Archive for the ‘Home Life’ Category

The Original Screensaver

Worms

Worms


I know, I know. I have been really busy lately and have not posted anything. You wouldn’t even believe how much so.

Last night, right before I passed out from another long week I was reading my email (in mutt, the best email client btw) and I decided I was going to take a little nap. Well, as a hold over from the old days when you had to worry about screen burn-in, I wanted to start a screensaver, but something different.

As a cli addict, in the old days I remember using a couple terminal savers, worms and rain. I decided to start up worms for nostalgia sake. Well, it wasn’t installed. AHH THE HORROR! As it turns out, most distributions do not automatically include these anymore and they are normally in a package called “bsdgames”. Once that was installed I was ready to go. Simply running a maximized terminal session with worms -d 60 (a switch to delay the worms a bit), was enough to make things right once more.

I bet that many new Linux/unix users have missed out on the wonders of such simple things and decided that today I would make a little post to try and encourage you to try them out. Please do so! (and remember rain too.)

The bsdgames have a lot of those kinds of little gems and you just cannot go wrong playing around with them. There are greats in there like hack and tetris and snake and on and on. You might be surprised how entertained you can be while enjoying some of the old-school stuff that gives you some great unix creds 🙂

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Who is that masked man?

Probably you have either listened to me or read my thoughts or both for several years now, but it occurred to me today that someone out there might be interested in seeing what actually drives the LincGeek.

I currently live in Pennsylvania, but I was born and raised in Upstate NY, with a brief stint in Washington state. New Yorkers and hillbillies are my people and I understand them. Washington is some of the most beautiful country I ever spent time in and I hope to at least visit out there again someday.

Well, first and foremost, computers and Linux are my personal crack. I started on a life long obsession with computers back in 1983 with my first Vic=20 (Thank you William Shatner). I learned to program in BASIC and from there it was all over until I met Linux in the 90s, then that added into the mix.

I like the fastest computers I can get my hands on. I like Apple computers (more for their quality and aesthetics than OS – they do tend to run Linux very well). I love my Kindle, my Android phone and my Asus TF300T Linux Mint is probably the nicest version of Linux I have ever run and I use that almost exclusively as my desktop OS of choice. I am RedHat certified and use RHEL and CentOS for the vast majority of my enterprise and personal server needs, because, IMHO, it’s better than the rest.

I am a music lover. I dig 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, Big Band, Jazz, Funk, Disco, Bluegrass and Classical music. I was a hardcore low brass musician and vocalist in my school years, even making it into “Who’s Who In Music” in my senior year in high school, and those are some of my most cherished and fondest memories. Rap is *NOT* music, by the way.

I have been married once, to my college sweetheart, for almost 20 years now and have an adult (she thinks so at least) daughter, currently in college. I am a Conservative Libertarian, politically, and a proud Christian.

Although I am now diabetic and stick mostly to various forms of Chicken and veggies, I LOVE good food. my favorites are good Irish cooking like my Grandma used to make. Corned Beef and Cabbage. And she made a monster macaroni and cheese too. I would literally hurt someone for some of that again. I strongly believe that vegetables are what food eats.

I like my coffee with (nonfat) milk and sweet-n-low. Buy it from Wawa because Starbucks coffee is overpriced and bitter yuppie coffie IMHO. I like an occasional good cigar (Acid Blondie) and enjoy them most when I can smoke them and hang out with my friends. (Edit, I am a confirmed Vaper now – RY4 absolutely ROCKS!)

I am not a drinker. If and when I do imbibe, I do so with Scotch or Whiskey as I believe beer must be what urine tastes like.

As you can probably surmise, I am highly opinionated, and as I have a monster sized guilty conscience and I am not at all politically correct, so if you ask my opinion, you are liable to actually get it.

I still think the occasional fart joke is funny. I hate unproductive meetings and long phone conversations. I try very hard to be honest, forthright, fair and maintain integrity.

I am a pet guy and love small furry mammals of all kinds. I have and have had cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, rats, ferrets and even a smattering of budgies and small lizards.

And now you know all about me!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

MagicJack Plus

MagicJack Plus
I was an early adopter of voip, initially using Broadvoice, then later inphonex for service, but lately, their service has been problematic. My wife had noticed that after making or receiving a call, the next call she would not be able to hear or talk to the other end of the line. This often required me to reset and restart the IP phone and connection. After mucking around with all sorts of settings on my IP phone and then trying several soft phones as well, all with the same results, I was in the market for yet another carrier. Enter MagicJack.

MagicJack has been all over the media lately and I have stayed away from it mostly because there was no linux support. Well, recently, they came out with the MagicJack Plus, which they advertise as “Use without a computer”. I decided that was probably the way to go. After all, who can resist a $25 A YEAR phone bill, right? Shoot, even my Inphonex plan cost that much per month. So, I went out and bought a MagicJack Plus at my local RadioShack and also purchased a cheapo phone to use with it as my only phone for years has been a voip phone.

The good:
The phone quality is decent. It is easy to set up and get going. It is way inexpensive. It is very portable.

The bad:
You *DO* need a computer to set it up. I had to use a mac to get it registered (no Linux yet and I refuse to use windows). Once set up initially, no more computer needed. The quality is decent. Transferring your old number costs additional $$. Had to change my home number.

All in all I call it a good purchase. I spent $70 on it and that gets me a free year phone service along with the equipment. I have made and taken several phone calls on it now with successful results. The money I spent on the MJP will pay for itself in 3 months of my previous carriers phone bill and then I am saving $25 a month and getting better service. I have to admit it seems hard to beat at this point!

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

And then there was 1

Almost everybody knows I have ferrets, and many of you have heard me talk about the phenomena of ferret math. The downside of this is when you have to say goodbye to one of your fuzzy friends. Today was just such a day for me.

Ferrets, for those of you not in the know, are not really a creature of nature. Having been bread in captivity for eons, they do not survive on their own. Their survival traits have been almost completely bread from them and they are not much like their ancestors any longer except in appearance. This also brings with it a horrible genetic disposition to certain cancers and diseases witch are all too common in modern day fuzzies.

Today, my friend Teddy was put to sleep. Teddy mysteriously contracted something resembling cancer in his mouth, which rapidly spread into his sinuses and eyes. I am glad to see him go only in the sense that I hated to see him suffering. Teddy came into our home about 3 years ago and was a little fluffy snuggler. He was literally a little teddy bear, which is how he got his name. It was only weeks later that we found his mischievous side that he also really enjoyed pinching my wife 🙂 Hey, I do too!

Teddy is survived by his life long friend Puff, our only remaining ferret, and, of course, 2 cats, a dog, 2 rats and his beloved humans.

I am gonna miss you friend. Safe journey. I promise to keep pinching my wife for you until we meet again.

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Roku 2 XD

Roku 2 XD

Roku 2 XD


Long have I wanted to have a device that would easily tie my Netflix subscription and other streaming internet media to my tv. I have tried lots of nice things, but they all left me wanting something more, that is, until I got a Roku.

I picked up a Roku 2 XD at BestBuy for $79 and figured I would try it out and return it if it wasn’t what I really wanted. To my surprise I really like it!

My first impressions are that it is REALLY small. It literally fits, in its entirety, into the palm of my hand. It’s pretty slick looking for a little black box with a fabric tag sticking out the side. It has the normal input/output ports that you would expect for a device that connects to your tv to have, and, really, nothing else but the remote, which is also quite small.

Once you hook it all up and plug it in, you are greeted by the Roku logo while the system loads, and then you are taken through a series of steps to register your box and your account (free). After that you can start adding channels and enjoying your streaming web content on your tv!

Now the channels on Roku are different than I expected. Each channel is a service. For example, Netflix is a channel and Hulu is a channel and Crackle and Pandora, etc. and the list goes on. I am sure there is something in there for almost everybody. The ones I really enjoy, outside of Netflix, are Crackle, which somehow provides FREE streaming (recent) movies and tv content, Pandora, and Pub-D-Hub, which has all kinds of old movies, shows and cartoons (and even commercials).

The only thing I really do not like is it’s difficult to actually locate the kind of content you are looking for. This is primarily because there is so much available, and, I will have to admit that sometimes it’s fun just searching around.

What’s Good:
Small, Good looking, Quick, Inexpensive, easy to set up and easy to use.

What’s Bad:
Hard to sort through all the content to find exactly what you want.



Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Hell month

sad face

sad face


For those of you who were wondering why you haven’t heard a lot from me in August….

I had just gotten a promotion, which, on the outset sounds good, except it comes with four times the work and responsibilities (maybe 5 times, I haven’t decided yet). The month started out with my 2 cats being sick and everyone trying to get my daughter ready to start college. Shortly thereafter my daughter had a car accident where she was injured and her car was totaled. In amongst going to various doctors and dealing with insurance people, both my wife’s and daughter’s birthdays occurred. Then, while taking my daughter to a doctors appointment I decided that I should finally get off my butt and do my blood work that my doctor has been bugging me for for months/years. The next afternoon I got a call saying I had diabetes. As soon as I settled into the idea of jabbing my fingers several times a day, hurricane Irene slammed into the east coast of the USA, causing torrential rain, wind, tornadoes, power loss and flooding out the area around my apartment complex yet again. Yes, you guessed it, I am ready for September to be a much better month 🙂



Thursday, September 1st, 2011

An oldie but goodie

I am moving some old backups from a suspect broken NAS to a new one (before all my power goes out from an impending storm) and ran across my backups from my original blog. Interesting side note is that I started blogging on September 17th 2003. Anyhow, while looking at that I found what is probably the first actual picture of the original TechShow team. I now present to you in all it’s glory, Linc, Dann and Allan and the original TechShow set from 2003:

Original TechShow

Original TechShow

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

ESXi and Subsonic

In continuation, somewhat, of my last post and a brief review on the last TechShow, I wanted to jot down some notes about my newest encounter with ESXi and Subsonic.

Subsonic

Subsonic

I wanted to try out Subsonic, so I really needed to put together a new machine to play with it a bit. As a RL System administrator, some things carry over into my home computing environment, and paranoia is one of them. I just *have* to test things outside of my “production” servers at home too. Since I run my servers in a virtualized environment, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

I run ESXi at home for my virtualization platform, and the norm there is to use virtualcenter (or the vic) to create and manipulate VMs. The problem there is I am just not a Windows fan (no kidding). I had gotten around this problem initially by creating a VM on VMware Server (running on Linux) and then using VMware Converter to move that VM to my ESXi machine. This time, I did a little more digging on the subject of using the command line to create those VMs natively and I actually found some great information that let me do just that. What I found was these two links that contain all the information I needed:
ESXi – creating new virtual machines (servers) from the command line
and
http://www.vm-help.com/esx40i/manage_without_VI_client_1.php

Without rehashing a lot of the detail provided in those two sites, the basics are using vmkfstools to create a disk image for you to use and then building a small minimal vmx file with enough info in it to get things going. To do the install, make sure have your vmx start an iso image from the cdrom drive and turn on vnc for the box. From there it’s quite easy to get an install working.

The server I decided upon installing is CentOS 5.5. I chose the standard server install and the only things that were required to get Subsonic working on it were:
yum install java-1.6.0-openjdk
and then to download and install the rpm from Subsonic’s website. A little later on I found that Subsonic would not stream my ogg files and that was easily fixed by:
rpm –import http://apt.sw.be/RPM-GPG-KEY.dag.txt
wget http://packages.sw.be/rpmforge-release/rpmforge-release-0.5.2-2.el5.rf.i386.rpm
rpm -Uvh rpmforge-release-0.5.2-2.el5.rf.i386.rpm
yum install lame ffmpeg

After all that, pointing your web browser to http://:4040 and you are rocking and rolling with the big boys. The thing that really impressed me with the setup is when you tell Subsonic where your music is. On every other music server install this is the part where it takes a while to scan and index your music. With Subsonic this was surprisingly almost instantaneous! You tell it where the music is and *whamo* your music shows up, ready to be played. Fantastic! The other great piece is the ability to add album art. You can just tell subsonic to change your album art and it finds some suggestions on the web and will let you pick the correct one and save it to your collection. It’s very nice and a complete time grabber 🙂

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Amazon Kindle, Subsonic and MusicBrainz

Kindle 3
   Early last week I had another burst of reading activity on my Kindle 3. Reading for me tends to come in spurts when the rest of my life doesn’t interfere and it had been a while. I loaded up the Kindle with some new goodies (Sh*t my dad says is hilarious, btw) and started peeling through not only the books but also the menus, setting things up just the way I like them.

RANT: As a side note here, why the heck are collections so freaking difficult to setup? I mean come on Amazon. Make them work by directory structure or something easy, or at least fix it so that when you add to collection, you are only shown books not already in another collection by default. OK, rant done 🙂

   Anyhow, as I was reading and setting up different collections, etc. I noticed a familiar recurring problem. The short history is when I got my Kindle 3 I noticed every so often the e-ink would not fully display, but only display VERY faintly. I called Amazon and they had me update the firmware but ut was really hard to tell if that fixed it as it was not a constant thing. Queue up last week and I notice this a LOT more. Not only while reading the books, but now in the menus, etc.. So, I called Amazon right up as they instructed me to do the last time I noticed this. They IMMEDIATELY sent me out a replacement. I mean I had it the NEXT day, during a snowstorm. There was no arguing, no listening to some low end tech worker flip pages on the other end of the phone, no shipping or return costs, no hassle whatsoever. THIS is what customer service is all about and it’s easy to see that Amazon stands behind it’s products. This is why I will always recommend the Kindle. I don’t know what the other guys service is like, but Amazon is absolutely tops every time I have had to deal with them.

Subsonic

   Shortly after I got my new Kindle (read hours) I got horribly sick (sinus infection) and have been that way for 4 or 5 days now. During my occasional bouts of lucidity and while waiting for the NyQuil to kick in again I was reading through my facebook posts and noticed Tom Higgins mentioning that he was enjoying using Subsonic, which is a new (to me anyway) software that manages your music collection for you. It’s a server side app with some seriously nifty clients you can run on you android phone, which made it catch my eye. I have (and still do for now) been using Kplaylist for quite some time and I really like it, but, hey, nothing wrong with checking out new things, right?

MusicBrainz

   Well, the thought of me trying out some new music collection software got me looking at my music collection. You know what this is like. I have been hanging on to my music in digital form for better than 10 years, so, it’s substantial / sizable, in different formats, mixed up, formatted and named badly, bad mp3 and ogg tags, etc.. What’s a guy to do? Well, I searched around a bit and found a whole lot of programs for Linux that will let you manually fix tags. Ick. With thousands to do I kept searching. I found a bunch of programs for windows and mac that will help you reorganize and fix your collection, and, eventually, I found ONE that will do the same on a Linux box. It’s name is MusicBrainz Picard I have been using it here and there (still sick) for a couple days now, sicking it on a directory of my music collection here and there. It sure beats doing this all by hand! It’s not perfect software by any means, but it sure will be a timesaver compared to the alternative and the more people that use it and update those databases, the better it’ll work. Check it ut, I think you’ll like it!

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

What’s with the Lemur?

System 76 Lemur

System 76 Lemur


Nope, I am not talking about the curious little Madagascan primate, I am talking about the one from System 76!

It has been a while since I have done a review, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working one up 🙂 At this past years Ohio Linux Fest I got to rub elbows with Carl Richell from System 76 who promised me the opportunity to review one of their masterpieces. After some killer anticipation, the unit arrived on my doorstep and it turned out to be their Lemur Ultra Thin laptop.

This lappy has a GORGEOUS 13″ display, a core-i3 proc, and the all the assorted (and working) ports, wifi, ethernet, sound, SUSPEND, etc., that you would come to expect. I did say working didn’t I? That’s important because, as retailer of Linux computers, it’s important to make the distinction that there is NO guesswork as to whether or not Linux will run on perfectly on it. It does 🙂

System 76 was nice enough to let me demo this thing for a long time, so it’s safe to say that I tested this thing out really well. I used it extensively at home to do my normal web surfing, video watching and music playing. I also used it for work where it was my portal for a bunch of system administration work, rdesktop and ssh sessions galore, plenty of terminals open with configuration scripts and php programming, connected through every kind of free and paid wifi you can think of, not to mention my work vpn. And a lot of that was all at the same time! This system performed more than admirably. I even used it at a work conference where I did splunk installs and testing without issue.

I am not sure what kinds of proprietary things that System 76 provides in its own packages, however everything in Ubuntu, the Linux distribution that System 76 ships with by default, runs perfectly. Then again, so did Mint 10, the other Linux distribution I installed and tested with. This left me with, literally, nothing whatsoever that didn’t meet my personal satisfaction 🙂

This laptop is very light, perfectly functional, very good looking and stunningly well designed and put together. It feels to me like a MacBook Air with a warp drive, and at literally half the price. In short, this is the laptop that I want to carry around (did I mention it’s light too)? I am hoping that Mrs. LincolnClaus is reading this. It would look great under the tree this year! I would gladly get rid of most of the rest of my laptop entourage to be able to carry one of these.

Hey, anyone want to buy a pristine condition used netbook? Or two? 🙂

Monday, December 20th, 2010