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December 2008

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

It's Christmas Eve. Time for everyone to stop the everyday boring things they do and celebrate the holiday. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Also, in honor of the holidays (and my vacation), I will not be updating this blog until a week from today. See you all then.


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Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

I like my little netbook computer, but it is really hard to type on. I am doing this blog on the netbook, but I am using a full sized flexible keyboard to type on instead of the smaller netbook keyboard. The only thing the flexible keyboard lacks is a key click. That would help when I miss a keystroke, as you can actually hear when that happens.

Most of the time, I use the netbook to read books or surf the Net, so I spend a lot of time in Firefox. I am using Ubuntu on the netbook and it just works, like a real operating system should do. Like Windows doesn't.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

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Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

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Monday, 22 December 2008

I had a problem the other day with my car. I used it on the day of the big storm (Wednesday) and went through a lot of places with very deep snow. The snow got packed into the rims of the tires and I paid no attention to that. On Saturday, though, I was on the freeway and noticed that every time I went over 52 MPH, one of the wheels would start to shimmy very badly. After some thought, I went to a car wash and clear all the packed snow and ice with the warm rinse spray. I had absolutely no trouble after that.

My auto GPS not only indicates where you are, it also tells you how fast you are going. I compared what it said against what my speedometer said, and came to the conclusion that my snow tires are slightly smaller than the normal tires. That means I have to go 2 MPH faster for a particular speed, and that the MPG meter on the dashboard is indicating a lower reading than it should. Makes me feel much better.


News item reporting will be sparse here this week and next. The holiday seems to interfere with everything.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

Friday, 19 December 2008

Our storm is now officially classified as a blizzard. It took me 1 1/2 hours to get to work yesterday, and I should have stayed home. I got stuck in my Honda twice on the way to work, and once on the way home. One of the problems occurred in the company parking lot! I should have taken the truck instead.

Right now, it is 12° F. With wind chill, that is -2° F. We are supposed to get more snow today. Tomorrow will be very cold (right around 0) but clear. I hope everyone enjoys the last weekend before Christmas, despite the weather.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

Liberty and Security/Our Rights

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Thursday, 18 December 2008

It snowed all day yesterday, so I came home to about a foot of snow. I know it was that much because when I drove the Honda up to my garage, the snow was pushed up over the hood and into the windshield so I could not see where I was going.

I plowed the road last night. The snow is very light because of the temperature (17° F right now) and was easy to push around. That's good, because I will have to plow yet another foot of snow this morning after I finish this blog entry. It is still snowing.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

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Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

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Wednesday, 17 December 2008

At work, I have to document the messages that my SQL Server monitoring service sends to the Windows Application log. That means I have to reproduce the situations that occur for some of them to be produced. Some are easy, like the one that gets sent when the program is unable to delete on of its old log files. Others are very difficult, as the situations in which they are produced are so far out there, they probably can't even be reproduced. Better safe than sorry, though. I have exception processing all over the place in the code, and messages for every exception that could be thrown.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

Liberty and Security/Our Rights

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Tuesday, 16 December 2008

I have finished bug fixing on a project at work. We have gone back to code reviews, so I had to explain the changes I made to a co-worker. That helps a lot, as they usually ask questions about the code that you haven't thought of. We do both this and pair programming. The one problem with pair programming is I am the only one who does C# in the shop, so there is no one for me to pair with when I am doing a C# project.


This morning the temperature is 0° F. With wind chill, that is -13° F. It should get to 10 or 12 today, then up to 17 tomorrow, as we are expecting some snow. All this cold weather is driving the frost line way into the ground, since there isn't much in the way of snow cover at this point. It's also trying to freeze my face off.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

Monday, 15 December 2008

I have had to roll back a computer from Ubuntu 8.10 to Ubuntu 8.04. Betty was having some problems with her computer, so I went over to fix them. I fixed some of the problems, but then I got to a point where the computer would no longer reboot. Even stranger, it wouldn't reboot from a Live Ubuntu 8.10 CD, either. So I reinstalled Ubuntu 8.04 on the machine. Hopefully, she won't have many problems with that.


Thursday, it was in the low to mid 40's here. Sunday morning it was 3° F and with the wind chill, it was -19° F. Quite a change in only a few days.

At least it didn't snow as much as they said it would. I have put the plow on my truck, so I can keep the road and driveway clear. Temperatures are supposed to be in the single digits and teens all this week.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

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Friday, 12 December 2008

It seems that NetFlix has caved in to pressure from the Motion Picture Industry and has withdrawn movies from its database that the industry wants to show on TV. Well, I won't watch them on TV and, since they put a huge major dent in my NetFlix movie queue, I have canceled my NetFlix membership.

I haven't had any food from MacDonalds in 32 years, I won't buy anything from Sony, I won't buy new audio CDs and I almost never buy new DVDs. And now, I won't rent videos from an MPAA stooge. Life is heck, isn't it?


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

Liberty and Security/Our Rights

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Thursday, 11 December 2008

It looks like we will finally get some real snow, starting tomorrow. Then the weather will get cold, with temps below zero by next week. I've been procrastinating on putting the plow on my truck, but I guess I will have to do it tomorrow. All this comes right before the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting on Saturday, too. At least the Honda is set up with snow tires...


I will get back to the Java program I am writing at home, this weekend. I have a plan on how to get rid of the dialog information once I'm done using it. We shall see if it works or not.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

Liberty and Security/Our Rights

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Wednesday, 10 December 2008

At work, I'm trying to track down a bug in the SQL Server monitoring program I wrote. It stops recording events in its log for one particular customer. I looked at this problem earlier and added a lot of exception processing, but the problem is still there. I think I may know what the problem is, but I don't know what triggers the problem, so there is still a lot of work to do.


The last meeting of 2008 of the North Idaho Linux Users Group will be held this Saturday. We haven't got a topic for the meeting, so maybe it will be mostly social.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

Liberty and Security/Our Rights

Other News/Public Stupidity

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

At work, I am evaluating programs written by rent-a-coders. One is a Windows service and one monitors the Windows registry. Neither program is complete or does exactly what our specification says to do. If I was a rent-a-coder and I got a specification for a program, I would follow the spec, not write what I think the requester wanted. I have more of this to do today.

These programs are written in Delphi and C++. C# is out of the question because that would require .Net and distribution of that to thousands of PCs is out of the question.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

Liberty and Security/Our Rights

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Monday, 8 December 2008

I have gotten the new screen layouts working in the main window of the program I am writing at home. Now I need to figure out how to erase them once I am done with them. I am using a Java layout manager called GridBoxLayout, which is hard to use but fairly flexible. It allows me to divide the display area into grid cells and to specify which cell a particular component will be displayed in. It also allows for cell spanning and positioning within the cells. it all seems to work fairly well, but not with the degree of control you can get from placement by pixel.


I spent part of my weekend as a plumber, replacing the kitchen faucet. It was a tough job, but now I no longer have a 24 year old faucet that leaks.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

Liberty and Security/Our Rights

Other News/Public Stupidity

Friday, 5 December 2008

I have been working on my home program and have managed to display the components that used to be on a separate dialog onto the main window. Unfortunately, no matter which Java layout manager I chose, the components are displayed in Flow Layout, which is the default layout for the JPanel I am using in the display area. I will keep working on it. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that the software setting up the display is in a separate class from the main Console Manager class.


I don't really like parties, but I have to go to one tonight. The company Christmas party is held, once again, at the Coeur d'Alene Resort. I will go, but I will use the first opportunity to escape from it. Maybe Brad will show up in formal dress shorts instead of the ones he wears to work in winter.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

Liberty and Security/Our Rights

Other News/Public Stupidity

Thursday, 4 December 2008

I have finally put snow tires on my Honda Civic. It doesn't take that long to actually do the job. What takes up the time is pulling out everything from the garage, then putting it all away again. Anyway, one car down and one to go.

I have installed an omnidirectional TV antenna so I can get broadcast digital TV signals better. It works pretty well, but it is powered and the power needs to be applied fairly close to the antenna itself. I need to supply power outside the house close to the antenna, which won't be easy. Right now, I'm using a 25 foot extension cord from the front porch.


Don't read the Coeur d'Alene Press web site. They pay no attention to their readers. They still have popover ads that cover up stories. They still have stories with text using Unicode characters. The web site is a mess. While you're at it, you should stop reading their newspaper, too. They have less in the way of real news than any other local paper.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

Liberty and Security/Our Rights

Other News/Public Stupidity

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

I installed the latest Ubuntu Linux (8.10) on a friend's machine yesterday. She had Ubuntu 8.04 on it and had noticed dropouts when she played music on the system. I booted into Ubuntu 8.10 Live and played the same music with no dropouts. This can happen when the hardware is newer than the operating system and the O/S hasn't had a chance to catch up to it.

The hardest part of the install was reinstalling all the extra programs she had installed. If there had been a way to do an upgrade instead of a complete install, I would have chosen it. I could find no way to do that, though. All the installs went fine, but there were a few I missed. Betty will have to find them and install them herself.


I don't often have trouble with NetFlix discs, but I got one yesterday that I just can't play. I looked at it and it doesn't look scratched in the area I am trying to play. I will try again today, and may have to report it as damaged and send it back. No big deal, except the time wasted shipping the first disk.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

Liberty and Security/Our Rights

Other News/Public Stupidity

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

I have started the new version of the program I am writing at home. And I promise not to start it over again. I have redone the menu code and it is now much shorter and easier to understand. I have hooked up the only separate dialogs the program will have - the login dialog and the about box. I have imported all the other dialog. The controls themselves will still be used, but putting them on the display surface will change, as that surface is now a tab page on the main window instead of a dialog box.

I can't start changing those dialogs until I figure out what layout manager I want to use (box, border, card, flow, grid, group, none, etc). I will be doing that today.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

Liberty and Security/Our Rights

Other News/Public Stupidity

Monday, 1 December 2008

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend. I know I did. I had Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, and another one on Sunday. That was really nice.

I did something different on Black Friday. Instead of getting up at some ungodly hour in the morning to be in line at 5am so I could get into the store at 6am, I got up at 6am and drove on over to Cabela's (opens at 6am). I got there at 7am, and went in to look for the two items I was interested in. They had plenty of both, so I bought them and then shopped around a bit. I then went over to Radio Shack (opens at 6am) and got there at 8am. The two items I was looking for were still in stock, so I bought them and then went home. Fancy that - a Black Friday with no early morning hassles.


I've been thinking about the program I've been working on at home. Instead of duplicating the 1990's interface we developed for it, I have decided to bring it in to the 21st century and do a different interface. I'll be using tabbed pages instead of separate dialogs. This makes it easier to convert over to a web page interface, as well as providing something useful for the main window to do (it did nothing before).


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

RIAA/MPAA/IFPI/BSA/SIIA/FCC

Stupid Patent Tricks, Copyright and Other IP Nonsense

Liberty and Security/Our Rights

Other News/Public Stupidity