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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

April 2012

Monday, 30 April 2012

I went to LinuxFest Northwest over the weekend. I drove up to Bellingham, WA on Friday, went to the conference on Saturday and came home on Sunday. The drive itself is 7 to 8 hours one way. Needless to say, I didn't get anything else done over the weekend.

The conference was interesting, but I'm not sure I got enough out of it to warrant going next year. We'll have to see when it rolls around. I did meet some interesting people, including several I had already known through their works on the Internet. I also found there was an interest in doing a conference closer to here. Except closer is a relative term. They are thinking of doing a conference in Bozeman, MT. It's 360 miles from here. Bellingham is 390 miles from here. Not much difference.

I did get a nice t-shirt at the conference, and had the privilege of not winning anything at the raffle. Oh, well.


 

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Free/Open Source Software

 

Friday, 27 April 2012

I worked on the soccer program again yesterday. I am doing the algorithm for generating and using a registration ID. I'm doing this is a separate unit, so I can use it in the soccer program and also in a program to generate the registration ID in the first place.


 

The thunderstorm we had night before last had more of an affect on the video recorder than I thought. I finally resorted to rebuilding it completely, using Mythbuntu 11.01. I'm not sure if that has fixed the problems or not. I will have to look at it some more.


 

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Thursday, 26 April 2012

I am still working on the soccer program. Yesterday, I added the un-registered logic to the program. Basically, when you are using the program and are not registered, you won't be able to print any reports and you can only have one coach and one team. Those conditions are now working. All I have left is to actually implement the registration logic, so a user can register the program.


 

We had a set of thunderstorms come through here last night. One of them killed the power, so the house was without electricity for a couple of hours. I am a light sleeper, so I woke up when the CD player was resetting itself. It makes some noise when it cycles through each CD drive.

Since the power was off for so long, I had a few things to reset throughout the house. There are three clocks with no battery-backup that needed to be set. I also had to re-do my video recorder's link to the HDHomerun TV tuner, as the router automatically assigned a new address to it when the power came back on. I will have to fix that one of these days.


 

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Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

I worked on the soccer program yesterday. First, I went through every dialog and set each a maximum length to data entry in every edit box. This was done so a user would not enter more data in a particular field than the corresponding table in the database could handle. Good idea, eh? That has been on my bug list for a while now.

Next, I added additional capabilities to the letter printing dialog. Originally, when you selected any letter, a copy for each team member was printed. Now if a letter has a reference to a particular single team member, that letter will only be printed for that member. In order to do all this, I had to modify the word processor dialog as well as the letters dialog. It all seems to work okay, so I guess I haven't lost my touch in the last couple of months.

I hope to work on the soccer program registration system today, along with getting more outdoor chores done. I did some of them yesterday, but there is always more to do.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

First, I have to apologize for the lateness of this posting. I finally got The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet's Nest, the final book in the trilogy from Stieg Larsson. I made the mistake this morning of taking a bath and reading it in the tub. I just could not put it down, so my day is now three hours later than it should be and I am still not finished with the book.


 

I did spring cleaning on my teardrop trailer yesterday. I wanted to replace my tailights with LED versions, so I started by removing one of the tires so I could get to the tailight. I removed it and installed the new light. Once I was finished, I hooked the trailer up to the car so I could test the light. It didn't work.

I ended up putting the old light back in, then I replaced the bulbs with LED equivalents. Not as bright as the the ones I wanted to replace them with, but they accomplish the same thing.

I still have a lot of work to do on the trailer, and I will be doing some of it this week. I am also still looking for someone to do some work for me on my Plymouth, so that should keep me busy for a while.


 

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Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 23 April 2012

I cranked up the cabbing equipment over the weekend and am practicing doing cabochons using some pieces of agate. After over 40+ years of not doing cabochons, I am definitely out of practice. I am going to leave the jade, opal and other precious material alone until I get back some of my gemstone dexterity.


 

I attempted to upgrade my Mythbuntu box from 10.04 to 11.10 and the upgrade failed spectacularly. So I downloaded an ISO of 11.10, burned it to a CD, then did a new install from that CD. Everything is back working, except I'm having a bit of trouble with a couple of TV channels displaying properly.

I couldn't get the channels to display properly, so I installed Mythbuntu 11.04 over 11.10. I'm back to where I started, and everything seems to be working fine.


 

The weather has finally gotten out of the 50's. Yesterday, it got up to 79° F and today it's supposed to be in the low 80's. Time to do some outdoor stuff, I guess.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Friday, 20 April 2012

I backed up this web site yesterday. That is quite a chore, as I use FTP to download all the files onto my local hard disk, and there are more than 10,600 files on this web site. Downloading them takes a lot of time. I also backed up the web site's database.


 

I'm still doing the video stuff. I re-did the Tron video so it was in widescreen. The original M4V file was widescreen, and when I used WinFF to convert it, I did not realize you have to manually tell the program the source is widescreen. After I used DeVeDe to create one from the converted file, I now have a widescreen ISO of Tron.

I also downloaded seasons 3 and 4 of The Guild and created ISOs for them. Season 5 is the current one, and I will have to do that one today.

Creating the video for Season 4 of The Guild was tough. I did it like the others, but the audio track ran at normal speed and the video ran much faster. So I put all 12 episodes into Pitivi and created a single MPG from them. I then put that through DeVeDe and created a good video.


 

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Thursday, 19 April 2012

I got on a video kick yesterday. I was going to back up some movies from DVD to ISO images. I did one of them, then decided to do something a bit different. I installed a plug-in in Firefox that allowed me to download and save YouTube videos. I then downloaded the episodes from the first three seasons of The Guild. I then created a DVD ISO image of each season using DeVeDe. So I can now watch that without having to depend on my Internet connection.

I found a M4V file of the original Tron movie and decided to make an ISO of that, too. I did that, but the ISO ended up with only the first couple of minutes of the movie. So I used WinFF to convert the movie from M4V to AVI, then used DeVeDe to create the ISO from the AVI file. That seems to have worked very well.


 

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Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

I took my Plymouth over to Spokane yesterday to get an accurate quote on a paint job. I got the quote and it looks good. I will have to remove a lot of the chrome myself, as they don't do that kind of thing. They mask and paint around anything like that which is still on the car.

After getting the quote, I got in the car and attempted to back out of the parking place. I was unable to get the car into reverse gear. Luckily, The parking place was not flat and I could let the car coast back. When I got home, I checked out the problem, and I think I have a linkage problem. I can eventually get it into reverse, if I try hard enough. I really need a local mechanic who works on old cars to fix these little things for me. My normal mechanic is reluctant to work on the car and it still needs new springs.


 

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Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

One of the plastic wheels on my 28 year-old lawn mower has cracked and cannot be used. So I went over to Harbor Freight in Spokane yesterday to get a new wheel. I don't know if I have ever mentioned this, but Harbor Freight has all kinds of wheels for small devices, like wheelbarrows and dollys. At any rate, I bought two new wheels while I was there.

On my way back, I stopped at an auto paint place in Spokane to see about a ball park quote on painting my Plymouth. They were about $5,000 less than anyone else, but there's a lot of prep that they don't do. I can do a lot of it and I think that's a fair tradeoff. I will take the actual car over there when it isn't raining (maybe today) to get an actual quote.

I came back to the house via Rathdrum at around noon time, and I saw that the Surf City burgers in Stein's market was gone, so I decided to see what it had been replaced with. The new place is called Joey T's Taste of Chicago. They serve hot dogs, Italian sausage, Bratwurst, Falafels and Gyros, as well as other stuff. That's a perfect place for me, as I am a huge fan of a good hot dog. Anyway, I ordered a Gyro and it was very good. I will have to get over to Rathdrum more often so I can try some of their other stuff. Like the Chicago dog.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 16 April 2012

My talk at the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting on Saturday went fine. Several of the people at whom the talk was targeted were missing. This seems to be a time for people to go to other states. At any rate, the talk is available on the NILUG web site, so anyone can access it there.


 

I am still working on my spring cleaning. I am doing cleanup and burning out of the house, and cleaning and removing stuff from the inside. That will be ongoing work.

I am also looking around for someone to paint my Plymouth, and for new springs and shocks for the car. After 60 years of sitting on the same rear leaf springs, the car is now a lot lower than it should be. If you look at the springs, you can see that they are now almost flat. My problem is finding a source for these items. Most Internet places don't stock anything for a car of that age.


 

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Free/Open Source Software

 

Friday, 13 April 2012

I have pretty much finished the talk I will be giving at the North Idaho Linux Users Group on choosing and installing Linux. The meeting is tomorrow, so I finished it in time.


 

I will be doing more spring cleaning today. This time it will be burning dead crap in a slash pile. I did one yesterday and it is already completely burned away.


 

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Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

I am still working on the presentation for the Linux users group. I have added some desktop manager screen shots to the talk, so people can have a vague idea of what is available. I hope to get through a lot more of the presentation today.


 

I took the Plymouth out yesterday to gas it up and to find a place that could do an economical paint job on it. I was not successful at finding a shop to do the painting, but I will try again when I get a chance.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Yesterday we had our first 70° F day of the year. I took the opportunity to do a lot of chores outside. I finished using the crushed asphalt I picked up. My neighbor has graded our community road, but he missed filling in a couple of potholes up by the country road. I filled those in with the crushed asphalt. There is enough traffic on that road that I suspect the patches won't last long.


 

I have re-organized the talks I am giving to the Linux users group, so they are easier to maintain on the web site. I will be adding more content to my second talk today.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

I worked on the North Idaho Linux Users Group talk yesterday. I have a lot of information to impart, and it takes quite a bit of time to organize it so I can present it properly. I am still working on the choosing section, and the installation section will be just as hard.


 

I did a dump run yesterday. I was lucky, as they are closing the access road to the transfer station for construction, and I would have had to go a different route than I usually do. As it was, I just ignored their 'road closed' sign, as it was obviously not closed.

After the dump run, I went to the local materials place and got a truck load of crushed asphalt. That place is not more than 1/2 mile from the transfer station, but much harder to get to now than it was in the past. They are installing frontage roads all along highway 95, and are closing the direct access routes. So I had to go a mile south on 95 to get to the access road, then go back a mile to get the asphalt. And if I had gone home the way I got there, it would have been another mile to 95, then a mile and a half to Garwood to get home. As it was, I went home the front way - Lancaster road, which is under construction. Some fun.

I used the crushed asphalt to fill some of the pot holes in my driveway, but I could not fill them all, as they still have water in them. I will be doing that today, as a lot of the water should be gone by today. It will get up to 69° F today, so it will be a nice thing to do some work outside.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 9 April 2012

I just can't get the Sabayon 8 virtual machine to work right. It is never the same thing that goes wrong, so that's just weird. I deleted the Sabayon 8 virtual machine.


 

I started work on the talk for North Idaho Linux Users Group. This one is called Learning Linux, Part 1 - Choosing and Installing a Linux Distribution. It is the second in an on-going series of talks about Linux. I will continue to work on it during this week.


 

The other day, I actually watched some TV in the evening. There was a movie called "Battle in Seattle" that sounded intriguing. It wasn't. But it did do something for me. That movie is available to watch for free on a web site called popcornflix.com. Now I know where all the movies we used to call 'B' movies have gone to.


 

I have started on my spring house cleaning. Since today is going to be especially nice, I figured a nice run to the dump and picking up some fill for the driveway is a nice way to spend some of it.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Friday, 6 April 2012

I continued looking at Sabayon Linux 8 yesterday. I had not finished the upgrade, so I started that. Imagine my surprise when the system complained of not enough disk space (I had allocated 8 GB for a virtual disk). So I left the virtual machine, erased it and recreated it with a 12 GB virtual disk. The problem is now that the install will not boot. So I will have to install it yet again.


 

All the snow we got on Wednesday mostly melted on Thursday, as it was a pretty nice day. It was supposed to snow, but it didn't - it got delayed until right now. Still, I expect the weekend will be cool and dry, and some time next week we will soar into the 70's for a day. This means I will have to get some road fill and fill the potholes in my driveway next week.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 5 April 2012

I can't seem to get the menu to display with the Drupal soccer theme. I will have to look at the source code of the template to see what is going on. The template is written in PHP. I can read it, but I wouldn't want to write anything in it.

I created a new virtual machine using Sabayon Linux 8 yesterday. As usual, after it was installed, I started the update process. There were 266 files to update, which about normal for any installation. Sabayon is different, though. Those 266 files work out to 2.5 GB to download, since Sabayon just doesn't use pre-compiled files. It downloads the source code for the applications and then compiles them according to the machine configuration. This makes for a fast O/S, but is a lot of work when installing new or updated files.


 

Well, we got our snow. We have about 4 inches on the ground, but it's kind of spotty. There's enough on the ground to prevent me from driving my Honda up to the county road, so I will have to use the pickup. It's supposed to snow some more today, then be very nice for two or three days after that. Just in time for the weekend.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

I found a soccer theme for Drupal yesterday. It is supposed to have a menu, but I can't seem to enable it. I will continue trying today.

I want to finish this content management system evaluation, so I can move on to hooking up a registration system in the program. Once that is in, we can actually dump the program on an unsuspecting public.


 

I took the snow plow off of my truck on Monday. So it comes as no surprise that the weatherman predicts we will get 6" of snow today. As a matter of fact, it has just begun snowing here, and it is starting to stick. So much for my good spring intentions. I guess if I want to go anywhere, it will be in the truck.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

It turned out to be a very nice day yesterday. With that in mind, I got my '52 Plymouth out of the garage and drove it for the first time this year. I went to a tour of Mario & Son, Inc. in Liberty Lake.

Mario & Son makes things out of rock. They mostly do things like counter tops and they use just about every kind of rock you can imagine: marble, agate, granite, onyx, etc. They import huge sheets of these materials from all over the world and cut out the pieces using either wet saws or a water jet.

The tour was very interesting and I ended up with a piece of material they were throwing away. I think it may be cabochon material.


 

I have been thinking about the state of the country lately. And just how this philosophy of "if it's prettier, then it must be better" is working. That philosophy leads to things like doing the Batman, Superman, Spiderman and Journey to the Center of the Earth movies over again. "We'll dress it up with new special effects and a few plot changes and make a lot more money. Nevermind that the story has already been told a half dozen times." This kind of thinking is how we end up with Presidents whose arrogance quotient is higher than their intelligence quotient, which ranks right down there with a snails'.

That same philosophy has been applied to a lot of things in our lives, including software. Which is why when I create a new story for the latest version of Drupal, instead of getting a web page with text editor to add content, I get a pop-up fancy window with the text editor instead. These kinds of gratuitous changes really ticks me off.

As far as I am concerned, software should change when 1) you add useful functionality to it, or 2) you fix bugs in current functionality. If the reason for change is to add 'bling' to the product and not new functionality, then the update is useless. Are you listening, Canonical, Gnome, KDE, etc.? I know that Microsoft isn't listening.

Some may argue that changing the product so much that former users can no longer easily use it may add functionality. Whenever a user must be retrained to use a product, you have not added usefulness and functionality, you have decreased them. Get a clue, guys.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 2 April 2012

I have solved all the problems with the LAMP (Linux, Apache, mySQL, PHP) setup in my Linux Mint 11 virtual machine. I have completely installed both Drupal and Joomla and have been checking out themes for them.

I found a very good soccer theme for Joomla. Unfortunately, I will have to teach myself more about Joomla before I can decide whether we should use it for the soccer program web site.

I found a good business theme for Drupal and might be able to modify it for a sports theme. I do know how to do stuff in Drupal, which is a distinct advantage.


 

I went to the Panorama Rock and Gem show up in Colville, WA with another club member on Saturday. The show was very small, but very nice. I took a few pictures, but I don't think I will be posting them.

Down here on Saturday it was raining. In Colville at 9:30am, it was raining and snowing. We came back via Sandpoint, and in-between the two towns, it was snowing real good. I was a bit sorry I had taken off the snow tires.


 

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