2015 — 15 March: Sunday

I discovered further evidence last night that my old psychic talent for crashing or freezing almost any desktop1 file explorer interface has clearly stretched its muscles on finding a worthy new opponent (Linux Mint 17.1) to compete against play with. Simply opening a window on NAS #1 (though not the same one, oddly, on NAS #2) and drilling down to the subdirectory in which I merely intended to place the four .flv files I eventually managed to get from the BBC radio iPlayer downloads is quite enough to stop things on the Linux desktop dead in their tracks. I then have to hang around until TRON / Obi-Wan realises something is amiss and grudgingly offers me the option to "wait a bit longer" or "Use the Force ... and quit, Luke" option.

Only force quitting gets me anywhere (or nowhere, depending on your point of view). Inspecting the "processes" list before, during, or after (to the extent that I can) doesn't seem to show any unusual CPU core activity or, indeed, anything but what seems to be a list of peacefully sleeping processes.


... it's just my current unfamiliarity with aspects of Linux file and folder permissions, but I still find it a bit disconcerting. "The Flash Four" are now behind bars in a "MyTemp" folder and I've successfully changed their permissions to 775:

The Flash Four

I don't really mind these little hiccups while they're all teaching me a lot. Besides — having burned my Windows bridges — what else am I gonna do? :-)

I shall nuke all remnants of the 'official' 2.83 and the 'later' 2.92 versions of get_iplayer. The former was installed as a proper package; the latter as a raw download zip file from which I did the best I could to extract a 'working' program. Len's kindly given me a cheat sheet for re-installing version 2.91 from a PPA repository. I shall repeat the entire installation 'properly' with all plugins and converters back in place. (The "autoremove" the package manager itself told me to run last night cleaned away the RMTDUMP [?] file that get_iplayer uses when converting a downloaded .flv file to the .mp4a audio-only format I want.) My goal? 'Proper' mp4a audio files that decibel can play.

Victory is mine!

I don't understand what the changed colours signify, but here they are, freshly downloaded, and in the format I want. When they sat alongside their Flash predecessors "not half an 'our ago in this very boutique" (subdirectory) and had opened, by default, into a player called Totem (I think), a chap called "Marco" then stopped responding and had to be forcibly quit.

The m4a Four

I shan't ask why decibel, which plays them perfectly, displays a bit rate of 0kbps. "I can feel my mind going, Dave!" I shall listen to Cerys on BBC 6Music instead.

Taking a break...

... from programs and packages, I've now returned my attention to the Cinnamon desktop to tinker with panels, workspaces, and the general look'n'feel of the thing. I like what I've seen enough to make it my new default for a while, having finally discovered how to wrangle my six (vital) virtual deskspaces. Cinnamon is undeniably a lot "blingier" than MATE, but the 4GHz i7 4790K and (fingers crossed) the as-yet not yet refitted GTX 970 graphics card between them should just about be able to manage, even on my (fingers crossed) as-yet not yet refitted 4K Philips monitor. Besides, most of the bling can be toned down and restrained.

I thus [drumroll] proudly present my first-ever screen snapshot under Cinnamon:

Cinnamon example

Simple,2 when you know how.

Talking about "restrained"...

... the charm-free prat who likes to think he's running the UK "economy" is now trying to bribe me into re-electing him and his gang of like-minded chums by "offering" me the "freedom" of converting an existing life-long pension annuity into some lesser amount of cash upfront, from next April. Potentially taxable, of course. And doubtless subject to the usual fees and disbursements to his chums in "the City" to help them conjure up even more money as they churn the largely-imaginary stuff around in their smoke'n'mirrors-filled rooms of plates spinning on poles.

But, what do I know? Is it time for lunch yet? I'd say "Yes!"

The care-home nurse...

... gently warned me that dear Mama is "very near the end of her life". Is that sad? Not really. Let's re-cap: she's 98 years old? Yes. Lost in dementia? Yes. Extremely frail? Yes. Enjoying life? No. Not one little bit. Quantity is far less important than Quality. That was one of the relatively few things we both agreed on, actually. Big Bro and I are the "Executors and Trustees" she appointed, nearly 40 years ago, for precisely this situation. So I've now:

Nigel put it elegantly: "until the loved one passes" there's nothing else to be done. But I need more tea! Deep unjoy. I already have a date with Dr Fang tomorrow morning, too. This is now looking like an unpleasantly un-fun-packed week... <Sigh>


... I note that Nemo (the file manager Cinnamon uses) seems pleasingly immune to the (literal) hang-ups of its cousin on MATE, at least when it comes to copying downloaded BBC music files from BlackBeast Mk III over to my pair of NAS devices. Another plus point for the more blingy desktop manager. (It does look rather nice.)



1  One — of many — bugbears on WinXP, Ubuntu, OS-X, Vista, Win7 Ultimate, Win8 Pro, and Win8.1 Pro but not RISC OS.
2  It was a tortuous process. I first tried the KDE-based tool I initially found when searching the Software Manager looking for "snapshot". Couldn't even work out how to take a snapshot with it. Pathetic! Stomped off to consult with Mrs Google about what other snapshot tools might be suitable for use with Mint. (I still don't understand what happened to the "Take a snapshot" tool that I was happily using under MATE, but I assume it's not compatible.) Anyway, I found, read about — and then finally installed to my new panel — the "Shutter" program that had been (as it were) waiting for me all along (though the version on the current Mint repository is back-level). Poked and prodded at it a bit before I eventually realised that it had already taken a snapshot of the active window and tucked it away in my "Pictures" folder. So I loaded the 30KB .png file I found there into the GIMP, to export it as a web-friendlier 20KB .gif and... Robert's eventually your Father's Brother.