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Journal Journal: I Will Return 5

Next week my wife is in Antalya for a conference. The day after she gets back I fly to Manila. I start by going backwards - which I usually try to avoid but it was impossible this time. I go to Amsterdam, then to Tapei and finally I will arrive in Manila. The upside, I guess, is that Schipol is a nice airport. Not as nice as Munich International, but nice.
My schedule there is 3 days of meetings, a day off and 3 more days of meetings. The day off we are touring Corregidor and I'm really looking forward to that. I've been to PI quite a few times back in the day when I was a trusty shellback and what not. I flew into Manila when I was just out of boot and on my way to my first command. Didn't really see any of the city though. We arrived late at night and they put us on a bus out to Subic. Should be nice. Nice and hot anyway. I'll be going from highs around 10 (admittedly warm for this time of year) to highs around 30. Between that and the humidity I'm gonna be looking forward to getting home as far as the weather goes. A little practice for when we are in Phoenix this summer.
After I get back from Manila I'm home for a few weeks and then I head back to Moscow. I come back from there to Hungary but instead of going home I'll be working at a conference in VisegrÃd. I'm giving presentations on some new mobile tools that we are rolling out this year. It's a nice place but I'll be glad when that is done and I'm back home in my own bed. My sweet, sweet American king size bed that sits up on a frame and box springs. I do love Europe so much but not the beds as often.
I've heard - just heard - that there is a way as an American to get a 3 year, multiple entry tourist visa for Russia. I'll be looking into that this summer. That's the only pain to going. Wizzair makes Moscow close and cheap. It's getting the visa that makes it a hassle. I get a visa like that I could just about pop over there whenever the mood hit me. When I wrap up the stuff I'm doing at the Moscow office I really want to get up to our office in St. Petersburg.
I finished up the Coursera Android course and I pick up my new Macbook pro when I'm in Manila. Then I'll start working on learning iOS development.
Oh - that brings me around to an interesting and tech related thing. I have enjoyed using Android Studio which is built on JetBrains stuff. And last year-ish (2012 maybe even?) I bought licenses for some of there stuff when they did this crazy sale. I'm looking at doing a lot more dev myself - html/js/css stuff, java, php - all kinds of junk. So I figured I'd see about just renewing the license on IntelliJ. The problem is their options just didn't work for me. $100 to renew a personal license is a little steep. I could reimburse it but then it's a commercial license and that's triple. They have a free license for FOSS projects but honestly while I slap open licenses on the stuff I do, none of it meets their criteria for community involvement. I'm not a student either. So I'll be going with other options. Maybe Eclipse

User Journal

Journal Journal: Bosch 5

When we moved to Hungary we had to buy appliances as Europeans believe in big power. And I wouldn't want to have shipped stuff like that anyway. We bought a refrigerator from Bosch because we figured it would be high quality.
The compressor on it died the 28th of December. We called out a guy and he informed us that he could replace it for about $250 or we could have it done under warranty. We thanked him and called the warranty people. They came out and told us it would take a week to get the new part. That week turned into two. Finally a guy came out to install it. We were done.
That night it died. I think he put it in wrong but I'm not sure. Either way I had to call them back out. They new guy that came said the new compressor was "kaput" and that it would take a week to get one. That was last Tuesday. They are supposed to come put it in tomorrow. So we are coming up on real close to a month.
I don't think I'll be buying one of their products again after this.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Setting up my AndroidStudio project on GitHub 4

I started a project to do my homework for the week in the Android class I'm taking. I've been doing the bulk of my work on a desktop machine in my office. This week-end I also set up a dev environment on my Fedora laptop at home. I don't want to have to monkey with copying files and carrying them back and forth so today I set up a GitHub repo so that I could use it to keep things in sync.

I'm no git expert. In the past what I've done is create a project in github with a couple pieces in place. Then I pull that down to a directory on my machine, add the files I need and then push all that back up.

Today I took a little bit of a different approach. I created the project. Then in bash I went to the root directory of the project and set things up. It took me a minute to get it all figured out. The git reference on remotes was a huge help. There is also the JetBrains documentation on git with IntelliJ which is what Android studio is built on.

For my own reference - once I got the project built I needed to add everything. First I went to github and made a repo - but I made it empty, not like I usually do. Then I went to the root of my project in bash.

git add .

and then make an initial commit

git commit -m 'initial commit'

I set up the remote

git remote add origin https://github.com/bittercode/learnandplay.git (bittercode is my github user name and learnandplay is the name of the repo I set up.)

Then I pushed the code to the remote

git push -u origin master

And that put it all up at github. Now I should be able to go home and pull it all down there. I also set up AndroidStudio so that it now handles all the git stuff. When I created a new activity it asked me about adding them to git - so I just said that it should default to yes and now I'm on the fast track to happy days.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Semicolons 9

Almost all the coding I've done in the last couple years or so was in Python.

I finished my first homework assignment for my Android class and started the second. The first required zero programming and the only files I edited were xml. For the second assignment I'm doing something a little more ambitious and actually writing a little Java. Stinking semicolons. I keep forgetting those little buggers.

I mentioned the IDE thing - holy cow have they gotten more useful. When I want to use some library I just start typing in what I want in the code and a quick keystroke automagically adds the import. Good gravy. The UI editor - if I add a hard coded string - a couple mouse clicks and it generates the necessary entry in the strings.xml file for me. I don't even have to go look at it. It's weird. It takes me back to my old VB 6.0 days.

On the up side with the semicolon - at least I use a US keyboard. On the Hungarian keyboard it requires using ctrl+alt along with another key.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Android Studio/Eclipse Retraction 3

I wrote yesterday about my issues with Android Studio and that I was using Eclipse instead. I wrote too quickly.

Apparently there are some bugs with Eclplise, ADT and Fedora 20 maybe KDE is a part of it too. Anyway I can't keep it going and Eclipse crashes regularly and quickly. This made me go back and look at my issue with Android Studio. An error in the text I used for a text box on one of my layouts was the issue behind it locking up. I had to run the app from the console to figure this out and then fixed the text with Kate and I'm back in gear.

I started the class late so I've been playing catchup. So I don't have time to dig any deeper right now on the Eclipse issues. I've got the first little app mostly done and now I'm working on the second. They are due in five days. After that if I have time I'll keep poking at Eclipse to see if I can find the issue.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Android Studio: The Early Days

Android Studio is still in beta and obviously not a finished product. This should not be news to anyone. I am currently participating in the Creative, Serious and Playful Science of Android Apps course at Coursera. I'm really enjoying it. Professor Angrave does a great job with the lectures and it is completely practical. I've taken a few jabs at getting started with creating something for Android but I believe this will get me further than any of those false starts.
He uses Eclipse in the lectures but I figured I would use Android Studio. They are close enough that I was able to keep up just fine. But today, trying to complete the first homework assignment, I ran into so much trouble that I switched over to Eclipse myself. The IDE kept hanging up and wouldn't come unstuck. I killed it and restarted it. No joy. I killed it, logged out, logged back in and restarted it - still stuck. I've got to get a couple little things done by the twelfth and that was it.
Plus, as I watched the lectures it was apparent that the Eclipse environment is just a lot further along in a lot of respects. This makes sense. I'll keep checking in on Android Studio over time and if Google puts any effort into it at all I think it will become the best tool for Android development but right now it's too bumpy.
I've got some ideas for stuff that I plan to make. If I get anywhere with any of it - I'll post about it here of course.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Buying a Mac, Pictionary 9

I've mentioned it in conversation. I've been going back and forth in my mind on what I would do. I need a new laptop. My old travelling laptop, an Acer, still runs fine but it is incredibly slow and takes forever to start. At the time I purchased it, this was not a big deal. There were a few primary concerns back then. One was battery life and the other was size. I was on long flights a lot and I wanted something that would let me make better use of that time. The Acer was perfect and the fact that it was very inexpensive was a huge bonus. I knew it would be slow but that really didn't matter. Most of those trips were to conferences that I was putting on. I'd boot up every morning and be plugged in and running all day. I ran presentations from it and handled email, google docs, etc.
Now my work style has changed a bit. When I'm home I don't really use my laptop much at all. It takes too long to start when I'm doing something quickly and now my phone and tablet handle most things I want to do briefly anyway. I stream a lot more video now but the little Acer can't do that well at all. When I am traveling I'm not at conferences. I'm working in national or team offices in our various countries. I'm checking networks, assisting in admin stuff for software, all kinds of things and I'm usually moving about - working with different people. The Acer just doesn't handle all that too well and my last trips to Albania and Russia I got really tired of telling people, "Just give me a few more minutes. I'm still getting my machine started."
I have had the Acer for over 4 years now so I think I got a great return on what I spent for it. And it still works, it just doesn't fit my current needs. I will probably set it up for one of my kids. It will be fine for them to use in doing homework and stuff. But what will I get to replace it? Well here is where I'm a little torn. At the same time I need a Mac. I want to be able to do some mobile development and our staff use a mix of Android and iOS phones. I can develop for Android on Linux or Windows but the iOS stuff requires an Apple machine. In my perfect world we'd just use Android but that's not reality. The reality is we have a lot of people that use a lot of Apple products.
I don't know why. I do - but I mean personally I don't get it. I don't like Apple products for the most part. My admittedly limited experiences with OSX have been unpleasant. I think it is not easy to use and the interface is rather poor and limiting. I'd much rather be using Linux. So it has not made me happy to see more and more of our staff move to Mac. As a nonprofit I hate to see us paying a premium to use what I don't think is a superior platform. And once many of our high level leaders made the jump I saw more and more people follow. So this long explanation is so that I can say - in a lot of ways it makes sense for me to get a Mac laptop. I can do the iOS work on it, I'll learn more about the Apple ecosystem so I can support others, and I'll have a machine that fits my current work better once I learn how to use it. The one thing holding me back is that I'll become another leader that leans people toward Apple.
I guess I just need to get over it. But I got wound up about it again today when I read this HN post. What this guy went through to fix his power button behavior - all the software and fixes people recommend in the HN comments to fix functionality- and yet people give me crap about Linux being too difficult. Unreal.
On an unrelated note, we had friends over for a little get together last week. One couple is Hungarian and the other Albanian. We decided to play a game. Someone (not us) suggested Pictionary. We got it out and started playing. It was horrible. We quit pretty quickly. As the only native English speakers my wife and I had a huge advantage. I've played that game many times and until this time never realized how much culture fits into it. Both other couple speak English very well but there were so many phrases and other things that made it hard for them. We switched to ticket to ride - the European version. It was a lot of fun. And now we were the ones with a very slight disadvantage. We played with each couple as a team. The other couples could each speak openly in their native languages about what they wanted to do but my wife and I could not. It was a lot of fun.
So it seems so stinking obvious but it is wild to really see it right in front of you - how much language and culture are all tied together. It would have been really interesting if we'd had someone from the UK.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Upgrading from Fedora 19 to 20 with fedup 5

I decided today was a good day to upgrade my Fedora 19 desktop machine to Fedora 20. I wasn't too worried about doing it as I finally gave up on using my Nvidia card in that box. On the intel chips everything is smooth.

The preferred method for upgrading is to use the fedup tool and there is a nice set of instructions for using fedup.

They say to read the bug report but I didn't. So that ended up costing me a little time.

I followed their instructions for installing fedup but that got me an older version not the latest. I didn't realize that and ran the thing and it worked up until it rebooted to do the actual update and then nothing happened and I was left with 19 still in place. I finally found the explanation of the problem with using fedup 0.7 and I tried following their instructions to get 0.8 but no matter what I did, yum wouldn't grab the newer version. Finally I just found the fedup package, downloaded it and installed it with rpm. Fortunately I just had to move all the files I'd already downloaded and then the process ran properly.
I'm not sure why yum wouldn't update to the newer version. I'm glad I figured it out. Once it ran the update did take a while as there were quite a few packages that needed updating. The instructions say to sync to the repos after it is done, I've tried to do that but it doesn't work. There is some issue with libre office and a spell checker. The sync wants to downgrade lots of packages, which I don't really understand at all. So for right now I'm just going to let it ride and see what happens.
It says I also need to uninstall and reinstall chrome. But chrome is working fine - so I'm not sure that I want to do that.
All in all it was a pretty painless experience. It took me a few minutes why the upgrade wasn't working - but if I had followed the instructions I would have seen my issue clearly listed and wouldn't have wasted the five minutes of searching that it took me to figure it out. So I'm pleased overall with the process. I can remember when upgrading was much more painful and I just did clean installs rather than dealing with it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Moscow 6

It's funny - every time (and it happened a lot) that I would fly into Florida, the dominant thought in my mind would be "Men went to the moon from here."

In December, barring something unexpected, I'll be visiting Russia for the first time. Moscow to be specific. And all I can think about is Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. It's probably my single favorite book. I'm pretty excited though I'll need to bring my heavy coat.

The closeness of Europe caught me off guard again. It seems like Moscow ought to be far away, even from here. It's a 2.5 hour flight that I booked on WizzAir for less than $200 round trip. Crazy. I think I'll end up spending more on my visa.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Screen Capture in KDE

Ran across an article by Carla Schroder today on making screencasts on linux using Kdenlive and Audacity. I didn't know Kdenlive could do capture. Shoot - last time I used it a couple years ago it was pretty unstable when I tried to use it to edit videos I'd made with RecordMyDesktop. So I didn't have it installed on my current system. Fixed that pretty quickly and on the setup saw that it can also capture from my webcam - and I assume any other kind of video input. That's pretty cool.
I'll have to play around with and see if the stability is better. I don't know that this would get me to move away from the current tools I use - but it just might. Kdenlive offers a lot of options for the video resolution and output types. Though her article seems to imply it's just going to capture video - not audio. That would make using the webcam less desirable and I'll be sticking to Kamoso. Adding audio after that fact to a screen cast involves some timing - but probably offers an opportunity for better content. But for a video of myself talking it's a non-starter.
On an unrelated note, I have a painting of a trout hanging on the wall that my desk faces. In the background is a stream (the trout is leaping out of the water to take a fly) and behind the stream there are huge towers with power lines. It cracks me up that the artist put those in. I mean - it's his creation - it could have been any setting. But he went with an element a lot of people take the time to remove from photographs. Cracks me up.

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Journal Journal: Windows 8.1 Nag Banner 5

As I mentioned previously - trying to install Windows 8.1 makes my new Samsung turn into an expensive paperweight.

No problem - I just wont install it.

This is apparently unacceptable. Now a blue banner will pop up across whatever I am doing (not sure of the interval yet) and has a button to take me to the store to upgrade to 8.1. The only way I've figured to get rid of it is to click the button and then let the store load, and then go back to the desktop and resume what I was doing. It stays on top of all windows and wont go away until I do that.

Unbelievable. Seriously. In what world are there people who think this is acceptable behavior?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Replaced the Glass on my S3

A few weeks ago I had a freak accident. I was sitting on the couch with my Galaxy S3 in my hand and next to the couch was a stool that I use as a little table. On the stool was an empty bottle. I went to flip the phone in my hand from a horizontal to a vertical orientation. It slipped and I tried to grab ahold of it. I failed and it slid to the floor. In reaching for it I also knocked the bottle of the stool. The phone was fine when it hit the floor, but then the bottle fell on the phone and shattered the glass. It looked like it had been shot, with a bullet hole left. I was sad.
I went online, did some quick research and then ordered a glass replacement kit on Amazon. Fortunately I'd just received a couple Nexus 4 phones (got a couple at the $199 price point) and so I could use that until I got the kit.
Today I finally set down and did the actual replacement. It takes forever and it rather stressful. I used a hair dryer to heat the glue and make it possible to seperate the parts. I used the tools in the kit to slowly pry the glass away from the front of the phone. Then I had to clean off all the glue junk left behind. Then it was time to put the new adhesive stuff in place and put the new glass down and see if things still worked.
Everything seems o.k. and it looks good. The button at the bottom is a touch more recessed than it used to be. I don't know if this is because I didn't get all the old adhesive out, the glass is thicker, or I did something else wrong. But it is servicable. The main thing is I'll be able to keep using my phone for a while longer.
I now purchase phones like I purchase computers. I spend what I think is appropriate ( I bought the S3 contract free for $600 US) and I expect to get a minimum of 3 years out of them. Anything past 3 I consider gravy. My little Acer is 4 years old now and still doing well.
There were lots of videos on youtube on how to do the procedure. I love youtube for that. Whenever I want to do some physical activity I don't know how to do - that is where I search first. The one moment I was really scared was when the little speaker/ear piece lifted up free from the phone. I was trying to get the new adhesive in place and accidentally lifted it free. I thought I'd broken it and was pretty upset. But it works fine. I don't know if it just needs to be in contact with something or if it the silver part I see is just sitting on top of the actual speaker.
My daughter has a Galaxy 5 tablet with a break in the glass. (Just one fracture - not like my phone was) If I can get replacement glass cheap enough, this has made me bold enough to try fixing it. But being from Samsung, it is running an old version of Android and will probalby never be upgraded again. And the hardware is not too impressive. May be worth it just to have her save up for something new.
I love Samsung stuff - just hate their support once it is out the door.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Solution to Amarok crashing my system 1

I mentioned earlier I think that I'm back to successfully using my Nvidia card with proprietary drivers - but for one issue. If I started Amarok (which would start - loaded to the tray) and then try to restore the gui to the desktop, my system would completely lock up. No keyboard input would be accepted at all. I had to hard power it down and restart.

Being the middle aged genius that I am - I started amarok from the command line and piped the error output to a file. That gave me something to google and took me to https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=323635 which gave me the solution.

As soon as I saw OpenGL was involved I knew this would make me happy. I can't get my system config to switch the compositing type away from XRender. Trying to check the OpenGL settings for the card throws an error - so it's some kind of driver problem I'm sure.

I just had to follow the directions there and disable the analyzer in Amarok in the file they mention. I don't know what the analyzer is or what it does - but things seem just fine without it so I'm cool. Though I like Clementine which I was using instead as it had no problems. So I exported my playlists from Amarok to something I could open in Clementine and I may just make the jump.

Either way - kind of cool, what search can do.

User Journal

Journal Journal: OSCON Talk Webcast 1

I get emails from O'Reilly about different webcasts. Sometimes they are pretty interesting. Today I registered for one about mobile app development. Apparently it is in some way connected to OSCON. Which is cool. Anyway, here is the funny part, after I registered it gave me a link to test my system. I did - and as you can see I failed the operating system test because I'm not running Windows or OS X. I did the registration and ran the test on my Fedora 19 machine.

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What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928