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Welcome to BLOGical Thoughts

August 2017

 

Friday, 18 August, 2017

I was going to complain about Tuesday's Cinderella Cruise moving from 5:30-7:30 pm to 7-9pm, but it is much cooler and we had more spectators. Even though it interferes with my sleep pattern. The tough part is trying to take pictures when it's getting dark.


I am currently working on 3D printing a 9 drawer small parts cabinet. I have printed six of the nine drawers so far. I found the drawers on Thingiverse, but I was not happy with the cabinet on there. It had 5 mm walls, which is way overkill for something that has virtually no need for great strength. I created a cabinet of my own with 2.5 mm walls. It will take at least 20 hours to print, and I will do that as soon as I am finished with the drawers. Picture to follow.


Quote of the day:

There may come a time when the lion and the lamb will lie down together, but I am still betting on the lion.
     Henry Shaw

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Tuesday, 15 August, 2017

The latest version of the Firefox web browser (55.0.1) has broken my YouTube download plug-in. I discovered this as I was trying to download the movie Broken Arrow, with James Stewart and Jeff Chandler. I ended up using a different plug-in, which is incredibly clunky and unspecific. This ticked me off enough to not ugrade to this version of Firefox on my multimedia machine.


I have really been enjoying a YouTube channel called The RC Saylors. They evaluate just about anything that has to do with remote control. Right now, the hot thing is drones, so they do a lot of videos on various drones. Two drones that they were enthusiastic about and that don't break your bank are the XK X300 - F ($116 on HobbyWOW) and the WLtoys Q393A ($131 with 5.8GhZ camera on Gearbest, $101 with WiFi camera).

Here is the review for the WLtoys Q393A that they did a couple of months ago:

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Quote of the day:

There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
     Mark Twain

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Sunday, 13 August, 2017

I found myself with only 1.4GB of space on this workstation's root partition and a big warning about running out of space. I thought this was strange, as the root partition was originally allocated with 30GB of space. Then I thought about how long it has been since I actually re-installed Linux Mint from scratch on this machine, and it made more sense. It has literally been years since I did that, so I have ended up with a boatload of old Linux kernels that are no longer needed on the partition. So here is what I did:

  1. I ran the System Monitor application and selected the System tab to see what Linux kernel I am currently running. It was 4.10.xx
  2. I ran Synaptic Package Manager and searched for 'Linux'.
  3. I scrolled down to the 'linux-headers...' area and looked for entries that were not 4.10.xx, but were installed.
  4. I selected each of these installed old entries and marked them for complete removal. Each included at least one other file. There were literally dozens of entries.
  5. I double-checked the entries I marked for removal, then I clicked the Apply button.
  6. After Synaptic was done with the removals, I rebooted the machine to ensure it was still working okay.

It looks like this cleanup released 9.9GB of space, as I now have 11.3GB of space on the root partition. I could reclaim more if I spent time removing applications I don't use, but I don't think that's worth the effort at this point.

I related all this to the NILUG members on Saturday. One of them suggested that I use the terminal command 'sudo aptitude autoclean' to do this. When I got home, I tried that, and it freed up another 2.5GB of space. I now have 51% of that partition free - about 16GB. That's a heck of a lot better than running out of space completely.


The old Acer laptop I was using was not powerful enough to run a TinkerCAD.com without jerks and stops. My Dell laptop runs TinkerCAD just fine. That means I no longer have to use my desktop workstation to create items to be 3D printed.

While I was at the NILUG meeting, I installed Linux Mint 18.2 from scratch on the Acer. I did that as an OEM, so when I give the computer away, it will have the proper user and password for whoever I give it to.


Quote of the day:

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.
     Robert A. Heinlein

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Thursday, 10 August, 2017

The $119 i5 Dell E6510 computer I ordered from eBay came on the 7th. Looking over the machine, I could see a couple of very small chips in the paint, but overall the machine is in excellent condition. The battery pack looks like it is new and will last a couple of hours per charge, which is what you would expect for such a machine.

The first thing I did on it is to wipe out Windows 7 and install Linux Mint 18.2 as my operating system of choice. I used my install script to add a bunch of utilities I use every day to the machine. At this point, I haven't run up against anything that doesn't work on it. I will give it a few more days, then I will wipe out the Acer laptop I have been using instead of the Dell, so I can reinstall Linux Mint on the Acer and give it away to a lucky couple.

Since the new-to-me Dell came with a Windows 7 Professional installation disk, I decided that I should take advantage of it. I installed VirtualBox on the Dell in Linux Mint, then installed Windows 7 as a virtual machine. Works fine, even though I will probably never use it for anything.

Here is a list of some of the non-distro standard programs I have also installed on the computer:

By the way, if you look for a refurbished Dell E6510 on NewEgg, you will find they sell for $250 to $300. So I guess I got a good bargain.


Quote of the day:

There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet.
     Ambrose Bierce

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Monday, 7 August, 2017

Since I could not get the drone app working again on my cell phone, I decided to upgrade the cell phone's operating system to see if that would clear up the problem.

First, I changed the phone's micro SD card from a 2GB card to a 16GB card. I then used the phone's backup application to save all my phone data on the SD card. Finally, I proceeded to upgrade from Android 4.2 to Android 5.1, using a downloaded file called B309.zip. The upgrade process worked flawlessly.

However, the backup did not include anything from my contact list. I thought I would be recreating my phone list from scratch, but that didn't happen. I copied all the data from the 2GB SD card to the 16GB card and one of those files was a somewhat older VCF (VCard) file. I imported that file into my contacts list, and I am good to go.

The good news from all this is that the drone app now works. The bad news is I had to redownload my ringtone file (Santana's Black Magic Woman). The phone is now up and fully working.


Quote of the day:

There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress.
     Mark Twain

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Thursday, 3 August, 2017

I watch too much YouTube. It gives me too many ideas for impulse purchases. The latest one was for a refurbished Dell Latitude E6510 laptop for $119. It has an Intel i5 CPU, 4GB RAM and a 160GB hard drive. The laptop was shipped on August 1st, and I will let you know how the purchase turned out when it gets here.

And I got bit again. A drone with almost the same capabilities as my DJI Phantom 3, but for $32.99. It does run only on the WiFi frequencies, but I will let you know how much of a problem that is in this area.


Quote of the day:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
     George Bernard Shaw

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother