Sunday, May 5, 2013

You and openSuse

 Anyone reading this blog (both of you) know I don't run Microsoft's proprietary OS better known as Windows in it's various forms. As such I use and test various open source operating systems ranging from Ubuntu to Arch and everything in between. It's rare that I am moved to comment and review any of them. As what some people would describe as an advanced user they all more or less work, with little differences in real world usability that necessitate a commentary.

 A quick description of my test system and what I look for. All of my testing is done on a ThinkPad T61 with a full Intel system. Meaning all of my drivers are built into the kernel and I can make observations NOT based on some third party driver or conflict as is usually the case. This laptop I use is right in the Linux wheelhouse with complete open source driver support and should run FLAWLESSLY by default. Being able to remove hardware in my tests gives me a leg up as a distro can rise and fall under it's own powers without needless worrying if I have some hardware conflict. Now to the goodness.

 I had been running xubuntu 12.04 on this laptop, which of all of the Ubuntu versions and derivatives I have tried is the easiest to get running on my meager hardware. Having tried almost all the Ubuntu "children" and their spawn I've settled on 12.04 in some flavor as my fallback, absolute MUST run now distro. Canonical does an excellent job with hardware detection and has a sensible base configuration to get up and running quickly.

 On a whim I came across several review's and blog posts extolling the virtues of openSuse 12.3. Not one to shy away from bulldozing my HDD and starting from scratch I was surprisingly intrigued by some of the features they offer, and to give KDE a roll for the first time in a long time.  It's been over 6 years since I ran a KDE based distro always deffering to my beloved XFCE or a gnome2 derivative. Lately though XFCE has been lagging in what I consider basic features (thunar.........why you no tabs?) and depending on the implementation has shown to be as bad a resource hog as Gnome shell.

 I downloaded openSuse by torrent in short order, picking the live KDE version to give me an initial impression of what we were working with. Upon boot the only problem I had was not seeing my Wireless device. An Intel 3XXX series to be blunt. This wasn't surprising. For all the talk few distros see this device in a live environment (12.04 being the exception) and as such was a not unexpected development even if it was slightly disappointing.  Other than that minor hiccup thing were all working exactly like one would expect. Two finger scrolling? check. Suspend? check. etc.

 Once I was convinced openSuse would love my hardware I kicked off the install from the live environment. All proceeded as one could hope with a really nice install wizard that balances fine granular control with ease of use. All other distros should look long and hard look at openSuse's installer and do their best to try to match it's balance of control and simplicity. As such I have new base level installer to match the rest against. As of now all others are found wanting in various way's alternating between lack of control and ease of use. Kudo's to the openSuse team.

 Post install was...eventful. On first boot my T61 hung at "loading initial ramdisk". A telltale sign the Grub config was borked. Knowing the LiveDVD was a good entity, I can only assume the live environment had some other config that it couldn't pass on to Grub during the actual install to bare metal. Undaunted I popped into the Grub file, passed the nomodeset command and booted to a recovery. In openSuse's defense it realized the issue, fixed it and I rebooted to my working install.

 As a side note, this is NOT really acceptable in my opinion. My hardware, by choice, works flawlessly with Linux. Not seeing basic kernel modules is a serious flaw in this day and age. You can forget a new Linux convert being comfortable or even likely to stick around with such basic flaws in moving. If I was running a bumblebee or some other exotic GPU slack would be given. Running an Intel x3100 though none will be given.

 After that though openSuse could teach every other distro what the Desktop is all about. Sensible and secure initial configurations? Check. FAST booting and responsive DE? God yes. Polished? To within an inch of it's life. From Yast to the studio to the best power management out of the box in Linux openSuse GETS the desktop like no other distro right now. GUI's for almost everything will make you a happy convert from the closed source world. It's balance of fine granular control over your system, with the ability to be lazy and make a couple clicks to accomplish the same task is quite simply brilliant. The amount of work openSuse put into making the desktop work for you vs. appealing to the mobile market has put all other distros in sharp relief to this user. Once I handled the piss poor Grub config, I find openSuse to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the Linux crowd for a desktop experience.

 The final dilemma is how to rate openSuse 12.3. In one facet I am utterly disappointed. Not seeing basic Intel drivers, or being able to configure them properly is simply inexcusable today. I can't think of a single distro that would choke on this hardware other than openSuse 12.3. Shameful is the best way to describe it. Lest you think I am a solitary case, feel free to check the various bug reports via google. I am not an anomaly.

 Once we get to the meat of it though, openSuse is a cut above the rest of the field. Unlike distros with old software (leaning on the false argument of stablility), or those interested in being a one size fits all solution to a question no one is asking this distro gets it. This one lets you work or play how you see fit. Looks good doing it quickly and gives you all the control you could want while being accessible to the most novice of users. Fix the install issues, and your really REALLY on to the best Linux has to offer on the desktop.

 In closing

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fuck You, David Caruso

                                              Few can manage to be this douchey in cartoon form.

  No, really. Fuck you, David Caruso. Is my loathing entirely rational? Nope. But it is as real as the nose on your face, my friend. I fucking despise him, and it irks me that he is legally able to list "Actor" as his occupation. His acting is so terrible and trite that it can be summed up in an endless series of memes-sunglasses off, hands on hips, etc. I remember being so excited when his "rising star" imploded after the whole "I'm leaving NYPD Blue to become a MOVIE STAR-so long suckers!" douchebaggery. How did that work out for you, Dave? I thought, my Schadenfruede in full, cuntish effect as I watched in 'Jade'. I thought he was gone. I was sadly mistaken.

  And before any of you Carusaders jump on my shit about it, please know that you shan't dissuade me. He is awful-I know it, and deep down you must know it too. So save your breath, and my time. Just because he's making mad bank on his show doesn't make him a better actor. I mean, it could, if he would step out of his delusion and seek professional help (like an acting coach), but realistically it won't. 

  So, since he doesn't seem to be hanging up his shades any time soon, let's talk about other shitty actors, shall we? Why not, right? And don't worry-we are equal opportunity here at FTG, so we'll spare some vitriol for the ladies too.

                                                         "Take cover, chiiiiiiiild! Shitty actiiiiing!"

  First off, the Big Daddy of bad acting, Mr. Nicholas Cage. I know, I'm lobbing softballs, but to not include him on a list of bad actors is akin to leaving Daniel Day Lewis off of a list of great ones. I love some movies he's been in-Kickass, Gone in 60 Seconds, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but my love for them has nothing to do with Nick Cage. He is easily the most ham-fisted actor of our generation, and can't be in a movie without being Nicholas Cage. He is not one to disappear in a role, which is what acting is supposed to be comprised of.

                                                              **Cough** Sorry- hairball.

    Yes, Halle Berry made the list. Of course she did. Anyone who can fuck up Catwoman, one of my all-time favorite comic book characters, deserves to be on the list. Seriously, Halle-what the fuck? She seemed so excited to be the new Catwoman, and yet she was such an utter disappointment in pretty much every way. And, in spite of the lovely statuette she owns (remember? The one she gave a six-hour gush of a speech about receiving?), she is sadly a terrible actress. And acting as though her shitty acting is somehow some reflection on race relations? Are you fucking joking? Get fleas, Halle.

"Say it, Mayonnaise!" "Sir, I'm a shitty actor, SIR!"

Richard Gere is next on the list-as in the case of Nicholas Cage, there are several Gere movies that are near and dear to me, but he is just a smarmy, annoying actor. And now, of course, he is apparently spiritual and serious, which makes him even less fun than usual.  

"This pole tastes like broken dreams, piss-poor acting and glitter body spray."

  Elizabeth Berkley is an author now, but we all know her for her lousy acting. She played the second most annoying character in Saved By the Bell (topped only by Screech), and delivered the infamous line "I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so...scared. *sob*" But that was mere child's play compared to the abomination that is Showgirls. The movie is a trainwreck to begin with, but Jessie Spano's acting takes it to a whole new world. Her acting was so bad that it even detracted from the Skinemax guilty pleasure of the whole thing, which is a bit tragic.

"See the position of the eyebrows? The slight furrow implies a deep well of emotions."

  Colin Farrell is another actor who decided to go and ruin a comic book character on the big screen. Granted, Daredevil was a bit of an abortion to begin with, but Colin and his emoting brows were especially ineptly cast. He's one of those actors who just annoys me by merely being on the screen-from Phone Booth to Total Recall, his Colin Farrell-ness just bugs the fuck out of me. The one concession I can grant him is that I could listen to him all day long, what with the accent and all. But watching him? Pass.

"Oh my god. I'm so thrilled to be talking to you. No, I'm not being sarcastic-I mean it. I'm smiling and everything."

   You knew I was going to get to Kristen Stewart eventually, right? Now relax, twihards-this isn't a bash on Bella Swan, as she does not exist. No, this is an indictment of the alleged acting Kristen Stewart gets paid fucktons of money for. The girl has the emotional reach of a rotting cabbage, and few vehicles showcase this lack of skill as the Twilight series. Her range consists of: frown, half-frown, furrowed brow, heaving sobs, and awkward hair-playing. Not the stuff of acting legend. On a side note, if you refer to Twilight as a "saga", you obviously lack the most basic grasp of that word's definition, and should probably not talk anymore.

"I was cast in Dracula? Why? WHY???!!!!"

  Now before my better half punches me in the nose, let me just say that Keanu Reeves is a special case. I generally like him-sure, he can be a little shallow in his acting, but 99.9% of the roles he chooses embrace his skill set. I think we can, however, all agree that Dracula was a really craptastic choice. That alone is enough to earn him a spot on this list, because no matter how visually lovely Dracula is, you always have Keanu barging in with his douchey British accent, ruining the moment.

"I told you-I'm British now. Fancy a cuppa? Need the loo? See? British."

  I'm not going to lie-I really loved Madonna in A League of Their Own. But beyond that? Fuck off. I can't think of one instance other than that one movie where she was anything but obnoxious. Dick Tracy, Swept Away, The Next Big Thing, Evita-in every one of them she was turning in as much of a performance as she could muster, which was, in every case, not enough. She's always just Madonna-what worked in her music videos just isn't enough for the big screen. Also, her arms really sketch me out.

"You want to cast me in movies with Nicholas Cage? You're fucking joking, right?"

  Eva Mendes is lovely. Everyone knows this. But as far as acting goes, she is rarely worth the price of admission. And I can't decide if the casting directors responsible for putting her in more than one film with Nicholas Cage should be dragged behind a moving car or applauded for passive aggressively trying to ruin said movies, but either way it was a bit much. 

  So there it is, kids-my list of actors who suck at their jobs, but still managed to get paid to do it. If you disagree with anyone on the list, don't bother telling me, because I don't give a fuck. Oh, and one more thing: Fuck you, David Caruso!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Jesus Saves...When He Shops Amway

Ok, so as you may have guessed, we at FTG are not the most spiritual individuals. We do not worship false idols, unless you count Neil deGrasse Tyson and Neil Gaiman. We eat meat whenever the fuck we want. And while we don't generally do much on Sunday, it's more a matter of laziness than God's law. 

I don't feel the need to get all up in people's grills about my non-religious status, especially not on Facebook, but I'm guessing it's pretty obvious, based on what I post and what I don't like or share.

However, it has come to my attention that many of my friends have found Jesus. I do not begrudge them this, but I evidently missed the passage in the Bible that says that upon joining a religion, thou shalt annoy the living fuck out of anyone you happen to have even the most minimal contact with.

The ones who really make me fear for the future of the human race are the ones who thank God for every fucking insignificant thing in their lives. You know the ones: "My washer was still under warranty, so I didn't have to pay for the repairs-Praise God!" and "Kelsey aced her math final-God is good!" Ugh. Just...just UGH. Do these people honestly think that is there is some sandaled fellow living in the clouds, he has time to worry about your kid's fucking test? What fucking arrogance. Because there are no bigger problems needing his attention than your plight, having to drive your car the half-mile to the laundromat. Praise God indeed, for saving you from the fucking Auschwitz that is your special snowflake getting a C on a test. But you never hear them blaming God when little Kelsey breaks her arm skiing, and that washing machine manages to destroy hubby's best sweater. No sir. 

They are just so over-the-moon excited about the sweet baby Jesus, and, quite frankly, I find it creepy. I used to think of it as a form of addiction-suddenly, their entire life is consumed with this exotic new thing, and it shields them, to varying degrees, from the stresses of their lives. Isn't that how drug addiction starts out?

But then I realized that where an addict's body has a physical and very real addiction to their drug of choice, a person doesn't develop a physical dependency to Jesus, or Christianity, or their local church. This is solely a mental and emotional relationship.

So instead, I started thinking that knowing a person new to religion is like knowing someone when they first start selling Amway. ALL you hear about is the bright future this lifestyle will afford them-tropical vacations, fancy cars, being your own boss. In their minds, they are just winners who haven't actually won yet. Their dreams are set so high that there is no way it's going to work out. 

Eventually they start to figure out what anyone with half a brain knew for the duration of their little trip into Dreamville-that the closest they are getting to a tropical vacation is a sales conference at the Super 8, which they have to pay to attend, and a cheap-ass Amway tote bag from said conference. The only way they're scoring a car out of the deal is if they MacGyver a vehicle out of all the fucking selling materials they have accumulated. They are left empty-handed and broken-hearted.

So here's a plan-bear with me. How about instead of resting all of your laurels on this dude in the sky, you come up with a Plan B? How about you put the onus on YOU to make your life what you want it to be? Count on yourself to make good choices for YOU, not for the aforementioned bearded guy? Because, here's a newsflash-if you believe in God, then you likely also believe he gave us free will. How is being a total sheep to a religion that is full of contradictions any semblance of free will? 

Religion is really just the world's grandest pyramid scheme. Religion and war are the two biggest moneymakers in the world, and they are pretty regularly wrapped up in each other. Coincidence? It's all about the benjamins, people. 

But let me give you a word of advice-my guess is that if there is a God, he is getting pretty fucking sick of being expected to do everything. Stop praying to him about stupid shit, and stop praising him for things he likely couldn't give two holy shits about. Because I'm pretty sure he thinks you're douchebags. Stop talking about "God's plan" when horrible things befall people. Stop thinking every idiotic, insignificant part of your day is all thanks to good ol' Yahweh. For real. Cut the shit. God is patient and kind, so I hear, but he's not your fucking therapist, or your personal assistant.

But go on-keep giving your imaginary friend 10% of your paycheck. Make no solid plans for bettering yourself as a human being, or making your life better-just let it all go and let Jesus sort it for you. Solid plan. Maybe, instead of doing everything you can to be a good Christian, do everything you can to be a good person, a good friend, a good parent, a good sibling, a good son or daughter, a good spouse. I will sit here, not having an imaginary friend, especially not one on a payroll. I'll smile when you berate me for not following "The Word," because deep down I feel pretty certain that if there is a heaven, you probably aren't getting in, because God hates assholes. Thank god for your clean pap smear, and for the fact that your favorite brand of Lean Cuisine was at Shaw's. Praise Jesus. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Unified UI?

It's finally sunk in that as of today the general consensus among the various mover's and shaker's in the desktop world is that we all want our phones, tablets and PC's to act and look the same. From Microsoft's Win8 catastrophe to Ubuntu, to the Gnome project everyone is heading their work into a more mobile-centric direction at the cost of lot's of complaints slow adoption or outright revolt.

I'm fully acknowledging that Mobile is the current market dynamic, and with good reason. Smart phones have become incredibly powerful devices that have invaded every facet of our digital and everyday lives. From price checking to our seemingly 24/7 need to be connected via Facebook or some other social media phones have become the go to device for a number of people.

I strongly question though why we "want" a unified UI on such disparately functioning devices. I for on will read my email's on a phone without bother. I might even respond on my phone IF I can keep it very brief(i.e. twitter length). Even the best tablet keyboards are a poor substitute for a proper keyboard.  God forbid I need to actually type a document of any length, or need to check references while I am writing. this is just one example of how our phones/tablets are NOT the one device to rule them all. Sure lots of companies are making heaps of money off of the sudden market for angry birds, fruit ninja and other facebooky time sinks. I can only hope that someone realizes pretty soon that lots of people still count on their desktop and laptop to do actual work, that really matters to them and decides to produce a modern UI that works for them.