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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, 19 Aug 2013

Pipelight: A new way to run Netflix in Linux (or at least in Ubuntu and Arch)

Pipelight is a new project that aims to bring Netflix in the web browser to Linux systems.

Right now they are focusing on Ubuntu (there's a PPA) and Arch, though you can build it from source if you fly that way.

I never could get the other Netflix-on-Linux project to work in Fedora, though I did get it to run in Debian (and was somewhat amazed that I could bring an Ubuntu PPA into Debian without breakage).

But I also dropped Netflix and for the time being stopped caring about running it at all.

Maybe I'll change my mind in future, but for now consider this a public service announcement for those of you who still subscribe to Netflix and want to watch it in Linux. (In case you were wondering, yes, Netflix should support this out of the box and shouldn't require Windows or OS X in order to view the content you paid for.)

Fri, 19 Jul 2013

The H is closing down: A sad day for open-source news, for @fabsh and for the rest of us

I was saddened today to learn that The H, the English-language arm of Heise, is closing down. The reason given is the usual one: lack of revenue from advertising. It's hard to sustain an online news site with any kind of staff -- that much I know.

Caught in the middle of this is Fabian A. Scherschel, aka @fabsh (or just Fab), co-host of Linux Outlaws, who had been working for The H for about a year and a half. He already wrote his farewell to the site.

Becoming a working journalist really sharpened up Fab's patter on LO, and I hope he is able to continue in tech journalism, even if it's for the German-language Heise.

I'd like to take this opportunity to let you know that journalism, as an enterprise and a career, is pretty damn precarious these days. The pay-to-read model, in its current incarnations, is mostly a non-starter (though I really hope it's working for LWN), and it's hard to make money from traditional display or text advertising unless you have massive scale in terms of traffic and minimum cost in terms of staff.

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Fri, 26 Oct 2012

GNU MediaGoblin -- a free, open alternative to YouTube, Flickr where you can share media with whoever the hell you want to share it with

I've heard rumblings about GNU MediaGoblin, software that enables anybody to set up a media-sharing system that can substitute for things like YouTube and Flickr -- you know, those proprietary services that take our content, make money off of it and justify that moneymaking by giving us "free" access to our own stuff.


I don't have time to go into MediaGoblin right now, but I'm very excited by the prospect and hope I can give it a try soon.