Friday, 25 July, 2014

On Wednesday, I drove my Plymouth down to the Miles Coffee Company to have a Dr. Pepper and gossip with some of the other classic car owners. About 4pm, the sky looked very threatening, so I drove the Plymouth home to put it in the garage. I got there just as the first raindrops fell. I then got in my Honda to drive over to the Paul Bunyon in Rathdrum, since there was going to be a live music program over there.

On my drive over to Rathdrum, all hell broke loose. We had thunder, lightning, hail, rain and 70 mph winds. Needless to say, when I arrived at Paul Bunyon’s, there were hardly any classic cars there. Everyone had driven a regular car. To top things off, the musicians were there, but were reluctant to set up their pianos in the parking lot under a 10 X 10 canopy. I don’t blame them. So the cruise and the music were both a bust. That happens around here, though. One day it’ll be 89° then the next it will be 60° and raining.

It got worse, though. While I was gone, the wind had blown a tree over a couple of miles from my house and took the electircal lines with it. So I came back to no power – a condition which existed for 8 hours. It came back on about 1:15 am.

Late Update: The local paper had an article on the storm. Four cows and a calf were hit and killed by a lightning strike that occurred about 2 miles from here. It really was a nasty storm.


 

I have finished the revision to my “Dutch Oven Dishes: Black Iron Cooking” cookbook and have posted it for public consumption. The links are in the Blogical Sections links on the side of this page. The cookbook has a new page size, recipe corrections and a couple of new recipes.

When I first started this process, I changed the page size from 8 1/2 X 11 to 4 1/4 X 5 1/2. That was a big mistake. That works out to four pages on a single sheet of paper (4-up), and I meant to have it be 2-up instead. It took me a couple of hours, but the PDF version now has a page size of 5 1/2 X 8.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Wednesday, 16 July, 2014

I have been using this workstation for literally years. It has a new motherboard and sound card, but I have never upgraded the hard disk. The original disk is 200GB and I had 66GB of free space left. That sounds like a lot, but some of the things I have been doing require much more space than 66GB. A couple of days ago, I ordered a 500GB drive to replace the old 200GB drive.

The new drive came yesterday. I installed it and booted into Clonezilla Live, so I could clone the old drive onto the new one. Clonezilla has an option to automatically make use of all the space on the new drive, but I disabled that. It took Clonezilla 1/2 hour to clone the old drive onto the new drive. When it finished, I powered down the workstation and unhooked the old 200GB drive. I then booted into the new cloned drive and everything worked great.

The final step in this process was to expand my /home partition so I can take advantage of all that extra space. I booted the workstation using a Linux Mint 13 live DVD, then got into gParted. I used that program to increase the size of the /home partition to take advantage of all the new space, then rebooted into my regular Linux Mint 17. I now have a workstation that has 335Gb of free space instead of 66GB. Total time to accomplish all this was less than an hour.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Sunday, 13 July, 2014

A year and a half ago, I released a free cookbook called “Dutch Oven Dishes: Recipes for Black Iron Cooking”. It is a 224 page book filled with information about Dutch ovens and recipes. There is a link to it here on the web site. It has a raft of recipes and pictures of some of the results. The only problem with the cookbook is that it is in full page (8 1/2″ X 11″) format.

I have decided to reformat the cookbook as 4 1/4″ X 5 1/2″ format. This will make the cookbook size smaller, but the resulting book will also be a lot thicker. I have started this process, but it will be slow, as there doesn’t seem to be a way in LibreOffice Writer to reformat an entire document. I have had to create a whole new document and will move the text and pictures from the old document into the new document. This process will take me days to finish, so I will announce when the new version is available.

I may also have to redo the ePub version of the cookbook. I will look into that when I finish the PDF (ODT) version.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Tuesday, 8 July, 2014

I took my Plymouth down to Coeur d’Alene on Saturday to fill up the gas tank and to do grocery shopping. As I was coming back and was about 100 feet from my driveway, I spied a couple of mooses crossing the road, so I stopped the car and took this picture. Note that one of my neighbors was coming out and also stopped behind the mooses. They were initially going west to cross my property, but changed their minds and went the other way when they saw both cars.

Taking this picture caused me to take a closer look at the camera app on my phone. I have now figured out how to ‘zoom’ the lens, so I may get better pictures of stuff like this in the future.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Thursday, 3 July, 2014

We went over to a mineral club member’s home the other day and picked up his entire lapidary collection. It was in about 16 banker boxes. He had also been a dealer in an earlier life, so there was a lot of completed stuff in the collection – it wasn’t just slabs. I took home 8 of the boxes and spent three days inventorying the contents. The inventory list I came up with ran to 10 pages, so that is over 500 items. Bev has the other boxes and she is not through doing the inventory on them. We got all this for the club for the cut-rate price of $800. I suspect there is at least $3,000 worth the material there, so that is a pretty good deal.


 

I hope that you enjoy the 4th of July festivities tomorrow, and don’t end up creating dangerous problems with your celebrations. I am going to stick around my place on Friday, but I will be participating in a parade on the 5th, up in Bayview, ID. If I get my radio back in the car before then, that is.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Friday, 27 June, 2014

On Wednesday morning, I decided to upgrade this workstation from Linux Mint 16 to Linux Mint 17. The first thing I tried was to use the dist-upgrade option of apt. I ended up downloading and installing about 700MB of packages. I rebooted and everything was working fine until I attempted to update using the Update Manager. It was broken.

I was left with no choice but to start from scratch using a Linux Mint 17 install disk. Since I have my home directory on a separate disk partition, this is no problem for me. The installation went fine. I then had to reinstall all the extra programs I use on a daily basis. I have done that except for one program – Sigil. This entire procedure ended up taking about 10 hours because of the false start and because I am simultaneously doing a bit torrent download, which makes my Internet connection much slower. So I now have Mint 17 running on this workstation. It is a long-term support (LTS) edition, so I should be keeping it for quite a while.

Just so you get an idea of what I use, here is a list of programs I had to re-install after the upgrade:

  • Galculator – a caclulator that supports Reverse Polish Notation (RPN)
  • KeePasX – a program that keeps track of passwords. this is an old version of KeePass
  • Sigil – an ebook editor and reader
  • Filezilla – a FTP program I use to transfer files to my web sites
  • gPodder – a podcast reader
  • Tellico – keeps track of various collections
  • wine – allows me to run Windows programs under Linux
  • Bluefish – an HTML editor
  • Komodo – anouther HTML editor
  • Kdiff3 – compares two files and displays the differences
  • Lazarus – an open source equivalent of the IDE for the Delphi programming language
  • Audacity – Audio recording and editing program
  • DeVeDE – Create videos from video clips
  • Handbrake – Multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder
  • K3B – CD/DVD burning tool
  • OpenShot – Video editor
  • ripperX – Audio CD ripping program
  • Winff – File conversion program
  • KdEnlive – Video editor
  • Chrome – Google web browser
  • Earth – Google satellite mapping program
  • Maté themes – changes the overall windows themes to something more pleasant.
  • Gnome/KDE games – various games I like


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Monday, 23 June, 2014

There were three car shows over the weekend: the Touchmark Retirement Show and Shine, the Liberty Lake Pies and Rides, and the Rattitude Rod Rumble Show. I have posted pictures on the car club web site for the first two shows. I haven’t seen any pictures for the Rattitude show, which was held in St. Maries (60 miles from here).


 

At the start of this month, I posted information about my home’s water conditioner, and indicated the I would need to take it over to Spokane to be repaired. Before I did that, I thought it would be good to try backflushing the conditioner to see if that helped with the problem of no water getting through the device. I did that yesterday and the water conditioner is now working fine. All I have to do now is get the iron stains that have accumulated by not using the water conditioner off of my bathtub.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Wednesday, 18 June, 2014

Last Wednesday at the cruise-in at Paul Bunyon’s in Rathdrum, we were visited by the classic cars that normally do a cruise-in at the Paul Bunyon’s in Ponderay. Today we are supposed to reciprocate the visit, but with all the rain, we may not be able to. Yesterday, we had .8″ and we are supposed to get more rain today. I guess we will just have to wait until this afternoon to see if the weather cooperates.


 

I had planned to attend the Car d’Lane car show down in Coeur d’Alene last Saturday, but two things prevented me from doing that. I had not entered my car in the show for several reasons, so I had no obligation to go to it. Secondly, it rained hard all day on Saturday and it was really not a good day for a car show. So no pictures of the 400+ cars that were there.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Monday, 9 June, 2014

I spent last weekend working as the chairman for the gem and mineral show. I left the house on Friday at 6am and got home at 10:30pm. The next day, I left at 6:30am and got home at 10:45pm. Sunday was a short day, ast I left at 6:30am and got home at 7:45pm. Three long days. I did lots of walking, lifting, loading and am convinced I don’t want to be the show charmain next year.

I took pictures at the show and I will post them at the mineral club web site in the next few days.


 

Back in March, I was having trouble with water in the house and discovered a valve in the wrong position. The valve actually diverts water to the water conditioner or around it, and it was not in the wrong position. To get it to work, though. I had diverted around the water conditioner. When I figured out what I had done (yellowing bathtub), I removed the water conditioner and checked it out. It has been inline for at least 20 years and in all that time, the only thing I have done to it is add salt.

Once I removed the conditioner, it was apparent that the screens in the feed and return lines were completely stopped up with iron and other nasty particles. I cleaned out the screens and re-installed the water conditioner. It worked for a few minutes, but then the water flow slowed to a trickle. I will need to have a Kinetico dealer repair the conditioner, and the only dealer around now is in Spokane. I will need to go over there sometime in the next few weeks.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Sunday, 1 June, 2014

I have had a personal video recorder for 4 years, ever since Frank Ten Thy demonstrated his PVR at the North Idaho Linux Users Group. My PVR has an intel Atom processor with plenty of RAM and a 750GB hard disk. For the most part, it has worked very well for me.

The last time I upgraded the PVR operating system (Mythbuntu) was in 2012. There has been no more upgrades until this year. I downloaded the latest Mythbuntu (14.04, released last month) and attempted to install it on my PVR and had some problems. It installed and configured correctly, but I had a problem after I updated the operating system software. I got into an endless loop where the MythTV frontend kept trying to start, but couldn’t because it couldn’t talk to the rearend, so it reset it self and started over. The whole process then repeated. My conclusion is that the update was not fully concluded.

To fix this problem, I re-installed Mythbuntu 14.04 and configured it. I verified that everything was running fine, then I did the software update again. This time, it all worked okay, so now I have the latest software on my PVR.

I like using the PVR to record programs because then I don’t have to stay up until all hours to watch things like The Mentalist and Castle, or be limited by time in watching Bones or Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”