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.