miércoles, 28 de diciembre de 2016

Random Musings on the New Year and Changes

Change has always been viewed as an alteration.  For those who cherish the status quo, this alteration is a great source of anxiety, a life-disrupting experience that epitomizes the full meaning of the word problem.  Those who are dissatisfied with the current state of events, however, embrace change and preach that it is an opportunity to reach new heights, an open road leading to unknown happiness and fulfillment.

I suspect that we human beings have a misconception of change.  We tend to see it as something unexpected, an unforeseeable collision in our otherwise peaceful existence that forces us to adapt or succumb.  This is wrong; change is happening constantly around us: it is the normal condition of the universe.  We cling to the illusion of permanence and choose to reduce change to something that occurs randomly or periodically, as with the end of a year.

With the dying of my reliable Epson Stylus TX-200 printer, I was slapped by a
Epson Stylus TX 200
situation long-forgotten: Linux-compatible hardware is sometimes difficult to find.  My all-in-one printer had been with me almost since I migrated to Linux in 2009 and never did I think about what kind of replacement I had to get if it happened to fail.

True, replacing a printer is not a catastrophe, much less when the loyal device malfunctioned during vacation time, exactly two weeks after the work-related pressure had already dissipated.  So, after checking the availability of Linux drivers, I bought an Epson XP 231 as the successor of the venerable TX-200. Drunk with the wine of naivety, I expected the road to configure this new printer to be a smooth path.
Epson XP 231
I stumbled at each step.  While I can print in two of the three main distros that I regularly use, I had to battle and managed to get the scanner to work in one, OpenMandriva Lx 3.1.  No success in Mageia 5 or PCLinuxOS yet.

Although the printer tossed me into a tar pit, this post is not about printers, but about change... And change is happening, placing me in a position to make decisions on matters I had either postponed or refused to consider.  For instance, Mageia will have to release its 6th iteration one day, and this new version will feature Plasma 5, which I do not particularly like because it removed a feature that I grew to love: the ability to have different wallpapers on each workspace.  No, KDE developers, "ACTIVITIES" DO NOT FULFILL THE SAME PURPOSE!

Come Mageia 6 and I will have to wave farewell to KDE 4.  OpenMandriva has been training me on the ways of Plasma 5, so I will only have to forget about the wallpapers, just like I had to forget about GRUB when GRUB 2 came along.  Who knows, maybe a new secret feature of Plasma 5 will make me love the DE, just like when I grew to love the ROSA SimpleWelcome screen in Mandriva 2011...

Mageia 6 Sta1 has been on my laptop since September (for testing).  When Mageia 6 is finally released, I will have an additional partition on my HD if I replace my current Mageia 5 install.

Maybe, with 2017 knocking on the door, it is time to get a Fedora?

domingo, 25 de diciembre de 2016

Those Meaningful Gifts... Thanks, OpenMandriva!!

Yesterday, I read an email coming from the mail list of OpenMandriva.  It was an announcement about an unexpected release: The community had been working on a surprise and released OpenMandriva Lx 3.01 as a Christmas gift.

News of the kind always stirs some excitement in me. How can I forget that it was Mandriva the distro that made me fully commit to Linux in 2009?

This time was a bit different, however.  Do not get me wrong; my interest in OpenMandriva has not waned over the years despite the fact that I also use Mageia 5 and PCLinuxOS daily for my computing needs.  What happened is that, exactly one week ago, my EPSON Stylus TX 200 all-in-one printer died and I had been on the market trying to find a good replacement.

I eventually bought an EPSON XP-231 because it is advertised to have full Linux support but, so far, I have not managed to get it to work properly in Mageia (scanner problems) and PCLinuxOS (both printer and scanner problems) because of the drivers.  Therefore, my investment on the new hardware was beginning to look like a relatively expensive mistake.

Then OpenMandriva Lx 3.01 came and saved the day.

The XP-231 was not easy to get to work, to be honest, but I eventually got it to print and scan appropriately in OpenMandriva Lx 3.01.

Oh, and I must add that this release also corrected a bug that prevented me to run Insync, a program that I became fond of.

All I can say is that I am thankful for the hard work of the folks at OpenMandriva, who gave me this wrappingless Christmas gift...

And wrappingless gifts, I have learned, tend to be the most meaningful ones! 

viernes, 2 de diciembre de 2016

After a long wait, Mageia was released! Well, sort of...

I visited Distrowatch today and read that there was a new release of Mageia. 

This was not Mageia 6 with Plasma 5, but an updated version of Mageia 5, Mageia 5.1, which includes all the updates of more of a year's time.

I was not disappointed.  Mageia 5 works fine with my systems and, to be honest, I am not a great fan of Plasma 5...

domingo, 20 de noviembre de 2016

Playing Terrordrome on OpenMandriva Lx 3.0

Today, as my daughter was watching YouTube videos, she found one about a fighting game called Terrordrome. This is a fighting game with a retro look that features several characters of horror films, such as Chucky, Pinhead, Jason, and Pumpkinhead.

I found it sort of cute and looked for it.  Much to my surprise, it is free and it provides a Linux installer via Wine here.

After downloading it (it is rather large, 1Gb), I installed it and played it.  It works perfectly.

Of course, my daughter came to play with Chucky, her favorite character, and won pretty much every single match against me.

It was fun because the game incorporates special moves based on the movies and there are sounds that come from the films, too (careful with Chucky's swearing!).

sábado, 19 de noviembre de 2016

A New Tool for LibreOffice

Tony Get, my colleague, showed me an interesting tool available in Android: it's an app to turn your Android device into a remote control to work with your LibreOffice Impress presentations.  It is called Impress Remote and it is very easy to use.

Once downloaded, all you have to do is open an Impress presentation on your computer and make sure of two things:

1.  That the computer and the phone are paired (bluetooth)
2.  That the presentation can work with a remote (to enable this feature, go to the tools menu in Impress->options->libreoffice impress->general->enable remote)

That is all.  If the devices are correctly paired, you are going to see the slide on your cellphone and the notes (if any) and you can navigate the slides from the cellphone.

The app works perfectly with Mageia 5.

The app has some other options, such as the possibility to connect your cellphone to your computer using a Wifi connection.  I did not test that feature, though.

jueves, 17 de noviembre de 2016

At last I meet you, OLPC XO!

Last Monday, I went with my wife and my 6-year-old daughter, Eimi, to an activity in a school.  The idea was to let parents know about this new educational optionl and its advantages for children who are about to start their elementary school life.

At the beginning, I was not very interested because we had already made arrangements for our daughter to go to an educational institution near home.

The principal was talking while the parents listened and the children made an effort to stay quiet.  I was growing tired, and so were the bunch of kids sitting on the chairs.  The principal was highlighting how they incorporate technology in the teaching of the subjects, but I was not convinced...

Then, she pulled out a little green laptop and all the children became alive again as if by magic. I have only seen technology cause such interest on children once: the day when my then 3-year-old daughter saw PicarOS for the first time.

I myself straightened my back when I recognized the OLPC XO laptop!

With that simple device, the principal captivated the audience; children and parents were under her spell as she described how the young students experience education for the future with a device designed exclusively for them.

It turns out that, in this humble school, children learn with Sugar OS, not just Windows.  And they also learn robotics.
One of the teachers tells the children about the OLPC XO laptop
After the tour and the activities, I asked Eimi what she thought about the school.  She was delighted and wanted to come to this new institution.  My wife and I agreed, so we did the paperwork and now Eimi will be going to a school that might be a bit further from home, but where she feels happier and my wife and I will be more satisfied.

miércoles, 5 de octubre de 2016

Steam woes in OpenMandriva.... Again!

Steam updated today and, as a nasty surprise, I hit the same problem I had before with it.

I tried the solution here, but it was not working this time: the code reverted to its original form, preventing the Steam runtime to work.

Then, I realized that I was including the brackets in the code.... Stupid mistake. 

>tar --blocking-factor=${BF}  -xf "$2" -C "$3" |
>zenity --progress --auto-close --no-cancel --width 400 --text="$1"

I removed them and, voila, Steam unpacked the runtime and opened the user interface.

tar --blocking-factor=${BF}  -xf "$2" -C "$3" |
zenity --progress --auto-close --no-cancel --width 400 --text="$1"

jueves, 1 de septiembre de 2016

Steam crashing in Openmandriva LX 3.0? Try this solution

I have been using Openmandriva LX 3.0 for some time now and I am very happy with it.  Since I installed it, this distro has fulfilled most of my requirements as a non-technical Linux user.

I did find a big problem, though.  The Steam client refused to work, complaining about Steam runtime not working and missing dependencies.  Even when I located the missing dependencies, nothing worked.

Yes, I know that some would call this a show-stopper.  However, I decided to go to the forums to ask for help.  The community is the power of Linux.

My cry for help was received promptly and courteously.  They suggested me to file a bug, and so I did.

Today, I got a response with the solution.  Now, Steam is working again!  This is how you do it (thanks to drosdeck for the help):
  1. First, one has to make hidden files visible. Open Dolphin and go to the menu View.  Check the box "Hidden files".
  2. Go to the hidden folder .local.  Once inside of it, move to "share" and "Steam".
  3. Locate the file steam.sh and right click on it.  From the pop up menu, select Open with / Kwrite (root).
  4. The system is going to ask you for your root password.  Type it and Kwrite will display the contents of the file.
  5. Use the menu Edit and select Find from the drop down menu. In the search space, type tar -- 
  6. You will be taken to a section that reads:
    >tar --blocking-factor=${BF} --checkpoint=1
    >--checkpoint-action='exec=echo $TAR_CHECKPOINT' -xf "$2" -C "$3" | zenity
    >--progress --auto-close --no-cancel --width 400 --text="$1"
  7. Carefully delete the above section and paste this instead:
    >tar --blocking-factor=${BF}  -xf "$2" -C "$3" |
    >zenity --progress --auto-close --no-cancel --width 400 --text="$1"
  8. Click on the icon Save and close the program.  That is all.  If the problem you had with Steam was like mine, the client should be working now. 
Big thanks to the guys at Openmandriva for taking the time to help me with this.  You all rock!

lunes, 15 de agosto de 2016

So long, Firefox Hello!

After updating my PCLinuxOS install, I noticed that the icon of Firefox Hello had changed: it was read and displayed a message reading "Error!"

I thought it was a simply login failure, so I logged in and the icon went green, as normal.  However, I noticed that Hello did not display the "Start a conversation" window, but one that read "browse this page with a friend".

A bit confused, I called Megatotoro, who read this statement from Mozilla to me.  Apparently, I had missed the fact that Mozilla is discontinuing Hello starting from Firefox 49.  Current Firefox version is 48, so...

Although I did not use the functionality much, I consider that it was convenient and had a lot of potential, in particular when users do not want to use Microsoft's Skype, Google's Handouts, or Facebook chat, I guess.

Mozilla, in its brief statement, thanks Hello supporters and points them to other providers:

"Here are a few alternatives to Hello. We hope you’ll find one you’ll like:
  • Talky: Provides both video and screen sharing using WebRTC.
  • Cisco Spark: Create rooms for video calling, group messaging and sharing.
  • Appear.in: Group video calling for up to eight people.
  • Jitsi Meet: Group video calling and screen sharing using WebRTC"
I visited the links to Talky, Cisco Spark, and Jitsi Meet, but saw nothing.  Appear.in looked interesting, though.  I will give it a try soon, but one question bothers me... I have seen many other instances in which a service is free and, as soon as a sizable user base is acquired, they start charging for whatever service they were giving.

I fear this will be the future of this interesting WebRTC technologies...

domingo, 14 de agosto de 2016

How to type in Japanese in OpenMandriva Lx 3.0

OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 comes with built in Japanese support via Fcitx, the Input Method Editor (IME).   You can see Fcitx on the task bar (it is a keyboard icon).  However, you cannot type in Japanese until you activate it.

Fcitx's icon

To activate Japanese IME in OpenMandriva Lx 3.0, you first need to get Anthy from the repos using OMCC.

/Once Anthy is installed, open the Fcitx configuration application by typing "input" on the search field of the KickOff menu:

Once there, deactivate the box "Only show current language."  This action will show all the available languages.  Locate entries for "Japanese" and select Anthy.  Click on the arrow pointing to the right to add Anthy as an alternative input method.

Then click "Apply" and "OK" to leave.  That is all.

On the task bar, locate the keyboard icon (Fcitx) and right click on it.  Follow the menu to select "Input Method" and select Anthy.

You will see that the keyboard icon changes to Anthy's icon.

Now you can type in Japanese on LibreOffice Writer.  :)

sábado, 13 de agosto de 2016

OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 on my laptop

Before anything else, let me just say upfront that this is not a technical review.  I am a non-technical Linux user, so what I say here comes exclusively from the perspective of someone who, without understanding much about what is under the hood, appreciates Linux for the smooth ride that it provides.

My previous OpenMandriva Lx 2014 install
My old OpenMandriva Lx 2014. x install was working perfectly: it made the ZaReason Strata laptop work efficiently.   It also looked beautiful, with the four different wallpapers on each workspace, the Ghost KDE theme, and the Cairo dock.  The only problem I had with this system was that I could never manage to make it type in Japanese (I tried SCIM and iBUS to no effect).

Using ROSA Image Writer, I copied the ISO to an USB drive and went to adventure land, installing OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 twice on the same machine, first keeping the home partition of my previous OpenMandriva  and then a clean install.

Now, after I installed OpenMandriva Lx 3.0, this is what I noticed:

  1. The installation is fast!  I knew that some Linux OSs can install quickly (Mx took like 5 minutes), but I consider that completing all the process in less than 15 minutes is not bad at all.  And it was very simple, too.  The most complicated part was, as usual, partitioning, but that is because my  laptop is a heptaboot.
  2. It is best to do a clean install.  Although it was convenient to have all the files
    Visual problems
    and most of the settings there after the installation, I noticed several visual problems with Firefox.  There were unreadable message windows and elements were not properly located. These problems disappeared after I performed a clean install, so they were caused probably by previous settings overlap.
  3. With Plasma 5, you must say good-bye to certain aesthetic preferences.  We already know that the KDE team eliminated the possibility of having an independent wallpaper on each workspace, which is a big disappointment.  However, I also saw that the Ghost theme is not working.  Well, one must compromise here with Plasma 5.  You lose some, win some.  But what exactly have I won?
  4. OpenMandriva now comes with Japanese input support.  Sort of.  There is a
    mysterious keyboard icon on the task bar.  It turns out that it is Fcitx, an IME. 
    With it, one can, in theory, input Japanese characters.  However, I have not managed to make it work, except with a virtual keyboard with kana symbols.  I tried to install iBus, but could not manage to make it work. UPDATE :  Fcitx works perfectly!  I just had to learn how to use it. Here is a tutorial I wrote to that effect.

I am keeping OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 for sure.  In general, I must say that I like the OS and, what I do not like about it is related to my very own Plasma 5 aversion instead of something particular to the OS.  I mean, the OS picked up the wi-fi with no problems, the sound works, effects are working, I saw no crashes, and speed feels good.  Kudos to the OpenMandriva team: their work is awesome.  Of course, I must test other areas; for instance, I need to assess how the OS works with games.  So, my next post will be about that, I guess. 
My new OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 desktop.  Yay!

The truth is out there... and so is OpenMandriva Lx 3.0!

The wait is over for those of us who appreciate the hard work of the developers at OpenMandriva: today, this blog announces that the new release is ready!

OpenMandriva Lx 3 comes with KDE Plasma 5.6.5, three launchers (Kickoff, Kicker, and a full screen one) and F2FS support for SDDs.

I am presently downloading the ISO to install it to my machine.  I really want  to see how the new release of this beautiful Linux distro behaves.

In the meantime, the brand new site of OpenMandriva has a download link and more info.

Congratulations to all those who participated to bring OpenMandriva Lx 3 unto the world!

jueves, 11 de agosto de 2016

My experiment with Insync

Some months ago, I decided to give the cloud a chance.  I have been very critical of cloud services because I know that major cloud service providers give you some free space in exchange of a bit of your soul.

Well, I may be exaggerating there, but they do capitalize on your information somehow and that, along with security concerns, kept me out of the cloud.

However, I decided that since I already own an Android phone, which connects me to Google drive, I could use the service to see how it worked.

Now, the idea of having cloud storage is to be able to synchronize my files and to be able to access them from my desktop, laptop, and phone. Connecting the desktop in my office would be great, too.

On Linux, one can use the console to do something like that.  However, since Google does not release a GUI client of Google Drive, I wanted to check a GUI version and the best one I found was Insync.

This is not a free service.  They offer you a 15 day trial and then, if you like what they do, you pay a plan and you can install the program in as many machines as you want.

So I tried out their service.

In my humble opinion, their program worked as a charm: the interface was intuitive, the synchronization of the single folder I selected was flawless, and the access from both Mageia and OpenMandriva was perfect from different machines. I was very impressed, but I was not considering to pay despite I found the pricing reasonable.  My problem was my own cloud aversion.

My initial thought was to uninstall the program once the trial period was over and move on with my life, once again forgetting about the cloud. However, something unexpected happened: after a week of using the program, I received an email from an Insync representative who identified herself as Janine. It was a short follow up message reminding me that, if I needed help, they were ready to support me.  One week later, she wrote another one reminding me of the end of the trial.

I must say that those emails were different from emails one regularly gets from a company.  They were professionally written but, besides being the most courteous messages I have received from a company in my life, they had this human flavor to them...

Even so, I did not upgrade.  I expected that to be the last I was going to hear from Insync, but I received one more email.  This one blew my mind.  It was Janine again offering more trial time or support if I did not upgrade on account of a problem or if the service failed meet my expectations.  If the problem was pricing, she also had an offer to cover for that.

With that email, this company made me feel like a valued customer.  I replied thanking for their awesome service and paid my Insync plus for consumers plan ($25).

Now I run the program from Mageia and OpenMandriva, both from desktop/laptops, and my "cloudophobia" is diminishing.  In fact, I have found the service very useful.

lunes, 27 de junio de 2016

New Releases!

According to this post, the second beta of OpenMandriva Lx 3 is ready.

I am curious to see what the new release will bring.  Like I said before, I personally do not like Plasma 5, but we will see.

I did not know that K3b did not work with Plasma 5.  It is good that program is now available.

Oh, and there is a new AntiX in town, too!  Code Named Berta Cáceres, AntiX 16 is ready to be downloaded.

martes, 14 de junio de 2016

Windows 10 killed it; Linux saved it: A netbook that came back

I really admire people that invest their time and effort trying to help children overcome obstacles in life, like Ken Staks, who fixes computers to donate them to students.

I wish I could do that one day, but I lack the technical skills and knowledge to save hardware.  However, thanks to Linux, I discovered that machines that Windows claims are dead can be rescued.

A student of mine brought me an Acer Inspire One netbook that he really needs for his academic work.  The netbook has only 1GB RAM, so its original Windows XP OS was making it too slow.  Trusting Microsoft's words, he went ahead and tried to upgrade it to Windows 10.  Yes, that was a big mistake.

The tiny netbook, of course, was lost in what we can call the computer equivalent to a coma.  Apparently, he attempted to revert the process only to discover that the Windows 10 logo simply wanted to stay as the perpetual image on the screen.

So, I took the machine with me and ran the Mageia 5 i586 install DVD.  Apparently, Windows 10 butchered the MBR.  I had to wipe out everything.  The process was a bit slow thanks to the low specs of the netbook but, eventually, the install was complete and it was time to test the computer.

I had decided to use a LXDE DE assuming that it was going to be better.  However, the netbook would go into hibernation by itself after a minute of use.

With my own doubts, I attempted a KDE install next.  Despite it was a long process, the netbook came to life. Of course, the machine is a bit slow, but, with the exception of the webcam, everything seems to be fully operational.

My student can now use it.  Just on time, too.  The term is about to finish and there are essays to write.

sábado, 11 de junio de 2016

Let's wait a bit longer

I recently learned that the guys at Openmandriva camp are working hard and are going to release a release candidate soon.

Mageia is doing the same.  That means that two of my favorite distros will have a new version to offer.

What makes me uneasy is KDE 5. I am not a big fan of this desktop environment.

Oh, and I read yesterday that PCLOS is releasing a new iso... also with KDE 5!  My reaction was that of Julius Caesar: "Et tu, PCLOS! Then, fall, Mechatotoro!"

But the PCLOS devs understand that not everyone is crazy about KDE 5, so they kindly and wisely state that "you can keep your KDE 4 if you want to because nobody is going to force you to use KDE 5."

That's good news.

There's nothing worse that being forced-fed something you do not want.  Ask Windows users about it; they have plenty of experience... :p

sábado, 30 de abril de 2016

An experiment that became a six-year journey

Tomorrow is the sixth anniversary of this blog.

How would have thought that the bold decision that I made one day to keep Linux as the OS of the first netbook I bought was going to bring me this far?

I became a Linux user without any knowledge of this OS.  I installed it and made many mistakes, but I was determined to learn.

Six years already!
I kept this blog to record my steps along this journey.

What has changed since I started?

To begin with, I would say that Linux has become a lot easier to install. I mean, one needs less tinkering to have it ready for show-time.  For example, I installed yesterday OpenMandriva to a laptop that had an unusable Windows.  The distro picked up everything and, to my surprise, charged the battery, with Windows claimed was dead.

I hope I get enough material to post entries, hehe!

viernes, 29 de abril de 2016

April is almost gone

This month brought several bittersweet surprises to me.

The first one was that I could see the slow death of Firefox OS on phones.  The marketplace lost two of the most significant apps: Loqui IM and OpenWapp, both which provided a way to  use Whatsapp on the platform.

The second one was the release of pre-release isos of Mageia 6 and OpenMandriva Lx 3.  I must say that both distros are doing a great job; the systems performed so well that they did not seem beta versions to me.

I did not like Plasma 5, though...  I am sure the KDE team is doing a great work, but I truly do not see what the point of this tablet-ready interface is.  After all, KDE missed the tablet train (the Vivaldi tablet never saw the light of the day) and tablets are already in decline...

Last, Yahoo's struggle seemed to have reached my mailbox with its readiness: messages urging me to connect a Hotmail account to my Yahoo account, hotmail-sent messages from my students went to the twilight zone...

Boy... some months do not come gently on us.

jueves, 7 de abril de 2016

OpenMandriva Lx 3 is coming!

A new beta is available.

This release also includes plasma 5...

OK, I need to download the .iso to see how it behaves.

sábado, 26 de marzo de 2016

Mageia 6 is coming

After a while with no news about Mageia, it seems that Mageia 6 is on its way.

According to this article, a developer ISO has hit the mirrors. It is a 4 Gb install DVD, so I will download it tonight to give it a quick run.

jueves, 17 de marzo de 2016

Upgrading to Mageia 5

I had forgotten to upgrade one of the laptops to Mageia 5. 

To be honest, today I was postponing the upgrade because the machine, a rather old Toshiba Satellite which, oh horror, came with Windows VISTA preloaded, put up a fight when I installed Mageia 2 to it.

I normally perform a clean install, but this time I wanted to see if the upgrade feature in Mageia had evolved to tackle this task as it should.

It was pleasant to see how the upgrade was smooth and fast and, more importantly, the laptop was fully operational afterwards.

Good job, Mageia devs!

sábado, 20 de febrero de 2016

Experimenting with Hardware

My desktop work station is an aging AMD system that I bought maybe four or five years ago.  With 2GB of RAM and a 250GB HD, it has been working and helping me despite KDE 4 seems to be way to heavy.

The other desktop computer in my house, a 500GB HD, 4GB RAM failed...Again!  Since I bought it, this system has been acting up, prompting me to send it to the repair shop at least once a year.

I am not sure what the problem was but, encouraged by my successful migration to Linux, I decided to venture-- for the first time-- into the unexplored world of hardware.

So, I opened the two boxes to put into my faithful AMD desktop some additional goodies, courtesy of the problematic box: a 2GB RAM, a new DVD writer, and (of course), a second HD.

The black box ready for transplant

For someone who has never opened a desktop to mess up with real hardware, the project was way too ambitious.

Yes, I can admit I was worried.  Perhaps my Swiss Army knife knows more about computer hardware than I do.

So, armed with the Swiss Army knife, a vague idea of what I wanted, and a million doubts, I started the operation.

Fortunately, the components were similar.  Nothing showed resistance.

Nevertheless, when I put back the power, screen, mouse, and keyboard cables, I was literally afraid.  I pushed the power button as if it were the detonator of a bomb.

The computer turned on with absolute disregard of my fears.  After pretty much the same lines that Linux shows upon start, my familiar GRUB2 greeted me, asking if I wanted to boot Mageia, PCLinuxOS, OpenMandriva, or Windows XP (the OS that I haven't booted in maybe three years).

I chose Mageia and the OS worked normally... only it felt snappier.  I checked and the additional 2GB of RAM were recognized.

I tested the optical media unit and it was working.  And the files on the other hard drive were accessible, too.

Despite all of my fears, my first hardware operation was a complete success!

Of course, in full honesty, Isay that Linux made it easy.  I cannot imagine doing the same and then hunting for drivers, licenses, and what not ....

I wonder if Windows XP will be able to boot at all now...

UPDATE:  PCLinuxOS and OpenMandriva also boot normally.  Windows XP also started normally, but failed to see the second hard drive.

lunes, 15 de febrero de 2016

Playing on OpenMandriva LX 2014.2

I reinstalled OpenMandriva LX 2014.2 today.  Last time I did, I had some problems updating: many packages were not found but, even so, I proceeded with the upgrading.

The OS was working perfectly except for the performance of games on Steam.

Today, I followed what I learned yesterday and, when I hit the first problem, I stopped the update and deleted all the repos. Then, I retrieved them again (they were marked as phosphorous 2014.0, which I believe was the previous version), but the update went on smoothly and I got the most recent packages, like Firefox 44.

With that, my problems with Steam disappeared: the games that I play are working perfectly now, yay!

But the best part is that I can now play Never Alone Kisima Ingitshuna, one of the most beautiful and enlightening games I have seen.  As the official site states about the game:

"Inspired by the rich art and imagery of Alaska Native cultures, Never Alone brings the atmospheric and compelling world of Iñupiaq stories alive."

As you play, you can learn about Alaska Native cultures, which is simply AMAZING.

domingo, 14 de febrero de 2016

Sound problems in Mageia 5

Long time ago, I experienced a problem with the sound in Mageia 5. Some videos would play without sound after I applied an update.

Back then, I discovered the problem was caused because ffmpeg had been updated but, I never found out why, the tainted repository did not pick up the correct package, so I was using the common ffmpeg package, not the tainted version that allows me to play sound for the videos.

I fixed the problem but forgot to write how I did it.

Last week, the same problem hit my Mageia install.  On my laptop, I fixed it the painful way: I located the package and the dependencies online and installed them one by one.

However, I remembered that was not the way I had fixed the situation before.  

It was quite simple.  All you have to do is open Mageia control center and delete all repos.  Then, you retrieve them again and, voila!  You will see that the tainted ffmpeg version is available.

viernes, 29 de enero de 2016

Three changes in January 2016

This month is almost over and I can see that three changes have marked my relationship with technology.

1.  Android
After Mozilla announced that Firefox OS phones were history, I retired my well-loved Alcatel Fire C and bought a Blu Studio 5 C+C.  This turned me into another Android user.  The transition was painless (if I do not count the heartache that I felt).  The most difficult part was adjusting to the bigger unit.

2.  Amazon Kindle Fire
I bought this device two years ago, but never actually liked it.  The fact that it had a battery problem did not help: the unit had to be plugged to operate or it would quickly turn off.
However, I watched a video in YouTube and discovered that the battery had a loose connector.  Once fixed, using the Kindle has been better.  I still hate the whole concept (like the limitations to lend books and own content), but I must admit that the voice reading and sync with Linux PC and Android phone are truly useful.

3.  ISP Switch
I was simply fed up with my former ISP.  Not only was this company providing zero support for Linux, but it was also charging me an abusive price. To make matters worse, I couldn't even upload files larger than 142KB!
So I dropped the company and found another ISP that charges me a cheaper price for four times the download speed... and they do not brush off their responsibility because my machines run on Linux.

All this makes me think that 2016 is going to be a year full of change.

domingo, 17 de enero de 2016

Hello, Blu-ray Disc Player

My DVD player finally died, so I finally gave in and bought a Blu-ray Disc player.

I bought a really cheap model, a Samsung BD-F5100.

 This is a small unit, but you can connect it to your router (with a net cable) and to your TV with an HDMI cable.

That lets me play YouTube videos for my daughter without a fancy TV and with no need of the laptop.

It was a good deal.

sábado, 16 de enero de 2016

We Support Linux! (Maybe)

I have been receiving emails from a company that sells tablets and computers.  They are trying to establish a foothold in the university where I work with their products.  The problem is that they want me to buy a windows tablet.

I have a Tux plush!  Of course we support Linux!
Of course, I wrote back telling them that I have no interest on a windows tablet, but asked them to send information on tablets running Linux.  I told them that I know that companies are happy to void the warranty if one wipes out windows to replace it with Linux and that, if they sell a no-OS system, then they provide no support at all.

To my surprise, I got a reply from a representative assuring me that they were different and that they preloaded nothing unless I told them to do so and that they fully supported Linux.  This person even said that the warranty was not affected.

I inquired more only to find out that what the company actually does is to sell you a no-OS tablet and Linux can run on their hardware.  They do not preload Linux (although they do preload several versions of windows) and they have drivers available.  Oh, they can also save your "image" once you have succeeded installing and configuring Linux.

And they call that "supporting Linux"?

Of course, I dismissed the offer as a selling trick, just like the one a cable was pulling on my mother so that she dropped her ISP (which ACTUALLY supports her Pardus Linux install) and switched to them.

"But now WE also support Linux!", the guy said with a smile.

Fortunately, my mother asked them the killing question:  "Which distribution?"

The smile vanished and the guy showed that it was all trickery.

Steam client crash in OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Fixed!

After fixing some boot problems (due to a careless update of another OS), I discovered that Steam is now working in OpenMandriva 4.1. Grea...