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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.

Thu, 27 Dec 2012

What a difference a font makes

I was looking over old threads in the Ode forum and this one introduced me to Carme from Google Web Fonts.

I went to Google Web Fonts, searched for Carme and followed the instructions, calling an additional stylesheet (from Google) into my Ode theme and then calling the Carme in the Logic theme's own CSS.

I like it. It looks better on my Linux (Debian Wheezy with GNOME 3) desktop than it does on Windows 8 right now, so I'm not sure I'll stick with it. But for now I will.

New GNOME Shell features in 3.7 and 3.8, plus a couple of development notes

I keep an eye on Planet GNOME and World of GNOME to follow the project, and via the Planet site I noticed GNOME developer Bastien Nocera's post on new features in GNOME 3.7 that will be polished through the 3.8 release. Those features include a search panel (to control search output; I really don't know what this means), a notifications panel to manage and filter notifications on the desktop and, best of all, a privacy panel that, as Bastien says:

... would be the go-to place to ensure your identity isn't leaked on the network, or visible on your system. You can see how some of the features in the two aforementioned panels will also affect your privacy.

On this last topic, GNOME executive director and (FaiF podcaster) Karen Sandler writes more about the increasing emphasis on privacy in the GNOME desktop.

More GNOME: From the As Far As I Know blog, Give a detail this Christmas follows GNOME's Every Detail Matters project and shows some of the new features that developers are bringing to GNOME 3. And there are pictures. Personally I like the little headphone icon that appears in the upper panel when you plug in headphones. (!!) If you want to know more, go to the GNOME Every Detail Matters wiki page.

Two new users of the Chronicle Blog Compiler

I'm a big fan of Steve Kemp's Chronicle Blog Compiler, available direct from Steve's site and in package form from Debian and Ubuntu.

I noticed recently that two Debian Developers, Gregor Herrmann and Nathan Handler, have moved their blogs to the Perl-based, static-rendering system.

As with many static-blog compilers out there, I don't really have Chronicle figured out from a user perspective -- I run Ode, which isn't at all static but is coded in Perl and is fairly easy to get running on most shared hosts.

One of Chronicle's notable features is native comments. I don't know of many other flat-file (static or dynamic) blogging systems that don't rely on Disqus for commenting.

Aside from eliminating a task for developers, a big reason to use Disqus and not to code a native commenting system could be the spam problem. For that reason, Disqus might very well be the best solution out there. But I've seen many users of blogging software who are uncomfortable (or not comfortable) outsourcing their comments to a third-party site.

Steve Kemp has a whole site/service/program at BlogSpam.net that deals with the spam problem in blog comments. It's definitely worth a look, as is the whole of Chronicle.

However you look at it, the option to host your own comments is a good and viable one, as is the option to outsource them to Disqus or even Facebook, as Anil Dash does.

Note: While I remain interested in the landscape, if you will, of blogging software, I remain committed to Ode as my personal-blogging platform of choice, even as my "professional" life is all about WordPress. More on this in an Ode-focused post in the near future.

Amazon s3-style storage without Amazon

Since Amazon has an open API for its s3 Simple Storage Service, other cloud vendors (and even YOU) can spin up a similar service.http://blog.stone-head.org/s3tools-simple-storage-service-for-non-amazon-providers/

Rudy Godoy shows how you can use s3tools in Linux to tap into s3-like services both at Amazon and elsewhere.

Linux X tip: ctrl-alt-backspace is now alt-PrtSc-k

I picked this up entirely by accident:

A few years ago, if you were running a graphical desktop under the X Window System in Linux and wanted or needed to kill the X server, you typed ctrl-alt-backspace.

When that "went away," I thought that was it.

But that's not it. You can do the same thing that ctrl-alt-backspace did with:


The "PrintScreen" is your print-screen key. Mine is labeled PrtSc.

So if you want to kill your X session from the keyboard, go right ahead.

Wed, 26 Dec 2012

I'm teaching myself git

I'm interested in learning about version control. To pursue that interest, I am teaching myself git.

I installed git on my Debian Wheezy laptop and have started accounts on both Github and Gitorious

Among the things I've learned are how to "pull" from a remote git repo (in my case one on Github), how to commit my changes locally and push those changes to Github and how to delete a file in a git repository and subsequently push that commit back to the repo.

While all is not clear, the fact that I could get going in such a short time must mean something. Things like branching and evaluating patches are beyond me at the moment, but hopefully I'll be able to learn more as I go.

The git website is a great place to start. Everything is explained very well, and the site offers the free Pro Git book in a number of formats.

Among the available references, there's an O'Reilly book (always the symbol of good taste in tech literature).

Fri, 21 Dec 2012

Nikola, a static site/blog generator written in Python

A peek at the Planet Python blog aggregator (I'm a big Planet blog fan, in case you didn't know) clued me in to a project I'd never heard of before: Nikola, a static website/blog generator.

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Sat, 15 Dec 2012

GNOME 3: Lured into the hot corner

I get on any other computer, any other OS (even Windows and Mac OS), or any other desktop environment, and I find myself mousing into the top-left (or "hot") corner to get my application panel and search/launching dialog.

That works in GNOME 3. I do it all the time.

You can also hit the "super" (aka "Windows") key to make the same thing happen. And I do that, too.

But I'm so comfortable mousing into the hot corner that I continue to do it in environments that aren't GNOME 3.

You know what happens when you mouse into the corner in these other OSes/DEs (excepting Ubuntu's Unity, which shares more technology with GNOME 3 than you might care to admit)?


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Thu, 06 Dec 2012

Feeling my way around GNOME 3.6 in the Fedora 18 Beta

Thanks to readers who have helped me, and to the Fedora Project for offering a very solid GNOME 3.x environment in what is now the Fedora 18 beta, I'm getting the hang of working in GNOME 3.6 (as opposed to the GNOME 3.4 version of the desktop environment in Debian Wheezy).

My previous complaints centered on what I thought were the absence of the "Connect to Server" and "Create Empty File" functions in the Nautilus file manager, now pretty much called Files in the world of GNOME.

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