BLOGical Thoughts Archive

August 2011

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

I pretty much took the night off last night. I only worked a little on the soccer program, and I also hit the old car hangout at Burger King last night.

Those around the area with old cars show up at three places at 6pm during the summer: Paul Bunyon in Hayden on Mondays, Burger King in Hayden on Tuesdays and Burger Heaven in Rathdrum on Wednesdays. So if you want to show off your car, talk about old cars or just hang with those who have old cars, those are the places to do it. All that should be winding down soon, as we are heading out of summer and into fall.

There are also a lot of little car shows going on during the summer. The next one is on September 10 in Dalton Gardens. I'm already doing something that day, or I would show up at that show. They sound like fun.

Last night, two young women all tarted up in 50's getups showed up and asked if they could take pictures of themselves using the old cars as background. We had no objections, as they were just so decorative and we enjoyed watching them do the photography.


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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

I still am working on the soccer program. Last night I created the printed report for the game lineup. That means I have one dialog that has been created to hook up, and two printed reports to create. I will then be completely done with the basic programming for the program.

If I had approached this project as a work project, and worked on it exclusively, I'm sure I would have been done with it at least 6 months sooner than now. As it is, I am just using time I don't have allocated for other tasks. That kind of thing will change in November when I retire as a full-time working person and I will be able to do projects like this full time.


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Monday, 29 August 2011

I have finished another dialog in the soccer program. This time it was the game lineup dialog. It had connections to 3 database tables - once I got past a problem with a circular database reference, it went just fine. I think that the reworking of this program is going to turn out very well.

I now has to create a printed report for the game lineup. That should be fairly easy, as all the data is right there on the game lineup dialog.


Years ago, I converted all my VHS tapes to DVD. I found that DVDs were a much better format - they didn't have mechanical problems like VHS tapes, and they were more convenient.

Now I am going one step farther. I am ripping the DVDs to ISO images and am storing them on a hard disk. I have found that DVDs have their own problems - one of which is shelf life. It seems some of the DVDs are now hard to read with any DVD player I have.

My problem has been with the DVDs that are hard to read, but I think that I now have a method to recover a few of them. I have recovered October Country and Mighty Joe Young so far, but that was a very long process. I will continue to try with other DVDs.

I have been using K9Copy to do the ripping, and I discovered yesterday that the maintainer for that program has shut down development and is trash-talking Linux. There is really no alternative to this program, so I don't know what I will do when it becomes too out of date.


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Friday, 26 August 2011

I have exactly 10 working weeks until I retire. I intend to take at least one of them as vacation. It's amazing how my attitude has changed since I am no longer worried about losing my job. My work ethic is intact; it's just my attitude toward the new corporate management that has changed. That attitude is not, shall we say ... optimal? Let's say that. At any rate, I'm still doing useful work there and will miss the friends I have made and the old management setup.


Seanan McGuire is a writer and a prolific blogger. She has written some great Sci-Fi short stories about a disaffected super-heroine by the name of Velveteen. Velveteen is a fugitive from the group she used to belong to - the Junior Super Patriots, West Coast Division, Inc. Marketing is relentlessly chasing her as she tries to get to the Super Patriot-free zone of Oregon. The Super Patriots are determined to be the only good super heroes in the world and will do anything to prevent rogue super-heroes from existing as anything other than evil-doers. Her super power? The ability to animate toys. Other super-heroes have powers like controlling crayfish and baking a perfect loaf of bread. Believe me, these super-heroes are a real hoot.

It's kind of tough to find the links to these wonderful stories on Seanan's web site, as the links only exist in appropriate blog entries. With that in mind, I have collected as many as I could find and have listed them below.


The media are not biased; oh no, they're not: Indecision 2012 - Corn Polled Edition - Ron Paul & the Top Tier


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Thursday, 25 August 2011

I started working on another dialog for the soccer program, then stopped. I realized I am at the point where I have to know what the old program was doing before I go on with the new program. The dialog in question is the game lineup dialog, which allows a user to select positions for players for a particular game.

It turns out that what I thought needed to be done, can be done without modifying the database. I guess I thought about this before, so I did not remove the required columns from the database table.


The technical session of the North Idaho Linux Users Group will be held this Saturday at F1 for Help in Rathdrum. I am still trying to get the mailing list to work and one of the members has promised to help me out with it.


For the entire summer, I have had to detour around road construction on my way to work. Post Falls, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the intersection of McGuire Road and Prairie Avenue needed to be converted to a roundabout. The detour was very inconvenient and involved a lot more traffic signals.

Yesterday, they finally opened that intersection again. It works well, but for some reason, the new turnabout seems much larger than the ones over in Coeur d'Alene. Anyway, possibly to make up for having the road open again, whoever cut that peppermint next to Hayden Avenue raked it all up into huge steaming, stinking piles - right next to the road. I had a coughing fit on the way home last night as I went by the piles - 90° F and rotting peppermint do not make an agreeable combination.


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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

I have processed the pictures I took at the 2010 Coeur d'Alene Wooden Boat Show and have posted them. They went a lot faster than the pictures I processed for the 2011 show. A big part of that was that there were about 20 less pictures, but I think I may be getting better at the processing. At any rate, I think I have posted all the pictures for boat shows.


I have been working at my current job for exactly 4 years. In that entire time, we have not had wireless access at work. Part of this is because we write security software and know that a network's most vulnerable point can be the wireless access point. Another factor is that, although companies surrounding us have access points, all of them were secure.

Now North Idaho College has refurbished the offices next to us and have installed an open access point. I can now connect to the Internet with my tablet, but only if I am in the customer support area, as my office is too far from the signal source. Win some, lose, some.


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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

I processed all the photos I took at the Coeur d'Alene Wooden Boat show and have posted them. It took all my free time last night, so I didn't get anything else done.

By processing, I mean the following. My camera saves the pictures I take as 3648 x 2736 JPEG images, with a quality setting of 89. I use the GIMP to reduce the image size to 1280 x 960, reduce the quality to 85 and save that. I then reduce the image size to 240 x 180 and save that for a thumbnail image. I took 76 images at the boat show, so I ended up with 152 images. I create a directory for them on my web site and use ftp to transfer them to the directory.

I then go to a picture page I have already done and copy the HTML to a text editor. I go through it and manually change all the image references to point to the new images. I create a new page for the web site and copy that HTML into the new page. The final step is to create a link for the new page on the Photos of 2011 web page. None of this is hard, it just takes a lot of time.

While I was doing the 2011 pictures, I noticed that I had taken pictures of the 2010 boat show and had never posted them to my web site. I will do that tonight.


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Monday, 22 August 2011

I took a lot of pictures at the Coeur d'Alene Wooden Boat Show on Saturday. I don't think it was quite as good as the one I went to three years ago. They had hydroplanes as an attraction instead of old cars. I drove my Plymouth down to the show in hopes of being able to talk to anyone else with an old car, but had no luck in that.

I will try to post the pictures here as soon as I process them.


I have been working on the soccer coach program. I have finished centralizing the team selection, so I can now go on to the other items that need finishing. Specifically, I have three dialogs that need to be completed and five printed reports to do. I also need to hook up a printer setup dialog, as that is required for printing the reports.


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Friday, 19 August 2011

Last night I made my decision for soccer coach about whether the team selection should be made at the dialog level or the program level. I chose the program level. With that in mind, I stopped work on the printed reports and started to implement the team selection.

I removed four buttons from the toolbar (for which I had not yet found icons) and added a pulldown combo box there. I hooked that up to the team info table and populated it with the teams in the database. I then reworked the menu-enabling so it works like this:

  1. When the program is first executed and before logging in, only general menu items (like help) are enabled. The team selection box is disabled.
  2. After login, the items in the program setup menu are enabled.
  3. After team selection, the remaining menu items are enabled.
  4. If the current user logs out, the menu items are reset to step 1 above.


The basic philosophy there is to only enable menu items for which you have complete data. Selecting a specific team allows all dialogs to be used.

I have redone a couple of the dialogs to support the program-level team selection, and this results in a lot of code being removed. It also results in less complex code, so I think I made the right choice.


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Thursday, 18 August 2011

Last night I worked on the print player information report for the soccer coach program. I think I have all the fields on the report, but I haven't hooked any of them up to the database yet. This is probably the most complex printed report I will do for this program. It has tons of information on it and it is hard to shoehorn that much information into an 8 1/2" X 11" sheet of paper. With margins.

That report also uses information from three database tables. The other two reports I've done only use information from one table, so they were fairly easy to hook up.


The Coeur d'Alene Wooden Boat Show is this weekend. I forgot about it until I was reminded last weekend at the Summer Daze gathering by someone who lives in Portland. It's quite interesting how people who live nowhere near where you live know more about what's going on in your neighborhood than you do. At any rate, I will be taking more pictures this weekend.


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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

I worked on the soccer coach program last night. I have two of the printed reports done. It took a while, as I first had to create a template I could use for the reports. Now that is done, creating the reports should go a lot faster.

There are a total of six printed reports. Once I have finished those, I will continue to hook up the little items in the program that aren't done yet. For instance, some buttons or menu items should only be enabled under certain conditions. Right now, they are always enabled.

I also need to decide if the selection of a particular team should be done at the program level or at the dialog level. Right now it is done at the dialog level, but that seems to be kind of a pain. I will investigate.


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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

I have posted the pictures from the 1st Summer Daze teardrop trailer gathering. I also posted a short video of the local steam train. Be careful, though, as the video file is 45MB so it will take a while to download.

As you can see from the pictures, we had a really good potluck dinner on Saturday night. It's great that someone brings squeaky cheese from Tilamook, OR to this gathering. Yummy stuff.


I have figured out what the problem is with printed reports in the soccer coach program. I am almost ready to create all the reports. I just need to create a report template to use for each report. The template will contain a TQReport container, a report header, report detail and report footer. The footer will have the program name page number and copyright on it. The header will contain a graphic of a soccer ball and the name of the report.

Using this template, I can put anything I need in the report detail area. By using a template, I won't have to reinvent the wheel over and over. I hope to finish up the template and the first report tonight.


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Monday, 15 August 2011

I spent the weekend at the 1st annual Summer Daze teardrop trailer gathering. The weather was perfect and the company was congenial. I had a good time at the gathering.

It was not without its bumps, though. Up until last Tuesday, I was going to tow the trailer over to Chehalis with my 1952 Plymouth. Tuesday is when I discovered the Plymouth has a really bad vaporlock problem. So I decided to use my Dodge instead. The problem with that is the electrical system seems to have a problem. I have discovered that problem was a display problem, not a real problem.

On the way to the gathering, when I got to Yakima and started to go west on highway 12, I discovered that there would be up to a two hour delay at White Pass due to construction. So I went via route 410, which goes through Mt. Ranier Park and up over Chinook Pass. It added 80 miles to my journey and a couple of extra hours to the trip, as I had to go through Tacoma and Olympia to get to Chehalis.

On the way back, I went over highway 12, as it was Sunday and they were not constructing. No problems there, except for the really ordinary hamburger I had in Naches, which was dressed up as a fancy burger and cost $4.90. I won't do that again.

I will post pictures of the gathering sometime today. I also took a short video of the old steam train that runs through the valley on the weekends, and I will also post that.


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Thursday, 11 August 2011

I'm still having trouble with the soccer coach program's printed reports. I have tried everything I can think of to get more than a single line of printout on the page, but I have not been successful. I guess I just have to keep trying. It should not be that hard to print a columnar report.


I know I said I had the NILUG mailing list straightened out, but I was wrong. Everything was working except sending messages out and having them show up in everyone's email. I think that now works. Cross my fingers, because I won't have time to adjust it anymore for a while.


There will be no blog entry here tomorrow. Your regularly scheduled program will resume on Monday.


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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

I hope I have the North Idaho Linux Users Group mailing list straightened out. At least everyone can talk to the list server, which is a plus. No one has sent any messages yet, so we haven't exercised that part.


I went back to work on the soccer coach program. I started in on one of the printed reports. I have the report laid out the way it will be printed, but I can't seem to get the data to properly replicate in rows. One of my problems is I just don't get their paradigm of 'bands'. But I will work on that some more tonight.


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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Plymouth has a final problem that was common on older autos with a mechanical fuel pump - it suffers from vaporlock on hot days, like yesterday. The only thing you can do to get around that is to let the fuel system cool down before you try to start it.

I can solve that problem by going to an electrical fuel pump. I was going to use the car this weekend, but this problem prevents me from doing that. I will have to order a pump and, possibly, a regulator. I will have to look into all this.


I thought I had the North Idaho Linux Users group mailing list all straightened out, but I didn't. I sent out a notice for people to sign up again. When I did, their confirmation messages bounced. I know where the problem came from, but I can't find that spot in the configuration again. It's really frustrating.


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Monday, 8 August 2011

Some cleanup items on my 1952 Plymouth have been finished. It now has rocker panel molding, seat belts, interior front window trim, arm rests and a working fuel gauge. I have posted pictures of the work in the 1952 Plymouth Restoration section. There are now over 500 pictures and the 51 new ones are at the end.

All that's left now of the restoration is to unload the 1951 Plymouth Cranbrook that was used as a parts car. If I got $300 for it, I would be happy.


I went to Art on the Green on Saturday, but I saw nothing there that I just had to have. It was a nice time and the weather was perfect, but the fair is concentrating on things I just don't care about. It is also a lot larger than it has been in the past, so it took longer to look at everything.


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Friday, 5 August 2011

I have the NILUG list server connected to its database and running. My final problem is that it does not pass along emails as it gets them. Which, of course, is the whole reason for the damn thing in the first place. My frustration is evident, isn't it?

I have updated the links to the web page that allows people to sign up to the list. If I work out the final problem, people will immediately be able to sign up and send emails.


I installed a program called Synergy on both this workstation and my new laptop last night. Synergy allows you to use a single mouse and keyboard with more than one machine. Ths is handy in development situations, where you have to switch back and forth between two machines hooked into the same LAN. I sometimes do this at work, and its a royal pain to have to remote into a machine so everything can be on one set of displays.

I set up the laptop to the left of the displays of my workstation. I set up the Synergy configuration to recognize that fact, and started up the Synergy server daemon on my workstation. I then started up the Synergy client daemon on the laptop, and the mouse and keyboard on the workstation started working on the laptop when I moved the mouse cursor over to the laptop. Way cool. I may demonstrate this at the NILUG meeting in September - I won't be around for the August meeting.


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Thursday, 4 August 2011

I am still working on the list server for the NILUG web site. I have tried everything I can think of and nothing seems to work. It seems to be a matter of permissions or file ownership. I will put this off until Saturday and talk to my friend who might know what to do. I know, I usually solve these things myself, but this one is a real stumper.


Art on the Green starts tomorrow at North Idaho College. I have only missed one of these since I've lived here. I will be going to this one on Saturday. It doesn't take up much of my time - I can usually get through in an hour or two, so I will have plenty of time for other projects on Saturday.

I got my poisonous tree toad shirt at Art on the Green a couple of years ago. People seem to like it. I have to admit that bright green on black may be one attraction.


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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

I spent most of last night doing a couple of chores I had put off. I created a DVD of all the pictures I took at all the 4th of July teardrop gatherings I have attended. I will send that to the hosts, with my thanks for a great time at all of them.

I also attempted to re-install the list server software on the NILUG web site. It is really tough to get that software configured correctly. So far, I have not been successful. There are a couple more things I want to try, then I will have to cry for help on the installation. I think I know someone who might be able to help.


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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

I will miss the August meeting of the North Idaho Linux Users Group, as I will be out of town on that day. That will make two meetings in a row that I will have missed. I will miss out on the pizza they will be having at this meeting. I will ensure I am around for the September meeting.

I also have to get the NILUG mailing list running again. I installed it on the new web host, but it is not working. I keep getting a database error. I guess I will have to do that install again.


I forgot to make a copy of all the pictures I have taken at the 4th of July Teardrop Fun at Carnation, WA. I made a copy for Ken and Marty Masden at the very last gathering, but the copy was bad. I will have to make another and mail it to them, as an appreciation gift for their efforts for the last nine years.


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Monday, 1 August 2011

I got a lot more programs installed on my new laptop over the weekend. I removed and installed LibreOffice. I also installed Java 6, Eclipse, Lazarus, Anjuta and VirtualBox 4.1. I then imported two virtual machines from my workstation and created a third VM based on Mageia. I now have a portable programming environment - all that is missing is the Android tools.

There may be a problem with sound and 64-bit Linux Mint. I am not a big fan of the latest sound implementation in Mint/Ubuntu and I will have to look around for some solutions.


This was a free weekend for me, so I also did a few home chores. I still have many more to go, though. But next weekend is Art On The Green, so Saturday will be a bit busy for me.


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