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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, 16 Nov 2011

First impressions of the Fedora 16 GNOME 3 Live CD

I've spent probably more than a year avoiding new distributions, new releases, distro reviews and the dreaded "I ran the live CD of Project X and here's what happened" posts.

But I'm in an inquisitive mood. And here is one of those "I ran the live CD for an hour" reviews. Take it for the proverbial what it's worth.

My earlier tests of GNOME 3 (in OpenSUSE) were a bit of a bust, and while my tests of Unity in Ubuntu 11.04's live environment went well, I wasn't sufficiently moved enough to take the next step (which I suppose would be throwing over good ol' Debian Squeeze and GNOME 2 for Ubuntu with Unity).

Today I decided to give Fedora 16 and its GNOME 3/GNOME Shell desktop a try.

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This is not the Fedora Project web site


Tue, 15 Nov 2011

Moving from one blogging platform to another can be painful

I'm in the process of moving the entries from my old Debian blog running on FlatPress to this blog running on Ode.

It's not a seamless process. I'm trying to retain the comments in FlatPress, and I also want the images to come along with the entries, so that means I need to copy/paste/code each entry as it's brought from one blog to the other. I might be able to speed this up by using the flat files in FlatPress to create the flat files in Ode, but each comment is in its own file, and the amount of copy/pasting in that case would rise with each comment. Plus I don't want the same HTML tagging that FlatPress uses.

I'm slowly moving the entries, and once I finish and get them to all show up at http://stevenrosenberg.net/blog/linux/debian/, I'll shut down the old Debian blog.

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Sat, 12 Nov 2011

A great blog post on how to program from one of the giants in the Perl community

Chromatic, author of "Modern Perl," writes in a recent blog post anybody interested in programming should read, How to Learn Perl, these words to live by:

Find something that interests you. Find a way to automate it. Keep a list of changes or improvements or new techniques you might apply. Write down what you think about when you're commuting or walking or falling asleep or bathing. When you can't get it out of your head, break it into small pieces, test and experiment, and see what happens.

Programming well requires knowledge, certainly, but like anything else it requires passion to keep you practicing in a disciplined way. The resources I've mentioned here can give you knowledge and will help you develop your discipline. (They're not the only resources, but I believe they're great resources.) What's left is up to you.

Fri, 11 Nov 2011

Here's my latest video edited in OpenShot -- I refine my technique in organizing tracks

Just because I'm writing about how I'm editing these videos in OpenShot (including this one a few days ago), don't think that I'm some kind of video-editing expert.

I'm learning. And I'm excited about it. Beats the alternative, don't you think?

In the video I just cut today, from footage provided by L.A. Daily News reporter Susan Abram, I used OpenShot 1.4.0 in Debian Squeeze, I am refining the way I use multiple tracks to organize and edit the video.

First, here's the video itself (delivered by Brightcove):

Here's a screen-grab of my OpenShot window as it looked after the video was edited. Notice that I "name" the clips in the filenames. Once I gather the clips together, I watch all of them and label those I'm going to use.

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Tue, 08 Nov 2011

Tapping deeper into the OpenShot video editor

Here's a video I put together today with OpenShot 1.4.0 in Debian Squeeze (I've been using the OpenShot .deb package from the OpenShot Launchpad page to make sure I had the latest version):

It's of the new Muse School in Calabasas that Suzy Amis Cameron and husband James Cameron (yes, that James Cameron) created, and it contains a mix of video, audio and still images shot by Los Angeles Daily News staff photographer Dean Musgrove.

Once he brought me the raw footage and I saw that it featured children from the school singing a song, I knew I wanted to mix stills and video over the audio track.

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Wed, 02 Nov 2011

Could I believe in Evolution? I go deeper into GNOME

As I said in a recent entry, I don't consider myself a "GNOME user," though I find myself using GNOME all the time.

I guess that makes me ... a GNOME user. Since I run Debian Squeeze, that means the now-all-but-dead GNOME 2. Version 2.30.2, to be exact.

Though I've flirted with console e-mail in the form of Mutt and Pine, I came to the realization long ago that GUI mail clients are the thing for me. I've used Claws Mail, and I pretty much centered my mail-client universe on Thunderbird, running it on every platform I can.

But I have kept a fully configured Evolution mail client at the ready on my Debian laptop.

And lately I've been using it -- with IMAP so I can go back to Thunderbird at any time.

You know what? Evolution is pretty good. It's calendar integrates with Google Calendar. (And it that calendar is integrated into the app, unlike the plugin-based Sunbird/Lightning/Iceowl plugin that Thunderbird/Icedove uses and which doesn't work at all in the Debian Backports/Debian Mozilla APT Archive version of Icedove).

It looks great. I can actually understand how to configure it.

But as much as I'm liking this mail client, knowing that my future may very well be outside of GNOME, I'm keeping Thunderbird on the front-burner right next to Evolution.