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April 2011

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Late Update: I came home from work to a message on my answering machine. It was my bank checking into recent credit card activity. It seems that someone (NOT ME) charged $3,100+ to my credit card. Those charges were removed and the card was cancelled. Since I was going to use the card over the weekend, I now have to use cash, as the businesses I will be paying do not accept checks. Bummer, but the card lasted 4 years before someone stole the number.



 

I have updated the Table of Contents in the programming document I produced for my LinuxFest Northwest talk. I also added some more content, as I accidentally left out the section on hooking up some menu items. Hopefully, there are no more problems in the text. Now I just need to practice my talk.

I am looking for a section in the LibreOffice export to PDF where the actual author name is listed. I am doing that because when I import the document to my tablet, I see the title, but the author is unknown. Maybe they just extract it from the front page. If that is true, I need to put the word 'By' in front of my name on the title page.



 

There will be no posts here tomorrow or Monday. I'm taking a nice four day weekend and will not have full access to the Internet.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

I finished reviewing the document of the talk I will be giving at LinuxFest Northwest on Saturday. I made some minor editorial changes, but overall it is good to go. With that in mind, I posted a PDF of the document on the Rimrock Software web site. Anyone who is unable to attend the conference will be able to read what I talked about. Update: I have noticed that the Table of Contents in the PDF document is way out of date. I will fix that when I get home from work tonight. In the meantime, don't bother downloading the file.

While I was reviewing the document, I also made notes on it, so I now have an outline of the talk to remind what I need to show and when. I hope I don't forget anything.

The talk is scheduled to be one hour, but 15 minutes of that is reserved for questioning. That means I have to get through all my material in 45 minutes. With that in mind, I created another text file that has all the heavy stuff I would need to type, so I can copy and paste it into the program. This should speed things up considerably.



 

We got a couple of inches of snow yesterday. Most of it is gone, but there is still a pile of it on my Honda. I had to drive my truck yesterday, as I would not have been able to get up the hill to the county road with the car. Looks like no real nasty weather today, and a warm-up that means no more snow.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Since I am not a fan of fingerprints on equipment, I ordered something for my Android g Tablet called Skinomi. This is a set of plastic stick-ons that help to protect any portable electronic device. It also came with a clear plastic shield for the touch display. I spent much of last night installing it on my ViewSonic g Tablet.

I tried it out this morning and I am fairly impressed. I know stick-ons sound kind of cheesy, but they aren't. And the protection for the screen works great.



 

I just love spring. It's snowing right now. I suspect it will all be gone by the end of the day, but that doesn't help any. I am starting to get concerned about the drive over to LinuxFest Northwest. I can't take I-90, as they are working on it at Cle Elum. I had planned on using Highway 2, but with snow, I'm not sure how that will work. I'll just keep tabs on the weather, I guess.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 25 April 2011

I finished the 2nd Edition of the T&TTT Cookbook over the weekend. Except for about 5 recipes that I need information about, I can now do an editing pas on the book. It is currently at 88 pages.



 

I picked up a free application for my Android tablet called Wattpad. It allows you to go on-line and download free stories, somewhat like Fine Stories or Storiesonline. Like those two web sites, some of the stories are completed and some are works in progress. I don't know how the works in progress are handled: do I get an update as new chapters are added or what?

Also like the aforementioned web sites, some of the stories are pretty good and some of them are just terrible. All I can say about that is they are all unpublished authors.



 

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Free/Open Source Software

 

Friday, 22 April 2011

Last night was the monthly meeting of the North Idaho Mineral Club, so I didn't get anything else done. It was a long meeting because we have to arrange details for the gem show in early June. I took the club's new LCD TV to the meeting, and it was not used for videos - we had a live presentation about finding minerals with government help.



 

The technical meeting of the North Idaho Linux Users Group is tomorrow. I will take my new ViewSonic gTablet to the meeting to show it off. I haven't mentioned it here, have I? You can see all the details by following the link. I got it from Woot.com for $279 + $5 shipping. Good price - and it makes a very good eBook reader, too.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 21 April 2011

I decided to go ahead and volunteer for the job of editor for the 2nd edition of the T&TTT cookbook. To that end, I have started another document that will be the base for the cookbook. I yanked all the new recipes out of the original cookbook I've been working on and put them in the new document.

I also went through half of the forum thread dedicated to the 2nd edition and extracted some recipes from there. I now have a 61 page document and I still have some recipes to go through. I may complete this by the first part of May.

One thing we need in this new cookbook is lots of pictures. I will be bugging people for pictures of anything they have supplied a recipe for.

I will halt work on the cookbook for a while so I can finish the review of my talk for LinuxFest Northwest. I also need to practice giving the talk.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

After I finished my work on the camping cookbook, I sent an email off to the original editor. He indicated that there was an entire section in the forums dedicated to a 2nd edition of the cookbook. Sure enough, there is. He is also looking for someone to edit that edition, and he offered the job to me.

I'm not sure I actually have the time, as I have several projects on my plate already and he wants a new edition out by the summer. Although I already have a leg up on the 2nd edition. Hmmm. I will think very hard about it.



 

The restoration of my 1952 Plymouth is almost complete. The picture shows it being loaded to be taken over to the upholsterer. There as still a few small things that need to be done, but the major work is completed. Note that the wheels and hubcaps need work and the trim below the doors needs to be added.



 

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Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

I have finished reviewing the cookbook. I adjusted the page margins and the page count went from 140 down to 130. That is a good thing. I also made a bunch of editing changes.

The cookbook is now ready to at least be reviewed by the original editor. I will create a PDF from the book, and will email him, asking for his editing help again.



 

The mechanical and electrical restoration of my 1952 Plymouth Concord 2 Door Coupe has been completed. It will now be taken over to the upholsterer's where it will get a new headliner, door panels, armrests, visors and carpeting. I have no idea how long that will take, but if it takes longer than 3 1/2 weeks, I won't be able to drive the car up to Sandpoint for the Lost in the 50's car show. It may be ready for the Car d'Lane car show a week or two later, though. Time is getting short on all this.

I will post pictures of the completed car here tomorrow, I hope.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 18 April 2011

I spent the weekend on the cookbook. I finished entering recipes from the PDF of the first version, then spent the rest of my time entering recipes that were posted in the forum after the date of the last entry in the original book. The cookbook has grown from 111 pages to 140 pages.

I will make one more editing pass at the cookbook, then produce a PDF file from it and submit that to the original compilation team. One of the things I will edit will be the page margins, so that 140 pages may go down to something more manageable.



 

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Local/Other News/Security Theater

Friday, 15 April 2011

I am still doing the cookbook conversion. I hope to have it finished sometime this weekend. I am over the 50% mark right now. If I had known how much work it was going to be, I probably would have thought twice about doing it.

I will try out one of the recipes from one of the other cookbooks this weekend. They don't call it this, but I call it Apple Upside-down Gingerbread Cake. I hope it turns out as good as it sounds.



 

I still need to finish my review of the talk I will be giving on the 30th at LinuxFest Northwest. I then need to do a dry run of the talk, to make sure it will fit in the allotted time.

After the conference, I will be getting back on the soccer program. I touched bases yesterday with the other party who has interest in the program, and I felt a bit guilty about not having done any work on it for so long.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The cookbook I am converting is a lot of work. I am almost halfway through it. I keep trying to compress the recipes so they fit in the same real estate as in the PDF file I am using for a source. That is not an easy task. Doubling up the ingredient list is my major weapon. Reducing the size of pictures is another weapon. And removing recipes that aren't recipes is the final weapon in my arsenal.

Once I have all the recipes from the original source, I will go through the forum and scoop up any other recipes I find which were posted after June of 2007. I bet the book doubles in size with them.



 

I have to finish up my review of the talk I will be giving on April 30 at LinuxFest Northwest. Once that is out of the way, I need to go back and finish up the soccer program. Lots on my plate, so I shouldn't allow projects like the cookbook interfere, but I do anyway.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

I am still working on the T&TTT cookbook conversion. It's pretty big and I am about 1/3 of the way through it. I am copying one recipe at a time into the new document, so I can better control the layout and also do some proofreading at the same time.

I found two more cookbooks on the forums. I don't know if it is worth it to actually download them, though. Like anything cookbooks come in three flavors: "so what", "it's okay" and "boy, that is outstanding". Needless to say, most of them fit in the middle category. I have too many of them in the middle category and I probably don't need any more.



 

The restoration of my 1952 Plymouth is almost finished. All it lacks is interior stuff - door panels, headliner, carpet on the floor. It's all downhill from here.

Someone brought to my attention yesterday that the Lost in the 50's auto show in Sandpoint is the middle of next month. I don't know if the car can be completed by that time, but we will see.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

I am still working on converting Dutch oven cookbook over to a LibreOffice document. A little background is in order. The cookbook in question is the T&TTT members Dutch Oven Cookbook. It is basically any recipes set out in the Teardrops & Tiny Travel Trails Forums. It was very loosely edited and put out on the forums as a PDF file.

As I am working my way through the recipes, so far I have encountered at least three recipes that aren't really recipes or not the recipes stated in the recipe title. If I can fix those, I do. If not, I remove them from the document. When I have finished incorporating all the recipes from the PDF file into the new document, I will contact the original authors and will offer to update the cookbook with any new recipes from the forums, as well as producing an easily-printable version. I hope they are agreeable. If not, I will just print it out for myself.



 

You may have noticed I have not published 2 of the normal link sections I usually publish. I have gotten to the point where I think those sections do no good - I feel I am just banging my head on the wall, saying "look at these egregious, illegal wrongs: do something about it." That just doesn't work. So I will leave the job to Techdirt, BoingBoing and others. I'm tired of tilting at windmills.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 11 April 2011

I changed the tires on my Honda over the weekend. I must be getting more efficient at that, as it seemed to take less time and less effort than the last time. At any rate, both the vehicles are now set up for warm weather.



 

I also did cookbooks over the weekend. I have collected five of them as PDF files from the forums related to Dutch oven cooking. This weekend I printed four of them, cut them up and bound them with plastic comb bindings. The unprinted cookbook is 111 pages and is not set up to print efficiently, so I did not do that. Instead, I started through the PDF for that book and am copying it into a LibreOffice document. When I finish, I will create a PDF that can be printed as 2-up double sided, so it will print as a 56 page book instead of 111 pages.



 

I enjoyed the North Idaho Linux Users Group and the talk that Rod gave about VServers. While I was at the meeting, someone brought to my attention that while I used to be a big fan of Ubuntu and promoted it when I could, now I make disparaging remarks about the distro and tell everyone to stay away from it. This is true.

Open Source software is about freedom and choice. When you find something that really works for you, you tell people about it. When the so-called "benevolent dictator for life", Mark Shuttleworth, decides that software will now make money for him and his company (Canonical) and that he will ignore the wishes of its users, it's time to leave and move on to some other software where that attitude does not prevail. I have moved on.

At the bottom line, Canonical and Ubuntu is now about money. Think about the decisions that have been made in the recent past about the distro. No more free disks - this is like a drug dealer giving you a 'free' taste then charging you when you are hooked. The interface - it's Mark's way or the highway, and I chose the highway.

So my bottom line is I am moving on and I will continue to criticize Canonical's action regarding Ubuntu, as that all comes down to them making as much money as they can off of it.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Friday, 8 April 2011

After the news items about the mySQL injection attacks, I figured I had better update my web sites for better protection against such attacks. I attempted to update this web site, using the automatic update feature of my CMS. I was not successful, as it kept telling me I didn't have enough memory to do the upgrade. I tried for at least 4 days, without success.

I finally decided to update the site manually. I searched the web for instructions on how to do a manual update and found a set. After reading them, I decided to try updating my other web site that uses this CMS first. I went over there and successfully updated using the automatic update option.

For this web site, I decided to try something mentioned in the manual update instructions. I turned off all the plug-ins I had installed, then tried the automatic update again. This time it worked like a charm. Once the update was finished, I turned the plug-ins back on.

The main reason they wanted the plug-ins turned off before update was because of possible compatibility problems. I didn't have that problem, but obviously had one with memory.



 

The site I had no problems updating was the North Idaho Linux Users Group web site, which reminds me that the regular meeting for that group is tomorrow afternoon over in Post Falls. One of the other members will be giving the talk he will give at LinuxFest Northwest.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 7 April 2011

My tests with the log file reader I wrote at work are complete. I found no problems with it, including when the log file entries wrapped around to the beginning of the file. I have created an internal wiki page explaining what the reader does and how it works, so the Test group can more easily test it. I am on to another challenge.



 

The problem I am having starting my Dodge is not a problem with the battery. The old battery was 9 years old, so I got a new one and the car still has the same symptoms. I think it may need a new solenoid. I have to get the car started and drive it to the mechanic - that will be a good trick, as it is on flat ground right now, so I can't push it downhill to get it started.



 

We have snow on the ground again. It's a good thing I have the 4-wheel drive pickup. I am getting sick of the lousy weather.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

I finished the log file reader I was working on at work. I am now unit testing it, to determine if it works correctly. Of specific interest to me is whether it can handle the situation of wraparound.

Since the log file is of fixed size, it is written until the end of the file. The next event that is written wraps around to the start of the file. My reader has to be able to follow the wraparound. It has been running overnight and the log file should wrap around sometime this morning.

Also sometime this morning, the last modified date of the file will have been modified. Just why that happens, I don't know, but the reader has to be able to survive whatever takes place at that time.



 

It turns out that the battery in my Dodge is 9 years old. I am taking it to be tested to see if that is the problem with my not being able to start the car. It probably will be. I will be a lot happier if I can get that car working again.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

I worked over, then I ran errands last night, so I didn't get any work done on anything at home. Most of my work yesterday was trying to get a log file reader I am working on to actually work correctly.

The log file I am attempting to read is a Windows operating system log file. It is unlike any log file we have ever encountered. It is fixed size, so when logging reaches the end, it wraps around and wipes out the start. The last logged item has a line behind it the says this is the end of the log. That line moves as more items are added, and it wraps around, too.

The file is not written in ASCII; it uses a double-byte character set. That means that when we read a line, we have to translate it to ASCII before we can use it.

To top things off, I discovered yesterday that when a new item is written to the file, in its wisdom Microsoft decided that the last modified date of the file should not be changed. They have to go to a special effort to accomplish that, but that's what they did. So I could not use the date to determine if the file has been changed. I have to read it to see if the end of log line has moved instead.

Despite all the problems I encountered, I have the reader almost finished. There are only two things I need to do to finished it, and then we will be able to monitor the Windows scheduled task log. If you ask me, it isn't worth the effort, but no one asked me.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Monday, 4 April 2011

I spent some time this weekend working on an add-on cookbook for the booklet we call Black Iron Magic. The new cookbook will not have information about the care and maintenance of Dutch ovens, or about how to use one. Mostly, it will just be recipes. I will test all the recipes before I include them in the book, so that is going to take some time. One reason for this is to verify that the recipe deserves to be in the book. The other reason is to take pictures so I can include a picture of the finished product in the book.

I also did some spring chores. I removed the plow blade from my pickup, since we have very little snow left. I also cleaned up the battery terminals on my Dodge, but it didn't help any. I had used the Dodge on Saturday and could not get it restarted using the battery as I was in a drive-up line for the bank in Hayden. I had to get out of line and push it downhill to get it started. Now the starter is not working at all, so I tried the battery terminal trick. I think the problem is the starter or the solenoid. I will have to get it looked at when I get some time.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Friday, 1 April 2011

I was on the Camp-Cook.com web forum yesterday, reading some of the entries. There is a thread there for a cook book by someone who lives in Alaska. I had downloaded and looked at it, but really hadn't read it.

There was a complaint in the thread about how the book was organized. It looked to the complainer that the pages were in some kind of random order. Having looked at it my self, I knew better. It was organized for 2-up double sided printing - when you print it in landscape format, two pages are printed on the paper (page 1 and the last page). You then run the just printed paper through the printer so the back side will be printed (page 2 and the next to the last page). Continue on to the end.

This book is 68 pages in length. Instead of using 68 pages to print it, it takes 17 pages (1/4 the total pages). I printed the book, stapled it in the middle and folded it over. It makes a very nice book, but the only complaint I have is that 17 pages is a bit much to fold in half. The other thing you could for this book would be to cut the pages in half and bind them with a plastic comb.

I commented on all this on the forum. I know this because the Dutch oven booklet we give away at our teardrop trailer Dutch oven demos is called Black Iron Magic and is created the same way.

At any rate, once I had printed the book, I actually looked at the recipes. There is at least one in there that is unique and would be good for a potluck dinner, so I will be giving it a try.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater