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February 2006

Tuesday, 28 February 2006

I shopped around for some CD-Rs over the weekend. I found them to range from 34 cents a disk on down to a very good 15 cents a disk. The weird thing is, the 15 cent disks were just the 34 cent disks on sale. These Verbatim disks were in a weekend sale flyer at Office Max.

Last week, I found a Samsung 19" LCD monitor on sale at Office Max, so I went over there and found that the sale applied to their web site, not to the local store. So, imagine my surprise when that very same monitor was in the weekend sales flyer!

Bottom line is, I now have a 19" LCD monitor to replace my 17" LCD monitor. I will use the smaller one on another computer.


I am still doing web pages. I put 8 more up and still have many, many more to update.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Big Brother Security/Our Rights/The Forever War

Monday, 27 February 2006

I have finished up more web pages for a local motorcycle dealer. I started on another section, but could not find pictures and specs for some of the models on the Internet. I will have to use pictures from brochures to complete the section.

I will probably be working on this site for the next week or two. I will still be re-copying DVDs during that time, but it won't leave time for much else.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Big Brother Security/Our Rights/The Forever War

Friday, 24 February 2006

I am working hard on web pages. I have put up 26 new pages, and I have several hundred more to go. Not much time to mess with anything else.

I am just re-doing content right now. When I finish, I will have to redesign the web pages. I know this sounds backwards, but with the way the site is designed, it won't be that hard to change the design.


I am still looking for another computer. Ideally, I would like to recycle someone else's machine, but if no one tells me about one, I will purchase a new or refurbished one.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Big Brother Security/Our Rights/The Forever War

Thursday, 23 February 2006

I have started looking for another (used) computer to use as a test bed for Linux distros. I want one with a 1 gHz to 1.5 gHz processor. All the other specs are kind of up in the air. I have several distros to look at and no machine to look at them with.

Speaking of that, I made CDs for the 5 disks of SuSE Linux 10.1 Beta 4. Now I need to install it on something.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Big Brother Security/Our Rights/The Forever War

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

I am too damn mad to talk about anything today. How could the majority of our citizenry be stupid enough to elect an incompetent, greedy fool to the country's most important job, when he has never succeeded at a single thing in his entire life? Except maybe catering to his cronies.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Big Brother Security/Our Rights/The Forever War

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday break. I did. I ended up downloading SuSE 10.1 beta 4 and burning 16 DVDs. Plus doing some real work.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Big Brother Security/Our Rights/The Forever War

Monday, 20 February 2006

I have finished configuring Betty's computers. The computer that had network problems has two problems. I removed the modem card from the machine and installed a new NIC, and the network started partially working. I changed ethernet cables and it started working completely.


I am working on a web site and am also recopying DVDs. Some of them can't be copied and I will have to re-record them from the VHS tape.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Big Brother Security/Our Rights/The Forever War

Friday, 17 February 2006

I forgot a password and the only place where it existed was in ws_ftp, the Windows ftp program. The only problem is, it's encrypted in the ws_ftp.ini file. The older versions of the program used really simple encryption and I could have easily gotten the password. But I was using a newer version, and the encryption is no longer simple.

I finally realized that I could get a program off the Net to help me. I googled 'decrypting ws_ftp passwords' and clicked on the very first link. The program worked just fine and I now have the password in English.


We have a three day weekend because of Presidents Day. Good thing, since I need the rest. I will be installing a NIC card and a network cable on Saturday, but then I will have Sunday and Monday to do my own projects. Which really need doing.


Robert Thompson strikes again. The depths of his loathing for Micro$oft knows no bounds. Here he rails against Micro$oft's policy requiring the purchase of a new copy of Windoze if you replace the motherboard in your computer.

I agree with his attitude, but I would list the 'Install Linux' sentiment first, not last.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights/The Forever War

Thursday, 16 February 2006

My co-worker's surge protector melted and burned part of the carpet yesterday morning. That's the second or third time this has happened at work. They've got to stop buying those cheap APC units and get us some real protection.

She had to change offices after the meltdown. Luckily, the phone guy was here and the IT guy was available, so she got her phone changed to the new office and got a LAN connection, too.


I need to find out how to play MIDI files in Firefox on a Linux box. MIDI does work on SuSE Linux 10.0, but the KMid application does not. Anyone know of a MIDI plugin for Linux Firefox?


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights/The Forever War

Wednesday, 15 February 2006

I got the Babylon 5 DVDs and an ethernet cable from UPS last night. I ended up watching the first four episodes of B-5. Only 106 more to go. ;-)

Since its first two epsiodes, 'The IT Crowd' has not been converted to more easily viewed formats. I am disappointed, as that British show has got to be the funniest sitcom in production today. I hope someone does the file conversion, as I can't watch DRM'ed .WMV files on my Linux box.


I'm not sure if you've noticed, but I am not a fan of the 'rights' of corporations over the rights of individuals. Using the DMCA, copyright and DRM to prevent customers from using what they have legally purchased is just an excuse to extort more cash from the 'consumer'.

Do what I do. If a company insists that the item you purchased is really still theirs, and you only purchased the right to use it - don't buy anything more from that company. We call this 'voting with your wallet', and it can be highly effective.

If the company insists on this 'purchase for use' nonsense, then the next time they try to sell you an upgrade, demand they give the upgrade to you for free, since you don't own the item and they should be resposnible for upgrading their own property.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights/The Forever War

Tuesday, 14 February 2006

I took the night off, although I did re-copy a couple of DVDs.

I need to get back to a couple of things - I need to find out why midi doesn't work on SuSE 10.0 and I need to continue on the web site I am rebuilding.

I have purchased a NIC to replace the onboard NIC that has (apparently) died on one of Betty's computers. I will install that when I get a chance.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights

Monday, 13 February 2006

After talking to a programmer at the NILUG meeting, I got to thinking about how many computer languages I have learned over the years. I've come up with the following list, which may or may not be complete:

  1. 1620 Assembly Language
  2. Nortran
  3. Fortran II
  4. Fortran IV
  5. 1130 Assembly Language
  6. APL
  7. RPG
  8. COBOL
  9. 1230 MTC Assembly Language
  10. 6800 Assembly Language
  11. Basic
  12. CBasic
  13. Forth
  14. 6805 Assembly Language
  15. 8080 Assembly Language
  16. Z80 Assembly Language
  17. 1802 Assembly Language
  18. 8051 Assembly Language
  19. PL/M
  20. Pascal
  21. C
  22. C++
  23. Delphi
  24. Perl
  25. PHP
  26. Java
  27. C#
  28. Jovial
  29. Olivetti Financial Basic
  30. Korn shell
  31. Batch language

I have mostly finished configuring all of Betty Zirkle's computers. One that I could not install PC-cillin on needed to be upgraded to (win2K) Service Pack 4. Another one needs a new NIC. Other than that and the inability of her Linux machine to play Midi, the work is finished.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights

Friday, 10 February 2006

The monthly meeting of the North Idaho Linux Users Group is tomorrow. I must say I am looking forward to it, after all the hassles I've had with that other proprietary, bug-ridden, piece of crap operating system.

I would still like the group to organize a membership drive. We could give away information about an operating system that doesn't treat you as a sap. And we could also give away a live-CD version of the O/S. the only problems are finding a venue to do it at and getting volunteers for the job.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights

Thursday, 9 February 2006

The monthly meeting of The Lunar Group is held tonight. They are a group of technical professionals who get together to eat, drink and schmooze. So there goes another perfectly good evening!


I am still working on re-copying the VHS tapes I already put on DVD. Nero seems to have straightened out all the problems I had with the original DVDs.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights

Wednesday, 8 February 2006

I installed the 8-port switch last night, and all the computers (except one with an ethernet problem) now have access to the Internet. I also removed ZoneAlarm from the Windows machines, and added Adaware and Spybot to each of the machines. I also installed PC-cillin on two of the machines. I was unable to install it on a third machine.

On the Linux box, I enabled the Samba server and client. There are still some connection problems with that (password stuff), but I will work that out.


I have made the silly signs into an image gallery. Check it out on the Image Gallery link.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

It turns out that the DSL modem that Verizon sent is also a NAT router. I was trying to plug one router into another, and they both had the same IP address. Since the setup really needs more ethernet connections, I went to Office Depot and purchased an 8 port switch to replace the 4 port router. I will install that tonight. Thanks for the confirmation, Frank.


I thought our NILUG mailing list was broken, but it seems to be working now. I tweaked a few settings, but that shouldn't have fixed anything. Software is just weird sometimes.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights

Monday, 6 February 2006

I spent most of the weekend working on computer hardware and software at Betty Zirkle's house. I installed her new AMD-64 workstation, loaded SuSE Linux 10.0 onto and it runs great.

I also got her DSL working. We used it to update Xine on the Linux box, so she can watch DVDs.

I worked on her other computers, too. I moved, reconfigured and tuned up her old workstation. That involved uninstalling Norton (piece of crap) Antivirus. That is in three pieces, and good old Symantec required a Windoze reboot after each uninstall. I just love Windows.

The one thing I couldn't accomplish was to get the DSL modem hooked up to her router. It just wouldn't work, for some reason. I will investigate and try again. I will also have to get her an 8 port router, as she has maxed out the four port one.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights

Friday, 3 February 2006

I re-recorded three more DVDs, split up 12 MP3 files and put them on my pen drive and continued work on the new computer I am building.

The DVD recording is pretty straightforward. Basically, I use DVD Shrink to rip the old DVD onto hard disk and then use Nero to burn a new DVD. When DVD Shrink doens't have to unencrypt a DVD, it runs really fast.

I use the pen drive in my car and listen to the MP3s (podcasts) on the way to work. I split them up because the FM modulator I use to play them through the car stereo only remembers what track is playing, not where in the track. So I split them up into 5 minute segments so I won't have to listen to the same stuff over and over.

I have installed the motherboard and memory into the new computer. I should finish up the construction tonight, so I can do the software installation on Saturday.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights

Thursday, 2 February 2006

I picked up all the computer parts from UPS last night. When I got there, they had three of the four packages. While they were loading them on a dolly so I could put them in the car, my UPS guy came in the door, fresh from his route. He had the fourth package in his hands.

I unpacked all the boxes and checked all the parts. I then mounted all the drives - 2 hard disks, 1 floppy, 1 DVD writer and 1 CD writer. Next comes the motherboard, memory and plug in cards.


I re-authored two more DVDs last night. I watched one of them and verified that Nero does an excellent job of burning. I will no longer recommend neoDVD as a DVD burner, as it screws up the burning and causes playback problems.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights

Wednesday, 1 February 2006

The packages of computer parts for the new system I am building for Betty Zirkle arrived yesterday, but they weren't delivered to my house. The UPS driver decided that the little bit of snow left on the road prevented him from driving down to my house. So I will have to pick up the packages tonight on the way home from work.

One of the packages (DVD and CD drives) showed up in Coeur d'Alene and was shipped back to Spokane. Something about a bad address. If the address is bad, how did it get to Cd'A in the first place? Idiots.


The movies I recorded from VHS to DVD have had some problems. They tend to hang up towards the end of the movie when I play them back on my regular DVD player. I suspect that neoDVD, which I used to burn the DVDs, is a crummy piece of software.

So I tried an experiment last night. I used DVD-Shrink to rip one of the (bad) DVDs to my hard drive, then I used Nero to burn a new copy. I played that on my DVD player and it worked just fine.

So I guess I will be making new copies of all those DVDs. Good thing I have a lot of DVD+Rs.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Security/Our Rights