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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

October 2004

Friday, 29 October, 2004

I think my portable CD-RW/DVD drive has gone belly up. It happened right in the middle of installing SuSE Linux 9.2 Professional onto my notebaook. So now the notebook doesn't boot.

Maybe I can get it to work with the Knoppix distro, or with a pen drive-based distro. I will have to purchase a new drive, though. Which I can't afford to do right now.


I will be reconfiguring my computer room over the weekend. I have to remove a shelf and an old steel desk, and move one computer desk to make room for the workbench I will be putting in the room.

I also have to load the pictures I took of the construction of my new computer, then create text for each picture and put the whole mess up on this web site. It will be a busy weekend.


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Thursday, 28 October, 2004

When I got home last night with my newly-acquired workbench (from an auction at work), SuSE Linux 9.2 Professional was waiting for me at the door. So I installed it on my new machine. I used the 5 CDs instead of the DVD, since the DVD drive in the machine is wonky. (I have ordered a CD-RW/DVD drive to replace it.)

The install is even more professional than the one for version 9.1. There were no ambiguous steps, and I didn't have to start over because I missed something in the install.

I haven't had much time to look at the resulting install, but from what little I've seen of it, it's a winner.


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Wednesday, 27 October, 2004

This will be short today. I don't have much time.

I swapped out the video card in my new computer - PCI video for AGP. I now have 3-D support and the display is much faster. Very acceptable.

I absolutely have to do something about the CDROM/DVD drive. I used it to install SuSE 9.0 Professional on the machine, and I ended up with some problems that I never had before with 9.0. I can only guess that the drive is not copying files faithfully.

Tuesday, 26 October, 2004

I finished building my new computer last night. It booted right up the very first time and I loaded SuSE 9.1 Personal on it. Very nice machine. The TV card even works!

There are a couple of things I want to do for it, though. I will be exchanging the PCI video card I have in it for an AGP, and I will be getting a new DVD drive. The DVD drive I scrounged was the first DVD drive I ever bought, and it is really feeling its age. I wanted to loaded SuSE 9.1 Professional on the computer, but I couldn't get the DVD drive to read the DVD correctly. It reads CDROMs just fine, though.


I will be in a class at work for the next three weeks. If I was to chose a torture method, this one comes close to most fiendish. I have to use Microsoft C#, Microsoft Visual Studio, Microsoft Visual Basic and Microsft SQL Server to produce Microsoft applications. Notice the theme? Any idea why I'm unhappy?


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Monday, 25 October, 2004

As usual, when I contract a cold, it ends up screwing up my entire weekend. That's what happened this weekend. I still got a bit of work done, though. I did quite a bit with my expanding DVD library. I have to re-record quite a few of the DVDs, but they end up looking pretty good.

I am also building another computer. I have ordered most of the parts, and I am scrounging for the rest. I have built many computers in my time, starting in 1976. This time, though, I will be recording my progress in pictures and will post the steps as an article on this web site. So all of you that would like to build one, but aren't brave enough, can get a little shot of courage from the article.

Here is a list of the parts for the computer:

I ordered most of the parts through Newegg.

More to come, after I build this puppy.


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Friday, 22 October, 2004

I was planning on a nice camping weekend, but it looks like the weather will not cooperate. I guess I will be cleaning up the trailer for winter storage.


Now that I have my kitchen whipped into shape, I will start on some of the other rooms. More dump runs to follow. Anybody need 2,000 3 1/2 floppy disks? Only been used once...

And seriously, if anyone needs a free Google mail (gmail) account, I have five invitations that I would like to give away. Gmail is cool.


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Thursday, 21 October, 2004

I have definitely found a way to back up VHS tapes in a reliable format on DVD. Capture the tape using neoDVD, then run it through DVD-Author and write it to DVD. Wonderful news, but I will probably have to throw away a bunch of DVDs I have already done. Oh, well.


I'm still working on the OOP calculator. I have hooked up the mouse event for the control buttons, so we can click on 'Quit' to exit the calculator. I tried to hook up key events the same way, but something is different in that Listener class. It won't work, even though it is attached to the class in the same way as mouse events.

I know I can create an event method in the main calculator class that will work, but that ends up tightly coupling the classes, which is not a desirable condition.


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Wednesday, 20 October, 2004

I've had some trouble with some of the DVDs I've made of VHS tapes. They will play on a normal DVD player up to a point, at which time, they drop out or even end up back at the beginning of the movie. They seem to play just fine on a computer's DVD drive.

I think I have a solution. Instead of using the neoDVD DVD writer program, I will feed the recorded movie through DVD-Author, then use the DVD-Author DVD writer to record the DVD.

I've done this with my backup of 'Star Trek: The Voyage Home', and the new copy works just fine. I have done it with 'Tank Girl' and will determine tonight whether it really worked.


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Tuesday, 19 October, 2004

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Monday, 18 October, 2004

I worked on the OOP calculator over the weekend. I successfully got the tape section to display right-justified numbers, after trying about 6 or 7 ways to do it. I even made the characters a different color so they would stand out.

The next thing to do is the business rules for the calculator, and hooking up the buttons to actual event handlers.


I've also got new wheels on my car, and the old wheels now have snow tires on them. I am all set for the winter.


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Friday, 15 October, 2004

I have installed Xandros Linux 2.01 on one of my machines, and am now reviewing it. The only bad thing I can say about it so far is they configured the file manager to look exactly like the Windows XP file manager. And I am not a big fan of eye candy. I want a file manager that shows me only what I need to do things with files, not allocation information in a pie chart and all kinds of unnecessary junk.

Other than that, I am impressed so far. I can play videos right out of the box (but not copy-protected videos) and everything I have tried in the start menu seems to work. It may well be worthwhile to spend some bucks and get Xandros 2.5.


I will be getting a new set of rims and snow tires for my Honda Civic Hybrid today. I want some nicer looking rims than the stock ones. I have almost decided on the rims and am looking for a good deal on tires.


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Thursday, 14 October, 2004

Have I ever said how much I hate Microsoft? Well, they did it to me again. I use Win2k at work, and I installed the latest security patch for it yesterday. I come in to work this morning, and Mozilla Firefox stopped working for me.

Since I think that surfing the net with Internet Explorer is like having sex in a cathouse without a condom, I tried uninstalling and reinstalling Firefox. No joy. I rebooted. No joy.

So now I am using Mozilla Firebird, a much older incarnation of Firefox. It still works a hell of a lot better than Internet Explorer. Blocks pop-ups, allows tabbed browsing, renders pages correctly, etc. Get a clue, Microsoft.


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Wednesday, 13 October, 2004

I am greatly disappointed that the third party restraining order on the third presidential debate (photo-op) was rejected by the courts. The judge used a bogus excuse for denial: time restraints. Not mentioned was the fact that the Committee on Presidential Debates used every method in their arsenal to postpone reception of the papers on this, so they could argue time restraints.

And some people want these clowns to rule (or continue to rule) them.


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Tuesday, 12 October, 2004

I'm having a good time putting together the object oriented programming four function calculator we are constructing at work. Java programming is actually starting to really appeal to me.

I've run across a problem where I needed to create an object so I could attach it to another object in the second object's constructor. I did that, but the first object never appeared in the calculator window. That probably means that, like Delphi, there are some things you can do in the constructor and some things you can't.

A co-worker suggested I create a static method in the second class that creates the first object, then returns a new instance of the second class with the first object attached. I will try that next.

I think I will also publish the source code for this calculator when I finish.


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Monday, 11 October, 2004

We had a fantastic turnout for the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting on Saturday. Lots of newcomers, interested in getting away from the Microsoft monopoly.


U.S. Free or not?

I always thought this was a free country. Apparently, it's only free if you are a registered Republican or Democrat.

Why do I say this? Last week, Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb were both arrested at the so-called (Republican/Democratic) presidential debate, for attempting to serve an Order to Show Cause to the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). The CPD is run jointly by the major parties and will not tolerate the public viewpoints of any other party.

The papers in question had to do with the upcoming third so-called presidential debate, to be held in Arizona. At question is why public funds are being used for the debate when the major parties are the only participants in the so-called debate.


Smart Fourtwo Mercedes has created a spinoff company called Smart. They have developed a commuter car called the Fourtwo, which gets 70 miles to the gallon. That really beats my Honda's 52 mpg. It's only eight feet long, so you can park two of them in a normal parking space (three, if you park sideways). It uses a 700cc diesel engine for propulsion. The best part is that it costs 13,000 dollars, which is a bunch less than my Honda Hybrid.

You can read more about the car here.


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Friday, 8 October, 2004

Another major party presidential candidate photo-op tonight. I will be doing anything except watching the talking heads.


I got another disk drive last night and installed it in my Linux server. That system now has a total of 120gb of hard drive space. Should be enough for a long time.

I also got a PCMCIA Wi-Fi card. My Linux notebook recognized it right off, which is much better than the compact flash card I was trying to use. I hope to verify the new card works completely at the Linux Users Group meeting tomorrow.


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Thursday, 7 October, 2004

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Wednesday, 6 October, 2004

We started the programming of our Java-based calculator. We created an application framework class and a button class. Hopefully, things will go a bit faster as we continue. Hooking up the events will be an interesting exercise.


I have six Gmail invitations, and no one to give them to. If you are interested in a free 1gb Gmail account, contact me at michael dot burton at gmail dot com. I need your first and last name and an email address for you in order to send the invitation.

Speaking of Gmail, they have added contact management to their application. You can now edit and delete contacts from your contact (address book) list. Cool stuff.


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Tuesday, 5 October, 2004

We start programming on our OOP example program at work today. The program is a four-function calculator, and we will be writing it in both Java and C#. This should be an interesting exercise.

We have been designing the calculator and its object classes for months now. Finally getting to the programming is a relief.


I am still working on the Rimrock Software web site. I have hooked up the free graphics section. I still have a few free programs to add, and some articles to add. The site should look pretty good and be easy to use (I hope).


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Monday, 4 October, 2004

My data mining expedition was successful. I got some of my data off the old P-120 machine, including a personalized True Type font that has my signature and initials in it. It turns out that box also has a bunch of pictures on it from my first digital camera. I wasn't even aware I had those pictures. I will have to transfer them over to my picture archive box. There is also a bunch of old program source code I will also have to archive.

Over the weekend I also washed two cars, made a dump run, washed a bunch of dishes, packed up some old books, and made dutch oven beef stroganoff. All in all, a pretty productive weekend.


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Friday, 1 October, 2004

I will be doing a little data mining over the weekend. One of my old machines (a P-120) has some stuff on it that I need now. Like a font with my initials and signature in it, old program source files, etc. I may get another hard disk so I can move all the stuff. Only problem with all this is the machine has no USB connections. I will have to hook it up to the network to transfer stuff to other machines.


I also need to finish my house clean up and my trailer clean up. Winter is fast approaching.

I also need to get a new set of rims and snow tires for my Honda Hybrid.


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