Fedora 13: taking the plunge on the laptop

Fedora 13 was released yesterday and I’ve decided to take the plunge on the laptop and upgrade it from Fedora 12. After I kick the tires for a bit I’ll upgrade my desktop.

The last time I did this I was frustrated that I had to download all of the packages twice, once for each system. This time around I decided to fix that. I discovered this page that talks about various methods of caching the download after the first time. My initial thought was to use the “rsync /var/cache/yum and keepcache=1” approach as it’s by far the easiest to implement. The problem is that the IBM script that wraps around preupgrade to make sure that all the IBM pieces get upgraded/added properly has a nasty habit of ‘yum clean all’ing at inconvenient times if you need to restart preupgrade which would clear the cache (yes that’s a defect, they don’t seem interested in fixing it).

So instead I thought I’d go with just the ‘Squid with cache’ route. That doesn’t work nearly as well as one would hope due to all the various mirrors that could be used. The raw Squid cache might work well for a large organization but doesn’t hack it for what I want.

I ended up with the ‘Squid with IntelligentMirror‘ approach which seems to be working well so far. The RPMs are still being downloaded onto the laptop but I’ve validated they’re correctly being stored on the desktop so when I get ready to upgrade it, the process should be significantly faster.

As a reminder to myself: use the intelligentmirror-0.5 package and not the intelligentmirror-1.0.1 package, despite what this file says. The 1.0.1 package just serves up the pre-cached files but doesn’t actually do the caching.

Making your monitor easier on the eyes

As someone who sits in front of his computer at least 8 hours every day, I’m pretty picky about my monitors. Three years ago I forked out my own money for two 1600×1200 LCDs from Dell and love them. Oddly I’ve never poked around with the monitor’s color temperatures.

Yesterday I stumbled, via slashdot, over Redshift. This little jewel adjusts the color temperature of your monitor to match the level of the sun throughout the day at your particular location on the earth. In other words, the color temperature of the monitor subtly changes throughout the day: warmer in the mornings, cooler during the day, warmer in the nights. (The “cool” and “warm” labels make intuitive sense if you see the colors — the warmer colors have a red cast to them and the cooler colors have a blue cast to them —  although they are opposite of the actual color temperature measured in Kelvin and the actual temperatures outside at that time of the day.)

The first time I used it the change was very abrupt. By default my monitors have a very cool, almost icy blue, color. Redshift adjusted that up to a warmer color. Determined to give it some time I used my computer throughout the rest of the day and in all honesty forgot about it. The color setting was retained from the overnight hibernation and I decided that I liked the change enough to change my system such that it starts Redshift when my X-windows session starts. Doing so required stopping it, which adjusted the colors back to the defaults, and starting it back up again. Wow – the difference (excuse the pun) is night and day. The default icy blue color was noticeably harsher on my eyes.

I’m probably going to adjust the coolest color to be a bit blue-er but overall I think I’ve had less eye-strain yesterday and today.

Facebook’s Pages replacing profile information

If any of you have viewed your own Facebook profile recently, I’m sure you’ve seen that pesky dialog that popped up soliciting you to link your profile to Pages.

Part of me appreciates what Facebook is doing: trying to massage a group of arbitrary text labels into a more structured set of data. For instance, on my profile I have ‘Michael Buble’ under Favorite Music. If I accepted the request to link to the Michael Buble Page, the string “Michael Buble” is removed from my profile and replaced with a link to a page all about Michael Buble.

There’s a downside however: information about what Pages you link to is completely public. So while you may have your information like your employer or education shown only to your friends, once you convert those to Pages that information is open to everyone, not just people who are logged into Facebook.

This to me is a grievous privacy violation. By changing this data, which Facebook is strongly wanting you to do based on the fact that the stupid pop-up comes up every time you access your profile, you’re changing the privacy level of your information without even knowing it.

So far I’ve ignored the more-annoying-by-the-day pesterings to link my profile to the suggested Pages, mostly because I haven’t decided which information I want being released to the world at large.

Edited to add: I just unselected all the solicited links and sure enough — all of that data was removed from my profile. Oh well, I guess that’s just a little less information about me floating out on the web. Facebook: you suck.