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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

August 2017

Monday, 28 August, 2017

I started thinking about how I could combine two of my interests so either one wouldn't take presidence. I came up with cabochon stands. They are actually on Thingiverse as coin stands, but they work perfectly for cabochons.

It takes 1 hour and 6 minutes to print 4 of these, and a very small amount of plastic. I'm thinking I could sell these to others for 1/2 the price of the ones you can get purchase at lapidary web sites.


Here's a word of advice for those who organize events: never have your event go up against another major event in the same area. That's what happened to this year's Wooden Boat Show: it directly conflicted with the last Coeur d'Alene Ironman. The Ironman requirements prevented people from getting to the boat show unless they were determined. The result was a much smaller event with less boats and attendees.


Let me just say this: North Idaho Fair; $8 cheeseburgers. Don't buy food there.


Quote of the day:

The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.
     Walt West

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Thursday, 24 August, 2017

I have purchased a new cell phone. When it gets here, I will use the old phone as a dedicated screen for my drone, as that only uses WiFi, not the cell phone network. That way, I can use the SIM card in the new phone without getting a new SIM card for the old phone.

I have also purchased a cell booster for my house. Since I can get one or two bars if I am just outside the northwest corner of the house, I figured I will use the booster to strengthen the cell signal enough to give me a good signal in the house.

I was right about the cell booster. I now get 2 to 4 bars inside the house, so my cell phone can be my main phone here.


It took my printer 15 hours and 45 minutes to print the nine parts drawers. After I finished that, I started on the cabinet for the parts drawers. 12 hours into a 24 hour print, I accidently bumped the power cord on the printer and it stopped printing. Once that happens, you can't just start where you left off, you have to start over. So here's what I have so far:

As you can see, the cabinet only covers 1/2 of the drawers. It's going to take me a while to start that print again, as the results were a big disappointment.


Quote of the day:

Widespread tattoos and body piercings always signal the end of a civilization.
     Michael Burton

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Friday, 18 August, 2017

I was going to complain about Tuesday's Cinderella Cruise moving from 5:30-7:30 pm to 7-9pm, but it is much cooler and we had more spectators. Even though it interferes with my sleep pattern. The tough part is trying to take pictures when it's getting dark.


I am currently working on 3D printing a 9 drawer small parts cabinet. I have printed six of the nine drawers so far. I found the drawers on Thingiverse, but I was not happy with the cabinet on there. It had 5 mm walls, which is way overkill for something that has virtually no need for great strength. I created a cabinet of my own with 2.5 mm walls. It will take at least 20 hours to print, and I will do that as soon as I am finished with the drawers. Picture to follow.


Quote of the day:

There may come a time when the lion and the lamb will lie down together, but I am still betting on the lion.
     Henry Shaw

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Tuesday, 15 August, 2017

The latest version of the Firefox web browser (55.0.1) has broken my YouTube download plug-in. I discovered this as I was trying to download the movie Broken Arrow, with James Stewart and Jeff Chandler. I ended up using a different plug-in, which is incredibly clunky and unspecific. This ticked me off enough to not ugrade to this version of Firefox on my multimedia machine.


I have really been enjoying a YouTube channel called The RC Saylors. They evaluate just about anything that has to do with remote control. Right now, the hot thing is drones, so they do a lot of videos on various drones. Two drones that they were enthusiastic about and that don't break your bank are the XK X300 - F ($116 on HobbyWOW) and the WLtoys Q393A ($131 with 5.8GhZ camera on Gearbest, $101 with WiFi camera).

Here is the review for the WLtoys Q393A that they did a couple of months ago:

"

Quote of the day:

There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
     Mark Twain

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Sunday, 13 August, 2017

I found myself with only 1.4GB of space on this workstation's root partition and a big warning about running out of space. I thought this was strange, as the root partition was originally allocated with 30GB of space. Then I thought about how long it has been since I actually re-installed Linux Mint from scratch on this machine, and it made more sense. It has literally been years since I did that, so I have ended up with a boatload of old Linux kernels that are no longer needed on the partition. So here is what I did:

  1. I ran the System Monitor application and selected the System tab to see what Linux kernel I am currently running. It was 4.10.xx
  2. I ran Synaptic Package Manager and searched for 'Linux'.
  3. I scrolled down to the 'linux-headers...' area and looked for entries that were not 4.10.xx, but were installed.
  4. I selected each of these installed old entries and marked them for complete removal. Each included at least one other file. There were literally dozens of entries.
  5. I double-checked the entries I marked for removal, then I clicked the Apply button.
  6. After Synaptic was done with the removals, I rebooted the machine to ensure it was still working okay.

It looks like this cleanup released 9.9GB of space, as I now have 11.3GB of space on the root partition. I could reclaim more if I spent time removing applications I don't use, but I don't think that's worth the effort at this point.

I related all this to the NILUG members on Saturday. One of them suggested that I use the terminal command 'sudo aptitude autoclean' to do this. When I got home, I tried that, and it freed up another 2.5GB of space. I now have 51% of that partition free - about 16GB. That's a heck of a lot better than running out of space completely.


The old Acer laptop I was using was not powerful enough to run a TinkerCAD.com without jerks and stops. My Dell laptop runs TinkerCAD just fine. That means I no longer have to use my desktop workstation to create items to be 3D printed.

While I was at the NILUG meeting, I installed Linux Mint 18.2 from scratch on the Acer. I did that as an OEM, so when I give the computer away, it will have the proper user and password for whoever I give it to.


Quote of the day:

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.
     Robert A. Heinlein

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Thursday, 10 August, 2017

The $119 i5 Dell E6510 computer I ordered from eBay came on the 7th. Looking over the machine, I could see a couple of very small chips in the paint, but overall the machine is in excellent condition. The battery pack looks like it is new and will last a couple of hours per charge, which is what you would expect for such a machine.

The first thing I did on it is to wipe out Windows 7 and install Linux Mint 18.2 as my operating system of choice. I used my install script to add a bunch of utilities I use every day to the machine. At this point, I haven't run up against anything that doesn't work on it. I will give it a few more days, then I will wipe out the Acer laptop I have been using instead of the Dell, so I can reinstall Linux Mint on the Acer and give it away to a lucky couple.

Since the new-to-me Dell came with a Windows 7 Professional installation disk, I decided that I should take advantage of it. I installed VirtualBox on the Dell in Linux Mint, then installed Windows 7 as a virtual machine. Works fine, even though I will probably never use it for anything.

Here is a list of some of the non-distro standard programs I have also installed on the computer:

By the way, if you look for a refurbished Dell E6510 on NewEgg, you will find they sell for $250 to $300. So I guess I got a good bargain.


Quote of the day:

There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet.
     Ambrose Bierce

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Monday, 7 August, 2017

Since I could not get the drone app working again on my cell phone, I decided to upgrade the cell phone's operating system to see if that would clear up the problem.

First, I changed the phone's micro SD card from a 2GB card to a 16GB card. I then used the phone's backup application to save all my phone data on the SD card. Finally, I proceeded to upgrade from Android 4.2 to Android 5.1, using a downloaded file called B309.zip. The upgrade process worked flawlessly.

However, the backup did not include anything from my contact list. I thought I would be recreating my phone list from scratch, but that didn't happen. I copied all the data from the 2GB SD card to the 16GB card and one of those files was a somewhat older VCF (VCard) file. I imported that file into my contacts list, and I am good to go.

The good news from all this is that the drone app now works. The bad news is I had to redownload my ringtone file (Santana's Black Magic Woman). The phone is now up and fully working.


Quote of the day:

There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.
     Mark Twain

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Thursday, 3 August, 2017

I watch too much YouTube. It gives me too many ideas for impulse purchases. The latest one was for a refurbished Dell Latitude E6510 laptop for $119. It has an Intel i5 CPU, 4GB RAM and a 160GB hard drive. The laptop was shipped on August 1st, and I will let you know how the purchase turned out when it gets here.

And I got bit again. A drone with almost the same capabilities as my DJI Phantom 3, but for $32.99. It does run only on the WiFi frequencies, but I will let you know how much of a problem that is in this area.


Quote of the day:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
     George Bernard Shaw

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother