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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

February 2014

Friday, 28 February 2014

My father was born on this day in 1929. Happy 85th birthday, Dad.


 

I spent a lot of time yesterday backing up data from the five IDE drives that I freed up from various computers. It went fairly slowly because the machine I was using is conncted to my LAN via WiFi.

Three of the drives were fine and had good data on the drives. The remaining two drives were from the dead Athlon machine and they were as dead as the machine. As a matter of fact, the Plus Deck I removed from that machine is also dead. The Plus Deck transport mechanism works, but not the electronics. I suspect that the computer was zapped by the lightning bolt that took out my fir tree. It was at the same end of the house as the tree and the phone block, which was also zapped by the lightning. The entire computer is a dead loss and is going to the recyclers.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

I worked on old computers yesterday. I have another Athlon machine that stopped working, so I tore it apart and took out the power supply. I will take it over to F1 for Help to test it. I also removed the hard drives (two of them) and the Plus Deck 2C from the machine. I now have five IDE hard drives sitting around doing nothing. They total almost 500GB of storage.

The Plus Deck is a nifty peripheral. It fits in a standard 5 1/4" bay and connects to power, the serial port and the audio Line-in. It plays cassettes and allows you to record whatever is playing. The serial connection allows you to control the deck by software, but not Linux software. The deck is now installed in my Pitr Athlon machine, but I haven't gotten it to send sound to the audio. I will read the manual to see what needs to be changed.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

I have been working on the soccer program and its web site. I recompiled the program and its help files to use a more current copyright date. I also installed the help file as a program tour on the web site. I could do that because it was already set up as a tour.


 

I removed the two IDE hard drives from the old computer I've been looking at. I then installed Linux Mint 13 on it. I also installed wine on it. I discovered that it has a 3 1/2 floppy drive already, so I don't need to use my new USB floppy with it. It turns out this machine was the first that I gave Russian names to. It is called Boris (my current workstations is Olga). I may just hold onto this machine instead of recycling it.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Yesterday I started up an old computer that has been sitting around for years. It turns out to be an AMD Athlon 3200+ with a gigabyte of memory and three hard drives totaling about 300GB. It is in a computer case that is a duplicate of the one that holds my workstation, except it is tan instead of black. It is a dual boot system, with Windows 2000 and Ubuntu 9.04. I will have to go through all the files to see if there is anything that I might want to save. I will then probably recycle the machine.


 

After I got this workstation working again, one of the first things I did was back my home directory up to network attached storage. That wasn't easy, as I now have over 122,000 files in my home directory. It took 11 hours to back them up. I have so many files because I have a separate home partition that is never erased when I install a new version of Linux. I suspect I still have files in my home directory from when I was using SUSE Linux from at least ten years ago. I really should go through all the files and prune the cruft.


 

It seems that Burt Rutan gave a talk at the Wine Cellar in Coeur d'Alene the other day. I guess I will have to pay more attention to who shows up around the area. I would have liked to have heard that talk.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 24 February 2014

I was right about what happened to this workstation on Tuesday night. The power supply was dead as a doornail. We determined that at F1 for Help, and I bought a new power supply there. I also installed it there and everything is now working fine. Since I am writing this on the workstation, that is obviously true.

At the time the machine died, I was in the process of printing a run of brochures for the gem and mineral show in June. I finished up that run on Sunday morning. I still have about 60 more brochures to print.


 

I have lived here for 29 1/2 years, and this is the first time I have seen a moose in my front yard:

It looks a bit scruffy, but we are still in the middle of winter.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 21 February 2014

I hope that I can get my workstation running tomorrow. While I was at it, I was going to plug a 3 1/2 floppy into that motherboard, but I discovered there is no connector for that. Every time you turn around, we lose interfaces. Machines no longer come with parallel ports or with game controller connectors. Ah well, the world moves on, I guess. It's just really inconvenient if you have a parallel port peripheral and want to use it.


 

I worked on the web site for the soccer program yesterday. Ken has to provide text for some of the web pages, but I did some other maintenance chores. I also need to go through the program and its help files to update the copyright notices. I can't do that until I get my workstation running again, as it has all the source code for that stuff.

All of the code for the soccer program is in a Windows 2000 virtual machine. I have been testing the program in a Windows XP virtual machine. The program will run in later versions of Windows, too.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

I worked with my former co-worker Ken on the soccer coach web site yesterday. We defined what needed to be added to the web site and what needed to be investigated. Specifically, we need a way to register users and a way to process purchases.


 

I took apart my workstation yesterday and from what I can tell, it was the power supply that blew out on Tuesday. I will take the computer to the technical session of the North Idaho Linux Users Group on Saturday at F1 for Help in Rathdrum. If the problem is indeed the power supply, I will purchase one there. Hopefully the workstation will be back up and running on Monday.

If it is the motherboard that is the problem, I will simply remove the hard drive and plug it into this multimedia machine I am currently using. I really need to get to files on that drive.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

I was printing gem show brochures and working on this blog last night, when the workstation went POW! and shut down. I suspect I blew the power supply, but it may have been motherboard. It's hard to tell until I pull the machine apart. Since I can't access the entry I was working on, all you get today is what you see here. Sorry.


 

Silly sign of the day:

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

I have been writing this blog for 11 years. That's a lot of text. The first couple of years, this web site was a static site, with no links to other stories and no silly signs. Pretty boring, IMHO. Static web sites that are updated daily are a royal PITA, so I went to a CMS. And, of course, I picked a shaky one. I have since moved from e107 to WordPress, which is so popular that it has its own problems.


 

I got a DVD of The Da Vinci Code the other day. It is distributed by Columbia Pictures and is 2 1/2 hours long. I attempted to back it up with Handbrake and all I got was the first frame or two of the movie. This is not the same as the other DVDs I have had problems with. Must be a new attempt by the studios to prevent copying. Anyway, I recorded the movie using vlc and then used Handbrake on that recording. I had to boost the frame rate a bit when converting it, as the default frame rate caused the picture to jerk around when played back.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 17 February 2014

I talked to my dad and one of my sisters on Friday. My dad has been following the work I've done on the car club web site, and he found a problem with one of the photo web pages. The Pinehurst Show and Shine 2012 page was all messed up - he saw the same truck photo displayed three times.

In order to explain why this happened, I need to explain how I do those pages. I did the first one by hand, but for the others, I copy a completed page into a new file and make changes to it. One of the changes is in the number of photos to be displayed. In the case of the Pinehurst page there are 42 photos. I had 16 photo lines from the original page I copied, so I just copied and pasted those 16 two more times. I then proceeded to forget to change the actual photo filenames, so the first 16 were repeated two more times. I have fixed that and now all the Pinehurst photos are available for viewing.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 14 February 2014

I had my lunch meeting yesterday with my former co-worker. We came to the conclusion that we will be meeting next week to decide what to do with the soccer program and its web site.


 

On Wednesday afternoon, one of the car club guys suggested that a different photo be put on the car club home page. So the home page on the car club web site now displays a random image from one of the 2012 car shows. This is done in javascript, so you must turn that on to see the image. I think this is a good idea, as it gives the site a more active appearance.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

I am going to have lunch today with a former co-worker. We keep in touch because he is the instigator for the soccer program I wrote. I have had a better track record with jobs than he has - he is management and it is harder to get management jobs as you get older. He has been doing contract work for the past several years.

We may actually get some action on the soccer program, if that's what he wants. It's a good program, but it's Windows-only and there are several things that should be done to it.


 

The temperature was in the high 40's yesterday. At about 2pm, I plowed again and it was mostly a matter of moving water and slush off the road. Our private road is now pretty much clear of any snow or ice, except for the east-west part up at the county road, which gets no sunlight to speak of. Anyway, I now have time and good weather, so I can fix the Lexan snow plow blade, which I knocked out of its socket early this winter.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

I didn't do much yesterday. I ran some errands and found that I could only get a specific battery for my camera at Batteries Plus. Then found out that despite public opinion, Napa Auto Supply does not have every windshield wiper blade known to mankind in stock.

It was supposed to rain yesterday, but it didn't. It was sunny and it did get up to the high 30's, so I took the opportunity to plow some of the loosened packed snow off of the road. It's a good thing I did, as this morning it is raining fairly hard. It is already 37° F and it will get up into the 40's. We are in for a spell of warm weather.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

I have finished posting photos and slideshows on the car club web site. Hopefully, there won't be any big chore there for a couple of months. The final additions were Hot Wheels in Millwood 2013, Inland Northwest Camaro Club Open Show 2013 and Palouse Days Show and Shine 2012. The new slide show is Rat Rods.


 

I plowed the 6" of snow we got yesterday. It was important to do this, as today it will get up above freezing and we expect mixed snow and rain. If I hadn't plowed, my car would have been stuck at home for at least three or four days.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 10 February 2014

I added a couple more photo areas to the car club web site. I think I may have a couple more to do there. I also added another slide show to the site. All those slide shows were produced by one person. He does other subjects, too, but as a car club, we only have his car shows.


 

I went to the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting on Saturday. I think it's the first time in several months that I haven't helped someone install Linux on their computer. What I did instead is helped someone install Linux on a memory stick so they could use that to boot their computer.


 

I went to a mineral club board meeting on Sunday. We had it to kick off the work we need to do to hold our gem show in June. We got a lot done, but there is more to do. It takes a lot of work to organize a show like that.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 7 February 2014

I have backed up all seven of the Marx Brothers DVDs that I have, and that process has created two questions for me. The first one is probably rhetorical; why is it that a 1 hour, 24 minute black and white standard screen movie was ripped by Handbrake and the result came in at 1.5GB, yet a 1 hour 43 minute widescreen movie ends up being 936MB? I suspect the answer to that has to do with frame rates, but A Night in Casablanca is much larger than Married to the Mob.

The second question is why do the DVD makers sometimes use the commentary soundtrack as the default soundtrack? In A Night at the Opera, the default soundtrack has Leonard Maltin expounding on why he likes movies from the 30's and 40's. I don't want to hear that. I just want the original soundtrack. So I had to redo the back up of that movie with another soundtrack. Arrgh.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

I thought I was done creating the Phuddy Duddies web site, but I was wrong. I now have photos from 8 or 10 more events that we participated in, and I need to create more web pages for them. That will probably eat up a fair portion of time today. Which is good, because right now it is -8° F with the wind blowing and no way am I going anywhere for a while.


 

I found some more DVDs that I haven't backed up onto hard disk. This time, it is a collection of seven movies starring the Marx brothers. That includes favorites like Duck Soup and A Day at the Races. I am backing them up now.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

I downloaded an ebook yesterday from Starshipsofa.com. It's called the 2014 Campbellian Anthology. I loaded it on my tablet and started to read it with Page Turner, but the book is so screwed up it is just not readable. It skipped from the table of contents to page 263, and you can't leave the app and come back to the same page. I am going to try to fix it today using Sigil, by removing the offending sections. Someone should learn how to create an EPUB document.


 

I mostly just vegged out yesterday, since it was so cold. It's even worse today - right now it is 0° F and with windchill, it is -25° F. If I didn't have errands, I would just stick right here at home. It is supposed to warm up at the end of the week, so we can at least move around outside without freezing.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

I finished up a bottle of store-bought salsa verde the other day. I came to the conclusion I could make better salsa than that, so I winged it and came up with a combo that seems to be pretty good (and much hotter). The recipe is in the Recipes section. It turns out I should have looked at my recipes, as this is the second salsa verde recipe I have done. Oh, well.


 

I added a bit more content to the Phuddy Duddies web site. Specificallly, I added another slide show and a photo section called "When Bad Things Happen", which is a bit discouraging. I'm glad I don't drive my Plymouth over 55 mph.

BTW, right now it is 6.8° F, but with windchill, it is -5.6° F..


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 3 February 2014

It looks like the snow dump is over, but the temperature is going to plunge in the next few days, resulting in a high on Wednesday of 12° F. I think I'll stick around the homestead for most of that.


 

I have finished the web site for our informal car club. You can see it at http://phuddyduddies.org/. Doing all the photos on the site was the most tedious part, and there is still more to do. When I get the information, I need to title many of the photos, and that is all manual work.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"