Travels and Images

WEEK 4 2008

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Picture of the Week


Oxnard Weather Underground
Lancaster WeatherUnderground

First Post, 17 March 2002
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A Year Ago, This Week, 2007

Saturday 26 January 2008

Saturday - a nicer day, but rain is predicted for the next couple of days.

In other news, I apparently named the linux system "Gondor". I have no recollection of doing this, but perhaps it was at some point during the OS install, weeks ago. Gondor is working well - I burned a DVD+R of the DooDah parade footage for my friends using K3b. It worked well, except that the DVD failed to eject properly.

I tried to use the PDA camera today to take a picture of the Ron Paul weirdo's demonstrating on a corner, but it claimed that there wasn't enough memory to run the application. I check when I got home - indeed,  only 8MB of program RAM left, out of 48MB. I think there is a memory leak of some kind. I did a soft reset and (after killing the useless ActiveSync which was restarted) had a nice 25MB of program RAM, and the camera worked fine.

I've noticed some odd behavior since the first time I tried to use ActiveSync on the PDA - this camera problem and the fact that the battery now runs down much quicker than before - a day or so in standby, rather than three or four. Perhaps the reset will fix things.

Parenthetically related to the two IT related posts above:  secretGeeks IT cartoon guide.

Friday 25 January 2008

Friday - feeling a bit under the weather. Figures - get a couple days off, get sick. Not awful, just slept most of the day :-(

It rained like heck last night. Warm rain, which melted the snow on the foothills. Well, some of the foothills. It was still pretty snowy on the hills near the pass. Some sort of microclimate perhaps. Light sprinkles in the morning, which during their morning ramble, Riley hated and Phoebe ignored.

Has Microsoft peaked? I don't know. Their stuff is overly complicated, about a B grade in functionality, and overpriced. On the other hand I'm not a big believer in the current dot-com favorites like Google - I mean, what do they do to make money? Why do people invest in them? Microsoft at least has some product.

50 Things Learned in 50 Years. A pretty good list. [via Newmark's Door]

I meant to mention the reverse 911 call I received the other day. No, it wasn't about a fire storm, which is the call my friend Tim got last fall down in San Diego. And it wasn't about the flash floods or blizzards as might be expected with the storms rolling into California. No, it was about a help meeting for the local morons who took on too big a home loan. Why the hell is Lancaster using an emergency service to deal with this? I wonder who paid for the emergency service, and if this is a violation of regulations?

I am using my USB switch, so now I can print from the Linux or Windows without having to swap cables. Pretty cool. But it does affect printing with the Linux box just a bit: after a printer switch away from the linux box and back it doesn't see the printer until I press the power button on the printer front, it just queues up the print jobs. Press the power button and it all prints out. I can live with that.

Thursday 24 January  2008

Thursday - working away on various things. Raining.

I did get the laser printer to work with Kubuntu, it was painless. Plug it into the USB slot, run the K system manager, go into admin mode, go through the Add Printer Wizard and select the Brother HL-1440 and voila! it is done. Maybe five minutes elapsed time.

I don't think that I mentioned going to the 2007 DooDah Parade last weekend. Yes, 2007, held in 2008. The DooDah isn't big on following rules. It was fun - lots of strange low budget floats and what not. We had gay people, drunks, anti-abortionists, war protesters, drummers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, pro-marijuana groups and who knows what else. These were (generally) not Rose Parade kind of entries. People brought soft tacos to throw at the parade entries (it used to be marshmallows but the City of Pasadena is tired of cleaning that up.) It had a pretty good turnout of entries and watchers and the weather was nice.

I took pictures and nearly constant video, but discovered that I didn't have room left on my hard drive for the 1.5GB of quicktime. At least there wasn't room on the windows machine. The Linux box (I still haven't a name) had 150GB free so I attached the camera to the USB port to see what would happen. And it recognized the camera as an external device and allowed me to download everything. And, even cooler, the video played perfectly on it, with sound. I'll post some pics soon.

Which shows what a piece of insulting user-unfriendly crap Windows Media Player is, when free software can run quicktime and Microsoft's flagship player won't.

Book #4 was John Scalzi's The Last Colony. Pretty good. It is the successor to Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades (#37, 2007). I see that there is another book in the series that I haven't read, The Sagan Diary. I'll have to check the library for it.

Scalzi has a blog, and I see that he is writing another book in the series, Zoe's Tale. Cool.

Wednesday 23 January 2008

Wednesday - working on various things around the house. It's raining, still, in Ventura. No work down there for a while. I spent the day doing various office chores and tasks that I've needed to do for a while. Wrote some memo's. All very exciting...

It started raining here, in the late afternoon. No snow, which is too bad. I would have enjoyed that. The radio says they had snow just up the road in Gorman, but I'm not going to drive forty miles on a country road just to see a dusting of snow. Particularly if the interstate is closed and they are diverting it's traffic down that same country road.

Fred Thompson has dropped out of the presidential race. He started too late, with too little money I suppose. That leaves McCain, Giulaini and Romney. I'm not crazy about any of them. I'll probably hold my nose and vote for whoever wins the nomination. McCain's indifference to the 1st amendment is astonishing. Giuliani is a RINO. Romney I really don't know much about, other than he is a (whisper it) Mormon.

I found a stick of unmarked RAM and put it in the printer. I now have 18MB of RAM, up from 2MB, so I deduce it was a 16MB stick. There is only one slot so that's all I can put in, even though I've another identical stick. Now I need to set it up with the Linux box, which I also need to name. It has to be in the Lord of the Rings world, to be consistent. Hmmm.

Tuesday 22 January 2008

Tuesday - yep, rain, no work. Grim and gray out.

I watched the Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles pilot and first 'real' episode. Not too bad. Much better than I expected. Interesting that they decided to focus on the mom, rather than the son, John Connor. John is played by some forgettable pretty boy. On the other hand we have Summer Glau as the good, but weird, Terminator in some excellent casting. But I'd worry, if I were her, about getting type cast after the similar role in Joss Whedon's Firefly.

 Monday 21 January 2007

Monday - MLK day. It's a holiday for the county workers and thus a holiday for me. And it looks like rain for the next few days - no working in the flood control channels for a few days.

My knees like the rest period - there is always a silver lining.

I did get out to Walmart, and had no trouble getting a duplicate receipt. I thought there'd be a hassle and brought my credit card statement. They took a look and just printed out a copy for me right there.

I took the cats into the vet. They weren't happy about it. I left the pet carrier in the front room for days, so that they'd get used to it. I put a couple of old t-shirts, unwashed, in it so that it'd smell like me. Even so it was a bit of a struggle to get Phoebe in it. He has memories of last time, and they were probably reinforced this time. Anal Probes will do that for you.

Seriously, I was concerned about his diet and weight. He is now 18.5 pounds, with Riley at 12 pounds. That's a hefty cat. The vet once had one that weighed 35 pounds, so I guess he's not trophy status, but still. The recommendation was a little less food, some pumpkin pie filling with the food on occasion (keeps 'em regular) and some Glucosamine Chrondite for their joints. I actually use that myself, along with fish oil and multivitamins in the morning, so that's cool. Cat supplement not a pill but rather a fine powder to be sprinkled over the food. Cats are worse than dogs when it comes to trying to dose them, pills are nearly impossible I have heard. From the ease and regularity with which my cats upchuck I can't say I disagree.

Sunday 20 January 2007

Sunday - ah, those Green Bay Packers, how could they do that to me? What a bunch of bums. Well, I always liked the Giants - guess I'll be rooting for them in a couple of weeks. They were, honestly, the better of the teams and having completely shut down Bret Favre deserved the win. Can they beat the Patriots? Maybe.

I didn't get out in the morning to Walmart, so I'll try again tomorrow. I want to get into Customer Service early, before the rush...

As well as setting up the Windows PC again I set up my Linux box. Honestly, on the 19" LCD it is quite gorgeous to look at. I use the KVM switch to switch between the two, so the (physical) desktop isn't cluttered. The goal is to eventually wean myself from the Windows addiction.

Once installed you can upgrade and customize Kubuntu with a program called Adept. Adept is, really, pretty cool. It's a 'package manager' with links to repositories of tested open source software. I just think of something I need and in a matter of seconds I can have it installed and working. There are thousands of free programs available out there. Nvu, which I've been using on Win2k for a while has been superseded by KompoZer, but it looks much the same. Rather than WsFtp-LE I can use the KompoZer built in posting tool, or use one of the many FTP clients available, gFTP for now. For an image editor there is GIMP.

Supposedly I can even set up my old Brother HL-1440 laser printer, even though it isn't an old school PostScript printer. But the web pages say that I need to upgrade the printer RAM before doing it. I probably have some old 72 pin DIMMs around.

Picture of the Week
ventura beach with anacapa in the distance
Photo Notes: Ventura beach with Anacapa in the distance.

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