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Linux People It’s Been Awhile

Hey Linux People it’s been a while, so I wanted to post a little update about what has gone on with myself personally, with Linux, and more since last year.

Work and Linux

On the work front I am still doing my thing consulting. I have picked up a few more clients and easily doubled the amount of work I was doing a year ago. My 2 big projects are a company downsizing project as well as a Linux-based media solution. The company downsizing project has actually be going on for a couple of years now. I ended up moving an entire company from a huge office space and small data center down to no office (telecommuting) and 4 virtual machines in a private cloud. It was a little tricky shifting from about 20 infrastructure machines down in to 2, but it was really successful. 1 VM is a Windows server running Active Directory with 3 CentOS Linux VMs that provide Samba, DNS, NFS, web sites (internal and external), and more. I help support the network now, which is nothing more than clicking a button to update everything. The other project is a sweet media appliance running on top of Ubuntu Linux. My goal is to get them switched from 10.04 with 14.04, old Python to a newer Python, and moving a lot of their Python code base to a C/C++ code base. What have I learned from this project over the past year? MPlayer can suck, old developers and their spaghetti code need to disappear, old Linux people and their use of the root account need to chill, and the default Ubuntu Linux kernel is to bloated for small appliances (low-latency as well, thank goodness I can build a real-time kernel).

Personal

On a personal level, I haven’t been on my bike enough and I really need to get back on it. I probably spent too much time fishing last year. I rediscovered my love for the outdoors, which I have really missed. I just need to find me a way to get my workspace outside in the woods somewhere. I would probably be way more productive. I was there when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and I will be there again this year. Every home game, on the glass, is where you will find me throughout the playoffs and Stanley Cup. Can’t wait for that to start.

What I’ve learned over the last year

  • Yocto Project is awesome and sucks at the same time. Awesome because if you know what you are doing and can execute, you can create an amazing embedded solution built on Linux. Sucks because it is super easy for people to create real garbage. I have taken apart a couple of embedded solutions that are big in the market, got to their cores, and just shook my head in disbelief. Just goes to show, people will spend a lot of money just to buy junk.
  • Speaking of spending a lot of money to buy junk, I got bitten by the HiFi audio bug a bit, in a headphone kind of way. No, I did not go with the Fashion Accessories by Dre. See where I said spending a lot of money to buy junk? Well I didn’t. I spent wisely and got hooked up as well. Rocking studio-quality headphones by AKG and Sennheiser and I am looking at a DAC and Amp solution by Schiit as well. Imagine, a Schiit Magni and Modi combo with say the AKG K240 Studio headphones, for less than those fashion accessories by Dre. Only time my setup sounds muddy is if I accidentally drop it in the mud, otherwise it is the way music needs to be listened to (now, I am actually listening to Jono Bacon growl while writing this. I didn’t do this on purpose either. Shuffle FTW?
  • Oh, that last one, I learned that the high-end audio market actually likes making sure their products work on Linux. A large percentage of the USB DACs on the market work out of the box with Linux and Mac. Windows needs you to install a driver of course.
  • VA API, it is real, but for some reason nobody wants to add it properly. MPlayer said a year or so ago they need someone to help add it. Still not done, but thankfully last year someone created a MPlayer package with support, and they haven’t updated it in a year either. In 14.04, VA API still sucks, but don’t feel bad, it sucks for others too, like those in Debian Linux, but it seems to work just fine in the RPM-based Linux camps. Yes, I could help fix it, but I am to busy, looking at myself in the mirror.
  • Media network synchronization, why is streaming the only recommended solution? If I have the same video or audio file on 2 different machines in 2 different locations on the same LAN, let me get some perfect audio sync going on easily.

See You Soon

That’s all for now. Just wanted to say hi again and let everyone know I am still alive. Excited for the 14.04 release to drop. That means I get to update a lot of client machines, which equates to money in my pocket. See, you can make money from Open Source. Hopefully this upcoming year I can make some changes to not only this site, but hop in and give back to Ubuntu again. There are packages that I have worked on that need to get into Debian and Ubuntu eventually as well as some patches I have come up with over the past few months working on a Linux appliance.

Posted in Linux, Personal | Tagged , , , | 2 Responses

Help me in the fight against diabetes

The fight against diabetes is important to me and very close to my heart. I am participating in the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Chicagoland Tour de Cure, riding 100 miles on my bicycle, and I have a very important goal that I hope you can help me with.

I am aiming to raise a minimum of $1000 and become a Champion to Stop Diabetes. Champions are leaders in the quest to prevent and cure diabetes once and for all. I am passionate about the cause and that drives me to this goal!

Whether you give $5 or $250, know that your contribution will help the ADA offer community-based education programs, protect the rights of people with diabetes and fund critical research for a cure.

Please help me in my quest to become a Champion by clicking on the link at the bottom of this email to give. Together we can Stop Diabetes!

Help me in the fight against diabetes

THANK YOU!

Posted in Cycling, Personal | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Answer Is No

The answer is no, is definitely not the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, as we all know that answer is 42. The answer no is for the following:

Is this the year of the Linux desktop?

This was the title of a post recently on someone’s blog that’s been picked up many times by different Linux news outlets. I woke up 3 days in a row with that stupid post in my reader. I’m tired of it 10 years ago, and I am still tired of it today. Here is why I feel that answer is no, and of course you are more than welcome to disagree.

I have a couple of newer, fairly powerful desktop/laptop machines. I typically run Kubuntu 12.10 on both of these machines, but I have tried various other distributions as well. I have tried Fedora, Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, Mint, and a handful of others. The one thing they all have in common with Windows Vista? They are slow. Intel i7 or i5, 3rd generation, with no less than 8GB of RAM, and one has a SSD, and they are still slow. Slow compared to Windows 8. Windows 8 might be the donkey’s ass when it comes to a desktop operating system, but I’ll be damned, it is faster than any Linux desktop distribution out there today. It is even faster than one of the distributions running XFCE or LXDE.

I don’t get this the least bit, what happened to the good ol’ days where Linux was the fastest thing to hit the desktop? Have we decided to scrub performance for silly cartoonist styling and bling? Is it the many desktop search daemons? Does it have to do with the poor battery performance? What is it? Why does Windows 8 boot up faster for me? Why does Windows 8 run better for me? None of the pieces of my systems use binary blobs, they are all Intel rigs. Speaking of poor battery performance, I love getting 2.5 hours with Linux (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Fedora tested here) where Windows 8 gets over 4 hours. What the hell is abusing that other 1.5 hours my battery can hold? Powertop puts blame on eth0, WiFi, and other things you need running, but damn, 1.5 hours!

On a more positive note, but still not causing a switch in answer to that oh so famous, yet supremely stupid question, applications for Linux are starting to build. With Microsoft announcing their stupid rules for Office 2013 (no, it isn’t coming to Linux, so quit drooling) where you can only install Office on 1 machine and 1 machine only, LibreOffice is looking like a better option these days. Now there is Steam, so those of you who were itching to play games on Linux, have at it! I have Spotify running natively and it is quite nice. And, as a developer, nothing comes close to beating Linux on the desktop. As a developer, I don’t mean one of those that drinks Starbucks all day, waxes their mustache, wears jeans 10 sizes to small, and code in Ruby. I mean one that writes code for compiling, or writing scripts and applications for servers and cloud crap in Python, or just saying the hell with it and copying and pasting in PHP.

That is my rant for the day, and the end to some sarcasm. So quit trying to get visitors with stupid posts that have the same answer as they did 20 years ago and have no chance of changing anytime soon.

PS: NO, this does not apply to OMG Ubuntu! :)

Posted in Linux | 3 Responses
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