OpenSUSE Linux Rants

OpenSUSE Linux Tips, tricks, how-tos, opinions, and news

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April 2, 2008

Linux comes through again – software RAID

by @ 2:35 pm. Filed under computer tips, General Linux, My Opinion

IM chat between myself and my good buddy Jason:

(03:11:36 PM) My Friend:
(03:11:37 PM) My Friend: blogged.
(03:14:32 PM) Scott: Just read the whole thing, man… that is all too cool.
(03:14:52 PM) My Friend: (nod)
(03:15:10 PM) My Friend: Linux is like marriage….
(03:15:18 PM) My Friend: The more you're involved with it, the sweeter life becomes… 🙂
(03:19:06 PM) Scott: Totally.
(03:19:41 PM) Scott: Windows is like being chained to a wild boar with barbed wire by the nut sack.

March 13, 2008

Grand Central from Google

by @ 2:38 pm. Filed under computer tips

Sorry I haven’t been all that talkative lately. Lots going on.

Hey, has everyone heard about Grand Central? It is a service offered by Google that will allow you to do all kinds of great stuff with your phone and phone numbers. You can white/black list people. You can record phone conversations. As the page says, “So many features, you won’t believe it.”

Just head over to and check it out.

Because it’s beta, you can only sign up if someone invites you. My question is… anyone have an account that would be willing to invite me? 🙂

January 17, 2008

Want to be a Linux admin? 8 Ways to hone your skills

by @ 4:31 pm. Filed under computer tips, education, General Linux, How-To, Linux tips, My Opinion

Tux - Linux Mascot

Every once in awhile, I am asked, “How do I get good at Linux?” Semi-jokingly, I reply, “Beats me. But please let me know when you find out.” Thus the question, “How does one get to become known as ‘the Resident Linux Guy’?” To take it even further, what if one wishes to have a career as a Linux system administrator? Here are a few suggestions on how you might wish to go about this. By no means is it comprehensive:

  1. Try Stuff – The first thing that I might suggest is to “try stuff.” Build yourself a small lab out of a few computers and a switch. Get creative. Do whatever it takes, but get several machines. Experiment. Set things up. Try things out. Create an environment where you can screw things up and it doesn’t matter. Find tutorials on how to install and configure various types of applications and services. Learn to set up servers, services, processes of varying types. Web server, email server, database server, DHCP server. Learn to set up a router from a machine with two NICs. Learn to install and configure PHP, Perl, or Python.
  2. Solve Problems – One of the things that will help you to learn Linux is to assume the role of your own technical support. Take ownership of all problems that occur. Learn the process of troubleshooting. Gather as much data as you can about the problem. This includes any output, any logs (especially system logs), or any hardware specs that may relate to the problem. Gather information. Learn to look up problems on your favorite search engine. Paste any errors into Google exactly as they appear.
  3. Network with people – Build a network of people who are interested in Linux. Don’t focus solely on the people who know more than you. You don’t want to be a sponge. Look for opportunities to help anyone who may need it. You don’t have to know the solution to their problem to help. You just need to know how to solve problems. Solving problems teaches you skills.
  4. Be persuasive – Learn to argue your cause. I have to tread a little lightly with this one, because I’m not saying learn to argue. I have learned from personal experience that pushing as hard as you can to get others to adopt your point of view does result in movement on their part. Away from Linux. You do, however, need to learn persuasive conversation. Learn to discover others’ hesitations about using Linux. If they are valid, don’t push. If they are not, outline why you believe they may wish to reconsider. For example, let’s say someone says this to you: “I thought you had to install Linux from the command line. I could never do that. I don’t want to try Linux.” You might ask, “What makes you believe that?” or “Where did you hear that?” or “Have you ever tried installing Linux? When?” Based off their answer, you can show them that installing OpenSUSE (and several other distros) is really a matter of being able to click a button with a mouse.
  5. Learn how to learn – Do you know the most effective way for you, personally, to learn? Are you a visual learner? Do you prefer to learn things conceptually? Can you learn by just reading? Do you best learn by hands-on practice? Do you learn best when someone is teaching you one-on-one? Or do you learn best when you do your own research at your own pace? Figure out the process that works the best for you and stick with that in your quest for Linux mastery.
  6. Buy books – There are several excellent books available for getting started with Linux. Go over to Amazon. Search the books for “Linux.” Read the reviews on the books. Pick a couple and jump into them. There are a number of great Linux books from SAMS, O’Reilly, Wiley, and Apress, etc. I bought one of each for OpenSUSE.
  7. Contribute – Find a way to make some kind of contribution to the cause. Participate in the local open source community. This may be by any combination of the following: attending or organizing install fests, creating a blog and writing about the things you learn, letting other people know that you are available to help. There are a very large number of ways to contribute. Are you a developer? Work on the code. Are you great with documentation? Help out with that aspect.
  8. Classes – I left the most obvious for last. Take classes or courses on Linux. A bunch of certifications are available. There may be a Linux class in your vicinity that will introduce you to Linux. Many people have found The Easiest Linux Guide You’ll Ever Read to be quite helpful. You may also benefit from the “Intro to Linux” course avaible from the right nav on my Linux blog.

The number of ways to get started with Linux is limited only by your creativity. Most importantly, just start somewhere. Then, work with what you have to learn the best way that works for you. Give it some time, work at it diligently, and don’t give up. At some point, you’ll have the skills and knowledge that you seek. Good luck, and enjoy the journey.

September 13, 2007

Flight Simulator in Google Earth

by @ 12:03 pm. Filed under computer tips

I found something in Google Earth I thought was pretty interesting. Apparently, there is a flight simulator built into the latest beta.

To get to it, you press CTRL+ALT+A. In Linux, this took about 10 tries to get it to activate.

To get started, hold down PG UP for a bit to kick in the throttle, and then press the down arrow to pull up.

If you want to take a look at all the commands, check out the Flight Simulator Keyboard Controls.

Here’s the screenshot of me flying over my house:

June 21, 2007

Why I Dog Windows Every Chance I Get

by @ 2:58 pm. Filed under computer tips, War

🙂 Whelpsie, it’s time for another M$ jab. You know I can’t resist, so don’t bother telling me to grow up. I hereby refuse to do so.

This type of thing is precisely why Win32 platforms should all just disappear. 🙂

Windows 98 crashes during Gates’ Comdex demo – April 20, 1998

Use Linux. For the love of all that is holy. Please.

May 3, 2007

A Tip for Anyone Who Uses a Keyboard

by @ 7:03 am. Filed under computer tips

Being a computer user for the past couple of decades has had its great moments. Especially when I discovered linux. However, it hasn’t always been pixie dust and fluffy rose bunnies. Every once in awhile, something goes wrong. Because I have the charismatic temperament of Fluorosulfuric acid, I go through many a keyboard. Sometimes, this is because I go from Mr. Calm to Mr. Super Bionic Smash Fist and destroy it because something went wrong. Other times, it is because I go from Mr. Suave And Coordinated to Mr. Blundering Elephantine-Thumbed Stumbling Oaf and unload gallons of Coke into it.

Sadly, for the former situation, the only solution is about $86,203.00 and a really good psychotherapist. For the latter, however, there is a wonderful solution. Being self-appointed Microsoft Antagonist Number 1, you may find it a little odd that I can only use the M$ Ergonomic Keyboards. At least they don’t have bugs.

Anyway, when you spill something on them, or they get all crusty and old, there is a little trick you can do to make them all shiny and new again. Throw them in the dishwasher and take them through a spin cycle on high.

You know that keyboard I dumped Coke into the other week? Well, that is the very same keyboard I am using to type this up right now. How, you say? Well, I took all the screws out of the back of it, took out the little green electronic board and the lights and PS/2 cord. Well, the rest of it is just plastic and rubber. Like me, all you have to do is slap it all into your favorite dishwasher (be it your mom’s, your dad’s, your daughter’s, your son’s, your aunt’s, your uncle’s, or your first wife’s mother’s second husband’s). Make sure you have everything set to COLD (don’t wanna melt it), fill ‘er up with dish soap, and hit GO.

When it’s all done, take it all out and let it air dry for about 34 weeks or until dry. When it is sufficiently dry, put it all back together again, and plug ‘er in. Assuming it really was sufficiently dry and you didn’t just make a nice brick out of your CPU, it should work quite nicely, like the day you bought it.

So there’s a quick tip for people who love to get their keyboards all nasty and gross.

BTW, if you do put your keyboard in the dishwasher, and completely destroy it, tough, it ain’t my problem. Anyone who puts a computer keyboard into their washer should get their head checked, anyway.

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