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October 2005

Monday, 31 October 2005

I was cruising through Costco on Saturday and I found a perfect solution for my notebook storage problem. It's a Western Digital 80 GB passport external 2.5" USB disk drive.

I purchased one and took it home. Plugged it in to ensure it was working okay, then powered the notebook and external drive down. I then proceeded to convert that 80 GB passport into a 20 GB passport, by ripping it and my notebook computer apart. I exchanged the 20 GB hard drive in the notebook with the 80 GB hard drive in the passport case, and vice versa. Re-installed SuSE Linux 10 on the notebook and copied my personal files over from the 20 GB passport. So I now have an 80 GB notebook. Cool. Plus I also have a neat little 20 GB portable hard drive.


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Friday, 28 October 2005

Well, after working 12 days in a row, I finally get some time off. Not only that, I have also taken Monday off. I'm looking forward to it. I will be able to do some 'getting ready for winter' work. And maybe some computer projects, too.

I especially want to get that digital video capture card working on my AMD 64 workstation. The workstation recognizes the card, but I'm having a lot of trouble compiling the programs to use with the card. Especially, xine, which I need to see the cards input in the first place.


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Thursday, 27 October 2005

I have created 5 CDs with old time radio shows, one CD with short Sci-Fi stories on it, and have burnt a new Mepis Linux 3.3.2-3 CD.

I installed the Mepis on my mom's machine. It works very well. It's always good to have the latest O/S on the machine. I just wish I had a broadband connection so I could add all the programs that my mom will really use.

The other CDs go to people at work who expressed an interest in them.


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Wednesday, 26 October 2005

I finished the marathon programming project I was doing at work. 840 lines of Perl code took 5 days, including testing. The testing cycle was long because of how much the script does and how long some of those actions naturally take.

Anyway, all I have left to do is some release notes to help others understand what I did and how to use it. Too bad it's a one-time script.


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Tuesday, 25 October 2005

A slow and boring day, except for my working on the Perl program that wouldn't die.

Slow news day, too. The only interesting item is "Bush protects presidential seal from satire site". What an incredibly great thing to spend taxpayer money on!


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Monday, 24 October 2005

I worked half the day on Saturday and half day Sunday on a critical problem that came up at work. I finished up the code on Sunday and will be testing it today.

Saturday afternoon, I took off and went to the dutch oven gathering over in Spokane. We had 17 ovens full of delicious food and an enjoyable time. We do this again in January at one the guy's cabin. My meatloaf was a big hit.

I had such a good time on Sunday, I went out and bought some more dutch oven accessories - a lid holder, a good lid lifter and another 12" dutch. Oh, yeah - a cookbook, too.


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Friday, 21 October 2005

The Inland Empire Dutch Oven Society is holding a Dutch Oven Gathering (D.O.G.) tomorrow afternoon at Valley Mission Park in Spokane (that's just above Splashdown Water Park on Mission). Everyone is invited to attend. If you don't cook in a dutch oven, bring a side dish and you are welcome to join in.


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Thursday, 20 October 2005

I ordered a digital TV tuner card from hdPCTV yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised in two respects. First, I ordered the card early in the morning and it was shipped a couple of hours later. Secondly, the card only supports one operating system - Linux!

Maybe I will finally be able to record video on Linux, instead of having to use that other nasty, buggy operating system.


I have installed everything necessary to compile my C++ program on a Windows box. After I did that, I decided the app could benefit from a Copy to Clipboard button, so I spent the rest of the evening adding that and re-arranging the other buttons. It looks pretty good now. I'll take a snapshot of it when I start the documentation, and post it here.


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Wednesday, 19 October 2005

I added a couple of buttons to my C++ project, and found that expanding a completed project is fairly easy. I also experimented with using layouts to position components on the main screen. I was only partially successful with that, so the main screen will remain the way it is right now. The About dialog is already arranged with layouts.

I am basically procrastinating on the documentation at this point. Actually, I am trying to decide what kind of documentation needs to be included for an essentially simple GUI application.

I have downloaded one of the two pieces I need to compile the program under Windows. I have the Qt library for Windows, but I need a piece called mingw, which is the compiler.


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Tuesday, 18 October 2005

I finished the C++ program I was writing for both Linux and Windows. Now comes the big part - creating documentation and the installation for the program.

I will be creating the install with autoscan and autoconf. These programs help you create the 'configure' script which most Linux programs use to determine whether a program can be compiled on the target system.

I also need to create an install for Windows, which is somewhat problematic at the moment. I might be able to compile it for Windows, then use my normal install program to create a setup. We shall see.


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Monday, 17 October 2005

The problem with the modem on my workstation was easily solved. It turns out that the new version of SuSE Linux wipes out the symbolic link I created between /dev/ttyS1 and /dev/modem. And it does that every time you boot up the system. So I re-did the network connection and used /dev/ttyS1 instead of /dev/modem. Problem solved.


I worked on a C++ program for both Linux and Windows over the weekend. C++ syntax is hard to get used to again. Java and C# have better syntax.


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Friday, 14 October 2005

I haven't done any nasty things to my workstation, but it can't talk to the modem any more. The last time I used it was to download and install the NVidia video driver. Now I get a parameter error when trying to use the ppp daemon. Weird. I will post a question about this on the SuSE forums and see if anyone else knows what to do about it.


I saw an old co-worker last night. I went to a meeting of The Lunar Group at Moon Time in Coeur d'Alene and Frank Ping was there. He is still working for the company that laid me, my boss and 26 others off 6 years ago. He is looking for another job, too, since AMS seems to be shutting down operations in Coeur d'Alene.


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Thursday, 13 October 2005

I got SuSE Linux 10.0 last night and installed it on two of my computers: the new 64-bit workstation and my notebook computer.

Installation was without incident. The video test has been removed from the installer, which I don't like. I depended on that test to ensure my monitor could support the settings I picked. When I run across a machine that gets screwed up as a result of not being able to run that test, I will complain loudly.

As usual, the new O/S has new eye candy. It also has a new set of fonts, which present a cleaner, crisper desktop and applications. Also present are a product called AppArmor and a desktop search capability built in to the start menu.

If I find anything I really hate about this distro, I'll let you know. So far, it looks pretty good to me.


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Wednesday, 12 October 2005

I got my old workstation working in a new case. The problem I was having was apparently caused by my not hooking up the front panel controls correctly. The power supply was fine, and I'm glad I didn't buy another one.


I have been trying to compile the Tellico collection software on my new workstation and have had no luck until now. I found out that the 64-bit version of SuSE 9.3 has both 64-bit and 32-bit Qt libraries installed, and it's difficult for many 'configure' scripts to find the proper library. I started up 'configure' with a raft of command line options, and the program compiled just fine.


Happy birthday to my brother Tim, who is way too old for his own good.


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Tuesday, 11 October 2005

I'm sick today, so I'm staying at home.


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Monday, 10 October 2005

The North Idaho Linux User Group meeting was very interesting. Frank Ten Thy is creating a thin client system for kids using K12LTSP and a bunch of old, slow PCs. His demo system consisted of the server and two workstations with minimal memory and now hard drives. They booted from the server, and their applications loaded from the server. Very cool. It's something that I'd like to work on.

I also saw Serenity again. I just can't get enough of that movie. Highly recommended.


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Friday, 7 October 2005

The North Idaho Linux User Group meeting is tomorrow. It's a dead heat, whether SuSE 10.0 will arrive in time for me to take to the meeting and install on my AMD 64 workstation, or whether I will have to be content with working on the project that Frank Ten Thy suggested at the last meeting.


I will be getting a new power supply so I can once again get my old workstation running. The new power supply in the new (really cheap) case I got for the workstation doesn't work all the way.


Thanks to Reason Online


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Thursday, 6 October 2005

VR3 FM Modulator This is the VR3 FM Modulator, which is a terrific device. You plug it into the cigarette lighter and plug a CD player, cassette player, DVD player or other audio device into it, and it transmits that sound on one of about 7 channels in the lower FM band.


ROTF,L!!! The Best Geek Quotes


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Wednesday, 5 October 2005

I fixed the login screen on my new workstation last night. I will be detailing the experience over on the North Idaho Linux User Group web site.

It turns out that the file that needed to be changed has a lot of nifty stuff in it that is useful to know, so the episode has not been a useless exercise. Still, I should think that SuSE would be smart enough not to make that change every time I make a minor change to the video configuration.

I have noticed that this weird condition only occurs on machines with NVidia video cards. Machines with ATI cards do not have the problem.


Noun: cronyism - The practice of giving special treatment to friends, especially their appointment to political posts with little regard to suitability.

Examples: The appointment of a lawyer with no management or security skills to be the director of Homeland Security. The appointment of a lawyer with no management skills or emergency response experience to be head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The appointment of a lawyer with similar religous beliefs to yours to be Attorney General, so he can change the national priority from terrorism to pornography. The appointment of your personal lawyer, formerly a corporate lawyer with no judicial skills, to the Supreme Court.

Get the picture?


Courtesy of Paul Klinger, a co-worker:

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing.
"

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Tuesday, 4 October 2005

I now have a fully working 64 bit workstation. I removed the hard drive from my old workstation, hooked it up as a USB drive and copied 6.6 GB of data from it onto the new workstation. It now looks and works just like the old workstation.

I also downloaded the (incredibly huge) Nvidia video driver from the Net and installed it. So now I have that same old problem, the bogus sign on window. And it also boots into tvm instead of kde. Well, I know enough to fix that now, so I will be doing that tonight.


I tried everything I could think of to get the old workstation working in its new case. There is definitely a power supply problem, so I will be getting a new one soon.


The final figure is 6 people left in my aisle at work, out of 17 cubicles.


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Monday, 3 October 2005

We had another layoff on Friday. Two of the three people I normally have lunch with were layed off. The aisle I am in has 17 cubicles. There are now only 8 people in the aisle. I want to wish good luck to all the people that left the company on Friday. May you do much better in your future job choices.

I'm almost certain my current job will be gone by January 2006. I will continue to look for a job that is closer to home and allows me to program in an object-oriented language.

Update: Make that 7 people left in my aisle. One of the guys who was on vacation on Friday came back to no job today.


I built my 64 bit AMD computer over the weekend. I decided that a fast, classy computer had to have the best case. That case is an Antec that housed my current workstation. I removed all the hardware from that case and installed the new system in it. The new system consists of

  • Antec case with 350 watt power supply
  • AMD Athlon 64 3200+ CPU
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Leadtek Geforce 6800 256MB DDR PCI Express x16 Video Card
  • Dual layer DVD writer
  • Maxtor 200 GB SATA hard drive

This puppy is fast. It should last me for quite a while.

I installed all the hardware from my old workstation into a case I got from an Internet bargain place. All I can say is, don't do that. The computer no longer works. I will have to purchase another case for it, as I believe the power supply is defective, and it's easier to purchase a case than a new power supply.


I saw the Serenity movie on Friday. It was great - lots of action, good dialog, great people interaction. It was also a bit sad. Fans of Firefly should definitely see this movie.


I want to cool off a bit before I say anything about the latest example of Bush cronyism. Maybe tomorrow.


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