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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.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011

Navigating in GNOME 3/Shell in Fedora 16

The more I figure out how GNOME 3/Shell works in Fedora 16, the more I like it.

I'm not at the point where I can say, "Oh, it's totally better than GNOME 2," but I'm increasingly able to do things the way I'm accustomed to doing in the GNOME Shell environment.

I will refrain from comparing how things work in Fedora 16/GNOME Shell vs. Ubuntu 11.10/Unity until I spend more time in the latter. But this comparison is at the forefront of my thinking about which direction my Linux desktop use will go in during the year ahead.

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Sun, 20 Nov 2011

It's becoming their Internet -- it should be our Internet

Responding to Rob Reed's Google+ post on the dark side of huge corporate entities -- read: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube -- controlling what we see and don't see on the Internet, I wrote a couple of responses (instead of one because you can't edit an existing post or comment on Google+'s Android client), which I will repeat here because, a) they're not bad and b) I'm against "giving away" content to social networks and c) the irony of us having this discussion about Facebook on the newest, shiniest corporate-created social network, Google+ is particularly rich (and I acknowledge my part in it).

Here is what I wrote:

The whole idea that blogging, the phenomenon, had its year in the sun, and now the idea of regular people writing things on the web is all about Facebook and Twitter, is terrible.

That so many abandon what they're doing for another thing because that other new thing is posited as the solution to all of life's problems speaks to our society's continual fascination with the new.

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Fri, 18 Nov 2011

Using the GNOME file manager's FTP capabilities to manage my Ode site

I've traditionally used stand-alone FTP clients like FileZilla and gFTP to interact with the servers I use.

Only recently have I decided to start using the GNOME Nautilus file manager's FTP/SFTP capabilities to manage the content in some of my servers.

Including my Ode server (a shared hosting account). Rather than write up text files in my favorite editor, save them, then start up FileZilla and transfer those files into the proper Ode documents folder, I've been using the file manager as my "window into Ode."

(For the record, I'm running the Debian Squeeze distribution of GNU/Linux with the default GNOME 2 desktop.)

You know about Ode, don't you? If not, start here.

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I got rid of HootSuite, Ping.FM, RSS Graffiti, the Twitter-Facebook-Identi.ca bridges in favor of a simpler solution with dlvr.it

I try to automatically send links to my blog entries to all the social networks on which I maintain accounts (the exception being Google +, which I'm still updating manually).

Over the past couple of years, I've had a thicket of services set up to do this. Some work along, others work together. Some social networks themselves will push their entries to other social networks.

It can all be extremely confusing.

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Ubuntu 11.10 live from USB -- first impressions

Since I spent some time running Fedora 16 with GNOME 3/GNOME Shell via a live image, and I judged it as working well but not as polished in the design department as Ubuntu 11.04/11.10 with Unity, I figured I should give Ubuntu 11.10 a try with its live image and see what I thought.

So I grabbed a 64-bit Ubuntu 11.10 ISO. Since I was already in Debian Squeeze, and Debian and Ubuntu ISO images these days are "hybrid" images that can be burned to CD the usual way, or easily (very easily!) dropped onto a USB thumb drive, I found the 4 GB drive I used for my Ubuntu 11.04 test and put 11.10 on it.

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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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