The Spechtacle

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Category: Veracity (page 2 of 3)

Ubuntu upgrade to Jaunty Jackalope 9.04

Last night, I took the plunge and upgraded from 8.10 to 9.05 Ubuntu. This has been the smoothest upgrade of all. I only had to add the boot parameters for menu.lst for my windows drive. Sweet. Everything works, video, sound, etc. Everything. Things do get better with age!


Switched to LINUX

About two years ago, I switched to UBUNTU LINUX on my work machine at home. I also loaded the server version onto a couple boxes in the basement. I switched because I wanted to try something new, and I saw the programmers that I worked with use LINUX for everything. I was also paying about $400 bucks a year for a Microsoft Action Pack subscription to get copies of the latest and greatest software, that I used less and less.

So how has it been? Fairly smooth, with some caveats. One less than smooth spot early on, was the Nvidia driver chase every time the kernel and headers were updated. Usually I had to go through a short but irritating reinstall of the correct driver, to get my high resolution back. Lately this problem has disappeared. Now, I am running two monitors off the same card, using twinview, and it rocks.

I have a couple programs that I haven’t swapped for LINUX equivalents. For that, I have a dual boot option in GRUB, the boot loader, so I can also boot into a WINDOWS XP system if needed. This was another rough spot. Searching discussion forums to find the correct combination of parameters to boot the windows drive was lengthy. The windows drive was IDE, and the LINUX drive was SATA, which was also tricky initially. I also found my motherboard wouldn’t support SATA and IDE together, even though the documentation said it would. I had to install an additional SATA controller card to fix this.

The latest rough spot was when they last pushed out a kernel and header update. My machine failed to find the boot drive. Once again, after searching discussion forums, I found the correct delay parameter to put into GRUB. Now it boots reliably.

I seem now to have experienced all the big problems with a LINUX UBUNTU system. Bear in mind, I have relatively old hardware, such as the Athlon XP 3200 processor. Installs on newer hardware have all gone perfect, and so have all the updates. I have even installed Simply Mepis and Damn Small Linux on systems, and they are working flawlessly. I can place DreamLinux on a thumb drive, and take it with me anywhere.

I use OpenOffice applications for general business, and it integrates well with MS Office. For the one windows program I haven’t migrated to this point, I use VMWARE to load a copy of windows XP, and run the program in there, rather than booting to the old Windows Drive.

Now I just have to put up with my coworkers telling me ‘I told you so”. I’ll pay that price.


Aerial Home Video

I have been goofing with a 2.4 ghz airborne camera system. 600mw transmitter, received at a laptop, and recorded on the hard drive. Camera is a Panasonic 131, and needs to be replaced. This was filmed from a 100 inch wingspan powered glider. The initial part of the video is the climb to altitude, and is somewhat rocky.

Home Video on Youtube

Dog achieves top 10 rating

We recently took our sweet and demure 55 lb border collie to the veterinarian, to have her nails clipped. Try as we might, she wouldn’t let my wife and I clip her nails.

Once at the Vet, on the examination table. I held the pooch while Mr. Vet tried to clip her nails. After much struggle, another Vet came into assist. I moved to the rear of the pooch, and held my ground. The border collie, named Tippie, began making sounds not unlike those in the excorcist movie. I realized later, these were warnings.

Picture urine and poop flying through the air. Picture it in my hair, on my glasses, my clothes, on the floor, the table, and on the other two men holding the pooch. Quarts, gallons, everywhere, and a stink like something from an autopsy.

One Vet mused “guess I’ll have to shower before I go out to eat dinner tonight”.

Then the Vet who clipped her nails looked at me and said “she isn’t the worst, but she’s in the top 10..”


TV show ideas

Lately, I have been thinking of a way to generate a winfall of cash. if RonCo can do it with the Popiel “Pocket Fisherman”, so can I.

After a few bourbons, this is my idea: Celebrity Ass Whoopin’. An audience text messages their selection from a list of newsmakers during week one.

Then they select a WWF wrestler, same sex, to do the whoopin’. Then you send the Whooper out with a film crew to catch the celebrity when they least expect it. Get it all on film. Week two, you show the film, and pick next weeks whoopee. If you do multiple whoops in the same week, you could have a runoff vote. And, if the celebrity continues to make the news, they are eligible for another round.

I figure, we will never run out of contestants, and the audience will become hooked.

Barbaric you say? I say “let the coffers be opened: let them fill with gold…”


The amazing travelling cat

cat.pngA few weeks ago, we moved into a new home, about 5 miles from our old home. We moved one dog, and?five cats. One of our cats, Boris, really didn’t like the new dog.?Boris would seek refuge under our Chevy Tahoe truck. It seems Boris would climb above the rear axle, and sometimes he’d sleep there.

One day, I drove to the old home in the truck, to finish cleaning. After I got out of the truck, and opened the garage door,? Boris popped out from underneath the truck. He was pretty freaked out. I think I was too.

This happened another time.?He rode all the way to the old house, under the truck. We brought him back to the new house again, and thought “this is a becoming a problem…”.

One day, We notice he was missing. For a few days, no Boris. My mom said “you think he went back to the other house?”. Nah, no way.

Yes way. I went over?to the old house, to cut the grass. Boris came out of the front bushes, meowing his head off. He looked thin, hungry, and mad. I don’t know if he rode over there another time, or if he walked all the way there.?But there he was.

Now, before we take the truck anywhere, we do a “Boris” check.


Things I’ve learned.

tim_robinson.jpgI am not the brightest candle in the church. Still, I have learned some things, and I’ll pass them on to the community in the hope that someone will be saved from commiting the same error.

From my life as a contractor:
If a client says “all we really want is…” you can be sure that what they want will test the limits of science and knowledge.
If a client says “I’ll know it when I see it” you can bet they will never see it, and you will toil forever.

From my life as a dog owner:
Whatever you are told to use to discourage your dog’s particular behavior, your dog will be the one in a million that will love it.
If the dog is as big as you are, that’s just no good.
Before I owned a dog, if I saw one in the road, I’d swerve to miss it. Now, I’ll probably just close my eyes and hit the gas. I’ll do it for the owner.

From my time in the Army:
When they tell you how much ammo you’ll need, just go ahead and triple it.
When you hear how much chow you will get, imagine about half, and be happy.

From being a parent:
Kids’ brains don’t work like yours, and neither do their bank accounts. They are both usually empty.
When they get real quiet, something of yours is missing, or broken.

Dogs have two brains

dogbrain.jpgBelieve it. Dogs have two brains. I have conducted exhaustive research on this subject, over a period of three weeks. My findings confirm that dogs have two brains, one connected to the many avenues of sensory input from their body; the other brain is connected to their nose. All input to the nose-brain overrides any other input to the other brain.

You can conduct an experiment at home, to prove the validity of this claim.?

Take your dog out to the yard, and play fetch. Throw an object suitable for fetching, and have your dog return it.
Now, take a cooked sirloin, and stuff it in your shoe, under your stinky foot.

You will notice the dog immediately trying to get it’s entire body into your shoe, under your foot, to get the steak. No amount of commanding, coaxing, or screaming will deter the dog from seeking the steak. The nose-brain has overridden the other brain.

Now, take a small caliber pistol and fire a round right next to the dog. While the dog will momentariily look up, and perhaps cower, the nose-brain will very quickly override the other brain, and the dog will be back in your shoe.?The nose-brain fail-safe has kicked in.

Important note: Resist the urge to shoot the dog, and eat the steak yourself. This is science, after all.


Good days, bad days, ugly days

Flying model airplanes isn’t for everyone.?It can go really well…

Or, not well at all? 🙂


Pumpkin in flight…


Here is a video of Tammy R. launching a pumpkin on Holloween. The pumpkin travels out of sight and into the woods, on a high curving arc. There’s about 400 lbs. of total counterweight in the descending boxes.

The Trebuchet has since been relocated to our new home, which we should move into in about 2-3 weeks. Anything we don’t want to keep after the move, is going airborne into the neighbor’s field.?This may include pets.?


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