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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

February 2016

Monday, 29 February, 2016

Several years ago, I added an encryption plug-in to my Thunderbird email client. I had no trouble with it until last Friday, when it said I needed to upgrade from GnuPG 1.4 to GnuPG 2.0. So I went into Synaptic and found GnuPG. Being the tidy person I am, I decided to remove GnuPG 1.4 and then install GnuPG 2.0. What I didn't know was one of the packages that was deleted was apt, which is the base package for all package installation and removal.

I could not figure out how to re-install apt when I didn't have apt, so I decided to re-install Linux Mint, upgrading from 17 to 17.3. I did that on Sunday and the foundation install took less an hour. However, it me another two or three hours to install all the non-distro packages I use - like Handbrake, Openshot, Lazarus, Eclipse, etc. At this point, I only have one thing that needs re-installation - the packages required to get dvd-slideshow to run. If I don't do that, I won't be able to run my gdvdslides program to create video slideshows. That will be a serious problem for me, as I don't like any other slideshow creation program.

At the end of this, I left GnuPG 1.4 alone on the new install and just installed GnuPG 2.0 alongside of it. Encrypted email seems to work fine now.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

Friday, 26 February, 2016

I have completed downloading the episodes of Tales of Tomorrow that I found on the Internet Archive. Many of them were in .AVI format, so I had to use Handbrake to convert them to a format that my Plex server could serve up to my Roku box. I have watched a couple of the episodes and, despite their crudity, they are very watchable and enjoyable.

I have started using the OpenShot video editor to trim unwanted parts from some of the videos. It works fairly well, but there is an ongoing problem with using the Razor tool. That tool allows you to mark the beginning and ending of a piece of the video as a 'clip'. You can then do stuff like remove it or move it. The problem is that many times when I attempt to mark a clip, nothing happens. I have to keep clicking on the spot until eventually it is marked. Not a good implementation, but I will continue to use it, as competing video editors are so much worse.


Here's a little something from the Joy of Tech. My thoughts exactly.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

Sunday, 21 February, 2016

I hope to have all of the Tales of Tomorrow shows downloaded today. As of right now, I have 9 more to download. The Internet Archive is a great place to pick up good multimedia content...


I was browsing through YouTube the other day when I found a channel called CSLDesign. That lady is a genius when it comes to jewelry design, and she is very good at explaining how to create jewelry items. She has 8 videos that explain how to enclose cabochons for jewelry pieces using various techniques. I suspect that we will be viewing a couple of those videos at the monthly mineral club meetings.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

Thursday, 18 February, 2016

I am currently downloading the 42 episodes of the TV show Tales of Tomorrow that exist on the Internet Archive. The show ran only two seasons (1951-1953), but in those two seasons, they aired an incredible 86 1/2 hour episodes. I have always known that early TV seasons had more episodes than current shows, but 46 for the first season?

The series was an anthology, so each episode stands alone. From their descriptions, many of the shows were remade in later television series or movies. This series may be the first time many of the stories were aired. Except, of course, for episodes like Frankenstein, which is a classic of long standing.

I am almost halfway through the download, so I have 21 more shows to do. The shows are in several video formats, so some of them I have to convert using Handbrake.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

Tuesday, 16 February, 2016

I have finished the EPUB version of the Camp-cook cookbook. I didn't do the massive re-formatting I performed on the PDF version, as there was really no need. I changed the recipe headers and generally cleaned things up. I will release these new cookbook editions next month.


I went through the movies on my Plex server and updated the videos web page here. I thought I was keeping up with all the additions, but I obviously had not. I must have added at least a hundred new entries to the list.


My "MacDonalds" list is growing. That list is all the businesses with which I will no longer do business, because of their deceptive, greedy and self-serving practices. I have not even gone into a MacDonalds since June of 1976. That is 39 years and 8 months of avoiding mediocre fast food. It works fine for me.

The latest company to be put on my list is Staples. Like Verizon, when they mailed me a rebate, it was not a check. They issued a debit card instead. The only way I can get a check from them is for them to charge me for that 'privilege'. Goodbye Staples.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

Wednesday, 10 February, 2016

I have about 100 pages left to reformat in the Camp-cook cookbook. It is now 612 pages, so it looks like my prediction of getting down below 600 pages will be valid. Of course, after I finish with this cookbook, I still have to do the EPUB version. More weeks of work.


I have mentioned the Internet Archive here in the past, starting in 2006. I thought I would now explain about this remarkable resource.

The Internet Archive is an online library of collections that exist in digital form and that are Creative Commons, have no copyright or have expired copyrights. This means that the collections are free for downloading. The collections are broken up into several categories: web, texts, video, audio, software and images. The Internet Archive works to prevent materials from disappearing forever.

I have downloaded literally gigabytes of files from the Internet Archives. Here are some of the things I have gotten:

Texts

The books from Project Gutenberg are all available in the Internet Archive, so if you are partial to Edgar Rice Burroughs or H.G. Wells (as well as thousands of other authors), this is a good place to pick up some of their books. Modern authors such as Cory Doctorow (Little Brother) also have many items in this section.

Video

There are feature films as well as old TV shows in this section. I have downloaded at least the following:

Audio

There are thousands of audio tracks on the Internet Archives. My favorites are the old time radio shows. I have collected shows such as 21st Precinct, 2000 Plus, Authors Playhouse, The Aldrich Family, The Avenger, Barry Craig, Blue Beetle, Crime Club, Death Valley Days, Ellery Queen, FBI In Peace and War, Gangbusters, The Green Hornet, Gunsmoke, I Love Adventure, Manhunt, Nick Carter, Nightbeat, Planet Man, Sherlock Holmes, The Shadow, The Unexpected, Voyage of The Scarlet Queen, War of The Worlds, World Adventure Club and X Minus 1.

Software

I must admit I never frequent this section, as I do not use MS-DOS or Windows on my computer and that is what dominates this section. It contains files from software collections, as well as games for various arcade boxes.

Images

This is another section I do not use. It contains images from USGS, NASA, Ames research Center and Flickr Commons, as well as other images.

Web

The web section is where the Wayback Machine resides. It archives web sites and allows you to see what they used to look like. Very useful.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

Friday, 5 February, 2016

I am at about the halfway point of the Camp-cook cookbook re-editing. It's looking good for size - the 3rd edition source file is currently 4.8MB, while the 2nd edition (with 100 less recipes) is 11.2MB. Length is currently 634 pages, down from 674 pages. This editing seems to be well worth the effort.


I had my other cataract removed on Wednesday. No problems so far after the operation. It will be nice to have consistent vision in both eyes, and no yellow-brownish cast to everything.

I have found I can see the computer screens better if I completely remove my glasses. Since I haven't been able to do that since I was 17; how cool is that?


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

Monday, 1 February, 2016

I am about 1/6 of the way through the re-editing of the 3rd edition of the Camp-cook cookbook. If things continue the way they are going, the new version will be 17% smaller than it was in December. That means it will be well under 600 pages, with the same content as when it was 674 pages. It is hard work, though. And I have to make the same changes to the EPUB version.


When I was visiting my relatives in December, I performed my yearly installation and update tasks with their computers. The only computer I could not update was my sister's laptop, which would no longer work because the battery was not being charged.

My sister got a new laptop for Christmas to replace the broken one, so I took the broken one along with me when I came home. Once here, I removed her hard drive and copied her home directory onto a memory stick and mailed that to her. The laptop has been sitting here for a month now, so I decided to see if I could get it working again.

By observing how it behaved, I traced the problem down to the power plug. Last Thursday, I took the laptop over to F1 For Help so I could use his benchtop and tools. I removed about 2 dozen screws, the hard drive, the DVD drive and the keyboard and finally got where I could look at the power plug. Sure enough, the plug had a broken wire. I soldered that back on, re-assembled the laptop and I now have a working machine. The battery now charges just fine.

Since my sister now has a new laptop, I think I will hold onto this one. It's much smaller than my 17" laptop, so it's easier to lug around.

I installed Linux Mint 17.3 on it, along with other applications I normally use, such as Galculator, Lazarus, Virtualbox, KeePassX, FileZilla, Sigil and some games. I will take it with me when I go anywhere that I need some computing power. Not having to lug around 24 pounds of computer will be a nice change.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"