BLOGical Thoughts Archive

July 2004

Friday, 30 July, 2004

I ended up with an MP3 disk of 14 Beatles Albums. So now I'm listening to "A Hard Day's Night" That's better than listening to Joan Baez' "No Woman, No Cry" twelve times. I like Joan Baez, but enough is enough.

More yard and house work to do this weekend. I will also try to fit Art on the Green into my schedule.

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Thursday, 29 July, 2004

I'm still working on ripping CDs to MP3s. It's not the fastest process in the world, but I should have another MP3 disk for my (fair) use tomorrow. Playing the same music over and over is getting to be real old.

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Wednesday, 28 July, 2004

Last week I had to reboot my work computer (Windoze 2000) 3 times. This week I just rebooted for the first time. Complete and total lockup, including the keyboard. Oh, how I wish for Linux. But my employer would never go for it.

I am back to doing MP3s from my CD collection. Disk #8 will be an all Beatles disk. I have ripped five of their albums so far. At least five more to go for this MP3 disk. And only 1300 more CDs left to rip...

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Tuesday, 27 July, 2004

Have you ever seen a law enacted whose opponents say "but if passed, the law will allow the government to do yadda yadda...". And the proponents of the law always say "Well, we would never use it in that way". I say, bullshit. If you allow the lawyers to pass laws with huge holes in them, those holes will be exploited. Here are some examples:

The RICO Act was passed to allow the government to put away gangsters when they couldn't get to them any other way. It is now being used against churches.

The DMCA was passed to control copyright infringement. It is being used to enforce toner cartridge and service and support monopolies.

The so-called PATRIOT Act was passed to supposedly help uncover and control acts of terrorism. It is being used in a copyright violation claim brought by the MPAA against the administrater of a Sci-Fi fan site - the Stargate SG-1 Information Archive. As a matter of fact, the government is using the RICO Act, The DMCA and the Patriot Act against this allegedly very dangerous copyright-infringing racketeering terrorist web site.

Why don't they concentrate on real terrorists for a change?

Now they are working on something called the INDUCE Act. Which, if passed, will make it illegal to own an Apple iPod. "Oh, but we would never use it in that way!"

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Monday, 26 July, 2004

The Digital Fortress book by Dan Brown was pretty good, even though I guessed the password for the decryption long before the characters in the book. I don't usually do that kind of thing, so you can imagine that the clues were pretty simple. The characters had to use the Internet to help them solve it, however.

I got quite a bit of work done on the weekend - yard work, house work, even a little computer work. I backed up two more movies. One of them is a repeat because the original backup had something wrong with it. DVD-Shrink may have done something wrong to the files. I had to use DVD-Shrink because the movie was 8% larger than would fit on a regular DVD+R.

NOTE: The DVD-Shrink web site changes the size of your browser window. I hate that, and would never return to that web site if the utility were not so useful.

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Friday, 23 July, 2004

I am reading a book by Dan Brown (author of 'The DaVinci Code') called 'Digital Fortress'. It's a good book. It's about cryptography and computers which, needless to say, is one of my favorite subjects. I didn't know that in a public key system that the keys are called 'pass-keys'. I always thought they were the 'public key' and the 'private key'. I guess you learn something new every day. Thanks for the read, Shelley.

I finally finished getting Debian Woody Linux off the Net and writing it to CDs. I mailed off all 8 CDs last night. I kept a copy for myself, too. With 8 CDs, it better be good.

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Thursday, 22 July, 2004

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Theodore Roosevelt

Silenced: Singer hits wrong note in polarised US

I am continuing to write a screen translater at work. It is written in Perl, and it converts Olivetti Financial Basic screens into Java code. The initial take on the translater seems to work fairly well. I need to add support for include files, color palettes and descriptors. Which is a big job. But fun.

It was pointed out to me by a co-worker that Alcohol 120% may not have been responsible for the bad Debian CD I burned the other day. That's true - it could have been a bad download, a marginal CD-R or a hardware problem with my USB CDROM burner. The kind of error I was getting kind of points at the burner program, though so I was more than willing to point fingers at it.

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Wednesday, 21 July, 2004

burned the CDROMs for Debian Woody Linux. I did it using my USB CDROM burner on my work machine. I used the Windows Alcohol 120% burning program. It seemed to work okay, but I trust my Linux K3B burning program more than I do any Windows program I have so far used.

Why do I have this attitude? Last night I used K3B on my Linux machine to make copies of the Debian CDs - all except one, which was incorrectly burned by Alcohol 120%. This is not the first time a Windows burner burnt a bad CD for me. Nero, Prius and Easy CD Creator have all done the same thing. So I will stick to K3B whenever possible.

In the meantime, I am downloading Debian CD #4 - again.

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Tuesday, 20 July, 2004

Today is the 35th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". What has happened since then?

Our space program has taken many small steps back from the moon landing. It was run by politicians in the first place and was merely a tool to use against the soviets. Now that there are no more soviets, they think there is no need for a space program - no need for NASA.

Like all government programs, however, NASA refuses to die. It has become a giant hole in space into which our government throws money. And it will never go away. You see, the purpose of government is not to govern, it is to finance its own people and programs.

I place my trust and faith in people like Burt Rutan and Paul Allen to bring back the pioneering spirit so lacking at NASA.

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Monday, 19 July, 2004

I got some of my chores done over the weekend, but not as much as I had planned. I need to whack some weeds, so the backhoe guy can come in and dig a ditch to lay a new water line in.

My water pressure is down to almost nothing, so I better get on it.

I tried to update my SuSE box over the weekend. Dial-up is so slow you kind of have to start it up then go do other things. While I was doing other things, only one patch downloaded, then I lost the connection. I'll try again when I get a chance. The download patch is 115mb, which I should be able to download on dial-up.

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Friday, 16 July, 2004

I am downloading Debian "Woody" Linux. There are 8 .iso images. I have also downloaded a CDROM burning program called Alcohol 120%. I plan to hook the USB CDROM writer from my notebook up to my work desktop and use the program to burn the .iso images onto CDROM. This will eliminate any intermediate steps, like trying to get the images off of my desktop onto the notebook before I can burn them.

Lots to do this weekend. I hope to get much of it done. Lawn mowing, weed whacking, house cleaning. grocery shopping, and even replacing a SCSI CDROM drive with an IDE CDROM drive. Should keep me from staring at the boob tube, for sure.

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Thursday, 15 July, 2004

It was too hot for me, so I didn't go to the open air concert last night.

I tried to back up a couple more VHS tapes to DVD last night. I was unsuccessful, because the movies I tried to back up were recorded in extended long play. This makes them very vulnerable to occasional loss of sync. So no joy for Addicted To Love and Blade Runner.

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Wednesday, 14 July, 2004

There is a free concert at Hayden Park tonight. I'm seriously thinking of going. They will be playing music I like - celtic, folk, etc. The concert runs from 6 pm to 8 pm.

I have been on hold on the phone for 32 minutes now, trying to switch over from Pegasus billing to DirecTV billing. If this is the kind of service that DirecTV offers, I'm not sure I want to participate.

And of course, while I was typing this, they finally put me on. And they want some info I need to get from the satellite receiver, so I will have to go through this whole thing again tomorrow.

In the meantime, I am supposed to pay the Pegasus bill, so there will be no hassles during switchover. So I will probably be charged twice for this month. Typical big business BS.

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Tuesday, 13 July, 2004

If you want to see a funny unsold pilot, check out "Heat Vision and Jack". It is produced by Ben Stiller and stars Jack Black and the voice of Owen Wilson as Heat Vision. Beware, though - there are three mpeg files and they are big.

New Microsoft Slogan: "Our Software is Good Enough"

Not really Microsoft's. I thought it up all by myself.

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Republican Convention 2004

One-day Schedule for The 2004 Republican National Convention

The first day and almost all the issues seem to be covered:

The 2004 Republican National Convention (New York City)

10:00 am: Opening Ceremony: Pat Boone accompanies Lee Greenwood singing "I'm Proud to be an American"

10:05 am: Vote on motion to go into Closed Session. (If motion fails, Justice Antonin Scalia will announce that all media must turn off audio and video recording devices.)

10:30 am: Katherine Harris speaks on "Are Elections Really Necessary?"

10:45 am: Trent Lott - "Re-segregation in the 21st Century"

11:00 am: Announcement: Lincoln Memorial Renamed for Ronald Reagan

11:10 am: Phyllis Schlafly speaks on "Why Birth Control Should Be Outlawed"

11:30 am: Rush Limbaugh - "Just Say No To Drugs"

11:45 am: Ann Coulter's Tribute to "Joe McCarthy, American Patriot"

12:00 noon: Singing of "God Bless America" and big screen projection of "Blue Angels" fly-over

12:04 pm: Lunch Break - steak with vegetable sides of ketchup and relish, yellow cake

12:30 pm: Oliver North - "Never Trade Arms with Terrorists"

1:00 pm: Reps. Doolittle and DeLay speak on the GOP congressional agenda.

1:30 pm: Group cheer--Global-warming-schmobal warming!

1:35 pm: GOP's Tribute to Tokenism, featuring Colin Powell and Condi Rice

2:00 pm: Accounting for Beginners--"Tax Cuts are Good for Deficit Reduction"

2:30 pm: Labor Secretary Elaine Chao speaks on "Economic Growth Through Job Exportation"

3:00 pm: Newt Gingrich speaks on "The Sanctity of Marriage"

3:30 pm: Unveiling of "The Guide to Imperialism" by the Heritage Foundation

4:00 pm: Announcement: Ronald Reagan to be added to Mt. Rushmore

4:15 pm: "Eradicate Poor People" Happy Hour (guided sight-seeing buses leaving for Harlem every 10 minutes)

6:00 pm: Dinner Break: Texas-Style Endangered Species Barbeque

7:00 pm: John Ashcroft leads ceremonial burning of the Bill of Rights

7:15 pm: George W. Bush video tribute "Higher than a Kite: Portrait of a Fighter Pilot"

7:30 pm: Vote on motion to put image of Ronald Reagan on one dollar bill

Keynote Speech by Dick Cheney (Exact time TBA, depending on his arrival from secret bunker).

8:00 pm: "Kiss Ass" session with Christian Coalition

8:30 pm: Workshop on government-corporate relations by Dick Cheney

8:45 pm: Log Cabin Republicans Encounter Session-- Coming to Terms with Your Self-Hatred

9:00 pm: Assault Rifle Raffle

Monday, 12 July, 2004

The NILUG meeting was well attended and interesting, but we have to do something about organizing a formal program of talks. I like gossip as much as the next person, but we can only attract Linux newbies if there is more substance to the meetings.

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Friday, 9 July, 2004

IMPORTANT TO WINDOWS MOZILLA USERS: A vulnerability to attack was found in the Mozilla product line yesterday. The vulnerability is actually a Windows vulnerability, so the Mozilla products for Linux are unaffected. The vulnerability was patched and the patch is available today. Think you get that kind of service from Micro$oft? No way, José!

For those of you with a Windows Mozilla product, you can download and install the patch by going to here. See the article below - 'Patched in 60 seconds'.

The North Idaho Linux Users Group (NILUG) will be meeting tomorrow at noon at Frank Ten Thy's house. See the web site for location information.

Fedora Core 2 and SuSE Linux 9.1 will be available. Xfce, an alternative X-Windows desktop manager, will be demoed.

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Thursday, 8 July, 2004

I have posted the pictures from the 4th of July Fun in Carnation, WA, 2004 teardrop gathering. I hope you enjoy them.

I will be writing the program to convert source files in one language to another language, in yet a third language. I've always adhered to the 'right tool for the job' theory of programming, so I will be using Perl to write a program to convert Olivetti Financial Basic to Java. no irony intended - just honesty.

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Wednesday, 7 July, 2004

My next Java project will be one that directly applies to my day job. I am thinking of doing a source file converter, to convert the source code of our product into Java. The source code is a variant of C and Basic. I would be doing the display screens first, as they are the easiest to get into Java objects.

This would be an unofficial project, done when I had nothing else to do. It would be fun, though. I like to do fun programming stuff.

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Tuesday, 6 July, 2004

I got back from my teardrop trailer trip yesterday afternoon. It was a nice trip and all the teardroppers were, as usual, very friendly. More than I can say for resident IT folks over there.

There were 17 teardrops at the gathering, which is a record. Three teardroppers won prizes in the Carnation 4th of July car show.

I will post pictures of the trip in the next few days.

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Thursday, 1 July, 2004

I have Xfce running on my notebook. It looks good and seems to be easy to use, but entry into applications is sparse. Sean at work suggested I get something called MenuMaker to help me with this problem.

MenuMaker is a heuristics-driven program written in Python that scans your system and compiles a menu of the programs it recognizes. I will be trying this today to see if I can get better access to my programs while running Xfce.

No more journal entries until next Tuesday. I hope everyone enjoys their 4th of July. I know I will.

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