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June 2008

Monday, 30 June 2008

The Linux upgrade I was to do over the weekend went very well. I told the PC owner to start the upgrade the night before I was scheduled to come over. The upgrade downloads about 1,300 packages, so you have to give it plenty of time.

The upgrade download finished late Saturday night. The only things she was having problems with were the dialogs along the way telling her how changes were being applied. By the time I got there on Sunday afternoon, the upgrade was finished. All I did was verify that everything had gone okay, and download a couple of things that the upgrade had deleted. One of those deleted items was digiKam, which I think is much better than F-Spot when handling photos. The other thing that was deleted was xmms. It was deleted because the program has essentially been abandoned. The only thing it's used for is a stream player for StreamTuner. I went into StreamTuner and changed the default player from xmms to Amarok and that finished my involvement in the upgrade.

As for the machine where I was going to install Ubuntu 8.04 over 7.10, I took that one home with me and I will be doing that install tonight.


It was pretty hot yesterday, which I noticed while driving over to Rathdrum. Got up to about 96°F Today will be about 99°F. And it's only June. This is August weather. It should cool down in the next few days, so hopefully it will be nice for the 4th of July.


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Friday, 27 June 2008

I spent yesterday at work setting up a computer for a new Java engineer. The machine is the same as the one I use: a Dell Precision 490, which has dual Xeon processors with 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive and a dual-head digital display. Dell pre-installs Windows XP Professional on the machine. My job is to add all the other bits and pieces that are needed for the job. This includes stuff like Firefox, Putty SSL client, WinSCP, Python, Perl, Java, VIM, Microsoft Office 2003 and any integrated development environment needed by the developer. In the current case, I will be installing Eclipse for Java development and Visual Studio for C# and C++ development. It sounds fairly easy, but it takes a long time to install all this. In this case, about 8 hours.


I should have explained about those machines I will be installing Ubuntu 8.04 on. The one that will be upgraded is running Ubuntu 7.10 and the user has a lot of extra programs installed, so it's a prime candidate for an upgrade. The other machine is also running Ubuntu 7.10, but that user has not installed any extra programs. That makes it a prime candidate for a fresh install instead of an upgrade.


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Thursday, 26 June 2008

The coming weekend will be busy for me. I am taking my car in for servicing on Saturday and that may take up a big chunk of the day, as they will be looking at the transmission to determine why it is bucking when I slow down. I think the thing is under warranty, so no worries there.

On Sunday I will be doing computer maintenance. I will be loading two computers with Ubuntu 8.04. One of them is an update; this means a lot of Internet download time. The other computer will be an install, so it should take an hour or so.

I hope there will be some time in there for me to work on my Plymouth and maybe do a cabachon or two, but I'm not holding out much hope for that. Oh yeah, there is also the lawn...


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Wednesday, 25 June 2008

One of my co-workers did the Ironman last weekend. She didn't tell anyone at work she was going to try it. She wore the "I finished Ironman 2008" T-shirt yesterday, and her husband (also a co-worker) wore one saying "IronMate: I don't Ironman; I do an Ironman".

The bike portion alone was over 100 miles. She did the whole thing, including the swim, which was optional as Lake Coeur d'Alene was 59°F on Sunday. Quite a feat, if you ask me.


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Tuesday, 24 June 2008

I downloaded the latest version of Linux Mint (5) and burned a CD. I then tried to run it on the machine that already has an earlier version of that OS. It won't run. This has happened before on that machine and I don't know what the real problem with it is. I will clean the DVD drive first, as they get dirty easily. If that doesn't work, I have no other ideas. Maybe I could throw a CD drive in it and try that. Or maybe if I try burning the ISO image on a regular CD instead of those black ones I've been using.


I am getting way ahead on Book Mooch points again. I could mooch 30 books from others and still have a point left over. Problem is, I can't find any books of interest to mooch. The last one I mooched turned out to be one I had already read.


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Monday, 23 June 2008

I spent the weekend at Emerald Creek, down by St. Maries, digging for garnets. I got some nice sized ones, about the size of a dime. I don't know if any of them have stars, though. I will have to grind on them to see.

The campground near the garnet area is okay, but no great shakes. And there was a ton of mosquitos, so now I have lots of bites.

The major problem I had on Sunday morning was trying to get home. The Ironman route runs everywhere I needed to go. It ran down Dodd Road, which is where Boot Hill Road starts. It ran up 4th street, Government Way and Rimrock Road, which is how I have to get home. Even if I went all the way up to Garwood to try to avoid all the bicyclists, I couldn't. The Ironman runs on Garwood and Hudlow. There was absolutely no way for me to get to my house without driving on the race route. What a PITA.


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Friday, 20 June 2008

Another Breakfast Nook opened yesterday in Rathdrum. It took over the space formerly occupied by the Route 53 Diner. The Breakfast Nook in Coeur d'Alene does a lot of business, and it did a lot of business while it was in Post Falls, so I guess the one in Rathdrum will do okay. I am going to try it out this morning.


I have my trim saw working and have cut some agate with it. I only wish the blade was a bit larger, as it can only cut a limited size rock. The agate I cut was one I got at the gem show, and it looks like I will get some good cabochons out of that rock. I will be busy marking up stones for a while. I have some agate slabs I intend to use as a handle for a knife. Cutting those should be really interesting.


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Thursday, 19 June 2008

At work, I got both Windows Server 2008 and IIS 7 working in a virtual machine. I also verified that the default protocol for IIS is IPV6, not IPV4. Leave it to Microsoft to use something as a default that everyone else in the world is staying away from.

This means that our IIS monitoring tool needs to be modified somewhat to support those changed fields. The alternative is to turn off support for IPV6, which I'm not sure our customers would appreciate.


Hayden Days starts on Friday and goes through Sunday. I will try to get there on Sunday. Last year they had a mini car show. This year it's a motorcycle show.


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Wednesday, 18 June 2008

When someone in a pickup crashed into a power pole over in Rathdrum last night, the power went out here. I decided that instead of waiting for it to come back on, I would go to Home Depot and pick up a couple of carriage bolts so I could mount the motor for my trim saw. By the time I got back, the power was back on. And I now have a trim saw with a mounted motor. In order to cut rocks, all I have to do is to fill it with coolant, which I also have. The motor could use a power switch, but I will worry about that later.


At work, I am now learning more than I ever wanted to know about Windows Server 2008 and IIS 7. My boss wants to know if Microsoft has added more items to the IIS log. If they did, it will be exactly like it is for Windows - they'll add new stuff wherever the hell they feel like, and they'll move the old stuff around. That will cause us no end of problems, as we have to monitor the whole mess. We shall see today if that is what they did. Do you get the impression that I really, really hate Windows?


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Tuesday, 17 June 2008

I enjoyed the Car d'Lane auto show on Saturday morning. I took a bunch of pictures, but it will be a while before I can put them on the web site.

I also had a good time at the Linux users group meeting on Saturday afternoon. There were some newcomers, but it's getting harder to attract new people we can spread the Linux news to. We will have to come up with some new ideas to get the word out there.


I picked up a motor for my rock trim saw. I unmounted the saw from the 35 year-old particle board it was mounted on and I remounted it on some new wafer board. The board is long enough to also hold the motor. I didn't buy a belt, as I didn't know how long it needed to be. That will be the final item I need to get before I have a working trim saw.

Trim saw, mounted with motor


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Monday, 16 June 2008

I didn't mention that when I was working at the Gem Show, I also bought some stuff. I picked up some agates and jasper to cut and shape into cabochons. Oh yeah, I gave up trying to restore my arbor, so I bought the setup shown below.

The two wheels to the far left are galaxy wheels; diamond grinding wheels that are 80 and 220 grit. The other four wheels are Nova bonded wheels that are 280, 600, 1,200 and 3,000 grit. I am going to break in the machine on some agate cabs before I try anything tricky like jade or opal.

Now all I need is a motor for the Star Diamond Industries trim saw I bought new in 1973 and never used. I sure have uses for it now.

Prices on this stuff have changed quite a bit in 35 years. Back then, I bought the trim saw for $52. A comparable saw now (Star Diamond is extinct) will cost $250.


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Saturday, 14 June 2008

Somehow or other, one of the database tables associated with this web site got into a mode where no one could access it. That is what killed the web site on Friday. Anyhow all this news is a day late. I apologize for that. Maybe it happened because it was Friday the 13th.


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Thursday, 12 June 2008

Saturday will be busy for me. I will be going to the Car d'Lane auto show in the morning and the North Idaho Linux Users Group in the afternoon.

I actually missed the Lost in the 50's car show this year because I wasn't paying attention. Where else can I get ideas about my car restoration, if not at an auto show? If it ever stops raining, I will also get back to work on the Plymouth. First up will be sanding and epoxy for the steering wheel. You can't move the car around if it doesn't have a steering wheel.


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Wednesday, 11 June 2008

I tried another Linux DVD program last night, and it worked fine. K9Copy creates a DVD that can actually be read by my DVD player. Like DVD95, it has a very primitive interface, but that doesn't prevent it from working okay.

K9Copy generates an ISO image of a DVD and can optionally create an unpacked image of the disk, which can then be burned on a DVD with a program like K3B. It seems to do a very good job of that.


Another example of 'political sensitivity' stupidity: Let's say you have a news network with over 18,000 news groups. And let's say that of those 18,000 news groups, 8 of them talk about or have something to do with child pornography. So if you are an ISP, what would you do about those 8 groups? Why, you prevent your customers from accessing all 18,000 groups, of course. This is exactly what some ISPs did to the Usenet. That action is exactly like banning all cars from the road because some cars are used to kill people. Stupid, stupid, stupid - and courtesy of the New York Attorney General's office, which has assumed the job of the morally bankrupt U.S. Attorney General's office.


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On sale for $20 more than the original price - sounds like a Future Shop trick.


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Tuesday, 10 June 2008

I need to get an electric motor for my rock trim saw. Last time I bought a used electric motor, I paid $10 for it. Now, I think they run more like $60. What a difference 30 years makes.

The saw is in excellent shape, even with being stored for 30 years. I got some more agate at the gem show that I would like to cut, so the saw is kind of a 'must have'. I also picked up a few other pieces which were already slabbed, so I just have to mark them for the size and shape of cabochons I would cut from them.


I am going to start a Linux command line tutorial series, to present at the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting, starting this Saturday. Command line isn't something everyone needs, but you can actually do things with the command line that you can't with a graphical user interface. And sometimes, you just need to do those things.

I will post the tutorial on the NILUG web site as it is developed.


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Monday, 9 June 2008

I spent 17 hours over the weekend working at the North Idaho Mineral Club Gem Show. I was very tired when I finished helping with the loadout on Sunday, but I came away with a renewed appreciation of the skill and fun involved in collecting stones and making cabochons.

I ended up not doing any of the chores I should have done over the weekend, so they still need doing.


I was in Cabelas at lunchtime on Friday. I went there to purchase some shirts. While I was there, I also ate lunch in their cafe. My attention was forced onto this idiot dressed like Jim Carrey in 'In Living Color' - the 'gangsta' image. You know, the long billed cap with the bill cranked over to 10 o'clock, tatoo on the side of the neck, black quilted jacket that is way too big, pants with the crotch down at his knees, and walking with that swagger-bounce. Just a living advertisement for stupid, you know?

He was with a couple of friends, and their appearance wasn't any better. They finished eating and bounced out of the store with their purchase. I also finished eating, then went and paid for my purchases. As I walked out of the store, I saw the Post Falls police in abundance and all three of the 'gangstas' handcuffed. Shoplifting? Something else? Who knows. All I know is, if you advertise you're a bad guy, people are gonna assume you're a bad guy.

I saw nothing in the news about this, so apparently the three weren't dangerous desperadoes. They just give a bad name to a good community.


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Friday, 6 June 2008

I sent an email to the organizer of the gem show I volunteered to work at, telling her I would work there and that I would touch bases with them tonight. She asked me to go to the dinner they are having tonight at 6:30, so I guess I am getting a free meal for my efforts tomorrow.


I hope to get some chores done this weekend that really need doing. You can't leave the grass alone and expect it to cut itself. There are a lot of things like that which need doing, but I will have to work around my volunteering for the gem show.


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Thursday, 5 June 2008

I will be helping out at the annual North Idaho Mineral Club show over the weekend. I don't know what I will be doing, but it may eat up most of the weekend. I was hoping to get more work done on the Plymouth, but that may not happen.

The Mineral Club show will be held at the fairgrounds in Coeur d'Alene. There will be over 50 vendors and lots of exhibits. It should be interesting. I am in the market for a couple of motors to power my arbor and trim saw. I don't think anyone would bring something like that to a show - they bring the eye-catching stuff instead.


I am looking on the Net for pricing on the interior for my Plymouth, including door panels, headliner, floor covering and other panels such as the ones next to the back seat. The seats are both in great shape and don't need to be redone.

It would probably be easier for me to take it to a local shop to do all that, but I would need a recommendation for a shop. No more cold calls for me.


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Wednesday, 4 June 2008

DVDs created on my Ubuntu Linux box using DVD95 work fine with the Linux box, but do not work with my normal DVD player. It shows an 'Incorrect Format' error, so there is some small item that is missing in the DVD. I will be forced to continue using Windows XP for this task.


If it ever stops raining, I will continue with my work on the Plymouth. It would help if I had electricity in the garage, so I could light the work area correctly. Some day, I guess.

Items that need to be done right now include hooking up the gas gauge and finishing work on the steering wheel. I also need to get some paint so I can spray the wheel when it is completely finished.


My Dutch oven fire table is now five years old. It has seen a lot of action, and some of the paint is peeling off of it. I got some flat black high-temp engine paint and I will be sanding down the table and painting it. Should look like new when I finish.


This post is late because, once again, my web host is doing something wonky on my web server. If they can't do their maintenance at some other time, I will have to find someplace else to host my pages.


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Tuesday, 3 June 2008

I had a choice last night of searching for news articles for this blog, or working on my Plymouth. I chose to work on the car.

The Service manual for the car lists a lot of special tools you are supposed to need to work on it. Like a steering wheel tool and a tool to remove and install door handles. I bought an $11 universal steering wheel puller and a small punch, and both of those special tool jobs were covered.

I am close to having the steering wheel ready for the epoxy treatment. The epoxy I will use is called PC-7 and it's more like a paste than the slow running epoxy I have used before. It can be molded and its set time is measured in hours instead of minutes. I will take before, during and after pictures of the wheel and display them here when I get to the point of applying the epoxy.


I am working my way through a book called Eclipse Distilled. It describes how to use the Eclipse IDE when creating Java programs. I have already been using Eclipse for a while now, but the book will help me understand what Eclipse can do and will help me find better ways to use it to help me in my job.


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Monday, 2 June 2008

I worked on my Plymouth over the weekend. I got it running again, and I started work on the steering wheel. The wheel is made of bakelite and has big cracks in it after being exposed to the sun for 56 years. I am making the cracks larger and cleaning up the wheel so I can patch the cracks with epoxy. When I am finished, it should look as good as new.

I was going to use the steering wheel off the '51 Plymouth, as it is in much better shape. When I got it off the steering column, I realized that the steering wheel is different than the one on the '52 Plymouth. I put it back on the '51.

I am also adding small things to the '52 from the '51, like sun visors, window handles, glove box liner, etc.


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