StoutPanda The Bamboo Grove

TigerVNC Server & Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

Today I tried to install TigerVNC Server on Ubuntu 16.04, and was surprised to find that Ubuntu still uses TightVNC in their main repos. Additionally, there are no PPAs for TigerVNC and Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus yet.

Installing it is simple:

Download the latest binary from TigerVNC. At the time of writing, version 1.7.0 for Ubuntu is located here for 64bit and here for x86. Latest release information can be found on the TigerVNC github page.

Then run:

sudo dpkg -i tigervncserver_filename.deb

sudo apt-get install -f


You will be prompted for a few questions the first time you start it up, but that it is it. Your VNC Server is up and running on port 5901 by default. You can connect to it using the Tiger VNC viewer on another computer by pointing it to the IP:5901.

There are a lot of options for TigerVNC server, but one of my favorite things about TigerVNC is that the connections are encrypted by default. However, I recommend only connecting to VNC servers over VPNs or SSH tunnels just to be sure.

Elixir & Pattern Matching

Before starting with Elixir, I had no functional programming experience. Many of the concepts that are central to using it are very new ideas for me. Prior to this, I only had minimal exposure to lisp when editing a few emacs/spacemacs configuration files.

I've only begun to dabble with it, but I am already in infatuated with the power of Pattern Matching. Pattern matching makes things simple. That's the simplest description I can think of for it.

I had the mind-blowing moment when working with a simple common programming challenge: Fizz Buzz.

Fizz Buzz has of course been done to death on the web, see enterprise Edition Fizz Buzz, but I still can't get over how simple it was to implement this in elixir.

Fizz Buzz: Requirements: *For numbers 1 through 100, *if the number is divisible by 3 print Fizz; *if the number is divisible by 5 print Buzz; *if the number is divisible by 3 and 5 (15) print FizzBuzz; *else, print the number.

Let's take a look at the implementation in ruby:

1.step(100,1) do |i|
   if (i % 5) == 0 && (i % 3) ==0
    puts 'FizzBuzz'
   elsif (i % 5) == 0
    puts 'Buzz'
   elsif (i % 3) == 0
    puts 'Fizz'
    puts i

And now for the pattern matching version in elixir:

fizztest = fn
    (0, 0, _) -> "FizzBuzz"
    (0, _, _) -> "Fizz"
    (_, 0, _) -> "Buzz"
    (_, _, n) -> n

fizzbuzz = fn (n) -> fizztest.(rem(n, 3), rem(n, 5), n) end

IO.inspect, fizzbuzz)

In elixir, we don't have to use if statements, or cases. We can define the pattern we are looking for and then return the output we want. We use two anonymous functions, (between the fn & ends) and base the pattern on the return of modulus division (the rem function).

What I find very interesting about pattern matching, is that it comes off very readable and understandable, even when you are not that familiar with the language. Additionally when reviewing the code, there is simply one function call to another, looking for pattern after pattern. It leads me to doing less of this, and leads me to more time spending thinking about what I want to accomplish. While I haven't built anything noteworthy in it yet, I hope that this pattern continues (slightly more boilerplate code, but much easier to return the project after being away a few days).

For a great introduction to pattern matching and other functional programming concepts, you should check out a series of blog post on medium: So you want to be a functional programmer.

New Jekyll Site

def foo
  puts 'Hello World!'

That's how all great things start out, right?

Today, I'm pushing up the first post on a new jekyll site that I hope to use as my blog and documentation of a few things.

I've been in IT for about a decade as support and systems administration, and now I'm trying to pick up a few new skills on the coding side of the computer world. I also dabble in quite a bit of homelab setups, so I hope to include post covering all of these topics.

On the systems administration side of things, I've had the pleasure of working with everything from Pick OS to modern Linux.

On the coder side, I've dabbled in it from time to time over the years, but finally found that it "clicked" when learning ruby. Right now I'm working on beefing up my front end web development skills, and then if it all works out learning elixir / earlang as I think the BEAM VM is a wonderful creation and that many applications will utilizing to it as elixir/phoenix gain more popularity.

I still have lots to learn about Jekyll, and once I wrap my head around it I have a write up of a recent homelab restructure that I plan to publish.