zen.org Communal Weblog

April 23, 2007

The White Groundhog

Filed under: — Sven @ 13:35 GMT

This morning driving to work, it was slow going on Princeton Pike. Then I saw it, on Princeton Battlefield State Park, the white ground hog! I was just for a few seconds, but I would not stop. Maybe tomorrow, when I’m not car pooling with my wife, I’ll visit and try to catch a photo of the elusive, sacred, animal. Hay, people don’t call some Native Americans crazy for thinking white buffalo’s are sacred.

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Upgrade to Ubuntu Feisty Fawn release

Filed under: — brendan @ 06:36 GMT

I’ve done a normal Ubuntu upgrade on my Sony Vaio TX1XP laptop to the new Ubuntu “Feisty Fawn” release.  So far it’s going along really well, and in particular I went into System->Preferences->Power Management and made it Suspend when the lid was closed instead of Hibernate.  Worked like a champ with a very very fast wakeup.  One of my most common reasons to boot into W$ndows is gone (the ability to close it and go somewhere else then open it up without waiting a long boot time).

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April 18, 2007

Joy Part 2

Filed under: — brendan @ 21:04 GMT

awwwwwPictures are so much fun.

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Productivity = Nap Time * 2

Filed under: — brendan @ 14:34 GMT

Psalm 4:17 And the lord our God said, “Nay, thy sleep shall in the second hour of the first nap reach a full and happy end. Thus with great joy thee shall fill thy good diaper, and we shall all rejoice.”

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The customer will never notice

Filed under: — brendan @ 14:12 GMT

We brought back a loaf to our local Centra (like the 7-11 in the US) because it just weirded us out. No, it wasn’t moldy or anything. There was just something not quite right about it.

Oops-loaf

Can you see what’s was wrong in the picture?

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April 15, 2007

"Perfect Day" depends on the perspective

Filed under: — brendan @ 21:22 GMT

About ten days after I made my recent post, our friend Riko van der Grijn died. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer only three months ago. It’s now Sunday night; this past Friday, Elana and I had to go to his funeral. I really hope we won’t have to experience such a thing again for a really, really long time. We’re still trying to come to grips with the reality of it, finding our heads assaulted with all-encompassing memories seemingly out of nowhere.

Intermixed with the speeches from some family and friends, they played some of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and finally concluded with another song, also specifically chosen by Riko for the ceremony. Lou Reed’s Perfect Day guided the curtains closed in front of the casket, and then people got up to leave. We knew only a few of the 100+ people who had turned up.

Riko died much faster than most people expected; the only positive part was the final end to his intense pain and suffering. In that sense, I imagine the choice of song was fitting. ” Oh it’s such a perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you,” the song claimed. If I close my eyes now I can see Riko saying exactly that to us, the gleam in his eye reflecting his true strength.

We are more complete as people for having had the opportunity to know him.

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April 11, 2007

Howard Stern online — finally!

Filed under: — brendan @ 10:34 GMT

Howard book coverI just discovered that I can listen to Howard Stern all the time, even from Ireland. Yay!! Finally Sirius has made it possible to subscribe to listen to their stuff via online streaming without requiring you to buy one of their physical radios.

I started listening to Howard about 18 years ago when he was broadcast in Philadelphia, then when he was airing on KOME in San Jose, California. When we moved to Ireland, I had to give up the habit.

In 2004 Howard moved to Sirius, so it seemed like a step closer—but still, no easy way to listen without paying for the silly radio.

Until now. 🙂

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April 4, 2007

New subwoofer? We don't need no stinking new subwoofer

Filed under: — brendan @ 20:47 GMT

Over the weekend we got to watch a full movie with Patrick for the first time: Star Wars! In the past he hasn’t wanted to see them because at some point he came to the belief that all movies are scary. But someone from his class, I think, convinced him to want to see this.

And, finally, a movie sounded really good in our livingroom!

For a really long time now we’ve been using a Cambridge Soundworks DTT 3500 Digital 5.1 Surround Speaker System to make TV and movies sound better in our livingroom. It worked pretty well, overall, even making the sound from our MythTV PVR system go out through it.

When I had to replace our 8 year-old dead TV, I was hooking up everything and found the Cambridge Soundworks box wasn’t actually usable anymore. The new Samsung LE40R74BD television (absolutely gorgeous) had a single red/white pair of RCA plugs for audio out, and no way to feed sound via the optical or coax inputs needed for the surround sound system. Hmm.

So after a while I finally got a sound receiver to connect everything. The Sony STR-DG700 receiver can do everything. (Continuing a past habit with TVs, cars, and other things, we bought the floor demo model at a discount.) Well, it can do just about everything—the DVD input can only come in via digital coax, not optical. And, the Sony guy is ordering us the proper remote for it because they couldn’t find it anywhere.

I reused the Cambridge speakers for this receiver, since I felt they would work perfectly fine for what we need. The temptation for the expensive Bose speakers was there a little, and then there’s the uber-expensive Bowers & Wilkins speakers available up in Blackrock. But after the TV and then convincing myself to get the receiver, it’d sure be cool to not buy anything else.

The five little black Cambridge speakers did a fine job. The DVD player’s digital coax line went into the receiver and made the sounds of movies jump out at us. It was wonderful, even if there was a missing piece: the biggest part of the speaker set is the subwoofer which gives the happy thundering sounds and dramatic effect. But ours wasn’t working—the receiver has a Pre-Amp Out plug for the subwoofer, which a little reading helped me understand: the subwoofer’s supposed to have its own amp, its own way to take the sound and give it some oomf. Since I was no longer using the DTT3500’s black box of buttons and dials, there was no amp for the subwoofer anymore.

I asked around and looked at some sites and called some shops, but it seems like buying a single subwoofer isn’t a cheap exercise. They were hundreds of Euros, mostly. Not worth it to me for the single device. Natural thought progression tossed my brain back into the Bose-is-so-cool arena. But wait…

Maybe we can make the receiver give its output to the Cambridge box so it could do the work for the subwoofer? Yes!

I discovered that there is one optical output on the Sony receiver: MD/TAPE. I plugged an optical cable into that, and put the other end into the Cambridge box. Plugged its subwoofer into the subwoofer contacts, and played Star Wars.

Oh my. That’ll work for a while. 🙂

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MythTV on any PC in your home

Filed under: — brendan @ 20:43 GMT

I recently figured out how to make it possible to install the mythfrontend client on other systems in our house rather than just on the TV in the livingroom. e.g., I can watch the news in a window here upstairs in my office while I’m working (cough).

The fundamental step I had to take was running mythtvsetup and change both the host and Master Server IP addresses to be their real address (192.168.20.23) instead of 127.0.0.1 as had been laid out in the instructions.

I followed the instructions at

http://www.bus.ualberta.ca/yma/mythtv/Mythtv.htm

for fixing remote permissions which boiled down to

% mysql -u root -p rootpw_for_mysql
mysql> use mysql;
mysql> SELECT Host, User, Select_priv, Insert_priv, Update_priv, Delete
_priv FROM user;
mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON *.* to mythtv@”%” IDENTIFIED by ‘mythtv’
WITH GRANT OPTION;
mysql> flush privileges;
mysql> SELECT Host, User, Select_priv, Insert_priv, Update_priv, Delete
_priv FROM user;
mysql> exit

With that, the SuSE 10.2 desktop system I’m using now could use the various mythtv* packages, just pointing it at the .23 backend server. Not everything works…going into Watch Video doesn’t work, but presumably because I’ve got to tweak a setting somewhere. Likewise, I have to have music mounted as /video/music if I try to choose Listen to Music. But watching recordings and live TV works just fine.

Of course looking now, I see that Jarod Wilson’s Tips’n’Tricks to his awesome HOWTO on installing MythTV makes mention of all of this. Oops. 🙂

B

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Yuri's Night

Filed under: — Sven @ 01:53 GMT

This Thursday is Yuri’s Night. I know nobody who celebrates, and even if there was a party closer then NYC to me I don’t think I could make it. Nevertheless I will try to entice my family out to dinner that evening and I will order a Vodka drink and, assuming dictionary.com is correct, I wall say ваше здоровье and watch my wife and child look inquisitively at me while I try to explain it to them. Apart from, maybe 萬虎, Ю́рий Гага́рин was the first human is space. You can’t take that away from the Soviets.

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