Friday, August 26, 2016

Ubuntu Studio looks promising.

Every so often I get an itch to try another Linux distribution. For the last so many years, I've almost exclusively use Ubuntu (along with Kubuntu for those lower powered machines) and I have to admit that Canonical has done a great job with Ubuntu Linux  and creating a GNU/Linux distribution that easy to live with, even for non-"techie" types.

I recently felt that urge to try out something "different". I played with Mint and few others. Mint Linux looked promising initially, but something didn't quite click with me. As I was looking around, I came across a mention of +Ubuntu Studio.

For those not familiar with Ubuntu Studio, this is a version of Ubuntu Linux that is designed to be optimized for media creation. This means that this distribution is made for people who create things, like graphic designers, photographers, videographers, etc. In fact, during installation, it prompts you for the type of software you would like installed. Since I am a dabbler of many things and a master of none, I told it to install all of it.

Does this mean that you can't use US for a general purpose desktop operating system? There is no reason you can't! You can install all of the regular Ubuntu software. US is just further optimized to run the high demand software used for making multimedia work.

Of course I've only been using US for about a week now, but I have to say that so far I am impressed. I do appreciate the lightweight simplicity of the +Xfce  desktop environment with the internals modifications to give as much processing power to the user. If you are looking for something different and can appreciate an operating system designed to allow you to do what you want, you might want to give Ubuntu Studio a try!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wrangling with Microsoft OneDrive

This afternoon I was working on a project at work and decided that I wanted to continue to work on it this evening. So putting the file I was working on into a file sync program (One Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox,..) seemed obvious.

For many years I have always depended on the reliable Dropbox and Google Drive, but since at work we are moving to Microsoft's Office 365, I decided I would give Microsoft's equivalent to Dropbox and Google Drive, One Drive.

I already had One Drive installed and working on my work computer, so on a moment of whim, I saved the file to my One Drive folder. I knew that my computer at home was also set up with One Drive, so I decided to give One Drive a spin. Little did I know what I was setting up myself for a headache.

After I got home, I fired up my computer and gave it sometime for One Drive to start and sync. I fired up the program I was using and navigated to my local One Drive folder. I knew the exact location I saved it, and the file wasn't there. My thoughts turned to "maybe it hasn't been long enough to sync", so I logged into the web interface for One Drive. That confirmed what I was afraid of: my file was never synced. The file was only on my computer at work.

So I started doing some research about One Drive and how often it syncs between the client computer and the cloud. The first result was this blog entry entitled "How To Force Microsoft OneDrive to Sync More Often". It was a hallelujah moment! I wasn't the only one to got caught with the rather slow sync intervals of One Drive.

The article shares some code that is used as a .BAT file to quit One Drive and then restart it. The restart would force it to sync the files on the computer with the cloud server. I used the code and created the .BAT file on my computer. Sure enough, it did exactly just that.

I am a longer time user of Google Drive and Dropbox, two great services that will sync as soon as any changes are made to a file or folder in the local folder. Microsoft is going to have to rethink their features if they intend to compete with Google Drive and Dropbox. For this guy, I'm going to stick with what "just works", but since I work with Microsoft technologies professionally, I will keep my eyes on the progress that is made with One Drive. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Finally moved in!

Photo credit: Mechelle Slider
What a day!!
We've been waiting on the rest of our stuff to arrive in nearby Fort Collins. If you are not aware of UHaul's "UBox" service, let me take a moment to share how it works. A UBox is a large wooden box that they deliver to your home or business. In our case, we had them leave the UBox in the driveway of our California home.

We then proceed to pack the UBox with all of our stuff that we wanted to move. Once your UBox is packed, you place a personal lock on the door and let UHaul know that it is ready for pick up. The next day the driver came by and loaded the box onto her trailer.

UHaul will then store it or, in our case, they will truck it to the nearest UHaul location to your destination. In our case, we had our UBox shipped to Fort Collins, Colorado, about an hour drive from Laramie. We then rented a small UHaul truck and transferred our stuff from the UBox to the truck to bring it home.

This morning Renee and I headed out to retrieve our stuff. With a lot of help with Chris, Mechelle and the kids, we got the truck loaded and headed home. Once we were back in Laramie, we also got help unloading the truck with Mikole and two of Renee's friends. Having a lot of people made unloading the truck go very quick. A big thank you to these great family and friends!

This evening we started going through some of the stuff, but I made sure the important stuff was unpacked and set up tonight: the TV and the video game consoles. We're going to take unpacking one box at a time and get our place looking like our home, but it does feel good to have it all done!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Let it snow!

I know what you are thinking: is this two posts in one week here on TCO?! A lot of really new and cool things happening up here, so I hope to sharing a bit more than I have been.

All this week I've been getting up with my wife and driving her to work, that way I have the SUV at my disposal during the day. There is nothing worse than being stuck at home without a car when I could be driving around and getting to know Laramie.

Well this morning, as I was waking up, Renee informs me that it snowed overnight. Now the first thing that pops to my mind is that we got a small dusting from the flurries we've had the last couple of days. These flurries last like 30 minutes (at most) and the snow melts as soon as it hits the ground. So you can imagine my amazement when I looked out the window and saw that we really did get snow, about 2-3 inches to my estimate.

That meant breaking out the gloves, beanie, sweatshirt and jacket, and the rest of my "cold" weather gear. It also meant driving in the snow, something that I haven't really done much of until now.

For this southern California native, it is quite an interesting experience to drive in the snow. The key is to really pay attention to the road conditions and keep your speed down. To really get the experience, on my way back to our condo, I took some of the side streets, the streets that don't get immediate attention from the snowplows. I have to say that it isn't quite as scary as I expected.

Life in Laramie is going to be an adventure and I'm enjoying the journey so far!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Getting settled in

Just an update from Wyoming!

Renee and I arrived Sunday evening safe and sound after a long week of moving and packing stuff out of the house from California. Instead of a moving van, we elected to use a new service from U-Haul, called the "UBox". The concept is they drop off this large "box" at your location, you pack it, they pick it up, they ship it to an U-Haul location near your destination (or your home) for you to unpack. It was a tiny bit smaller than the 10' van, but not having to drive a moving van a 1,000 miles, across the entire southern section of Wyoming, made the UBox a better deal.

After we got the UBox packed and picked up, we then finished moving the stuff that was either going with us in our small SUV or going to storage (like my VWs, bikes, etc.). You never really realize how much stuff you can accumulate until you move. I went through a lot of my stuff, and gave it away to people who could use it or throwing it away if it wasn't of any use.

We left Saturday morning and made Cedar City Utah our stop for the night. After checking into our hotel, we grabbed dinner at a pizzeria that a friend highly recommended: Centro Pizzeria. This friend has pretty good taste when it comes to food, so we gave it a shot.

Our verdict for Centro? DELICIOUS! We had their "Rustic Bread" appetizer, and shared a "Gorgonzola Salad" and a "Arugula Pizza". All of it was fresh and a delight to these two weary travelers. We made the decision that the next time we passed through Cedar City we are going to try their other offerings!

Anyways, we are now safe in Laramie. Renee had to return to work yesterday (our 1st wedding anniversary) and I'm trying to stave off the effects of altitude sickness (I always seem to have a rough time adjusting to the altitude in Laramie, 7200ft!!).

This Saturday our UBox arrives, so hopefully Mother Nature cooperates and we will be able to get it. We have to pick it up in Fort Collins, Colorado, which is about an hour drive south of here. Looking forward to having my desk in the second bedroom (which will become our office) and the rest of our stuff so that we can get really settled in.

-- Tom

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The end of an era

For almost 20 years now, I've called Yucaipa schools my workplace. It all started with a close friend telling me about a job posting at one of the elementary schools in Yucaipa in the fall of 1996. After seven years working to get Ridgeview Elementary to be an elementary school with tech at the forefront, I transferred to Yucaipa High. YHS presented a new family of great co-workers and of course a bunch of new challenges.

So today, as I pulled out of the YHS parking lot, I thought about how I was leaving not as an employee of the school, but as former staff member. I thought of the great people I've worked with over the years. The great students who I've gotten to know and in some cases become friends with. I thought about the friendships I've made with my co-workers.

I could go on all day about the great people I've met through my time with the Yucaipa and Calimesa schools. These professionals only want the best for the students and it was my privilege to be one of them.

So to you staff, students, and families of the cities of Yucaipa and Calimesa, I bid you a fond adieu. Thank you for the memories, the opportunities, and the experience. You always be in my heart and on my mind. ‪#‎goTBirds

Sunday, February 14, 2016

I got the job!!

It seems that the good news keeps rolling into the Slider house! Two weeks ago, on a whim, I checked out the job vacancies with the school district that covers Laramie and the rest of the county: Albany County School District. Much to my surprise, there was a technology position open: Computer Technician I (or II). I checked out the posting and I felt that I was well suited for this job. I had the education, years of experience in a school/district, and the skills. So I completed the application and submitted it a few days later.

Fast forward to a week ago Friday. I get a phone call from ACSD to schedule an interview, even before the job closed. The interview was this last week and I was really pleased with how it went. My responses to their questions all seemed to be spot-on and the mood was very relaxed and friendly. I was expecting another interview this coming week.

So this last Friday I get an unexpected phone call from the ACSD Director of Technology and Communication and he offers me the job!! Due to my experience in Yucaipa, I'm going to start as a Computer Technician II! We discussed some details about when I could, and it looks like I will be starting about the middle of March. That means that our move timeline is going to be accelerated!

My last day at YHS will be March 1st. My wife is coming down a few days before that date so we can start packing. 2016, like 2015, is going to be quite a year for the Sliders!