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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

April 2013

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

I am still backing up DVDs. I now have 570 movies backed up and all of them are available to my TV via the Roku box. I am taking a temporary detour from movies to back up The Lone Gunmen 13-episode television series.


 

I ran across another of those movies that can't be backed up. This one is from Paramount. It took me 2 1/2 hours to record the movie using VLC so I could make a back up from the recording. Don't you just love the lengths of which movie executives go to protect their lavish lifestyles?


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 29 April 2013

I am still backing up DVDs. I am on my last rack, so I will be finished with the regular DVDs this week. I still have several TV series to do, including weird ones like The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr and The Lone Gunmen. Once I am done with them, I will be able to watch them on my flat screen TV, which will be great.


 

I went to the technical session of the North Idaho Linux Users Group on Saturday. It was sparsely attended, and I couldn't figure out why. It turns out that last weekend was also the weekend for Linuxfest Northwest, so some of the regular attendees were probably off in Bellingham, WA, attending that.


 

We are preparing for our annual gem and mineral show. One of the things that needs to be organized is the Friday night potluck dinner we have for the vendors. One of our members, Joan Gundlach, has organized that in the past, but won't be doing that this year. Her body was found in the Spokane River this weekend. Apparently, she committed suicide. We will miss her.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Friday, 26 April 2013

I am still backing up DVDs. I am down to the 'S's now. I did seventeen backups yesterday and have a lot more to go. I am also doing outdoor work. I lit up a slash pile, but it has a huge log on it, so I will have to keep firing it up, adding more fuel as I go.


 

I ran across a DVD that I could not correctly back up. Police Academy 20th Anniversary Edition has a commentary track that I could not remove. I was forced to record this from the DVD through VLC, like the two other problem DVDs I have run across. That technique seems to be always successful for difficult to back up DVDs.


 

Here's another car from the Burger Heaven cruise-in. This is Monty and Donna Montgomery's 1940 Ford. They live 2 1/2 miles east of me on Dodd Road, across from where Joe Dubner used to live.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

I backed up about a dozen more DVDs yesterday. I now have 517 movies on my USB hard drive, along with 8 TV shows, consisting of 488 episodes. I still have 1.3TB of the 2TB drive free.

I did some outdoor work yesterday. I cut down brush from around the house, and I am also opening up the ditch along my driveway, so the drive does not flood. That's important - I still have water on the driveway from last week's rain. And I suspect there is a spring above the drive that contributes to the problem.


 

I went to the Burger Heaven cruise-in in Rathdrum. This truck never shows up at the other cruise-in, so I took its picture last night. It's a 1948 Dodge pick-up with a 6.1 liter engine in it.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

I am still backing up DVDs. I am in the 'M's - there are a lot of them. I think I will try to back up The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian today, using the 'record it as it plays' route.

The more I use VLC, the more I like it. It will play just about anything, both audio and video. It is also available for both those other operating systems, too, so anyone with a computer can use it.


 

Now this is a comfortable family car:


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

I went to the cruise-in at Paul Bunyon last night. I had my teardrop trailer attached to the Plymouth and had lots of comments on it. There was also a 1948 Ford pick-up there. I mention this because it had a flathead six in it, which was converted to 12 volt operation, just like my Plymouth. The truck was in intermediate shape - it looked like the guy was getting ready to paint it. I should have taken a picture, but I forgot my camera.


 

I now have two DVDs that I can't back up using normal procedures: The Chronicles of Narmia: Prince Caspian and The Lovely Bones. One if from Disney and the other is from Paramount, so it isn't just Disney who is super-paranoid.

I have found a way to back up those DVDs, but the process involves running the DVDs with VLC and converting the result instead of just playing it. I did just that with The Lovely Bones, and the process worked fine.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 22 April 2013

I reported here back on January 16th that a house just down Dodd Road from me had burned down. The owners are now putting up a new house. They have poured the footings and it looks like the front of the house will face north towards the street, instead of east like the original house did. It also looks like the new house will be larger, but that's hard to judge only from footings. The original house was two stories and this one may only be one story.


 

I finished backing up Babylon 5 and am now backing up movies again. I still have some TV shows that need to be backed up (Monk and Bones and also The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr), but I'm tired of doing episodes so I will hold off on them for a while.


 

I backed up all my web sites on Friday. That is a huge job, especially because of all the pictures on blogicalthoughts.com. There are over 10,000 files on this web site, so it takes quite a while to back them up.

I am thinking of closing down rimrocksoftware.com, but that means I would have to move tmscoach.com, which shares that domain. I will have to figure out what I want to do with those two sites.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Friday, 19 April 2013

Season 4 of Babylon 5 also has scrambled episodes. The first episode is last in the list, and the rest are in the proper order. This is really, really annoying, but did not prevent me from backing them up in the right order.


 

I got my tractor going again, and it did the same thing as before - it ran for 5 minutes, then it just died in the middle of doing work. I now cannot get it started again. I will have to take it down to the tractor dealer and have them work on it.


 

Last night at the North Idaho Mineral Club meeting, a lady gave a talk on faceting. It was interesting, but it confirmed my thought that I don't want to ever do any faceting myself. It impressed me as being infinitely tedious work. I will stick to doing cabochons.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

I backed up the third year of Babylon 5 yesterday. Fortunately, that year the episodes on the DVD were in the proper order. Now I just have to figure out why the Plex Media Manager is telling me there are only 21 episodes per year instead of 22.

I also backed up a couple of movies yesterday, and I will work on backing up season 4 of Babylon 5 today.


 

I think my tractor has air in the fuel line. I need to blow the air out and try to start it again. I chained it up to my truck and pulled it out of the road and close to the house. I have had a battery charger on it, but it is supposed to rain today and tomorrow, so I may have to just let it sit for those two days.


 

Here's another car from Monday's cruise-in at the Paul Bunyon drive-in.


 

For those of you who don't read Reason magazine, here is a good article from the web site: Taxation is Theft.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

I finished backing up the second season of Babylon 5 yesterday. It was not straightforward, though. Usually, episodes of a series are arranged in episode order on the DVD. Seasons one and two of Babylon 5 do not obey this unwritten rule. I had to go through each of the 44 episodes to verify that I had labeled the files with the correct episode number. Mostly, they were not labeled correctly, but they are now.


 

I removed the lowest panel of one of the garage doors and pounded out the creases caused by running into it with the rollbar on my tractor. I put the panel back on and adjusted the door. It now mostly works, and it looks a heck of a lot better.


 

After I finished the garage door, I started up the tractor and pulled it out of the garage. I then proceeded to do some ditching with the tractor. That is, until the engine died while I was working out on the common road. I thought I had run out of diesel, but after filling the tank, it still won't run. I suspect clogged jets. I need to get it off the road and back to the house before I look into that, though.


 

Here is a 1955 Chevrolet that was at the cruise-in on Monday:


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

I went to the weekly cruise-in at the Paul Bunyon drive-in last night. It was kind of cool, but some people showed up anyway. Here is one of the cars - a 1949 Kaiser.


 

I have now backed up the entire Avatar: The Last Airbender series. It consists of 61 1/2 hour episodes, which ran on Nickelodion. I am now in backing up Babylon 5. I have finished with the first season and am working on the second season.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 15 April 2013

I had an interesting Saturday morning. I made my usual Saturday morning trip to Jimmy's Down The Street restaurant for breakfast. Along the way I had to slow for 15 deer and a manhunt.

I saw seven of the deer about 1/2 mile from my house, on Boot Hill Road. The rest I saw in ones and twos up to the point I got to the Hayden Golf Course. I mention this because I usually see a lot less than that. They were out grazing in force on Saturday morning, but none on the golf course, which is a bit weird.

As I continued on to the restaurant, I was going down 15th Street towards downtown Coeur d'Alene when I saw a sheriff's car make a u-turn behind me, then park. A bit further down, I saw two deputies with a dog searching around the houses along 15th Street. Yet further down were four patrol cars parked in a driveway, and another parked heading toward me, with an officer in the car.

Later, when I was in Super One Foods, I ran into another deputy and discovered they were looking for someone. The Coeur d'Alene Press states they were looking for a man suspected of an attempted rape of a 16-year-old girl. They did not find the man.


 

At the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting Saturday afternoon, I demonstrated the capability of the Raspberry Pi to play high definition videos. Some of the people there were amazed at its capabilities, and they may purchase one of these wonderful little boxes themselves.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Friday, 12 April 2013

A local furniture store is having a Dutch oven cook-off in June that I would love to enter. Unfortunately, it falls on the same day as our gem and mineral show. Since I am the show chairman, I can't afford to be elsewhere while the show is going on. I digitized the cook-off flyer and sent it to George so he could email it to other local Dutch oven cooks.


 

The North Idaho Linux Users Group general session is tomorrow. We don't have a talk lined up for it, but I thought I might bring my Raspberry Pi and show how well it serves up videos. I will be giving a talk on it to the Spokane Linux Users Group in June.


 

I have emailed the Tom Swift novels back to their author, along with an explanation of how I did the work. He told me he had attempted to do the conversion himself, but was not successful, so I also gave him a detailed account of how I did the conversion.


 

I baked a loaf of French bread while my dad was here, and have learned some lessons about that. First, don't bake bread on a cold, wet day, as it will not rise as you want it to. Second, use fresh yeast. Third, don't try to impress people with your baked goods, as they will inevitably turn out bad.


 

UberStudent is a Linux distribution that is oriented toward learning, doing and teaching academic success at advanced secondary and higher education levels. Researchers, knowledge workers and lifelong learners can all benefit from using this distribution. UberStudent is basically an easy-to-use learning platform. It is based on the LXDE desktop manager, and users of older versions of Ubuntu will recognize its layout.

I obtained the distribution from the April 2013 issue of Linux format magazine, and I installed it in a VirtualBox virtual machine. It is very well behaved and runs well in the virtual machine, unlike Arch Linux. UberStudent covers all the normal applications with non-standard choices, as well as covering student-oriented topics. It even recognizes that students need recreation time, so there are also a few games included.

UberStudent also has a lite version that can be used on older computers. If you are a student, it would be worth your time to download the UberStudent live CD and check out this Linux distribution.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

I have finished backing up all 110 episodes of Northern Exposure to my USB hard drive. They all now show up in the Roku attached to the TV, in the Plex channel.

My next backup is Space Above and Beyond. It is only 24 episodes, so I should be able to crank it out today.


 

I finished the conversion of the Tom Swift novels to EPUB format. I have notified the author that I have done that, and have offered to send him the files.

I don't plan any more book conversions. I will be working on my damaged garage today, so I can get the tractor out of the garage.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I have now backed up 87 episodes of Northern Exposure. I only have season six (23 episodes) to go. I should be finished by the end of the day. I will also attempt to finish the conversion of the final Tom Swift novel to EPUB format today.

I bought a storage rack with 47 bins yesterday, and assembled it. I intend to organize my lapidary specimens so I don't have to search around for agate, jasper, carnelian or jade. I think the bins will help a lot.


 

I have downloaded all the pictures I had on Picasa under my old Google mail account, and have uploaded them to my new account. I have now deleted the old email account, so don't try to contact me at michael.burton.


 

I am very happy with my current homemade hot sauce. It has a good bite and a smoky flavor that I really like. However, when my dad was here, I bought some La Victoria Chunky Jalapeño Hot Sauce for him. It has about the same bite as mine, without the smoky flavor. Actually, a pretty good hot sauce.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

I finished converting another Tom Swift story to epub format. I have one more to go before I will be completely finished. I can then concentrate on more spring house cleaning and doing some lapidary work.


 

I backed up 44 episodes of Northern Exposure yesterday. I have four more to go and I will have done all of the first four seasons. There are two more seasons to back up. The neat thing is that once they are backed up, I can immediately watch them on my TV using the Roku box.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 8 April 2013

I am still backing up DVDs. I have started on all the Northern Exposure shows. I have finished the first two seasons. That was easy, as there were only 8 episodes in season one and 7 episodes in season two. I am now working on season three, which has 23 episodes.


 

My dad left for Lake Havasu this morning. I enjoyed his visit. We got a chance to catch up and did some sort-of site-seeing, too.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Friday, 5 April 2013

I've been enjoying my dad's visit. We went over to Cabelas yesterday, as the closest one to him is in Las Vegas, which is a long drive from Lake Havasu. He picked up a scale at Cabelas which he is going to use for weighing gold.

I also fixed the two computers he brought along with him. I suspect he also may have a monitor problem, but he did not bring the monitors.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 4 April 2013

I have a bit more spring cleaning to do, but I am mostly finished. I did all this because my Dad showed up here yesterday afternnon. He drove here from Lake Havasu City, AZ in his Toyota, with two computers in his car. He wants those computers working and I'm his designated tech.


 

Here's a final image from Monday's cruise-in. Personally, I think this Studebaker would look nicer with the original wheels, but that's just one man's opinion.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

I still have a lot of spring cleaning to do and not much time to do it, so this is short. In the meantime, here is a picture of a 1946 Ford from the cruise-in at Paul Bunyon drive-in.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

I am working on my spring cleaning. I did a dump run yesterday, as well as one to the Hayden Senior Center (book donation), St. Vincent dePaul's (clothing donation) and the aluminum recycling center. I still have more to do, though, so I will be busy today doing more cleaning. No time for DVD backups or book conversions.


 

The first Monday night cruise-in of 2013 was last night at Paul Bunyon's in Hayden. The parking lot was packed with classic cars, as people really are tired of all the cold weather. Here is one of the cars:

This is the rear of Pete's Studebaker pickup. He has removed the truck bed and has clamped a steel plate towards the front of the frame. The battery is just sitting on the plate - the clamps keep it from moving around. The gas can with the rubber hose sticking out of it is the temporary gas tank for the truck. He also has a compressor back there and we don't know what that's for.

It's obvious this is the front of the pickup. We were all under the impression that, in keeping with his rat rod, Pete was not going to paint the truck, but as you can see, we were wrong, as he has prepped it to be painted.

I took these photos and a few others (there's a 1956 Nash behind the Studebaker) with my phone's camera. They came out okay, but I prefer a regular camera. You can also tell it was a completely beautiful day with a high temperature of 70° F.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 1 April 2013

I got more DVDs backed up over the weekend. I am now in the 'I's. The latter part of the alphabet has the most movies, so I have a long way to go. I will not be doing any backing up or Tom Swift novel conversion for the next few days, as I need to clean up the house for a relative visit.


 

I have posted the pictures from the Panorama Gem Club's Gem, Rock, and Mineral Show here. It's a smaller, more intimate show than ours, except on Friday morning when the school kids invade (as you can plainly see).


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software