More notes on Gentoo install (cheatsheet stuff)…

When I last wrote about my process for getting my machine up and running I was getting the system updated to the latest version of software.  That was a while ago.  But there are a few more things that need to be done before the computer really is bootable, though I have found the order is probably somewhat less important than the documentation suggests.

Continuing on

There are a few steps that are still needed.  Setting up timezone is next on the list I have, then setting up locale, setting up fstab, and there is where my notes get really fuzzy…  But GRUB is what I next have notes on, and that ended up being messy…  That will be a separate post…  But at the end of this, I have a few additional packages that I found I had to install.

Timezone Setup

ls /usr/share/zoneinfo
echo "America/Vancouver" > /etc/timezone

This first line points to where the timezones are defined. The second how to set it (though this itself doesn’t set it right now). The example is what I have used.

Setting Locale

This sets a bunch of different things, it needs to be set, so you need to go through a bit of a process.

vi /etc/locale.gen
source /etc/profile
export PS1="(chroot) $PS1"

The first is editing the locale.gen file, which says what you are running for locale on the system. Then you run locale-gen to create it. The remaining commands are getting you into the newly created locale settings.

Kernel stuff

Creating and installing a kernel is needed to get your system working. Complete instructions for setting this up will require at least one other post. There are a few commands that will get you started for setting up your kernel.

emerge --ask sys-kernel/gentoo-sources
ls -l /usr/src
emerge --ask sys-aps/pciutils

The first command gets you the kernel sources, there are other options for this, but this is the recommended one. The next line checks to see if you have your symbolic link (symlink) set correctly. Then you install the pciutils which gives you the command lspci which can help you to identify your hardware which you’ll need support for.

After you have that information you need to make your new kernel. To do so you will need to go through the process that I have listed as:

make menuconfig
make modules_install
make install

This is a very brief list of commands to go through, but the figuring out what you need to do with the configuration in make menuconfig is probably the hardest part of it. Also, there may be other steps, for example I need to mount my /boot partition before the make install stage.

Setting up fstab

The next thing you need to do is setup fstab. I don’t have any notes here, but you need to have your partitions that you need to run the system listed so they get properly mounted. I do not mount /boot as I mostly don’t need it, and changes that happen there can be a problem, but I still put an entry in for it, because then I can do mount /boot when I need to do that.

Setting up GRUB

Setting up grub should be fairly easy. You need to install the grub package, then install grub to boot, and then create your grub.cfg file.

This was not what happened for me. I will write a post about how I ended up setting up grub, it could be coming shortly. Also, I will need to write something up about setting up the new video card. That was an adventure too.

Useful basic function packages

There are a few packages that I think are important and rather helpful that I installed manually.

  • vim
  • gentoolkit
  • mate-terminal
  • kterm
  • lm_sensors
  • dmidecode
  • pciutils
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Gentoo Install Notes

I was working on installing gentoo on a new machine (that will eventually replace this machine I am typing this on) and I was going through the Gentoo Handbook and kept running into problems (I have (and will explain) figured them out) so kept having to go through the same steps and was looking to create some notes.  Initially I wrote these notes in my notebook.

What I did wrong

Gentoo uses a “stage 3” install at an early part of the installation and careful selection of the correct (or close enough to correct) stage 3 is important.  I picked one that on the download stage 3 page it points to that looked “closest” to what I wanted, but really the one I wanted needed to be downloaded from the complete list of stage 3 downloads.  I believe that I am on my way now.

My Cheat Sheet

Here is what I have made notes of the steps involved, with a bit better explanation about why I am doing the various things.

Mounting system root partition

I mount my root partition as one of the first things that I work from on the new system.

mount /dev/sda5 /mnt/gentoo

My device is unusual, it is usually /dev/sda4 for most partition layouts, but for compatibility reasons, and to handle blocking off “reserved” space on the SSD, I have needed more than 4 partitions, which leads to 4, turning into 5, with the spare space on partition 6.

Setting Date

Setting correct date is important, and I’ve found that my system doesn’t have the correct date, so:

ntpd -gq

The first command gives the current date, and you might have a correct date set, the second one sets the date to the date using the ntp protocol. It also starts the daemon running.

Installing Stage 3

Here is where I screwed up, as noted above. I had a stage 3, which it wasn’t easy to switch to a different one. I have replaced that now (and am working on getting it properly updated).

tar -xjpvf stage3-x32-20170803.tar.bz2 --xattrs --numeric-owner

editing make.conf

I have worked on editing the make.conf file which controls how emerge/portage builds new (undated, rebuilt) packages:

CFLAGS="-march=native -pipe -O2"


You need to copy the DNS information before you chroot into the new system (or you won’t have working DNS) so the simple command:

cp -L /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/gentoo/etc

The use of the -L is helpful in case the /etc/resolv.conf is a symbolic link, it will copy the contents, rather than the link.

mounting other filesystems

The other filesystems need to be mounted so they will be in the right places when you chroot to the new system.

mount /dev/sda2 /mnt/gentoo/boot
mount -t proc /proc /mnt/gentoo/proc 
mount --rbind /sys /mnt/gentoo/sys 
mount --make-rslave /mnt/gentoo/sys 
mount --rbind /dev /mnt/gentoo/dev 
mount --make-rslave /mnt/gentoo/dev

The first one is to have your boot partition mounted when it is needed later in the process. The other ones are mounting the proc, sys, and dev filesystems where they will be looked for in the chroot system which you will be entering next.

Entering and setting up chroot

You now need to enter the new environment, you have 3 lines to enter to do so:

chroot /mnt/gentoo /bin/bash
source /etc/profile
export PS1="(chroot) $PS1"

The first line is what puts you in the new install, the next line sets the usual things which you expect when you log in, and the third simply changes the command prompt to remind you that this is the new system.

Setting up portage repo

This is best to do as two steps (I have tested it):

emerge --sync

This will update you to the latest version of portage, the first line taking the latest snapshot, and the next updating to the latest live version.

Checking News items

When you do this, you likely will get some news items which show up, these are supposed to be important to note:

eselect news list
eselect news read N 
eselect news read

This first line lists the news items, the second if you see one which you think you should pay special attention to can be used with N replaced by the item number, the third, will make sure that it doesn’t keep telling you about the same news items.

Setting your profile

This is a similar process to the news one, but this will set how you will be using the system. The commands are:

eselect profile list
eselect profile set N

Here the N is the profile that you want to use. Depending on what you ended up selecting as your stage 3, you may end up with a number of options which will not work (without a lot of fiddling). I recommend before you go to the next step of upgrading your system (which will mean new software when you have changed the profile you are using) checking to make sure that you have selected the correct one.

Updating system

You will need to update your system to the new (or updated profile if you happen to have not changed your profile). The quick (for me) means is:

emerge -uDaNt @world

depending this could end up not working, so if it does I would recommend doing the update in a more phased approach:

emerge -a1 portage
emerge -uDaNt @system 
emerge -uDaNt @word

I should talk about what those options mean, these are all one letter options so they string together like I have used them:

-a ask before proceeding
-u update atom listed
-1 oneshot — this does not add package to @world set
-D check "deeply"
-N check to see if the use flags have been updated since you installed packages
-t Display as a tree.  This also lists the packages with the first package to install on the bottom of the list

Future updates to this

This is the point that I am at with my install, so I will update this with further steps in getting things up to date.

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Datse Multimedia Podcast – Episode 2 – Recording

Here we are having a new podcast episode, this is the actual episode.  Previously I posted a version of the script (which is what I worked from to record it), but found enough errors with what I had written to decide to post a new version.

Episode 2 – Recording (PDF – Script PDF, not actual transcript, and little to no attempt has been made to keep it accurate)

About this episode

Hello.  While I get a bit more of the podcast episode actually saved how I hope I want it (let me know of any issues you experience, or any comments on the content, or whatever) to be like, I’ll write a little bit about this podcast episode.

I am trying to focus on essentially two things, one to get better at handling the way I am structuring the podcast (the content of it), and secondly (and hopefully more importantly) to talk about the process of recording a podcast episode.

This episode is still quite a bit longer than I would like episodes of this sort to look like.  But I’m still trying to figure out just how to better handle that.

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Podcast coming up…

I am working on the second (or third if you include “episode 0”) podcast episode.  Here is the script I will be working from, though I never really follow it.  I just like to write to get a better idea of what I’m saying.

Episode 2 – Recording

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Goings on

Haven’t said anything here for a while.  I had been meaning to create a new podcast episode a while ago, and I was hoping to be comfortable saying that the first functional version of the Autism Jobs site was ready.  But currently neither of those things can be said.

What has happened is that I started writing about some of what I wanted in the podcast episode.  And I have been plugging away at the Autism Jobs site.  I hope that by the middle of June to have the ability to login, and post job postings.

I had been also hoping to be starting with the open psychology podcast.  But that hasn’t happened either.  I hope to post something there about some of the reasons that a lot of this hasn’t been happening as I expected.  I think that right now I keep this the way I have it mostly, and then send it off.

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Podcast Episode 01 – Setting up Podcast (Part 1)

I talk about setting up this podcast, which is our first podcast.  I have saved this as a number of different formats, but will only be “podcasting” the MP3 file.  All file types will be available on the Blog Post at

I will also be adding my script that I worked from (but really has very little to do with the audio content).

Podcast Script

Podcast Introduction

Jigme: Hello, and welcome to this episode of the Datse Multimedia Podcast.

Jigme: This is episode 1. It was preceded by a very brief episode, which could be called Episode 0. That episode was created to look at the very basics of setting up a podcast.

Episode Introduction

Jigme: Welcome to Episode 1. We are recording this on Tuesday March 14th 2017. Or at least we are planning on doing that.

Jigme: This first episode (real one) is about setting up our first Podcast, and what we did to go about doing that.


Jigme: We are working with this podcast to look at setting this up for the Open Psychology Group, and the Capability Club meetup groups. This podcast is not one of those podcasts.

Jigme: Earlier today I was talking to the founder of the Capability Club, and we were working on our shared group meeting and talking about setting things up for how to look at things in the future.

Jigme: Currently my group (Open Psychology Group) is not exactly working out that well in terms of being able to get anyone to actually meet in person. We are both looking at finding ways to handle online content in a way that ends up working both for ourselves, but also works for other people being able to view what we are working on.

Jigme: As it currently stands, all of our online activities have been done on a prearranged basis and with both of us, and probably the majority of people who might participate, this doesn’t really work that well without a physical space to actually meet in.

Jigme: We were looking at how we are working with things, and decided that possibly a podcast is a good idea, and further that we would like to discuss if the Capability Club would like to have a website developed (which could host the podcasts).

Jigme: So, with that in mind, I started to look at both what it would take for me to develop the website (and provide hosting), as well as looking at setting up podcasting.

Jigme: So here in this episode I will be talking about how I intend to setup the podcast. Most of it actually setup now, except for the fact that this is being written, not recorded right now, but we’re working on that shortly…


Jigme: We will be looking at recording this, finding how to save an iTunes supported format (mp3), creating the post in WordPress including the writing of the post, adding the audio content, and setting the post up to be handling the post as a podcast through PowerPress, and setting up things so that the podcast will be shared on iTunes.

Purpose of episode further explained

Jigme: Really a lot of creating this episode is about why I am setting this up, and also what the process of setting this up is for. I have a feeling that a lot of this text will probably end up in the actual recorded version of this in a very different way. Some of this stuff probably is not going to be as I have scripted. While I have written this in advance, most of that is because I just tend to write better than speaking off the top of my head. Especially when not in front of people.

Jigme: I really am hoping that recording this, and setting this up will help with both myself, and my friend’s goals in being able to reach more people with our content.

Jigme: For me, one of the ways I have been working on both reaching more people, and providing ways for people to support me is through using Patreon. With how that has been working, it has allowed me on good months to be able to pay for both the fellow Creators I have on Patreon, and my costs with being able to produce that content. Or at least help support me in that. So, if you got to you can see what I have been doing there.

Jigme: With the ability, and it seems relative ease of being able to produce podcasts, I feel that further, and hopefully more engaging content will be produced. If we manage to produce at least some more content that people are likely to be more engaged with, then we will hopefully also be able to attract more supporters.

Jigme: My friend who created the Capability Club in Vancouver has similar goals. The way that things have recently been going the group is starting to look at the possibility of having more people working on hosting events, or co-hosting events. While the addition of other venues itself may not be a primary goal, the ability to present information, or presentation is ways which would allow my friend to point someone towards those resources rather than having to reproduce the same sorts of resources over and over again, appears to be highly desirable.

Jigme: For myself, I feel that if I am producing content which is more likely to attract some degree of engagement, especially content that allows that without having to go through having to get several thousand dollars of new equipment (which I really would like to do, but can’t justify it at this point) but hopefully be able to work with existing equipment and through being better able to attract engagement, and produce content attract money through my online activities.

Process of producing this episode

Jigme: I talked very briefly about what I have been doing to set this up. Initially I was feeling that I might be able to take something with how WordPress handles things by itself, and get it working without the need to add any plugins or anything. It is possible that is actually possible, but I’m not entirely sure that it is.

Jigme: In trying to set this up, before I tried to create my first podcast post I ended up installing PowerPress. When I looked at what I had read might be a “good enough” version of the podcast I couldn’t get iTunes to add it manually, nor could I get it to validate with hosting the podcast on iTunes. So I continued to look at it and try to figure out how to better handle it through setting things up with PowerPress. But that first episode (let’s call it Episode 0) I created the post that would become the podcast episode entirely including recording and publishing the post and all that even before I got there.

Recording the episode

Jigme: I am really big on working with things open source, software where possible, and I looked at recording the podcast episodes in Audacity which is a cross platform audio editing package.

Jigme: I know that I had it installed on this computer at one point because I was working on a variety of things where I wanted to be able to work with audio files. I think the most recent time I used it was when I took the audio that I had recorded with my phone (when that wasn’t needing to be plugged into the wall all the time if I didn’t want it to “run out of juice) and ended up editing the audio (mostly I ended up boosting it) so that the audio as it played relative to “normal listening volume” didn’t end up being “is there even any audio here”.

Jigme: But I found it isn’t currently installed. Which isn’t a big deal. I ended up installing it, which I think took a surprisingly brief time to do (maybe a few minutes including finding where to download, and actually installing it).

Jigme: In Audacity when you are recording straight into it (which in the end, I hope I don’t end up doing, but for now I feel it is going to work). There is the ability to monitor prior to doing any recording. When I looked at that to start off with I could see that when I wasn’t really recording any actual content that I was managing to pick up some significant levels of “background noise”.

Jigme: My first recording (which this one is the second) I didn’t really look at how it was recording and try to get it correct. With that recording (which I actually hadn’t listened to the recording itself) I found that I was experiencing clipping at certain times while I was recording (I thought while I was watching the recording that I likely was getting that). With this recording I am hoping that I will be able to find a way that I’ll be able to better handle that. And I think that I probably will be able to with a bit of tweaking as I am recording it.

Jigme: Right now, anything more about recording this particular podcast won’t really be able to be written. I expect that before I move to saving the file that I will do some comments about what the process ended up looking like for the podcast you are listening to which I don’t expect that actually type any of that part up.

*** Jigme likely talks about the recording process for this podcast and any issues which have shown up so far, and how we have dealt with them. ***

Saving (MP3)

Jigme: Apple supports a number of formats for podcasts and the goal for this podcast is partially to get things showing up on iTunes. With the list of formats which we can use for a podcast, I decided that for our purposes right now using MP3 is probably the best option, or at least close enough to the best option.

Jigme: My reasons for choosing another format which Apple supports would probably be to better able to record at a higher, and preferably lossless format. As Audacity doesn’t directly support a format that is lossless that iTunes supports, I decided that I will work with MP3, though I hope to save some lossless format (Probably FLAC) when I end up saving things for this.

Jigme: Due to how Audacity handles a variety of things, most of the export functions need to have another library installed which rather than including the libraries in the binaries, have to be installed separately. In order to save a file in MP3 format, you need to have the LAME library installed. This process on my system took about 1 second to download, and about 30 to get it installed and configured.

Jigme: When I saved the Episode 0 file I set things up so that I had the metadata that I wanted with the file to be included there. I may end up wanting to add more data, though I would really want to make sure that doing so will not end up either getting lost, or end up breaking the MP3 file.

Uploading to WordPress

Jigme: Uploading the saved MP3 file ended up being pretty simple. With the current version of WordPress I can upload it with using the “Add Media” button which shows up when creating a new post. It might not be as intuitive as I would like for some of my clients, but it seems to be a reasonably easy way to handle things for clients who can look at recording and that sort of thing.

Jigme: Once WordPress has handled having the file added through the upload media portion of the “Add Media” page, there are two ways which it allows it to be inserted, that is as a player, or as link. As a link, it links either to download the media itself, or the attachment page.

Jigme: Personally how I would like to handle this, I would use at least two of these forms, possibly all three.

Using PowerPress

Jigme: When setting this up, I saw some stuff which indicated that there are ways to get the podcast to work without really doing much beyond either tagging, or categorizing your podcasts with a unique, or near unique tag or category.

Jigme: I wanted to look at what the highly recommended plugin PowerPress was going to offer me, and consider if it was going to be useful, so I installed and activated it, and worked on getting it somewhat setup, but as I didn’t really know what I had planned for it, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to spend some serious time with it until I actually found out if the “simple without plugin” method actually worked.

Jigme: My first experiments with the “without plugin” indicate that either it doesn’t work that way, or there is some issue with some plugin making that method not working (I think if any plugin is to blame, it is likely PowerPress). So with that in mind, I decided that I really wasn’t planning on looking at it further now, so I started to actually set things up properly.

Issues with setting it up

Jigme: I really hadn’t thought too much about how I would set things up until I got things kind of started with finding that doing things with the plugin installed and activated was simply not going to work. And in looking at setting things up, things don’t work unless you actually have all the settings which are required properly set.

Jigme: I just checked to see if the way that I had set things up with the podcast listing which was supposed to work, now that I have the podcast settings properly set (and the podcast itself listed as a podcast within PowerPress), the feed which I had setup before works. I will need to look to see if I need to set each episode up as a podcast with PowerPress in order to have them listed, or if the other settings are correct.

Jigme: For me, the biggest issue I ended up running into (and I haven’t got it how I want it yet) was handling the podcast cover art. I didn’t have a version of any of my work which I wanted to use for that which worked. I had a file that I had hoped would work, but it didn’t.

Jigme: I looked at what that file looks like (I didn’t replace it) and I see that there are two issues that may have been a problem. One, and probably most important. The dimensions in pixels was “too small”. The largest pixel size for that is about 1/6 of the smallest that is accepted for the file. That might not have been enough to save it to the right size for that dimension. But it might have been.

Jigme: The other issue with it, is that the cover art image is supposed to be square, and that file is certainly not square.

Jigme: So I created a new version of that file, which was square, and was the size of the maximum (and recommended) dimensions for the file. But as I said, that file still isn’t how I want it, but at least I have something that is working for now, and it won’t really take that long to change how it works for this podcast, and create new ones for the other podcasts.

Jigme: Once I created the settings correctly, it asked me to create a post (which I actually had already done)…

Creating Podcast Data for Podcast

Jigme: Looking at the create a post, the first thing it takes you to is the post editor, with a blank post. Nothing is obvious on my setup as to how to handle a new podcast episode because that was “below the fold” being below the edit window, and also far enough below that to not even show up. So clicking back and forth, I see that the way things are setup, there is a podcast listing which needs to be setup in order to allow the podcast to be seen as a podcast. It is pretty simple with MP3 to set this up, all you do is link to the MP3, and once that’s done it pretty much works.

Jigme: I see that there are options which I don’t have enabled and probably won’t until either I want to work with them myself, or I end up working with a client who wants to work with them. These options include a variety of ways of handling podcasts, and that was under the Basic Settings, under Advanced Settings, things get “very interesting”.

Jigme: How the Episode 0 ended up going out, pretty much all I had to (and wanted to) do was to make sure I properly linked to the MP3 file. Looking at the advanced settings, and some of the things there, I can see that fixing the issues I was seeing with how iTunes handles the podcast display, I will want to work on setting things up so that the information displays in a way that is helpful.

Thinking About Show Notes

Jigme: When I see how the podcast is showing up in iTunes, after having a post which has the content I want for show notes, and I end up seeing that iTunes is not displaying that other than the first 500 (or so) characters. This is a good thing to note, and try to get these show notes either through putting the information in a format that works that what ends up at the top of the blog post is a good pointer to the blog, which will contain the full show notes, or saving the show notes for the podcast version (specifically for iTunes) ends up directing those who want full show notes to the full notes.

Jigme: It does look like I can write my posts however I end up wanting to, and then write show notes for iTunes, and possibly other sites independently to point to the full notes on the blog (for those that don’t display them in full on the player).

Saving Page

Jigme: Once I had the right stuff there, I then tested to see if things show up differently with the podcast in iTunes. With my looking at that, I could see that now iTunes is loading it, and that listing in the iTunes directory it is verifying that we have a working feed. This was our main goal that I had hoped to manage to get to at this point. And we’re here.

Setting Up iTunes

Jigme: The next goal that we were looking at was having the podcast being listed in the iTunes directory, so at this point, we have submitted the podcast to the directory, I have received an email saying that it is indeed successfully submitted to the directory, and that it is pending review. Most likely, it will be up to 24 hours from the time this post (including the recorded podcast) ends up getting accepted, or to some degree responded to.


Jigme: So with that, I thank you for listening. I am going to try to get some of this, if not the whole thing recorded before heading to bed, and if that is done, I hope to have it posted around the time I get it recorded.

Jigme: I suspect a good amount of what I wrote here will be either elaborated on, or edited in the actual recording. But here we go starting the recording (or in the audio, finishing the recording). Take care everyone.


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Looking into podcasting

A friend of mine asked me to look into podcasting and what would be involved in getting that to work.  This will be a quick post, which is part of testing things out.  As I currently understand you can pretty much run a podcast with WordPress without any extra plugins or anything.  This post will test this out.  Steps to get this post out are (not all done yet):

  1. Create start of post
    1. Place in Podcast, and Episode categories
  2. Record episode
  3. Save episode in supported format (looking at posting to iTunes)
  4. Upload episode to here
  5. Link media as both media, and as a link to the file
  6. Test to see if we can get an accepted RSS feed with the file included
  7. Test importing to iTunes

If all of that works out, that would be “most basic setup” but I also want to test how things work “better” with the recommended Podcast plugin, and see if that ends up being worth it.  I think maybe it does for some features, but if this works it may not be really that worthwhile for the existing setup.

That should be a playable link…  And:

Intro Podcast 01 is a link to the download.

Intro Podcast 01 a link to the attachment page.

OK, I have done steps 1-5.  I am OK with how that’s working so far.  Now to test 6 and 7…


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Servers (VPS) have been “shrunk”…

As of today I have started running all of our machines (virtual private servers) on “smaller instances” in part to save money, but further because I think that for what we have been doing, that running them on the size of server that they had been running on was a bit of overkill.

Previously we were running on 2GB RAM versions of the servers, and felt those were reasonable, but to “almost half”, our costs for the actual hosting, we have switched for now to 1GB RAM versions.  Each instance is now half of the price it was.  One site has been running to be more highly available for several weeks so the cost for that site only has dropped by ~30%.

In using this site as it is currently setup to run, at this smaller size, I have to say that I am not really feeling that I’m likely to have a lot of issues with that.  I will try to keep an eye on what might be happening with this.  And I think that if there ends up being a problem with it, I should be getting a notification.

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Autism Jobs development

About 3 months ago I decided (after reading something I saw on YCombinator’s Hacker News) that I’d take a look at creating a site for Autism Jobs.

The first step in doing that was really deciding just what I wanted to do.  The Hacker News piece was helpful in giving me some guides as to just how simple it could be left.  So since I was pretty sure that for the absolute most basic part of it, I probably could do my coding and stuff in about 2 hours if I manage to screw things up badly enough.

So over the space of a little over 3 hours, I end up creating the first version of the site which is running on our site.  I posted about it several places, and ended up getting a number of interesting results right away (ie. people were very quickly coming to the site).

After that, I decided I needed to start working on a “better version” of it.  So at I worked on developing a better system.

What have we done so far?

  • Replace existing TypeForm form with something we wrote ourself (but isn’t currently functional).
  • Move static content to a more dynamic MVC format. (at index.php)
  • Moved site (when existing site died and existing host said it was my problem to fix) to linode.

There are a few steps I need to get going before I feel that it is “full launch time”.

  • Setup database
  • Move existing content entirely to MVC system
  • Have data for known listed jobs (4 I think instead of the listed 1) into database
  • Create login/register system
  • Look at account types (job seeker, and job poster)
  • Work on getting payment stuff up and running
  • And get mail setup so I can at least send mail out from site.

I’m not entirely sure that those jobs would be done in that order or not.  But I think they are more or less the way I want them in terms of order (though bits and pieces will have to move about some).

I just really wanted to post a quick update to the autism jobs site.  I think the latest post may have been on some other site.  This really is mostly a project which I am working on for the primary purpose of getting stuff together in a way I feel “better” about how it all works.

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Using Inkscape replacing Adobe InDesign

I am currently in the process of seeing if I can get Inkscape can be used to replace Adobe InDesign.  Right now just downloaded it to run on the iMac I just restored.  The intention is more to find something which will run nicely on a Linux box, rather than running it on OS X or Windows.

First launch of it, tried to launch, but for some reason failed.  It appears that the “” which is sitting in my /Applications/Utilities/ folder is not enough for Inkscape to run.  So here is saving the draft, and logging out and back in to get XQuartz to install.

Things seem to work well enough for what I need.  In fact, they work well enough that I am able to feel over time I will be able to get a lot better with it than I was really able to in InDesign.

The number one feature which I thought “oh damn, I really need this” actually is way simpler in my mind to doing the same thing in InDesign.  In fact, I may be able to do things with this where the issue with “screwing things up” pretty much doesn’t happen the way that it would with InDesign, as I can handle each thing as simple text (once I figure that out).


  1. Install Inkscape
  2. Test if works on current system
  3. Fails
  4. Install XQuartz
  5. Test again
    1. Seems to be better, but man is this what I’ll have to go through on this computer?
    2. Eventually loads
  6. Try to figure out how things work (note rather differently than it does with what I normally think of.
  7. Get things working well enough that I can start playing with getting things laid out.
  8. Try to figure things out a bit better.
  9. Get rough layout for project working on (essential oil labels).

Install Inkscape

This was a simple download from the Inkscape website.  On my system (current one I installed on) I simply downloaded it, and followed normal OS X install procedures.  This would be different on different systems.

I’d be interested in knowing what type of computer system you would be using.  I can see a bit of that with the system logs which get kept for each request.

Test if works on current system

Seeing that I have a “” in my “/Applications/Utilities” folder, I on a whim simply try it with that.  The install instructions say that I need XQuartz, but the two provide the same services, so let’s give this a try as it is.


Nope, it starts up, or starts to start up, then just quits.  I figure the most likely thing is that it does need XQuartz, or at least something that is handling things “better”.

Install XQuartz

So, I install XQuartz, there is a link to do that on the Inkscape site.  This apparently needs more to get setup than “most” application installs on OS X, I need to logout and log back in again (or so they say) which I kind of feel makes a decent amount of sense, as it is fairly close to “system” level type things.

Test again

I log out, log back in, and try to get it working.  I launch Inkscape the way I normally would, from the .app file in /Applications.  Nice, it opens up XQuartz, it wasn’t opening anything “helpful” last time, so something is moving closer to where I want it.

Seems to be better, but man is this what I’ll have to go through on this computer?

With it opening up XQuartz I feel that things are clearly moving in the right direction, but I’m not getting any kind of feedback that it really is launching (this second time).  The first time it did mention “it can take a few minutes”.

It launches now nicely after having closed

I just decided to give it a try, I have XQuartz still open, and opened the Inkscape app from the normal place.  It was normal launch for me, which I think is quite acceptable really.

Eventually loads

It does eventually load, I need to do more testing to see if any of my impatience was justified, and quick test, it mostly wasn’t worth doing all the fiddly bits (from what I can tell) as the usual launch seems perfect now.  Well, “perfect”.  I have to say it all looks fine at this point, will maybe comment tomorrow if I notice anything after the shutdown and reboot.

Try to figure out how things work

This was the first time going into Inkscape in quite some time, so I need to try to see if I can figure out how things work, and be able to play with them more or less how I want to.

I see that pretty much everything is different than how I expect things to be, well, not everything, the icons are all different for sure, but some of them are self-evidently different so that they make enough sense that I can tell what I want from what I’m looking at.

One feature I use a lot of in InDesign is the creation of text and graphics frames.  I fail to see any evidence that these exists (further looking indicates that they pretty much don’t exist as “frames” but we can handle any object the same way with some pretty minor tinkering) so try to see if I can actually figure out how to get the same effect for stuff which is not “frames”.

It’s really easy, and almost easier.  You just create your object, select it, and the text, and one little click of a button the text goes where the object is (not modifying it).

Get things working well enough that I can start playing with getting things laid out

I now have some ideas of at least some of my tools, so I start to try to figure out things.  I actually create a fairly decent layout but it’s off by enough that I know I am going to have to do a good amount of work to just figure out why with the existing setup, so I for now decide that the best thing is to create a nice template which I can use for labels (not quite perfect, but actually I think based on how things are handled, it may be actually easier to get those guides in exactly the correct place by manually editing them in a text editor).

The cool thing is, I got something that was working fairly well.  I don’t know the software, and at best, I have online or built-in documentation now.

Try to figure things out a bit better

As I said, I tried to play around with a number of features, and everything is feeling like it works “fairly nicely” but as I am laying things out in a bit of a more complex way (each label consists of 3 parts, in the centre the logo, and on either side there is some text) I see that for some reason things are not lining up as well as I would like.

I decide to essentially abandon the current project, and move myself off to getting a really simple layout (simply guides actually) before even starting to tackle how I want to get the labels to print.

Get rough layout for project working on (essential oil labels)

I end up setting up the guides I want to through a combination of eyeballing things, and trying to get the grid feature to give me what I really need in terms of information to lay everything nicely out.  In fine fashion, the grid feature with tweaking all kinds of settings gives me exactly the layout I need, and while in the end I want the guides to end up exactly in certain places, for now the guides can sit nicely just as “rough guides” to give me some idea of how everything is fitting together.

I will fix that layout a bit better in the near future.  I either will go in and edit the positions of the guides by using a simple text editor, or I might take the guides and turn the grid back on, and get the guides to snap (one at a time, but probably pretty quickly) to the grid.  That may well be exactly what I end up doing tomorrow.

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