BLOGical Thoughts Archive

May 2004

Thursday, 27 May, 2004

I did some video editing last night. I made another copy of 'RV Crazy' and I edited out everything except the segment on teardrop trailers. I then made a DVD of that segment, so when it loops, all you get is teardrop stuff. I will be playing it for the public at the 6th Spring Fling.

No more entries here until next Tuesday. I hop you enjoy the Memorial Day weekend. I know I will.

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Wednesday, 26 May, 2004

I am thinking of changing the focus of this blog. I will be looking into what I want to do with it this weekend.

In the meantime, I got more Java work done and will be doing even more today. I hope to have the course finished by next week.

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Tuesday, 25 May, 2004

I've been doing more Java work. I am rapidly catching up to where I should be in the online course. The fact that the material is so easy helps quite a bit.

I need to get more home work done, as another teardrop trip is coming up. I need to get organized for it, fast. That means no more backing up VHS tapes to DVD for a while.

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Monday, 24 May, 2004

It was kind of a slow weekend. I did some more DVD backups. The rest of the weekend was lost in the noise.

It was kind of fun to watch Star Trek: Generations and City Slickers again.

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Friday, 21 May, 2004

I have a lot of Java lessons to go through this weekend. If they are as easy as the prior lessons, they should go fairly quickly. I already have some ideas for some Java programs, but I will wait until I have completed the Java course before I implement them.

Educational software comes to mind as a good area to write programs in Java. Some schools can afford the outrageous licensing fees that Microsoft coerces out of them; other schools use Linux. Java is supported on both these platforms, so educational programs written in Java will be useful on both platforms.

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Thursday, 20 May, 2004

I have posted pictures from the Lost in the 50's car show. There were many more cars there than I took pictures of. The pictures turned out pretty well this year.

I wrote on one of the new DVD+Rs I ordered from It works fine. Mighty Joe Young down, hundreds more movies to go.

I suspect I won't have any trouble with these DVD+Rs. A co-worker uses the Ritek disks sold by, and he has never had a problem with one.

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Wednesday, 19 May, 2004

I received the 100 DVDs I ordered from last night. I haven't tried them out, though. I did back up another movie last night, but I used one of the Memorex DVD+Rs to record on. I will probably try one of these tonight. I don't expect any problems.

I've been working on the third lesson of the online Java course I am taking. It's really amazing how computer languages tend to look and act like one another. Java looks like C++ and Delphi, and the terms used to describe the language are all the same - polymorphism, inheritance, classes, methods, instantiation, etc.

Consequently, this class is not the biggest challenge I have had in recent years.

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Tuesday, 18 May, 2004

I fixed the modem connection in my main desktop computer. First thing I did was move the modem card from one PCI slot to another, which didn't help at all. Then I got a brilliant idea. I looked in the system initialization log to see what Linux found in the way of serial ports.

It found three ports - ttyS0, ttyS1 and ttyS14. I used Yast to change the modem device from ttyS4 to ttyS14 and my dial up connection started working.

If you want to see your own initialization log in SuSE Linux, fire up Yast and select Misc, then View Start-up Log.

Now all I need is to resolve the problem with writing to a CD-R on my notebook.

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Monday, 17 May, 2004

I took 46 pictures at Lost in The 50's up in Sandpoint. I could have taken many more, but I decided to take pictures of only those cars that I was really interested in. Like the Reo truck and the Rolls Royce. I will post the pictures as soon as I am able.

I installed SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional on my main desktop machine on Sunday. It works great, except for a big problem with the modem. The O/S can't find my modem now. I need to be able to read my email and post pictures, so I will try to fix that problem as soon as I can.

AV Toolbox raised their price on the Time Base Corrector that I use to enhance VHS tapes so that they can be backed up to DVD. The old price was $190 and the new price is $250. Quite a jump for an already-designed box. Maybe one of the buffer chips went up by $60 . Or, do you suppose they are taking advantage of the market, like gasoline suppliers are doing? Nah. No ethical business does stuff like that, do they?

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Friday, 14 May, 2004

Lost in the 50's starts today up in Sandpoint, Idaho. Classics cars and Rock n' Roll. I hope the weather is ok tomorrow, unlike last year when the show was rained on all three days.

I now have 15 of my VHS tapes backed up to DVD. For some of them, it appears to be just in time. My Star Trek II tape has deteriorating sound.

I have ordered more DVD+Rs from, who has very good prices on all things video.

I am thinking of adding more memory to my notebook computer. It currently has 256 mb of inboard memory and an empty socket for up to 512 mb of S.O. DIMM. 768 mb would speed things up a bit, I should think.

I am very happy with SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional on my notebook. The only two things that would keep me from being 100 percent happy is the fact that it enabled my disabled touchpad, and it can't seem to write to my CDROM writer. I will be working on those two items.

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Thursday, 13 May, 2004

I listened to The Linux Show last night, after I finished backing up Short Circuit to DVD. They have been concentrating on the SCO issue for the past few months, so it came as a pleasant surprise when they concentrated on other Linux news.

The second segment of the show is always a talk with someone from the industry. This week, the someone was a spokesman from Red Hat, and they talked about Red Hat's apparent reversal on supporting desktop computing. The bottom line is that Red Hat never really abandoned the desktop, they just began to approach it from the enterprise sid of things instead of from the consumer side. I'm not sure this isn't spin control, but that's what he said. Check it out on the web site.

At the rate I am using them, I will have to order some more DVD+Rs soon. I had 60 of them and I am down to around 20. I am using them at the rate of 1 or 2 per night, as I back up all my VHS tapes to DVD. The results are very viewable, so I will not be going out to buy yet another copy of a movie I already have. Take that, MPAA!

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Wednesday, 12 May, 2004

I have some VHS tapes that cannot be backed up to DVD. They appear to have degraded to an extent that makes them impossible to play. And I am sure as hell not going to buy them again. There are other legal alternatives that I will be persuing. The video tapes in question are ones like Jurrasic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I definitely want backups of them.

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Tuesday, 11 May, 2004

I have tested the new software modem (WinModem) driver in SuSE Linux 9.1, and it works like a charm with my notebook computer's modem. This is a huge unadvertised feature in SuSE's new package. It was great to be able to dial up from my notebook without dragging out and installing a PCMCIA card.

SuSE Linux 9.1 also has Mozilla and Mozilla FireFox in it. Another big plus for the package. Other new packages include:

In my estimation, SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional is the ready-for-primetime desktop. Watch out, Microsoft!

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Monday, 10 May, 2004

I put four more VHS movies on DVD over the weekend. One of the tapes had a problem at the beginning, so I had to snip that part out with DVD Author. I was disappointed that several of the tapes I attempted to back up on DVD could not remain synced. Either the tapes have become bad, or my time base corrector can't handle them. Since the tapes are Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jurassic Park, I would really like to be able to back them up.

I got a copy of SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional from a friend at the NILUG meeting on Saturday. I installed it on my notebook computer yesterday. Wonder of wonders - it recognized the built-in Winmodem! I haven't tried the connection out yet, but I will be pleasantly surprised if it actually works.

The only problem I have run into with 9.1 so far is the fact that I can't get K3B to burn a CD. The cdrecord program it uses doesn't seem to properly connect to the CDROM drive. I will work that out.

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Friday, 7 May, 2004

Check out the article in the Other News section about TechTV. One of the best of the cable channels, and Comcast is going to burn it to the ground. Typical big business move.

They had some pretty eclectic programming, but I will especially miss The Screen Savers and Invent This.

This will give me a chance to evaluate my satellite provider (DirectTV, the RIAA of satellite providers) and switch to one who hasn't raised their prices by $13 in the last year while providing us with nothing new to show for it.

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Thursday, 6 May, 2004

I am reading the latest alternate timeline novel by Eric Flint. It's called "1634 The Galileo Affair". It's the 3rd novel in a series about a town in West Virginia that gets yanked out of the 21st century and plunked down in the middle of Germany in 1632, the middle of the 30 Years war. The characters and the premise are both very interesting. If you are thinking of reading these books, start with the first one, "1632", which is available for free online.

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Wednesday, 5 May, 2004

Pardon my surliness this morning. I just filled up my car with gas. Last time I did that on April 22nd, gas was $1.84. This morning it was $1.97. When is the government gonna stop playing little games in other countries and start paying attention to what is happening here? Obviously, never. Too bad the election is not being held next week instead of in November. And it's also too bad our government thinks that a group that is holding American energy requirements hostage to higher prices is a legal cartel. You watch the price of gasoline plunge just before the election. Bush's arab buddies will see he gets maximum political advantage out of that.

I am rereading a novel by David Weber called 'War of Honor'. I think the thoughts about the Manticoran government expressed in the book apply to our government - 'they haven't got 2 brain cells to rub together to make a thought'.

I went down to Costco last night to look at hard drives and WiFi routers. They had the wrong ones of both of them. I was looking for an 80 gb hard drive and they had a 160 gb. I was looking for a LinkSys WiFi router and they had a D-Link. So I ended up with a new shirt instead. Life is ironic.

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Tuesday, 4 May, 2004

I am working on getting the pictures from my teardrop weekend onto the web site. I'm hoping to get them on today.

I have to catch up on work at home that I put off in order to go to the teardrop gathering. Java class, laundry, house cleaning, etc. Some fun.

UPDATE: The teardrop gathering pictures have been posted here

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