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Welcome to BLOGical Thoughts

December 2017

 

Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Our email moderator is still having problems getting Gmail to accept his Phuddy Duddy Cruisers contact list of 327 email addresses. I have figured out a way for him to get back on track, though. I have created an email address for him at the Phuddy Duddy web site. Since it's a real address (not web mail) and I am in complete charge of it, his emailings will no longer be a problem.

In the meantime, I am looking into creating a list server for the web site, so anyone can participate in discussions.


I maintain five web sites. Every one of them is fixed width and have not been redesigned in a long time. I feel it is time to do that.

It won't be a small job. This site alone has about 450 pages on it, and they would all have to be changed. Thank goodness for the Komodo text editor, which can do the job a lot faster than I can do it by hand. It will still take me a while, though.


Quote of the day:

Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.
     Dave Barry

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Sunday, 10 December, 2017

Here is the latest brain fart from yours truly - designed and printed by me. It's a gearshift knob for a de Tomaso Pantera. The car is owned by one of the local amateur radio crowd.

This part just points out to me how primitive TinkerCAD is when it comes to some designs. Notice the facets around knob. For many curved pieces, TinkerCAD has an adjustment you can do that will add more facets to make the part have more of a smooth curve. I used two cones for this part, and cones don't have any adjustments like that.

I think I will have to switch to a more capable (and complex) CAD program. FreeCAD fills the bill, but I will have to learn how to use it. That will take a while. Don't expect any new parts from me for a while.


Quote of the day:

I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day.
     Winston Churchill

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Wednesday, 6 December, 2017

The PC I used for a PVR is now not being used at all, so I decided to get it working again as a regular computer. So the first thing I did was to open up the box and blow all the dust out of it. I then worked on the CPU and power supply fans, as they were making a huge noise.

I got the fans working fairly well, so I installed Linux Mint 18.2 on the machine. I deliberately stayed away from 18.3 so I could later choose their upgrade path to ensure it worked.

After I installed and updated all the packages, I installed a new application for Linux Mint called timeshift. That application allows you to do periodic backups of the entire operating system. What it does NOT do (unless you tell it) is backup your data. You have to do that with another application.

After the backup, I followed the LM upgrade path by opening the Update Manager and choosing 'Upgrade to Linux Mint 18.3' from the Edit menu. After you go through their app, that is just a normal update. And that took care of the software for the machine.

The hardware was another matter. I had moved the machine's monitor to another machine that had a broken monitor, so I had no monitor for it. No problem. Earlier this year, I tore down a broken Dell laptop and removed two items: the hard drive and the LCD. I got on eBay and found the controller kit hardware for the LCD that would allow me to use it as a normal LCD monitor. I mounted the LCD and controller on some plywood and presto: instant LCD monitor for $30. That is the monitor the computer is now using.


And now the Reason web site, reason.com, has a paywall up. It turns out that if you reload the page with the paywall notice, the notice goes away. The Coeur d'Alene Press paywall does not go away when you refresh, though.


Quote of the day:

Zounds! I was never so bethumped with words since I first called my brother's father dad.
     William Shakespeare
     King John

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother

Friday, 1 December, 2017

I thought I already talked about this, but it appears I haven't. When I received my Creality CR-10 3D printer back in April, I started looking around for support forums for the printer. The only forum I could find was one on Facebook, so I very reluctantly signed up for a Facebook account.

As a former security software programmer, I have a very, very low opinion of online services that are supposedly secure. Until I signed up to Facebook, I have never had an account with any 'social' web site, because of my concerns (And because of my security problems with CompuServe back in the day).

Anyway, I visited the CR-10 forum on an infrequent basis until a few weeks ago. At that time, Facebook was unsatisfied with my user name and password as a login. They began demanding I give them my cell phone number so they could send me a text message to 'verify' I was really me. There was no alternative to this demand. None. No email address request or anything.

There are two things wrong with Facebook's request. The first is that there are still people in the world who don't even have a cell phone, or who have one where they can't receive text messages. The second is their demand of the number: I only give out my cell phone number to people who will not inadvertantly give it to the entire spammer/hacker world. That does not include 'social' networks like Facebook.

The bottom line is that I can no longer access the CR-10 forum, as I will no longer access Facebook. Also, this far along in the CR-10's life, there are now plenty of other forums I can access, so no great loss.


Back in April of 2010, I built a Personal Video Recorder (PVR), consisting of a small PC running Mythbuntu with 500GB storage, an HDHomerun LAN TV tuner and a Winegard omni-directional antenna. I ran this setup for years, until the TV connection started acting strangely. I shut down the PC for this a year ago, but I was still using the LAN TV tuner to watch shows on my desktop computer.

On the 17th of November, I bought a new 43" TV with built-in Roku. I installed it in the living room, but in a different location from the old Vizio TV. I hooked up the old TV's antenna and was not able to get more than about 6 reliable broadcast stations, instead of the 22 I was getting using the old TV.

I decided to try hooking up the Winegard antenna to the new TV. If the antenna was the problem with my LAN TV connection, then I would have to figure out some new approach. If not, then I was okay to go.

After the hookup, I rescanned for channels and it found 33! The antenna works great; it was the HDHomerun tuner I had been having problems with. So I now have good local TV broadcast stations on my Roku TV. I still don't view many programs on it, but that's because of station contents. I mostly look at YouTube videos on the the TV.


Quote of the day:

You know that feeling when you're leaning back on a stool and it starts to tip over? Well, that's how I feel all the time.
     Steven Wright

Silly sign of the day:


Free/Open Source Software


Hobby Stuff


Security Theater/"Intellectual Property"/Big Brother