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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

October 2013

Thursday, 31 October 2013

One of the sources I use for news links has stopped publishing new links while they were attempting to sell the web site. I have had to find an alternative links site, and I am not that happy with the result. I guess it wouldn't be an interesting life if things always remained the same.


 

I have a mineral club board meeting to go to today. I'm not sure what the subject is, though. The president tried to contact me by phone the other day, but every time I answered, there was no one on the other end. She finally sent me an email and I responded there.


 

An easy way to really piss me off is to demonstrate to me that you have information about me that is supposed to be at least semi-private. Google demonstrated that this morning when, instead of the normal Google logo on their search page, I got one that proclaimed "Happy Birthday, Michael!" I will think about this before I do anything rash, like closing down all my Google stuff, but I'm not very happy about it.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Visiting my former workplace was kind of depressing. There are only about 16 people left there now. The rest were either working from home or had already gotten another job. They have known for the past three months that the closure was coming and have taken steps to help themselves.

At any rate, there will be a final shutdown/Christmas party for the company on the 14th of December. I will be going, but I'm not sure how many other people will show up.


 

I have backed up 1,006 audio CD's so far. I am in the Q's, which consists of about a dozen albums from only one band. I have a little over 500 CD's left to back up.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

We are definitely heading into winter. We had a dusting of snow yesterday. I need to complete all my pre-winter tasks, like putting snow tires on the Honda and the snowplow on the truck. I will be doing some of that today, as there will be no snow, but it will only get up to the low to mid 40's.

I also have to go over to Post Falls for a haircut. While I am there, I will visit the old workplace and talk to my soon to be out of work former coworkers.


 

Here's a little something for your Halloween entertainment: Orson Welles' broadcast of H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. This was first presented to the world on October 30, 1938, mostly without commercials. Many people thought we were really being invaded by Martians.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 28 October 2013

In 2011, I was working as a programmer for a company called TriGeo Network Security. In July of that year, TriGeo was bought by Solarwinds of Texas, who promised that "nothing would change". Three months later I retired. At that time, considering my experiences with other companies who were bought out (Getronics, AMS and eMake), I suspected that TriGeo was not long for this world.

I just received an email from a former co-worker. It seems that Solarwinds is shutting down the TriGeo office. The employees are free to move to Lehi, Utah or Austin, Texas or to look for another job locally. Way to go, Solarwinds, you took an award-winning team and crushed them into dust. May you get everything you deserve.


 

I made some Bean, Chicken and Sausage soup over the weekend. I forgot how good that stuff is. I just wish I could find some savory so I could experience the full flavor of the soup.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 25 October 2013

I started cutting small trees down yesterday. These are all trees that have been growing for the past ten years or so, and I have never had time to get rid of them. Now is the time, though. I started with the ones that were growing too close to the driveway. I will continue on to any pine tree. I will not cut any red fir, white fir or tamarack.


 

We have our monthly technical session of the North Idaho Linux Users Group tomorrow afternoon at F1 For Help in Rathdrum. I will be preparing for a talk on Handbrake I will give next month at the Spokane Linux Users Group.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

I have now backed up 920 audio CDs. I am working on the O's - Roy Orbison, Oyster band, etc. I have about 600 CD's left to back up and I have plenty of room on the hard drive to do that.


 

I finished up winterizing my Dodge Stealth and then took it down to a meeting I have every Wednesday. The battery needs to be replaced, but it runs pretty well in spite of that.

As I was coming back from the meeting I rolled down the driver window, then rolled it back up. The window mechanism broke and I had to close that window by pulling it up into position. I am thinking of getting the power window parts for that from a junkyard. I could get a door lock switch and a passenger side mirror at the same time. Then I think, I'm gonna sell the thing, so why should I do that? I'm undecided right now.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The opal bottles from the club collection are now topped up with water. I have put them up in the house so they won't freeze. There are at least five bottles in there that we don't want anything to happen to. Three are some very high grade opal, one is lapis lazuli and one is chrysoprase. All of them are truly excellent materials.


 

I worked on my Dodge yesterday. I changed the tires and had trouble with that. One of them was frozen on, with some rust on the hub. I sprayed on some rust cutter and let it sit for an hour. I was still unable to break the rim loose from the drum. Since all the nuts had been removed, I slowly lowered the wheel back to the ground and that broke the seal between the rim and the drum. All the other rims were easy to get off.

I also recharged the battery, but it doesn't seem to want to keep the charge. Today I will wash the car, polish it and put on the car cover. I hope to sell it in the spring.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

I did some lapidary work yesterday. I removed some opal from the club storage shed and put them in the house. I did that so the water-filled bottles would not freeze and crack open this winter.


 

Through painful trial and error, I have discovered that some .AVI movie files can have multiple sound tracks. Don't ask.


 

I am working on buttoning up my Dodge Stealth for the winter, changing the tires, putting a car cover on it, etc. When spring rolls around, I will be selling it. I really don't need four vehicles. Three is my current limit.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 21 October 2013

I am in the middle of backing up Maria Muldaur albums. There are still more M's, including Matt 'Guitar' Murphy and Charlie Musselwhite. I suspect that the M's may be one of the larger sections I am backing up. Of course, the V's will be the largest as the artist 'Various' falls in that category.


 

I went to the Hells Canyon Gem Club show in Lewiston, ID on Saturday. It was interesting and fun, but somewhat smaller than our show. I picked up some cabochon material at the show - some petrified wood and some agates. It will be some months before I do anything with the material, as I have winterized my lapidary tools already.


 

My telephone setup here is a Uniden system with three remotes. I bought it at Costco at least five years ago and have used it on the General Telephone/Verizon/Frontier phone network for that long. The only fancy part of the phone that I have used is the answering machine portion.

Now that I have switched to VOIP, there are a lot more things that the phone can do, as I am discovering. Since I now get caller ID when the phone rings, I have discovered that the telephone stores caller ID information for each call. That means that even if the caller leaves no message for me, I can still see that they called and call them back if I chose. Pretty neat, I think.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 18 October 2013

At the North Idaho Mineral Club meeting last night, we showed a video I picked up from YouTube which shows how to wire wrap a cabochon. Everyone seemed to enjoy that, and after the video, there were inquiries about a class or demo on wire wrapping. I think that may be the possible program for next month.


 

I'm going to the gem and mineral show at Lewiston, ID tomorrow. I'm not going to take a lot of pictures, but I may take some. I am more interested in the dealer stock, since I would like to do some more cabochons using unusual material.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

I have finished up the lighting changes to my teardrop trailer. I have also fully charged its battery and finished winterizing it. I have put a tarp on it for the coming winter.

I still have many chores to do for the winter, but they will have to wait until tomorrow. Today I am getting my eyes examined, then I will be doing a tray of jewelry findings and will take them to the mineral club meeting tonight.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

I took yesterday off. I watched some Star Trek movies and read a book, but that was about it. I will be getting back to setting up for winter today. There is still lots to do - changing car tires, putting on the snow plow and putting up the teardrop trailer, as a start.

I also have to get ready for the mineral club meeting, which is tomorrow. I will be putting up more jewelry findings, as the last meeting these made us quite a bit of money. There are also treasurer things that need doing.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

I am down to the middle of the M's in backing up my audio CDs (The Visit by Loreena McKennitt). I have finished the first CD storage rack, so that means I have done over 750 CD. The other racks are smaller, but there are more of them. I still have about 800 to back up.


 

I drove my Plymouth and teardrop trailer down to the Paul Bunyon cruise-in last night. I wanted to show off the LED stripping in the cabin and wanted to verify that the taillights were working as well as it looked like they were, looking at them during the day. The taillights work better than the incandescent versions, so I am very happy about that.

From all this light work on the trailer, I now have running lights, light bulbs for them and taillight light bulbs that I will have to get rid of. If I wait until spring, I can probably get rid of them in a car or trailer swap meet.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 14 October 2013

I am browsing around to see if there is another Linux distribution that would meet my needs and has no glaring shortcomings in it. I have eliminated Arch Linux and am now looking at Sabayon Linux. The Maté version of Sabayon is a very reasonable distro, until you get to their replacement for the Synaptic package manager. Whoever wrote that replacement did a very poor job. The process for updating, selecting or installing software is so confusing that I was unable to install Firefox from it. Since I use the package manager a lot, I don't think Sabayon will be a viable candidate for me.


 

I mounted the switch and LED strip in my teardrop trailer. The slide switch was bad, so I took that out and put in a toggle switch. The LED strip works fine now. All the lights in the teardrop trailer are now LED instead of incandescent.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 11 October 2013

I installed the LED bulbs into the taillights of my teardrop trailer. It looks like they put out more light than the incandescent lights that were in there, but I have a way to get them to emit more light. The interior of the taillight assemblies are just black plastic. I am going to line the interior with aluminum foil, held on with contact cement, to provide a reflective surface for the LEDs that are mounted on the side of the bulb. That should get me way more light emitted through the taillight lens.


 

Last year, I mentioned that they were re-routing Lancaster Road, one of the ways to get up on the Rimrock to my house. Now that Google Earth has finally updated their images, I can show you the finished product.

Here is what the road looked like during construction. The 2 lane road still wraps around the bald hill as it goes up on the rimrock.

Here is what it looks like today. Lancaster is now 4 lanes and runs to the north of the bald hill. The old Lancaster route around the hill is now a (completed) bike path.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

To remove the last incandescent lights from my teardrop trailer, I ordered some LED taillights from Amazon. This is the second pair I ordered off the Internet and, hopefully, they are much brighter than the first pair. I do know they were much less expensive.

1157 LED Taillights

The first pair were 21 lensed LEDs, all pointed away from the base. The new ones, as you can see, are 18 LEDs which scatter light in all useful directions.


 

As I was backing up CDs yesterday, one of my systems suddenly stopped reading the CD for Led Zeppelin IV. I tried rebooting and rereading the CD, but it failed. I finally backed up the last two tracks from the CD using my other workstation. I suspect that maybe the DVD drive on the other computer has failed. I will look into that today.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

I am down to the L's in my backing up of audio CDs. I am working on Johnny Lang and next up is Led Zeppelin. That will take me two or three days, as I have a lot of Led Zeppelin (not as much as Jethro Tull, though). I am almost entirely through the first CD rack, which holds 765 CDs.


 

Why are people acting like the congress has done nothing wrong in holding the government hostage? Well, they have great spin doctors and this situation isn't affecting congressional salaries, now is it? These people are the scum of the earth and should not be controlling anyones lives, much less ours.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The other day, I downloaded a 1.6GB file using my Raspberry Pi bit torrent server. When the download finished, I tried to copy the file to my workstation, but was unable to do that. There was some kind of file error in the file which prevented that copying. I then discovered an 800MB version of the same file and downloaded that. It copied onto my workstation with no problems.

I suspect that I may have a problem at the RPi box that involves large files, but I need to verify that. I am going to try this again by picking another large file to bit torrent.


 

Blackmail and kidnapping are supposed to be heinous crimes with penalties commiserate with them. That doesn't prevent the congress of our own federal government from holding the whole country hostage unless they get what they want, which is the modification of a law that they passed, but they don't like. I have seen little children behave with more maturity than congress does. No wonder their approval rating is below 10%.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 7 October 2013

My surface-mounted LED strip came in the mail on Saturday. There were two ways I could tell they came from China - one is that's what the postmark said.

The other way to tell is to look at the anti-static bag that they came in. Items 3 and 4 gave me a big clue that the package was from China.

LED anti-static bag

I am in the process of installing the LEDs into my teardrop trailer. I hope to finish with that today. Several of the car club members will be interested in the results of that, I think.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 4 October 2013

The restaurant where I have breakfast on Saturday mornings was in the news today. It seems someone got knifed at the motel across the street, and the victim wandered over to Jimmy's Down The Street and collapsed in the door. He's okay and the guy who did the knifing is in custody. That area is not normally like that.


 

I am still backing up audio CDs. I have backed up 648 of them so far (down to Johnnie Johnson's Johnny Be Bad), so I have about 900 left to do. Some of them were already copied from cassette onto CD and I sometimes have problems using RipperX on them. My latest problem was Jethro Tull's Stormwatch. I played it through VLC, recorded that and then used winff to convert the tracks from .WAV to .MP3. That seems to work pretty well.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

I ran a bunch of errands yesterday, so today I will have to get back to making the place ready for the winter. Our daily temperatures have been in the 50's and I expect a rapid transition from fall to winter. That means I have to put the snow plow on the truck, put the tractor away, clean up the garage so I can put the tractor away, etc.


 

Our next gem and mineral show is the first week of June, next year. I find myself doing setup for that show now, though. We need to reserve fairground space, get insurance, etc. I did some of that yesterday.

Since the rental prices at the fairground has increased, we need to figure out what to do about that. We could raise the admission price, but $2 is just too attractive for the general public, so we probably leave that alone. We could raise the dealer table price, or cut back on advertising. We will have to have a board meeting to decide what to do.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

I was unable to find an on/off flush-mounted slide switch for the surface mounted LEDs I will be putting on my teardrop trailer. I got a suggestion from one of the NILUG members, and I am mounting a regular slide switch into a flush-mounted box to take care of the problem. The box I am using used to be a TV splitter box to split a 50 ohm cable to twin 300 ohm UHF and VHF. Not something anyone needs anymore, but it's perfect for this application. Here is the finished box:

LED switch box

The LEDs themselves won't be here until the middle of this month, even though I ordered them two weeks ago. They are being shipped here from China. The amazing thing is that shipping and handling for them was $1!


 

I have six audio books on tape that I got from the Zirkles several years ago. I have not listened to them, but I want to back them up to hard disk. To do that, I have to copy them onto CDs, then back the CDs up. I picked the shortest of the books, Apollo 13, at about 5 hours, to back up. It is on four cassettes. I discovered that each side of the longest cassette is 45 minutes, or 90 minutes for the entire cassette. Since I can only record 80 minutes on each CD, that means it will take from 5 to 8 CDs to record the audio book.

That's not so bad for Apollo 13, but the other books are much longer. The longest one is Jean Auel's The Plains of Passage, which is 34 hours long. That would be 68 CDs! The others are in at around 20 hours, so that's a lot of CDs. I have some read/write CDs, and I will try to use one of them for the copying process so it won't be so expensive to do.

UPDATE: I have finished backing up Apollo 13, using a read/write CD for the last two tapes. This was an excellent idea, as the RipperX program had no trouble at all with the CD-RW. It sometimes has trouble with regular CD-R discs.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

I normally have no problem using RipperX to back up my audio CDs, but I did with a 3-CD set of episodes from The Green Hornet radio show. The last two CDs of the set took about 40 minutes each, which is way over what a CD usually takes. It's the first CD that was the trouble, though. I ran it through RipperX for 27 hours and 7 minutes on the two tracks, then gave up. It had gotten through the first track, but only through the first 47% of the second track.

For the second track, I ran the CD with VLC and recorded as it was playing. That worked just fine and only took 29 minutes, so I now have all of that CD on disk.


 

I saw a notice on raspberrypi.org that Raspbian has a new release, so I powered up my Raspberry Pi, did an apt-get update, then an apt-get upgrade. As usual, everything went fine. So I am now up to date on my bit torrent server. I used it to download a bit torrent file and it still does a great job.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"