Linux

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 !

Focus, Focus, Focus

We begin a new year, with a new focus, or shall we say a re-focus on working smarter, more efficiently, more productive, more economically, and hopefully with less stress. If you’re still using Windows 7, then make note that the support clock may be winding down. If you’re using Windows 10, then you may be looking forward to the possible Spring update, or not.
I’ll most likely continue working with Windows when absolutely necessary, but Linux based objectives should remain my main focus.
As noted in early posts, I remain a big fan of Lenovo laptops (mostly older models) – which really shine once you dump the Installed OS and install an up to date version of Linux.
It’s possible that some people are not overly excited about using older, less powerful hardware, but once you find the Linux Distro that suits your requirements you may be pleasantly surprised how well things function.
I’ve gone to using Debian based MX on my older laptops, and started using the Ubuntu flagship on my latest and “slightly” more powerful ThinkPad.
For content creation I’ve retired my old MacBook (the new ones are a bit expensive) and reluctantly decided to walk away from Logic Pro and see if I can squeeze any more out of LMM and Audacity. I haven’t decided if I should just install Ubuntu Studio or stick with the main Ubuntu LTS

On another interesting note, it looks like my favorite packet decode tool for troubleshooting networking issues is getting a refresh – Wireshark 3.0 will be available in the next few weeks. I’ve looked at the Windows development release 2.9 in the last few days, and look forward to the Debian and Ubuntu supported releases. If I was a true minimalist I would see if I can get more out of tcpdump and not rely on Wireshark as much. That will take some discipline. I have worked with Tshark at times when I probably could have used tcpdump. It might be worthwhile to go old school more often.
I believe the latest version is
4.9.2 released in 2017. I’ll have to explore this a little more.

It looks like 2019 could be a great year for Linux, at least from my perspective, and support of Linux apps also promises to be a interesting Chrome OS development heading our way. It’s already available for some Chromebooks, sadly not mine – yet.

I’m not quite as excited about the latest predicted Windows 10 browser changes, or underlying Linux support. I’m sure some users will be, but part of my New Year’s resolution is to simplify my work flow. I don’t need to get too distracted with MS developments at this time unless something truly amazing appears in the horizon.

I would like to eventually pair down to using only one OS, one laptop, and improve my personal and productive time management in the process.
Even with all the security concerns in the news recently (last year was not so good) I still think Windows does a good job of addressing security. That isn’t enough of a reason to restrict my options to Windows only. Linux may have had the edge years ago, but whatever OS you use requires some effort on the user’s part. Sometimes this boils down to what system you are more familiar with, and how much control of the system you have.

There are a few things I would like to see from any new Windows release, such as the option of a true minimalist installation without all the programs I would never use anyways. I’m also not a fan of the “store”, but a repository similar to Linux installs would be a considerable improvement. I’d also be very interested in a simpler, more streamlined HotFix/patching update process. This would also apply to the big system-updates that seemed to get pushed as opposed to downloaded when I want them downloaded – unlike most Linux Distro upgrades.
On a more positive note;
I do appreciate the development of Powershell. Microsoft’s new shell continues to get better with age. I’d also like to see some developments with the mysterious Microsoft Message Analyzer application. I thought that it had a lot of potential and was very useful, but I haven’t seen much noted on it’s future development lately. I thought it was a nice complement (not competitor) to Wireshark. (anyone need a second opinion?)
In all it looks like some operating systems and applications may be improving in the next year. It looks like Windows and Linux users should have a lot of enhancements coming.

On a side note, I’m sure many will continue to use their smartphones more than any other tech device in the coming year.
Smartphones still appear to be the most portable, and the easiest devices to use.
I think we might continue to see laptop use decline this year. I would also not be surprised if someone actually builds a tablet that really gives the iPad Pro some real competition. This could cut even more into laptop use if the price is attractive enough to compete with entry level laptops.
If Apple ever releases a full fledged version of Logic Pro on the iPad Pro (no Mac required) – I’d probably venture down that road and possibly – if not temporarily forget all about my laptop OS. That would really make 2019 a fun year for tech – at least for me. Talk about simplifying your work flow.
I guess there’s always GarageBand. Hmmm? Interesting concept, but it might wind up being another distraction. (If it we’re to become available)
Focus, focus, focus, that’s what I need to do.
Alright, so now where was I?
Oh, yes, I’m going continue to concentrate my energy on working with Linux for the majority of my efforts and opportunities for efficiency as well as productivity.
As you can see, with so many options, it’s probably is best to limit my time to a few stable Linux Distros and concentrate on improving my skill set. Any other diversions could ultimately cut into my forward progress. There is always more to learn. There never seems to be enough time to focus on one operating system let alone trying to learn everything about every system. Just like last year we’ll just have to go one step at a time.

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