Wednesday, December 8, 2010


DIASPORA, originally uploaded by highfructose327.

Received a note and a sticker from the guys at Diaspora. Looking forward to getting an invite as they roll them out.

inspired by trash

inspired by trash, originally uploaded by highfructose327.

Some more rust circles. Not sure where this experiment is going. I am getting a kick out of messing with paper right now.

More Hacking on my webpage

I was looking at some Creative Commons CSS style sheets.  As  I was looking at the source pages I realized that it made some sense to me. So I started hacking a page together came up with this

It has a drop down menu and a search bar which are new and the layout is different. Below are some of the resources I used. One which helped was a color picker to choose the color and there corresponding color code. I will put some images in the background later.



Monday, December 6, 2010

Life unseen

I know it is cliché at this point, but when you stop and look there is cool stuff to be seen. I was clearing a light layer of snow of the drive way and saw a bunch of frozen footprints. I am guessing they were Red Squirrels looking for food. Mostly because it was under the the tree they guard during the summer, Grey squirrels beware. Nearby I saw some cat footprints looking for squirrels I am guessing. Here are a few pictures of the footprints and a closeup of a vine a little color in winter.

Squirrel prints under the tree

close up 1 of squirrel prints

close up 2 of squirrel prints
what I believe to be a cat print

from a vine on the squirrel tree

Sunday, December 5, 2010

HTML fun

The Dog Cam project has opened a new can of worms. Since I have a defacto web page, I have started messing with it to see what is possible. Currently I do not have it linked to the outside world. I do have a DNS that I able to make it live pretty easy but it would be a generic domain name. I can not see paying for domain name and the service for tinkering around. Also I am no 100% sure I want to host it locally. I have and whopping five links. Three redirect to external sites while one shows a local copy of my resume and the other is the Dog Cam.  I imagine I will go live with it at some point but for now this is the big excitement. I am sure I will edit it more I believe the next step is to look at CSS style sheets

Screenshot of my exciting web page

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Art from what would have been trash

These two pieces of paper were placed under the legs of a table when I steamed the carpet. I pulled them out from the legs, they had these rust color rings. Then I just started drawing on them outlining the rust spots, then it became it own thing. I may do more, they were a good meditation.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Freecycle and Goodwill

 We had some bedding we were not sure what to do with, so I emailed our local Goodwill to see if they would accept it. They said Yes they would take used pillows and comforters. 

Before I had received a response from Goodwill, I thought I would see if anyone in our local Freecycle was interested in the items.  Sure enough I had found homes for these items, as well as a few other odd things. I had a bucket of 1" tiles and 4" clay tiles that someone was able to use for mosaics. I usually take extra things to Goodwill,if they are really odd things I put them at our curb, if no one takes them, then I try Freecycle.

Another nice thing Goodwill  does with the help of Dell; they accept old computers and hardware. They use/resell what is still good and recycle whatever is not usable.

I would recommend everyone checking out there local Goodwill and Freecycle group. All of this may take a little more work then throwing stuff in the trash. I think it is worth it, it may save someone else a few bucks. It has saved me a few dollars along the way.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ok paid for school!

I have paid for my math class. It is kind of like paying someone to sand the skin off of the back of my hands. I choose my Prof via the Rate My Professor site, which was very helpful. Now I will have to wait to see if it was accurate.

I have had a hard time paring up with Math teachers. The last teacher at this same school was very busy in his personal life. He would slack on answering email questions.He sent us all an email telling us how busy he was outside of our course. I have to say I do not care, I was there to try to learn Math. The teacher before him at the same school would not stay focused. He would start teaching us the method we were supposed to learn. Then he would delve off in other methods. He would say "you could also do it this way, but not on the test" really I do not need ten ways to do it. I want to get it down one way solid, before I move on to all of the tricks.

Before them I have not had math since highschool, I honestly can only rember three math teachers from K-12. One teacher was primarly a science techer who got stuck teaching math. Another in 7th grade seemed like he was stoned the whole time. The third teacher I remember, was when I was not attending school much. On occasion I would show up to school, usually to catch up on Art. Some how I always showed up on test day, which I actually did well. It may be too bad that I did not attend her class fulltime I think she may have been a good Math teacher for me.

Enough looking back, I am hopeful that my new Math teacher will present the work in a way I can understand and learn.

Coffee: pour over and espresso pot

I had used a drip maker for quite some time, then a couple of years ago I tried using the pour over method. I try things like this because I enjoy the process and trying something new. I had read a few blogs where they talked about most drip makers do not get the water hot enough(195-205F) to extract the flavor from the bean effectively. It interest me to see if there was a taste difference by getting the water to a proper temperature. The drip coffee makers that get the water hot enough were way out of my price range for an experiment. So I tried the pour over method, it did make a better cup of coffee

The taste difference was that of going from Folger's ground coffee to a whole bean coffee from a local roaster. I read that if you use a bur grinder over a blade grinder that it would process the bean better for flavor extraction. I still use bur grinder and I have a blade type also, I must admit my pallet is not discerned enough to taste the difference. Although I enjoyed the process of hand grinding the beans.

I recently purchased a espresso pot for brewing coffee.

A friend a I stayed with used one this way and it makes a nice cup of coffee. It is convenient when I want a quick cup of coffee. Less clean up then the pour over method and it makes a stronger brew.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Censorship in America ?

This article depress me but I think I need to share it. US Government Censors 70 Websites the EFF has continuity shown how this type of action is bad for creativity and growth of business. I just have to shake my head. 

Star Trek -like home computer

I had to post this it is one cool bit of geekery. It was created by a user on Youtube klapstoelpiloot.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Poetry from J.J. Campbell

My friend J.J. released a new chap book "Suicide Porn" with Interior Noise Press I always look forward to reading his work. I enjoy his sense of irony,testing the limits of peoples comfort zones. J.J. made me rethink my limits when we worked together 1o years ago at Emery. His latest Chap book has done this again testing my pre-conceived notions of J.J.; with poems like "life on the farm". He writes poems with themes I look forward to, like "my personal pam grier".  One of my favorites poems by J.J. from "Suicide Porn" is:

seven kittens

two of my cats
had seven kittens

i'm refusing to
name them until
they make it
through a winter

adequate protection
from the elements
mind you but none
from the larger
animals whose
meals aren't
provided by

i figure whoever
makes it to march
will be blessed
with a name they'll
never understand

literary ghosts
now shitting in
my barn

If you are looking for some honest poetry. Buy his chap book, and support a local artist and small press. Unless of course you are looking for poems about daisies, This may not be for you because some one may be pissing on the daisies here.

First shots with our Kodak PlaySport

Took our Kodak Playsport for a test run here are the results. It takes decent photos. This is nice if you happened to be some where taking video; You could also grab a quick snapshot of something. If you are looking for high quality photos then you best bring a full fledged camera. The Video at the bottom is also from the PlaySport The video is a good quality, the Playsport is easy to use and very portable, I am happy with it. The one thing to be considered is lighting. It does not have a built in flash, I would guess if you did it would run through the battery. I need not mention that because everyone taking video/photos considers lighting right ;)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fix for dpkg: error processing linux-image-2.6.35-22-generic-pae...exit status 2

I have been get a set of errors listed below, someone posted a fix.
/etc/default/grub: 23: Syntax error: newline unexpected
dpkg: error processing linux-image-2.6.35-22-generic-pae (--configure):
 subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 2
Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)

I tried dpkg --configure -a and  apt-get -f install this did nothing for me. I read that some had success with that combination.

What I did was to open a terminal:

cd /var/lib/dpkg/info

I then I made a temporary directory:

mkdir  temp

then I moved the files associated with the error:

mv linux-headers-2.6.35-22*

then I ran

apt-get install -f


apt-get update && apt-get upgrade

after that the error was gone. I was still in the /var/lib/dpkg/info directory, so; I deleted the temp directory by running.

rm -r temp

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dog cam update: email me when server is down , start wifi and webcam on boot

The Dog Cam project is done for now. On the last post I said I had a few more config files to edit and I would be done.  First thing I wanted to do was to have the Dog cam server connect to wifi when it was turned on without having to log on. To do so I made sure wpa_supplicant was installed and then I had to edit:


Adding the part in red below

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
allow-hotplug eth0
iface eth0 inet dhcp

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet static

    wpa-ssid (wifirouter)
    wpa-psk (wifipassword)

Then I added webcam to


#!/bin/sh -e
# rc.local
# This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
# Make sure that the script will "exit 0" on success or any other
# value on error.
# In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
# bits.
# By default this script does nothing.

webcam /root/.webcamrc

exit 0

I had to make /etc/rc.local executable

to do that I did:

chmod +x /etc/rc.local

/root/.webcamrc trailing webcam is the config file I want it use

webcam /root/.webcamrc

The final thing was to write a script that would email and text me if the server went down.Using ping, grep and sendEmail

ping -c 5 > ping.log ;
GREP_STRING=`grep -c Unreachable /home/USERNAME/.logs/ping.log`
if [ $GREP_STRING -ne 0 ]
(sendEmail -t -t -f -u "Dog Cam" -m "Down" -s -xu EMAIL-USERNAME -xp EMAIL-PASSWORD)

So I set up crontab:

*/5 * * * * /usr/bash /home/USERNAME/.bashscripts/

Done for now.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Update on my Boinc/Dog Cam project.

Today I wanted to move the Boinc/Dog cam box out of the way. I decided to hang it on a wall with two angle brackets to support it and bungee cords to keep it from falling off.  The HDD was loud so I tried a different drive in hopes that it would be quieter. The new HDD is silent, then I installed Debian Lenny. As with Mint 9 I had to install backports to get my wireless usb stick to work. A few more config files to edit and I will be done, I want the wireless to connect and the web cam to start at boot up. Also I want to get my main computer to notify me if the Debian box is not running or connected.  Might be an opportunity to look at Nagios all though that may be overkill, for my needs.

The new placement.

Picture from the Dog cam.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

BOINC and Web(Dog) Cam Server.

I had an old DELL Dimension lying around so I decided to make it a dedicated Rosetta@Home machine. I installed Linux Mint 9 LXDE for two reasons were I am comfortable with the distro, two because I planned on using Wifi to connect. I thought my RNX-N100 would just work, not the case.

The Wifi adapter worked with Ubuntu 9.04 kernel 2.6.28-11 and Arch Linux both recognized the Rosewill RNX-N100 and WPA2 worked out of the box. Using Mint 9 kernel 2.6.32-25-generic WPA2 did not work, WPA and WEP were fine. The solution was to install "linux-backports-modules-compat-wireless-2.6.34-2.6.32-25-generic" after that WPA2 was back up and running perfect.

Now it is running in our basement headless using Wifi, The thought came to me after it was down there, to connect my webcam up so we could see what the dogs were up to. I followed a lot from this post to get it up and running, plus surprisingly added some knowledge I have learned along the way. Now we can see the dogs through a web browser. This project inadvertanly lead me to set up a very basic web page. It has four links pointing to my Dog Cam, resume, Art and this blog.


Recently I installed BOINC on my computer, it is a pretty cool little project. They "Use the idle time on your computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux) to cure diseases, study global warming, discover pulsars, and do many other types of scientific research." This seemed like a no brainer, my home PC runs all day as remote server not getting a lot of use, so why not give the idle time away. I decided on the Rosetta@Home project I heard Carl Zimmer  talk about it on his Meet the Scientist podcast. it has been fun to watch the results, one of my neighbors had coincidentally installed BOINC about the same time we both joined The Dayton Group.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A bit of a rant

Why work for a vacation find a vocation that is the vacation. A vocation provides the social stimulation, the new events, the change of scenery that everyone else has to plan. I want to have a vocation, not a "job" or "work"  I can appreciate laboring to achieve something. I question when it is done to achieve some one else's goals, most of us live in that place and a lot of us are just fine with it. I was at Emery, my work never bettered the world, never left an indelible mark on humanity. When I bring up Emery World Wide, local people have never heard of the place. It has only been I believe five years since it closed, that is sad but it is a fact.

Why cheer lead a system that only applauds conformity?

It is the Einsteins, the Torvalds of the world I want to emulate. People who did something amazing for no other reason than to scratch and itch.

Some say life is short, I say it is long, youth is short. Flexibility of the mind is even shorter, life is long 70, 80 a 100 years. To live that long in a rigid system prepared by people I have never met is crazy. To live by rules that are fifty years old with out reflection is crazy. To live by rules written by people who did not even have running water, is insanity. There are truths that span the history of humans, there are others that need to die. We are losing ourselves to a time that could have never fathomed a cell phone let alone a toilet. I want to live now, not for a future I can't  guess at or a past I remember selectively. So finding a life that is a vocation is my goal. Not living with the ghost of some one else's dreams.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Self Loathing Linux Users

Every now and then I read or hear a Linux user wax poetically about everything Apple. My first thought is "why don't you switch to Apple if you love it so much?" The part that gets under my skin, is when they start to talk about what Linux needs to do is follow Apples lead. Following Apples lead would only make Linux a clone of Apple. Who wants that? I as many users prefer Linux to Apple, aesthetics too. Use what you like, why look longly at the Apple store with envy. When all you have to do is walk in hand them your Penguin and take a bite from the big white Apple.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dirt, food and friends

We have been out with some friends checking out Fort Collins were they live. It has been a good trip  we have spent quite a bit of time riding around town checking out the scenes. We have gone to few restaurants and have had some good food  We ate at Jay's Bistro on the first day for lunch. My favorite place is Lucille's we had one of their deserts "Beignets - Homemade New Orleans style donuts"    and their coffee is excellent. 
image from Harmon

We went to a pump/jump track outside of town it was fun a little windy but nice we had a good time.





After we finished riding we went for a hike, then back to home base, via the grocery store to pick up snacks. Later we went to see the FoCo Roller Derby girls it was a fun time the girls rocked. One of the girls got injured I hope she is well soon. It was a fun time and odd, two of my teenage worlds collided, Punk rock and roller rinks. when I was growing they were to very different worlds not so much any more. The Punk aesthetic has penetrated the Roller rinks.

It has been fun we miss the mutts a bit we will see them soon :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ohio Linux Fest

I attended the OLF the weekend of Sept 10-12. I for the LPI Exam Cram hosted by D.L.Corbet and Associates. I wanted to attend this class to gauge my Linux knowledge base. I felt like my estimation of my knowledge was pretty right on, I figured going in, I would need to study a bit more before the test. I was afraid I would go in and feel completely lost, I was glad I did not .

After the exam cram I walked around the Short North in Columbus, I started on the main strip. I found myself bored pretty quickly, I dipped back into a neighborhood, it was nice, a quiet neighborhood with a lot of energy, people were out enjoying the cool evening air. I stumbled onto a park it was amazing, found a bench to sketch and watch people as they enjoy the park, it was a nice time.  I walked around the block to check out all of the old cool Victorian homes, then headed back to the Hotel. I stopped by a Beer and Wine store picked up a nice IPA and some smokes. One of the guys from the local SIG  put me up at the last minute which was cool. We talked for a bit then went to sleep to get ready for the next day.

We got up and had breakfast at the hotel, got to talking and missed Stormy Peters Keynote. Once I got to the OLF, I attended the PC-BSD track by Dru Lavigne she gave a pretty good talk. As the day went on the talks only got better.  Ethan Galstad from Nagios discussed how to monitor your IT infrastructure. The community around Nagios is pretty impressive also.  John Wills of the Chef project by Opscode shared some interesting info, a little beyond my scope, still very interesting. One of my favourite talks of the day was by Kevin Otte, his talk was about IPv6. He gave a very informative talk and was able to convey complex concepts in simple terms. The audience in all of these talk contributed a wealth of info and asked intelligent questions.

I got a lot of free swag, a cool little foam TUX from the Suse guys. I also got some stickers, live cds and a few t-shirts.  The Fedora project  table was giving t-shirts away that said  "I love(heart icon replaced with the Fedora icon) freedom" but to get the shirt we had to put the shirt on right there. I thought that was a little ironic but funny and cool shirt.

I had a good time at the event I am looking forward to next years event.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Little Tweaks

  1. IPv6 has caused issues with web browsing in Fedora for me even Google chrome was Slooooow ! so I issued the commands below and that took care of it chrome was back to its expected speed and so was Firefox. I know IPv6 is coming  until then I will use this.

  • "install ipv6 /bin/true\nblacklist ipv6" > /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-ipv6.conf

  • service ip6tables stop

  • chkconfig ip6tables off

 2. I added my back up script to crontab

  • crontab -e 
added this line it will run on the 1rst and 15th of every month at 12Noon
  •  0 12 1,15 * *
3. I have a few little tweaks using Gconf-editor
  • In Fedora I have to install Gconf-Editor
  • Under metacity
    • I change the apps/metacity/general/action_double_click_titlebar to shade
    • Metacity composting_manager on
    •  Alt+H to Minimize Window
    • run_command_terminal Crtl+Kp_Page_Down(number 3 on number pad)
      • set Terminator as default terminal
  • Under Nautilus
    • uncheck any visible desktop icons
    • click_policy single
    • media_automount_open off
  • I use the default Gnome Menu I turn on the menu icons
    • "desktop>gnome>interface>menus_have_icons"  on
 4. A few Network tweaks
  • Set static network address 
  • Install ssh meta package and sshfs
    • Tweak ssh config files
  • Install Samba meta package
    • Tweak smb.conf
  • Tweak SELinux configuration
    • allow DNS and Multi-DNS
    • allow Samba
 I intend to set most of these tweaks with a script, but; that is on my long list.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

No Dell No Ubuntu, odd.

I just realized that I am not running any version of Ubuntu or a Derivative.  I have been using some version or form of Ubuntu since 2006. Earlier this year I got a new computer giving my Dell to my Mom.

Yesterday I installed Fedora on my desktop in place of LMDE, LMDE was great in all respects except my sound was buggy. I had just replaced my sound card with one that got great reviews of working with Linux. By installing LMDE my new sound card was buggy, and I just loath messing with Pulse Audio to try to track down the issue( I believe it was a conflict between Pulse and Flash) . So I switched to Fedora, I have been running fedora on my laptop for a few months now and have been real happy with it. It seemed like the obvious choice to try on my desktop now,I have got used to using SELinux, it really is not to bad now.

The whole point is it is slightly weird, I switched user names, I am not running Ubuntu or using a Dell PC.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Uni-code input

I learned this week how to use uni-code input in Linux. The key combination is Ctrl+Shift+U then it will flash a u and next to it I would type say ae, hit enter and it would output "®" pretty cool. I almost never need to be able to do this but once in awhile I might want a "Σ" or "⏏". Pretty fun here are a few links.

At least delete your data folks!

I recently was given a few old PC's, I was amazed to find there was still personal info on the hard drives. I always wipe the drives with Dban when I get them like this. I think this is one of those things that we really need to teach people about  destruction of  data before releasing it into the wild. (Admittedly I have a lot to still learn about it my self). We would never just throw your old tax papers in the trash before shredding them. That is what we are doing when we put HDDs out in the world without at least a deleting the information or formatting the drive. Neither of these truly destroys the data, but; for most people it would seem that way. Ultimatley any data can be retrieved from these disk, it is just how far would some one go to retrieve it. To truly destroy the data you could physicalley destroy the media.  

I believe most people are honest and will at least reformat the drive or delete the old files, It unfortunately only takes one jerk.

Here are a couple videos of destroying HDD's

Facebook drama really?

I am so surprised when friends start to tell me about drama in their lives,  and that it started on Facebook. That is crazy, I avoid drama as much as I can. To have it spill over from Facebook or to Facebook would be to much, of course I have to admit I barley use Facebook. I keep in touch with a few old friends via Facebook one of which I can not get in touch with other wise.  So I can not truly relate, I am glad for that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Installed Fedora13 on my laptop

I have to say since the first time I installed Fedora 8,  compared to now, Fedora 13, they are Universes apart. The look and feel of Fedora now is clean, the available packages are spot on also. The thing that impressed me most was how easily it handled my LUKS partition. The installer prompted me for the passphrase and that was it. When I set up my partition table I was able to select the LUKS partition for my /home. This was great compared to the Kung-Fu I had to go through with other distro installers.

Restore Gnome menu icons

On the panel I like using the default main menu applet. Well in Fedora, Mint and Ubuntu some of the icons are not there from Places on down to Shutdown. Well to restore them there are two ways the quickest is to run in a terminal

gconftool-2 --type bool --set  /desktop/gnome/interface/menus_have_icons true

second way is to use gconf-editor and follow the path

desktop>gnome>interface and check the entry menus_have_icons

and that is it the icons are back.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rename directroy in linux

I love learning new tricks in cli. I learned to rename a directory I can use the mv command. Say I want to rename I directory called green in my home directory, all I need to do is use
$ mv green brown
That will change the directory greens name to brown I did not have to define the path since green was in the working directory of the terminal.  It is when I find little tricks like this I realise some of the wholes in my knowledge of linux. Thats good means there is plenty more to learn!

Fresh install with a LUKS /home partition

I had an LUKS encrypted home partition, I wanted do a fresh install of Mint, but the GUI installer did not seem to support this.  There was no easy straight forward way that I knew to do this. I was faced with backing up all of my info and then restoring it. This seemed like a good excuse to try to find a way to do a fresh install with a previously encrypted home partition. I read post that suggested I should save a copy of  /etc/fstab and /etc/crypttab  from my old install. After that I went about installing Mint 9, when the installer got to the partitioning section I used my  boot and root partitions, but had it install home on a USBdrive and left the encrypted partition alone. The whole install process went fine I disconnected the USBdrive and did a restart. At reboot it came up my /home partition was missing or not ready. So I dropped into a root shell, the first thing I did was to edit /etc/fstab and /etc/crypttab, in fstab I changed the entry for the my /home partition to reflect my encrypted partition. I then just copied all of the info from my old crypttab over since the new one was empty.  I also had to create a dir in /dev/mapper

 cryptsetup -v luksDump /dev/sda3

cryptsetup -v luksOpen /dev/sda3 home #this will create a entry in /dev/mapper called home

After I did this I rebooted it came up to unlock the LUKS partition, only issue I have is it try's to mount all of the partitions before I have finished  imputing the passphrase. So I have to hit M which drops to a option for root console or ctrl+D.  I hit ctrl+D and it open Mint. So I need to figure out how to pause the boot process while I enter the passphrase  and then I will be good.

this blog gave me the biggest clues

also some clues from here

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Open Source Rocks !

I love the fact I can take old laptops that are struggling to run other operating systems and install a lightweight Linux distro and have a good running computer. I recently had two opportunities where I was lucky enough to introduce  people to the world of Linux and FOSS. A friend of mine was wanting a laptop to get on the Internet and Facebook. I had an old Dell that I was able to set up with Xubuntu and get him going, that was all he needed was a web browser, he will probably never use any other programs. The second person had a post on our local Freecycle board, asking for a laptop to be able to do his home work and internet access. I was  able to give him a laptop, that could meet all of his needs. I like that since I am giving him a computer running open source I do not have to worry about licenses being transferable or illegal by giving away the software. Which the Freecycle community frowns on breaking license agreements.   FOSS allowed me to share software with him, now he is able to do his homework when he needs to and can check the school website when needed. No waiting at the local library for a turn or having to quit early because the library closes. The FOSS community has opened my eyes to so much, the tools to do the work are freely available. The information is available at forums man pages etc. It reminds when I was younger and learning to work on cars the information was out there. There was always someone willing to help you and share info as long as you were willing to get you hands a little dirty, the FOSS community is the same way.

Mecury spreads like fire, what?

I heard this person use the comparison that "a trace amount of mercury in the human body is like a trace amount of fire in a forest"  I do not understand his point. I do believe mercury is bad for your health, however mercury poisons you. A trace amount of mercury ingested does not produce more mercury. Where if you add a little fire to a forest (combustibles) the fire can spread and consume the forest. Fire is a chemical process, mercury is a chemical element (Hg) it is not a process. I think a more exact comparison would be that a trace mount of mercury in the human body is like a trace amount of oil in the Atlantic ocean.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Failed HDD(hard drive)

A friend of mine had  posted on Facebook that their computer was dead. I contacted them and after talking to him, I asked to take a look at it. I  thought maybe it was the HDD failing, by his description. He took to me to dinner for payment to fix the laptop, which I must say dinner at Coco's was quite a fair trade. I brought his laptop home tried to boot it kept failing, it would post fine start windows then crap out.  I ran a LiveUSB of Fedora to see if it would boot, it did just fine. Fedora gave a warning of a failing HDD. I ran GWSCAN to check the drive, it came up bad. After that I replaced the drive with a new HDD and reinstalled Windows. Now the fun part! I told him I would destroy the old drive.

First thing I did was to remove the case cover

 then had to remove the platters

Then to smash the platters!


I first tried to cut the platters not checking to see if they were glass or aluminum. I thought they were metal, nope they were glass sending little shards around. Change of plans I took a hammer and chisel to them that was more fun anyhow!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Power Supply

 I recently built a new desktop computer replacing a Dell XPS400 I noticed pretty soon afterwards that my office was warmer. The new PSU ran fine with no issues except it pushed out some serious BTU's.  I decided to replace it with a OCZ ModXstream from Newegg that was modular. After the install there was a noticeable difference in the temp in the room. The CPU, Motherboard and graphics cards are also running cooler. The inside of the case  looks nicer without all of the extra wiring.  I may miss the the old PSU this winter but glad to see it go this summer.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fix:Squeaking Antec Tri-Cool fan

image from Antec site
I have a Antec Tri-Cool 120mm fan that would squeak when I set it on the two highest speed settings. That was annoying, I was resolved to swap it either for a new Tri-Cool fan I would have to buy or a 90mm fan I already own. When I took the fanout of the case to replace it today I inspected it for play or odd wear. I did not see anything, there was not any play on the spindle/axle. I thought well maybe it just needed cleaned or more grease.

I took it apart by removing the Antec sticker on the fan that held a rubber plug in place to retain the grease.

The fan spindle was held in place with a Teflon retaining washer. I removed it by using a x-acto knife to spread the washer wide enough to clear the spindle. This washer had a break in it where I was able to insert the blade.

  After it was removed there was a o-ring at either side of the spindle to retain the grease further.I removed the fan blades and spindle from the  body.

  As I inspected the fan I saw long har wrapped around the spindle and a little dust. I removed the hair removed the dust with compressed air and then a soft rag. To re-esemble it I used a little synthetic grease I had, I probably should have used dielectric grease, but; since I was just tinkering and did not have any on hand. I went with the synthetic because I knew it was good for high rpm lubricant, and it is a fine grease compared to say wheel bearing grease. I put everything back as it was snapped the retaining washer on the spindle. I needed to secure the rubber plug, but; the Antec stickers adhesive was not up to the task anymore. I used the Antec sticker as pattern grabed a vinyl sticker  and cut out a new one to retain the plug.

After that I placed the plug back in, I used rubbing alchol to clean the surface where the sticker was going to adhere. Then I put the sticker back on reinstalled the fan in my computer and  the noise is gone. Saved my self twenty bucks and the whole process took maybe 10 min.   I was glad to keep this fan I have been real happy with it, it moves a good amount of air and is not to noisy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Why don't I post my Windows fixes?

I was realizing as I was posting my last fix in Ubuntu how I don't post similar Windows issues. Mostly it is because it does not interest me as much as Linux.  Also some of the things I do in Windows have been blogged about many more times and better than I can. In XP so much of it is motor skills I have been running msconfig and other tune up/clean up resources for so long I do not think of it. Many problems are just GUI issues my wife has adjusting from OSX to Windows 7 and my Mom and Step Dad have going from Xp to Windows 7. Backing up my wifes PC I still use Linux, I use a LiveUSB and  use rsync. I install MSE when I can I like the UI it is simple and clean. MSE has received good ratings as a virus scanner, plus it comes from who wrote the code for the OS. Hopefully they can streamline some of the processes better. One other thing I do, which I know annoys everyone is assign a admin account, strong passwords and standard user accounts for everyday use. Windows 7 makes this much less painful than XP.  Another issue I saw was that HP does not have drivers for some of their older printers to run Windows 7. Curiously enough my Mom's HP printer crapped out shortly after a install of Windows 7, that was just dumb luck. I would think I  would have more to blog about since I just finished working on two different Xp machines. Both of which were suffering terribly from a lack of RAM, malware and the usual clean up issues. I do want to learn more about windows networking below the UI where the config files are and so on. As I read more in A+ I learn more about these issues. I also read a good post on using cmd in Windows written by a UNIX hacker. I believe that is all of the rambling I have today.

Work around for a sound stepping issue in Ubuntu 10.04

My computers sound was terrible. It would step from 0, 6, 12, 18 % and at 18% it was at full volume. Bleeding ear drums please, looking around launchpad I found a fix in a bug report.

This is the output of  aplay -l output

**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: SB [HDA ATI SB], device 0: VT1708S Analog [VT1708S Analog]
  Subdevices: 2/2
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
  Subdevice #1: subdevice #1
card 0: SB [HDA ATI SB], device 1: VT1708S Digital [VT1708S Digital]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0

And here is the fix as I applied it:

1) I had to create ~/.pulse/
so I did
cp /etc/pulse/ ~/.pulse

2) gedit ~/.pulse/
uncomment the line#load-module module-alsa-sink
and modify it to be:
load-module module-alsa-sink control=PCM

3) stop any apps playing sound

4) killall pulseaudio

5) run alsamixer at a terminal and adjust the Master and LFE levels.

6) Move gnome sound volume slider: you'll see that now Master and LFE are not touched and that the slider only applies to PCM channel.

The instructions above follow the fix in the bug report, except I found I did not need to edit this line in
load-module module-udev-detect
    and modify it to be
load-module module-udev-detect ignore_dB=1
If you read this bug report it explains further, why I did not need to edit the line. I saw that there are more detailed fixes but what I did above was the quick and dirty. Which perfectly fit my needs of slow steady sound adjustment.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Final step to play DVD's in Ubuntu 10.04

I have recently installed Ubuntu 10.04 on my Desktop everything went well. I installed ubuntu-restricted-extras package so I could play certain restricted formats. I tried to play a DVD the other day I it would not play. I had forgotten  after installing the libdvdread4 package to run in a terminal:

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/

I had remembered that I had to do this step, because I had done this since Edgy. Not because of the error message I received something like " the data stream was unreadable". I am not sure people would look any further other than thinking Ubuntu was broken.  I would expect that script to be run during the installation of  ubuntu-restricted-extras or libdvdvread4. No, it was a extra step to be done. to be remembered to be done not prompted. I can see this being a problem for the very average user, such as my Mom. Maybe when a DVD is inserted a popup could advise you to install ubuntu-restricted-extras and that this script would be run automatically. It would be similar to the popup that Rhythmbox gives to play mp3's from ubuntu-one or any other source. I believe for some people it could be a deal breaker when there is no reason for it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Flash fix for 64 bit Fedora and Mint with Google-Chrome

Open up a terminal in both Mint 9 and Fedora 13 I did

sudo mkdir /opt/google/chrome/plugins

In Mint I ran:

sudo cp /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins/ /opt/google/chrome/plugins

In Fedora I ran:

cp /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins-wrapped/  /opt/google/chrome/plugins

that did it for  me Flash working in both Mint and Fedora

Wifes Hours Cut

My wife and her co-workers were given a choice between being terminated or going part-time, and had to make this decision in twenty-four hours. The companies numbers are down so they have to make reductions, I do not know the financial state of the company so I won't speculate whether or not these were the correct cuts. What gets under my skin how their director handled the meeting to inform the employees. Then promptly after informing them of the staff reduction she left the job site and made herself unavailable till next Monday, I think that is dirty. She has  the responsibility at least be available during work hours for questions and help with expediting answers from other departments. During the meeting she did not have all of the information they needed to make a informed decision. Such as what or if there was going to be a severance package, will a cobra plan for insurance be offered and many more questions like this. Treating employees that are having hours reduced or laid off with no respect is fowl. Most people  if given the truth can greater understand the choices made instead all of this verbal kung-fu. Know one wants to lose hours or their job, but; if faced with it they would rather be treated like professionals instead of three year old's. If someone behaves like a child than at that point deal with them accordingly. Other wise treat them with respect not disdain, just yesterday these employees were trusted with the assets of the company and today they are treated like children with a hostile, dismissive attitude.  Be square with people help them make informed decisions, I think you would be surprised at how loyal employees can be when treated with respect. Hell I am surprised at how loyal employees are when treated like crap.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

File sharing, LPD Printing From Linux to Windows 7

We just added a Windows machine to the network, it has the printer connected to it. I wanted to be able to print from my Linux computers to the Windows 7 printer. I first tried to use Samba,  file sharing worked between Windows and Linux, not the printer share. Then decided to try using LPD instead of Samba for the printer share. Had to install LPD Services in Windows 7 Start Menu> Control Panel> Programs> Turn Windows Features on and Off select LPD Print Service.
Did a restart of Windows 7,not for sure it was needed figured it would not hurt. After the restart I hit the Windows key typed in Services it showed up as the first selection,  hit enter. then under Services looked for LPD then right clicked selected properties and checked to make sure it was set to automatic and started.
Menu>System>Administration>Printing after I selected printing the dialog comes up there is a add button  selected that then it brings up dialog to choose either local or network I went to network and choose lpd enter my info and then followed the dialogs and that was it. I found with windows I had to change the firewall setting to allow printer sharing. After that I was able to print perfectly.

Using Google Chrome

I have been using  Google Chrome for Linux. It has been about a few weeks now. It seems snappier than before. I like the theme options. I like using the url bar  as the search bar as well, Accessing different search engines that I have saved is different then in Firefox. Over all I like it I find myself going between Google-Chrome and Firefox. In Fedorax64 13 on my laptop Google-Chrome runs much better than Firefox, on my desktop running Linux Mintx64 9 the  difference between the two is not that great or any how it does seem like it. I have not dug into it to find out what the difference is yet.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Impatiens and Volunteer Tomatoes

We planted some impatiens today, they really liven the yard up with a bit of color.  My old Boss from Windy Hill Nursery kindly gave me a flat for around the house in trade for some emergency computer work.
 I used to plant a whole flat when we first moved in, i only needed a half flat. Since we have lived here for a few years other plants have taken up space that was once filled with impatiens. Our roses bloomed for the first times since we lived here and our iris's bloomed beautifully as well. The iris's will need thinned out this Fall we will put them on our ratty looking hill which is partially being taken over by the hosta's I planted two seasons ago. The weeds are ever pervasive though so it is a slow won battle.

 My wife planted the garden again this year, the plants are growing amazingly well. All of her different types of lettuce are growing, and we got our first radish out of the garden today. We will have fresh salads with dinner soon. Her beans are growing well along with the broccoli and a  volunteer cucumber plant. Sadly her tomatoes and peppers do not seem to be growing. Happily we found  some "volunteer" tomato plants growing in our compost pile. We dug them up and transplanted them to the garden. We have no idea what type of tomato plants they are, which makes it kind of  fun.  We may be dicing a whole lot of cherry tomatoes to put on our sandwich's. It has been a funny summer, since I am no longer landscaping for work, our yard is getting the full treatment.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Computer

Earlier this year I helped a friend purchase a new computer. She went from a single core machine to a quad core. She got every dollar out of her old Dell that thing was quite a work horse. The new Dell was a perfect replacement it helped to increase her productivity. Dell gave her plenty of room to expand the system and she was happy with her purchase.
Since then  I have been drooling over the idea of building my own quad core machine. I have been curious about the difference between quad core and dual core, also building a system.   My old computer was  a Dell XPS 400 it has been a great computer, it ran XP just fine, evena dual boot of Win 7 RC for a short bit.  It has been kicking butt with the different distros of Linux I have installed along the way. My wife went from a Mac with a 800Mhz cpu to using a  HP a1203w with a 1.8Ghz cpu.
 Originally I was just looking to build a box for my wife her current computer was painfully slow. I believe the Motherboard was starting to fault. Forget doing photo editing the processing time was ridiculous, run two processes at the same time forget it. I found a good priced bundle on it was so good we got  two. One of the few times we will have anything matching on purpose.  
Since we were going to be able to cannibalize our old computers we kept the price way down. This was fun for me it reminded me of building bicycles. Only replace what is broken or worn. All we replaced was the Motherboard, CPU, Computer Case and PSU, plus we added RAM and card readers. Everything else we were able to reuse. Some because it had been added or replaced alone the way or the parts were just still in good working order. I choose a Motherboard that would use DDR2 so we could use the 4 Gigs in my computer. That way we would both have 4 Gigs to start with. We can upgrade to 16 Gig if we ever need to.
We both noticed a difference right from the start. Of course some of this is just do to the fact that my computer was 5 years old and hers was 9 years old.  I have noticed a difference on task that were sluggish before everything keeps running smoothly now with out any  performance hit. That is great, I also like having more access to my BIOS settings. My Dell had a few things locked down that I now have access to. Also my Dell had some proprietary parts that made it a pain to replace a simple thing like a cage fan.  I figure if that is my worst complaint about Dell that is pretty good. I am sure once the honeymoon period wears off I will have some annoyance about the new computer. Until then I will live in Happy Happy Joy Joy land ;) and my Mom will get my old Dell which will be  quite an upgrade for her.

Installing Shotwell in Mint 9

I decided to try Shotwell for Photo management, I installed the version in the software channel. Unfortunately it does not support reading RAW files. A little reading on the Ubuntu forums I found installing the svn version supported RAW files. So the fun began,I followed these directions. I downloaded the svn from svn co svn:// shotwell

then I installed the dependencies

  sudo apt-get install libdbus-glib-1-dev libgconf2-dev libgtk2.0-dev libgudev-1.0-dev libexif-dev libgphoto2-2-dev libsoup2.4-dev libsqlite3-dev libunique-dev libwebkit-dev valac libgee-dev  libxml2-dev.

 I also needed sudo apt-get install libexiv2-dev, downloaded a .deb of   libraw-dev and gexiv2 from a svn. I downloaded gexiv, shotwell and libraw-dev_0.9.0-0ubuntu1_i386 in my home directory. So I opened a terminal

$ sudo dpkg -i libraw-dev_0.9.0-0ubuntu1_i386

after it installed

$ cd gexiv2

now I did

$ make
$ sudo make install

after install

$ cd


$ cd shotwell

$ make
$ sudo make install

during the make install of Shotwell it gave an error "cannot touch `locale-langpack/.langstamp': No such file or directory"

during the make process the "locale-langpak" was not created. 

I had first tried a make install of version 0.5.2, so I was able to compare the directories of Shotwell 0.5.2. to 0.5.9, I saw the locale-langpak in 0.5.2. So I just copied it over to 0.5.9 and ran make install again . It gave a couple of errors that I was missing a few directories in the locale-langpak directory.  so I created a them using the sub directories of 
This was a duct tape way to fix it, I figured what did I have to lose. At this point it was not installing anyhow. After I created the subdirectories I ran  

$ sudo make install 

and that did for me.  I have to say that I do like Shotwell and am excited to see it developed further. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Abiword, Google Chrome and Mint 9

I had been using Linux Mint 8, upgraded to Mint 9 starting with the RC and I have to say it has been flawless. I really like the distro, it has a good community around it. Also since it is a derivative of Ubuntu the knowledge base is very wide. I really have grown to love the slab type application menu in Mint. One change in this release that I like is with Tomboy notes. Now I can just right click the panel applet and it has a synchronize option. I liked it when I had noticed in Fedora before. I am also glad they left the window buttons on the right side. Not that it is a big deal to fire up gconf-editor and make that change, but; if I do not have to that is even better.
Today I had a .docx file to open in I tried Open Office none of the columns were lined up. So I tried Google docs and Windows live Office. They both just put everything in one column, going from 8 pages to 16. So for one last try I opened it up in Abiword 2.8.2, it was perfect everything looked correct. This one of those problems I am rarely confronted with I never use .docx format and only use .doc when required. I am going to give Abiword a new look it has been awhile since I used it.
Talking about new looks I have been using Google Chrome again. It is much better than I remembered it the last time. I can tell a difference between it and Firefox. Chrome feels snappier, I like that the url bar and search bar are one in the same, that took a little getting used to. I miss tagging from Firefox, I would like to see that added. I also do not care for the triple click to select all in the url bar, this annoys me it feels a little to spastic. Over all though it has progressed to a point were I like it better than the current release of Firefox. I am interested to see what Firefox does to step it up and I am sure they will.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Home again Home again...

We just got back from working at the in-laws house. They had a few things they needed to get fixed before they sell their house. It was not to bad just made for a long weekend, but; they were very happy to have it done.

This Spring has started off with a bang, from a nothing blah kind of winter. I have been having fun putting a few miles on my road bike, trying to use it for local errands. A old friend and I have been going out MTB trails in the area. The trails are fun, still wish there were a few more jumps. Each trail has its own personality, I believe they reflect the maintainers of the trails riding style.

My art show is a bit more than half way finished and I have received some decent feedback people. That is always nice feel like the year has started off well I do not feel as pessimistic as others around me. What will be will be all I can do is enjoy each day.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Art Show

My paintings went up  March 29 2010, @ the The Half Moon Gallery  it is at a local Yoga Center. Pretty exciting it always nice to have my work out in the world instead of at home collecting dust. Below is one of nine paintings that are on display, I am grateful to everyone at Sri for having my work up for the month of April! The work can be viewed during regularly scheduled classes or you can contact the Gallery Coordinator, Jennifer Bristol, at 937-610-9832 to arrange a time to see the work. I would encourage people to check out Sri and see what they have to offer. Map and info for Sri Yoga Center

I/O Error Encausitc/oil on canvas

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fix for Network Manager: Hidden Wireless greyed out connect bitton

I was having an issue with the "Connect to Hidden Wireless Network" dialog the connect button  was greyed out. It was a pain to connect, so a bit of searching turned up a bug on Launchpad. The bug on launchpad that fit the description ... bug/446394.

What fixed it for me, was to add the PPA for Network-manager.

Code: sudo add-apt-repository ppa:network-manager/ppa

I did an update/upgrade

Code:sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Then a reboot, now I am able to select connect button to connect my hidden wireless network.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Saving iptables rules

I have a set of iptables rules I wanted to restore automatically on reboot, here is how I got them to restore after reboot.

After setting my rules I ran this in a terminal

~$ sudo iptables-save >/etc/iptables.rules

 then I opened up /etc/network/interfaces in a text editor

~$ sudo gedit /etc/network/interfaces

I added this line   pre-up /sbin/iptables-restore < /etc/iptables.rules to /etc/network/interfaces

After that I did a reboot and ran sudo iptables -L to make sure the rules were set.

I read a couple of different post and web pages to learn to set my rules for iptables. The first was from the ubuntu forums  another used was from these were two that I bookmarked. Of course there is always "man iptables" in a terminal the man pages are quite helpful.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ubuntu Edgy for old time sake

I wanted to try out Ubuntu Edgy Eft out for nostalgia, this is the release that got me hooked. I was curious of the look, because of all of the discussions of the new Ubuntu look in Lucid Lynx.  As soon as it booted I had to mess with xorg.conf file and set it to "VESA" ,  this brought memories from my first install. I spent hours tweaking it when I first tried Ubuntu in 2006, first just to get it working with my ATI card, then of course to run Beryl. It was fun to run I still liked the look of Edgy, I was an interesting contrast to the new look of Ubuntu. 

Fun find at a thrift store:Mac Powerbook 190cs

I am by no means a Mac fan, but; I do like messing with old tech. My wife and I went  to her parents home this past weekend. We went thrift store shopping, this is one of our few common interest. Saw a lot of old skies, bookcases, eighty plus copies of Neil Diamond LP's and The Road Less Traveled. I always look for old computers and turntables and cool records find any of those for a good deal is always fun. Usually the computers are way overpriced, however this time I found a Macintosh Powerbook 190cs, the last model to use the Motorola 68040 processor with a 500MB HDD and 8MB of RAM. I got it for $5USD it would not boot at the Thriftstore, for 5 bucks it was worth the risk. I got it home cleaned it up a bit, plugged it in had to hit the reset button and voila it fired up. Have not got to tinker with it much, I may try to install Linux on it at some point. Here a few picks of my find.