21 December 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 sticking to the wax paper and give it a wintry look, candy look.

let it cool for about 30 minutes and then serve or refrigerate for storing.

05 December 2013

shut up, wesley

saw this retweet from patrick stewart this morning:

Screenshot from 2013-12-05 10:37:43

that could not have been more perfect!

the video of reference is this one:

03 December 2013

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: http://www.theroastedroot.net/removing-a-stuck-canon-50mm-f1-8-camera-lens/

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.


09 November 2013

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 many places i would love to take over knowing what i know now.

these are some of the photos i took and submitted for the class:

red brickparallelreflection of the skycrooked linesthe gridknoxville city

ut photography class, a set on flickr

i plan to add to this set with other photos as i go through them.

07 November 2013

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:


the syntax for the first response was for an older version of policykit. a little further investigation led me to this link:


the reference in the last post indicated this file has the control i needed:


using the values in the first link, i plugged them into that policy file and was able to get it working.

i didn’t adjust the media seating or flushing, but all the power controls were set for allow_any to be “auth_admin,” and the allow_active and allow_inactive to “no.”

11 October 2013

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.

25 September 2013

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.

tiny tiny rss web interface

26 August 2013

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!

sni google results

12 August 2013

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:

10 August 2013

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.

08 August 2013

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….

07 August 2013

trying out digg reader

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

digg reader

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.

17 July 2013

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?
“…the normal way…”?! really?

i don’t know how people live in a click and drool world and not feel their geek being stripped away from them. nothing feels better than having so many options at my disposal. and if one doesn’t exist, i could simply write it using the plethora of tools existing on the majority of linux systems. perhaps i’m just too spoiled living in a world were i can script up so much using so many different and simple tools. and for that, i am very thankful because i could be working in a world where today’s sort of situation was my everyday job.

13 July 2013

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 properly ofwhich i am in total favor.

it is closer to normal life again. i really want to play basketball again. the knee is becoming stronger.



05 June 2013

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.

21 May 2013

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!

k1, graduate version

09 May 2013

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, but a function i use/rely on regularly for work. on a smaller laptop screen, window switching is time consuming. being able to see through a terminal window to read data saves time.

it is a small thing; but when you start to realize so many small things have been taken away already, they start to add up. you begin to see you are being spoon fed like…like an apple user.

the choices are going away. which is why i have already switched to xfce. totally customizable. choices again.

very nice.

05 April 2013

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 them, right? not these. i really enjoyed the flavor of these. can’t put my finger on the distinguishing ingredient, but i liked them!

melinda is a cheerful hostess who welcomes you when you walk in. i like the accent, of course, since it’s a familiar one to me. the place is a quiet getaway if that’s what you want to start your day. you can visit her facebook page for more information: http://facebook.com/MelindasCountryKitchen

31 January 2013

don’t see that everyday

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

amazon is down

28 January 2013

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 to a carrier, any carrier, and get an account and a sim card, plug that sim card into my new phone, and it all just works.

i see two beneficial aspects to the customer:

  1. it causes phone manufacturers to make phone with features that are competitive with other phone despite carrier contracts. that means more phone sales for the companies since carrier contracts don’t include limited phone selections at the beginning. competition between mobile device companies increases for better phone offered on any network, opening the pool for sales.

  2. it causes the carriers to improve their networks rather than bank on the phones to bring in their customers. that means they have to focus on their networks and services rather than looking to lock people into their contracts based on a phone selection. competition is encouraged, including lower rates for us.

now, maybe i’ve not looked at this completely or correctly, so i welcome feedback to correct any misconceptions. but if this policy works for the rest of the world, i could work for us. and i would say it should be the case for our mobile device market.

related articles:
CNET: Unauthorized unlocking of smartphones becomes illegal Saturday
Ars Tecnica: Unlocking new cell phones to become illegal on Saturday
Engadget: Unlocking new phones now banned under DMCA, the EFF weighs in

26 January 2013

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.

24 January 2013

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 if you are running fedora 16 or lower, you’ll need to either upgrade to fedora 17 first and then run fedup or just leap to fedora 18. (see yesterday’s post and accept my sympathies in advance.)

why couldn’t have anaconda have been as stress-free as fedup?

23 January 2013

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. but when i tried to deal with the partitioning, i got stuck.

the wording of the partitioning piece was something i had to pay close attention to. i couldn’t just assume that it was all going to be click here to reformat, click there to preserve. i ended up reading the help section after several failed attempts finding in the end it wouldn’t let me keep my existing partitions. i tried this several times, a few of them after rebooting to start the process from scratch. i finally was able to get all the partitions under the fedora 18 install header, but it still told me there were errors.

fedora 18 partitioning
fedora 18 partitioning

i wanted to reformat root (/), boot (/boot), and swap. but i wasn’t really deleting these partitions, which is what i believe the installed wanted in order for the necessary space to be available for the install. in fact, i didn’t come to that realization until at the end i made the decision to wipe my entire hard drive and start from scratch.

no matter what configuration i ended up on the partitioning screen, i would always end up with the same error message not allowing any progress forward. (on a few occasions, my configuration combinations ended up locking or crashing the installer forcing me to restart from a reboot.)

fedora 18 installer errors
fedora 18 installer errors

here is what i have come to understand at the end: this installer will work if

  1. you intend to do a clean wipe of your hard drive and install fresh, or

  2. you have multiboot partitions of linux and can swap out an entire segment with the new stuff.

the latter choice is actually a variation of the former in reality. give that logic, there is no way to preserve your existing partitions. if there is a way, it’s not clear, it’s not in the help documentation, and it’s not online (at the time of my adventure).

in the end, i backed up my /home and /usr/local partitions to an external hard drive, did a complete wipe of the hard drive, set it up the same as my  previous install, and restored from backup the data in my favorite two locations. this took way longer than it should have for a “streamlined” install process, which is how it’s presented. i don’t believe enough testing was done on non-virtual environments with layouts like mine and by people who had no behind-the-scenes knowledge of how the installer worked. i do believe they will improve on this going forward given that this has been the focus point of many negative reviews.

many people complained about redesigned interface. i can handle something like that as long as the look is not off the deep end or made to look like any fruity technology. it’s the functionality that pushed me to the edge of calm.