An Observation About Chrome OS

There is a list of criticisms I could make about Chrome OS, but which I will simply skip for the moment.

I recently bought a new Chromebook.

I have an important piece of information – and praise – about Chrome OS. Its version of the Chrome Web browser – which is simply referred to as ‘Chrome’ – is capable of doing everything that full, desktop Web browsers can do, including, to install extensions from the Chrome Web store. This differs obviously from what the Chrome browser under Android did, which was only a small fraction of that.

Because of this, it’s unnecessary to install numerous Android apps, that just used to be front-ends of sorts, for services that were already available from Web-sites. Four apps which I did not need to install because I was just able to point Chrome to the relevant site, bookmark each site, and log in, are:

  1. Skype
  2. Netflix
  3. Amazon Prime Video
  4. Cineplex Store

And I’m writing this, even though there exist reports that the Android Netflix app runs fine under Chrome OS.

I’m sure my list will grow.

Dirk

 

Just performed a wanton reboot of my Modem/Router.

The modem/router which I use for my LAN is a Bell Hub 3000, which I still hold to be a good modem. But lately, I discovered a slight glitch in the way it works. I have given it numerous specialized settings, such as, for example, a “Reserved IP Address” for my new Chromebook.

The problem I ran in to was, that the modem was executing all my settings without the slightest flaw, but was failing to commit changes to certain settings to non-volatile memory. Apparently, the way the modem is organized internally is, that it has volatile as well as non-volatile memory, which mimic the RAM and the Storage of other, modern devices.

In certain cases, even a full-blown PC could be running some version of an operating system, in which a user-initiated change is accepted and enacted, but only saved to non-volatile storage, when the user logs out successfully.

Well, earlier this evening I had a power failure, after which the modem restarted, but restarted with settings, that predated the most recent settings which I had given it. This was its only offence.

Now, I could go through the ritual of changing all my special settings again, after every power failure, but in reality, that would not do. And so, what I did was to soft-boot the modem, which, just like that poorly programmed desktop manager would, saved all my settings to non-volatile memory. After the reboot, those settings have stuck.

But what it also means is twofold:

  1. This blog went down again, from 20h15 until 20h25, in other words, for an extra 10 minutes.
  2. And, if there are any readers who examine the IP address log in the side-bar of my blog, they will notice an additional IP address change, simply due to the modem reboot. This will be, between 20h10 and 21h10. This one was not due to any malfunction, but was deliberately triggered by my action.

The process was short but painful, and had to be done. :-)

Dirk

 

Power Failure, Downtime

I take the unusual approach of hosting my site and this blog, on a PC at home, which acts as my Web server. I don’t recommend that everybody do it this way. This is only how I do it.

This has as side effect that the availability of this site is only as good, as the reliability of my PC, as well as that of my internet connection.

Today my neighbourhood experienced a power failure from 14h25 until 17h55, and, this site remained offline until about 18h55.

I apologize for any inconvenience to my readers.

Dirk

 

Using MPD with Cantata.

One of the common ways in which Linux users have been playing music on their computers has been a traditional way, which would be, with an application that has a GUI, and which runs in their user-space, and which therefore has access to a personal music folder. ‘Clementine’ and ‘Amarok’ are only two out of several applications which do this under Linux. But there is another way to stream music through a Linux computer, in the form of the “Music Player Daemon” (‘MPD’), that can be configured to run in the root file system, as a system process, and in the background, while using up far less RAM or CPU cycles than either of the top-heavy, GUI-driven apps use. And one good place to use such an arrangement is, if we want to have ‘relaxation music’ playing through our life space, but again, without taking up much in the way of resources on whichever computer is generating the sound output.

‘MPD’ itself has no user interface and is configured in a single configuration file, in the case when it is not configured per-user. Therefore, one thing that users and admins alike might do – but mainly plain users – is to install one out of numerous MPD Client programs, and the client program which I chose happens to have a GUI:

Screenshot_20191124_164918

This front-end is named ‘Cantata’.

There already exist good references on the Web, on How to configure an ‘MPD’ system process, just using a Text Editor, and the command-line. (Yes, the stock client is installed with a package named ‘mpc’, and is driven from the command-line.) I think that the article which I just linked to is well-written, and that its author seems very knowledgeable.

The only problem with the article linked to above is, that the author just forgot to explain one fact. Not knowing this fact, and being new to how ‘MPD’ works, cost me several hours close to midnight on one recent day. I found this fact written in exactly one other article on the Web. Just so that other users do not suffer from the distress that can be caused, because they, too may want to run ‘MPD’, but caused, from not knowing this fact, I just decided to create the second spot on the Web that I know of, which mentions it…

(This fact concerns a possible problem in using ‘MPD’, due to which a single user’s private Music Collection does not want to appear.)

(Updated 11/26/2019, 13h05 … )

Continue reading Using MPD with Cantata.