Cynics Soapbox

Random thoughts...

Snap?

Snap?

The current state of package management on Ubuntu isn't great. I get the arguments about snap being superior but it does seem a little too systemd like for my liking :-( Today I ran into an issue where the vlc snap has a permissions issue that prevents it using the onboard webcam without a fix. Oddly the apt version has no such issues and in all the years I've had vlc installed have never come across such an issue. The...

Flirting with the dark side...

Last month our 2010 27″ iMac stopped working. There was no drama, just a black screen where previously had been the High Sierra backdrop. A quick bit of investigation showed that it wasn’t as simple as a dead machine. The fans still blew and when turned off and on it made all the expected noises. There was just no picture. Plugging in an external monitor soon showed that the machine was usable and still functioning normally. After 7 years...

Keyboard Layouts on Ubuntu 13.10

After upgrading to Ubuntu 13.10 I found that often my keyboard layout, which is selected as English(UK) as it had been since starting to use this laptop, would change to English (US). Annoying as this is, even worse was that it didn’t always happen and would sometimes be fine. The layout is always shown as English (UK) despite the US layout being used, which only adds to the strangeness. Quite how this odd bug was introduced isn’...

Gnome Shell & Ubuntu 12.10

After less than 24 hours with Unity, I installed gnome-shell. After some 30 minutes I have a desktop environment than looks far closer to the way I want it to. Things are where I expect them to be and easily accessible. What’s more it still feels like Ubuntu 🙂 After installing the key to customising is to add various shell extensions, but thanks to https://extensions.gnome.org/ that is about as straightforward it can be 🙂 In case anyone is...

Back to Ubuntu

Just under a year ago I swapped from Ubuntu to Mint. This was a reaction to the awful Unity desktop that they had decided to use as the default in 11.10. The reaction to my blog post about the change showed I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, but after living with Mint for a year I’ve swapped back to Ubuntu. Throughout the year I’ve been using Mint it’s been a reasonable choice,...

Songbird

While looking at some web page (I forget which, but it’s not really important) I was reminded about Songbird. I’d looked at it ages ago and while I liked the concept, the execution wasn’t worth spending time with. Things have certainly changed. Downloading and installing was the usual Mozilla affair and it ran straight away. A nice little set of dialogs took me through the basic setup and a sensible choice of plugins was recommended for download....

ToDo List manager?

Anyone got any suggestions for a ToDo list manager for Ubuntu? I know Sunbird has one, but I’d rather have a simple little app that was based on the desktop....

Ubuntu 8.04

As much as I hate to jump on the bandwagon, but 8.04 is still not as usable for me as 7.10 was 🙁 The biggest annoyance is that usb devices aren’t automounted. Stick in a USB memory stick, formatted as fat32 or ext2, and nothing happens. Looking at dmesg shows it’d detcted and devfs does it’s thing, but then nothing. In previous versions of Ubuntu it would be mounted – exactly as you would expect and hope....

xchat2 freenode script

The first one I grabbed was a bust, but this one works as advertised 🙂 http://www-inf.int-evry.fr/~olberger/weblog/wp-content/identify_and_join_py.txt...

myth

A short while ago I was having lunch with someone who has a Myth TV setup when they told me that Myth had commercial skipping abilities. I’d wondered on and off about creating a setup here, though as I have a Sky+ box it always seemed a bit excessive. However, in a moment of weakness I bought a DVB card and attached it to the appropriate ariel – fired up the relevant drivers and voila! Or at least so I...

automatic updates

One of the features that all modern OS’s require these days is that they update themselves on a regular basis. Ubuntu is no different and normally the process is as smooth as smooth can be. Occasionally though it introduces a problem – such as the one I now experience on an irregular basis when Firefox simply dies. One second it’s all fine and the page is downloading normally, the next there is no more Firefox. It’s only been...

Xgl & compiz

Having heard that this combo resulted in superior eye candy I decided to give it a try. As usual the Ubuntu forums had agreat howto, so it looked as though it wouldn’t be too complex. Following through the howto it all seemed to progress as it should. The system is amd64 and the graphics card is nVidia, so there didn’t appear to be any problems there. Getting the Xgl server running rather than Xorg took a few tries,...