Saturday, July 21, 2012

Updating to Precise Pangolin

I finally got around to updating Hal to Ubuntu 12.04, Precise Pangolin. (No, I never heard of it before, either.) You could have followed the whole thing on Twitter.

Good news: the only thing that broke was the color scheme on my panel bars, which changed to black text on black background. I fixed that right away, and I'm still running a pseudo-Gnome2 desktop.

So, I'm happy with it. Besides, this is an LTS release, so if I don't want to bother updating I can keep it for a couple of years.

Just a bit later: OK, one bug. For some reason the permissions on the directory


had been reset to 555, meaning I could read or execute files in the directory, but not write to it. This meant that backintime wouldn't back up my disk. Fortunately, backintime has an excellent error log, available from inside the program, that told me what was going on. (Unlike Google-Earth, which is still failing to launch in 64-bit mode after all these years.) I just ran the command:

chmod 755 $HOME.config/nautilus-actions

and all was well.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dear Woody

As old friend Cletis pointed out some months ago, the younger generation doesn't know much about Woody Guthrie.

Here's something you should know: Woody would have turned 100 this coming Saturday. In celebration, NPR has posted a play list of many of Guthrie's songs, sung by Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Country Joe (sans the Fish), Old Crow Medicine Show, and may others, including Woody Guthrie.

Give it a listen.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The National Road

I've lived in various places in my life, but except for a year overseas and my year at Duke I've always lived within fifty miles of U.S. Route 40. It ran from Atlantic City to San Francisco, and while not as famous as Route 66, but it's arguably more important. The eastern end was originally the National Road, the first highway built by the Federal Government, and one that led to the opening of the West (which meant Illinois, but, hey, it was the 1830s).

In many parts of the country Old 40 is now unmarked, as the highway markers were mostly moved onto Interstate 70. It doesn't even end on the west coast any more, the markers peter out in Utah somewhere.

However, its memory persists. I was in Davis, California last month, and was pleased to find this marker:

US 40 Historical Marker in Davis, California

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

And Still More Changes

So Google, not content to have killed off my beloved Google Notebook, has now decided to kill off iGoogle.

Now I know it wasn't the most popular of services, but it was useful to me. My iGoogle page has the news feeds from the Washington Post, New York Times, Time, a Weather feed, and a score of other things, including some of my favorite bloggers, like Cletis, Pete, and Fran. I can see what's new at a glance. And now it's going away in a little over a year.

On Google+ I found a post recommending an alternative, Protopage. It looks — well, it looks like iGoogle, really. It even has the ability to add sticky notes, which function pretty much like entries in Google Notebook — unfortunately, the only way to add a new note is to choose Add a sticky note from the Add Widgets tab, but maybe that can be change.

Thanks to our benevolent masters, we have over a year to try out alternatives. Let's see how this one works.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

For Better or For Worse

I signed up for Twitter

@rcjhawkku (@rcjhawk was taken)

This will end badly.