Linux And Me

Linux, hmmm, you watch the fan bois come out in force to defend their god over this post. But linux is like a case of the drizzling shits, and endless stream of watery faeces that stick to everything, stink to high heaven and will eventually kill you.

I am not a neanderthal, or and Luddite, I have been using unix and linux on and off for just about forever. But i am at a point in life where I do not want to screw around with things. I want my tools to not require me to fight them to get any work done. When i grab a hammer i do not get out a saw and an plane and some sandpaper to make a fucking hammer, It needs to be ready just to hit shit.

So if its not working out of the box, if i have to fight it, diagnose 100 problems just to get a system that does everything i need, then I do not want to use it. This is the story so far. Oh I should mention, I am writing this post in linux, I have everything just about sorted out other than 1 piece of software that I do not really want to change because I like how it works and it does everything that i need. More on that later.

So i started out with Mint, I used to use mint as my daily driver when I was coding for online games. Back when I had simpler needs and all i really needed was a programming IDE, browser and email to be happy. It was what I went to initially, i know my way around it, it looks good and its what I have installed on the wifes computer. But for whatever reason, it would lock up every couple of days on my computer. No idea why, just random lockups. So it was out.

Next was Manjaro, Oh i liked this distro, its look and feel was good, it was responsive and fast, but it had a bug with fonts-config and I had no idea how to fix it and could not find any explanation on how to either. Its a shame really, but if I cannot run certain software on a distro, then its out nano vna saver is important here, i am a home brewer after all.

Then i gave MX a try, this might have actually been an ok distro, but out of the box the package manager was using an out of date repository and by the time i worked out what was happening, the install was fucked up. Wine would not install wine32, kind of needed for the older 32bit windows software that there are no linux version of, and something as simple as installing Kdenlive in a KDE desktop borked because of broken dependencies. Its shit like that, which really turn people off. I did not bother reinstalling and trying again after than. It was dead to me.

So i thought i would go old school with Opensuse, it had the KDE missing icons bug, not hard to fix, but in a modern bleeding edge distro you would think that they would fix it so that it uses the non broken theme and icons. But the thing that killed this for me, I could not get it to work with my wifi printer. Most others discover the printer add the cups driver and bang its working. Nope, it could not even discover it.

And now we have gone back full circle. I am running Kubuntu, yeah canonicle are something I like to avoid, but here we are, everything is running and all i have left now that I do not have a suitable replacement for is Ham Radio Deluxe. Not that I am doing a whole lot of operating at the moment, one antenna is down, the other one is putting RF in the shack and I have not been bothered to fix either of them as Im probably moving within the next few months and need to take it all down. So for that, i will dual boot with windows just for logging and for using DM870 for digital modes.

Yeah i know about fldigi and the suit of software that goes along with it, but its like looking at the 1850’s, if they made the thing look sleek and modern it might be a suitable alternative, but as it looks now, yeah i just cannot bring myself to use it. That, and when i tried it in windows it never worked for me, even with the sound settings flat out it never had enough gain and the rig control was meh as well. Never did work out what its problem was, HRD worked and never gave me a problem, so i just ponied up and bought it.

Anyway, that is my story, Linux is pain in the arse and a piece of shit that is still not ready for the main game, but, i think i will be able to make things work for now. All this because windows broke the bloody MTP driver for my phone and tablet. And if you are a linux fan boi and I have touched you on the frequency because I spoke ill of your god, don’t bother commenting, you are not going to change my mind that linux is turds on fire. If its perfect for you, that is great. Not everyone is you.

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An Update, Story Of My Life HAHA

So windows. Pain in the arse that it is broke shit again last update. This time it was the MTP driver for andiod devices. I use my phone for making videos and taking pictures for my blog and I use my tablet for reading watching TV so moving files on and off both are important and being able to connect to a USB port and just do that without dicking about with stupid work arounds is important.

As far as software goes, there is not a lot now days that I use that there is not a suitable linux replacement or native linux version. The sticking points comes down to 3 pieces of software. First is Ham Radio Deluxe, i know there is fldigi but i just do not like it, second is the software for my SDR receivers, there is no real replacement for the SDRplay software. Yeah there are some old and unmaintained projects, but nothing that is current and worth using  and the final one is Vectrix Aspire, its a 2d cad program for CNC routers.

For now I will be dual booting for some ham radio stuff, not that I am doing much there anyway currently, to focused on work and moving things along trying to build a house. Plus a wind storm took down my 40m dipole last week and I have an issue with the tri band vertical and have not been bothered with trying to sort out either of them. Within the next couple of weeks I should know whether we are moving or not and if so I will just pull it all down and start packing things away till after we move.

So anyway, I am now running linux. I can access my phone and tablet again and do the things I need to. Tomorrow I am off to look at some blocks of land where we would like to build and then Friday I hope to start doing some of these experiements with the Pi that have been getting delayed over and over again. HAHA

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Books Books Books Books

I was given some books by a friend to read. The series is called The Last Dragonslayer by a British author, Jasper Fforde. http://www.jasperfforde.com/index2.html

Not overly large books, so i spent good portion of Saturday and Sunday reading books one and two and now that I am finished for today, I will knock off the third one. Its kind of a fantasy fiction comedy, not the normal swords and sorcery, high fantasy kinds of stuff I would normally read, but well worth reading. If you are bored and looking for something to read, I can highly recommend these.

And for the 3 people who read my blog HEHE, make a comment down below and tell me what you are reading, I will be book free in a few days and I do not think that George Martin or Patrick Rothfuss are ever going to release the next books in their series and I need something to read 🙂

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Necessity The Mother Of Invention

I was going to post a huge rant about what the deluded man children, self indulged and narcissists are doing over on qrz. But you know what, you deserve more, I deserve more and they really just are not worth it. I am taking a sabbatical from qrz lest i tell a whole bunch of people to go fuck themselves with pineapples.

So this is just a quicky, DHL somehow managed to lose the contents of a delivery satchel and only deliver an empty bag to Brisbane. Shit happens, nothing we can do about it, but its delayed a lot of what I had hoped to be doing this week. In actual fact i have really done not much at all. But I needed a low pass filter that could handle 50w or there abouts. The board is one that I have used for all the lower power filters I have built.

So i do not have any high voltage through hole caps, so i soldered KV rated SMD caps to the through hole pads, wound up some T68 size toriods and boom, i have a filter that will cope with 50W from the amp I built a few weeks back. I got a bit of experimenting to do with it this weekend and see how i can go matching that with the CW transmitter and an SDR receiver to do a WWFF activation maybe next weekend. More on that later.

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Corona Virus Update

Corona virus, whats it mean to me and my home brewing? That is an interesting question and one i am asking myself daily. Sure it looks like I might have more time on my hands with the chance of being locked down growing daily. So that is the positive. The negative is I am also watching the economy tanking and along with it my income. I am a contractor, our clients are all pulling work so that means I will not be earning much at all. This is ok, I have some savings and will survive, but it means that I will lock down my budget to essentials and so I cannot see me starting any new projects for quite sometime.

However, I do have 4 or 5 projects already going on at various levels of progress, so i have plenty to do for now and I have a lot of parts so that is not going to be an issue. I think what will happen is that once i have worked through the projects in the cue, I will end up going back to doing manhattan builds with through hole parts. I have a lot of board and parts, so I am good for a couple years at least. About all it will really mean is that I wont be buying any fancy PCBs at all.

Oh and I have a lot of kits here also, so I can bring them out when things get desperate and have something to build. All in all, i will be ok, but if things get really tight, I might have to shut down my blog, or move back to cheaper VPS hosting rather than having dedicated server hosting. One stupid flu and the world is turning to shit.

Stay classy everyone.

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PCB Delays

I was looking on JLCpcb today to see the progress of the next set of boards. The boards are done, but the coronavirus is going to delay them for who knows how long at this stage. JLC is saying 3 to 14 days because no one is allowed to move and DHL is closed down, but the Australian government is also stopping all planes arriving from China, and I have no idea how long this might be in place for. So its wait and see, but they will arrive eventually. HAHA.

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Magnifying LED Desk Lamp

 

Just about everything I am building these days is SMD. Parts a cheap, you can get parts that would other wise be hard to find in through hole versions and there are still some large size packages around of nice parts to use that you just cannot find in through hole. And because I am building a hand held, SMD is compact is the order of the day. In fact, going forward I do not think I will be building anything through hole at all. I have really gotten the hang of this SMD stuff.

That said, as you get older, the eyes are not what they used to be. I wear glasses and often when working with smaller stuff its not the size that is the issue, its not enough lighting. I have been using this LED ring lamp for sometime, mostly as an over head light. But of late, I have been using its magnifying lens as well, its 8 or 10 times magnification and for hand soldering SMD parts its really come into its own and I do not think i could live with out it.

The lens is 5 inches in diameter, so you get a really nice field of view, i mean, i can stick my face right up to it and look through with both eyes and see everything I am doing, plus, the LED light is bright and white, with very little shadow, so its just about perfect. So if you are like me and need to get your eyes checked and reading prescription adjusted every couple of years, add in a magnifying LED lamp and make your life that little bit easier. From here the next step if a microscope and I think that is overkill unless you are doing much finer pitched work than this. If i ever want to use some of those really cool leadless package IC’s i might need one, but for now, this will do.

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2019 State Of My Hobby Address

You know, this time last year I sat at this very keyboard and typed out quite a lengthy post about what I would like to achieve throughout the year, the kits I would like to get built, the advances I would like to make in my other homebrew projects, make more youtube videos and the like. I do not even have to go back to that list of things to know that I actually ticked off very few of these things.

All in all I am really ok with what I did manage to get done in among family commitments and extra pressure and stress at work that really took up the bulk of my time. But I still did manage to learn many things and advance both my knowledge, skills and even some of my projects as well as posting here on my blog most weeks at least once.

There has also been some rationalization happening here within my view of the hobby. I have cut somethings out, I have not been portable in a park for over 6 months, I just have not had the time, or when I have had the time I have not had the energy to really do anything at all. But the biggest change here and the one that has had the most impact on my personal outlook has been dropping out of all ham radio related social media. Facebook, qrz, eham are all now gone from my life and you know what, its the best thing i have ever done.

The things that really killed it for me are normative questions being answered with strawmen and ad hominem attacks, dick waving my self proclaimed internet experts on everything and dealing with the same old butthurt because someone got touched on the frequency one time and so they are mad at the world. I just cannot in all good conscience entertain such fuckwits in my life on a daily basis. I would like to think that I am better than all that and I certainly do try to be and aspire to be better tomorrow than I am today, so, there comes a time when one has to say enough is enough to the same whine topics that get posted over and over because people just want to bitch. Well, I want to just be happy and enjoy the time I have doing radio, so goodbye social media.

So that was this year, so what about the new decade that starts for me in just over 7 hours at the time of writing this post. Well, next year and next decade is an interesting proposition here. I am not going to write a big list of things that I am going to do because you know as well as i do, that none of it will happen. But instead, I want to get 1 project completed and that project is the hand held 40m rig. Other than that, I have a couple of other boards being made currently in China and one is a test jig with circuits on it for BJT, FET and Op Amp amplifiers stages on it and one MMIC circuit. I have a ton of parts here I have been collecting and I wish to test them all out and see what I want to use in other projects.

So, to all the home brewers out there, who for the most part sit in their labs and do their own thing I wish you all a very happy new year and I wish you luck with whatever it is you are building.

Rob.

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A Reason Why I Don’t Do Clubs

Its funny you know, I have never been a club guy and there are many reasons why I am not a club guy, but one of the bigger reasons why i more generally do not like people all that much is that they tend to disappoint. Personally, i think its better to be agnostic on what people are like and thus not think bad of them. So i tend not to give them much of an opportunity to disappoint.

Take trying to upgrade a license here in Australia, you are stuck more or less in having to deal with the old boys club who think they are the gate keepers of all that is holy in ham radio, rather than just being mere cogs in the process. So it was kind of funny to get a reply to a post i made to a local club some 18 months ago about sitting an exam at their ham fest.

I guess they have had a change of leadership and club vision as the new guy in charge is actually replying to all the dead posts. But, for me, its been this type of experience over and over in many areas of ham radio that clubs and people are pretty much dead to me. I just do not have time for the small minded politics and empire building.

LOL it is what it is.

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Hackers

Not the computer code kind, not even the hardware kind, but the stupid kind that keep trying to hack into by server and blog. Its a never ending game of wack a mole. So after been hit with a couple of big hack attacked in the last few weeks, I upgraded the security for the blog and then after the same douche bag hit me again, I managed to lock myself out of the blog. LOL not to worry, restore everything from backup takes a while 10 mins to do, but I lost a couple of posts. I only do weekly backups. Its not like this blog is anything other than a bunch of dribble from me and if i lose a post or two, its no big deal. So anyway, everything is back to normal and should mean I cannot lock myself out every again LOL.

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