Monthly Archives: March 2010

Flaw and Disorder – Minimal Content

Television. Where do you get your content?

OK, call me old fashioned or just old, both are probably true. I’m one of those rare birds who still gets his television content solely via the free airwaves. One day about a decade ago, I realized something profound. I was coming home after a long day working for Sears Home Service and falling asleep in my recliner in front of the television. I had cable TV at the time. I calculated that it was costing me about $1.75/day to come home and sleep for those two hours in front of the TV each evening. I canceled the cable the next day.

Ever since then, I’ve been watching broadcast television only. I don’t really feel I’ve missed much. There are some channels that I did miss from cable, like AMC and Turner Movie Classics. Other than those two and a few more, I never cried many tears over the loss. I had about $52 extra in my pocket every month, too.

Sadly, most of the folks I know these days would probably shed some real tears if you took their cable or sat TV away from them. They’re seemingly addicted to it. Oddly enough, if you sit and watch TV with them, they never stay on one program more than five minutes. The CH Up and CH Dn buttons on their remotes have all the printing worn off of them.

People have the attention spans of gnats on crank nowadays. What’s up with that? I remember as a kid sitting for hours at a time watching television programs with mom and dad. How did we do it? I’ll tell you how. We had good acting. We had interesting and entertaining programs. It must be a sign that I’m getting old when I enjoy the “retro” programing more than the current day programing.

HA! What current day programing? You have reality (mostly staged, fake feces) programing. You have prime time soaps. You have medical/crime/police programs. You don’t have any decent movies. You don’t have any worthwhile news programing. Walt C. and Ed Murrow are long gone, folks. Now BIG Pharma and the Dems/Repubs sponsor the news programs on broadcast TV. I watch The News Hour on PBS. It’s not so blatantly biased.

Ah well, my world is moving on, it seems. I guess I’ll go watch Peter Gunn. Later this morning, I’ll catch Daniel Boone, too.

Until next time…

~Eric

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How I Got My Nickname

What exactly is a “nocturnal slacker”? Is it some late night lazy slob who hangs out and posts baloney like this online?

Umm… well, could be. However, that’s really not the origin of the nickname. The “nocturnal” part of my nickname is due to the fact that I actually am a serious night owl. The nick was given to me years ago by the biker community. The “slacker” part isn’t indicative of my laziness; although, I do suffer from that affliction occasionally. A “slacker” in Linux-land is someone who uses the Slackware Linux distribution.

What’s Slackware? Well, that’s what I’m here to talk to you a bit about tonight. Slackware Linux is the oldest, continuously maintained GNU/Linux distribution. Slackware was created by a young man by the name of Patrick Volkerding back in 1993. Slackware prides itself on being the most “unix-like” GNU/Linux distribution. Its stability is absolutely legendary in the Linux community. It’s simplicity is a thing of beauty.

Alas! Slackware is not for everyone. New Linux Explorers would curl their eyebrow hair just looking at Slack’s text-based installer. I once read an Eric Hameleers (AKA Alien Bob) quote about Slackware in a Linux Magazine interview. He said, “Slackware assumes you are smart! This appeals to people.” That is true… and COOL! People often have heard me state that Slackware is the only GNU/Linux distribution that comes complete with ATTITUDE. It takes a special brand of whacked geek to love Slackware.

Now you know how I became the…

Until next time…

~Eric

Inbreeding and Alcohol Consumption During Pregnancy…

…may very well cause this phenomenon:

The Hutaree Nine

I mean c’mon, folks. Am I missing something here? I’m a patriot. I’m a card-carrying member of the NRA.

I don’t live in a plywood shack in Montana and type up manifestos to send to the media. I sit right here in front of my computer and post manifestos all over the Internet. Weeeee!

Seriously, look at these fine folks in that picture at CNN. If at least one person in this group (probably the woman) doesn’t have at least one swastika tattoo, I’ll kiss your keaster. It’s a free country and all that, sure. We all have a right to express our inner selves. Hell, I’m a biker. People lock their car doors when I pull up next to them at the stop light. Still… I try not to judge others.

There has been an uncomfortable and unusual outbreak of violent dissent lately. It’s all in the news… threats against our President, guns being shot into politician’s office windows, etc. Something is wrong here, folks. Dissent is a good thing, but extremes of anything are usually counter-productive.

Sanity needs to prevail here. Keep the kids safe and watch out for them Hutaree dudes and dudettes.

Until next time…

~Eric

The Importance of Keeping Notes

All Linux Explorers, but most especially new ones, will find it beneficial in the extreme to keep notes of their adventures as they progress in GNU/Linux Land.

My Linux Notebook is a simple bound composition book that you can buy in any grocery or general merchandise store. It looks like this…

…and costs a buck or so. If I had known then what I know now, I would have chosen a loose leaf version. I have many additions to my current notebook. I just slide in loose leaf pages within this existing composition notebook. A loose leaf binder would have been neater.

I divided up my notebook with stick on tabs. They divide the notebook into “General Linux” and “<insert name here>” distributions. I have a tab for each distribution that I’ve ever installed on any of my systems.

From the very start of the particular Linux adventure, the downloading/burning of the CD/DVD, I am taking notes. I write down the source of the download, the date of the CD/DVD creation, the method and means of partitioning, etc. After that, I take notes on everything that I do to setup and customize the operating system.

As I continue to use and learn more about the particular distro, I maintain my notes for that distribution. Not only is it helpful in learning the particular ins and outs of a distribution, but it’s very handy to have these notes when helping others or when reinstalling months later.

In the General Linux area, I keep all my notes about BASH, general scripting, init script tricks, tweaks for hardware, tweaks for GUI interfaces, etc. Basically, anything that is useful across Linux platforms gets jotted down in this area.

I cannot tell you the number of times in the past 3+ years that having these notes has saved my rear end. If my house caught on fire, I’d grab four things…my three cats and my Linux notebook!

Best of luck with your Linux Adventure!

Until next time…

~Eric

This post is 100% my original material, but originally appeared in my Linux.com blog, $ ls -al everything_linux | more

The Toothache from Hell!

What a great topic for my introductory post here at Lockergnome, huh?

Yeah, that’s it folks. Pain is my pal this past few days. Well, whaddya’ gonna’ do? I’m currently retired     (unemployed, actually) and living on a very fixed income ($0/week), so my options are limited. But hey… we  really don’t want to sit here and talk about my traitorous tooth, now do we? Instead, let me fill you in on how I got here and who’s responsible for it. That sounds much more interesting.

I was minding my own business trying to keep the natives from getting too restless over at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux, where I’m an admin, when my Thunderbird email client alerted me that I had a new missive in the ol’ Inbox. I rushed right on over there by clicking on workspace #4, where T-bird is always running on my Slackware Linux system. Well, looky there… it’s an email from Ron Schenone, a member at Scot’s and a blogger here at Lockergnome, too.

Ron has read my ramblings at Scot’s for a few years now. He’s even reposted some of my stuff on his blog here. Ron must have had a moment of weakness or else he was not quite awake this day. He recommended me to Chris P. as a potential contributor here. Sheesh! I don’t know what he was drinking, but I bet it would help with my toothache. 😉 Seriously though, Ron’s a great guy and I really appreciate what he initiated with that email. I intend to give this blogging stuff my best shot.

What’s this blog going to be about? Well, Linux is my geeky interest, but I also have many others…. history (particularly military), literature, science, etc. I’ll be posting about varied topics, but will try to have a regular Linux post. I’m a big supporter of the Linux community. I believe that knowledge is to be shared, not tucked away in dark corners somewhere. I try to assist new Linux Explorers as often as I can. I’m no expert, but I’m enthusiastic. Does that count?

I hope you’ll find this blog helpful, interesting, but mostly entertaining. Fun. That’s what it’s all about.

See ya’ next time…

~Eric

There Once Was a Man Called Bruno…

…he was my friend.

I never shook his hand. I never heard his voice. I never even saw a photograph of him. My only visual connection with Bruno was his avatar that he used everywhere online. Yet, he was my friend. He was a friend to many. He was a mentor and teacher to even more.

Bruno Knaapen of Amsterdam was a graphic artist by trade, but his first love was Linux. He was particularly enamored with Mandriva, for its ease of use; and Slackware, for its legendary stability. As far as I know, Bruno was self-taught. I don’t believe he had any formal training in Linux, yet he was a guru by any definition of that geek compliment. If Bruno didn’t know the answer to someone’s query, he would make it his mission to find the answer.

He learned by teaching and taught by example. He ran numerous machines with numerous distributions of Linux installed on them. He experimented and tinkered continuously. He learned. He then passed his learning and experience on to anyone who asked. Bruno was probably the most selfless individual I have ever met. He seemed to thrive on teaching others what he knew.

On a cool Saturday morning earlier this year, Bruno died in his home surrounded by his loved ones. He had been diagnosed just a few weeks previously with terminal cancer. He was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to say good bye to his family and friends. Most folks don’t get that option. I was very fortunate to have spent a month’s worth of late evenings/early mornings chatting with Bruno via email before he died. I saved every one of those emails.

It’s only fitting that the very first post that I write here in this blog regarding Linux be about Bruno, the man who taught me a large portion of what I know about that topic. He was my friend. I miss him.

Until next time…

~Eric