Browser and OS Statistics for October

I’d like to share some interesting statistics with my readers, I know it’s not quite the end of the month, but after more than 220,000 page views from nearly 170,000 visitors, it’s pretty safe to say these numbers wont budge too much in the next few days, unless there is some freak super explosion of diggs, stumbles, deliciousness, reddits and maybe a slashdot or two.

The most intersting statistic to me, is the fact that damn near 80% of all visitors are using Firefox.  This includes all operating systems, which is pretty significant when you compare that to how many users are utilizing Windows.  This site attracts very technical readers, which would explain the awesome google-fu that some people are using to find this site.


I wish I had more IE users visiting to convert to Firefox…


Everything You May Have Wanted To Know About Me But Didn’t

I’m Wayne Richardson, the owner, admin, and lone writer at fsckin w/ linux – a swift kick in the *nix.

This website is the culmination of nearly 10 years of experimenting with Linux, and three squirrels that spoke to me in a dream.  We held a televised debate on the topic of macadamias verses pecans.  It was weird.

My first introduction to Linux was by a good friend of mine near the end of 1998.  I eagerly put the borrowed Redhat 5.2 CD into the caddy of the 1x CD-ROM drive in my 486DX.   At the time, Linux was not very friendly to new users back then.  If you could get anything working at all, it felt like a miracle.

Since then, trying out new Linux distributions became a hobby of sorts, I kept a keen eye on Slashdot (UID 69114) and DistroWatch, downloading and installing new distributions, and getting really frustrated when something didn’t work.   Two years passed before I got my ISA SoundBlaster 16 card working to hear Linus Torvalds “pronounce Linux like Linux.”  He’s from Cannuckistan, isn’t he?

Fast forward to not so long ago, my computer had rebooted for the nth time that night unexpectedly, and I was at my wits end with Vista.  I contemplated two options:  Reinstalling to XP, or jumping off the top floor of the tallest building in Salt Lake City.  Lucky for you, I decided to try neither of those options.  Also, there’s a chance that the tallest building in Utah may not be a lethal jump.

After taking a short break from the computer to collect my thoughts, I came back to my desk and while rifling through a spindle of CDs, the Ubuntu Feisty Fawn disc that I had burned a few months prior stuck out of the pile.

“This is it,” I thought to myself.  “If my hardware works on this distro, I’ll try it for a month.”

On that fateful night, August 22nd 2007, I installed Linux on my desktop and everything was automatically detected and worked right out of the box.  I sat back, grabbed a keyboard and started writing about the ride of my life.

Here I am, a couple months later, still writing about things I find interesting, and recieving more than 5,000 visitors daily. 

The revenue from advertising pays the tiny hosting bill, keeps me interested in doing something other than playing Team Fortress 2, and eventually will pay for some geeky things I’ll write about here.

If you have any private comments, suggestions, or are really annoyed by something on the website (i.e. the scrolling RSS icon that I loved) just shoot me an email… wayne(@)fsckin(.)com.   I’ll beat you around a bit with a large trout and consider your inquiry.

I can’t store my sig in /dev/null?


My New Linux Desktop Background

As I’ve been working on Part 3 of the cost of free software article, I thought I’d share a little background image I found on DeviantART which is really sweet. Unfortunately it’s copyrighted so I can’t share it here, but I can use a thumbnail and provide a link:

Ubuntu - Go beyond windows

It’s by an artist called Primo Turbo, which is a pretty rad handle, worthy of some linkage.


How Much Work Actually Goes Into Each And Every Article I Write

Most articles I write here are very simple from conception to pressing that publish button.

Usually I get an idea of “Hey, it would be cool if I could do this in Linux” and then I spend a fair chunk of time familiarizing myself with the topic as well as the solution and then I sit down and do it myself.  I take notes along the way and finally I write the actual article, usually in a short period of time, since by the time I’m putting the pencil to the proverbial paper, I’ve become reasonably familiar with the topic at hand.

I’ve been working for the last 5 or 6 hours on what appears at the surface to be a very simple article.  It’s about how to get your iPhone setup to use the HTTP Remote Control in VLC  to control your playlists / etc.

Let’s just say that this article ended up being much more difficult than I first imagined.

I figured that I would simply enable the HTTP server in VLC, connect via Safari on the iPhone and everything would be OK.  I was dead wrong.  Oh, it works alright, but it doesn’t display properly, and isn’t really usable.  I found this page after much searching, which had a re-themed version of the HTTP interface for PDAs and PSPs.  I thought my long search was over.  Wrong – the link to the Graphite theme is totally useless – it’s been out of date for quite some time now.
So I had to figure out how to do it myself.

First I started trying to download a new svn/cvs version of VLC, as I had read that 8.6c had better mobile support.  That had bad news written all over it to begin with, but I persisted onwards, until my notes looked something like this (newlines ommitted to save space:

apt-get build-dep vlc libtool automake1.9 ffmpeg libavcodec-dev libpostproc-dev subversion automake libtool gettext cvs libdvdcss2 This command takes several minutes. svn co svn:// vlc-trunk cd vlc-trunk; ./bootstrap Output should be Successfully bootstrapped. cd extras; cd vlc-trunk/extras svn checkout svn:// ffmpeg cd ffmpeg ./configure --enable-gpl --enable-pp --enable-pthreads --enable-libmp3lame make cd ~/Desktop/ wget tar xvjf vlc-0.8.6b-test1.tar.bz2 svn co svn:// Wait.... wait... keep waiting... for that to finish. It takes a damn long time! Open up another terminal. cd ~/Desktop/ wget tar xvjf libmad-0.15.1b.tar.gz cd ~/libmad-0.15.1b ./configure make sudo make install cd ~/Desktop tar wxGTK-2.8.5.tar.bz2 cd wxGTK-2.8.5 wget ./configure --prefix=/usr --enable-wxwindows ./compile

Hmm… no good at all – way, way too complicated, even for me.  I’m pretty sure I even ran a few commands that borked my VLC config file beyond repair.  I don’t want tutorials I write to be so complicated that I’m writing shell scripts to do the work for you, or a person with minimal experience can’t follow my instructions since they are so convoluted and/or take HOURS to complete.  In the list above, the “build-dep” package weighs in at over 100MB of packages!

How are we supposed to learn from experience if you don’t/wont/can’t do anything yourself?

In the end, what started as a simple “oh, I’ll just recompile VLC” turned into a complete nightmare.  By the way, I did find the best guide on how to recompile VLC after going through most of the above by trial and error.

So now, what I’ll be doing instead, is re-writing a VLC control interface so that things look good on the iPhone.  I’ll also see if my GUI can be easily adapted to Windows Mobile, it shouldn’t be difficult at all.

I’m not just doing this for myself, I’m primarily doing all this work for you, to give back to the community.

If you would like to see an improved VLC http interface for pretty much every mobile phone, pda, tablet, etc and are not already subscribed to my RSS feed or updates via email, click here to subscribe now and I’ll have something for you later this week.

Stay tuned, I’ve got lots of new and interesting things coming specifically aimed at Linux iPhone users.  Strangely enough, most of them are actually applicable to Windows and Mac also.

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Pirates of the Great Salt Lake Screenings In Six Cities On Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Whew, my first real off-topic post.  I’ve been waiting for the screenings to begin, and I’m finally going to be able to see the movie in Salt Lake City on Sept 19th – International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

I’m already an Associate Fan Club Producer for the film, having donated money and purchased the DVD in advance.  This is really a great opportunity to promote an indy film that is really hilarious.

Trailer is after the bump, as well as the email anouncement I received.