Essential workhorse USB flash drive

USB flash drives are so essential and ubiquitous. One thing I love is that they have almost completely replaced optical media as installation media. That means that most Linux distros and other apps can now be installed via USB flash drive. They are easier to store and because they are flash devices the installation process is usually vastly faster than with optical media.

For this reason as well as others its good to have some workhorse USB flash drives in your arsenal of stuff. My current favorite workhorse USB flash drive is the Kingtson DataTraveler 4G 8GB.

Kingston DataTraveler 8GB

These are not the only drives I have. I do have some high-capacity ones that I use for backup and storing multimedia files. But I like these 8GB ones because they are large enough to hold DVD-size installation images with room to spare but not too large that I would be wasting space. They are perfect for installation media, live Linux distros, or anything else.

While this particular model is not the smallest form-factor drive available, that’s exactly why I like it: They are easy to handle, can be easily labeled, and they are less easy to misplace.

I highly recommend having a few of these drives on hand. You can stick some in your glove compartment, backpack, purse, office desk, anywhere. They are always useful to have.

Practical, Svelte, Women’s Daypacks Suitable for Ultraportables

After having my main backpack which I had used for years stolen I was in the market for something new. The nice thing about my favorite old one was that it was small but just large enough to hold a Thinkpad Carbon X1 which is similar to a Macbook Air in size.

I went to a few stores to survey the available inventory and was surprised to find that there actually are not a lot of options when it comes to svelte-sized daypacks. One of the criteria for my search was to find a pack under about 18 liters. Anything over that is just way too huge.

But most backpacks seem to be rather large, well over 18 liters in size. Here are a few smaller ones I found while looking around:

lowe alpine airzone z

Lowe Alpine Women’s AirZone Z ND18 Pack An obviously well-made, sturdy pack from Lowe Alpine. I did see one of these in a store and the only thing that I didn’t like was the lack of suitable compartments for pens and the little knickknacks that one usually wants to have. Unfortunately it really is not intended as a pack that a student or office-worker would want to use regularly.

mountainsmith clear creek 12
Mountainsmith Women’s Clear Creek 12 WSD Backpack Again, a nice size and minimal, but unfortunately too minimal with really no compartments suitable for what a student or office worker would need to hold pens and other things.

Arcteryx Pyxis 12
Arcteryx Pyxis 12 Pack Again, cool size and design, but too minimal and not suitable for a student or office worker. No compartments for pens or other items.

CamelBak Day Star 18 Hydration Pack This pack is definitely the best of the lot. While the fact that it is actually a hydration pack may seem like a negative thing, actually its a positive thing. Because you can remove the bladder if you want and just use it like a regular pack or, when you so desire, you have the option of using the bladder when you need hydration. The bladder compartment size is perfect for a Thinkpad X1 Carbon and probably any other similar-sized laptop. In addition, it has one other large main compartment with sufficient room to pack a bunch of books or to stuff a jacket into, plus the critical front compartment which includes pockets and netting suitable for pens and other items.

Not only that, but the design is excellent. As a bicyclist I’m especially fond of the waist strap. If you happen to be in a situation where you are doing more intensive, fast-paced walking or hiking, this is where this pack excels because you can adjust and tighten all the straps so that the pack fits snugly with your body.
Kudos to Camelbak for such an intense design for a daypack including waist and sternum straps.

One last thing that puts the Day Star 18 over the top are the extremely convenient side nets (not clearly visible in the pic above) for holding water bottles or hot beverage containers.

This is the pack I eventually got and am really loving it. Its the perfect size and design for a daypack. The only improvement would perhaps be more compartments for pens and other small items. The Day Star 18 is a seriously intense, svelte, well-designed backpack ideal for the lightweight tech commuter/student who is active.

KDE Plasma with Kubuntu & Linux Mint – setup, notes, ideas

These notes are for Kubuntu “Xenial” 16.04 and the Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE release.  I also include some notes for Debian’s “Sid” “unstable” release.

One reason I’m doing this is because its really time for everyone to start moving to Linux.  I understand that we are all accustomed to our non-free operating systems, but it is vital that we at least start acquainting ourselves with free software and make earnest attempts to use it for our daily activities.

While this may involve some sacrifice, such sacrifice is more than worth it.  There’s no price that can be put on freedom.  The direction that things are going with forced data collection, telemetry, tracking, and even more heinous things that essentially equate to embedded malware that cannot be detected nor deleted from systems makes it all the more critical that we take steps immediately to select freedom in our lives.

Installing Plasma
If you install Kubuntu or Linux Mint’s KDE edition then Plasma is what you will have by default.

The most useful resource for installing KDE Plasma under Debian is the Debian wiki KDE page which describes the difference between various minimal and full installation types.

NetworkManager is what is used to handle configuration and maintenance of network.

Under Debian the Plasma interface component to NetworkManager plasma-nm should automatically be installed as a dependency when installing the task-kde-desktop or kde-standard metapackages.

According to the README.Debian file:

If you want to have a network interface managed by NetworkManager it is thus recommended to manually remove any configuration for that interface from /etc/network/interfaces.

Hard Drive
Active Protection
Enabling hard drive active protection – something that’s essential for laptops with spinning disk drives – is as simple as sudo apt-get install hdapsd and then sudo systemctl start hdapsd.service. More info can be found at’s site.

Hard Disk Power Management
Put a hard drive into standby: sudo hdparm -y /dev/sda
Check the power status: sudo hdparm -C /dev/sda
Set the standby timeout to 20 minutes: sudo hdparm -S 240 /dev/sda
Very nice graphical disk management utility: gnome-disk-utility

Connecting to Windows/Samba Shared Drives
Make sure cifs-utils is installed. This page at has good information on how to mount a Samba share.
TODO: Setup some type of network-related script that will detect when the laptop is connected to a specific network and have it automatically mount the share. Have it unmount when disconnected from the network.
Too bad there doesn’t seem to be a configuration utility for this in Plasma 🙁

Graphics & Display
For an Nvidia graphics card I went to the Nvidia Driver Download site to lookup the Linux driver version for my Quadro 1000M graphics card, which as of this writing is listed as version 367.44.
I added the Ubuntu Graphics Drivers Team PPA and installed the driver:
sudo apt-get install nvidia-367 nvidia-settings bumblebee
Then if you run the NVIDIA X Server Settings app it should list detailed information for the Nvidia card.

The font installer under Plasma is as of this writing unfortunately buggy and crashes if you try to install system-wide fonts. However fonts can easily be copied directly into /usr/local/share/fonts/”x” where “x” is the first letter of the font name. So, for example, segoeui.ttf would go under /usr/local/share/fonts/s.

Make sure the permissions for fonts are set to 644. It is necessary to run the command fc-cache -fv to rebuild the font cache after manually installing fonts.
See the fonts page for more info.

Windows Key
Not having the Win key working is an annoyance. There’s a cool little Open Source utility called ksuperkey which enables the Win key in KDE Plasma to open the start menu. Once compiled the binary can be placed in ~/bin or /usr/local/bin and set to autostart in System Settings -> Startup and Shutdown -> Autostart. Due to bug I had to manually create the directory ~/.local/share/applications which is where Plasma apparently tries to store the config file.

Thinkpad Trackpoint configuration
There’s an excellent page at regarding the Trackpoint and Linux. Most importantly, it provides the following custom udev rule which can be used to set the Trackpoint sensitivity and enable the press-to-select function:


ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="input", ATTR{name}=="TPPS/2 IBM TrackPoint", ATTR{device/sensitivity}="240", ATTR{device/press_to_select}="1"

If you don’t want press-to-select then change its value to “0” in the above code.

On one slightly older laptop I found that the Trackpoint sensitivity was so extremely low (the default is 128) that it was extremely difficult to move the cursor during the installation so I actually had to open a terminal and run the following:
sudo -i
echo -n 240 > /sys/devices/platform/i8042/serio1/sensitivity

To deal with the audio volume from laptop speakers being too low there’s an excellent utility called PulseAudio Volume Control and can be installed with the command sudo apt-get install pavucontrol.

PulseAudio Volume Control actually lets you crank the speaker volume above 100% 🙂

I also installed VLC media player and in its settings under Effects and Filters under the Audio section you can set up custom eq, compressor, and spatializer settings which kind of mimic what you can do under Dolby Audio in Windows. After spending some time tweaking these settings I was able to get excellent sound quality from laptop speakers.

Themes/Look & Feel
With Plasma you get access to excellent commmunity-based themes directly from the configuration panels. There are desktop themes, icon themes, workspace themes, and color themes. These are a way to connect with the global community of digital artists who create and provide this free artwork.

One of my next goals is to install and test Photoshop under Wine. Under Kubuntu you can install the Ubuntu Wine team’s PPA. Some really good news is that Photoshop CC is listed as a *gold* app by WineHQ 🙂

Copying Your Data to Linux
Probably the two most essential applications with data that I need and use are Thunderbird for e-mail and calendaring, and Firefox for web-browsing. Its very easy to copy over your data from both of these apps and basically start using them under Linux at exactly the same point, with the exact same configuration as before.

There’s a little bit of an art to this. What I recommend is to do this: Run each app one time under Linux to allow it to create a default profile for each app. Then go into the config directory for each – ~/.thunderbird and ~/.mozilla/firefox and delete the default configurations. The profiles have unusual names consisting of a string of random numbers and letters. I believe that the reason for this is that it makes it difficult for an attacker who has managed to gain control over the browser to access the host filesystem. A typical profile folder will be named something like u7tr6knr.default.

Copy over the profiles from Windows (or Apple). In Windows they are under the user’s AppData/Roaming/Thunderbird and AppData/Roaming/Mozilla/Firefox folders. Once they are copied over, edit the profiles.ini for each app and change Path= line to point to the new profile that was copied over.

After that, you should be able to open Thunderbird and Firefox and they should basically be exactly like they were the last time they were previously open.

There are some other minor tweaks that can be done. If you find the font of the user interface to be off, you can create a userChrome.css file inside the profile directory to customize the fonts.

Thoughts and Conclusions
So I’m using Plamsa right now writing this and the amazing thing is that I’m actually starting to forget that I’m using Linux. The system is essentially so close to what I’m used to (with Windows) that I don’t even notice a big difference.

There are so many things that are truly excellent about using free software and Linux. I love the fact that there is built-in access to literally thousands of free software packages that can be installed effortlessly via either command-line or graphical package managers. I love that virtually all the software is truly free and Open Source, developed by people with the noblest intentions, and that I don’t have to worry about garbage-y “app spam” which is what you get in the crappy app “stores” in Android (and I’m guessing probably also with Apple).

References & Notes KDE Plasma 5.7: In großen Schritten Richtung Wayland

Ok. I don’t get this.

There’s another article in the news about Female Arab athletes under attack no matter how they dress with an accompanying photo of an arab volleyball player dressed – well, ridiculously.

But WTF? I mean there have been arabs for a long time. And I never remember this kind of shit happening at sport matches, the olympics, public swimming pools, etc. It never happened.

Now suddenly there’s this issue, and suddenly there are all these people who care about it.

I mean, yes for years you would always maybe see a person occasionally dressed with arab gear. No one really noticed or cared about it.

Now suddenly its this big thing. WTF?

All I can say is: If an adult – over the age of 18 – freely chooses to wear whatever the fuck they want – that’s totally their own prerogative. But no child ever should have to wear arab gear. It should be a law that children not be permitted to wear it. If you live in the west, that is our cultural value. If you don’t like it, if you want to force your kids to do that shit, then start your own culture somewhere.

And as for adults wearing it – the full face-covering gear should definitely be illegal. I see people like that around where I live and can only say its completely fucked up. It is abuse of the women. Whether the women are so messed up that they want to keep wearing it, that’s really unfortunate.

But more than that, people dressing like that have an effect on others. People have been killed – there have been mass killings and horrific crimes – perpetrated by people dressing the same way – hence anyone dressing like that causes unnecessary distress to others.

Wearing that kind of gear is not that different than wearing an SS uniform would have been in some village where a lot of concentration camp survivors lived.

Mass immigrant labor swarm: Unsustainable and damaging

The idea of importing huge swarms of cheap immigrant labor to fill jobs “nobody wants” – an argument which can easily be torn apart as complete BS – is unsustainable and damaging.

Think about going to a cafe. When you go to get your coffee or herbal tea there are employees there. If you are in an upscale community where people making the wages that employees at coffee shops make, that is obviously unsustainable. No one can be unaware of this unsustainability while they are buying their tea.

Anywhere you go, in any city, there is always going to be a spectrum of jobs. At the lowest end there will be people working in jobs like retail where the rate of pay is usually minimum wage or close to it. Then there is the high end and what can be considered the average or median.

When the median income in an area is so disparate with the lowest, it creates a huge problem. Its not just a practical problem of there being a potential shortage of labor due to unaffordability. While that is precisely the argument taken by a lot of deluded “liberals”, its actually a quite inhumane and extremely narrow one in terms of the actual effects on the lives of human beings and on the culture. Its kind of sick that the more important social, cultural, and other elements just get thrown out in favor of arguing based on “pure economics”, which is basically BS.

When the disparity between the lowest-earning and middle- or highest-earning people in a community becomes high, it rots away at the community. Importing a lot of cheap labor to work at low-paying jobs is exactly the wrong thing to do. What needs to be done, desperately I would add, is to reduce disparity. By not bringing in cheap labor. Not flooding the market with huge swarms of immigrants (most of whom are illegal which causes many other problems).

Its shocking the extent to which people either don’t get this, or else that the oligarchy’s Big Media is so consistently pushing a big lie about immigration that its not being discussed.

Perhaps I’m lucky to have grown up in a part of the midwest during a time when the income disparity in my home town was much smaller than it is today. And there was not cheap, imported, mass illegal immigrant labor. Those jobs were filled – by us. By me. By my friends. By my parents. By my relatives. By everyone I knew. We were not unlucky because of this, we were lucky.

There was a kind of unity, a cohesion that bonded us all together in a way that is very absent in other places. When that cohesion is lost, a community is fucked. It becomes twisted.

Another major problem is that – we are supposed to be innovators. When demand for labor drives up wages, that’s supposed to fuel innovation. Again, this is something that is being completely missed by people or else quite deliberately dropped from the radar of what needs to be discussed. Demand for labor, after the Black Death had swept through Europe in the middle ages, is what created the renaissance. It led directly to the creation of a well-off middle class which completely transformed European society. The effect of that vast transformation is still being enjoyed today, and like no other time is under grave threat due to insane policies of greedy, manipulative oligarchs who are intent to fuck over their own peoples en masse in order to line their pockets.

This is the number one reason why the Democrats – and mainstream Republicans – are insane. They are advocating policies which destroy communities at their core and which are profoundly unsustainable in the long term.

Unfair attack on Clinton

So there have been videos about Hillary Clinton supposedly having serious medical problems, seizures, weird movements, etc. One of the most if not the most prevalent clips is taken from this:

I say “taken from” because the videos I’ve seen never include what fully happened and never show it from this angle. That is a key point. Because basically the people putting together these videos are making false claims based on clips from videos out of context. Personally I do not condone nor ascribe to such conduct.

If you don’t like a person for political reasons, that’s one thing. But to deliberately take their actions out of context for the sake of making a damaging argument against them – that’s taking the low road. In my philosophy, whenever you take the low road you’ve lost.

So clearly what happened in the video is that Ms. Clinton is speaking to a group of reporters. She made a comment about one thing and, as she finished it, a barrage of 3 or 4 female reporters to her right all asked her questions at the same time, as reporters are wont to do.

From Ms. Clinton’s viewpoint it was kind of like being hit by a wall of questions, and she made a funny gesture with her head and rolled her eyes. She was being playful and innocent.

In another clip she is shown standing alongside Bill Clinton on a stage when quite obviously something must have appeared above where they were standing, either in the air or on a screen, and they both looked up to witness it, and again Ms. Clinton made a kind of playful expression.

Far from being an indication of illness, its an indication of someone who is intelligent enough to be playful.

I love the people of my community

A few days ago I was on campus filing some forms and had to stand in line for a while. During the entire time I was there – probably close to 45 minutes – I want to tell you something:

There were a lot of people there. A lot of students standing in line. I also saw a lot of staff there.

Out of all the people I saw, I was the only – the only – Caucasian.

Now I love the people of my community. When I was standing in line, I looked upon the other students in line as students. I saw them as human beings. When I saw the staff there working hard to ensure that people can get education, I felt admiration and a lot of gratitude.

I only have pure feelings of love for the people of my community. The color of their skin, their origins, does not matter to me.

So when people say that, because I take a strong stand against illegal immigration, that I’m a racist or a bigot or whatever, I have this to say:


Seriously, in the face of Hilary Clinton, the mistress-scumbag, and everyone insane enough to follow her, and to everyone else who probably doesn’t live in a situation even remotely close to mine: FUCK YOU.

Seriously: FUCK YOU. You are complete shit. You are the fucked up one who prevents an honest discussion, who tries to impose their agenda in a scumbag way without allowing reason or discussion. You are the shit.

No one can tell me that I don’t love my community and the people in it.

But I do also note that there are, basically, almost no white people left. And this has happened very dramatically over only the past couple decades.

A lot of seemingly well-intentioned “liberals” are being played to buy into this. They will happily go along with the elimination of the white race as the fulfillment of “values” which basically amount to deluded nihilistic bullshit. Its sad to see my culture being destroyed, being decimated. I love my people and I love my culture. I love the great achievements we have made, achievements which the whole world shares in. White people have a lot to celebrate and should be proud.

In 50 or 100 years China will still be for Chinese. Japan will be for Japanese. Malaysia will still be for Malaysians. Africa will be for Africans. Only white countries will no longer exist if this utterly insane course of events proceeds. Even the Dalai Lama said that Germany should be for Germans.

It is not compassion to destroy your home, to destroy your culture. It is gross stupidity. It is vast delusion.

People are starting to wake up and stand up, but there’s a long ways to go.


Something I’ve never seen in a sci-fi series or movie before

I was thinking about the Moon and what the sky would look like if the Moon were closer to us. It would look really cool, no doubt. I imagine a Moon many times larger than it currently is, rising in the sky with a breathtakingly amazing beauty.

But the consequence of such beauty would be enormous tidal forces. Tides on Earth would be vastly larger than they are now. How much larger depending upon exactly how much closer the Moon was. Here’s a cool article at which discusses exactly how much larger the tides would be.

One thing I’ve consistently seen in this and similar writings about the Moon’s increased effect on tides if it were closer to Earth, is how it would be a disaster for coastal cities around the world. But obviously if the tides were that much stronger none of those cities would have been built in the first place, so it would not be a disaster.

But imagine living on a planet with a close-by moon where there are 500-foot high tides every day! I think that would be kind of cool. Think about how unique life forms might have evolved which could live in such extreme tidal zones. Think how perhaps an advanced civilization might have somehow been able to harness that massive energy and build structures to withstand such enormous tides. I love thinking about this. If nothing else, it would be a really cool setting for science fiction.

Twitter: Better than antidepressants

I started using Twitter recently. I had tested it a couple times in the past but those tests only lasted a number of days.

Armed with a new pseudonym/account I set about subscribing to various people/feeds on issues that I have felt strongly about.

I have to say, its better than antidepressants. It reminds me of that study a couple years ago where they found that taking essential fatty acid supplements correlated to a higher success rate than anti-depressants for curing depression, with not only no adverse side-effects but many actual benefits. There’s something natural and healthy about a Twitter feed that makes you feel good, makes you feel that there are other people in the world just as concerned as you about many of the serious problems facing our world.

It makes you feel better to think that there’s someone out there who feels the same way you do. You feel like you’re not alone in the world, no matter how lonely it might otherwise be, no matter how screwed up large segments of the world seem to be.

People post not only texts, but a lot of images/graphics that contain text which highlight various points. Its entertaining, informative, and comforting at the same time.

Now I’m starting to think that I need to have more accounts, and to keep each account focused on a single issue/interest. Because there are several different areas that I like feeds on. Let me try to characterize them:

1. Political. By far I think where Twitter hits the spot is with political-related content. As everyone knows, that has classically been its forte. For me this means a lot of feeds related to the alt-right, standing up against the insanity of forced mass immigration, anti-cultural-marxism, , anti-globalism, anti-feminism, pro-organics & sustainability, and probably a few other areas as well.

2. Here’s an interesting category that I kind of created on my own that kind of balances the above one: Global development, human rights, ending world poverty, global health, etc. For these feeds you can subscribe to people such as those at United Nations agencies or other world organizations dedicated to improving lives. I even found the feeds from one of the US consulates in India interesting. I find that these kinds of feeds keep me focused on more than just my own small perspective.

3. Spirituality. In this category I found some cool feeds where people post daily quotes, sometimes with commentary or accompanied by graphics, from sources such as the Bhagavad Gita or Buddhist scriptures. Again, these types of feeds kind of help keep me focused on a much broader perspective than immediate concerns.

4. Artistic. I haven’t really explored this too much yet, but I have found some interesting feeds where people would post interesting links to music in these really cool, non-mainstream niche categories, for example some vintage 70’s jazz-fusion type of stuff. Because of my eclectic tastes in music which encompasses a lot of niche-type areas, there are potentially many interesting channels out there waiting to be discovered.

I have to say, I’m liking Twitter. When I need a pick-me-up it often hits the spot. And its comforting to know that those feeds will be there each day, filled with more posts, more “tweets”, more ideas about what I feel, believe, and like.

Earth is fucked

The human population is burgeoning out of control. The oligarchy wants to increase the population. Humans are using more resources than Earth can provide. And the idea that through technological advances consumption will ever be reduced to anything close to a sustainable level is bullshit. Earth is fucked.

Earth’s resources used up at quickest rate ever in 2016

Earth Overshoot Day 2016 This is probably based on an underestimation of humans’ overconsumption when you consider the full impacts of human catastrophes to the environment and ecosystems.

What gets me is why any environmental organization would not stand up against the insanity of allowing 30-50 million illegals into the United States. Its not just white genocide we are witnessing but global ecocide.

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