So its August and that means its almost September which means its CreativePact time.

You can find details about CreativePact online at

CreativePact is a fun way of committing to do something everyday for a month, with a fun sense of community and a source of encouragement. It easy, basically you just commit to do something everyday and tag it #creativepact many people use tumblr or wordpress or you can host it yourself. The main thing is to think of something you would like to do but never have time to do, and then use creativepact as your excuse

My Past Creative Pacts

Last year in 2011 I did a podcast a day which provided a great excuse to talk to a wide range of people who interest me from all sort of activities.

In 2010 I did some livecoding every day which was great for developing performance skills which I use within HELOpg.

In 2009 I took part in Hackpact hosted by TOPLAP and committed to programming in ChucK everyday.

My CreativePact 2012

This year I plan to continue my 2011 creative pact and restart my daily podcast. My hope is to make use of Google+ hangouts and foster use the podcast as a place to discuss topics, but its just a work in progress at the moment.

So freedom is important but so is working with MP3 files. The default Audacity package on Fedora does not have MP3 support which is understandable but a pest.

So here is how to get Audacity with MP3 support.

Firstly you need the rpmfusion repos,

su -c 'yum localinstall –nogpgcheck <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a>'

then its as easy as

sudo yum install audacity-freeworld

and it is done.

Today I came across a Youtube parody video, Amazon Yesterdays Shipping.

While the video is created to be funny it does actually illustrate the key goal behind current Amazon plans that of reducing the delivery time between ordering and receiving goods.

From my experience within e-commerce customers have always been willing to pay for speed, even when a longer time service is free this offers a near ideal business scenario, advertise free delivery, on a slow service then offer a paid upgrade for a next day service.

As well as offering increased profitability as the extra payment tends to represent pure profit, the next day delivery service can also reduce insurance and storage costs and liabilities as well. The limitation to this technique tends to by within the human picking process with warehousing which can be expensive in terms of theft, wages and also inaccurate.

Amazon same delivery service is being enabled by enhancements in the picking service and the requirement for local sales tax collection robbing them of the commercial advantage of distant distribution, in fact I would go as far as saying that this probably marks the beginning of the end of the physical retail experience.

Now I happen to think that the instant delivery service is possible but that’s an idea for a startup and not for here.

So having decided to move away from Arch Linux it was time to choose another distribution.

The first observation though is just the richness of the current Linux Desktops, remembering the horrors of trying to get Fedora Core 1 to install and the nightmare of the first Ubuntu installation I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth the process has become.

Firstly Fedora, Ubuntu and Mint all come with live CD installers meaning you can actually boot the install from the disk and have a play with the software before committing to installing it.

So I started with Mint, a friend Alex Mclean, had recommend Cinnamon Mint version and I knew the inclusion of the non-free bits (MP3 and Flash would be something less to worry about). It booted and installed fine but I had concerns about being so far downstream Debian -> Ubuntu -> Mint and the inevitable package lag that that can cause. (I maybe should have considered the Debian Mint Edition but I didn’t.)

Having decided against Mint my intention was to go with Ubuntu. Firstly I think Gnome3 looks ok and the Unity things is kind of neat but having said that I was immediately going to install i3. The Ubuntu install worked fine however the update process failed after being left running overnight. Now in defence later inspection would show that a Dropbox install had crashed the whole thing but the software update stuff had just crashed and was offering no advice and in fact was jammed broken, forcing me to flush apt. This was not the low hassle support world I wanted.

Having been disappointed my Ubuntu and realising that the Dropbox fault would likely effect Mint as well I had into the more familiar territory of Redhat and fedora Core 17 XFCE spin. I choose the XFCE spin as I had a lean setup from my Arch install which I would be able to reuse and I kind of like it, fast, simple and gets out of the way.

Fedora 17 installed, updated and i3 installed alongside as well.

Dropbox crashed again through installation but did not crash yum and I was able to manually complete the install.

So I am now on Fedora 17 XFCE spin after having had an enjoyable day playing with distributions and every install offered me working WIFI, function keys, bluetooth and 3D graphics!


So since getting my Samsung Nc110 netbook I have been running Arch Linux on it.

Arch has been a lot of fun, building the entire system from scratch and delivered me a highly customised Linux install with loads of battery life and bleeding edge application versions.

However it has had its problems.

Python3 as the default has been problematic I really wish that we could call python2 python and call python3 python3.

Also being at the bleeding edge has its dangers like the time that an update broke my external video out.

However the main issue has just been the amount of time required to support things. Every so often a pacman update would require substantial work to get it sorted, always well documented but just time consuming.

So while running Arch has been fun it is becoming impractical as my netbook is increasingly my main computer so I need something more stable to use instead.

So I am going to use this opportunity to have a look at different Linux distributions.