Tag Archives: the battle of the computer

bleh 11

#drumpf. 🖕 the less said about him, the better.

🍄 one mushroom yesterday. i went out for a walk and had pretty much the entire “trip” while i was out, which wasn’t very much. depression sneaking back in, but not in unmanagable amounts… yet… fewer mushrooms every time this happens, and eventually i’ll run out. hopefully i will have either wildcrafted, or obtained some more by then, but who knows… they are illegal, after all, even though my doctor counsellor recommended them… 😒

trolloween on wednesday. i’m doing sound effects, which means bullroarer “pre-show” and thunder for the first part of the show. nothing else, which means that i’ll be able to actually haunt fremont, for the first time ever… i’ve been a part of the show at the troll, and the dance afterwards many, many times, but i’ve never gotten to go on the haunt… mushrooms? it’s possible… but i think i’d have to find a place to crash in town, if so. i’ll ask macque…

so, in the realm of the computer, i’ve decided that, if i tiptoe around this version of kubuntu, it works 95% of the time. i have, literally, changed the way i interact with the computer interface, in order to prevent it from crashing on a more regular basis: kontact/kmail/akregator — which used to be a relatively stable part of the distribution — has become something which works if i DON’T do things like try to open links in akregator using the middle mouse button (right click and choose “open in external browser” works, though, which is annoying), or forward a message, about half of the time (which is something i do on a regular basis when i’m reporting spam). and kubuntu, itself, has got some annoying bugs which i don’t know to whom to report… which, in itself, is annoying… when i boot the computer, the desktop wallpaper appears to be set to “blur” around the background, even though when i look at the configure panel, it’s set to “solid color”, and when i set it to “blur”, nothing happens, but if i, then, set it back to “solid color”, lo-and-behold, it suddenly displays with a solid colour background. and, because of the fact that it’s part of the system settings, i don’t have the first clue who should get the bug report.

and i’ve, basically, given up on amarok. i love the interface, but the fact is, my music is on a disk that isn’t mounted at startup — because it is a NAS, mounted via WIFI — and amarok refuses to see it. i haven’t figured out how to get it to mount at startup, and it appears that the amarok user list is, for all intents and purposes, dead… which is really annoying.

on the other hand, i’ve figured out a way to play the music on my NAS from my phone, my tablet, and from the linux box, at the same time, using the same application, which is VLC media player. i don’t love the interface, but it’s definitely better than nothing, and the fact that i can play my music, basically, anywhere, without having to make copies of it, should make the copyright drones happy.

and i found the disks containing approximately 10,000 fonts, left over from when i worked in a print shop… and i can get around 90% to 95% of them to work on both my mac and my linux box, also from my NAS, which makes sharing documents a lot more reliable.

grr update

i installed the debugging packages for both kontact and dolphin, thinking that would help me get a better idea of what’s going on.

it’s a little difficult with dolphin, because it doesn’t actually crash, it just gives me an “unknown error” message.

with kontact/akregator, it made a considerable difference, but i’m not sure how much it helps: now, instead of crashing about half the time when i middle-click on a link (which would produce the backtrace for which i installed the debugging packages), it doesn’t crash at all… it still does nothing when i middle-click on a link — now 100% of the time — and it still works exactly as advertised when i right-click and choose “open link in external browser”… 😠

ETA: this is the primary reason why, if there was ANY other alternative, i would use that instead of linux: i looked at the URI in dolphin, after it gave me the weird “unknown error”, and it said “smb://@/” which i thought looked kind of odd… so i put the username for the drive to the left of the @ sign, and the name of the drive to the right of the @ sign…

and it worked. 😕

no clue how it got that way, no clue why it worked before, with no username in the picture, and doesn’t now, no clue what the error messages mean, i have absolutely NO CLUE why it works now and didn’t before…

but it does. 😕

grr…

i’m still having random annoying problems with bionic beaver:

when i start it up in the morning, it loads my desktop wallpaper image with a “blur” in the background, which is not what i want. i have to right-click, choose “Configure desktop”, choose “blur”, hit “apply”, choose “Solid color” and hit “apply” before it correctly shows a solid colour background around my wallpaper images. 😕

sometimes, randomly, the “Device Notifier” shows me the three USB hard disks i have inserted, and mounted, even when i am doing nothing that involves any of them. i don’t know why.

akregator randomly crashes when i try to open a link with the middle mouse button (which is normally set to “open in external browser”). it works okay if i right-click and choose “open in external browser” from the context menu, but if i middle-click, sometimes nothing happens, and sometimes akregator crashes. also, it doesn’t give me enough information in the trace to make the bug reports any good. i wrote to the KDE-PIM users list, but not with this problem, because i hadn’t figured out exacly what happened at that time. now i get the very strong impression that the response will be to upgrade to a more recent version, but that version hasn’t been added to the upgrades for bionic yet, so i’m kinda stuck.

dolphin allows me to make icons for places i go to regularly, and organise them in the left hand side of the window. i set up some network folders, by selecting “Network”, then selecting “Add Network Folder” and setting up a micro$not windows folder at smb://salamandircloud.local. it worked fine for about 3 days, but now, when i select any of the network folders at salamandircloud.local, it tells me

Internal Error
Please send a full bug report at http://bugs.kde.org
Unknown error condition in stat: Unknown error 8216

only sometimes, instead of “Unknown error 8216” it says “Unknown error” or “File exists” or “Software caused connection abort”. i went to http://bugs.kde.org and discovered a duplicate bug that says it’s “solved”, but it doesn’t give any clear indication of how it was solved. the end result is that now i no longer have access to my cloud drive from my linux machine. 👎

because of the fact that i can’t access salamandirCloud, i can’t access my music from my linux machine, but even when i could access salamandirCloud, amarok couldn’t access my music files. apparently it wants them on a local drive… and, because of the fact that, when i could access my cloud drive, it was through a SMB connection, i can’t use the standard NFS to automatically mount the drive at startup. i wrote to the amarok users list, but nobody’s home there, and i don’t expect an answer any time soon. 😠

i keep going back to the advice i was offered by Ralf Mardorf on the debian users list, back in 2012, when i was playing around with (and failing to install) a debian live disk. he said

Because I needed new hardware I couldn’t keep a stable Linux install that satisfied my needs.

Never change a winning team!

If there’s no need to update, keep a stable install, make backups and to test newer Linux versions at least have a dual-boot.

If I could use my old stable install, I still would use it. In your case I would reinstall the old Ubuntu that fit to your needs and I would install a second Linux and try to get it working, when ever I would have time to do it.

You know it yourself, I don’t need to write this words to you ;).

which, to me, means “IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT!”

except, of course, trusty was broke, it was just broke in different ways than bionic is. now all i gotta do is figure out what the fixes are. 😖

wow!

well, it’s done… and, so far, i think i like it…

i reformatted the USB drive, made a startup disk out of it with “Startup Disk Creator”, actually INSTALLED kubuntu bionic on my computer, without remembering to back up the last few items on my list (which were desktop settings that i probably would have immediately changed anyway), and finished up yesterday with the search for how to get my cloud drive to show up. today, it started with the search for how to get my cloud drive to show up, and, with a few false starts — i had to search for the correct file system, install autofs and cifs-utils, and then discover that i didn’t need them — i managed to get my cloud drive to show up, which meant that i could restore the backup of my email and the backup of my browser bookmarks…

and now it’s more or less finished.

i still have to figure out why the new OS isn’t finding my mailserver all the time — sometimes it finds it without any problems, and other times it can’t find it, and says the socket operation has timed out — but i think that may just be new shit getting it’s shit together, so i’m not going to sweat it until later in the week…

and i still haven’t installed the new hard disk i bought, specifically for the task of upgrading the OS, because i discovered that i could do it with a USB stick instead… so now i have to figure out whether i want to install the new SSD and have another terabyte of goodness hanging around, or whether i want to return it and have an extra $300 in my pocket.

ETA: there is now a problem with kontact: i sent a message, but i apparently moved it from the “sent mail” folder too quickly, because, now, when i start kontact, it loads two windows: the kontact window, and the message composer window, with the message in it… and then it hangs up, and when i try to do anything more than move windows around, it crashes… and it eventually crashes anyway. ☹ NOT GOOD!

ETA: it may just be everything settling into its new places… i started kmail separately from kontact (yes, you can do that, no, i did not know that), and resolved the conflict with the sent mail message, which hadn’t actually been sent. who knows what happened to it the first time around, but when i processed it with just kmail, it did exactly what it was supposed to do. then, i started kontact and it had a tizzy, but instead of killing it and starting over, i went for a walk, and when i came back, it was in the middle of a totally unrelated process that looked like the aggregator synching its database… which is a totally normal thing to do, and i wish kontact would have put up a status bar or something to indicate that it was, actually, doing stuff and not just hanging up. 😐

um… some new, interesting developments…

so i talked to my web developer guru, and he talked with his web developer guru (who is a guy at godaddy… which, in my impression, means either that he knows a lot and doesn’t get the chance to actually touch any of the machines, or he knows practically nothing and has his hands inside a lot of machines), and they both agreed that the evidence pointed towards me having a spammer in my email system. the primary reason for this was that, despite the fact that i have email with chinese characters automatically sent to /dev/null, i’m still getting spam with chinese characters in the subject line.

at the bottom of the global email filters window, there is a place where you can test email filters, to see what they do. after the first few, i just assumed that they worked, because they always did, so i didn’t pay much attention to the filter tester. it turns out that you can run mail that has already been delivered through the filter tester, to determine which filters caused it to end up in the wrong place.

what i discovered is that the chinese email filters work fine, but if the filter encounters an element that has a different rule than sending it to /dev/null, then it will do that, instead. once i resolved the conflict over which rule to use, the emails that are supposed to be getting delivered, are getting delivered, and the mail that is supposed to be deleted, goes to /dev/null

i still have a whole bunch of directories that have the name of my old host provider in my email system, that i really want removed, if it is possible, but the fact that it now looks like i DO NOT have a spammer/cracker nesting in my system is a great weight off my mind… and it means that i can put switching to gsuites on the back burner for the time being. 👍

ETA: i also discovered, using the same reverse-filter-testing procedure described above, why some random emails that don’t have any obvious reasons to be filtered, were getting filtered anyway. it turns out that i’ve got a whole bunch of filters that look for TLDs, such as .bid, .host, .win and so forth. except that the filter doesn’t care whether it’s a TLD, somewhere in the middle of the URI, or in some javacript code that is in the body of the email. so a MTA named “mailpod.hostingplatform.com” was getting filtered because it contained “.host”, and another mail was filtered because it had a javascript variable named “character.bidirectional”, which contains “.bid”…

i changed all of the TLD filters to look for an extra character that differentiates it from things that aren’t TLDs: the “dot letters” combination, followed by a forward slash — / — is what MAKES IT a TLD. why i didn’t think of that when i originally made the first filter is a gross act of stupidity on my part. 😕