mintCast 336 – Sneaky Snek


First up, in our Wanderings, Erik gardens, Tony Hughes bakes cars, Moss throws everything up in the air, Tony Watts goes live, Joe fills his brain, Bo fights a snake, and Leo fixes an oven

Then, in the news, Gnome wins, Microsoft loses, Linux moves on

In security, GitLab goes fishing


  • Erik
    • Planting our gardens. We live in the country with some land and we have 4 separate gardens. We’re working on the last one now which is a little behind schedule for planting
    • Reopened our office with a ‘soft reopening’ with the Coronavirus. Still have the majority of my staff working remotely but we’re able to come back into the office for various items. 
    • Testing new laptops with dedicated graphics cards for the CAD and 3D design software. Looking at Lenovo ThinkPads, HP, and MSI gaming laptops. 
    • Took a 600 mile round trip to pick up a machine for use at the business. Picked up 2 ‘mini-trucks’ for using on projects – design and construction projects. 
      • The trucks are Japanese over the road vehicles but not highway vehicles in the US (for the most part)
      • Full creature comforts with a regular cab, heat, A/C, radio, wipers, etc. 
      • Four-wheel drive but you drive on the opposite side (right side) and shift with your left hand – that takes some getting used to
      • Size of a UTV but with weigh about 2000 pounds but 5 feet wide and 11 feet long
  • Leo
    • Rocco recently released a Linux Spotlight featuring… me!
    • We fixed our oven!
    • Got show audio working! CMUS
    • Playing with Cloudready. Not too bad! Virtualbox is really easy to get going for anything Cloudready doesn’t do natively.
  • Tony H 
    • More work on my models and recording another episode for HPR about the process. I’m enjoying the process although documenting all the stages of the process takes a lot of time remembering to take pictures of the stages as I go along. 
    • I started to use one of my Toshiba Z30’s as my Zoom/Jitsi box as it is easier to move around and set up in the workshop when I need to join a Zoom or Jitsi call. I hadn’t switched this Laptop on for well over 2 months and still had to fully configure my Mint 19.3 install, ran all the updates and installed Zoom and everything is great. I joined the Makerspace/LUG via Jitsi the last few weeks, just a point that for some reason Jitsi seems to be better on Chrome/Chromium than FireFox where it is a little flakey. It does work but you may wish to alter the video resolution to get a smoother experience.
    • Found a bug in my install of Kubuntu on the Dell E7440 for the next Distrohoppers, when you suspend the laptop it will not reconnect to the WiFi network. I have to reboot to get WiFi back. This has happened a couple of times, but as I rarely suspend my laptops it is not a major issue and I’m not sure if this is an issue for others. I did do some research and this issue seems to go back to 2016 it looks like a WiFi driver issue according to the Ubuntu documentation. It does say update your computer but it is fully up to date on the latest 20.04 release.
    • Continuing to bake bread and other things, I made another 2 loaves of Sourdough yesterday. Although on Monday we treated ourselves to a delivery of a traditional British afternoon Tea, as it was the Bank holiday and part of celebrating My wife’s birthday during the week as we couldn’t go out for our usual meal.
    • Since the lockdown I have been going out daily for a walk as my normal exercise at the gym can not happen, this last 2 weeks I have now got over 62 days of walking in excess of 5000 steps a day, yes I know they say 10000 is the amount to remain fit, but us oldies are advised to do 150 minutes a week and I’m blasting that.
  • Moss
    • Yesterday during the show meeting, my Linux box just was not working right, I could hear Tony Hughes great, Joe pretty well, and everyone else was breaking up. I tried a bunch of things. Nothing worked. So. Less than 2 hours before the show, I decided to switch machines. I set up my Kudu, with the i7 CPU instead of an i3 but otherwise similar specs, and loaded Mint. I decided to try out the software in advance (about 13.30 prior to a 15.00 showtime), and found Audacity 2.4.1 was just not working. After asking a few questions of Leo and Tony with no resolution, I rebooted to Pearl OS 9, where Audacity 2.3.3 was working just fine. So I went to set up Mumble, and discovered that the version in the repos does not accept our certificate. Leo told me to get the snap, so I did, and it’s working fine. I think.
    • I got KDE neon loaded to my Kudu laptop, in preparation for the next Distrohoppers’ Digest. I got everything set up in case I wanted to use it for a podcast, and, for the first time, got HexChat set up such that I log right into the mintCast room with admin privileges. Of course, that means I will never use it for a podcast, ever. Everything else is set up except that I haven’t bothered to validate my and real-debrid accounts for Kodi.
    • And then the trouble started. For some reason, whether I’m connected via either wifi or ethernet, I get a yellow exclamation point stating “Limited Connectivity”. I asked around a bit, and after determining it is using exactly the same kernel as Mint (so that is not the issue), I checked the KDE Community Forums and found others had the same problem, supposedly to be fixed soon in an update. This does give me something to complain about in my review next DHD.
    • The Linux box is cruising along. After a lot of chatting with the guys in Telegram and with Leo, it seems that I don’t really need to do much in the way of upgrading it. I need to get some connectors for the Molex and data cables to be able to use them for SATA, a new (larger) SSD, and that’s about it.
    • I finally got tired of loving the look of OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 but not being able to do much with it, so I looked around a bit and installed the new Pearl OS 9. You may remember me talking about Pearl Desktop 8 a few months back, it’s been relabeled and updated. I’m getting a lot of negative comments from the peanut gallery, to the effect of if I wanted a Mac desktop I should get a Mac, but that’s fine with me. It’s almost pure Ubuntu with some Mint tools, the desktop is hybrid XFCE and LXDE with lots of Compiz Fusion, and it still uses less than 800 Mb RAM. I had to strip some political stuff from it, as the dev is very much into Qanon and Alex Jones, as shown by the included links and apps.
    • I listened to the first 15 minutes of Brian Lunduke’s current version of Linux Sucks. These have been pleasant in the past, host aside, but this one was a complete waste of my time and I just stopped. Not the worst 15 minutes of my life but it was in the running.
    • My wife and I are now into Death Masks, the 5th book of Dresden Files. and are chugging right along. She just recently noticed that we had cut off reading Temeraire and suggested we might get back to it someday. I’m still unemployed, working pretty hard to change that but there aren’t many jobs out there yet. I sent out 6 resumes last week and got 3 of them back as bad addresses, one as a vacant lot. Did a bunch more research and sent three more out yesterday, two of them to the current addresses of those which got returned. It’s sad when you find computer company addresses on the Internet which are over 5 years old.
  • Tony Watts
    • Played a real live gig last week, at a brewery
    • “Attended” a virtual Clutch concert on Wednesday
    • Renewing PIA
    • Received velour headphone cushions for ATH-M50x
    • More testing with audio/video recording 
      • Audio interface successfully tested on Android phone and Amazon tablet
      • Successful FB Live test on both Thinkpad T480 and Dell 7130, using just web browser, audio interface and internal webcam (no streaming software)
      • Played a bit with OBS on Dell 7130
    • Kubuntu on the Dell 7130
      • Suspend works properly, have not always had good luck with that on other distros
      • Only issue encountered, rear-facing camera does not work in Kubuntu but also does not work in any other Linux distro I’ve tried.  Only the front “selfie” camera works in Linux (never tried Windows? Could be hardware issue for all I know)
      • Noted Chrome automatically has touch scrolling working as a default, upon install.  The included FireFox does not.  
  • Joe
    • Worldship Humility by RR Haywood
      • Really good book.  The action was steady but not overpowering.
      • High quality audio and a good story. Will be trying other titles from the same author
    • Brandon Sanderson sequel to Skyward called Starsight
      • Very enjoyable sequel.  Lots of new information in building the world
      • A good addition to what should be a solid series.
      • Because Brandon Sanderson just needed another really good book series
    • Delta V by Daniel Suarez
      • Really good book with some solid ideas in regards to mining in space
    • Influx by Daniel Suarez
      • An interesting book if less memorable
      • About the suppression of technology to control the advancement of society 
    • Second book in the Sprawl trilogy, Count Zero by William Gibson
      • This series has been difficult for me to get through.  I really want to like it but it is more a series that I would have to dedicate a lot more cycles to than I have available at any given time.  So maybe the next time I am on vacation…
    • Haven’t been spending enough time listening to the podcasts that I enjoy mostly because I normally listen at work and most of work lately has been taken up with meetings.  The joys of working from home.  I used to hate the days that I would spend 6 hours of the day in meetings and now it almost feels like the norm.
    • But i did make sure to listen to Leo on the Linux Spotlight and yes i will be talking more about headphones today.
    • Second pair of Sony XB700’s.  The ones I bought for parts so I could fix the first pair.  
      • Bad battery which is why I got them cheap.  Would not charge at all and would not turn on
      • Also I removed the drivers in them to use on the other ones
      • So none of the grill or ear pads were there either
      • I also had a pair of EarPollution Moguls that were in pretty bad shape and the only good thing they had going for them in the first place was decent drivers
      • It took several iterations and test prints to get all the dimensions correct but I designed and printed the grill and driver mount as well as an expanded ear cup mod. 
      • Used a method I saw on “My Mate Vince” YouTube channel to resurrect the battery.  Pulled the battery out and connected it to a PCB USB battery charger and monitored the charge with my voltmeter.  Voltage went from 0 to 3.7 volts very quickly.  I then disconnected the battery from the charger and resoldered to the headphones and verified that the built in charger could finish the job up to 4.2 volts
      • So the Sony XB700’s are now over ear instead of on ear and have 50mm drivers instead of 30mm drivers
      • I glued the drivers into place to prevent rattling and the volume is good although if I use the enhanced bass features too much I get a bit of distortion.  I do have other drivers on the way from china or i may pick up some better ones or pull the ones i have in an old pair of tritons
      • Testing the batteries over a long period of time before gluing all the new parts in place.  Am also looking at maybe making my own mounting screw holes since I was not able to use the originals.  This would allow for modifications and fixes in the future.  But for now it looks like the battery is completely restored and i have a second pair of headphones that are really good for all day wear
    • I also think i have ruined my music listening with this being stuck at home and getting to use cans instead of the hbs 770s.  I switched back to them for jogging the other day and normally while jogging i will listen to an audiobook or podcasts but instead i decided to listen to some metal.  The only thing that was going through my mind was how tinnie it sounded and how little bass there was.  This was with the better modular drivers that i had added and it still sounded horrible.  So I may be looking for other really good in-ear drivers that I can mod to use the modular connections and improve sound quality.
    • Or I may buy some MMCX in-ears that rate well.  Then try to build my own later.  I only need one good pair to start with because I can move them to all my modular headsets.  Still, at 50 bucks, that is a bit of a splurge for me for the 
    • Traded one of the Skullcandy Crushers with the 3D printed hinge for a HP Touchsmart
      • Also made sure to 3D print a spare hinge so that if the other one breaks i won’t be in a hurry to send another one.
    • Looking at building or buying a new tower computer for my server.  But not certain where i want to go with it
      • The mini ITX and micro ATX builds seem very cool and not as expensive as i supposed they would be but it seems a bit pointless if i am planning on adding 4 hard drives.  I don’t need a lot of peripherals added but i should put a decent graphics card on for transcoding with plex.
      • I could add in a graphics card to my current build as long as it is not trying to use board power and has a seperate power connector but the server that i have is still having problems where it overheats and crashes.  I may just try a full reinstall.
    • Spent some time helping listener Dustin get resilio sync set up so that I could easily transfer some of my audiobooks over to him so he has something to listen to at work.  
      • I did see that resilio sync is not the easiest thing to set up.
      • But I still recommend it as a way for transferring large files amongst devices.
      • Granted I usually use it to sync files across my own machines.
      • Also had a really good conversation about books and fiction and what writers are good and what writers aren’t.  Didn’t get too far down the rabbit hole but it was still a good conversation.
      • Sounds like I got a new person to check out the Stormlight Archive.  I like this because I don’t have too many people to talk to about my obsessions 
    • Also been trying out some small things with plex.  Right now I have turned on the function to use ram as a temp space for the transcoding.  Dont notice too much of a difference but does seem a bit more stable.
    • Received the replacement micro sd card for my pi but have not set it up yet.  I think that I will be going with the Ubuntu OS for that.  But i will be keeping my option to switch back to raspbian open in case i cant get netflix working.
  • Bo
    • Removing a snake from my car
    • DIY coffee roaster 
    • Krita for android in beta 




  • Our next episode will be at 2 pm Central US time, 7 pm UTC, June 14, 2020. That’s 8PM British Summer Time.


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 and our Mumble server
  • for hosting our audio files
  • The Linux Mint development team for the fine distro we love to talk about.

One Reply to “mintCast 336 – Sneaky Snek”

  1. mike90000

    Bo’s story about ‘snake habitat’ was a real ROFLMAO moment for me.
    The dense bushy area is not attracting snakes but rather RODENTS! The snakes naturally follow the food source and try to keep the population down.
    Get rid of the dense shrubbery like English ivy etc, rats and snakes will move on, problem solved ….. or just live with the helpful snakes!
    Similar thing happened growing up, a neighbor was a baker and his wife put out bread scraps ON THE GROUND for the birds and the inevitable happened. After we commented about the critters she found a proper bird feeder.

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