Sunday, 29 September 2013

An appreciating appreciation of appreciating appreciation

"Cream always floats to the top" is a saying that I learn on a farm. The idea is that if there is something of quality it will eventually show up. Like many sayings, "Feed a cold, starve a fever" [0] it is easy to pick holes and even easier to miss the idea completely.

When I found out about subbable one comment mentioned and I thought of flattr. My first reaction was, "do we need another?" Then I remembered that the best things evolve, (because how could I chose?) and for that to happen there need to be contestants. Just as KickStarter seems to have won the CrwdFund crown, it will be interesting to see which micropatronage site comes out on top. we have to keep track.

This morning C.G.P. Grey became the second passenger upon the micro-paetron train.
(A very worthy addition, in my opinion.)
[0] This is advice to calm a new mother that is panicking about their ill child. It is NOT medical advice for how to treat those with a fever. 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Unix unix everywhere and not a drop to sync!

I use Linux. I'd love to say that I use Unix, but it has been many years since I used SunOS, (see what I did there) or BSD in anger, (I did it again, but different!)

Looking at the Linux family tree, it can leave you wondering, "am I using the right one?"

So here is my very opinionated, (soon to be out-of-date) guide.

Looking at some comparisons it is clear that Linux, (the kernel) has more outfits than Barbie and more gadgets than Bond, MacGyver and the A-Team combined.

So for maintenance I used Finnix, (this is what I have on a USB keyring).
For desktop/workstation/laptop/terminal/netbooks I use crunchbang, (with LXDE).
For my family members I use Ubuntu MintLinux, (Apple Mac of the Linux world.)
For my phone I (would) use Android, (oh Samsung, let me count the ways...)
For my servers I use Slackware and CentOS, (ok, I have some Debian servers, but don't tell anyone!)

I'd love to say that I use Gentoo or more specifically Sabayon, but I don't anymore.

Before you comment I should note that:

from 1998-2005 I used, (almost exclusively Slackware.) I've used SuSE, (don't know why I didn't like it.)
I've used Xubuntu, until I found #! (how do I add an exclamation mark to that without it being confusing?)

I've used ext2, ext3, ext4, ReiserFS, SquashFS.

I started out, (X11) using WM then tried blackbox, (too leet for me), and KDE, (too large for my needs.) Then I spent a few years using Gnome, (also large, but Moore's law meant that computers had caught up.) xfce, openbox, lxde are more my thing.

tar/make, pkgutils, RPM, APT, YUM, YaST.

I prefer SELinux to AppArmor and I've never use PaX.

So the GNU/Linux ecosystem is cluttered, but that is a natural thing. Each strain evolves from another, or bursts into life to fill a niche. Eventually more and more of them will die off leaving one or two at the pinnacle of each category:

  • art, audio, design, multimedia
  • computer lab
  • desktop, workstation
  • embedded
  • general, lightweight, portable, netbooks
  • live, auditing, maintenance, security
  • network, gateway
  • science
  • server
  • supercomputer
Now I imagine that the software world will match the Linux OS world until we end up with each non-embedded Linux computer, depending on what you need it to do, will simply be a matter of setting it to a particular node type, (or combining two or more.) I imagine that "server" would be incompatable with "desktop" or "multimedia" [0] but both multimedia and server would both require imagemagic. The question then becomes, how does the average user locate the best packages for their need. Rather than a [Start] button, there should be a [I want to:] button which gives various levels. If the user wants to draw, then there is everything from Tux Paint to GIMP and Inkscape. Identifing the users need with as little information as possible is one of the next tricks. With a webcam the computer can estimate the age of the person, and with the speed of typing it can estimate their skill level. (This becomes mute when commands are entered via verbal command.) Maybe this will be another situation where shibboleet might be needed. Just as long as the UNITY interface dies, (that thing is sloooooow).

[0] Desktop requires GUI, server must NOT have a GUI. I did mention that this is my opinion.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

New windows desktop, 2013?

So you have a new windows computer. You know, that like a child it is not ready for the scary Internet. So what do you need? This is my list for 2013. will install things for you:


Then add,

openoffice or libraoffice (they do the same, but have not yet merged back into one another.)
Spybot S&D
SpiderOak - because you NEED backup and you need it FIRST and secure.
GRAMPS - family can be complicated; you should keep track.

Other things that you might like, that I can recommend are:

 Chrome Browser
 Pidgin + OTR
 VLC (though sMplayer is also good)
 Winamp (deadbeef if you are on linux)
 Audacity (record or edit audio. AVIdemux for video).
 Java Java Runtime Environment (JRE) (to play on KGS)
 GIMP (why isn't this a verb yet? "This image has been gimped."
 AVG (though I usually use ClamWin or ClamAV.)
 Spybot 2
 7-Zip  - no really, we don't need anything else. (If Igor Pavlov is bored, he could add an optional par2 and SHA512 feature to 7-Zip so that archives and RARs could be verified. SSD bit-rot will become more of a worry in the future. 

Have a look at and

Friday, 13 September 2013

MUD Ew-Too

I was asked for a history of my computer network experience and this is the list that my brain dumped out:

Econnect network with BBC micro and BBC master computers.

Snipes network game, (spawner log out last! Or the network crashes.)

Resort Ew-Too talker, ( in Denver Colorado. Aquarius, (or was it Amathyst) told me about a telnet client that would save a lot of typing, (it might have been tintin (tt++); probably not kildclient). (Thank you Simon Marsh.) (that was not the port, but it has moved there.) I remember the benevolent wizard Animal and enjoying running about in that land.

Then I moved onto KobraMud. This was amazing becuse it used the native telnet port, (23) so no port number had to be added. This is where I met someone that was talking about a new mud that was taking wizards. So I logged into and joined their ranks. LPmud and LPC seemed like a fun language. Sort of like C.

This is where I moved over to using TinyFugue as my client.

Last of all was the mighty where I distinctly remember a Druid and something about a Bishop ;-)

Then it turned out that they, (the person asking me about my CNE), were only interested in regular Internet Protocol.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Give a little whistle

In one adaptation of the story of Pinocchio, the character of Jiminy Cricket is assigned as his conscience. I think that this is a marvellous parable for agnostics, but is only a good start.

I think that the story of a wooden boy with flees would have been better, (though why would a marionette have flees? More importantly, why flees?

Well, they are there but invisible. There can easily be, (and usually are) many of them. With the anthropomorphism of a children's story it is easy to suggest that one or more of the flees has some sort of dominance at any given time. As the story progresses that hierarchy may change. Possibly most importantly they can alter our protagonists behaviour despite being so small and seemingly irrelevant.

This would give the narrative the flexibility to discuss knowing that something is held to be legal wrong, (driving above the speed limit) but cultural-accepted-within-limits, (about 10% higher on the largest roads seems to be accepted by many people) leaving our flees, (mind) with knowing that it is wrong and acceptable at the same time.

( Maybe a wooden cat? Chat and her flees. )

So why else might we want flees? Well if Jiminy was squished it would be sad, but not so if one of our flees was harping on about some minor slight, "That person didn't use their car indicators, so I'm 0.0001 seconds later than I could have been." Then the lead character could work on their mental health by psychically squishing the flees that either talk drivel or are negatively distracting.

We can chose which mental dialogue to focus upon and which to ignore. I would like more examples of exercises where this is practised.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Windows 7 adding admin user cmd command line

net user alexx passphrase /add
net localgroup administrators alexx /add
net user alexx /active:yes

but if your laptop is in french then the second command is:

net localgroup administrateurs alexx /add

est pour windows 7 en france.

Change "alexx" to the user that you want to add and passphrase to your own super-secret passphrase.

I found this when I was asked to repair a windows7 laptop that had only one admin user and trying to log in gave:

"Echec de l'ouverture de session par le service Service de profil utilisateur. Impossible de charger le profil d'utilisateur."

Interestingly I could reboot, (hammering F8) and boot into safe mode and then logging in as the admin worked fine.

This enabled me to add an additional admin user to repair the other one. had an interesting suggestion but in the end I just changed the name of the problem account, (which didn't match the underlying C:\Users\{username}) and created a new account with the old name. Then I copied all of the files over, and once the owner was happy I showed them where their "back up" was and how to install SpiderOak, (because like far too many people, they had no back up at all.)

 If they come back I'll move them to Mint Linux, (they aren't ready for the power of Crunchbang.)

[0] found on
Also could have been useful, had they forgotten their password. ( is another walk-through of the windows password reset.)

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