Thursday, March 28, 2013

Advocate become Polemicist to eat

Hoping that a Linux advocate does not have to become a Linux polemicist in order to eat.

Probably have to hang up that 'advocate' hat, as that person would driven by new primary goals.

Ubuntu regularly takes pot shots at this n that elements of current GNU/Linux ecosystem, do you want to mimic Ubuntu approach in your articles?

Now I'll add some arguments against my original take:
( Some of these tire me just writing them as they are buzzphrases )
  • Criticism is essential to development*
  • Choice is bad, criticize to weed out all but the one true choice
  • Point out the weaknesses in your competition, through heavy criticism and sell more.
  • Make unpopular choices on behalf of your users, after all you are the software company, and they merely use your software.
  • To get to know a truth properly, one must polemicize it. 
*Perhaps some truth in here, however if this were as simple as stated here, then the most criticised software companies would make the best software.

Noting the paradox here.

Making good software terrible in a new release (Vista) increases criticism.

I'll leave you to untangle that, and hopefully realise, that it is a more complex idea, than can be properly framed in one sentence.

Perhaps these phrases might help give some balance:
  • Criticism because you ignored what the customer wants is rarely good.
  • Not all criticism is good criticism

Polemicist point of view: All criticism (of system) is good criticism, as it increases my article audience, and sells ad space.

The '...know a truth properly...' quote is I think from 'The Viking book of aphorisms' by W. H. Auden

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Muesli - eating it wrong and minerals

Is it possible to eat Muesli in a wrong way? YES

Before explaining why (see last paragraph) it is worth providing a bit of background.

Above is the ingredients for a supermarket muesli / granola

Most supermarkets do an own brand version and all will contain oats.

Now to get to the point: GRAINS NEED SOAKING

Mineral absorption and grain misuse:

This could turn into a comedy article about 'grain abusers', but there is a serious side it :)

Vegetarians learn through chatting to others, and reading vegetarian eating guides, that not all plant derived food is good for immediate consumption.

Some require careful preparation or SOAKING.

How long should I soak Muesli for before eating?
Choose ten / twenty / thirty minutes depending on your hurry.

Even soaking in milk for ten minutes, will have given the fibre rich grains a chance to start breaking down.

Morning routine for ideal 30 minutes soaking:

  • Up and into kitchen
  • Whilst putting the kettle / toaster on, put your muesli in the bowl and add milk
  • Shower / wash / prepare as usual
  • Eat your Muesli before leaving for the commute.

What happens if I don't soak grains:

Eating unsoaked grains regularly, may have a small effect on your ability to absorb minerals - specifically calcium, copper, iron, and zinc.

Is it better to eat wholegrain or rolled grains?

If you are really worried about phytic acid, or an adverse affect on your mineral consumption, then I would suggest making your own muesli with rolled oats and some wholegrains.

Also try and soak for the full 30 minutes rather than the 'busy person' 10 minutes suggested above.

By using rolled oats but including some additional wholegrains, you are making the breaking down process a bit easier, but still keeping some of the wholegrain goodness.

Scare stories, 'the breakfast industry', and taking things to far:

The breakfast industry - think expensive sugary cereals, will jump on scientific articles that hint at natural products having some adverse effect. Do your own objective reading.

Taking things too far. As with all things in life apply common sense to what you read.

I could soak my Muesli at 5pm the night before, or set up a grain soaking facility in my shed. Neither of these things will I do, as my choice is to make some effort, but weigh up how Muesli can fit sensibly into my lifestyle.

In the true spirit of critical thinking I include a few links to articles by others, who may have different opinions / suggestions, or advocate even more rigor in preparation:

The 'own brand' Muesli (Sainsbury) - additional notes:

That ingredients breakdown at the start of the article is for Sainsbury's own.

Adding together to get the often quoted figure we do 38+37+11 gives the advertising headline "86% wholegrain" for that Sainsbury's muesli.

Where is the missing 8%? So we have 86% + 5% + 1% which gives 92%. I'm guessing that whey makes up a good portion of the missing 8%.

Does seem an oversight to bother mentioning Hazelnuts at 1% but to forget to itemise, some of the larger quantities in the mystery 8%.

Nutritional breakdown:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Abandon ship - free software is not shiny enough

Hey I am writing this to on Debian Wheezy, but I am truly staggered to read people saying 'Ubuntu -> Chromebook' is anything to do with software freedom.

If you want to 'go google' and your argument is that you already use gmail, google calendar, etc then fine. But bashing on Ubuntu for being non-free whilst hauling ass over to a set of proprietary web services is not really about 'free software'.

Hell I might find myself doing it one day who knows ones own future in the corporate workplace, but wrapping it up in XXX is not free, or YYY makes something shinier is not how I hope I would do it.

Sometimes people use something for a couple of years, and then want to try something different.
Hey it happens, but try not to bash your past on the way out.

Future and Postscript:

I have no idea what the technology landscape will be like in 5 years time, so I leave a space here to add my own comments then. These comments above might serve as a personal reminder as to how to incorporate change in ones own future and how to try and be dignified in it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

~/Templates (XDG) - Xfce and Thunar

Thunar is the default file manager in Xfce

One feature which some Linux users find useful, is support of Templates, so that right click 'New Document' has some useful options.

Whilst this is not a core feature of a file manager, it is supported and here is how:

apt-get install xdg-user-dirs

which brings in a binary named xdg-user-dirs-update - used to autogenerate the file .config/user-dirs.dirs

And now easy to check that the correct Templates entry appears:

Firefox Downloads, other downloads and XDG:

If you find that your Downloads are not being saved to the correct place, then the described solution of generating the file .config/user-dirs.dirs may solve this download problem also.

If you want browser downloads saved somewhere else in Xfce, then you might try editing the line XDG_DOWNLOAD_DIR shown in the screenshot above.

Notes and Further Reading: