Friday, 27 May 2016

Before I format my openSUSE 12.3 installation...

It was bound to happen...

This was reality for me, for the past few years: Error notifications popping up, with the system letting me know that it could not connect to a software repository. Suddenly, even uninstalling existing software became impossible, because I could not connect to the existing repository. 

My faithful old laptop was on its last legs, having gotten a booster shot from openSUSE 12.3 some time back. But upgrading openSUSE to 13.1, and then to 13.2, seemed difficult, and unnecessary at the time. So I soldiered on, using 12.3, not knowing what would happen... 

But I did know what would happen. Software would stop updating. Google Chrome would tell me that the browser is outdated and that I have to upgrade to a newer version.

Enter the rolling release

Over the past few days, I've been looking at various distributions. Yes, it's window shopping time again. Which Linux distribution will it be for me this time? 

So I started with openSUSE and I read a little bit more about Tumbleweed, the rolling release. For those unfamiliar with "rolling release", it is a Linux distribution that gets upgraded to the latest packages automatically. It will never get out of date, because the latest packages will be on your system. 

The only foreseeable problems are these:
  1. The upgrades somehow break the system. Possibility: Not that high, considering that the packages are supposed to work with each other. Stick with a semi-commercialized vendor like SUSE and you should be safe, right?
  2. The upgrades are not supported by the ageing hardware specifications. Possibility: Not high right now, but increasing in the future. Who am I kidding, my computer is old. It's more than seven years old. Many people throw in the towel at 3 years and get a new one. 
So I've narrowed it down to a few "rolling release" distributions. Here are the contenders:
  1. openSUSE Tumbleweed. Why: I'll be on familiar ground. At the same time, the openSUSE website has stated that an "offline upgrade" to Tumbleweed is possible, simply by inserting the Tumbleweed DVD into the DVD drive. The DVD will detect the settings and upgrade the system automatically. So, no need to format? That sounds workable.
  2. Manjaro Linux: Why: It's based on Arch Linux, which was built from the ground up as a "rolling release" distribution. But where Arch Linux presents new users with a black terminal, effectively saying, "Hey, you can do whatever you like with it", Manjaro comes reasonably themed and customized, so that you can hit the ground running. Think of it as the Mint Linux (which is a customized Ubuntu distribution) of Arch Linux distributions. Similar to Mint Linux, it has a large user base and community editions have popped up to support various desktop environments, including Gnome, Deepin, and Budgie.
  3. Antergos: Why: Another Arch Linux distribution. It came highly recommended as a "soft landing" for newbies to Arch Linux, as an alternative to Manjaro Linux. So either Manjaro or Antergos. However, Manjaro seems to have (for now) a larger community base.
  4. Elementary OS: Why: Because it looks nice. But actually, it's not a rolling release distribution. I've just included it because it looks nice. And because, if I were to go back to Ubuntu-based distributions, I'd like to try something other than Mint Linux, which makes getting into root so difficult. 
Now that I think of it, there's one more possible problem with rolling release distributions. So here is problem #3: I use Brother printers in my office, because they offer printer drivers in RPM and DEB formats. With Manjaro, Antergos, or any other Arch-based distribution, I'd have to convert the printer driver packages into AUR format. 

There's nothing like getting your hands dirty to learn the nuts and bolts of something. That's what I always tell people. You can buy a book on swimming, but you're going to have to jump into a pool to learn it. It seems to apply to making Brother printers work on Arch-based distributions, too.

A list of programs currently installed

Here are some programs currently installed on my openSUSE 12.3 installation. I won't need all of them, but it's nice to keep tabs. Just in case. You never know.
  1. XMind 2013, Portable (paid)
  2. VueScan (paid)
  3. LibreOffice
  4. Ardour (paid)
  5. Atlantis (Windows-based, running on Wine)
  6. Abiword (word processor)
  7. Gnumeric (spreadsheet)
  8. Calligra Suite (office)
  9. Google Web Designer
  10. R Studio
  11. Weka (machine learning)
  12. Gephi 
  13. R
  14. yEd
  15. GIMP
  16. Pinta
  17. Hugin Batch Processor
  18. Synfig Studio
  19. Pencil 2D
  20. Kolourpaint
  21. Darktable
  22. digiKam
  23. DNG Converter
  24. Expoblending
  25. Luminance HDR
  26. Panorama
  27. Photo Layouts Editor
  28. showFoto
  29. XSane
  30. Blender (3D)
  31. Filezilla
  32. VLC
  33. Audacity
  34. Cinelerra
  35. Kdenlive
  36. Kwave sound editor
  37. Openshot
  38. K3B (CD burning)
  39. Calibre
  40. FoxitReader
  41. Okular
  42. ProjectLibre
  43. LyX
  44. Scribus
  45. iBus (input)
  46. ReText (Markdown / reStructured Text editor)
  47. Leafpad
  48. Scrivener beta (Linux)
  49. Gliffy (Chrome app)
  50. Mendeley Desktop (research paper manager)
  51. PSPP (statistics analysis)
I hope that I can reinstall some of these after I reformat this laptop.

Wish me luck!


So, here I am, typing this from my old laptop. It runs Elementary OS now. Here's what happened:

  1. openSUSE Tumbleweed booted into the KDE Live environment without problem, and it was very nice. However, there was no "install" button. I tried rebooting from the Live DVD, and at the menu, I choose "Installation". Instead, it booted into the KDE Live Environment again. After several attempts, it seemed that it could not install on my laptop. My fault for downloading the KDE Live DVD, instead of the large installation DVD.
  2. Manjaro Linux couldn't even boot into the live environment. I tried changing the boot parameters, even including safe settings (for kernel), but nothing seemed to work. I gave up.
  3. Antergos Linux booted into a rather sparse desktop, with only the installer available. As noted, the installer is experimental and I opted not to take any chances. At the same time, the installer recommended that I connect to the Internet for a better installation. I clicked on my network's SSID, but it could not connect. The WiFi password could not be entered, and Antergos failed on that account.
  4. I finally popped Elementary OS into the DVD drive. I booted it up. It offered a live environment for testing or installation. I chose installation. 

What I learned: You can have root in Ubuntu easily. Type in "sudo passwd root" and enter a password for root. Next time you're at the Terminal, just invoke it with "su" and you can proceed from there.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Tao Zhu Gong's 12 principles of Business Success

Golden Rules of Business Success

The Twelve Golden Rules are as follows:

Ability to know people's character. You must perceive evidence of characteristics from experience.

Ability to handle people. Never prejudge a prospect.

Ability to stay focused on the business. Have a definite focus in life and business and avoid jumping around.

Ability to be organized. A disorganized presentation is unappealing.

Ability to be adaptable. Make sure you are organized enough to respond quickly.

Ability to control credit. Do not allow nonpayment. Make sure you collect what is owed.

Ability to use and deploy people. Use employees in ways which bring out their potential(s).

Ability to articulate and market. You must be able to educate customers on the value of goods.

Ability to excel in purchasing. Use your best judgement in acquiring stock.

Ability to analyze market opportunities and threats. Know what is selling according to areas and trends.

Ability to lead by example. Have definite rules and standards. Make sure they are followed to ensure good relations.

Ability to have business foresight. Know market trends and cycles.

The Twelve Golden Safeguards are:

Don't be stingy. Never confuse efficiency with inhumanity.

Don't be wishy-washy. Be confident in pursuing opportunities. Time is of the essence.

Don't be ostentatious. Do not overspend in order to make an impression.

Don't be dishonest. Truth is the only basis for business. Without it someone will get hurt.

Don't be slow in debt collection. Without collections, liquidity is affected.

Don't slash prices arbitrarily. This will only trigger a price war in which everyone will lose.

Don't give in to herd instinct. Make sure the opportunities are real and not part of a craze.

Don't work against the business cycle. When things fall in price, they will then rise and vice versa.

Don't be a stick-in-the-mud. Keep up with things and make progress. Examine new things objectively.

Don't overbuy on credit. Credit is not license to spend wildly.

Don't under-save (keep reserve funds strong). When business is slow, one with money can expand while others close.

Don't blindly endorse a product. Make sure your vendors are still following standard operating procedure.

Source: Wikipedia

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Recently Fascinated By....

Soundproofing of rooms and vehicles to deaden sound.

Why? Podcasting. Productivity. Creating a conducive environment. And maybe, keeping the outside world from hearing whatever is going on in the house / vehicle.

How? Foam, applied to the vehicle doors.

Games as advertising space.

Why? Because a game is something we will use again and again, over the years. Imagine if you have brands on boardgames and card backs. Imagine buildings and vehicles in video games having brands. This takes brand placement to a new audience, a playing audience.

How? Video games, board games, card games.

Research-related Topics

Currently I'm looking for a research topic. I've been proposed to do something on Guanxi / relationship marketing by one of my professors, and I'm thinking about it. But here are a few other interesting topics that I thought about recently.

  1. Serious games, simulations, and human resource training.
  2. Simulations (video games) and effect on technology acceptance.
  3. Entertainment and its role on new product development.
  4. New product development, and the relevance of Burt's structural hole theory in need/gap identification.
  5. Attribution theory, empathy, and need identification in business model formation.
  6. Intellectual property regime of target import country as moderating factor in internationalization / exports-based expansion.
  7. Technology adoption among elderly persons with special regards to e-commerce.

Monday, 5 October 2015

20 Years On - Don't Look Back in Anger

20 Years ago, I was just a teenager. And Oasis, a Brit-rock band, had just released their stellar album: What's the Story Morning Glory? So this is their song, that was the anthem of that year. I remember my schooling days. I was a nerd in school, glasses perched on my nose, with a bad case of acne. Never popular with the girls. One of my classmates, Syazwan, passed away a few years back. But that's another story...

Then I grew up, went to university, and formed a band called the "Blues Brewers". This song was a staple at our jam sessions. We had four of us: Myself, playing rhythm guitar; Ng Han Lern (Han), playing lead and vocals; Julian Foo (Abracadabra), playing bass guitar; and Damien Loong Tng Ian (Pearlboy), playing drums. Fun fact: We met on IRC. We played at SS2's Jam Studio and Jalan Gasing's Black Widow Studio. We participated in a few BotB competitions -- Battle of the Bands -- but nothing came of it. Maybe it was our blues slant. We played the blues.

Everything quietened down when Han Lern went off to Australia. I didn't even have broadband Internet in those days -- I was on dial-up. TM Net's 1515 was slow-loading and the WWW was known as the World Wide Wait. But the other two guys were based at APIIT (it had broadband) and they kept in touch with him. I met Han a few times after that, at his house in DJ. He got his architectural degree, told me that they loved his "goreng" style over there. And then he got married with a Thai lady architect, and then we lost touch.

Then just about 2 months ago Julian (or Jules, as we used to call him) messaged me out of the blue. Damien had passed away. I could not believe it. I thought that we would get together again someday to play songs. That we'd jam again. Maybe this song. "So, Sally can wait..." Then I saw Damien's Tribute page on Facebook, which his brother had set up. I looked at his FB profile. (I had kept in touch with Julian only.) Damien had become a health freak. Scuba diving. Marathon runner.

I remembered how we used to have tea in the open air square in SS2 after jam sessions. Han with his Dad's big 4WD. How Damien used to furiously break his drumming sticks and Julian tried basslines inspired by U2 and the Police. And Han used to shred the axe in the studio with his "solos" long after the rest of us had gotten ready to move on to the next part of the song. (It was almost like a soliloquy, that guitar and him.)

Here's another Oasis number for you, Damien.

And here's another Oasis number for my former bandmates, Han and Julian. I want to ask them: What's a wonderwall, guys? Twenty years on and nobody's any wiser. But the drone chords sound good, so keep those fingers on G and D and play away. Let the ominous basslines do their work.

And here's a bunch of Oasis songs for old times' sake.

Giveaway of the Day

Giveaway of the Day