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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

December 2016

Monday, 26 December, 2016

I hope everyone had a good Christmas. I wish you a happy new year, too.


I've been working on a family video, consisting of 143 photos and 3 video clips. They span from about 1956 to 2016. When I finish it, I will put it on a DVD and send it to my brothers and sisters. I think they might get a kick out of it.

I am also recording the 19th cassette of the audio book The Shelters of Stone. There are 20 cassettes and the book is about 32 hours in length. I should be done in the next couple of days.


I was watching a YouTube video the other day about diagnosing and repairing computers. The repair guy stated he thought that HP stood for 'Horrible Products'. His opinion is the same as mine when it comes to HP.


Quote of the day:

Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.
     H. L. Mencken

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Thursday, 22 December, 2016

When using Synaptic, the Linux Mint package manager, it is impossible to distinguish packages that Synaptic installed versus packages that you installed using the dpkg package installer. This is good because you can easily tell if a package is installed, but bad because you can't tell how the package got installed. It would be nice if there were an indicator in Synaptic that told you whether a particular package came from a local install or from a repository.


Quote of the day:

The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.
     George Washington

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Saturday, 17 December, 2016

When I run out of Marketspice tea, I used to purchase it from their web site. The price was $17 a pound, but there was also shipping and handling, which was way too much money for the size of the package. So the last time, I got the tea from Amazon. It was $19 a pound there, but there were no shipping charges, so that brought the total price down.

I stumbled across a local alternative. We have a coffee/soda get together on Wednesdays at a place in Hayden called The Coffee Market (used to be called The Miles Coffee Company). I was browsing there and I discovered they sell the tea for $14.75! So that's where I will get it from now on.

This should not be surprising to me. I looked in WinCo today at the Torani drink flavorings and found they wanted $6.98 for a bottle. The Coffee Market sells them for $4.79. Good place to shop if you're a local.


Quote of the day:

Politics is a necessary evil that on rare occasions works without corruption, abuse and waste.
     Delia Peabody
     from Conspiracy in Death by J.D. Robb

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Wednesday, 14 December, 2016

One of the things I do on my computer is to record cassette tapes into MP3 files. I do that using a cassette player that plugs in to a USB port. The Audacity recorder/editor application is capable of recognizing such a USB connection as a Plug and Play audio connection. This works fine on all versions of Linux Mint from 13 to 17.4.

It does not work at all on Linux Mint 18. When I plug my USB cassette player into a LM 18 box, I only get the two default connections for input, instead of all the connections, including PNP. Get it together, guys, and stop breaking important stuff that used to work fine.

Update: There is no problem with the input channels for Audacity. For the version that runs on Linux Mint 18, the Audacity folks have switched the positions of the input and output selectors in the menu bar. So I was actually looking at the output channels instead of the input channels. Oops.


Quote of the day:

Welcome to a new age in governance, when it goes from being the federal government to being the corporate government.
     Michael Burton

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Thursday, 8 December, 2016

XTV is my newest favorite channel on the Roku box. Unlike most of the channels I have for the Roku, you can't use the box itself to install the channel. It is private and can only be installed by using your web browser. The channel contains links to live broadcast stations, movies and TV shows. If you hook up to XTV, you can probably get rid of your cable or satellite box. Here's how to install XTV:

  1. Go to https://my.roku.com/ and login to your account.
  2. In the Manage Account area, click on Add a channel.
  3. Enter XTVIPTV in the Channel access code box, then click on Add channel.
  4. Click on Yes, add channel.

The channel has been added to your Roku, but you won't see it on screen in the Roku Home screen. To get it included, on the Roku go to Settings | System | System Update and update your Roku box. This will update the Roku software and will add any new channels.

Note: If you have a rather slow Internet connection, you shouldn't try to play any live TV on the XTV channel. The 24/7 and Live TV sections are both live streaming. The On Demand section is not.


I've been trying out various salsas, hoping to find one I can use in place of my homemade Chipotle hot sauce. I think I may have found the right one: Reser's Baja Cafe Restaurant Style Salsa (Medium). It has the right consistency, heat, taste and is not watery like most other salsas. I will try it out for the rest of the week and let you know what I think.


I decided to re-install OSMC on my Raspberry Pi media center box. One major reason is that I could not access the TV tuners sitting on my LAN, so I decided eliminate all the half-tries I have done and to try installing the O/S from scratch all over again.

After installation, I tried the TV tuners again and could not connect to them. I did get a cleaner version of all my media, though. I may have to buy a more up-to-date version of the HDHomeRun tuners.


Quote of the day:

Paranoids are people, too; they have their own problems. It's easy to criticize, but if everybody hated you, you'd be paranoid too.
     D. J. Hicks

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Monday, 5 December, 2016

I have been doing some exploring concerning my Roku 3 box. Here are some of the things I have uncovered.

Platform Secret Screen (Antenna Screen)

This Roku page is called different things on various Roku boxes. On my Roku 3, it's the platform screen.

On your remote, hit

  1. The Home button 5 times
  2. Fast Forward once
  3. Down arrow once
  4. Rewind once
  5. Down arrow once
  6. Fast forward once

This sequence will show you a screen with your WiFi connection strength, as well as other stuff.

Secret Screen

On your remote, hit

  1. The Home button 5 times
  2. Fast forward 3 times
  3. Rewind 2 times

Configuration and other information on this page.

Picture Quality

If you want to see what kind of picture quality your Roku can handle, you can do the following.

  1. Install the Vudu channel as one of your Roku channels
  2. Click on Vudu, then click on Browse
  3. Click the right arrow until you get to the Gear icon
  4. Click the down arrow until you get to Playback Quality
  5. Run the test.

Developers Screen

  1. Hit the Home button 3 times
  2. Up arrow 2 times
  3. Right arrow
  4. Left arrow
  5. Right arrow
  6. Left arrow
  7. Right arrow

This is where channel developers hook into their local Roku system.


Quote of the day:

Its failings notwithstanding, there is much to be said in favor of journalism in that by giving us the opinion of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.
     Oscar Wilde

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother