Categories
Computers and IT

Top Reason Web Browsers Might Hide the Address Bar

Major web browsers lead by Google Chrome are charting a course to hide the address bar. What seems like a cosmetic change for appearances only disguises a more significant shift in the way people browse the web.

Google has a service called AMP. What amp does arrange a copy of an entire website. An entire website. The copy of the website is hosted on Google.

The person that originally made the website did not put the website on Google. The original website still exists, but Google has a copy.

What Google does with this copy is that if you are on a mobile phone, it lets Google show a “mobile friendly” version of the website. In a sense, Google is doing you a favor by automatically making your website more appealing to people using Android devices. Google created Android.

Sometimes, though, you need to see that address bar. It could be for security reasons or may involve checking that the page is indeed the right one.

Hiding the address bar means this ….

Google have it where websites you visit actually goes through Google’s servers.

Google can then track in detail how you interact with web pages.

Not just the web sites you are interested in when you search, but individual bits of each web page on a website. This includes mouse clicks, finger taps, page scrolls, and even how long you spend on each page. This allows Google to build a database of how each person interacts with content on a web page and sell it …

The removal of the address bar makes it easier for Google to become the web itself and build more detailed profiles on each user.

That is the way it seems.

Categories
Computers and IT

Configure Linux 1TB SSD for Multiple Virtual Machines

The default KVM Qemu combination place virtual machines under the root directory with root permissions. However, there is a better way that involves configuring physical storage for improved VM access and available space.

Keep in mind the root directory on Linux systems begin at /.

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Computers and IT

GTK 4 Apps Developed from GTK 3 App Source

After I installed Fedora 32 this week, I noticed something nice in the repository. I was surprised to see the development package for GTK 4. I decided to install it.

No issues running GTK 3 (or GTK 2) programs with GTK 4 installed. I am using the Cinnamon desktop and GTK 3 is installed by default. Adding GTK 4 is perfectly fine on Linux systems that already have GTK 3 as the primary GUI app execution environment.

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Computers and IT

Cinnamon is the Linux Desktop (Best Way to Install It)

Tom’s Hardware tested different Linux desktops and found Cinnamon to be the most balanced. I always associated Tom’s Hardware with WinTel but it seems times are a changing.

May 5, 2020: Linux Desktop Environment Face-Off: Which GUI is Best?

I have used Cinnamon for the past year and a half. The following are updates on my thoughts concerning this desktop environment.

I tried KDE, I used Unity, I tolerated GNOME but Cinnamon is the real deal. Cinnamon is a desktop that I found to be closer to the ideal in usability, efficiency, productivity, and familiarity.

Categories
Computers and IT

Which Linux Distro is Best?

Morgane Alinaï recently asked me a question on Quora. She asked, Is CentOS the most suitable suitable distribution for a web developer? I wrote a reply but took it down once I realized I probably wasted my time answering the question.

It was not that the question was unimportant. It was. It is just that Quora is setup in a way where you are far more aware of when you have productively invested your time versus uselessly spoken into a sea of noise.

Categories
Computers and IT

April 2020 ISO Hunt and Bandwidth Loss

I received a message on my router from my ISP that my high-speed data was increased 15GB. Society was still responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic and several ISPs decided that bandwidth caps no longer applied. I still had a bandwidth cap but it was reduced.

So I thought.

Categories
Computers and IT

GNOME is the Failed Windows All-in-One Concept

A great general sometimes fights the last war. I like that phrase because it captures the wisdom that we can become deeply entranced to an idea that captivates us beyond the point of its usefulness.

GNOME tries to be Windows 8 but while the code is solid, the aesthetics is a trouble spot for Linux adoption. Time to explore the concept of GNOME in mid 2020.

Although Microsoft failed with Windows 8, I thought Windows 8 was a bold push for the future. I could see their vision as a bold expression of the future. Even if GNOME could more fully capture that concept, it now no longer works as a viable approach for desktop and laptop computers.

Categories
Computers and IT

Microsoft Ascendancy vs Linux on the Desktop

People who know me best know I have lived in 3 worlds.

In my professional career as a software developer in IT, I created custom computer systems for businesses using Microsoft .NET and C#. I did that for 20 years.

That was world #1 – the business IT world dominated by Microsoft.

The other world was professional technical consultancy where I facilitated the adoption of both Microsoft Windows and Apple devices. In that world, I helped thousands adopt Apple hardware and systems but I helped far more than that with Microsoft Windows. I spent nearly 11,000 professional hours in that capacity.

That was world #2 – computer hardware and services consultancy dominated by Microsoft.

Categories
Computers and IT

Microsoft’s Ascendancy and Open Source (What it Means)

People have asked me on the website Quora if Microsoft is genuine in their embrace of open source. Before I answer that however, I have to point out that there are many people in information technology who work with Linux and open source software who doubt Microsoft’s intentions.

Brad Smith has been an executive at Microsoft for decades. He is currently the President of Microsoft. He recently said that he personally and Microsoft as a company were wrong about open source. He says that Microsoft now sees itself a responsible steward for open source as the owners of GitHub.

Categories
Computers and IT

Apple vs. Windows – 1,000+ Discussion Summary

Over the last few years, I have spoken with a few thousand people, face-to-face, about Windows vs Apple. I had a professional role where I met with between 20 – 100 people a day for a few years on computer hardware and software questions. Many of them asked me about Apple vs. Windows.

Categories
Computers and IT

Future Plans for Gautier RSS Reader (2020) and History

I spent many years on the program I call Gautier RSS Reader. It is not my 1st computer program. The first computer program I ever wrote occurred in the early 1990s. Since that time, I have written an estimated 300 – 400 computer programs. Most of them have been for corporations, very few for myself except for skills development.

Categories
Computers and IT

Gautier RSS Reader is Finished

No screen shots since there are plenty on this blog. The video I did a few weeks back shows the same program. The only thing that is truly new is that after several years + some years building up to it before that, I finally finished the program I designed some years ago.

Commit # 996b75342e9345de0ec1c7de9f96420839227332 on github reflects the best version to date. That link shows the commit overview. The primary effort is reflected in a couple of files.

app_win.cpp shows a few things:

  • Multi-threaded GUI programming in GTK in C++
  • Concurrent data download
  • Round robin tab data population
  • A more involved use of GTK that is still approachable
  • Interplay between GUI and non-GUI threads

rss_manage.cpp also has a few things:

  • Modifying a data model in memory prior to a database post
  • Callback to parent UI who invoked a asynchronous dialog
  • Use of a double snapshot for undo, recovery, and data integrity

It is great to finally have this finished. I will still polish it here an there over time. The major lesson is that it is easy to make a simple program, the difficulty is when you strive to make it industrial grade and highly usable.

The only feature I decided not to implement is auto delete. I am pondering if I am committed to that feature, but since it is nothing major, I decided to leave it as a possibility for the future.

The release version 7.3 has files attached that work for the Fedora and Ubuntu Linux operating systems. They exist as is for those who are curious.

Categories
Computers and IT

C++ IsNumeric Function (C++ 17)

 

April 2015, I published an article titled, C++ IsNumeric Function. The article has received 1,413 views since it was first published. A growing group of people are interested in fundamental capabilities in C++ connected with processing strings.

C++ IsNumeric Function - Stats as of 2020/02/28
Views of the original C++ Is Numeric function article as of Feb. 28, 2020.

What people really crave when using C++ are straightforward utility APIs without byzantine, code ninja style STL incantations.

I think that is entirely possible. Some of us are adding them to C++ as necessity requires. Although it would be great to have such 1-liners as part of the C++ STL, the good news is enough high level atoms exist in C++ STL to form even higher level atoms.

Categories
Computers and IT

Linux Tested on AMD Threadripper

I spent some time looking at the benchmark results on Phoronix where they tested AMD’s top desktop processor. The Threadripper exists in a gray area between top video gaming CPU and server data center CPU. The official data center CPU from AMD is the EPYC but the Threadripper is very compelling when you don’t need a data center class CPU. Threadripper is part of the Ryzen series. The following are my thoughts on the performance results performed by Michael Larabel. I came to a few conclusions.

Michael Larabel tested 3 major operating systems on an AMD Threadripper with 64 cores, 128 threads. This is the top AMD processor in 2020 and Michael ran a battery of tests to identify how much performance different Linux/UNIX operating systems can deliver on this top processor.

Categories
Computers and IT

Web Development Style Paging in C++

The performance goal that I mentioned in the previous post has been achieved. The program now scales and can handle a larger amount of data without delaying the appearance of the screens, tabs, and output of information.

I had a problem with my project in which the accumulation of more data just slowed down the launch of the program. This is a desktop program by the way. Normally one would not associate web development with desktop development. Some patterns related to stateless execution of functionality work well whether setting up an MVC controller or a native code module.

Categories
Computers and IT

Gautier RSS Release 7.1.0 on GitHub

A new release of Gautier RSS Reader is available on GitHub. The files shown are packages that can be used to install Gautier RSS Reader on either Fedora or Ubuntu. The packages are available through the release page.

I learned that GitHub has a mechanism to place release specific files under a given release tag. I lingered for about a week on whether to upload the install packages. After a little more research about the release mechanism, I was confident that the package for version 7.1 of Gautier RSS reader deserves to be on the site.

The true reason I uploaded the files is I want to preserve these install packages in particular. I worked really hard on them and they symbolize the progress so far. They represent a significant milestone in the project. I decided that linking the actual package files from 10 days ago to their release in the repository provides a means to run that release if necessary in the future.

Categories
Computers and IT

John Byrd on Learning Assembly Language

John Byrd is the CEO of Gigantic Software and he made a great comment on why someone should learn to program in Assembly. The comment he made was useful in seeing through the layers in software. The knowledge of assembly can help unveil issues and opportunities to improve how software works. Knowledge that only comes from a deeper understanding of the system. I liked his examples about Electron, Javascript, and Chrome.

Categories
Computers and IT

C++ Code by Humans – Compilers vs. Hand-Coding

I spent a lot of time of Quora since 2015. Think about it. Five years on Quora, a social network on the same level as Facebook but for questions. I read what other people write on Quora. True, I did spend many hours writing answers to questions on Quora but I read posts by others far more than I write.

If you spend enough time reading something like Quora it can alter your opinions, knowledge, insights, and perceptions about topics. One of the most common discussions on Quora over the years has been the topic of “Can a programmer write code better than a compiler”. Now, the question isn’t stated like that and Quora does not work on the basis of a single question.

The way Quora works is that often people new to Quora will ask the same question that has been asked a thousand times before. I used to think that was nuts and some writers on Quora become exhausted receiving the same question over and over again. However, I saw an opportunity in repeat questions. They allow the same question to be addressed again in different months and years to see if the sentiment is the same.

Categories
Computers and IT

GitHub Projects Page and Packages

The last 3 weeks was eye-opening when it came to open source projects. I wrote this program that runs on Linux and it reached a point where I thought it might be a good idea to package it. The concept of a package is a file that can install a program on a computer. Package files for Linux-based operating systems have certain requirements and I diligently worked through them to have the program in a state where it could be installed.

Categories
Computers and IT

Gautier RSS – Linux Deployment Packages (RPM and DEB)

I created a program to track news feeds. Over several years I have used this program privately. Many years before that, I used third-party RSS programs. I found them thoroughly satisfactory. I would never have made my own RSS program was it not for 2 things.

First, I switched from Microsoft Windows to Ubuntu in 2009. That switch meant that Windows software I had used went out the window (no pun intended). I did not realize that at the time. Linux seemed like such a good idea that the switch to Linux was more important than preserving tools I had become accustomed to in the Windows world. One of the tools I thought I lost was a high quality RSS reader.

All I had from that prior time was a .opml file. No program to use it on. This article is about packaging a Linux program for Fedora, Debian, and Ubuntu. A little background information will prove useful.

Categories
Computers and IT

Gautier Technology 2011 – 2019, the Most Popular Articles

Recent events made me wonder about the stats counter on my WordPress dashboard. Anyone who has a WordPress blog on WordPress.com will see a quick 7-day summary that clears out every Sunday. This information appears on when I log in. I see some articles as having been viewed x number of times. Often it is the same article in the case of this blog.

This is my dashboard on 1/3/2019.

What I am about to show is what everyone who has a WordPress blog can access to but what some of us don’t often look at that often. It is not that the information is not interesting but sometimes you are more busy writing content and posting new pages to the blog that seeing the stats on posts is not part of the plan. You don’t stop to see the forest for the trees.

Well … as of 1/3/2019, lets take a look as the most interesting articles on this blog. I will also show the top countries around the world that visit.

Categories
Computers and IT

WordPress Automatic Suspension

I recently got an automatic suspension from WordPress. The notice looked like the following:

Categories
Computers and IT

RSS Reader in C++ – January 2020 (the Beginning)

A new year and month has arrived. A project I’ve been working on has gained momentum in terms of where I am taking it. The blog has many articles on the program I call RSS Reader by Gautier. I will spare the recap and focus on the follow-up.

Many changes have occurred since I started the process back in September 2019. I took the time to make 22 videos about the process of creating a new version of the program. After those videos, I kept going.

Now, there are numerous updates since I published the code to GitHub in Nov. 2019. The following is a screen shot of the program in its current form. This is a production level version.

A key aspect of this version is that the layout and spacing is a balance between the OS and a slight aesthetic touch. The buttons are properly spaced and subtle refinements were applied to the screen.

Categories
Computers and IT

RSS Version 7 Video

The following 5-minute video describes the RSS reader program I created to keep up with news.

The RSS reader is program has been my main project for the last 7 years. The goal was to produce a simple but useful RSS program.

A substantial amount of activity happens behind the scenes to make simplicity happen. The program is not yet released since I am still sharpening it up (behind the scenes).

At some point, I may provide a way to access this program once the quality is assured. Thank you for watching and checking it out.

The video shows an example of how RSS makes a difference in working with information.

RSS Reader 7 by Gautier


5 minutes

Categories
Computers and IT

RSS Reader – Dec. 2019, the GTK Tree View

The GTK Tree View looks like a data grid but is actually a universal way to show hierarchical trees, tabular data, and a mixture of the two. I want to show feed configuration in an on-screen tabular data representation. This representation is similar to tabular representations you see in Microsoft Excel or Access. The GTK Tree View makes this possible.

Categories
Computers and IT

RSS Reader – Dec. 2019 in Progress

I am working on a new screen within the RSS app. The new screen is called Manage Feeds. It will provide the ability to add, change, and remove rss feeds. Other functions will include the ability to set how often a feed refreshes and how much feed data is retained.

A while back, I made some videos and one thing I learned from that exercise is to keep a video log. As a result, I have raw footage as I build the new screen that will be composed into a new set of videos.

At the same time, I upgraded to Fedora 31 and I also have Ubuntu 19.10 in a virtual machine. The video footage will include erecting an Ubuntu build server from the ground up. Like some of the footage, that particular process will be its own separate video focused on build server setup. I have already published a build server video but it does not show how to set it up, only how to use it. Since I needed to test with Ubuntu as well as Fedora, this was a good chance to show the build server setup steps from the beginning.

Categories
Computers and IT

Python is a Flawed Programming Language

Until a few days ago, if you asked me if any programming language is better than another, I would tend to either say something along the lines of:

  • At a conceptual level, they are similar but there are some real world differences.
  • A real purpose exist for each language.
  • Be careful with languages like JavaScript that are less robust.

Unfortunately, sometimes the real world intrudes upon such ideal and egalitarian views. That is the case with Python. I was never a huge fan of Python but I left some corner of my mind open to the idea that it was useful. Now I am sure that using Python to create programs is not really a good idea.

This post is just a quick summary of my opinions and not an in-depth description. The following are some of the problems I’ve encountered or seen stemming from Python. Although the thoughts here are opinion, I now see the heavy investment in Python as a bad idea.

Categories
Computers and IT

Third World Countries Cannot Run First World Web Mail

I ran out of high speed data on my mobile device and was left with the equivalent of dial-up. I am okay with that because the situation is temporary. While I wait a week for the Internet to speed back up, it has been an useful situation to see what works and what doesn’t in the year 2020 when it comes to slow Internet.

#1 on the list is web mail. Some web mail services run very smooth when the Internet is fast. However, when the Internet is slow, web mail can take 5 or 10 minutes just to load up. The login to web mail is fast, but the actual loading of e-mails so you can even see a list of e-mails is very, very slow.

Categories
Computers and IT

QuickBooks Desktop and Internet Explorer Nightmare

I recently tried out the 2020 version of QuickBooks Desktop and found the program disappointing from a setup and install standpoint. I ran into many issues. After I solved some of the issues, I was left thinking how fundamentally awkward it is at time to run Windows software.

As some know, I run Linux as my main computer system. However, I help people with Windows and I had a career involving Windows software implementation. I keep a Windows computer around in order to stay up-to-date with Windows 10 and troubleshooting. Recently, I installed QuickBooks and it was a mess.

Categories
Computers and IT

RSS Reader Nov. 2019 – Final

The user interface was missing one piece. Showing HTML content as readable, normal output. The latest update now shows HTML content for an RSS feed article in this way. The user interface, with these changes now appears as follows. Each time a headline is clicked in the left pane, the article content is shown in the right pane. The right-side area now processes and presents content through an embedded web viewer courtesy of the Web View Widget.

The Web View is part of GTK WebKit. I downloaded the WebKit stable release tarball yesterday. I reviewed the webkit source code and extracted the documentation. Looking at the API description based on my experience with GTK, I figured out how to put it together. When HTML content is presented, I disable JavaScript, plug-ins, and other aspects that could pose a security risk. Since the HTML content’s textual data is important, there is no need to run any embedded scripts, video, or media in this case.

The latest update is available on GitHub under commit 27b929cf8350292ff387b27705037ec475d12497. The commit details show the removal of GTK Text View which is now replaced with Web Kit Web View. At a practical level, this completes the UI in terms of presenting RSS feed information. The last piece for showing data is in place. I am proud of how far this has come in the short time since I switched to directly accessing the GTK API.

Categories
Computers and IT

RSS Reader Nov. 2019

The effort to produce the 7th version of the RSS reader is still on-going. I took a break for a few weeks following the publication of videos that chronicled the process. The videos were made in October and I found the process to be exhausting. The final videos I worked on for 7 days straight and by the 6th day I could barely form thoughts. I worked through that exhaustion in videos 1 and 24 which I completed on Nov. 1st.

Once those videos were done, I identified some updates. The latest updates begin where the final video left off. I found an opportunity to think about how the article detail information is shown. Some of the RSS feed data comes through encoded as HTML. That is not very readable when shown in a plain-text display widget. I needed a way to make the information more practical to view. I take one substantive step in that direction.

This week, I was more refreshed and able to look at the next modifications for the RSS reader. One of the issues I saw was that some RSS text is HTML encoded. Other parts are plain-text suitable for a summary. I realized I could make the program easier to use if I split the summary from the details.

That required changes in the following areas:

  • Updates to SQL to save and retrieve summary vs. detail information.
  • A function to detect the presence of HTML.
  • Changes to the UI to add an article summary field.
  • Code in the UI to apply plain-text vs. HTML based as appropriate.

UI changes are described in commit d5409b9209aed739c3d97a4718960d34b4b587e9 on GitHub. Additional changes are coming.

Categories
Computers and IT

Firefox Encrypted DNS is a Good Default

Home users and people roaming about with mobile devices while traveling or trying to get some information off potentially compromised public WiFi need encrypted DNS.

Encrypted DNS is not intended for Internet security, but still helps in that regard. Besides, it is not as if CloudFlare can reject an NSL. If govs need to check bandits, CloudFlare and ISPs will assist. Instead, what encrypted DNS do for folks is block out or disrupt amatuer hour vandals comfortably ripping off easy marks.

A lot of amateur web traffic sniffing over WiFi. Laws exist to deter amateur snoops, but many people ignore them to do skim credit card, social security, and personal interactions over the air. The casual and highly motivated amateurs are not tech folks but they can get tools to make compromising data capture very easy. Encryption is a nice barrier to the amateur snoops.

Make no mistake, backdoor or more exist in big time, mainstream digital products. Any company that says there isn’t well … Anyway, average person needs to work unimpeded by strangers parked in a parking lot of a grocery store or nearby gas station a block away leaning back with their cell phone to skim personal details on people sitting at home. Encrypted DNS is a technology industry solution to an obvious gaping hole that can be expertly plugged up.

Categories
Computers and IT

Red Hat as a Server Division of IBM

I must admit I was wrong about something. I stated elsewhere, a few months ago, that IBM’s purchase of Red Hat may be a good thing for Linux and open source. Well, it appears I was wrong about that.

I was correct in that the acquisition of Red Hat showed the economic value of open source. I was wrong in thinking it would benefit the progress of a solid desktop alternative to Microsoft Windows.

Certainly, a solid desktop operating system was never the goal of Red Hat prior to IBM. The beauty of the open source practice was a solid operating system was a side-effect. I am not saying that the desktop versions of Red Hat will not remain a solid desktop in terms of security, reliability, and support.

Instead, the direction of the desktop for individuals instead of just corporations is where the shift may occur. An individual, at home, who wants to use a good desktop operating system may see certain good tools change in a way that does not favor desktop ease of use or properly balance it with security.

Categories
Computers and IT

C++ the Basic Way – UI and Command-Line

On Nov. 1st, I published 22 videos about C++. I call the set, C++ the Basic Way. The videos show me writing C++ code to build a UI using GTK.

I create a pair of command-line programs to help test the RSS API as well as serve as a non-visual alternative to the RSS user interface. Those command-line programs go a long way towards improving the quality of the UI as it evolves.

These are hands-on video that goes into the basics of writing C++ code, using command-line tools. The program described is written inn C++ and predominantly use third-party APIs defined in C. As is revealed, those C APIs combined with C++ is a powerful combination.

Categories
Computers and IT

Faster Command-Line Coding with Bakefile

A while ago I was using a wrapper for gtk called gtkmm. I liked it and the program I created using it held up very well. The gtkmm wrapper provides a convenient way to use gtk itself. This sped up my development and use of gtk and helped me focus on the structure of my program.

Categories
Computers and IT

StraightTalk Phones without Tethering

Many phones at WalMart have the mobile tethering feature but it won’t work. A website called Smartphone Matters had a link where they discussed this issue. Quite odd you have 25GB of data but your computer can’t use it. A huge but missed opportunity.

Categories
Computers and IT

T-Mobile Alcatel Hotspots Freeze After 11 Months

T-Mobile hotspots seem to have issues based on several things I’ve seen. An Alcatel model died after 11 months and the manufacturer’s hotline had voice commercials for DIRECTV among other things. You could not get through to anyone.

No true recourse. Stuck without a hotspot for weeks, no alternative backup.

Maybe it was better when there was more competition and choice in the marketplace.

Categories
Computers and IT

Verizon Ellipsis Hotspots are Not Secure

A problem exist with Verizon Ellipsis Hotspots provided by Franklin Wireless. The following issues are as follows:

  1. No user accessible feature to disable SSID broadcast.
  2. Admin page is not encrypted.

What is the impact of these issues?

Categories
Computers and IT

Twin USB-C Hubs Linux Desktop Freeze Bug

This is about two separate USB-C hubs. One of the left-side of the machine and one on the right-side of the machine.

Let’s say you have a machine that only has USB-C ports.

The machine came with an adapter. This multi-port adapter plugs into the left side of the machine. The adapter has one USB-C port into which you can only plug the power cord. The adapter also has a port for HDMI and USB-A.

Categories
Computers and IT

Delete a GitHub Repository

Originally answered on Quora, the question asked:How can I delete my public GitHub repository?


If the repository exists on your account, it does not matter if anyone has linked to it. You have complete ability to delete it. The following is an example of how to do it.