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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

March 2006

Friday, 31 March 2006

Have you ever gone to a web site, started reading and were rudely interupted by an ad that overlays the entire web page? That has happened to me so many times, I can't count them all. I have decided to strike back - let the web site know what you think of this practice.

The first site I chose to vent my displeasure with was Wired. I was polite, yet firm; telling them what I thought of the practice and stating that if they didn't change their ways, they would lose a patron.

It probably won't affect their practices, but it made me feel better.


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Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Big Brother Security/Our Rights/The Forever War

Thursday, 30 March 2006

I have to do my taxes tonight, so no working on anything else. I hate doing taxes. I hate paying taxes. Paying taxes is like paying for 'insurance'. You pay and pay and pay, and never get much of anything back for the 'privilege'.


There is a new video podcast out on the Net that is really funny. It's called "Control Alt Chicken". It's produced and distributed by Revision3, which is Keven Rose and Alex Albrecht's site. The new show is a cooking show, showing geeks who don't know how to cook - cooking. First up is Chicken Cordon Bleu. I sure wouldn't eat what they produced.


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Wednesday, 29 March 2006

I've been pretty busy at work, fixing bugs in a C program I wrote that I didn't know had bugs. Which isn't fun, as you have to reproduce the bug, then track down what is causing it. The final one I tracked down turned out to be a string variable that wasn't large enough to hold the maximum string it was supposed to take. Nasty stuff.

This activity leaves me with no desire to do any programming at home, so I worked on the cookbook last night. And watched the great Nova program about autonomous vehicles.


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Tuesday, 28 March 2006

I've got to dig up some photos of Dutch oven dishes for the cookbook. I will need one for the cover, one for each section and several for the introductory material.

I have incorporated about 1/4 of the recipes so far. The book has 107 pages in it at this point.

I won't be spending all my available time on the cookbook. I still have a web site redesign to do, as well as a functional specification for a browser-based application. Doesn't leave much time for anything else, does it?


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Monday, 27 March 2006

I changed the tires on my Honda on Saturday, so, of course, it snowed on Sunday. I used the car that day anyway. The snow had melted off completely by the end of the day, anyway.

I actually got quite a bit done over the weekend, but I still have two big projects to work on.


I was working on one of my projects using OpenOffice.org, and it suddenly slowed down to a crawl. That has never happened before, so I figured it was Kaffeine, which I was using at the same time to look at episodes of the 1950's TV show Robin Hood.

So I killed Kaffeine and OpenOffice.org, logged out and then back in. I tried to restart OpenOffice.org, and it wouldn't start up. I deleted its configuration and tried again. No luck.

I finally uninstalled the program, reinstalled it from the SuSE Linux 10.0 DVD, then did an online update of everything, including OpenOffice.org. I then restarted Linux.

OpenOffice.org now works like it did when I started using it that morning. And I went back to watching Robin Hood while working on my project.


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Friday, 24 March 2006

I have finished updating motorcycle web pages and am moving on to the web site redesign.

Apart from getting a new windshield, putting away the snow plow and changing tires on two cars, I also have a couple of other projects on my plate, so it will be a busy weekend.


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Thursday, 23 March 2006

I installed OpenSuSE Super Linux the other night. It looks exactly like Slick, so it's no wonder the two are combining. Installation is through Yast, just like regular SuSE. They both have Kynaptic, too. All in all, this is a pretty nice distro, but I think I prefer Mepis.


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Wednesday, 22 March 2006

I ordered a Canon PowerShot A610 camera from NewEgg and UPS delivered it yesterday. It's a very nice camera - 5 megapixels and movie capability. I tried recording a video clip with it, and it filled up the supplied memory card (16mb) in 6 seconds. I will be getting a 1gb memory card for it, so it will be useful for short video clips. I plan to use it for the development of the TMS Coach program.


Microsoft has announced that Windows Vista will not be available by the end of the year. This is unsurprising. In 2003, they announced it wouldn't be available until 2006. Why isn't anyone calling this vaporware?

This is a tremendous opportunity for Linux advocates to make great inroads into Microsoft's desktop turf. We need to evangelize our operating system - get out there on the weekends and show the public how easy, convenient and trouble-free Linux is. I will be working on such a campaign and will see if our user group will help to implement it.


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Tuesday, 21 March 2006

More of the same. I worked on web pages, re-copied DVDs and continued to fill in potholes in the road.

I lead such an exciting life....


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Monday, 20 March 2006

I installed a different version of SuSE on my test machine. It's called OpenSuSE Slick. It's an optimized, slimmed down version of SuSE 10.0. It works pretty well, if you don't mind occasional 'crash' notices.

One nice thing about Slick is it uses a program called Kynaptic to do software installs/updates. Pretty cool.


I put up a bunch more web pages over the weekend. I only have about three more motorcycle manufacturers to go through, then I will have to tackle the actual web site redesign.


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Friday, 17 March 2006

I attempted to install Gentoo 2006.0 on my test box last night. The install was unsuccessful because of an error in a KDE package. I will attempt to install it again tonight, without the KDE stuff. I'm not sure if I will like Gentoo or not - it's radically different from most distros.


Episode 127 of The Linux Link Tech Show podcast has an interview with a gentleman in the U.K. who presents a very good case for use of Linux in business, both as a server and as a desktop environment. Check it out if you get a chance.


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Thursday, 16 March 2006

I finally got the web pages I updated on Tuesday onto the Beaudry web site. I don't know what the problem is, but ftp doesn't seem to work well with that site.


My problem with Kororaa Linux was the video cards I was using it with. When I booted the Kororaa live CD into my workstation, it worked fine. The workstation has a very recent nVidia card in it.

The xgl paradigm demonstrated in Kororaa is very interesting. When you move windows around, they bend like a piece of paper would when it's waved in the air. xgl also supports transparency (which should be called translucency), so you can see windows beneath other windows.

xgl also supports multiple desktops, but in a radically different way than KDE or Gnome. The desktops are supported as sides of a cube. When you use Ctl-Alt left or right arrow, the cube spins to a new side. You can move windows to a new cube face, too. All in all, it's a pretty neat paradigm.


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Wednesday, 15 March 2006

I downloaded Kororaa last night using bit torrent. It came down perfectly and I burned a disk from the image. I tried to boot it on three different computers and could never get into X-windows.

Kororaa is a technology preview, which shows the power of xgl. Too bad this 0.1 version of the Live CD doesn't behave better.


I cancelled my DirecTV service. They raised the rates yet again, so I would have had to pay an extra 180 bucks a year over what I was paying when I first started with them. So it's back to broadcast for me, with occasional forays into IPTV.


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Tuesday, 14 March 2006

I installed Kubuntu on my test computer. The installer looks just like the one for Ubuntu (no surprise) and the desktop is definitely KDE instead of Gnome, like Ubuntu's. There is a definite lack of software with the Kubuntu CD-ROM, though. They pretty much expect you to have a broadband connection so you can download any packages you need.

I did download quite a bit to enhance the value of Kubuntu. The available packages are not as comprehensive as Ubuntu's or Debian's. My test of this is always the same - does it include Tellico, the premier Linux Collections Manager? Kubuntu does not include this fine program.

More on this later.


A friend of mine is doing a series on web site design. The object is to create a site using the WordPress CMS, but the design information and use of HTML and CSS will be of interest to anyone doing a web site.


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Monday, 13 March 2006

I finished 63 more web pages over the weekend. I still have quite a few more to go.

I also started converting some audio book cassettes over to MP3. First up is Clan of The Cave Bear, which comes on 14 cassettes. That's 21 hours of book. And I have to play it at normal speed to convert it over to MP3.


I got the Java book I ordered and have started reading it. It seems to be pretty good so far, but I haven't gotten into the meat of it yet.


The NILUG meeting was very good. We had at least 13 people there. It was split about half and half - half experts and half newcomers.


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Friday, 10 March 2006

It's nice to get out of the house at night sometimes. I enjoyed the networking session at Moon Time last night. I saw a couple of new faces and several old ones I had not seen for a while. Everyone seems to be doing ok, too. Mostly there were complaints about having to use the proprietary software that everyone loves to hate.

Back to web pages tonight. And I have two more episodes of Babylon 5 to watch.


I will be attending the monthly meeting of the North Idaho Linux Users Group tomorrow. I hope we see some new faces there, too.


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Thursday, 9 March 2006

I am still working on web pages. I've been doing Suzuki motorcycles, of which there are at least 60 models. Lots of work.

I will be taking tonight off to go to the Lunar Group meeting. Everyone needs a night off once in a while.


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Wednesday, 8 March 2006

I did more web pages last night, while watching the Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire DVD. Most people think it's the best of the Harry Potter movies. I'm not one of them.


I have ordered yet another software book, and am patiently waiting for it to show up. The book is 'Thinking in Java' by Bruce Eckel. I bought one of Bruce's home-brewed books way back in the late 80's from Bruce himself. We were at a gathering sponsored by Micro Cornucopia magazine and Bruce had written a book on interfacing to hardware using C (in DOS). Ah, those were the bad old days.

I hope the new book is as good as the one I bought way back then.


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Tuesday, 7 March 2006

I am back to doing web pages. Lots more to do, and I can't let cookbooks, re-copying of DVDs or anything else interfere.


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Monday, 6 March 2006

I spent a lot of the weekend converting dutch oven recipes from inside a Windows executable into text files. I added recipes from this site and from the local Dutch Oven Society and I now have almost 400 recipes. Enough for a cookbook? I think so.

I would like to do a cookbook, but there are obstacles. The major one is time. When will I have time to do a cookbook?

BTW; thanks, Shelley, for sending me the Windows file.


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Friday, 3 March 2006

I am taking a close look at the Ubuntu Linux 5.10 distribution. I think I will do an article about it and put it on the NILUG web site. I like the interface, but it lacks a lot of substance. And the installer leaves a lot to be desired.

Oh, well. Back to web page construction.


If you are an iPod fan, you should check out Nitrozac & Snaggy's latest. A humorous commentary on the current Apple new product announcements.


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Thursday, 2 March 2006

iRiver H10 20gb portable audio and video playeriRiver H10

I ordered one of these from Computer Geeks and it showed up last night. I charged the batteries in it and then attempted to plug it into a Linux box (currently running Ubuntu 5.10) so I could upload MP3 files to it. Imagine my surprise when the device was not even recognized. Since I haven't looked really close at Ubuntu before, I figured it was an Ubuntu problem.

So I plugged it into my SuSE 10.0 workstation. No joy. No connection.

I finally decided to install the accompanying software onto my only Windows box. The installer came up, informed me that I needed Windows Media Player 10, which is only available on Windows XP, and quit.

GET A CLUE, iRiver. There are more operating systems out there than the latest eye-candy from Micro$oft.

I finally googled 'iRiver H10 Linux' and got some very interesting information. It turns out that these devices run in one of two modes: Microsoft's Media Transport Protocol (MTP) and Mass Storage Class (UMS). The H10 default is MTP, which is only supported on that eXtremely Pathetic operating system.

There is good news for me, though. I found a web site that explains all this and shows how to force my particular H10 into UMS mode so I can upload files to it.

More on this as I use the device. I will let you know my impressions.


vaporware: /vayÂ'pr·weir/, n. Products announced far in advance of any release (which may or may not actually take place). For instance, any Micro$oft product, including their search engine.


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Wednesday, 1 March 2006

I picked up a computer last night to do Linux O/S testing on. It's a 2.2 gHz Pentium machine with 256 mb memory and a 40 gb hard drive. Just about perfect for testing.

So I installed SuSE 10.1 beta 4 on it. The working word for this is Beta. There are a lot of problems with it. Too many to actually evaluate the distro. So I will move on to Ubuntu 5.10 (even though I dislike their Gnome desktop manager).


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software RIAA/MPAA/BSA/FCC Other News Stupid Patent Tricks and Other IP Nonsense Big Brother Security/Our Rights/The Forever War