Reasons for: Linux

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Linux is one of those things that can you have a reason? Honestly, it’s a great setup.

I’ve used Linux off and on as a desktop over the years for maybe 20+ years? Mandriva Linux, Redhat, etc. all early days when my connector was a VGA adapter on a monitor the size of a small microwave. 🙂 Back then it wasn’t anything insane, it was tinkering but over the years its CLI has become my home away from home, doing a majority of my server work from the command line.

The pro’s as a desktop are fairly straightforward:

  • No Upgrade Fees: In an opensource world of amazing distros’ I could easily pick Fedora, Ubuntu, etc. and have an amazing LTS build or even a point upgrade now and again and upgrade is as simple a few commands.
  • Wide Software Library: Despite public rumor of Linux not being feature rich with great apps, let’s be honest – if you are average user who could get by with a Browser – you aren’t going to have problems with Linux – but there are apps for just about everything on you can do on the Mac/Windows side, but if you are a creature of habit, you are likely not looking to switch.
  • Choice of Window Managers: Look I love the simplicity of the Mac interface, Windows 10 is growing on me, but if you want the MOST control of what your Desktop looks like and how it functions, Linux has your back.
  • Security: Yes Mac’s are “secure” so are Windows, but Linux gives you IMO the biggest bang for your buck in managing security – however that being said if you are NOT a security person, Linux may need you learning a few things about Firewalls and such.

All in all, as a daily driver for me, it’d work. Let’s be honest doing most of my work anymore in the Browser or CLI – I don’t need a ton of apps, even the last few days I’ve literally just needed SSH, RDP, and Chrome. That’s it. Now I know if I need to do a quick image mock-up or open a spreadsheet I have plenty of options in any OS – but seriously as a daily driver, it’s a fair backup.

Why a backup? Let’s be honest, the commercial apps in both Windows and Mac that I own are specific to my needs. I didn’t just say “Oh let’s FORCE this OS to work” there are simply apps which are flipp’n amazing. No need to debate it, I love PS/ILL, Native Office is a good thing with some folks since document formats aren’t universal, and Kiwi for Gmail on any platform is simply a nice way to manage several Gmail logins.

All in all, I can make Linux Work, maybe go dual boot?

Reasons for: Windows

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I have never had anything honestly against windows. It’s a decent operating system and I think similarly to linux I’ve had only minor hiccups with a malware/virus situation so it’s not “Oh Windows is bad because of viruses!” seriously folks – two words: anti virus.

While I don’t mind it I really only use it when required as it stands. Sure it’d be nice to have a Windows rig for some gaming (Steam account + Portal 2… Yes please.) it’d definitely have some pro’s:

  • It’s Windows: Let’s be honest, it’s been around the block. There is a bigger app eco-system, there is a slew of tweaks/hacks you can do on your system, Bluray support, etc. it’s been around.
  • Gaming: While I don’t “game” like most, as I mentioned before Portal 2 – yes I just beat it again, but I love a good puzzle or two with a witty robot talking to me, but I have a fair sized Steam account in which I’m happy to say Commander Keen is in there 🙂
  • Upgrade Ease: While I have had decent luck with my Hackintosh, let’s be easy when it comes to Mac’s its harder and harder to do simple upgrades. Drives are attached, memory is the same, and CPU upgrades? Naw. Never gonna happen, well without some HUGE warranty, and with how Apple is handling user repair requests, not a good place to be.
  • Carry Over: I have some licenses which will live in both eco systems, Office 365 account, Adobe Account to name a few, but many apps out there which are web based more than anything are going to carry over without issue.

Windows works. The Linux Subsystem fixes many terminal woes I’d of had, and while I’m not against PuTTy, to be able to simply map SSH to common servers in an alias file to login, have my key and boom, I’m in – Linux Subsystem makes that super handy.

I mentioned the laptop at OfficeMax in my last post, it’s nice, has a good spec in general, but I wanted to know if it was something user upgradable, as 8GB of RAM isn’t bad, but like any modern OS/Apps – things are memory hungry – and a 5400RPM drive… I tried it in store and it was “okay” and yes, 1TB of storage is nice, but not something I “HAVE” to have, so I hit up HP and found that the drive was replaceable, however, they said Memory was not.  Which was a lie…. well sort of.

I got another tech to send me the repair/replacement guide, and it notes the motherboard has memory slots that take PC2400 RAM and that it has 2 slots, so in theory  I could grab another 8GB chip for under $100 and be good, but wait there’s more!

That same guide shows a M2 slot, so I could clone the main drive to the M2 drive with a snappy say 120-240GB SDD, then get a mid-range performer in the SSD laptop size which would be around $200 and have all SSD storage for basically a total upgrade of around $300 all things said and done, so a $800 laptop without too much fuss.

All in all I know I could customize something else, or save up, but the nice thing about this idea is it’s over time. I have enough for the M2, grab it, same with ram, if I REALLY need it, grab it.

WIndows systems offer a lot, but the nice thing is, if I hate it beyond hate it. Linux is only an ISO away.

Reasons for: Mac

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So in this wacky journey I find myself on for a new laptop I’ve  begun to ask myself:

“What is it you need from Mac so badly?”

By no means am I fanboy. Oh no no no. I don’t drink Mac Koolaid and then look at other OS users and demand them bow to the shrine of Mac. Never been a diehard to that extent, just have in years past enjoyed honestly a stable workstation as a primary, but the reasons? Let’s run them down:

  • OS Diversity: Ease to run all major OSes on a single platform without too much heavy lifting. Easily have Windows/Linux onboard using VirtualBox/VMware – easy for supporting customers on varied platforms.
  • Strong Terminal: I grew up on DOS. Autoexec.bat and Config.sys are my friend, so having tools and ease of a strong CLI is key, and tools like SSH and various network tools are insanely handy as a Linux Admin.
  • Security-Ish: While years ago Mac had bolder claims about being safe/secure, however lately it’s not the top of my list, but it does have pretty good security out of the box.
  • Window Management: While I am rocking 2 monitors on the Hackintosh – I still use spaces with a few handy keystrokes, makes running VM’s and remote terminals for RDP/SSH be something I can just switch one screen to another system entirely – insanely handy.

But really I could say “Oh the apps” and yes some great apps on Mac for dev/productivity, however, key ones anymore are web-based or have apps on other desktops. So what am I thinking? Well, so far Windows 10 is my focus for a possible laptop replacement. Cost is a big factor, instead of investing an arm+leg to get an even entry-level MacBook that same $400 right now could get me a Ryzen3 system running Windows 10 @Office. (yes thats . for Depot + Max).

$400 vs $1000 even with maybe a $100 investment in a decent SSD to replace the 1TB HD I could have some decent performance under Windows 10, and have the Linux Subsystem installed to give me all the usual tools I from SSH to wget, I’ve tried it out and it works – would be a nice change from PuTTy on Windows, and tools for doing simple things like dig vs. nslookup – but keep me from having to re-map my brain for commands.

Windows 10 security has improved a lot and I do have some software in the ecosystem still, but too some great alternatives are out there nowadays that were not there when I had a full-time Windows rig maybe a decade ago, but some decent AV software and some common sense should be good.

I’ll still have my Hackintosh, so Mac won’t go away from my day-to-day, but the Laptop is the big move for being able to be on-the-go again – so at this point, Windows is a contender, however, there is always the option to install Linux if I don’t like it. Joys of computing.

Windows, Mac or Linux.

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Been a tad quiet around here as of late, the job thing was a no-go. I could write a post, but meh. Wasn’t the right time anyhow.

Work has been nuts, working on a business idea, servers, outages, cool touch screen kiosk projects, websites, and getting a Windows 10 workstation setup on one of my two desks. Why? Well, I needed it to get my Hackintosh working again and had the hardware from an old system salvage, but specs are nice:

  • i5 3350P @ 3.10Ghz
  • 8GB RAM
  • NVidia GeForce GT 620
  • 250GB SSD pull from another system

Aside from the SSD, it’s all that came in the pretty dell case – and it works. However not sure how I feel about Windows, but then again with my MacBook Pro battery failing, it leaves me in the “What do I get next?” stage? I’ve considered a nice Linux box running Fedora or Ubuntu – would be a cheap entry point for the most part probably $600 or so maybe a bit more if I want to make it dual monitors.

The Windows rig works and is honestly a nice change of pace, last time I used Windows was honestly 98/2000 versions and since then only dabbled in Windows 7/8 – so a fulltime rig with Windows 10 isn’t bad, but even dabbling in a slight bit of gaming, I’m tempted to grab a bigger GPU than the card on machine.

I have dabbled with a Linux rig or two virtually but that’s where I’m at in choices Linux/Windows/Mac on a Laptop replacement for the MacBook Pro as I’ve looked and while I could spend around $120 and do my own Battery Replacement on an older MBP and maybe a year or two additional on it, or try to just hold off for now and save up for a new MBP when finances amp up, or a nice Linux/Windows rig as my new portable rig, as Chromebook “works” for mobile, but honestly it’s not the power I need on the go.

Many choices, not sure which direction I’ll go, but for now what I have rolling works for day to day, but would be nice to have a good mobile rig that’s got enough power for on the go to get done anything.

 

New-ish Chapter?

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So at the push of a friend and the Mrs. I’m submitting my application for a job in the morning. Something I haven’t done since I was let go when the local company I worked for was purchased by a BIG company, and at the time they did offer me a position in Reno but wasn’t a fit that I felt right for me, thus after an extra week or two, I was fully let go.

Fast forward nearly 6 years of consulting, hosting, touch of graphic design and a lot of working for a meal later 😀 times once again are changing and while I have a few things on the docket, this is one that I once again would enter the IT Director position but at a much larger scale – sure one could say when you work on servers which power sites on the internet you work for a WORLDWIDE set of people, let’s be honest, it’s much different than desktop support.

I’m honestly interested to see what it could be. If I get the position I’d be making the largest salary I’ve ever had in my life, even working for myself, it’d mean some big changes, and honestly, I’m not sure it’s a good fit, but I’m up for a challenge.

So if you think of it, I’d appreciate a prayer or three. Final formatting adjustments on the resume in the AM, making sure the app looks good, then submitting it and saying a prayer. Could be a good thing, may say:

Woah! You’re exactly what we wanted, let’s go for the higher end of the pay scale!

At which point:

I’d of gone car, but I don’t want to set any false expectations. Plus everyone loves tacos. So tomorrow we’ll give it a go and see how things turn out, might have a new IT Directorship here soon, it starts in July if I get it, so likely a lot of legwork between now and then but one step at a time, meetings galore this week, T-Ball, Swimming, Music, etc. going to be a busy one so wrapping it all up!

Night!

Crypto Status for Onion’s Omega2+

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A long time ago on the magical world of this blog, and the opinion cloud  Twitter – I teased this photo:

Well since that photo I had the folks at Onion hit me up:

I did and today, after much waiting, a finally fixed up Onion (Wifi Problems) I’m tonight online and have finalized the guide! Without further backstory… Here’s the quick and dirty guide to getting it running:

Step 1: SSH In.

Get your self all ssh’d in and get ready for some copy and paste magic first off the bat is some key elements some may already be installed so any errors you hit saying “Up to date” or “Already Installed” are safe to ignore – here’s the one-liner:

opkg update; opkg install php7-mod-openssl php7-mod-json php7 php7-cgi php7-cli bash

This will handle everything you’ll need based upon some PHP trial and error no php.ini mods are needed for PHP, just install and you’re good to grab the feeds and get things rolling.

Step 2: A sprinkle of BASH

Grab the sh file, and for this instance save it as: coins.sh – Download it here, or copy and paste below.

This is not required, but it is what I will reference this file as moving forward, so if you change it, run the change through the entire process.

[UPDATE]: If you are just wanting general coin prices? Set all values to 1, it will simply return the value of a single coin if you’re just monitoring the market in general.

#!/bin/bash

## Set Your Currency
curr=$'USD'

## Coin Amounts
ltct=$'200'
btct=$'200'
etht=$'200'
dasht=$'200'

## Clear OLED Screen
oled-exp -i

## Create Values
btc=$(php-cli coins.php 'BTC' $curr $btct)
eth=$(php-cli coins.php 'ETH' $curr $etht)
dash=$(php-cli coins.php 'DASH' $curr $dasht)
ltc=$(php-cli coins.php 'LTC' $curr $ltct)

## Display on Screen
oled-exp write "CURRENT VALUE\nLTC: $ltc\nBTC: $btc\nETH: $eth\nDASH: $dash"

Basics, set your currency I’ve got mine as USD for the US Dollar, however, you may be elsewhere in the US, just put in your currency type and you’re off!

The second edit is your coin types and amounts – I didn’t do anything fancy here, just be sure anything you add is added to the value calls in Create Values, the format is:

VARIABLE FOR OUTPUT=$(php-cli coins.php ‘COIN TYPE‘ $curr $COINAMOUNT)

Lastly is the display to the screen, and you can format this as you see fit, but the \n is a new line, so anywhere you want a linebreak add a \n.

Step 3: A pinch of PHP

This is the PHP side of things which grabs the data, name it coins.php – Download it here, or copy and paste below.

<?php

/****
coins.php (v.04a) by Chuck Brown (http://www.zagnu.com/coin-source.txt)

A simple API call to get the value of a coin in the user's desired currency, great for using in Google Sheets (Use: =IMPORTDATA("yoururl") or if you simply want to grab
the current value of a certain coin. Currently geared towards USD, but hope in next version to add proper currency markings for the amount conversion.


## Changelog

.01 -   First Release
.02 -   Adjustments to code & calling methods.
        Changed from XML output to plaintext for use of IMPORTDATA vs IMPORTXML
.03 -   Removed dual posting of plaintext price for import & added amount conversion.
        Commented code.
.04 -   Added Conversion for ATM without Value Text for Onion pull - Also adding $ for easier formatting on Onion curl call.
.04a -  This is the Omega2+ version, can then be gathered from CLI vs. Installing Apache.
***/


//Get Data
$url = file_get_contents("https://min-api.cryptocompare.com/data/price?fsym=".$argv[1]."&tsyms=".$argv[2]."");
$json = json_decode($url,true);
//Check for Amount to Convert
if ($argv[3] != '') {
$value = $argv[3] * $json[$argv[2]];
$tvalue = round($value,2);
echo "$".$tvalue;
} else {
//no amount? provide plaintext response for dollar amount.
print $json[$argv[2]];
}
?>

Now if you look at the line that reads:

echo "$".$tvalue;

The $ is your currency format, so if your not using the USD as a default, just make a quick tweak and set it to yours.

I do have a slightly more up-to-date version I’m toying with on the PHP side, with configuration options up top for easy configuration & coins to take some of the bash config out of the equation and use an array to generate, but again still a very early release.

Step 4: Schedule with Cron

This can be run fairly regularly, however, be mindful if you are wanting to say lookup values every 2 minutes, Cryptocompare.com is going to block you. So every 30 works for me:

*/30 * * * * 

However if you want to do something a tad different, work on it with Crontab.guru. Handy tool, but I give that first so you can figure out your schedule then on the command line here’s what you need to do:

chmod +x /root/coins.sh
crontab -e
[PASTE in your schedule] /root/coins.sh
:x! {PRESS ENTER}

Next with that in place simply restart cron:

/etc/init.d/cron restart

And boom, you are off and running. Now be aware that cron will take and pick up at the next window, so let’s say you used my example and said every 30 minutes? Well if it’s 11:45 PM like it is now, it won’t run again until midnight. If you are before 11:30 PM it’d run at 11 PM – pretty simple.

Wrapping up!

Again probably not the cleanest code, or the most elegant, but it does a job, and has given me a nice little readout on coin values. I’m open to any and all comments and suggestions, happy to give credit where credit is due and post updated pastes and post info as improvements are contributed!

Thanks to Onion for a great little device! Quite handy indeed!

April 17+1 (New Tax Day)

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So it appears that Monopoly wasn’t far off. Bank error in my favor? Kind of lol. The IRS had some issues with their site and in turn, the 17th is now the 18th for taxes due.

I keep trying to get ahead, but this year I don’t think I’m going to wait, literally next week I’m going to find some sort of accounting software that’s a tad more robust than spreadsheets, something that can track things and it will mean a bit more leg work, but I’d much rather get more put away in savings this next year + bank more towards taxes, this year I actually didn’t come down to the wire, I had my funds already set aside, but I’d like more breathing room.

Too I’m trying to figure out how I can work Church Hosting better, I’ve considered Non-Profit, but at this point with tax law changing for 2018 taxes, non-profit giving may not be a benefit anymore, so those tithes and various causes a friend asks you to support on Facebook, will be a thing of the past, so the idea of making Church Hosting a non-profit, won’t have many benefits to getting businesses to jump on board I’d imagine. No perk for them.

But I’m praying on it, working on it. Tomorrow I’ll submit, I figured since I had a rough day (been feeling off lately) I didn’t want to push it too much, sure I have 13 minutes left before midnight, but better to wrap this tomorrow with a fresh head and just call it good. Profits growing, pretty much every year, however, I’d love to see them grow enough to add an employee, or at least employ myself as a W2’d employee.

For now, time to wrap things up, after I hit submit in the AM and e-File it all away, I’m off to coding, doc writing, and working on wrapping up some projects that have been waiting for me to wrap this, then if I can get it done before swim class, I may find something completely mindless to do – do they still have those movie theatre places? 😀 Night all.

Diabetic Road: The Average that Was.

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So I had achieved an average 30 days of 130 blood sugar! I was so excited! Then I hit 3 days of spikes. Now it’s gone.

But it’s back on track this morning with a waking sugar of 119! I am trying to wrap up here shortly to get to bed, trying hard to get sleep in order if I can, as that has seemed to help, but too finding anything that has corn in it and trying to reduce intake – that’s helped greatly.

I’ve also added Mustard to my mix of supplements as eating a hotdog which should spike my sugars actually seemed to lower, the mix of relish + mustard galore is the only thing I could figure out over research that a bad eating choice as some would say ended in my sugars lowered, Mustard will do that, and so I’ve added that in and it really seems to help more than the previous suggestion of Fenugreek from my optometrist.

I don’t want to supplement my way to health still trying to eat healthily, proteins, smaller portions but more meals, good fiber intake and leafy greens (aka BIG salad!) – I do need to find more veggies I can stomach, but never been a big veggie guy, so salad, carrots, definitely my go-to.

This week wraps up a mildly stressful week, actually wrapped a call tonight on a potential programming gig, would be some decent money, a lot of time, but decent money – so that’s nice and yet some stress if it comes in, I’d have a little over a month to get it done.

I’ve tried to keep stress to a minimum when and where I can at the advice of the endocrinologist and diabetic coach, been thinking about maybe heading back to counseling, I found it useful – I’ve tried online, but something about being face to face with someone to talk it out vs typing it out, but trying to make sure I’m keeping stress down, happy up.

For now, it’s 1 AM and I’m going to call it good before someone emails in needing something lol. Night.

Diabetic Road: New Meds

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This week was a tough one. Sugars have sucked since we’ve fooled around with meds a bit, the PA I was seeing and working with on meds took me off the BCise and went solely on Toujeo + Jardiance – but my system seemed to really kick back a bit since that change, but as it started leveling out after some rough weeks including this past Friday with the passing of my Uncle Greg 🙁 things started doing better, actually having a 136 on the day of my doctor’s appointment.

I moved up from the PA to the primary Endocronlogist. My wife had seen him before and warned me he is a big “numbers guy” and kind of built him up in my head to be doctor type “blah” as I don’t like hardcore clinical “You’re dumb” docs who just explain and don’t listen. Pleasantly, this was not the case.

The doc was running a little late, the office actually gets me in fairly quickly and out too! But we talked about what my meter had down, he liked the lower numbers and trust me when I say lower numbers are good, still some sucky ones in which he asked about my exercise & stress, explained some spikes which worked alongside lack of sleep + sad + stressed (this week had a HUGE fire with a BIG customer) but he encouraged me to find time to pray/rest/meditate and let my body chill out without work + keep up the exercise.

We also worked out a new med to take called Soliqua which is as the doc described as a mix of Toujeo + BCise as we did see better results with BCise, so instead of two injections just one, and increasing the dose of Metformin to 1000 x 2 a day. So we are giving it a shot. I’ve had 2 doses now, actually just took one after fixing a flat tire (thanks to people for leaving dark color sharp trash on the road!) I’m having some discomfort but not sure if its the med -or- the new exercise plan I’ve picked up Seven.

Seven has been great. I have it on my iPad and in the morning I start off with 7 minutes. You’d probably think that 7 minutes wasn’t going to give you a workout, but it does! I still want to do more workout and exercise in the day and haven’t added another 7-minute window yet, but a great app on both Android and iOS (Free with Paid Options) all in all though, works great on both! Has helped my sugars I think for sure!

Lastly, I did get a call today about the blood work they ran, my A1C was 8.1. Before you say “OMG!” please bear in mind at one point it was completely out of control, 12-ish area, not good at all, so coming down from that to 10.1 on my bloodwork previously now to 8.1? Progress. Definitely want it lower, but finding a good balance of it all is key! Can’t have meds making me unable to function! So hopefully in another 3 months, we’ll see it below 7! That’d be awesome! 

For now, rest soon as tomorrow is going to be a busy one! 

Brandless. “We like to say we’re unapologetically a brand. 😇”

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Occasionally the ads on Instagram are things I actually look at. Granted I’d love it Instagram would just give me ALL photos in date order vs. whatever it is it sends me lol (but that’s another post altogether) I find something I end up liking. A lot. Enter Brandless.

First and foremost pricing. Dear God. So simple. $3. Yes. $3. And it’s not some travel size nonsense, its the real deal. I got tub & tile cleaner which smells great, and again a 30FLoz bottle… $3. Now I did a search on my whole “Is it worth it?” mindset and even searching for one on the almighty Amazon the pricing is insanely better:

While you may look at that and say “Hold on there, it is only $0.80 more” no it’s not, that’s the ITEM’s price, check the shipping, and it’s a smaller bottle. Oi. And that’s the ONLY item that was EPA Safer Choice Certified, so think of them at some level as the Online Trader Joes of healthier & safer products. (TJ I still love you. This isn’t a break-up letter!)

Now if you are organic and GMO conscious this is a great site, great products to eat, clean, work, etc. but they are awesome in that they offer free meals via Feeding America (Info Here) – basically you order? They give a meal. However, if you are like me who signed up for their B.More membership (Free shipping!) they give two meals! And today for ALL orders, (March 3rd Only!) they are making it 3 meals for every order done. Amazing!

Final note I’ll say is – this is good stuff, cleaning products I’ve got work great, the cleaner I mentioned above? It really does smell GOOD! I spray it every time I get out of the tub to help keep cleaning easier, but too smells great! Snacks are amazing the Jerky (all flavors) is amazing, but the organic peppered jerky is awesome and it’s even grain fed beef! So for $3 hard to beat!

So to recap:

  • Quality Products for Kitchen, Stomach, Office, Bathroom, did I mention Stomach?
  • Gives back to others in need!
  • Simple Pricing – It’s all $3. You spend more than that @ Starbucks!
  • Real Products not TINY sized samples.
  • Delicious Snacks. (Brandless if you read this, please send more Jerky)

I wish I could use this brief review to give you some sort of deal, savings, but honestly? It’s $3 an item, shipping so far has been quick so why not give it a shot. Not sure it’ll work but on your first order try the promo code “hello” and it should make your first order’s shipping $1 (at least the recent email I got suggests that it will) again very worth it to the point my birthday present to myself was the B.More membership.

Go forth! Enjoy Brandless.