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gfranken's blog

With the latest Kubuntu 15.10 (Wily)

Filed under
Just talk

I love the KDE desktop—I really do. However… here are some grumbles.

Issues with Kubuntu 14.10

Filed under
Linux

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

Filed under
Linux

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

Filed under
Linux

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"

Filed under
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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Linux

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

Filed under
Linux

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

Filed under
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.

Filed under
Linux

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

Filed under
Linux

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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Reviews

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

Filed under
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

Filed under
Linux

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?

Filed under
Linux

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

Filed under
Linux

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?

Filed under
Linux

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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More in Tux Machines

Radio Telescopes Horn In With GNU Radio

Who doesn’t like to look up at the night sky? But if you are into radio, there’s a whole different way to look using radio telescopes. [John Makous] spoke at the GNU Radio Conference about how he’s worked to make a radio telescope that is practical for even younger students to build and operate. The only real high tech part of this build is the low noise amplifier (LNA) and the project is in reach of a typical teacher who might not be an expert on electronics. It uses things like paint thinner cans and lumber. [John] also built some blocks in GNU Radio that made it easy for other teachers to process the data from a telescope. As he put it, “This is the kind of nerdy stuff I like to do.” We can relate. Read more

New Releases: Kodachi 5.8, Tails RC, HardenedBSD Stable, KookBook 0.2.0

  • Kodachi 5.8 The Secure OS
    Linux Kodachi operating system is based on Debian 9.5 / Ubuntu 18.04 it will provide you with a secure, anti-forensic, and anonymous operating system considering all features that a person who is concerned about privacy would need to have in order to be secure. Kodachi is very easy to use all you have to do is boot it up on your PC via USB drive then you should have a fully running operating system with established VPN connection + Connection established + service running. No setup or knowledge is required from your side we do it all for you. The entire OS is functional from your temporary memory RAM so once you shut it down no trace is left behind all your activities are wiped out. Kodachi is a live operating system that you can start on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you to:
  • Call for testing: [Tails] 3.12~rc1
    You can help Tails! The first release candidate for the upcoming version 3.12 is out. We are very excited and cannot wait to hear what you think about it, especially the new simplified USB installation method (see below). :)
  • Stable release: HardenedBSD-stable 12-STABLE v1200058.2
  • KookBook 0.2.0 available – now manage your cooking recipes better
    Some people have started talking about maybe translation of the interface. I might look into that in the future. And I wouldn’t be sad if some icon artists provided me with a icon slightly better than the knife I drew. Feel free to contact me if that’s the case. Happy kooking!

Programming: Conway’s Game of Life, py3status and Teaching Python at Apple

  • Optimizating Conway
    Conway’s Game of Life seems to be a common programming exercise. I had to program it in Pascal when in High School and in C in an intro college programming course. I remember in college, since I had already programmed it before, that I wanted to optimize the algorithm. However, a combination of writing in C and having only a week to work on it didn’t leave me with enough time to implement anything fancy. A couple years later, I hiked the Appalachian Trail. Seven months away from computers, just hiking day in and day out. One of the things I found myself contemplating when walking up and down hills all day was that pesky Game of Life algorithm and ways that I could improve it. Fast forward through twenty intervening years of life and experience with a few other programming languages to last weekend. I needed a fun programming exercise to raise my spirits so I looked up the rules to Conway’s Game of Life, sat down with vim and python, and implemented a few versions to test out some of the ideas I’d had kicking around in my head for a quarter century.
  • py3status v3.16
    Two py3status versions in less than a month? That’s the holidays effect but not only! Our community has been busy discussing our way forward to 4.0 (see below) and organization so it was time I wrote a bit about that.
  • #195 Teaching Python at Apple

Games: Protontricks, vkQuake2, System Shock, Dead Ascend, Lord of Dwarves and Panda3D

  • Protontricks, a handy tool for doing various tweaks with Steam Play has been forked
    For those brave enough to attempt to get more Windows games to run through Steam Play, Protontricks is a handy solution and it's been forked.
  • vkQuake2, the project adding Vulkan support to Quake 2 now supports Linux
    At the start of this year, I gave a little mention to vkQuake2, a project which has updated the classic Quake 2 with various improvements including Vulkan support. Other improvements as part of vkQuake2 include support for higher resolution displays, it's DPI aware, HUD scales with resolution and so on. Initially, the project didn't support Linux which has now changed. Over the last few days they've committed a bunch of new code which fully enables 64bit Linux support with Vulkan.
  • The new System Shock is looking quite impressive with the latest artwork
    System Shock, the remake coming eventually from Nightdive Studios continues along in development and it's looking impressive. In their latest Kickstarter update, they showed off what they say is the "final art" after they previously showed the game using "temporary art". I have to admit, while this is only a small slice of what's to come, from the footage it certainly seems like it will have a decent atmosphere to it.
  • Dead Ascend, an open source point and click 2D adventure gameDead Ascend, an open source point and click 2D adventure game
    For those wanting to check out another open source game or perhaps see how they're made, Dead Ascend might be a fun choice for a little adventure. Developed by Lars from Black Grain Games, Dead Ascend features hand-drawn artwork with gameplay much like classic point and click adventures.
  • Lord of Dwarves will have you build large structures and defend them, developed on Linux
    Here's a fun one, Lord of Dwarves from developer Stellar Sage Games is a game about helping a kingdom of dwarves survive, build, and prosper. It's made on Linux too and releasing in Early Access in March. The developer emailed in about it and to let everyone know that it was "developed in Linux using only open source software". You can actually see them showing it off on Ubuntu in a recent video. While it's going to be in Early Access, they told me it's "feature complete with a full campaign and sandbox mode" with the extra time being used for feedback and to polish it as much as possible.
  • A Journey of the Panda3D
    I don’t know why am I still working on Panda 3D despite the failure to export the Blender mesh to the Panda 3D engine but anyway here is a quick update for the development of the Panda3D’s game. Yesterday after the Panda 3D engine had failed again to render the blender 3D mesh together with its texture on the game scene, I had made another search for the solution on Google but again...