Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chaged default calendar in Gnome 3 to Google Calendar

I wanted to use Google calendar for my default calendar in Gnome 3. I followed this tutorial from Webupd8 which integrated the notifications perfectly. But I still had one problem. When I clicked on the Open calendar  link it tried to execute evolution.

So to fix this, I wrote a simple script called it .firecal and saved it in my home directory. The script has one line


 I made the script executable:

~$chmod +x .firecal

 Then in a terminal run :

~$gsettings set exec /home/user/.firecal

  Now when I click on the open calendar FireFox opens up Google calendar.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Online Class

I am taking an online course "Intro to Operating System's" we have to participate in discussion's. Which I thought could be fun and interesting, unfortunately it has been contrary to my normal online community experience. The conversations are thin and boring. I have seen one or two well thought out post only to  receive a "me too" or " I agree" as responses. It is really to bad because there seems to be very little passion about computers in this class. This class is tracking to be computer professionals, it scares me.  It is sad to me that people pick careers by what money it might make them, not whether or not they have a love for it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fixing Samsung Microwave (SMH7185STG) se error

The other day our microwave started flashing -SE- error code I would unplug it to allow it to reset. Then plug it back in, the -SE- error would come back. So I  start looking around at D.I.Y. forums to find answers. Besides the obvious, "call a repair technician" one other thing kept popping up, the keypad. I found two options to fix it, expensive and cheap. Of course I tried cheap first, I took the keypad panel apart. Where the ribbon cable from the keypad panel connects to the PCB board. I disconnected and cleaned this connection, and there was quite a bit of residue. For safe measure I checked the other connections they seemed fine. After everything was back together, it worked perfectly. No more -SE- error going on four years now.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Little Things 2

Again the simple things seem worse than what they are. One of the home PC's running Windows 7, would shutdown as soon as the computer finished the startup process. It was in a loop.  I ran it in safe mode, checked the event viewer and did a restore point. None, of this worked, I was stumped. As I was waiting for the PC to reboot once more. I looked at the keyboard, the dedicated sleep key was stuck on. So I fixed it, then rebooted the computer and the issue was gone. Apparently a long press of the sleep key will trigger the computer to shutdown.  I have to get it through my head, to closely check the hardware first.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Acceptance of an old enemy

I try not to spend a lot of time thinking about the past. However sometimes it has a way of creeping up on you. I was looking at some old photos on Facebook. It was cool that there were these images documenting that period. One of the comments about me hit a little to close to home. It was he was "a good biker, bad temper" and that was the truth. I hope to have curbed it some since then, but; it has been a demon my whole life. Luckily I never took it out on anyone physically. I can't say if it did or did not hurt peoples feelings. I can imagine it was no fun to be around, acknowledging it has always been a good buffer. This is another acceptance of that old enemy of mine.
Sadly I had some folks around me when I was younger, who just like to see me get angry. I did not have the maturity to see through it.

I can say, now I have friends who have a hard time believing I have a temper. That I guess is progress.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Little Things(break too)

A friend of mine gave me a laptop recently and he said that the motherboard was failing. Of course I had to investigate a little further. The actual culprit was the ram needed to be reseated, it has not failed to reboot yet. My own laptop was crashing. I over thought the issue, the first thing I looked to be failing was the HDD, but it turned out to be one of the dimms of RAM.

And today my riding mower started acting odd then it just stopped running. I first replaced the spark plug hoping just maybe that was the issue. It was not the issue, then I started to look at the fuel deleveriy system. Maybe it was the fuel filter, the carbs. So I pulled the fuel filter and noticed that no fuel was coming from the tank.  I remebered on the gas cap, there is a small hole to allow the flow of air, to keep the gas flowing. It was plugged up, I cleaned it out and the mower runs like a dream.

The big point of all of this for me, check the simple stuff first. Before looking at big fixes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dead RAM

I had said in a previous post that I figured out which dimm was bad. I started the RMA process today with Kingston, they actually got back with me today. The process is rolling,  the advance replacement RAM is on it's way. I do not usually go the advance replacement route,however; I purchased the RAM as a kit from Newegg so I figured Kingston would want me to send both dimm's back. Since school starts tomorrow and I am going to slide down to the Ohio Linux fest on Saturday. I wanted to keep my laptop running with at least the one good dimm, instead of having a paperweight. While I waited for Kingston to verify the bad dimm.

Little Rules

So today I went to check my email and the work server had an SSL error. So I put in a help ticket about the issue and received back a reply rather quickly. With a note added that employees of my status were not supposed to use the web services unless they were working. So I contacted HR to confirm this and it is true. What I think is silly, is that I can spend 15 minutes on the phone with HR or my direct supervisor and this is not an issue. Checking my email for 2 minutes is an issue, because they might have to pay me. Communicating via email is work, but; a phone conversation is not. Which is even sillier since usually I check my email with my phone.  So I wonder where a text message falls in this regard? This really makes me fear working/staying in the public sector once I finish my degree. The little rules have been the ones that annoy more so than the big ideas. I have a few times seen the little rules paralyze progress.

Server Button Shutdown

Our  Ubuntu 11.04 server would not shutdown with a power button press.  A little reading led me to find out that it needed acpi and apm installed. To install it I ran

sudo aptitude install acpi acpi-support apm 

After doing this the power button works for shutdown.

I followed this blog post.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Getting Ready for School...

Getting ready for school means wrapping up some things.

Sorting through the old computers I have laying around was one chore. I placed two computers in new homes. One had to be pieced together, the other was ready to go, both received new OS installations.

I was also able to get my home server hardware updated, went from and old DELL with a single core processor with 2 GB of RAM and no SATA connections. To a Foxcon MOBO with a dual core processor, 4 GB of RAM and four SATA connections. All packed in a after market case. This is nice, I am able to quit doing the backup shuffle now. I backup my Linux box to the server using rsync an cron. For the wife's PC I am trying Cobian Backup 10, the verdict is still out. I have the server running Ubuntu server 11.04. I use it to run Zoneminder, and a little internal webpage that I tinker with on occasion. It is running ushare to share media to my GoogleTV box. The set up was easy just edit the config file and off it went.

I also wanted to set up a second router as a switch for our Google TV box and the server. I used DD-Wrt on both routers and followed these setup instructions . That worked perfect all is running well.

My laptop had started to act wonky during all of this. I ran Spinrite6 it returned that my HDD was healthy. I ran Memtest it said I had errors in the RAM. I re-seated the RAM ran Memtest again and everything checked out fine.Shortly after that it crapped out again, I was able to narrow it down to one of the sticks of RAM. Now I will have to go through the RMA process with Kingston.

I had a few not so fun chores one was doing a brake job on a friends Audi. She needed front rotors, pads and rear pads. It went smoothly till the drivers side rear caliper gave me hell and I smashed my thumb on that on as well. GRRRR! The job got finished and the car stops. That is the last car maintenance  I will do for anyone but me.The other not so fun chore was replacing the kitchen sink faucet assembly for my Mom.

I am ready to focus on algebra so I can be insane for a few months : )

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Not Worth It

 After the 99 dollar HP Touchpad's sold out I have seen a few resellers sell out  priced at $ 400.  I wonder if people know what they are buying or just getting it because of the hype in the news.  I tried to get $99 one in hopes of rooting it, but no way for $300. I am still not that interested in tablets enough to get one for 300+. If I got one it would already be running Android and it can  be rooted.

Install Fail (another hard drive dead maybe)

I have had a hold up on installing Kubuntu, my hard drive is acting wonky. The S.M.A.R.T. status says it is healthy, now I am running Spinrite at level 4 to see if it finds anything, so far nothing.  I have pulled the drive and tried it in another computer and still the Kubuntu installer failed. I was able to install Kubuntu fine on another laptop. If Spinrite does not find anything it will be another trip to Best Buy for a return.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Job Upgrade

I started working at the local park service this year as a seasonal. I landed a year round part-time gig with the parks staring 8/15/11.  I am kind of nervous since I going to a different location. I really liked the crew I worked with at my seasonal location. I have heard good thing about the park I am going to so I shall soon see.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Watering bucket for a tree

We have a tree at the curb that I wanted to water. I drilled holes on three sides in a bucket. My reasons are:
- Water the tree at a slower rate
- Keep the water from just washing wash out into the street
- Not have to drag a hose out

First test will be today, I may have drilled to many holes though, oops. If so I can plug some holes with a glue gun or caulk to slow the rate of flow.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A bug at my backdoor

This beetle is at my back door taking in the rays from the led light porch light. It did not seem to mind taking pictures of it. He is a interesting looking insect he is called an Ivory marked Beetle it was identified on the website What's that bug? Thanks : )

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I disabled my Delete key, Oops.(Linux)

Ok yesterday I was editing a few shortcuts, in the Keyboard Shortcut dialog under preferences in Gnome. I wanted to disable one shortcut, instead of using backspace I hit delete. That actually assigned the delete as the shortcut key instead of disabling it. So then I hit backspace which disabled the shortcut; but, now my delete key did not work. Ok, now I am annoyed and finding out how much I really use my delete key. The fix was simple, I made sure delete is not assigned to a shortcut. Then all I had to do was reboot, that solved it.

Garage Sale

I was looking for a battery on Ebay today and got to thinking of how my use for Ebay has changed. When  I first starting buying on Ebay, it was like a giant garage sale. Where I could find really cool rare things for a few bucks that I could not find locally. It seems like used things go for a premium on Ebay, I watched a used pair of bike forks sell for more than what they would be new. They are still available and would ship for free for less from the actual manufacture.  I think people just get caught up in the frenzy of buying and forget to look else where. It felt more like a community when I first used Ebay where now it feels like a lot of little stores. I go to Ebay now to get things I can not find locally that is all. The deals are generally just a little better than buying local, you have to remember shipping as part of the price. Most of my purchases from Ebay are "Buy It Now" options instead of auctions.  I find that often I can find deals just as good on Amazon, or even locally at Target or a thrift store. I imagine as long as Ebay is around I will use it as a shopping option, and wax poetically about the good old days ; )

Droid Cannibalism

Cannibalized an old Droid Eris to fix my friends Eris. His mainboard , sound and trackball were wonky . So I swapped parts from this Eris with a smashed display and he was on his way. Everything went smoothly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wake on key press

I like to be able to wake my computer from suspend by a key press. Unfortunately my motherboard does not support this. So to do so this is what I did

First I ran this in a terminal to find my keyboard:

cat /proc/acpi/wakeup

After running that I get an output like this :

I determined my keyboard was associated to UHC1. To enable my keyboard to wake on key press I ran

echo "UHC1" > /proc/acpi/wakeup

I got lucky that it was UHC1, below shows the UHC1 is now enabled. The process is to run the echo command then suspend the computer and see if it wakes from key press. You repeat this until you find the correct device.

Now that I know what device number and key press wakes the computer. I need I make a start up script
 echo "UHC1" > /proc/acpi/wakeup

I named the script and placed it in /etc/init.d/

Then in a terminal I ran this to make the script executable

sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/

In a terminal again to get the script to run at start up I ran

sudo update-rc.d defaults

That did it for me.

Here are the two forum post others and myself posted to get the key press working. There was an older post on another blog that help solve this, but it seems to have gone defunct.

Heading out

Been lazy this month at least mentally lazy. I got out of math class and it was like my brain locked up, I better get it in gear. Things are about to speed up soon fall quarter is approaching, so that means math 102 is imminent(horror music playing). You would think after doing well the last two quarters I would fell good about this class. Nope it is the opposite fear and loathing of the next class. I interview for another internal job on Monday not real nervous, a little concerned. I feel like I am existing between two worlds the one of blue collar landscaping and the future one of some sort of white collar worker. The switch is coming but I feel like I have no control over the date or when it happens. It seems to be happening to me, the odd part is I feel the old world pulling at me constantly. Everyone's mister fix it guy except not fixing the things I want. Occasionally it is something fun like a computer or surgery on a smart phone.  Generally it is lawn equipment or home repairs. I know the later has informed the former, it is just time to find a way forward.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Math Done(for now)

OK, done with math till fall quarter. I got a 99% on my fourth test. Took the final tonight I did not feel lost should get a B or A overall. Nice to be done now I can focus on some projects I have been waiting to do.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tomboy notes sync in Linux Mint 11

I installed Linux Mint 11 on my Desktop today, what a great distro. I wanted to sync my Tomboy Notes with the Ubuntu One Server.To use the UbuntuOne service I just added the server address under "Tomboy Web".
This what the sync dialog looks like after everything is done. 

The Server address is :

After I input the server address I clicked connect, it redricts to a web browser to verify the computer. Then I  logged in with Ubuntu One and verified my computer. I went back to the sync dialog and clicked save, then it synced my notes and that was it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Now just a Final Exam

I took the fourth test in Algebra tonight pretty sure I past it. A few homework assignments left a Final and I am done till Fall.

Warts and All Pragamtic

 If I say I do not like something it does not automatically mean I love the opposite. All it means is I do not like X not that I love Y. One example is  people will think when I say I do not like a town, that I love the one I live in. I live where I live because it is pragmatic, it is cheap in a alright neighbored. Not because I love it, a lot of the choices I make are because of pragmatism over visual aesthetics or comfort. If I followed my visual aesthetics I would have to work eighty plus hours a week or have credit card debt up to my nose. Although sometimes my visual aesthetics are different than convention. I tend like something than what most people see as beautiful. My warts and all sensibility leans away from design of the one button world. I like things that may look like they are out of Star Wars not 2001: A Space Odyssey. A lot time specifically out of the trash compactor from the Death Star. I hope this is OK for people, it does not seem so some days. I see tons of people all being "original" standing in a circle doing the same thing, it is one giant circle jerk. We are all free thinking individuals because some one told us so.... Sadly what most of us do is not unique, but;  why try so hard to have the same common denominator as everyone else?  Be one big collage of decisions that ebb and flow, allowing you to seek peace of mind and creativity. "Safe" is usually the complete opposite for ones soul. Safe is easy, it is giving up, if it is the decision 100 people have made before, than chances are there will not be much left at the end when you get there. Knock the dust of things reopen an old road start a new one. Never follow the open for business road since 1975. Your soul will wither and die here in a mass decay of box store florescent haze and fast food drudgery. Yeah sure swing buy when it is useful, just do not base everything on it. Just try to be the motley mix of humanity that lets you sleep at night( I keep trying, tonight I am failing : )

Monday, May 30, 2011


Today has been a day of animals, dead and alive. I work at a park, early in the day a patron told me there was a goose dead on the bike path. I went out and removed the goose it was a gosiling. It had been struck by a car and thrown up on to the path. After I got the goose removed I headed back to the park as I was approaching the entrance there was a coyote in the road. I was not sure if it was dead until I got out. It was another car strike surprisingly no blood, I removed the coyote as well as the goose. The rest of my work day was without any dead animals.

When I got home I was greeted by a chubby ground hog in our live trap, he had been raiding our garden. He was reallocated to a friends farm : )

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Flowers and Garden

We inherited roses with the house they did not bloom for the first few years. It turned out I was cutting them back to far. Our garden is taking off, and we got two volunteer potato plants in our compost. The Hostas on the hill that were planted three years ago, they are giants this years taking up nearly twice the circumference from last year.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Job

I started a new job, it is fine everyone seems decent. Should be OK for now. What I am tired of is everyone expected me to be excited or even grateful that I have a job. Even if the pay is barley above minimum wage. I spent nine years as a landscaper, I always did a quality job when I worked. At the old job I kept my boss a float some day's with a screw and super glue. I did a lot of the maintenance for the boss and even kept their computers up to snuff.  So now I took a job not paying me as much I am worth. I did this mostly because the location is convenient and the hours work with my other plans. There are opportunities for advancement with in the organization and that is nice. The pay scale is what it is, everyone starts out low(regardless of skill) and moves up.  That is what I agreed on so there is no hard feelings about it. But no I am not excited because I have a job, I am fine with it because it will help with other goals. If I wanted a job for the sake of having a job, I had other landscaping possibilities with more pay. The hours would have been in direct conflict with my other plans such as school. I think family and friends expecting me to be happy with such a low paying job is sad. The only time they should expect me to be happy or excited. Is when I am doing something that is inline with my vocation something that challenges me, something I really care about. There are people where I work that are passionate about the job, they are where they belong, they are excited. I am not excited nor am I grateful, my own back and blood got me here.  I am OK with the agreement I made with the employer, thats all.

Silly Transcribed Voice Mails

Below are three transcriptions of voice mails from Google Voice.
They cracked me up I was able to get the gist but it a little deciphering. So I thought
I would share : )
I do like Google Voice I really like being able to listen to my voice mail online,
If I am at my computer.

Hey G, B I'm a big dummy I didn't listen to the but I need computer. I've got the blue screen
So I don't know if you can. Working magic and save anything.
 As I took the hard drive over to your house and that's department. So I was on the dot. 
But she hasn't with on or something. What'son there, but, either way, just give me a call back. 
Home your voicemail, hey.

Hey, east, on the phone drop it off and tomorrow after work.
 I stopped working on, our country in my head join the call me back. If not, and I will for alright, have A the.

Hey. Sorry I didn't see your call until just now. So if you want call me back.
 If you do call me on my team mobile phone That's, xxx-xxxx. I think.
 I love you bye. The bumper works. Bye. Yeah.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Burn out

Ok, I am officially burnt out from 12+ hours of math home work this weekend and being nervous about the new job. The question I keep asking about both "is it worth the trouble?" I have four weeks of math this quarter till fall. And 13 hours till I start the new job. : P

Thursday, May 12, 2011

6 Years : )

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Grimy Day

Today was humdrum started off with a good breakfast but surrounded by bad conversations. Driving around town was a bit depressing. I had an urge to go home pack up(important stuff only bikes, computers and the dog), pick up the wife and hit the road. As the day wore on it got a little better had some coffee with a friend the conversation was good, got some good beer for later(which is now). Still the town is just kind of sad, feels rather hopeless. Not sure if I can do much more than smile and push through it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Celeste Lounging

Celeste before her spring haircut

Another painting has a home.

"Ode to Judas" 2009
This piece had three different people interested finally it has a home! The person who has it really likes the piece so I am happy for that. This painting was a self portrait I did in 1996 then I reworked it in 2009. It ended up with the name Ode to Judas because a few people said it reminded them of stained glass and religious allegory painting. I thought that was ironic since I am an atheist so the title seemed appropriate.

Linux games

Occasionally I enjoy playing games on my computer . I run Linux, this is thought to be a hurdle. How ever I have been introduced to a few native Linux games that more than satisfy my gaming needs.

The two games I played first in Linux were Frozen Bubble and Armagetron. Amagetron is a Tron like game it is still a blast to play. You can play it local or on server

The World of Goo is  a physics game that is a blast.  It was one I had to play through until I was done (which you are never really done)

I have really enjoyed is by Amanita Design they have three games I have enjoyed plus few short games on their website. The first two are the Samorost series 1 and 2 . My favorite was Machinarium it is listed as their first full length game. They even have soundtracks for the games, also a lot of other cool content on their website.

I have recently playing the Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds Survivor  by Frozenbyte games. They have a third game Trine that I have just started playing. The Shadowgrounds games are fun campaign games saving Ganymede from an Alien Invasion. Trine "is a physics-based action game where three characters allow clever solutions to challenges created by hazardous puzzles and threatening enemies. The gameplay is based on fully interactive physics - each character's different abilities and tactics can be used to invent new ways to overcome obstacles and save the kingdom! ".

Other than the first two games I learned of the others through the Humble Bundle


I took the second test last night I think I did well. Two more test to go plus a final then more math.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why D.I.Y. lead me to FOSS

I grew up skateboarding an riding bikes. There were always more broken parts, than money to replace them. Me and my friends would come up with ways to "hack" old parts to get us by until we could afford new ones. Sometimes these hacks would become a standard tweak.  This behavior has naturally just progressed to  a lot aspects of  my life.

What got me to start my path to FOSS was two experiences. One was a trying to fix an XP install that had dll that got borked.  I used a live cd of Ubuntu to fix XP. When I was doneI repartitioned my HDD and installed Ubuntu alongside XP . How cool was that, quickly Ubuntu became my default OS, there was not some ideological reason for this I just enjoyed using it.

The second thing that happened actually before the OS failure. I thought the idea of downloading music from itunes was great. Until I found out that my music would be locked down. There was no way to access the music with anything but itunes. Or transfer the music to any other player other than a ipod. I decided at that point to only buy the physical cd's and copy it to my computer, unless I could download the music DRM free. I did not buy a digital download from a big seller until Amazon MP3 was opened up. I believe apple has since changed the way itunes manages users music. Of course I am not sure since I have not used itunes since 2006 and never purchased music from them.

As I started using Ubuntu more I was glad I had that internal cringe to itunes early model. I did not have to deal with any DRM encumbered files, I have seen this be a headache for a few friends. The format my music was in, could be played in Ubuntu with no issue. I did have to install a mp3 codec, but; at that time I still had to do that in XP Windows media Player.

There are times when I have to use other than FOSS software. such as the course ware (ALEKS) I am using for school requires Java and will not run using icedtea(the open source implementation of Java). I do keep a VM of XP around for some even rarer occasions.

  My move to FOSS software was one of fun and learning. It has been in that spirit I continue to use FOSS. There was a point when, some things were harder for me, each time I pushed through one of these walls it has brought me further into the FOSS world. The eight hours I spent trying to get my ATI card to handle 3D and run beryl was a big one. I really got a kick out of the process and quickly learned the power of the command line. Since then I have setup  a home server that has multiple uses. I have learned quite a bit about computers overall. it has even made more knowledgeable about other platforms as well.

This D.I.Y. way informs my life, and FOSS complements those values.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

HDD Crash

My HDD died Saturday, luckily I have been diligent about my backups. So I have no horror story to tell. I was using the computer and it started running wonky so I shut it down and tried a restart. Nothing hppened it would  POST then just hang. I ran two different utilities to check the drive. First was Gwscan on the Ultimateboot CD Gwscan returned no drive found. After that I tried Fedora  because they have the S.M.A.R.T. tools installed by default and I can run it from a LiveUSB stick. So I booted up and Fedora returned "DISK HAS MANY BAD SECTORS" on the drive.

 I thought about using a utility like Spinrite to see if it could save the drive. I realized Spinrite cost more than a new drive, so I just bought a new drive. I found one locally for ten dollars more than at It was worth ten to have the drive now. I got the new drive installed, then installed Xubuntu for the OS got everything tweaked they way I wanted and reloaded the data. Now everything is running smoothly, like nothing happened. I will have to RMA the old drive since it is under a year old. That was my big weekend other than doing Math.