I'm a masochist. No, not of the sexual variety. Of the slashdot variety. For some reason, not only do I still continue to read this site, I click on links to stories about cars and phones. The raging stupidity and arrogance is amazing.
And yet I come back.
So I was reading xkcd and it made me think about
My main social group these days revolves around a 4X game on facebook that a coworker got me to try out. I think I honestly crave the anonymity of the old days (like
Feeling really nostalgic right now though. Can still remember many of the old Circle posters usernames off the top of my head and I have a terrible memory for names...
You even might find someone like that, and if you do, it's someone with a lot of time on their hands like a student with not much experience.
What those ideas (if I get to hear them) all have in common is that they need infrastructure behind it. Uploading pictures, movies, heck, even simple text need a place to be stored. That's definitely not your phone, especially if others need to be able to access it. Yeah, you can start off with hosting a little database and web front end on your DSL line (if you have one), but in the long run this will require some serious money. I'm not even talking about the people managing and creating it for you. I'm just talking about bandwidth, storage, electricity.
So, if you have an app idea, assess where you want to store what: if you have no concrete answers to those questions, shelve your idea until you do.. An app is nothing magical, it requires real resources, real work and thus real money.
Intro: I was complaining on social networks that the LuxTrust hardware tokens are forced upon all teachers in my country. That's a huge problem because I got my mother in law on Linux and this thing is very very badly supported. Officially the website say "Ubuntu 10.04" supported. Funnily enough, their website also doesn't mention Windows 8 as supported. Anyway, they're a useless company in my eyes... I wish them the most ill possible.
Here is my little test run:
So, I decided to test the LuxTrust support under Ubuntu GNU/Linux 12.04 LTS i686. I installed a virtual machine from the ISO, and from that blank slate, I wanted to try how "easy" this is. Well, there you go, I downloaded their "middleware".
The good news: Ubuntu Software center presented it as installable and it installed it without apparently problems after clicking the Install. Good! If this were enough, I'd say "it's supported". Let's test it. So, I go to CCP-Connect, one of the few banks known to work well with LuxTrust under Linux. The thing needs Java, and I as expected, and I don't have it installed. I get redirected, at once to http://www.oracle.com/java. The sheer number of options is intimidating. If I weren't very familiar with Java, I wouldn't have a clue what to select. Now, this might be P&T Luxembourg doing it wrong, but the site you should send end-users to is http://www.java.com/. Never send an end-user to a developer site, it's a horrible mistake.
Anyway, I do what is needed and surprise, there is no Oracle Java for Ubuntu. A RPM and a tar.gz. Now, if I weren't who I am, I would be blocked again. So, I download the tar.gz and I'll be honest to you, dropped right to the command line, tar zxvf later to
Now, going back to the banking site, it seems to run. I get to the point where I have to select their product and then a screen saying there is no signing stick. (Obviously, I don't have one.)
For kicks 'n giggles, I tried OpenJDK/JRE with the icedtea plugin. No surprise, but that doesn't work: gray pane instead of the applet, but other java applets works fine. So, Oracle Java mandatory. Heck, even Minecraft runs op OpenJDK for crying out loud!
At least their middleware didn't install some kind of daemon, which I what I would have expected with something called "Middleware".
Funny also: The Oracle Java VM warns you from running applets all the time, even the test applet on the java.com site. Scary. Well, not to me, but to a normal end user.
 i686 for a good reason, from what I read getting it to run is significantly harder on amd64.
 I knew that it wasn't going to work
 Wait, isn't that what dependencies are for... Naaaah, dependencies. Who uses that?
 Not really, I've been here before
 Probably better use update-alternatives for that one too!
Does anything around here work anymore? I go to the zoo.pl page (uid changed to mine to protect the guilty) to try to change friend/foe/neutral status, and I get:
The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.
Please contact the server administrator, email@example.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.
More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
Apache/2.2.3 (CentOS) Server at slashdot.org Port 80
I have to click in three different places to find the right link to let me do a JE.
I was gonna give a laundry list, but fuck it, it's just pissing in the wind. I figure Dice was able to buy it for, what, the price of one week of coffee at Starbucks?
Unable to help on that front, he asked if he could read his email. Naively, I said, of course you can! So, I set up his (national, very standard) ISP email address. Well, I followed the wizard. Big mistake, I ended up on POP3, which of course is a standard that should have been banned years ago. Damn, I hope you didn't have important emails. I set it up again as IMAP. Works fine, really... Except it doesn't show any email. None... I specifically sent email to him. Shows nothing... I assure you, the settings are correct. I used the same as those, I used on his iPhone. Besides, they do show on his iPhone
No way to make it work. On a related note: the POP3 did not delete his email from server. At least that was good.
Then, I want to show him to install apps (Despite me hating the word). Choice between the Samsung App Store, which most likely works but you want the Google store. So, Google Play. Okay, do you have a Google account? No... Ah, no problem, let's set one up. I follow the wizard, up until it asks for a secondary email for "lost password" situations. I could type in whatever I wanted, but the "Next" button never got enabled, stopping me right in the track to create the account.
Yes, I know, I could just go to a computer, create him a Google account and be done with it. Still, isn't this simply a scandalous bug?
So, I try to help and end up having I to explain that tablet browsers are second-class internet citizens (a site he uses failed to work. How do you explain that to a non tech, eh? Nothing I did worked as expected and I'm supposed to know what I do.
Okay, I might simply have become obsolete and have become unable to troubleshoot modern devices. Perhaps it's a hint I should stay in my basement with my servers and "real" computers. I don't know... It must be me. Everyone loves their Android tablets....
Crazy war stories, indeed.
I feel old, guys. I feel like the old man sysadmin with the Unix Beard and suspenders (which I continually think of as a halloween costume, less and less ironically). My coworkers are all... what would have been slashdotters had they not found digg or reddit, or whatever it was.
These are "kids" who grew up with linux. (They're all 30.) But they don't have the base knowledge that I expect them to have. They only know bash. They mostly know Ubuntu and Red Hat, although the one 'sysadmin' type dude knows virtual machines with Xen, and seems to know what he's doing most of the time.
I figured I'd pick up python, because I ordered a raspberry pi, and it seems that's what all the cool kids are doing. (I get along fine with shell and perl for most of whatever it is I do around here.) The advice I got from one of my coworkers was that I should "uninstall the IDE." IDE? For python? Seriously? It's interpreted, you use a goddamned text editor. Apparently that's one of the 'tips' from "Learning Python the Hard Way." (I'm reading Programming Python on my nook, FWIW. And I'm already yelling at it, as the examples are how to create a database from your filesystem with pickle, because seriously, if you're managing peoples' salaries, you don't want your data in flat files, or necessarily in a readable format to your other employees. But that's my cross to bear.)
When I got home, I started ranting about that to the Benny. Frothing at the mouth kind of ranting like I used to be able to do. Who uses a goddamned IDE for an interpreted language!? There's no "I" for your "DE". When you're writing C, in a complex environment, sure. When you're writing Obj-C for your iPhone app of the year, fine. You have libraries, you have interdependencies, you have reasons to have a debugger and a compiler. Python is interpreted. There's no need for these things.
Goddamned kids these days. In my day, we had emacs and vi, and flamewars about both. There was no IDE for writing shell scripts. There was no IDE for perl. There wasn't even really decent tab completion! We used 'more' instead of 'less'. We knew how to pipe things to awk and grep. We used which instead of locate. And we liked it, damnit!
I'm running OpenNMS on Ubuntu at work, using vi (technically vim) to edit all the xml files and java.properties style files. I don't run KDE, Gnome, or any other desktop on the damned thing. It's a server, for pete's sake. Not that it's lacking RAM or CPU for me to run that, but because I'm old, and old-school. Some of my coworkers (and I use that word loosely, as I'm a department of one) run linux on the desktop
Today, I had the most peculiar experience. A (female, and pregnant, but that has no importance at all for this story) cousin of mine complained on Facebook about a virus infection on her Windows machine (I assume Vista, but I actually didn't bother to ask). Locked out by one of these ransom viruses. Worst part is that she did have an up-to-date antivirus sponsored by the Bank where here partner works.
I don't mind helping, but -of course- my first comment was. "Drop that crap OS and go to ubuntu.com and get a real operating system". I NEVER expected her to actually do that. Well, she jumped on the occasion. She was also very happy to hear what a live CD is and that she could recover her data from her current installation using the LiveCD and copy it to a USB disk. So, she managed to burn the ISO, boot to it, copy her data and install the whole thing. Basically without me helping except saying that it could be done. I also explained what dual booting was and she could do that.
She asked me one question: Why do you use Windows? My reply was: I don't, unless I want to play games (the non-Flash variants. I illustrated Flash games with FarmVille). The tipped her over: She'd go full Linux.
I was completely baffled... You have to imagine the frustration Windows had to put on her so that she would try something completely unknown, just because I say I use it.
First reactions were: Hey, this thing already has Firefox,,Thunderbird and an Office suite. Wow, I have four workspaces (she means virtual desktops). She found Ubuntu Cloud (5GB seems a lot to her, I wonder where else she has been?) and -while not Ubuntu specific- I explained her what Firefox Sync is. She also seemed to like the idea of the Software Store (I compared it to Apples App Store, I know not the same, but she has to understand what it is) and steered her to installing ubuntu-restricted-extras and explained it was to install Flash and similar.
Linux on the desktop... Yes, it can be done... She is non-IT, perhaps a bit geeky, but definitely non-IT.
My decision to rip all of my audio losslessly to FLAC has been vindicated. I rip to Vorbis as well, but I always thought it was worth having the lossless originals around too. That way, if a new codec arrived on the scene at a later date, I could rerip to that without any further loss of quality. That codec is now here. Hello, Opus!
Thanks to whoever burned five.