FlashPlayer 10 And The 64-bit Problem

Its A Mess

I'm running Firefox and I'm getting error messages from websites such as YouTube. The problem relates to Adobe's FlashPlayer Version 10. I have FlashPlayer 9 but it seems this is no longer good enough for some sites. They bug you to upgrade.

I try to upgrade to FlashPlayer 10. I'm redirected to Adobe's website and offered a number of options relating to Firefox / Linux. I run Debian as my OS of choice and select what appears to be the correct FlashPlayer plugin for Firefox.

When I try to install the plug-in Firefox advises this is the wrong architecture. I run a 64-bit multi-core CPU, as I imagine anyone not living in the third world with a fairly modern computer system. But its a problem. How it can be a problem, I don't understand.

Ya see, 64-bit processor were introduced by AMD in 2003. Yes, a full seven years have passed since they hit the streets. In the fast-moving world of technology that's several lifetimes. But it seems the OS world in general and the application world in particular are dragging their heels, and somehow still living in the dark ages.

Visit an online tech store and see if you can buy a single core 32-bit CPU. Chances are you will not. All current CPU's are 64-bit multi-cores and yet somehow, we are still saddled with 32-bit Operating Systems and 32-bit applications. Why?

This is a problem I've experienced for years. I have been running with 64-bit CPUs for about 5 years. Initially I ran Debian and FreeBSD shortly after 64-bit CPUs hit the market. The OS itself seemed to run fine, apart from a few minor issues. The biggest problems, were  applications. Browsers, Editors, and so on.

I found I was running a 64-bit OS, but the apps were all 32-bit. I lived with it for a while and hit so many problems, I gave up and re-installed a 32-bit OS running on a 64-bit CPU, using 32-bit applications. All that 64-bit CPU processing power you paid for was unused.

Roll forward to 2010 and I am facing the same issues I had back in 2005.

Tonight I try to upgrade to Version 10 of Adobe's ubiquitous FlashPlayer only to find its not available for Firefox Linux in 64-bit. I scratch around the dark corners of the Web and find an Alpha version of a 64-bit plug-in for Firefox on the Linux platform.

I've been running with Linux/FreeBSD for many years, and accepted the fact they small  market share compared to Microsoft's offering. To be honest I didn't mind and lived with it. Recently I thought things had changed with the emergence of Ubuntu, I was under the impression, perhaps erroneously, that Linux was going mainstream.

And still here I am struggling to get a 64-bit plug-in for a browser with 25% browser market share for FlashPlayer which has near 100% market share for Web Video.

Anyhow, I finally locate a 64-bit Firefox plug-in on Linux for FlashPlayer 10. I got it at Mozilla's Website. Here's the URL for other lost souls with the same problem:

 http://plugindoc.mozdev.org/linux-amd64.html#flash

The instructions appear fairly straight-forward if not very intuitive. You download the plug-in and manually copy the *.so file to your lib64 plug-in directory. Then fire up Firefox and wait for the Alpha pre-release software bugs to cause Firefox to crash.

Of course another question comes to mind. Web Video and Flash. Why are we still using proprietary technology?

Have we learnt nothing from the past?

The lesson of the 80s was "Open Systems", and to avoid proprietary hardware and it's marriage to proprietary software. In the early days of computing, if you bought IBM you were locked into IBM software. If you bought Digital, you were locked into Digital software.

I was under the impression we had moved on since then. We now had open systems. You bought your hardware from Dell or HP or any other clone and could install any software you liked for that particular architecture.  Although Microsoft did their best to fight the trend to open systems. They tried to play the old IBM trick of vertical integration. You buy Microsoft OS, then buy Microsoft products to run on the Microsoft OS. Many people fell for this, but not all.

Microsoft even made moves to a proprietary network system akin to the Internet, with their MSNetwork circa Windows 95/98. Read Bill Gates "The Road Ahead" and his vision of the "Information Superhightway". At that time Gates called it wrong and his first version of the book was quickly re-printed with amendments to accommodate the wave of change that was engulfing technology and computing. The Internet and Netscape came along and blew the "Information Superhighway" out the water. Completely sidestepping Gates, Microsoft with their networking plans and leaving them in its wake.

The Internet was based on "Open Systems and Open Protocols" not "Proprietary Technology".

You were not locked into or dependent on one supplier, thank goodness. Much as today, we have other options apart from Windows Vista or Windows 7.

We can choose to run Linux, FreeBSD, or if you can afford it, Apple's OSX. (Apple's OSX is proprietary, even though its based on BSD, which is free software). We have a choice.

In the browser market too, thanks to Mozilla's Firefox, Google's Chrome, Opera, and Safari we  can use other browsers aside from Internet Explorer.

In tying ourselves into proprietary technology, the users are subject to the whims of the IP holders, their engineers, and their marketing departments.

The Internet runs on "Open Protocols", we should not give away our freedoms and be tied into proprietary systems. I know "Open Web Video" formats are in the pipeline and will be part of HTML 5, once its more widely supported.

And big thanks must go to Google for using and supporting "Open Technologies" and "Open Systems". Even if some of their practices are questionable from time to time.

Anyhow that's enough for tonight. I gotta get back to sorting out this Flashplayer problem.

Adios Amigos!

Brand Free Life

Money Can't Buy Me Love

I read an interesting article on the BBC's website about Neil Boorman's experiment to ditch brand names and his brand oriented lifestyle and live without branded goods for a year.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6977844.stm

He began by burning all his brand name goods, then went on to live for a year without purchasing any major brands. He

He called his condition OBD. (Obsessive Branding Disorder) Which he states was a combination of compulsive shopping an reliance on status symbol brands for self esteem. He goes on to state that he did not buy goods for the basic function they performed, but for the way they made him feel.

What's interesting is how he felt after he purchased branded goods. He says:
I didn't buy clothes, gadgets or even food for the basic functions they performed. I bought them for the way they made me feel.
From Adidas trainers to BlackBerry phones, I depended on the confidence these brands gave me to face the world each day.
I began to realise the more money I spent, the more miserable I became. With mounting debts and plummeting self-esteem, I pledged to do away with these emotional crutches and attempted to live a year of my life brand-free.
How odd is that? Normally we believe the acquisition of material goods is going to make us happy, and yet the inverse happened.

There is an unassailable truth here... material possessions cannot bring lasting happiness.

Well, if not. What can?

LXDE Revisited

Light Fast Sweet

I endured Gnome bloat for a couple of months now and could not live with it any more. My machine was getting so slow, you could make coffee while it executed a simple task.

My machine felt like it was moving through treacle. Slow is not the way to go.

Soooo. I ripped out Gnome and re-installed LXDE.

Wow what a difference. The snappy response is back. It can still slow on some tasks, I'm not sure what's causing that, and I'll look into it. But in the main, I have to say, LXDE is the way to go.

Who needs fast when you can have bloat? Not!

When you get used to fast, bloat becomes unnecessary and unbearable.

For the time being...

LXDE is the one for me!!!

Benitez Rafalution?

More Like Laughalution

Here's a post I wrote on 24/04/2010. It was left in draft form till today. I was gonna finish, then post. Somehow I didn't get round to it. Anyhow here it is:

I read an article on a Liverpool Blog a few weeks ago, and I have to say it was authoritative, well researched, well presented and...

...wrong.

The main thrust of the blog was how good a manager Benitez is and has been. The points argued were supported with statistics showing Benitez to be the second best Liverpool manager of all time. Believe!

Okay. Stop laughing now. I have to add the author, Mr Tomkins is wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Benitez is not a good manager. He is at best, average.

Maybe he was good at one time (please note past tense). But no more.

He has failed spectacularly this season and how the American duo of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum got duped into agreeing a five year contract worth £20 million is beyond me and many in the footballing fraternity.

Benitez is a failure. He is as much a failure as Houlier before him. He may have done some good. But nowhere near enough.

Why do I say this? And how can I support this claim?

Look at the evidence.

He has spent...£292 million on reshaping his squad.

He sold Alonso, one of the best players at Liverpool. He bought too many average players that should never wear the red shirt at Anfield.

How many players in the current squad would make it into the teams at Chelsea, Man U or Arsenal? Exactly. If you get past three, you can stop counting. Maybe two? Benitez has overseen so many bad buys, he'll soon have a stable of donkeys.

Meanwhile across the road at Everton, David Moyes spent £20 million in the same period. Everton are three points behind Liverpool and two places behind them in the league. Everton would have overhauled Liverpool had they not had so many injuries this season. They have been snapping at Liverpools heels for too long.

Benitez is a no-hoper. He is past his sell by date. In the past I've expressed my reservations about Benitez. Sadly, Benitez is proving me right.

David Moyes for next Liverpool manager, anyone?

Liverpool And Benitez

Their Woes Continue

Here's a post I wrote on 28/01/2010. It was left in draft form till today. I was gonna finish, then post. Somehow I didn't get round to it. Anyhow here it is:

I haven't posted anything on Liverpool Football Club or Benitez for some time. I kinda consigned the club and management to the back burner and got on with other things.

The few weeks back I came across a blog-azine called the tomkins times. It has well researched pieces on many aspects of Liverpool FC. Their management, players, and a few other topics.

The blog is mostly closed and available by subscription. A number of posts have been made available for free. If you go to the site and look for free you can read several blogs without paying.

Tomkins argues the case for Benitez since he took the helms at the club in 2005. Tomkins looks at many points, including results, player transfers, defensive stategy, game analysis, and quite a few other things.

I have some sympathy for Benitez. He's at a club in management and financial turmoil. Benitez didn't see eye to eye with Rick Parry who resigned. Benitez argued with the American owners. The club carries massive debts dumped on it by the Americans when they took over. Benitez has little money for transfers. He frequently has to sell players before he can buy.

Tomkins highlights many points and fights for Benitez in all the free blogs I read.

I can agree with some points Tomkins makes, but I cannot agree with all.

Tomkins suggests Benitez has been a success and provides statistics to support this. In a recent post he showed how successful Benitez has been. The statistics show Benitez is Liverpool's 2nd best Manager of "All Time" on many fronts. The statistics support it.

In truth, this is playing with numbers. If you have a grasp of such things you can massage the numbers to show pretty much what you like.

If you look at Benitez record on transfers, it is not "great". Benitez bought many "also rans" instead of class beating athletes. Jermaine Pennant anyone?

In 5 years at the club Benitez has managed a Champions League win in his first year - 2005. In 2006 Liverpool won the FA Cup. 3-3 after extra time they beat West Ham in the penalty shoot out. 2007 saw Liverpool progress to the Champions League Final and were beaten by AC Milan.
In 2009 they were runners up in the Premier League finishing behind Manchester United, and beating Chelsea into third place.

They have won nothing apart from two cups in five years. Both cups were won on penalty shoot out and not by inspired classy football. Liverpool do not match Arsenal when it comes to the passing game.

At times Liverpool play a scrappy clueless game with little attention to tactics or game plan. Maybe the troops ain't listening to the general. Isn't it the general's job to ensure they do? Sometimes Liverpool play inspired football that it's hard to accept it's the same team. Other times they can't scrap with the likes of Wolves, Stoke or Sunderland.

The Benitez revolution has stalled.

Benitez has spent a bucket load of money on players. This Daily Mail article suggests Benitez spent £229 million on 76 players. The article dated 22nd October and does not include any additional signings since then.

Simply look at Bolton when Sam Allerdyce was manager. Allerdyce spent nowhere near as much, but took Bolton into Europe and finished a ???? (6th, 7th, 8th). He did it by building a team with team spirit and with a definite game plan.

XTerm & .Xdefaults

Like This

You can further tweak your XTerm by adding more settings to your .Xdefaults config file.

.Xdefaults lives in your home directory and is normally hidden. To view it, do:

ls -a or ls -al

This will reveal all hidden files in the current dir.

Here's a look at .Xdefaults file.

XTerm*font: -*-lucidatypewriter-medium-*-*-*-12-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
XTerm*background: black
XTerm*foreground: white
XTerm*pointerColor: white
XTerm*pointerColorBackground: yellow
XTerm*cursorColor: green
XTerm*internalBorder: 2
XTerm*loginShell: true
XTerm*ScrollBar: true
XTerm*scrollBar.width: 10
XTerm*ScrollKey: true
XTerm*SaveLines: 1000
XTerm*multiClickTime: 250
XTerm*VT100.geometry: 100x24
XTerm*rightScrollBar: true
XTerm*title: XTerm

Its self explanatory.

After making changes to .Xdefaults, you can update the xserver by running xrdb -merge.

xrdb -merge ~/.Xdefaults


Done!

XTerm Geometry

How Big?

If you use XTerm and want to control window size and window position, use -geometry switch.

I want my window to be 100 characters wide and 24 chars high, I do this:

xterm -geometry 100x24

You can specify a position for your XTerm if you desire. Do it by adding a little more to the geometry already given.

Explanation:
xterm -geometry <width>x<height>+<left>+<top>

Examples:

xterm -geometry 100x24+0+0

Will open an XTerm 100 chars wide, 24 chars high in the top left hand corner of the screen

xterm -geometry 100x24+0+100

Opens an XTerm 100 chars wide, 24 chars high on the top left but 100 pixels down from the top edge of the screen.

Of course we can add it to .Xdefaults config file and looks like this:

XTerm*geometry: 100x24+200+200

After making changes to .Xdefaults, let the xserver now so it can update settings. Do this using merge switch:

xrdb -merge ~/.Xdefaults

~/.Xdefaults tells xserver to use file in my home directory as "~" is shorthand for my home dir.

You can even "cd ~" to change to your home dir.

Thats it!