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Dark Roasted Conspiracy


As the daylight hours grow shorter and darkness becomes the prevailing theme, the temperatures drop and the winds blow cold. It feels like the night never ends. The leaves are falling and swirling down the road. Without the sun’s energy and warmth, a good fire and a hot cup of dark roast coffee help take away the ever-present Autumn chill. Coffee is an ever-persistent habit for me. I like good coffee, and it keeps me going like high octane fuel.

No cream, no sugar, not for me.
I like coffee, just black coffee.

The darker the roast, the better I like it. It’s a basic thing. You can make it more complicated than it has to be, or you can learn to appreciate it’s simplicity. I don’t care what other people put in their coffee, everyone is different. I only worry about my own. Just don’t mess with mine. Sometimes all I need to keep me going is a hot cup of coffee. I have a thermos, it is a luxury I appreciate. I buy coffee I like and rarely buy coffee on the road, although I will order a cup if I stop somewhere for a bite to eat. I usually don’t stop anywhere long enough to eat. If I’m working I usually just go, do the job, and head home. I’ll eat when the work is done.
If I’m working at home, I have my coffee close at hand.

I use the same approach in what tools I use to get a job done, and this includes my choice of operating systems, and applications I use. Unlike choosing your preferred coffee blend, choosing a simple, useful, but stable operating system is not quite so easy.

My perfect setup

 A hot cup of coffee, and a laptop running one operating system with only the applications loaded  needed to get some quality work done.

How hard could that be?

Well, lately it hasn’t been as straightforward as I would like. Right off the bat, Windows 7 or 10 – both favored by large organizations, but remind me of instant coffee with too much nondairy cream and way too much artificial sweetener.
Next, up we have my rarely used MacBook Pro – great for creative inspiration, but not something I want to beat the hell out of on the road. So yes, again I lean on my Linux workhorse laptop as my go-to machine. When I’m working on a project I try to reduce any distractions. I’ll have the radio or a podcast on low in the background. I try to avoid the mainstream news/noise, it’s all goofy. I’ll stick to Linux focused news, usually not too wacky or controversial……Suddenly that illusion is dismissed.

What the heck is going on with all the “Code of Conduct” for developers?

  • Is this going to impact the future of Kernel development?
  • Is Linux’s future now sketchier than ever?
  • With Linus on “Holiday” could we see Microsoft becoming more of an “influence” in the fate of Linux?

Probably not, but there’s a change in the air. I’m not sure what it is, but it has the hint of stale coffee that means we should probably brew a fresh pot.
Now let’s turn off the background noise and get back to some less controversial productive topic.

Where was I? Oh yes, good coffee and the best work laptop setup.
I still have my Chromebook that seems to be working fine…..and fast. It’s great for much of my “non-work” work, but not so great for “work” type work. That probably doesn’t make sense to anyone other than me, but unfortunately, not everyone uses a Chromebook yet, although there’s always hope.
I wouldn’t want to limit anyone’s choices. Let each choose what works best for them. I see a lot of people still struggling with Microsoft’s Windows to do basic things a Chromebook would do with less complexity, and a would usually cost less than the new laptops they are getting frustrated with.
That’s a whole other thing.

Suddenly I just had a thought: should I give up on
Linux? Wait a minute, I thought I would forget about that as soon as I turned the radio/podcast off in the background.
Why is this bugging me now? 

Linux isn’t supposed to be political or controversial

….at least I never think of it that way. It’s just a tool to use for a multitude of tasks. For the moment I really should care less about the “CoC” controversy and more about getting some work done. The last big fuss was about Ubuntu turning into another Microsoft. How soon we forget.

Actually, I have recently started using Debian based Distros again in a feeble attempt to get away from the Ubuntu and Arch-based systems. This was more of a precautionary objective to see if I could still be productive without an Ubuntu or Arch based Distro on an underpowered laptop.
I was using Q4os on an old netbook. Had a great start, but the Trinity desktop soon was replaced by KDE. I do like the KDE approach to desktop design.

I have had a great experience with KDE Neon in the past and may return to it if I can not find a suitable replacement, however, the Q4os KDE desktop was working very nicely for me until it froze while I was trying to change the taskbar settings. Most likely attributed to my older hardware.
That was enough for me to decide to go back to the most reliable Distro I have always been able to depend on (not perfect, but it usually gets the job done)…..Mint. (Boring but stable)

Oh, what a surprise

So I guess I can’t really get away from Ubuntu completely. Apparently, the combination of Debian and Ubuntu heritage works best for my current hardware.

At least I haven’t had to regress/default back to running Windows 10. I still have choices available for what Operating system I use.

Time for another cup of coffee.

If the future of Linux development is in question? Will developers abandon ship? Who knows? (At least it hasn’t yet directly affected my pursuit of the perfect work laptop setup.)

If you prefer to use a Mac, that’s great, if you like to use Windows, that’s great too. If you use Linux, perfect! I work with them all, and there are various things about each system I like, and some I’m not too pleased with. If you drink coffee …..cheers! I don’t drink coffee to make a political statement, nor does my choice of an Operating system have any significance on my political views. Why should it? I’m even aware that not everyone drinks coffee. I hear some people even drink water straight out of the tap. Now that’s a little extreme for sure.

Weather Data

Weather Data

Weather alerts, weather Alerts, notifications everywhere.

The iPhone notifications from multiple weather apps are handy, and when you hear the notification alerts from other people’s phones going off around you, you’re going to look at your screen. Something is going on, or soon will be.


In the old days, we listened to our radios for weather forecasts, often the local television station weather broadcast. Later on, the soothing sounds of the Weather Channel’s greatest hits played while our local forecast rolled across the screen in between weather people pointing to a green screen and looking off camera to create a less confusing presentation illusion. It all worked very nicely. Now we can view the weather in our computer browsers or on a phone app.
You can easily view the weather info for almost any place in the world. You can read predictions based on this info, and for short time sensitive duration while events closer to the present are fairly accurate.

With so many sources available most people will have a good set of options to choose their weather data.
There will always be a few users who would rather tap into alternative weather info feeds where you have more control of the data presentation. With Linux, I have found a few tools I really like to explore that are a little different from your standard smartphone weather app or browser-based options (often loaded with advertising).

Zygrib

ZyGrib a GRIB (Gridded General Regularly-distributed Information in Binary) file viewer is an interesting meteorological file viewer option.
Grib files are used for numerical weather prediction models such as those used by the US National Weather Service (part of NOAA)
I installed the LINUX (version 8.0.1) of ZyGrib from the Mint 19 software repositories, and then installed the Windows version – both are very similar. I haven’t tried the Mac version yet, but now I see that Opengribs.org will be continuing the development of ZyGrig – now XyGrib for all platforms.

I can see where interpreting your own weather data can be both challenging, yet very educational just by reading through all the output presented in the data file reader.

Grib

There is a nice selection of Grib orientated tools available, but some are subscription based, commercial, or older applications which may or may not have much support if any. It’s all worth a look if you’re more than casually interested in weather data.

There are also a few iPhone applications that allow you to view Grib data.

I purchased PocketGrib for the iPhone mostly out of curiosity after spending some time playing around with zyGrib on my LINUX machine. It’s pretty cool, it will certainly make following the weather as we head into the peak of Hurricane season more interesting from a data analysis angle. I still don’t think I’ll give up my weather radio just yet – I don’t need an Internet connection for that.

NOAA

Nationwide Station Listing Using Broadcast Frequencies

HTTP://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/coverage/station_listing.html