rfunk: (Joey Ramone)
posted by [personal profile] rfunk at 05:00pm on 01/03/2007 under , , , ,
I spent most of the first half of this week upgrading my desktop computers at home and work from a two-year-old Debian installation to a seven-month-old Kubuntu installation.

Most of you don't care about the upgrade itself... )

But I'm discovering that the best part of this upgrade is a working (non-crashing) Amarok music player. It gives me a unified interface to play my MP3s, CDs, Internet radio streams, Last.fm streams, and almost anything else. It gives quick access to artist information, cover art, lyrics, links to related artists, and includes a rating capability (actually two, one manual and one automatic/guessing).

Unfortunately it doesn't integrate with Pandora, but its Last.fm integration beats anything I've used before. Oh, and if I had an iPod it would work with that. (I'll have to try my non-iPod portable MP3 player, but it should work as well.)

Yeah, you Windows and Mac people are probably thinking that you have all this (or similar) with iTunes or Windows Media Player, but there's one thing I know those don't have -- Amarok is extensible with user-written or downloaded scripts. So, for example, with one script I'll be able to play and control the SlimServer at home (which will, with some firewall fiddling, let me pipe my entire home music collection to work). Another one automatically pauses the music when I lock my screen (useful at work, probably not so much at home).

It's a strange feeling for my music player to make me feel like exploring all its obscure capabilities.
Music:: The Darling Buds
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky
rfunk: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] rfunk at 12:45pm on 27/03/2006 under , , , ,
I've had some surprising technical sucesses lately....
Read more... )

On the other hand, I finally got around to looking into the fact that my FunkNet icon no longer showed up as the "favicon" for my LiveJournal pages. Turns out LJ apparently started filtering out the HTML tag I used to make that work, forcing their pencil icon back. :-(
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky
rfunk: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] rfunk at 12:16pm on 02/11/2005 under , , , , ,
(Yeah, I know, none of you care about this....)

I first heard rumblings of this a week or two ago, but now the announcement is official: There's now a Debian GNU/Solaris. (Unfortunately things aren't entirely open yet.)

Why does this interest me? Although I've used and run at least seven different flavors of Unix, I learned most of my "real-world" system administration skills on Solaris, and it was my primary operating system at work for a few years, while simultaneously running Linux at home.

But on Solaris I always needed to add the GNU programs (and others) that came with Linux, and then try to keep up with their updates. (I made a now-obsolete web page [Funknet version] just for this purpose.) Also, release upgrades were best done as reinstalls. In the Linux world, I found that Debian made keeping up with updates and upgrades quite simple. Now I run Debian on production servers primarily because of those attributes (plus the long-term stability of Debian's stable releases).

It will be interesting to see a Solaris with some of my favorite server-relevant features of Debian. I wonder if it will run on the old sun4c and sun4m shoeboxes I have in the basement. Of course, I also wonder what I'd do with them if it did; I haven't even put Linux on them, and I know that would work.


Meanwhile, OpenBSD has a new release with some interesting new networking features, but until they improve the update/upgrade mechanism quite a bit (preferably to Debian's level), I'm unlikely to use it for much.
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky
rfunk: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] rfunk at 09:09am on 07/06/2005 under , , , , ,
So yesterday Debian finally released version 3.1, "Sarge", as a stable release. It's been almost three years since their last stable release. So when someone at Slashdot dared to ask when the next release would be, the response came:
These are some of the things that happened between Debian releases: a) The Olympic games returned to Greece. b) The Pope died. c) A German Pope got elected in a conclave. d) Apple switched to Intel. e) Watergate's Deep Throat identity was revealed. f) The French rejected the European Constitution g) Boston won the World Series. So just sit, be patient and wait for the signals my son.
And all that just happened in the past year!


Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to upgrade some servers for the last time for a while....
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky
rfunk: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] rfunk at 10:56pm on 17/05/2005 under , , , , ,
1. Between my MP3 player, my camera, and my 1GB flash drive, I have lots of use for the "USB Mass-Storage" interface. I use four different computers that I can connect these to -- all running Linux of course, kernel versions 2.6.7, 2.6.8.1, and 2.6.11.7. The only one of these that actually works properly and consistently with those USB devices is the one running kernel 2.6.7, the oldest of these versions.
I may never upgrade my kernel again.

2. Debian is finally getting close to releasing the latest stable version of Debian Linux, called "sarge". People are scrambling to make sure their pet programs make it into the release.... to the point of parody.

3. I switched funknet.net web and email over to a new hosting company (DrakNet, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] chronarchy's suggestion) a few weeks ago, right about the same time I was moving my company's email from an old Windows IMail server over to a new Postfix-based mail server I set up myself. The spam at work went down dramatically thanks to a combination of antispam techniques (SMTP protocol checks, sender domain validation, greylisting, realtime blacklists, local blacklists, and SpamAssassin) I used there, but simultaneously the amount of spam I get at home went up because DrakNet seems to use only one or two of those techniques (SpamAssassin, maybe an RBL or two) while I lost the use of my well-trained bogofilter. So now I'm working on tuning and training SpamAssassin.

4. I love Konqueror as a web browser, except when I'm typing these entries on my slow laptop and it loses characters because it's too busy checking my spelling or something. Doesn't it know I was once a spelling champ?! (Well, except for "perculator percolator"....)

Update: 5. I forgot this one before... The movie studios are putting out a new media format. "Studios are embracing the format because, unlike current DVDs, the new discs include robust features to prevent the movies from being illegally copied." Heh, replace "DVDs" with "videotapes" in that statement and flash back to the 90s! I guess that means that DVDs' CSS encryption is now officially obsolete, and DeCSS is now acceptable.

Oh yeah, and I think I need to start keeping better track of the calendar, since I missed Dramarama and The English Beat last Friday. :-(
I did get to see and chat with Watershed when they came around though.
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky
Music:: Weezer - Buddy Holly
rfunk: (Default)
Every six months for more than five years now, I've been buying the new release of OpenBSD. Yet I haven't actually installed one of those new releases in almost four years, and haven't actually used OpenBSD in over two years.

So why do I keep buying it? Mostly to support three major aspects. (Non-geeks may want to skip to the last one.)

1. Security - OpenBSD's approach to security is one that deserves attention and support. And since their security solutions often find their way out to the world beyond OpenBSD (OpenSSH being the most prominent example), supporting OpenBSD supports security on Linux and other systems.

2. Free Software Activism - With the popularization of binary-only Linux drivers and software, and the concurrent marginalization of the GNU Project, OpenBSD has become the foremost twister-of-arms in the struggle to get not only useful software under completely-free licenses but also the information necessary to run that software on today's hardware. This work on the part of the OpenBSD people benefits Linux people too. (See also #3 below.)

3. Music - How many operating systems include an original song with each release? Thanks to Ty Semaka, OpenBSD has been doing it for eight releases now, and each one has a different style - techno, industrial, lounge (Bond theme-ish), anthemic hard rock, folk balladry with two types of hip-hop mixed in, Pythonic, Johnny Cash-ish, and now Floydian. They started out as theme songs of a sort, but starting with OpenBSD 3.3's "Puff The Barbarian" they became allegorical commentaries on the political issues the project had been facing, usually related to their efforts related to #2 above. The latest song, for the upcoming OpenBSD 3.7 release, is "Wizard of OS", a Pink Floyd style commentary on closed-specification hardware with a chorus of "Ding dong the lawyer's dead / You're off to see the Wizard kid". (The comments alongside those lyrics help explain my #2 above too.) Presumably the Dark Side of the Moon sound is a nod to the idea of that album being used as a soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz.

But my favorite OpenBSD song remains the second one, OpenBSD 3.1's "Systemagic", with its vampire-slayer motif, goth-industrial sound, and verses like:
Cybersluts vit undead guts
Transyl-viral coffin muck
Penguin lurking under bed
Puffy hoompa on your head


Oh yeah, and if I ever need to set up a secure web server quickly, I always have the install CDs on hand, though for long-term maintainability I still prefer Debian.
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky
Music:: Ty Semaka - "Systemagic"
rfunk: (cartoon)
posted by [personal profile] rfunk at 11:30pm on 07/12/2004 under , , , , , , , , ,
My apologies to the vast majority out there who don't care about any of this....

PHP is annoying )

Soekris + m0n0wall = nice small firewall )

Geek Showdown: Debian vs Cartoon Nudity )
Mood:: 'geeky' geeky

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