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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Wed, 20 Jul 2011

Add_post test

If you see me, add_post worked.

And if you see this paragraph, I was able to add to an existing post.

This is an Indexette test

If you see me, Indexette has done its job.

New main blog image (for today anyway)

I like the fish, but that's the Ode-is-simple fish.

I need to get my own image(s) up top. Consider this a placeholder.

It's a portion of the front panel of a 1970s Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-11/20 minicomputer from Retrotechnology.com's PDP-11 page.

According to Wikipedia, the first officially named Unix ran on the 16-bit PDP-11/20 in 1970. The PDP-11 was succeeded by the 32-bit VAX, introduced in 1977:

I add Indexette and EditEdit to my Ode blog

I'm in awe at the moment.

I just added the Indexette and EditEdit addins to my Ode site. They both work. The documentation is detailed. The installation and configuration took about five minutes per addin.

I'll be back in that documentation very soon. Each addin's documentation includes a lot of detail and explanation.

I will go into greater detail later, but briefly, the addins do the following:

  • Indexette: Allows posts in Ode blogs to retain their original (or arbitrary) post date even if the file and its timestamp has been modified.
  • EditEdit: Provides a web interface to modify and create posts in Ode to supplement the usual writing and uploading of plain text files via FTP.

I'd like to thank Rob Reed, the creator of Ode for thinking so deeply about what he wants this project to be and then making it happen with code. And that code is always accompanied by detailed documentation, both inline and in separate PDF and text files.

It's not like I haven't used Blogger, WordPress, Movable Type, Flatpress and Blosxom. Because I have.

There's something about this particular blogging system that prompted me to move over to it. More than a few things, actually.

It's complicated, but I hope to explain it all as I go along.

Mon, 18 Jul 2011

Yes, I use e-mail client software

At times I've use web interfaces to access most or all of the various e-mail accounts I happen to be using.

This is not one of those times.

My work account, my "personal" account, even my Gmail account (half personal, half "other") -- I tend to use e-mail client software for all of them. I do occasionally dip into the terrible web interface for my work account, the not-terrible web interface for Gmail and the also-not-terrible Roundcube web interface for my own domain's mail account.

But for the most part I use mail client software.

Right now I have the following set up on my Debian Squeeze laptop:

  • Thunderbird (aka Icedove in Debian)
  • Evolution (the default mail client for the GNOME desktop)
  • Claws Mail (lighter-weight GTK mail client for Linux/Unix)

I use Thunderbird about 90 percent of the time. My main work account is on a horrible server that does IMAP poorly and slowly -- and I do not use POP, it's IMAP or nothing for me. For one thing, it's just about impossible to run more than one e-mail client on a single account if you are using POP, which brings all the mail down to your hard drive. IMAP leaves everything on the server where you can access it any number of ways.

I can't use a mail client that doesn't make the best of a bad IMAP situation. Evolution is horrible in this regard. It doesn't seem to multitask well at all, and often a long IMAP operation locks the whole thing up for minutes at a time.

Claws is better. When I first installed it, I added a couple dozen extensions. When I didn't end up using any of them, I removed them all. Still, I like Claws.

As I say above, I use Thunderbird most of the time. This is where I occasionally save messages to the hard drive. It's where my address book(s) live. It runs as fast as anything I've tried. I don't think even Claws can beat it.

I'm writing this because today I tried all three programs. As usual, I was quickly frustrated by Evolution. I wish it was better. It looks great.

Claws ran better than I remember it. There are a million things you can do to configure the program, but I can't seem to wrap my brain around the ultra-configurability of Claws.

Google+ -- shiny and new

Yes, I'm on Google+. So are many of you. And more every day.

From what I can see, we're all captivated to some extent by its shiny newness. And that it's not Facebook.

We're more comfortable with Larry and Sergey than with Mark Zuckerberg.

There's no 140-character limit.

Hence, a lot of us are, in effect, blogging into Google+. Sure, we can get that content out of there at any time. But currently there's no "native" way to bring feeds from other sites directly into our Google+ streams.

This needs to happen.

And I need to get back to writing into my own sites. Including this one.

I'll try to post this entry in Google+. And Identi.ca (which will, in turn, post to Twitter, which posts to Facebook).

Look here (and not just there), I'm saying.

Wed, 06 Jul 2011

Debian Mozilla team creates a Release archive for Iceweasel

The versioning of Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, and the rebranded Iceweasel browser in Debian, going from 3.6.x to 4.x and now 5.x and 6.x has Linux users (and Debian users in particular) constantly messing with their sources to make sure they’ve got the version of Iceweasel they want.

As I explain below, the Debian Mozilla team APT archive has got you covered. But first a little more informational whining:

Almost as soon as the Firefox/Iceweasel 4.x series started, it abruptly ended in favor of 5.x. This is going to keep happening. It’s not that changes in the software are that radical. It’s just version-number-creep on the part of Mozilla. I’m sure there’s a reason for it, but I could care less. I just want a recent, patched version of the browser (and the Thunderbird/Icedove mail client) on my Debian Squeeze system.

Good news for Debian Squeeze users is that Icedove is in Debian Backports. But not Iceweasel (to the best of my knowledge anyway).

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