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I was having an issue with KDE 4.2 & firefox. If I put
firefox
in System Settings / Default Applications / Web Browser, I would get the page downloaded to /var/temp/kdecache-username/krun and then the file opened in firefox.

I tried several options. One suggestion which lined up with how x-chat opened URLs was to use
firefox -remote "openURL(%u, new-tab)"
or
firefox -remote "openURL(%u, new-tab)" || firefox -new-tab "%u".
The first option didn’t work at all and the second option opened two new tabs in firefox with the link. This was progress, but it still wasn’t what I wanted.

I finally stumbled on what appears to be the solution. I tried
/usr/bin/firefox,
and it worked as desired.

Preston Gralla tried using Linux for two weeks. As an old-time Windows user (he says from 2.0), he had some challenges. I give him an A+ for giving Linux a chance and a C for utilization of resources to overcome his challenges.

Preston gets the A+ for trying and reporting that all the hardware on his T41 worked without additional drivers and all the other positive messages he gave on his experience. I truly appreciate reading what a newcomer to Linux thinks.

Preston gets the C for utilization because he couldn’t figure out the differences between Windows and Linux. It appears that he didn’t use Google for anything. For example, he didn’t look to see what sort of package Ubuntu uses (it’s .deb after Debian). He couldn’t figure out that he could use Gimp to capture a single window. He didn’t find the link that gives instructions on how to install OpenOffice 3 in Ubuntu 8.10. (I’m using OpenOffice 3 on Ubuntu 8.10 and used instructions found through a Google search. He asked co-workers about getting Samba to work with Vista and XP at the same time, but it doesn’t appear that he widened his support network by using Google or Ubuntu Forums. (I too have had challenges with Samba, especially in Ubuntu. When I used Fedora Core, I had fewer Samba issues, but that was also a few point releases ago.)

I’ve been a Linux user for eight years now and had some Unix experience in the ’90s. Coming back to the command line where ls means list the contents of the directory, mv means copy (move), etc. wasn’t difficult. I’m somewhat comfortable at the command line and always keep a terminal open. The nice thing about most Linux programs is that if they don’t appear to run from the GUI, you can issue the command in the terminal and see the messages it generates. Sometimes, I get a clue to what’s happening and can correct the problem. I haven’t been able to do that in Windows (which I use at work and support at home).

I recently had to deal with virus infections (Virtumonde) on two Windows XP machines at home. What a pain in the backside! Countless reboots later and using several malware removal programs plus the guidance of Major Geeks it appears that I’ve gotten the machines cleaned up. I think the difficulty removing malware from Windows is related to having a SYSTEM user which has higher privileges than ADMINISTRATOR. A bit more on this issue can be found at Tom Yager’s article, “Is Windows inherently more vulnerable to malware attacks than OS X?“. There are those who think this issue is still coming to Linux, but the diversity of distributions and the power of root to remove everything will go a long way to combat it.

Barack Obama — Common Defense

During President Obama’s inaugural address, President Obama stated

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers … our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all the other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

This, in my opinion, squares nicely with the Ben Franklin quote at the top of the page, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security.” I have a fervent hope that we indeed return to the rule of law. We’ve had too much in the way of arguably illegal detentions (e.g., Guantanamo) and allegedly illegal wiretaps. Both of these actions undermine the freedoms all American armed forces fight/fought for.

Here’s wishing President Obama and our nation the best as we collectively continuing moving forward.

Epson Perfection V300 in Linux

I bought an Epson Perfection V300 a few weeks ago because it appeared to be usable in Linux with VueScan. When I tried to get it to run I had no luck. The driver for the scanner was supposed to be at AVASYS.

Finally, on the 19th of December, AVASYS indicated that a driver existed for the V300. I downloaded the .deb files for 64-bit Ubuntu, but the iscan .deb file wouldn’t install because libltdl3 was required by the driver and libltdl7 was what was provided by Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex). I downloaded the necessary libltdl7-dev and other dependencies and compiled iscan. I installed it with checkinstall so I could use the package manager to uninstall it or upgrade it. However, it still didn’t work. I even tried it in 32-bit mode on another machine without luck.

I found a link from the AVASYS message board to this Ubuntu Forums thread. I removed the iscan and firmware files, installed the libltdl3 package from Ubuntu Hardy (8.04), and installed the iscan and driver from the .deb files. Voila! a working scanner! :-D .

I’ve been busy scanning in slides and some negatives at 4800 dpi. Talk about a happy camper.

As I’ve said before, I am an alumnus of the University of Oklahoma. Despite that, I intend for this post to be non-partisan.

There has been much ado about the Big XII tiebreaker which put OU into the Big XII title game and now into the BCS championship game. Let’s look at the tiebreakers in order

  1. The records of the three teams will be compared against each other — round robin losses among the three teams means this tiebreaker is inconclusive.
  2. The records of the three teams will be compared within their division — with the round robin nature of the losses, the division records of all three teams is identical making this inconclusive.
  3. The records of the three teams will be compared against the next highest placed teams in their division in order of fi nish (4, 5 and 6) — all three teams beat the remaining three teams in the division making this inconclusive.
  4. The records of the three teams will be compared against all common conference opponents — round robin losses were the only losses; therefore all three teams defeated all common opponents making this inconclusive.
  5. The highest ranked team in the first Bowl Championship Series Poll following the completion of Big 12 regular season conference play shall be the representative — this is the tie-breaker which sent OU to the Big XII title game.
  6. The team with the best overall winning percentage [excluding exempted games] shall be the representative — this would have been inconclusive had it been in effect.
  7. The representative will be chosen by draw — obviously this can’t be examined without the draw taking place

Mack Brown has suggested that a replacement tiebreaker should be to compare the highest two ranked teams head-to-head match up, which would have given UT the nod. If I were a Texas Tech supporter, I would have taken umbrage at my team’s victory being ignored.

Other tiebreakers which could be considered are:

  1. Round Robin (three teams only)
    • Points Allowed
    • Points Scored
    • Point Differential
  2. Division
    • Points Allowed
    • Points Scored
    • Point Differential
  3. Common Opponents (Division plus KU)
    • Points Allowed
    • Points Scored
    • Point Differential

I’ve prepared a spreadsheet (OpenDocument format) which shows the summary of the the above tiebreakers. UT wins the points allowed tiebreaker for the division and common opponents. OU wins the points allowed tiebreaker for the round robin and all the other tiebreakers.

Of course, there would be no discussion of tiebreakers if OU had beaten UT, UT had beaten TT, or TT had beaten OU. Failing to win out head-to-head caused the need to look at tiebreakers. All three teams knew the rules prior to the season (they were released 31st July 2008). I wouldn’t be surprised if the Big XII didn’t revise the tiebreakers for 2009.

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