Category Archives: Uncategorized

New laptop, new OS

The women in my life gifted me with a sweet HP Envy 15-as133cl 15t laptop. I guess they saw the keys pop off of my old HP laptop a few too many times.

The new laptop has an HD screen (1920 x 1080), a lot of memory (16GB), an Intel i7 CPU (not sure of the exact model) and a 1 TB hard drive.

Right now I’m running the Windows 10 that came with it. I “auditioned” Fedora 25 with GNOME and Xubuntu 17.04, and while either one may indeed work with this hardware (the biggest problem being the HD screen and the Linux desktop environments’ inability to handle them without a lot of little tweaks), for now I’m sticking with Windows.

The main reason that I can stick with the stock OS is the Windows Subsystem for Linux (aka the WSL), which gives me a full Ubuntu-powered Bash shell that runs pretty much every Linux console program available. I’m using it to run/update my Ode blog (I still can’t get Unison in Windows to work across networks because I can’t get SSH working and am a little wary of Windows software that seems frozen in time).

As I allude to in the sentence above, adding software in Windows has it’s good and bad points. Good: You can easily run things like MS Office and the Adobe suite, though I don’t use those at all (instead opting for LibreOffice and Google Docs, and GIMP/IrfanView/Inkscape). Bad: Some things are old and unmaintained, like the ClipX clipboard manager that I rely on heavily. Plus after years of drawing on huge Linux software repositories offered by projects like Debian, Ubuntu and Fedora, having to go all over the Internet to find applications is not something I’m excited about.

That said, I have most of what I need. I’m playing with JavaScript, especially in Node, quite a bit, and I have Node installed both in the Ubuntu shell and on the Windows side.

I don’t have Ruby in the WSL or Windows since I haven’t used it in awhile, but I will probably do that in the WSL.

If/when I start dabbling in Java again, I can do that on both sides (WSL and Windows), too.

For Java and Ruby especially, I like coding with them in the Geany editor, which is like a “baby” IDE (it can execute your code, though I’ve never gotten it to work like that with JavaScript/Node). Unfortunately Geany is one of those old GTK apps that looks like hell on this laptop’s HD screen. Principally it’s blurry. So I’ve been using Notepad++ instead, which is a great text editor, though I haven’t figured out if it is capable of executing code in the languages I use (Ruby, JavaScript, Java, Bash).

I am also experimenting with Visual Studio Code, Microsoft’s “not-quite Visual Studio” editor. The “not-quite” part is OK by me, because most IDEs I’ve tried are so massive and cryptic that I’m happy to have something that’s I can understand more easily.

I already had Visual Studio Code on my old HP’s Fedora system, and now I have it in Windows 10 proper. I’ve used it for a little JavaScript. I like the syntax highlighting, and I was able to execute my code via the debugger. (If you actually know what you are talking about, I encourage you to laugh at or with me — your choice.)

In the WSL, I’m relying on Vim as my text editor, and I’m using the limitations of the WSL (most of which can be summed up as “no GUI,” though you can definitely hack one in) as an excuse to sharpen my Vim skills. I also have Vim and gVim on the Windows side. (Vim is everywhere.)

You might notice that a lot of the programs I’m using are things you’d find in Linux. I’m surprised that so many traditional Linux/Unix applications are available in Windows. Some of them are even regularly maintained.

I’ll detail all the software I’m using in Windows 10 at some future point, probably on another site, but quickly:

  • Audacity (audio editor)
  • Dropbox (file sync)
  • FileZilla (FTP)
  • GIMP (image editor)
  • Inkscape (vector graphics editor)
  • IrfanView (image editor)
  • LibreOffice (office suite)
  • Node.js (JavaScript in the console)
  • Notepad++ (text editor)
  • OpenShot (video editor)
  • PuTTY (terminal for SSH connections to servers)
  • qBittorrent (torrent client)
  • QuiteRSS (RSS reader)
  • Vim and gVim (text editor)
  • Visual Studio Code (text editor, mini IDE)
  • VLC (video editor)
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux (aka WSL aka Ubuntu for Windows aka Bash on Windows … do you think they have a branding issue?)

Things I’m relying on in the WSL:

  • Bash (which is obvious, but I use all the common Unix tools and rely on a number of scripts to automate various tasks)
  • SSH (for encrypted connections)
  • Unison (file sychronization)

Things I haven’t yet installed:

  • Geany (GTK text editor that looks a little rough in Windows 10 on this laptop)
  • Hugo (static site/blog engine)
  • JVM (the Java Virtual Machine)
  • Netbeans (IDE written in Java)
  • Ruby (programming language)


Annoying as shit: I can’t see this blog while logged in to without an annoying overlay asking me to buy domain mapping

It’s a long story, but I had domain mapping on this blog for awhile.

As you can see, I rarely post here. But I wanted to check out the new Javascript-coded interface.

But while logged in, there’s this annoying overlay when I try to innocently view this blog that says:

Uh oh! Your blog’s domain expired 578 days ago! Renew now for 1 more year.

While in theory I appreciate the reminder, it’s been 578 days. Odds are very, very good that I don’t want to renew.

Yet there is no way, seemingly, to make the overlay go away. And I can’t even see my own blog. It it some kind of “give us money” ransom?

Hint to Automattic: I should be able to type esc to make the overlay go away. Or click a button that says something like “No thanks. I don’t want to renew this service.”

How long is this overlay going to make it so I can’t see my own blog?

Update (on Jan. 26, 2016): I finally figured it out. You have to go into the configuration, open up Domain Mapping, then click “Remove Domain Mapping.” Now the overlay is gone.

Preview the Upcoming WordPress Dashboard

See tomorrow’s WordPress Dashboard today!! I’m using it right now.

“I am because we are”

A beautiful story about true Ubuntu that has nothing to do with computers.

Linux on the HP Pavilion g6-2210us: Part 1 — Trouble with Fedora 18

So I’ve had this HP Pavilion g6-2210us for less than a week now. I knew it had Windows 8 when I got it, but I reconciled myself to the “challenge” of getting a Secure Boot-aware Linux distribution working on it.

I did boot Fedora 18 (aka Spherical Cow) from a live disc today. I had no problem with the Secure Boot (which I want to keep turned on so I can dual-boot Windows 8).

But once I got Fedora’s GNOME 3 desktop on screen, it was all graphics problems. First there were artifacts, then a total inability to read any text or see any images clearly. Plus lots of flashing … things.

FYI, this HP Pavilion g6 has the AMD A4-4300M processor with AMD Radeon HD 7420g graphics. I guess Fedora 18 isn’t terribly compatible with it.

I suppose I could install F18, then add repositories to see if AMD’s proprietary drivers make a difference, but I’d rather explore my options. I’m bringing down the Ubuntu GNOME 13.04 Beta live image right now with a torrent. (I can’t do a direct download because I am bandwidth challenged, and using torrents enables me to start and stop the download at will, even between reboots.)

So I guess I’ll be waiting for Fedora 19 and giving the Ubuntu family a try. As I say above, I’m going to start with the GNOME edition (very formerly called Ubuntu GNOME Remix but probably called simply Ubuntu GNOME right now).

This reminds me of the trouble I had with graphics when I first got the Lenovo G555 in May 2010, and how Fedora 13 ran great until a new kernel pretty much ended things.

This laptop is definitely too new to be a comfortable fit for the majority of Linux distributions (most of which aren’t playing along with Secure Boot, either just yet or … ever).