2015-05-22

Could have predicted this

Clayton Cramer notices this news item, and writes a headline.

Approximately, "Usual losers from riots are the law-abiding poor/minority in the neighborhood that suffered the riots."

As I noted there, this was seen in Detroit in '67. Among other places...

2015-05-19

Birthday Break

For my birthday, I took a break from blogging. And on the day after, I took another break from blogging.

In the meantime, I found some fun stuff.

Trigger warnings, from someone who has experienced trauma and knows exactly what triggers the panic.

This day in history...exactly one day after I was born, the biggest volcanic eruption of the past century happened.

A novel in progress.

A humorous look at another important day in history. From the same source, an update to the Muses spoken of by the ancient Greeks.

2015-05-15

Local News

Sometimes, the regional news brings along really odd stories.

Like this one.

As Clayton Cramer says, the sub-head ought to be "Don't be Stupid."


2015-05-14

Vehicle oddity

I've spent a year and a half driving a manual transmission as my daily drive.

The different behavior of a manual-transmission car became a deeply-ingrained habit in my mind. When I took a corporate test-vehicle home over the weekend, I was a little surprised when the automatic-transmission vehicle started moving the moment I let off the brakes.

I also noticed how the fuel economy gauge on the dashboard behaved. A very shallow up-slope (I think less than 1% grade, but over two miles) caused the fuel economy to drop noticeably. I could have maintained high economy, but only by coasting and losing lots of speed. Steady speed on a similar down-slope, or a flat section of roads, showed the maximum possible reading for fuel economy.

2015-05-12

Computer fun

Another item from the weekend:

I did two things on my computers. One of which was much easier than I'd anticipated, the other of which was trickier.

The GNU/Linux distribution that I'm using is called Gentoo. I had decided to add a feature to the old machine in my basement that mostly holds backup files and a print-server.

The new feature is a Media Server.

After a little tweaking and searching, I ended up at this web site. I spent a little time pulling in upgrades to the core Gentoo system, then I ran the installer for plex-media-server.

A few minutes later, Plex was installed and I was importing MP3 files. I could see the server from any computer on the in-house network, and could also see the new Plex server from my Roku media center.

The harder task was changing the Login Manager on that same Gentoo system, while enabling the screensaver software to let another user log in.

The software that handler user login is separate from the software that handles the screensaver, and is also separate from the Window Manager that handles most user interaction. Further, some Login Managers depend heavily on libraries from the related Window Manager, while others don't.

(Technically, this is also true in Windows and Mac. However, Microsoft/Apple don't make it easy for the user to replace one of these tools.)

Thus, I had to find and parse directions for switching from SLiM Login Manager to LightDM. And then find the command offered by LightDM to plug into the newLogin option offered by the XScreenSaver toolkit. The answer wasn't easy to find in the Gentoo online documentation, but I eventually found something in the documentation of the Arch Linux distribution.

Then I had to test. However, it didn't work...I'd forgotten that I needed to shut down and re-spawn the XScreenSaver process to use the new setting. After that, I realized that I also needed to log out of the active session, restart the Login Manager, and then log in again.

Eventually I figured it out.

One of the hassles of not using a fully-integrated desktop environment (like GNOME) is that I occasionally run into poorly-documented interactions between components.

2015-05-11

Mother's Day

Wish I had much to say about celebrating Mother's Day yesterday.

It's hard to top what was said by one sibling, to Mom.

"I'm happy you decided to become a mother."

The job of a mother contains many chores, tasks, and deeds that aren't often seen. It's a hard task. Yet without someone willing to take that task up, none of us would be here.

2015-05-08

Life and Death

I attended a funeral this week.

The day was rainy. The deceased man was Jewish. He was not exactly young, but seemed too young to die of a brain tumor.

The service itself was a mix of comforting and haunting.

The Jewish-ness of the service was interesting. The rabbi quoted from the Tanakh many times. He spoke of the promises offered by God, and ended by speaking of a fervent hope for the future.

At the end, the rabbi spoke of the hope in a future coming of the Messiah.

I realized that Christians find hope in the same thing; the main difference is over whether the future coming is the first or second appearance of the Messiah.

After the service, the family and friends met, talked, and remembered the life and death of this man.