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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

December 2010

Friday, 31 December 2010

I just this minute got home from Lake Havasu City, AZ - for those of you who hadn't guessed I was not here. The trip back was eventful and I will probably say something about it here on Monday. In the meantime, I just want to take the opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year. Take care and don't overdo the holiday.



 

Silly sign of the day:

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

I Have pretty much gotten over my Christmas cold. I may have enough energy to go back to work on the soccer program, but I'm not counting on it. Instead, I think I will check out the USB storage drives I got for Christmas. See if I can fill one of them up.



 

I will be away from an Internet connection for Wednesday, and Thursday and Friday, so don't expect any blog entries for those two days.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Monday, 27 December 2010

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas. I did, but I caught a cold last week and I was mostly laying down and sleeping over the weekend. I'm getting better now, but my brain is still running on slow.

I ended up with 3TB of backup storage for my computers - two USB drives. That will pretty much solve any backup problems I have. I also got some good books to read.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Friday, 24 December 2010

I got lured away from the keyboard this morning, so the blog entry is really late. We were talking about obsidian and where it occurs. I know that sounds weird, but it was interesting. And it gives me something to say here, as I have nothing else to say.



 

Since Christmas is tomorrow, I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I hope you get exactly what you deserve.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Thursday, 23 December 2010

I've been updating computers. I reinstalled Ubuntu 10.04 on a computer, after its owner accidentally tried to upgrade to 10.10 and the upgrade got screwed up. I also installed Linux Mint 10 on a laptop for someone else, and installed it in a virtual machine for that person.

I've also been doing a lot of upgrades. I upgraded VirtualBox on the machine I installed Linux Mint 10 as a VM on, then I upgraded the VirtualBox add-ins for the VMs on that machine. The upgrade allowed us to assign more than one processor to a VM, which is nice when you have 4 processors sitting around spinning their wheels. More upgrading is to come, so the story is not over.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

When I get a chance, I will be working on the soccer programs help files. I think I may have all the pages done at least as a skeleton without any textual content. That content is what I need to add. The help should be actual information that actually helps a user. I include a tutorial on how to set up and use the soccer program as part of that.

I won't be doing any real programming until next year. Part of the reason is I need to finish my Christmas shopping first. That gets more complicated every year, and it did this year, too. I will work it out, though.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

I have this week off from work, so I am taking it easy. That means the blog postings will usually be late, instead of the ungodly hour of 6am. I think everyone should have the week before Christmas off, but that's not real practical. So we make do with what we have.



 

I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but the number of Linux news links posted here has gone up over the last couple of years. I started with doing about 5 links and sometimes there wasn't enough news to even do 5 links. I now try to do 6 links, but there is always more that needs to be linked to. So enjoy the bounty - the more people talk about Linux, the less they will complain about Windows.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Friday, 17 December 2010

On my way to work yesterday morning, I was pulled over by a Rathdrum cop. He came up to the car and said "Good morning. How are you this morning?" and I said "I'm fine but I'm perplexed as to why you pulled me over." He said it was because I ran one of the three stop signs in the vicinity of Lancaster and Huetter Roads. I said "Three signs? There are only two and I stopped at both of them." He said there was one at the railroad tracks on Lancaster, one on Lancaster at Huetter and one at the railroad tracks on Huetter. I said "I dispute that. There is no stop sign on Lancaster at Huetter. There is one on Huetter at Lancaster, but I was turning onto Huetter, not onto Lancaster." He took my license and registration and made his little radio call. When he came back he said he was wrong, apologized and let me go on my way. The problem is this: did he make a legitimate mistake, or was this a slim excuse to "check my papers"?



 

I will not have access to a computer on Monday, so my next blog entry will be on Tuesday.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The North Idaho Mineral Club is holding a pot luck dinner tonight to celebrate the holidays. I spent last night making the dish I will bring to the dinner, so I didn't get much else done..



 

I exported a virtual machine from this workstation, then imported it to my 64-bit workstation. That went great - I can now work on the soccer program on the 64-bit workstation.

I have a single problem left over from upgrading all my machines to Linux Mint 10. When I backed up my home directory, there was a piece of it that could not be backed up, as it is owned by root. That is the area where I construct a distribution package for gdvdslides. Since that are was not saved on the backup, it is no longer on this workstation. Luckily, it is on the 64-bit workstation, so I will have to copy it back from there. I will also have to create written instructions on how to do all the compiling for that program, as it's been so long I can't remember how to do it.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Project Gutenberg has been around since 1971, way before there was an Internet. It's goal is to provide out of copyright literature in electronic form to everyone. At first, the literature was provided in plain vanilla ASCII form, but since then other formats have been added. Any and all literature that is out of copyright is added to the Gutenberg archives, and anyone can download any of it for free.

I have downloaded Gutenberg books in the past, including works by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. Since I got my Nook eBook reader, I have stepped up my use of the archive. I have discovered their science fiction titles. Not just H.G. Wells' works but authors such as Andre Norton, Philip Jose Farmer, E.E. 'Doc' Smith and Alan E. Nourse.

Last night I downloaded all the science fiction stories that Gutenberg had archived that were written by Murray Leinster. Most of these are short stories, but they are very entertaining anyway. I urge you to try the Project Gutenberg archives if you are a fan of science fiction, a reader of mysteries, or just a voracious reader in general.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

At work for the past couple of weeks, we have been doing some major database work to get our database queries to run faster. I finished my contribution and started testing the results. I ran into a problem when I tried to upgrade a virtual machine to the new changes, when the database on the VM was big (26GB). We have been trying for the past week to come up with an upgrade approach that will solve the problem, but have been unsuccessful.

Since we can't get the upgrade to work, we will have to roll back the database schema changes. This means that I will have to remove the pieces of the code I added to support the schema changes to the database. I will leave in the other pieces I added to make the queries faster, though. These include adding a WHERE clause to some of the compound SQL statements we create, and only sending SQL statements to the database if they haven't been sent before (there are a ton of duplicate statements in a simple search). I hope we will be finished with that by the end of today. It's getting too close to Christmas for us to be making these major changes, but they must be done.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Monday, 13 December 2010

I am working on the help for the soccer program. I added six pages to the HTML help. That means every page needed a new menu. I was going to fix that requirement by re-doing the web pages using frames, but frames is such a pain and so hard to use that it isn't worth the effort.

The new pages are a tutorial on how to get started, how to use the program during the soccer season and how to use it at the end of the season. I lifted the text for it from the old soccer program help file, but that text needs to be redone, so I still have a lot of editing to do. In the meantime, I also have another dialog to write.



 

We had the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting on Saturday. We did a pizza lunch that was very successful. We also discussed the future of the group, as it currently has no officers and no focus. If it is to survive, we need to have someone who can provide the focus and stimulate interest.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Friday, 10 December 2010

Late post today, as there is no power at my house. So I woke up about when I should have been at work, with no power, no water, no phone, no computer, etc. I got dressed and when I opened the front door, I was greeted with 8" of wet snow. That meant a session with the snow plow before I could even drive to work. The snow was very hard to push, so that took longer than it should have. I finally showed up here at work an hour and ten minutes late.

I will add the news links when I get home tonight, if I have power at that point.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Thursday, 9 December 2010

I have completed the upgrade of my workstation to a better partition layout. I installed the Citrix client software last night with no problems. I also fixed a VirtualBox problem. When VirtualBox installs, it adds an entry to the Gnome menu. The problem is, it does not show up after you reboot the computer. I created a manual entry and now the menu item always appears.

I suspect that the menu problem occurs because I am using Linux Mint, but not using the Linux Mint default menu system (which is the lamest thing since Microsoft Vista). I should have added the default menu system back to see if the entry was in that system, but I don't want to mess up my configuration. I don't have any problems with any other program installing itself in the menu system, so I will just leave things as they are.



 

The development team at work is having its picture taken tomorrow. We will all be dressed in black T-shirts and black jeans with sunglasses. Think 'black hats' in security.

Three of the team are remote, and they will be coming in for the picture. There is one in north central Washington, one in Lewiston and one in North Carolina. As you can tell, this is a big deal. It also coincides with the company Christmas party, which is tomorrow evening.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

I took the night off last night and went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1. By far, it is the Harry Potter movie that follows the book most closely. It's also pretty depressing, since all the good stuff will happen in Part 2. I'm looking forward to seeing that next summer.

I am doing some Christmas shopping - mostly on the Internet. Last weekend I went around to all the local stores that might have what I was looking for, and they didn't have the item. I even stooped low enough to look in Best Buy and Walmart. No joy there. So I went online and ordered the item from Newegg. It should be here in the next or two.

I also got a couple of items from Amazon. One was for me: the graphic novel V for Vendetta. I am halfway through it. The story does not completely match the movie, and I think I may like the movie story line better. Maybe that's because I saw the movie before I read the novel.



 

Silly sign of the day:



 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

I finished up with the programs installation for my workstation install. I verified that VirtualBox was installed correctly and works fine (see below). I configured gpodder to pick up the latest podcasts and place them in the same directory I was using before I flattened the workstation. The only thing I did not install was Amarok. I am not too happy with version 2 of that program and I will investigate alternative music players.

I also did not install the Citrix client for Firefox. I will have to do that tonight, as I need to be able to use my work computer from home.



 

I added a letters dialog to the soccer program. Apart from the about dialog, this is the easiest dialog I have done for the program. There is now only one dialog left to do for the program, then I have to do the printing setups.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Monday, 6 December 2010

I finished up the player statistics dialog in the soccer program by fixing how statistics are displayed and by doing a n accurate count of the number of games played by the selected player. I was going to move on to another dialog, but decided this was a good place to stop and do some other things. So I went off to rip an ISO of a movie I had just purchased, so I could more easily view it. I was not successful in that for several reasons detailed below.



 

When I first set up this workstation, at least 5 years ago, I installed a 200GB hard drive and partitioned the drive how I thought would be the best way to do that at the time. I partitioned the drive into a 12GB partition for the root, a 1.6GB partition for swap, a 12GB partition for var, a 12GB partition for usr and the rest of the drive became a partition for home. That apportionment worked fine for the last 5 years, but it has become problematic in the last couple of weeks.

My major problem was when I ripped DVDs. The k9copy program used the /tmp directory (in the root partition) as temporary storage. I started running out of room in that directory as I was ripping a DVD, so I tried everything I could think of to reduce the amount of information in the root partition. I was not successful, so I changed the temp directory to one in my home directory, where I had 65GB of free space. That worked until I came across a Dreamworks DVD. It seems that Disney and its connected companies don't want their DVDs copied by the people who bought and own them, so they scramble the order of the VOB files. This causes k9copy to take a long time to rip the DVD and, I found out on Saturday, it causes a huge set of ripped files to be created.

I let the ripping run overnight Saturday night and when I checked on the progress Sunday morning, it had run out of disk space. So I decided on two things: never to buy another Disney DVD and to fix the problem of running out of space on a hard disk with plenty of room.

I determined that the only way I could easily get access to the empty space in my other partitions is to reformat and layout the entire disk again. With that in mind, I decided to back up the home directory to network attached storage. There was 74GB of data in the home partition, and it took over 8 hours to copy it to the NAS drive. Once that was done, I installed the 32-bit version Linux Mint 10 to the hard disk, with a root partition of 30GB, a 2GB swap and the rest as the home partition. That took a very short amount of time, but then I had to download and install updates, and download and install some of the programs I use that are not defaults in the Linux Mint distribution (I'm still not finished doing that). I then started copying the home directory contents back to the newly created home directory. I started that at 5pm Sunday evening and it just now finished (6:15am Monday morning). One reason it took so much longer than the backup is that it quit copying when it got to within 20GB of being finished because of a bad file. I skipped the bad file and went on.

So I now have a newly installed system where the root partition is only 15% full, but the home partition is 49% full. We will see how long that lasts. If this problem happens again, I will get a larger hard drive and do a clonezilla on it.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Friday, 3 December 2010

I finished the player statistics dialog in the soccer program last night. Only two problems remain: how new statistics are displayed and an accurate count of the total number of games played.

When (if) I finish all these visual dialogs, I will have to go through the program again and do all the print dialogs. I have no experience in that area, so I will have to read up on how to do those. The Delphi QReports component uses a band metaphor which I am not familiar with, so I hope I can find some documentation on that component that explains how to use it.



 

I'm hoping it is fairly warm (above freezing) this weekend, so I can finish up some chores. I need to move 2 feet of snow off of my Dodge, for one. And I am almost finished with the workbench, so I want to complete it and move my rock saws onto it. can't do that if I have to go inside every 15 minutes to warm up.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Thursday, 2 December 2010

I worked on the soccer program last night. I am still doing the player statistics dialog. The relationships are complex, so it's the toughest dialog I have done for the program. Once I get the relationships down, it should work out well. I need to ensure that each player is only listed once, and that when a player is selected, the statistics for that player are displayed for all the games the player has played.



 

After I went to work yesterday, there was a much larger power failure here at the house. The clocks were all messed up and the DVR was off. I also discovered that when the power came back on, my router assigned a new IP address to my HDHomeRun tuner, so I could not watch any TV on the DVR until I modified the MythTV backend configuration. It's a good thing I know what I'm doing when it comes to that stuff. A normal person might not be able to figure that out.

The radio in the computer room also goes wonky when there is a power failure. It's electronic and things like the current station and volume are stored as long as the radio has power. I have to re-assigned those after every power failure. What a pain.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I woke up this morning a few minutes ahead of my alarm, because the power went off, then back on. A power failure like that causes the Bose entertainment system in the bedroom to cycle through its CDs, so that sound woke me up. As far as I could tell, the blackout was for only a few seconds.

A bit later, as I was standing in front of the stove cooking breakfast, we had another power failure. That one lasted just long enough for me to wonder how I would cook breakfast with no power. Since then, nothing has happened, but I have unplugged my NAS so it won't power up if we have another failure. Sometimes it's not so cool to live out in the boonies.



 

We have a split at work concerning technology. There are basically two kinds of people there: Apple zombies and the rest of us. The zombies eat up anything Apple throws at them, no matter what. They've got to have their Apple fix, just like a zombie needs blood. Of course, that's all to Apple's benefit, but the zombies are ignorant of other (better, in my opinion) technologies.

If they want to spend all their available cash on all things Apple, that's fine with me. I just should be careful when I disparage their favorite technology.



 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

 

Local/Other News/Security Theater