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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, 14 Mar 2014

Interesting report: Phoronix's Michael Larabel on running Xubuntu with new Asus hardware after giving up on OS X

I saw a very interesting article in Phoronix, in which Michael Larabel writes about issues he is having with Xubuntu and a new Asus laptop after giving up on running Linux in a virtualized environment from within OS X on a Macbook Pro.

Later: I forgot to mention that I have tried the Xubuntu 14.04 Beta. It doesn't look radically different from previous Xubuntu releases. At first. There is a big change in the way the distribution deals with its application menu:

The Xubuntu developers didn't just add the increasingly popular Whisker Menu (which I use and like), they removed the traditional Xfce menu. I have both menus on my system. It's a trivial thing to add the "original" menu back to your panel, and I do think that the Whisker Menu can replace it, but it could be a bit unsettling to someone who is expecting a more vanilla Xfce experience.

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Fri, 16 Nov 2012

Xubuntu 12.10 with Xfce 4.10

Already I like what I see in Xubuntu 12.10.

  • The new Xfce 4.10 desktop environment with a network-friendly Thunar file manager

  • Nice defaults and design (which you usually get in a distribution's "native" desktop environment but not so often without it)

What I don't like:

  • The Alps touchpad in the Lenovo G555 is jumpy

Onto the next ...

Sat, 05 May 2012

Xubuntu 12.04 with Xfce 4.8 - one giant leap and a mighty attractive desktop (revised)

So I'm in the live environment for Xubuntu 12.04, which aside from the ugly wallpaper (including every alternative wallpaper on the ISO image) is a great-looking and -working Xfce 4.8 desktop.

My main mission in running the live distro from a USB flash drive: Checking networked-filesystem support in the Thunar file manager.

So far I'm using FTP in Thunar to write this post. And I didn't need the Gigolo helper program to open the FTP site and create and save the file.

That's a win.

After a few false starts, I also got Thunar working for sftp connections.

Another win.

What I "forgot" to do originally when trying to start an sftp:// connection in Thunar was to specify the port number when I opened it up. Here's how I did it:

  • In Thunar, go to "Go" in the menu, then select "Open Location."
  • In the Open Location dialog, enter this:


In my case, that port number is 2222, so it would be something like this (I'm using a "fake" URL for demonstration purposes; use your real URL and real port number to make this work -- I can verify that it does work -- and you don't need Gigolo!):


  • Once you enter the sftp address with port number following the colon, you'll be prompted to OK the SSL certificate of the server.
  • If you trust that certificate, OK it. Then Thunar will open a window to your server via secure FTP, and you can use the file manager to treat that server like a native filesystem, sorting the files in Thunar and editing them with the application of your choice. I used Leafpad, as it is the default text editor in Xfce (and in Xubuntu).

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