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Welcome to BLOGical Thoughts

November 2016

 

Wednesday, 30 November, 2016

The final piece to the new motherboard for my Plex media server (memory) arrived Friday afternoon. I installed the memory and connected the power, reset, hard disk LED and power LED connectors. The new motherboard powered right up.

There were a couple of minor problems, though.

  1. 1st power-up: There was no connection to one of the two hard drives in the system. I powered down, hooked a power cable up to the missing drive and powered up.
     
  2. 2nd power-up: The Grub boot loader thought the boot drive had no O/S on it. I powered down, swapped the SATA 1 and SATA 2 data connections and powered up again.
     
  3. 3rd power-up: Linux Mint could not automatically connect to the external hard drive where all the media resides. I edited my /etc/fstab and changed the reference from sdd1 to sdc1 and rebooted.
     
  4. 4th power-up: All is well.

I found a problem with the new setup. Since the new motherboard has no PCI slots, I had to get a PCI Express board that has a parallel port to support my printer. Linux Mint can't handle that board, so I have ordered a USB to parallel cable as a replacement.


I had to do one more thing to the computer I just upgraded to Linux Mint 18. It could see other computers on the LAN, but they could not see it. That meant the Samba client was installed, but the Samba server was not. I installed the server and everyone could see everyone else.


Good News: Hudson's Burgers in Coeur d'Alene got on to the The United States of Burgers: The Best Burgers From Each of the 50 States list this year. Not bad for a burger place that has been around for 110+ years. The only extras served with the burgers are cheese, pickles and onions. And no fries.


Quote of the day:

Here's to woman! Would that we could fall into her arms without falling into her hands.
     Ambrose Bierce

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Friday, 25 November, 2016

I finally decided to update my regular workstation from Linux Mint 17.3 to Linux Mint 18. When I say 'update' I really mean 'install from scratch', as a full version update may cause quite a few headaches.

Before updating, I went through the Mint menu and wrote down the software I use that is not automatically installed. It turned out to be a larger list than I had expected (and it included a couple of command line utilities, too), but I saw no problems with installing any of it. I then started installing Linux Mint 18.

Since my home directory is on a separate partition, I can't lose any of my files in my home directory if I do things right. I just ensure that the partition is set up as home and make sure it will not be formatted. And I use the same old username, of course.

The actual installation went fine and took maybe 20 minutes. I then installed the proprietary Nvidia video driver, as I like it better than the open source one. Finally, I did a normal update using the Update Manager. That took a couple of hours, as there was 595MB of packages to update.

Once the updating was completed, it was time to install all the software I had written down. It turns out that there was only one program I had to do anything special with: DVD Styler. I had to include a PPA to get it installed. Everything else went just fine, including the local packages for my own HMSCalcRPN and gdvdslides. This whole process took about 4 hours, since there was so much updating and installing from the Internet to do.

After using the updated system for a couple of days, I have discovered that OpenShot, the video editor I use every day, seems to be less stable than it was in Mint 17.3. Instead of just doing the work and exporting the result, I now save my work along the way.


Quote of the day:

A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.
     Fred Allen (1894 - 1956)

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Tuesday, 22 November, 2016

The Vintage Stock store has opened in the old Hastings location. It isn't called Vintage Stock, though - it's Entertain Mart. They have new and used books, CDs and DVDs, as well as gifts and magazines. All the new stock is full price, but all the used items are mostly very good in pricing. I have two problems with the store:

  1. They won't take checks, and
  2. they use the RFID chip on credit/debit cards instead of the mag stripe.

This whole credit/debit business is just an excuse to charge higher prices to make up for the card surcharge. Next time I'm in there, I will use cash.

I ended up with 3 DVDs on my 'must-have' list and they cost me only $13.97. So the store is pretty much worth it.

I also noticed they stock 4 drone-related magazines and Linux Pro magazine. I bought one of the drone mags.


Quote of the day:

The fact that there's a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven" says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers.
     Anonymous

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Thursday, 17 November, 2016

After I purchased and played with the DJI Phantom 3 drone, I got to thinking about my first experience with this type of machine. Several years ago, I had purchased a Hua Wei 3220 UFO quadcopter. I never got that device to fly correctly. The other day I charged it up and attempted to fly it again. All I can say is it pays to pay attention to the LCD screen on the transmitter. I got it to fly okay, but some of the controls on the transmitter are still an enigma to me. That is because the instruction manual is written is such bad pidgin English that is impossible to comprehend at all. Here is an example:

Sensor calibration - the aircraft into the 80% large amount of rudder mode, will be about two rocker also to the lower right corner to the largest aircraft by blue light flashes quickly, flashing completed often bright, calibration is completed.

Since the machine now flys, I will attempt to discover how all the controls actually work. I will then write a manual on all this - in real English, since I have never found such a thing on the Internet.


The computer that is my Plex multimedia server is starting to behave very badly. A lot of time when I attempt to turn it on, it doesn't boot at all. Most of the time when I see this happen with a computer, it means that the motherboard is going bad. So I ordered another Asus motherboard from Newegg. I will be able to use the CPU and memory from the old board, so all I have to do is replace the old motherboard and power up the new one. Linux doesn't require all those 'special' device drivers that are required by Windows, so the computer should just power up and run fine. We'll find out when the board gets here.


Quote of the day:

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
     John Kenneth Galbraith

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Friday, 11 November, 2016

I have finished another cookbook and have posted it here. It's actually a novice's guide to Dutch oven cooking called Black Iron Magic. It has lots of useful information and some easy recipes.


I googled 'drone' the other day and was surprised to see a link to Cabelas in Post Falls. The great thing was they had an $800 drone on sale for $500. I went over to look at it and ended up buying the only one they had left in stock. The great part was they were offering a 10% discount for veterans, so I actually got it for $450, saving $350.

That sounds like a lot for something like this, but it has all kinds of built-ins that allow it to independently take off, land and to fly itself. It has GPS, WiFi and a 12 megapixel camera that can be controlled from the ground. Way cool device. When I start taking pictures at next year's car shows, I will have a lot more to offer than just still pictures.

You can view the 1st (30 second) video I took with it at YouTube.


Quote of the day:

Ignorance can be fixed; stupidity is forever.
     Michael Burton

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Tuesday, 8 November, 2016

I have now properly configured my Raspberry Pi 3B media center. I have removed any plug-in that doesn't work, and any multiple channel. When you now select the Movies item, you are presented with a list of movies with their posters. When you select the Music item, you are presented with CD covers. Both these items can be sorted by different keywords such as title, genré or artist. I think I will like using this server.

I am entertaining notions of converting my Paspberry Pi 1B+ to a game center. I don't play many of those kind of games, but I will enjoy doing the setup.


I have decided to convert a small how-to cookbook for Dutch ovens into one that I will make available on this web site on the Recipes | Cookbooks page. It's already in LibreOffice format, so all I have to do is save it as a pdf, and convert it to epub.


I urge everyone to vote today. Vote your conscience, not your political party. This will easily eliminate either of the two major candidates.


Quote of the day:

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.
     H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Friday, 4 November, 2016

I needed another micro SD card for my Raspberry Pi 3, so I looked at the web sites of local stores. Walmart had a 16GB Class 10 card for $6.99, so I went down to the store to get one. The store price for that same card was $9.88. Is this the modern equivalent of bait and switch? I bought the card, as I needed it, but I object to this kind of practice.

I used the sd card to install OSMC. That is a Raspbian-based O/S with Kodi (XBMC), just like LibreELEC is. OSMC is better organized, though, at least in my opinion. I easily found where bluetooth is enabled and also found where Lirc is enabled and configured. So I now have a media center where my bluetooth keyboard and I/R remote both work. I will be demoing this at the NILUG meeting on the 12th.


Quote of the day:

Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms.
     Groucho Marx

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother