Wednesday, January 30, 2013

give us more of that!

Check out Kobe Bryant's stat lines over the last three games:

Against Utah, 7-10 FGs, 14 assists, 9 rebounds, 14 points.

Against Oklahoma City, 8-12 FGs, 5-6 FTs, 14 assists, 9 rebounds, 21 points.

Against New Orleans, 5-12 FGs, 4-4 FTs, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 14 points.

All victories for the Lakers.

39 assists in three games. Over his 17-year career in the NBA, Bryant has never had a three-game stretch like that.

Will Kobe's transformation into Magic Johnson mean anything for the Lakers over the long run? Not so sure about that, but it sure does seem a lot better than when he's firing up between 20 and 30 shots each game and the Lakers are losing.

Ball movement and unselfish play make for beautiful basketball. For Lakers fans, this has to be encouraging. I'm actually a Suns fan, but before that, I'm a hoop fan. I'm hoping that Bryant keeps it up.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

f18 - no nautilus option for new document

In the Nautilus file manager in Fedora 18, unlike in most file managers, there's no handy option for creating a new, blank text document. What's up with that? You right-click inside a directory and you see something like this:

There is a way to add an option for a new document, though. You just have to add a blank text file inside the ~/Templates directory. You can do that with your favorite text editor, or you can quickly do it from the command line. Here's how I did it:

steve[~]$ cd Templates/
steve[~/Templates]$ touch BlankTextDoc

Then, you get something like this when you right-click inside a directory in Nautilus:

I found that if you then delete the empty text file from ~/Templates, you lose the "New Document" entry in the right-click menu.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


A very fun science-related blog: It's Okay To Be Smart

Careful you don't get stuck there for hours.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

what's important

Education is important. We all agree with that. And, we all want healthy bodies to go along with healthy minds. But doesn't it seem like we've made college athletics a much bigger deal than what colleges and universities are supposed to be there for?

A few times now, I've mentioned to M.A.L. that I wouldn't mind if intercollegiate sports were significantly de-emphasized -- or even eliminated -- in favor of campus activities offered for students to stay in good physical shape. Intramural athletics are more valuable to the general student body than athletic programs that focus on competing at a high level on the national scene, seems to me.

Food for thought? Consider the following from today's Albuquerque Journal:

Editorial: Sports Spending Leaves Academics in the Dust

By Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board on Wed, Jan 23, 2013

University officials across the country talk a good game — emphasizing the student in student athlete and proclaiming that academics take priority. But a new study shows many fail to put their money where their mouths are.

Instead, they put their money where their athletes are, spending six to 12 times as much per athlete as they spend per student on academics. In the NCAA’s Southeast Conference that translates into $164,000 per athlete when the average student gets just $13,390 in academic resources. It’s a disparity that helps explain why many campuses have new stadiums, refurbished arenas and chemistry buildings that are falling down in disrepair.

The data compiled for the pro-reform Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics highlights what many try to justify as a cost-of-doing-business but in fact represents out-of-control spending on intercollegiate athletics. That spending threatens to bust university budgets, tap-out alumni organizations, raid academic coffers and inflate tuition and fees.

The study found that in addition to the Southeast conference, the schools of the Pac 12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten and Big East also averaged sixfigure spending per student athlete in 2010. And across Division I, athletic spending rose twice as fast as academic spending between 2005 and 2010.

Yes, sports and school spirit are important to campus life. And yes, everybody loves a winner. But when taxpayers, parents and university officials bemoan high remedial coursework and low four-year graduation rates, they need to acknowledge what they put out front in terms of resources and priorities.

And what they leave in the dust.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

a bit about rsync

Nice tips about rsync by Dedoimedo: Rsync guide & tutorial

Sunday, January 20, 2013

at the cutting edge

This week's updates bring KDE version 4.9.5 to Sabayon 10. Sweet!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


The rugged Organ Mountains, east of Las Cruces, New Mexico (photo taken January, 2013):

The Wikipedia has some interesting info about this mountain range. See:


Fedora 18 was released this week, so I downloaded Fedora-18-i686-Live-Desktop.iso (which is the GNOME spin), burned it onto a disk, and got to work.

Installing Fedora (I have yet to do an upgrade from a previous version) is never really a piece of cake for me, and this time was no different. The new Anaconda installer didn't strike me as being especially intuitive. I tried to pay close attention to the installation guide at Fedora's documentation site, but I still ended up backing out of the installation a couple of times before I went ahead with it. Kinda bugged me that there was no longer any way to install grub2 to a partition -- you can either install grub2 to the MBR or not install it at all -- but in the end, I was still able to set up a chainload from Debian Wheezy to Fedora 18.

A few tweaks to the desktop, and I was in business:

The devs continue to try to improve GNOME Shell, which is at version 3.6.2 in Fedora 18; some changes are nice, some not-so-nice. For example, the "Logout" option in the User menu was replaced with a "Power Off" option. Just about everybody wanted a "Power Off" option, but the "Logout" option shouldn't have been removed. Ryan Lerch showed how to re-enable it at his blog: Install and run dconf-editor, navigate to the org > gnome > shell key, then check the option "always-show-log-out" to always show the logout option. I think restarting the session with Alt-F2 > type "r" > press Enter will put that change into effect.

I went to the GNOME Shell extensions site and installed the Quit Button extension; I installed Yumex, completely updated the system, then installed Geany, Google Chrome, Geeqie, Wallpapoz, gnome-tweak-tool, and (as I touched on above) dconf-editor.

I disabled the screen lock by going to System Settings > Brightness & Lock and changing "Lock" to "off."

To turn off some of the autostart apps, I opened a terminal and ran gnome-session-properties, which opens up Startup Applications. From the list that showed up, I unchecked the following: AT-SPI D-Bus Bus, Backup Monitor, Bluetooth Manager, Caribou, Evolution Alarm Notify, GNOME Login Sound, Orca screen reader, Spice vdagent, Tracker File System Miner, Tracker Store, User folders update. That significantly decreased the time it takes to log into GNOME Shell.

The Activities overview has been altered a bit -- for the better, in my opinion:

Nautilus is now called "Files," but the nautilus command still works from the command line. Some features have been removed; there's no more split-screen viewing, for example, but Files/Nautilus still has tabs. I don't feel like I'm having any trouble getting stuff done with this file manager, and I was able to configure it to my satisfaction.

I made a few more tweaks, but for the most part I stuck with the plain, simple GNOME Shell desktop:

I haven't gone through and tested out all the apps and everything -- I'll never make a good distro release reviewer, so I don't even try -- but Fedora 18 looks good so far. Hopefully I'll get a good 13 months or so out of this release, and next year around this time I'll be looking at a newer version of GNOME Shell in Fedora 20 (I like to alternate between KDE and GNOME with my Fedora installations).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

another random wallpaper changer

I found another random wallpaper changing script in this blog entry: "Slick random wallpaper changer nitrogen openbox debian"

That blog is called linux mint debian, and looks like it contains some nice stuff.

I needed something that would give me random wallpapers in Openbox in openSUSE 12.2. I didn't have Nitrogen or feh installed, but had installed xli instead.

First, I created the directory ~/wallpapers-openbox and filled it with images that would fit my screen correctly.

Then I created my own version of the author's script and made it executable. Here's my script, /home/steve/wallpaper-script1:

#! /bin/bash
ALIST=( `ls -w1 $WALLPAPERS` )
let "number = $RANDOM"
let LASTNUM="`cat $WALLPAPERS/.last` + $number"
let "number = $LASTNUM % $RANGE"
echo $number > $WALLPAPERS/.last
xli -onroot -fullscreen $WALLPAPERS/${ALIST[$number]}

I tested this from the terminal and it worked fine, so I added it to my Openbox menu by editing ~/.config/openbox/menu.xml:

I can click on that menu entry whenever I want to change to some random wallpaper from my wallpapers-openbox directory.

To make the script autostart when I log into Openbox, I added the following line to ~/.config/openbox/autostart:

wallpaper-script1 &

Monday, January 7, 2013

going up (and, faster), but why?

The increasing cost of college textbooks. Up 812% since 1978 -- and increasing at an accelerating rate, according to this graph. Incredible.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

staying connected

Liked this article: When Android Ate My Best Friends

It's really about today, yesterday, telephones, and cell phones/smart phones. Hope you all enjoy it, a little.

An excerpt that kinda struck me:

One of the things I love about computer nerds is most of them understand the need for long stretches of uninterrupted time to think, and to concentrate deeply on a task. It is impossible to master a new skill or solve a problem when you're skittering randomly from one activity to the next, never engaging more than the bare surface of your consciousness. It's unsatisfying, because you never accomplish anything. Multi-tasking is a myth. It is the very rare human who can perform two or more tasks at once. A "multi-tasker" is someone who juggles multiple chores and does a poor job at all of them. I prefer total immersion: full attention and no distractions.


File:Candlestick phone.JPG

to be a linux user

Even when I was first getting started with Linux, I never wanted to be just a Mepis user, or just an Ubuntu user or Debian user. I wanted "to be a Linux user," and to me that meant being able to use any Linux distribution. It also meant not only becoming comfortable at the Linux command line, but becoming comfortable with a variety of desktop environments/window managers, and with various types of file browsers/managers, and so forth.

An important part of becoming a Linux user, though, is learning to use resources. Learning where to find answers.

Go over to the Linux Mint forums, or to the Ubuntu forums, or other Linux forums, and you'll find tons of forum members asking tons of questions. The Linux forums, of course, are great resources for Linux users.

As your years with Linux begin to add up, however, you'll notice yourself posting fewer and fewer "help" questions at Linux forums. It isn't just that you've acquired lots more Linux knowledge; you've also probably become quite good at finding answers on your own.

A key thing to remember is this: The next guy might know more about Linux than you, and he might even be smarter than you; but, most likely, you have access to the same information that he has, especially if you have an internet connection.

Everywhere, you'll find the same old things being mentioned: Linux man pages, the "Help" documentation that comes with your software, the stuff in /usr/share/doc, your distro's online documentation and forums, Linux books at your local library, and (perhaps most importantly) web searches. I hesitate to say this, because I use Duck Duck Go most of the time, but... Google it, man!

Becoming a Linux user, like anything else good, takes some time and some work.

Other than that, it's a piece of cake. :)


My pal ComputerBob emailed me a link today because of an issue we were discussing. After looking over the article that he'd link to, I took a look at the rest of the site:

This site, done by Guillermo Garron, has a great Linux section:

You might also want to check out his archives page:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

the infinite

"Given infinity’s potential for troublemaking, it’s small wonder the ancient Greeks abhorred the very notion of it."

Fascinating piece on a fascinating subject: The Life of Pi, and Other Infinities