BLOGical Thoughts Archive

August 2003

Friday, August 29, 2003

I found a store in Coeur d'Alene called Rapid Refill Ink. They re-fill inkjet printer cartridges. I stopped by there on Wednesday night to see if they refilled the ones for my Canon S-630 printer. They do, and the cost is $7 per cartridge. That's $4 to $6 less than a new cartridge.

I bought all three color cartridges for my printer, but it's going to take a while to determine if the refills are any good, as I just put new factory cartridges in the printer. I will let everyone know how the refills work out.

I think that Rapid Refill Ink is a franchise, started in Eugene, Oregon. They use the same logo, so I'm pretty sure I'm right. What they really need is someone to redo their web site. It's right out of the early 90's. ;-)

I've just finished re-reading John Varley's Red Thunder. Since Mars is at its closest to us in the last 60,000 years, I figured the book was appropriate. It's about a former astronaut, his genius brother and four kids who plan to go to Mars in seven railroad tank cars. A fun book which owes a lot to Robert Heinlein's "Rocketship Galileo".

SCO Watch

"If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?"

-- Scott Adams

Thursday, August 28, 2003

I have finished the changes to rsEdit and have updated the rsEdit help file. I will beta-test the program for the rest of the week at work. It should be released to the public by next Monday.

Besides fixing the big initialization bug it had and adding an Insert Comment command, I have also added a Maximize rsEdit command. This toggles between a maximized rsEdit window and a normal window, by pressing the F11 key.

Since everyone else seems to be going somewhere for this holiday weekend, I think I'll just stick around and see how much home work I can get done. I will be doing web pages for Rimrock Software and doing chores around the house. I should also be doing some work for my beta tester - installing SuSE Linux on her machine and getting Java to work on the Windows partition.

SCO Watch

"What is the possibility of this being added in the future? In the near future, the probability is close to zero. In the distant future, I'll be dead, and posterity can do whatever they like..."

-- Larry Wall

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

rsEdit Text Editor

I have implemented my fix for the bug in rsEdit. It took several hours to do, as it was a complete change from what I had before. It now works well. All I need to do now is to update the help file and roll the program out the door.

I also have to update the Rimrock Software web site, which will probably end up taking the rest of the week.

There is an interesting article on GrepLaw on the recent Gestapo tactics of the RIAA concerning music downloaders. The lawyer being interviewed is the one for Jane Doe, who has brought suit against the RIAA for the unconstitutionality of their subpoenas.

If you are concerned with the fact that we have less rights than we had before January 2000, GrepLaw is a good site to visit.

SCO Watch

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

I am still working on rsEdit, my Notepad replacement editor. I am trying to eliminate the nasty bug I introduced when I sped up the initialization. For those who are interested, here is the problem and its solution. I will implement this tonight. I hope it works ok.

SCO Watch

Don't lose Your head
To gain A minute
You need Your head
Your brains Are in it.

-- Burma Shave

Monday, August 25, 2003

I got my USB pendrive working on my Linux box over the weekend. It was easier than I thought it would be. Here's how:

  1. Make a directory in /mnt called pendrive with

         mkdir /mnt/pendrive

    This only needs to be done once.

  2. Make sure that the modules that are used for access are loaded. Enter

         modprobe usb-storage

    to load the modules.

  3. Mount the pendrive. I use

         mount -t vfat -o rw /dev/sda /mnt/pendrive

    to mount the drive for read/write. You must have supervisor privileges to do this.

That's all there is to it. The pendrive is now accessible from Linux at /mnt/pendrive.

I also worked on rsEdit, my free Notepad replacement. I added a dialog that allows you to insert comment characters into a block of selected text. All I have to do now is to eliminate a nasty bug with reading the .ini file and then update the help file for the program. This updated program will be the first on an updated Rimrock Software web site.

I went to the North Idaho Fair on Saturday. It has changed in the last few years. I noticed that especially, since I was in Baltimore last year and couldn't go.

There weren't as many commercial exhibits, so I was somewhat disappointed in that regard. There seemed to be about the same amount of animal and agricultural exhibits, and more places to buy junk food and other junk items. Everything was spread out more.

Regardless, I had a good time.

SCO Watch

"Treeware: Hacker slang for documentation or other printed material."

Friday, August 22, 2003

A house burned to the ground in Rathdrum Thursday morning. It was right next door to my beta tester's house. In fact, my beta tester's husband helped build the house that burned. His son's family originally lived there.

The current owners were away on vacation. Apparently, their television caused the fire. The TV was shut down with the remote, which means it was still on. They should have shut it completely off, but that's something no one ever does, do they? The moral is, when you go on vacation, make sure everything is shut off completely.

I will be working on Rimrock Software stuff this weekend, after I go to the North Idaho Fair and do some installation work for my beta tester. Summer is closing down fast, and there's too much I want to do.

The RIAA seems to think they are the Gestapo. Or that's what this video implies. Is this really true? We seem to have no rights at all anymore. Ashcroft has 'em all.

SCO Watch

  • Paranoia in action - SCO CEO says IBM behind open source attacks
  • A response to paranoia - An Open Letter to Darl McBride
  • Why SCO's attack on the GPL will fail

  • "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not really after you."

    -- Anonymous

    Thursday, August 21, 2003

    The Rimrock Software web site will have a new version of rsEdit, my Notepad replacement editor, up as its first new software. All I have to do is finish the rsEdit enhancement I am working on, and finish the web site redesign.

    I started the rsEdit enhancement last night. It's a very simple thing - you can highlight text and click on Insert Comment. That command will insert a starting and ending string onto every highlighted line of text. That makes it extremely simple for programmers to turn text into program comments.

    Last night, my Rimrock Software mailbox ended up with 27 SoBig.F emails with attached virus. It's a good thing I read my mail on my Linux box, using Evolution, isn't it? The really annoying thing about the SoBig.F attack is that all those attachments are BIG, so on a 28k modem link they take a long time to download to my machine.

    Out of the 64 messages I received last night, 1 was actually addressed to me and was not spam or a virus.

    SCO Watch

    "The whole history of computers is rampant with cheerleading at best and bigotry at worst."

    -- Larry Wall

    Wednesday, August 20, 2003

    Time for me to redo my software web site. I have downloaded all the Rimrock Software web pages and will be working on new content starting today.

    About three years ago, under a program called "Nail Your Boss", a disgruntled employee turned the Ernie Ball company in to the Business Software Alliance for non-compliance with respect to Microsoft software. Ernie Ball, a guitar string maker, is a good corporate citizen, but the BSA treated them like master criminals because 7% of their computers had unlicensed software. It cost the company $100,000 and Sterling Ball, CEO of Ernie Ball, vowed that it would never happen again.

    The entire company now uses Linux, with OpenOffice, Mozilla and Evolution. In an interview with Cnet News, Sterling Ball explains how happy they are with that choice.

    In an unrelated item, it has been reported that all of Lloyd's Bank of the U.K. (Windows) ATM terminals have crashed, while other banks who do not use Microsoft software have had no problems. Maybe the new crop of viruses and trojans have had more effect than what's been reported?

    SCO Watch

    "Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

    Tuesday, August 19, 2003

    I just finished reading Linus Torvald's book, 'Just For Fun'. It hasn't got the suspense and action of a good mystery or science fiction novel, but it was pretty interesting. I especially liked the chapter where he came down on organizations that don't seem to realize they need to change their business model, instead of trying to persecute and prosecute their own customers.

    Linus espouses my political philosophy, in words I have used myself. Needless to say, I think the guy is really on the ball.

    I took my Lindows Mobile PC in to work yesterday, so I could use the high-speed connection to download some Lindows packages. I could get the browser to work, but could not get their "Click 'n' Run" program to work through our proxy server. I'll have to try something else to get a high speed connection. No way am I going to download OpenOffice (80 meg) on a modem connection.

    SCO Watch

    "You can talk till you're blue in the face, but my wife will continue to use "xerox" as a verb. And reporters will continue to use "hackers" to refer to Script Kiddies."

    -- Larry Wall

    Monday, August 18, 2003

    Have you ever been in a situation when you wanted everything to go just right, and it all went wrong? That's what happened to me yesterday when I installed Mandrake Linux on my beta tester's rendering computer. I haven't had so much trouble with an install in quite a while.

    Of course, it doesn't help that her machine has 'non-standard' everything. First, it's a dual processor machine (luckily that was not a problem. NB to Betty: chose Linux SMP if you want the O/S to use both processors) Next it uses a 3-D Oxygen video card instead of an ATI or nVidia card. It also has 5 disk drives - three SCSI and two IDE. It has a U.S. Robotics real modem hooked up as a non-standard serial port. It has a digitizing tablet hooked up as an input device. And lastly, it uses a Turtle Beach sound card instead of a SoundBlaster. All this adds up to a nightmare for yours truly.

    After four hours, I got almost everything working. Although the install correctly identified the sound card, there is some kind of problem with it. And the modem dials, connects, then immediately hangs up for some unknown reason. I will be looking into these problems and hope to have a fix for them.

    I didn't get to the dutch oven recipe over the weekend. I'm hoping to do that tonight. Should be lots of fun.

    SCO Watch

    Error Message Haiku

    A file that big?
    The Web site you seek
    Chaos reigns within.
    ABORTED effort:
    Yesterday it worked
    First snow, then silence.
    With searching comes loss
    Windows NT crashed.
    Stay the patient course
    A crash reduces
    Three things are certain:
    You step in the stream,
    Out of memory.
    Having been erased,
    Serious error.

    Friday, August 15, 2003

    I am having bad luck playing DVDs on my Lindows Mobile PC. The problem is an audio problem, not video. But the audio problem seems to keep the video from playing.

    I will be reloading the O/S (again) to see if I can eliminate this problem. If that doesn't fix the problem, I guess I'll have to get on a support board to see if anyone knows of an answer. Linux is not yet as easy to use as Windows, unfortunately.

    I will be doing dutch oven cooking for dinner tomorrow night. I want to go through the steps so I can write down an official recipe for my dutch oven Sweet and Sour Meatballs. I'll be getting it published in one of the teardrop newsletters, so all the world can partake.

    SCO Watch

    "The following two statements are usually both true: There's not enough documentation. There's too much documentation."

    -- Larry Wall

    Thursday, August 14, 2003

    I guess we have a new candidate for the clueless 'A' organizations (RIAA, MPAA, BSA, etc). This one is the ESA, which is the Entertainment Software Association. The ESA has invoked the DMCA against the Gentoo Linux distribution, because it contains "material on its network or system that infringes the exclusive copyright rights of one or more ESA members." It seems they have a little DMCAbot that sniffs around for copyright infringements. Here is what it picked up:

    Note how the 'bot picked the word 'pacman' out of that file name. Needless to say, the file has absolutely nothing to do with Pacman.

    So according to the DMCA, Gentoo is guilty, until they can prove that they are innocent and this file has nothing to do with Pacman. What a minute, isn't that the opposite of what the Constitution says should happen?

    I am starting a "SCO Watch" section here, beginning today. Unlike my Today's Tunes, it will be recorded permanently.

    SCO Watch

    Wednesday, August 13, 2003

    I have the new computer. It's a Dell Optiplex GX260. 2gHz CPU, 256mb Ram, 40gb hard disk, DVD player. This should be quite a luxury, after I get it configured.

    Configuration is a PITA. I have to reload all the custom programs I use for my job, plus get LookOut Outlook working, as well as Visual Source Safe and maybe even Visual Studio.

    I also have to set up directories for my data and copy it into them, as well as modify the Start menu to add my programs in 2 special folders - Development and Internet. I will also be moving all the MS Office shortcuts into their own folder. I like the menu to be nice and neat, so I can easily find stuff.

    Well, now SCO have announced the final termination of IBM's UNIX license, despite Novell telling them they can't do that. There's also a new set of "stolen code" figures in the press release - 'approximately 148 files of direct Sequent UNIX code to the Linux 2.4 and 2.5 kernels, containing 168,276 lines of code. This Sequent code is critical NUMA and RCU multi-processor code previously lacking in Linux. Sequent-IBM has also contributed significant UNIX-based development methods to Linux in addition to the direct lines of code specified above.' Since Sequent was bought by IBM, how does that make the Sequent code SCO's?

    "This is the story of the bee
    Whose sex is very hard to see
    You cannot tell the he from the she
    But she can tell, and so can he
    The little bee is never still
    She has no time to take the pill
    And that is why, in times like these
    There are so many sons of bees."

    -- Monty Python

    Tuesday, August 12, 2003

    I get a new computer at work today. I have been using a 400mHz, 128mb Dell Pentium II with a 10gb hard disk for 2 1/2 years. It will be nice to have more room on the hard disk and have it partitioned logically. Oh yeah, the new machine is a touch faster (Pentium 4) and has more memory, too.

    I have to take the CDROM burner out of the old machine and install it in the new one. I also have to move all the personal programs and stuff from the old machine to the new one. So I will be trying to get my sea legs back for a while. And I'm also moving from WinNT to Win2k.

    I have finally decided to stick with the SuSE install on my sub-notebook. It has a few problems, but I think it is the best of the bunch. I tried to install ArkLinux last night, but that distro couldn't figure out how my CDROM drive was connected (USB).

    It's been fairly quiet on the nasty organization front the past few days. Nothing from SCO, RIAA, MPAA or even the BSA. Maybe they're trying to catch their breath before the next frontal assault on our liberties.

    "The purpose of most computer languages is to lengthen your resumé by a word and a comma."

    -- Larry Wall

    Monday, August 11, 2003

    I went to the Linux Installfest on Saturday in Sandpoint. I didn't know anyone up there, but Linux users are the same the world over. Had a good time.

    When I got back from Sandpoint, I went down to Coeur d'Alene and picked up my Stealth. I am really glad to have it back, after 9 weeks without it. It needed a good bath after sitting out for that time. It runs well and the transmission now works fine.

    I installed Linux on my Lindows Mobile PC about 5 or 6 times over the weekend. I don't like Lindows, but I am undecided over whether to use SuSE or Mandrake. Right now I have Mandrake on it. I think I will load Suse on it tonight. Actually, I think Debian would be a better choice. Maybe I can pick that up today.

    Friday, August 8, 2003

    Have you ever tried to have a discussion with a marketing or sales person? They look like they are absolutely focused on what you are saying, but when you finish and they say something, it is immediately obvious that they didn't hear a word you said. These are the kinds of people who are running big corporations and organizations today. Darl McBride of SCO is one like that.

    Hilary Rosen is another. I saw part of an interview last night on TV with Hilary Rosen, the former head of the RIAA. They were asking questions of both her and Nikki Hemming, the CEO of Kazaa, the peer to peer file sharing network. Hilary had that exact look on her face, and her answers were not germane to the questions. Her agenda was to shut down P2P and protect the RIAA's buggy-whip business model, not to reasonably respond to questions posed to her.

    I've got my eye on another old Chevy pickup to use as a tow vehicle for my teardrop trailer. I'm not gonna jinx it this time, though. We'll see if the guy wants to sell. The thing is just sitting, looking like it no longer runs, so I might be able to get a good deal on it if they want to sell it.

    I'll be going up to Sandpoint tomorrow for the Linux Installfest. Should be lots of fun. The Festival at Sandpoint is also running up there right now. The Festival was opened last night by The Lettermen, a great folk group from the 60's. Other performers include Shawn Colvin, Los Lobos, Jerry Jeff Walker and Bela Fleck and The Flecktones. We get some pretty good entertainment up here.

    Thursday, August 7, 2003

    We've been having morning thunderstorms for the last two mornings. Yesterday they were close enough to work to blow out a transformer and cause us to lose power for over an hour. Nice, but really boring. At least I didn't lose any work.

    We had another thunderstorm this morning, but it passed further north than the one we had yesterday. No power problems here, but I think Rathdrum got a good jolt.

    The storms and the clouds have been keeping the temperatures down. Instead of the high 90's/low 100's we were having, it is now high 80's/low 90's. And it is not quite as dry as it was, which is also good.

    Why don't we have a pit where we can throw executives who lie to the public? I am so disgusted at the fabrications of SCO I am just not gonna talk about it anymore.

    And now the MPAA is getting back into the lying game. Their newest propaganda claims (possible) copyright infringement is theft.

    And here's another reason I haven't been to a MacDonalds in 27 years:

    I went into a MacDonald's yesterday and said, "I'd like some fries." The girl at the counter said, "Would you like some fries with that?"

    -- Jay Leno

    Wednesday, August 6, 2003

    I am rethinking my camping trip. my beta tester has pointed out to me that there are extensive fire restrictions right now. I think I will go to the Linux Installfest in Sandpoint in my newly-fixed Stealth on Saturday, instead. I'll do the camping part some other weekend.

    SCO has quantified their extortion attempt against Linux users. Their so-called 'license' for the use of Linux will cost users $699 until October 15, when it jumps to $1399. Never mind that Linux is covered by the GPL, which specifically prohibits further licenses. Legality hasn't bothered SCO so far, why should they start now?

    Isn't it strange that every time SCO makes an outrageous announcement like this, their stock price jumps? And then the executives cash in more of their stock? Must be a coincidence, right? It couldn't possibly be illegal - these guys are upstanding officers, just like the ones who worked for Enron.

    SCO's copyright claims have not been established. Until (if) they are, SCO's request can only be regarded as a demand for charitable contributions. No one should pay a cent for their stinkin' license.

    "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges!"

    -- Gold Hat, as played by Alfonso Bedoya, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948)

    Tuesday, August 5, 2003

    I will be gong up to the Linux Installfest in Sandpoint this coming weekend. NILUG hasn't had an installfest in Coeur d'Alene for a long time, so the one in Sandpoint should be fun.

    I may take my teardrop trailer with me and go from the installfest to the wilds on the other side of Lake Pend Orielle. That should be lots of fun and a great way to kill a weekend.

    Red Hat has filed suit against SCO for the stuff SCO has said about and done to Linux. SCO has replied, accusing Red Hat of 'conspiracy'. Wow, it's like a huge soap opera or an acrimonious divorce.

    Monday, August 4, 2003

    Low Cost Special Effects. Movie companies spend a lot of money generating outrageous CGI special effects. The results are truly outstanding, but are they worth the effort? Here is a Japanese effort that was low cost and that yielded some pretty good (and hilarious) results.

    I stopped by WilTrek Automotive on the way to Art On The Green to see how my car was going. Phil was actually going to put my transmission back together on Saturday. I hope he finished - I'm really missing that car.

    Art On The Green was ok, but not really outstanding. There has been a tendency in the last few years to concentrate on 'commercial' arts and crafts, the kind you can buy in stores. I really like art and craft fairs where they concentrate on 'folk art'. Those kind of venues are hard to find nowadays, though.

    I miss being able to get homemade music at craft fairs. Since I no longer buy any albums from distributors who are members of the RIAA, that limits my music purchasing a great deal. Musicians selling their own albums are a great way to get new music without having to pay the distributor-leeches.

    I have gathered up the pictures and info for new web pages for Beaudry Motorsports. They will be selling a new motorcycle called the 'Foggy Petronas FP1' (don't ask about the name). They will also be selling accessories such as t-shirts and baseball caps. Nice replacement for Excelsior-Henderson. I hope to have the new section up on their web site tonight.

    "The difference between Republicans and Democrats right now is not between big and small government. It's between the Democrats' Big, Solvent Government and the Republicans' Big Insolvent Government."

    -- Andrew Sullivan

    "The difference between the two major parties and Independents is not about political philosophy, it's about the size of government."

    -- Michael Burton

    Friday, August 1, 2003

    Art On the Green starts today on the grounds of North Idaho College. I always look forward to this art and music fair. I was very disappointed to miss it last year because I was in Baltimore. I hope the music is as good as the year they booked Curtis Salgado.

    Two other events are also running this weekend. A Taste of the Coeur d'Alenes is happening at Coeur d'Alene Park, which is just down the street from the college. And the Downtown Street Fair is also this weekend. That event is a couple of blocks from the food fair. It looks like it will be an interesting weekend.

    I am still waiting on the Big City Bikes people to get their domain set up. I have both of their programs written. All we need is advertising copy for the pages and an actual web site. In the meantime, they want me to make some changes to their other web site.

    "The following two statements are usually both true: There's not enough documentation. There's too much documentation."

    -- Larry Wall