Some links

That’s why I like The Guardian – they’re not afraid to clearly state a good opinion. Plus they name things as they are:

The Guardian view on Vladimir Putin’s war: terror without purpose
As the toxic legacy of opencast mining in Wales shows, operators get the profits, and the public get the costs

Another commentary well worth reading – this time from a different publication – is this one:

Commentary: Cory Doctorow: The Swivel-Eyed Loons Have a Point

Found that latter one through Russell Coker’s Links for May 2023 – thanks man! And yes, some post things like these to their personal chirp or toot sites – but in my case, that’s a blog… thanks for reading, like always.

June already…

Wow, time is flying, isn’t it?

It’s June already, and in 9 days from now, the Debian developers will release their latest and greatest version 12, which I have running here since April already. So they are planning and preparing release parties everywhere in the world. One of them will take place in Leuwen, Belgium, which we kind of know already – we had to stop there with a defect dynamo in our ageing car in 2019 when we went to London, so from Leuwen on, the travel went on by train instead (which was cool but kind of expensive if you need tickets right away).

Anyway, I can attest that Debian 12 aka “Bookworm” is/will be great; at least on my machine (with an AMD Ryzen 7 5700G CPU) and on a much older notebook with a Core 2 Duo mobile it runs very nicely. The latter one has only 2GB of RAM, so there I’m using it with the XFCE instead of a Gnome desktop environment. This is the system I would recommend to friends and family without hesitation and/or second thoughts, and I’m writing this article using it. Why would I recommend it? Read about the reasons here. My personal reasons are that I run it as my main operating system on anything I had since over 20 years – desktops, servers, everything. It’s my safe space and my trusted work horse. Here’s a pic of me from Linuxtag in Karlsruhe, 20 years ago:


Like always, thanks for reading.

The only one left alive…

After Ricoh/Pentax announced a new monochrome-only DSLR camera a few weeks ago, and after the first reports, photos, and tests about it, I’ve been thinking about a camera which only has a black & white sensor – the only other readily available model being a Leica for almost 10,000$/€ without a lens.

That Pentax camera with a sensor of APS-C size seems to be very popular at least in Japan where it sold out immediately, twice in a row. Meaning that Ricoh/Pentax just can’t seem to make enough of them, and that people seem to like black & white – who would have thought?

Anyway – when I was shopping lately, I went into a local drugstore to look for film – and all they had left was a single brand and version of a black & white film. Looking online later at home, I saw the same. The only other film in their online store, a color negative one was marked as “not available”. So out of nostalgia, I bought one:

The only one left alive…, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2023

Of course, looking at price comparison sites, I’ve found some more, but way less than in the past, and at the same time more expensive than ever. Well, that answers one question as it seems:

And maybe that also saves me from this one:

That’s a joke of course. Like Michael Johnston wrote lately, I also won’t be “shooting” film anymore, so this roll is for “special occasions”, and I’ll treat it like the last one. The photo of the film in front of my camera above has been treated with Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2, using an Agfa APX 100 film simulation just as a demo for what you can do with a normal mirrorless camera.

Would I buy that Pentax? No. Would I buy an Olympus Pen-F with a black & white only sensor? Probably, if it were under 1k€. Otherwise, I’m perfectly happy with what I have.

Like always, thanks for reading, and for viewing.

Edit, from two days later (Saturday, 27th of March 2023):

Found another one in a second drugstore chain, same brand but different ISO/ASA of 400 instead of 100. I’ve looked on their webpage but haven’t found it there, but in the store it was the only one available. So here’s a pic of both of them together:

A second film, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2023

Both films are made in UK, so I wonder who makes them – probably Ilford?

Oh, and the photo this time is straight out of camera, cropped in-camera to a 3:2 format, and with the contrast set to +2 (on a scale from -2…0…+2). No filters set, uploaded to Flickr as is.

Like always, thanks for reading/viewing.

Using KDE Connect / GSConnect for battery life

I’ve had problems with swollen batteries on both the old Google Nexus 5 and also the Pixel 4a devices. Nice as they were, this was probably my own fault: like the company’s laptop/notebook, I had them “plugged in” (into their power adapter) pretty much all of the time, and I’ve only recently learnt and read that doing so is putting lots of stress on those rechargeable batteries.

So with the remaining devices (one Pixel 3a which I re-inherited from my late brother, after originally having bought it for Mitchie who gave it to Zuleikha who gave it to Willi – and my Pixel 6a which was a gift from my family and the first ever new phone I’ve got), I’m a bit more careful. What I’ve read is that you shouldn’t let the batteries run out completely and you also shouldn’t always charge them until they’re really full – an 80/20 rule would be much better for longevity. So I’ve decided to use that 80/20 rule whenever possible – meaning charge them when the batteries reach 20% (turning on their battery saver at that percentage as well, in case I don’t see it), and charge them up to 80% mostly, and only to the max if I know I’ll be out of the house for a while and want them to last as long as possible.

They last long anyway, at least with my way of using them. Here’s a screenshot from the 3a where you can see the reloading to about 80% spike after a few days:

That one lasts long because first, I don’t use it that much (it doesn’t even have a SIM card, so I use it via WLAN only), and second I had its original Google Android operating system replaced with GrapheneOS which doesn’t “call home” as much as the original did. In fact, no Google services on this one at all…

… but also the Pixel 6a is pretty good once I turned off everything I don’t really need, like location history or Google’s “Fit” and other stuff. This one *does* have a SIM card, but I also don’t use it really often, so here’s a screenshot showing that I charged it to 100% last Friday evening, and the screenshot was taken this morning, at 25% battery life left. As you can see, I’ve used it for reading a bit, with a free PDF viewer:

So how do I keep track of charging them up to 80% only, instead of full? Easy: I’ll get a notification from my computer, like this:

And that one comes from a program / an extension on my desktop which is called GSConnect. You can set it like this, like here for the Pixel 3a:

On the phones, the application you have to install is KDE Connect, and you can get that from the F-Droid store in case you don’t want to be logged in into Google just to use their own “Play Store”.

The application can do lots more than just notify you about the battery status, but that is what I usually do with it – looks like this on the Gnome desktop:

According to its Wikipedia page, KDE Connect is also available for Microsoft Windows and for Apple’s MacOS, but I haven’t tried these. Go on and see for yourself if you’re using these. It’s built right into KDE (their “Plasma” desktop) in case you want to try that as well.

Hoping that this is useful for anyone. Like always, thanks for reading.

Whisper to the heart

Took a photo of our sleeping neighbours’ cat “Cookie” again two days ago:

Whisper to the heart, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2023

Reminded me of Studio Ghibli’s wonderful movie from 1995 which was called “Whisper of the heart“, at the beginning of it:

Like always, thanks for viewing.

… and back to a triple boot system

I had installed the new and upcoming Debian 12 (aka “Bookworm”) on my machine, parallel to the stable version (Debian 11 aka “Bullseye”) and Windows 11 – so I had a triple boot operating system again since a while.

The Windows part is a bit controversial – since I have this new self-built machine with the AMD Ryzen 7 5700G processor, my Windows 10 offered to upgrade itself to Win11 which I did. But in recent times, more and more reports arrive saying that Microsoft is forcing ads upon its clients all over the place – I’m running it with a local account and haven’t seen them yet. But the day I will, it’ll be a “goner” as they say.

Anyway, I was also looking at Arch Linux again since that is always the latest and greatest (like Debian unstable aka “Sid”, it’s what they call a “rolling release”). First I tried some things in virt-manager and QVM/KEMU, but then I decided to overwrite my old stable Debian 11 with Arch. Went fine, except that both Arch and Debian have different ideas about where their respective /boot folders are mounted. They’re both of the EFI partition alongside Windows, but still – anyway, maybe that’s a good thing; at least they won’t overwrite each others’ kernels and/or firmware. But both run fine, even if at the moment I can’t start Arch from Debian’s grub or vice versa; doesn’t matter.

Once I damaged my Debian 12 part, accidentally deleted the firmware, so it wouldn’t boot. Didn’t matter the slightest bit since for Debian I’ll always have my /home and system parts on different partitions – so wipe it with the latest (RC2 at this time) installer – and I just saw that since today there’s even an RC3 installer – and all is well. Except of course a bit of manual labour with reinstalling Ardour and all, but even that could be remembered and more or less automated when using Debian; have done so in the past with saving and later restoring its list of installed packages…

Anyway, here’s a screenshot where I newly registered the only commercial program I’m using on Debian, it’s Sonarworks’ Reference 4 headphone correction which I use in the monitoring bus in Ardour:

Haven’t installed Ardour in Arch (yet) since at this moment they’re close – with version 7.3 in Debian’s “unstable” and 7.4.1 (or so) in Arch.

The only programs which I still use in Windows from time to time are the OM Workspace from the former Olympus guys, and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro2 which you could get for free from Google for the time they’ve owned it (sold by now to DXO, not sure what they’re going to do with it…). So it’s kind of a jump-through-the-hoops for photography, but for music I’m on Debian alone since long, like for everything else as well.

And now, from time to time, I’ll have a look at/into Arch again. Normally when you read about new program versions with new features somewhere, looking into Arch means that you’ll have that newest version already. And Debian will stay my main and stable machine once that Debian 12 will be made official on June 10th.

Oh, by the way: Arch is slim, as they say on their homepage. Unlike Debian or other distributions, it doesn’t come with LibreOffice or any other programs pre-installed, so it’s *you* who has to decide what’s needed. Together with the Gnome desktop plus Firefox, Thunderbird and a few goodies, even with all my Wikiloops albums copied onto it, it’s still less than 10GB as you can see here – one third of that is my data so far:

That blue and purple stuff is all music (with the purple bits being published albums, and the outer blue one being raw and unpublished songs in .wav form)…

Like always, thanks for reading.

Really? Thanks, but no thanks…

Seen a request from one of the Debian developers today in Planet Debian:

“As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address …” (won’t put the address here)

Another Debian developer – one I’ve met several times already; he’s a nice guy – has this in his signature in an internal email:

“A single bitcoin transaction alone consumes 621 KWh, or half a million times
more energy consumption than a credit card payment. The bitcoin network annually
wastes 78 TWh (terrawatt hours) annually or the energy consumption of several
million US households.

So thanks for your good work, dear DD #1, but as DD #2 suggested, I won’t use Bitcoin. Never ever.

In German / auf Deutsch: Links zur Batterietechnik der Zukunft

Heise hat immer sehr interessante Artikel und Interviews wenn es um die Batterien der Zukunft geht, selbst die Leserkommentare sind oft interessant (und gute manchmal an der Bewertung erkennbar). Hier also einige Links zum Thema:

Wußte gar nicht daß Chemie so interessant und spannend sein kann. Aber Zuleikha schreibt gerade ihre dritte und letzte Abi-Klausur in dem Fach, und Frau Dr. Mai Thi würde da sicher auch widersprechen 😉

Wie immer: danke für’s Lesen.