Sunday, 21 June 2015

Fedora 22

Fedora is my preferred operating system for my workstation at work and for my desktop computer at home. When a new version of Fedora comes out, I have a strong preference to upgrade my existing installations rather than re-installing them. I’ve been doing this consistently and successfully since Fedora 10, so when I upgraded to Fedora 22 a couple of weeks ago, it was the twelfth successive upgrade that these machines have had.

Unfortunately, it was a rough ride this time. Neither upgrade went smoothly and I had to do considerably manual clean-up afterwards. And there’s still stuff that either isn’t working or is somehow eccentric on both machines.

BUT on the upside, I’ve just discovered that two Windows applications that I’ve long really wanted to get working on WINE under Fedora are now working: namely Adobe Digital Editions, and iTunes! Up to now, I’ve been running these in a Windows virtual machine with VirtualBox. Now, each is working in its own WINE bottle. Here's how I set them up (installers previously downloaded to ~/Downloads):

$ wget
$ chmod +x winetricks 
$ WINEPREFIX=~/.wine.ade WINEARCH='win32' wine 'wineboot'  
$ export WINEPREFIX=~/.wine.ade
$ ./winetricks -q msxml3 corefonts dotnet20
$ ./winetricks -q dotnet40
$ wine ~/Downloads/ADE_4.0_Installer.exe 
$ WINEPREFIX=~/.wine.itunes WINEARCH='win32' wine 'wineboot'
$ export WINEPREFIX=~/.wine.itunes
$ ./winetricks -q gdiplus
$ wine ~/Downloads/iTunesSetup_11_04_32-bit.exe

The WINE version presently on my system is wine-1.7.44-1.fc22.x86_64.

Note that in both cases, I went for the 32-bit versions of the apps. I was also a bit conservative with iTunes and went for a slightly older version (the most recent one that anyone had anything nice to say about on the WINE database).

After that, it was just a case of authorising these instances just the same way as you would on Windows or OSX.

As far as I can tell, Adobe Digital Editions is working absolutely perfectly.

I haven’t tested all iTunes functionality, but I can confirm that the main reason I wanted it (to sync upwards and downwards with the iCloud and iTunes Match) is working: I’ve successfully synced music in both directions now. It also plays music fine; actually, it's working better than my usual music player (Amarok) is at the moment! To my great surprise, even video playback is working. So far, the only thing that’s not is the iTunes store. Clicking on that crashes iTunes immediately. This is no big deal for me, since I’ve been doing my music purchases on my phone for many years now (since it’s also my primary music playback device). Update: I also tested whether iTunes could sync to my phone via USB. It can’t. So if this functionality is important to you, you need more experimentation. When iTunes launches, it displays an error message saying that it can’t read CDs, but this isn’t true: it reads and rips CDs just fine.

It’s a great feeling to be rid of the two biggest reasons I needed a Windows virtual machine on my system!

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Weight loss update 8

Today, I've passed another milestone: I've lost 45kg since the start of the year. At 97.7kg this morning, there's just a little under 8kg left to get to my original target.

The rate of loss is continuing to slow, but I also suspect that some of that is because I seem to be actually gaining muscle at the moment. In particular, in my upper legs, which I attribute to the running and cycling I've been doing. I'd been hoping that I'd be done with the big weight-loss phase of this project by early July, but I'd say it will be late July at best now.

I'm having some weird in-the-wrong body moments. For example, my arm might brush against my torso and I get the vivid and unnerving impression that I'm actually touching somebody else. It can be very strange! My body is definitely a very different shape from what it was: I've dropped two shirt sizes (XXL to L) and the shorts I bought to go to Zumba the other week are four sizes smaller (4XL to L)!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Weight loss update 7

So, this is just a minor update because my rate of weight loss is now slowing noticably. Over the last four weeks or so, I've been maintaining an average 1.5kg/week loss, while on a day-to-day basis, fluctuating madly. The overall trajectory is still in the right direction though.

And this morning, for the first time in many years, I tipped the scales at less than 100kg (just under: 99.8kg!) Although it's just a few hundred grammes down from the start of the week, seeing a whole digit disappear from my weight makes me feel pretty happy this morning!

The biggest recent change in my routine has been to switch to bicycle as my mode of commuting to and from work. I'll write more on that subject later, but from a weight-loss perspective, the ride two ways adds an extra energy burn to my day that's about the same as my daily gym routine!

I've also made a slight change to that routine. I used to do a brisk walk (6.5km/h) for 20 minutes on a treadmill, followed by 20 minutes of maintaining 60RPM on an elliptical machine. Now, I'm running (slowly, 8km/h) for 40 minutes instead. This has increased my overall calorie burn slightly, while hopefully also building my endurance for events like my weekly ParkRun and other fun runs that I plan to participate in.

My initial weight-loss goal, that I set in January, is now less than 10kg away, and these new boosts to my activity will hopefully see me there in around a month, I hope :)