Goodbye Outlook

I removed my shortcut to Outlook from my taskbar on my Windows machine today. It felt really good.

Our organization, Cru, is in the process of moving from Exchange to google apps. The list of reasons I need a computer running windows just got shorter. I think I’m down to 2 programs I still need that are win only and we may see changes that will make it possible to leave those behind as well soon. Then again – there is Netflix. Ah well – I may have one windows machine for a while but not needing it to get my full email client is super nice.

This also makes picking up a little chrome book much more doable. They are cheap enough that it might make sense just for taking to meetings. If I get more out of it, that’s all bonus.

Well – that’s it. Big day.

Gimp on KDE Problem

I’m a Fedora user as I’ve mentioned before. I do not run the default de, gnome though. I’m a KDE user. I recently moved my main work machine to Fedora 18. I had a bump or two but I’ve gotten things mostly dialed in. Today I tried to use the Gimp to do some work on an image but it would not start. I tried from the launcher first and that failed. I moved to the console and was greeted by an immediate segfault.

These attempts kicked off the Automatic Bug Reporting Tool (ABRT) and so I decided I should let it send in a report. It did it’s thing and informed me that the bug had already been reported with a link to this bug. This was rather nice.

I looked at the bug report and saw that this is an issue dealing with the theme KDE was using for GTK+ apps. Well – I’m just using the defaults and didn’t even know where to look to change this so I googled. The answer is to go to System Settings -> Application Appearance (not Workplace Appearance) -> GTK+ Appearance. On the page there I had a few choices for Widget style. For now I’ve chosen Adwaita. I’ll keep an eye on this bug and switch back when it gets fixed.

So if you are a KDE user and Gimp wont start – there you go – that should fix it.


I just did a new install on my primary work desktop. I went from Fedora 16 to Fedora 18. Some of the issues with this release of Fedora are pretty well documented so I’m not going to go into that.

There were some pretty fundamental changes between those two releases. So I did a full install rather than an upgrade. Plus I think going that route has some good side effects. Crud builds up in systems over time and this lets me get rid of some of it. I back up what I’ll need but then I just go ahead and reset things from scratch, pulling stuff out of the backup as I need it. Stuff that I don’t need doesn’t come back and the system is cleaner.

Today I ran into one thing I forgot about though and so I’m documenting it here. When I reinstall browsers and search from their search bars I get localized results. Google sees that I’m in Hungary and gives me stuff in Hungarian – which I can’t read. Then I had to look again to fix it. Here’s the url that makes life better

This is also handy when travelling. I will be in Thailand in March and search results in Thai don’t really help me either. It is possible to keep the normal search string and add the hl=e parameter – which will keep using the local search site but give English results (or whatever language you tell it to use).

systemd for Administrators

I’ve written before about the Fedora switch to systemd. I don’t follow things like that too closely so I first noticed it when my system started telling me. Then I quickly brushed up on the new way I’d start and stop my db and web servers and moved on. I wasn’t crazy about the change but with a little help and by taking the time to learn more I’m starting to see the value. This is primarily due to the efforts of Lennart Poettering.

He has been writing a series of posts about systemd for Administrators. There are 18 entries so far. Unfortunately navigating them via his blog is not all that easy. He may fix that but for now I’m going to post this list of links to each post with the title. If I remember I’ll keep it up to date as more are added.

    Verifying Bootup
    Which Service Owns Which Processes?
    How Do I Convert A SysV Init Script Into A systemd Service File?
    Killing Services
    The Three Levels of “Off”
    Changing Roots
    The Blame Game
    The New Configuration Files
    On /etc/sysconfig and /etc/default
    Instantiated Services
    Converting inetd Services
    Securing Your Services
    Log and Service Status
    The Self-Explanatory Boot
    Gettys on Serial Consoles (and Elsewhere)
    Using the Journal
    Managing Resources

T-Mobile Trials

While I was in Arizona I picked up a new Galaxy S3. I got it at a tmobile store and the conversation was along the lines of,

“I want to purchase an S3 with no contract, unlocked.”
“No problem.”

I paid full price and left with what I think is a rather nice phone. When I got back to Hungary I opened up my old Galaxy S and my new S3 to swap sim cards and found out they changed the size of the card. Not sure why – this phone makes my old Galaxy S feel rather small and the new sim card is smaller. But I found out it was a rather trivial matter to cut down a larger card – so I did and that was fine.

I booted up the phone, put in my pin for the sim card and then I was asked to provide the unlock code.

I got on the tmobile web site. There is no email address there. The options are to call on the phone, send a letter or do live chat. I went with chat. I told them my issue and they opened a ticket. That got me an email from them telling me to fax my receipt to them to prove I had paid full price for the phone. So – just to sum up where we are – I need to prove to the other party that I paid them for what I bought. Apparently they don’t keep track of what they sell. And I have to prove it with a fax; in 2012.

Fortunately my office has a fax machine so I went down there, made a cover page per their directions and faxed it all in. The email said it could take up to a week for them to process my request.

I waited and yesterday I got an email from them letting me know that since they never got the fax, they were closing the ticket. SO – I got back on chat and opened it with the statement “I faxed you what you requested in your email and just got an email back saying you didn’t get the fax.” The person on the other end said they would look into it and asked me to give them a few minutes. I thought this was reasonable. They came back and said, “The problem is they never received the fax.” That is what I had just put into statement of my issue. The next step was asking me what phone number I used for the fax. I put it in, in the exact format they had given me in the email – 813-353-6557 and the response I got back was “The correct number is 1-813-353-6557. Did you dial the 1?” I about popped a vein. (I’m now relatively sure I was not talking to a live person but software.)

The resolution, once I assured them I properly dialed the number – was to open another ticket and to ask me to fax the receipt again.

So to restate – I walked into a tmobile store and bought some equipment from them. I was told it was unlocked and I paid the full, no contract price. Now I’m fighting with them over a fax (in 2012!) about whether or not that transaction actually took place. They lied to me and now they are intentionally trying to keep me from using what I bought from them.

The kicker is that when I get it unlocked it will be so I can use the phone on the t-mobile network here in Hungary.

I could root and unlock it via other means – but I shouldn’t have to. I shouldn’t have to pay someone, or go to sketchy sites and download stuff that I’m not sure about. My property should work as designed. As of right now, in my opinion, T-Mobile is failing grievously at providing the service they should be providing. I know that isn’t shocking news to anyone but getting the word out is, I think, part of my civic duty in this case. I want to make sure others are aware that if they find themselves in a purchasing situation, thinking about buying a phone to take outside the US from t-mobile, that they are going to suck at helping you do so.

Got a New Computer Today

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new Raspberry Pi and today it came. I was showing it to a co-worker and she was impressed that this little board is a computer. I really look forward to experimenting with it and seeing just what kind of creative uses we can come up with. I’m hoping it wont be long until they have them readily available and anyone who has a great idea for how to use them can get them in bulk.

New Code Posting Plugin

Edit – 6 April 2015 I switched to WP-GeSHi-Highlight

Edit – CodeColorer hasn’t been updated in forever. So I’ve switched to Crayon Syntax Highlighter.

I’m trying out the CodeColorer plugin – to add color to my code snippets. I like it so far, a little python example is below.

def find_files(self,topdir):
        file_list = []
        for root, dirs, files in os.walk(topdir):
            for f in files:
                if f[-3:] == 'pdf' and f.find("Journal") == -1:
                    fulp = os.path.join(root,f)
        return file_list