Friday, April 22, 2011


Screen shot from the Scientific Linux 6.0 live DVD:

This is GNOME 2.28.6, but it comes with KDE 4.3.4 and IceWM 1.2.37. The default web browser is Firefox 3.6.14. Hoping to add the system to my multi-boot set-up soon!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I recently finished the book Gulag: A History, by Anne Applebaum, about the system of concentration camps in the Soviet Union. The camps were spread all over the Soviet Union, and held political and criminal prisoners -- often under appalling conditions. The story made me think hard about Nazi Germany, slavery in the Americas, and other terrible things that humans have done to each other over the years. The book, published in 2003, was a winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

the future, the present

Little boys, watching the high school varsity baseball game at Del Norte H.S. in Albuquerque. These kids were taking a break from their work-out on the track -- note the baton in the hands of the boy in the middle.

The Del Norte Knights' dugout:

Our flag, flying high on a windy Albuquerque afternoon:

Monday, April 18, 2011


Landor's review of Debian-based CrunchBang 10 r20110207, which features the Openbox window manager:

Sounds like a distro I might be trying out soon!

waiting for mepis

It's been about two months since Debian Squeeze was moved to "stable," but Mepis-lovers are still waiting for the final release of the Stable-based Mepis 11.

Mepis 11 is now in its RC2 phase, after slowly going through three "betas." I figure that there might be an RC3, but folks over at the Mepis forums seem quite happy with the current release candidate, so hopefully it won't be long now.

I never did install Mepis 8.5; I decided to skip it entirely and wait for Mepis 11, so I've still got Mepis 8 running here, using KDE 3.5 and sometimes Xfce 4.4 there. A Mepis fan since the 3.4 days, I can always count on developer Warren Woodford's solid, polished releases, and I'm really looking forward to this one; it'll be my first look at Woodford's work with KDE4.


Taking a trip through Clapton-land, reading Clapton: The Autobiography, and listening to some CDs that I dug out of a box -- a lot of stuff recorded from stuff borrowed from my friend and co-worker, the late John Besse (a fine guitar-player himself).

I'm barely halfway through Eric Clapton's autobiography, but it's giving me a new-found appreciation for his music. Not that I wasn't already a fan -- I've always thought of him as one of the greatest musicians ever, and I was enjoying hearing his stuff on the radio long before I even knew his name.

This book, with Clapton dropping names left and right, is almost like a mini-history of rock-and-roll; he was influenced by, and played with, so many greatest blues players, so many ground-breaking artists from the 60s. I find it striking that the blues formed such a major part of his development, even though I sorta knew that the roots of rock-and-roll really are the blues.

Clapton chronicles his heavy drug use, which is a sad, but necessary aspect of the book. But, more interesting to me are the parts about his meeting and playing with Hendrix, Muddy Waters, members of the Beatles, the Who, the Stones, Buddy Guy, and many, many others.

When he writes about the women in his life, I feel him, as anyone else would who has known, for example, what it feels like to have known a woman who no other woman could ever replace, or who has ever found himself writing songs and poems about her, and thinking of her endlessly. Or, anyone who has really felt the blues, I guess!

And, listening to the music... actually, so far I haven't actually gotten past my CD recorded from the collection The Cream of Clapton. I keep playing it over and over again. I've got a stack of CDs to listen to, but this one, with tunes from when he was with Cream, like "I Feel Free" and "Sunshine of Your Love," and many others like "Bell Bottom Blues" and "Layla" (Derek and the Dominos), and other music, is so good to listen to that I haven't listened to anything else for a few days now. After reading so much about how he developed as a guitarist, and stuff about his techniques (which, I have to admit, I really don't understand much about), all of a sudden I'm listening to these songs and paying close attention to the guitars, and to the music, when in the past I'd probably have been more caught up in the singing, the lyrics.

On another bright, beautiful Albuquerque morning, enjoying this book and this wonderful music!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

anybody's game

Well, now that the San Antonio Spurs have choked away the best record in the NBA, losing at Phoenix, 106-103, a few words about the "favorites" in this year's NBA Playoffs.

In the East:

Chicago Bulls: Can't say enough about the job these cats have done under first-year coach Tom Thibodeau. Derrick Rose is a solid contender for the MVP award; Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer are solid inside; the bench is decent; and this team plays defense. But, are they still a year away?

Boston Celtics: Just like last year, the Celtics struggled badly late in the regular season. Can they turn it on again? Or will they simply be the latest team to suffer from the Shaq Curse?

Miami Heat: Watch out, folks. For all their shortcomings (for one, a lack of any stand-out players besides their Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh), this is still a very dangerous team.

Orlando Magic: Hard to know what to expect from this team, but they do have arguably the best player in the league in center Dwight Howard. The Magic aren't to be taken lightly.

In the West:

San Antonio Spurs: What to make of this team? They dominated most of the regular season, but they're looking very beatable right now. Is this Tim Duncan's last hurrah?

Los Angeles Lakers: The title still goes through L.A. The defending champs are still the team to beat, unless and until somebody knocks 'em off.

Oklahoma City Thunder: I thought Kevin Durant had an off year because his rebounding average dipped so much. Still, the young fellah led the NBA in scoring for the 2nd straight year. The Thunder have a lot of nice pieces, and the acquisition of Kendrick Perkins from Boston certainly didn't hurt. Could this be the year they break through?

Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs have to actually do something in the playoffs before I'm gonna start paying much attention, but it sure would be nice to see my boy Shawn Marion make some noise.

I think these playoffs are wide open. Each of the above teams has a realistic shot at making it into the Finals. I'm not gonna try to predict the outcome, but here's how I hope it'll turn out:

Chicago vs. Oklahoma City for the title. If those two teams make it... flip a coin, because I'd be ecstatic to see either team win it all.


Yeah, Jerryd Bayless, the 6'2" guard from Phoenix, who starred at St. Mary's H.S. and the University of Arizona, deserves that question mark following his name.

The record will show that the Toronto Raptor finished this season averaging a little over 9 points per game in a little over 20 minutes per game.

But he saw some good minutes in the month of April (almost 38 minutes per game), started in 7 of 8 games, and produced to the tune of 22.5 points per game. It should be noted, however, that the Raptors lost 6 of those 8 games.

Bayless just finished his third year in the NBA. He came out of school early, and he turns 21 in August. He's already suited up for three different teams.

He's shown that he can score, and he seems to do fairly well when he gets the minutes. But, right now, he doesn't seem to really light it up off the bench. He's no "Microwave," at least not yet.

What will the future hold for him? They say there's always a roster spot in the NBA for a guy who can score, right? But, where does he fit in? He isn't your prototypical point guard, but he doesn't have shooting guard size. He seems inconsistent.

I keep waiting for the guy to break out.

He's still young, but... I'm afraid the jury is still out.

bonds gets off

Barry Bonds was found "guilty" of only the obstruction of justice charge. Mistrial on three counts of perjury after the jury failed to reach a verdict.

That's cool, I guess.

The main points here:

- Yes, Bonds used steroids.
- Yes, he lied about it.
- Yes, there should be an asterisk next to his name for the home run records.

But, I'm glad he got off, because I didn't really want to see him do time over this. We have too many people, too many men of color, and too many black men locked up as it is.

Besides, Barry Bonds has created a prison, and a hell, for himself.

file managers

Some screenshots of various Linux file managers.

Krusader, in Mepis 8's KDE 3.5:

Konqueror, in Mepis 8's KDE 3.5:

D3lphin, in Mepis 8's KDE 3.5:

Nautilus, in Ubuntu Lucid's GNOME:

PCManFM, in Ubuntu Lucid's GNOME (from LXDE):

Dolphin, in SalineOS's Xfce (from KDE4):

Thunar, in SalineOS's Xfce:

And, finally, the old-fashioned command line -- xfce4-terminal in SalineOS:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

gnome 3

I read Prashanth's review of the new GNOME 3, which gave me a good idea of what GNOME 3 is all about, I think. I was almost tempted to take a look at it myself, by trying the Fedora-based live CD available for download at

But, I figured it would be a waste of time. I'd probably only play around with the live CD once or twice. Also, there will probably be quite a few changes to GNOME Shell by the time I actually get around to installing a distro that comes with GNOME 3.

From what I've seen so far, nothing about GNOME 3 excites me. It bugs me that it seems to be aimed more at folks who use portable devices with touchscreens, and perhaps netbook users, than at PC users. Prashanth's comments about not being able to click on the desktop and not being able to configure the panels don't make GNOME 3 seem very appealing.

While KDE4 evolved into something that I really enjoy using, I'm not confident that the same thing will happen with GNOME 3. Perhaps I won't mind the "fallback mode" so much. We'll see how things go; most likely, I won't have to make a decision about it until Ubuntu Lucid and/or Debian Squeeze (I'm running GNOME in both) come to the end of their respective lives. At that point, if I find that I don't like GNOME 3, there's always KDE4 and Xfce; I can install and use one of those instead.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Dedoimedo on LMDE

Hm. Dedoimedo gives Linux Mint Debian Edition a great review; compare that to his less-than-glowing review of Debian Squeeze.

I noticed that in the LMDE review, he made no mention of the tons of updates necessary to bring LMDE up to speed. LMDE needs regular "snapshot" .iso's (sort of like PCLinuxOS does with their quarterly releases), in my opinion.

I do agree with some of his points about Squeeze, though. Debian isn't up there with other distros when it comes to the out-of-the-box experience, or when it comes to the installation experience. SalineOS, for example nailed it here where Squeeze didn't.

But, as with most reviews, his focuses on initial impressions, not how things go over the long-term. I'm still not sold on either LMDE (based on Debian Testing) or SalineOS (based on Debian Squeeze) over Debian Stable when it comes to long-term usage. I don't mind struggling with a Debian Stable installation once every few years, knowing that it will end up being trouble-free and solid for the duration. LMDE and SalineOS are still too new for me to feel confident about how things will look down the road; and, in the end, LMDE and SalineOS are still essentially one-man-distro spin-offs of "the real thing." Not that I have anything against one-man-distros...

Since I prefer to use Stable instead of Testing anyway, I have yet to install LMDE; quite happy so far with Saline, though.

Not trying to knock either of those two distros -- I'm actually really glad to see both of them out there (along with Mepis). Both of them do something that Debian doesn't: They give users an easy Debian installation (or, and easier one than they can get from "straight" Debian), and a great out-of-the-box experience.

But, neither LMDE nor SalineOS can replace Debian Stable for me here. Yet. We'll see how things go in the future.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

KRename in Dolphin

There are several different ways to perform a bulk rename of files in Linux, but I've been using KRename in Dolphin to do the trick.

Here, I'm using Dolphin in Debian Squeeze, even though I'm using GNOME in that distro.

First, I open up Dolphin to the correct directory and select the group of files that I want to rename. Then I right-click on the files and, from the box that pops up, click on "Rename with KRename."

KRename opens up to the Filename tab, and within that, the Simple Filename tab. The default setting under "Filename" is to use the original filename. The window at the bottom shows the original name, and what it would be renamed to.

I use the "Custom Name" option. Adding a pound sign (#) at the end instructs KRename to number the files. You can see how the filenames will look in the window at the bottom.

Click on the "Finish" button, and the operation proceeds. When it's done, click on the "Close" button.

And, there you have it! Here's how the files end up looking in Dolphin:

spring = baseball

Nothing like April and high school baseball!

From Albuquerque, NM:

Del Norte Knights at St. Pius X Sartans, April 5, 2011.