September 20, 2006

Time to reinstitute flogging

Although I'm not certain that it would be sufficient punishment for the asshat in this article. Excerpt:

Thornton was charged in August with felony animal torture for pulling the head off a kitten owned by his girlfriend, a 30-year-old woman who lives at the same address.

Thornton and his girlfriend had a fight the night of July 28, and she left the house. When she returned, she saw the animal's head and body in the front yard.

A veterinarian documented that the head had been forcibly ripped off.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Posted by: Physics Geek at 07:43 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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September 19, 2006

Today's the day

Did you remember that today was Talk Like A Pirate Day? Arrrgghhh!

Posted by: Physics Geek at 02:02 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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September 18, 2006

Moving on from Windows

Let me flog the horse a little bit longer, in the hopes that its corpse will magically reanimate: start the transition from Windows to Linux. Soon. Claus Futtrup has a pretty good article detailing why the move shouldn't be painful. Excerpt:

There are many reasons for converting from another operating system to Linux. Each person has an individual relation to this, but typical reasons are:

1) I have old hardware and I want new software than runs well on my machine. Maybe Microsoft has quit their support of the OS installed on the computer from the beginning. Linux reduces the need to upgrade or replace hardware when upgrading to newer versions because it is very efficient and designed to be scalable.

2) I want to spend my money wisely, not on updating software (and my morals are too high to use piracy). Linux and much of the related software is available at no cost.

3) I have a political agenda when choosing free OpenSource software. You may not be willing to accept the constraints of commercial software (financially, regarding file formats, bug fix support is in the hands of some developers and it can be difficult to get their attention, etc). The most advanced form is GNU Copyrighted software (socalled GPL), as defined by the Free Software Foundation, but other standard copyrights exist as well.
Ready to move ahead? I have a big recommendation. You can jump directly from a commercial MS-Windows world with Microsoft Office and other commercial applications at your disposal into a free OpenSource Linux world. Chances are that this will be a very hard battle - maybe also unnecessarily hard. Since OpenSource software for Linux is usually also available for Windows you can make a smooth start by first familiarizing yourself with the software under MS-Windows, then later make the jump to Linux and be pleased that you know the applications already - being productive from the get-go and therefore have a more relaxed approach to understanding the underlying Linux system (if you like to). Software to consider for your MS-Windows computer is:

* Web browsing : Firefox
Make sure you can use your internet banking and check that other important sites works for you.

* Email : Thunderbird
Try to convert your emails in eg. Outlook Express into Thunderbird and work with Thunderbird. Later you can move your Thunderbird emails from MS-Windows to your Thunderbird in Linux (because the mailbox file structure is unchanged and can be copied directly between the two operating systems).

* Graphics : GIMP
If you like to work with Photoshop or other graphics (or image processing) software, try to familiarize yourself with GIMP instead. There are other options, but GIMP is a good choice.

* Office : OpenOffice
This office package is not as rich on features as Microsoft Office, but try to use it under MS-Windows. If you don't like it you can save your documents in eg. MS-Word file format and forget about it. If OpenOffice works for you, keep the files in the OpenDocument Format (and maybe also convert other documents to this format) before moving the files to Linux.

Ehh, you know what to do. If you're not certain which distro to pick, go here and see what's available.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:57 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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September 14, 2006

Updates to building your own PVR

About a year ago, I posted an article containing info on how to build your own Personal Video Recorder. As usual, technology waits for no geekman. All About Linux links to a variety of Linux-based build your own PVR sites. Excerpt:

KnoppMyth : This is an attempt at making the Linux and MythTV installation as trivial as possible. This is a Linux distribution built from scratch using Debian GNU/Linux and the programs from Knoppix. KnoppMyth includes MythTV and all its official plugins as well as additional software such as Apache webserver, NFS, Samba and many other useful daemons. This GNU/Linux distribution is geared at setting up a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) in a quick and easy manner.Everything one needs to easily setup a power home entertainment system is included in this distribution.

MythTV for XBox - This is a project which aids in setting up MythTV on ones XBox gaming station with ease. Of course it is understood that you need to install GNU/Linux on XBox first as MythTV runs in Linux. This project requires that you first download and install a version of GNU/Linux called Xebian in your XBox.
Having dwelled so much on MythTV project, I might also add that there are two similar projects (though not as feature rich) which are taking shape to provide PVR functionality in GNU/Linux. They are Freevo and GeexBox.

I was aware of all of the ones listed in the post except for GeexBox. That one caught my eye because it:

  1. can be run off a Live CD
  2. can run successfully on a 400-MHz machine

Since I've got a 400 MHz paperweight in the corner of my home office, GeexBox looks to be a good home project for me to tackle. All that I need is a digital TV tuner and a bigger hard drive. I won't be able to record and watch simultaneously, but I'm okay with that. YMMV.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 08:21 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Browse this

I've got to admit: the first time I encountered Konqueror, I thought that it was a pretty good file manager(i.e., Windows Explorer), but only an average Web browser. Something about how Konqueror resolved text on my screen bugged me. However, that was several versions ago and Doug Roberts, in this article, goes a long way towards convincing me to give Konqueror another try. Excerpt:

While I liked Konqueror as a file manager I had actually never given Konqueror's web browsing capabilities much thought. I had recently begun using Opera 9.0. I felt at long last that I had found the browser I had been looking for to run on my Debian Sarge install.

But there it was, already on my system. With Mr. Kite having piqued my curiosity, I thought, "What the hell. Why not." And I started using it.

The first thing I noticed is that Konqueror is really fast as a web browser. No, I mean REALLY fast. It's faster than Opera, which is noted for its speed.

Let me elaborate. First, it loads faster, as it's part of the KDE GUI that's already loaded and running. It does a better job of loading recently visited web pages from its cache than Opera. It also renders web pages more correctly than Opera, though Opera is very good. Opera would force me to hit the minus key to downsize web pages too often, to make them fit the screen. A niggling point, I admit.

One of Konqueror's curious and powerful traits is that it is at once both a file manager and a web browser. You could think of it as a computer navigation device. It will quickly take you to any folder and file on your hard drive, or to anywhere on the Internet. It does either one, or both of those, so seamlessly that I marvel at how the KDE people did it.

Like all the newer browsers out now, Konqueror uses tabs. And yes, it blocks pop-ups. One reason why I had switched to Opera is because of its ability to selectively allow Java and Java scripts to run on only the websites that you choose. Konqueror does that, too.

Split screen browsing

One of the unique features of Konqueror that really is amazing is its ability to do split screen browsing. Right click on the status bar on the bottom of the screen and you get a menu allowing you to split the screen either horizontally or vertically.

This isn't just a "gee whiz" feature. It's actually very useful. Take shopping on line, for instance. My wife is very jealous of this feature. :-)

Take a look at the following screen shot, which shows me looking at two different tents and comparing their specs side by side.


Note the scroll bars for each window. You can navigate to any websites completely independently from either screen.

And get this: you can even use one side of the screen to navigate your hard drive and continue web browsing in the other screen, if your wish!! So, Konqueror can manage files and browse the web simultaneously. Who knew?

Anyway, you'll find a lot more detail here.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 07:18 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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September 08, 2006

4 decades without a woman

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Star Trek. What started as a scifi TV show that got kicked around on the schedule a bit before getting dumped morphed into a worldwide phenomenon, spawning numerous sequels/spin-offs and movies. In fact, the ST movies series is, I believe, Paramount's most succesful of all time. Not too shabby. Anyway, here's the link to a blog celebrating ST's 40th. It includes this post by scifi legend, Arthur C. Clarke.

Hat tip to Ith.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 03:12 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Lookee here

You know how things work: someone doesn't post for a while and you start checking their site less frequently, even though you expect that something big is about to happen. Then you get caught up in your new job activities and forget to check in for a long time. When you(me) finally do check in, you notice that missed the notification of something special by almost a month.

Well, better late than never, I suppose. Congratulations, Kelley. I'm certain that Spiderman is looking forward to his new future playmate.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 01:18 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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September 06, 2006

Geeks get all the girls

Don't believe it? Go here and check out Todd Stanton's tale of glory. Excerpt:

Some developers are also excited that this may increase their chances of getting lucky, but most are being realistic. Walker Crandall said, "We thought we'd all be doing the hokey-pokey after Bill Fitzsimmons got some during the LinuxWorld Conference in 1999. We were fooling ourselves. Nobody got nothing."

This is the third such occurrence for Linux developers since 1991.

Tripled. Yeah, that's right: tripled.

You wish that you were me right now.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:58 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Support from an unexpected source

Michelle Malkin joins the legion of folks like me by advocating that you should Brew Your Own Beer.

Oh wait, it's a political post that mentions Miller and Anheuser Busch's support of illegal immigration. Since I don't drink their beer anyway, my new lack of support will go largely unnoticed by the two brewing giants. But my point still stands: brew your own beer. If you want some info, this archive is as good a place to start as any, in my humble opinion.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 10:53 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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