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April 2006

Friday, 28 April 2006

I have to get back to the software specification I've been writing. I also have to do more recipe deletions in the cookbook. At least all the potholes are now filled, so that won't burn up any of my weekend.


Here's a prime reason why I don't use proprietary software at home anymore.


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Thursday, 27 April 2006

Have you ever had one of those days where you can't bring one work item to completion because others keep interfering? I had one of those yesterday and it really sucked. Now I am left with three items, none of which are completed and all of which need to be finished today. I am starting to look forward to retirement.


A friend suggested how to fix my problem with PCLinuxOS not powering all the way down. He suggested that I modify the 'halt' script to replace the call to the halt routine with a call to poweroff. I have tried that, but the machine still doesn't turn itself off. I will do some further investigations of this when I get a chance.


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Wednesday, 26 April 2006

A co-worker has installed freeBSD on a box at work, and wanted to use Firefox on it. He installed it, but the fonts on the menus were really tiny. Changing font sizes in the Preferences did not help, as that only affects the fonts used in rendering web pages. There were no items to be changed in the about:config page, either.

It turns out there is a style sheet you can edit to make the change. In userChrome.css, you can change the font size to be whatever you wish with the font-size tag.


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Tuesday, 25 April 2006

I need to start making a list of stuff to take on my first teardrop trip of the year. If I don't do that, I always forget something important, like a hat to keep me from getting 2nd degree burns on my head, or a skillet to cook breakfast in.

I got a call last night from the Whipp's who are sponsoring the teardrop gathering. They are busy ensuring the small details involved in this enterprise are taken care of. And I guess I am their dutch oven guru.


I've got the cookbook trimmed down from 392 to 357 pages. I need to make another pass at it and get it down to about 300 pages.


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Monday, 24 April 2006

What a nice weekend. I had a good time at the Dutch oven workshop, cooking biscuits, Tamale Pie and Dutch Oven Potatoes. There were lots of participants. I will post some pictures when I get a chance.

I also spent some time doing chores that have piled up over the winter. There are now less potholes in our road. I will have to fill the others in the evenings after work.


I am editing the cookbook and am still working on a software specification. I also need to get back to a web site resdesign.


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Friday, 21 April 2006

The Dutch oven workshop will be held tomorrow at Rathdrum City Park from 8:30 to 4:30. Participants must pay for the privilege of learning how to cook Dutch oven style, but it will be worth the price.

I am all set to participate in this. I will be teaching by preparing Dutch oven potatoes and Tamale Pie. And the weather may even cooperate with us!


PCLinuxOS has an annoying habit it seems to have inherited from Red Hat. When you shut it down, it doesn't turn off the computer. You have to do that manually. Yuck.


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Thursday, 20 April 2006

The first Release Candidate of SUSE Linux 10.1 seems to be very stable. I exercised as many programs as I could, with no problems evident in any of them. I would have no problem recommending this distro for the Linux power user.


I also loaded PCLinuxOS onto my other hard disk and took a look at it. It is a very nice distro for the beginning Linux user. It contains many of the most popular program choices, except for one. It has KOffice instead of Openoffice.org.

I remedied that problem by opening up synaptic and selecting Openoffice.org to be installed. No problems at all doing that. (Note that downloading Openoffice.org requires a broadband connection.)

The program was also automatically installed into the menu system, so I was ready to go after the program was installed.


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Wednesday, 19 April 2006

After burning 15 Cds, I finally have a set of 5 that contain SUSE Linux 10.1 Release Candidate 1. I installed it on my test machine last night.

My first impression is that it seems to be 'more finished'. It just looks better and more usable. I brought up the kdetv application and it worked with none of the minor hassles I was used to.

The installation has some changes for the better. It allows you to check the CDs before using them, so you can verify they are ok and you won't end up aborting the install in the middle. It also has more options in the video configuration.

I had minor difficulties in video configuration. It didn't seem to like my selection of a Samsung LCD monitor. I finally ended up selecting Vesa instead.

More on this as I explore the O/S.


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Tuesday, 18 April 2006

Well, the 5 CD download I did of SUSE 10.1 Release Canadidate 1 was bad. This is the first time I've had a torrent download that was bad. So I downloaded each of the five CDs individually and will try to burn them again tonight.

I have hooked my free-to-air satellite receiver to the TV tuner card in my Linux test box. It seems as though the SUSE distro is the only one that supports TV tuners without difficulty, so I will be installing the new distro tonight, too.


I'm still working on documents. Too much to write and too little time to write it all.


"The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws." - Tacitus


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Monday, 17 April 2006

I downloaded SUSE 10.1 RC1 over the weekend. It was a 3.2GB download, and after I finished, I burned the five CDs. I then tried to install it on my Linux test box, only to realize I had downloaded the 64-bit version instead of the 32-bit one. So I am now downloading the 32-bit version. It should be finished by the time I get home from work.


I worked on the TMS CoachTM specification this weekend. I still have quite a bit to go on it, but I got quite a bit done. Mostly description of what the program is supposed to do.

I also re-copied a bunch of DVDs I made from VHS tape. I forgot how good some of those movies were.


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Friday, 14 April 2006

I found out about another teardrop gathering yesterday. It's in June, and it would mean I would be missing two NILUG meetings in a row. The gathering's over in Cle Elum, so it would be easy for me to get to. I will find out more about this gathering before I commit to it.


Unless constrained by the weather, I will be taking more photos for the cookbook this weekend. I took one last weekend, when I cooked up some dutch oven potatoes. What a great recipe!


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Thursday, 13 April 2006

I now know more about the awk programming language than I ever wanted to. I was using it to pick a single line out of about a dozen files, and to display that line. My problem was that the line could contain some annoying punctuation that would really mess things up if it were displayed.

So I went looking in awk to see if I could find a way to remove the punctuation. I found out about the gsub routine, which is used to substitute characters for other characters. So now the awk command line does two regular expression searches: one is to find the actual line and the other is to replace all the single and double quotes with no character. It works great.


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Wednesday, 12 April 2006

Here is a typical problem I have had to solve at work. I am writing a C program for our UNIX servers, to be used as a support program when programmers write scripts. I recently added a routine to the program that allows it to locate the directory where the database tables reside (this may be different for different servers), so that some of the table files may be backed up.

The program looks in the database environment file and finds the database location there. The only problem is, this may not be the actual location. It may be a symbolic link to the actual location.

But the program needs the actual location. So it must get the location, determine if that location is a symbolic link and, if it is, get the real location. I spent a few hours yesterday figuring out how to do all this.

No wonder I was in no mood to work on software when I got home.


chicken hawk (CHIK.un.hawk) n. A person who now advocates war but who once took special measures to avoid military service. Also: chicken-hawk, chickenhawk.

Example: "There are 54 chicken hawks in the current administration."


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Tuesday, 11 April 2006

I have to get back to working on the sports program. I have been neglecting that for work on the cookbook. Now that I have all the recipes entered into the cookbook, I will take a break from that and go back to the sports program specification.

I need to re-design the database for the spec. It should be more generic than it currectly is. The current database has very specific information in it that is applicable only to soccer. If I do the design correctly, that information will end up in a table or tables that are general enough to hold any sports specifics, or in tables that are only available for the specific sport, and will be there if the sport is supported.


What procedures are in place to verify the sanity of a sitting President? If there are none, how do you remove someone who is obviously around the bend? I'm just asking, not implying anything.


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Monday, 10 April 2006

A lot of people attended the North Idaho Linux User Group meeting last Saturday. We got some systems loaded/fixed and we talked about promoting Linux locally. I plan to go ahead with local promotion. I will be getting some Ubuntu disks from Canonical, and I will create some SimplyMepis disks myself. I will also do some flyers, and visit The Bookery, as I understand the owner is a Linux fan and has volunteered some shelf space for Linux.


I got a carrier and disk holders from one of the guys at the meeting, and installed it in my Linux test box. I can now easily swap out the hard drive, so I can switch between distros if I want to demonstarte something to someone.


I finished adding recipes to the cookbook. I am now gathering photos for the book, and working on the introductory material.


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Friday, 7 April 2006

Well, it looks like I survived this cold or flu or whatever it was. So I will be at the NILUG meeting tomorrow, with my ideas of how to promote Linux locally.

My cookbook is at 308 pages. It looks like my original estimate of 400 pages is just about right. I will be taking some more pictures for it over the weekend. That will give me an opportunity to try out the Dutch Oven Potatoes recipe.


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Thursday, 6 April 2006

The monthly meeting of the North Idaho Linux Users Group is Saturday. I hope I am well enough to attend.


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Wednesday, 5 April 2006

I spent half the day at home yesterday. I ran out of gas about lunch time, so I went home and relaxed. I wish I could sleep better, maybe then I could rid myself of this cold.


I am doing a major rewrite of the utility I wrote at work. I am making it more compatible with other UNIX programs we use. It's interesting and challenging, so part of the reason I can't sleep well is thinking about the program.


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Tuesday, 4 April 2006

It's Tuesday - Idiot On The Road Day. They were all going from Rathdrum to Liberty Lake this morning.


I've been sick the last couple of days, so I haven't been getting as much done as I usually do. I'm not sure if I will last the day at work today.

I did work on the cookbook last night, which now has 142 242 pages. A couple of the recipes I worked on last night had missing ingredients, so I had to remove them. One was for chicken with rice, so I dug around and found one for arroz con pollo to replace it. The other recipe was for a chicken dish with no chicken listed in the ingredients.


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Monday, 3 April 2006

I got lots done over the weekend, but (of course) most of it was not on my list of things to do. I removed the snow tires on my Stealth and put the snow plow away. I also did other household chores and went to work for a few hours on Saturday. All in all, an unremarkable weekend.


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