Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oh Hey, THIS makes me wanna buy corporate music and videos!

Got a warning about a video I put on Youtube.  Used a template in iMovie and I'm 100% sure that I did NOT violate any terms of copyright.  Googled it and found out this is really common.  Still--wtf?!  This kind of shotgun spraying hits innocents like me and simply makes me want to embrace the cold and impersonal world of BIG MEDIA COMPANIES.  I don't know about you, but I sure feel like running out and buying a mp3 after getting this email.  ;-)

Next thing you know they'll copyright the act of flicking a booger onto a wall.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Holy Crap--New Life for an old Aspire One

I got my Acer Aspire One back in the good old days when it appeared that Linux was going to dominate the newly emerging netbook scene.  Of course that never happened for various reasons.  I won't go into that--but when Microsoft decided that they needed to dominate the netbook market, they also managed to annihilate the netbook market.

My Aspire One is one of the first ones made.  It came with Linpus Linux, which was pretty horrible.  The first thing I did was to unlock the hidden advanced features of the desktop.  The second thing I did was to start trying other Linux distributions in search of one that would make me happy.

I found Ubuntu's netbook remix to be too slow.  Although I had flirted with many other distros, I ended up using an Ubuntu alternate install cd and went the geeky route of installing no GUI desktop.  My plan was to use it for ssh-ing to a server, and also for programming CLISP and Python (using Vim).  The only problem was that I couldn't get the darn wifi to work right, so I had to be plugged in right next to my desktop.  Obviously NOT the best setup for a netbook.

So recently I started thinking of this little Apsire One as I was wrestling with dual booting Linux on my Macs.  What is so amusing about installing Linux is that some things that are difficult to get to work in some situations (wifi, sound, etc) are surprisingly easy in others.  I simply wasn't using the Aspire One, and I felt a little guilty about that, as I had such high hopes for Linux Netbooks.

So a couple years went by, and things changed a lot while I wasn't looking.  I had used CrunchBang on the Aspire One quite a while ago and thought it was pretty impressive.  I don't recall why I moved away from it, but I do remember that CrunchBang was pretty new at the time.

Last night I downloaded the CrunchBang iso file and put it on a USB stick using some excellent guide I found through a Google search.

This morning I installed CrunchBang with no problems.  Everything works, and I was happy to see my favorite text editor Geany already installed for me.  Writing this blog post was surprisingly easy, especially considering how clunky Linux can feel on newer Mac hardware.

Thanks CrunchBang!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Linux Mint: I sense a strange disturbance in the force...

I have chosen to NOT address the whole Ubuntu Unity desktop controversy, for several reasons. 

First of all, I tend to be pretty liberal and embrace change.  First impressions are often flat out wrong, and nothing bothers me more than people who won't even give something new a chance.

Second, I have heard very good things about Unity from people that I respect.  That DOES mean a lot to me, and by no means have I written off Unity altogether.  In fact, I recently installed Ubuntu (with Unity) on a Macbook Pro 6,2 and I'm really trying to get used to it. 

That said, I can't help but feel as if there is a major shift going on here, in the world of popular Linux distributions.  I don't remember exactly when Mint passed up Ubuntu on the page hit rankings on distrowatch, but it sure seems like the times they are a changin'.

So today I burned my first Mint DVD.  Like any Linux user, I have drawers full of all sorts of old Linux cds.  Some of those helped me get out of a mess in the past, and some opened the world to a new distribution.  Some failed so miserably that I couldn't even get them to boot up, but that's a different topic.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Major GuiltTrip Reporting for duty!

It's tough, really.  With all the recent SOPA stuff (I was firmly on the side opposing SOPA) there has been a lot of meditating, contemplating, and half-assed rants about the whole piracy and intellectual property rights mess.

So I found a copy of Free Ride by Robert Levine at the local public library and decided to check it out.  It's well-written, if not all that convincing.  Nonetheless, I can't help but wonder what Robert Levine would think about the fact that I checked this book out for zero cost at a public library.  The heart of the issue is so much more complex, isn't it?  I mean, there are books at the library that I would gladly spend 5 or 10 bucks to "rent"--and then there are books like this, that I came across almost by accident and decided to check out.

There are books I have checked out from the library that I have subsequently gone on to buy (Visualizing Data being the latest).  I just prefer to sample stuff first.