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Why use any specific OS?


I was reading this Slashdot post about "why use linux" and pointing out all the good things we have.

But really the question applies to pretty much any OS now. A huge percentage of users could be told "you're using X at work" (well, not X, like a variable, $X) and they'd adapt, begin to prefer whatever OS, and buy it for their home computers. [I'm sure Linux would accelerate /fast/ in the case that a couple of major companies start deploying to the desktop (this is gonna be the year...).]


I own 3 Macs, but I'm as or more at home in Linux on the desktop (I didn't "switch" from Windows, I switched from Linux, by accident, and I stand by those words today). I only really use Free Software, even on the Macs, save for a couple of things to be addressed below... When I set up a Mac, the stuff I always set up is:

OwnCloud sync client

And that's about it, and you can run 37% of that functionality on any platform, subbing Pidgin and excluding a decent shell on some platforms (Cygwin doesn't count), which is weighted at 62% of the total functionality of any computer I use.

I use iTunes, Mail.App, and Photos, (which is loathsome), as well as calendaring and contacts, so not all Free Software, but I guess I use "Apple Software and Free Software" when on the Mac, but that's mainly because of aesthetics, not any functional advantage they may or may not have over Free alternatives. Mail.app looks nice, iTunes looks nice, it's nearly impossible to run Amarok on OSX, at least the last time I tried, they integrate well with their OS, etc. However we must be able to run things like Adobe software, and OmniGraffle. I'd hate my job without OmniGraffle.


On Linux, I can do a handful of small things I can't do on OSX, and the same thing the other way 'round. But I set everything up exactly the same. I prefer the OSX Keychain Encrypted Notes function over my GPG encrypted files, but just because it's smoother. OSX has improved in handling multiple monitors over the past few years, and KDE, and X in general, has gotten much worse at it. I like to have multiple screens, with multiple virtual desktops, and when I change virtual desktops, I want only that physical screen space to change. So I have Enlightenment. Easy (enough) and gorgeous, and all kinds of customizable.

Other things are a massive pain, Juniper SSL VPN with a requirement for 32-bit Java and Firefox. Come on everyone... But it works, and I use it day to day. It just took a month to get the machine set up the way I like, and it takes some upkeep when some package gets updated that breaks that arrangement. But it's never been a showstopper, because I'm a professional.

However, even for any non-professional, there are major cases for Linux:

Linux runs my home theatre, which boots to Kodi so I can stream TV and movies from our collection of ripped DVDs, watch online streams from the major networks, PBS, Archive, etc*. Chrome so we can watch local news, use Amazon and Hulu and stuff, and browse seamlessly through emulators for any game I care to play through N64/PS1 era. All controlled by the TV Remote (within Kodi) or any Android tablet or no-provider obsolete shitphone (With KDE Connect, Yay for KDE Connect!). Haven't touched the wireless keyboard in at least a month.

This is all doable on a $35 Raspberry Pi 3 right now. I know that part because of the video game cabinet which is on the horizon and which does exactly all this stuff, including Wipeout XL PS1 Games. I'm sure we will be doing build blogs on that.


So what about Windows? Not for my specific use cases, but why should anyone care who isn't old and curmudgeonly? I carry grudges maintain baggage from 20 years ago.

I hear there's transparency now kind of, and virtual desktops are finally a thing baked into the OS, but every time I log into my Windows 10 VM at work, I am infuriated by it, so why should I bother? Windows can suck it. That's all I know. I'm happy enough to do server admin of Windows servers, I don't much care either way whether I'm adminning Windows or Linux at the end of the day.

Desktop OS? No dice. How times change.

* Side Note: Please do not buy one of those "pre-built pirate box" Pi's with Kodi and a bunch of janky, buggy, potentially insecure plugins pre-installed. Kodi has very strong feelings about that, and I agree with them on the point that regular people who think this is going to be better than an Amazon Fire stick with Free TV streaming are going to:

A) Be disappointed
B) Bring awful attention to a fantastic project by unfairly associating them with and implying their endorsement of piracy and copyright infringement.
C) Could be setting themselves up to get owned by pre-installed botnets or whatever other backdoor/sniffer/malware nightmare scenario, I can't even imagine buying one of these...

People are of course going to download and use those plugins, but should know what they're doing, not blame Kodi for any fallout, and most importantly should not give money to thieves and scam artists, because that's dumb.

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2016 Third Party Voters


In 2016, a vote for a third party is a vote to legitimize Trump's fascist vision.

As I sit here watching a Donald Trump rally, and my fellow Granite Staters chanting "Build That Wall" while a stream of consciousness volley of nonsense, lies and unconstitutional threats comes out of this horrible man, I'm reminded of exactly how close the race is here in New Hampshire.

Far from being utterly repudiated, we're looking at fairly even poll numbers in New Hampshire. Think about that.

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Geoguessr World Ruins


Geoguessr sometimes drops you in sites of historical significance, which I'll always take time to wander around. I've gotten Tulum, but also some smaller but no less impressive sites in the middle of the Yucatan. Anyway, this one's from India:

Kumbhalgarh Fort

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Geoguessr World Tour - Local Edition


Hello in-laws. Yes, this is actually a thing which really happened.

Click 'em:

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Fun Geoguessr Finds


Sometimes I find nifty things in Geoguessr, so sometimes I'll post them.

Tonight I came upon Do-Mi-Ski in Dolbeau-Mistassini, Québec. It reminds me of Abenaki in Wolfeboro, with its one rope tow with $5 night skiing when I was a kid.

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Shonen Knife - Summertime Boogie

I've started an un-advertised reblogging section on the site here so I can share stuff with Natalie without inundating her with email all day. The things I post there will just show up in her RSS feed and can either just be skipped or looked at more closely.

We'll see how that goes. The first item is the post a few minutes ago about Hep Cat Restorations.

Much of the reblogging feed is likely to be me rambling about some piece of furniture or something, at length, so the raw feed might not really be much use.


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Mid-Century Home Tour


I imagine you've either seen these guys, or already read them religiously:
Hep Cat Restorations. I've been looking through the site briefly and there's some incredible stuff, and video tours of the house and everything. While I really dig it, this is what would happen if you just went nuts and bought every single awesome thing ever. It would just look like a furniture store at the end, which in our house can't work.

I think a lot of that probably just has to do with them being professionals, so you're just going to have a ton of stuff hanging around.

If you look at the shop you just might cry.

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Vintage War Planes in Nashua


Today we went briefly to Biore Field in Nashua to see the CAF Airpower Squadron fly a few vintage aircraft. It was pretty small, 3 planes, but it was neat, and for $10, not a bad way to spend an hour of our morning. Plus, little kids are adorable when they see big planes making noise.

I took a ton of photos for the very short time we were there:

Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, with very excited temporary gunner:
Sat, 06/11/2016 - 11:03am - Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, flown by CAF Air Power Squadron, Nashua, NH 6-11-2016<br />

SB2C Flyby:
Sat, 06/11/2016 - 11:18am - Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, flown by CAF Air Power Squadron, Nashua, NH 6-11-2016 csFlickr

B-29 Flyby:
Sat, 06/11/2016 - 11:52am - B-29 Superfortress, FIFI, flown by CAF Air Power Squadron, Nashua, NH 6-11-2016<br />

C-45 Taxiing:
Sat, 06/11/2016 - 11:20am - C-45 Expeditor, Bucket of Bolts, flown by CAF Air Power Squadron, Nashua, NH 6-11-2016<br />

C-45 Flyby:
Sat, 06/11/2016 - 11:51am - C-45 Expeditor, Bucket of Bolts, flown by CAF Air Power Squadron, Nashua, NH 6-11-2016 csFlickr

And a random bi-plane that happened to be there:
Sat, 06/11/2016 - 11:21am - IMG_2694 csFlickr

Natalie also took some short videos with her phone:

B-29 Taxiing:

B-29 Takeoff:

Curtiss SB2C Helldiver Taxiing:

Beechcraft C-45 Taxiing:

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KRS-One in Manchester


Clearly I need to post more music stuff, last night we went to KRS-One.

... and it seems that my camera has fucked every photo I've taken in the last month. So enjoy oddly-cropped KRS-One:

"Mic check, mic check, louder, louder more! more! ('Turn them shits up!') whoops, shit, no power":

"But no problem, we don't need power":

Temple of Hip-Hop:

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Cow Power in a Can


Outrun background music

My family has a long and complicated history with Choc-Ola. My mother's family lived in South Indianapolis. She went to Southport and Beech Grove. Her family went to the same church as the Normington family, who gave Choc-Ola to the world. It was, therefore, at all church functions. At least one of my uncles drove semi trailers full of Choc-Ola across the midwest. I've been hearing about Choc-Ola for 35 years, seeing their logo everywhere, and never have had the chance to try a drop.

From this rather large family, I've never talked to one person who says "I enjoy drinking Choc-Ola". When Choc-Ola came back around as a product in recent years, the people I mentioned it to were kind of wishy washy about it, "Oh that's nice for them, hope it does well". Do you want some? "Nope, not really".

So now Choc-Ola is back and selling product, and thanks to the Wonders of the Internet, I have a case of it. And I can taste test it for myself, against a more Northeasterly drink, Yoo-Hoo

So let's start the hyphenated chocolate-milk-but-safe-on-a-shelf beverage test.

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 6:52pm - Choc-Ola vs. Yoo-Hoo.  Choc-Ola wins hands down. cs20150331_185256

You can see right away that Yoo-Hoo is much lighter in color. It's also a thinner liquid. They're similar in odor, but Choc-Ola tastes much more "Chocolatey". Natalie also reports that Yoo-Hoo is more "Chemicalley".

Yoo-Hoo also seems to have had more trouble integrating its solids back into the liquid in a glass:

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 6:55pm - Choc-Ola vs. Yoo-Hoo.  Choc-Ola wins hands down.</p>
<p>(Yoo-Hoo is the one with the un-integrated gunk) cs20150331_185511

I promise in the name of scientific integrity that each of these products was shaken with great vigor, and drunk within moments of pouring. This photo also represents the residue from the "first pour" of each drink, the "top half", so that gack at the bottom of the Yoo-Hoo glass isn't gunge I scraped from the bottom of the bottle.

One thing Yoo-Hoo does have going for it is its much more complicated, modern sounding and exciting ingredients list. Choc-Ola makes one think of sitting on a porch at a farm, drinking chocolate milk. Yoo-Hoo lets your mind wander to men in lab coats and vast manufacturing facilites lined with vats containing palm oil, dipotassium phosphate and corn syrup solids.

Long story short, my family is goddamn nuts. It's at this point that I'll point out that my grandfather was a milk man. I believe a couple of my uncles were as well. Meanwhile, my mom grew up with no milk in the house, drinking Pepsi and eating Velveeta. This may account for some of the preference issues noted at the top there.

Choc-ola is great, and you should buy some of it. Bother your grocery store until they buy some. I successfuly annoyed my local grocery store into buying the frozen White Castles back in the '90s, so I know it can be done with persistence.

Unleash the Cow Power.

Edited: Natalie tells me I'd be remiss in not posting our own piece of Choc-Ola history:

Tue, 02/12/2013 - 9:25am - My wife found this old Choc-Ola crate for our kitchen.  My uncle used to drive for them, and this makes me remember being 4 or 5 or so and getting to sit up in his big brown semi.<br />

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by Dr. Radut