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2010 in review

let’s see, what happened this past year?  oh, yeah:


i witnessed the last of the night shuttle launches (of sts-130)
i am a member of a bacon of the month club getting bacon delivered to me each month
i learned of the deliciousness of benton’s bacon
i visited new york city for the first time
i attended my first linux conference in ohio
i bought a new laptop
i saw some snow early in december (before winter started)
i got to geek out to a 28 year movie sequel
and i had a very timmy christmas
i’m looking forward to 2011…because for some odd reason the number 2011 is an asymmetrical, uneven number.  oh, and it’s prime.  maybe that’s why i’m happy about it.  prime numbers are cool!  have happy new year!

post-christmas snow

the white for christmas came the day after.  we finally got a good snow which twenty-four hours earlier would have been the ideal white christmas i keep dreaming we’ll have in knoxtropolis.

our church had planned two services originally for december 26, but weather wasn’t as permitting and the 9:30a was dropped.  in the picture, you can see them salting the parking lot for the 11:00a service.

why am i out in this?  well, i thought i might catch some untarnished settings for some photographs if i headed out early.  my plans had been the 9:30a service anyway.  the roads are still sketchy at this point.  starbucks is pretty empty, though.  cheers!

update:  check out a slideshow of a few more pics.

o timmy tree

timmy the code monkey from thinkgeek.com is wishing you a merry christmas from the tree.  he’s all monkey, all christmas, and all over the tree.  nothing gets you in the season better than timmy donning old tannenbaum.

check the video on youtube.

tron

i have been amped about tron legacy since i heard they were making it.  the previews look spiffy.  i already have my ticket fandango-ed for the friday showing on the imax.  i have been listening to the soundtrack (by daft punk) for a good while now.  love the soundtrack.

now, the hard part.  waiting until friday.  is it still weird to everyone else that disney did the original tron?

i can has lightcycle for christmas?

end of line.

december snow

it’s been a while since we’ve had a decent snow in december. we got about four to five inches overnight. the weather reports indicate more white stuff in the near future too. i’m not sure about it’s stick-ability, but i am still excited. i keep hoping we’ll end up with a white christmas this year. of course, i’ve been hoping for that every year, but our odds are better this time around. and with snow before the official winter season, i hoping for a real winter instead of the cold, rainy versions we’ve been experiencing.

the one thing i miss on days like this is a fireplace. the smell of wood burning and the unparalleled warmth cannot be reproduced by anything artificial. i do, however, have freshly ground coffee. if i had some freshly cooked bacon, i’d be set.


up the street


down the street

thanksgiving warm-up

in true machine-shop tradition, there was a full spread for lunch.  and i mean full-on spread!  ham, potatoes in variety of prep, green bean casserole, broccoli casserole, corn, stuffing, gravy, and desserts!  all kinds of pies!  off.  the.  chain.

we’ll all be doing this again with our fams in a week.  that gives me plenty of time to deal with what i loaded up on today.  thanks, again, to all who helped out!



line up the food



hanging around the ham



the honey baked hams smelled like smoked bacon



veggies and stuff



freddy works on round one…or two…maybe three?



there be pies here!



jim and lola



don ran a long time making sure the food was flowing

fedora 14 released today…oh, and don’t forget to vote

fedora 14 goes gold today and available for download.  it also happens to be election day here in the united states of america.  in the spirit of both, i wore my voter’s choice t-shirt to indicate how i cast my ballot.  it’s good to have choices, to choose the os you want and with some choices even after you pick certain operating systems.  ahh, freedom.

another day off

normally, i’d have been pto for a day and a half now, would have hiked somewhere in the mountains, and have eaten some serious steak and bacon. but this year, i’m still here in knoxtropolis. i realized that for the past two years, i’ve taken the second half of this particular week off. wednesday and thursday had left me feeling like i just wanted to get away form the office, but i didn’t know why until i reviewed my history. but i did decide to take friday off else i would have probably gone insane.  this is what i get for not taking a relaxing beach holiday this year.  i’ll have to see about doing that for next summer.

today’s plan:  compile christmas list (at my mom’s request), coffee at starbucks and some chatting in irc, run some errands, cook some chili, watch some tv, attend my niece’s [real] football game, and prepare to sleep in tomorrow morning.  i might nap in there somewhere too.

breakfast at the kns

every so often, the guys down stairs at the kns whip up some breakfast.  this morning was one of those “oftens.”  bacon, eggs, sausage, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, cheesy potatos, and bacon.  it was a good morning.  and now i have lunch, since there were leftovers.  wanna see?  check out a few shots.  (thanks, jim and don!)





wide-mouthed jar

dear peanut butter jar makers,

i like your peanut butters very much.  i especially like the crunchy.  it is an important ingredient to my sandwiches which also can include yet are not limited to bananas, honey, jelly, jelly beans, chocolate chips, and bacon.



but i find the jars i need of one major improvement:  a wider mouth.  i realize technological advancements in jar designs haven’t changed in the past many centuries, but when it comes to the butter of the peanut i think something needs to change.  visualize if you will me trying to scrape out the last one-fifth of the contents of the jar on the left (see picture) with my hand holding a knife.  you can imagine the peanutty butter coating the back of my hand as i reach down for the main feature?  can you feel it coat you hand?  it lends itself to needing to scrape it off my hand.  if i choose not to be coated, good peanut butter goes to waste.  do you know how much is thrown away each year?  can you fathom all those peanuts dying in…

ohio + linux + fest = ohio linuxfest

i spent this weekend in ohio at ohio linuxfest (olf) 2010.  this was my first linux conference i’ve attended.  since i’ve signed on as a fedora ambassador, i donned the t-shirt and help with the promotion table.  i met Southern_Gentlem, SGS, spot, stickster, rbergeron, three-thirty, mchua, and kc8hfi.  (i though kc8hfi stood us up, but he had just found some college buddies working another table and was hanging out with them.)  it’s great to meet the people i’ve only ever really known on irc.



Southern_Gentlem, threethirty, SGS all instructing the world about fedora linux

i sat in on stormy’s opening keynote.  of the few points she made, the one about how much of our private data can be better controlled using firefox was surprising to me.  i was also intrigued about the tomboy notes app, something of which i have not made much use.

i sat in on stickster’s pyGtk talk.  it was a  good presentation.  i’ve fooled around with pyGtk before, so this was a refresher.  it was presented well.  …

sony vaio

after many months of investigating and waiting, i finally purchased a laptop replacement back around july. my chose was sony’s vaio ea series with the intel core i5 processor, 4 gigs of ram, and a blu-ray drive.



my concern was making sure i had supported video since my last purchase proved to be an epic fail. i took a copy of fedora on a usb key into best buy and booted the sony laptop up to verify the video drivers. my testing was a definite win.

as with all my computers, i swiftly removed windows from the hard drive and replaced with linux, fedora flavored. i got my laptop up to speed rather quickly and was happy.

then one day, i was interacting with some people in the #fedora-social channel on irc and someone asked me if sound was working. i told him that i wasn’t sure. when i got home, i checked. it was not working. i never thought to check the sound as there’s not been problems with the sound working in the past. (at least, i’ve not had any difficulties.)

when i reported back tha…

new york city – the trip home

my trip home was not what i had planned.  something you need to know about me is that i like to wind down from travel.  when i plan my flights, i factor in a good chunk of time before i have to jump back into my routine.  this allows for a time of rest (from the travel, usually), but also gives me time to get some things out of the way, post-travel chores, such as unpacking and laundry, getting items ready for the next day (especially if i’m coming back to a work day), and even groceries.  i might even have some mental strength to put together my blog posts.

but things did not go as i had planned.  my flight from jfk to cincinnati was on schedule.  but my flight from cincinnati to knoxtropolis was not.  when we touched down in cinci, i turned my phone on to find email from delta waiting for me to let know my thirty minute layover was now about two.  when i got off the plane and found a monitor and found my gate, it had been bumped to three hours.  when i check my email again, the flig…

new york city – final evening

after i left my family to drive back upstate, i headed back to my hotel.  i needed to get my gear ready for my flight back the next morning.  i had calculated the time i needed to get up, the duration of the train ride to jfk, the time to check in and get through security, time for a quick food stop, and the wind resistance.  this being done, i could enjoy one last thing before i left nyc.  dinner out.

i did a quick search for a decent place and found aged steakhouse just around the corner from my lodging.  (they actually have two places, this was the most recent addition.)  from the time i walked in the door, i was treated very well.  the atmosphere was relaxed.  the food was good.  i had a green gazpacho made of green peppers, green apples, and green grapes.  (wasn’t familiar with gazpacho before this trip.)  then i had their hanger steak which was the special that evening with garlic, steak fries, and steamed asparagus (if i recall correctly).  for dessert, i had new york cheesecak…

new york city – day 5

this was the day my sis and her girls were coming down to visit the big apple.  i had gone to bed rather tired and woke up still a bit tired.  but i knew a visit to some starbucks would be my power up.

she wanted to see the “today” show first thing, so i hopped on the train and headed for 50th street.  after a bit of sms-tag, i found my fam.  while the girls stood in line for the show, dan and i found a starbucks.

once her cameo was done, wen listed the things she wanted to do/see; and i now having a good grasp of the subway system, we plotted our course.  our journey started at the top at belvedere castle in central park.  i hadn’t seen central park so this was something i got to add to my list of sights.  walking through the park takes you momentarily out of the city life.  we walked to the top of the castle, took some pics with the buildings peeking over the trees, and saw turtles.  i like turtles.



from the top to the bottom, we headed to lower manhattan to ride the ferry to staten…

new york city – day 4

where was i?  oh, right.  day four.  woke up…tired.  this was my day to see the play.  but that wasn’t until the afternoon, so i had time to fill before then.  best plan was to find times square.  i jumped onto the train and got off around 42nd street and walked the few blocks in that area.  saw the fox news building and the nbc building.  times square was a tourist mad house.  people in lines purchasing tickets for same day plays.  it was crazy.  i found a starbucks and fueled up and watched safely behind the glass.



i had three separate people tell me junior’s cheesecake was the best evar!  if three people independently tell me that, it must really be.  i had located my theatre for my matinée play and lo and behold!  it was right across from junior’s.  (the one in brooklyn is the original, i believe.  but these guys had the cheesecake too!)  my plan had been to watch play, go to grimaldi’s in brooklyn for pizza, back to this junior’s for dessert, then rockafeller building for view of…

new york city – day 3

i’m starting to get a little tired in the mornings now.  i had to get moving today.



first up is the statue of liberty.  i had checked online the evening before for tickets to go up in the statue, but they were sold out.  apparently, you have to get those a month in advance (as do you tickets to late night with jimmy fallon).  but the ferry ride to staten island was free and takes you by the lady libby twice.  so, i took the boat.  it was cloudy morning casting a shadow on libby, but a few moments when the sun broke through gave me shots like this one.

the next time i visit, i want to make it to liberty island.  this time, however, it worked out well.  i had to make it back to town to find spaz (aka ryan) and have some lunch.  i got off at the wrong stop and ended up walking more than i wanted.  this turned out for the best as i hadn’t made plans to find park avenue and madison avenue.  my trek took me right through that part of town.  after a bit of searching, i hooked up with spaz an…

new york city – day 2

after getting some rest, i woke up and strapped on my dslr and took to the streets!  well, right, i found a starbucks first and grabbed some coffee and fuel in pastry form.  then i made my way to the trains again.  my next lesson:  pay attention to uptown/downtown mentions on some of the entry points before you pay for the train.  some stations don’t have access to the other direction without leaving and paying again.  it took a couple of times to learn this lesson.

my first stop was the empire state building.  the morning was overcast so visibility wasn’t as good as it could be.  but i got to the top and took some pictures from the 86th floor and then journeyed to the 102nd floor to see more.



i spent over an hour up on top of the world.  then i realized i was hungry.  i ate in the restaurant at the bottom of the building.  bacon on my burger.  good stuff.  while there, i found spaz (aka ryan) and made next day lunch plans with him.

ok, next stop:  brooklyn bridge.  subway again.  i a…

new york city – day 1

even though i’ve been to new york almost every year growing up, i’ve never made it down into the city.  realizing this discrepancy, i decided to visit the big apple and see what all the hype was about.  hype indeed.  that place is so much fun!

armed with a little bit of knowledge of the transit system and a hotel room, i flew into the city midweek.  before i could meet up my friend haley for dinner, i had to be schooled a bit in the transit system and how it worked.  (this wouldn’t be my last lesson either.)  but i finally made it to my spot on the upper west side, the belnord hotel, which when i visit NYC again i’ll book a room.

i walked around until i found sarabeth’s.  i was almost an hour late and very hungry.  sarabeth’s did not disappoint.  and it was good to catch up with haley.

another note about my room:  after staying there for a week, i felt like a new york city resident.  i believe my garage alone is bigger than the room (including closet) and bathroom combined.  that is t…

latest chromium

if you prefer a faster browser than firefox, then google chrome is what you probably want to be running.  if you want something a bit more bleeding edge than waiting for google to push out patches to their chrome release, chromium is what you want.

since they release updates several times a day, i wrote a small bash script to grab the latest version released and set it up as my default browser.  (of course, this is for linux.)  and this is specifically for the 64-bit linux platform.  swap out the CHROMIUM_URL values in the script for your appropriate architecture.

#!/bin/bash ## get_latest_build.sh ## this assumes you've set up sudo ## if not, then change the sudos to "su -c" CHROME_DIR=/usr/local/bin/chrome SNAPSHOTS_URL=http://build.chromium.org/buildbot/snapshots CHROMIUM_URL=$SNAPSHOTS_URL/chromium-rel-linux-64 #CHROMIUM_URL=$SNAPSHOTS_URL/chromium-rel-linux PLUGINS_DIR=~/.mozilla/plugins if [ ! -d $CHROME_DIR ]; then echo "creating $CHROME_DIR..." …

benton’s bacon…and a waterfall

a few weekends back, i made a trip to bald river falls to photograph with a friend and my niece.  it was a very sunny day for a drive into the more country side of tennessee.  the back roads away from the city set my mind in a more relaxed state…unless i hear banjos.  plenty of rains from the weekends before fueled the falls with plenty to shoot.

i snapped a bunch of photos experimenting with very fast and very slow shutter speeds.  i posted a few of what i came up with, including a few of my niece, on flickr.   i also messed around with a polarizing filter to help cut down on the glare from the sun.  this was quite educational.  rotating the filter changed the light and color of the image.  although i’ve used this filter before, i’ve not played around with it to this extent.  (see “how to use a polarizing filter.”)

after we finished (aw) snapping our photos, our trek back took us close to benton’s bacon in madisonville.  did we stop by?  are you kidding?  i contained my excitement as …

android update (finally)

i updated my phone on friday last week to android 2.1.  this was a significant and long-awaited upgrade from version 1.5 i had been running for a long time.





the update went rather smoothly once i found a windows pc available to recognize my usb connection.  of course, it turns out my third-party usb cable seemed to be holding back the ability for my phone to be recognized as a shared drive, a problem i thought was to blame on either the phone or my os.  the original usb cable proved to be required for the phone to be seen.  noted for future reference.

i have to say that i really love the update.  aside from being able to run some apps that run under android 2.0 and up, the interface is much improved.  and some of my apps which did run under android 1.5 run much better under 2.1.  sprint boasted of these improvements:


Keypad backlight optimization
Bulk Bluetooth contact push
Various Bluetooth fixes
Increased speed and performance
Swipe to Unlock/Mute/Speakerphone
New camera features
Pandora …

monthly bacon

my mother asked me what i wanted for my birthday this year.  i hadn’t updated my wish list when she inquired, but i already had planned to put the item on the list.  this was something on my mind since a friend mentioned as it was an almost gift for me last year.  so i told mom, “i want a subscription to a bacon-of-the-month club.”



with several of my pals going in together with my family, i now am going to receive different bacon from the grateful palate each month for the next twelve.  some of the different bacons include applewood smoked, peppered, cob smoked, hickory smoked, and maple and alder smoked.  (see the full list here:  http://www.gratefulpalate.com/?p=Category_12.)  i am very psyched!  mom presented a box to me with a stuffed pig along with the information about the club.

my sister made one of the best chocolate cakes ever.  and to step it up a notch, she sprinkled bacon on top of it.  the frosting is super creamy.  the cake as moist as if it came right out of the oven, e…

intel video driver fail

i have been browsing for a laptop replacement to the compaq i currently have since well before christmas last year.  i’ve compared, looked for new features, priced out the current options, and found none that i wanted…until the hp g26t which seemed to be something that had all the things i wanted.  intel core i5, 4 gb ram (with room for 8 gb later), non-ati video drivers, nice design.  i have specific wants with regard to keyboard and asthetics which also strongly drove my search.


      hp g26t

i purchased the laptop with money from tax return, and it shipped to me.  i picked it up on friday and unboxed it immediately only to find the keyboard wasn’t what i thought it was going to b (first unmet expectation).  i took it home, ran the dvd backup software first, then shoved my fedora 12 (64-bit) dvd into the player for the reboot.  the installation went smoothly.  i ran the upgrade next (since i hadn’t previously downloaded a f12 respin image and didn’t want to wait for it).

when it reb…

meeting the fam

as i posted earlier, i made the trip to florida to watch the last night launch of the space shuttles.  i caught up with some cousins who were also in florida for the same reason.  i had been corresponding with lowell, who is actually mom’s cousin, regarding the launches.  he’s seen a few more of these, and i had asked his advice on best places to stay and where to witness the launch when i made my first trip last year.  this time, i finally got to meet them all in person.


my cousins

we had lunch at this little place off highway 520.  we all had something fried.  they had some shrimp.  i had some gator.  pictured are lowell, alice, jill, and me waiting for the fried goodness to arrive.  this was our first time getting together after they delayed the sunday morning launch.

we met up again on monday after they finally got the fuse lit on endeavour.  we were much more tired the second time around after being up for two nights and not getting all the sleep we needed in between.  neverthele…

android update for the moment

i have been running the update to cupcake (CL14) for a few weeks now. i have to say the two most noticeable improvements are correct battery life status and gps glitches removed.



the bigger of the two problems was my battery life. it showed significant drains after half a day of average use. patch now shows accurate power level which means my phone won’t shut down with a half loaded battery.

other people made references to the gps eating up battery cycles, and i’d noticed it appearing to struggle to get a signal whenever i had it active. now, it doesn’t continuously probe for satellite signals anymore and seems to pinpoint my location promptly.

the battery fix is why i upgraded and has made my experience with the moment so much better. and i was hoping this patch added over the air (ota) abilities for future upgrades.  brighthand posts that if i want to get upgraded early, i can take it into the store.  ota upgrades will come a couple of weeks later.  if i can get the upgrade this com…

new skin for netbook

i decided to do a little advertising of my favorite linux distro.  so, i ordered a skin from skinit.com.  the image is from fedora user and graphic designer ian weller.


  before skin


  after skin