BLOGical Thoughts Archive

February 2012

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

I am still working on the cookbook. I have gone through about half of the Around the Campfire section, and have picked up more recipes. The total now stands at 888, with many more sections to go. There will be a lot more recipes when I get to the Dutch Oven Cooking section.

I am going to an anniversary party on Saturday, which is also a Dutch oven potluck. I will go through the recipes I have gathered from for something to cook. I should be able to come up with something good, as there are many excellent recipes in the cookbook already.


I'm glad I gassed up the truck yesterday. It snowed overnight and it is still snowing. When it stops around noon, I will get out and do some plowing. Should be pushing another 6 inches or so out of the road.


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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

I am still working on the cookbook and I have finished the Recipes area on I have started on the General Discussion area and have already completed the Say Howdy! topics. Amazingly, there were a couple of recipes in all that chatter.

I am now going through the Around the Campfire topics, which is far and away the largest section on the web site. There are 20 pages of threads in that section, and most of them are multi-page. I have also noticed that I have to check any recipes that are posted there were not also posted in the recipes I have already picked up. I have 17 of the 20 pages left to look at.

I also finished up adding the Print link to each of the recipe web pages. It was pretty simple to do, but very tedious. it probably would have been much, much faster for me to do with a command line tool like awk or sed, but it takes time to learn how to use those and I didn't want to waste the time.


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Monday, 27 February 2012

I am still working on the cookbook. I decided yesterday afternoon to add a Print button to each recipe web page, so people can print individual recipes if they wish. So I had to make changes to the 843 files which contain the recipes.

The Print function comes in two pieces and I now have to go through the recipe files again and add the second piece. That is going to take at least and hour and a half, but when I am finished I can continue gathering up recipes.

I am working through the final section of the Recipes area on That section is called Specialty Week Recipes and it offers special challenges to me. Each topic is many pages of postings, there are multiple recipes in each topic, and many of those recipes are duplicated elsewhere in the forum. So I have to be especially careful I don't duplicate a recipe I have already done.

There is also another problem: many posters have taken to doing their recipe postings as a pictorial how-to. They sometimes neglect to provide all the information that a normal recipe posting would have, like ingredient quantities, cooking times and cooking heat. Needless to say, I can't use those entries, no matter how enticing the food looks in the pictures.

Once I finish the Recipe area, I will go through all the other areas, as there are also recipes in those areas. I am sure I will end up exceeding 1,000 recipes by the time I am finished.


It snowed here all day Saturday. When I left home in my Honda at 6:10am, there was two or three inches on the ground. When I got back here from breakfast and grocery shopping at 8:25am, there was four or five inches. When I left again for the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting at 12:30pm, there was at least six inches and I drove my 4 x 4 pickup.

The people I was supposed to help at the meeting didn't attend - probably because of the snow. When I got back home at about 4pm, there was at least a foot of snow. I started plowing, but I got the plow hung up on the berm I am building in front of the house. I couldn't back the truck out, as the front wheels were slightly off the ground. Since it was close to dark, I just left things as they were and went in.

On Sunday morning, I went out and used a shovel to free up the plow blade. I then spent an hour pushing all that snow out of the way. The problem is, we are supposed to get more on Wednesday. I think I better go gas up the truck before it hits.


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Free/Open Source Software


Friday, 24 February 2012

I am still working on the recipes from, and I am starting on the Special Diet section. This is where a lot of the gluten-free and sugar-free recipes are posted. I am going to fold them into the regular sections of the cookbook, as I already have many sugar-free recipes incorporated. Each of the special recipes have been/will be marked as such, though, so people should still be able to pick out the speciality recipe they need.


The North Idaho Linux Users Group technical session is tomorrow at F1 For Help in Rathdrum. I will be there to help a couple of people. One needs an external modem (which I will give to him) and the other needs to remove the password from a Windows machine that has no CD drive (which is why I did a memory stick with Knoppix). I have nothing that needs doing on my laptop, but I will bring it along, too.


There's a picture of my regular seat at Jimmy's Down the Street restaurant in the Coeur d'Alene Press this morning. I have breakfast almost every Saturday morning at Jimmy's, and I sit in that seat at the counter. Oh yeah, the picture is also a picture of Jimmy.

Other than Saturday, I always have an egg, cheese and bacon burrito (with homemade hot sauce) for breakfast. That's six burritos a week. I am getting tired of the burritos I am buying in the store - they are too thick, too small and have too many preservatives in them. I have decided to try making my own burritos and I will report on this after the attempt. I am sure I can make them for less than I pay for them.


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Thursday, 23 February 2012

The recipe count now stands at 758, and I am ready to hit the Ice Cream / Sorbet section. You wouldn't think there would be a lot of camping recipes in a section like that, but you would be wrong. Campers aren't anything if not ingenious.

I had to take time out from working on the cookbook to finish up my taxes, and to go to Cabelas to look at a cooking station that was supposed to be on sale. It wasn't on sale except through the Internet. I also stopped by the kitchen gadget store in Post Falls and picked up a food scraper. The scraper worked pretty well when I got it home and did another batch of hot sauce. I am still trying to finalize the recipe for that, but it comes close to Mike's Hot Sauce #2


With all the wind, we ended up with a brown-out yesterday afternoon. Luckily, both of my UPS's were working, so I never lost any work. I finally turned off the computer and watched a movie (the brown-out didn't seem to affect the DVD player). By the time the movie was finished, so was the brown-out.

There was one more effect from the wind. We had an 11 minute blackout last night, in the middle of the night. It woke me up after the power was back on, as my Bose CD player recycles after a power interruption. I only had to reset one clock, and that was the only problem the blackout caused.


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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

I have finished going through the Desserts section of, as well as the Beverages section. I am now working on the Sauces, Rubs and Marinades section, and I have accumulated 738 recipes. Lots more to go.

I was going to work on a Linux talk yesterday, but I got caught up in the recipes again. And when you are on a roll, you just go for it.


No snow or rain today. Instead, we will have wind - 25 to 35 MPH with gusts of up to 50 MPH. I guess if it's not one thing, it's another.


I found a great feature at Project Gutenberg. They have categorized all their books. So if you want to download Science Fiction, you no longer have to browse each alphabetical author listing and guess if something is science fiction. This is great - I get all my ebooks from there.


Common Open Source Mis-Pronunciations



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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

I'm at 700 recipes now, and I still have a half page of topics to go through in the Desserts section of I am getting tired of doing this, so I thought I might take some time out and work on the beginning of a Linux tutorial.


The areas that I plowed on Sunday are now snow-free, except that we got dusted last night. This is the typical cycle up here: a lot of snow, then a Chinook. Nice to have normal weather back after a few years of weirdness.


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Free/Open Source Software


Monday, 20 February 2012

The recipe count now stands at 676. I am still processing the Desserts section of There are a few topics in there that have more than one recipe in them - some topics have up to five recipes. So it is a slow process. I still have about a page and a half of topics to look at. After Desserts, there are a couple of rather small sections, then it will on to the really huge sections. At this point, I think we may be looking at 1,500+ recipes.


I backed up this web site and the North Idaho Linux Users Group web site on Saturday. It takes quite a bit of time to do that. The database backup for this site, gzipped, is 3.3 MB. All the static files take up 880 MB. That all has to be downloaded from the web site using FileZilla. So we are talking an hour or two to do the backup.

I found an MOV file on the site that I took with my camera last August at the 1st Summer Daze teardrop gathering. It totals 48 MB. I converted it to AVI and that only takes 7.8 MB, so I replaced the MOV with AVI.


I woke up Sunday morning to about 6" of wet snow. I went out towards noon and plowed up to the county road. I even did a bit of the county road, as the county doesn't plow residential on weekends. It was a big job to plow that stuff, as it can't be tossed with the blade - too heavy for that.

While I was out doing that, I met someone who will be a new neighbor. The two parcels close to mine have been for sale for at least six months, and he bought the one across the road from me. I had to move a bit of snow I had piled up in front of the gate he wanted to use to check out the parcel. I will be more careful in the future.


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Friday, 17 February 2012

The cookbook recipe count is up to 612. I am about 1/4th of the way through the Desserts section. That is a tough one, as so many of them sound so good that they make me hungry. Luckily, I have a little self-control.

It was fairly easy to concentrate on the cookbook, as it snowed yesterday. We didn't get much, but I'm less inclined to go out if these is snow on the ground. And despite the snow, I did go out - at night.


The North Idaho Mineral Club meeting was last night. The speaker was Leon Agee, who spoke about cutting and faceting the American Golden Topaz. Along the way, he had to actually manufacture the equipment to do the faceting, as there was nothing on the market that could do the job.

The American Golden Topaz, a 172 faceted topaz weighing 22,892.5 carats (4.5785 kg), is the largest cut yellow topaz in the world, and one of the largest faceted gems of any type in the world. Originating from Minas Gerais, Brazil, it was cut by Leon Agee over a period of two years from an 11.8 Kg (26 lb) stream rounded cobble owned by Drs. Marie and Edgar Borgatta. It's final faceted weight is a bit over 10 pounds. It has been on display at the Smithsonian since 1988.

Despite the fact that I do not do faceting, the program was very interesting. I admire anyone who can devote so much time in a project, and the slides he had of the process shows how much work it really was.


Linux Programs I Frequently Use


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Thursday, 16 February 2012

I spent most of yesterday working on the cookbook. I am still doing bread, and I should be done with that today. The recipe count now stands at 566. This is gonna be one huge cookbook. There is no way that anyone will want to make a hardcopy of the book when it's finished.


I did the rice recipe yesterday as a side dish for chicken enchiladas verdes. The enchiladas were great and I took a picture of them for the cookbook, since the recipe will be in the cookbook. The rice was very good, too. Next time, though, I will add some bigger bits of tomato and onion to the recipe.

The Dutch oven I used for the recipe is one I picked up at an auction. It's an Iron Mountain pot, manufactured in 1936. Works very well, and is incredibly easy to clean up.


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Free/Open Source Software


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The cookbook is moving along. I am up to 543 recipes and am working on the Bread section of That section is about the same size as the Side Dishes section, so it should take me a couple of days to get through it.

I've been adding each recipe to a table of contents, but I am not satisfied with what I have for a table of contents. I will be thinking on exactly what I need for that - as long as all the recipes have links on the contents page, I can re-arrange the links however I want.


I was still unable to install UBCD on a memory stick, using the instructions I found on the Internet. So I downloaded the latest version of Knoppix (6.7) and used the memory stick install program on the Knoppix distro. That worked fine, so I now have a bootable Linux version on the memory stick that is built-in to the Swiss army knife on my keychain. I will be able to boot Linux up on netbooks that don't have a CDROM drive, wherever I go.

During the process, I also ended up burning a CD of the distro, so I am covered no matter what the computer configuration.

And, of course, if you look at the links below, you will see a story about how to install Linux on a memory key - now that I don't need it.


When it comes to 3-D movies, this describes my thoughts exactly.


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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

I am moving along on the cookbook. I have translated 494 recipes so far. I have gone through the Breakfast, Main Dishes, Side Dishes and Soups & Stews sections and am now working on the Vegetarian Dishes section. There are not enough of those recipes to justify a separate listing in the cookbook, so I am rolling them into the Side Dishes section of the book.


I'm going to try to create a bootable Linux memory stick again today. I will be doing that from the SUSE Linux virtual machine I have installed on my workstation. I will start from the very first step, as it is obvious that I missed something in all this the last several tries. I can't imagine what it was, but I will closely read the instructions this time.

If I can't install UBCD this time, I will pick another Linux distro to install on the memory stick. Maybe Knoppix will be easier to install on a stick.


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Free/Open Source Software


Monday, 13 February 2012

I am still working on recipe compilation for the cookbook. I have 455 recipes so far, and about a half page of topics to go on the side dishes section of This is going to be a huge cookbook - I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the recipe count hits 1,000. There are some really good ones in there, so far.


On Saturday at the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting, I attempted to install the Ultimate Boot CD (UBCD) on a memory stick. I was unsuccessful. I have since tried it at home at least twice, and I am able to get to the very last step of the process, only to have the last step fail. I am going to try again today, using a SUSE Linux virtual machine I installed yesterday. One of the problems I was having was that some of the command line programs could not modify the memory stick, while others could. Very weird.


As astounding as this may sound, there are custom distributions of Linux that are dedicated to celebrities. Specifically, there is one dedicated to Justin Bieber. Just Google biebian and laugh at the results page.


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Free/Open Source Software


Friday, 10 February 2012

I have finished adding recipes to the cookbook from the Main Dishes topic on the web site, and have moved on to Side Dishes. I am about halfway through those, as there are far fewer of them than the main dishes.

I am also keeping my author spreadsheet up to date, adding each recipe for the appropriate poster. This may make a good appendix to the cookbook, but it also will be used for emailing notices to the authors.


The North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting is tomorrow in Post Falls. I will bring my quad-CPU computer and will make a presentation on TED. I will also try to get an idea of how many people want me to do a series of introduction to Linux lectures. I know that many of the members who always show up are well versed in the O/S, but there are others out there who are not.


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Free/Open Source Software


Thursday, 9 February 2012

I added more recipes to the cookbook yesterday. I am still working on the Main Dishes section of the forum and I hope to be finished with that section today.

I have a spreadsheet for this project where I keep track of things like the name of the person who posted the recipe, was there a picture and whether I have permission to use the recipe and picture. That spreadsheet is now completely up to date with what I have included so far. It took a lot of time yesterday to update it. I will now be updating it as I add new recipes. That way, I won't get so far behind.


At this point, I am completely convinced that Hewitt Associates LLC, the company that manages the Unisys pension distribution, has as its purpose the non-distribution of pension funds. I received an email today that confirms this.

I having been trying to activate my Unisys pension since last November. At that time, I got part way through the web site forms for doing that, and the web site errored out. I then called them and continued with a human being, only to have them tell me that the pension fund information for Unisys is only updated twice a year and I would have to try again in January.

January 2nd, I once again tried to start this pension. The web site still errored out, so I spoke to a human. After 5 weeks of fiddling around, they finally sent me a confirmation form and I received it last Friday. Since the signed form had to be in their hands by last Tuesday, I am out $20 because I had to overnight it to them. The form I signed shows the exact distribution of funds, including the start date, which is 1 February, 2012.

The email I received from them this morning states that my pension will start on 1 April, 2012. How is that anywhere close to the date I signed up for? Does anyone know of a government office I can complain to about this rotten pension fund manager?


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Free/Open Source Software


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

I did not add a single new recipe to the cookbook yesterday. Instead, I went through each web page of the 384 recipes I have already added, and added a link to the Table of Contents to the pages. That way, you can actually get back to your starting point when you want to.

I will go back to adding new recipes today. The new recipe pages will also have the link back to the Table of Contents. I would like to see the number of recipes hit the 700 mark, too.


I had lunch yesterday with some former co-workers. They seem to be holding up well despite the major changes being done to the old company by its new masters. From what I have been picking up, though, I think that I picked the perfect time to leave. It's not much fun working for a company with absent masters.


I am also going to set up a couple of web pages today for the soccer program. They will be temporary and static, but it will be easier for testers to get to the program if it is posted on the Internet.


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Free/Open Source Software


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

I'm still making progress on the cookbook. It slows down when there are two or three recipes in a single thread. There are a couple of people who like to present recipes for an entire dinner in a single thread. It will also get slower when I have more of the "I'm looking for a recipe for" threads, as they usually end up with more than one or two recipes.


The North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting is this Saturday. I will be talking about TED there, but I think it would be better if we sat down and planned a series of talks about using Linux. There are lots of new users out there and they would definitely benefit from something like that. I might even present part of it at Linuxfest Northwest.


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Free/Open Source Software


Monday, 6 February 2012

I got a lot done on the cookbook over the weekend, but I still have an incredible amount to do. I am down to two topic pages (out of eight) left in the Main Dishes section. I have been going through the pages backwards, because those are the pages that will change the least. As soon as I am done with pages 2 and 1, I will have to start paying close attention to the recently updated topics, so I don't overlook a new recipe from a section I have already completed.


I cannot stress the importance or quality of It has an incredible amount of work that has either been released to public domain, or whose copyrights have expired. I mention this, because yesterday I listened to an audio book I picked up from there. It's 'A Canticle for Liebowitz', by Walter M. Miller, Jr. This is the only novel that was ever published in the author's lifetime, and it's a doozy. The audio presentation is just excellent. This SciFi novel is in the Audio | Radio Programs category on


One of my former co-workers just announced she shut down one of their servers. It had been running for 2,771 days. Let's see Windows do that!


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Friday, 3 February 2012

Once again, I spent most of yesterday working on the cookbook. I am still doing the Main Dishes section, and I have 3 1/2 pages of topics in that section to go. This is a really massive job, as some of the topics contain two or more recipes and they mostly all will go in the cookbook. Not mention that I sometimes decide to split the cookbook section headings and have to move the recipes.


My Unisys pension confirmation statement came in the mail yesterday. Finally. I have signed it and will overnight it to the pension maintainer. I will then be receiving that money each month, as well as Social Security. So I don't have to put the hammer down on those pension people after all.


I attempted to select a very old page from this web site yesterday, and found the link was broken. I will have to put that down on my to-do list and fix the links when I get a chance. These links are leftovers from when the web site was a static site, and they have not been touched in years.


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Free/Open Source Software


Thursday, 2 February 2012

Same old stuff going on here. I worked most of the day on the cookbook and didn't even finish a single page of links on the web site. There are sure a lot of recipes on there. My Unisys pension papers did not show up yesterday, and if they don't show up today, I am going to raise holy hell with them. The deadline for me to return the papers is nine days from now, and how can I return them if I don't have them in the first place?


I connected to the Internet with my gTablet yesterday and imagine my surprise when there was an update waiting for me. Turns out that one of the things the update fixed was the display of static wallpaper, so that is a good thing. A bad thing is they seem to have screwed up their Tap n' Tap interface, and sometimes it restarts itself for no apparent reason. I can live with that for a while. We will see how they respond to the problem.


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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

I am slowly going through the soccer program source code and documenting what it does. I have found at least one place that could be done much more efficiently. I expect to find other places like that, too. When I do, I am placing a TODO comment in the code so I can easily find the places again when I get ready to make those changes.


I've also been working on the cookbook again, and I have at least 30 or 40 more recipes incorporated. This cookbook is going to be huge. I haven't had time to look for an HTML to PDF converter yet.


Ever since I retired in November, I have been trying to get my Unisys pension started. I went to the web site and attempted to sign up and start the pension, but the web site has errors in it that prevent me from doing that. Funny thing, eh?

Next, I called them to start the pension. After a lot of time on the phone, they came to the conclusion that I would have to wait until January to start the pension. Funny thing, eh?

I called on January 2nd and have been getting the run around ever since. Their web site now shows different errors and they were supposed to send me some documents to sign, but it has been 5 days since they told me that and I don't see the documents. They were nice enough to tell me that the deadline for signing and returning the documents is February 11, so I had better get a move on and overnight the results. Can't do that if I don't have the documents. Funny thing, eh? You would think they don't want to let loose of my pension money, wouldn't you? That's what I think.


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