Sunday, December 30, 2007

Feckin Feck Feck

I couldn't figure out how to add a user to group X today. openSUSE doesn't have adduser, so you can just say adduser bperry X . openSUSE as well has Red Hat have useradd, which is not the same. I had to use usermod bperry -G X. The final outcome was su -c usermod bperry -G vboxusers.

PS: I am probably the most incompetent person alive when it comes to women. So, women, do yourself a favor and never talk to me again, I will just embarrass myself. Thanks.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wiping my external

For some time now, I have had to deal with Ubuntu thinking my external HDD was formatted NTFS while it was in fact ReiserFS. I am currently completely wiping the drive hoping it will fix the problem. I used wipe (sudo apt-get install wipe) to do it:

wipe -f -P 3 -S r /dev/sda1

That forces (-f) wipe to do it, does 3 passes (-P 3), and uses /dev/urandom to seed wipe in it's wiping of my drive (-S r, much more secure than any other). Hopefully, this will fix it, otherwise, I will file a bug in Gutsy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Not a great Christmas

This was probably the worst Christmas I have had. I am not talking about present-wise, I don't care about presents. My family is in the middle of a rather bitter divorce, so it is very awkward for me when I see my parents trying to one-up one another. I opted to stay at the apartment Christmas eve so I wouldn't have to put up with it. Travelling from house to house to house to house was exhausting. I did get some nice presents though. My mom bought me The World Is Flat (a book) and some other things. I got enough money in gift cards to keep me fed for a while. Natalie Jeane got me a DVD I have wanted for quite some time (Dead Alive, one of Peter Jackson's firsts). Danke.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I guess it happens from time to time

I have tried so hard over the past year to not bring work home with me. That is a horrible habit (one of the worst IMHO) that many people get themselves into and become burned out at work. Sometimes though, there is a computer that I would either like to learn how to fix or need to learn how to fix, but can't do the research at work, so I make note of what is happening and do the research at home. I might do that a couple times a month. I enjoy learning how to fix problems like that. What I don't enjoy is fixing someone else's problems, which is what I do at the shop. Now, I have come to not mind it so much because I absolutely love learning. I love learning how to fix things, how to break things, and I love fixing things that aren't broken. If you don't know how to break something, how can you learn how to fix it. Sure, you can learn how to fix things in X conditions, but how many times will it be X conditions versus Y and Z conditions. If you know how to break it (IE. not just deleting random things, but if you delete this and this, this happens, but if you delete this and that, this happens), you can use transitive properties to fix them.

Anyway, back to the bringing work home. Lately, I haven't been able to get work off my mind. And not in a good way either. I am not worried about the computers I am fixing, I am worried about the state of my job (as well as those I work with). Some bad managerial decisions have been made and the shop has lost quite a lot of money. We (boss, Geoff, and I) had a talk about the things we need to start doing around the shop to help increase efficiency and such.

I will say right now, I am not a managerial type of person. I can manage myself, and have a hard enough time doing that. When I am at work, I work. I don't play around really, I don't find a way to waste time while program X finishes doing it's thing. I try and find something productive to do in the mean time. I even work while I am eating lunch. I take small breaks (5-10 mins) every hour or so just to keep me from overloading myself, but overall, I work really hard. While Geoff was down at UT Austin, I had the unfortunate task of also handling phone calls. That really threw me off what I had been doing before. Especially on days where the phone doesn't stop ringing. I don't work well at all under those kinds of conditions. I don't talk well to the customers (when I say that, I mean I can't explain things in a nontechnical sense) so I spend a majority of my time on the phone explaining why their file system was corrupted, what caused it, what they can do to prevent it, then have them ask to explain what I was talking about halfway through. Let's just say, I am not a people-person and if I am allowed to work the way I work, then I can make whoever I am working for _a lot_ of money. Otherwise, it will be much less than optimal.

That being said, my boss wants Geoff and I to started performing a lot of the managerial things around the shop. Geoff is good at this, much, much, much better than I am. I am really, really good at fixing computers...much, much, much better than Geoff (not on a fault of his own, I just have an extremely deep understanding of many operating systems, many file systems, and old and new hardware). This managerial stuff just doesn't sit right with me, and this is worrying me a lot.

Obviously, I am only feeling a fraction of the stress my boss is feeling. I don't know how if my paychecks will stay as high as they have been. I don't know if I will be able to work the way I had been able to work. Thankfully, Geoff is back with us and he will field most of the phone calls. I don't see myself becoming burned out, but I have been less and less happy about getting to go to work lately, and it has definitely affected my work. As the title says, I guess things like this happen from time to time.

In other news, I went sky diving with Geoff and Richard Friday (my Christmas present to myself) and will be going back in February. I also moved into my apartment this week. It is nice.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Borked Feisty today. Figured Gutsy had had enough time to stew after being released in October and installed it. Much better than my first installations of it. More things "just work". <3

I joined the FSF a while back. Added a widget of theirs to the side panel. If you read this through Facebook or an RSS feed, then you won't see it. If that is also the case, I highly recommend you go to and just poke around there. I am sure something will intrigue you. Now on to the meat...

Older people never cease to push my buttons. Obviously, one of the biggest things is about their interaction with computers. Older generations expect us to know about all that happened during their lives, such as wars or presidential mishaps. That is a completely realistic expectation, considering it shaped who we are today. But when we (the younger generations) expect them to at least know a little about the important things that are going on and shaping our future, many just won't have it. The put their foot down and say they don't have to learn. A bit hypocritical, no? Maybe it is just me, but I think at least a _basic_ knowledge of computer use is a realistic expectation. I wouldn't expect them to learn every IRQ address and what they correspond to or what every port on the back of their computer is for, but maybe to know what the Control Panel is or at least that deleting an icon doesn't actually delete the program.

Again, maybe it is just me...

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I have never really liked KDE. I reminds me too much of the XP default theme (looks like the Teletubbies designed it). But with all this fuss about KDE 4, I am reconsidering my thoughts on KDE. I have seen screenshots and it looks _very_ clean. I have used GNOME since Ubuntu 4.10 and will still use it for some time, I don't see anything in KDE changing my preferences that much. I still don't like the whole one-toolbar thing. and the KDE one is so big, it really doesn't hit any good chords with me.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kickstart for Debian?

The kickstart file for Fedora is bad ass. It is like the preseed file for Debian, but doesn't suck and has (good) documentation. I have done things like this:

sudo dpkg -l | grep ii | awk '{str=str $2 " "} END {print str}' > installed

to get the installed packages on one system easily accessible and recreatable for another system, but it is a bit more of a pain than just having something like the kickstart file already available, or just typing in redhat-config-kickstart and getting a nice GUI.

Plus, my way doesn't transfer settings.

Basically, I am looking for a better way to do this in Debian/Ubuntu. Any thoughts?

Very Exciting Times

A lot of really exciting things are going on right now in my life. Many of which I can't talk about right now as they are not necessarily going to happen, but if they do, good times will follow ;-).

Extremely busy lately, leading to a lack of posts. I ate dinner with Aaron Toponce ad JJNova (from #ubuntu-texas) last night at Beni Hana's off LBJ near Greenville. Amazing. The food was good, expensive, and totally worth it, especially because Guru Labs was paying for it. JJNova had car problems coming to the restaurant, so we didn't get seated until ~7. I was about 10 minutes late (we were to meet at 6), I think my average speed there was 45 miles an hour. Traffic in the wet weather was horrid.

Anyway, we ate steak, drank green tea, and had ice cream for desert (I actually had sherbet). Definitely one of the best dinners I have had this year. The first words as we sat down at the table were from Aaron and are as follows "Ok guys, don't be modest...".

We talked about Ubuntu, Fedora, and other things Linux. Had some questions about teams in the future and others answered. Other than that, we just chatted about being married (I was a bit quiet during that conversation), Utah, California, and how Aaron was seeing the worst Texas weather ever. A really nice evening of just relaxed conversation while a chef threw eggs, rice, and steak across the grill onto our plates.

Work lately has been non-stop. I have been going in about 30 minutes early so that I can get a handle on what all I need to get done before 2, though having to stay past 2 because computers never do what you want ;-). Can't say the hectisity (is that a word?) isn't bad though...once Geoff gets up here, it should calm down a bit. A lot of my time outside work is being spent trying to figure out how to do something the next day so I don't spend X hours messing with it. At least I can say business is booming.

Torrenting Fedora 8 (werewolf) for a VM. Can't wait to install it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I have 28 RSS feeds in Liferea. I usually use my RSS feeds to wind down the day. At about 8, I bring up Liferea and refresh all the feeds, which gives me about 2 hours worth of reading. I enjoy this, and I recommend it to anyone who says they are bored.

I bought some Joe Satriani the other day. I heard some of his music about a year ago I think and thought it was pretty good, but forgot about him until last week. I ran across a demo of some of his music somehow and bought one of his albums (Surfing with the Alien). Fantastic, apparently one of his best. Highly recommended for those guitar enthusiasts out there.

Had an idea for the shop today regarding backups and customer service. Still bouncing it around, but discussing it with Chris, it seems I will probably at least implement it and let him see it.

BTW, apparently, the cheerleaders at UT Arlington have down syndrome.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Consider the following

I have been eyeing Debian since 7.10 came out. Not because I am losing my faith in Ubuntu, but because I don't want all this flash and glam that 7.10 brought. I have decided that I will keep Ubuntu on my desktop for gaming. I will install Debian on my laptop for work. Debian is better for development purposes anyway and not trying to compete for best desktop, per se. It is looking to be the best development OS IMHO.

Anyway, I installed Debian in a VirtualBox VM just to make sure I could install it (it is just like the alternate Ubuntu install, only a bit more customizable) and it was easy. I chose a net install since my torrents kept getting reset. The net ISO is only like 163 MB. It took a good 2 or 3 hours to download and install everything. Even after that, GNOME wasn't installed, so I had to login to Xterm and sudo apt-get install gnome (that installed TWM also, which I am a big fan of). By the way, this is all done with Debian Etch. Will probably load it on my laptop this weekend after I back up.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Yet another quite productive day

I had another really good day today. Very productive, very relaxing. First I updated the Downloads page for the OpenDiagnostic CD to include v1.1. Gparted fixed (Edit your partitions), added a couple data recovery apps to the LiveCD, and made some security improvements. You have to login now (makes ssh much easier). Username is root, password is toor. Then I reworked the netcheck program I wrote for the autorun to be a little less code and a bit faster. Source code here.

Relaxed a bit, went and bought a fan for the computer room. Apparently, they don't stock them during the winter and I just happened to get lucky and find one stashed behind some furniture at Walmart. WTF is that about? Anyway, I also bought The Pagemaster...haven't watched it yet though. Went and fixed a neighbours computer after that. Not a big deal, his hard drives were swapped in BIOS, causing an Error Loading Operating System error.

Played some California Speed, GoldenEye, Frets on Fire, and Guitar Hero for an hour or so, then started working on installing Gallery on my site. I think in the time between me starting California Speed and me finishing Gallery, it dropped like 25 degrees outside.

Overall, pretty productive, really relaxing. Better this weekend though than next. I won't have any time. Saturday I am installing a network for a business and Sunday is the Ubuntu DFW meeting.

First Hardy Bug Submission

I submitted my first bug for Hardy Heron Alpha 1 last night. I went to sleep a happy man.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Very Productive Today

I uploaded v1.1 of the OpenDiagnostic. Will update the site when I get back from the movies (going to see Hitman!). You can get it at CHANGELOG is in the ISO.

Obviously, my post before introduced OCAM (One Computer A Month), an initiative to spread Ubuntu one computer at a time. Christer Edwards thinks it is a good idea and told me to talk to the Ubuntu Weekly News and see if they could put something in the newsletter to get me a little more publicity. I am very excited about it.

Got me a new controller for my computer. No drivers required. Started playing Duke Nukem 64 as soon as I reconfigured my buttons. Rock.

I also talked to System76 about some posters for door prizes for the next LoCo meeting. Apparently, there is a rumour going around that some new people will be coming to the meeting. Rock.

Today was a good day.

Introducing OCAM

One Computer A Month is an initiative to spread the word of Ubuntu one computer at a time. Wiki can be located here.

If you would like to help the cause, contact me at