Video: The KMahjongg Challenge

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I've been playing one form or another of electronic Mahjongg for a number of years. One of the first games I remember was Activision's Shanghai for my Atari ST back in the late 80's. In modern times I mostly play KMahjongg. GNOME has a pretty good flavor too... but since I've been using KDE for so long, I've got more time in with KMahjongg. One feature of the Atari ST version that I miss was the competitive mode that had two flavors: 1) two player, take off as many tiles as you can before you choke and hand it off to the other player, or 2) Take off one tile and pass it to the next player... or at least that is how I remember it. KDE has a second flavor of Mahjongg for online play named Kajongg but I haven't figured that out yet. Anyone played Kajongg?

One question I've been asking myself over the years though... is how good am I at Mahjongg? I'm posting this video to show a sample play session. It isn't my best game/time but it isn't bad... and I also show my top 10 times. Anyone else close to me? I challenge you to post your top times. The video has no sound. I could have put some loud trance beat behind it, but I find those videos annoying. I prefer the default tile layout (dragon?) and the traditional tile theme.

Slides on Home Automation with Raspberry Pi

Here is a link to my slides from my talk on Home Automation with the Raspberry Pi.

Video: 20 Years of Red Hat


Red Hat Summit is going on in Boston this week. Here is promo video they released about Red Hat turning 20.

Video: 10 Years of Fedora


This came out a couple of months ago but I just noticed it.

Audio: T.A.L. When Patents Attack Part Two

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This American Life did another pass at the software patents problem by refreshing their episode from two years ago. There are some very interesting updates.

Opinion: Google Chrome is the new Platform?

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Kevin Tofel wrote an article for GigaOm entitled, How Google plans to rule the computing world through Chrome. That article seems to have gotten quite a bit of attention but when I last looked, there weren't too many comments... and I tried to comment... but even in two different browsers, I couldn't get the comment submission to work properly so I decided to post it here. What follows is my response to his article:

Google added an app store in Chrome some time ago... how many versions ago of Chrome was that? There was a little buzz shortly after it came out with players like the New York Times pitching their Chrome App... which works fine in Firefox too, btw. Then time passed. During that time, yes, Chrome Browser has gained more market share... but so far as I can tell, the Chrome App store, which is mostly just a fancier way to deal with bookmarks, really hasn't taken off.

Is there an opportunity for Chrome Apps to become more popular? Sure... if they can fill a niche and work well. Does that mean everyone will want to do everything in their browser... or via a browser-based although-works-fine-offline technology? Probably not. People are creatures of habit. Yes, they can change habits as well as add new habits but they aren't going to scrap everything they have just because there are more icons in a Google App Launcher thingie. It just ain't going to happen. Just moving the icon selector GUI from the Chrome browser window to an OS panel / dock is not going to be any revolution.

So many people seem to think that what they like has to win out over everything else... but that rarely ever happens. I think Google Chrome and Chrome/web-based Apps will pick up some market share and will do quite well... but it will be just another player in a crowded arena that is constantly getting broader with more choices... not less.

The zero admin functionality you speak of is nice and all but how will it not be laid to waste by similar security problems that have started to plague Android? If and when Chrome Apps become popular, then malware creators will also target it... and unless Google somehow does a better job with Chrome than they have done with Android, it has the potential to be a mess that completely negates zero admin... but at least it'll be cross platform malware now. Thanks!

In the end what empowers more people is quality free libre and open source software, not better marketed commercial apps.

Video: WebM matures with VP9 codec

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Google has finally started talking publicly about the upcoming VP9 video codec that will be integrated into the FLOSS and patent unencumbered webm video container format. I'm a big webm fan and I have found the existing VP8 codec to be pretty darn good. webm with VP8 is way better than Ogg Theora (which is pretty good) but not quite as good as H.264. Google plans on changing that with VP9. Supposedly VP9 will be able to be 1/2 to 1/3 smaller than H.264 and provide as good or better quality. That is exciting.

Here is a video detailing VP9 and showing some samples from the recent Google I/0 2013 event:

I hope that shows up as webm in your browser but if not, use youtube-dl.

Portable Package Formats

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Distrowatch had a blurb today about how Canonical has publicly stated that they are in the process of creating a new, more portable packaging format for per-user installable apps.

I just wanted to mention that the GNOME developers have also been working on such a thing and I first became aware of it back in March when I watched the video What are we breaking now? by Lennart Poettering, Kay Sievers and Harald Hoyer. The talk about App packaging starts around 38:20.

In a Google + comment (not sure how to link to it), KDE's Aaron Seigo mentioned that KDE had pioneered a similar concept but I'm not sure what he was referring to. Maybe it was for the tablet-flavor of KDE he has been working hard on?

There is a lot of scepticism about the need for a new packaging format but everyone working on it seems to be pretty smart so I'm guessing they have good reasons. Just to clarify, no one is talking about trying to replace the underlying distro packaging system.

Video: Korora 18 Install Video

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There have been a number of negative articles about the updated installer in Fedora 18. That negativity has found its way into the Linux podcast arena... but it seems to me that the vast majority of people spreading the word about it... haven't even seen it.

Korora is a Linux distribution that is a remix of Fedora and they recently had a new release based on Fedora 18. One cool thing they produced and included with their live media is an installation video (approximately 19 minutes in length)... so I thought I'd share their video so that perhaps some who haven't actually seen the new Fedora installer can have a look and see that it is actually quite good. Enjoy.

Direct video link: Korora-18-Install-Video.webm (66.2MB)

Opinion: Censorship on Linux Sites isn't Cool

Most of the time I enjoy No, really I do... but there are times I disagree with the opinions expressed by one of the primary authors there (Dietrich Schmitz). He likes to write somewhat controversial articles... and I sometimes like to comment on them. In many cases there is no problem... but if you disagree with him you may very well find your comment deleted... and all of your future comments requiring moderation. What it leads to is a complete lack of opinion diversity.

Let it be known that the vast majority of the comments I have left have been civil and (hopefully) informative. I only left one that could be considered offensive but I apologized for that. It is ok for Dietrich and his buddies to say all kinds of disparaging things but dare to disagree with them and you are the bad guy.

Latest topic in question is an article entitled Systemd: An Accident Waiting to Happen. I mentioned that I'm pro-systemd and mentioned videos of presentations by the systemd creator that are available on YouTube as well as an article entitled The Biggest Myths that addresses most of the myths surrounding systemd... and splat, comment in moderation mode to never appear. has been around for more than 10 years and I think I've deleted 1 comment in that time (and the user that went along with it)... but other than that, not so much. This website is old and crufty... and not well suited to new users and comments so it is a different situation, but I'm just saying. :)

While I do appreciate Dietrich's hard work on and all of the writing he does, being censored isn't fun. I think his site would be better without it... although I do agree with censoring obnoxious/cussing people.

Update: May 3, 2013 - Dietrich has responded with an article and I responded back with a comment to that article. Just in case anyone was curious, anonymous comments are turned off here and new account registrations are broken because this site is ancient and there are software issues. To anyone who wants to comment, feel free to email me directly (