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April 2014

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

I spent most of yesterday working on plumbing. I have trouble with the kitchen faucet for some time now and I finally bought a new one. The problem is that the old one was reluctant to give up its place in the kitchen hierarchy. I finally had to do major surgery to remove. I found that the ring that holds the faucet in place was cross-threaded, but now it is off and the new faucet is in place.

I only have one more thing to do: the cold water turnoff valve is leaking and I need to replace it. In the meantime, I have no water, since the valve is really leaking.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

We had a fair turnout at the Paul Bunyon cruise-in. I took pictures of the cars I haven't taken before.


 

I finished up the last of the Saturday matinee serials I have on VHS tape - Flash Gordon - Space Soldiers Conquer the Universe. I still have a Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, but I won't be able to do that one, as the sound is in very poor shape. That concludes the backup VHS tapes to DVD portion of our program.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 28 April 2014

I helped two people with their Linux installations on Saturday at the North Idaho Linux Users Group technical session. One of them wanted to back up his home directory, but he had loads of files in that directory that belonged to the system administrator. I helped him change ownership of the files so they could be backed up to an external hard drive.

I then helped a lady upgrade her Linux Mint 11 installation to Linux Mint 13 on her netbook. The netbook has no DVD or CD drive, so this is a challenge. We booted into Linux Mint 13 using a memory stick which contains the O/S, then installed from there.


 

I backed up the 12 episode serial Buck Rogers (1938) and the 13 episode serial The Green Hornet (1940). They are each about 4 hours long and they took about 8 hours each to back up. So that pretty much shot the weekend.

I dug out a box called a video enhancer that I have had for 30 years to try to backup some of the other tapes I have. I was not successful in that. The enhancer box is designed to restore the sync signal to tapes that have had that horrible CopyGuard put on them, in a lame attempt to prevent the tapes from being copied. I guess in the end it did work, at least on the few old VHS movies I have left.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 25 April 2014

I backed up more VHS tapes to hard disk yesterday. This time I concentrated on some tapes of me giving talks at GeTUGether '91 and '92. I was still working at Key Tronic at the time and my talks involved programming subjects that I had encountered at work. Those VHS tapes were just fine, compared to the commercially-produced ones from that era. Have you noticed that commercially-produced anything lacks quality and longevity? I certainly have. I don't know how I will be able to get The Warlord on DVD if I can't back up the tape.


 

The North Idaho Linux Users Group technical session is tomorrow. I plan to go to that, but just to help out anyone who needs it. I don't have anything that needs doing on my laptop.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

I spent most of yesterday backing up VHS tapes to files and making DVDs. I had a regular assembly line going. On my Boris box, I recorded the tape into a huge file, then used Handbrake to make a single H.264 file. I copied that file over to my multimedia box (Olga) and used DeVeDe to create a DVD image. I then burned a DVD using K3B. Lots of work, but we can now play the gem-related items on the mineral club's wide-screen TV. I still have one of the mineral club tapes to do, as well as 17 VHS movies of my own.


 

It snowed yesterday morning, while the temperature was 36° F. The snow stuck, but didn't last on the ground for long. First, the rain got some of it, then the sun came out for a while and the rest melted. Not the kind of day where you work outside.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

In the past, I have mentioned my problems with backing up VHS tapes to DVD. My fancy Panasonic VHS/DVD recorder no longer has a working DVD drive, but the VHS portion still works fine. I ordered a $6.80 Video to USB converter and tried to use it to record from the VHS machine directly to a computer. I was not successful in getting that converter to work with Linux Mint, although it was working okay in my virtual Windows XP. The only problem with using it in WinXP is that the virtual hard disk is too small to handle the recording.

So, the other day I ordered another video to USB adapter - one that is known to work with Linux, but costs three times more than the original. It is the Sabrent USB-AVCPT A/V to USB 2.0 Digital Adapter. It works fine with Linux, except for the sound (the other adapter had the same sound problem). I finally just plugged the audio from the VHS player directly into the microphone jack of the computer sound card and everything now works fine.

The reason I could not use the WinXP virtual machine is that it only had about 6GB of free space, and a 51 minute recording using VLC uses about 40GB of hard disk. Of course, when I run that 40GB through HandBrake, it generates a 642MB H.264 file. The bottom line is I can now back up all those mineral club videos I have and return them to their owner.

It turns out that to get the original converter to work with Linux, I would have had to recompile the Linux kernel. I am just not up for that.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

I did some more work on the car club web site. I changed the header to a widescreen view of a picture I took at Snoqualmie Falls. It shows seven cars from our Fourth of July teardrop trailer gathering from 4 or 5 years ago. Five of the cars belong to the same person and we were exercising them. I also added more slideshows and support resources to the web site.


 

Here is another green obsidian cabochon I did yesterday. I did a much better job on it than on the first one. I really like the teardrop shape. I am going to look around for more templates for other shapes, and stay away from ovals, circles and squares.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 21 April 2014

I printed 50 business cards with the mineral club information on them. I did that using LibreOffice Writer in a normal two-column page. I was not satisified with how they came out, though. The centering on each card was slightly different. So I redid the two column page using five text frames in each column. I then printed 50 more cards and they came out perfectly. I am now a frame-using convert.

I also added some articles from the latest newsletter to the mineral club web site. In at least one case, this was a lot of work, as the newsletter is published using Microsoft Publisher, which never uses proper paragraph alignment.


 

I've been doing more lapidary. I got nine slabs out of that agate I got from our silent auction for a buck. I also finished some mahogany obsidian cabochons I had started last fall. I have marked up some more slabs and will be working on them this week, as more rain is expected, starting tomorrow.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Another slow day, as it rained all day yesterday. Mostly I just vegged out.


 

The mineral club meeting was interesting and informative. The silent auction we had was one of the better ones we have had in a while. I picked up an unusual agate and I will be cutting it if it ever stops raining. The gem show organizing is on track.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 17 April 2014

I pretty much took yesterday off, except for going to the cruise-in at the Paul Bunyon's in Rathdrum. It was raining, so there were no classic cars there, but I went mainly for the pizza. I'm not a big pizza fan, but their pizza is really good.


 

The mineral club meeting is tonight, and I need to prepare for it. I have to give a report on how we are coming in our preparations for the gem show. My list of things to do is actually getting shorter, which is good. The things left mostly involve other people, so I will have to ask for volunteers for those.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

After ten years, The Signal, the podcast about the short-lived TV series Firefly, is coming to an end. I enjoyed the podcast, as it was not just about the limited number of episodes of the series. There was a lot of original content that was very entertaining. I will miss the podcast, as I miss the Pottercast.


 

I did more things for the gem show yesterday. We now have 400 flyers to hand out, and I have considerably less toner in my laser printer cartrige. I found some paper we can use to create labels for the display cases. There is more to do or to delegate.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The parking lot of the Paul Bunyon's in Hayden was full of classic cars last night. I took pictures of the cars I didn't see last week and posted them on the car club web site.


 

Here is the rainbow obsidian teardrop I am working on. It still needs some polishing, as you can see. This is the first teardrop-shaped cabochon I have done, and I find that I like the shape more than the regular oval shape.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 14 April 2014

On Saturday, I gave my talk on the Linux file system. It was well received and I probably could have given more information than I did. The file system has all kinds of security things in it that I did not touch on. I also helped someone install Linux Mint as a dual boot on a Windows 8 box. That was a real experience.


 

I did a lot of mineral club business over the weekend. We have now sorted out material for the gem show silent auction and have also gone through the list of things to do for the show. I think that things are fairly well in hand and I am now sure I don't want to do the show chairman job next year.

I also finished off a couple more cabochons. I now have a template that lets me draw teardrop shapes and I did a teardrop-shaped rainbow obsidian cabochon. I will take a picture of it and post it when I get a chance.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 11 April 2014

It has warmed up enough that I started doing more cabochons. I did a large one of rhodochrosite, two of green obsidian and one of mahogany obsidian. One of the green obsidian cabochons broke from a flaw, so I put that one in with the rest of the obsidian pieces to be tumbled.

This is the rhodochrosite cabochon. It is 40 x 52 mm, which makes it the largest cabochon I have done to date.

This is a cab from the piece of green obsidian I picked up from my dad over Christmas. It is 18 x 25 mm. Note that you can see bubbles and black patches in it, so the rock is not perfect.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I got another truckload of recycled asphault yesterday and finished filling potholes in our private road. When my new neighbors finish the heavy work on their new house, they intend to regrade the road, but for now there are no more rain-cut gullys and holes in it.


 

When Paul Bunyon's bought out Burger Heaven in Rathdrum, they also inherited a pizza oven. I was at the Rathdrum cruise-in last night and I had one of Tara's individual pizzas. It is really good. I consider Papa Murphy pizzas to be the best, and Tara's is just about as good as that. Recommended.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

I went over and got a truck load of crushed recycled asphault and filled most of the potholes on the upper part of the private road. I may have to get another load, as there are still some big potholes up there.


 

When I went to the Paul Bunyons Hayden Cruise-In on Monday, I took pictures of all the cars there. I have posted the pictures on the car club web site.


 

There are now two rabbits hanging around. The one I took a picture of is snow white and the new one is grey with patches of white. I startled it when I opened the back door and it was just below the steps of the deck.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

We are going to go through the mineral club storage unit on Friday and organize it. Specifically, we will create buckets with garden rock, so we can get rid of it at the gem show. We will also organize the new material we purchased at the Livingstone Rock Ranch, so we can do some silent auctions without having to search through boxes of material before each auction.


 

I spent a lot of time yesterday getting the advertising arranged for the gem show in June. It turns out that the lady I interfaced with at the Coeur d'Alene Press worked at Key Tronic when I was there in the late 80's and early 90's. When I first heard her name, I thought that "I used to work with someone with that name". She recognized me right off, though.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 7 April 2014

I did some work on the gem show stuff. I have approved the radio spots for the show and the live coverage. I need to do the newspaper spots and the security coverage for the two days of the show.


 

I worked on the car club web site again this weekend. I added a bunch of entries to the support resources page. I got these from our unofficial coordinator, Bob. Some of the entries are complete and some are incomplete, since some of them advertise on the Internet and some don't. I also added another slide show and redid the slide show web page to look better.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 4 April 2014

I am going to work on the mineral club's gem show stuff today. I made the mistake of taking on the advertising for it, so there is a lot of contacts to make and stuff to set up. I also need to schedule a show meeting so we can do more organizing for the show.


 

I have pretty much exhausted my source for Charlie Chan movies. I ended up with a grand total of 32 of them. There are several more out there from the late forties, but I'm not going to snag them. I have watched some of these and you would not believe the cavalcade of future stars in these early 30's movies. I've seen Bela Legosi, Robert Young, Keye Luke, Rita Hayworth and Ray Milland in them so far. I'm sure there are more future stars in the ones I haven't viewed yet.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

I am working on various web sites again. I am doing some work on the soccer coach site and also some work on the car club site. Someone made a suggestion for a trophy sponsors section in the car club Support Resources section, so I will be doing that soon.


 

My Charlie Chan tally now stands at 27. I have all the movies starring Warner Oland and am working on the ones starring Sidney Toler and Roland Winters. There is one movie that seems to be unavailable in English (Charlie Chan Carries On) - it is in Spanish, with English subtitles. I'm going to take a pass on that one.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Installing Linux on a computer is dead simple and straightforward, for the most part. It gets a bit sticky when you are having hardware problems, though. I went to the North Idaho Computer Users Group last night to help them with some problems they were having with a couple of their recycled machines. Some of the machines were dying in the middle of an install. I determined that was a graphics problem I had before, so we fixed that one. There was also a problem with bad media (DVD), so I fixed that. The final problem was a bad hard drive, and we ran out of time before fixing that one.


 

I downloaded and backed up some more Charlie Chan movies. I now have 22 of them, out of the 38 that were done starring Sidney Toler and Warner Oland. Three of those 38 no longer exist in any form, so I'm doing fairly well so far.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Yesterday was back up day for me. I backed up this web site, http://nilug.org/, http://phuddyduddies.org/, http://tmscoach.com/ and http://northidahomineralclub.com/. I then backed up the databases for each of the web sites that actually use a database. The transfer total was on the order of 20,000 files for all the web sites and 11,000 for just this site. I may have to think about trimming some stuff out of this web site.


 

I got on to the Internet Archive on Sunday and downloaded seven Charlie Chan movies. I like them because they combine comedy and mystery, and the actors are all very good. Two actors portrayed Charlie Chan, the world famous detective in the series' prime: Sidney Toler and Warner Oland. I've always been partial to Toler's portrayal. At any rate, I converted the seven movies to H.264 and put them in my backup movie archive.

I found another place for Charlie Chan flicks and downloaded another five from there. At this rate, I'm going to end up with a couple of dozen of the movies.


 

Amazing! Amazing Stories relaunches on April 1. Amazing Stories was the very first science fiction magazine, first published by Hugo Gernsback starting April Fools Day of 1926.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"