Thursday, 30 October, 2014

Back in the 80′s and 90′s, the recording industry was shoving out albums on cassette tape like it was the end-all recording medium. For the most part, the physical cassettes they sold work okay. Some of them, however, are total crap. They bind up, slow down, start producing chirps and buzzes and are generally no longer useable.

I have a few of these crap cassettes. Two that I was trying to back up to hard disk are the 5th Dimension’s Live and Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk albums. I took some time yesterday to try to fix those tapes so I could back them up. I was unsuccessful.

Since I had decided that these tapes were mainly having a problem because of the glued-together cassette case they were in, I used an Xacto knife to open up those cases. I then took the recorded media out of the case and put them into 3M blank tape cases (which screw together). It turns out that did not improve the way the tapes play.

I came to the conclusion that the tapes that were giving me trouble were those that were more than about 40 minutes in length. The single cassette of Tusk contains the songs from the 2 LP records and is over an hour in length. The 5th Dimension album is the same. So I will probably just lose that music, as I will no longer buy music from any manufacturer who is a member of the RIAA.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Tuesday, 28 October, 2014

Once I got the pound of garnets I mentioned last entry, I put them in my tumbler and tumbled them for a day. That removed all the dirt and matrix from the outside. It also split up a couple of the garnets – the ones that would split from cracks, anyway. I now have a mess of garnets I can explore for stars, but I probably won’t do that until next spring. It’s getting colder rapidly and I won’t be confortable working in the garage right now.


 

I have been spending a lot of time playing audio cassettes and backing them up as MP3 files on my multimedia computer. I have backed up fourteen albums so far, and I have literally dozens to go. I am backing up stuff by Judy Collins, Electric Light Orchestra, Neil Diamond and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. As well as others. Some of the cassettes I have tried to back up have not survived the test of time, so I have lost albums by The Carpenters and Curly and Kate. Oh, well.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Tuesday, 21 October, 2014

I was unable to get to Emerald Creek this year to dig for star garnets, but I am going to pick up a pound of garnets for the bargain price of $25. They are a lot larger than the ones you can get from the official government dig site, anyway. I should have some fun seeing if any of them are star garnets, and will have fun polishing those that are.

I went to the Lewiston Gem show on Saturday and, speaking of star garnets, here is one of their displays. The necklace consists of all six-ray star garnets and it is worth a fortune.


 

Have you noticed how stores are now taking advantage of the fact that most people don’t do basic arithmetic when they go shopping? Here’s what I’m talking about. I went into a store and saw single packages of paper towels for 50 cents. The store had six packs of the very same towels for $3.67. By using a little math, most people can see they are paying 67 cents more for the six pack than for 6 individual paper towels. That kind of reverses the economy of scale paradigm and it is an indictment of retail stores in general. The lesson here is to always do the math, especially when you buy soft drinks and paper products.


 

We actually had another drive-in cruise on Monday. The weather was wonderful, so those who haven’t put their cars up for the fall and winter showed up. I took my Plymouth, but that will be the last time until next year.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Tuesday, 14 October, 2014

Last night may have been the last drive-in cruise of the season for us. It’s getting colder and we are starting to have more rain, so we took advantage of the weather to get together one last time. Note that the pictures I take at the cruises are of those cars that I haven’t seen at other cruises, so there are only a few of them.

Since the weather is turning, I will start doing some winterizing around here. I will put the plow on the truck, put up the tractor, put a car cover on the teardrop trailer and put together some items that I will give to charity.


 

You can see the results of the silversmithing class below. The smallest pendant is the one I created. It’s blue tigereye and the lighting prevents you from seeing that.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Wednesday, 8 October, 2014

The silversmithing class I went to on Sunday was fun and instructive. There were four students and each of us created a pendant. The class was 6 hours in length. Most of that time was spent filing down silver pieces and polishing the silver. I learned quite a bit to add to the knowledge I already had from doing silversmithing in the 70′s.

Speaking of the mineral club, we lost another member. Tommie Erst passed away on October 3rd. She was 79, but she looked years younger than that. She was a very good faceter, knowledgeable and interesting to talk to. She will be missed.


 

John Quincy Adams on American Policy:

“Whenever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

“She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.”

Fourth of July, 1821

Those who ignore the lessons of history are condemmed to repeat them.

Insanity is repeating the same actions over and over and expecting different results.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Thursday, 2 October, 2014

I have had a Wagner No. 6 skillet for a couple of years now, and I use it every day (except Saturday) to cook my breakfast. When I need a lid for it, I have been using the No. 8 Wagner lid I have for another skillet. Needless to say, the lid doesn’t fit. So I decided to see if I could find a reasonable lid for the skillet.

I went down to the St. Vincent DePaul thrift store the other day to see if I could pick up a better copy of Joe Haldeman’s Forever War. I couldn’t find the book, but I checked their appliance section and they had a bin full of lids. I found the perfect lid for my Wagner skillet. It’s a Cuisinart lid from some stainless steel pot. I paid 25 cents for it. Pretty good deal for the perfect lid.


 

I spent a couple of days rearranging the car club web site. The net result is that there is no outward change to the site, but it will be easier to maintain.


 

The last time I did any silversmithing was 40 years ago. I have decided to get back into that and with that in mind, I am taking an all day silversmithing class on Sunday. It should be interesting. Since I self-taught myself the first time, it will be refreshing to see how someone else approaches the subject.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Sunday, 28 September, 2014

The reason it took me 2 days to back up the 5 web sites I maintain was a LAN switch problem. This workstation has been hooked up to port 7 of my LAN switch since I bought the switch. Lately, the throughput of the computer has gone way down and I could not figure out why. I now know. Port 7 of the LAN switch will no longer connect to my workstation at 1,000MBPS. It now connects at 100MBPS – 1/10th of the normal speed. I ‘fixed’ that by switching the workstation to another port, but I will eventually have to get a new LAN switch.


 

In the last few days, I have done 4 more cabochons, ranging from small to very large. They are

  • 10 x 14 mm – rutilated quartz with golden rutiles
  • 18 x 13 mm – blue tigereye
  • 32 x 18 mm – picture jasper
  • 52 x 38 mm – sheen obsidian

Here are the two smaller cabochons. I apologize for the poor quality of the picture. I’m still trying to find a way to take good macro pictures.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 

Thursday, 25 September, 2014

After I fixed the mineral club web site, I decided to back up all the web sites I maintain. That has not been done in 6 months, which is definitely too long a time to be without a stable backup.

Backing up 5 web sites took me two days. Most of that was downloading the 19,000 files contained in the web sites. 11,000 of those files are on this web site. The next largest site is the car club web site. The nice thing about all this is that I can start an FTP download on those files, then go off and do other stuff while the files download. There was at least 16 hours of that kind of downloading.

I also backed up the databases for the 4 web sites that use a CMS. When I got to the car club site, it was nice not to have to do that. Of course, there are tradeoffs between static and dynamic web sites. The static sites such as the car club site are harder to maintain and update, but easier to back up.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Sunday, 21 September, 2014

I discovered last week that the mineral club web site was all screwed up. I could not see how it got that messed up, but I got it working with an upgraded version of Drupal. Then this weekend I discovered that it was screwed up again. So today I went through and re-created the database tables that were messed up. I hope that fixes things. I also backed up the entire web site and the database while I was working on things.

On Saturday we had a mineral club meeting to decide what to do with the collection we purchased from one of our members. We pretty much decided on three actions: 1) auction off some of the material in our silent auctions. 2) Sell some of the material directly to members. 3) Sell some of the material to vendors who participate in our gem show.


 

I went up to Priest Lake on Friday morning, and came back here that evening. I wanted to stay the entire weekend, but I had the mineral club meeting on Saturday so I didn’t stay. I really like that area (a mile or so north of Coolin, ID). If you are in need of decompressing, a place like Priest Lake is just the medicine the doctor ordered.

On the way up on Highway 41, I saw at least a half dozen classic cars and trucks that were in need of restoration. If I had the space, I would buy one of them and do a restoration, but my garage is completely full at this point. I need to empty out the accumulated crap from the last 30 years.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Monday, 15 September, 2014

I am trying to figure out where I can mount a modern radio in the Plymouth so that I can use it, but people will not know it is there. The two places I have come up with so far are behind the original radio or in the glove compartment. I could mount it behind the old radio, as the new one has a remote and I don’t really need access to the controls. On the other hand, mounting it in the glove box allows me to more easily access the USB port on the radio, since most of the music I will play is on a USB memory stick. I will continue to research this and find a sutiable location.


 

Yesterday I took my Plymouth and teardrop trailer down to the 7th Day Adventist Car Show in Coeur d’Alene. This is the first year they have had a car show and the response was fairly good for the short notice. You can see the cars that participated here.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”