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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

January 2017

Tuesday, 31 January, 2017

I found this picture the other day when I was going through the life-box my mother had accumulated for me. The photo was taken in 1978 and shows me and my new (to me) 1953 Buick Special. This was my very first classic car.

All original with 13,000 miles on it. I even gave it a nickname: Black Beauty. I paid $100 for it!


The $30.97 oscilloscope kit I ordered from eBay came on Saturday. This DSO 150 kit is a newer version of the JYE Tech DSO 138 and actually comes in three flavors:

This is what I started assembly with

Several hours of soldering and assembly later, this is what came out of the process.


Quote of the day:

Politician, n.: From the Greek "poly" ("many") and the French "tete" ("head" or "face," as in "tete-a-tete": head to head or face to face). Hence "polytetien", a person of two or more faces.
     Martin Pitt

  Do the initials 'DT' stand for 'Despot, Tyrannical'? Just wondering...


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Friday, 27 January, 2017

On Monday at the classic car gathering at Paul Bunyon's in Hayden, one of the guys gave me his wife's laptop to fix. The machine is an old Toshiba Satellite with a Pentium 4 CPU. She got it used, and has never been able to get it to work.

The first thing I discovered was the BIOS was password protected, and she did not have the password. I looked all over the Internet for a way to remove the password, but apparently the P35-S6112 model is one where you can't reset the password with a hardware fix. So no access to the BIOS.

I tried booting it into Windows 7, but was not successful. I then booted it using a Linux Mint 17.3 Maté DVD and it came up, but it was really, really slow. I found out that the machine had only 512 MB of RAM and that 128 MB of that was being used for the screen display. It's a wonder it booted at all.

I installed Linux Mint 17.3 XFCE on it, which takes less memory, but it was still dog-slow. It definitely needed more memory, so I went on a local quest to get some used PC2700 memory modules. I tried F1 for Help in Rathdrum, but Joe didn't have any PC2700 memory. I got a recycler's address from his co-worker, though.

The recycler is called Urban Mining Depot, and it is located right next to the exit of the dump on Ramsey Road in Coeur d'Alene. I went down there and soon found two 1 GB RAM modules for the computer. I powered up the computer and ran the Linux memory test. Found out that one of the modules was bad. I removed it and everything was okay. I traded the Depot guy the good 512 MB card for the good 1 GB card.

When I got back home, I installed Linux Mint 17.3 Maté on the machine. It runs fine with the extra RAM, but it would be much faster with another 1 GB card.

So the machine runs and is all set for another involuntary Linux newbie. I will give it back to them on Monday.


Quote of the day:

Democracy means that anyone can grow up to be president, and anyone who doesn't grow up can be vice president.
     Johnny Carson

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Monday, 23 January, 2017

My Pi-Top computer kit showed up on Saturday. The Pi-Top consists of all the pieces you need to create a laptop computer using a Raspberry Pi model 2 or 3. It took me about an hour to assemble all the pieces, using my RPi 3 as the CPU. Here is the result.

The first O/S I used was the included Pi-Top O/S on an 8GB micro SD card. That O/S is based on Raspbian. As you can see, I then installed Ubuntu Maté 16.04 on it and it works just fine. I am using an old Logitech wireless mouse with it, since I am not a big fan of touchpads.

I decided to put the Pi-Top O/S on a 32 GB card and use that as the O/S. I attempted to download the image for the O/S four times. Each attempt was three hours, and at the end of each, the download failed. I decided to sleep on the problem.

Sleep always works. I took the original SD card and did some command line magic. I did

     lsblk

to figure out where the SD card was mounted, then used that to create an image of the entire SD card

     sudo dd if=/dev/sdb of=/home/mburton/Downloads/iso_images/pi-top-os.img

That took a while, but eventually I ended up with an 8 GB image file. I then inserted the empty 32 GB SD card and copied the image onto it.

     sudo dd if=/home/mburton/Downloads/iso_images/pi-top-os.img of=/dev/sdb

The final step was to expand the SD card from using only 8 GB to using the full 32 GB. I did that using Gparted to resize the Linux partition on the card. I then plugged the result into the Pi-Top and I now have a system with 23 GB free space instead of 2 GB. Did that all with Linux. I just don't know if I could have done it with Windoze.


Quote of the day:

America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.
     Oscar Wilde

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Friday, 20 January, 2017

I bought some stuff from banggood.com and they either sold or gave my email address to spammers. So an email account that has seen no spam for the past several years now has dozens of emails.

Do not buy from banggood.com unless you want all that spam.


I admit it: I'm hooked on one particular YouTube channel. The Julian Ilett channel has dozens of videos. Julian is an electronics hobbyist who explains things in the videos in a very concise manner. He loves to get bargains, mostly from China. That requires him to learn more about the devices and their components, as most Chinese-written English instructions are not understandable. If you are interested in electronics, you should check out the channel. But be careful: this is where I got the banggood.com source.


Quote of the day:

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition.
     Isaac Asimov

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Thursday, 12 January, 2017

I love my XTV channel. It's one of the best things I have added to my Roku box. The other day I watched two comedy westerns on XTV that I would never have otherwise seen. They were A Million Ways to Die in the West with Seth Macfarlane, Liam Neeson and Charlize Theron, and The Ridiculous 6 with Adam Sandler and a cast of dozens. When you get past all the bathroom humor and blood, they are pretty funny. At any rate, I have to credit XTV for providing links to these and other movies.


It has been over a week since I sent an email to Zareason asking about sound support for my laptop. No reply. I have a perfectly good Zareason laptop with Linux Mint 18 installed and no sound support. I am starting to get pissed.

Update: I got a reply to my second email that sounds like the tech has no clue about this problem. I told him more about it and will await his email. If that is not successful, I will phone the company.


Quote of the day:

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did - in his sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.
     Bob Monkhouse

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Friday, 6 January, 2017

I am back to trying to get my i7 laptop's sound to work with a version of Linux Mint that is newer than 13 (current version is 18). I have looked for help on the Net and no joy there. I am going to install LM 18 on the laptop and go from there. I'm hoping I get a response back from Zareason (where I purchased the laptop) about this.

Later: I have created a shell script to help me get a new version of Linux Mint fully configured on any machine. After installation of the new version and update of it, I run the script and it will install and configure items that are not on the distro DVD. I have run that script and it works fine. So I now have LM 18 on my laptop with simplescreenrecorder, asunder, hmscalcrpn, gdvdslides, open shot and handbrake on it. As well as a few other items. The only thing it doesn't have is sound.


Quote of the day:

You get who you voted for, but why do you have to give them to me?
     Michael Burton

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Sunday, 1 January, 2017

Well, so far, so good. We made it from 2016 to 2017. I hope everyone had a pain-free New Year.


After installing the new motherboard in my multimedia computer, I tried everything I could think of to get my old LaserJet 6L printer to work with the machine. I got a PCI Express parallel port card and that did not work. I got a parallel to USB adapter and that did not work, either. I finally decided that the old printer was just not going to work with the new motherboard.

So I made some space and pulled out an old computer that had a built-in parallel port and hooked up the printer. That combination works fine, but about the only thing I do with that computer is printing. Oh, well. It's an Athlon-based computer with 1GB of RAM in a great old (creme-colored) Antec case. Works fine for me, so no complaints. And I can now print more address labels.



Quote of the day:

We've sent a man to the moon, and that's 29,000 miles away. The center of the Earth is only 4,000 miles away. You could drive that in a week, but for some reason nobody's ever done it.
     Andy Rooney

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother