Bullett Proof Linux For Beginners

I read this in a couple of places today. Someone had a real flash of insight when they thought of it. Whoever it was, let me know so I can credit it to you. I read this several times, and the source was not identifiable.

If you want a bullet proof Linux installation of your very own, how do you do it? How can you have an installation of your favorite Linux distribution that never breaks because of something you tried to do? A rock solid Linux that always performs as well the day it performed when you first installed it?

I wish this was around when I started using Linux. I would be a Linux pro by now, or at least a pretty advanced user. Enough delay and buildup to a great idea.

When you first install your Linux Distribution of choice, and it is updated, and everything is working perfectly, add a virtual box to your system.

Once you have  a virtual box installed, install your Linux Distribution on Virtual Box. You do not have to update it if you do not want to, and I am sure your distribution would prefer you did not.

If you really need to update your virtual machine do a little bit more. It would be fair, since you are doubling the work of the distributions server, to donate some money to your distribution of choice.

After all, you would be on your way to becoming a Linux Pro, if it were not for them. Contact the site admin, or one of the forum moderators on how to donate. Most Linux Distributions are ran on a shoe string, and they would really appreciate your financial support.

Now when you want to make any changes to your system, make those changes in your virtual machine first. This way, if you make a mistake, you can undo it, or copy back your pristine virtual machine backup, and start over, knowing your working system is safe and secure.

This is an almost perfect setting for a learning environment too. You can tinker, modify, and change settings to see what effects what. If they are not good changes, you haven’t hurt your working Linux System. If they work as you hoped, and wow you, you can make the changes on your working Linux system.

You can even go further. On the forums of your Linux distribution of choice, there are always one or more post install problem sections, where forum members write about their Linux problem in the hope someone knows the fix and responds.

If you like to tinker, and want to learn more about Linux, you can do what they did, breaking your virtual machine. Then you can see if you can fix the problem in your virtual machine.

When you can learn to fix simple problems, you can post the fix, helping out another Linux user who is not as advanced as you are. Then you can start tackling harder problems and help me out :-).

Not only, will this help you learn Linux, but it will help you better understand how Linux works because you can get in their and play with the nuts and bolts of your system.

You may not want to update your virtual machine, as it is likely to break, and you don’t want to put undo download stress on the distribution server; sending files costs money.

You should learn how to copy your virtual machine file to a safe location. Make sure you shut it down first before copying your virtual machine file to another location.

This way when your virtual machine breaks, you have a good working copy of your virtual machine. Copy your virtual machine back from its stored location to your virtual machine folder.
I read this in a couple of places today. Someone had a real flash of insight when they thought of it. Whoever it was, let me know so I can credit it to you. I read this several times, and the source was not identifiable.

If you want a bullet proof Linux installation of your very own, how do you do it? How can you have an installation of your favorite Linux distribution that never breaks because of something you tried to do? A rock solid Linux that always performs as well the day it performed when you first installed it?

I wish this was around when I started using Linux. I would be a Linux pro by now, or at least a pretty advanced user. Enough delay and buildup to a great idea.

When you first install your Linux Distribution of choice, and it is updated, and everything is working perfectly, add a virtual box to your system.

Once you have  a virtual box installed, install your Linux Distribution on Virtual Box. You do not have to update it if you do not want to, and I am sure your distribution would prefer you did not.

If you really need to update your virtual machine do a little bit more. It would be fair, since you are doubling the work of the distributions server, to donate some money to your distribution of choice.

After all, you would be on your way to becoming a Linux Pro, if it were not for them. Contact the site admin, or one of the forum moderators on how to donate. Most Linux Distributions are ran on a shoe string, and they would really appreciate your financial support.

Now when you want to make any changes to your system, make those changes in your virtual machine first. This way, if you make a mistake, you can undo it, or copy back your pristine virtual machine backup, and start over, knowing your working system is safe and secure.

This is an almost perfect setting for a learning environment too. You can tinker, modify, and change settings to see what effects what. If they are not good changes, you haven’t hurt your working Linux System. If they work as you hoped, and wow you, you can make the changes on your working Linux system.

You can even go further. On the forums of your Linux distribution of choice, there are always one or more post install problem sections, where forum members write about their Linux problem in the hope someone knows the fix and responds.

If you like to tinker, and want to learn more about Linux, you can do what they did, breaking your virtual machine. Then you can see if you can fix the problem in your virtual machine.

When you can learn to fix simple problems, you can post the fix, helping out another Linux user who is not as advanced as you are. Then you can start tackling harder problems and help me out :-).

Not only, will this help you learn Linux, but it will help you better understand how Linux works because you can get in their and play with the nuts and bolts of your system.

You may not want to update your virtual machine, as it is likely to break, and you don’t want to put undo download stress on the distribution server; sending files costs money.

You should learn how to copy your virtual machine file to a safe location. Make sure you shut it down first before copying your virtual machine file to another location.

This way when your virtual machine breaks, you have a good working copy of your virtual machine. Copy your virtual machine back from its stored location to your virtual machine folder.

Linux Distro Hopping, a few Distro Comments

Since I have been checking out a number of new distros, I thought I would post a quick line or two on them. One of the important things for me, is a distro be able to see youtube and Ted videos out of the box, or easily make them play. I also use usenet, so a usenet reader is also on my list.

One finding, or food for thought: Using LVM means you have to backup anything you want from your home directory before installing another distro. If there is a workaround, I did not find it.

I think the simplest hard drive scheme is a 10 – 15  gig root (if you have the space), a swap file that matches your memory or at least four gigs for movies, and whatever space you have left as home – unless you multiboot.

Crunchbang #! (Debian) – see my previous post, is awesome once you understand it, and can get past “Windows way” thinking.

Kubuntu & Xubuntu (Ubuntu 14.04) – This is a very stable, easy to use distro, using the KDE desktop of course. I find myself doing too much clicking when going through the menu for a program, depending on where it is. Uses about 550 mb of ram.

* This applies to all ‘buntu from what I read…If you multiboot, grub occasionally misses all your distros. Also only Kubuntu, though it was installed on sdb, put grub on sda without asking.

Linux Mint (Ubuntu 14.04) – Awesome. A very well thought out distribution. Most of the programs are programs you want to use. The different desktops are for the cpu speed, amount of ram, and hard drive space, although, even if your system is new, you may notice a speed difference between the desktops.

LXLE (Ubuntu 14.04) – Not sure what to think about this one. Comprehensive is a good word for LXLE. It is fast, and very large at the same time. There are enough programs you may never need to add anything. Though I did not notice any that would not get used over time.

Debian 7.5 – Sparse and fast. Installs with the LXDE desktop, which is one of the fastest desktops around. One of the most stable and secure distributions around. Not pretty, you will need to add software, and you may want to tweak the settings. You do have the option of loading any other desktop, and window manager such as XFCE, KDE, or Gnome. I think if you give LXDE a chance, you will like it.

Plays youtube videos from basic install, at least the few I tried. Copy and paste the link below to load flash player so you can watch TED and maybe some other videos.

https://wiki.debian.org/FlashPlayer

A downside of Debian is Debian and Debian users are not overly friendly at times. They are usually experienced users, and have little patience for asked a 1000 times questions.

Kannotix (Debian) – This is a good solid distro. It’s been around a long time. Not a lot of flash, just solid.

SolydXK (Debian) – Close to Kubuntu and Xubuntu. SolydK did not like my Intel video chip set, and gave me a few problems. Solid though, and upgraded just fine. SolydX is awesome, but the upgrade left search the engines option out of Firefox.

Net Runner – Very fast! I liked this distro right away, until I looked for a binary news reader – like Pan. I could not find one. Other than that, it may need to be tweaked for appearance, but it is very fast.

Manjaro – Fast, but too green for me. I became annoyed by the color scheme too quickly. I am not a KDE expert, and playing around with the settings left me wanting someone who knows what they are doing to change the color scheme. Also had a few small problems. This distro may be troublesome for new Linux users. Updates pretty quickly too.

CrunchBang 11 “Waldorf”, my Thoughts Jun 2014

Sometimes less is more. Sometimes less frees you from doing more. Less makes you think about what you want to do rather than what you could do. Less is very effective at removing time wasters.

I tried Crunchbang Linux some years ago, when it was unstable, and prone to breaking. I did not enjoy the Crunchbang experience back then. Who wanted a Operating System that was going to break, had a silly menu, and an empty desktop?

I finally get it. I finally understand what Crunchbang delivers, and what it represents for me. After the install, there is a dark mostly empty screen, with Conky on the top right side. The menu is sparsely populated. Only the minimum programs are there. A perfect blank canvas waiting for paint.

What programs are present are all most of us use in our day to day computing. From here on out, once Crunchbang is installed, if you want more, you need to do it yourself. This is the real power of Linux and Crunchbang in particular. The basics are covered, the rest is up to you.

Out of this emptiness Crunchbang Linux sits in the revered top twenty on the Distrowatch web sites ranking of Linux Distro’s most popular. For a long time I did not understand why. I think I do now.

Does it matter I have fifty of the greatest Linux programs ever written a few mouse clicks away if I rarely use them? Does it matter that my desktop could be placed in an art gallery when my net-centric apps are covering the desktop?

When I installed Crunchbang a few days ago, it was obvious some changes were needed. I thought I fell of the deep end, again. Where was the bling, the color and cool desktop pics, etc? Where were the programs I use?  I did not like the dark desktop which is the default Crunchbang. What was the point of how the menu is accessed. Who cares about Shortcut Keys?

I brightened up the desktop. I added the programs I prefer to use. I added them to the menu. I modified the menu to a menu I like. I don’t know if I am done, but I know I can add, remove, and modify almost everything.

My old dislikes were: The menu sucks, the programs are old, the distro is dark and boring. Truth is, menu access is brilliant. One left click anywhere on the desktop and there is the menu.  The programs are rock solid, and in almost every case perform every function the newest release does. I changed the desktop wallpaper to something lighter. I added some programs I prefer to use.

Using Crunchbang is watching your favorite television show at prime time, without commercials. Crunchbang is surfing the net without any ads. Crunchbang is a word processor which loads full screen with only the cursor as a distraction.

Crunchbang is so popular imo, because it is malleable. Crunchbang is true Linux putty. Crunchbang allows you to have a desktop and programs you want, not what a majority of people are willing to live with. Crunchbang allows you to create the perfect Linux for you.  You do not need a dedicated team to set up your desktop, You can learn in mere minutes how to modify the desktop and the menu to your liking.

Linux is a series of trade offs. Everything is a trade for something else, with few exceptions.  Crunchbang is one of those exceptions. Crunchbang frees you from some of what you do not need, and allows you to take control of your Linux experience.

Crunchbang has great resources in their forum, and more distant help scattered across the web. Everything I wanted to change, I found posts in the forum. Almost everything in Crunchbang is changeable, and explained in a way everyone can understand. The forum feels homey, somewhere you can hang out with friends and talk Crunchbang, even distro hopping if you wish.

The web’s Crunchbang comments and articles are helpfull too, but may not apply to the current version. I prefer forums for distro support. Crunchbang has a very good forum. I enjoy the tone of the posts I read.

Crunchbang is very personable, once you realize Crunchbang prefers you make most of the decisions beyond the basics. Perhaps this is the crux of Linux in the separation between beginning Linus users and more skilled Linux users.

Beginning Linux users want the experience of Linux with no thinking, and that is good as Linux is a new experience. Perhaps more experienced users know the difference. Jump in with an open mind, willing to learn, and no preconceived notions of what a Linux Distribution should be, and give Crunchbang a go. You might like being in control of your computer and master of your Crunchbang Linux realm.

Easy Linux Distro Hopping – Thunderbird and Firefox

One of the good/bad things about Linux is distro hopping. Distro hopping means trying out different distributions of Linux as the mood hits, or an exciting new distribution appears. Some people change Linux distributions monthly. Other people less often. Some people not at all.

A few people have their favorite distribution and try out other Linux distributions on the side, so to speak. I am one of those people. For me the Linux distribution I am using is possibly not as great as the new distro I will take for a test drive. I do not want to miss out.

One of the downsides to jumping Linux distributions is email and web browser settings. Email because I either have to keep email on the server, or I have to ensure I do not need any emails in the old distribution before I delete it for the next latest and greatest Linux Distribution.

There is an easy fix however, if you use Mozilla products which I am a big fan of. I prefer Thunderbird for my email and Firefox as my web browser. If you are using either or both of these, distro jumping becomes much less painful.

This post is for the new distro hoppers. A How To for easily moving your Firefox and Thunderbird email, address book and settings to your newest distro. This works for popular distros as of June 2014.

With [most] Linux distros, all your files are kept in your home directory. Your email, and your browser settings are stored as invisible files in your home directory. This is how Linux keeps everything right in the case of multiple users on a computer.

Each user or account has their own home directory where their personal files are stored.  This makes distro jumping easy. When you want to either try out a Linux distribution or try out a second distribution, keeping your email and browser settings is a fairly simple process.

In your file manager, no matter which manager you have is a setting in preferences for viewing hidden files. This needs to be checked because you want to view hidden files – temporarily.

After setting the hidden files switch, when you look at you home directory, you will see a number of files that have a period in front of the folder name. These are hidden folders. Most folders contain settings and other information for the user based software you have installed.  There are a number of hidden folders, and they tend to clutter up the file manager, so they are hidden and not viewed by default.

Two of these hidden folders you are most interested in are: .mozilla and .thunderbird. These two folders contain all your Thunderbird and Firefox email and settings.

Your new distribution needs to have Thunderbird and Firefox installed. If they are not present, install them both before proceeding.  Copy these two folders, .mozilla and .thunderbird, from your old home folder to your new home folder. Your file manager will warn you that these folders exist and do you want to replace them. Choose: yes.

Tat is all there is to it. I did one jump recently where this did not work for Thunderbird, not sure why. What I did was create my accounts in Thunderbird, and then close Thunderbird before allowing to to check of new email. When I reopened Thunderbird, my old emails, address book, etc were all present.

Sports and Porn, Best Actor Awards?

As someone who is watches sports on a casual level, I am always surprised at the players. Whether I watch the FIFA games, NBA finals, or MLB, there is always a show being put on. I never envied the referees and umpires. Not that the referees and umpires are being over tasked, but there roles have expanded. I am surprised at the amount of acting going on at this level of sport.
Watching FIFA, I see the acting is on par with the NBA. Players falling over in a dramatic style, agony on their faces, grabbing body parts, or laying still waiting for the whistle. They make it look doubtful they will ever be able to stand up again, let alone play. If the whistle doesn’t come, they are up in a flash running down the field.

Watching an NBA game, I see two-hundred plus pound men in the key falling over when barely bumped, acting like a train hit them. The player being touched is falling over, not the player doing the bumping. Other times players find ways to get in the way and then bumped, hoping to cause a foul on the opposition.

Players in the MLB and college level baseball, have their non verbal body language, mainly pitchers and batters, are body language experts. Often they are telling each other off using their body language. Making both subtle and overt sexual and other references towards each other involving package checks, and occasionally, other more explicit body language.

I watched a college baseball game last week where the batter was grabbing and throwing his crotch towards the pitcher. The picture was busy going through his own repertoire of movement, creatively flipping the bird at the batter.

It has all become part of the game. Each player or team trying to get an edge on the other.  Hoping the referees and umpires will be unable to separate fact from fantasy. Some of these games have more drama in them than  soap operas.

Perhaps as a casual watcher of sports, I notice these behaviors as I do not watch enough sports to make more refined observations concerning the play. For me, watching the acting is entertainment enough.

Maybe it is time to start a sports actors guild? There could be a best actor and runner up in each sport or division. There could be an award for the best sequence of falls over the season, based on believability. The best faked trip, or foul. How about the most obscene gestures thrown in a season. Award winners would get a cash award on top of a trophy.

Where does this leave the Referees and Umpires? Maybe they could have slots on the award show for most correct calls, best at ignoring antics, and maybe even directing pitchers and batters to clean up their acts.

Sports and porn are the reason the Internet made it. At one time, sports and porn took up over fifty percent of all bandwidth. Casually watching sports these days, I wonder if porn is the cleaner of the two. Especially if you throw in excessive and continuous spitting in baseball.

The falling in sports, and porn are both fake, so maybe acting during the game awards and best acting porn awards could be the same show?

Make You Laugh

Laughing and happiness are two cornerstones to feeling good about you and your life. Money, power, and other trappings of what from the outside look like a good life are illusions. If you can’t laugh and you don’t feel good about yourself from the inside everything else doesn’t matter.

With that said here is a funny joke. Having spent a lot of time there, I can relate to it.

A man is sitting in a dentist chair. mouth open wide.

Dentist, “I am going to give you helium”

Patient, “Will it help the pain?”

Dentist, “No but it will sound hilarious  when you scream.”

I don’t know who made up the joke, but thank you!

Auto Immune, ADD, Pregnancy, and Acetaminophen Link Possible

Acetaminophen is a wonder drug. It is generally safe to use, when proper dosing is followed, works great for pain relief, and does not upset your stomach as some other pain relievers may. Acetaminophen also has a dark side. I have read up to an estimated 17,000 overdoses per year cause serious health concerns and/or deaths per year.

Recently two articles caught my eye about Acetaminophen. The first was about a link between Acetaminophen and Celiacs. Celiacs, loosely described is a wheat or wheat gluten allergy.

When I discovered I was a Celiac, it was barely being recognized as an actual illness. A few years ago, estimates were one in one hundred and forty people of European descent had some level of Celiacs. Today, I am hearing estimates of more than one in one hundred people may be effected by Celiacs and are not aware of it, because it hides so well in our body unless it becomes an extreme sensitivity.

Celiacs is commonly thought of an auto immune disorder these days. I have seen Celiacs grouped with Multiple Scleroses, Gout, Diabetes, and Crones disease. Whether these are all variations of one issue is a hot debate in medical and scientific circles. Whether they too may be affected by Acetaminophen, I have not read about it. Seems like a possibility though.

There appears, from what I read, to be two new side effects to Acetaminophen according to the articles. One is Acetaminophen makes one more sensitive to wheat Gluten (Celiacs).

The second more serious side effect may be a disturbing link between Acetaminophen and ADD, when the pregnant mother takes Acetaminophen during her pregnancy.

As someone who was taking Acetaminophen three or more days a week, stopping has strongly reduced my gluten sensitivity, and returned my life to almost normal. No longer do I need to be concerned about a lone crouton in my salad making me ill.

I no longer feel sick with Celiac symptoms when I know I have not had eaten any wheat in the last three or four days. Eating oatmeal which is one of my main breakfast foods has not bothered me since I stopped taking Acetaminophen.

I have been told Celiacs itself, “Is all in my head” by a few odd people. I have to disagree with them. Celiacs is all in my digestive track. My head only notices how poorly I am feel.

As to taking Acetaminophen while pregnant, I have no opinion. It is obvious, years ago ADD and illnesses like it were a rare occurrence, and is now a minor epidemic. The article I read claimed a link between Acetaminophen use during pregnancy and ADD symptoms as the babies develop.

I do not have any medical advice to offer one way or another on this. I do not know if what I read is based on real studies or repeatable data. What I do know is not taking any Acetaminophen products has made me feel better.

If you are Celiac or have another auto immune disorder, you can determine for yourself if Acetaminophen has any effect on your body. It was as obvious to me, as not eating wheat in any form first was. Within a couple of days I started feeling a lot better.

As to pregnancy and Acetaminophen, this is a decision each Woman should make of her own volition, independently of other opinions. In any case it is a matter of risk verses reward. In my case the risk seemed small until I started to enjoy the reward.

Want a Job, Willing to Travel? Rumor Control

This post should be considered Rumor Control and not factual – in fact what may be classified as fantasy follows.  I have been told this by people I normally trust, but it may not be true. This information is unverified and may not be true, so take it for what it is worth.

If you haven’t heard, a few places in the country (USA) are having an oil boom, and they need workers. If you are willing to work, and can put up with less than stellar living conditions, you can make a lot of money at one of these two places.

I have been told by a person from Minot, North Dakota, that McDonald’s is so desperate, they are willing to pay $18.00 an hour, and give you $2000.00 to work in Minot. That is over $37,000.00 a year! You have to sign a contract of course. Minot, North Dakota is not all that for most people.

I have been told this by people I normally trust, but it may not be true. This information is unverified and may no longer be true by the time you read this, so take it for what it is worth.

Midland Texas, is so desperate for workers, a 53 year old man with no work record found a job paying over $50.000 a year within three days of showing up in Midland. Midland, Texas is not all that for most people.

This is what I was told, and it may not be true. Take it for what it’s worth. Which is worth about what you hear walking down the street. I am not responsible for any action you take or do not take from reading this post.

If you are seriously considering what I wrote is true, search the net, make some phone calls, ask your family and friends, think before you act.

Murder by Slender Man?

As of this writing, two twelve year old Wisconsin girls tried to murder a third girl by stabbing her multiple times. As of today, Slender Man is being blamed for the attack.

The injured girl is alive, barely, and my heart and prayers go out to her and her family. This must be ripping the family apart. You send your child out to play, and then the door bell rings.

I’m not sure I put any stock to this idea, but it came floating through my thoughts as I read about the two twelve year old Waukesha girls, and their Slender Man induced attempted murder. As it played out in my head, it seemed remotely possible. This is my attempt to make what I read fit into what may have happened. It in no way dulls the horror.

Voices in our heads, we all have them. These voices can be dangerous, driving us over the edge of sanity and reason. Even more dangerous for Children who do not know what to do with their voices.  Children who do not know voices are abnormal? Adults deal better with voices in their heads because they learned tell them to, “Shut up!” Most adults know how manage those background noise voices, generally by ignoring them.

Children, who hear voices in their heads are not so fortunate. They may not even know the voices should be ignored. Maybe some Children do not know to not allow voices in their heads to have any meaning? There are always exceptions of children who never thought to ask an adult about the voices in their heads.

Children, among other things, are strong story and lore keepers. Believers in almost all stories they hear and tell. Any child knows where the most evil house in their neighborhood is. Any child can also recite a long list of most feared monsters and creatures that roam around by day and by night. Any child can tell you about important child things.

Children spend large amounts of their time thinking about really scary things. Remember the things that used to scare you as a child, and how you believed it all? Maybe you still do? As a child we all told stories of very scary things, and we believed most of them.

When Children listen to the voices in their head, monsters and mayhem become alive in their world. They exist, and they are active in Children’s imaginations. They attack and harrass children through their thoughts. Most Children can set them aside, but maybe one of these two children could not.

It’s not much of a stretch of imagination to think that what happened between the three twelve year old Girls. Two girls who attempted to murder one of their own. Slender Man wanted them to do it. Maybe even insisted to one of them that they do it. Threatened at least one of them with what would happen if they did not murder.

To children Slender Man is the real deal. Same as the monsters that scared you as a child. Slender Man was invented only a few years ago if you are an adult. If you are around the age of twelve, Slender Man has been watching you your whole life.

If you are a twelve year old with an over active imagination, and voices in your head, Slender Man is one scary monster. Scary enough that Slender Man is telling you things, and you believe him. Talking over your thoughts and making you listen to him instead.

Making you so scared, you lose your own idea of right and wrong. Slender Man scares you bad enough that you are willing to do anything to be protected from or by Slender Man.

Without Slender Man, or another monster hiding in your thoughts, and you are around twelve, you may start to become a little odd. You may find yourself doing odd things, like excessive hand washing, hurting animals, or having a version of reality that no one else seems to have. You become a little paranoid, maybe even a lot paranoid.

Of course your family may cover up for you. Perhaps they pretend not to notice. If you are lucky, you maintain enough control inside your head, your issue does not become known, and you can grow up almost normal, with a touch of strange.

If you are not able be in control of your thoughts, outside help will be sought, hopefully sooner than later. If you are completely unable to control the voices and thoughts in your head, something like Slender Man is ready and willing to take charge, and tell you what to do.

I think this type of behavior in twelve year old girls is very rare. Maybe it was the perfect storm released by a previous head injury? Maybe it is a result of something else gone wrong. Maybe it’s all a fabricated story, thought up for self preservation. Maybe those two girls were bored, and thought murder would be fun.