Linux

Thanksgiving – Weathering the Storm

Yesterday, while sitting in Starbucks writing a few notes with my iPhone and waiting for my coffee, I could see storm clouds darkening the sky far off in the distance. It’s not an unusual sight and often is nothing to get too excited about. The news reports have all been about the high winds and wintry weather warnings due in our area. I’m referring to the news I actually pay any attention to. Politics are avoided. With Thanksgiving in a few days, it’s not a bad strategy to avoid unnecessary nonsense.

Now a day later I can hear the rain on the roof of the shop start tapping along with the blowing wind as the temperature drops down to a more seasonable cool temperature range of misery. I had spent some time earlier this morning playing around with the Chromebook’s Linux beta support and running Tshark and tcpdump in the Linux shell. I was able to install non-graphical dependent programs using apt. Apt seems to work better than expected, but I’m not convinced I’d actually use a Chromebook for any pcap file decoding. Lately I’ve been trying to be more practical in my minimalist approach to any computer usage I would use as a “grab and go” daily driver.

With the latest Windows 10 update, I must reluctantly admit that the latest Microsoft OS incarnation does fulfill the majority of my computing needs. I had expected that I would limit my choice to either Debian on a IdeaPad or a Chromebook. Neither has proven to be as flexible and as functional as the latest Windows update. This is somewhat annoying to me because I always feel the need to have Wireshark available on my laptops in case I need to assist someone who needs help troubleshooting communication issues which may actually be application related as opposed to true telecommunication issues. Since Wireshark has such wide protocol support it has become my favorite troubleshooting tool for many situations. OSX, Linux, and Windows support Wireshark well enough, however most of the users I deal with predominantly use Windows 10. Some have recently moved from Windows 7 to Windows 10, and sometimes have issues that I don’t see Linux users dealing with. Message analyzer is no longer supported, so Wireshark continues to be the easiest network monitoring tool for many.

I would still recommend Chromebooks for anyone who needs a low cost and efficient computer for basic web browsing, email, content writing, and basic photo editing. I know Thanksgiving can be an opportunity for friends and family of some fellow computer enthusiasts to ask for computer assistance and or recommendations. This year I would not be surprised to find Windows 7 to Windows 10 as one of the popular topics – other than politics or smartphone comparisons.

This year weather will probably be a safe topic to discuss, but don’t be surprised if the conversation turns to Black Friday shopping. What better topic to discuss the pros and cons of different operating systems, Phone, tablet, or PC based upgrades with associated “savings” deals could spur interesting conversations – provided the weather doesn’t dominate the conversations.

My advice this year is either go for a Chromebook if you have basic Internet related content needs, but if you happen to be one those workforce members who just got updated at work from Windows 7 to Windows 10, then having your own personal computer running Windows 10 Home might be useful for some self learning opportunities. This could be useful in becoming more comfortable in using an upgraded work computer. You can still load Linux as a virtual machine, or Windows Subsystem for Linux. I find myself using Powershell more than I had expected just because it’s available and has a lot of potential for simplifying some tasks you might otherwise normally use the dreaded point and click method

If you’re more involved heavy with media related content creation, than a Mac is probably worth the additional cost. If you already have a reliable computer, than you may find the latest Windows update as a fresh install is all you need. This could make your computer feel like a brand new model. The only issues that limit this is how long a certain model of hardware is supported by the OS upgrade, or manufactured driver support. Usually I can get more use out of a older computer by installing a lightweight Debian based Linux distribution. Unbelievable as it sounds, the latest Win 10 upgrade is running rather well on some of my older laptops – including Netbooks. It may be worth looking into before spending your hard earned money on a new laptop.

I think I might just hold onto what I already have. I’m getting everything done I need to, and I rely more on my phone than any laptop. Upgrading could be worth looking into since my iPhone 7 is starting to lose battery life.

I guess if the weather degrades anymore this Thanksgiving, I’ll at least have my phone with me. Maybe this Thanksgiving laptops aren’t even a topic that will come up. It’s all about phones this year. Even tablets seem to have faded into the background. The weather is always topical – especially if the rain blows hard enough, and the temperature becomes hard to ignore.

Nice and Quiet

Sometimes a quiet day or two is just fine. No bad storms, no asteroid collision, no interesting tech news, just dull mediocrity. Yes, there’s been some Linux Distro releases, and Apple product announcements, but nothing to lose any sleep over. There’s no real reason to upgrade to a new laptop, no real need to update my iPhone, there’s really nothing going on to get all worked up about, and that’s not so bad. I can hold onto my wallet for a while, because I can’t think of anything new recently announced that I really feel like I’m missing out on. That’s good for me, but probably no so great for the industry.

Too much excitement can sometimes cause real interesting news to get lost in a wave of noise. It’s all perception. If you’re actively looking and waiting for a particular hardware or software development, than maybe all other events are just distractions you can disregard. I’m not waiting for any particular sign that would cause me to change anything I’m using or working with. I’m always interested in any type of application or device improvement, but I also try to resist the impulse to chase after the latest fad or something I really don’t need. If you’re happy with what you have, than you’re probably in a good place.

Now is a good time to get things done without wasting too much energy chasing after the next great thing. I am looking forward to the next Ubuntu 19.10 release “Eoan Ermine” slated for October 17th 2019, and will start playing with the beta release – hopefully on September 26th.

The Latest MX 19 beta (2.1) is really solid, so I’m also looking forward to the Official release (traditionally released in December) It might be a toss up between the two distro releases for me. I expect both to be worth the wait. For now I will continue to use the latest beta, but as far as new hardware I’m actually keeping my eye on Chromebooks. I don’t see any reason to pick up a new iPad, PC Laptop, or Macbook, but the iPhone 11 Pro is interesting.

Interesting doesn’t necessarily translate into exciting. More and more it looks like laptops are easily replaced by smart phones, and even tablets seem to be less of a primary computer platform for many users and more of a compliment to a smartphone. I still use laptops, but I’m not so sure I will continue to use any for a daily driver. It’s the iPhone for me, and yes I do think about moving to the new Note 10.

I expect things to get more exciting in the next few weeks as everyone starts preparing for the Holidays. This temporary lull wont last long.

Sort

The command sort is used to sort files line by line.  Lines starting with a number go first. Lines that come next in order go alphabetical with uppercase letters appearing before lowercase ones.

Use cat to create “testsort” for the example.

~/Test>cat testsort
A line 1
a line 2
8 line 3
line 4
5 line 5
~/Test>sort testsort
5 line 5
8 line 3
A line 1
a line 2
line 4

R sorts by using a random hash of keys

~/Test>sort -R testsort
a line 2
5 line 5
A line 1
8 line 3
line 4
~/Test>sort -R testsort
5 line 5
A line 1
a line 2
line 4
8 line 3

Egrep & Fgrep

EGREP:

            The Command egrep is the same as running grep –E. egrep is used to search for a pattern using extended regular expressions.

Terry@f:~/FinderDing>cat testsort
A line 1	
a line 2	
8 line 3	
line 4
5 line 5	
Terry@f:~/FinderDing>egrep '^[a-zA-Z]' testsort	
A line 1
a line 2
line 4

*Show lines that start with a letter from alphabet

Terry@f:~/FinderDing>cat html
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>	
<body>
<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>
</body>
</html>
Terry@f:~/FinderDing>egrep "My|first" html
<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>

`*Find lines with pattern My first from html file

FGREP:

The command fgrep is the same as running grep –F. The Command searches for fixed character strings in a file, which means regular expressions can’t be used.

Terry@f:~/FinderDing>fgrep "My" html
<h1>My First Heading</h1>
<p>My first paragraph.</p>l

Forward Thinking?

I had a whole blog post written about using WMIC.exe for anyone still stuck with supporting a Windows 7 OS machine.
It’s a handy little command-line tool for gathering information-about your system, but then I started thinking “this is so backward thinking!” Who still uses Windows 7 in 2019?
We should be “forward thinking”
and realize that nobody’s still using Windows 7 anymore.
Extended support even vaporizes next January for any stragglers out there. Yeah this was probably going to be a bad idea. You could play around with WMIC.exe on Windows 10, but why? I still can’t believe Windows 10 is Microsoft flagship name even though it will be 2020 in less than seven months.
Of course I’m just kidding, I know a lot of corporate staff is still lugging old tired Windows 7 laptops around.  Maybe your IT department is secretly working on the migration to Windows 10. I’m sure it will be less dramatic than the move from XP to 7. sure sure sure
Imagine if you could do all your work with only a Chromebook and web applications. Now that would be forward thinking. It sounds like a pretty simple solution for a lot of the modern work force. It also might be very cost effective in more ways than just hardware purchases. Support would be streamlined, security simplified, and other time and resource overhead scaled back. Wouldn’t this be handy in a time when many companies are looking at their bottom line and contemplating cutting operating costs?
I’m sure this wouldn’t work for everyone, but does everyone need all the licenses and expensive applications we’ve all been told repeatedly over the years that we must have? (No, not a chance.)
There’ll always be those who are stuck working with old tired software and hardware from a bygone era. Some may need a self contained system that won’t always have a network connection, some will always think they need an over abundance of software and hardware resources – even when they probably don’t. Some just want everything and use nothing. Some want nothing and need everything.
It’s hard to let go of your comfort zone, and yes, change can be daunting.
The fleet footed are already operating and producing content with smartphones and tablets. Sure a lot of those happen to be Apple products. Remember when everyone had to have a Blackberry to be constantly accessible and working all the time? How about a typewriter or fax machine. Don’t tell me your company still uses a fax! Emails are even getting long in the tooth. Does anyone even know where to find an actual pencil?
The future is here for some, but not for those who ignore the lessons of the past. Somehow there a few who muddle through for a while continuing to make the same bad decisions over and over.
Is this fear of change or just laziness.
You go into a meeting and are told “We are the future!” And then you look around the room and see everyone using Windows 7. (or the dreaded PowerPoint presentation with default templates) Surely this cant possibly be the future! Get out of there fast if you can before they start handing out printouts of the same exact PPP shown on the projector overview.
I know that often you can’t pick the tools you are given to work with. I’m not even advocating for Linux as I usually prefer, but I do know that everyone has been given ample notice to upgrade before support ends – therefore I would hope you wouldn’t have to wait until the last minute before trying to retrain users, retool hardware, or upgrade a plethora of software applications that may or may not work in their current integration with Windows 10. Keep in mind the transition from 32 to 64 bit architecture also can cause a negative impact on your workflow. Not all programs that may have worked on a 32bit Windows 7 system will run smooth on a newer laptop running a upgraded OS. I hope you have tested all your required applications on your new system builds before the actual roll out. If you haven’t done this yet, then look out!
How many users are running “Virtual XP” in their Windows 7 laptops. You probably should be aware of this. Yes believe it or not, there are still some 16 bit applications floating around. Hopefully you can weed those out and upgrade to newer software. Maybe you’ll discover it’s not only no longer a supported program, but it may no longer be required for any critical or less than critical dependencies. (Possibly no one really needs that software any longer)

If you do move to Linux – which I would prefer, make sure you can still do whatever it is you need to do with Linux applications or by using “Wine” to support some Windows applications.
As with typing “HELP” at the Command prompt in Windows to list available commands you can also run, at the Linux bash shell a command called “compgen”.
Type compgen -c to list all the commands you can run. You can see how much potential a basic LINUX system has. Maybe you should get familiar with some, if not most of the available commands.
Linux has some great applications available in most repositories that do much of – if not more of what you need to be productive in many business environments. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should migrate from Windows 7 to a Debian based Linux distribution, but there are possibilities here.
What I’m looking “Forward “ towards is having a basic business work solution that leverages Chromebooks or IPads and web based applications as a very simplified alternative to the old guard standard of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach. This is really just a procrastination technique that can cause bigger headaches down the road. 
The big question mark will be about security updates and any patches you may need for your system beyond the January 14th 2020 deadline. I’m no Windows 10 super fan, but it is better than Windows 7, and it will be supported beyond the Win 7 support expiration date. Windows 10 will support web based applications via a browser of your choice – so there is some flexibility on how you approach productivity and collaboration among multiple users. I still think it’s way more than most need. I’ll be interested to see how many people start simplifying their approach to productivity via a very streamlined laptop, tablet, and or smartphone setup as they not only “forward think”, but actually “Forward Do”

If you are “the company” or run a small nimble operation you’re probably already way ahead of all this. For sure !

%d bloggers like this: