Monday, November 8, 2010

Hacking Jolicloud to run a different window manager

Jolicloud is an excellent OS for netbooks. It sits on top of an Ubuntu base system, and the devs over there have really done a great job making it very user and hardware friendly. The folks at Ubuntu have spent a lot of time on the netbook remix version of their quickly growing operating system. However, it has been my experience that Ubuntu runs very bloated and slow on my humble Acer netbook. Jolicloud is highly optimized and carefully tweaked to get the most out of your netbook hardware. It is very good on the battery, it supports almost all netbook wireless systems, includes a kernel that is highly optimized for portable devices, and pretty much everything installs easily, is configured, and just works out of the box. This makes it great, especially for those who want more out of their system than their current heavy Windows installation, and are rather new to Linux.


As much as i like the performance i get from Jolicloud, and how well it works with my hardware, i don't really care much for the user interface. I would rather run a lightweight window manager like openbox or awesome. The Jolicloud login manager does not give any choices to select a desktop session that isn't the one packaged with Jolicloud. So what to do?
Hack that sucker !

First, head on over to The current stable version is 1.0, but i used the development or 'testing' version 1.1 due to be released later this month. I have had no problems with it, and it has run very stable. You can get the dev version here. Follow the instructions on the site to install Jolicloud on your computer. After a normal install, you are ready to tinker.

After booting into the Jolicloud desktop, hit Alt-F1 to launch a terminal. Update the package manager by typing
sudo apt-get update

It will ask for your super user password ( the one you created when you installed the OS).

Then, download the window manager you wish. I chose Awesome. It is very light, and takes up very little screen area, leaving most of the precious screen to the applications. So for me, it was
apt-get install awesome

Jolicloud uses the SLIM login manager. You have to modify it's configuration file so it will allow a different WM. Also, you will need to disable the jolicloud-daemon.

open /etc/slim.conf
you can use your favorite text editor here. I use vim, but gedit is popular and comes with Jolicloud

sudo gedit /etc/slim.conf

uncomment (remove the '#' at the beginning of ) the line that that reads
login_cmd exec /bin/sh - ~/.xinitrc %session

and comment the line below it that reads
login_cmd exec /bin/bash -login /etc/X11/xsession %session

there is another line that reads
sessions default
change this to reflect what window managers you want to run
for example, mine reads
sessions awesome, default

Now close the text editor, saving your changes, and create a file in your home directory called .xinitrc ( remember the dot)
you can do this by typing this in a terminal
gedit /home/your_user_name/.xinitrc

Now add a line to execute your window manager.
exec awesome

You can elect to add more to your .xinitrc file so that other programs can be started when the WM loads. For example, mine looks like this...
exec awesome &
nitrogen --restore &
# that line sets my desktop wallpaper to the last one I had selected with the image viewer, nitrogen.
setxkbmap -option grp:switch,grp:alt_shift_toggle,grp_lit:scrroll us,ru -variant ",phonetic"
# that line allows me to switch between the US/English and Russian/Phonetic keyboard layouts.

remember the '&' line at the end of each line in .xinitrc except the final line.

Now we are going to disable jolicloud from taking over by removing execute permissions to the files.
sudo chmod a-x /usr/bin/jolicloud-launcher
sudo chmod a-x /usr/bin/X11/jolicloud-daemon

Next time you log in, you shoud be in the window manager that you chose.

The screenshot at the top of the page shows what my desktop looks like.
It runs in about 100-140 MB RAM, where Jolicloud runs in about 230-260, and Ubuntu netbook remix runs in almost 330 MB.

If you have problems, let me know. I am very satisfied with the system i have installed now.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I have not written anything in a long time so it is time for me to spew forth some of my grey matter before i loose interest again.

If i am going to write again, i need the topic to be one i feel strongly about. So, we will discuss cows. Why do i have such brain space dedicated to the hatred of cows? I am not sure. They are animals of little consequence if you are not a cowboy or rancher. They are just feeder animals, placed on the planet by God to feed people and the occasional intrepid coyote. You see, these animals are not fit to live in the wild. They are not equipped to survive. They have no claws, they cannot outrun any predator that is more dangerous than chipmunk, and most of all, they are too stupid to live without assistance.

Case in point...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

no meat for predators

Recently, i had a discussion with a fellow Christian who believes, with all of his heart that there were no animals killed by other animals until after the flood of Noah.
Someone comment, please, if there is a scripture that supports this. Why is this being taught? Does it somehow create a different picture of God?
I know that no human can understand Gods nature. We need revelation from the Word of God. Somehow, the God i know isn't like this.

Ok, angels, check this out. I am going to create a creature. This creature shall be called a lion. It will have dense muscular tissue enabling great speed and strength. Its jaw will bite down with sufficient force to crush any creatures skull. It will have claws that can disembowel a victim with one strike. It will be very skilled in subterfuge, stalking, and approaching other animals. It's roar will paralyse any lesser creature by fear alone. And he will live on salad.

My friend argued that the claws were to tear bark from trees. So what were the teeth for? Lion teeth, like almost all predatory creatures are not only sharp, but angled back to create a barbed effect so that the animal held therein cannot escape. Plant eating animals have flat teeth to mash up plant material. Humans, by the way, have both.

So, which creature do you think God created?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

i spy

Today i saw a bag of dog food that someone in the store was purchasing in front of me.
It said home-style on it. Who is making dog food in their home?

A photo of an Ambrosia salad, cropped from the...100% god-chow
Image via Wikipedia

There is a dish that always shows up at family get-together type events. It is called ambrosia, and is served like a salad, but really, it is a dessert. The word ambrosia, comes from Greek mythology. It is the food of the Gods. Knowing this, i believe our sweet little bowlful sugary and fruity sweetness may need to be renamed. Not because it isn't good, but because of the name. Ambrosia, really?

Can you imagine Thor, after overturning the denizens of the netherworld, and holding them at bay, returns home for this?
Thor: Man, i am tired. Could sure use some real God food. Think i will try that Ambrosia my mother-in-law brought over. Yeah, want some gen-u-ine power food to revitalize me for war!
Marshmellows ! what the f@#k is this ! Cherries? Are you f@#king kidding me?

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Warning, this post is about vampires. They drink human freakin blood. You have been warned.

I'm lovin it!

First off, i dig vampire movies. I have read lots of vampire books, and seen lots of them on the silver screen. Great genre, lots of fun...

Why do most vampire movies portray the only source of sustenance for a higher functioning creature to be people blood? Are we that damn nutritious ? or tasty? Why assume that blood can only be found in people? Hey vampires, i know you are all bad with your creatures of the night thing you have going here, but wouldn't it make your life profoundly easier to feast on the blood of.. i don't know... cows? Wouldn't that be easier?

Yeah, i could feed like, a whole army of you guys or something.

I mean, i remember the first day i tasted the flesh of another animal. Does not every person remember their first real meat? Sure they do. Well, when it struck me that i enjoy, even crave, cooked animal flesh, i did not start looking around for people to eat. I look for cows. We all look for cows. Sure, you may look for them at the supermarket, wrapped in plastic. But them there meals is cows. Vampire bats are true, real-life blood suckers who derive almost all their chow in the form of blood from another species of mammal, and almost always not human.

happy meal

unhappy meal

So, we know that movies have to make it about people because a story depicting vampires quietly stalking, hunting, seducing and killing a bunch of fat, ugly, slow, flatulent pasture-patty of crap factories just would not do well in a horror movie. However, it would be much more gross. I think that vampires may get on board with the industrial revolution and get their meals easier somehow. Sure, not horrific, but some things just have to go sometimes.

i know i said no onions on this.

No, we go to see a vampire because we want to be frightened. Unless, of course, you are a 14 year old girl and want to go see a shiny vampire because it's just so damn groovy. Most of us want the scare.

You go to see a vampire like this.

not like this.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

minor annoyances

If annoyance was measurable, i mean, if it could be quantified, we should be able to see it graphed out. The scale could start somewhere like having to bite the tongue to keep from saying something. The high end of the scale would be more along the lines of beating someone to death with a crowbar.

We will just cover some minor ones here.

#1: England screwed up my dream. Every little boy wants to be a proud king when he grows up. If not that, close runner-up is to be a knight. Knights were the incarnation of purity, strength, courage and chivalry. In 1998, England screwed that up royally (pun intended) when they knighted Elton John. Thanks, Brits. I know that some times have changed, but come on.... this sissy?

not sitting at your round table, wus

#2: What England did to knighthood, the Nobel Committee did to the peace prize. In 2002, the Nobel peace went to former U.S. president, Jimmy Carter. What did he get the prise for? Decades of work seeking peaceful solutions and promoting social and economic justice. Negotiation. Jeez. What he should have gotten a peace prize for is the fact that no country would be willing to fight for him. Don't remember his name? There are US Historians that do not remember Jimmy Carter. He has some fame in crackpot websites for reporting a UFO once, but he did not do anything ! Hey, Nobel, i understand it must be tough finding what qualifies for a peace prize, but.... damn.

Honestly, if there were a Nobel Violence Prize, that is the one i would go after, but since it does not exist, i would have also tried for the award for physics. Which brings me to ...

#3: I am just smart enough in the realm of physics to enjoy cool science videos on nature channels, and pretty much keep up with them. However, i stink at math, so i guess the good old boys at the LHC will have to create a tiny black hole that will swallow the Earth without my help.

#4: My dogs are not happy unless they are doing something disgusting.

#5: I spent two years in the study of Japanese, and now i live in the Panhandle of Texas.

#6: The international sign of someone choking. Really ? Yes, really. This annoys the hell out of me.

translation for those who don't understand the universe: i am choking.

This is not a sign that you are choking. This what you #$@!! do when you're choking. Do we really need posters for this? Do we need them everywhere? I have a better idea, the new and improved sign of choking is turning your damn face purple. And while we are on this. Is this Universal? If the zeta reticuli aliens finally invade and enslave the human race, will one of them understand if i grab my throat? Will the space invader know the Universal sign and come Heimlich the damn hot dog chunk the #@!!! out of me? I guess i may never know. Unless, of course, Jimmy Carter could fill me in, because, you know, he is such a good freaking negotiator.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My personal review of 'Drag me to Hell'.

Halloween is upon us, so in the spirit of all things spooky, we rented a movie called 'Drag me to Hell'.

Oh boy.
It's kinda campy, really cheezy, but not without a good ick factor.

Warning: plot spoiler below.
The story involves a career minded bank employee, who, in an effort to show her upper food chain that she could make tough decisions, denied a poor old lady a third extension on her loan. This, of course, enraged the poor old woman enough to vex her with a dreadful curse that caused a dark and evil spirit to pursue the heroine to torment her, and later, as is titled, drag her to Hell. Ok, so we have a plot line that is no longer than my two run-on sentences above. But, hey, not a big deal. I mean, who rents a movie with a title like 'Drag me to Hell' then complains about a weak plot line? The movie is pretty much made with three people. The heroine, a psychic, and the old woman. Oh, and there is also the heroines boyfriend.

hey, i'm a mac.

Right away, you may want to be sorrowful for the poor old lady. She is on a fixed income, doing her best to make ends meet, and is now being told that she will loose her house. So sad. Can you imagine what you would think if it was your dear grandmother being treated like that? Well, let's have a look....

Oh dear God, the humanity !

I know what you're thinking... but no, this is not the demon. This is the dear curse wielding grandma that put him in motion. My theory is that the demon showed up because he was terrified of this pants-craping geriatric terror. This is the scariest creature in the movie.

The most prominent thing that i noticed about this flick was a fondness the director had with certain imagery . We see the heroine loose clumps of hair yanked out of her scalp at least three times. Mostly done by grandma hell-witch, and twice while she was already dead. That's right, a corpse grabbed clumps of hair without voluntarily moving a muscle. Twice ! Why is this a terrifying theme? We don't actually see on screen the bare spots in the heroines head where hair should have been. We do know that if goldilocks were in this feature, she would need a new name, like patches or something.
don't worry kid, the senior citizen helldog of the apocolypse could have done worse to you.

something like THIS....

Oh dear God, why? why ?

Yeah, thats our little old lady gumming the hell out of the poor heronine. Gumming, because her teeth had just previously flown out of her mouth. Hmm. These were false teeth? Who would go purchase horrible false teeth? Is'nt the point of false teeth to look good? Heck, if false teeth were just to enable us to chew, i would get false teeth in the shape of two steel bars, kinda like a bear trap. Man, i would be able to eat anything then..
oh, hell yeah.

This brings me to the second bit of imagery this director likes... drum roll please ..... weird or disgusting crap flying out of, or into the victims mouth. We see this a lot.

heroine spews blood out of her nose and mouth at the office.

I am usually pretty hard core about work. However, i think i would have gone home from the office early that day too.
And we see it again.

Dead woman vomits into heroines mouth.

Nothing in life prepares you for the first time this ever happens to you. Believe me.

And we see it again....
A nice punch to the face, A nice powerdrive to the face....

And we see it yet again...
You know, if you loved me, you would not be screaming while i vomit bugs into your face.

there, there.. that wasn't so bad now, was it? Now rinse and spit !

You want to know who made it through the movie without a scratch? That's right, the boyfriend. Boyfriends in horror movies usually bite it kinda early. This was a very sideshow kind of boyfriend though. Even though he doesn't get to have any old lady demon weirdness spewing stuff into his mouth, he does get to witness horrible things happening to his girlfriend .

Macs hardly ever catch a virus, they just watch sadly as others get them.

All in all, it was a lot of fun. We all had some laughs through it. Not too many jump scenes, but lots of creepy and icky ones. The scary nightmare flair about it gives way to the fact that you just cannot take this movie seriously.