Bad Day Begging

I stopped at the store tonight after work to get some groceries we were running low on. I wish it were the steak I was buying, but that was last summer. There was young man maybe 25 years old leaning on the trunk of his car next to where I parked.

I am out of my truck, in front of his car, he is standing on the side between his car and the next one down. Here comes the pitch…

Mooching off Society

Don’t you get tired of professional beggars?

Young Man, “Hey Mister?” He steps out.

Me, “Yeh”

Young Man, “Do you have any money you can spare”

Me, “Look at your t-shirt, mine is three years old, yours looks pretty new? Look at your pants, they are in good shape too.

See my pants down here (pointing) where they are frayed at the heels? If I take my belt off, my pants will fall down because they don’t fit me any more.

Your shoes look fairly new, less than three months old I am guessing? My shoes are three years old now, and they make my feet hurt. See where the black color has worn off the seams, and the white leather shows through?

Look at your car, I think it is a mid-nineties model? See my truck? It has been hit a few times. Not worth too much. It’s a ’98.

So, how much money have you been given so far? I think you should share with me? It looks like I need it more than you. Everything you have here, is better than mine. Yet your begging me for money?”

Young Man, “Aw, F* you!”

He walks to the door of his car and gets in. When I come out about fifteen minutes later he is gone, or at least not parked next to me.

Copy like a Power User – Mac

In the past when I only used Linux, I always kept backups of my hard drive. The easiest and safest way at that time was to copy everything to another hard drive. There were programs that could be used, but I thought it was important that I do the copying myself. If a program makes a mistake, you can blame the author of the program, but it doesn’t get your files back if you really need them. If you copy folders and files yourself, you know it is being done correctly, and who is to blame if it is not.

Words called commands are used in the Terminal on your Mac. You can find Terminal in Launchpad, by clicking on Utilities. Terminal is very powerful even though it looks like an empty box, or a wimpy text editor. Administrators of both large and small systems use Terminal to maintain, upgrade, and troubleshoot systems they maintain. Don’t be fooled by the looks of Terminal, it is a very powerful tool.

Below are two command strings showing two ways of copying folders and files from the hard drive on your Mac to a usb stick or usb hard drive you have plugged in using Terminal. Terminal is faster than using a program. I have used the second command “rsync” with Linux, but Apple recommends you do not use rsync to copy folder and files on your Mac. More on rsync and Apples warning below.

Commands you may give your Mac by typing in Terminal are done immediately and not processed by a graphical program checking itself to see which boxes you may have checked, and then issuing the (hopefully) proper command.

Most people will never have any real need to use a Terminal. It is worth using Terminal a few times, so you can start to understand how graphical programs you use work. Everything done in a program can be done by typing commands and instructions in Terminal. It would not be quick or fun, but computing was done this way before desktops and Gui’s.

Using these commands in my Mac Terminal, I moved a few files from Movies folder to a usb stick. If you want to try too, use copies of files which are also saved somewhere else. That way if a mistake is made, the power goes out, or something else happens your files are safe.

The first folder and file copy I did on my Mac, I used a command named “rsync” to copy the contents of the folder “Movies” on my Mac hard drive to a plugged in USB stick named usb1. Apple recommends you not use the command “rsync”. Use instead Apples suggested command “rcp”.

Apple says “rcp” is safer than using rsync. If you use the command “rcp” which Apple recommends there can be folders and files on your usb stick or usb hard drive before you copy more folders and files to it. The folders and files there will not be harmed or changed in any way. With rsync where you are copying too needs to be empty. If it is not, rsync erases what is there.

All a Power User Needs

Be a Mac Power User with Terminal. Copy folders and files like a pro.

Read everything below before you try this yourself. This helps saves any confusion from happening while you are trying to copy folders and files while using Terminal.




Copy using RCP:

Plug in your usb stick or usb drive before opening the Terminal. Using the Terminal of your Mac, before typing anything else in Terminal, type exactly as you see, changing the name ‘usb1’ to whatever your usb stick or usb drive is named. You may also wish to change the folder “dir1” to something else, or not. There is one space between rcp and -. One space between pr and Movies. One space between the two / / in the middle.

Here is the command for rcp:  rcp -46pr Movies/ /Volumes/usb1/dir1

What this Terminal Command does is copy everything inside the folder ‘Movies’ to the usb stick or usb hard drive named usb1, copying all files and folders to a folder named “dir1”. The letters -46pr tell rcp to copy everything and keep everything in the order it is in the folder Movies. It would not be good to find your copy was completed with its folders and files all mixed up.

If the files are small, the command will be completed quickly. If they are large files, it may take some seconds. Do not be in a rush, rcp will tell when it is done.

The command “rcp” which Apple suggests should be used instead of “rsync” is preferred and safer to use. According to Apple – using “rsync” is using it at your own risk as it may cause problems. I am not sure why this is so, as “rsync” is a common Linux way of backing up folders and files, or the full contents of a hard drive.

The rsync command and string is below. I used rsync on my Mac without issue, but you should not. I strongly suggest you follow Apples suggestion and only use rcp, just in case rsync does cause a problem on your Mac.

Using rsync – at your own risk on a Mac:

Important rsync note: If your usb stick or usb drive is not empty before using “rsync”, the string “–delete” erases everything on your usb stick or usb drive before the copy is started. If you want what is on your usb stick, or usb drive, you need to save the files somewhere else before you try this. Where you are copying the files to needs to be empty, or it will be erased before copying starts.

Plug in your usb stick or usb drive before opening the Terminal. Using the Terminal of your Mac, before typing anything in Terminal, to try the rsync command, type in the following command, changing the name ‘usb1’ to whatever your usb stick or usb drive is named.

rsync -av –delete Movies/ Movies/ /Volumes/usb1/

If you find using terminal to copy files fun, and you want to learn more, there is wealth of information on the web. Ensure you go to trusted websites for your information. Reading old posts may be simple, but there is no way to know if what was typed is correct. Too often some typed command is not right in these old posts, and they will not work correctly. There are of course people who knowingly posted information that could hurt your Mac. They thought it was funny at the time.

Learning the basics of using Terminal is fun and rewarding. Anyone can point and click. Knowing what and why you are pointing and clicking is real knowledge. Knowledge is fun, and sometimes pays well too. At the very least you will be able to say, “Been there, done that. Got the copy.”

Linux Lazy, Linux Free, Linux Choices

I am thinking about Linux distributions. Linux Distributions are fascinating due to their varied natures. I am not about to sell you on trying or using Linux. For myself, I have been a Linux user for over a decade. I know Linux has a lot to offer. If you are happy with your operating system, stick with it, it is working for you. But read on, I think you like this post anyway.

What is unique about Linux Distributions, and perhaps any Operating System, is so much of Linux happens between the users ears. That comment is not making a number of Linux users happy, so let’s look into it further.

For most of the world, computer usage or computer life for a few, is defined by a few programs. They are in no particular order: programs for the web, for productivity, entertainment, and social media. These categories cover most computer users day to day computer usage.

Most older versions of your operating system could be perfectly at home today sitting on your desk, or on your laptop. They would need a horse power boost due to the size of web and other documents, and multimedia, but for the most part they would work just fine. If I still had a version of Windows 95 for example, I could use it to listen to music, browse the web, watch some videos, send email, and create good looking documents.

With the exception of changes to how web documents are created and viewed, small additions to basic video, everything you do with your computer is generally what people did in 1995 minus some of the real time video heavy applications. There was less of everything of course, computers at that time were not central to life as we know it, but they were getting there.

With that thought in mind, think about Linux. There is basic Linux, which is almost the same as using windows with no additional programs. The Linux desktop is generic on millions of Linux computers around the world.  Every modified version of Linux, named a “Linux Distribution” have different window dressings (desktops), programs, and ways of doing things, but in general they all generally accomplish the same tasks if they are for general computer users.

Window dressing and software is where Linux Distributions become interesting. Think of a basic bicycle, or automobile. That is how basic Linux, Windows, Mac OS, or other operating systems are off the shelf. They all take you from point A to point B. What makes each bicycle or automobile unique is how it is dressed up, how fast or slow, and how comfortable it is for you, the owner.

When all the glitz and glitter is stripped away from an operating system, the files we work with, watch, or listen to, are essentially the same. Music is music, documents are documents produced by different software. Video is video. A web site is basically a web site.

If you spend most of your time using a web browser, the latest version of whatever web browser you are using looks almost the same on every computer’s operating system. If you listen to music, or participate in social media, all programs operate under certain agreed upon standards, whether they be tweets, or two hour movies.

This idea of ‘unique’ is one of the fascinating concepts of our minds and Linux distributions. There are a few hundred different distributions, or versions of Linux waiting to be downloaded, installed and used. Some look like Windows and some look like each other.

Some Linux Distributions are easier to install than others. Some Linux Distributions have two or three programs that all do the same thing (more choices), some have one or none depending on what the version of Linux is meant to do.

When you buy a computer, you use Windows in most cases. Generally, you can do everything you  need to do with the programs that come with Windows. When you use Linux, your desktop can be anything from a black screen with a > to desktops that look as if they should be framed and displayed as art because they are that pleasing to the eye.

This is what I find fascinating about Linux! If it doesn’t exist, and it probably does, you or I can create it. Probably as simple as a few lines of text in a terminal. Of course we can also make it as complex as any program written in Windows or Mac OS if we choose to.

We can pick and choose from a number of top notch music players that rival itunes in power and capability. Or we can use a program with no visual interface at all, using only a line of text in a terminal, telling a program to play a single song. We can mix and match our Linux Operating System this way. As simple, complex, plain or pleasing as we want.

Linux is the American Dream Operating System! Where else can you have it exactly your way? Not a choice of vegetables and which sauce you want on your burger, but exactly what you want for your burger from the type of bread, choice of meats, how its cooked, and exact mixtures of special sauces. Kind of like being a kid at the soda dispenser, mixing different flavors, and hoping we like the taste when we a re done.

I am both too lazy and time constrained to want to do the creating and upkeep of a building a from scratch Linux Operating System on my own, though others obviously love the challenge. Tweaking and creating until it is perfect – for them.

Linux for the masses

Build or download your dream operating system

I prefer the easy, lazy way. I use Mac OS because it is close to Linux, even though it is highly controlled. I use my Linux Distro of choice because it is as close to what I want my Linux Operating System to be without putting in the painful sweat equity myself.

I really enjoy Linux and all the freedom and choice Linux gives me. I wish I had more time to not be so lazy when it comes to using such a great operating system. It must be a blast to create exactly what you want in a computer Operating System. Having run exactly the way you want it to. Yet, it must be even better when other people like it too, and clone your dream operating system on their computer.

For all our freedom of choice we insist we want, we really don’t want it. We could have a computer with an operating system that is uniquely our own because we could build it ourselves. Yet most of us choose a plain vanilla computer using a plain vanilla operating system. I think the reason is, for all our talk about wanting personal freedom, we are basically lazy. We really want it our way, but only if someone else does the work for us.

Our laziness flows across our daily life. Our clothing, our meals, everything we could make, unique to ourselves, if we really wanted to, we generally do not do. We balance our laziness with our money. Why do it, when we can buy it almost as we want it? Rather and maybe more truthfully, we settle for something close to what we want.

Or perhaps in the case of the two hundred plus Linux Distributions waiting to be downloaded, installed and enjoyed, most of us, find the one. The one Linux Distribution where we know when we use it, that it is better than we could do ourselves. At least I want to think so.