Learn Linux for free!

  • Posted on: 29 July 2014
  • By: NickLitten
Linux is a cool windows style operating system

linuxIntro to Linux is normally a $2,400 course from the Linux Foundation, but it's being offered for free now on edX. If you've ever wanted to learn how to use the open source operating system, there's no better time than now.

The free course starts on August 1st, but to get the best experience from the class, you should install Linux on your computer before it starts. The Linux Foundation has a helpful guide for doing just that--so you can hit the ground running when the course starts in a couple of days.

The class is designed to give you a good working knowledge of Linux over 40 to 60 hours of course work. It's taught by Dr. Jerry Cooperstein, who oversees all the training content at the Linux Foundation. There's no syllabus for the course yet, but it promises to teach experienced computer users with little or no previous experience with Linux the ins and outs of the OS, from both a command line and graphical perspective.

Sign up to audit the course, try for a certificate, or get a verified edX certificate below. See you in class!

Doug Moore’s Muffler Service in San Clemente is excellent

  • Posted on: 8 July 2014
  • By: NickLitten
life in america

You know you're in California when the welder at the Muffler Shop gives you dietary advice on vegetables and fruits!

So, in my search for an alternative to the wallet busting quote of $1,300.00 to replace Hermans the Honda's full exhaust system I stumbled across a local muffler shop and dropped by for a free estimate.

san clemente souther california muffler weldingOne day later Herman is back on the road, wallet is only $200 lighter and the rotten sections have been cut out and replaced with fresh shiny fabricated replacement pipes, bolts and stuff. On top of that I also had a couple of other very minor items fixed, replacement rear hanger under the car plus fresh spot welds on the fuel cap door which was regularly coming off if pulled too hard.

Herman the Honda is more like Herman the Sherman Tank

  • Posted on: 3 July 2014
  • By: NickLitten

Boris is Dead! Long live Herman :))))

So, Herman has been a terrific little car over the last year. Herman the Honda ElementThe complete opposite experience from my nightmares with Boris the Landrover.

These Honda Elements are great little mini-SUV's that are economical, cheap to run, roomy inside and generally just good fun!

He's driven from South Carolina to Texas (twice), raced up and down the interstate between Charleston SC and Roanoke VA every two weeks for the last six months. In February we loaded up with stuff and drove to California. Never missed a beat. Started every time. Cruised at highway speeds merrily. Never been washed during my 14k miles of ownership. Only problems have been: one new tire (from nail on the road) and one head lamp bulb replacement. Bloody good job Honda!

Then I come out from work and the exhaust (or muffler as my American chums call it) seems to have died a terminal death.

So, its time for a little service at Pep Boys in San Clemente - Oil change, drive belt, alternator belt, filters, brake pads for $200. Huzzah!

What is an AS400, iSeries or IBM i web-service?

  • Posted on: 1 July 2014
  • By: NickLitten
web services on IBM i

Web Services With Cobol Or RPG on IBM ISeries - Restful Php Web Services

1. Introduction

Web Services and SOAP (or REST) are rapidly becoming state-of-art architectural approaches to allow the access of multiplatform and multilanguage systems,

Many companies have legacy applications which represent a high investment and Web Services promise to allow their access from the web without extensive modifications.

2. An Introduction to Web Services

Web services consist of a group of standards intended to make it possible for diverse systems to communicate, without requiring a particular type of middleware, programming language or even operating system. They can be based on SOAP, REST or XML-RPC,.

SOAP is an open source message standard, based on an XML dictionary, that uses standard transport protocols widely used over the Internet such as HTML or SMTP. It represents a paradigm shift in the way applications communicate with each other, because it does not require any special middleware to allow diverse applications to communicate. The messages are text based and accessible by any application over the network. They are described by using a special XML based language called WSDL.

REST is a simpler type of Web Service where the user simply accesses a URL to obtain back an XML document without any standard specification.

Upgrading AS/400 green screens

  • Posted on: 27 June 2014
  • By: NickLitten

aka WEB-ENABLING AS400 and iSeries

Converting an old green screen application to run in a website is as easy as typing an email or uploading a photo to facebook. If you are an IBM i Software developer then the only change to the RPG code is addition of a single line below the WORKSTN definition in the 'F' Specs: using the HANDLER keyword. This basically tells the IBM i operating system that we are expanding the interface for the DSPF to allow conversation with a web browser. Modernizing applications really is easy!

Here is an example of an old fashioned green screen that I have just modernized (the jury is still out regarding the use of the word "modernize") using the Profound Logic Screen Designer:

(1) Green Screen AS400 Application

Here is the old 1980's style green screen... amazingly still used in this exact style throughout the business world today. It's like the users have been frozen in time for the last twenty years, while their IT Department failed to notice this modern invention *cough* called the internet. I frequently hear the same message from the green-screen programmers "if its not broke -- don't fix it". 

Moving to California

  • Posted on: 23 June 2014
  • By: NickLitten

Remember, you are in CA now.  You are expected to have and use at least one of board, sail board, skate board.  Walking is permitted only in unusual circumstances.  Generally you should be running, biking, skate boarding etc. to get from one place to another on terra firma.  That is just a portion of the preamble, there are 12 whole chapters to the "I live in CA handbook".  You should get it soon and start studying.  There will be a test, a laid back test, but a test none the less.

I love this quote - it did make me chuckle.

So, a new job on the west coast of the yoooo-ess-ayyyy and a new house in the wonderful little town of San Clemente, CA means it's time to up-sticks and hike across the country for the next life adventure.

Nate (#1 Son) helped me load up the 26' Moving truck with all our worldy goods, strap a tow dollyon the back to tow Kate's car and then off we went... four days and 3 thousand miles later we popped up on the Pacific Coast. Now it's time to unpack, get the house prepared before the other half arrives over here - courtesy of the much more civilized airplane method of transportation  :)



Ghost, goblins and invisible superbeings

  • Posted on: 23 May 2014
  • By: NickLitten
out of all the gods Thor is the best
"I have so much in common with people of faith. We only disagree on the existence of 1 out of 3000 gods. They're nearly as atheist as I am " Ricky Gervais

I was born an atheist. As an infant, before I could talk or choose for myself, I was baptised a Catholic Christian. I went to these huge Gothic places of worship with my Nana as a young child. In my pre-teen years my parents took to another branch of Christianity (Jehovahs Witnesses) and I was indoctrinated into that faith. As I matured into my teenage years I studied the Bible, looked at other religions and came to a firm conviction that belief in deities, faith in actions being performed by invisible beings and the constant threats of damnation (from a so-called loving God) were not for me. Late teens saw the start of my agnostic years.

An Inky Programmer

  • Posted on: 6 May 2014
  • By: NickLitten
programmers have tattoos as well you know

Time for a tattoo touchup...

Ten Years ago, my forearm Koi Tattoo was drawn under the skin (to use a quote from Eddie Yeary) as a black and white stand alone piece.

Then as the years went by, more tattoo's joined and my arm kind of evolved into a tattoo sleeve with a dragon at the top, samurai dude, fisheys, flag, roses all kinds of weird things (including my kids names written in Klingon - true story). To give the sleeve some kind of continuity, Eddie glued it all together with a washed out blue water scene and added a little shallow yellow to the Black and White Koi - this was nearly five years ago. 

Time goes by and I've decided it's time to brighten the whole thing up and add a little *shine* to the forearm fishes. A few emails later and an afternoon is scheduled with Edward and this is the result.

I was a little worried about tattooing the same spot for a third time - but the tattoo colors came out excellent and the forearm piece is perfect. Color me delighted.

As always - sterling job from Virginia's Inkmaster - Eddie Yeary

Cheers Edward!!!!


Dude, how can I style Drupal CSS to make sourcode quotes look cool?

  • Posted on: 2 May 2014
  • By: NickLitten

I wrote a blog earlier to day with lots of source code and comments in it. I wanted the program code that I included to really standout and be very readable and easy to copy/paste. The current CSS layout uses <PRE> which gives me a nice way of marking blocks of code and displaying them. When I put <pre>around something</pre> it already looks reasonably nice:

quotes before

But I really wanted the the code to POP out - so delved into the world of theming Drupal. I soon, discovered that it's not as complicated as you might think.

So lets replace the <PRE> CSS tag with a new one to make code quotes automagically look like this:

source code quotes

The nice effect of changing the drupal themes CSS is that it takes effect immediately and covers everything on the site.