Month: August 2013

Remember I said I was getting serious about my Raspberry Pi

Well, here we go. First off I didn’t feel like spending $25 or $30 on a 100 foot Ethernet cable. But I had limited USB ports on it so I bought one of these. It was $8:

Image Which when connected to the RaspBerry Pi:

And then hooked this up to it:

Which means I can now get on the net with the Raspberry Pi. I do note – the default Midori browser on the thing is S-L-O-W. And interestingly when I visit the Mozilla site it offers to download Firefox for Android.

And I should mention, shift the 2 key on the keyboard and you get ” instead of @. I think I have to check the keyboard map on it.

Did manage to do:

apt-get update

apt-get upgrade –fix-missing

So it’s all up to date now.

And now that I’ve got extra USB ports I can hang a huge drive on the thing.

But here’s how it’s hooked up. I found the USB hub power isn’t up to snuff. So I’ve got it wired as so:

Power-in –> USB Hub

Power-in –> Raspberry Pi

USB out to USB hub

Keyboard and Alfa net plugged into USB hub.

And it all works.

Older Laptop Repairs

I’ve kept two Dell XPS M140’s up and running for close to 8 years now. I see no reason to upgraded as yet as these computers still have life in them.

The other day the lamp on my LCD went. Ok – $133 got a brand new LCD with inverter and lamp 2 day expressed to the house. Only had to remove 18 screws, the hing cover and the frame around the screen to do it.

Then I had to salvage the cable from the old LCD – but I could not get it to plug into the new screen. That’s because the new screen has a shielding hood over the connector. So I just peeled off the shield on the plug and all as well.

Then put the 18 screws and the hing cover back on and voila ! I saved the old screen – it works. Just has no light. But here’s the thing, if you tear into it I can remove the inverter and lamp and maybe replace with an EL panel or LED’s and then use it on a project.

I did note that the hinges on the screen – the left hinge is cracked. So I ordered a new set of hinges.

Finally getting serious about my Raspberry pi

It’s kind of lay fallow – because I really don’t want to run a 100 foot Ethernet cord to it. And there’s software and libraries I want to install on it so I can start developing some stuff in Python. I know Python already though.

The thing that limits me is:

A) The fact you need a keyboard and mouse. That’s fine – I have both and they’re currently hooked into the two USB ports on the device. But I want to add Wireless networking. I have the Alfa external USB WiFi adapter – gets about 3 or 4db of gain so that’s nice. Plus I have a 750GB external drive I can hook up to it.

So I ordered a powered USB hub. That way the hub can provide power to the RasPi and also serve so I can attach the additional peripherals.

I also have to get an HDMI cable. That way I can tap it right into the primary HDMI interface on the television.

Social Attitude Test

So I took the test. It’s a short one but it aligns with other socio-political tests I’ve taken. In some of them my social attitudes put my somewhere to the left of even Ghandi.

This one gave interesting results though:

Radicalism 94
Socialism 81.25
Tenderness 53.125

These scores indicate that you are a progressive; this is the political profile one might associate with a university professor. It appears that you are skeptical towards religion, and have a pragmatic attitude towards humanity in general.

Your attitudes towards economics appear communist, and combined with your social attitudes this creates the picture of someone who would generally be described as left-wing.

To round out the picture you appear to be, political preference aside, an idealist with many strong opinions.

This concludes our analysis; we hope you found your results accurate, useful, and interesting.

And the scores themselved – only 53.21% tenderness – which means I’m 46.79% tough. Almost balanced.

Interesting. Very interesting. You can take the test here.

Looks like ragweed season is happening earlier

Because my allergies have been a little rough. Eyes itching, nasal discharge, sneezing. That’s with the drug!

So I google “Pollen Count + my zip code. High red until Tuesday and then it tapers into medium.

I had posted about this two years ago only then the symptoms happened in October. So the seasons are definitely screwy. You see ragweed tends to broadcast it’s pollen when temps go below 60F and that’s starting to happen now at night.

Been pumping the Allegra and eye drops in – they give some relief but I hate this time of year for that.

But it doesn’t look good in the future if global warming continues.


But that begs the question – what would it take to engineer Ragweed so it doesn’t produce that Amb 1 protein? Then just let it run wild in native populations and poof – no more irritant.

Top Five Dog choices if I weren’t allergic

Ok, so if allergies didn’t prevent it I’d likely have a dog.

Here are my top five breeds I’d choose from:

German Shepherd – they’ve very smart dogs but have unique personalities.

Rotweiller – powerful dogs and also a fair amount of intelligence.

Neopolitan Mastiff – they are huge dogs, but have a pretty good temperament

Chihuahua – They may be small but they’re all dog.

Pit Bull – Pits can be family dogs – it’s all in the training.

For packages, you can’t beat the United States Postal Service

So every month or so we send a care package down to the Mother In Law. Usually it’s coffee beans and a personal care product.

Two Christmases ago we got her a nice new stainless steel coffee pot and a coffee grinder. We have now created a monster.

Now we had been scaring up boxes, going to the post office, paying $16 to ship, etc. But I realized, you can order shipping supplies like boxes from USPS and they deliver them to you.

Great – now I head over to the USPS web site, click on Ship a Package and from there it’s simply pack the box, tape it up and affix the label your print on your own printer. Then you just bring it to the post office and drop it off. Pretty simple.

But even better – you can schedule a pickup. So this time out I did so. The post man just picked it up about fifteen minutes ago. And there’s no fee for the pickup.

So the boxes are free, the pickup is free, but the best part? Because I used a Medium shipping box and 3 day service what normally goes for $16+ was $11.30 and that also includes free tracking.

A lot of people don’t know about the extent of USPS services. I watched a neighbor one time loading a bunch of Priority Mail packages in his car. I mentioned that USPS does pickup. Needless to say now they pick his up all the time too.

USPS needs to do a better job promoting the service because it’s a very convenient and valuable service that they provide, particularly for parcel post.

Need an Ad Blocker for Android

So earlier this morning I went to watch a YouTube video on my phone and a 15 second ad popped in the video stream. WTF?

Now I watch YouTube quite a bit on my laptop but I don’t see ads there. Maybe because I aggressively block them.

So now I have to go find a system wide Ad Blocker for Android. This should be fun.

Cox will forever be the underdog

I say this because I’ve been a Cox Communications customer for many years. And my experience with Verizon was far less than stellar for both residential and commercial services.

But I have to laugh every time Cox tries to say they’re improving my TV service. The latest is this:
ImageNotice anything? Yeah – only available for IOS.  No Android app. Really Cox? I mean just based on my blog stats and pro site stats I don’t get a whole lot of IOS visits, but I do get a lot of Android visitors. And I’ve talked to friends that blog and have personal web sites and they concur – it’s mostly a Windows and Android world out there.

But Cox Communications – the perpetual underdog ignores that a pretty good majority of their customers who are using Android devices and writes the $*#(*@# IOS app instead. Nice going assholes.

A song to test audio gear

Ok, I may not agree with everything 2 Live Crew did, but damnation Megamix III is a phenomenal tune for testing bass response in audio gear. Be it amps, speaker, headphones, the test is as follows:

Set your volume to 25%.

Play this song:

First time I ever heard this was around 1990/91 – it was on a road trip to Florida in a rented Lincoln Continental and of course the car had the premium sound system.

The bass in this song is phenomenal. And it’s been my go-to for audio testing since then.

I just tested out the new Subjekt headphones – that bass response is there at the 25% level. Best $30 bucks I’ve spent in awhile.