domenica, luglio 13, 2014

Inches are all around us

Yes... they are there and those inches, summed up, will make the difference between losing and winning, between life and death.

Ok, I admit it, I watched Any Given Sunday and Al Pacino got the best out of me.
And still I spend the most part of my every day missing the opportunities to catch those inches.

I know theory and I know how to apply it. Never do it, but I know everything.

That make me an idiot, and I am glad that it's been years that I know I am. Unfortunately I am not willing, yet, to change too much. It seems I enjoy going on being an idiot. I've got not much to say about it. I am... really am.

I will get better, probably, I will shave my beard one day and find a more clever version of myself below it. Time is quite running out, but I'll do.

So, what's the point of all of this? Tonight I'll cut my beard!

lunedì, giugno 30, 2014

Amsterdam: 8 months and counting

And... yes!

I am settled. Nice apartment, in a nice neighbourhood, a job to pay the bills and look at the future in a little less scared way (everybody knows, I've got the scared eyes of a deer...) and life is going on as it should.

Of course, life is going on as it should because I have no steering ability at all... but I am used to it. It's more or less 8 years, since I left Italy, that I have no power on my destiny. Every time I fight for something, I end up losing it. It's a bit unsettling, I have to say, but "Hey, what the f**k!" it's a phrase I repeated so much in my head that now it's simply another of my inner jokes.

As far as trying to shape my future, I am now restrained to the choice of my socks and to hoping to manage to maybe get back to a less-horrible shade of fitness. And I am taking the helm of it in these days... I started training for almost 2 hours every Monday and Tuesday (my off days). Today should be the 3rd day... and it menaces rain... but I don't care, I will go even under heavy precipitation!
So far the (in the meanwhile it just started raining... 

lucky me) result of my steering power is a set of horrible socks and aches everywhere. Today if I turn the head down my legs ache (it's not the legs... but I will not be more specific, it's around there). My right knee is telling me "STOOOOPPP!!!" in a nice whisper and my ankles gently weep every evening. It's a fun situation.

And... am I missing something? Ah... well, life is going on well in this nice and warm city.

lunedì, maggio 12, 2014

Learning the Manjaro way - 2 First Steps

Ok, now, with some luck if you are a complete newbie to the Linux world, you have installed Manjaro on your computer.

First thing to know. You have a lot of programs/application already installed on your system (unless you've done a barebone installation, but I didn't explained to you how to do that... so I presume you have a default installation). I will also presume that you are using KDE as a Desktop Environment (DE, the look and feel of your desktop, so to say).

So if you click on your Manjaro icon (a green M) on bottom left (or top left... or wherever you find it. It's the icon that shows the menu for everything that is installed on the system.
Programs are divided into categories, so if you are looking for a music player you can search it under Multimedia, if you look for the word processor, look in Office and so on.
Some programs already installed?
- LibreOffice (a office suite with word processor, spreadsheet and so on)
- DigiKam (to manage import of photos from a camera)
- GIMP (to edit images)
- Amarok (music player)
- Dragon Player (video player)

Just take some time and know your programs. Open them, use them and decide if you like them. Take note of this... it will be useful later on.

Now that you know a little better what you have under your hands, it's time to update the system. As every OS in the world, Linux is constantly improving (ok... I am refraining from making jokes about Windows...). So having the system up to date is really a good thing. Manjaro uses Pacman to install/remove/manage programs and the system. Pacman is a program that works using commands written in a Terminal. What's a Terminal? A Terminal is a program that sends commands to the system to manage it. You will learn to use the Terminal sooner or later. Maybe just for few commands, but you'll  learn that it's really easier than you would have ever expected it to be!
But, for the time, just know that Pacman, the "manager" of the system, can be managed using GUI Front End program (Graphic User Interface... a program that allows you to use your mouse to do things) that is called Octopi. Somewhere on the screen you will find a icon that looks like a octopus (look in the system bar, the bar where there is the Manjaro green "M", on the right there is what is called the System Tray, where icons as the volume, the network indicator are). That is the Octopi icon. If it is green, everything is up to date, if it is some other colour (yellow or red) it means that the system can be updated.

So, now it's time to Update your system: open Octopi clicking with the right button of the mouse on the Octopi icon in the bar and click on Octopi in the menu that appears. On the upper left of the Octopi window that will open there is the File menu, click there, click Sinc Database, insert your password, insert it again because I am sure you inserted it wrong, and wait for the program to check if there are updates. Than in the menu Transaction click on Commit... and update should start.

Next time... 3 Second Steps

domenica, aprile 27, 2014

Learning the Manjaro way - 1 Installation

So, I am so happy about my switch from Ubuntu to Manjaro that I want to share the experience.

But first, first a big and huge THANKS to Ubuntu. I discovered Linux 20 years ago but it wasn't until Ubuntu 8.04 that I really have been able to use it constantly on my PCs. It was, of course, 2008 and for 5 years I simply loved it. Now that I think about it... it's the same years span as... what the f...!! Well... never mind.

So, a HUGE thanks, Ubuntu still remains a great distro, but I am too of a chaos maker to keep it. And it was time to change, as I said. Last words, if you are a complete stranger to the Linux world, try Ubuntu (maybe not the last distro, but the previous one or the LTS), or maybe Mint.

Now, Manjaro. What's Manjaro? Manjaro comes from Arch Linux. Arch Linux is for bad asses. You want to learn Linux? Or you already know it? Go with Arch.
Manjaro tries to have the same level of configuration, speed, optimization as Arch, but gives you some help in the process other than the manuals and forums. It has got a graphic installer, for example!

How to install it? If you are on Linux or on Windows or on Mac: download Unetbootin. Than download the flavour of Manjaro that you want: you want it lightspeed? Download the XFCE one. You want it with more configuration for your DE? Download KDE. You want it bare bones but incredibly configurable? Openbox is for you.
Now launch Unetbootin (if it doesn't open... check on google "unetbootin doesn't launch"... or let me know and I'll help you). Select Diskimage, then select the ISO from Manjaro that you downloaded before, insert a USB stick in one of the USB ports, select it in Type and click OK button.

The program will create a bootable USB stick... let it finish it.
- By the way if you change the ISO from Manjaro with the one from another distro... you'll create a bootable USB stick to install that distro! -

Preliminary things to do on your PC if it's not a new one
If on the PC there is another OS and you already have data on it run a defrag (Windows) on it before trying to install. In this way the data on the PC will be moved to the beginning of the hard disk and there will be space at the end of it to install Linux. When it finished write down how much of the hard disk is being used: you need at least 24/30 GB free in order to install Linux (you can have also less, 10 could be enough, but I know you are a messy person, so let's have some more, ok?).

Now, when Unetbootin finished it's job, insert the USB stick in the PC that you want to install Manjaro to and restart (or start) that PC. You should press F12, F8 or whatever "F" your PC need at start up to select the device from which doing the booting (you know? When you start up the computer that there is that moment in which the screen is black and there is a message? Read that message and type the key that allows you to enter booting options). Select the USB device and restart again.

Instead of the OS (Operating System) that is normally installed on the PC you should be greeted by a different menu. There are some choices... leave the Default one and wait. Linux should be booting and at the end you'll enter in the Manjaro desktop (I've done it for KDE, but it will be the DE, Desktop Environment, that you chose). If you want it's time to mess around, try how it works and everything. This is a Live session of Manjaro, it's not yet installed on the PC, but it works as it were. So if everything works here (webcam, audio, videos) it means that everything will work once you complete the installation.

Let's move on: connect to the internet either by cable or by wireless. If by cable, just connect the cable. By wireless? On the bottom bar there is on the right the System Tray and the icon for Network. Select the wifi connection you use, type the password and that's it.
Now on the desktop there is the icon to install Manjaro. Indeed there should be 2, one "normal" and one "nonfree". The "nonfree" means that drivers that are not free will be installed too. Remember, it doesn't mean that you will have to pay for them, it means that you are not FREE to modify them, but you are not gonna to anyway so select that.

Launch the installation you want and now... WOW: a installation window will pop up. Select the language you want your installation, time zone, keyboard layout, then the disk layout.

And here we stop. To install Linux (Manjaro in our case) you need some space. I advice something like 20 GB.
So, at the disk layout section select Manual and go on.You will see a partition program where there will be a bar, that is your hard disk, with all the partition already there. If you click on the bar you can Change, Delete, Create the partition you are clicking.
If the PC is a new one and you want only Linux on it I suggest to partition (divide) you hard disk as follows:
  • create 20 GB with Type = ext4 for the main Linux installation, mount as "/"
  • some space for swap (normally it's the same as the RAM of your PC, if you don't know, let put 4 GB) with Type = swap, mount as "swap"
  • the rest as "data" disk with Type = ext4, where you will put everything... everything, mount as "/home"
If you have already an OS and data on the PC do like this:
  • leave all the partitions that you already got, simply resize (Edit, usually) the last partition so that 24 GB of space will be left
  • create a 20 GB partition for the Linux installation, Type = ext4, mount point "/"
  • create a 4 GB partition for swap, Type = swap, mount as "swap"
 Now... go on... ONLY IF YOU ARE REALLY SURE YOU WANT TO GO ON! If you are scared of doing some mess... don't do it! Call me, write me, I will try to help and clarify any doubts you have!

So, we go on, and the installation begin, you will be asked your name, a user name, chose a password, the name of the PC and... that's it!

At the end of the installation restart the PC, remove the USB stick and enjoy!

(next: First Steps)

sabato, aprile 26, 2014

Learning the Manjaro way

Today has happened.

Today I decided to wipe everything from my laptop (remember, it's a Dell Xps 13 with Linux on-board) and say goodbye to Ubuntu (Kubuntu flavour) and say HALLO to Manjaro as my main OS.

It has been a difficult choice? No. I upgraded from Kubuntu 13.10 to 14.04 and got a Kernel Panic (first EVER kernel panic in Linux for me...). How disappointed was I? Too much. There is NO way that a distribution should have a kernel panic in a production product (nice allitteration).

So, I downloaded Manjaro KDE edition and now here I am...
It took me a bit to have the same feel and look as in my old desktop... but it seems to be blazing fast. I already tried Manjaro with LXDE or XFCE, I don't remember... and that was INCREDIBLY fast!

But I love my KDE and I am not yet ready to part from it... so... Manjaro here I am!

Octopi (the package management application) is a looong way behind Software Center, that is true, but hey, I am a power linux user or not?!? Answer is: not. But I know how to go around in these dangerous waters...

Only thing that really annoys me a bit? Everything is so green...

domenica, febbraio 16, 2014

Amsterdam: 3 months, 3 weeks and 5 days (or something similar...)

Double post today, I am in that mood!

Ok, so some real updates on the situation here. It's been 4 months that I am here and I have an idea of how things are going on, now. The weather is not good, I have to say. There are a lot of days that evolves like this: 
- morning sun 
- midday cloudy 
- afternoon rain 
- evening heavy rain for 1 hour 
- night recovering to give a wonderful morning 

 It is not that bad, the only problem is that in the morning you work, but you can enjoy a nice ride to the workplace, that's for sure. Than in the afternoon you are still working. And just 1 hour before leaving the skies open and rains cats and dogs and you are scared that going home will be as wet as Venice.
Than you want to go out to take a beer with some friends, at the bar your trousers are as comfortable as sitting with a ball under your ass (one of those balls...). Than it's time to go home, the warm and cozy house of yours, so it doesn't matter if it's raining, snowing or else. but instead there is a wonderful night with bright stars.

But don't talk only about weather.

I am working in Almere, the youngest city in the Netherlands. Youngest as in "the last built" not as in "the city where the population is the youngest, they are all babies". It's 45 minutes of train from home, but since I've got the station at 2 minutes and the workplace is 2 minutes from the station, in less than 1 hour I am from home to work and vice versa. I know, I left Milan for more or less the same amount of time. But I have to say that sitting in a warm and comfortable train riding through the wonderful neetherlandese (a word that I just made up) country side is a bit different than being interred in a metro wagon with 1 hundred other persons looking at a underground wall.
The job is Customer Care, so I answer a phone and answer emails. Not difficult, and up until now I am just doing training, so not stressing at all. The colleagues are nice and friendly, the office is nice and fine so... perfect place!

Than... I started playing football again, in a tournament, I mean. 7 vs 7... the ideal situation for an old man like myself. Even if I am playing in defence, just as usual I let other people enjoy and I have to sacrifice myself... Or, maybe better said, I have not at all the legs to play in another position and defence is easy. HAHAHA... Old and smart like a fox. We are a good team, with some player quite good, but it is obvious the lack of practice and of been used to playing together. We just lost a game, but are still in the hunt for the top positions and can do well.
I just hurt myself, as I already said, and am recovering. We play on Tuesdays, I will miss the next one and be back, probably, for the last week of February. Hope not to hurt me again.

Last update. I have begun hunting (I like this world more than I like the action itself) for a new apartment. Ideally a wonderful, luminous apartment overlooking a canal in a old part of the city. Ideally... than who knows where the heck I will end up? But the hunt has begun. In March, April at most I would like to move and really start living here.

So, that's it... so long!

Springtime again

Yes, I know that it's only mid February, that we are in for some cold storms, rain, snow and whatsoever. But this morning, as I woke up around 12 (yes... technically it's still morning!) there were patches of clear skies up above and the sun was lighting up Amsterdam. I could not believe it! After fifteen minutes to re-discover where I was and who I was I managed to look out of the window and one of the trees in front of the house had sprouts of flowers and young leaves. It's SPRINGTIME!! I am sorry for the tree... he will have some problems in the next weeks, but I know he is strong and will survive. Took the bike, ride along the city, through a park and to a pancake bar... to have a nice breakfast with pancakes and scrambled eggs... or better, a croissant. Bit of a delusion, I found one of the few waitress who doesn't understand English... or maybe I was still too sleepy to explain myself well. So... springtime. A time of growth, recovering, warm days and still chilly nights... maybe I could use some of that. The sun shines, the ladies are out with nice dresses, the boy are out to watch the ladies in nice dresses. Some of them just to watch the ladies, but it's not necessary to have springtime, for that. Life in the Netherlands is going along well. I woke up in the morning, take a train that in 40 minutes brings me to work, through nice countryside and nice Amsterdam (the other way round...). I work 8 hours and it's not stressing... I would say it's at the same stress as in Paris, so no stress at all, but more interesting than there (I have not watched wikipedia pages yet...). I come back home and do what I wanna do. As now, absolutely nothing! I play football as much as I can, I eat sushi as much as I can, I ride my bike as much as I can. It's nice living, easy living. The things that I need are a new apartment, a seasonal ticket for the train and some girl friends. Yes, girl[space]friends (plural). I am not use to go around only with guys... as for a girlfriend [all together] (singular) there is time.

mercoledì, febbraio 05, 2014

Father Time finally catch up

Yep, that's all folks!

No, I'm being a bit too much drastic, probably. I am just a bit angry that when I was finally starting gearing up with the intensity of sport activity... CRACK! I pulled (and really hope not teared) my hamstring. It was coming, I knew it was coming... and did too few to avoid it. I almost injured myself in the same place before Christmas, but I stop playing for almost a month, than I begun training a bit, going jogging almost everyday. But Sunday I felt it... and tonight had not the time and will to warm up properly. And so... in front of me probably a month or more(even if I still hope less, but it's not probable) of resting and watching my teammates play...

I hope they win... even without me... SIGH!

domenica, febbraio 02, 2014

Organizing... and life changers...

Getting organized for a new life can take some time. I, for example, need between a month to a year to do the easiest things. Today I downloaded the application to check my trains timetable. Not a moment too soon! I still haven't got a bank account, a internet connected phone contract and some more things that probably I should have got by now. They will come in good time.

To go to work I spend at least 35 minutes per leg in a train. At most 47. I remember when I left Milan just because I wouldn't stand commuting for almost 2 hours a day to get to work. Now I'm doing 1 hour and a half and I'd remain in Amsterdam forever. It is true that the trip is on a train through fair country side and canals.

Life make we change. When we stop to change... it's time to die.