Debian Mozilla Team changes | Firefox now replaces Iceweasel for “release” version

http://mozilla.debian.net/

Debian Mozilla team

The Debian Mozilla team provides various versions of some Mozilla related packages for use on different Debian systems. The following wizard helps you to find the packages suitable for your system.

WARNING: Iceweasel is gone. Please update your apt sources.


from https://facesoftexas.com/2016/03/15/debian-mozilla-iceweasel-and-firefox/

Very recently the Debian Mozilla Team has made some changes concerning the latest release of Iceweasel and installing Firefox. Up until a few days ago you could add a line to your sources list (see below), download and install the keyring then install the version release of Iceweasel which tracked the Firefox release cycle.

deb http://mozilla.debian.net/ jessie-backports iceweasel-release

Now that’s all been changed. Depending on your preferences it could be for the worse or the better. Now you only have the option of getting the ESR version (38 ESR) of Iceweasel or the latest Firefox release. In order to stay with ESR add this line. You most likely already have that line and won’t need to do anything.

deb http://security.debian.org/ jessie/updates main

If you want the latest Firefox add the following line and then run the following command. Make sure you’ve added the key ring to authenticate the packages.

deb http://mozilla.debian.net/ jessie-backports firefox-release


The only tricky thing is that this will remove the icon/link for Iceweasel in your Activities Bar.
In GNOME 3, to add the new icon/link (for Firefox) you will need to

  1. Left click on Activities
  2. Start typing F i r e f o x …
  3. Left-click and hold on the Firefox icon when it appears
  4. Drag it to the left and stick it where you want it on the Activities Bar.

Google Chrome Browser – 32-bit version is disappearing | 64-bit debian fix

It seems that Google has seen fit to drop production of the 32-bit version of their Google Chrome Browser.

I first noticed this with Debian systems giving a warning on apt-get update. You can “fix” this for your 64-bit system

deb [arch=amd64] http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main

openSUSE and Fedora likewise no longer seem to have a 32-bit versions available.

Windows looks like it might still have a 32-bit version … for a while
For Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP 32-bit

WalMart’s online ordering system is atrocious!

Just to warn my friends: WalMart’s online ordering system is atrocious! Avoid at all costs.

I recently had occasion to order a couple of things from WalMart online, via their “ship to store” system. It was a disaster.

I placed an order on Monday September 7 for a couple of bicycle helmets at the Morse Road store in Columbus. The inventory (mis)management system assured me that they were in stock and could be held for pickup, and that I would soon get notification.

Hours passed. I attributed this to thinking that it was altogether reasonable that someone actually had to pull the merchandise before I could be alerted. OK, so it takes a while …

Then about 5 hours later, I received an email, telling me the order had been cancelled, and:

We’re sorry to tell you that the item(s) below isn’t currently available at the Columbus Walmart. However, for your convenience we’ve reserved your item(s) at a nearby Walmart.
You don’t need to take any further action, and your order is now ready for pickup. The new order number is #xxxxxxx-xxxx.
FREE pickup today at Whitehall Walmart
3657 E Main St, Whitehall OH
If you are unable to pick up your item(s) at this store, please initiate a cancellation by 4:44 a.m. on 09/08/2015.

I promptly went online, using the “Request Cancellation” link in their email. Only the “old” order number shoed up — not the “new” one. I found what seemed to indicate that I should be able to choose a different store more convenient to me for pickup. I then ordered the items sent to the Sawmill Road store, where I could easily stop and pick them up the next day. (Another story! pickup took over 15 minutes! on a Tuesday morning when one could shoot a cannonball through the store and not hit anyone.)

Soon after completing my order(s?), I checked my credit card transactions online, I noticed that TWO charges were listed as “pending” for the amount of the purchase. I figured that the one for the transaction WalMart had labelled as “cancelled” would be deleted when it became obvious that I was going to pick up the items a different location. …. NO WAY!!

The next morning was the first I heard (via email at 6 a.m. )that the Whitehall pickup had NOT been cancelled … and I could not cancel it online!

After I succeeded in actually getting the bicycle helmets, I sent a message to WalMart via their (hard to access) web system. The reply (with quoted message) is below:

Recently you requested personal assistance from Walmart.com Customer Care.
Below is our response and a summary of your request.

Reference#: 150908-005671
Response email (09/08/2015 10:10 AM)
Hi Richard,
The order XXXXXXXXXXXXXX that we placed is ready for you to pick up at the store you selected. I totally understand that you do not longer need these items. Unfortunately there are system limitations that will not allow us to make any adjustment on Pick Up Today orders. In this case, to amend this situation I will kindly recommend you to contact the store you selected directly at (614)239-7509 and they will be able to better assist you with the refund, or you can wait for this order to expire, any item that isn’t picked up within 14 days of arrival will be canceled and refunded, your order should expire by September 22.
Sincerely,
Emma C.
Walmart.com Customer Care
————————————-
Customer email (09/08/2015 09:49 AM)
Please CANCEL and CREDIT
Order #XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX *****
This was **automatically entered by your system** after **you cancelled**
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
I re-ordered YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY and finally succeeded in getting satisfaction
I DO NOT WANT to visit Whitehall for
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
PLEASE CONFIRM.

I eventually broke down and called the Whitehall store, figuring it would be “due diligence” before attempting to deal with the WalMart problem through the credit card “dispute resolution” procedure. I was passed through several parties, all the while attempting not to take it out on the workers. When I finally got the “manager,” I was advised that the person who would need to cancel an order was gone at 7:30 p.m. (even though the department was open until 9:00 p.m?).

After experience shopping at a number of online merchants, I must say that WalMart has provided me with an exemplarily BAD experience. A few thoughts:

  1. With WalMart’s vaunted inventory management system, why can’t they more quickly know what is actually in stock? Is “shrink” that bad that they could not come up with two helmets, when their system seemed to indicate several in stock?
  2. Why can’t the same system facilitate easily cancelling my duplicate order, then notifying the store to return items to shelf?
  3. Why are they charging customer’s credit cards promptly, before any merchandise is actually taken possession of? Companies like Amazon don’t charge until an item is actually shipped! I could understand running the preliminary “pending” transaction system to verify that a card is active and valid. … Perhaps it’s all about the “float?”
  4. Why are they charging customer’s credit cards promptly, and then making it so awfully hard to get credit? (Though one has never taken possession of merchandise, it is handled more like a return than an order.) It seems that in this case my options are:
    1. Wait several weeks until they actually “time out” the transaction
    2. Make a pilgrimage to Whitehall (first suggestion when I called that store!), and hope that someone could actually help me.
    3. Call the credit card company, and start a “dispute resolution” procedure, which could take a while to resolve.

I have yet to resove this. I’m so mad at WalMart I’m ready to spit! Perhaps I should just call the credit card company, wait for them to reolve it, … and then studiously avoid WalMart?

You too have been warned.

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century

I recently plowed through this voluminous tome. Due to its length, I imagine more people have read about it than have actually read it. Still, it was worthwhile.

If you just want the gist of Piketty’s arguments, you might focus upon the Introduction and Conclusion. If you are up for more – including the thorough and exhausting statistical case – the whole tour might be worth the journey.

Piketty creates a compelling case, buttressed by exhaustive assembled historical evidence, that the growing worldwide (and domestic) inequality is not only dangerous, but inherently structural. His argument shows it is built-in to capitalism. Thus regulation and intervention is not only desirable, but necessary to save capitalism from itself (much as FDR did in the United States following the Great Depression).

Piketty’s mechanism to save capitalism from itself involves policies decidedly unpopular with some of today’s “deciders,” though necessary to save them from a fate similar to that Karl Marx might have imagined for their forbears who “sold the rope.” Indeed, the concentration of wealth leads to a concentration of political power and deprivation to those without power such that the system cannot be maintained without significant repression (a la Mussolini, Hitler, Franco) — or it will collapse in violent revolution.

Piketty recommends a tax on capital, including wealth itself as well as inheritance. The irony is that while this is unpopular with those it impacts, it would increase their quality of life as it increased the common good.

The difficulty is that for this to be done effectively, it necessitates much international cooperation, lest nations and regions are played against each other in a bidding war to the bottom.

This is an important book: for citizens and theologians, as well as economists! After all, we don’t want to live in a world where the many suffer (and the earth itself cries out) just so a few can live in regal splendor.

Of course, there are those who think Piketty does not go far enough (see below). For those of us who are persons of faith that bears a certain resonance. We are not inevitably tied to any earthly system, especially one in which “the past devours the future.” Instead, we are looking to the future in hope, with the redemptive possibilities for all creation which God calls us to work towards. (And we need hope, when one considers the trends Piketty reveals!) The recent Papal encyclical regarding the challenge of Climate Change is evidence of Christian hope!

For some more commentary on and summary of the arguments of Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, you might check out the following — or even read the book!
The Guardian: Thomas Piketty’s Capital: everything you need to know about the surprise bestseller.

Piketty’s Capital, unlike Marx’s Capital, contains solutions possible on the terrain of capitalism itself: the 15% tax on capital, the 80% tax on high incomes, enforced transparency for all bank transactions, overt use of inflation to redistribute wealth downwards. He calls some of them “utopian” and he is right. It is easier to imagine capitalism collapsing than the elite consenting to them.

For the case that perhaps what Piketty advocates is not enough, see The Compelling Conclusion About Capitalism That Piketty Resists in Truthout.

The excesses of capitalism are not simply a question of bad management and a political unwillingness to properly regulate it by imposing the right sort of checks and balances, but symptoms of a fundamentally and irretrievably flawed system that tends toward destruction of human and other life.

Happy reading!

Columbus Dispatch irritates subscribers regarding hyped Special Edition [updated]

I am VERY irritated with the Columbus Dispatch. After hyping a “Special Edition” for at least a week before the Ohio State University football Buckeyes played in Monday night’s championship game, they FAILED to deliver to this long-time subscriber!

I was up early Tuesday, and found
NO PAPER!

I noted an email apologizing for a late paper, and assuring me it would be delivered. Silly me. I assumed this meant I might actually get to read all about it upon returning after a hard day’s work. Wrong!
NO PAPER!!

I must remember what experience has taught me concerning Dispatch circulation: always call right away if the paper is not there, since no one answers the phone after some time in the morning.

So in the evening I called in anyway. The automated system said I’d get credit (for one day of non-delivery! After all the hype, and still advertising the “Special Edition” for sale — for $6.95 or so … !!)

NO PAPER!!!

I then tried the online “chat” line in Subscriber “Service.” That, of course was unstaffed, and eventually offered to take a message.

NO PAPER!!!!

I even sent an email to Subscriber “Service,” offering to forestall griping about this on social media, if they’d just get back to me.
No response — even through Wednesday night. There was a nice article in today’s paper, about how the Dispatch is cashing in on great demand for the commemorative “Special Edition.” (Is the “D” shorting subscribers so as to cash in on this special demand?) Still, …

NO PAPER!!!!!

I don’t want a paltry day’s credit I want my darned newspaper!!!!!

Benjamin Marrison is quoted as saying “The last thing we want to do is irritate our readers.” I’d say the Dispatch has done a great job at doing just that!!!

N.B. I’ll let you know if I get a response from the “D.”


Addendum — Response from the Dispatch
After posting this I received an email from Carol Huddleston, Customer Service Manager at The Columbus Dispatch, at 5:38 a.m. Thusday. Upon calling her, she apologized for the problems and saw that a full copy was delivered later Thursday.

Bottom line: the D has some good people working for it — if you can get through to them.

Debian 7 GNOME 3 (and “Classic”) Shutdown options

Options to Shutdown, Logout, and configure Debian 7 GNOME 3 (and “Classic”) are normally found by clicking on your name at the top right. The image below is GNOME 3: “Classic” mode is quite similar. Suspend options may also appear, depending upon hardware and configuration. Social media and Notifications also appear in the dropdown in GNOME 3.

Other functions on the top task bar include accessibility, sound control, networking.

(Note that I have added the desktop icons, which are switched off by default.)
Debian7-Wheezy_GNOME3-ShutDownETC

Debian 7 GNOME 3 (and “Classic”): Choose Desktop

Did you know that you have a choice of Desktops in Debian 7 Linux (“Wheezy”)?

You can choose “GNOME, “and get the latest and greatest GNOME 3, with the heads up display and all the goodies.
Or, you can choose “GNOME Classic,” and you will get something much like the old GNOME 2 interface that many loved. There are also other derivative desktops following this poular design, including MATE and Cinnamon. (More pix of GNOME Classic) (If your graphics hardware cannot handle the load, you automatically get “GNOME Classic.”) I remember when GNOME 2 debuted. It preceded Apple’s desktop — and included many things that looked amazingly similar when that came out.
Or you can choose any of a number of other desktops

  • the ultra-lightweight LXDE (shown among the choices here).
  • the highly-customizable KDE 4more pix.
  • and more …

Click on links in the text above to see more about some of these desktops.
Debian7-Wheezy_Choosing-Desktop

Accessing Firefox or Iceweasel menus and toolboars

In recent versions of the Firefox browser (A.K.A.IceWeasel in Debian distribution of Linux), the developers have made their aestheic choice to hide the menu and certain toolbars by default.

If you wish to make these re-appear:

1. Go to the “Open Menu” button at far right by address bar.
Firefox-Iceweasel_access-menus01

2. Select “Customize”
Firefox-Iceweasel_access-menus02

3. In the page that opens in your browser, go to the bottom left and choose the desired menu and toolbars through the “Show / hide Toolbbars” dropdown.
Firefox-Iceweasel_access-menus03

Using Social Media (vs. Being Used By) for Your Organization or Business

A few caveats regarding use of social networking. After reading the book referenced below, Social Media is Bullshit (B.J. Mendelsohn); I am coming to some evolving conclusions regarding the place of social media in a communication strategy for non-profits and small businesses (basically anyone not rich enough to drop dump trucks of dollars to purchase “preferred” advertising, etc. on these sites and media).

Social media companies are in business to sell advertising, and even more so to target advertising by aggregating (and often selling) information about their users. In other words, on most all of the social networking sites, YOU/WE are the product !!! … So, for the sake of privacy, we want to be careful what we hand to them.

Proliferation of these kinds of sites fragments the flow of information going out from our organizations, and fragments and erodes our control over information and lists of subscribers. Organizations and businesses need to keep control of our message, and our lists of subscribers!

  • If Facebook has my list of interested subscribers, they can take it away at any time — or use it to sell them junk, which may alienate them.
  • If we have a fragmentation of our communications, important things can get lost in the shuffle. People do not know whether to look on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, … or Where?

Once we ensure we are in control, then there are ways we can use social media sites — vs. them using us.

Probably the best overall policy for a business or organization is to seek to make our web sites a central focus for information and communication, keeping control of our own subscriber lists, and then syndicating information through RSS and social media. We should do this in such a manner that it reminds people that the authoritative source for information is our site. (Likely also the best place to “discuss” is our forums.)

When we do this our site becomes the “canonical,” “go to” source for information. With this established we can then choose to use social media in a targeted manner: we target the sites that are useful to getting our message out by feeding info to them that brings people back to us. People know that our site is the place to get the whole scoop — about which they learn via the feed.

I’m still sorting out the way to focus forums for discussion. These can be done on a web site, or through associated Forums. I think the chief objective here is to avoid the fragmentation of having our conversations spread out among Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. in such a manner that none achieves critical mass. (In many respects, the old LISTSERVs (like OAGC lists) work very well here — although threaded web forums are often easier to read!)

References:

Social Media is Bullshit (B.J. Mendelsohn):
Social Media is Bullshit | St. Martin’s Press
Social Media is Bullshit book site
B.J. Mendelson’s Blog/Site

One good way to syndicate to social media from a WordPress based web site:
Jetpack plugin
“Integration with and automatic posting to your favorite social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Path, and LinkedIn.”

RSS: Wikipedia.org “RSS”

Speed Testing Your Internet Connection

Recently I had a conversation with some folks at the F.P.C.A. meeting regarding concerns about the quality of internet connections provided by some of the large local vendors.

Thus I am posting some links to test sites, with a local (614) flavor.

First, here are test sites for our major carriers in the Forest Park / Northland area. These are all “nearby” as the topology of the internet goes. Start with your carrier. If you get good results there but have trouble with others, your provider may have connection problems with the wider net.

Here are some other good test sites.

For even more just plug “Speed test” into your favorite search engine!
Most of these require flash. DSL Reports has a java only test, as well as one for mobile – and list of other tests. The search above can find even more resources!

Another neat site that works well on mobile devices, as well as desktop computers (via HTML5 – no flash or java): SpeedOf.Me (10/2014)