November Kick-off

In no particular order:

  • We had an electrical outage. It started shortly after 0030 and lasted until 1400 or so. While not amusing it was expected. Very high winds were happening overnight with some strong gusts at gale force strength. When you live in the deciduous forest you run the risks of trees coming down and taking out electrical lines. Quite a few trees came down.

  • WWOW also went down hard during the outage. I need to make some further inquiries. Depending upon the financial health of that station I might want to line up some partners. An unsolicited takeover bid could be worth trying, I think.

  • I have a fiction story draft submitted to an outlet for consideration. This outlet pays and that is a good thing. The hard part is hurrying up and waiting.

  • Snow is now in play. I am not amused.

  • I am supposed to note that the correct GnuPG key has been updated to pub rsa3072/e6688e6d00c62660676debea6c68fc8f7cd46ed6 2019-10-17T03:26:28Z Hash=cecc4f509e22b68a0811013de4bdd7dd

  • I can be reached via Telegram pretty easily right now. I do not want that to become the sole way to reach me via voice. Time will tell if things turn around economically.

  • No, I cannot afford to go back to school at this time. I have to spend some time getting health issues in order. The soonest that could begin would be June 2020. There are plenty of resources to review as well as lists of programs to consider at another time. Then, of course, there are some options already on the table to consider for M+18 and M+36.

Honey, I Nuked The Linux Install Again...

To quote Britney Spears: “Oops, I did it again…”

I attempted to upgrade my rolled-back Xubuntu 18.04 install to 19.10. That failed miserably. To add insult to injury I have not been able to get that recovered. The 19.10 install works provided you use the kernel from 18.04. That’s not tenable. Not being able to install anything else has me frustrated as well.

Fortunately I was able to get in and revoke the GnuPG key that was less than a month old that I generated on that install. My laptop dual-boots Windows 10 and Linux so I still have Windows 10 to fall back to with the Windows Subsystem for Linux. Unfortunately a dual-core kabylake 2.5 gigahertz machine with 8 gigabytes of RAM feels woefully underpowered for Windows these days. If I did not feel as uncomfortable turning off “Secure Boot” I would likely slap Tiny Core Linux on this machine since it is only 2 years old. The ncurses-favoring minimalist tendencies do come out at times, I fear.

I do think I would need Secure Boot disabled to try to install OpenBSD to this laptop. An installation attempt failed as multiple attempts to create installation media went wrong apparently. Something felt definitely wrong with the multiple mishaps as the laptop wouldn’t boot a Xubuntu ISO written to a pen drive either.

A paradigm shift back to a sort of “fog computing” may end up occurring. For now I am locked out of my VMs until I get something up and running again or getting PuTTY properly configured on Windows 10. Properly configuring Ubuntu 18.04 via WSL may also be required, I suppose.

AND ANOTHER THING: I happened to hear KCJJ 1630 AM while out driving tonight. They’re merely based in Iowa City, Iowa. Radio physics is fun!

Posted
License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Early F-Cycle Adventuring

This blog does recount my misadventures in using computers. I had not intended to so quickly get back into testing. After several frustrating failures in trying to upgrade to 19.10 that left me with a system that refused to boot I chose to take a risk.

After many multiple failed upgrade attempts as well as a failed attempt to install something completely different I was about to settle for just using the Windows Subsystem for Linux under Windows 10 1903. The problems is that Windows 10 just feels so utterly slow to me compared to Xubuntu or even Ubuntu MATE. This may come from having to use very unmaintained computers for almost six years in a government job that ran very old versions of Microsoft Windows that were very behind the rest of the world.

Considering all that I decided to push forward. I got Focal Fossa installed on my laptop and it is working for the time being.

I recorded on the ISO Tracker what are effectively my test results. Sadly we don’t have enough people testing ISO images. You don’t have to be doing installs to bare metal hardware like I did as you can test in a virtual machine too. Of course I’ll be filing bugs when software breaks as I use my laptop here on out.

Testing is not glamorous. It isn’t a realm of heroes compared to building some great new framework for building a static website. However it is a great work to help provide people experiencing extreme frustration when they can’t get their upgrade to work or fresh install to work. If you want to build an ever larger community of users in the Ubuntu kingdoms then we do need to ensure barriers to entry are not insurmountable.

Focal Fossa is a Long Term Support release. With a 3-5 year support window depending upon the flavor there will be a great need to get it right. According to my last look at the schedule it appears we’ll be targeting April 23rd, 2020. That’s just under 171 days away with a variety of holidays cropping up during that time.

Are you ready to join in any facet of this great adventure?

Posted
License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Week Ahead Goals

There is a federal holiday this week. Veterans Day is specified in 5 USC 6103(a) as falling on November 11th each year. Participating in commemorative events and actions will be appropriate.


Goals in the week ahead include:

Posted
License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Explaining Thinking

The current version of the website is made using MkDocs while the immediately previous version was made using LaTeXML. Both of these are design decisions that are likely to be seen as counter-intuitive. When you look at a directory of static site generators you end up seeing a small spot of bother.

There are a very, very large number static site generators out there. The home page for Erie Looking Productions does not need to be overly complicated. At this point I do not need to incorporate a billing back-end. I do not need to incorporate an ordering front-end. Providing a listing of services and contact details is sufficient. The previous LaTeX-based site was very rooted in a paper-based world of black text on a white background. In shifting to the new generator I add a slight amount of color to the site. I still need to adjust the favicon to something a bit more appropriate. Then again, the book is good for now.

The proliferation of static site generators is problematic. We don’t have a core sufficiently documented and many people just roll their own. It might be axiomatic that people will roll their own generator considering that Website Meta Language has origins dating back to 2001. For selecting a generator I ended up looking for the simplest tool to accomplish the job. There are plenty of exceedingly complicated tools that have features I will likely never use.

As the Terms of Service have started to drift again at Google I ended up removing any mention of an e-mail address. I’ll stick with using Telegram and Skype contact methods, for now. The landscape is changing pretty quickly for contact methods.

I do hope this version of the site persists for a while.

Posted
License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Blocked Writing

Now that I have left the service I am spending time writing. Television can provide some inspiration for that. Unfortunately it appears we have wall to wall coverage of impeachment hearings coming up on the major networks this week in lieu of regular programming. Frankly that horrifies me. What has not been investigated ad nauseum since Mr. Trump was elected? With an election contest in progress in the United Kingdom the horror of this is spreading across the pond with BBC Parliament broadcasting it too.

Are we trying very hard to institute the “Big Lie” expounded upon in A Brave New World perhaps?

Posted
License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Coming Up This Week

There are a variety of items to come in the week ahead. Matters include:

  • Continue writing on the short story that is in progress. Currently I have it up to 1,053 words.
  • Get my sermon ready for preaching at the Landing on the 24th.
  • Show Dad how to use Telegram as he is now reachable that way.
  • Gain a better understanding of the markdown package in the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network for making auto-generated LaTeX documents such as with either newspaper or papertex.
  • Continue to review Writer’s Market and determine where I should start trying freelance submissions.
  • Review of the charter of the City of Ashtabula relative to how to draft an initial contact letter to start the legislative initiative process so as to get the city moving to perhaps get a station open locally of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (a.k.a. AMTRAK).
  • Ease up at AskUbuntu where I keep having to hold back on tagging edits where I end up leaving the reason of Xubuntu refers to a single flavor and isn't a wildcard for any flavor. It is bad enough that I went ahead and had the description for the Xubuntu tag changed to now state: “Xubuntu is a community developed, Ubuntu-based (Ubuntu with XFCE desktop environment) GNU/Linux operating system. This tag is not meant to be used as a wildcard as to the desktop environment variant of Ubuntu that you are asking about.” There aren’t wildcard variables in words in the English language so using Xubuntu as a wildcard expression for any flavor of Ubuntu is something that needs to be cut down.
Posted
License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Mid-November Miscellany

In no particular order:

Posted
License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Streaming Television -- A New Hope?

There is a somewhat cheeky interactive posted by The New York Times to help people determine what services they should subscribe to in streaming. As you might imagine, it is a newspaper based in the United States of America so the results of the quiz are biased to here. Caveat lector.

There has been chatter in the Ubuntu Podcast Telegram group about the usability of such streaming services. There hasn’t been discussion on the podcast yet but you are encouraged to tune in via Spotify, via iTunes, or on Android.

As for me I have my consumer broadband complaining off and on that things like Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook simply didn’t exist today. I’m pretty sure I didn’t order any blocking so I’m questioning what broke where. Sticking to conventional over-the-air broadcasts as well as direct broadcast satellite television service remain the best options for me at the present time in my strange little corner of Ohio.

Posted
License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
So Now What?

The question I’ve ducked socially for almost two months has been rather simple: What now?

The correct answers to it have been absolutely nothing in terms of steady employment and lots and lots of time spent in therapy. When you leave a job due to a health scare you don’t immediately rebound from something like that. Considering that my now immediate past employer is rather odious in the minds of many thanks to its current CEO the job prospects are effectively rather dim to non-existent.

I’ve been keeping up with therapy. That’s meant having to go to the gym to spend time. That’s meant going to see the doctor as required. That’s also meant tuning out the apocalyptic craziness of the news and substituting instead The Archers as well as other programs. I’ve also been starting to look at what needs updating in Xubuntu documentation. I know there is at least one chapter I should be providing a rather significant amount of editing to.

Currently I had one short story rejected by an outlet as it didn’t fit their needs. Apparently it was too hard sci-fi in an age where that is becoming quite a niche. I’ve got a different one that I’m working on in a gitit wiki that I’ve gotten over the 1,500 word mark that I am still trying to get going towards at least the 7,500 word mark. I have not done much in terms of fiction writing in a while so that is a useful exercise right now after spending almost six years writing case report after case report. It appears that gitit is working better than I initially expected on the in-house on-premises server.

I am still preaching twice per month at a local nursing home. I think we’re heading into the fourth year of that now, actually. Thanks to the great tools in the package archive as well as LaTeX2e I am able to prepare worship handouts for use at every service. LaTeX wasn’t the best programming language to pick up while working for Uncle Sam but it has proved very useful over time. Coming from a Christian tradition where there are no bishops but rather editor/publishers the ability to readily handle publication layout while also readily producing textual exposition makes life exciting. Each handout gives credit to Xubuntu for being the Linux distro used in production so many, many elderly folks get an unusual bit of exposure to Linux at least twice per month. Currently the domestic mission work is performed gratis after support was provided on a limited basis by West Avenue Church of Christ to cover printing expenses.

Currently there is a Christmas wishlist that has been posted for the sake of amusing people. Coming back to the main question of What Now I can only say that I am working on projects under the aegis of Erie Looking Productions. There is, of course, Liberapay available to help support me getting back up writing fiction and non-fiction as well as PayPal for one-time contributions of support for the various types of works. An in-progress project is helping an auto shop get ready for a trade show and I’m putting together their booth audiovisual presentation systems to be able to exhibit.

I am ready for 2019 to end. For next year there are many hopeful possibilities.

UPDATE 2019-11-25 I will apparently be heading in for significant oral surgery next week Friday that will require sedation. The news of this only came to me earlier today. It ties back to the not immediately rebounding and I should be glad that this is moving forward. It also appears that restarting podcasting on my part may be delayed unless I stick to being just a staff writer while things play out from the surgery and the follow-up process that will take some time.

Posted
License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.
Black Friday Alternative Planning

It has become an odd tradition in America to effectively “battle shop” on the Friday following the Thanksgiving holiday. It is already weird that we even have the Thanksgiving holiday here as it is something that pretty much only Canada and the USA have. Having previously worked in consumer electronics retail I have effectively sworn it off after a few too many rounds of handling people who actually like to “battle shop”.

If you’re safe at home and want to do something else to push Ubuntu forward, may I put forward some ideas? How about:

As for me, I am going to be avoiding the stores Friday if at all possible. Going out in the craziness is just not worth it at this time…

Posted
License: This work by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/.