Tags: linux

The Columbus Day Surprise

My Dell Mini arrived! I'm using it for this entry. I like it so far, but there are draw backs. The keyboard is tiny. Performance is a bit slugish, but it plays video without issue. I've been able to configure it to access my network drives, that went fairly well (... once I remembered the Linux commands).

It is small! And light weight. So far the battery is doing well. The screen is sharp and the speakers are pretty loud when you crank them up. There's an SD card reader on the side. I also opted for the webcam, which seems to work nicely.

Now I need to stop procrastinating and write my history paper that's due tomorrow. :-)

Fabulous Friday

We had an offsite for class this morning at the Santa Fe Station in downtown Leavenworth, KS. Great breakfast and great discussion.

I've got the wort in the bucket, should be done with primary fermentation in a day or two. This was the first time I had a hydrometer and I need to figure out how to use it. I've got to get a good bottle count. I have about a dozen with the rubber seal and stopper. I think I may need to get new rubber seals.

I have to decide if I want to do a secondary fermentation with the carboy.

I turned on the HF rig briefly and heard stateside stations talking with a station on Guantanamo. Then I heard a familiar voice, K4STW, Stew in Virginia Beach. Stew probably doesn't remember me, but we chatted now and again on the 2M repeaters in Hampton Roads. It was great to hear his voice.

I got Ubuntu working with my Linksys print server. This will make my life much easier.

Looks like we'll have good weather this weekend.

Back in the saddle

I -finally- got my HF rig working here at the Kansas QTH.

Since arriving here back in July, I've been super busy. School (the Army's Command & General Staff College (CGSC)) kicked in at the beginning of August. The last formal schooling I had was eight years ago - so I was a bit rusty at getting into the swing of things (i.e. reading, reading... and more reading). I'm also taking a complementarity master's degree program in International Relations through Webster University (two nights a week). The good news is I was able to talk the XYL into taking the master's courses with me. The bad news is that sometimes the master's stuff chews up more time than my school work for CGSC.

CGSC can be intense. September was packed with wall-to-wall learning, usually from 0830 to at least 1530. The schedule is starting to lighten up a bit.

Today I was able catch my breath a bit... out of class at 1130. The sun was shining, a beautiful day. I had some antenna maintenace to do. A little bit of time on the roof and the majority of my HF problems were fixed. I'm now up on HF, except for 80M. I think a little work on my counterpoise will fix that.

Back in the basement (aka The Scud Bunker) I hooked up my Icom IC-7000 to the new and improved HF antenna - bingo... all the problems I was experiencing in the past were gone. A QSO with KC2PBX, Pierre on Long Island, NY on 20M and then TI8II from Costa Rica on 17M, later with Ray, W1RAA from Tampa, FL. It felt good having some HF QSOs. I did a little more work with my station setup; hooking up the RIGtalk and RIGblaster Plug&Play. There's more work to do and I should have time later in the week.

Other news:
- I'm switching from Windows to Ubuntu Linux. I WILL NOT UPGRADE FROM XP TO VISTA. Vista is a tool of the devil and I will have no part of it. My Toshiba laptop has been dual boot between XP and Ubuntu for a while, but had rarely been using the Ubuntu. I ordered a Dell Mini 9 (very tiny netbook) to help with school (writing papers in the library rather than goofing off in the Scud Bunker). The Dell Mini is coming with Ubuntu pre-loaded. Sweet. The next step will be setting up one of my towers as an Ubuntu server. Goodbye Microsoft.
- I've gone Kindle. Both the XYL and myself have the Amazon Kindle. I like it a lot better than my Sony eBook. Getting the Washington Post first thing every morning is great. The battery life is a little to be desired. The best part is that I can read KE9V's blog right on my Kindle.

Ok - back to the books. I will get better at making frequent updates here.

Weekend wrap up

Got to see a bit of the air show today from a nearby park that has a good view of Langley Air Force Base. Had my Bearcat Scanner (BC245XLT) with the Radio Shack antenna and was able to monitor the Air Boss as well as the air/ground communications for the Golden Knights parachute team.

Tired to contact the special events station at Fort Knox (W2P), but the propogation just wasn't there. I was able to make two other SSB contacts while trying as well as a PSK31 contact with a Swedish amateur radio operator on St. Martin.

Worked on cleaning the radio room.

Started looking at using my TH-D7A for accessing a DX packet cluster... but I'm not sure if we have any packet clusters in the area. We'll see.

I'm looking at getting an amp for my FT-817 so I can use it for portable operations without having to pull the IC-706 out of the shack.

Finished about 30 QSL cards to be sent out tomorrow.

Weather Display works on Ubuntu!! I need to transition my weather station from the radio room to the linux box out in the garage. I need to figure out how to do do the FTP upload and webcam.

Started working on a webpage for Old Point Comfort Lighthouse activations: http://www.shedberg.com/monroe/monroe.html

Upgraded memory

Just added some more memory to the Linux tower (aka garage box)... dropped in an additional 512MB SDRAM SIMM and after a reboot it is now operating much quicker. Also made an adjustment to the xorg.conf to fix the video card. It's an old VooDoo 3Dfx card and although recognized, it defaulted to a screen resolution of 800x600 without allowing any changes. Now it's defaults to 1200x1048... much better.

Now it's back to weeding through the old harddrives.

Building another linux box

I pulled out all my junkbox computer parts, gathered the two desktop towers that had gone south some time back, and hauled it all in to the family room along with a huge monitor. The mission - setup a desktop tower running Ubuntu Linux in the garage and attach it to the network with a wireless connection. I want a desktop that I can use for data storage... music, video, pictures. I've got a lot of old harddrives, including USB drives, that I have no idea what's on them.

Out of the parts box and between the two desktop towers I was able to come up with one working motherboad (Tyan S1854), a Pentium III 450MHz CPU, and 64MB of PC100 RAM (2x DIMMs, 32MB each). Not too impressive. But it worked. I installed Ubuntu to a 18GB harddrive, using a bootable CD for the install. 64MB is slow going.

The task now is to get the Linksys wireless NIC card up an operational.

Linux - multimedia is good to go

I got all the various multimedia files to play nice with my Ubuntu installation. To include streaming media... I really enjoy listening to NPR using streaming audio and I'm glad I got that working. I'm reading a new book called Beginning Ubuntu Linux, which is helping quite a bit. I think the next stage is to revive one (or more) of my dead desktops and setup a file server out in the garage.

In the Beginning...was the Command Line

My latest dabblings in Linux prompted me to dig out my copy of Neal Stephenson's "In the Beginning... was the Command Line" - it's a wonderful read:

"So when I got home I began messing around with Linux, which is one of many, many different concrete implementations of the abstract, Platonic ideal called Unix. I was not looking forward to changing over to a new OS, because my credit cards were still smoking from all the money I'd spent on Mac hardware over the years. But Linux's great virtue was, and is, that it would run on exactly the same sort of hardware as the Microsoft OSes--which is to say, the cheapest hardware in existence. As if to demonstrate why this was a great idea, I was, within a week or two of returning home, able to get my hand on a then-decent computer (a 33-MHz 486 box) for free, because I knew a guy who worked in an office where they were simply being thrown away. Once I got it home, I yanked the hood off, stuck my hands in, and began switching cards around. If something didn't work, I went to a used-computer outlet and pawed through a bin full of components and bought a new card for a few bucks."

Ubuntu - printer works too!

So far the Ubuntu expierence is going well. I can now print from my laptop over the network to a printer off of a Windows computer. I've also been able to connect my iPod and Ubuntu recognizes it as a drive and lets me play the songs from it. What I have had limited success so far with is playing DVDs and other video media. I have to do a little more research on that.