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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

November 2013

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The last car club activities for the year are today and tomorrow. The final cruise-in at the Burger Heaven is this afternoon, then that restaurant will be closed for 4 months. Tomorrow morning there will be a Thanksgiving breakfast at JB's in Coeur d'Alene. After that, we will all hibernate until the weather turns good - sometime next year, March maybe.


 

I was at Super 1 Foods yesterday to get a couple of items for dinner tomorrow. They are warning their customers that using credit cards at their stores is dangerous, after the company they use to process the cards (URM) was the victim of a cyber attack. They are working on getting that resolved. Since I never use my cards in a grocery store, it does not apply to me.


 

Both Thursday and Friday are days off for most Americans, so I will not be posting anything here on those two days. Next post will be on Monday. At that time, I hope to have all my audio CD's backed up. Maybe.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Linux Format is the most expensive magazine I have ever subscribed to. I have been getting it for 10 years now. That works out to about $1,600 (whew)! I have decided that the magazine no longer has that much to interest me, so I am letting my subscription lapse.

An interesting thing has happened, though. Three of the people behind that magazine have quit it and are starting their own magazine - Linux Voice. They are doing an Indiegogo fund raiser and I have sent them some money. In exchange for that, I get 6 months of the magazine or, if the fund raiser is unsuccessful, I get my money back. I hope the new magazine fills the niche that Linux Format has not quite done.


 

The other night I was looking at the North Idaho Mineral Club web site and I realized it was not completely up to date. I have no idea how that happened, but it did. I have added one article and two newsletters to the web site, and have backed it up to my workstation. I can now breathe a sigh of relief since I have now have a backup.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 25 November 2013

I have learned another lesson. The other day, I was in Big Lots and I picked up an 8GB PNY memory stick for $8. I loaded it up with stuff from another stick and tried to use it again on Saturday. The stick would not work at all. Running dmesg shows that there is no communication between the stick and the O/S at all.

So I am going to go out on Black Friday and pick up a couple of 32GB SanDisk memory sticks for $7.99 each. It's the least I can do.


 

Franklin's Hoagies has been in Coeur d'Alene for 33 years. In that time, it has had 4 owners. By far the owner for the longest period was Larry and Pauline Anderson, who had it for about 28 years. When Larry passed away, it was sold and I was not pleased with the new owner's cooking.

Now Franklin's has a new owner, and the food has gone back to being as good as it has ever been when Larry and Pauline ran the place. If you are in the mood for a thin-sliced steak hoagie, there is no better place in Coeur d'Alene to go.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 22 November 2013

I am still backing up audio CD's of Various artists. If you go by album titles, I am in the H's, and I have done 118 so far. The V's will definitely be the largest section of audio CD's.


 

The mineral club meeting went fairly well last night, except for the fact it was really cold outside. We didn't have nearly the attendance that we usually do. For our program, we had a mineral identification contest. I did better than the last time, but I still can't identify everything someone shows me. Next month we will have a dinner at a local restaurant instead of a regular meeting.

I don't often participate in the silent auction, but last night I did. I came away from the meeting with slabs of rainbow obsidian, onyx and rhodonite. I'm getting stocked up for next spring, when I will be doing some outrageous cabochons.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

I gave my talk on Handbrake to the Spokane Linux User Group last night, and it was well-received. There were a lot of very pointed questions about technical as well as legal items. I answered as many of them as I could. The only bad part was I didn't get home until 10:15 pm, which means I had a late start this morning.


 

It's a good thing that those people who buried the rear axle of their truck next door got the truck out and smoothed out the churned up mud. It got down to 13° F last night and there is no snow on the ground, so the ground is now frozen solid. I suspect that it will remain like that until spring. I'm glad I have everything set up for winter.


 

The monthly meeting of the North Idaho Mineral Club is tonight. For once, I am prepared as treasurer to report on exactly where we are in our finances. We are also having elections either tonight or in December. And our membership dues for 2014 are due this month, too. It will be a busy meeting.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

I got a call from some friends in the mineral club about one of their computers. About 3 years ago, I set that computer up as an Ubuntu box, since they were tired of being infected with all the nasty crap you get when you run Windows. Now the machine would only boot into the command line, instead of into the GUI.

I took the machine home with me and determined I could not just install an updated version of Linux Mint on it. The machine is an Acer Aspire One, and its processor does not support PAE. Most new Linux distros are compiled to support PAE, so I couldn't just install one of those. I finally got into the hard drive checking routine, and it found some bad areas on the disk. So the machine is now working again, but I will warn them that I think their hard disk might not be long for this world.


 

The people who are doing the fencing for my new neighbors were there yesterday, and they made a huge mistake. They attempted to get their big truck and a trailer over to their worksight via the old logging road. They did not realize it is not really a road - it's just dirt. Or mud, if you put a vehicle that weighs too much on it. So they spent the whole day trying to get their truck out of mud that was up past the rear axle. They finally had to call a big tow truck out to pull the truck out. My neighbor was really upset at all this, as she wasn't even aware they were going to be working there.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

My back up of audio CD's to hard drive has slowed down. I am in the V's and am backing up all the albums classified as 'Various' artists. That is what is slowing me down.

The program I use to do the back up gets information about the current CD from the Internet, and displays it. This includes the artist, album title, production year and the names of each song on the album. For the artist Various, that means that the name of the actual artist is displayed in the song name, along with the actual title of the song. When the program creates a file from the song, it uses the song name for the name of the file.

That is pretty straightforward, except for one thing. For each song, the artist name is separated from the song name by a forward slash (/) and forward slashes are forbidden in file names.

The program I use is smart enough to take care of this, but in doing so, it removes the forward slash and everything preceding it (the artist name) before using it as a file name. This means I get a file with the name of the song, but not the artist.

To get around this, I have to go into each song title and replace the forward slash with a dash (-), so both the artist and song name will show up in the file name. Some of these albums have up to 20 songs on them, so it's a lot of work and slows down the back up a lot.

To top things off, some of these ablums have no information in the CDDB database, so I have to type it all in by hand. Needless to say that also slows things way down.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 18 November 2013

It started snowing about 3:30 pm on Friday and it stopped about 2:00 pm on Saturday. We got about 6 inches of very, very wet snow. It was so wet that it bent a lot of trees to the ground and it broke a lot of trees. There was one up on the county road that fell completely across the road (of course.) I spent over an hour plowing snow on Saturday, in two different sessions.

Saturday morning after I plowed a path to the county road, I continued on to Jimmy's Down The Street restaurant in Coeur d'Alene to have breakfast. It was raining there and there was not any snow at all. It's amazing the difference of a couple of hundred feet of elevation make.


 

My second visit to the WinCo supermarket was on Saturday. I found that there are some things that are cheaper at Super 1 Foods and some that WinCo does not stock. So I will probably have to visit two stores each Saturday for my shopping.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 15 November 2013

On the one hand, it is going to rain and snow all day today. On the other hand, the cost of a gallon of unleaded gas in Coeur d'Alene is $2.95. There are pluses and minuses wherever you live.


 

As I was biting into my wonderful breakfast burrito yesterday morning, I was thinking that the hot sauce I came up with needs a better name than Mike's Hot Sauce #3. So it is now called Mike's Chipotle Hot Sauce. I hope it gets as famous as Mike's Killer Dutch Oven Beef Stroganoff.


 

I have finally gotten into the V's in my project to back up my audio CD's. There was only one 'U' - Uriah Heep. There are dozens and dozens of V's, since I have many, many CD's whose artist is classified as 'Various'. I have backed up 1,240 CD's and have about 300 left to do. Should be done in about 3 weeks.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

I am working on the new sections of my Learning Linux series. I don't have anything to publish right now, though. There is much to do and I am looking for inputs from others.

I am also preparing for a talk to be given to the Spokane Linux User Group on how to use Handbrake with Linux. I have already given that one to the North Idaho Linux Users Group, so there should not be much in the way of preparation. I will be showing how to use Handbrake to convert shows from a TV series, which I had not done at NILUG.


 

Some of the car club members meet every Wednesday at a coffee house in Hayden for liquid and gossip. One of those is a guy by the name of Mike, who lives up near Lake Pend O'Reille. Mike recently purchased a classic 1937 Studebaker Dictator Coupe (some name, eh?) He was not at the meeting, as he was playing with his new toy. Here it is:

It looks better than Ken Masden's 1936! I would like that one myself, but I don't have an extra $45,000 laying around.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

My new neighbors have finally gotten to the point where they can put up some walls. They had a big lumber delivery yesterday, so I expect to see some framing going on today. They better get moving, as the weather is expected to get bad in the next week or so. They have a lot to do to catch up to the other neighbors who are building - they are now doing interior stuff on their completed (but not sided) shell.


 

I did some work on the NILUG web site yesterday. I added four documents to the site. They contain information about Linux for both the beginner and for the aspiring system administrator. They are a bit dated, but they still have a lot of useful information about Linux in them.


 

I still had some of the won tons I made over the weekend, so I steamed some of them and then fried the result. They were really good - I will have to make up some more of them. Or get some from Costco. Or look for them at WinCo.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

As I was helping a new Linux user install Linux on an old HP laptop on Saturday, it was brought to my attention that I had not done anymore parts of the Learning Linux series. I did 5 parts and then moved on to other stuff. I think now is the time for me to get back on that topic and do more parts to the Learning Linux series. NILUG already has a speaker for the December and January meetings, so I can start presenting this in February of 2014. I will start writing it now and will post pieces of it on the NILUG web site as they are finished.


 

I have backed up all the audio CD's I have of Star Wars. That includes audio books of episodes 4, 5 and 6; radio dramas of episodes 4, 5 and 6 (with a lot of the original movie cast) and radio drama Dark Empire. Lots of CD's...


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 11 November 2013

I usually shop for food early on Saturday mornings. I go to Super 1 Foods for this, but their prices have been going up to the point where they are comparable to Safeway and Albertson's. That changed last Thursday. A new supermarket is now open in Coeur d'Alene - WinCo. This is an employee-owned chain store and the variety of food is tremendous. They stock items I have only seen in a supermarket in Lake Havasu City, AZ, like Mexican cheeses and lots of Mexican brand drinks. Their prices are also much lower than anyone else in town. They even have Shasta diet creme soda that is comparable in price to my SodaStream machine. I will be going back to the store next Saturday.


 

While I've been backing up multi-disc audio CD's I noticed a bad phenomena. I need to explain the context before I explain what the problem is, though.

Commercial audio CD's each have a code on them. When a program contacts CDDB, that code is used to look up what the CD is and what it contains so the program can display and use it. In the case of multiple-disc audio CD's, each one should return information about that particular CD, like A New Hope CD 1, Anew Hope CD 2, etc.

In some of these multi-disc cases, one or more of the discs returns information about entirely different CD's. This can only mean that whoever is handing out the CD codes is re-using the codes. This is really bad. If it's the RIAA that does it, I'm not surprised, though.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 8 November 2013

I got a yen for won ton soup yesterday, so I made some home made won tons. I could have gone down to Costco for some, but it was more fun to do it myself. The soup was really good. It is so simple that no recipe is necessary - just chicken broth, sliced green onions and won tons.


 

My first encounter with a computer virus was back in the early 90's. One of the Key Tronic salespeople had visited Eastern Europe, and after he got back, he found that when he tried to run the WordPerfect word processor, he kept getting an "Out of Memory" error and the program would not run.

It turns out that when he was overseas, he had picked up a virus on his laptop that attached itself to the WordPerfect executable each time the program was run. After the virus did this many times, the executable finally got so big that it could not be loaded into the available RAM in his computer. Nasty but benign compared with what we put up with today.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

I picked up the 10" version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 the other day at Costco. I am replacing my three year old ViewSonic tablet with this new one. The speed difference alone is worth it, believe me (the Tab has two processors). The Tab has more memory, two cameras and the latest version of Android, too.


 

In my quest to back up all my audio CDs, I am well and truly into the collections area. This would be things like The Shadow, Sherlock Holmes and Star Wars. In the Star Wars area, I think I have at least five collections of different stories, all done as radio plays. At this point, I have backed up 1,127 CDs.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

This seems to be about the time of year when this happens - I've caught a cold. It's pretty mild, but it's still a pain to have to cough in the middle of a conversation. Luckily, I had some NyQuil and took that last night. I'm a bit better this morning. This will not stand in the way of my doing lots of errands today.


 

On Monday, my neighbor across the road finally took down his lightning-struck tree. Standing, it looked like it was in better shape than my lightning-struck tree had been, but when they sawed it down and it hit the ground, it sort of exploded. That left pieces all over the place, indicating that the tree was hit at least as hard as mine had been.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

My new neighbors are in the middle of constructing their home. So far, they have a foundation, but no walls yet. They have had to rebuild their driveway at least 4 times, as every time a heavy truck goes over it, it breaks down.

This is actually the second house being constructed on Boot Hill Road. The first is at the corner of Boot Hill and Dodd. Those folks started construction after my neighbors and they have all the walls up and wrapped, and the roof is completely done. I guess that is the difference between building a house with a slab (my neighbors) or with wood floors.


 

Every once in a while, cartoonists hit the nail on the head, like this one. Or like this one.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 4 November 2013

Sunday morning when it got light, I could see that we got some snow. It isn't much, but it's not a dusting, either. So on Sunday I did my last winter chore by putting the snow plow back on the truck.


 

I backed up two of the web sites I maintain - this one and the one for the North Idaho Linux Users Group. That means saving the MySQL data tables and backing up the files on the web sites. That totals 21,778 files to be copied using FTP. It took a couple of hours to do all that. The tables for this web site alone total 20MB of SQL.


 

I made some Great Northern Bean Soup on Saturday. It is really good soup, too. If you start with dried beans, it takes 4 hours to prepare. Granted, most of that time is just the pot cooking on the stove, but the results are very pleasing.

Now I have to go to the store to get milk so I can make cornbread to go with the soup. Such is life... ;-)


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 1 November 2013

I have lots of chores to do today and on the weekend. I hope to get a lot of the outdoor chores done today, as tomorrow there is a 90% chance of rain or snow. That's bad as it slows done my progress, but it's good since we need the moisture.


 

We got a lot of mineral club business done at the board meeting yesterday. The president was gone for some of October, so we had a lot to catch up on. For those who are interested, the $2 admission to our gem and mineral show held every June will not increase.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"