BLOGical Thoughts Archive

October 2002

Friday, November 8, 2002

This morning, I was reading about another Linux distro called Knoppix. It boots and runs from a CDROM, with no hard disk requirement. I downloaded the .iso image and burned a copy. It works great! It is based on Debian and contains KDE 3.0, OpenOffice 1.1 and all the normal stuff. It accurately detects the hardware, including network and modems. I made 8 copies of the CDROM, which I will give away at the NILUG meeting. What a great way to spread the word about Linux. You can load it on someone's machine without modifying anything on that machine.

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

As detailed here earlier, Suse Linux 8.1 is loaded on Natasha, my main machine. Last weekend, I tried to play audio CDs on Natasha, and it couldn't even see the disks. I couldn't figure out why, as Natasha burns CD-Rs just fine.

I found out today. I went to the Suse support database and asked about "CD Audio mounting". The very first article was the solution to my problem. The Suse 8.1 install has a problem with configuration when a computer has a CDROM burner and one or more other CDROM drives. The article gave details as to how to fix this, which was really just an adjustment to an init script. Natasha now plays CDs, and I am happy as a clam. It was really annoying to have to run another computer (Igor), just so I could listen to music while I was working on software.

I burned seven more CD-Rs today. That makes 20 total, including the ones from the weekend. I'm really giving those cheapo CD-Rs I got at Big Lots (50 for $9.99) a workout.

Tuesday, November 5, 2002

I'm beginning to believe that the voters of Idaho (and North Idaho, in particular) are really as stupid as they vote. They have county commissars commissioners who a) change all the house numbers in the county, then make the homeowners pay for the change; b) add .5% to the sales tax to finance jails, without any input from the voters; and then c) vote themselves a big raise. What do the residents of Kootenai county do? Re-elect them, of course.

The citizens of Idaho have tried about 4 times to get term limits to be the law of the state. They finally did, but the politicians put a proposition on the ballot to strike term limits. Their reasoning? 'It interrrupts the continuity...' or some-such crap. What did the voters do? They voted to strike term-limits, after voting for term limits (by a huge majority) in the first place! Incredible.

Since I usually vote a straight independent (99% Libertarian) ticket, I'm used to seeing my candidates not get into office. Something about this particular election has just punched my buttons, though. We now have all the trappings to institute Imperial Amerika. Have a go at it, your majesty. Emperor George the W has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

To paraphrase Admiral Farragut: "Damn the economy, full war ahead!"

Monday, November 4, 2002

Back to work after a week of relaxing. Nothing has changed at work, which is kind of surprising.

Saturday, November 2, 2002

I spent quite a bit of time making copies of Linux distributions. Ended up with copies of 13 CDROMs. Linux is getting quite large....

Thursday, October 31, 2002

My birthday. I always veg out on this day. The tradition is still alive.

Finished listening to Star Wars - A New Hope. Started listening to The Empire Strikes Back.

I found a picture of myself from another timeline. I'm the one in the Halloween costume.<BG>

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

A bad day and a good day. I started it with 2 1/2 hours in the dentist's chair. He cut out one of my bridges to get to a cavity. He worked on the cavity, but determined that it had gone to the nerve, so I ended up with a root canal, too. Then they put a temporary bridge back in. I get the new bridge in a couple of weeks. I was a little sore afterward, but my dentist does good work. He even called me this evening to verify I was ok after all that work.

On my way back from the dentist in Spokane, I dropped by Beaudry Motorsports to show them the web pages. Thye liked the layout, but wanted the page colors changed. Good thing I use style sheets - the only big change was to tweak a few graphics that looked good on light background, but not so good on dark.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

First day of my mini-vacation. I paid my insurance for next year, renewed my driver's license, and even got to eat at Franklin's Hoagies for lunch. I've been cleaning up home computer projects, too. Finished up all the Beaudry Motorsports web pages. I put them on a CD-R to present to them tomorrow.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

I'm working on web pages today. I should create a program to do all this repetitive grunt work, but it would take longer than to actually do the work itself.

Well, the total for today is 111 web pages. That doesn't count going out to the web to get Arctic Cat snowmobile pictures. A good days work, but nowhere near the finish line...

Saturday, October 19, 2002

Well, my car now looks better without the layers of dirt all over it. And I now have food in the house. Amazing what you can get done when the computers are shut down.

Enterprise is certainly a good series. The interaction between the characters is very good - a lot better than Voyager. I can't believe it is actually into its second year already.

Friday, October 18, 2002

I finished converting the 'Shadow' story to HTML. I have loaded it into a Compact Flash card and can now read it using Opera on my Sharp Zaurus PDA. If this one turns out ok, I may do others.

Looks like the project I am working on at work is into YAP. So far, we have changed hundresd of routines in hundreds of files, as well as adding fields to at least three database tables. All to allow account numbers to be up to 19 digits instead of the original 7! Doesn't help that the original account numbers were used as primary keys in some of the tables.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

The 'Shadow' story that I am converting to HTML has 37 chapters. I have finished up to Chapter 20. Not hard work, just tedious. And speaking of web pages, I have finished 56 pages for Beaudry Motorsports. So all that needs doing for right now is about a dozen Arctic Cat pages and one Benelli page. Oh yeah, and the conversion of all the other motorcycle pages to the new layout. Whew!

I'm past the Shadow CDs and am getting into Allan Sherman, Siegel-Schwall and Sherlock Holmes. Not much further to Star Wars. I have Episodes 4, 5 and 6, both as spoken books and radio plays. I also have Star Wars Dark Empire. CDs are wonderful things...

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

I solved my DNS problem on Natasha. Quite simple, really. Using my other machine, I went to the Internic Whois site and entered my ISP's domain. When the record cam up, I copied down the names of their domain name servers. Since the record no longer displays the IP addresses of those servers, I pinged the names to get the IP addresses. On Natasha, I entered those IP address using linuxconf. Problem solved.

Once I had the Internet problem solved, I activated Borland Kylix 3 (it must be activated before use). It pretty much looks and handles the same as Delphi 6 for Windows, so I will be able to get some real programming done, as I have a lot of experience with Delphi.

I've been listening to my CD collection at work for months now. I'm down to 'S' now, and was listening to some of The Shadow radio shows. I got curious and went out to the Web to look for info. I found a site that contains text files of a lot of The Shadow stories from The Shadow Magazine. I am converting one of them to HTML so I can read it on my Zaurus. I may do the others, too.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

I got the modem working on Natasha. It turns out that Mandrake Linux 9.0 no longer supports the standard 'ttySx' ports. It uses 'cuax' instead, which is an old standard that was supposed to disappear. Seems it hasn't. Anyhow, once I created a symbolic link between /dev/cua4 and /dev/modem, I could dial out and connect to my ISP.

One problem remaining: Natasha still can't find a DNS. In older Mandrake systems, it would find DNS automatically. The only change I have made is to load firewall software along with the O/S, so that may have some effect on the process. Even though the firewall is currently disabled.

There is another 'low-key' program being offered on Fox TV. 'John Doe' airs on Fridays at 9 pm. It is an interesting show so far, about a guy who knows literally everything - except who he is. I recommend both it and 'Firefly', which airs at 8 pm Friday on Fox. Firefly is not as attractive as the 'Dark Angel' show it replaced, but it is interesting enough.

Monday, October 14, 2002

I installed Mandrake 9.0 again, because I am determined to not let massive changes get the better of me. I also installed Borland Kylix 3 on it. Turns out you need to install that with a command line switch turned on. Now all I have to do is get the modem properly connected...

Speaking of Mandrake Linux 9.0, it was mentioned in Ecol Strip today. Funny cartoon about wizards.

I also did the text for 41 Beaudry Motorsports web pages. Good thing they are only text files, which are merged with a template to produce the web page. If I had to do them as web pages, I'd be flipping out about now.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

I reinstalled Mandrake Linux 9.0 with lesser security. Found out they have screwed up serial port support to the point where I can't get my modem to work. I also found out I can't install Borland Kylix 3 in Mandrake's new version. I ended up re-installing Mandrake Linux 8.2. And now I can't get the damned thing to find a DNS! Some days, you just can't win.

I also can't get Linux to recognize my ATI video card as a TV tuner. I think I will pick up a copy of Red Hat 8.0 and see how they have done things.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

I spent most of today digitizing photos of motorcycles. Every year about this time, I update the Beaudry Motorsports web site. The 2003 Suzuki motorcycles are coming in, so I have done 54 JPEGs today. I also did about 12 Arctic Cat pictures and one of a Benilli motorcycle.

The Beaudry site hasn't had a face lift in over a year, so I am also doing that. Doesn't leave much time to look at Linux.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Mandrake Linux 9.0 got here from CheapBytes last night. I installed it and, as usual, intend to install it again. The 1st install, I selected the high-security setting. That setting allows a normal user access to absolutely nothing other than their home directory and directories in the path. Since I will be using the machine for development, I figured that it would be nice to gain access to a little more than that. Hence a second install, with security turned down a bit.

I also tried to load something called Gatos, which is supposed to be support for my ATI TV tuner. No joy there, so far. Maybe if I RTFM, I can configure it correctly.<G>

Mandrake has messed around with the login box in 9.0. I can no longer shut down the computer from the login box. And when I do that as superuser in a terminal window, it no longer shuts completely down. More investigation is necessary, as I want to tell the thing to halt, then walk away with the assurance that it will actually power down.

As a final indignity, Some very useful icons are missing from the desktop. They were replaced by advertising icons! Well, at least I can now access my NTFS partition.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

I have been back from Baltimore for a while now, and have finally gotten caught up enough where I can devote some time to this log.

I have ordered Mandrake Linux 9.0 from CheapBytes, and I expect it any day now. Getting a distro from them is much easier for me than trying to download and burn it at work. Their prices are fairly reasonable, too.

Mandrake Linux 9.0 has several things I've been looking for: KDE 3.0, support for the TV tuner part of my ATI video card and automount of NTFS partitions. That last one is a must have for me, as the other O/S on my main machine is Win2K on an NTFS partition.

I have played a little motherboard shuffle so my main machine now has a motherboard that can actually read and write CDROMs. You have no idea how frustrating it is to try to load software without a local CDROM drive. You have to resort to a network connection and use ftp or some other arcane method. A real PITA.

Natasha, my main computer now consists of

  • Soyo SY-K7V DRAGON Plus! Motherboard with sound, ethernet, 6 USB ports, 2 serial, 1 parallel port.
  • AMD Athlon XP 1800+ (1.53 gHz) CPU
  • 512 mb RAM
  • ATI All in Wonder Radeon 7500, 64 mb video card
  • U.S. Robotics 3CP5610 56k modem

Definitely good enough for Linux software development. I also picked up Borland Kylix 3 for a RAD tool.