Microsoft is just using Linux to make the moat around Windows deeper

I’ve also slowly become convinced of something else. Elegant though they may be, grand, over-arching theories of human-computer interactions are just not very useful. The devil is in the details, and accounting for the quirky details of quirky real-life processes often just results in quirky interfaces. Thing is, if you don’t understand the real life process (IC design, neurosurgery procedures, operation scheduling, whatever), you look at the GUIs and you think they’re overcomplicated and intimidating, and you want to make them simpler. If you do understand the process, they actually make a lot of sense, and the simpler interfaces are actually hard to use, because they make you work harder to get all the details right.

Source: Perhaps WSL2 Should be a Wake-up Call | Lobsters

As someone who has railed elsewhere about the evils of point of sale systems created by people who have never, in their little sad developer lives, worked in food service, I feel this comment in my bones. For people who know what they want to accomplish, a complicated interface will let you your job once you learn it, and it will let you do magic once you master it.

People bitch about Windows— including myself. But we’re still using it. I personally keep thinking of switching back to Linux but I find myself dreading the inevitable UI churn of GNOME and KDE; it is one of the reasons why I prefer XFCE. But even it suffers from churn under it in the form of libraries and modules that are tossed aside and rewritten in an inane race towards “modernity”.

As for WSL, the classic Borg assimilation quote comes to mind.*

We are the Borg. Existence, as you know it, is over. We will add your biological and technological distinctivensess to our own. Resistance is futile.

Accessorize your Windows toys with WSL

Normally I would consider this a bug. However over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that Windows is a pretty toy. It works wonderfully “in the small”. But it isn’t useful for significant programmer workloads (like typing :-) ).

Source: WSL Isn’t Linux | Hacker News

Your mistake was considering Windows suitable for anything but media consumption. It will phone home, it will reboot when it feels like it, and it won’t resume state when it does reboot or resume from sleep.

The best use for WSL is to use it to shell into a proper Linux host. Only way you can guarantee you won’t lose your work when the OS decides to do something.

Thinking Tools: July 2020

It’s been a long while since that last post I did and my setup has changed a lot:

Web services

  • This site, which I’m trying to update more often with links and blog posts I find interesting. It’s going much better after I installed the WP plugin to enhance the plain editor. The gutenberg editor sucks ass.
  • Nextcloud. I’m running my own instance to replace Dropbox, which I didn’t like the last time. Got the desktop client installed and it’s working quite nicely.
  • Twitter is still my social media network of choice. I’m using tweetdeck on the desktop
  • Feedly is still my RSS reader of choice but I’m looking around for a replacement that works across all my devices and it’s pretty to look at. Now that people are starting to move away from centralized social networks again there should be some movement in this space.
  • I’m running my own wiki using Wiki.js, which I’ve blogged about. This will probably merit another couple blog posts of their own specially now that I found vimwiki which could potentially run inside my Nextcloud instance.

Actual applications installed on my desktops and laptops

  • For messaging I’m now using Ferdi, a fork of Franz, to run most of my instant messaging needs. The great exceptions are Slack, Discord, and Signal; I discovered I work better when they have their own app instances running but when Signal offers a web interface I’ll probably fold it into Franz.
  • Spotify. Thinking of replacing it with a self-hosted option. I miss my graded playlists.
  • KeePass is still my password manager of choice.
  • Firefox. Mozilla keeps trying its best to kill all low-level functionality. This is easily the program I fuck around with the most, going from extensions to custom userChrome files.
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux. Much less of a pain in the ass than running a VirtualBox VM depending on what you’re doing. Using wsltty as its terminal.

There are some single-purpose utilities I’ve discovered in the interim that are extremely useful for working in Windows 10.

Mobile applications (Android)

  • The usual instant messaging slash social networking suspects minus TikTok, which is spyware.
  • Firefox mobile. Firefox needs to do better at syncing preferences into it.
  • Fenix twitter client. Twitter Co keeps fucking around with their API and preventing third party clients from achieving the excellence they used to have years ago.
  • Nextcloud mobile client for my Nextcloud instance. Needs a lot of work to compare with Dropbox, but it does its job well.
  • Moon+ Reader for ebooks. This one took me a long while to find, most ebook readers have utterly crazy skeuomorphic defaults.
  • Photoshop Express. This one was annoying but you’d be surprised how many image editors are missing features you’d consider basic (like cropping and image resizing), opting instead to overload with photo filters you’ll never use. This one has all the filters but at least lets you crop and resize. It replaced Snapseed. I’ve still to wade through open source editors but my hopes are dim on that front.

There are some things that underpin all of these applications but I think I’ll leave it as-is. It’s pretty fun to see how my workflow changes over time.

Fucken softwer devlopers, got no backbone

There are a few things that annoy me to no end and one of them is when software developers have to give in to the marketing critters and start adding shit and cruft to their installers or to the configuration of whatever you install. Case in point, AMD:

Right-click context menu

AMD has zero need to put their stuff there, but they did. So I looked around for a way to remove it and found this post. Given corporation’s propensity to remove things from their forums without warning (looking at you, Intel), I’m just going to repeat the method here:

Hi man!!!

It was my problem too.

Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then browse down to the following key:


Double-click on the (Default) value in the right-hand side, and then add some dashes in front of the value to disable it. You should be able to right-click on the desktop and see that the item is removed.

Turns out that specific registry key also contains the entries for other things, like Dropbox, VLC, etc etc, so I went around changing some things I found disagreeable.

Edit the registry at your own risk

Not my fault if you fuck up your Windows box.

Geany on Windows 10

Just don’t use it. Use anything else, but don’t use it on Windows.

Failed software from failed developers. It will waste at least an hour of your life and you still won’t get it to run after testing all compatibility modes.

I tried all versions and could not get it to save files. Even running it from command line with switches failed to provide anything useful. It fails silently, with no recourse.

These devs probably all think systemd is a good idea.

Let’s give it a shot

Many times over the years we’ve heard Windows users say they wish that third-party apps could update with Windows Update; that’s more or less what the Windows Store offers.

Source: Even if you hate the idea, Windows users should want Windows 10 S to succeed | Ars Technica

I’d be willing to give it a shot. I’ve seen others bitch about these things but the reality is that trying to keep apps updated on their own is a total pain in the ass, requiring the perennial use of batch scripts, or things more recent like I love but its functionality is something that should not be needed at all.

Hell, even Linux has the equivalent of an app store. It’s just call a package manager. If Microsoft enabled a powershell interface the the Windows Store then it’s going to be really damn useful for sysadmins.

Windows 10 is out

Point the people you support (read: your family) to this guide. For a lot of people still using Windows 7, Vista, or shudder XP, it should be pretty useful.

Windows is severely lacking in cats riding t-rexes though. Perhaps when the service pack comes out they’ll fix it?

Ask Slashdot: Mac To Linux Return Flow? – Slashdot.

Just like me, people are switching back and forth.

  • OS X is getting a lot of iOS stuff into it that professional creators don’t want or need.
  • Windows 8 is not everyone’s cuppa tea… but it’s quite solid as long as you learn how to deal with don’t-call-it-Metro interface.
  • Linux is in a state of disarray. KDE is pure eye candy, GNOME is griefing, Xfce and Enlightenment kind of refuse to pick up the slack, MATE and Cinnamon are still bug ridden.
  • BSD is stable… if you’ve got compatible hardware and don’t mind using libraries that are often years old.

Shit’s broken and no one ain’t fixin’ it.

C’mon, now

I’ve been trying to get the damn Debian Wheezy installer to work via USB on a Thinkpad T60 for the past three days without any success. Sure, it works like a charm when put on a CD or a DVD and booting from there, but that is beside the point.

I’ve tried various methods I’ve found on the web and on the Debian wiki without avail. To use any of them, you need to fuck around with the terminal, or installing things (as in the case of unetbootin). As it is right now, most Linux installers still can’t easily be put on USB drives without fucking around on the command line and getting things wrong a few times.

I realize I’m just venting, but… really, it is now past mid-2012. Apple is selling its OS X via digital delivery. Microsoft is about to do the same with Windows 8, and did sell Windows 7 installers on USB drives.

Linux should have gotten there years ago, to make it easy for people to try it out and keep their files around with them. Instead, we have lots and lots of guides for “the perfect $LINUXDISTRO USB install”, all of which are outdated within a few months. This would have led to Linux spreading virally among the common user, instead of just staying in the nerd ghetto.

Combine this with motherboards implementing UEFI and Linux installers not supporting it, and the future is getting ever dimmer for “Linux on the desktop.” Next time someone says “This is the year of Linux on the desktop” I will laugh at them on their face.


nullrend: a mi nunca me toco eso. Estaba batallando con Mac OS y Windows :p
nullrend: eh, siempre me ha gustado el soporte tecnico, asi que esas dos plataformas son las que mas chamba me han dado
animalito: esop si
animalito: mas el windows, es una maravilla para el trabajo de soporte
animalito: siempre le falla algo

The easy way to print from Linux to Windows

The usual way printing works on Linux is by connecting your printer directly to your system, or printing through IPP. But what if you need to print to a printer connected to a Windows system?

Here is how to get it working while keeping fuss to a minimum. Once again, these instructions are made with Debian Squeeze in mind, so adjust them if you’re using a different distribution. I used Windows XP but I believe these instructions should also work for Vista and Windows 7.

  1. In Windows, make sure the printer is shared.
  2. Make note of the printer’s share name and the system’s hostname, viewable in System Properties (right-click the My Computer icon).

  3. Install smbclient.
  4. # aptitude install smbclient

  5. In GNOME go to System/Administration/Printing. On the menu bar go to Server/New/Printer. You’ll probably have to provide your root password to continue.
  6. Click “Network Printer”, then select “Windows Printer via SAMBA.”
  7. On the right pane you’ll see a textbox to enter the address for the printer itself. Click Forward.
  8. You have to enter both the Windows hostname and the printer’s share name, so you’d type something like mywindowspc/myprinter. Make sure you get the case right.

  9. It is likely CUPS already has a working driver for your printer, so look for it on the list of drivers. If you want to provide a PPD file or look for another driver, you can also do that.
  10. In my own case there were three available drivers for the printer, so I went with the one marked “recommended” by the wizard.

  11. Assign a printer name, description, and location. You may have to re-enter your root password to save all settings.
  12. Print a test page.

That should do the trick. If it doesn’t work you can try using another print driver. If that still doesn’t work, try looking for a Linux driver for your printer.

De Snobs que se Creen Hippes y les gusta Linux

Over at Atijuanate, a metroblog based here in Tijuana:

No comprendo el afán de estos linuxeros por defender un modelo como lo es el software libre, el cual me impide a mi como programador que me mate mas de 5 años perfeccionando mis conocimientos en x o y lenguaje y en claro la lógica y modo de programación, el vender mi producto. O si afirman que puedo vender soporte e implementación pero solo si el cliente la necesita…
a quien en esta vida le gusta trabajar gratis??
Saben a quien!
a los linuxeros!!

Obviously I already went and left a few comments beginning with this one

De Snobs que se Creen Hippes y les gusta Linux

En Atijuanate:

No comprendo el afán de estos linuxeros por defender un modelo como lo es el software libre, el cual me impide a mi como programador que me mate mas de 5 años perfeccionando mis conocimientos en x o y lenguaje y en claro la lógica y modo de programación, el vender mi producto. O si afirman que puedo vender soporte e implementación pero solo si el cliente la necesita… 
a quien en esta vida le gusta trabajar gratis??
Saben a quien!
a los linuxeros!!

Obvio ya fui y le deje un comentario

Problemas musicales bajo Linux

Tengo un gran problema.

Actualmente me encuentro incapaz escuchar y administrar mi música apropiadamente bajo Linux. Esto no es un problema especifico de Ubuntu, es mas bien un problema causado por los programas pa’ escuchar música disponibles. En Windows yo uso Winamp con el plugin ml_ipod y el Classic skin. Entre ellos puedo hacer un efectivo uso de mi música día a día:

  • Puedo crear listas inteligentes a diestra y siniestra.
  • Usando la caja de queries del Media Library, puedo re-ordenar y re-enfocar esas listas inteligentes sin tener que guardarlas, mientras que regresan a su estado original cuando ya termine de usarlas.
  • Todo esto se hace sin interferir con la lista de canciones principal, así que sigo escuchando música en el orden que yo quiero.
  • Con ml_ipod la integración entre Winamp y mi iPod es casi perfecta.

Ahora, no necesito compartir mi música a través de DAAP aunque seria bueno tenerlo. No necesito que me muestre las portadas de los álbumes ya que uso Winamp enrollado en la parte de arriba de mi pantalla y siempre puedo ver lo que estoy escuchando. Dado que las habilidades administrativas — descargar portadas, renombrar archivos, etc — prácticamente inexistentes el programa que uso para integrar música nueva a mi biblioteca es MediaMonkey. Básicamente uso Winamp para escuchar música y MediaMonkey para administrar música. He usado esta combinación por años con buenos resultados.

Yo escucho de 120 a 150 canciones en mi iPod al día, así que tener la capacidad de administrar mi iPod es importante. ml_ipod me permite esto. Canciones escuchadas, horas y calificaciones (ratings) son sincronizadas con Winamp al conectar mi iPod a la computadora, y se vuelven a sincronizar al desconectarlo. Puedo ver rápidamente las canciones que he escuchado en el pasado cercano y eliminarlos del iPod y no tener que volverlas a escuchar en un futuro cercano. Lo que he estado haciendo es escuchar canciones que no he escuchado en los últimos 30 días. Es fácil de hacer:

  • Crear una lista inteligente en la Media Library de Winamp. Usa las opciones que quieres (como canciones arriba de cierta calificación).
  • Ordena la lista de canciones usando la columna ‘Last Listened To’.
  • Dale click derecho a la lista y usa el menú ‘send to’ para enviar la música al iPod.
  • Ya que hayas escuchando algo de música en el iPod, solamente mira la música en el iPod a través del Media Library, re-ordenalo por fecha ‘Last Listened To’ y eliminala del iPod.

De la forma que lo pongo aquí suena innecesariamente complicado, pero les aseguro que no lo es. Es rápido y flexible. Usando la función de ‘Autofill’ de ml_ipod ya ni necesito hacer esto. Solamente conecta el iPod, elimina la música escuchada, dale click en ‘Autofill’ y espera a que la música sea copiada. Ademas de que todo esto es exportado a la web social usando la integracion de ml_ipod con Nunca he tenido problemas con ella, y todas las canciones son exportadas automágicamente sin requerir intervención por parte mía mas allá de la configuración inicial.

Con el MediaMonkey puedo descargar las portadas de los álbumes, renombrar archivos y manipular los metadatos de la música para su integracion, de tal manera que Winamp y ml_iPod funcionen de la manera esperada. Hace el trabajo pesado de administrar las cosas en el sistema de archivos para no tener que hacerlo con Winamp.

Entre Winamp+ml_ipod y MediaMonkey tengo lo que necesito respecto a mi música, en orden de importancia:e:

  1. Una forma de organizar rápidamente la música que voy a escuchar sin mayor lio,
  2. Una forma de organizar la música que llevo conmigo en mi iPod.
  3. Una forma de administrar mi música (los directorios y archivos en el sistema de archivos) rápidamente usando los criterios que yo quiero.
  4. Integración con

Las combinaciones que he expuesto arriba son — para mi, por lo menos — la mejor manera de escuchar y administrar mi música sin problemas. Asi es como escucho música en Windows. Estoy en el proceso de probar las alternativas disponibles bajo Linux, y hasta ahora no se ve muy bien que digamos.

Music problems under Linux

I have a big problem.

I’m currently unable to properly listen and administer my music under Linux. This isn’t a problem specific to Ubuntu, but it’s rather a problem caused by the media players available. On Windows I use Winamp with the ml_ipod plugin with the Classic skin. Between them I’m able to make effective everyday use of my music:

  • I’m able to make smart lists left and right.
  • Using the Media Library query box, I’m able to quickly re-sort and refocus those smart lists without having to save them, while they go back to their original state when I’m done with them.
  • All this is done without interfering with the main playlist, so I’m still listening to music in the order I want.
  • With ml_ipod the integration between Winamp and my iPod is nearly perfect.

Now, I don’t need DAAP sharing, although it’d be nice to have. I don’t need it to display covers or other goodies as I use Winamp rolled up at the top of the screen, always able to see what’s playing. With the music management skills — downloading album covers, renaming files, etc — of Winamp being nearly unexistent I turned to MediaMonkey to integrate new music with my existing library. So basically I used Winamp to listen to music and MediaMonkey to administer my music. I have been using this arrangement for years now with good results.

I listen to around 120 to 150 songs every day on my iPod, so being able to properly administer that is a must. ml_ipod lets me do it. Play counts, times and ratings are synchronized with Winamp upon connecting my iPod to the computer, and are synchronized again when ejecting it. I’m able to quickly view the songs I listened to in the near past and remove them from my iPod, so I don’t have to listen to them again in the near future. What I was doing is listen to songs I haven’t listened to within the past 30 days. It’s quite easy to do:

  • Create a smart list on the Winamp Media Library. Use the wizard to do so, with the options you want (like only songs above a certain rating).
  • Sort the list using the ‘Last Listened To’ column.
  • Right click the list, and use the ‘send to’ menu to have it sent to your iPod.
  • Once you have listened to some music on your iPod, just view the music in it (on the Media Library), sort it by “Last Listened To” date, then remove it.

The way I put it here it sounds needlessly complicated, but I assure you, it’s not. It’s flexible and fast. Using ml_ipod’s ‘Autofill’ feature I didn’t even have to do this anymore. Just connect iPod, remove music listened, click ‘Autofill’ and wait for the music to be copied. You’re done. And have it all exported to the social web via ml_ipod’s integration. Never had any issues with it, and all those songs are exported automagically without further input from my part than the initial configuration.

With MediaMonkey I can download album covers, rename files and manipulate the music metadata for integration so Winamp and ml_ipod work they way you expect them to. It does the heavy work of administering stuff within the filesystem so I don’t have to deal with it on Winamp.

Between Winamp+ml_ipod and MediaMonkey I have what I need in respect to my music, in order of importance:

  1. A way to quickly organize what I’m going to listen to without hassle.
  2. A way to properly organize the music I carry with me on my iPod.
  3. A way to administer my music (as in the music directories and files in the file system) quickly using the criteria I want.
  4. integration.

The combinations I’ve put above are — for me, at least — the best way to listen and administer my music without any hassles. That is how I listen to music on Windows. I’m in the process of trying out the various alternatives available under Linux, and so far it’s not looking too good, I’m afraid.