the highest scoring average per game in the NBA. Anthony was voted in as a starter for the West in next week's All-Star game; Durant was named as a reserve.

I think I'd take Durant over Anthony, though.


Last month at The Blog of Helios, it was reported that long-time Linux advocate Bruno Knaapen is dying of cancer. Here's a link to Helios' post:

The HeliOS project has announced the establishment of The Bruno Knaapen Technology Learning Center in East Austin, Texas:

Bruno's wonderful Tips for Linux Explorers, one of the best Linux guides out there, has been very important to me during the first few years of my Linux journey. Then there's Bruno's All Things Linux section of Scot's Newsletter forums, a place where anyone can go for Linux help.

My best wishes go out to Bruno in his fight against this terrible disease, along with my appreciation for all he's done for me and the rest of the Linux community.

Friday, February 5, 2010

linux forums

For many, if not most, Linux users, the Linux forums are vital. If we need advice, tips, news, information, or just a good laugh, the forums are usually good places to start out.

If you're interested in a particular Linux distro, you can look for reviews, check out sites like Distrowatch, or find the distro's Wikipedia entry, but short of installing the distro and trying it out for yourself, you'll seldom find a better way to get a feel for what a distro is all about than to spend some time at that distro's forums.

Here are some of the Linux forums where I spend (far too much) time contributing or just "lurking":

- MepisLovers forums
- Debian User Forums
- Ubuntu forums
- Linux Mint forums
- Scot's Newsletter Forums' "All Things Linux" forum (under the name "saturnian")
- forums
- Kubuntu forums
- PCLinuxOS forums
- Klikit forums

If you're going to try Linux, it's a good idea to set up a forum account for whichever distro you choose, and to, at the least, stop in from time to time to see what's going on with your distro.


Lots of talk out there about Apple's new iPad. You can read all about it at One of the first things I did was check out the "Pricing" page:

16GB 32GB 64GB
Wi-Fi $499 $599 $699
Wi-Fi + 3G $629 $729 $829


Since then, I've seen lots of criticism of the iPad. Some things that stand out in my mind:

- Apple's notorious proprietary bent. Enough said.
- The iPad's battery can't be replaced, so when that battery dies a few years down the road, what do you have?
- No USB ports -- you'll have to buy an adapter.
- No multi-tasking.
- No Adobe Flash support.
- No Ogg Vorbis support.
- No SD card slots.
- Typing on the touch screen doesn't appeal to me, but you can purchase a keyboard for it -- which would make the iPad a lame, expensive netbook.
- You'd have to pay extra for a stand for the iPad, if you don't want always be holding it up to use it, or trying to use while it lies flat.
- It might be pretty good as an eBook reader, but I don't care about that, since I prefer actual, real books.
- No webcam, no camera.
- Only runs applications from the Apple App Store.
- At best, only 64 GB of storage space.

As a good friend of mine said recently, the iPad is "a solution that's looking for a problem."

To me, buying an iPad would be like throwing money away just to try to look cool.

Says blogger Ron Miller:

"But ultimately this an oversized iphone ... I already have an iPhone in my pocket that has many of the same functions as the iPad. Sure it's a small screen, but I've watched video on it, read books, played games and done most of what they are trying to sell me on the iPad and I already own it. What's more I'm already paying $30 a month to AT&T for my data plan. The last thing I'm going to do is give that company one more dime, of that you can be sure."

I don't think anyone would have any problems finding commentary, pro or con, about the iPad on the internet, but here are a couple of articles:

10 things Netbooks still do better than an iPad

Apples iPad event: What we didn't get

Rambling On -- KDE, GNOME, file browsers

gnome-commander isn't a bad file browser, just like Nautilus isn't a bad one. I know that some folks say that what they don't like about KDE compared to GNOME is that the configuration options get too confusing -- they get in the way. Comparing gnome-commander to Krusader, and Nautilus to Konqueror, I can really see how GNOME's approach might help those kinds of people.

As I'm getting used to Krusader, I'm finding myself stopping a lot because there are so many things that you can do with Krusader, and you have to spend some time figuring things out, getting used to things. It doesn't go like that with gnome-commander. It's a much simpler browser. It doesn't have many configuration options.

You can't even configure the toolbar, unless I'm completely missing something. I don't see any way to add/remove icons to/from the toolbar. (Krusader is set up more like Konqueror in that sense -- you have complete control over which icons sit on the toolbar.)

When it comes to file browsing, gnome-commander and Nautilus are both fine. You can do what you need to do. I don't mind using them.

But no self-respecting KDE fan can ever be truly happy with either of them.

They almost seem like they're made for children when you compare them to Krusader and Konqueror.

Now, I generally like GNOME. I like how things look. I like how things "feel." I'm as happy logging into Linux Mint as I am logging into Mepis.

But I don't think I'll ever be able to use GNOME without my favorite KDE apps:


I don't know if this is the best music player or not but I like it the best because I'm used to it, I guess.

Konqueror and Krusader

In my opinion, Konqueror is the best file browser I've ever used.

I think that I can use Krusader most of the time instead of Konqueror, especially now that I've taken the time to get to know it better.

There are three things, however, that will send me back to Konqueror on occasion.

- One thing is the Services button that Konqueror has, where you can access applications, looks like a KMenu right there inside of Konqueror. It's something that has come in handy for me quite a few times when I'm setting up Openbox or Fluxbox or something and I don't have my menus set up well enough. Yeah, I guess I could run certain apps from the terminal or whatever, but it's nicer to just open Konqueror up and go right to the menu there.

- The second thing is the split views -- being able to have more than two windows available. It isn't something that's really necessary, but... I love that feature of Konqueror. I don't know of any other file browser that can do it.

Here's the kind of scenario where it's very handy for me: I'm wanting to go into /etc to work on fstab, but I also need to have /boot/grub open for the menu.lst, and I also need to have my main data partition open so I can check my notes, and maybe I also want to have my home directory in view as well.

Or, maybe I'm comparing two directories in one distro to two directories in another distro.

Or, maybe I'm doing something with my ~/wallpapers directories in two distros and I also need to see my wallpapers directory from my data partition, which has every background that I've collected, even the ones not currently in use by either distro.

I just can't do those kinds of things quickly and easily without that multiple split viewing capability.

- The third thing is Konqueror's ability to show man pages in html format, which comes in handy quite often here.


There might be better screenshot apps out there, but GNOME doesn't have a better one! KSnapshot does exactly what I need for it to do.


Okay, this one isn't really necessary, but I like it, even if it's a dead project. I use other image viewers and I'm generally happy with them, but when I'm in Konqueror or Krusader and feel like taking a quick look at a some images in a directory, Kuickshow is my favorite tool to use.

Those are the KDE apps that I take with me to GNOME. Without them, I don't think I would like GNOME as much. They are the apps that I like to have no matter what DE or WM I'm using. I guess that means that I've never really stopped being KDE-centric.

For other KDE apps, the GNOME counterparts are just as good, and sometimes I like them better. I like gedit and gnome-terminal. GNOME's desktop accessories like the GNOME character map and the calculator, well, hard to mess those kinds of things up.

I think that Synaptic would be considered a GNOME app. Besides that, the only other GTK+ app (that I know of!) that I always bring in is GQView.

I realize that some of the apps I've mentioned might not be the best, but often the favorite app is the one you're most comfortable with and most used to, and if it does what you need it to do then it doesn't matter if it's the best or not, I guess.

Sometimes people complain that KDE overuses the "K" in their application names. But GNOME really does the same thing. You just don't notice it as much because in a GNOME distro like Mint, you'll see things in the menu like Calculator, Character Map, Text Editor, or Terminal. But when you look under "About" you'll see that the actual names for those apps are gcalctool, Gucharmap, gedit, and gnome-terminal. So I think that the complaint about the "K" in KDE names is silly -- GNOME does the same thing with "G."

'Buntu Stuff

Mint 8 (Helena) has been getting some really good reviews, even though it's based on Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala), which is getting a fair amount of the kind of criticism that Ubuntu's six-month releases typically get.

Dedoimedo had a lot to say about Karmic, but even more to say about Helena, which he pretty much raved about:

"...I'm also confused that Mint, a Ubuntu derivative, can be so different from its parent. Not only does it up the good parts and adds the missing bits, it also elegantly escapes the problems seen on Ubuntu..."

The Helena review covered a lot of things, but I'm always wary of Linux distro reviews. Folks might get a much better idea of how things are going by simply spending some time at the forums. At the Mint forums, I think you'd find that things with Helena aren't exactly perfect. Lots of people are loving it, but the latest Mint is certainly not without its problems.

The most interesting part of the Karmic review for me was the section on Grub 2, especially this sentence: "GRUB 2 requires shell scripting knowledge, which is not a given for many users." That scared me a bit, until I looked around a bit at Dedoimedo's Grub 2 tutorial. I know a bit about shell scripts. I didn't see much scary stuff there. I think I'll be okay.

He says, "...GRUB legacy is going to remain the key player for at least 5-10 years," and "...GRUB 2 is only used by the Ubuntu family, which makes about a third to one half of the Linux desktop market."

But it's already available in Debian Squeeze, and the version of Mepis following this year's Mepis 8.5 will almost certainly have it.

Anyway, this year I'm probably going to be moving on to the next LTS version of Mint, Linux Mint 9 (Isadora), which will be based on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx). Or, I might just go with Lucid, I'm not sure. Either way, looks like I'll be introduced to Grub 2 this year with a version of one of those two distros.

I do think that there's a very good chance that both Isadora and Lucid will be better than their immediate predecessors. Both Ubuntu and Mint seem to be making a serious effort at making sure these LTS versions are as "stable" as possible right from the start.

One concern I have about Isadora and/or Lucid is that I don't think that KDE 3.5 apps will still be available. I might not have my familiar Konqueror to lean on. Distrowatch's Ubuntu page, under "snapshot -- lucid," shows kdebase (4.3.5). So, new things in store for me this year, no doubt.