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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

July 2009

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

I have figured out a way to solve my problem at work, but it involves creating a data tree and traversing the entire tree from its branches to its root. The tree traversal would allow me to determine which database table column I need to work on. I would then perform the arithmetic on each of the database table columns using a recursive function. It's a very difficult problem that is hard to wrap your head around, but I think I may have it. It's going to take quite a bit of coding, though. Especially the 'traverse the entire tree' routine.


This will be my last post for the week. I'm taking a couple of days off, so my next post will be on Monday.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

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Tuesday, 28 July 2009

I have run up against an apparently insoluble problem at work. I am attempting to convert two database tables into one table in a different format. This requires me to convert the table rows into columns and to do some arithmetic on the values in the tables. The problem is, in order to do the arithmetic, I need to know where to start and how to work my way back in the data. I need to know this because the data stored in the original tables are values in a tree, and I need to start at each branch tip and work my way back to the root. Another problem is, the stored values aren't always accurate anyway. I think I may need to have a meeting to talk about this. There is another way to get this information, but we are talking about processing hundreds of millions of table rows of information. If I can figure out how to do this using the original tables, we are only talking about millions of rows.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Monday, 27 July 2009

This summer has been one of overlapping events. Every time I commit to one event, it turns out that something else that I'm really interested in also occurs on that weekend. The last two major things I will do this summer are no exception. This weekend is the NFMS/AFMS convention (minerals) and I just found out that Art On The Green is the same weekend. The last weekend in August is the 1st Northwest Vintage Trailer rally in Newport, WA and also the North Idaho Fair Dutch Oven Cookoff. It's hard to turn one of them down for the other, but I can't be in two places at the same time. I am going with the things I first committed to.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Friday, 24 July 2009

I have a new hierarchy designed for this web site. When you just kind of add things on, the whole site becomes less usable, so I intend to fix that. Since I will also be using a different CMS, don't expect to see this change real soon. The new content management system is harder to use than the one I am using now, but that's because it is more flexible.

I have the new CMS set up on my workstation and will test the new page hierarchy on it this weekend.


Week after next we will be at a milestone: the 1000th Silly Sign. Look for the low key celebration of this milestone, coming to an Internet of your choice.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Thursday, 23 July 2009

I took the night off last night, as it was too hot to do anything on the computer. I finished reading a book, instead. The ebook reader doesn't generate any heat, so that's a plus for it...

I got an email from my web host this morning, explaining what happened when their network was attacked and 25 of their servers (including mine) went down. It sounds like a typical 'attack, threaten, extort' operation. The FBI is involved and they hope to run the scumbag to earth from clues they got from his correspondence. Good riddance to bad rubbish if they do it.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

I now have a summer schedule conflict. There is (maybe) going to be an inland northwest teardrop trailer gathering at the very end of August, and I have signed on to it. But in my email this morning, I also got an invitation to participate in a Dutch oven cookoff at the North Idaho Fair on the same weekend. I am undecided as to what to do. I would love to be in the cookoff, as I remember the chili cookoff they had one year at the Fair. On the other hand, this is the very first teardrop trailer gathering in our area. Maybe I should talk to the gathering organizers about this.


Well, I was wrong. The North Idaho Linux Users Group technical meeting on Saturday will be held at F1 For Help, as normal. That's what I get for trying to second-guess.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Why is that some nice electronic equipment does not come with a cover? My 9" Acer Aspire One netbook has a very nice neoprene cover that well protects the metallic blue paint job. On the other hand, the 10" Acer Aspire One netbook comes with no cover at all, but the same kind of paint job. And the ebook reader I just bought comes with no cover, either.

In the case of the 10" Aspire, you can pick up a nice cover for it at (shudder) Best Buy. But not for the ebook reader. That's a much smaller device, and no one seems to make the covers. Since I use it a lot, I want to protect it. I could really use a cover for the thing.


There is a North Idaho Linux Users Group technical meeting on Saturday. Normally, it would be held at F1 For Help in Rathdrum, but this time it will be held at the church in Post Falls. So the two meetings this month have had their locations swapped around. Hopefully, we will be back to normal in August.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Monday, 20 July 2009

I got the ebook reader shown below last week. It's called a Cooler Reader. It has 1GB of storage and this one currently has 140+ books stored in it. That's "Echoes of Honor" you see on the screen.

The screen is the same kind and size as the one on the Kindle, but the entire device is smaller, as it doesn't have all those buttons. It has no WiFi - just a USB connection. Since I could care less about being in touch with world news 24/7, that suits me just fine. There are two other things about this reader that are the icing on the cake: it runs Linux and it costs $250. Way cool - I have already used it to read one 500 page novel.

Update: One thing I forgot to mention - this reader does not support DRM in any way, shape or manner, so there will never be a case of purchasing a book and then having the company you purchased it from come in and delete your purchase from your ebook reader without your consent or knowledge (see all the Amazon Big Brother stories below).


The Dutch oven event over the weekend was fun, but it was 95 degrees at the old Kootenai County Jail. If you've ever done barbeque in weather like that ( dad ) then you know what we had to put up with.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Friday, 17 July 2009

The potluck dinner last night was pretty nice, and I ended up with a very nice chunk of petrified wood from Arizona. I hope my little trim saw can cut through the chunk, but it may be too small. I will have to think about getting a larger saw.

I will be spending tomorrow at the old Kootenai County Jail in Rathdrum. Come on down if you are in the mood for seeing a nicely restored old building and eating some very good Dutch oven food.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Thursday, 16 July 2009

I did a bunch of chores around the house last night, including making my Jello surprise salad/dessert for for a potluck dinner I will be attending tonight. So if you are looking for computer-oriented comments: sorry, I can't help today.

I will be doing some Dutch oven cooking on Saturday, as the city of Rathdrum celebrates the refurbishing of the newly restored Old Original Kootenai County Jail.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

My keyboards are wearing out. I have four 'split with a hump' Kensiko keyboards I bought years ago. The left shift key is going intermittent on two of the keyboards - the two I use daily. I tore one of them apart and cleaned it up, but that did not help at all. I may have to go keyboard shopping. That will be a tough thing, as the only people I know of who produce ergonomic keyboards now are Microsoft, and I don't like either the layout or the feel of their keyboards. In the meantime, I will have to swap out the two keyboards I use all the time for the ones I hardly use at all.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

I remembered last night that I had made a promise I had not fulfilled. Last month before the North Idaho Mineral Club meeting, I produced a DVD slideshow of all the pictures I had taken at the Gem, Jewelry and Mineral Show. I used a really crappy Windows program (oxymoron?) to produce the DVD, and it ended up without a soundtrack. I had promised to produce a DVD with a soundtrack and including all the video I had shot there, too.

I created that DVD last night using all Open Source software. First, I used the command line program slideshow to recreate the slide show of all the pictures. Then I used a program called De Ve De to produce the DVD menu, with all the video, including the slideshow video. When I told it I was finished adding content, it sat and ground for quite a while (mostly converting MOV files to VOB) and ended up producing an ISO image of the DVD. I used Brasero to put the DVD image on a blank DVD. It came out much, much better than the crummy DVD produced by the Windows program. I think the slideshow is even sharper and the sound is great, too. I don't know what kind of processing that Windows program did on the slideshow, but it can't have been good.

So now I have an ISO I can produce all kinds of DVDs from. And, in case you haven't figured it out, I really like how easy it was to put together using De Ve De.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Monday, 13 July 2009

I have installed Joomla on my workstation so I can evaluate it as a possible replacement for WordPress, which is what I currently use on this web site. It is much more configurable than WordPress, but that makes it more complex, too. So far, I have added another menu to it, but I have to figure out how to actually display that menu. I will also look at the templates to see if any of them are applicable to the web site.

Since I was looking at Joomla, I figured it was a good idea if I backed up my web sites. The NILUG site was easy, as it only has about 18MB of data. This site is a bit larger, though. There is 801MB of site content, so it took a long time to back up. Now all I need to do is back up the databases.

I also have to get back to work on other projects. Number one is finishing up the back-from-the-dead computer.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Friday, 10 July 2009

I had lunch at the local Subway yesterday. Subway will be joining my MacDonalds list. They have raised the price of many of their foot-long sandwiches by $1.40, while simultaneously halving the amount of meat on the sandwich. One foot of Italian bread with practically no meat on it is just not worth $6.40. At this rate, there won't be anyplace in town for me to have lunch.


The local North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting is tomorrow. This will be just a normal meeting, as we have no topic scheduled. I will bring along 5 Ubuntu 9.04 disks to give away to anyone who needs one.

The deer grazing next to my house this morning included at least one young buck. I guess this means I have to mow the lawn again...


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Thursday, 9 July 2009

There has been several articles (see below) about the Kindle 2 price reduction. The price was reduced from $359 to $299. Many people see this as a knee-jerk response to the introduction of other book readers into the marketplace. They would be right. Why would I buy a book reader with DRM, even if they have reduced the price by $60? Answer: I would not. What I did buy was the Cool Reader, which was released for production yesterday and which costs $249. Of course, one of the reasons it costs $50 less than the Kindle is it has no Wi-Fi support. That doesn't bother me at all. My major method of moving stuff to and from peripheral devices is USB, and the Cool Reader has that support built-in. I will let you know more about the device when it gets here.


This entry was posted very late because my web host suffered from a massive attack on their servers. It seems that one of their employees was working from home on an infected machine, which stole his work password and allowed the attack to occur. As of 7:20am PDT, they were still working on restoring the servers that were attacked, including the one that hosts this web site. As someone who doesn't use Microsoft Windows at home to surf the web, I can only say they should know better. And I will have to get serious about moving to a new web host.

Important Note: From sometime yesterday until my web host took down the server, someone went in to all the web sites on the server and installed their own pages. This installation included installation of a very nasty ActiveX component. If you are running Windows and were asked if you should install a component, you should have answered NO. If you did download and install the component, you now have a virus and you should take steps to remove it. Please note that this was done without my knowledge or permission. If you are looking for someone to blame, you should blame the attacker. Or Microsoft, for writing such a lame operating system.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

I took my netbook with me to the teardrop trailer gathering I went to last weekend. The netbook has no DVD or CD reader, so when one of the other attendees asked for an Ubuntu Linux disk, I was kind of stumped. We downloaded an ISO image of Ubuntu onto her notebook, but we had a lot of trouble finding a program that could write an ISO image to a disk as something other than a simple file. We never succeeded in doing that. We finally had her sign up for a free CD from Canonical. I hope that works out.


I have started processing the pictures from the teardrop gathering. I hope to have them up here in the next day or two.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Monday, 6 July 2009

I spent the 4th of July weekend at a teardrop trailer gathering in Carnation, WA. I got a lot of mosquito bites, but still had a great time. I will publish the pictures here when I get a chance. There were more people and trailers there than any of the gatherings in the past.


I have discovered that some of what I post here gets linked to in other places. Specifically, the Boycott Novell and the Virtual Box web sites have links to this blog, the latter because I wrote about using the program to get Windows 2000 working on a new motherboard, and the former because one of those guys really likes my silly signs. Thanks for the encouragement, guys.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

This will be my last posting until Monday. I hope everyone enjoys their 4th of July as much as I probably will.

Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary did not suffer from bandwidth overload. I emailed him yesterday and he sent back a note indicating that his web host had suffered a massive SQL injection attack. All the accounts on the server that hosts Jeff's diary, and that use a database, were taken down by the attack. Once his web host gets the damage fixed, Jeff will have to replace all his content from backups. I have been in his shoes, so I know what he has to do. My sympathies go out to him.


Silly sign of the day:

110% ?????? Aren't computers wonderful?


Free/Open Source Software

"It's Mine, and You Have to Pay (and Pay and Pay) For It"

Local and Other News