BLOGical Thoughts Archive

April 2004

Wednesday, 28 April, 2004

No more blog entries until Monday.

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I am trying to get ready for the first teardrop trailer trip of the year. Other stuff keeps getting in they way, but today I will be getting as much done as possible on stocking up the trailer.

Gotta go see the dentist right now.

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A new Costco opened its doors in Coeur d'Alene last Thursday. I went there after work on Friday. Keeping in mind some advice from a co-worker, instead of getting my old VCR repaired, I bought a new one. The new one also contains a DVD player, which can play DVDs, VCDs, Audio CDs, MP3s, Audio DVDs, etc.

Equipped with the new VCR and the Time Base Corrector I purchased some time ago, I have backed up 8 VHS pre-recorded tapes onto DVD. They came out just as good as the VCR tapes, which is what I expected. Plus, they play very nicely on my notebook.

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I installed Xine on my sub-notebook and tried out a DVD with it. Encrypted DVDs give me an error, but the unencrypted ones run fine. At last, one of the prime things I wanted to do with that machine is at least partially accomplished.

I will have to research some to see why the thing won't play encrypted DVDs. I have installed libdvdcss, but apparently something more is needed.

I printed off the first lesson for the Intermediate Java online course. I haven't started it yet, but it looks pretty easy so far.

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'm starting the online Java course today. Oh, joy. Will this be like learning APL, RPG or COBOL? Like learning Forth? Or will it be lots of fun, like learning Delphi? Time will tell.

One week until my first teardrop trip of 2004. I need to make a list so I don't forget anything. I also need to stock the pantry and do all the little chores on the teardrop that are always being put off. Like checking the wheel bearings and tire pressure.

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More configuration chores. I dropped my old ISP yesterday, then realized I may have signed up for an online class using my old email address. Turns out I didn't.

I checked out a newsletter for a friend. I persuaded him to send it out as an RTF file instead of a DOC file. Now a couple of the people that got the newsletter claim it had a virus attached to it. I ran it through AVG and got no hits. I think I will get more particulars on the report. And I will tell him to save it as an HTML file next time.

I had a problem sending out email with my new ISP, but I resolved it. Some SMTP servers have very strange requirements for username.

A friend gave me a Xine setup that is supposed to play encrypted DVDs. I will check it out today.

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I am now connected to my new ISP for Internet access. Based on the information I got from the ISP, I reviewed the dial-up configuration I created for them. The only thing I could see that could possibly allow me to connect was to check a box in the configuration panel called 'Stupid mode'. I check it and the connection worked. What a name for an option!

By the way, my new ISP is using netBSD, not Windows, for their server. I was fooled into assuming they had Windows by their ignorance of Linux.

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I spent the morning moving from one cubicle to another, getting my network connection and phone service working. It went very smoothly. I just need to tidy up somewhat and I'll be done.

I changed ISPs over the weekend, from Imbris to Dawghaus (what a name). I can't connect to Dawghaus yet. I will have to call them to find out what the deal is. I think their servers are Windows based, as they professed ignorance about connecting to a Linux box.

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I attempted to upload some new web pages to the motorcycle web site last night. It was the first time I had attempted that from a Linux box. Imagine my surprise when I connected to the root of the web server. Not a virtual root, either. The real deal.

So I tried to change to the home page directory. This can be in several different places, depending on server configuration. I tried /home/beaudrymotorsports and /var/www/htdocs. No joy. I tried going through the /domain directory, but no other sub-directories showed up.

I found out where it is this morning. /domain/beadurymotorsports is accessible, even though /domain isn't. Well, you learn something new every day. I will try to upload the files tonight.

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I have edited the recording of a television show about teardrop trailers. I did the editing with a program called TMPGEnc DVD Author. Since it is a Windows program, it was not free. But it did the job. It even had its own built-in DVD burning software.

The editing results were pretty good. The program also let me build a custom menu for the DVD. I will try to learn how to do those things better, when I have more time.

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The company that SCuM and I work for has pretty much decided that the computer language they created back in the 80's has reached the end of its life. They have been looking for a replacement and have settled on Java.

Which is why I have signed up for an online Java course. Java is an object oriented programming language, somewhat like C++. I've done lots of OOP, but C++ and Java have never been my favorite languages. I'm just going to bite the bullet and completely learn Java, though. Give a bit of a boost to my resumé. And maybe I'll learn to like it.

The online class starts on 21 April and goes for 6 weeks.

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This is one of those 'nothing interesting going on' days. I thought long and hard about what to post, and came up with nothing (since I'm no longer allowed to talk about politics). So you will have to go to Boing Boing or Doc Searles for your daily pablum.

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The North Idaho User Group meeting on Saturday was interesting and fun, but I never got my computer set up with TV. The TV card apparently conflicts with the ethernet connection. I will have to try later this week, after I finish the stuff I ought to be doing.

The rest of the weekend was consumed by locusts.

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The North Idaho Linux User Group meeting is tomorrow at noon. This should be an interesting meeting, as we should have broadband Net access. For more info on the meeting go to the NILUG web site.

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When the CEO of a company runs that company into the ground, he or she is fired. Shouldn't a president have the same criteria applied to him or her? I guess not - especially when the president in question is the former CEO of a failed company!

I have finished one section of web pages for the motorcycle dealer. I have to redo the index page and main page for Aprilia and then upload the new pages. I finished the pages while waiting for new tires for my car at Les Schwab. Better than staring at (extremely) ugly new wheels or watching the boob tube.

I saw a 1954 ford Fairlane with a 'For Sale' sign on it this morning. I didn't get a chance to scope it out, as I was on my way to work. Two-tone white and yellow, and it looked to be in excellent condition. But I bet they want more for it than I'm willing to pay.

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The North Idaho Linux User Group meets this Saturday at 12 noon at Frank Ten Thy's house. Directions are on the NILUG web site. Part of the program will be an attempt to get a Linux box to display TV shows. And possibly, a lesson in WiFi for those of us who don't speak it.

I have been doing web pages on my notebook, and the main thing I miss from the web editor I wrote for Windows is its macro capability. Web pages involve a lot of repetitive actions and macros help relieve the tedium of those actions by performing them with one keystroke instead of many. Doing it by hand every time is boring and time-consuming. I guess that an all-purpose editor for Linux with macro capabilities should go on my to-do list.

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I am swamped at work. Can't update this until later today.

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I finished a lot of the jobs I had earmarked for the weekend, although I didn't quite get all of them done.

One of the jobs I did was hook the teardrop trailer up and take it somewhere to get a quote for some lettering on the galley hatch. I'm going to put the trailer's name there. I went to a place in Hayden called Albert's Customs and got my quote.

While I was there, I also had a look at some of the vehicles they had for sale that I could use as a teardrop tow vehicle. I also saw a picture of one that is very interesting.

Back in the early 70's there was a company in Post Falls, Idaho that actually manufactered cars and trucks. They didn't last long - they produced 23 cars and 3 trucks. The picture below is of the very first truck off their assembly line. It's called a Leata (rhymes with cheetah). It's a flatbed pickup with a fiberglass body. It gets about 40 mpg. The thing is for sale and it would make a very nice tow vehicle.

1974 Leata flatbug pickup

The guy who designed the truck had a thing for '40 Fords, so that's the look he was going for. It has a Ford engine and transmission in it.

Of the three trucks, one is in a landfill. The other's whereabouts are unknown.

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Lots to do this weekend. If I can just keep away from that Heinlein book, I may get some of it done.

I got a bed warmer for my teardrop trailer yesterday. Mail order from ElectroWarmth. Other TDers have this and have heartily recommended it, so I will give it a try. You use it to warm the bed before getting in, then turn it off.

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Working on my taxes. No time to spout.

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