Wednesday, 17 December, 2014

Last week, I decided to re-do the North Idaho Linux Users Group web site. It was using WordPress and I decided to convert the entire site to static HTML. That’s much more secure than the CMS. Anyhow, I finished up with the conversion and posted it on Monday. take a look – I hope you like it.


I have run into a new problem with my effort to back my cassettes to hard drive. The Audacity program now no longer works with non-standard sources such as my USB connection. I am trying to track down the exact problem, but I suspect some update for Linux Mint 13 caused the problem. I may have to change distros on my laptop. In the meantime, the back up is not being done.


Silly sign of the day:


I actually saw a sign like this at a Future Shop store!


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

Friday, 12 December, 2015

I’m still working on backing up my cassettes to hard drive. I thought I had all the cassettes in the house in the cassette cases, but it turns out I did not. I found 14 more cassettes I have not yet backed up in a rack that holds old computer equipment. Don’t ask me how they got there. And to top things off, I also found five audio books on cassette. One of those books (by Jean Auel) is on 24 cassettes! So I now have 14 + 75 = 89 more cassettes to back up, excluding the 25 original cassettes I was backing up. I won’t be finished until next year at the rate I am going.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

Monday, 8 December, 2014

We got some snow last week. Not much, and the current rainy spell has pretty much removed the snow. I have heard that we will have a warm December, and from what I’ve seen, it looks like that’s true.

While we had some snow on the ground, I used the truck to plow our road. There wasn’t much snow, but I needed to charge the battery, so I went ahead and did that. Underneath the snow, the ground was hard enough that I didn’t dig into it with the blade, so all I did was to make it a bit easier to get up onto the county road.


I am still backing up cassettes to hard disk. I have been doing about two cassettes per session and I haven’t done that every day. I have now done 56 cassettes since I started this latest back up effort.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

Monday, 1 December, 2014

This year, Black Friday was just like any other day for me. Either I have become jaded, or the fact that busineses have decided that the Black Friday is not one day but 5 has burnt me out. I did go down to Hastings books in the afternoon and bought a couple of books and a DVD, but they were not connected to any Hastings Black Friday sale.


I went to the TriGeo company reunion Saturday night. There were only 16 people there, as the majority of the old company are spread out all over the U.S. now. Still, it was good to catch up with them. Most of them have not changed, although one couple I was not expecting to be parents now have a cute baby girl. And considering her parents, I’m sure she is really, really smart, too.


The trailer for the seventh Star Wars movie is out, and there are already comments about the movie.


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Sunday, 23 November, 2014

We had our last full mineral club meeting of the year on Thursday. The next full meeting will be in January, as the meeting in December is a Christmas dinner meeting.

I ordered a very nice P.A. system for the club from Amazon and got it on Tuesday. I did that because every year at the mineral show, we have problems with the public address system. So now we have one of our own instead of renting one every year.


I went to the Linux Technical Session yesterday at F1 for Help in Rathdrum, only to discover there was no one there. I can’t imagine why, as there was no email stating that they wouldn’t be open. I am starting to suffer withdrawal pains, as I haven’t been to a Linux meeting in two months.

My purpose for going to the meeting was to play with my new cassette to MP3 player, and to show it off. I guess I will end up backing up those 48 cassettes without anyone knowing how I did it. 8-)


Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Tuesday, 18 November, 2014

The Aiwa tape deck I have had for many years is a real gem. It has analog VU meters and selections for different kinds of audio tape. It has controls for line out volume and recording volume. It’s a really nifty piece of hardware that would have made my cassette tape back ups a piece of cake.

Unfortunately, everything on the Aiwa works fine except the transport mechanism. Since that was my last hope for using a machine I already had for the task, I decided to purchase an audio player to finish backing up the final 48 tapes I have. I got one from Amazon for $25 (including shipping) called the Handy tape player. It plugs into and is powered by a USB port. So when I play a tape, I can use Audacity to record directly from that USB port. And since Linux does not require a special driver (ala Windows) for this, it will plug in and just work. Very shiny. It should be here by Friday.

My dad also has a boatload of cassettes that were my mom’s. I will take the Handy along with me when I visit him and will back his tapes up, too. So I will get planty of use out of the machine before I put it away.


 

Some time in the last six months, I made an online purchase that I should not have made. That vendor (whoever they were) sold my email address to a spam network. As of Sunday, I was getting 25 spam messages every time I looked for email. Something had to be done.

With that in mind, I sat down in front of my email client and came up with a list of email addresses I would accept mail from. I then went into cpanel and enabled BoxTrapper, which protects my inbox from spam. It does this by using a white list of acceptable email addresses. I put my list in and, lo and behold, no more spam. All I have to do is to closely monitor the BoxTrapper log so no one for whom I wish email ends up being rejected. It is a huge relief to not have all that garbage in my email client.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Friday, 14 November, 2014

Years ago, I bought a Crosley antique-style radio which has a phonograph turntable, cassette player and CDROM burner built into. After using it for a while, I came to the conclusion that the firmware that controls the device was just crap. And it was single-tasking code, so once you started doing something, it was almost impossible to get it to stop.

I have been using that device to play the cassettes that I am backing up to hard drive. The Crosley has a start up sequence it goes through to check its various devices, and two days ago, it started hanging up in that start up sequence. And, of course, I can’t get out of the sequence. The only alternative I have is to turn the device completely off, since that is an actual mechanical switch that is not hooked up to the internal processor. So I can no longer use the Crosley to back up cassettes.

Luckily, I tend to hoard stuff, so I have an old Aiwa cassette tape deck I can use. I found it this morning, under a pile of other stuff I should get rid of. I will hook that up and continue with the tape back ups.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Tuesday, 11 November, 2014

I am slowly backing up my audio cassettes to hard disk. I have been doing at least 2 per day and have now backed up 38 cassettes. I still have at least 40 or 50 to do, though. It will take a while.


 

Night before last, we got our first hint of winter. We got a dusting of snow and, since it warmed up into the 40’s, it all melted off. It doesn’t look like we will be so lucky in the future, though. Today it will get up to 27° F today – the average for this day is 43° F. There is no snow in the forecast, but it’s only a matter of time. Tonight the temp will dip down to 12° F.

I have all my pre-winter chores done. The plow is on the truck, the hose is put up, the tractor is put away and anything that will freeze in the garage is taken care of. The only thing I am doing that is affected by the cold is tumbling some agates, and I am doing that in the house. At the rate they are being polished, it will take me at least another week or two to finish them.


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

Tuesday, 4 November, 2014

I should really learn to stay out of the Big Lots store. I went in there yesterday because I knew they had great deals on bed sheets ($18 instead of $40). I picked up a set of sheets, then went over to look at their DVDs. Mostly they were not very interesting until I got to the section with TV shows. I ended up getting 4 of the 5 seasons of Fringe for $8 a season. To top things off, when I got home, I went to Amazon and got the missing season for $16. Like I said, I really have to stay out of the Big Lots store. 8-)


 

I ran across an article on Wired the other day entitled The Geekiest License Plates of All Time. Sorry, guys, not even close. Now, here’s a geeky license. Obviously, if you have to explain to most people that the plate means “ones and zeroes”, it’s geeky.


 

Today is Election Day. Don’t forget to vote. I will be going in a few minutes to vote out the county commissioners who moved the trash transfer station 5 1/2 miles in the wrong direction (I now have an 18-20 mile round trip just to get rid of trash).


 

Silly sign of the day:


 

Free/Open Source Software

 


 

Security Theater/”Intellectual Property”

 

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”