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Showing posts from 2013

candied bacon

last year, i made candied bacon for our family christmas eve gathering. this year, my brother-in-law requested i make more of it for this year’s event.

the recipe can be found many places online. it’s very simple.


1 pound of bacon
1 pound of brown sugar (a regular box or bag will be enough)
1 pound of confectionery sugar (again a regular box or bag will be enough)


preheat oven to 350°f
on a cookie pan with edges, spread aluminum foil down to cover including the inside edges (to make clean up easier)
spread brown sugar on the foil
lay the bacon strips out the full length of the pan, overlapping them just barely
spread another handful or two of thr brown sugar on top of the bacon
cook in oven for about 40 minutes on one side, then flip and cook another 15 to 20 minutes on the other side
spread out wax paper on a flat surface and sprinkle some of the confectionery sugar on the paper. then lay the bacon strips freshly out of the oven on the sugar. this will keep it from s…

shut up, wesley

saw this retweet from patrick stewart this morning:

that could not have been more perfect!

the video of reference is this one:

sacrificing my 50mm

i had to use pliers and a screwdriver to remove my 50mm lens from my dslr tonight.

the lens wouldn’t come off after a quick swap at my niece’s concert. a quick search online revealed this happened more often than i would have imagined. for that, i am both happy and sad.

i used the guide here to remove my lens without damaging my camera:

fortunately, it is one of the cheaper lenses. i like my 50mm a lot. i will replace it, but i am leerly about having this happen with another canon lens.

non-credit photography class

this fall, i signed up for a photography class through ut. this class has been long overdue for me. even though i’ve had my dslr since 2008, there were many things i needed to and did learn from this course.

the course is six weeks of evening classes and two field trips. several of the things i learned included:

the whole stop points for both aperture and shutter speed adjustments
how to shoot with shallow depth of field
what to look for when buying a flash and a tripod
setting a custom white balance, how to use accessories like extension tubes
the concepts of composition
the timing of the class was perfect too. fall colors were in full effect for our second field trip.

i’ve been practicing the techniques taught for photographing family events. i believe i’m going to be carrying my camera around more to social gatherings.

i would recommend this class for anyone who has recently purchased their first dslr. it would be great to start with practicing good habits from the start. there are so m…

disabling suspend/hibernate/shutdown for all users but root

my situation:

we have a screen along with a keyboard and mouse in a scrum room at work. the computer is in a locked rack closet on the other end of the floor. i do not have direct access to this room. this computer serves as a portal for internet access and conference calling. i installed fedora linux on the system.

because of the remoteness about it, the keyboard was one that had a power button on it. occasionally, it would get bumped and shutdown the system. this meant we had to find someone to unlock the door to physically power the computer back up. we were successful in disabling the power button on the keyboard, but we still had a problem with being able to shutdown the machine from the gnome interface.

my solution:

i probed in #fedora on freenode and was pointed to using a policykit policy to limit suspend/hibernate/shutdown access to root only. the first link i found was this one:…

return to hoops

today was the day i decided to brave the court since my knee surgery back in june. actually, i had stopped playing over a month before the surgery.

i have been riding my recumbent bike since the beginning of august, and it had done a good job of getting me back into some shape. i say “some shape” because nothing gets you into shape like playing basketball, especially with some of the guys on my court.

i wanted to take it easy since it was the first time back. i believe that i did. my knee did feel a bit more sore than usual about an hour after i got to work. climbing stairs reveals that ache a little more than normal. considering that we played 4-on-4, it’s doing rather well.

i will decide on monday or if i should wait again till wednesday for further punishment. until then, ibuprofen and ice.

tiny tiny rss

ever since the shutdown of google reader by google, i’ve been trying and searching for a suitable replacement. list most, i’ve tried feedly, digg, and old reader with hopefulness, but all these seemed to have one thing lacking. i liked feedly the best, but their recent requirement for payment for text searching feed content i decided i needed to either find another solution or come up with my own.

i considered writing my own using python and django, but i thought i might give tiny tiny rss a shot first. this appears to have all that i need for an rss reader with a decent interface (included customizable themes for the css-skilled) along with a very nice android app. i can run this on a personal server and use the web interface or the android app to read all my stuff. it’s open source too, so that’s a huge plus.

for the time being, i’ve found my rss solution.

no longer a scumbag

as of today, my days of being a scumbag contractor have concluded. i am a full-time employee of scripps networks interactive (sni). and i should be sitting in orientation at the time this post goes live.

i’ve been working at sni for almost a year through premier staffing partners as a systems engineer. it has been a good year with plenty of challenges to keep me on my toes. i have enjoyed the work and the team i am on. i am excited to continue being a systems engineer. having a developer background definitely helps in this role.

i am very glad to be here!

samsung ssd

i installed this solid state hard drive into my laptop this weekend: Samsung Electronics Samsung 840 Series Solid State Drive (SSD) 500 GB.

so far, it’s great! boot time is about two seconds on average! two freakin’ seconds for a full boot! i expect an improvement in power consumption as well as the speedy read/writes.

the only drawback is that it’s 250gb less than my original hard drive. i am going to have to be diligent about my photographs (imported from my camera) and virtual machines. those two eat away at my space quickly. (but the VMs i do have should run much quicker now.)

added: this link is to a video of the improved boot up:

take this mug for a ride

last week, i decided to take a run for the first time in over two months. it was a little rougher than i imagined. although i was mindful of my knee, my body hadn’t had been through some aerobic exercise for too long.

since my doctor and (physical) therapists all recommended either swimming or bike riding for a safer, non-impact activity. and since i don’t have a pool, biking is my option.

because i think driving in knoxville is hazardous enough and refuse to be “that guy” who slows down traffic because i am biking in a lane, i decided on a recumbent bike for home.

the search on amazon took some time, but i decided on this one: xterra recumbent bike.

i like it. it did take a while to put together, not difficult, just time consuming. the convenience being able to roll out of bed and be riding quickly is extremely nice. plus i can ride in any weather.

this will get me back in shape for basketball. just how long it will take is yet to be discovered.

new thermos, yo!

i bought this thermos on amazon close to a month ago and am quite happy with it. it keeps the hot stuff hot and the cool stuff…well, i’ve not put anything cool in it yet.

i have been accumulating coffee in whole bean form from starbucks for a long time. i decided it was time to start brewing at home and bringing it in. this gives me quality coffee which stays hot all day. besides, the stainless steel construction makes the flux dispersal….

trying out digg reader

i signed up for the digg reader, another replacement to google reader. first impression: i like it.

the preset feeds per category are a little limited, but then again it is customizable. i need to find my backed up google reader links to import. there is an option for that when you first sign on, but my archive file wasn’t readily available. oh, and i am using my google account to connect. convenient.

right now, it’s a bit basic with only two modes of viewing. the look and feel reminds me of google reader. i think it’s in the early of stages of what it will eventually become. as long as they don’t start charging a fee for a pro version or interspersing ads, i’ll be good with it. i still have desire to write my own to avoid the trappings of bigger companies looking for revenue generating tactics.

i never thought i’d come back to digg. now i can sport those digg/diggnation t-shirts again with relevance rather than nostalgia.

wow. just wow.

i needed to automate some process on a windows server today for work. it’s been a long time since i’ve done any real work in a microsoft environment. i have been working with linux on both desktop and server platforms. my endeavor was labor intensive for what would have been super simple on a linux server.

my task: unzip a file into a specified directory automatically. that is, i needed to script it. since this is so unbelievably simple in linux, i had hoped it would be just a matter of finding the right executable in windows and making the command line calls. i was wrong.

native tools for unzipping on a windows server seem to exist within the window manager executables. these are not even callable based on a quick search around the internet. most solutions involved installing third party tools just to unzip files, and not all of these could be used from a command line. in fact, i was appalled to find this comment in this thread:

“…the normal way…”?! really?
i don’t know how people liv…

minor repair

i had been suffering with pain in my right knee for some time. i chalked it up to minor sports injuries that heal themselves after some rest. this one turned out to be different.

after a couple of people in one week mentioned that i should have it looked at, i scheduled a doctor visit. x-rays not giving a clear enough picture, the nurse referred me to an orthopedist. more x-rays and hands ob led to an mri which led to an arthroscopic procedure to repair torn meniscus.

i asked for local anesthesia rather than general so i could watch the show on the monitor. my doc gave me a play-by-play as he ran the scope in my knee and shaved down the damaged tissue. (that was way cool!)

i spent a couple of days doing little walking and almost two weeks on pain meds. oh, and some physical therapy.

i was glad to have the bandage off. just three entry points. i had hoped to be lightly jogging by now, but i am still healing. pain is not really the problem; it’s more of letting the insides herald proper…

gnome terminal, 3.6 style

included in the newest gnome is their terminal which has the transparency removed because…well, no one really knows. and the packager was a jerk about it. so, i’ve pulled the gnome-terminal-3.6.1-1.fc18.x86_64.rpm from koji and used the force to install it.

# rpm -ivh --force gnome-terminal-3.6.1-1.fc18.x86_64.rpm
nice to have functionality back. what up, gnome?

now, you need to protect it from updates. first, install the yum-versionlock plugin:

# yum install yum-versionlock
next, lock the package:

# yum versionlock gnome-terminal
if you have already performed an upgrade using fedup or this is a new install, unlock the gnome-terminal-3.8.x package.

# yum versionlock delete gnome-terminal-3.8.x-y.fc19.*
check it to see if it is locking your version:

# yum versionlock list
all done.

graduation time!

my oldest niece graduated from high school this past saturday. with honors and stuff! she’s one smart cookie. and she’ll be attending the university of tennessee. i am so proud of her! she is so amazing! great job, k1!

changing desktops

when gnome 3 replaced the favored gnome 2 back a few years ago, many got off the train and started using alternate desktop environments such as kde or xfce. i stuck with the new gnome trying out and even liking their new design.

gnome 3.2 polished up some first-gen bugs and made things a little better. i was getting more accustomed to the new feel. sure, i missed some customizing features for which gnome was known, but i learned to be productive with the interface.

gnome 3.4 brought even more new features and continued to fix things. i was still happy.

but then gnome 3.6 arrived and although it had more nice things, i started noticing a trend toward what seemed closer to ubuntu’s unity or mac’s interface. i became a little concerned about the direction gnome was headed.

then i previewed gnome 3.8. the feature highlight video i watched gave me the desire to want to try it out, but in doing so another small feature was removed: terminal transparency.


what? why?

it’s very minor, bu…

melinda’s country kitchen

i decided this morning to try out a local place for breakfast. i’ve been to melinda’s fir lunch before and like it a lot. i had always wanted to come back for breakfast. on my friday off, i made the trip over. it’s not that far for me, actually. in the shopping center on hill behind burger king and starbucks (on cedar bluff) is where this little restaurant is nestled. the food is very good and the style is what you might find at a diner, but when you realize melinda is from south africa, “country” is the same as cracker barrel.

the items on the menu you’d recognize, but it really is more of a home-cooked meal than you’ll find anywhere outside of home. this morning’s breakfast was very good. light and fluffy pancakes, eggs, toast, and bacon…all very good. (the bacon passes my approval with flying colors, for what that’s worth.) but the signature item for me was the hashbrown casserole. i am not a huge fan of this item anywhere. i mean, fried potatoes taste the same no matter who cooks…

happy birthday, sis

don’t see that everyday

it was down about 10 minutes. good thing i didn’t need to buy anything!

DCMA needs to die

we can thank bill clinton for signing this stupid law into effect. and now the stupidity has taken new levels. the library of congress has declared that unlocking mobile phones to be illegal under the DCMA.

mike stoltz from the EFF (electronic frontier foundation) sums it up in this quote to engadget:

“This shows just how absurd the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is: a law that was supposed to stop the breaking of digital locks on copyrighted materials has led to the Librarian of Congress trying to regulate the used cellphone market.”
for most people who are don’t care about using their phone other than given to them by the carriers, this will pass them by quietly. for the rest of us who would rather actually own the devices for which we paid money, it’s huge red flag.

what i would hope for is that this is the beginning of decoupling phones from carriers. as in the rest of the world, i can walk into an electronics store and buy a phone, any phone. then i can walk across the street t…

winter weather (finally)

we have finally started getting some of the winter weather we all love…well, that i love. most of the people who live in knoxtropolis want tropical beach weather year round. i have still not figured out why they don’t enjoy seasons.

i took some pictures. check them out.

fedora 18 update: fedup (the better way)

“shiny!” — all the cast members of “firefly” at some point

yesterday, i posted my review of how horrible the new fedora 18 installer was. i do have some good news to fedora 18 upgrades. the new fedora updater called fedup.

i had another computer running fedora 17 that i was going to need to update to fedora 18 as well. given my fresh burning of my laptop’s update, i was loathing the thought of going through all that again. but i caught glimpse of fedup on the fedora website and remembered hearing good things about that.

so, while punching away on my laptop, i started the fedup process on my desktop computer. it ran with update, it rebooted. grub had included the fedup option in the boot menu as the default to complete the process. it finished the pieces necessary post-restart and cleaned itself up nicely.

wow! that was super easy! and it’s also my recommended method for updating to fedora 18. there is a catch, though: you must be running fedora 17 or higher for it to work. this means …

fedora 18 update: beginning to damage my calm

“you’re beginning to damage my calm.” — jayne cobb

since i’m an experienced fedora updater, i gave no second thought to downloading install media for the task. no live update spin since i wanted to get as much installed as i could in one sitting. booting from the dvd took me into the new anaconda, the redesigned installer. it looked sharp! it was clean and looked less like it had from the last couple of decades. but looks really aren’t everything as i would come to discover.

my situation: i have a hard drive with a single install of fedora and a couple of partitions of data i want to carry over untouched to the next install (/home and /usr/local). these two partitions are also segmented in a logical volume mount (LVM).

in the past, i would have performed a manual partition configuration and kept the whole partition layout reformatting all but the aforementioned two. that was my plan this time.

time to install. i got through the first part of the install screens without any problems. b…