Category Archives: Technology

Macs to Linux fans: Stop right there, Penguinista scum, that’s not macOS. Go on, git outta here • The Register

I’ve been saying for a little while now, my current iMac is probably going to be my last Apple computer. I used to believe Apple products were worth the extra cost, but no longer. I think from this point on, I’ll just settle for any Chromebook with a decent keyboard and touchpad.

In the market for a MacBook Air, eh Linus?

Source: Macs to Linux fans: Stop right there, Penguinista scum, that’s not macOS. Go on, git outta here • The Register

Clear Linux – Attempt #3

Okay, I guess I was bored enough at work tonight to give Intel’s Clear Linux another try. This time, I skipped the tiny, pre-built Virtual Machine they recommend, and just downloaded the baremetal installer. I installed it in VirtualBox, on a 64 GB virtual disk, large enough for the GUI.

Wasn’t difficult at all to install, but then I chose the automatic installation method, instead of the manual method. For reasons I haven’t figured out yet, the GUI won’t start at boot time. I have to login to the console and run “startx” to get the Gnome desktop to popup (yes, I enabled the gdm.service, and it runs, but doesn’t ever start the X11 window server).

Clear only uses systemd logging for everything, so there are no readable text logfiles anywhere. They do include a gui app to view the systemd binary logs, but they aren’t organized like I’m used to, and they won’t help if the GUI isn’t working. It turns out Clear Linux does support system config files in /etc, like hostname and fstab, but it doesn’t come with any, so unless you know what to put there, there are only manpages (and experience) to help you create the initial ones.

Clear is really small and fast. The VM boots up in about 5 seconds, and shutdown takes about the same. With the base OS, Gnome GUI and development tools, the vdisk only uses 5.1 GB total. From what I read on the clearlinux.org website, performance was one of their primary goal for the project, along with supporting all the advanced features included in their processor chipsets. That makes perfect sense now, that they’d want a playground to demonstrate any new features before they submit any kernel drivers/patches to the Linux kernel maintainers.

Clear Linux is also intended to be used in cloud, container, and IoT applications. I can see that, I guess. I’m not sure who will be the first to switch from the usual tiny busybox-based Linux IoT distros to Clear, but maybe Intel will convince some to give it a shot. Hopefully Clear includes some automatic software updating service, which could really help prevent disasters involving future IoT devices.

Insane CPU usage to View Streaming Video

For the past month or two, I’ve been using Firefox as my main browser, in place of Chrome. I used to use Chrome exclusively, but one day I noticed my iMac’s fan was going, and all I was doing was watching a video podcast on Youtube. I popped open the Activity Monitor, and was surprised to learn my Mac was using around 130-150% CPU on two processes.

I tried my other browsers, and was surprised when I learned Apple’s Safari browser only uses like 30-40% CPU to watch the same video. Tonight, I tried out twitch.tv under Firefox, and soon my fan was getting louder again. Activity Monitor showed Firefox using 130-150% CPU in two processes. I closed that window, opened the same video in Safari, and CPU maxes out at 40%. I find it really strange that Chrome and Firefox have such a tough time playing video on my Mac. Maybe Apple is using some kernel or hardware video stream decoder the others don’t use, because they are trying to be generic and multi-platform. Who knows.

I really like the new “Browser Containers” feature of Firefox, so I can keep my banking credentials isolated from any other open windows. Not that I’m like any of the 30-somethings I know, with dozens or even hundreds of tabs open on their browser window.

1 Super Rare Sign That Proves You Are Meant to Lead People (But It May Cause a Gag Reflex for Most) | Inc.com

Not sure how well this works, but it sure is not intuitive for anyone who’s been in business for more than a couple of years.

I have not worked for a “kind” company, since leaving KAI in 1994. They were a tiny company where you knew everyone, and had a personal relationship with everyone in the company, boss, subordinate, or peer. The ability to relate to others mattered, and affected progress. When I announced my departure, the president told me he really thought I would be one of the “last to leave”. That struck a chord with me, because it sounded to me like he thought that company would go under eventually.

Where I work now, I’ve spoken to my department head a grand total of 4 times. One phone interview, one face-to-face interview, one post-hire visit (3 months later), and one phone call attempt to calm my fears about the uncertainty of the future, where he instructed me to apply for the full time position they will hire for next month. I don’t feel like I have an effective communication channel to management, to provide any feedback at all.

I’ve begun applying for other jobs, which I probably should have started last month. Even though I was hired on a “six month try before you buy” contract, they will be terminating anyone they don’t want to keep in November, before my 6 month contract ends. I’m not even really sure what a six month contract means anymore.

Even if I had any legal way to guarantee my income for the last month of my 6 month contract, they haven’t been “kind” in any way they dealt with any of us contractors competing for the last three full-time positions they announced in September. They deliberately choose NOT tell us which of us they were going to keep, and after four weeks, they appear to be being blindsided because most of the contractors have accepted positions elsewhere, and announced they are leaving. Because of their lousy management skills, there are more people leaving than there are positions to fill now.

What a incredibly stupid move NOT announcing hiring decisions ASAP turned out to be. For two months, we have had to work with lame ducks who are unmotivated, and are only still there because they want the severance pay they get if they hang out until the end. This does not improve anyone’s employee moral. Even if I really am eventually offered one of the few full-time positions left, as I’ve been verbally promised, we’ll still be short-handled on third shift, for the near future.

How do I honestly tell the next guy we hire he can rely on having a job when his/her six month contract ends? When I applied for this position, the contracting firm told me it was a “good company” that hired most contractors. I no longer believe think that was true, then, or now. A good company doesn’t outsource their entire IT department to an Indian contracting firm, and, at the same time, ask you to stick around, just in case that deal doesn’t work out. That sounds like an awful spot to be stuck in. If the Indian company works out (which I have heard it generally never does), we’re liekly out of a job in a year or two anyway, and if it doesn’t, we’re left to pick up the pieces with far fewer talented IT people who understand how anything works. Ugh.

If you think this practice is reserved for weak leaders, nothing could be further from the truth.

Source: 1 Super Rare Sign That Proves You Are Meant to Lead People (But It May Cause a Gag Reflex for Most) | Inc.com