Monday, November 19, 2007

Best song of all time ... the sequel

So yesterday I was doing the dishes. Nothing fancy about that, despite the fact I was listening to this while doing it. There's a track on the second disc, called Xpander which is really awesome. Choosing between Xpander and the track mentioned in an earlier post would be ... eh ... very difficult. Sasha rules!
A while ago, Sasha did a set on Essential Mix, remixing and re-editing music live, on Ableton live @ Maida Vale. Now this set, my dear friends, is by far the best set I've ever heard. It also features the song mentioned in some earlier post. I think I heard this set a zillion times, but I never get tired playing it. Again and again. I guess that makes me a boring person :)
Anyway, I think I should recall the earlier post about the best song of all time. IMHO, there's no such thing. There can be several :)
So, I guess I will have to assemble box of records-that-should-be-rescued-in-case-of-fire.
Cheers ...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Linux: Joy, joy, pleasure overload

Yes. Coming home today and browsing through the mail I received mad me a very happy man, despite of the rough week at work. Today I found 2 surprises in my mail:
  • Revolution OS, the DVD. This DVD is a documentary on Linux and the Open Source movement. Yes, I do realize you can see this movie on-line but I just had to have a hard copy for myself. And yes, I do realize this makes me a real nerd :)
  • 2 CD's with Ubuntu 7.10. The nice people of ShipIt send me a free copy of Ubuntu's most recent distributable for free.

Guess this makes me a double nerd.
Oh well, I don't care. You're all being jealous :)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Best song of all time

I am not that old. I have developed my taste for music when I was twelve years old or so. I think everyone developed some taste at that time. Maybe for something different, like women :)
Anyway, when I was twelve, 17 years ago, some dudes in Belgium invented New Beat. At least, I think it was invented here. It was a cross breed of New Wave and some other electronic sounds from the late 80's. I know my parents didn't like it very much, but I did. New Beat didn't last very long and then House music, and all its off-springs, came along. My parent's didn't like it either, even some of my friends didn't like it, but I still did.
House music is still here, the number of off-springs still growing. Right now I like stuff they play on frisky radio and BBC's kiss 100 and Essentialmix.
Obviously, this is not the only genre I admire. I also like other stuff like Muse, Nine Inch Nails, Placebo, Radiohead, ... . Seriously, you can't play house when you're having friends for dinner ... right?
Anyway, looking back at my collection of records and CD's I gathered in these 15 wonderful years it makes you wonder: "suppose the house burns down and you can only save 1 record, which one would it be?". I think, and some other people probably agree, this record would be it (At The Villa People; Open Your Eyes). This record reminds my of the period when I started DJ'ing, around 1996. It was one of the first records I bought, with the little money I had at that time.
Life is music, my dear friends (which reminds me, "My life is music" is also a very fine record). Music has always helped my to get through difficult periods in life. Like girlfriends breaking up with me, people dying, whatever. It reminds you of other, pleasant, things that happened in your past. It reminds you of people you've met, friends you've learned to know.
Think about it, what would be the sole record you salvage, should your house burn down ...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Linux: Installing latest firefox and thunderbird on Dapper

I'm still using Ubuntu Dapper. Why? Because I don't want to mess a lot with this install and let a dist-upgrade trash it completely every six months or so. Trust me, I've done 2 or more dist-upgrades in Ubuntu and none of them went well.
Anyway, I am still running Dapper and I'm proud of it. The only problem with this is that firefox and thunderbird shipped with Dapper have become very outdated. I wanted to try the webmail plug-in, but it only works for thunderbird 2. Damn :(
Fortunately there are some kind people who also have an older Ubuntu install and created a script to easily install the latest versions of both firefox and thunderbird on any Ubuntu version. Cool eh :)
The script is called ubuntuzilla and you need to run it as root. Not as a regular user, not using sudo.
Use it at your own risk and make a backup of your mails before using the script!

Linux: Installing fluxbuntu (Gutsy)

Introduction

I own an old Compaq Armada e500. This portable used to have 512 MB of RAM, but the other month, half of it failed on me and died. So, this left the portable quite useless. Running Ubuntu with Gnome is quite painful, because you spent most of the time waiting. Even the so claimed lightweight Ubuntu, Xubuntu, doesn't run as smooth as it should.
The other week I came across a post on the dutch Ubuntu forums, talking about fluxbuntu. This Ubuntu version claims being more lightweight than Xubuntu, so I decided to take it for a spin.

Installation

fluxbuntu boots in a non graphical installer. If you ever installed Debian, this installer will look very familiar. I think Ubuntu's alternate install CD also uses this "ncurses" based installer. Although the installer is text based, installing fluxbuntu is not more difficult than installing any other distro using a graphical installer. It also has the same basic questions; what's your keyboard layout?, where do you live?, where do you want to put it?. It even did a good job detecting the correct settings for XWindows.

SLIM login manager

After the necessary reboot, I was presented a nice splash screen and a simple, but nice login manager. fluxbuntu does not use xdm (Xubuntu) or gdm (Ubuntu, Gnome) but the very lightweight: Simple LogIn Manager (or SLIM). Being lightweight is the only advantage I can see for this login manager. One major disadvantage is that the version shipped with fluxbuntu (1.2.something) does not support PAM. So if you're authenticating against NIS or LDAP, you can kiss this login manager goodbye :)
After searching the web for a while, I discovered that the most recent version (1.3.0) supports PAM. I couldn't find any Debian package though, so I had to compile it myself. SLIM does not include a configure script, so you'll need to read the INSTALL to find out and install the necessary dependencies. If I recall correctly, you'll need xorg-dev, libpng-dev, g++ and libjpg-dev. After doing a make install, just reboot (or init 1 and CTRL+D) and you're up and running the latest SLIM :)

fluxbox

fluxbuntu uses fluxbox as default windowmanager. fluxbox is a fork of the elder blackbox window manager which I used a long time ago. I've always liked blackbox and also like fluxbox very much. The UI looks very clean and the people from fluxbuntu have done a great job creating a default theme for it. Unlike Ubuntu, it's green.

PAM and ldap

Since Gutsy, they've done some changes to the libpam-ldap and libnss-ldap packages. Apparently they are now grouped in one meta package and the both use the same configuration file /etc/ldap.conf, instead of /etc/libnss-ldap.conf and /etc/pam_ldap.conf. I think this is a very good idea, since both files contained the same settings anyway. So you ended up either maintaining 2 files, or symlinking the one to the other. Anyway, I am not going into detail on configuring an LDAP client install, but if you're migrating from Feisty or older to Gutsy, it is something to keep in mind when trying to reuse your old configuration files.

Conclusion

This is the lightweight distro I have been waiting for. Even on older machines with less RAM, it runs smoother then Xubuntu which is, IMHO, becoming quite heavyweight as well. I do realize that fluxbox is probably not as intuitive as KDE, Xfce or Gnome, but intuitiveness has never been my main concern.