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February 2011

Monday, 28 February 2011

Over the weekend, I did a bunch of work on my upcoming Linuxfest Northwest talk. I have mostly gotten through the hooking up of controls. There is a little bit of code to write, and the talk will be complete. Until I go through it again and find spots that I need to change, of course.



 

Uninstalling OpenOffice.org and Installing LibreOffice

Here is the procedure I used to install LibreOffice on the three machines I use with Linux Mint 10. These steps will all be done in the terminal, so start one up before going through these steps.

    <1. Remove OpenOffice.org using the following command
    &sudo apt-get purge openoffice*
    <2. Add the LibreOffice repository to your list of repositories
    &sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa
    &sudo apt-get update
    <3. Install LibreOffice
    &sudo apt-get install libreoffice language-support-en
    <4. If you are using the Gnome desktop, install support for it
    &sudo apt-get install libreoffice-gnome
    <5. If you are using the KDE desktop, install support ofr it
    &sudo apt-get install libreoffice-kde



 

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

 

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Friday, 25 February 2011

Making the Linux Mint toolbar look like the Ubuntu toolbars

If you really, really hate the extra mouse clicks and inconvenience of Linux Mint's custom start menu, and would really like to have a separate toolbar for running programs, here is how to modify Mint.

  1. Right-click on the Mint start menu. Click on Remove From Panel.
  2. Right-click on an empty part of the toolbar and click on Add to Panel. In the list, click on Main Menu, then click Add and Close.
  3. Move the Main Menu by right-clicking on it, then clicking on Move. Move your mouse to the left until you get the menu where you want it, then click the left mouse button.
  4. Right-click on the Main Menu, then click on Lock to Panel.
  5. To put the toolbar at the top of the screen, right-click on an empty part of the toolbar, then click on Properties. Select Top as the Orientation, then click on Close.
  6. To add another toolbar, right-click on an empty part of the toolbar, then click on New Panel. Move it to the bottom as you moved the original to the top.
  7. To add a list of currently running programs, right-click on the new toolbar, then click Add to Panel. Click on Window List, Add and Close.
  8. To add a trash can to the new toolbar, right-click on the new toolbar, then click Add to Panel. Click on Trash, Add and Close.
  9. To add a desktop switcher, right-click on the new toolbar, then click Add to Panel. Click on Workspace Switcher, Add and Close.
  10. Finally, you must remove the window list from the original toolbar. Close all running programs. Right-click on the original toolbar in the empty space, but as close as you can to the main menu. If you see a Remove From Panel item, click on it. If you don't, keep trying different 'empty' areas of the toolbar until you do see it.

You can re-arrange the items in each of the toolbars by unlocking all the items, moving them and then locking them down again.



 

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Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 24 February 2011

I am still working on my LinuxFest Northwest presentation. I have discovered that I have to go back a bit and add information to the talk, since I missed it the first time. Mostly, I am still working on the custom actions section. I want everyone who hears the talk to have a complete understanding of what I am talking about, so I am being very careful how I present the concepts.



 

There was about 8" of snow at my house when I came home from work yesterday. Since my Honda only has about 4" of clearance, as I was driving through the new snow, half of it went up the sloping nose of the car and ended up on my windshield. Hard to see where to drive when that happens.

I spent at least an hour plowing all that snow. It was pretty light, so it was easy to plow. I even had to plow part of the county road (up to the mailboxes), as the county had not been anywhere near our neighborhood. I hope they have hit the road a bit overnight, as we got another inch of snow while everyone was asleep.



 

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, 23 February 2011

I did more work on my programming presentation last night. I am in the middle of explaining how to add actions to the program. There are two kinds of actions that can be added: standard actions and custom actions. The standard actions are relatively simple, as you add the action and the code is already written for you. Custom actions require that you write some code to support the action. I have finished writing about standard actions and am moving on to custom actions.

The document I am producing that is essentially the talk I will be giving has plenty of images in it. When something needs to be shown, I will put a picture in to show it. Some of the pictures needed to be reduced in size, but all of them can still be easily viewed. LibreOffice is doing a good job for me on this document. When I finish it, I will save it as a PDF and make the file available on my Rimrock Software web site.



 

It is snowing again. We expect to get up to 8 inches today and tonight. It looks like I will be doing a lot of plowing tonight after work.



 

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, 22 February 2011

I got quite a bit of work done on my upcoming talk at Linuxfest Northwest. I am now well into explaining how to add menu and toolbar commands to the example text editor. I am currently going through the explanation of how to add actions to the action list, which will be used in both the menu and toolbar. Before that, I explained how to create a list of images that can be used in the menu and toolbar.



 

Fox Television has personally sunk more good television than any other network. The culmination of this was their treatment of Firefly back in 2002, but there are other examples. There was John Doe in 2002, Tru Calling in 2003 and Dollhouse in 2009. They were doing the same thing back in the last century, too. A series called The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. was aired in 1993 and was cancelled after 27 episodes. Fortunately, Warner has had the sense to get those episodes and has produced a boxed DVD set of them. I picked it up at Costco and have been watching those Sci-Fi-Western episodes as I worked on my presentation.



 

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, 21 February 2011

By my standards, Linux Mint Debian 10 is not ready for primetime. It is fine for those who do not use proprietary drivers or applications, but it will not do for me. Which is why I have re-installed regular Linux Mint 10 on my 64-bit workstation and on my laptop. So all of my machines now have Linux Mint on them. And they all have the Nvidia display drivers. The laptop has the firmware necessary to run the Broadcom WiFi.

I have created a virtual machine and installed Lubuntu on it. That is a minimal Linux install. I will be checking it out to see how good it is for older machines.

I created a virtual machine and attempted to install Puppy Linux on it. That is another minimal install. I was not successful in that, as I was unable to install the boot program on the VM.

I also create a virtual machine to install CentOS on. I was not successful in that, as the VM would not boot up CentOS. There may be a problem with the install disk, which is one of the Linux Format disks.



 

Canonical, the producers of Ubuntu, have apparently attempted to profit off the labor of others, just like Apple does. They are demanding 75% of the Banshee music player's revenue, simply because it is in the latest Ubuntu distribution. 100% of that revenue is already going to the Gnome Foundation. See the article for the story of this attempted money grab by the 'oh-so-benevolent' Canonical. Just like Apple. I wish that my current distro was not based on Ubuntu.



 

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, 18 February 2011

The North Idaho Mineral Club meeting went pretty well. We had someone give a talk on the work he has been doing surveying a couple of mines over in the Silver Valley. One is a zinc mine and the other is a gold mine. The pictures show just what I am used to from mines in California and Nevada, except they are a lot wetter. There are definite water problems in both mines, but the main problems are cleanup and reshoring.

I will be adding some more links to the mineral club web site. A member of the Idaho recreation Council also talked last night and that link will go in the Organizations section.



 

I have more pictures of the restoration of my 1952 Plymouth. Most of them have to do with repairing rust damage on the floorboards. You can see the pictures starting here.



 

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, 17 February 2011

I received an email yesterday informing me that my proposed talk at LinuxFest Northwest has been accepted. With that in mind, I began working on the talk in earnest. I downloaded the first images from the web site I had uploaded them to and I began the LibreOffice document for the talk. It looks like my outline is not exactly what I am now looking for, so I will be changing that. I will find some ideas in the PDF file I snagged off the Internet, detailing how to build a text editor in Delphi.

I am beginning to have doubts that I can actually finish the text editor in the proposed one hour time period, but I can at least finish in the document. That way, anyone who is interested can get the document and follow along on the portion I have not been able to finish. I suspect that will mostly be the little bells and whistles one adds towards the end of a project.



 

The North Idaho Mineral Club meeting is tonight at the Lake City Senior Center. That means I won't get anything done at home tonight and there will be less entries in this blog tomorrow. I have updated the club web site, though. I have added the latest newsletter, as well as a link about exploring old mines in the desert that a net friend pointed out to me.



 

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, 16 February 2011

The Firefly fan film I got was about par for the course. There wasn't much action and it suffered from bad audio editing, but other than that, it was fairly interesting. I think that the fan-produced Done The Impossible was a lot more interesting, even if it was only a documentary.



 

I finally decided that I will transfer Lazarus screen shots from my Ubuntu virtual machine to my workstation by using FTP to get them to one of my web sites, then FTP them back to the workstation. This is a royal pain, but if USB doesn't work and I can't get a disk connection to work, it's the only way I can think of to get them.



 

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, 15 February 2011

I worked on paperwork last night. I am the treasurer for the North Idaho Mineral Club, so there is a lot of paperwork to do. It has taken a while for the bank account privileges to cycle to me, but now that it has, I can do my treasurer thing, so I am. I will get back to normal projects tomorrow.



 

Since big media will probably never produce another Firefly movie, I am left to my own devices about how to learn more of the firefly universe. I bought a fan film called Browncoats: Redemption and it showed up in the mail last night. I haven't had a chance to view it yet, but these kind of things are either pretty darned good or really bad. I'll let you know.



 

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, 14 February 2011

At the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting on Saturday, I discovered that the Linux Mint Debian 10 I had installed on my laptop is just not ready for prime time. I attempted to get the wireless working on the box and was unsuccessful. I also attempted to get a proprietary driver and Compiz working and was also unsuccessful. It seems that Linux Mint Debian doesn't play well with proprietary software.

So, while listening to a talk on how to encrypt your entire hard drive, I installed Linux Mint 10 on the machine. Note that the Debian version is based on Debian and the regular version is based on Ubuntu. Now everything on the laptop just works.



 

I was taking screen shots over the weekend in an Ubuntu virtual machine for my talk on using Lazarus to build applications. I now have all the screenshots in the VM, but no way to easily get them to my workstation, which is running VirtualBox. It seems that the USB stuff on VirtualBox 3.0 was not working for me. So I installed VirtualBox 4.0 and the (new) package that contains the (newly separate) USB plugin support. I now have a menu entry for the USB memory stick, but I can't select it. I will have to look in to the Linux setup log to see if it is recognized there. If not, I will have to find another way to transfer the files.



 

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, 11 February 2011

Last night I created a new virtual machine on this workstation and I installed Ubuntu 10.04 on the VM. I then downloaded the 368 updated packages that were waiting. Once that was done, I downloaded and installed the 92 packages that the Lazarus IDE consists of. Needless to say, there wasn't much time to do anything else last night.

I set the wallpaper of the VM to a neutral color instead of an image, so I could more easily take screen shots of anything displayed on the VM. I tested that by running Lazarus and taking a screen shot. And that was as far as I got. I will continue with the picture taking over the weekend. I am doing this so that in the PDF I am producing for my LinuxFest Northwest talk, I will have an image of each piece of Lazarus. A picture really is worth a thousand words.



 

The North Idaho Linux Users Group meets tomorrow afternoon. There will be a talk on how to encrypt your hard disk under Linux. This kind of thing is not just for the terminally paranoid anymore. After all, are you paranoid if they really are out to get you?



 

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, 10 February 2011

I need to take some screen shots of Lazarus to include in my talk at LinuxFest Northwest. My problem is that my current screen setup ensures that those screen shots will be huge. I need them to be moderate in size, since they have to fit in a PDF file. I guess I will have to install Lazarus in a Linux virtual machine and control the screen shot size that way.

There is already a tutorial on the web of how to build a text editor using Delphi. I will be using that as reference material to ensure that I have everything in the talk. Since I don't like that document's approach to the subject, no cribbing will be done.



 

My keyboard just locked up again. I will have to replace it with a spare. problem is, the spare is older than this keyboard and it has a built-in touchpad, which I never use (I get carpal tunnel problems when I use a touchpad). So it has extra annoyances which I will have to get used to.



 

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, 9 February 2011

LinuxFest Northwest is at the end of April in Bellingham, WA. I will give a talk there about how to do rapid application development in Linux using Lazarus. The organizers would like to see the presentation notes online just before or just after I give the talk, so I will be working on my presentation outline and talk. This means putting some of my other projects on hold for a while.

The talk will detail what Lazarus is, what computer language it uses and what the different pieces of Lazarus do. It will then describe how to build a text editor using Lazarus. I hope to get a fairly complete working editor built in the amount of time allocated for the talk.

Another member of our local Linux user group, Rod Anderson, will also be giving a talk. His will be on virtual servers. That should be interesting, too.



 

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, 8 February 2011

I have backed up three of the four web sites that I maintain. The fourth will be backed up tonight. It has been a while since I did that, but it is important to do, just like it is important to back up your hard drive. It is especially important since I don't have physical control of the hard drives that those web sites reside on.



 

For audio clips of every theme song of practically every TV show known to the human race (from The A-Team to Z-Cars), check out TelevisionTunes.com



 

Here's a little ditty from Eric S. Raymond's Jargon File that describes how some proprietary software projects end 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

Monday, 7 February 2011

I use index cards to print Dutch oven recipes on, so I can give them away to whoever is interested. I was using a micro-perforated sheet of four (8 1/2 x 11 sheet) to print them, but I ran out. I went down to get more and was outraged at the price they wanted for them. So I came up with another method: I got some 4x6 blank index cards ($3.50 for 300) and I am using those. I spent some time yesterday converting all my 4-up recipe documents over to 1-up.

Another reason to buy these is so I can put some text on them that will be used at the mineral club gem show, for when we do our hourly prize drawings. It's better if you have something concrete to say instead of winging it every hour. I also wanted to make sure that the raffle prize was mentioned, so I put that on each card, too.



 

I went to my boss' 40th birthday party on Saturday. It's interesting to see what kinds of things my co-workers are interested in outside of work. I note that I really don't have much in common with most of them. You would think that since we do the same job, we would have some things in common, but not that I can see.



 

This keyboard just locked up in the middle of my typing. I had to save all my work and reboot the computer to get keyboard action back. I hope the keyboard is not on its last legs, as I really like this keyboard and they don't make them anymore. I only have two more of them and one of those I am using at work.



 

I backed up this web site yesterday, as well as a couple of others. It's amazing how things grow if you ignore them. There are over 9,000 files on this site, and there are hundreds of articles in the database. All I did was just post in this blog every day. Whew!

On second thought, I have been adding to the site whenever I take pictures. each picture I post is two files: one normal sized and one thumbnail. So that adds quite a bit to the file count.



 

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, 4 February 2011

I started over with my Dutch oven recipe book. I exported the document from Google documents as a text file and used that to start a new document in LibreOffice. The new document is much easier to work with now, as it has the proper fonts and no foreign formatting. After I add an introduction and do some other word editing, I will end up with a nice little booklet I can give away to Dutch oven cooks.



 

Once again I have a free weekend. I will start it off by renting an engine hoist so I can move my big rock saws off of their temporary supports and onto the new workbench. There are a bunch of other projects still in the mill for me to finish up, too. Eventually, I will get back to work on the soccer program, as it is very close to being finished, except for printing functions.



 

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, 3 February 2011

Using the instructions from a web page on how to install LibreOffice, I did that on this machine last night. I also installed the module that allows LibreOffice to read PDF files into the Draw program. I will publish the steps here when I am not rushed for time.

After it was installed, I did some work with it on my small book of favorite Dutch oven recipes. I used LibreOffice to create a title page (what a great addition) and to work the text into shape. The only problem I found is with fonts.

The document I was working on was created in Google Office and exported to this workstation as an RTF file. That file format saves font information in the file. When I loaded the document into LibreOffice, the font styles came along with it. Except those fonts are not on my workstations, which causes all kinds of problems.

I think that I will export the document again, this time as a text file. I can then reliably apply styles to the various items in the text. It will be much easier to do that than to go into the document I have now and change the fonts.



 

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, 2 February 2011

I figured out what the problem was in installing LibreOffice on my Linux Mint virtual machine at work. I keep forgetting that when I now start up a VM there, I need to log in to our firewall to get access to the outside world. I forget that because I usually just talk to our LAN instead of going outside.

At any rate, I logged in, then I updated the applications database (apt-get update) and the repository housing LibreOffice was correctly queried. I then used Synaptic to search for, select and install LibreOffice. Basically, I only used a small number of the commands on the web site that shows how to install the program.

Once it was installed, I brought up the word processor and it loaded and executed just fine. That's as far as I got, since I had real work to do. I will look further at LibreOffice when I get a chance.



 

Yesterday I had a link to an article about a program called OpenShot. That is a video editor which seemed to have many of the capabilities of my gdvdslides program. I installed that program on this workstation last night. It turns out that the two programs do overlap in many areas, but in other areas they do not. And the transition function in OpenShot is really hard to understand.

Hard to understand is not something that should come up in OpenShot, as it is all GUI-oriented. You can drag and drop files into the video list. You then drag and drop each file into a tracks timeline, along with transitions and other effects. The interface works fine, but it lacks something - it is not intuitive. I needed to read a document to get as far as I did with the program.

Unfortunately, gdvdslides is also not too intuitive. I just don't know what to do about that. Maybe use a checklist, or a wizard? At this point, I don't know the answer to that.



 

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, 1 February 2011

I have a virtual machine at work that has Linux Mint 10 installed in it. I decided to upgrade it by removing OpenOffice.org and installing LibreOffice onto it. Since LibreOffice is not yet in the regular repositories, I googled for how to install LibreOffice on Linux Mint. I got several hits, which more or less had the same instructions.

I started by un-installing OpenOffice.org. I tried their command line method for doing this, but ended up doing it from Synaptic. The un-install went fine.

The next step was to add the LibreOffice repository to the others. I did that from the command line and that went fine, too. The final step after that was to do a repository database update, so I did that.

At this point, I noticed that several of the repository servers were blocked. The important one for me, the one with LibreOffice, was also blocked. Since we had just moved over to another firewall at work, I can only assume that was what was causing the problem. At any rate, that was the end of my installation experiment.

I intend to do this on a machine at home to verify that it works and to check out LibreOffice. I just can't do it on a VM at work.



 

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