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gfranken's blog

Linux vs Windows

I've been working with both Linux and MS Windows 7 lately. Yes, I have a good excuse for using MS Windows: I have started working on Ruby video tutorials, and I needed to demonstrate installation of ruby, notepad++, and configuration thereof in the MS Windows environment. Well, it's been illuminating, switching back and forth between Kubuntu 14.10 and Microsoft Windows 7.

Issues with Kubuntu 14.10

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I installed Kubuntu 14.10 a couple of weeks ago. Here's two issues I've discovered, the first one is solved, but the 2nd one isn't.

1) Kdenlive will play videos from the Clip Monitor, and in the Project Monitor. However, after rendering the video, audio is lost.

2) It's not possible to mount an nfs share automatically in /etc/fstab. You have to use
sudo mount -a and enter the root password.

Computer Equipment and Screen Recording Revisited

It has been about 3 years since my primary hardware machine has been upgraded. I already had 16GB of RAM, two 1920 x 1200 monitors, a Filco mechanical keyboard, and a graphics tablet. OK, I admit that the CPU is showing a little age, but it was an AMD Phenom II X4 965 quad-core processor, and that still has some life left in it.

So I decided to update my graphics card, which was an Nvidia GeForce 440.

Mandrake Derived Distros

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Todays special is about Mandrake derived distributions, namely,
OpenMandriva Lx 2014 alpha vs Mageia 4 final vs ROSA 2012 R2 final vs PCLinuxOS 2013.12 final.

In (my limited) testing, I've used the X86_64 versions favoring the KDE desktop, and I've used the NVidia binary drivers provided with each distro.

Here's my experience with each one:

PCLinuxOS 2013--An Old Friend Revisited

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I first heard about Bill Reynolds (AKA "Texstar") when I was using Mandrake Linux 7 (later called "Mandriva") many years ago. Back then, Texstar was putting together updated KDE releases for Mandrake Linux, as Mandrake would only typically update their KDE release once or twice a year.

Windows 8.1 "The Worst Ever"

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Just talk

I've taught High School Computer Science for 25 years--Computer Programming, Web Page Design, Word Processing, Database Processing, and Spreadsheet processing. I have Linux on all my home computers with a dual boot into MS Windows 7 on my main computer. I don't use Windows 7 very often--but, I can find my way around in Windows 7. Since I have no experience with Win 8, I've thought all the recent hoopla about Microsoft's Windows 8 and 8.1 was just inexperienced grousing.

Casual Programming and Linux Screen-Recorders

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After being retired (for four years) from teaching high school Computer Science, I decided to get back into programming again. I once taught a beginning programming class using the Ruby language, and I thought that would be a good way to get back into programming. So, I decided I needed a “Ruby refresher”, and I wanted to learn more about that language than I taught in the classroom.

Lost mime types under kde

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I downloaded the source to the (video editing) application "kdenlive" (version 0.9 just released), and following the instructions on the kdenlive web site, compiled it, and installed it on my Linux Mageia Cauldron laptop. Maybe I did something wrong, maybe not. Anyway, disaster ensued.

LibreOffice 3.5.0beta2--one person's experience

I've been working on a complex document for the last year or so. This document is now 25 pages long, and includes a dozen images in frames with captions, with text running around the images, a table of contents, Gradient backgrounds on major headings, 2 drawings, varying headers and footers (with borders and shadows), lists, varying page styles, footnotes, and font styles.

I've been working on this document long enough that I started it with openoffice. I then switched to LibreOffice with its first release. And now I'm editing it with the LibreOffice Christmas Eve (2011-12-24) 3.5.0beta2 release.

Invariably, up to now, in a 2 hour work session, openoffice/libreoffice would crash at least once. Sometimes more.

Interestingly enough, this latest LibreOffice beta has not crashed once in three 1 hour work sessions. It may only be a beta, but I'm a believer.

Gook work LibreOffice folk.

Nook Ebook Reader & DRM

I'm 62 years old, and I've always been a reader. So, a few months ago, I finally coughed up the money to purchase a Barnes and Noble Nook ebook reader. Despite being a Linux user and occasionally enjoying tinkering with the innards of things, I haven't rooted my Nook, or installed any other OS variant—it is completely stock.

Unlike my wife's Amazon Kindle (with its E-Ink display), my Nook's battery doesn't last long. The other day I was reading a good short novel I had just downloaded from Barnes and Noble. I'm about half way through the novel when my Nook's battery level gets very low.

Here's the rub: my charger unit has an intermittent electrical short, and I can't immediately plug it in to continue reading while recharging my nook (a couple of days later, I fix this).

But I want to finish reading my novel now! I've got the time, and I'm really into the story.

Hard Drive Purchase and Thailand Flooding

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Just talk

My 2nd desktop is largely reserved for video editing. As it often the issue with video editing, storage space is getting scarce. The sata hard drive has 320 GB, and it's getting full. Time to purchase a new hard disk drive...

BIOS Flash update under linux.

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I figured it was time to do a BIOS update on one of my main Linux boxes. The MSI NF 980-G65 AMD motherboard came with an AMI BIOS dated September 2009. This MSI motherboard is based on the NVidia NForce 980a chipset, and has built-in NVidia Geforce 8300 video (which I do not use).

Powering up this system has always been a little flaky, requiring a couple of reset-button presses before it would boot into Linux (it would hang at the BIOS splash screen). After boot-up, the system always ran great.

Alright, so on to the BIOS update. MSI has the live update online program which requires, of course, Microsoft Windows, and the Internet Explorer browser. Well, I don't have these on this system, and don't want to put them on it.

In the AMI BIOS setup program, I see the M-Flash option. I try this, but can't get it to work. Some research on the Internet indicates that it's very likely you'll wreck your BIOS using M-Flash anyway, so that's out.

Mageia 1 Alpha2 -- A Status Report

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On September 18, 2010, in response to Mandriva's liquidation of its “Edge-IT” subsidiary and the attendant layoff of a substantial share of its developers, a group consisting of former Mandriva developers and Mandriva community contributers announced their intention to form a non-profit organization and release a fork of Mandriva Linux called Mageia Linux.

How is the Mageia 1 release shaping up? This status report takes a look at Mageia Linux 1 Alpha 2 release (updated daily), from a KDE-user perspective.

Mandriva Linux 2011TP (Tech Preview) - Quick Look

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After laying-off a significant portion of its employees, is Mandriva going to remain a viable distribution? While many distros, including Mandriva, are furiously working on their Spring 2011 releases, Mandriva announced a two-week slip from their previously announced release dates. As a compensation, Mandriva gathered up its packages from its 2011 development repositories (called "Cooker"), and released a pre-alpha 2011 TP (Technology Preview) iso. The coming Alpha version is due to be released February 14 with Alpha2 slated to be released February 28. So, here's a quick report on the Technology Preview release, and how things are shaping up.

Printer Woes

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Just talk

The last day of this year in Southern Oregon is sunny, clear, and cold. Sitting here and basking in the morning sun streaming through the window mitigates my foul mood regarding the state of printers.

Screencasting Under Linux--A brief Story

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Since my recent retirement from 34 years of mathematics and computer science teaching, I've been working on creating creating screencasts for teaching how to use various kinds of computer software. So, I need to record my screen while narrating audio. What follows is my story of what it takes to do this under Linux.

Should Pulseaudio Die? What do you think?

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When I was installing and testing Mandriva 2010 Cooker (new development) releases this last Fall season, I kept having persistent problems with sound. Eventually, the advice in the Mandriva Cooker forum for KDE users became: "Disable Pulseaudio, and set Xine as the preferred back end over GStreamer (in the KDE multimedia settings).

Desktop Recording on my Laptop

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I bought this Acer Aspire 6930 laptop about a year ago. It is my first and only laptop--and came with Windows Vista pre-installed. Since I value good video performance, I selected a sub model of Acer laptop that has on board Nvidia GeForce 9600M GS video (confession time--yes, I use the proprietary NVidia driver). Since it came with Win Vista, I had 3GB of RAM, and a 320 GB hard disk drive. Plenty of horsepower for Linux, except for ...

Recommended: Rosewill Wireless USB 2.0 Adapter 802.11b/g

After teaching high school computer science for 33 years, I had never owned a laptop computer. I'd always wanted one, but they were just too expensive. Finally, last year, after saving up for a long time, I bought a laptop for me, and 6 months later, a laptop for my wife.

The built-in wireless on my wife's laptop has little range, and isn't very reliable.

Which KDE 4 Distro for my Laptop?

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I have a Mandriva Spring 2009.1 RC 2 install on my main production box. I have Kubuntu Jaunty on my experimental box. Which to install on my Acer Laptop?

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