Oct 14 2018
Long time readers are probably wondering where I've been lately. The answer is kind of long and is worth a post all on its own. The short version of the story is, work's been eating me alive lately. This is our busiest time of year and it's been all hands on deck for a couple of weeks now. In point of fact, last week was our quarterly all-hands meeting, where everybody on my team was flown into town for a solid week of meetings. All day, every day. Most of my visible activity lately took the form of parts of my exocortex running on automatic with some hit-and-run posting while waiting for the coffee maker at work to top me up in between meetings.
This also means that I haven't had a whole lot of patience for interacting with people. Not in the sense that people can feel frustrated with other people or their actions, but in the sense that interacting with people in a meaningful way - having a real conversation - takes more compute cycles than I have available right now. After fourteen hours in a conference room with 40 other people, not only am I out of social, but I'm mentally exhausted.
Aug 12 2017
Some time ago I wrote an article about what Keybase is and what it's good for. I also mentioned one of my pet peeves, which is that, by default the fonts used by the Keybase desktop client are way, way too small to see easily on Windbringer. A couple of days ago somebody finally figured out how to blow up the fonts on the desktop, so I can finally see what's going on without putting my nose on the display (and making the mouse cursor jump around because Windbringer has a touchscreen). While I wish that this would be a configuration option in the GUI (or, hell, even a config file) I'll take what I can get. First, some background so everything makes sense...
Jan 20 2017
Not too long ago, when the USB key I'd built a set-top media machine died from overuse I decided to rebuild it using Arch Linux with Kodi as the media player. The trick, I keep finding every time, lies in getting Kodi to start up whenever the machine starts up. I think I've re-figured that out six or seven times by now, and each time after it works I forget all about it. So, I guess I'd better write it down for once so that I've got a snapshot of what I did in case I need to do it again later.
The instructions in the Arch Linux wiki work, but you need to pick the right ones to follow. The short-and-sweet ones with the automagickal AUR package don't work. Forget it.
Install LightDM from the Arch package repository (sudo pacman -S lightdm). Then install the instructions I linked to above to the letter. That means carrying out the following tasks:
Create the file /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config. The file should contain only the following text in bold (no double quotes): "needs_root_rights = yes"
Follow the LightDM "Enabling autologin" and "Enabling interactive passwordless login" instructions. Create a user named "kodiuser" (you don't need to set a password" and give it access to system groups necessary to access resouces in the system. I used the following command to do this: sudo useradd -c "Kodi Service Account" -G dbus,network,video,audio,optical,storage,users -m kodiuser
Create two additional groups which LightDM needs to enable autologin:
- sudo groupadd -r autologin
- sudo groupadd -r nopasswdlogin
Add kodiuser to those groups:
- sudo gpasswd -a kodiuser autologin
- sudo gpasswd -a kodiuser nopasswdlogin
May 13 2016
Long, long time readers of my blog might remember Leandra, the server that I've had running in my lab in one configuration or another since high school (10th grade, in point of fact). She's been through many different incarnations and has run pretty much every x86 CPU ever made since the 80386. She's also run most of the major distributions of Linux out there, starting with Slackware and most recently running Arch Linux (all of the packages of Gentoo with none of the spending hours compiling everything under the sun or fighting with USE flags). It's also possible to get a full Linux install going with only the packages you need in a relatively small amount of disk space; my multimedia machine, for example, is only 2.7 gigabytes in size and Leandra as she stands right now has a relatively svelte 1.1 gigabytes of systemware. However, Arch Linux was an early adopter of something called systemd, which aims to be a complete replacement of the traditional UNIX-like init system that tries to manage dependencies of services, parallelize startup and shutdown of system features, automatically start and stop stuff, replace text-based system logs with a binary database, and all sorts of bleeding edge stuff like that.
Some people love systemd. Some people hate systemd. Personally, I think it is what my besainted grandmother would say, enough to piss off the Pope. That's not really what I'm writing about, though. What I'm writing about is a problem I ran into getting Leandra back up and running after building a fairly sizeable RAID array with logical volumes built on top of it.