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.