March 18, 2017

KVM on Linux Mint 18

I’ve been running Koha on Debian 8 in a VMware Workstation virtual machine, to test it prior to deployment on Linode for a real library. Yesterday I decided to investigate running this VM in KVM, the native Linux virtualization system that is used at Linode. The conversion went well on both Linux Mint 17 and 18. What follows are the steps I used on Mint 18 (Mate edition).

March 10, 2017

Pandoc on Linux Mint 18

As mentioned earlier, I use Pandoc instead of a word processor to prepare printed documents. Installing it on Linux Mint 18 reminded me that in order to create PDF files, you need to install more than Pandoc itself. Here is what I had to do to install Pandoc and the Latex files it requires:

sudo apt-get install pandoc lmodern texlive-latex-recommended \
                     texlive-latex-extra texlive-fonts-recommended

March 4, 2017

Emacs key bindings in Firefox on Linux Mint Mate or Cinnamon

Firefox can use Emacs key bindings in editable text fields, but the method for enabling this feature has changed in Mint over the years. In the Mate edition of Linux Mint, this command will do the trick:

gsettings set org.mate.interface gtk-key-theme 'Emacs'

In the Cinnamon edition of Linux Mint, use this:

gsettings set org.cinnamon.desktop.interface gtk-key-theme 'Emacs'

March 1, 2017

VMware Workstation 11 on Linux Mint 18

VMware Workstation 11 was released before Linux Mint 18 (and its parent, Ubuntu 16.04). Because the Linux kernel has changed, the Workstation installer fails to compile the vmmon and vmnet modules. Fixing this requires some minor patches. Once this is done, Workstation itself won’t start; fixing this requires a minor patch to a couple of shell scripts.

January 22, 2017

Bill and Me

I once spent a weekend with Bill Gates and some of his cronies, including Paul Allen, before either of them became rich and famous. It was just a matter of chance, and it didn’t seem all that big of a deal at the time.

January 18, 2017

Koha on Linode

Koha is an open source library system that is used widely throughout the world, and especially in Vermont. For various reasons (including financial) our library was not able to join either of the two consortia of Koha users in Vermont. So I installed Koha on Linode for the exclusive use of our library.

Linode is a hosting service that provides low-cost Linux virtual servers, called “Linodes”. Installing Koha in a Linode is a straightforward process, but it does require that you to be somewhat comfortable with typing commands at a command prompt.

January 17, 2017

Linux Mint on a 2008 Macbook

I have access to an old (2008) white Macbook that is not being used due to the age of its operating system. New versions of Firefox can’t be installed on this machine without an operating system upgrade, and the upgrade path for old MacBooks doesn’t appear to be free or easy. So I decided to see if I could install Linux Mint 17 (LTS) on the MacBook. Supposedly it was possible, but I wanted to see for myself.

November 16, 2016

Linux as an Internet Kiosk

For some time I have been looking for a way to use Linux as an internet kiosk in our small local library. The library currently has a number of computers available for use by patrons, ranging from netbooks to desktops, all running some variant of Windows 7. Some of these machines are crippled by not having Office licenses.

July 6, 2016

Housing Bubble 2.0

There’s a new, improved housing bubble going on all across the USA. It is going to end badly, as it did before. But meanwhile prices keep climbing, and that is squeezing both buyers and renters.

Take a look at the Culver City crap shack in the article linked to in the previous paragraph. At $782 per square foot, that may seem like a lot to my fellow Vermonters. But to a former Californian like me, it’s peanuts. In 2008 I was living in a mobile home in Palo Alto (in the only mobile home park in the town). Just down the block a 780 square foot house went up for sale with an asking price of $700,000. That’s $923 per square foot. According to Zillow, it sold for $675,000 a few months later, which must have been a huge disappointment to the seller.

But the story gets happier. The new owner sold the house in $2013 for $1,070,000, or $1372 per square foot. That was a 59% increase in value in just five years. Eat your heart out, Culver City!

This is one of the main reasons why I left California in 2009. At that point, Housing Bubble 1.0 had burst, but prices were still too high. I didn’t expect another bubble, and so soon, but it looks like nobody learned from history.

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