Friday, September 13, 2013

Using NIS/ypbind with Linuxmint 13 (and probably Ubuntu 13)

I finally got it working, more or less.  I eventually put restart directives for both the ypbind and autofs processes in /etc/rc.local.  It works, as long as I wait about a minute after the machine boots up before trying to log in.  I don't know why it has to be kluged like this; bug reports for problems like this are opened for EVERY Ubuntu release, and no one ever feels any need to fix it.  At least, with Fedora/RHEL, I can be assured that NIS will work out of the box.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


I'm so, so disappointed by "Jobs". It had nothing in it that I wanted to know about; nothing about the visit to Xerox PARC, nothing about his spiritual journeys, nothing about NeXT. Going by the movie, Jobs was nothing but an ungrateful SOB with no talents and nothing interesting in his life. I thought Kutcher did a fine job with the part, so to speak, but surely there was enough to Steve Jobs' existence to make a movie that was worth seeing other than as an hour and a half impression of him by Ashton Kutcher.

All right, I'm a bit of a fanboi, but you know, there was no other personal computer that made your room a little prettier, a little more interesting, just by being in it. I don't think it's overstating it to say that Jobs played a major part in making computers into household appliances. I was getting ready to enter the world of law in 1989; instead, because my boss had several Macintoshes around the office, I'm in tech instead. And now, I'm taking an iPad to band rehearsals and plugging my guitar into it, and then plugging a keyboard into it. This movie barely gives us a hint as to the good things that he was responsible for. Why?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

McCartney at Outside Lands

My God, three hours of McCartney ... he sang lead on every song, and simply kicked ass for three hours straight. He seemed genuinely excited to be in San Francisco (well, who wouldn't be?). The band rocked like mad. OK, the whole show was rocking, but ... after 2 and 1/2 hours, he played the last song and left the stage. You'd think he'd be a little tired, but no, he comes back and does fucking Helter Skelter. And wrecked it. Later he came back for the 2nd encore, and it was the the medley from Abbey Road, starting at "Golden Slumbers". That was just a deeply satisfying show, from beginning to end.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Getting compiz to work on Linuxmint 15

Woo boy, this is getting more and more difficult.  Compiz and especially comizconfig seem to be so spotty right now.

I installed all the compiz packages, but compizconfig would explode whenever I enabled anything until I installed dconf-tools as well.  Now, I can enable things; I have my beloved "Opacity, Brightness and Saturation" working (which means I can make windows transparent with a key-click) and "wobbly windows" (which always amuses me).  However, if I then close compizconfig and open it again I lose all those settings.  It's better than compiz just crashing, but annoying anyway.

I have yet to get the cube working, though.  Working on it ...

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Analog versus Digital Multi-track Recording

I have quite a few musician friends who say they like the sound of analog recording better than digital.  Well, yeah, and there's a reason for that, but the price you pay for it is not worth it, in my opinion.

Yes, of course you can hear the difference between digital and analog.  The point to digital is that it doesn't sound like anything; it's supposed to sound exactly like what you put into it, no more, no less.  (how close it gets to that is a different, complicated question, but I think it is not really debatable that analog might be MORE "accurate" than digital).  Whereas, using analog THESE days (when something better is available ;) ) is actually because analog doesn't sound transparent, and doesn't sound like what you put in.  It's the equivalent of turning an amplifier up until it distorts at bit.  Yeah, you might like the sound, but it's distorted just the same.  And once it is distorted, you can't un-distort it.

Also, keep in mind that, unless you are going to listen to your recording on a 90 min cassette or on your old turntable, you are going to be listening to "digital" anyway, or at least a hybrid of analog on backend and digital on the frontend, whether you listen to an mp3, to a CD, or stream a song online.

I contend that it is quite possible, these days, to make a digital recording that sounds "warm" in the way that an analog recording sounds.  Hell, you can make them sound "warm" in any way you like!  Want the "warmth" of a Neve recording desk and an Otari multi-track?  Or maybe you'd prefer SSL and Tascam?  There must be plugins for this, but in any case, it can be done.

And digital has so many other advantages:

   * digital is much cheaper, in every way
   * quick, easy and safe cut and paste of songs.
   * non-destructive post-mixing eq and other manipulation
   * did I say cheaper?  You replace the thousands of dollars in buying and maintaining a recording tape deck and a desk with a few hundred dollars in an analog to digital converter.  You also save the space.
   * your digital recording may last forever, with proper backups.
   * copies of digital sound files are identical to the original.  copies of analog masters are yet another generation removed from the pristine quality of the original.
   * analog recordings degrade EVERY time you play them.  Imagine your turntable needle being pulled through the soft, hot vinyl of a record, or a vinyl tape been pulled over a magenetic tape recorder head, over and over again.  Digital recordings are not degraded by playing them.
   * analog recordings must generally be played back on the same type of machine that created them.  You are out of luck if your tape machine format is no longer manufactured.  Whereas digital data is just bits; converting that data to a new format is just a matter of writing a program to do it.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Next Right Wing Anti-Global Warming Meme

The new right wing anti-global warming meme will be (my prediction): it's too late.  That even if we stop with the massive man-made CO2 emissions completely, right now, global temperature will still continue to rise and we will reach many of the "drop dead" temperatures that will lose us many low-lying cities and communities (and sometimes whole countries), and which will cause mass extinctions of vulnerable animal species, etc.

Here's the thing: it's not true.  Technologies exist, right now, to pull unwanted CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it where it can't hurt anything.  But all such technologies will work much better and do less of their own kinds of damage IF they are not competing with increasing CO2 at the same time.  When the time comes, when we are not increasing atmospheric CO2, we WILL be able to clean the current over-enriched CO2 out of the atmosphere.



Monday, April 08, 2013

If you believe in God, you must believe in a Woman's Right to Choose

Do you believe in God?  God put women in charge of their babies, right from conception until birth (and, arguably, afterwards; try taking a woman's baby away from her!).  If a woman wants to kill her baby she can do it, even if it comes down to suicide and both dying, it's still all in her hands.  If you believe in God and the perfection of "his" designs, then you have to believe that women are in charge of the zygotes, fetuses and babies, because God put them INSIDE of her.  That's all there is to it.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Google Earth 7.x on 64-bit Fedora 18

I finally got Google Earth 7.0 Free to work decently in Fedora 18 running on my Mac, running the proprietary catalyst drivers


The error was:

libGL error: failed to load driver: swrast
libGL error: Try again with LIBGL_DEBUG=verbose for more details.


1. Despite the fact that I installed the 64-bit version of the Google Earth RPM, it's actually 32-bit and needs 32 bit OpenGL drivers
2. With the proprietary ATi drivers installed, the default library (/usr/lib/ is incompatible with the display, yet this seems to be what GE is trying to use.
3. GE will use anything in it's own directory FIRST, evidently

So, I ended up copying /usr/lib/fglrx/ to /opt/google/earth/free, and made symlinks to it as, and in the same directory.  Now it works.

I really, really wish that Google would get their shit together with the 64-bit versions of Google Earth.  I'm running fast, clean 3D graphics on this workstation every day, and no other programs ever seem to have problems like this.  Why in god's name does it have to be so picky about where everything is located, and, well, who runs 32-bit anymore?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


When washing your hands, there is no way to avoid soaking the bandaid on your finger, so don't try. I think that's a lesson for life.