Meta: The State Of Linux-Tips #10

This is going to be another meta article, where we cover the state of Linux-Tips. This is the 10th such installment, I do believe. I did go back and count at one point, but not all that well or that deeply. Not all meta articles have been the state of Linux-Tips. So, this is #10, even if it’s not #10.

I think the big news is that we’re out of the doghouse with Google. Last month we averaged a few hundred unique visitors every day. This month  looks like it’s going to be even better. I dare say I learned my lesson. 

The site still chews through a bunch of bandwidth, for a site like this. We chew through the CDN data pretty quick. Fortunately, I can cover it when it inevitably goes over the current level. 

I actually got a donation! It was for $5.00. PayPal decided I’m a business account, so they happily took their fees from it. I no longer have access to ‘Friends and Family’ payments. Damn it, PayPal! Though, in their defense, I am a business –  and conducted quite a bit of fee-free business through them in the past. For the services they provide, it’s really not that expensive. Sign up to be a credit card processor and check out those fees!

I was pretty pleased with the donation. I don’t need the money, but it gave me a sense of purpose – of value. It felt good to know I was appreciated. That makes TWO donations! I’m gonna be rich! 

Some Meta Stuff For Linux-Tips:

In the past 28 days the site has shown up in Google searches 180,000 times. Only a little over 3000 people clicked. That was improving from my days in the Google penalty box.

(Keep in mind that Google actually sucks at some of these numbers. I have the raw server logs. They really, really suck with some of them. We’ve actually shown 55,000 pages so far this month alone.)

Most of my traffic comes from Google. They tell me that the vast majority of people are on desktops. The vast majority of visitors arrive from organic search.

The most popular pages have changed. Here are the three most popular pages:

How To: Disable Sleep And Hibernation on Ubuntu Server

Repair Your Linux Filesystem With a Live USB or DVD

How To: Restart TeamViewer From The Terminal

Though, screenfetch vs. neofetch seems to be the article that shows up in search the most. 

Since I’ve was let out of the Google penalty box, I haven’t had a day with less than 200 unique visitors. (That’s a good amount for a fairly new site that doesn’t do a lot of SEO and does no paid promotion.)

We’re sitting at 260 articles, with one being hidden. We’ve had a new article every day since the site first started. Obviously, we’re well past the year I originally set aside for the project.

There are ads here on Linux-Tips and they get the occasional click. Most of my readers are technical users and tend to block ads. It’d be pretty sweet if you’d whitelist this site in your ad blocker. They’re just Google ads. They won’t hurt you. If you were really trying to hide from Google, you’d block their analytics. Meh… Or not… It’s up to you. I’ve long since decided that finances aren’t that important. ‘Snot like I’m going to stop paying in the near future.

Lemme think…

Closure:

Anything else? No? It had been a while since I last did a meta article. I should do them once a month or so. They’re easy enough to write, but they don’t really contain any useful information.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Let’s Talk About Using dos2unix

Today, we’re going to talk about using dos2unix, a tool for converting Windows text files to Unix (Linux) formatted text files. The command isn’t very difficult to use, so this article is more about making you aware of the existence and purpose of said dos2unix. It should be a remarkably short article.

First, we have to go back in time…

Once upon a time, when you reached the end of the line with text, you had to instruct the hardware to start a new line. These were the old days of things like teletype machines and dumb terminals. They needed to be told when to begin a new line.

Well, that still exists in software today. The thing is, if a file was created on Windows it will have two characters denoting when a new line should begin while a file created on Linux will only have one character indicating when a new line should begin. Yay for compatibility issues!

Anyhow… This is why you will sometimes get errors with text files. For example, writing a shell script on Windows and then trying to use it on Linux may result in end of line errors. Windows uses CR (Carriage Return) and LF (Line Feed, you may know it as /n) while Linux (and Unix) just uses LF. This, of course, can cause some confusion for the operating system.

This is where dos2unix comes into play. This is why you’re getting an article about using dos2unix… So, with that in mind…

Using dos2unix:

This article requires an open terminal, like oh so many other articles. If you don’t know how to open the terminal, just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open. Tada!

Now, you’ll need to install dos2unix. It probably isn’t installed by default. Just use your package manager’s standard install command and I’m like 99% certain it’s a package available to you by default. For example, in Debian, Ubuntu, and Ubuntu derivatives and flavors, it’s just a simple apt command:

Once you have dos2unix installed, you can convert Windows-created text files to Unix (and thus Linux) formatted text files by fixing the way they end a line and start a new line. That’s really easy. It’s just:

Yup…

Well, I suppose you could also do /path/to/filename.txt if you needed, or you can just navigate to the directory and use the command above. It really is that easy.

There’s more to the dos2unix application, but that’s about all you’re really going to need to know under normal circumstances. It really is that simple. Do check the man page (man dos2unix) for other options, but you’ll see that’s about all you’re gonna need.

Closure:

Like I said, this article is really about making you aware of the problem and solution, so that you can start using dos2unix if and when you need it. It turns out that dos2unix is more than just a contributing forum member on Linux.org, it’s actually a useful application for dealing with Windows files on a Linux box!

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta Article, Something like #9…

I’ve done a few meta articles over the past year and a half. Not all of them have really been ‘meta’, meaning having to do specifically with the site Linux-Tips.us and what’s specifically going on here. I want to say this is the 9th one? Something like that? Either way, we’re going to call it #9 and keep using that number as our starting base. I’ll make a point out of remembering it, and the next will be #10.

So, I figured I’d write one now… Why? Meh… I want a day off. I have an article I could edit and publish, a nice guest article that looks pretty solid, but I’m saving that for a few more days. I have a plan for that one – meaning I plan on enjoying my day off!

Like I mentioned the other day, it’s sometimes starting to seem like work. I publish every other day and that’s effort. If it’s work, I wanna get paid – and not the pittance Google AdSense provides. It’s never going to happen, so this needs to firmly remain in the hobby category.

So, what to write about?

I learned something new… It turns out that interactive websites have less activity during summer (northern hemisphere) months, though that doesn’t quite cover the decrease in traffic. No, that was something else – and appears to be on the upside.

Allow me to explain…

So Meta It’s Meta Meta!

You all may recall an article that made no sense. It stood out like a sore thumb and was so distantly related to Linux that it might not be Linux-related at all. It was even factually ‘questionable’.

Well, I’d be more than happy to give them their money back – ’cause that’s the only thing that really changed and I can cite it to the exact day.

I didn’t make much in the way of compensation, but thought it’d be a great way to help fund the site when I received an email asking if I’d accept paid guest posts that included a link or two. (They’re used for SEO purposes, as links from sites with good authority make Google like you.)

They paid me a pittance and I agreed to not mention (in the article) that it was a paid article. I also agreed to not disclose much, but they can have their 30 talons of silver back if they want it.

It was pretty much the very next day that traffic from Google slowed down.

Even though it’s automated, Google is not as mentally handicapped as we might think. No, no they are not…

There’s absolutely nothing else that can explain the drop in traffic – ’cause nothing else changed. So, I accepted my bribe money and Google spanked me. They spanked me like they’re dressed up like a nun, except I didn’t pay extra for it.

Fortunately…

My time in the penalty box appears to be over. Traffic from Google is once again climbing up. I’d share exact numbers with you, but this is an ‘easy’ article and I’m not gonna go taking screenshots and getting exact numbers.

Closure:

If you have a website and someone contacts you wanting to pay you for a guest article, run away. They paid me a paltry sum. Sure, they paid more more than I’d have made in ads, but it still wasn’t worth it to see the traffic slow down.

Yeah, that’s right… The ads pay so little that I still made more money from accepting the guest article. 

However, that’s now the site’s goal. Remember, it’s a hobby and not a job. At least that’s the goal. Any money made goes right back into the site. Currently, the ads are paying enough for me to pay for hosting and to pay for the CDN on a very low level. (It shouldn’t need much in the way of payment in the near future, so that’s fine.)

But, yeah… I accept the article and published it. In response, Google trashed the search engine traffic, sending less than half the traffic they had been sending. 

If you’re interested in short-term money, go ahead and take their offer for a guest article. If you’re interested in a long-term relationship with the people who frequent your site, or you’re interested in a higher calling (like educating new Linux users), then run away. If they ask for a guest article, run away and never speak to them again – even if it does pay better than AdSense.

I think I’m barely going to proofread this one. If you found errors, let me know. I’ll fix ’em when time allows.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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[Fixed] A Rambling Post About Switching To Linux

Today, we’re going to talk about switching to Linux – in what I believe will be a brief article. This article is just based on some observations, and I think we can have some fun with it. (Ed. Note: It’s not very brief.)

Note: I hit the publish button instead of the Schedule button, so the article was briefly published and notifications went out about this. Sorry ’bout that. I’m an idiot. In my defense, I get it correct the vast majority of the time!

Moving on…

First, for this article, if you want to ‘help’ and ‘contribute’ then please do so as  a comment – you’ll see why before the article ends. Adding your comments as a comment here makes more sense.

When people take piano lessons, and history/experience tell me that this is similar for other instruments, 90% of them will quit within the first year. That is, they will have paid for equipment and formal lessons (as that’s where this data was drawn from) and they still quit taking lessons within a year.

Sure, you can learn a lot in a year – including how to give yourself further instructions. But, are they really quitting taking lessons for that reason – or are they quitting taking lessons for other reasons, like not making progress fast enough, not enough reward for the effort put in, or simply not having enough time to continue with a hobby when life has more pressing problems? Have they truly quit playing Piano?

And, well, I suspect the number is similar for people who try to switch to Linux. I strongly suspect, but have no data – simply observations – that approximately 90% of the people who try Linux will give up and return to using their previous operating system – be it Windows or MacOS, or what have you – within a year.

Let’s talk about …

Switching To Linux:

I get it. It’s hard. If you’ve been using Windows since Windows 95, you’ve got some serious muscle memory going on – and you have some legit knowledge built up. You’re pretty much an expert with Windows by then – or you’ve spent a whole lot of money to get other people to repair your computer for you. I suppose the latter is possible, but let’s just ignore that subset. You’ve still invested a ton of hours into learning how to use Windows itself – never mind the hours invested in learning to use the applications you are used to using.

Right now – and this is what prompted it – I am on my 4th day without smoking. (I am taking the drug Chantix. It’s awesome, at least for me.) 

I’ve tried quitting before – and I’ve even gone extended periods without smoking. I dare say that I’ve quit smoking so many times, I’m an expert at it! However, your odds of success get better every time you try to quit. I’m being optimistic, even though I’d kick a nun for a cigarette. (That’s a figure of speech… Well, it’s my figure of speech. Please don’t send ninja nuns to my house to beat me up.)

I can hear  you now… “Alright, David… What are you on about?”

Well, I’ve written about switching before – but this is a different aspect. See, when you make the switch, you’re not just starting to learn how to use Linux, you’re quitting using Windows. That’s a lot of habits and oh so many countless hours invested in learning to use Windows – and you’re giving up on all of that and all the benefits (and limitations) that entailed. You have things you know and those things you know are now things you knew – ’cause those things you knew ain’t true with Linux.

I don’t want to talk about formalities. This isn’t a technical article. Instead, I just want to show you one of the motivators I keep using to not smoke out of habit. (My cravings are kinda gone, I think. It’s just now the times I’d smoke out of habit.)

Please, click this link to see a timeline of benefits you get from quitting smoking:

What happens after you quit smoking?

Edit: Here’s a link from a .gov site, so maybe having more authority.

Ideally, that link will take you to the anchor – which is a timeline of benefits you get when you quit smoking. If not, scroll down until you get to said section. Those benefits are what’s keeping me motivated. Those are my rewards for putting up with the discomfort. (I dare say they’re pretty good rewards, but that’s a topic for an article on a different site.)

I have a point to this! It’s coming!

Timeline of Benefits:

If you have followed the link(s) above (and please do before commenting), you’ll see that there are benefits as soon as 20 minutes has passed. That’s right, just 20 minutes after quitting smoking you’ll have some benefits.

So, for this exercise, I want you to tell me what benefits you’d have (at those, or other) various timed intervals after quitting Windows and switching to Linux.

Like, so…

After 20 minutes of quitting Windows, you’ll see that you actually decide when your computer is updated and rebooted! So far so good!

After 12 hours of quitting Windows, you’ll see that you don’t have to hunt for software because everything you need to get started is available in the default repositories – and it’s free! These are benefits you get from switching to Linux!

After 24 hours of quitting Windows and switching to Linux…

(And carry on like that…)

You don’t have to do the full list unless you feel like it. You can even change the timeline hours/days/weeks/months, whatever – just have fun with it. It’s not some school exercise, it’s just for fun.

I do ask that you leave these replies as comments here, so that others can find and read them down the road. If you’re unwilling to do that, feel free to leave them on Reddit or on Linux.org, but here would be ideal. So far, in all my years hosting sites, I’ve never sold anybody’s data – and I’ve never had your personal information compromised. Commenting here is pretty painless and relatively low-risk.

Like I said… Don’t just have fun with it, be funny with it – if you want. The sky’s the limit. Do what you will with the idea!

Closure?

By the way, I think users HUGELY underestimate how many hours they’ve invested in learning to use Windows. It’s just like how they don’t recall how many hours they took to learn to walk, to talk, to spell in their native language, etc… They don’t seem to realize they’ll need to put in a similar number of hours to learn to use Linux. Ah well…

Have fun with it. “In 15 years, you’ll be a wizened old graybeard writing shell script like a wizard cast spells, with Windows being naught but a dim memory only recalled when drinking heavily or in the feverish nightmares of an old man.”

What was it like when you were switching to Linux? What was your timeline like? If you’re just switching, what do you want your timeline to look like?

What was the timeline like for you? Feel free to make it an accurate summation of events as you witnessed them. You do what you gotta do, but leaving them as a comment will mean they’re attached to the post ‘forever’ (or as long as I keep paying the bills). So, be funny, be real, be optimistic, or be you. 

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Meta: I Should Have Numbered These

It’s time for another meta article. These are just articles where I take a bit of a break and write about the site itself. Some of them have been a little tough to write, but this one promises to be pretty darned easy. (I try to avoid swearing on the site, but sometimes I notice I did when I get to the editing phase. In real life, I swear like a trooper, depending on the company I keep.)

You won’t learn anything major from this article, and none of what you learn will be about Linux! You have been warned!

Well, I haven’t written the article yet – but that stands to reason! I don’t plan on writing anything even remotely educational in this article. I won’t even have to use the code blocks for anything – and you won’t even need to open a terminal! That’s right, it’s an article where you do not have to crack open your terminal. (I cut and paste that instructional ext, mixing it up a little from time to time.)

So, well, I do kinda wish I’d started these meta articles off by numbering them. Then I could kinda keep track of how many I’ve written. I suppose I could still filter it and figure that out. Lemme check…

I’ve used the meta tag for some pretty silly stuff – perhaps by accident. This would be like the 8th one that’s really about the site itself. Maybe I’ll remember to call the next one “#9”. There are a couple of other ‘meta’ articles where I’m not quite sure why I used the tag or title. Ah well… It was probably wine.

The State Of Linux-Tips #8:

So, not that long ago there was an article that I posted without disclosing any details. Let’s just say lessons have been learned. I think even Google noticed, ’cause my traffic hasn’t really grown any since the last time I wrote one of these.

In fact, pretty much all the same data from the last one would apply to this one. In a few areas, my traffic actually decreased a little – not much, but a little. The gains made with keywords like ‘apt purge‘ ranking pretty high seem to be countered by fewer clicks on the other articles.

Basically, it’s a wash… I think Google punished me for about a month, because traffic seems to be increasing again. You can help with that, you know. Share the articles on your favorite social media sites and that’ll help a great deal – more than donating or unblocking ads.

Speaking of ads, I got some money from AdSense and I see no reason to suspect the bills won’t get paid. Well, they’re gonna get paid regardless. So, there’s that, which is nice! 

Literally, the same popular content from last time is the same popular content from this time. It’s almost as if Google put me into stasis, or something. So, I do believe I’ve learned a lesson regarding publishing content from other people with different objectives.

Speaking of which, you can also help by writing an article. I’ll clean it up and make it suitable for publication, including formatting and digging for links as needed. That’d be great. It’s summer and I’m pressed for time. So, that’d really help. You might want to make sure that it’s not something I’ve already covered! We’ve got a ton of content already.

Closure:

That’s it, really! I just wanted to touch base with an easy meta article. Normally, they’re a bit more complicated than this. This time, nothing major has changed. Even my drop in traffic is closer to just staying the same and not increasing in traffic as I have been. It’s down like 1.3% – or pretty much a rounding error. However, the site has been experiencing linear growth – which, mixed with other numbers, makes me think we won’t be seeing a repeat of the article shared a month or so ago.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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