chirp, debian unstable, winxp, win7, and firefox

I use chirp to program a $20 Baofeng ham radio.  It is a native linux app but uses deprecated python-gtk2 libraries.  That was cool until debian unstable removed those libs.  Chirp no worky.

Debian is a purist distro, and is the “mother” for many other linuxen.  But it’s a bit of a sanctimonious jerk, and sets strict rules for itself and its users.  Hence removing deprecated libs.

There are a couple of ways around this that don’t involve jacking around with manual package installation on this laptop.

winders XP

>CHIRP runs on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10. Older versions of Windows are not supported

Distasteful, to be sure, but I could spin up Continue reading “chirp, debian unstable, winxp, win7, and firefox”

laptop cooling update

The thermal paste fix has made a huge difference.  I played Minecraft in 92F ambient the other day (hottest day in Twin Springs just before I bailed).  No issues.

Normally I use the chromebook because of the low power consumption, but I’m getting such good sun here in Boise NF that I am running the laptop this morning.  This means I can do some extra stuff:  Continue reading “laptop cooling update”

hot shower, hot laptop

hot shower


  1.  I have copious amounts of water here, and
  2. the weekenders left

I decided to take a hot shower.   I put a couple gallons in the solar shower bag and left in the sun for a few hours.  The water was actually a little too hot for comfort, but there was a brisk breeze that was a bit chilly.

The actual shower took about 3/4gal;  after I finished the formal showering I just stood there and let the rest run over me.  Small pleasures!

hot laptop

My daily driver laptop is a previous-generation refurb Chromebook, which I use because its power consumption is laughably low at 16w.  But I also have a real laptop (debian linux) for heavy lifting, compiling, media editing and playing Minecraft.  It’s an old business-class Dell Latitude which apparently cost $4,000 when new.  I bought it off eBay for $120 shipped, IIRC, and doubled RAM to 16BG.  Also slipped in a half-gig SSD drive a couple year ago.

It’s a beast, but tends to overheat and shut down when used hard at ambient temps above 77F.  I did some reading and it appears the thermal paste between the CPU and cooling gear was substandard and/or poorly applied.  Since it’s not my main PC I basically just avoided the issue, but I did order some well-reviewed thermal paste off Amazon.

Today I finally pulled the cover off, removed the old paste and applied the new.  I stress-tested with Minecraft at 78F and it didn’t get squirrelly, so hopefully it’s fixed.   I have some CBSRMT tapes I want to digitize and edit, which will push the CPU around a bit.  We’ll see.

MiniDLNA + MythTV

You may remember I capture OTA TV signals with a MythTV install on Raspberry Pi ( Raspian).

Traditionally if one wants to stream MythTV files across the network one sets up MythWeb.  The Pi is quite limited and the MythTV setup there is finicky, so I wanted to do it with a lighter service.


DLNA is a plug-n-play service used to serve media files across a network.  MiniDLNA is a tiny, flyweight implementation of DLNA on linux.

I installed minidlna, edited the /etc/minidlna.conf to point to Continue reading “MiniDLNA + MythTV”

minecraft, libpango, and Debian testing (bullseye)

A recent minecraft and/or linux update screwed the pooch.

The Minecraft.deb file from referred to libpango, which doesn’t exist on Debian testing at the moment.    The correct library is libpangox.  The solution, referred to here, is to unpack Mojang’s deb, edit the control file, rebuild the deb and install it.

Here’s what worked for me: Continue reading “minecraft, libpango, and Debian testing (bullseye)”

~12% bandwidth conservation from compressed tunnel

I am getting minimal bandwidth in this location, downloading at around 30KB/s.  So I tried proxying my web traffic through a compressed ssh tunnel to see if it would help at all.

Here are the results after my morning browsing, about 1.5hrs of email, forums, texting, etc.

Transferred: sent 3073844, received 49053108 bytes, in 5189.2 seconds
Bytes per second: sent 592.3, received 9452.9
debug1: compress outgoing: raw data 3526015, compressed 2997278, factor 0.85
debug1: compress incoming: raw data 55577970, compressed 48936925, factor 0.88

that’s about 49MB compressed, or 56MB uncompressed. The compression factor of 0.88 in the stats says the traffic was reduced about 12%.  At very slow xfer rates I’ll take what I can get.

Note:  since the connection can be intermittent, I run the autossh wrapper to start the tunnel and screen utility at the other end.    Free tools in your local neighborhood linux distro.



Article: Micro$oft on top of linux

Now I’ve started taking that idea more seriously — with a twist. Microsoft could replace Windows’ innards, the NT kernel, with a Linux kernel.

It would still look like Windows. For most users, it would still work like Windows. But the engine running it all would be Linux.

… from this article in Computerworld.

I’ve been saying this for about 5 years.  The model already works;  almost 20 years ago Apple replaced their homegrown OS with a unix-like (BSD) variant called Darwin.  Now it actually works, and they put the pretty, friendly Apple interface on it.

Windows could do the same over linux;  just skin it with windows aesthetics and design language.  If they want to be really nostalgic they can make it bluescreen randomly or reboot after every minor update.  j/k.  kinda.

Seriously, though, using an open source base like Linux allows a company stop wasting time maintaining their own craptastic underlying code.

Prediction: windows lite –> linux

At some point, Windows (or Windows Lite) will be a slick overlay on top of linux, the way MacOS is a beautiful layer on top of Darwin/BSD.  MS is already moving toward subscription service model rather than “buy our OS” model, and making nice[r] with the linux community.

There are many benefits to moving to a linux base:

  • no longer have to maintain the core code, only the UI and proprietary apps
  • can fund linux projects much cheaper than having coders on staff
  • much more stable
  • much less vulnerable to malware/viruses (right now)
  • no more “your system will reboot” unless the kernel is being updated


SSD upgrade

The Dell came with a 128gb SSD, which was business sexy several years ago when it was new.

I’m dual booting win7 and Debian Linux on it. Enough room for that but I want to use it as a mythtv back end. It’s already running most the time lately, controlling a small cryptocoin miner ASIC.

First experience with clonezilla;. Wish me luck.