The title of this article says it all. Can we replace our traditional media providers (cable, satellite or other) with nothing more than online media, enabled for Linux? I think we can get closer to an answer that we have been able to at any point in the recent past. Depending on your goals (cost reduction, time shift, diversity of programming), I believe we can provide some guidance and information that will enable you to make the decision to unplug.

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I represented Pinehead as a part of a recent NASA Social event which allowed social media users access on the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) to cover the SpaceX CRS-2 launch on Friday, March 1. The day before the launch we were shown the Vehicle Assembly Building, launch pads, attended press conferences and science briefings, and had Q&A time with NASA officials.

If you think about space travel in the United States today, the outlook can seem dismal. The most recent major news about NASA has been the Shuttle retirement and the $726 million NASA will lose to sequestration. It’s no wonder people think NASA is closing down. What I discovered during my time KCS is, while budgets and active programs may be reduced, momentum at NASA has not been shaken.

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Some time ago, Valve announced that they were releasing a Steam Client targeted at Linux systems. At the time, it was rumored that their first Linux playable game internally (other than independent titles that already had Linux versions) was Left 4 Dead. Although we have not seen the rumored L4D port, we do now have a full blown Steam client for Ubuntu Linux (at least that is the officially supported distribution, however, I have seen clients working in Mint, Fedora and OpenSUSE). Here, we are going to talk about the installation and configuration of the client, along with some of the ‘gotchas’ involved. We will then talk about a couple of the games available and some of the lessons learned during the client use and subsequent gameplay.

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Without getting into any political reviews of different flavors of Ubuntu (Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Kubuntu, AdInfinitubuntu), we are going to look at starting with the default Ubuntu installation with Unity and then branching out to include KDE, Gnome, Cinnamon and XFCE. We will make all of them available for use and will be able to choose amongst any of them at sign in so let’s get started!

Desktop, Desktop, Wherefore Art Thou Desktop?
As you know, by default as of Ubuntu 11.04, Unity is the desktop we are greeted with after a fresh install.

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Whether it is on your desktop or server installation of Ubuntu, there will come a time that you may need to work with Apache and certificates. We will go into full certificates from Certificate Authorities (like Verisign or Entrust) as well as exploring some of the ‘Open Source’ Certificate Authorities (read: free) in a later article. Today we are discussing how to prepare Apache to answer HTTPS requests in the VHOSTS as well as installing and configuring the pieces. Finally, we will install a self signed certificate and access our system over HTTPS to verify it all works.

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I’m so happy to announce that I’m going to be able to cover the launch from Cape Canaveral!! NASA chooses up to 50 social media users and grants them the same access to the launch as new media. The goal is to align the experience of the two media groups recognizing social media groups can reach audiences traditional news media may not.

The launch is currently scheduled for Friday, March 1 at 10:10 EST. The day before the launch there will be a whole day of briefings of press conferences so I will be bringing you updates through out the day.

Have questions about the launch, Falcon 9, Dragon, or Space Station? Post your questions in the comments below and I’ll do my best to get them answered. Looks like we will go to:

  • Ground Systems Briefing
  • ISS Science Press Conference
  • Heliophysics News Briefing (will be broadcast on NASA TV)
  • Pre-launch Press Conference.

We will also be meeting with Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX, and Jim Adams, NASA’s deputy chief technologist.

 

FREE T-SHIRTS! WHAT?

That’s right, if you show Pinehead and Tyra some love and re-tweet some of the live tweets that are going on, we are giving away a boat load of shirts! How many? Not sure, probably at least ten!

SpaceX is eleven years old, has six successful launches on the books, and forty-one missions scheduled between now and 2017. Their next mission, CRS-2, for NASA is scheduled for launch on March 1. This launch is the second of twelve contracted between NASA and SpaceX to completed by 2015.

Still frame from the CRS-1 webcast of the Falcon 9 pressure relief panels being ejected.

Still frame from the CRS-1 webcast of the Falcon 9 pressure relief panels being ejected.

The Falcon 9 and Dragon last flew in October 2012. The Dragon docked successfully with the International Space Station (ISS) and came back to earth safely. What seemed to get the most press coverage during the mission was an issue being reported as an engine explosion. About a minute and nineteen seconds into the CRS-1 launch there was what looked like an engine explosion. This was not an explosion but an example of Falcon 9 redundancy in action. The Falcon rocket detected a sudden loss in pressure in Merlin engine 1 and issued a command to shutdown. The burst, debris, and plume of smoke were the pressure relief panels being ejected to protect engine 1 and surrounding engines. The flight computer then recalculated a new ascent profile and the Dragon continued on to the ISS.

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Survey says.. Linux jobs are in demand and there is money to be made! The tech field is the fastest growing job sector and Linux jobs are at the top of the list. If you haven’t already, now is the time to start learning Linux, or even get certified with the LPI (Linux Professional Institute Certification) certification. Don’t know where to start? Never used Linux? Not sure what you need to do to learn Linux for system administration?  We have a great starting point for you, and that’s at the Linux Academy.

Not looking to get Linux certified, and just want to know how to run your own Linux servers? Or test app code, or just play with different Linux distributions? No problem! Linux Academy is great for that as well!

The Linux Academy has step-by-step video courses, PDF course notes, certification study guides, and quizzes (coming soon). It even has a Linux server lab that allows you to follow along with the lessons on real Linux servers. No need for additional software-it’s all provided at the Linux Academy.

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So now that our Linux distribution is installed, things just don’t seem “right”. Today we will be talking about ways to troubleshoot performance on our Linux installation. Although today’s article will have a decidedly Ubuntu slant, almost everything we will discuss equally applies to every distribution. If there are distribution specific notes for any of the commands, I will make an effort to point that out (or feel free to leave anything you notice in the comments and I will include them as appropriate).

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This article is part of a series that covers key features of the Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket for the upcoming SpaceX CRS 2 mission launching on March 1st at 10:10 a.m. EST.

After liftoff and separation from stage one of the Falcon 9 rocket, the SpaceX Dragon capsule must successfully perform several functions to get ready to dock with the ISS. A few minutes after the Dragon separates from the second stage of the Falcon, at about T+12:00, the sequence to activate the solar arrays starts. Try to recall the COTS 2/3 mission webcast, there was cheering from SpaceX employees after the solar arrays deployed. While SpaceX employees have a right to cheer about every aspect of the Falcon and Dragon, the solar arrays are unique. Most spacecraft similar to Dragon only use battery power.

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