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december 2004

Friday, 31 December, 2004

Well, I made one more small change and it screwed up one of the computers. I moved the TV card from my mom's machine to my dad's machine, and now his machine won't even go into the BIOS checks. I removed the card and it still doesn't work. I guess I will be troubleshooting today.

I hope everyone has a Happy and safe New Year.


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Thursday, 30 December, 2004

Well, I got most of what I scheduled completed. I loaded Linux onto my nephew's Dell laptop and the only thing left to do there is to load the latest Nvidia driver.

Instead of getting a new case for my dad's old HP Windows box (which costs a LOT in Lake Havasu), I got a new power supply for it. It now acts like a new machine.

The only thing I haven't done is fix my mom's old machine that went belly up. I'm going to take it with me and fix it when I get home.


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Wednesday, 29 December, 2004

Ok, here's where I am right now:

Here is what's left to do:

I think this might be what they call a 'working vacation'. ;-)


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Well, the fun never stops. One of my sisters brought her computer over to be 'fixed'. She's been using it on the Internet with no firewall, no adware/spyware killers, and it has slowed to a crawl.

Monday, 27 December, 2004

I wiped out her entire disk drive and installed SuSE Linux 9.2 Professional on it, just like my parents machines. She has a dial-up connection, so I had to configure that.

She will be using her machine to do business stuff, including bookkeeping.

Now I am making copies of DVDs and CDs - My mom also wants Fedora Core 3 on her machine.


Here's some good news about our least favorite software company: The judge has ordered that the SCO/Daimler-Chrysler lawsuit be dropped, and that SCO Must Pay DC's Costs & Attys Fees If It Refiles!

In related news, SCO's stock is down to 4.69.


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Friday, 24 December, 2004

I've been very busy today installing the latest version of SuSE Linux onto my parents computers. This is the first free moment I've had to update this log.

The new version of Linux went into their machines very smoothly. My dad really appreciates the fact that he now has Firefox to use as a web browser, and he was really impressed with Evolution version 2. I set up both machines to play DVDs and to rip MP3s. So now I can rest.

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, 21 December, 2004

My new dual-layer DVD-ROM writer is a Digital Max 16x. Just for those who were curious.


I have reloaded SuSE Linux 9.2 Professional on my notebook computer. Too many missing and non-working items in Fedora Core 3.

I did the reload a bit differently this time. I hooked the notebook up to my network and transferred my home directory to the server. I then blew away all the partitions on the notebook and started completely over. After the reload was complete, I hooked up to the network again and downloaded the home directory contents.

I also correctly installed the rpm files for pre-recorded DVD support, and I can now play a DVD on the notebook. I wouldn't really want to do it, though, as the DVD drive is hooked up to the USB and that channel really isn't fast enough for real time DVD playback.


I talked to one of my brothers over the weekend. He has been using the Red Hat Linux distribution for quite a while. He is switching to SuSE 9.2 Professional, as he can get it from where he works. So much for Microsoft in the workplace. ;-)


I will not be making any updates on this web site until Friday, as I will not have an Internet connection until then.


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I tried out my dual-layer DVD writer this weekend. I had only one DVD+R DL disc, so I tried using the DVD writer to burn a single layer DVD first. That worked fine, so I put the SuSE 9.2 DVD in the old DVD drive and the DVD+R DL in the new drive and started up Nero to copy the DVD by using an iso image.

Monday, 20 December, 2004

It was late Friday night, so I just let it run overnight. 10 hours later, it had burned 6% of the disk. 11 hours it was still at 6%. Definitely got hung up (stinking Windows). So I ended up tossing a 10 dollar DVD+R DL in the trash.

Sunday, I went over to Best Buy and picked up 3 more of the DVD+R DL discs. This time, I did a drive to drive copy and it went perfectly. So the drive does work, and I'm a happy camper. But the price for the media has GOT to come down.


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Friday, 17 December, 2004

"Don't worry about the Federal deficit. That's your kids' problem." --
"It's far better to put a fence at the top of a cliff instead of an ambulance at the bottom." --

I installed the dual-layer DVD writer in my main Linux box, but I haven't had a chance to use it yet. I will be doing a DVD tonight for my parents that uses the dual-layer capabilities, but will do it under Windows using Nero. Linux doesn't support dual-layer yet.

I also looked at a couple of distros I picked up. One was an Ubuntu Live CD. I can see why people are taken with it. It lacks a lot of applications, but it is a clean and well-done CD.

The other disk I looked at is the SAM Xmas Fun. That is a Live CD (debian based) that contains a load of games. It is a cool distro.


I am installing Fedora Core 3 on my notebook to see if it has better wireless support than SuSE 9.2. When I got to the part of the install where it reboots, the computer hung up on the Grub loader.

So I got out the Knoppix Hacks book, booted into Knoppix and fixed the Grub loader on the hard disk. Easy as 1, 2, 3.

The next problem I had was the user home directory. Since I was using the home partition from the old SuSE environment, The owner was not set up correctly for Fedora. I had to log in as root and set new owners for the directory. After that, Fedora worked fine.

I'll let you know what I think of the distro.


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Thursday, 16 December, 2004

I am removing the SCO Watch section from the news items I track. Thanks in large part to the proactive stance of open source adherents and web support sites such as Groklaw, the SCO lawsuits are dead issues. Expect to see SCO on the trash heap soon. Much ado about nothing.


I hope to update my other web site over Christmas. It will be nice to get the thing active again, with updated free software and glyphs.

Newer programs on the site will have not only an executable, but will also have the source code. It will be released under the GPL. Look to this site for more info soon.


A friend of mine at work gave me a DVD of Fedora Core 3 (thanks, Sean). I'm thinking of loading it on my laptop. It seem to work really great on his laptop. Maybe it supports my LinkSys WiFi card better than SuSE.

I also picked up a 16x DVD dual layer writer this morning. I can now create full DVDs of long DVDs, but the media is kind of pricy right now.


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Wednesday, 15 December, 2004

I have finished my Christmas CD. I am listening to it right now. Sounds good. Chimpmunks Roasting on an Open Fire; I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus, etc.


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Tuesday, 14 December, 2004

I am building an MP3 CD that contains Christmas songs from about 12 albums. It will have some 'ordinary' holiday stuff on it, like A Mannheim Steamroller Christmas and The Nutcracker. It will also have a lot of crazy Christmas songs on it, like Santa Claus and His Old Lady, Christmas at Ground Zero, I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. Goed stuff to play at work.


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Monday, 13 December, 2004

The NILUG meeting was great and well-attended. I made 5 Knoppix 3.6 CDs to give away on Saturday, only to discover on Saturday morning that Knoppix 3.7 was released. I still got rid of the 3.6 disks.

I got a lot of CDs and DVDs burned over the weekend, too.


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Friday, 10 December, 2004

I'm all set for Christmas. I went down to a basket store in Coeur d'Alene and ordered 6 gift baskets. That should take care of anyone who shows up at my parents house for Christmas.

This is the first time in years I will not be doing any last minute shopping. Feels good.


We should have between 6 and 10 people at the North Idaho Linux User Group meeting tomorrow. I will make up about 4 Knoppix disks for those who are interested. And I will be taking my Knoppix Hacks book along.


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Thursday, 9 December, 2004

Our North Idaho Linux Users Group meets on Saturday. I will make up a few copies of the new Knoppix 3.6 CD to give out at the meeting. I may also try to get the latest Mepis Linux and hand it out.

What I would really like is a copy of Xandros 3.0. I think it might work slightly better on my notebook than SuSE 9.2 does. I will still SuSE on all my other machines, though. I really like that O/S.


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Wednesday, 8 December, 2004

I have completed everything on the Beaudry Motorsports web site except Suzuki. That will be the most time-consuming upgrade, since they have the most motorcycle models.

I even rearranged the front page by request of Steve Beaudry. It is now fixed width - fixed everything.


I have downloaded and burnt a copy of Knoppix 3.6. It's the first version of Knoppix I could get to work on my notebook computer.

The reason I got it working is a book I picked up the other day at Borders. The book is called 'Knoppix Hacks'. It consists of 100 hacks you can perform with or to Knoppix. Some of the included hacks are running a remote desktop, editing the Windows registry, resizing Linux partitions and installing Knoppix as a single boot or multi-boot system. This is a great book.


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Tuesday, 7 December, 2004

My friend, former co-worker and former boss, Thomas R. Wood, Jr., passed away on Saturday in Colorado Springs, CO. He suffered from numerous malignant tumors of which none of his friends were aware until a few weeks ago.

Tom was the kind of person who was never satisfied with having something that worked. He always wanted to know how the device worked. For instance, back in the first days of microcomputers, Tom bought a high speed dot matrix printer. The first thing he did when he got the thing home was to take it apart. When he saw the printer engine was an 8080 CPU with firmware in EPROMs, he took the EPROMs out and disassembled the firmware. He then fixed a few problems in the code and sent his fixes to the manufacturer.

Tom's exploits didn't always end in such a happy manner. I think that he went through about three automatic coffee brewers before he decided not to disassemble them. I don't know how his wife Ruth put up with that.

Tom was a good guy to work for. When he realized that I was unhappy as a supervisor for 26 other QA people, he found an opportunity to get me back into programming, analysis and testing. One of things I regret about leaving the Bay Area 20 years ago is that I could no longer hang with my good friends, of which Tom was one.

Even though I lost touch with the Woods in the last few years, I will still miss Tom. I wish his wife Ruth and his children Jeff and Kathy all my condolences.

Monday, 6 December, 2004

I got a lot done over the weekend. Re-cut a couple of DVDs, created a new MP3 disc, added more to the Beaudry Motorsports web site and even plowed snow.

I also finished up the latest Clive Cussler novel about Dirk Pitt - Trojan Odyssey. I think Dirk Pitt has just been retired from the ranks of the action-adventure genre.


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Friday, 3 December, 2004

I hope to finish up the Beaudry Motorsports web site update this weekend. It should be a good time to do it, as we will be getting 3 to 6 inches of snow. Nice to time to stay inside.


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Thursday, 2 December, 2004

I'm trying to finish up our Java calculator. When I get it finished, I'll post it either here or over on the Rimrock Software web site.

As to those of you who heard my inflammatory thoughts about Java - it just goes to show how you can change your mind about things. I no longer have any objections to Java as a programming language. I DO still have objections to the Mt. Everest pile of classes and class libraries that have attached themselves to the language. Which is why I am investigating libraries such as Spring, which offers lightweight solutions to many Java problems.


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Wednesday, 1 December, 2004

When I began building another PC, I was going to give it to my parents as a Christmas present to replace one of the really lame HP computers they have. But then I decided that their machines were working, so I would keep the new machine for myself.

I talked to my parents last night, and they told me my mom's HP gave up the ghost. They had two power brownouts within 15 minutes and, even though the machine was plugged into a UPS, the power supply gave up and just quit.

I could probably get a new power supply for the thing, but I really don't like HP hardware, so it will be going to the recyclers.

So my parents are getting a new computer for Christmas. I hope to strip as much as I can from their dead dog before I trashcan the thing.


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