kengr: (Default)
The "pup" in the comics below is Florence a Bowman's Wolf (uplifted wolf species). She's as intelligent as a human.
(after thursday the above will get the wrong strip, try

I agree with Chris's dad. Especially given that it's a mobility device *with communications*. Killing the comms when there's a fault in the drive system is an *insanely* stupid decision.

What stupid design decisions have *you* had to deal with?

Linux help

Sep. 15th, 2017 05:10 am
kengr: (Brain)
I'm most familiar with Kubuntu, but I want to install Linux on a couple of older boxes that max out at 2 gig of RAM.

Any suggestions on what I should use?
kengr: (Default)
I had to repair Windoze on one of my machines because several things weren't working right.

I used a key finder to get the product key because I didn't want to pull the box out from its cubbyhole on the desk. But when all was said and done, I got a "windows needs to be activated" message.

I knew it probably wouldn't work, but I tried the online activation. No surprise, it didn't work (hasn't worked for many years, I forget how long). So I went to choice 2, calling the toll free number.

I had to read the 9 groups of 6-digit numbers to the automated system, and thankfully it was mostly ok with my voice. Then it told me my copy couldn't be activated.

So I shut things down, moved a bunch of stuff and pulled out the computer the read the product key sticker. Sure enough, it was different. Which meant that the number the key finder had given me was an OEM "volume" key which had likely been compromised at some time.

I wrote it down and put everything back. Then when I got back to the activation screen, I did something it said noty to do unless asked to do by a tech. I clicked on the "change product key" button. I figured it was worth trying rather than taking an hour or more to do another "repair" installation.

It gave me a different set of 9 6-digit numbers. I wasn't so lucky with the voice recognition this tiome. When it offered the "if you have a smart phone" option, I decided top try it even though I don't have one. I was hoping that the text message it would send me would let me reply with the string of numbers. No such luck. But it did give me a link to "click" on. since I *don't* have a smart phone, I couldn't click on it. But since I had another system that was working just fine. I carefully copied all those numbers, and switched to that system.

then I typed in the link. It got me a usable screen and I entered the numbers. It gave me an activation code, which I dutifully wrote down. Switching back to the system that needed activation, I entered them. They were accepted. *Yay*.

I hope this "trick" will be useful to other folks who have a phone that can get text messages and have a second computer near the one that needs to be activated
kengr: (geocaching)
A while back, something had reminded me of the old movie Repo Man. And when I asked if she'd ever seen it, Fay had said no.

It sort of slipped my mind for a while, but I tracked down a copy. Didn't remember it when Fay came over Monday for our regular TV night.

But as we were shutting things down, I remembered it. I showed her the first few minutes (the traffic stop scene). She was hooked. It'll be first up on our TV night this Friday.

I had some good computer stuff Tuesday. A local computer store is going out of business. Sad, because I *like* being able to actually look things over before buying and not have to deal with shipping.

But they are selling off remaining stock and significant markdowns.

Alas, several things I wanted were already out of stock since I'd checked Monday night. But several others were still available. So off I went.

I just missed a bus and had to sit around in the heat waiting for thee next one. So I walked the long block to where my geocache is located. As I'd feared, it wasn't there. I'll have to replace it in a day or three. Though I really need to make some changes so it doesn't keep disappearing.

Walked back to bus stop, and managed to survive until bus showed. Rode it to the Parkrose TC, then transferred to the 73 and rode it to 122nd & Prescott.

Then came the no fun part of the trip. It's a fairly long walk (for me) from that stop to the computer store. At least this time I'd been smarter than last time and had a bottle of PowerAde Zero along.

Got to the store and picked up the stuff on hold for me. Considered the 19" widescreen monitor they had marked down to $25, but reluctantly decide to pass on it.

Then there was the even longer walk to the Bus stop by the Wendy's as I wanted to pick up some things I'd forgotten to get at Winco on the monthly run on the first.

Got those and headed back out into the heat. Even more bleah. Got home, had some dinner and crashed out for several hours.


Aug. 9th, 2017 02:40 am
kengr: (Default)
The weekend was not kind to my computers.

Kalonia (an IBM Thinkcentre I use for torrents and as a secondary media server/player) went into a coma. That is, when I got up that morning, the power was on but the Teamviewer connection was down. Switching the TV to the VGA input that Kalonia was hooked to, and rebooting didn't help. It'd power up but no video or other stuff.

So I dug it out (had various things on top of it) and took it to the kitchen table which doubles as my workbench. No go, still wasn't responding to things.

So I dug out the hard drive, and stuck it in a Mobile Rack, so I could truy it one a different system. It was readable in Bench (an old Dell Dimension I use for that sort of thing) so I figure it wasn't the problem.

So I put Boskone 2 (a system that died months back) on the table and finished stripping drives (and the all important mobile Rack) from it.

Then Ploor 3 (the Dell Dimension 5100 I got via Freecycle a while back) went on the table and I pulled the (empty) second SATA drive out of it, and replaced it with the 2 TB SATA drive that'd been in an external dock attached to Kalonia.

I also stuck the mobile rack from Boskone 2 in. *That* was a pain. It was hard to get the IDE cable attached to the back of the rack. It was even harder to get the power connector attached (mostly because of the way DEL ran the IDE an floppy cables).
the saga continues )

What a day

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:54 am
kengr: (Default)
Made a run out to ENU (late) this morning. Got the stuff I wanted ( a couple PCI gigabit ethernet cords and a DVI to HDMI cable. Also picked up a few cables from the bix boxes of "free" stuff (power cord, VGA cable, HDMI cable)

But it was a quarter mile from the bus stop to ENU and (of course) another quarter mile back. And I'd not grabbed a water bottle before leaving because I didn't want to wait for the next bus. Silly me.

So I was moderately wiped out by the time I got home. Took a while to recover (probably longer than I should have) and took a shower and changed clothes.

That meant I was running late for my meetup with [personal profile] alatefeline. On top of that the second bus was running way late. So I got to Powell's ten minutes after that already late time I'd have gotten there.

Went in and grabbed a book I wanted to buy (actually there were a *lot* I wanted to buy, but my budget's kinda tight for the rest of the month)

Then I went looking for [personal profile] alatefeline. We'd agreed to meet up in the coffee shop, and I knew from the texts we'd been exchanging that they were already there. They'd told me they be wearing a blue hat. Finally spotted them. (You can tell that we are both somewhat misgendered because they said it was blue, but I'df have described it as sky blue though it was actually a bit paler. :-)

The coffee shop is often a maze because of how close the tables are and the way chairs are often left out. It was worse than usual, but I only had to go about three times as far as the "direct" route would have been.

We had a nice chat. Gaming, SCA, SF&fantasy, and various other things. after quite some time, we got up and I went to show them where the pocket "survival" thingie I'd gotten there was. Of course, they'd rearranged things. And they didn't have it. But there were several other neat things.

We could have hung out longer, but my legs were starting to tell me I'd been a bad girl. So I regretfully, bid them farewell and went to buy my book. I knew I had some credit on my Powells card from selling some books a year or so back.

Turned out I had a lot more than I thought. After buying my book, I still had $11 left. I could have bought the entire trilogy instead of just the first book. Oh well, I need to make another Powells run one of these days anyway.

Caught the 20 with no problems. Just missed the 71. So I had to sit out in the hot sun for another 15 minutes.

Finally got home and made myself a sandwich so I could take my meds. Tried to do some stuff on the computer but gave up. Wound up taking a 4 hr nap.

After that I felt better (though my thighs are still mad at me for some reason). I dug out the stuff from ENU and started messing with things.

Cards are installed and working fine. The cable seems to work, but the cable box won't send at a resolution the computer monitors I tried would accept. I'll try it with the Bluray player after the inspection is over.

Have to discuss getting together another time with [personal profile] alatefeline.. It was fun.
kengr: (Default)
Somebody on Freecycle posted a couple of items the other day. I asked and got both.

Turned out they lived less than a mile away, and on the bus route that goes past here. When I headed out last evening I had to wait about 7 min for the bus. Got off about a block and a half from their place. I scooted in, got the two bag s of stuff and loaded in in my folding cart.

As I got to the street I could see the bus coming about six blocks away. I didn't make it to the stop but the driver had seen my alternate waving and running and pulled over to let me get on.

So that was about as short as a run could be.

What did I get? A grocery bag full of blank CD-Rs *in cases*. That'll come handy come Christmas.

I also got another grocery bag full of old software they'd cleaned of their shelves. Various old games a lot of home office stuff, and lots and lots of driver disks. Got several copies of some things. Like 7th Guest.

I'll paw thru them some more and eventually pass on the stuff I have no use for.

Gotta pay special attention with the driver disks. A lot of ones for vid cards have games to install to demo that graphics quality. So I'll be doing a lot of digging for those.

And tomorrow I need to head out to the computer parts place I've been using for years. They're going out of business, and I want to get a few things while they are in stock. A couple of PCI gigabit ethernet cards for a couple of boxes that don't have it built in, and an HDMI to DVI cable, so I can use one of the monitors with a DVI connector as a backup if the TV dies.

May also be meeting someone at Powell's later in the day. Haven't heard back from them yet.
kengr: (Default)
I can't believe I forgot this!

Lasers: several places sell "laser pointers" powerful enough to ignite tinder.

Not that *practical* for most purposes, but way cool.
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly's post a week or so back about science experiments for kids combined with some stuff from an older post of [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's about emerrgency preparedness kits to remind me of my collection of stuff for starting fires As well as a few things I don't currently have, but have used in the past.

Okay, first thing you need is a source of heat. Without that you aren't getting anywhere.

Next you need some sort of tinder for the heat to ignite. If you are carrying it, rather than improvising with what you can find, you need it in a waterproof container.

Ok, sources of heat (more or less in order from primitive to modern):

Carrying coals or a flame with you: Doable, but tricky. The container needs to be well insulated, and there are other concerns.

friction: the classic rubbing two sticks together, firebows, etc. Doable, but takes a bit of skill and is *hard* work.

Compression: The fire piston. Doable, but hard to find/make.

Flint and steel (or flint and pyrite). Doable, but requires practice to avoid damaging yourself.

There are a lot of ways to do this. You can grab a properly shaped (sort of a wedge shape) piece of flint and try to strike sparks from a piece of iron pyrite.

Or you can hit a historical re-enactor group that does the traders/trappers type stuff and pick up a flint and a fire steel (piece of iron shape like the letter C) You hold the fire steel sort ofg like a pair of brass knuckles and strike the flint downward, at an angle to produce sparks. Watch out for your fingers!

You can take a chunk of a broken grindstone and a "worn out" file and make sparks by strike the stone against the file.

Or, you can buy a neat item available from a number of sources. It's a metal rod with a handle. The rod is made of the same weird alloy they use for lighter flints. They usually include a piece of steel suitable for striking agianst it to create sparks. You strike at an angle like you were trying to shave off bits of the rtod. *Huge* showers of sparks. and the piece of steel is usually attached to the handle by a thing.

lenses and mirrors: a large enough magnifying glass (at least 4" in my experience) will concentrate enough sunlight on a large enough area to ignite a piece of dry wood. And a "shaving mirror (or other concave mirror can do it as well. Both require a sunny day.

Radio Shack used to sell a "solar cigarette lighter" which was a small concave mirror with a set of folding "prongs" that'd hold the tip of the cigarette at the focal point. Worked for other things as well.

A bit large, but quite suitable. Modern LCD TVs and monitors have a fresnel lens as part of the screen. Take apart (carefully) a dead monitor, and you can often salvage the lens. Be warned. These will concentrate *dangerous* amounts of sunlight. As in you can melt *metal* with the larger ones.

matches and lighters: matches need to be kept in a waterproof container. Lighters, may need to have the same.

Electricity: you can get sparks from a battery to start a fire. Probably takes at least a 9V. Not that practical in most cases. Though it works well if yoiur tinder is steel wool. Might work with magnesium shavings.

Ok, now for tinder. And remember, *all* varieties of tinder need to be kept dry, and an airtight container isn't out of line.

"punk" wood is an old standby. This is basically partially rotted (dry rot) wood.

Char cloth is another. This is squares of cotton or linen cloth (*not* wool or synthetics!) that have been heated (preferably in a container that restricts airflow) until they are "charred". Not black but beyond "golden brown. Either get it at a reenactor event or *carefully* experiment with making your own.

Steel wool. The kind *without* added detergents and crap. You want the fine grade. Tear off a *small* piece and put the rest back in the airtight container. This stuff ignites *very* readily. And since it burns white hot you *really* don't want to be holding it. Or having it sitting on anything you don't want to burn!

Magnesium. A lot of those high-tech flint rods have a second rod mounted in the handle. a magnesium rod. You can shave off tiny bits of magnesium with the same bit of steel you use for striking the sparks. And once this catches, it'll ignite even *wet* wood.

Some gun shows and the like will sell you containers of powdered magnesium to save you the trouble of shaving off bits. A warning hear, this *will* absorb water over time and turn into a sold chunk. And in the case of the one I bought split the plastic container in the process.

And, even moreso than with steel wool, you don't ignite this stuff when it's sitting on anything you *don't* want to burn.

I've seen folks do the friction method, never got anywhere with it myself. I've seen a demo of a fire piston in a chemistry class.

I've tried a fire steel and flint. Takes practice to strike sparks and *not* gash your fingers. Never tried the flint and pyrite trick, but I've read about it.

I own several of the high tech flints, a couple with the magnesium rods. I own several magnifying glasses that I *have* started fires with.

I've actually done the file and broken grindstone bit at a boy scout event. the tinder was steel wool, and we were burning dry pine needles. It was a race to see who could boil water first.

I hgave the solar cigarette lighter, as well as several magnifying glasses that I've lit fires with.

And I have strike anywhere matches in a pocket sized match safe, as well as a few butane lighters.
kengr: (Default)
Saturday someone posted a Dell Dimension 5100 on Freecycle. Since I have an old Dell Dimension I use for a "bench" system, I figured it'd be useful for parts if nothing else. So I replied.

Got an answer back Sunday, but too late to do anything about it (also, as I later discovered, bus service at the place where it was is not good on Sundays). They gave me their address and said they'd have it sitting on the porch, and come by whenever.

I'd already told them I wouldn't be able to come out monday. Tuesday was the 4th, and thius the buses were on the Sunday schedule.

so It was Wednesday when I picked it up. That was a fun trip. The TriMet trip planner offered me an option that'd take 71 minutes but involved *3* transfers. There was also one that only involved one transfer, but that would take 91 minutes.

I went for the 3 transfer one. Was a bit tight on a couple connections but I made it. I took the one transfer route home.

Read more... )
kengr: (Default)
Today was [personal profile] fayanora's birthday. I'd been planning to drag her to the Chang's Mongolian Grill near the Winco we shop at for a long time. This seemed like a good opportunity.

I'd been going to buy her lunch, but when she'd been checking the hours online, she discovered that you can get a free meal on your birthday. So I wound up just paying for her drink and an all day bus ticket for her. Going get her something else when my SS comes in.

She'd never been to one before but she loved it. The best part is that you get to pick your own ingredients, so she was able to avoid stuff she has problems with, and try stuff she wasn't sure about. That last is because it's an all you can eat, so you add a bit of something you aren't sure of on a second or third trip.

We'd decided to postpone the big Winco trip until we get our SS money on Monday. But since we were only a block away, we did pick up a few things. I spotted a bunch of cell phone stuff in a bin marked down to $6.95 each.

I grabbed a bluetooth speaker. At that price, it wasn't a big loss if if wasn't very good. actually turns out to be not too bad (especially for the price. It's a BT-S10. I figured out how to pair it with my phone but had to go online to get more info about it because there was *no* documentation with it.

I knew it'd play stuff via bluetooth, and after looking it and the included cable over, I figured out you could also plug it into the stereo jack on a phone/tablet/whatever. but there didn't seem to be a volume copntrol, and there was something labeled a TF port.

Found docs online. Turns out the volume is controlled be the same weird switch that does play/pause and track change.

Big news is that it turns out that the "TF port" is a microSD slot and it'll play files from the card. Have to mess around with that some, but it could be useful.
kengr: (hyperdice)
This is going to be looking at things from a combination of contemporary tech (and reasonable extensions thereof) and future tech based mainly on the Traveller RPG. It's probably easily adaptable to other backgrounds.

Humans need a few basic items. I'm going to list them in order of importance. That is, how quickly you'll be in trouble without them.

They are:

Air )
Temperature )

Water & Food )
Gravity )
kengr: (Default)
Made a comment about gear for a flying metahuman and the gear they'd need.

Actually some handheld GPS units *have* barometric altimeters. My Garmin GPSmap 60csx does. It also has a magnetic compass (which you can override the display for to show true north instead).

So any one of a number of GPS units, a radar transponder (which should probably tie into the GPS for altitude), an aircraft band radio and she's set for both visual and instrument flight.

Me, I'd add a pulse oximeter, oxygen tank and mask. Just in case.

Someone talented could probably build most of that into a helmet and harness. Complete with a heads up display.

For real paranoia and unforeseen circumstances, a steerable parachute might be an idea as well.

So, let's look into this a bit farther.

Read more... )
kengr: (idiot-free)
On Criminal Minds tonight they they had someone poisoning people with an "irradiated poison".

I was willing to accept that, though it was kinda silly. and it apparently *swiftly* (like within a couple of minutes) induced symptoms of a heart attack. Then, besides radiation poisoning it was cause multiple organ failures. The radiation was short half-life so it was "harmless" with in a day or two.

Turns out the perp had been stealing the stuff for six years or so from various hospitals radio-medicine units.

Which just plain *doesn't work*.

If it has that short a half-life it'd not be capable of causing radiation poisoning within *days* after it was stolen.

Also, nothing these used for radio-medicine is *remotely* that toxic. Nor would it do the "induce a heart attack" bit.

Also, they evacuated a neighborhood because the perp had dumped some down a sink. Yet at the same time, the perp who *worked* with this stuff and thus knew how to safely handle it, carried a container around in her *pocket*

Basically, if it can be safely carried in a pocket, even for a short time, it winding up in the sewer isn't a big deal.

So, essentially, the writers did *no* research.
kengr: (Default)
A bit ago, I was reminded of some technology that was common when I was in school, but would likely startle folks like Fay.

This was the filmstrip projector, specifically, the *synchronized* filmstrip projector.

Let's start by describing a filmstrip. It was a length of 35 mm film, complete with sprocket holes like the films in theaters. But rather than a movie, it was a sequence of still images. The teacher would thread the filmstrip into the projector, and advanced the film to the first frame. This projected on a movies screen at the front of the classroom.

After we'd had time to absorb the important knowledge on that frame, the filmstrip would be advanced to the next frame. The better machines and a control (connected by a cable that the teacher could use to move forward or backwards by a frame. The really good ones even let you adjust the focus.

Now, that was a simple filmstrip projector. The *synchronized* units incorporated a record player. The record would provide the audio (read "lecture") and would emit a "beep" when it was time to advance to the next frame of the filmstrip.

When it was working right this was great. When it wasn't...

It was especially fun since the main class I remember them from was music class. So often they'd be giving some of the history of music (say "Songs of the Civil War") and they'd have lyrics of a song on the screen as they played it. If things got out of synch the results were "interesting".

Yet this "touchy" technology was ubiquitous.

These days, I can picture kids watching a demo of a synchronized filmstrip projector and refusing to believe that it was really used. :-)
kengr: (hyperdice)
I was reading something and hit a passage where a character said that it was the *billionth* time they'd thought something.

I knew that was wrong, but wanted to check just how wrong. so I worked out how long a billion seconds would be.

That led to this...

1 second = 1 sec
1 kilosecond = 1000 sec = 1e3 sec = 16 min 40 sec
1 megasecond = 1,000,00 sec = 1e6 sec = ~11.6 days
1 gigasecond = 1,000,000,000 sec = 1e9 sec = ~ 31.7 years
1 terasecond = 1e12 sec = ~31,688.7 years
1 petasecond = 1e15 sec = ~ 32 million years = ~ 32 megayears
1 exasecond = 1e18 sec = ~ 32 billion years = ~32 gigayears = ~ twice the current age of the universe!
1 zettasecond = 1e21 sec = ~ 32 trillion years = ~ 32 terayears
1 yottasecond = 1e24 sec = ~ 32 quadrillion years = ~ 32 petayears
kengr: (he is us)
44 years ago...
Dec 14, 1972. At 2:54 pm PST, the last humans departed from the lunar surface.

And the only folks who look likely to try again soon are the Chinese.
kengr: (Demons of stupidity)
Scratch that, *were* they thinking.

After having to deal with some major annoyances moving stuff from an XP box to a Win7 box, I'd reluctantly set up Ms backup to back up Drive C *and* the hidden system partition on drive C to drive G.

Drive C is a 320 gig SATA drive. Drive G is a 2 terabyte SATA drive. There's adrive D that's another 320 gig SATA drive. I use secondcopy to backup the files on Drive C every night. That makes for some redundancy, and also make it easier to recover some things.

So, remember, MS Backup was *explicitly told to back up *only* drive C and the hidden system partition to drive G.

A week or two back, I hooked another 2 TB drive up to the box. It's going to go inside when I pick up a SATA card so I'll have enough ports.

Well at some point I noticed a warning that the backups were failing. The message made it seem like maybe there were problems with drive G being too busy or something.

Today I had to reboot the box after updating some software. I decided to load things carefully. Only one thing at a time. and I started the backup.

I noticed that it seemed to be taking a very long time and turned on "view detials". at which [point I discovered that it was trying to back up files on drive H.

No wonder the backup had failed It was trying to back up over a terabyte of files onto a drive with less than half a terabyte free!

I stopped the backup and checked the settings. MS backup had cheerfully added drive H to the stuff to be backed up *on its own*!!!

Which leads to the subject of this post. Adding a new drive to the stuff to be backed up without even asking may make sense for braindead users, but even then it doesn't make a lot of sense.

I corrected the settings and am running the backup again. Yeesh.
kengr: (Default)
Turns out that after taking nine hours to create the backup image, I can't restore it.

Why? Because MS in their infinite "wisdom" decided that the drive you are restoring to has to be the same size or larger, not than the parttion you were backing up (C drive which was a 55 gig partition on a 120 gig drive) but as the entire disk!

So I can't restore a 55 gig drive to a 75 gig drive. Yeesh.

One small hope (since none of my rather outdated drive copying tools like the win 7 box) is that it only cars about the *partitioned* size of the drive. so if I remove the second partition on it, Windows recover may be happy. Of course, this means doing the image backup all over again. :-(

If this doesn't work, I can try moving the drive to an external USb case, imaging it with my old software on a box that it works on, restoring it to a much smaller drive (I have a bunch of those) and then making an image backup of that on the win 7 box. *sigh*.

It'd almost be easier to just reinstall from scratch again, but the fine-tuning and fiddling would probably eat up more "me" time (as opposed to "waiting" time

Fun day...

Sep. 5th, 2016 06:47 am
kengr: (Default)
That was sarcasm.

Been dealing with illness, computer problems and more

Been dealing with a low grade fever for several days. also being kinda "blah", and sleeping a *lot*.

shopping )
buses )

computer fun )

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