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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

March 2014

Monday, 31 March 2014

I have finished part 6 of the Learning Linux tutorial. I will present that in a couple of weeks to the NILUG membership.


 

I went to the gem and mineral show over in Spokane on Friday. It was an interesting show, but I did not find anything I was wild to spend money on. I took pictures of all the display cases, though. Here is a mosaic someone did from all different kinds of rock. Very well done.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 28 March 2014

I am doing some more work on the Learning Linux tutorial I have done for the North Idaho Linux Users Group. I am working on Part 6, which I started several months ago, but which I have not finished because I knew that someone else was going to do a presentation over those months. He is still in the queue, but I want to get in this talk about the Linux file system, since it is useful and is important.


 

We got a little dusting of snow yesterday morning, but for the most part, we are solidly into spring. I have put the snow plow away and have even washed my Honda. More spring tasks to come...

I'm going to the Rock Rollers gem and mineral show today. Compared to other local shows (including ours), it is huge. I even saw a TV commercial for it on the local NBC affiliate on Wednesday.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

I cut a bunch of rocks yesterday. I now have more slabs of mahogany obsidian, sheen obsidian and rhodochrosite. I haven't started shaping actual cabochons, as it is still too cold in the garage to do that. The cold matters, as the hard wax that holds a stone onto its dop stick loosens as it gets cold. As a matter of fact, that's how I get the stones off the dop sticks when I'm done. So I now have a lot of material to shape when it gets warmer.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

I have investigated my options concerning recording VHS tapes to DVD, and have decided on a course of action. Since the VHS portion of the Panasonic still works, I have ordered a video to USB adapter that should allow me to record the tapes directly to one of my computers. It is coming from some other country, so it will take a few weeks to get here.


 

The wheels are back on the Plymouth. They are a bit darker than the rest of the car, but they still look better than the old gray.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

I picked up the rims for my 52 Plymouth from the powder coaters. They did a good job on them, although I think the color is slightly darker than the car's color.

I had the tubes and tires remounted and brought all of that home, where I remounted the wheels on the car. When I do that, I have to remember that the lug bolts on the driver side tighten anti-clockwise, while the lug bolts on the paseenger side tighten clockwise. Anyway, I can now drive the car. I will go down and get gas for it, then wash it and go over to the powder coaters business, as he wants to get a picture of the car with the newly coated rims.


 

I took my Panasonic VHS/DVD recorder apart and blew out all the dust. I cleaned up the DVD drive lense and put the thing back together. It still doesn't work. I will have to come up with an alternative to that machine. I'm thinking of a video to USB converter, if I can find out if Linux will support video streaming from a USB port. I need to get those five VHS tapes recorded before they flake apart.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Four of us from the mineral club went over to Livingstone's Rock Ranch on Friday. We actually did pick up $700 worth of cutting material, including rhodochrosite, tigereye, agate, obsidian, jasper and carnelian agate. I picked up a bucket of rocks for myself, too. We now have some very good material for our monthly silent auctions and for the silent auction at the gem show in June.

It was warm enough on Sunday that I started cutting rocks. I cut the green obsidian I picked up in December and also cut some sheen obisidian. I will be doing more cutting from the bucket I picked up on Friday.


 

I have added a new web page to the car club web site that contains local resources. That includes places to find non-ethanol fuel, parts, painting, powder coating and restoration. I am looking for more entries for this page.


 

I have been copying some mineral club VHS tapes to DVD so we can view them at the meetings. I did the first two of the seven tapes, then my fancy Panasonic recorder crapped out. I will have to take it apart to see if I can fix it. I hope they used a standard DVD R/W drive in the box. If they did, I should be able to replace it.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 21 March 2014

One of the dealers we always have at our gem and mineral show is retiring. He is currently selling off his inventory, so a group of us are going over to the Spokane Valley and go through his stock, looking for good cutting material. He is selling a bunch of it for $1 a pound, so the mineral club has authorized us to grab up to $700 worth of rock. We will use that for our meeting and gem show silent auctions.


 

On Wednesday, I went down to Les Schwab and had them take the snow tires off my Honda, put the regular tires back on, then mount the snow tires on some steel wheels. So, of course, on Thursday it snowed here. Thankfully, it was just flurries and they melted fairly quickly, so I was able to attend the mineral club meeting driving the car instead of my truck.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 20 March 2014

The carnitas I made last night are truly excellent. I couldn't find any ancho chile powder, so I used a dried ancho chile and chiffonaded it. That worked great. It works out to a lot of spiced pork, so I will be having carnita burritos for several more days. Not that I will get tired of them.


 

I found some photos for last year's Millwood Park car show, so I processed them and added them to the car club's web site. I'm not quite sure how I missed those in the first place, but they are posted now.

I'm going to do a support resources page for the car club web site. I need input from our membership to do that one, though. The only business I have used locally for the Plymouth is the powder coater. The place I had install my new springs and shocks is no longer in business.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

I am going to do carnitas today. If you have looked here between now and yesterday afternoon, you would have seen the recipe. If you haven't and want to see the recipe, go here.


 

I have added some more slideshows to the car club web site. Maintenance of that web site is now pretty much easy to do.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

I got my water supply working again. It was actually a very easy thing to do. A shutoff valve has been working its way closed for the last ten years or so, and it finally completed its journey. I opened the valve back up and it all works well now. Which is a relief, as I was having visions of having to replace the pump or the pressure tank, or of flushing out the entire 500 feet of pipe running to the wellhead.


 

The person who does the mineral club newsletter called me about a problem she was having with her machine. She uses Microsoft Publisher for the newsletter and when she publishes it as a pdf, she uses Adobe Acrobat. Adobe has been holding her machine hostage for years now, at a cost of $2 a month. She was just forced into upgrading that program, and now the hostage fee is $7 a month. For that money, she now has a machine where she can no longer publish the newsletter to PDF. Stuff like this is so much easier in Linux that it isn't even funny. If I want to publish a document in PDF format, I simply export it as PDF from LibreOffice Writer. It's too late for her to turn to Linux, though. Anyway, she has to get a professional Windows person to help her, as the last Windows system I ever used is Windows XP.


 

When spring comes around, I start seeing more of my neighbors. Here's another one of them


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 17 March 2014

One of the members of the North Idaho Computer Users Group called me. It seems he was impressed with my demo of Linux and was installing Linux Mint on several of the recycled machines they give away. He ran across a problem where one of the machines would not allow him to install Linux. I asked several questions over the phone and determined I could not help him from 11 miles away. So I went down to Coeur d'Alene to help.

When I got there, I verifed the problem he was having. I then did an integrity check on the DVD he was using as an installer, and it had various errors. So many errors, that I guessed that the DVD player was not working correctly. We replaced the DVD player and proceeded with another no-problems install on that machine. That's something I would not have been able to diagnose over the phone, so the trip was worth it.


 

I started having a problem with my water supply this morning. I am going to have to check it out today, as water is one of those things you can't do without. Right now, I am getting just a trickle out of the faucet, so it's either a pressure tank problem or a clog of some kind.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 14 March 2014

I finished removing the wheels from the Plymouth and unmounted the tires. The rims are now down at the powder coater, waiting for the powder to come in. I hope to have the Plymouth on the road next week.

I need to get the Plymouth back on the road so I can move it and put my snow plow away. We are definitely into spring here, and there are a lot of chores to be done, such as changing the tires on my Honda. Speaking of which, I need to purchase some steel rims for the snow tires so I don't have to swap tires on the regular rims every fall.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

I have removed two of the wheels on the Plymouth. I need to do the other two today, since the powder coater should have the materials for painting the rims tomorrow. It isn't easy getting the wheels off. The driver-side bolts come off clockwise and the passenger side come off counter-clockwise. I also need to put the car up on jackstands, which is actually the hardest part. It sits fairly low and you have to jack it up pretty high to get the jackstand under it.


 

I finally fixed my problem with this web site and updates. The problem turns out to have been the use of PHP 5. It was not properly configured. Once it was configured, I could then update the CMS software, so I am now on the latest version of WordPress. I have also updated the NILUG web site.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Yesterday, for the first time this year, I got my 52 Plymouth out and drove it down to a powder coating business. We color-matched the car's color so I can get the car's rims powder coated. This means I have to unmount all the wheels and remove the tires. I hope to do that today.


 

I went to a meeting of the North Idaho Computer Users Group last night. One of their major activities is to refurbish older computers and give them to those who are in need. They have been using Windows XP to do that, but Microsoft is end-of-lifing that. I went to their meeting to present them with Linux as an alternative to that. The presentation went pretty well and they were favorably impressed. I left them a copy of Linux Mint to evaluate.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

I had the AARP people do my tax return, just like last year. And just like last year, I will be getting a $120 food credit check from the state. I owe nothing to either the feds or the state. This retirement stuff isn't so bad, if you watch your income and outgo.


 

I finished up the events calendar page for the car club on Sunday. It took me a long time to type all that information in, then check that to see that all the entres were correct. I had no idea there were so many things going on during the summer, within 100 miles of here.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Bill Johnson and I went up to the Panorama Gem and Mineral Show in Colville, WA on Friday. It's a small show, but an interesting one. Here is part of one of the displays they put together.

I was particularly interested in this case, as not only did the person do a nice job on the stones, they are also a master wire-wrapper.


 

When I went down to Coeur d'Alene on Thursday to purchase a new UPS, I was detoured from my normal course, which is south on Rimrock Road down past the golf course. It turns out there was a good reason for the detour. All the rain and rapid snow melt had washed out Rimrock Road. I'm glad I'm not one of the people who discovered this problem!

I disconnected the PVR to check it out and see what was wrong. I blew all the dust out of it, then used the power cord attached to my Boris workstation and plugged the computer in. It started right up when I hit the power switch, so I powered it down, put it back where it was, connected everything back up to it and used a different power cord. My Personal Video Recorder is back up and running, so I can now record episodes of Castle and Bones whenever new ones are aired. I threw out the old power cord.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 7 March 2014

After I posted my blog entry yesterday, I went down to the basement and discovered that the sump pump hose had worked its way out of the drain, so none of the water it was pumping was being pumped out. As a result there was 14 inches of water in the basement and it may have damaged everything down there. I put the hose back in the drain and this morning there is still water in the basement and the pump is still pumping.

To top things off, one of my UPS boxes failed yesterday. So I had to go down and get another one. It turns out the UPS was $20 cheaper at OfficeMax than it was at Walmart. I guess I'm not surprised. Anyway, everything that was on the UPS is back up and running (that includes my VOIP telephone link) except the PVR. I need to look at that, as there may be a problem with it (it usually runs 24/7).


 

I worked on the calendar page for the car club yesterday. There are so many events that I only got through the middle of July before I ran out of gas. I will continue to work on it this afternoon, after I get back from the gem show in Colville.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 6 March 2014

It has been raining and well above freezing for the past three days, which means that the snow we got on Sunday is mostly gone. It also means that my basement now has about 4 inches of water in it. Over the years, I have tried everything I can think of to prevent that, but when we get so much water on the already-soaked ground in such a short time, the basement ends up with some of it. I have a sump pump, but it can't keep up with the water. Fortunately, the water will disappear as quickly as it appears. I hope so, as I need to get down there to do my laundry.


 

The Inland Northwest Car Club Council has released its 2014 Calendar of Events, and I picked up a copy yesterday. I will be spending a large part of today updating our car club's events web page to reflect all the car shows and other events for this year.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

I was sorting through a bunch of CDs and DVDs of Linux distros yesterday, trying to decide which ones to throw away, when I came across some keepers. I have Ubuntu and Kunbuntu 6.04 in Canonical sleeves. I will keep those for historical reasons. The one I was really interested in was Linux Mint 2.2.

Since I wanted to see what it was like, I installed VirtualBox on my Boris workstation, then installed LM 2.2 as a virtual O/S. I can verify that you can see the Ubuntu roots in the young Linux Mint distro. I would not use it now, but it is an interesting distro to show to others.


 

I went to the doctor's yesterday, and everything is fine with me, as usual. My doctor did update me on some new information he got with respect to cholesterol and statins. Prior to this, MDs were told to lower the bad cholesterol, so they prescribed statins or other drugs to do that. Now some studies have indicated that the other drugs did nothing to increase the health of a patient, but statins such as Lipitor actually helped lower the rate of heart problems. So the current MD line is don't worry about the cholesterol, but prescribe a statin to those at risk of heart problems. Weird.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Yesterday morning after I posted my blog entry, I took my truck and plowed the eight inches of snow we got over the weekend. It was nice and fluffy and easy to plow, which was a very good thing - about an hour after I finished, it started raining here. If I had not plowed, I would not have been able to get out to the county road at all. Since I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow, I really need to be able to get to town.


 

As I promised several months ago, I have finished the cookbook addendum I have been working on. It is now available for downloading in two formats.

 

This addendum is 74 pages, which is an order of magnitude less than the original. Of course, it only contains one year's worth of recipes and the original contains many year's worth.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 3 March 2014

I have determined that every piece of electronic in the dead Natasha computer is also dead. The only two pieces I did not check were the floppy drive and the video card. Everything else, including lighting and fans are dead. It has to have been a lightning strike that took the machine down. I will defintely be recycling it.


 

I spent a lot of the weekend downloading videos from the Internet Archive. All the items are out of copyright, so anyone may freely download them. I started with 17 episodes of the Superman cartoon which were produced from 1941 to 1943. I went on to several movies, including a couple of Sherlock Holmes flicks. There is tons of stuff at the archive, but you kind of have to watch that you don't end up with duds.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"