31 December 2010

2010 in review

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

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!

26 December 2010

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.

20 December 2010

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.

15 December 2010


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.

13 December 2010

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

18 November 2010

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

02 November 2010

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.

29 October 2010

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.

19 October 2010

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!)

20 September 2010

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 vain?

now, the jar on the right has a better design, although it too is not really wide enough.  i am able to extract more of the p.butter out with a simple knife with less coating of my hand.  but i don’t believe this to be the final design to eliminate peanut butter hands.  more work needs to be done!  i mean, you guys have laboratories set up for just this kind of testing, right?  guys in lab coats and clipboards watching people stick their hands into jars of peanut butter playing a game of “operation” to try to avoid touching the sides?  this is the twenty-first century!  i truly believe you can do better.  i have faith in you.  and i do believe that we will never have flying cars until we can solve this problem.

so, what do you say, guys?  jif?  peter pan?  skippy?  who’s gonna step up to this challenge?  you could be the trend-setting company to redefine peanut butter jars for the industry.

very sincerely,

13 September 2010

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.  i just wish he had more time available to expound on more of his examples.

john “maddog” hall – thanks for all the fish!

i had never heard john “maddog” hall speak before, but i was familiar with the name.  his closing session at the end of the day was an enlightening trip of his forty years of jobs which included his introduction and involvement with linux from the operating system’s beginning.

we handed out all the media, almost all the stickers, and the t-shirts went like hotcakes!  i wasn’t there for the t-shirt giveaway, but i heard it took only 15 minutes to unload the batch SouthernGentlem brought with him.  everyone wanted them!  and why not?  it is fedora, after all.

fedora media

threethirty and SGS waiting for the next question

two OLPCs and a netbook showing off the fedora (and stickster at the red hat table)

it’s been a while since i’d taken a road trip.  this weekend was pleasant.

oh, and the accommodations were very nice.  this was sunrise from my window on saturday morning.


11 September 2010

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 that my sound was silent, i was given a few suggestions to try. after jumping through those hoops, what finally worked was to grab a koji kernel and install it. at the time, it was in release candidate 1 status, but it gave me sound. since then, that kernel was stabilized, and i am currently running

since that’s been resolved, this laptop is has all the desired items on my list.

22 July 2010

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 flight had been cancelled.  in fact, delta’s computers had automatically booked me on a later flight, the 7:00p flight out of cinci.  7:00p?!

i talked to ticket agent.  first lady, not so customer service-y.  having some time, i grabbed lunch.  upon returning to the gate, i asked again about matters.  i asked dude, who was more customer service-y, if i could get my bags if i could get a rental car.  he said sure.  i stepped aside and checked for cars.  none at hertz and avis.  i called AAA and asked for their magic powers to be invoked.  no cars available despite AAA magic.  i was really stuck there.

i told delta dude i would be staying.  he told me he would be working the gate from where my 7:00p flight was to leave and would work out my exact seating when i got there.  hours to kill now.

i put together the first few blog posts during the time.  i felt like i could have used a nap.  i really wanted a nap…and to have my laundry started and to even have my grocery shopping done.  time passed more quickly while putting together my blog posts.  time to find my gate.

hey, look, my gate.  hey, there’s delta dude.  he gave me seat one-charlie.  right up front!  it’s almost like riding shotgun except you can’t see out the front window, and the airlines don’t like that term used no matter where you sit.  flight was short.  i got home actually twenty minutes earlier than schedule.  points to our pilots.  and i was the first one off the plane.  never had that happen before.  i got to be first in line at the baggage area!

i ended up waiting for all the bags to make it off the plane.  mine was not among them.  great.  talked to delta lost baggage lady.  she informs me my bag never got put on at jfk and as we were talking was either en route to or already in hotlanta.  (she didn’t call it hotlanta.  that’s my term.)  great.

my bag didn’t actually come for another twenty-four hours after i had gotten home.  about 10:30p on tuesday night after i had gone to bed.  i am at least glad delta didn’t lose my bags going to new york.  that would have really set me off, i believe.  i’m also glad i didn’t burn extra pto because of bumped fights.  and despite this end to the whole vacation, i did have an extremely good time.

i’ll be back, new york.  i’ll be back.

21 July 2010

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 cheesecake.  you gotta have new york cheesecake in new york, right?

when i was finished, i walked back to my room on a very less humid evening in new york city.  ahhh.  it was a good ending.

>> trip home

20 July 2010

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 island so we could see statue libby.  this was my second visit to see her.  it was less overcast letting more sun light her up.  we pulled a round tripper and rode back to manhattan to find some pizza.  (it was good pizza, but ray’s was fresher.)

the statue of liberty is in the background between the girls, just next to k2’s head.

next, we walked over to wall street and ran with the bulls.  ok, no bulls, but we walked wall street to brooklyn bridge.  it was still there, right where i left it a few days before.  some clouds had started to cover up the sky and before we got to the bridge, drops of water spinkled us as we started our crossing.  about midway, it cleared up for a while.  more views of libby and empire state building.  on the other side, we caught the train at high street.

next destination was ground zero.  it had been raining some more.  the humidity wasn’t going to give us a break.  yet we started our walk toward the world trade center…going in the wrong direction.  i might have figure out the trains, but i never did figure out which way to walk when the street names weren’t numbers.  (unless i knew the streets well enough, which i didn’t after just four days.)  after we doubled back to our train station it was just a few blocks to get to the site.  since it was a weekend, however, some of the side streets were blocked off and our visibility of the area wasn’t as good as i had found it on friday.  you could still see a couple of the building rising out from behind the fence.

the sun had started to come out now, but all of us were tired.  the k’s felt it worse and wanted to head back.  it was starting to get later in the afternoon so the decision made to go back to dan’s car.  while looking at the map, we decided to make one more stop at grand central.  we walked (underground) to the station.  it’s just like you see on the televisions.  and after a brief stay, we headed back out at street level to the garage.

whew!  it was quite the day walking around.  i did get to see the first and last stops as something new.  seeing all the other stuff for a second time was actually rather fun.  i enjoyed hanging out with my fam.

>> final evening

15 July 2010

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 matinĂ©e 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 the city.  but since it was right here and it had been a while since i’d eaten breakfast at this point, why not?  and so i ate cheesecake.  mmm!  extremely creamy.  i was indeed impressed.

walked around a little more.  picked up a copy of the new york post and read it for a while.  see what i did there?  i bought an actual newspaper!  paper!  to all my newspaper people out there, you’re welcome.

ok, time for play.  lend me a tenor was definitely the best choice.  i considered wicked, but the seating choices when i was purchasing tickets weren’t the best.  i did get great seats for this performance though.  anthony lapagliatony shalhoub, and justin barthaentertained!  all the characters were cast very well, actually.  and for his first play, stanley tucci came out strong.  it was slapstick, layers of misunderstanding, and singing delivered like clockwork.   too bad this show closes in august.

after this since i’d already had my cheesecake, i was ready for some pizza.  the sky has been overcast since i had left the hotel.  i jumped on the train and headed for brooklyn again.  when i stepped out of the station, it started to rain, slowly at first, and then it picked up.  i ended up waiting for a few moments under an awning and asked for more specific directions to grimaldi’s.  after the water let up, i walked up to a line which didn’t seem to be moving.  i heard a local girl walking up the street telling her friend the people wait in line two hours for pizza there.  two hours?!  rain might start up again, i was already wet on the outside from the first shower and was already sweating on the inside from the humidity.  i decided two hours of dripping even more not worth it.

i walked around looking for another pizza place in brooklyn.  i came across a fire station and asked the locals for a good spot.  after a bit of asking among themselves, they recommended lombardi’s in little italy.  back on a train.  found lombardi’s but they only take cash.  didn’t have enough on me for dinner, so after an hour of trying to figure out my pin to my credit card online, i finally gave up.  i was running out of time to make it rockafeller.

i got there in time to see the sun set from the top of the rock, as the event is billed.  my empire state building experience was hazy compared to what i was able to enjoy here.

after spending some time high above, it was time to find a missing dinner below.  when i reached the bottom, i asked one of the guards where a good place for pizza was.  she directed me to ray’s in times square for fresh pies.  i found it.  i had three slices.  three honking big new york slices.  and i was very full.  and i decided that i was going to walk back to the hotel since i was so full.  and so i did.  twenty-five blocks uptown past central park, past lincoln center, past a good part of the city.  took me a while, not sure how long, but i was ready for bed when i got there.

good night, new york.

>> day 5

14 July 2010

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 and and some sushi.  it was a good catch up lunch.  in fact, i don’t think i’ve been to lunch with spaz before when he was still in knoxtropolis working for scripps.

my next stop was to visit ground zero.  this area is under a lot of security, and i wasn’t able to see as much as i would have liked.  diagrams and mock photos showed what the future of the site was to look like.  you could see the construction so far of the two new towers.  i found the memorial mural.  the changes to the block are significant.  the buildings in that part of town are very picturesque.

i didn’t stay too long there because i needed to head back to clean up to meet rebecca at lincoln center.  she was kind enough to grab some tickets to that evening’s concert of the new york philharmonic playing their summer classic.  (we ate some sushi before.  yeah, more sushi.  more good stuff.)

rebecca works there so she has access to the tickets–what a deal that is!  before the concert, she showed me around the plaza of lincoln center.  i saw a little of fordham university’s campus and heard some salsa tunes for a midsummer’s swing.

the concert was incredible.  it was one of the highlights of this trip.  the box seats we had gave us a good view of alexendar gavrylyuk’s fingers as he flew across the keys.  he performed amazingly.  the conductor bramwell tovey entertained beyond his conducting.  rebecca told me his interaction with the audience was worth the evening.  she was right.

we finished up with some pinkberry yogurt not far from lincoln center.  it was all-in-all a grand evening.

>> day 4

13 July 2010

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 am starting to get the hang of this transit stuff.  i made it to the bridge after a little wandering around to find the walkway entrance.  the walk across the top was one of my favorite walks.  the sun was hot, but the breeze made things feel better.

after casually walking around up here and enjoying the afternoon and taking a bunch of photos, i headed back to grab a shower and meet haley and her crew again for their cultural dinner.  the restaurant was awash in the east village.  the cuisine was ethiopian.  lindsey (lindsay? lyndsee?) and i did our duty and cleaned off one of the platters at our table.  it was good food.  and a few of us headed over for a load-your-own-pay-by-the-ounce/pound yogurt place.  phileo’s was the name of it.  again, good stuff.  and the evenings were better as they were cooler.

oh, and i had to taxi over to the east village since i had screwed up on the direction entry point again and realized i wasn’t going to  make it on time if i tried to train it.

>> day 3

12 July 2010

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 the standard size from what i keep hearing.

oh, and my next trip would be taken in the spring or fall.  never again in the summer.  despite being in the north, temperatures were what i left behind in knoxtropolis…plus some humidity.

>> day 2

26 May 2010

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.

##  get_latest_build.sh
##  this assumes you've set up sudo
##  if not, then change the sudos to "su -c"


if [ ! -d $CHROME_DIR ]; then
  echo "creating $CHROME_DIR..."
  sudo mkdir $CHROME_DIR

echo "get latest version number..."
wget -nv -O "/tmp/LATEST" "$CHROMIUM_URL/LATEST"
LATEST=`cat /tmp/LATEST`

echo "download latest..."
wget -O "$CHROME_DIR/chrome-linux.zip" 

echo "unzip latest..."
unzip "$CHROME_DIR/chrome-linux.zip" -d "$CHROME_DIR"

echo "rename the directory with build number..."
mv "$CHROME_DIR/chrome-linux" "$CHROME_DIR/chrome-linux-$LATEST"

echo "reset soft link..."
rm "$CHROME_DIR/chrome_linux"
ln -s "$CHROME_DIR/chrome-linux-$LATEST" "$CHROME_DIR/chrome_linux"

if [ -d $PLUGINS_DIR ]; then
  echo "copy plugins directory into new chrome dir..."
  cp -r $PLUGINS_DIR $CHROME_DIR/chrome_linux/

echo "setting permissions on directory..."
chmod ug+rx "$CHROME_DIR/chrome_linux"

echo "done!"

20 May 2010

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.

smooth wateri 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 we walked into the modest storefront.  once you step through their portal, the wonderful smell of smoked goodness fills your senses.  although visually there’s not much to see, the aroma tells a different story.  when i was asked i could be helped, i immediately told the fellow, “i need bacon!”

“how much?”

hmm, what a question?  i really hadn’t considered a limited amount.  but i knew i wanted a slab.  i asked rationally, “how much is it?”

he told me the price per pound.  i pondered for a moment and knew he needed an answer.  so i uttered, “twenty pounds.”  unphased, the benton’s butcher turned and walked toward the back.  in a moment, he returned carrying a slab and a half.  he loaded it on the scale and told me it was close to twenty pounds.  i told him that was fine.

benton’s bacon redefines how i rate the taste of bacon.  my senses have been re-calibrated to  a high level of quality.  everything else pales in comparison.  i don’t think i can eat regular bacon again.

19 May 2010

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 enhancements

of course, i don’t care at all about pandora since it is lame.  the swipe to unlock feature is very nice.  the camera responds better too.

11 April 2010

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, even the next day.  and of course, there is the bacon.

another couple of friends also purchased a couple packages of benton’s bacon.  i’ve heard about this bacon.  it’s a local favorite/phenomenon making some news.  they hosted this year’s knoxville bacon fest.  i can’t wait to fry this up.

i got a few other items too–i’m set for movies for blockbuster summer season, got some dvds of a favorite series, and my fill of sushi during a dinner out.  it was a very good birthday.

thanks, family and friends!

09 March 2010

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 rebooted, i noticed the resolution was still stuck on 1024×768.  this thing does better, i reasoned.  i copied the xorg.conf file to my home directory and rebooted.  when it restarted, i had no screen.  i rebooted again.  same deal.  i tried to ctrl+alt+f2 to a straight up text login.  nothing.  all the f-keys gave me nothing.

i tried rebooting into vesa mode, nomodeset, noacpi…all the same blank nothingness.  i set my init to 3 and booted to a command line.  checked intel hardware, looked on the google for any hope of someone posting a solution or even a sympathetic blog post of the same problem.  nothing out there about it.  this machine is too new for that.

after asking for more advice in the #fedora channel on freenode (irc), i realized i’d found an intel video driver the linux kernel didn’t support.  i decided it was best to send it back.  which i did.

now, i’m back to where i was just before i found this laptop.  my second interest laptop isn’t a strong enough want to just simply purchase it.  maybe if i wait, i’ll find something i want when they put out some new laptops.

27 February 2010

“please say fedora”

i saw this link on digg this past week: http://blog.nixternal.com/2010.02.18/please-say-fedora/

i have to admit that i have a real dislike/never-use-again mentality for at&t. but this has bought them a little bit of respect from me. don’t get me wrong. i’m still never going to use them again, but i will admire them from my reliable internet connections way over here.

24 February 2010

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.  nevertheless, it was good to hang out with family.  lowell, alice, and i took a drive down florida 1A1 (atlantic avenue) from cocoa beach past patrick air force base and into a bit of satellite beach.  lowell pointed out what was around back in days of nasa when the moon landing was still the goal.  many of the places he showed me i’ve been reading about in the right stuff.  as with all beach locations, it has been built up much more than it was when alan shepherd and john glenn were being jettisoned into space on rockets.

i’ve uploaded a few photos of the launch that morning to my flickr account tagged “sts-130.” the video turned out the best on my attempts to capture the launch, but those are what i have.  of course, nasa has the best pics in the world for these things.  incredible angles of the launch.  nasa’s collection of photos of the launch, which again doesn’t do the actual site justice. i credit nasa with this image of the launch which the closest i could find to how it actually looked if you had been there.  it comes from nasa’s site, but i couldn’t seem to locate it again for a link.

18 February 2010

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 coming week, i’d spend some time in the sprint store.

12 February 2010

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.

lenovo before skin
  before skin

lenovo after skin
  after skin