mintCast 333 – Half of the Beast

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First up, in our Wanderings, I fiddle with audio equipment, Tony Hughes reinstalls Mint, Moss fights with a giant pickup truck, Tony Watts streams live-ish, Bo makes sense of OPNsense, and Joe blends with Blender.

Then, in the news, Firefox 75 sees daylight, Mozilla and Red Hat get new CEOs, Gnome Challenges the community and more.

In security, Git gets tricked.

Bi-Weekly Wanderings:

  • Leo
    • Still playing with mics and their configuration. Especially in Linux. I may have no choice but to learn to live with Jack.
    • Have two setups now: The Behringer UM2 with the Behringer XM8500 as mentioned last show and a Focusrite Scarlett Solo with the Rode Podmic. Both XLR based setups.
    • The UM2 connected to either mic is fantastic. Very little noise compared to the MXL990 I had before.
    • The Scarlett Solo is where the issues start. The quality is awesome, but it seems Linux, or rather PulseAudio tends to trip all over itself when in use. Seems when one application is running sound, things are flawless. The moment another device tries to take priority of the mic or playback things can get unpredictable. These issues seem to only crop up when I’m using the input and output of the Scarlett Solo at the same time.
  • Tony H 
    • So I finally got around to fitting the Icy Dock 2.5” x 4 Bay drive port into my tower PC this week. I have been having some issues with my Tower and decided to get a 1TB SSD to reinstall Mint 19.3 Mate as the main drive then use the Dock for Dual booting other Linux Distros. As the Dock has 4 bays and my motherboard only has 4 SATA connections the 5.5” DVD drive has been removed and all the discs including the 1TB are now hot swappable without needing to access inside the PC case. At the moment I have 2 128Gb SSD’s with Ubuntu Mate 20.04 Beta and Q4OS in 2 of the remaining 3 bays and all these could be installed with more than one OS, so lots of scope for hardware testing different Linux and BSD Distributions as I move forward. 
    • Time will tell if the reinstall has cured the issues I have been having with the PC and in the last few weeks particularly with Mumble constantly crashing, we shall see how things go this evening during the recording.
    • I continue to play with my matchbox models and this week have been restoring/customising some mark 10 Jags, a few Lamborghini Mazal’s and a couple of Ferraris, I also took delivery of a few display worthy models and a few for further restoration projects down the line.
    • I took part in the BDLL Euro edition last week and was able to go to bed at a sensible hour as it is between 8pm and 10pm on the Saturday evening my time, the same as the mintCast recording time, which is far more sociable for me, and you guys in the US get the opportunity to be part of 2 shows on one day. This morning it was 1am-3am my time so if I am a bit jet lagged you know why. 
    • My New headset arrived as I had damaged the 3.5mm jack on one of my others but this was not an expensive buy and I’ve still to get the mic to work acceptably for Zoom use so continue to just use it for listening to the audio and use my laptop’s microphone for audio in, it is actually surprisingly good if there is no background noise.
    • And finally myself and Moss recorded our 12th episode of Distrohoppers Digest despite my issues with Mumble we got through it, marking a year since we started. So it is onward into year 2, we may have a guest host for our next episode if we can find a mutually agreeable time to record, otherwise we may have our first Distrohoppers listener edition :-).        
  • Moss
    • We had another wonderful episode of Distrohoppers’ Digest, our twelfth episode and the conclusion of our first year. I even had a tad bit of extra experience: Tony’s machine was dropping Mumble from time to time, so I set up and saved the Mumble Recording for the first time ever.
    • I tried setting up Solus once more. It absolutely refuses to use an existing partition for me. The installer looks just like Ubiquity, but there is no way to select *and change* a partition. I did try installing it as a sole distro and it worked just fine — which means it blew away three perfectly good distros doing so. I don’t think I’m going to be reviewing Solus again unless and until they change/fix that.
    • It looks as if I’m going to be reviewing Ubuntu Mate 20.04 for the next episode of DHD. I’ve also loaded Ubuntu Studio 20.04 Beta, but I’m not happy with it yet and XFCE is not my friend.
    • Thanks to Joe, I have a new Bluetooth headset, an LG HBS770. It works really great in all respects, except I couldn’t get it to connect to this computer before the show, which is probably my fault for deleting more Bluetooth from the machine than I could find to reinstall.
    • This past Wednesday, while driving for work, I got in a REALLY BAD auto accident, resulting in me having to be taken by ambulance to the emergency room. The car is totaled and so is my job. But I’m getting better and nothing is broken. I could barely move for the first two days with massive pain levels, but I’m only hurting REALLY BADLY today and sitting in my usual office chair. As I have covered this in our Telegram group, complete with video, I won’t go into it any more deeply here. I got well enough fast enough that I had my wife drive me to work yesterday and I drove my own car home… with a little pain but not bad. I couldn’t find anyone else to do it, as it is a stick shift and drivers were not being found.
    • I feel I’m misusing the Galago Pro 2, that it doesn’t quite fit my use needs. I’d like to move it to someone who could use it better, and get a 15.6” or 17” ThinkPad. I need the larger keyboard, and to a point the larger screen. According to eBay, what I could get for the Galago Pro — with an i5, 16 Gb RAM, 14” form factor, a 1Tb hard drive and a 256 M.2 drive — would get me a fairly nice ThinkPad with an i7 and 16 Gb RAM, and I don’t care about the size of storage as I have enough of my own. I posted a swap offer on Mastodon and a couple groups, but have garnered no interest as yet. Contact me if you’re interested, or I may take other means of moving it.
    • One of my domain names came up for renewal, and the registrar tripled the price. So I had to go through the effort to move nameservers. Mission accomplished.
    • We finished reading “Grave Peril” and started in on “Summer’s Knight”, the 5th book in the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. So far it seems that Harry keeps getting deeper and deeper with no rest and no advancement. In a comparable series, Demon Squad by Tim Marquitz, the lead character, Frank, got stronger with each book’s events. Frank had a cast of characters who were introduced early and came and went as needed, Harry seems to keep inventing new friends and enemies each book although there are some notable holdovers. My wife seems to be more critical of both the main character and the direction of the series as compared to other series we’ve read as we get deeper in the series.
  • Tony Watts
    • Live streaming music
      • Did a live 35 min set on Facebook last night.  Recorded on my back deck just using the phone’s microphone, this time
      • Attempted unsuccessfully to live stream with my old PC, old audio interface, and droidcam for live streaming.  Too glitchy but I think this is due to the underpowered Core Duo PC I was using
    • Purchased Presonus Studio 24C
        • Will test this with Android, Dell 7130 
    • Helped a friend get set up for home vocal recording
    • Played some games on Google Stadia
    • Updated Lineage 16 to 17 (Android 10 Update)
    • Have been watching Mr. Robot
    • Local breweries doing carry-out – highly recommend 
  • Bo
    • Update on my wife’s exploded PC
    • pfSense and OPNsense
    • Resurrected a dead podcast
  • Joe
    • Kim Harrison the Hollows.
      • The books have slightly improved and I did finish the series
    • Started the Nate Temple series By Shayne Silvers
      • Decent book series.  Not great but decent
    • Red Dwarf feature length
      • Not all I was hoping for but it did feed the addiction.  
    • Watched Dog Soldiers and VFW at the recommendation of the guys over at ECN
      • Really good movies 
    • Just got done with Eden 6 on Borderlands 3 and am back on Pandora.
      • Have not done much of the sidequests although I am playing through the DLC for the better weapons and experience
      • Think Eden 6 will be good for the next play through when I decide to go exploring
    • Got my 3D printer working.  Still haven’t done much printing yet
      • Cleared the clog and started testing different prints.
      • Was able to print a couple of parts but still dialing in the settings for the best print
      • Then it would not maintain temperature again on the hotend
      • So i pulled the board and checked it but everything seemed fine
      • After that I replaced the heating element for the hot end
      • I have to say it seems to be working much better and the power supply does not seem to be getting as hot as before.  Hopefully that is the last fix that i need to do on it for a while
      • But I did get to learn a lot taking it apart and putting it back together
      • Lots of work to get done on it but I am enjoying
    • Started messing around with blender and tinkercad and I have to say blender is way too power user for me at this time.
      • Tinkercad on the other hand was very easy to use the web version for the simple designs that I was creating
      • Plus a couple of youtube tutorials really helped out
    • Fixed a Sony XB700bt which is one of the few headsets with USB-C charging and a 30 hour battery
      • Just needed to replace the drivers on it as the first one I had ordered to make a bt receiver did not have any but turned out unsuitable for the task
      • It may have a 30 hour battery life but definitely not a 30 hour wear time.  I find them very uncomfortable.
      • So i am going to 3d print an adapter to increase the size of the earcups and see if that helps(what i am doing in tinkercad)
    • Tried out Q4OS on the 7140 with Plasma
      • Had a bit of trouble with the installation and the startup
      • But even beyond that I had trouble with the occasional kernel panic at startup 
      • When it did work it looked very familiar but I used to be a Kubuntu user way back when
      • Interesting issue with the gyros on the table.  It would not rotate but when the gyros were activated it would cause the keyboard and touchpad to quit working.  Sometimes the USB port would also quit working.  It would be a random amount of time before they came back if they were going to come back.
      • Also the occasional random restart but it is hard to judge on a tablet that isn’t exactly mainstream.
      •  Did have to manually install the drivers for audio in order to get it to see the card.  But although it could see the card it did not work.  
      • USB sound card also did not work. Along with Bluetooth headsets not working.
    • Listener Dustin purchased one of my turtle beach stealth headsets for his kid.  Thank you
      • Also sent me a couple of broken headphones that i am in the process of working on
      • Some Samsung in ear oems and a pair of monoprice DJ headsets
        • Mentioned that the speakers may be blown

The News: 

Security Update: 

Announcements: 

  • Our next episode will be at 2 pm Central US time, 7 pm UTC, May 3, 2020. That’s 8PM British Summer Time. 

Wrap-up:

Before we leave, we want to make sure to acknowledge some of the people who make mintCast possible … 

  • Hobstar for his work on the new logo
  • Josh for all his work on the website
  • Hacker Public Radio for the Mumble server we are using to record
  • Bytemark Hosting for hosting mintcast.org and our Mumble server
  • Archive.org for hosting our audio files
  • The Linux Mint development team for the fine distro we love to talk about.

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