Yesterday, I noticed that the root partition of my Dell 1545n laptop was 97% full. This was not good. I was close to reaching the point that stuff would not work because the partition was full.

When I installed Slackware on that machine, I established three partitions: root, home, and swap. I gave root 20 GB, but, over the several years since I first put Slackware on this box, I’ve installed lots of stuff, and space was running out. Root needed more space.

I first tried resizing the partitions with GParted, but that failed; it seems the root was on a primary partition and /home (where everything else lived) was on an extended partition. I first set that configuration up so long ago that I don’t remember making those choices, but I must have.

Since resizing was not an option, I knew I had to reformat and reinstall. Consequently, I rsync’d my home partition to my Zareason file server to back up everything in /home, including all my configuration and data files.

I repartitioned and installed Slackware 14.1 (the box started with Slackware 13.37), giving root one-third more disk space (30 GB rather than 20 GB), then updated it to Slackware –Current.

Six hours later, everything important was reinstalled, reconfigured, and working, including my mutt email configuration, and all the dust-bunnies from four or so years of usage had been cleared out. Much of today was spent making this happen.

My first adventure with Linux was installing Slackware 10.0 ten years ago. I’m now running Slackware Current on two boxes (and Mageia and Mint on other machines), because Slackware is the distro of iron: it always works and never breaks. (Ten or fifteen years ago, who would have imagined having more than one computer in the house?)

Ten years ago, I had no idea what I was doing, but I somehow managed to self-host my website on a Slackware box in my guest room. It took me from April to August in 2005 to bring it live. Now I can muddle through a reinstall and restore in less than a day.

I think I’ve learned something, and I’ve sure had a lot of fun along the way.



A Colorado man who has been “fighting with his computer for the last several months” unloaded a volley of shots into his Dell tormentor, resulting in the death of the computer and his arrest for discharging a firearm, cops report.

According to the Colorado Springs Police Department, officers responding last night to a 911 call about shots fired discovered that a “fed up” Lucas Hinch took his computer into a back alley and “fired 8 shots into the computer with a handgun, effectively disabling it.”


The late Dell XPS 410 model . . . is survived by a monitor and a keyboard.

Natch, it was running Windows. The reference to the BSOD is dead giveaway.

Linux doesn’t get the BSOD, though there is a BSOD screensaver.

(Linux gets “kernel panics,” but I’ve seen that only once, nine years or so ago.)


Doesn’t mean you should.

20 April 2015 · Comments Off on The Snaring Economy · Categories: Geek Stuff, Political Economy

Seems Uber may be the ride for the discriminating.

Uber Technologies Inc must defend against a lawsuit accusing the popular ride-sharing service of discriminating against blind people by refusing to transport guide dogs, a federal judge ruled.

In a decision late Friday night, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in San Jose, California, said the plaintiffs could pursue a claim that Uber was a “travel service” subject to potential liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The judge also rejected Uber’s arguments that the plaintiffs, including the National Federation of the Blind of California, lacked standing to sue under the ADA and state laws protecting the disabled.

11 April 2015 · Comments Off on Hijacked! · Categories: Geek Stuff


Police departments in midcoast and northern Maine said they have paid ransom to hackers to keep their computer files from being destroyed, WCSH-TV reported Friday night.

The Portland station said the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and four towns paid $300 to the hackers after a virus, called a “megacode,” was downloaded on a computer system they share. Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Bracket said that the computer system was unusable until the fee was paid, and that the hackers claimed the program, called “ransomware,” would wipe the entire computer system clean if the fee wasn’t paid.

They paid the ransom in bitcoins.

11 April 2015 · Comments Off on Newsweek Discovers Olds · Categories: Geek Stuff

Via Raw Story, Newsweek discovers that Facebook drops persistent cookies that track you even when you are not browsing Facebook.

This is not news. This is olds.

This is why, for years, the few times I visit Facebook, I do so only in a private browser tab that deletes all cookies when it’s closed, and, to be doubly safe, have my browser delete all cookies upon exit.

10 April 2015 · Comments Off on uWatch Out Now · Categories: Geek Stuff, Personal Musings

Peter St. Onge considers the iWatch and rudeness quotient.

He has a point.

As much as I do love computers for what they make possible, I am appalled at persons who continue telephone calls as they deal with sales clerks and find a twits on twitter more important than the friends in front of them. Heck, some young lady with her head in a cell phone nearly collided with me as she cut a left turn too close (and too fast) at an intersection day before yesterday.

Smart phones wielded by stupid persons make for no good outcome.

07 April 2015 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff, Give Me a Break

News as status updates.

Facebook already manipulates applies algorithms to decide what items you should see on your “timeline.” Now they will filter the news for you, too?

01 April 2015 · Comments Off on New Toy · Categories: Geek Stuff

I recently purchased a new desktop computer to replace my Dell Dimension 4700, which I purchased at Second Source, the only outfit I ever trusted to repair an out-of-warranty laptop, oh, seven or eight years ago.

I purchased it from Zareason because they let you pick the distro of your choice. Natch, I picked Slackware, the distro that doesn’t hold your hand, the distro of iron, the distro that always works and never breaks.

I have spent the last few days configuring it to my liking. Today, I expect to get Mutt working.

There was one problem: the optical drive did not work; the tray would not even open. (I have an old Memorex external that I have used for years; it worked fine with the Zareason, so I was able to access optical disks, so the thing was workable.)

I called Zareason, where a real live human being whose menu options have not recently changed answers the telly phone. In a few days, I received a new optical drive in the mail; I swapped it in yesterday morning and it works like a charm.

This is the third Zareason device I’ve purchased. If you want a box with the Linux distro of your choice, I recommend Zareason wholeheartedly. They build good boxes, and they stand behind them.

I started my career working in a complaint department. I learned to judge a business not on whether something never goes wrong–that is an impossible standard–but on how it responds when something goes wrong, because something can always go wrong. Zareason passes the test, and passes it big time.

Oh, the Dell? I gave it to a fellow TWUUG member. May he have as much fun with it as I did.

31 March 2015 · Comments Off on Make TWUUG Your LUG · Categories: Geek Stuff

Learn about the wonderful world of free and open source. Learn how to use computers to do what you want, not what someone else wants you to do.

It’s not hard; it’s just different.

Tidewater Unix Users Group

What: Monthly TWUUG Meeting.

Who: Everyone in TideWater/Hampton Roads with interest in any/all flavors of Unix/Linux. There are no dues or signup requirements. All are welcome.

Where: Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital in Norfolk Training Room. See directions below. (Wireless and wired internet connection available.) Turn right upon entering, then left at the last corridor and look for the open meeting room.

When: 7:30 PM till whenever (usually 9:30ish) on Thursday, April 2.

Lake Taylor Hospital
1309 Kempsville Road
Norfolk, Va. 23502 (Map)

Pre-Meeting Dinner at 6:00 PM (separate checks)
Uno Chicago Grill
Virginia Beach Blvd. & Military Highway (Janaf Shopping Center). (Map)

29 March 2015 · Comments Off on “The Lowest Form of Evidence that Exists in This World Is Eye-Witness Testimony” · Categories: Geek Stuff

Neil de Grasse Tyson discusses science, epistomology, and “arguing from ignorance.”

Via Raw Story.


The geeks were biting that day, and the anglers reeled in a big haul. (Details at the link.)

The administrators of a top deep-web marketplace have disappeared with over $12m worth of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, it emerged last night, in what appears to have been an “exit scam”.

Bit-coin is little more than three-card monte with added electrons.

22 March 2015 · Comments Off on A Question of Time · Categories: Geek Stuff

What might have caused this?

Computer screen capture of error message:  "Last write time was in the future.  FIXED."

Click for a larger image.

Hint: The answer involves two computers. (Answer below the fold.)

More »

19 March 2015 · Comments Off on My New Toy (Updated) · Categories: Geek Stuff

My new computer, which I intend to use as my home file server, is due to arrive today. I told the vendor to put Slackware Linux on it. Slackware is the distro of iron: It always works and never breaks.

I shall retire my Dell Dimension 4700, which is ten years old (I got it from Second Source about seven years ago–if you are in Upper Delaware, Second Source is the place to go for used computers and computer repairs), wipe the HDD, and donate it to my local DAV thrift store.


It arrived, exactly as promised. And it rocks.

Zareason makes good boxes.

17 March 2015 · Comments Off on Email the Way It Was Meant To Be · Categories: Geek Stuff

Learn how to do it from my latest podcast at Hacker Public Radio.

Then record your own podcast for HPR.

16 March 2015 · Comments Off on And the Winner Is . . . · Categories: Geek Stuff, Personal Musings

. . . Gannett, for creating the world’s user-unfriendliest websites, such as, say, for example!

And they said it couldn’t be done . . . .

15 March 2015 · Comments Off on Snoop Doll · Categories: Geek Stuff

You too can have the new, improved Tell-All Barbie.

15 March 2015 · Comments Off on Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics · Categories: Geek Stuff

Numbers don’t always mean what they appear to mean.

You might remember that a few years back, Raleigh (North Carolina–ed.) was rated one of the free world’s manliest cities. Among the performance prongs in the analysis was the number of pickup trucks registered in the city.

It had a gazillion of them per capita, but they weren’t the manly-man kind with gun racks in the cab and dead deer piled atop the hood. Turned out the state highways department registered all its pickups cast unto 100 counties at its headquarters in Raleigh, skewing results.

More numerical nonsense at the link.

15 March 2015 · Comments Off on Facebook Frolics · Categories: Geek Stuff

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” works only if you find a way to get to know someone.