Friday, November 19, 2010

The Big Kahuna and his Yarn Ball

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)
English physicist & science fiction author (1917 - 2008)

Checking the morning random Internet info and I clicked on
An interesting concept, I have read about the work of Dr. Brian Greene on mirror symmetry, relating two different Calabi-Yau manifolds (concretely, relating the conifold to one of its orbifolds). He also described the flop transition, a mild form of topology change, showing that topology in string theory can change at the conifold point. The whole 26 dimensions thing.

Interesting ties into the teachings of Max Freedom Long @

Your local Calabi-Yau manifold ;)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Why Sugar ?

Why lifeinthesugarbowl?  My wife and I and the cats live in Sugar Land, Texas.
Sugar Land is a city located in Fort Bend County in the U.S. state of Texas within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area (about 20 miles South of Houston).  It is one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas, having grown more than 158% in the last decade (scary). 

Sugar Land is home to the headquarters of Imperial Sugar and the company's main sugar refinery and distribution center was once located in this city. As a nod to this heritage, the Imperial Sugar crown logo can be seen in the city seal and logo. The city also holds the headquarters for Western Airways and a major manufacturing facility for Nalco Chemical Company. In addition, Sugar Land has a large number of international energy, software, engineering, and product firms.


My Linux experience started on the kitchen table with Red Hat Linux about 2004, when I took an old P3 PC at the house apart to identify the hardware.  Red Hat went commercial around 2005 I discovered Ubuntu and I been a fan ever since.  I moved to the KDE desktop (Kubuntu) for many years but I left after the KDE4 fiasco and it always seemed Kubuntu was always a bit behind the curve.  I tried OpenSUSE KDE for awhile and liked it but lately I've be in the Xfce desktop kick, Xfce is light, it's fast and it does what I want.  I am always tweaking better and better Conky code, rocking to my music.

Speaking of music, most of my digital music collection is open sourced.  I have three Sansa music players runing Rockbox.  I used Rockbox with Linux and most of my music is the .ogg format.  I still have a bit in MP3 but it is proprietary.

I love Ubuntu because of the community it has around the world, it is truly global.  The best computer operating system in the world is free!   Recycle old computers with Xfce and Ubuntu.  Spread the word…

I am a member of the Houston Ubuntu group but I do wish we had a group in the Sugar Land area...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

crazy about Conky

Ok, I am crazy about Conky, editing Conky code is a great way to learn a bit about programming and your hardware.

Conky is a free, light-weight system monitor for X, that displays any information on your desktop. Conky is licensed under the GPL and runs on Linux and BSD.

Conky Hardcore

The Conky Links

The Conky PitStop

Many thanks to code from Conky by Hanna, The Conky Queen!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Conky - code is never done!

Tweeking the conky code for my Mini 9 (Fedora 14 Xfce) - thanks Hanna !

# Use Xft?
use_xft yes
xftfont Trebuchet MS:size=8
xftalpha 0.8
text_buffer_size 2048

# Update interval in seconds
update_interval 1

# This is the number of times Conky will update before quitting.
# Set to zero to run forever.
total_run_times 0

# Create own window instead of using desktop (required in nautilus)
    own_window yes
    own_window_transparent yes
    own_window_type desktop
    own_window_hints undecorated,below,sticky,skip_taskbar,skip_pager

# Use double buffering (reduces flicker, may not work for everyone)
double_buffer yes

# Minimum size of text area
minimum_size 180 0

# Draw shades?
draw_shades no

# Draw outlines?
draw_outline no

# Draw borders around text
draw_borders no

# Stippled borders?
stippled_borders 0

# border margins
border_margin 5

# border width
border_width 1

# Default colors and also border colors
default_color white
own_window_colour white

# Text alignment, other possible values are commented
alignment top_right

# Gap between borders of screen and text
# same thing as passing -x at command line
gap_x 35
gap_y 50

# Subtract file system buffers from used memory?
no_buffers yes

# set to yes if you want all text to be in uppercase
uppercase no

# number of cpu samples to average
# set to 1 to disable averaging
cpu_avg_samples 2

# number of net samples to average
# set to 1 to disable averaging
net_avg_samples 2

# Force UTF8? note that UTF8 support required XFT
override_utf8_locale yes

# Add spaces to keep things from moving about?  This only affects certain objects.
use_spacer none

SYSTEM ${hr 2}

Kernel:  ${alignr}${kernel}
CPU: ${cpu cpu}% ${alignr}${cpubar 8,60 cpu}
RAM: $memperc% ${alignr}${membar 8,60}
Uptime: ${alignr}${uptime}

DATE ${hr 2}
${alignc 35}${font Trebuchet MS:size=26}${time %H:%M}${font}
${alignc}${time %a %d %b %Y}

HD ${hr 2}

${fs_free /home}/${fs_size /home} ${alignr}${fs_bar 8,60 /home}
${fs_free /root}/${fs_size /root} ${alignr}${fs_bar 8,60 /root}

NETWORK ${hr 2}
${if_existing /proc/net/route wlan0}
Up: ${upspeed wlan0} kb/s ${alignr}${upspeedgraph wlan0 8,60 789E2D A7CC5C}
Down: ${downspeed wlan0} kb/s ${alignr}${downspeedgraph wlan0 8,60 789E2D A7CC5C}
Upload: ${alignr}${totalup wlan0}
Download: ${alignr}${totaldown wlan0}
Signal: ${wireless_link_qual wlan0}% ${alignr}${wireless_link_bar 8,60 wlan0}${else}${if_existing /proc/net/route eth0}
Up: ${upspeed eth0} kb/s ${alignr}${upspeedgraph eth0 8,60 789E2D A7CC5C}
Down: ${downspeed eth0} kb/s ${alignr}${downspeedgraph eth0 8,60 789E2D A7CC5C}
Upload: ${alignr}${totalup eth0}
Download: ${alignr}${totaldown eth0}${endif}${else}${if_existing /proc/net/route eth1}
Up: ${upspeed eth1} kb/s ${alignr}${upspeedgraph eth1 8,60 789E2D A7CC5C}
Down: ${downspeed eth1} kb/s ${alignr}${downspeedgraph eth1 8,60 789E2D A7CC5C}
Upload: ${alignr}${totalup eth1}
Download: ${alignr}${totaldown eth1}${endif}${else}${font PizzaDude Bullets:size=14}4${font}   Network Unavailable${endif}

MUSIC ${hr 2}
${alignc 35}${font Buttons and Switches JL:size=38}J${font}
${voffset 7}${exec conkyExaile --datatype=TI} by ${exec conkyExaile --datatype=AR}

WEATHER ${hr 2}
${if_existing /proc/net/route wlan0}
${voffset -8}${alignr 56}${font ConkyWeather:style=Bold:size=40}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=WF}${font}
${voffset -52}${font Weather:size=40}y${font}   ${voffset -38}${font Trebuchet MS:size=26}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=HT}${font}

${voffset 0}Humidity: ${alignr}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=HM}
${voffset 0}Moon Phase: ${alignr}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=MP}
${voffset 0}${font}Wind Speed: ${alignr}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=WS}
${else}${if_existing /proc/net/route eth0}
${voffset -8}${alignr 56}${font ConkyWeather:style=Bold:size=40}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=WF}${font}
${voffset -52}${font Weather:size=40}y${font}   ${voffset -38}${font Trebuchet MS:size=26}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=HT}${font}

${voffset 0}Humidity: ${alignr}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=HM}
${voffset 0}Moon Phase: ${alignr}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=MP}
${voffset 0}${font}Wind Speed: ${alignr}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=WS}
${endif}${else}${if_existing /proc/net/route eth1}
${voffset -8}${alignr 56}${font ConkyWeather:style=Bold:size=40}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=WF}${font}
${voffset -52}${font Weather:size=40}y${font}   ${voffset -38}${font Trebuchet MS:size=26}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=HT}${font}

${voffset 0}Humidity: ${alignr}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=HM}
${voffset 0}Moon Phase: ${alignr}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=MP}
${voffset 0}${font}Wind Speed: ${alignr}${execi 600 conkyForecast --location=FIXX0020 --datatype=WS}
${font PizzaDude Bullets:size=14}4${font}   Weather Unavailable


Monday, November 15, 2010

Salix Xfce and Twitter maintenance

Linux activity
I loaded Salix Xfce 13.1.2 to my Panasonic Toughbook (CF-72). Salix uses a text based installer that is fairly simple to follow if you have some Linux experience. Salix is a Linux distribution based on Slackware that is simple, fast and easy to use. Salix is also fully backwards compatible with Slackware Linux, so Slackware users can benefit from Salix repositories, which they can use as an "extra" quality source of software for their favorite distribution. Like a bonsai, Salix is small, light & the product of infinite care.

A great website for keeping up with Linux and UNIX releases..

A good Twitter App
After hitting the following 2K limit in Twitter, I checked out   An excellent app for filtering out how is not following back, no profile image (a pet peeve), inactive, talkative or too quiet users.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fedora 14 Xfce on the Dell Mini 9 - Sucess !

I got Fedora 14 Xfce installed on the Dell Mini 9. After the typical Fedora install, I had head over to RPM Fusion with Firefox to load the Free and Nonfree Repositories, but this was very easy just click-and-load and authorize as root. I loaded the “non-free” kmod-wl driver due to the Broadcom wireless card in the Mini 9. After a restart, we got wireless LAN.

If you run Fedora, the RPM Fusion Repositories are at:

My Mini 9 has had so many distros on it, but the SSD is holding up well. It came with the Dell tweeked Ubuntu remix, I updated to the latest immediately, ran with Kubuntu for awhile till I ran into the KDE 4X issues (too wiggy for me). I tried #! Crunchbang Linux and that was a winner. It’s dark and ran very well but my “hackerness” brought me back to Xfce. IMHO, it seems Ubuntu is getting a bit wiggy. First it was the menu buttons on the top left, which I promptly fixed back, and Kubuntu is ok but always held back a bit., now the whole Unity thing. Anyway it's Fedora for awhile. You mileage may vary ;)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Roku TV

I have been watching the Roku box often. TV is moving away from cable and satellite to internet based distribution and Roku is a great deal. I love the Roku box and service and at under $70, it is a great deal

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Fedora for me?

Thinking about moving the Dell Mini 9 to Fedora 14 LXDE. I am getting too many wierd errors on Kubuntu....