Host ID: 246
Beeza has worked in just about every area of software development over the last 30 years, including long spells in the defence and finance industries. He is now relatively impoverished but far happier working for himself on a number of tech and non-tech projects.
Beeza uses an Acer Aspire One netbook as a media player (principally audio).
The audio quality sent from the sound card out through the headphone socket really is excellent, so that when fed into a hi-fi amplifier the final reproduction is every bit as good as audio from a CD player - possibly better.
The netbook is over 5 years old. When it was first bought most Linux distros ran very well on it. Since that time, however, the optimal hardware spec for most distros has increased quite considerably, leaving a humble netbook relatively underpowered, having typically 1 Gb RAM and a sedate CPU.
All is not lost, fortunately. Raspbian X86, which is very closely related to the ARM version of Raspbian as used on the Pi, has a very light footprint and delivers performance on a netbook very much like what you would have experienced when they were brand new.
Raspbian X86 is not perfect, though. It works brilliantly straight out of the box, but its security model needs a bit of simple reconfiguration to get the best from it. There are also, tweaks and cheats that can improve the Pixel user interface which, in its default setup, may not be to everybody's liking.
In this episode Beeza explains steps he has taken to get the best from his netbook and, in the politest way possible, tells you what you can do with yours.
POST RECORDING NOTE
"Since recording the show I have installed Pulseaudio on top of Raspbian X86. It's a very simple install using Synaptic (or '
apt-get install pulseaudio'), after which you can run it as a daemon process with '
The advantage of Pulseaudio is that it gives you greater control over the audio channels and devices than is possible with just the default ALSA sub-system. This will be handy if you ever record from streams or USB microphones.
If you install Pulseaudio, I strongly recommend installing pavucontrol as well - a mixer designed specifically to work with Pulseaudio".
In the UK there is a lot of competition in the telecoms business but, in reality, most of the players rely on infrastructure owned and operated by one company - BT.
Urban customers benefit greatly from this competition and probably have the cheapest telecom services in Europe as a result. The emphasis of the providers is, understandably, areas of high population concentrations. The problem is that nowadays a lot of people living in rural areas need fast and reliable internet connections to do their jobs and run their businesses.
What do you do when you live in a remote area and the major internet providers have no plans to roll fast connections out to where you live?
In this episode Beeza describes how he found a solution and managed to get it implemented.
- Unetbootin: http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/
- LibreOffice: https://www.libreoffice.org/
- AbiWord: http://abisource.org/
- Gnumeric: http://www.gnumeric.org/
- PDF-Shuffler: http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfshuffler/
- Audacity: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
- Audio Tag Tool: http://freecode.com/projects/audiotagtool
- Bombono DVD: http://www.bombono.org/cgi-bin/wiki/
- Decibel Audio Player: http://decibel.silent-blade.org/
- Handbrake: https://handbrake.fr/
- MHWaveEdit: https://gna.org/projects/mhwaveedit/
- Minitube: http://flavio.tordini.org/minitube
- OpenShot: http://openshot.org/
- Sound Converter: http://soundconverter.org/
- VLC: http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
- Filezilla: https://filezilla-project.org/
- Dia: https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Dia
- GIMP: http://www.gimp.org/
- GScan2PDF: http://freecode.com/projects/gscan2pdf
- Inkscape: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inkscape
- Krita: https://krita.org/
- Simple Scan: https://github.com/mnagel/simple-scan
- XSane: http://www.sane-project.org/
- Stellarium: http://stellarium.org/
- SQLiteman: http://sqliteman.yarpen.cz/
- Gambas: http://gambas.sourceforge.net/en/main.html
- Lazarus: http://lazarus.freepascal.org/
- Get-iplayer: https://github.com/get-iplayer/get_iplayer
- SearchMonkey: http://freecode.com/projects/searchmonkey
Beeza hates being told what to do. When he moved over to Linux he noticed how most users were barely scratching the surface of the huge choice of software offered by the repositories. Rather than just go with the flow and settle for what everybody else was using, it was in his nature to look for alternatives to the most popular applications.
He discovered some total rubbish, but also some real gems which deserve far greater exposure than they receive. Reviews of some of these excellent but relatively unknown packages will form the basis of future HPR episodes.
In this episode Beeza makes the case for investing a little time digging around in the repositories to see if there is software which may suit your requirements better than the mainstream applications.
Over about 30 years Beeza has been a software developer and tester, a system designer and technical author. In that time he's worked with a wide range of software, hardware and technologies. From DOS and the early days of Windows and the Mac, through to his conversion to Linux, he's seen great changes in the way we develop software and use computers. Not all the changes have necessarily been for the better, though.
For anyone who's been around the IT world for a while, this may be a short trip down memory lane. For relative newcomers, it may come as a surprise to discover just how much was achieved years ago with so few resources.