BLOGical Thoughts Archive

July 2011

Friday, 29 July 2011

My new laptop showed up last night. I unpacked it and turned it on and it came right up into Linux Mint 10 X64. It asked me the standard setup questions and I was then up and running in Linux. I brought up the System Monitor and it showed 1TB of hard disk storage, 3GB of RAM and 8 processors running. The CPU is an Intel i7 quad-core, so I suspect it shows 8 because hyperthreading is turned on in the BIOS.

The first thing I did was to adjust the size of the partitons and add another partition. It came set-up as a single swap partition and a single root (/) partition. I resized the root partition from 993GB down to 56GB. With the new open space I created a partition for the home directory. I then followed the good instructions on the Ubuntu web forums on how to move your home directory from the root partition to its own partition.

Once that was done, I snagged a bunch of programs that I use from the repository. That included VLC - I was surprised that it was not already installed. I started to remove and replace it with LibreOffice, but that was not in the repository. I will have to find the repository that contains that so I can add it to my repository list and install the program..

I haven't installed any programmer's tools yet. I will be doing that this weekend, as I have nothing scheduled for the weekend. I plan to do Java and Android programming on the machine, as well as programs for Gnome.

Overall initial thoughts on the laptop: it weighs 12 pounds and the external power supply weighs the same, but it also comes with a bag with a shoulder strap, so that should not be a burden. It comes with everything you could want in a computer. More in future reports.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Thursday, 28 July 2011

I used NVFlash on my Android tablet again. This time, I used it with Linux, and it was about 20 times easier. No searching for and installing drivers. I just un zipped all the files and ran the bash script. Not only was it easier, but it also ran faster. I just don't understand why people stick with Windows when there are much better choices out there. Wait - marketing, right?

Anyway, this time I used the newer tablet ROM image with the version 1.2 boot loader. I ended up with all the original programs and configuration I had when I first got the tablet. And I also no longer have an update request message popping up all the time. I won't forget again that the tablet uses the v1.2 boot loader.

It may be time for me to look into doing Android programs. I will definitely be setting up my new laptop to do Java work, so I can easily add the Android plugin and SDK to that bundle.


"I can scarcely contemplate a more incalculable evil than the breaking of the Union into two or more parts." --Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1792. ME 8:346

“Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny” Thomas Jefferson

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government” Thomas Jefferson

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” Thomas Jefferson

"Old Tom certainly had it right." Michael Burton


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Since I unbricked it, I have tried at least five times to update my tablet with the latest software. It keeps erroring out. I will try one more time after I post this and before I go to work. It's really annoying not to have the software available that I did when I first got the tablet.


Our North Idaho Linux Users Group mailing list is down. I discovered that this morning when I got an email from another member asking if there was something wrong with it. There is - I forgot to set it up when I transferred the domain from its old web host. I fear that we may have to have everyone sign up for the list again.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

I didn't get anything done last night because of the weather. On my way home from work, it was blowing at least 40 mph and raining on and off. I got home, sat down at the workstation and started doing some work, and the power went off. So I sat there reading a book until the power went back on an hour or so later. By that time, I was so engrossed in the book, I just kept reading.

This kind of thing happens here every once in a while. Much of our electric infrastructure is below ground, but some of it isn't. A tree blowing down across lines or someone hitting a power pole can cause outages such as the one we had last night.


America has a 'better' idea of what to do with people who are too stupid to come in out of a storm. We elect them to public office, where they can screw up everyone's lives, including their own.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Monday, 25 July 2011

I have unbricked my Android tablet. I did that using a Windows program called NVFlash to re-install the original ROM. Once I did that, I re-installed the clockworkmod program I have been using and used that to make a backup of the O/S. I then tried installing Cyanogenmod 7.0.3. It looped on its own logo, so I used clockworkmod to restore the original ROM again and then tried Cyanogenmod 7.0.0. No luck there, either. Finally, I tried Cyanogenmod 6.0.1 and it installed okay. I was not happy with it, since it is older and directed strictly at phones. So I went back to the original ROM. I will keep looking for a new ROM that I can be happy with, now that I know more about the whole process and can avoid bricking the tablet again.


I also flattened my old Compaq laptop, in anticipation of selling it when my new laptop arrives on Wednesday. I had to completely remove the Linux partitions on the hard disk, including the swap partition. I then had to get the machine to boot, which wasn't easy, since the boot information was on one of the Linux partitions I blew away. Anyhow, it now boots fine into Windows XP. If someone wants it with Linux installed, I can always go back to that.


I don't like and usually don't do social networks. I have an account, but I use it very rarely. And I never find anything interesting on it.

I was sent an invitation to join Google+ by a friend, and I went ahead and joined it. I have no idea how to use it or what I can get out of it, but I will see. It's still too early in the process for me to make any judgements at this point.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Friday, 22 July 2011

I was pair-programming with a guy at work yesterday. We were doing a program that was supposed to back up a directory, and we made a small error in the code. Instead of a single directory called LEGACY_BACKUP, the program recursively created the directory and we ended up with this:

& & & & &

This recursive directory structure went on for at least 128 levels, at which time Windows said "I give up! The file path is too long." and the program died.

We attempted to delete this structure with Windows File Manager and that program would not delete it. So we tried from the command line - no luck. We even tried the Cygwin Unix Windows command line utilities and those could not handle it, either.

We finally booted up a Linux live CD and removed the directory with a simple command line:


It took at least 4 minutes to remove, but Linux did not complain about anything; it just did the work.

It's a pretty poor operating system that will allow you to create something and then not let you remove it. I'll stick with running Linux at home.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Thursday, 21 July 2011

My Android tablet is still bricked. None of the solutions I have tried seem to work. I will continue to look into this, as I really want to get it working again.

The technical session of the North Idaho Linux Users Group is this Saturday. I will take my tablet along and see if anyone knows about how to unbrick it. I also take along my Compaq laptop. I intend to remove all the personal files from it and re-install Windows XP on it, in preparation to sell it.


I have finished up the ant script I was writing at work. I am happy to move on to the next thing, which is the communication software that gets the files and then invokes the ant script. All this stuff is new to me, so I have kind of been thrown into the deep end. That happens a lot.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

I managed to brick my Android tablet last night. I attempted to install a different ROM in it and now it does not boot at all. Actually, it will only boot into the program I was using to install the ROM with, but the result is the same.

I need to do some investigating on the Internet to determine if I can get the thing running again. I have already tried using plug-in storage with another ROM on it, but the install program doesn't seem to be able to see that plug-in.


I don't know if any of you have had iced Marketspice tea (also know as Pike Street tea), but if you haven't you should try some. It is really excellent. I always make myself a cup of hot tea in the morning, but I don't usually finish it before I go to work. Instead of dumping the remainder, I am putting it in the refrigerator and having it in the evening when I get home. Yummy.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

My Plymouth is out of commission for a while. I'm having the rocker panel molding put on, a manual choke installed and seat belts installed. As well as a few more things done. I will get it back on August 12th. In the meantime, I will just have to make do with my Honda.


Learning the ant language isn't such a big deal, except the learning process keeps being interrupted by meetings. Meetings that don't start on time. Instead, they start an hour later, when you think they won't happen, so you start to use the microwave to heat up your lunch instead. That's when they start. I hate that.

We have two more meetings today. One will only be 15 minutes, so that's okay. The other will be with my boss' new boss, so he'll be on time and that will be okay, too.


I have purchased a new laptop computer. It will be here soon, so I am cleaning up the old Compaq laptop and the Acer netbook, in anticipation of getting rid of them. By 'cleaning up', I mean files, not hardware. I keep both of them in pretty good shape, hardware-wise.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Monday, 18 July 2011

The Dutch oven demonstration on Saturday was a success and a lot of work. We cooked sourdough biscuits and country-style gravy, and several different kinds of desserts. By the time I got home, I was really wiped out. I'm glad there isn't any more Dutch oven events this year (that I know of).


I've been assigned a piece of a project at work where I have to learn yet another computer language. It is called ant, and it is kind of like a batch processing language. It is XML file driven, so I have to learn the syntax of the file and all the tags used in it. The piece I am doing has four sections, and I am already finished with the first section. It should go fairly quickly, as it isn't that tough an assignment. Someone has to do it, though.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Friday, 15 July 2011

It's supposed to rain on us tomorrow during the Dutch oven demo at Rathdrum Days in Rathdrum. If it's only a bit and it's still in the 70's, that shouldn't bother me. I will bring my canopy along - this time to protect me from the rain instead of from the sun, like last weekend.

We'll be doing the same old dishes we always do - sourdough biscuits, pineapple upside down cake, etc. I can do those in my sleep now. This weekend I will make sure I bring along all my equipment, though. Last weekend I missed a few fairly important items.


I almost bought a new laptop yesterday. My old Compaq is probably 5 years old and I am getting tired of all the effort it takes to get WiFi to work on it. The new laptop would not have that problem. The only problem is, I can't log into the web site so I can purchase it. And their "send me my password' page doesn't do that. Huge bummer.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Thursday, 14 July 2011

I thought that the North Idaho Users Group meeting was this Saturday, and I wouldn't be able to attend because I would be doing some Dutch oven cooking. Turns out the meeting was last Saturday and I couldn't attend because I was doing some Dutch oven cooking. If I had remembered that, I would have stopped by on the way home from the cooking session.

It seems that the summer activities are winding down. I only have one more scheduled, and that is in August. I might be able to actually get some things done around the house instead of being somewhere else.


I am not having much luck finding icons to add to the soccer coach program. I will have to expand my search and maybe create some using pieces of other icons.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I am back to working on the soccer program. I am searching for images I can use for tool bar buttons, and am not having much luck. Of course, the buttons are for things like player statistics, practice schedule and team lineup. Not exactly things you can relate directly to an image. I have just discovered a web site called IconsPedia that may help me with finding some images that are at least in the ballpark.

I really need to finish this program, as I am itching to completely rewrite my slideshow program. It needs to stop depending on an old bash script for its actions. I can translate the bash script to code fairly easily. I can also do more extensive error checking, which is definitely needed for the program.


I have registered with an old Plymouth forum so I can ask questions about my car. I will find out if the choke can be hooked up to 12 volts with no harm. There are other question to be answered, too.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

I spent all day at work yesterday trying to track down a problem with a single database report. I found the problem and corrected it at the end of the day. That was a good thing, as we are releasing this upgrade tomorrow.

Speaking of work, I never said anything more about our acquisition. It is now complete, so we can talk. TriGeo Network Security which does IT security software, has been purchased by Solarwinds, which does IT management software. So the TriGeo Security Information and Event Manager (SIEM) has become the Solarwinds Log and Event Manager. We have been hard at work on all the branding changes.

All these changes actually have little effect on me, as I will be retiring from the programming business in November. I will still do some programming, but not as a full time job for someone else.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Monday, 11 July 2011

The Dutch oven cooking demo on Saturday went fairly well. We were only there until about 3pm, so it was not an all day event. I only had to cook a single dish, which was my Dutch oven potatoes dish. None of the food lasted very long, once it was served.

The next Dutch oven demo is next Saturday at Rathdrum Days. We will be there at the old jail house, all day.


I am working on the Plymouth to ensure that it is mechanically sound after 600+ miles. I have checked the plugs to ensure that they are gapped correctly and are properly tightened. I will go on to the timing and the carburetor adjustment when I get a chance.

And I have discovered why it starts really rough. The automatic choke is hooked up mechanically, but not electrically. When the starter motor is engaged, there is an electromagnet in the choke that is supposed to engage. It does not do that. I can't just add the wire, as the electromagnet is 6 volts and the electrical system is now 12 volts. I will have to add a dropping resistor inline with the wire. To do that I will have to figure out how big it should be.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Friday, 8 July 2011

I continue to have an extremely busy summer. I will be participating in a Dutch oven demonstration tomorrow at Beck field in Post Falls. For some reason, they moved us from Q'emiln Park to out in the boonies. Next Saturday is another Dutch oven event, so I will be missing the regular North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting.


For those of you who didn't follow the link, here is my 1952 Plymouth connected to my 2003 Hunter Shadow teardrop trailer

The rocker panel moulding is still not on the car. I need to do that, as well as several other things, but a tune-up is probably first on the list.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Thursday, 7 July 2011

I discovered later yesterday morning that I had neglected to add the pictures of my Plymouth to the ones for the 4th of July Teardrop Fun at Carnation, WA. I have added those picutres, and if you were curious, try looking again.

I drove the car to work and on the way home, stopped at the store. When I got back in the car, I couldn't get it started. Turns out I was out of gas. It's a good thing there was a service station right next to the store.I have to get that gas gauge fixed before anything else. It also needs a professional tune-up before I try to drive it anywhere that is not local.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Yesterday afternoon, I got back from the final 4th of July Teardrop Fun at Carnation, WA. I did the picture section for this blog, as you will see if you follow the link. It was an interesting and fun time.

When I got home, I also hooked the teardrop up to the Plymouth and took a couple of pictures. They are the last two pictures in the Carnation pictures, as I was supposed to bring the car to that gathering.

I'm glad I didn't try to bring that car, as when the trailer hitch guys hooked up the electrical, they got it wrong. I took the whole rig down yesterday afternoon and had them switch a couple of wires. All the lights now work correctly.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software