Nuclear Option

So, the nuclear option “fixed” the problem I was having. I mean, it was so bad that I couldn’t use the danged OS. It was horrible. But reinstalling everything from scratch worked wonders. I can SEE again.

I think I’ll install parts of EasyLife right away and see if hte problem recurs. If it does, I’ll probably nuclear option again and never use it again.

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I installed that program EasyLife, and I think it screwed with my system font settings. All the text is now kind of fuzzy. I can’t figure out how to easily uninstall the danged thing, either. Bah. I want to basically just rollback before it was installed. I think there’s probably a way to do that, but I don’t know how. It installed a boatload of packages, so I really don’t want to remove them individually. I might just, again, format and start over. That will get old soon, though. Oh well.

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So, this post goes under a new category, creatively named the same as this post: Security.

Security has been on my mind a lot recently. I’m not for sure entirely certain why. Snowden has certainly been a part of it. There’s something remarkably unsettling about the thought of people, even the “good” people at the NSA, reading private correspondence, having access to any account you own, etc. The idea that privacy is a fiction somehow strikes me at my core. As such, following Snowden has become, kind of unintentionally, a pet hobby of mine. And as a result, I’m finding myself more interested in cryptography and security.

None of this is to say that I have any actual expertise in the field. Straight up: I don’t. I know more than your average Windows user, perhaps, but that only comes from reading articles on security. I really don’t know the technical stuff yet. I find myself repeatedly feeling like knowing more about this stuff is damaging to my health since it makes me nervous. Rather than feeling more secure, the more I read the less secure I feel. But that’s OK. I think I’m actually learning and/or will learn such that it won’t make me less worried. Time will tell, I suppose.

Anyway, today’s learning told me that feeling secretive about my methods of choosing passwords or how I store passwords is foolish. It essentially constitutes security through obscurity, which every security expert I’ve read says is stupid. So today, despite my misgivings, I installed a password manager and had it create a “secure” password for me, which was certainly more nonsensical than any I’ve had before. Of course, for that, I still have to have an actual password to unlock it. For that, I continue to use a method that I’ve since seen recommended by security experts repeatedly (mainly because it makes sense). Take a phrase that means something to you but is largely unknown (i.e., not Psalm 23), and take some letters from the words in a meaningful way to you, such as the first letters. Then add randomness in it. So, if the 23rd Psalm, it might be “tlims$isnwHmmtldigp”. Which, if you aren’t familiar with the Bible (and you should be), is, “The Lord is my shepherd (random bit), I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures…” Obviously, if you choose an obviously famous quotation (like the 23rd Psalm), and if this method becomes popular, you’re potentially screwed. It’s still better than 12345, of course. But if you were to take another random sentence, such as “I like to drive to Montana Tech College, and eat dried prunes,” assuming that means anything to you, you could convert that to iltdtMTCaedp, and add some randomness in it, and it’d be fairly easy to recall, but difficult to crack.

Anyway, I want to become more knowledgeable about this subject and will likely post more here as I go along.

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Update: still on Fedora

So, after nuking everything except Mint, I installed Fedora 20 Xfce spin and set it up to my liking again. It’s been my daily OS since then. Yesterday, I found a pretty cool script for adding a few things that I’m going to want every time I have to reinstall (not that I hope that’s a constant chore). EasyLife. Made it simple to add codecs, fonts, and Nvidia support (had I needed it on this computer).

Anyway, it’s becoming less and less of a hassle to just fire up my computer and use it. My wife has even used it some. I won’t “make” her switch over, but I’m very confident that she could if we needed her to.

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Btw, regarding time here…

I have no idea where this setting originated, but WordPress was apparently just assuming that I was UTC-6. I changed the setting in Settings to Los Angeles, and the time is now correct. Kind of weird.

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This blog for me == cool

So, I did end up nuking just about everything. Including Windows. The only things I left were my documents partition and Mint. I reinstalled Fedora Xfce, because it’s currently my favorite distro. The cool thing is that to get my settings back the way I wanted, I just came here and followed directions. Booya.

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Grrr… Fedora

OK, I guess installing GNOME along side Xfce might not be such a good idea. I’ve had nothing but problems since doing that. Audio stopped working. Can’t get a lock in Yum. Yeah. It’s sucking. So right now, I’m back in Mint. Again. It’s my non-Windows crutch right now. I’m considering nuking all partitions except for my data partition and starting over from scratch. I really might just do that.

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Proxy with Yum

At work, I have to go through a proxy server. Usually, this isn’t a big deal, but I was having issues with it in Fedora 20. I tried googling and found this page, which had me add the following to /etc/yum.conf. Process I followed:

sudo leafpad /etc/yum.conf

Then in the file I added the following at the bottom:


Boom. Problem resolved.

Note that for settings changes and stuff like that I’m generally trying to copy what I actually did here so that if someone (like me) does come here a year or two from now and the linked site is down they aren’t just annoyed.

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So, I’ve been using Xfce edition of Fedora 20, but I want to give GNOME a try. It’s currently installing. Command I used to install it:

sudo yum groupinstall “GNOME Desktop”

On other distros, people seemed to recommend against having more than one desktop installed at a time, but I didn’t see that proviso with Fedora. I hope I haven’t screwed everything up. We’ll see what happens.

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Fixed System Time

I was kind of surprised how hard this was. I must have inadvertently selected the wrong time zone when I set up Fedora, so my clock was off by an hour (MDT instead of PDT). Oops. I figured it’d be an easy fix, but actually, it wasn’t. I couldn’t see any GUI way of changing it and eventually found this page. After a few wrong commands, I did the following:

timedatectl --help

Which lists the settings options.

timedatectl list-timezones

Which lists the time zones (shocking, I know), so that I could get the proper format for my zone.


timedatectl set-timezone America/Los_Angeles

Which actually set the correct time zone and resolved the problem. My system clock updated itself a few seconds later.

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