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xrayspx's picture

Why use any specific OS?

Music: 

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...).]


Macs

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:

Chrome
LibreOffice
GIMP
Adium
Firefox
OpenEMU
iTerm
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.


Linux

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.


Windows

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.

xrayspx's picture

Name your vulns better

Music: 

George Clinton - Yank My Doodle

Drupalgeddon is silly, but at least it gets the point across that something is wrong and you must go fix it right now. Heartbleed, Shellshock, POODLE... not so much. At least we all had a heads-up that "some horrible SSLv3 attack" was coming even if no one knew specifics.

We've had enough this year already. Who wants a do-over on 2014?

xrayspx's picture

GoFlex Headaches

Music: 

click-click-click-bzzzzzzzzzzzz-WHACK

A couple of weeks ago the drive in my GoFlex home finally died. It had had some filesystem corruption earlier this year, so I pretty much knew it was coming. I replaced the drive, and started making rash decisions. All the stupid factory junk software is disabled, but the big change was that I formatted New Drive with EXT3, since they were using NTFS (on Linux) for some unholy reason that I will probably never understand.

Well, now the drive seems not to sleep, and the drive LED blinks continuously. It doesn't vary at all, so I'm not convinced it's activity related, but there's also no LSOF on the machine, so I'm a tiny bit blind. I think a lot of the issue with Old Drive was that I was writing syslog to it from all my local hardware, which prevented it from ever spinning down. I'd like to prevent that with New Drive by sending all my shit to a Raspberry Pi instead (Raspberry Pi runs extremely well off the USB port from the GoFlex, and it also does a great job of running Privoxy).

I'm looking at ps and netstat -pnat output, and don't see anything which should necessarily be slamming the drive. Meanwhile, I need to go find an ARM lsof binary I can drop on this thing.

xrayspx's picture

Samsung Galaxy S4 Benchmarks?

Music: 

I just bought two new Samsung Galaxy S4's and was initially pretty happy with the ability for full device encryption. Since it requires a 6 character alphanumeric password which also must become your unlock-pin, I'm less excited, since "unlocking your phone while driving" effectively becomes "texting while driving" and I don't wanna die.

My main question was how encrypting the device would impact utilization. I tried and failed to find benchmarks for this, so I decided to do my own. The only directory that I can write into, without rooting, seems to be /sdcard/, there is no sdcard in the device, so this is on-board memory. After running my tests, I question whether this folder actually gets encrypted.

Tags:
xrayspx's picture

Fixing an ugly email situation

Music: 

I've been running IMAP services on my mailserver for many years, previously using Courier. I always had a pretty basic but solid-running system. Postfix, doing a Spam Assassin check, then delivers to the user folders, and Courier running IMAP.

xrayspx's picture

OK Monster Cables

Music: 

Where do I sign up?

Yesterday I installed Ubuntu to dual boot with Windows on my HTPC. The idea is that it should boot into Linux by default, and I'll have a "reboot into Windows" button which will do a one-time Windows boot if I really want to run one of my 3 Windows games.

Mainly the machine is used for XBMC and MAME. XBMC works great in Ubuntu now, and with KDE I can tweak the sizes of every font everywhere in the UI, which was one of my big issues with Windows.

My main problem was with MAME and my joystick being all jumpy. For instance, in Ms. Pacman, it would stick "up", so that if you want to go in a different direction, you had to hold the stick the entire time. Games were pretty un-playable.

This only seemed to affect the left stick on my Logitech Dual Action gamepad, and it was driving me nuts. If I used the right hand stick, it seemed to work just fine.

I spent a few hours tweaking dead zones and such, which did work as advertised, but which did not solve the sticking issue. I booted into Windows, since I hadn't really noticed the problem there and wanted to check all my settings against my Windows MAME settings. What I found was that the problem was there, but it was more subtle so I didn't notice it.

So I unplugged my controller from the USB extension cable I was using (did I not mention that, did I not mention that I'm using J. Random USB Extension cable? Oh yeah, slipped my mind...), and plugged straight into the machine.

Rock.

Fucking.

Solid.

I found a shorter extension cable, which doesn't really work for me overall, but which does not have the problem.

Now I think the real solution is to have a powered USB hub screwed to the bottom of my coffee table, and plug joysticks into that (and phones, and tablets, and...and...and...) and then run that back to the PC. Seems like the best way.

What a massive pain in the balls for some 30 year old video games.

xrayspx's picture

Updated Music Collection Browser

Music: 

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - The Weeping Song

I've made some much needed updates to my Music Collection Browser, and thought I'd mention it. It now does a case-insensitive sort of artist names, while ignoring leading special characters ( "'",":","(", etc), as well as throwing away leading "The"s for sorting. This was a big deal to me since it annoyed me every time I had to scroll through 50 The Whoevers to get the band I want.

I also fixed the compilations piece, so linked that back in. I just settled for big ugly links for soundtracks/compilations and individual artists at the top of whichever page is loaded. It sucks but there's really not much of a better way to go.

Now I just have to re-tag a few albums and artists to make things consistent, since some artists have both a "The" and "non-The" variant in the list, but at least now they're right next to each other.

Also, I want to vent about Gracenote. Fucking Gracenote. That is all. ... For many artists who have lots of featured guests, it appends all the "feat. whoever"s to the Artist tag. That is wrong. It should be appended, preferably in parentheses, to the song title itself. It's the only way to maintain a reasonable collection.

Of course, iTunes is stupid enough to create different artist folders based on this idiocy, so now I have 15 Bootsy Collins directories on the FS.

The goal list for this project, after 24 hours, now stands at:

  • iTunes XML files
  • Case Insensitivity for sorting
  • Throw away non-alpha/num leading characters to build the list ('Til Tuesday, :wumpscut:, (Cevin) Key, though it would break !!! if we owned any, or else it would just show up first, where 'Til Tuesday is now, which is fine)
  • Throw away leading "The"s for sorting, but only one, so as not to break The The, or Thes One
  • Better handling of compilations
  • Searching
  • Port to PHP?
  • Here's where I justify not crossing the rest of the items off my list:

    (1) I've barely bothered to look at iTunes XML files because every time I open one and try to make sense of it, I end up weeping to myself. I think what it's going to end up being is me taking my iTunes DB and munging into either sqlite3 (probably) or MySQL (unlikely), in a stripped down version of the same form that Amarok built its sqlite3 databases. I can't help but think that all the searches I run against the DB would be slow as hell if I was searching an unindexed XML file every time I do anything. So now I just need to write a perl script to parse the iTunes XML database file and puke out SQLite3 in a schema my site already handles.

    (2) I don't personally care much about searching. The point of this tool is so that when I'm in a record store or otherwise away from my computers I have quick access to an accurate copy of my CD collection, so I don't purchase dupe CDs or whatever. Or if someone asks me if I've heard of some band I can pull it up. Also, helpful links to YouTube, Wikipedia and Amazon searches for each artist. That's pretty useful really. Searching is irrelevant. The only place it would really be handy is if I send the page to someone else and they want to quickly find an artist or song, to which I say "Suck it up and scroll".

    (3) I was thinking of porting it to PHP just because I've written like, 6 lines of PHP and figured I should know it. This thing could stay Perl until Unix time rolls over and I wouldn't care at all.

    xrayspx's picture

    A week with the Asus EB1006

    Just bought an Asus EB-1006, and wanted to post how it works rather than send one email to half a dozen folks. I got it working pretty well with XP for HD movies and MAME, here's what I did:

    xrayspx's picture

    Dear Internet Advertisers

    [music | Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - All Tomorrows Parties]

    This week both Ars Technica and Fark, both of whom get decent traffic, have basically begged users not to use ad blockers. I think people would be less likely to use ad block if your ads didn't kill our browsers, below are some examples.

    Find LDAP groups with obsolete users

    OpenLDAP has a nice "feature" that allows for group members to continue to exist, even if the user does not exist any more. Really handy! Problem is, if you, say, have a user in the "Domain Admins" group, and you delete that account, and then some normal user comes along with the same username, they will end up with unexpected elevated privileges.

    So I created a script that I run weekly that finds group members that no longer exist, and sends me a report. It also tells me which groups are empty.

    This relies on my toolbox... Find it here.

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    by Dr. Radut