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BLOGical Thoughts Archive

September 2013

Monday, 30 September 2013

I have burned my big slash pile. It was 7 feet high when I started. It is now gone except for what's left of a huge log that was on the bottom of the pile. I can now build the pile up again, which means I will have to thin out my trees some more.


 

While I was up at Priest Lake on the weekend of the 21st, I attempted to create a virtual machine using Arch Linux. I was unsuccessful, as the DVD hung up while it was booting into the kernel. On Saturday at the technical session of the North Idaho Linux Users Group, I figured out what was wrong.

Most 32-bit distributions now come with PAE compiled in. PAE is a method of accessing more than 4GB of RAM in a 32-bit machine. It turns out that the Arch Linux DVD had PAE enabled and never put out an error message if your (virtual) computer was unable to use that. I enabled PAE in the virtual machine I was attempting to install Arch in, and all worked well.

I still have problems with Arch. I doubt very much if I will ever have an Arch system I can actually use. Maybe I should stick to Gentoo or Sabayon instead.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 27 September 2013

The North Idaho Linux Users Group technical session is tomorrow at F1 for help in Rathdrum. I will be going to that and I will show my Plymouth on Sunday (barring bad weather) at an Alzheimer's Walk in Coeur d'Alene.


 

I was unable to put the stainless steel clip onto the chrome strip running around the back window of my Plymouth, so I went down to the glass place and got them to do that. I then went to Coeur d'Alene to get gas and eat lunch.

While I was down there, I tried to pick up an on/off switch for my LED strips. I looked in Radio Shack and Harbor Freight but was unable to find a switch. The guy at Harbor Freight suggested I try a trailer supply place, so I did that. I didn't find the switch, but I found a replacement for the dome light in my teardrop's galley. It is really bright and eats less current than the incandescent one it replaces.

I also found some LED replacement bulbs for my trailer tail lights, but at $13 bucks a crack, I will wait a while to replace them.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

I started burning slash piles yesterday. One of them burnt fine, but the big one with the branches from my lightning-struck tree is still too wet to burn. I will try again in a week or so.


 

I have ordered some surface-mounted LEDs on a strip, backed with 3M tape. I intend to put them in my teardrop to light the shelving in the cabin. A strip is 16 feet, so I will have plenty of them left to try them in other places. I will need a surface-mounted switch to turn them on and off.

These LEDs consume so little current it is amazing. I am thinking it would be cost efficient to replace all the compact fluorescent bulbs with LEDs, even they cost a lot more.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

I finished up most of the tasks I had scheduled for yesterday. Today I will be doing some work on getting ready for the winter. There is lots to clean up in the garage and I need to change the tires on my Dodge before I put it up for sale. If it rains, then most of what I will do will be inside.


 

I found a trim piece for my Plymouth at the wrecking yard yesterday. It is the exact right piece, even though it came off of a 1947 Plymouth. I attempted to put it on myself yesterday, but it is a really tight fit and I was unable to do that. I will probably need some help to put this 1 1/2" piece of stainless steel on the car.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

I tried out my new VOIP phone service, and it seems to work fairly well. It even works while I am doing a bit torrent download from the Internet, so there is apparently enough bandwidth there for everything.


 

I will have to run some errands today. The glass place has not found the clip that goes on my Plymouth's window trim, so I will go to the car wreckers and get one myself. I want to get that replaced and pay the glass bill before I'm old and grayer.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 23 September 2013

I spent the last three days in a cabin on the eastern shore of Priest Lake. This was with a bunch of techie nerds who all needed the time off, and we did techie stuff the whole weekend. I was the designated cook, so I made breakfast two mornings and cooked dinner on Saturday. Even with all that, I had a very relaxing time. I always sleep well in my teardrop, which I took because of limited bed space.


 

My local phone line is now completely converted over from a land line to voice over IP (VOIP). I now have useful things such as free long distance, telemarketer block and caller ID. All for $6.20 a month, instead of the land line's $35.11 a month. So far, I'm a happy camper.


 

Activity on the next mineral club show has begun. The show will be in June 2014, and we need to pick a weekend for it. It is usually the first weekend in June, but next year there will be a first weekend and a first full weekend, so we must choose which one. I will no longer be the treasurer for that show, but I will be the show chairman again.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 20 September 2013

The jewelry findings were very popular at the mineral club meeting last night. We will have to do that again, as we have many more findings to go through.


 

I now have 507 audio CDs backed up. Only 1,000+ to go. It's easy work to do, but tedious. I've been doing about 15 a day and I am now down to The Guess Who.

The last cassette I tried to convert to CD was so disappointing that I stopped trying that for a while. I will resume that next week.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

I have a lot of things to do today. The monthly meeting of the North Idaho Mineral Club is tonight, and I need to get prepared for it. I need to clean up the correspondence, print out member lists, ensure the TV is in my car and ensure the jewelry findings are in the car. The findings will be sold tonight, alongside our monthly silent auction stones.

I also have to do a dump run, then get gas and do some shopping for the weekend. I will not have time to do any shopping for the next three days, so it has to be today.

Then, if I have any time left over, I still have two cabochons roughed out that I would like to finish. They are both mahogany obsidian. I have marked out four cabochons on a very nice slab of jasper, but haven't cut them out yet.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

I am still attempting to copy audio cassettes over to CD. I have had some trouble with some of the tapes. The main problem is that they are mechanical systems and things go wrong with mechanical systems. Two days ago, I attempted to copy one and the sound track started squealing at me. I have seen that before - I suspect that the oxide coating on the tape has worn off in spots.

Yesterday I attempted to copy the Radio Reruns cassette of the first two episodes of The Lone Ranger to CD. The cassette played okay for the first 8 minutes, then it started slowing down. It got to a point where it was no longer understandable, so I had to throw it away. This was due to the tape tightening in the cassette. Normally, I would take the screws out of the cassette and loosen it manually, but this was a cheap cassette and it was glued together. No help for that one.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

I finally got my Plymouth back, but it is still missing the chrome clip from the rear window. The glass people will get one from the local auto wreckers and replace it when they can. In the meantime, I can now drive my car to the cruise-ins.


 

The tree near my house that was struck by lightning 11 days ago was removed a week ago. My neighbor's tree that was struck is still standing, because he has to go through an insurance company to get it taken care of. That is, until last night. We had another thunderstorm come through, but this one was accompanied by high winds. The wind broke the top right off of the already-damaged tree. Luckily, the top didn't fall on anything.

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Monday, 16 September 2013

I have now backed up 443 audio CDs. I ran across one the gave me big problems: Dan Fogelberg's The Wild Places caused RipperX, the program I was using to crash. I used another program called RipOff to back up the CD instead, and discovered that the first song on the album had a forward slash (/) in the title. That is what was causing the problems. That character is forbidden in any file names, and RipperX was trying to create a file with that in the name. I will report this to the folks who maintain the program.


 

The talk I gave at the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting on Saturday about protecting your electronic messages went very well. I even made the mistake that I told everyone not to make - I forgot what pass phrase I used. I will have to experiment with a bunch of variations to see if I can figure out what the pass phrase is. At least I used an email burner account.

I have posted the talk on the NILUG web site, so people can refer to it.


 

And here's what I did on Sunday. Please note that even though the video says Garnet Creek, the actual location is Emerald Creek.

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Idaho Star Garnet

Friday, 13 September 2013

I have been working on more cabochons. I have done five of them, all obsidian. I've done three from sheen obsidian and 2 from mahogany obsidian. I have three more slabs I could cut and shape, but I think I will switch to another gemstone instead.


 

I have finished about half of the talk about security I will be giving on Saturday. It is basically a talk about why you need to encrypt emails, how to download and install an encryption plug-in and how to use the plug-in. I have set up a dummy email account to use with the plug-in on my laptop.


 

Here's a final picture from last weekend's Dalton Gardens car show. This is an old Ford pickup with a custom truck bed. It's sitting next to a fake MG (a kit car called a TD) that has a Volkswagen engine.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The rear window on my Plymouth is now mounted with the correct rubber gasket. I will have to do some headliner adjustments on the ring inside the car that surrounds the window, as the new rubber is not quite as wide as the original rubber.

This means that the Plymouth is now waterproof, as I have now replaced both the front and rear window seals. The Plymouth is still at the glass place, as they need to find a clip they seem to have lost, that holds the chrome strip in place.


 

This is another car from the Dalton Gardens show on Saturday. It is a beautiful 1953 Hudson Hornet, with all the little adornments of that era. Note the window shades and the headlight shades. All in all, a very classy car.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

I am starting work today on my talk about email security. I will present the talk on Saturday at the North Idaho Linux Users Group meeting. I hope I can get across the fact that encryption is a legitimate defense against Big Brother's illegal snooping into our digital lives.


 

At the car show on Saturday, the People's Choice award was given to this Model T. When I first saw it come in, my thought was 'ranch car'. Turns out it was 'ranch truck', but I was right in essence.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The tree people came out this morning and they have taken down that lightning-struck tree. Once they got a lot of the branches trimmed off, you could see that the lightning split the tree from the very top down to the bottom. I'm glad it caused as little damage as it did. The tree was a fir that was at least 50 feet tall and 2 1/2 feet in diameter at the base.


 

The phone company came out and fixed my phone service. There are two carbon rods in the junction box that act as surge suppressors for things like lightning strikes. The serviceman replaced them and the phone is now working again.

Despite the fact that it's now working, I am going to switch my phone over to VOIP (voice over IP). I have signed up to a service and that switch will happen in the next few days, as soon as I get the Internet box they will send me.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Late Thursday night we had a huge lightning storm roll through here. I didn't mention it in Friday's entry because I thought it caused no damage. I was wrong. Later Friday morning, I got a phone call. I answered it and all I heard was a buzzing, like a transformer. So my phone line is out.

I got in the car to go up the hill so I could use my cell phone to report the phone outage, and that's when I found the real damage. Lightning had hit one of my trees which is about 50 feet from the house. Huge splinters and branches from the tree are scattered up to 100 feet away from the tree. Since the phone line is buried about 10 or 15 feet away from the tree, I figure the strike definitely took out the phone line. Here is what the tree looks like from my driveway:

The tree is split into at least three pieces and many of the tree limbs were blasted off. As you can see from the photo below, the top of the tree is in one piece, but is being supported by less than a third of the trunk.

I wasn't the only one who suffered from the storm. Here is the Alfson's tree in their front yard, which is about 100 yards across the road from my house.

I was lucky, in that the only thing that was affected was the phone. If you look closely, you will see their wireless WiFi dish at the base of the tree. They lost that and all the electronic items that were connected to it. That's routers, switches, computers and their television.

My tree will have to come down. I will also have to round up all the huge splinters that were thrown from the tree and landed up to 100 feet away.


 

I spent Friday night at the Dalton Gardens City Park, camping in my teardrop. I then helped out with the car show on Saturday. Even though my car was not there, I had a good time. You can see pictures of the show here.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Friday, 6 September 2013

I used Audacity to break up the CD recording copied from cassette of the All Singing, All Talking album I got in the 80's. It came out as perfect as it's ever going to get. I have the Audacity operations down pat, but that doesn't mean I won't forget them 2 weeks after I stop using it. Since I have a lot more cassettes that need to be backed up, that won't be soon.


 

Our local car club's yearly show is tomorrow at the city park in Dalton Gardens, from 8am to 2:30pm. My Plymouth is still at the glass shop, but I will drive my teardrop down tonight and spend the night at the park. I will then cook up a dessert for the potluck. I will also contribute a couple of items for the raffle. Should be fun, even without my car.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Thursday, 5 September 2013

I'm getting better at transferring cassettes to CD, than splitting the result into separate tracks. After I got used to Audacity again, I can now split the tracks and back them up with no problems. I did a cassette of an album called All Meat (from at least 1983) and the results are encouraging. I will be doing one called All Singing, All Talking today. That has excerpts from movies, including the "steenkin badges" quote from Treasure of the Sierra Madres.


 

In my mission to back up all my audio CDs, I am now down to the C's - Robert Cray. He gave a couple of concerts around here in the last few weeks.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

I worked on some cabochons yesterday. I am trying to get the proper slab cut out of some sheen obsidian I have, and I'm not quite there yet. The sheen on the finished cabochon I did is all at one end of the stone. It looks pretty good, but should be applied to the entire stone. I will try again today.


 

The rubber gasket for the back window on my Plymouth is on its way from North Carolina. Right now it is in Illinois. I don't think the window will be back in before this Saturday, which is when the car club show is held. I guess I will have to go as a spectator.


 

My tri-monthly doctor visit went well yesterday. I have lost a couple of pounds, my blood pressure is great, cholesterol is 79 (anything below 100 is great), A1C is 6.2. Now all I have to do is lose about 40 more pounds and things will be great.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

I bought the latest incarnation of The Phantom at the grocery store on Saturday. I backed it up to hard disk, then discovered the movie was 2 hours, 55 minutes long and was in two parts. I had to back up both parts, join them with PiTiVi, and convert that result to m4v format. Took over 5 hours to do all that.


 

I have backed up CDs all the way down to Joanna Connor's Believe It! album. It will take me many days to get to ZZ Top...


 

Here's the results of coating vulnerable areas of my teardrop trailer with truck bed liner. It looks good and it will be more rugged than the bare aluminum. Note that a portion of the fenders were also done.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"

 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Happy Labor Day. No labor from me, though.


 

Silly sign of the day: