Blatherings

Tmux Desktop on openSUSE Linux

I can’t say that I ever spent my childhood wishing I had the ultimate terminal desktop but the more I have played on Linux, the more I have spent time in the terminal and I really can’t explain why I find it so charming. Perhaps it is the low memory usage of the applications? The clever modern implementation of certain terminal applications? I can’t really say, but there is something incredibly charming about the terminal.

My pursuit of having a terminal based “desktop” was Inspired by Linux Unplugged Presentation. A rather nice article and I fell into this hole of terminal excitement

Build your own Desktop in the Terminal Linux Unplugged Article

After some exploration and some fiddling. I have put together a little resource for today me and future me. Hopefully this has some interest for you and I am open to other suggestions for making my Terminal based Desktop even better.

Tmux Terminal Desktop

The possibilities are seemingly endless as the bandwidth required to sustain this is really quite low.

LG 29″ UltraWide | Monitor Upgrade and Configuration on Linux

I have historically made my hardware decisions based on price, generally I get what I can get for as low or as reasonable as possible. Basically, I go for free or near-free and fabri-cobble something together. After seeing some other computer setups, I have really thought that I want to be able to function more effectively and efficiently than I had been. One of the areas that I have been less than happy has been my monitor layout. I have been pushing 3 displays with my Dell Latitude E6440 and for the most part, it has been meeting my needs but there were some work flows that have not been working out so well.

What I had before was a kind of ah-hoc solution. I started with one monitor than wanted more screen real estate so I placed it off to one side because that is just what made sense at the time.

What I had here was a laptop screen with 1920×1080 (FDH) resolution. A monitor directly above with a resolution of 1440×900 (WXGA+) and off to the top right a screen with the resolution of 1280×1024 (SXGA). Both of those monitors I purchased for $10 each from a company upgrading everything. I was pretty happy as going from one monitor to a second was fantastic and adding a third made it even better.

The problem I ran into was that the monitor above was not Full HD and sometimes it made for some usability issues with certain applications. That was compounded by having a monitor to the right with a physically slightly taller display but pixel wise, quite a bit taller and it just made things weird when moving from monitor to monitor.

The solution presented to me by my e-friend, Mauro Gaspari is ultimately what I started to pursue when he sent me a picture of his screen setup on Telegram. What he had (probably still has) is a 1440p monitor. I had never seen such a thing, it was so clean and made so much sense, especially with the ability to tile windows. So, began my search and measuring to see what was feasable. Fast forward to about eight months later, I purchased the LG 29WK50S-P. This is a 2560×1080, 29″ with a 60Hz refresh rate.

Initially I wanted to go with a 3440×1440 (WQHD) screen but I couldn’t get one at the size and price I wanted. Since I don’t have a whole lot of space and the distance it will be away from my face, any bigger than 29″ diagonal would take up too much space. I also didn’t want to spend a whole lot so what I payed was $179.10 for this monitor and I am quite happy with the price. Sure, more than the $10 I spent on the last monitor but a heck of a lot more pixels.

Features

The description of this this monitor is a 29 Inch Class 21:9 UltraWide® Full HD IPS LED Monitor with AMD FreeSync. It has the following features

  • AMD FreeSync™ Technology
  • Dynamic Action Sync
  • Black Stabilizer
  • OnScreen Control
  • Smart Energy Saving
  • Screen Split to give you different picture choices with the monitor.

None of these features were all that important to me. What I was most concerned about was the resolution and VESA mount. The split screen feature, to which I mostly don’t care about, is intriguing as I could use the second display input and do some testing on other distributions with another computer.

I really wasn’t asking for much in a monitor, really. I am going to take advantage of the AMD FreeSync at this time either but it is nice to know it’s there.

Initial Setup

I have been spoiled in openSUSE Linux for years and years. I haven’t really had to fiddle with anything to get my computer to use hardware. I expected this ultra-wide monitor to be just as un-fiddly but it wasn’t. For whatever reason. The display didn’t recognize to computer its proper resolution.

I don’t know why if it is because it falls under the “other” resolution category or if there is some other issue. I am running Tumbleweed so I do have the latest drivers and since this monitor has been around for a while, I wasn’t expecting any issues.

The Plasma Display Settings didn’t give me the option of 2560×1080 at all, a quick DuckDuckGo search which brought me to the solution to my troubles here on the openSUSE forum. I started out by using some “old school” xrandr commands.

First I started out by defining a new mode:

xrandr --newmode "2560x1080_60.00"  230.76  2560 2728 3000 3440  1080 1081 1084 1118  -HSync +Vsync

Then I added a mode to the specific output.

xrandr --addmode HDMI-3 2560x1080_60.00

Then I sent the command to change the mode of the screen

xrandr --output HDMI-3 --mode 2560x1080_60.00

This worked but it is not a permanent solution as the next time I were to reboot, I would lose these settings. That made it time to do an Xorg configuration file for this monitor. Thankfully, it is just one simple text document.

Permanent Solution

Using the handy dandy terminal, once again, I navigated to the appropriate folder

cd /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/

Then instead of creating a standard type of file that could be overwritten like “50-monitor.conf“, I created a custom one for this particular monitor.

sudo nano 49-LG29WK50S.conf

There is not much in this configuration file, just the modeline and preferred mode along with the Identifier of HDMI-3:

Section "Monitor"
   Identifier "HDMI-3"
   Modeline "2560x1080_60.00"  230.76  2560 2728 3000 3440  1080 1081 1084 1118  -HSync +Vsync
   Option "PreferredMode" "2560x1080_60.00"
EndSection

This allowed for the Plasma Display module to now have the proper mode available in the drop down and for me to do arrange the screen properly.

And now doing something like video editing feels a lot cleaner and the width only makes this task so much nicer to accomplish.

It’s not a perfect setup but it is a more perfect setup than what I had. What is nice is that I can very easily tile windows and jump to different applications without playing the, “where did I go” game.

I don’t know if I have any games yet that take advantage of the ultra-wide screen layout but from a productivity standpoint, this is fantastic.

I have been using it as the monitor with which I do CAD and I do like the wider display much better as the side menus are never in the way of the model itself. Also, the extended design history is almost entirely seen on larger models too.

Final Thoughts

Although the DPI is not the same between the laptop and the ultra-wide, I am happy with it. I don’t even know if I would want this monitor smaller or if maybe it is time to go up to a 15″ laptops screen. That would make the DPI closer to being the same between the laptop and the monitor. I am happy with it after one day of usage and over time, I am sure I will find irritations with the setup.

I want to note that I didn’t go for the curved screen. I don’t think I am quite ready for such a “radical” idea of having a screen curved towards me. Would it have been better? Maybe, I can’t really say and maybe the next screen I purchase will be curved so that I can compare. The way I see it, going from 16:9 resolution to 64:27 (21:9) was enough of a jump. Adding another bit of unfamiliarity of a curve in the display might have just thrown me off (insert smile emoji).

I have more “testing” to do with the monitor but for the $179.10 I spent on it, I think it was worth it. The contrast is nice, the brightness is nice, everything is very pleasing. This might very well be one of the best technology purchases I have made. I much prefer this to the ad-hoc, fabri-cobbled setup I previously had.

References

Ultrawide Monitor Help on the openSUSE Forum
LG 29WK50S-P Ultrawide LED Monitor product page
Display Resolutions on Wikipedia

Noodlings | Designing, Replacing and Configuring

A prime number podcast but not a prime podcast

17th Noodling of technical musings

I’d like to say something interesting about the number 17, it’s a prime number, the last year you are a minor in the United States, perhaps other places… Team 17 was a great video game house in the 90s that made the game Worms, that was cool. Played that quite a lot some years back…

Fusion 360 Architectural Design

Used Fusion 360 on Linux to help me design a major renovation project. I need a new space for my dusty projects, a place to make wood and metal chips and other non-electronics friendly tasks like welding.

MechBoard64 | Replacement Commodore 64 Keyboard

Modern replacement keyboard project for the Commodore 64. Not in production but all the plans to build your own are available.

Zoom Meeting Large UI Elements | Fix

Over-sized UI elements

TUXEDO Pulse 15 | Possible AMD Linux Laptop Upgrade

First New Piece of Hardware that excites me and just may be my next laptop

BDLL Followup

  • Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix is struggling with their process to become an official distribution due to 3rd party packages
  • FerenOS reaches 5 years
  • Community feedback, concerning getting into Network Administrator, get your hands on, buy some cheap used equipment, get the Debian network administrator handbook. Get real equipment seems like the best way to learn.
  • For me, Ocular for reading. For managing ebooks, I use Calibre. Folio was talked about but it looks to Gnome.

openSUSE Corner

openSUSE + LibreOffice Virtual Conference Extends Call for Papers

Organizers of the openSUSE + LibreOffice Virtual Conference are extending the Call for Papers to August 4. Participants can submit talks for the live conference past the original deadline of July 21 for the next two weeks. The conference is scheduled to take place online from Oct. 15. – 17.

The length of the talks that can be submitted are either a 15-minute short talk, a 30-minute normal talk and/or a 60-minute work group session. Organizers believe shortening the talks will keep attendees engaged for the duration of the online conference.

The conference will have technical talks about LibreOffice, openSUSE, open source, cloud, containers and more. Extra time for Questions and Answers after each talk is possible and the talks will be recorded. The conference will schedule frequent breaks for networking and socializing.

The conference will be using a live conferencing platform and will allow presenters with limited bandwidth to play a talk they recorded should they wish not to present a live talk. The presenter will have the possibility to control the video as well as pause, rewind and fast-forward it.

Attendees can customize their own schedule by adding sessions they would like to participate in once the platform is ready. More information about the platform will be available in future news articles.

Organizers have online, live conference sponsorship packages available. Interested parties should contact ddemaio (at) opensuse.org for more information.

Release Team Asks for Feedback on openSUSE Leap “15.2”

The openSUSE release team is would like feedback from users, developers and stakeholders about the release of the of community-developed openSUSE Leap 15.2 through a survey. The survey is available at https://survey.opensuse.org. openSUSE Leap 15.2 was released on July 2. The survey centers on these two questions: what went well and what didn’t go well?

Tumbleweed Roundup

  • 20200728 Pending Stable 99
    • ffmpeg-4
    • sudo (1.9.1 -> 1.9.2)
      Subpackages: sudo-plugin-python
  • 20200727 Pending Stable 99
    • yast2 (4.3.15 -> 4.3.17)
  • 20200726 Pending Stable 99
    • Mesa (20.1.3 -> 20.1.4)
    • Mesa-drivers (20.1.3 -> 20.1.4)
    • fourth bugfix release for the 20.1 branch
    • just a few fixes here and there, nothing major
    • gnome-disk-utility (3.36.1 -> 3.36.3)
    • Fix creating partitions by using special parameter when requesting the maximal partition size.
    • Updated translations.
  • 20200724 Stable 97
    • NetworkManager (1.24.2 -> 1.26.0)
    • flatpak (1.6.4 -> 1.8.1)
    • kernel-firmware (20200702 -> 20200716)
    • pipewire
    • Subpackages: libpipewire-0_3-0 pipewire-modules pipewire-spa-plugins-0_2 pipewire-spa-tools pipewire-tools
  • 20200721 Stable 94
    • MozillaFirefox
    • Add mozilla-libavcodec58_91.patch to link against updated soversion of libavcodec (58.91) with ffmpeg >= 4.3.
      libzypp (17.24.0 -> 17.24.1)
      Fix bsc#1174011 auth=basic ignored in some cases (bsc#1174011)
      Proactively send credentials if the URL specifes ‘?auth=basic’ and a username.
    • ZYPP_MEDIA_CURL_DEBUG: Strip credentials in header log (bsc#1174011)
    • version 17.24.1 (22)
  • 20200720 Stable 95
    • kernel-source (5.7.7 -> 5.7.9) Numerous fixes
      protect ring accesses with READ- and WRITE_ONCE
      KVM: arm64: vgic-v4: Plug race between non-residency and v4.1 doorbell (bnc#1012628).

Computer History Retrospective

Computer Chronicles – Microchip Technology

Value of computers today is enormous and this put that into some of its perspective.

Final Thoughts

It is never good to live in fear. The world is indeed a dangerous place, filled with so many things that reWe are often focused on the negative in the world. The things that are bad or could be improved and often become far too resentful as a consequence. If we spend more time focusing on the miracles that bring us the technology and comforts we get to enjoy day in and day out. I think the world would be a better place

Zoom Meeting Large UI Elements | Fix

I thought it a fluke the first time it happened to me but when participating in the BigDaddyLinux Live “LUG” meeting on 25 July 2020, the elements were all large and I just couldn’t handle the gigantic everything with the UI. I though maybe my computer was concerned about me needing readers and was starting to scale things up. Zoom is known for doing silly things after an update but I wasn’t willing to wait for another update to correct this awful Zoomed in UI. Now, if it was April 1st, I would have considered it a kind of joke.

This is what I was presented on a 1080p screen

After some web searching on DuckDuckGo, I found this on Reddit and after reading down a bit, I found a solution. Rather than wait for another week, I had to try it out immediately, so, this is what I did:

Using Nano in the terminal, I opened up the config file for Zoom

nano ~/.config/zoomus.conf

From there, you have to change the “autoScale” option to “false”

Next, I quit completely out of Zoom, restarted it and joined the meeting again. Zoom was back to normal. Now everything is good again. I don’t have to page over for more than 12 participants.

It feels good when you can find a solution for an irritating problem and bring to order a bit of the “chaos” out of your little corner of the world.

Final Thoughts

Zoom gets a lot of flak but I truly think Zoom is pretty great. It work well and is mostly reliable. Sure, it does some odd things but just about every application has some weirdness to it that I have ever used. Thankfully, this odd happening was easily corrected.

References

Zoom Meeting Home Page
Zoom Thread on Reddit
DuckDuckGo Web Search Engine

TUXEDO Pulse 15 | Possible AMD Linux Laptop Upgrade

My main machine a Dell Latitude E6440 has very happily been chugging away and meeting my needs very reliably. For most tasks, I don’t have any issues. I do probably push it by keeping too many tabs open far too frequently but for the things I need to do, CAD, video editing office tasks, VMs this silly CubicleNate.com site, I am very happy with the performance. I think where I am having trouble is that now that I have had a taste of high-resource application multitasking, now I want more of it. Also, the Server / workstation that I built last year has further wet my appetite for more power.

I have looked at Tuxedo Computers several times and have been very interested by their many offerings. Looking at the 10th Generation Intel machines, I found the prospect of super long battery life with greater processing power compelling but not compelling enough. The difference in performance of the integrated GPUs vs the onboard AMD of my current laptop wasn’t enough of a difference to get me to make the purchase. I wanted more of a leap frog than a hop forward if I am going to make a major purchase.

Then I have this article pop up in my Twitter feed. Now I am intrigued as this wasn’t just a few percentage points faster than my current machine. This was almost 6 times the CPU power and although uncertain the GPU performance increase, I am quite certain that the RX Vega 7 will do far better than the Radeon HD 8600M Series GPU I am currently enjoying.

Exciting Features

I am going to outline the features that mean the most to me. Everyone is a bit different so I will illustrate the most compelling aspects of this machine that get me ready to open up my Bitwarden client to punch in my payment information.

CPU

For starters, this is an all AMD laptop. Nothing against Intel, outside of the Spectre and Meltdown issues, I have enjoyed great performance and Linux compatibility over the years. Even now, I am quite satisfied with my 4th Generation Intel. What an all AMD laptop means to me is no funny hybrid graphic commands to utilize the more powerful GPU. By default, having a Vega 7 paired with the Ryzen 7 CPU with 8 cores and 16 threads means a LOT more that I can do and in less time. Specifically, more efficiently working in 3D design, such as Fusion 360 and rendering audio and video files. I shouldn’t complain too much, generally my rendering takes about 1 minute for each minute of video but the more effects I layer on the longer this can take.

GPU

Maybe I should have lumped this into the previous paragraph but I do want to highlight my reasons for a better GPU. For starters, Gaming. I don’t do a lot of it, but when I do, I find that my GPU is a bit lacking for the newer games. I don’t need superb graphics but I would like to be able to play some of the newer titles without having my graphics turned all the way down to the lowest setting to keep up. Obviously that is not all the games but the “Triple-A” titles are just not possible.

“Psss, that is why you built the new server / workstation system”

“Shhhhh, let’s not talk about that computer right now!”

CubicleNate talking to CubicleNate

Whenever I want to use the AMD GPU in my E6440, I have to invoke “DRI_PRIME=1” to activate it and it can be annoying to do it for all the applications that draw on GPU resources. Admittedly, that is not a huge deal but convenience is worth something.

Memory

I don’t tax my memory all that often but I tend to as I have said earlier that once I got a taste for taxing application multitasking, I have wanted to do more of it. Maybe I don’t need to but I have been known to use up the 16 GiB of RAM on my system quite regularly. This machine has a max of 64 GiB and since that number sounds great, I just may want to have a “Linux 64” system to compliment the Commodore 64. See what I did there, 64 GiB of RAM and 64 KiB of RAM?

(Insert eye roll)

Seriously though, I would like to have a bit higher ceiling to work with when doing more complicated tasks and that additional memory should keep me quite satisfied for the next several years.

Battery

The battery performance of this machine looks to be about 10 hours under normal office loads. Now, that is not much more than what I have with my E6440 on a good battery as I get between 6 and 8 hours, depending, but 10 hours is nothing to sneeze at. The battery is also user replaceable in this machine as well. Not as easy as a couple retaining latches on my E6440 but I can live with having to employ a screw driver to remove the lithium-polymer battery, so long as it doesn’t require a heat gun and careful prying to get it out. The question I have here is, “how easy will it be to get a replacement battery?”

Ports

Here is where many machines fall on their face. For the most part, ports on newer machines are loathsome. Possibly the most egregious design I have seen has been Apple laptops. It is as though they have no thought or concern in what users will need. I have seen all brands with this shortcoming. This machine is fairly well equipped and I would be comfortable in saying is far better than most.

It has 1 – USB 3.2 Generation 1 Type-C that can also be used to deliver power. That is great because it opens me up for having a universal USB-C type dock station, which Tuxedo Computers also sells. It seemingly is not DisplayPort capable but I am okay with that. Two ports would have been nice but one is good.

There are 2 – USB 3.2 Gen1 Typ-A ports. I am rather accustomed to the 4 I have on my Latitude but I do NOT currently have a USB-C port so the world of USB-C is out of reach at this time. There is 1 – USB 2.0 Type-A and I wish that this would be a USB 3 instead but the reality is, this is fine, really. I mostly have USB 2 type devices and things like Mice and controllers waste that USB 3 port so I am fine with this.

1x HDMI 2.0 that has output capabilities I don’t fully understand but it can do 4k. I don’t own any 4K anything so this is not a huge deal to me. I am more concerned about having multiple screens that I can plug into the dock station. I will have to get some kind of HDMI to SVGA adapter I keep in my computer bag for the eventuality that I run into a display with that standard.

This has a real RJ45 Gigabit LAN port. So HUGE win here. I can’t have a machine without a real port. Not having a real LAN port is just silly to me.
This has a real 2-in-1 Headphone/Headset (Headphone & Microphone) port. I do use this still even though I have many Bluetooth audio things

It also has a micro-SD Card-Reader. I would prefer a real SD Card slot but I can live with this. Supposedly there is an adapter to read 8 other card formats but the only two for which I am interested is the Large SD Cards and Compact Flash.

Honorable Mentions

It has all the other standard options of the day like Webcam, sound card, speakers and internal storage. I will probably just go with the 2000 GB option as to not have to mess with that in the future. I mean, maybe not, maybe I can live with just 1000 GB but that would be a storage downgrade from current machine.

Concerns

I am a bit concerned by the change in keyboard layout would change how I use tiling on Plasma. This is a small issue and thinking about it, I actually may be able to use it more effectively as there are more keys near by that I could more sensibly configure to take advantage of the tiling features.

Getting more power supplies is my other concern. I can’t have just one or two. I need to have several but there is that USB-C option that everyone is seemingly excited about these days. I do have several Dell Power Supplies and I don’t want to just retire the lot. I wonder if they would be compatible.

Tuxedo Computers is in Germany, I am in the US. I am a bit concerned by the customer service issues I may have. Specifically, replacement parts, like batteries, or should I monkey something up. This is a small concern as I prefer to work on my own machines and assuming I upgrade my E6440 one more time, I could easily fall back to it should this Rysen machine have issues… and I think that is the path that I need to take.

What I wish it had

There are two things I wish the computer had. The first, a TrackPoint, as you see on the Dell Latitudes and ThinkPads. I am quite accustomed to using it regularly when I am mobile with my computer. Perhaps I could become used to using the track pad only, not sure, but this is the only thing that would be difficult. With that TrackPoint comes three physical buttons beneath it. I do like physical buttons too.

Secondly, I wish it had a built in smart card reader. This is not a huge deal and external USB models will work fine, it is just that there is something incredibly convenient in having a built in device so it is always ready to be used. My last 13 years of Dell Latitudes have had them built in and working great in Linux.

Final Thoughts

After a lot of thinking and pondering. I am not going to make the plunge… yet. I have to call myself out right here and remind myself that I previously said that I would buy an all AMD Linux laptop when they became available. My reason for not making the plunge yet is I can squeeze a bit more out of my E6440, I just purchased a new battery for it and the price of 4th Gen CPUs are rather low right now so I am going to extract a bit more performance out of this machine before I replace it. I may make this Tuxedo Pulse 15 a Christmas gift to myself, or maybe Santa will send one my way to end 2020 on a positive note.

Dell has been good to me for nearly two decades and I will never say a new Dell is a bad way to go, but with the changes in the power supply connection, my reasons for staying Dell have become fewer. They new keyboard layouts from Dell are also enough of a difference that I will have to alter some of my shortcut key sequences anyway. The two major reasons for staying with Dell are the lack of TrackPoint and Smart Card devices.

The part that truly interests me most is that I can buy a laptop, from manufacturer that has openSUSE Linux on it. Sure, it’s Leap and I would end up putting Tumbleweed on it but having a computer, from factory, with openSUSE brings about a kind of excitement. I haven’t ever purchased a Linux laptop before, let alone an openSUSE Linux laptop. I would certainly call this a “flagship” experience and for my first [factory] Linux laptop, this sounds like a great way to go.

References

Tuxedo Computers Unveils the Tuxedo Pulse 15 Linux Ultrabook with AMD Ryzen 4000H Series
Tuxedo Pulse 15 Details and Configuration
Dell Latitude E6440
Fusion 360 on openSUSE Linux | Review
Building an AMD Server and Game Machine out of Yester-Year’s Parts
openSUSE.org

Fusion 360 on Linux | Architectural Design Blathering

I have previously reviewed Fusion 360 and have since been gaining experience using it. I find it to be a very capable CAD application package that I rather enjoy using it too. Since most of my design experience has been using PTC Creo, I have had to relearn a lot of tools but the process has been fun (sometimes frustrating but mostly fun). To be absolutely clear, I have no architectural design experience. I am building this out of observation from hands-on experience.

These are my musings about it after spending several hours on it, understanding how to design a more complex assembly. For this project, I set my units to inches and I worked at designing my ideal garage with the idea that I am renovating the existing structure. I have many unanswered questions about the structure I am digitally assembling this at the time of writing but I hope to do updates on it as the project progresses.

I started out by placing the two walls I have to keep of my existing garage (over sized crappy shed). As I am “grandfathered in” to the current location so tearing it down and rebuilding would not be possible.

For the remaining two walls, made primitives based on the size, none of the details of the structure which consists of the Length and height of the walls along with the opening for the garage door. At this time, the details are not real important. I just need to have my limits set using the existing walls. The plan is to widen, lengthen and heighten the building to make it useful.

Keep in mind that none of this has yet been approved so much of this design might change. I may have also over-built or under-built aspects of this as I also have yet to have a professional look it over before I submit the permit.

Interface considerations

The vast majority of my experience doing mechanical design has been using Creo which is a fantastic parametric modeler. The big difference with Fusion 360 is, everything is parametric, including the assembly process, inclusive of each position change. Every time you move a component or body, that is another feature. I wasn’t really paying attention to this so it made my design a bit of a mess. What I learned in the process of laying out my garage was that I should have had a better idea of the structural requirements prior to placing the first 6×6 posts. Some basic calculations before placing the first post would have been smart. I ended up stepping back the design and laying out the footprint as a sketch because I didn’t take into account the basic lumber dimensions for plywood.

I had far, far too many “reposition features” in my history which made editing the history rather time consuming. The upshot is that I was able to correct all the weirdness I put into the model by stepping through it and clearing out all the extra moves. I certainly won’t make this mistake again in the future.

The ease of setting the material appearance makes designing a lot more fun. There are many options for appearance from wood, to paint to metals. Since I am working with digital wood, I went with pine, ultimately. I would have chosen a “pressure treated” pine but that wasn’t an option so pine will do.

Right-Click menu for appearance options

Although Fusion 360 has datums, they don’t work in exactly the same way as they do in Creo. I had to make many changes in the way I created interface points. At this time, I do feel like Creo has a more powerful datum plane, axis and point system but I haven’t put nearly as much time in Fusion 360 as I have Creo. Maybe I am wrong on this and my lack of knowledge about the application is the issue and there are, perhaps, functions I have yet to discover.

This is to illustrate were I made excessive lengths and widths in the footprint of this design. I can not only save a lot in materials by shaving off a few inches but I can also save in time as well not making excessive cuts. I am quite certain I won’t miss those few inches.

I really like the pattern tool in Fusion 360. The process of adding components and bodies is very straight forward and intuitive. You have the option of setting an overall length and number of features to pattern or the spacing and total quantity. You can easily pattern in two dimensions which is super handy for laying out the floor decking in this design.

Another neat aspect of the pattern function is that you can turn off / suppress specific instances. Although not pictured yet. The pull-down staircase will interrupt two of the floor joists and the decking so I will adjust the design when I get the dimensions for that component.

This roof might be overbuilt. I have to yet review it with an expert.

Another super neat-o feature in Fusion 360 is the ease of creating copies of components. In this case, if I make any modifications to the short or long walls. The copy will also update. Whether or not that works for you depends on your design intent.

Where that came in handy was when closing the space between the roof and the top of that knee-wall. I only had to create the wall once on one side with the gusset supports and the opposite side automatically updated which made the design process very enjoyable. I expected that I was going to have to mirror the changes manually but that was not the case.

I am at a stopping point with this design as I have to figure out what I want to do for the “skin” of this garage. I have options and I have to determine what I am going to do with my house so that the exteriors match. The thought of regretting a color choice and siding style makes me very uneasy so I must get this figured out before I buy the siding.

I am quite happy with the current stage of development. I have worked out a lot of my questions through the process of laying it out. I may have over designed much of it, or maybe not. I am not a builder but I have assisted with many other building projects so I am basing this off of my past observations.

As an aside. The Fusion 360 Android App is really quite nice. I have only used it for viewing thus far. There are measuring tools and annotation tools for design collaboration. There is much to learn about this mobile app yet but the novelty of it is certainly strong.

Final Thoughts

I really don’t know if Fusion 360 was ever intended on being used for “architectural design” or not but I had fun doing it. I can very easily made modification and extract the necessary dimensions as needed when I go to build this. Having the mobile application is nice for just looking at it as well and as I am picking up the lumber for it, I can look at the 3D model very easily and verify whatever it is I am thinking about.

I am still only scratching the surface of Fusion 360. The more I use it, the more I like it. I am very happy by the ease of use, and resource utilization of this application. It doesn’t tax my aging system much and the fact that the tools are intuitive makes working on projects very enjoyable.

References

Fusion 360 Lutris Installation
Fusion 360 on openSUSE Linux | Review
Fusion 360 Overview on Autodesk.com

MechBoard64 | Replacement Commodore 64 Keyboard

It happened again, unfettered access to the Internet has yielded yet another romp down the bunny trail to places that I don’t have time in which to go. I have previously discovery of the Ultimate 64, a modern replacement board for the Commodore 64, now I have come upon another amazing bit of tech. A modern replacement keyboard for the Commodore 64, the MechBoard64.

Every day, when I walk back to my “healing bench,” the place I fix my kids toys or things I break around the house, I see my extra, empty bread-bin box Commodore 64 shell. It has been sitting empty since sometime in the early 90s and my mind will wonder to a place where that would be a functional computer once again. Not that I need another Commodore 64, but I am thinking, often, I would like to have a modern re-implementation of the Commodore 64, specifically, with that Ultimate 64. When I play games or do IRC with the Commodore 64, I am periodically reminded that old hardware can have some unwelcome hiccups and remind me why we moved beyond the 8-bit era. Some behaviors of it are just not very welcome. Glitching out, occasional crashing after hours of usage, lack of complete drive compatibility with the SD2IEC device and so forth. I would like to have the best of both worlds, 8-bit fun and charm along with the modern conveniences of storage and reliability. Is that too much to ask?

Keyboard Features

I am not a huge proponent of the whole microswtich / mechanical keyboard craze, however, in the case of a Commodore 64, I think I very much indeed am interested in such. The MechBoard64 has microswitches from Gateron fitted on a black PCB and mounted in laser cut aluminum brackets. The aesthetic quality of the craftsmanship of that aluminum bracket with those microswitches affixed to the top has me gazing at it, very much desiring to posses such a carefully engineered labor of love.

I must admit, it is a beautiful looking piece of hardware and everything about it makes me want to build a re-implemented Commodore 64 to enjoy the reliability of the new hardware along with the charm and fun of the 8-bit era.

The Plan

I have priced none of this out, but I am intending on taking that old case of mine,

an Ultimate 64 and a new MechBoard64 keyboard to have a premium Commodore 64 experience.

I would be short a user port but I am willing to bet I can do something more with those USB ports. I am going to pause and day dream of the possibilities…

Final Thoughts

Since life has yielded me some extra time to think and do things, the time is right to go forth and make my childhood and adult fantasies coalesce into something I can use day-in and day-out. Nothing against the original hardware but the reliability concerns have made it less fun to share with the next generation of technical enthusiasts. I realize it is not exactly the same, but using the 37 year old hardware regularly does put it at risk of a fatal end. I can’t help but come to the conclusion that I should protect it and keep it from the harmful effects of its usage .

This is going to be a fun project, not yet, but soon. A re-implemented Commodore 64 with modern technology sounds like a winning proposition for those retro-computing compulsions. New, yet not, familiar, yet not. How fun!

References

https://www.breadbox64.com/blog/the-mechboard64/
Ultimate 64 | A New Commodore 64 main board

Updating Documentation for openSUSE Leap 15.2

After having a Virtual Live Installation Party on YouTube yesterday (02 Jul 2020). I realized, I have to test and update documentation out there on my site as well as the openSUSE Wiki. This is one of those things that I do as I have time, generally. Essentially, this is what I have done for the last several years, not 100% consistently but generally speaking, I keep on top of it. In order to stay organized, I have a “personal” wiki page that I keep track of what it is that I maintain.

I have been told that wikis are not the best form of storing such information. My attitude is, until openSUSE presents a better method, I will continue down the path of using the wiki. Maybe it is not the best repository of information but it is better than nothing. So, until that point, I will continue to use it

Why?

Documentation in the Linux and open source world is very important. In order for us to grow and develop our technical skills, we have to share understanding. I am continually learning and the more I learn the more I become painfully aware of my own ignorance. The only solution that I could find as an antidote to my ignorance was to write down and share my limited knowledge.

The Commission

If you are using a “free” operating system, it isn’t free. It has taken work and love to make it possible for you to use it. People are making personal sacrifices, often without pay, to bring this wonderful tool for you to use. Find a way to contribute back, in whatever way is within your abilities and pay the good will forward.

Final Thoughts

I openly admit my almost unhealthy obsession for the openSUSE project, it is in my obsession that I feel compelled to contribute where ever I can. I am forever thankful for everyone that takes the time to make openSUSE, Linux and all the software that I use possible. The freedom and ability to use my computer that suits my requirements best is something for which I am continually grateful.

References

openSUSE Wiki User Page
YouTube Documentation Update Live Stream
YouTube Virtual Installation Party of openSUSE Leap 15.2

New Adventures | Unexpected Change in Employment Status

I have been working at what has been my dream job at Whirlpool Corporation for six years. Every day I was either working on something new or making something better. The way I saw it, every day I was given a great gift of being payed to play with toys. Sure, they were appliances or tools but those are just toys for adults anyway. They are designed to make the “suffering” in life a bit more bearable and I found that to be an enjoyable task.

This was my second Whirlpool life. I had previously worked at Whirlpool, from 2002 to 2006 and left there on my own accord to seek other opportunities. My second Whirlpool life lasted 6 years to the day and was far, far more enjoyable. This time, I was able to unite my creative and problem solving skills in a technical manner using CAD as the vehicle to do so. I was able to create, take images in my mind and turn them into real things. I absolutely enjoyed it.

Just over a week ago, after an All-Hands meeting, I received a “Job Impact Communication” meeting show up in my email. Based on the context of that All-Hands meeting. I knew exactly what this was. The company had been talking about a 20% reduction in force and based on my specific role, I was already mentally prepared for this.

Blurred for my protection

The three individuals in this meeting to let me go were all very sad and somber, and I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t want that job. I made it a point to stop the “firing” early on to change the mood of the meeting. I said, “I am not dying, I am just going to find another opportunity, lets have some fun and get through this with some smiles.” I figured, I had nothing to lose, my separation was already decided. Nothing I did would change that so I will face my unfortunate news on my terms.

I made it clear, I was not upset. I understand the situation of the company and the reality is, I feel worse for Whirlpool and those that were doing the “Job Impact Communications” than I do for me. I made it clear that this is nothing more than a bump in my my road and I am now off to new adventures. Without sounding conceded, I know that I am a talented hard worker and they are losing far more than I am. I made it clear that I will miss being there working with some of the best people and most incredible projects I have ever done but that it was okay. The meeting did proceed to my liking after that. Everyone had a better disposition about the process. We had some laughs and I felt good about how the whole thing went. If nothing else, I know that I made a positive impact on the “firing squad” and I hope that I helped them face their day with just a bit more optimism and hope for the future.

I am quite sure that few others approached it in the same way I did. I had read some blips of angry, bitter and resentful people and I feel bad for them. I think they didn’t quite understand their agreement they had with Whirlpool.

I had one final one-on-one with my boss and I must say it was quite a lot of fun and emotion filled. I told him what I enjoyed, what I didn’t enjoy as much, the people I will miss for their fun and well defined personalities and my best wishes to the project that I felt very invested into. I finished off the meeting telling my boss why I enjoyed working with him why he was a great manager, why I enjoyed working for him and a hope that our paths will cross again in the future. I meant every bit of it.

Later that day, I picked up my things from the tech center. My 6 years at Whirlpool could be represented by three 12-gallon flip totes. Mostly books, some vintage tech that I had there and the things I placed around my cubicle that made it an extension of my home.

I did a Final walk around the facility after I was done picking up my things to say farewells to the the different people I worked with that were there. I received super kind statements from everyone to which I talked. Some were very sad for me saying it wasn’t fair and what not. As I progressed, making my rounds, I was in many ways more sad for them than I am for me, they are losing an awesome designer (that conceit again). I know that I can get another gig, maybe as good maybe better but certainly not the same.

I was leaving a great facility with great people and my only regret was that I didn’t have more time with them. I can, with great confidence say that I did my best, I learned a lot and grew not only professionally but also personally for being there and for that, I am incredibly grateful.

Some of the best parts of the job were my interactions with the model makers in the model shop. They helped me more than any training I had at being a better designer. They helped me to better understand manufacturing processes and better understand the limitations and capabilities of the equipment. There was a lot more to learn there but I think that goes with anything in life. There is never an end to the quest of knowledge and understanding.

I made it clear to everyone that I look at it as a new adventure. I wasn’t given news of having a terminal disease, I am just off on a conquest for knowledge elsewhere and I thanked them all for the time they gave me. I am glad I did indeed cherish my time there.

Before I walked out of the facility, possibly for the last time ever, I left a message on my little wipe board to my coworkers that I hope they take to heart.

“The future is whatever you make of it, so make it a good one.”

Obviously plagiarized from my favorite movie Trilogy, “Back to the Future” but that movie is a bit of fiction that hold some truth greater than reality. The future is indeed up to us.

Next Steps

I’m not in any big hurry, I have options. I need to take the time to interview my options and find the mutually best decision. The fact of the matter is, I’m not going to over-sell myself. If I’m not the best candidate they shouldn’t hire me. When I find the best option, I will know it in my heart and move forward.

My resume is going out to different places. I am currently enjoying some time of reflection and doing activities that I haven’t had the time to do. I am making the best of every day and doing everything I can to make the best of that time.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes when a dream ends, you wake up, you are disappointed, then you realize, there are other dreams out there to be had. I have, in a sense, woken up and found that my dream job has ended but there are other dream jobs out there. I find that I am quite content and doing a lot of things so making a good next step may take a bit of time. I still think Whirlpool is a great company for which to work. They are a fine “package deal” of a company but they are not an option for me today.

It is without dispute that life brings its tragedies and we will all be beaten down, tried and tested. That is the story of life. The key is, what are you going to do with the tragedies? Are you going to look at it as an opportunity to better life or are you going to let life better you and become resentful, angry and bitter? I choose to better my life out of the situation. I have failed previous tests in life and I will not fail this test. I will make my future a good one but not only that, I will do the best I can.

References

Whirlpool Corporation
Back to the Future Movie at IMDB

Noodlings | Amiga 1200, openSUSE Leap 15.2 and Documentation

Almost finished this on time…

16th Noodling of things

There are certain numbers, due to my nerdiness, that have importance to me. 16 is one of them. Some people get excited about reaching 10 or 20 or 100, I get excited about base 2 numbers. 8, 16, 32, 64 will be huge! I’ll have to plan something special for number 64.

Amiga 1200 Replacement Case

openSUSE Virtual Installation Party

I decided to have a properly socially distanced virtual installation party with openSUSE Leap 15.2. It was a nice small group of people. I enjoyed this kind of question answer forum. I had a few people on in the BDLL Discord server for live chat and people on YouTube sending messages

Updating openSUSE Documentation on the Wiki

This was sort of an impromptu activity. I wanted to update the documentation that I maintain for openSUSE and decided to do it while on a live stream and make it a chat with virtual friends.

Now on LBRY

Mostly for the reason of having a backup and other options for people to access the content I create

Concern about information being lost in the block-chain. Several videos I have tried to watch stopped playing with errors.

BDLL Followup

Ubuntu Cinnamon Reivew

New Podcast to fill in the gap. Linux User Space Podcast with Rocco, Joe Lamothe, Dan Simmons and Leo Chavez

Thoughts on Apple moving to its own silicon

openSUSE Corner

Computer History Retrospective

Computer Chronicles – Storage Devices (1983)

This is a great retrospective on how far we have come with mass storage devices.
Last part of a computer that was still mechanical

At this time there was rapid development happening on magnetic storage mediums. In a short period of time, the technology packed only a few thousand bits per square inch and quickly moved to 8 million bits per square inch and beyond.

Guest, Alan Shugart from Seagate technology shared that the introduction to the 8″ floppy proved the tech and the 5¼” floppy helped in the explosion of the home computer. Intel’s bubble memory device, a solid state device would not ever replace the floppy. Shugart said nothing will replace the floppy and that he didn’t see the 3.5″ replacing the 5¼” floppy because the world’s programs are all written on 5¼” floppies and he can’t see it ever being trans-coded onto another medium.

Final Thoughts

It is never good to live in fear. The world is indeed a dangerous place, filled with so many things that remind us of our mortality. regardless, you just cannot live in fear. Live every day with hope and optimism. Regardless of the crazy and awful things happening around us, we are still living the best time of human history.