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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.

Fri, 29 Jun 2012

I upgraded from Debian Squeeze to Wheezy today

Though my track record with in-place upgrades of Linux/Unix systems is far from positive, I decided to do just that with my long-running (since late 2010) Debian Squeeze laptop today.

It went surprisingly well -- and by that I mean I'm using a fully upgraded Debian Wheezy laptop to create this post in Nautilus via sftp.

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Wed, 20 Jun 2012

Reducing swappiness in Linux for better desktop performance

My Debian Squeeze system has been swapping a lot lately. I think web browsers -- mostly Google Chrome -- are to blame. I'm not sure switching entirely to Firefox will solve the problem. Web browsers eat resources.

To speed things up, I decided to reduce my "swappiness" to see how that affects system performance.

It's been a very long time since I've done it, so I Googled "swappiness in Debian," and came across my own entry from 2010 when I was running Ubuntu 10.04. I got my information from the Ubuntu community Swap FAQ, and you can too.

I followed the recipe on my Debian Squeeze system, changing swappiness from the default of 60 to 10 so the system will use swap less often.

So far, so good.

The next day: This is totally working. After six or so hours of my usual workload, I'm only using 1.2 MB of swap. Nice!

The next week: After a full day of computing, with lots of Google Chrome windows and tabs open all day (I barely used Firefox/Iceweasel today), doing some photo edits but no video editing, I'm using 1.4 GB of RAM and 24.8 MB of swap. I'd say the experiment in changing swappiness is a success.

Wed, 13 Jun 2012

Debian project leader Stefano Zacchiroli and the controversy over Debian Multimedia

I came across Debian project leader Stefano Zacchiroli's Bits from the DPL on Planet Debian -- the most recent bits also living on Stefano's blog and on a Debian mailing list.

The more interesting bits this month include a controversy over duplication between the Debian Multimedia archive and Debian proper.

Stefano suggests that what package belongs where be worked out, or that Debian Multimedia shed its Debian name and move on.

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I just installed Iceweasel 13 in Debian Squeeze

I finally got Iceweasel 13 installed out of the Mozilla Debian APT archive on my Debian Squeeze system. For at least a week I've been stuck on Iceweasel/Firefox 12 due to dependency issues. dWhile a Debian Forums article didn't provide the exact solution to my problem, it did give me a clue:

Reinstall Iceweasel.

I did that, and I got the new Iceweasel/Firefox as well as the needed dependencies, and thus far nothing appears to be broken.

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Tue, 12 Jun 2012

WordPress: What am I doing wrong?

OK, here's the deal. In Ode I can get any kind of output I want through the project's infinitely flexible theming. In Movable Type I can create any number of custom Javascript output files that draw on the blogging system's database.

So how do I do this in WordPress? I'm looking into child themes (I confess that I've -- horror of horrors -- modified the main theme in a WordPress blog), but I need EXTRA theming. What I need is the ability to tap the blog database for custom HTML output that includes only the elements I want with accompanying HTML so I can display that output on other sites.

It's so easy to do this in Ode and Movable Type. Why is it so hard (or seemingly so) in WordPress?

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Mon, 11 Jun 2012

How do you feel about social-networking posts originating as blog-post titles?

Allowing the use of multiple themes simultaneously would solve many #WordPress problems for me.

Social networking -- the giving and the taking

I know it's easy. You pick up your smartphone. You click the Twitter icon (or Facebook, if that's your poison).

Then you lay it out in 140- (or 500-odd) character bursts. Or you talk about the sandwich you're eating.

There's nothing wrong with that. Except that your words now live on some social network. Not on your own hard drive or server. Not even on a WordPress.com blog from which you can extract every post to archive and reuse as you please.

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Fri, 08 Jun 2012

I will not be posting on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Diaspora or Identi.ca

These are the social networks on which I have accounts.

But I won't be posting directly on any of them.

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Thu, 07 Jun 2012

DSL Extreme: No plans -- or need -- to go IPv6 at this time; so what are web sites and ISPs going to do?

With all the talk of IPv6 and how the Internet is running out of IP addresses and how we have to move from IPv4 to avoid catastrophe, I wondered what my ISP, DSL Extreme, is doing about it.

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