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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

December 2013

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

When I got home from Arizona on Sunday, I plugged this workstation in and discovered that the sound no longer worked. I tried to use my bluetooth speakers, but the bluetooth connection in Linux Mint 14.1 is problematic. I have decided to install Linux Mint 16 on this machine, to keep up with LM distros and to see if bluetooth will work better in version 16.

In order to do a re-install, I need to write down the packages that I have installed that are not part of the install disk's packages. After the install, I will then re-install all those programs. So things like KeePasx, Handbrake and Chrome will be available to me after the install.


 

I ordered a multi-rotor R/C copter the other day. This one is not quite a quad-copter - it has four motors, but two of the blades are in the same cage. The video shows how it flies. I am amazed at the progress that has been done on R/C helicopters since I first saw one fly in 1972.

I have figured out how some of these online hobby shops can afford to sell at such low prices. The copter I ordered ended up costing almost twice the list price - most of that extra cost is the 'price' of shipping from China. So how come my LED light strip, which cost $7.50, only cost $1.50 in postage to ship from China. I smell ripoff.


 

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year. I will resume posting here on Thursday.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 30 December 2013

For the past eleven days, I have been out of town. It takes two days for me to drive down to Lake Havasu City, AZ and two days to drive back. I went down to spend Christmas with my dad and one of my sisters. I enjoyed the visit, but 60° F isn't quite the same as 30° F with snow on the ground. I was kind of glad to get back.

I spent a lot of time while I was down there backing up DVD movies. Since my dad's hearing is not so good, I also add a closed caption track to each backed up movie. That is pretty easy to do with Handbrake, so I did it to at least 60 of his movies. Should make the movies more enjoyable for him.

On the way back, I got a cell phone call while I was between Blackfoot, ID and Idaho Falls. They rang twice and then hung up. I did not recognize the number, so I googled the area code. It was 473, which is the area code for Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. I did some more googling and found that these are prank spammers. They only let the phone ring twice and then hang up. If you answer or call them back, you get to hear someone breathing. Big whoopie. It's an example that demonstrates why you should not answer the phone if you don't recognize the phone number.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 27 December 2013

I discovered that the Logitech M325 mouse is a laser mouse, which makes it a must-have for those who need a new mouse. I don't know why they decided to stop mentioning that fact on their ads or packaging, but a laser mouse will work on any surface, unlike a regular optical mouse. To top it off, Staples has them on sale for 1/2 off. I'm going to pick one up.

I found out it was a laser mouse by looking at the warranty and warning information on one. There were warnings about laser light in there, so it must be a laser mouse. It certainly works like one.


 

It turns out that my DVD of Marvel's The Avengers is completely broken. It will not play all the way through in either Mplayer or on a normal DVD player. I will have to either replace the DVD or get it another way.

I thought I had found that one of the files was the complete movie in the right order, but I was wrong. Thanks again, Marvel. If I can do you any misdeed, please don't hesitate to ask me.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 26 December 2013

I received a copy of Marvel's The Avengers for Christmas, and Marvel has done a Disney on the movie. But they've gone one or two steps better than Disney. When I attempted to back the movie up to my hard drive, Handbrake told me there were 93 files to it, all the same size: 2 hours and 22 minutes. I backed one of those up and found it was broken up into non-contiguous sections of the movie, just like Disney does to some of their movies.

So my alternative is to record it on the fly with VLC. I popped it into VLC and the program crashed. VLC will not play Marvel's The Avengers at all. Way to go, Marvel. So I tried to back up the movie using k9copy and it crashed, too. The only way I can even watch the movie is with the old Mplayer app, which is no longer installed in Linux as of Linux Mint 16.

So I want thank Marvel for their thoughtfulness when it comes to Linux users (who eat their comics up, by the way). Personally, I will never buy a Marvel-distributed movie or even comic. I urge others to do the same.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

After reading all the nasty things about the NSA in the last few months, I just finished watching Sneakers again and I can believe that they actually do those kinds of things. That movie was filmed in 1992 and it is scary look into the kinds of things that are happening today.


 

Tomorrow is Christmas Day, so there will be no posting here. I hope that everyone has a good Christmas, or whatever you celebrate at this time of the year.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 23 December 2013

Have you ever ordered food that you thought cost one price, then were made to pay another price when you got to the cashier? That happened to me the other day. I never go into Subway anymore, as I don't like the fact that to cut prices, they cut down on the amount of meat in a sandwich. But I had my mouth set for a tuna sandwich, so I went in to a Subway.

The first thing I discovered is they don't serve tuna sandwichs there. So I went with the old standby - their BMT. It was supposed to be $4.85, but when I got to the cashier, it was $5.65. What is that about? The sandwich was the same as always, so I guess I can't complain too much. But it will be a long time until I go into a Subway shop again.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 20 December 2013

Have you ever ordered food that you thought cost one price, then were made to pay another price when you got to the cashier? That happened to me the other day. I never go into Subway anymore, as I don't like the fact that to cut prices, they cut down on the amount of meat in a sandwich. But I had my mouth set for a tuna sandwich, so I went in to a Subway.

The first thing I discovered is they don't serve tuna sandwichs there. So I went with the old standby - their BMT. It was supposed to be $4.85, but when I got to the cashier, it was $5.65. What is that about? The sandwich was the same as always, so I guess I can't complain too much. But it will be a long time until I go into a Subway shop again.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

I drug out my original ViewSonic tablet and ran it. I went to the Settings where I could do a factory reset on it, as I wanted to give it to someone else. When the tablet rebooted after reseting, it hung up. I guess it is bricked and I will not be giving it to anyone. I will try to unbrick it today, but I don't hold out much hope for it.


 

When I fill up my Honda Civic Hybrid, I reset the trip odometer so I can determine how many miles I go on a tank of gas and what the MPG is. Yesterday, I filled it up at a gas station on the top of a hill. By the time I got down to the freeway, the MPG indicator said I was getting 109 MPG! Too bad you also have to go uphill.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 16 December 2013

I had a tiring weekend. Activities on both days. The last ever Trigeo Christmas party was on Saturday and it lasted from 5pm to 10pm. By the time we left, the road home was very slick. I'm glad I don't drink and can pay close attention to the roads.

On Sunday, I went over to Otis Orchards to attend a combination Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner. The only problem with that was they were watching football games and I don't do football. No interest at all in it, except if Seattle ever gets in the Superbowl.


 

There will be no new postings here for a couple of days. I hope to resume posting on Thursday.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 13 December 2013

What would you think of a business that bills semi-annually and has decided not to send out invoices? And never sent a notice to their customers stating that this is what they were doing? This has happened to us - the North Idaho Mineral Club has a storage unit for lots of rock, and the owner of the units has decided that spending money on stamps to notify their customers they owe money is a waste. So they lock us out of the unit until we pay up. Sounds like ransoming to me. I am going to suggest to the membership that we change storage unit companies.


 

The Indiegogo campaign I contributed to has 11 days to run. They asked for £90,000 and have been pledged £103,317. I suspect they will end up with at least 50% more than they requested. I contributed because I like all the founders as writers, and they have produced very good copy in the past.


 

In most cases, WinCo has better food prices than Super 1 Foods. There are exceptions, however. At Super 1 Foods, all the hot peppers they sell are $2.98 a pound. At WinCo, they are $1.48 a pound except the red chiles, which are an astounding $6.98 a pound. Why is that?


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

It's going to be a busy weekend - there are three events I will attend. First is the monthly meeting of the North Idaho Linux Users Group in Post Falls on Saturday. That night, the final ever Christmas party for the (former) employees of Trigeo (Solarwinds) will take place. On Sunday, I am going to a delayed Thanksgiving dinner, which will also serve as a Christmas dinner. No classic car stuff at all until the spring.


 

I ran a lot of errands yesterday, but I also need to run some today. So both days will be devoured by locusts.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Since I am no longer the treasurer of the North Idaho Mineral Club, I have to transfer over my responsibilities to the next treasurer. I have started that by sending the membership lists to the new president. I have to transfer check signing responsibility to the new officers by going to the bank today. I am sharing the membership files with the president, but I'm not sure if the treasurer has an email address, so I will have to find out from him.


 

The Indiegogo campaign that I contributed to for the new Linux Voice magazine has met and exceeded its target goal. There are still 14 days left and they are at £94,570 when their target was £90,000. This means they are really going to take my money and I will really get six months of the new magazine.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

I have finished going through the Camp-cook.com web site, skimming for new recipes for the addendum of the original cookbook. I have incorporated all the new recipes into the addendum. Since I will be distributing the addendum in March, all I have to do now is monitor the web site and pick up any new recipes that show up in the next 3 months. That will be very easy to do - even though it's the opposite of my usual procrastination mode.


 

I know I said I wouldn't talk about the weather, but it has turned around. It is currently 21° F and there is a light dusting of snow on the ground. That is much, much better than 0° F and 15 mph winds.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 9 December 2013

I am working on the addendum to the Camp-cook cookbook. It's about 40 pages now and I suspect it won't be over a couple of hundred pages. It will take a while to do all this, but when I am done, I will monitor the web site and add any new recipes that come along between now and March.

Like the original cookbook, there will be lots of pictures of the finished dishes. I'm very glad that the Camp-cook forum encourages photos. It's much easier to make up your mind about a particular recipe if you can see an example of it.


 

Saturday morning I woke up to 0° F and wind, which came out to about -20° F with wind chill. And no snow on the ground, either. Sunday was also 0° F, but no wind and a dusting of snow. Fortunately, it's supposed to warm up over the next few days. And that's all you get about the weather, as the rest of the western states are suffering, too.


 

Here's a blast from the past. I took this chuckwagon picture at the Rathdrum Dutch Oven Workshop on 23 September, 2006.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 6 December 2013

I am going to start work on the one-year addendum to the cookbook I wrote for Camp-cook.com. The cookbook itself had over 1,100 recipes in it, and an addendum will have quite a few, too. I am doing an addendum because it is easier to handle a small book than a large one, and I can keep doing addendums as I wish in future years.


 

Yesterday I spent an hour in the mineral club storage unit, helping to get together some stones for Christmas gifts for our Christmas dinner. By the time we were done, I was sure my toes were frost-bitten. It was 21° F at the airport, but it was about 16° F in the storage unit, and we had a bit of a wind. I'm glad that chore is over, to say the least. BTW, right now it is 9° F and it will be even colder tomorrow.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

I had my quarterly medical checkup yesterday, and everything is fine. All the important values for me are exactly where they were last time (September) and all except my weight are normal. This morning I have to put up with having my teeth cleaned, and then no more medical stuff until next year.


 

It is cold here. Like the rest of the West, we are having very cold weather. Right now it is 10° F and it should get up to 20° F. In the next few days we will be down around 0° F. I'm hoping it will turn around, as this will affect my plans in the next few weeks.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

I was listening to the Sunday Morning Linux Review podcast yesterday and they had a review of the latest version of Slackware. Slackware is the oldest Linux distribution; even older than Debian. The review got me interested in looking at it again.

I used bit torrent to download the entire 2.5GB ISO image. It took me 5 hours to do that, though. Once I got it, I set up a virtual machine and installed it (Slackware is not a live distro). The installer is still a text application, but it has gotten quite a bit better since the last time I tried Slackware. The install went flawlessly.

Slackware still uses Lilo as a boot program, instead of Grub, which most distros now use. Despite this the boot process went quickly, booting into a text terminal. Since the only user that gets configured is root, that is what I logged in as. I then created a user using adduser. I could then log out and login as the normal user.

Slackware boots into a terminal, but you can start a GUI using the startx command. The two default desktop managers are KDE and XFCE. You can choose another, also, but I didn't do that.

All in all, Slackware is a fairly interesting distribution. You should know what you are doing when installing it, as you need to create partitions for it manually.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

I have completed backing up my audio CD's onto hard drive. I have backed up 1,526 CD's. Most CD's were the V's (221) and the B's (146). Least CD's were U's (1) and X's (0). I can now play all these through Roku on my TV, which is hooked up to a multimedia system.

I still have dozens of cassettes which need to be recorded on CD and then backed up to the hard drive. That will take much longer, as they need to be played at 1X in order to be recorded on disc. I should be doing one or two a day until they are finished - some time in 2014.


 

Here's a list of companies that I will never do business with:

Want to know the primary reason for this boycott? Look up the names of the owners of Rockstar Consortium, the world's premiere patent troll. Rockstar took over the crown from Intellectual Ventures, which is owned by a former principle of Microsoft.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 2 December 2013

I enjoyed the Thanksgiving morning breakfast at JB's with all the other classic car folks. There won't be anymore activities like that until the spring.

Speaking of weather, it can't decide what it's going to do. We had a dusting of snow Thursday morning, then on Saturday it started raining and we also had rain yesterday. It got into the 40's yesterday, but today there is a chance of snow. I pity the poor weathermen - this is odd weather.


 

I picked up a copy of Star Trek: Into Darkness at Costco. When I got it home, I attempted to use Handbrake to back it up so I could view it on my Roku box. I was unable to do this. Paramount has used a very slimy trick when they produced the DVD. Instead of producing one large file for the movie, they split it up into many small pieces - 91 pieces, to be precise.

That means that the largest file Handbrake found on the DVD was 9 minutes in length. Obviously, using Handbrake was out, so I played the movie through VLC and recorded it as it played. So instead of taking about 20 minutes to convert, the movie took 2 hours and 12 minutes to record, then 20 minutes to convert the result to MPG format.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"