alexpgp: (Default)
Drew came by this morning to help me move the heavier items out of the truck. I must be getting old, because I used to figure out ways to unload heavy items by myself. Old, or smarter.

Old, more than likely. Drew turns 30 in a few days.


What was I doing when I was thirty? Where was I living? Ah, yes... it comes back to me. (They say the memory is the second thing to go!)

Galina and I were living in Jacksonville, Florida, in a house on Bartram Road. I worked at a company that described itself as an "architect-engineer-planner," and if I recall correctly, I had been at the company for just over three years and was the newest addition to the instrumentation and controls department, thanks to having taken a course in BASIC programming while in college.


I multitasked for much of today, stopping long enough to translate the item due tomorrow morning (a despeckling copy is waiting for me on the dining room table upstairs). Another job came in for Monday morning, which is a good sign.

I used the mixer we brought from New York to make dough for pelmeni, and although it does a stand-up job, I'm thinking the hardware is overkill for its intended purpose. What I really need for industrial-quantity pelmeni fabrication is an automatic dough roller. (While I'm fantasizing, perhaps an automatic pelmeni-maker would actually solve all of my outstanding problems in the pelmeni-making department.)

I'm having the devil's own time installing the latest Ubuntu on an old Dell we brought from New York. First, I apparently downloaded a bad CD image, because all attempts to burn the image to disk ended in the same failure (and a wasted disk). Next, the first time I burned the next downloaded image to CD, I didn't do so properly, causing a major snafu during installation. The same image properly burned to CD has has taken forever and a day to install because of problems formatting partitions on the computer's hard drive.

Technically, I'm not even sure Ubuntu has installed, as I have yet to go back upstairs and check the result of the operation, which ought to have completed some time ago after I apparently solved the formatting problem by deleting the old partition table and creating a new, identical one in its place.

I need to go despeckle a printout and then go relax. Hey, maybe even eat dinner!

alexpgp: (Default)
I went to check on Galina last night soon after hearing the ker-thunk of falling wood (this morning, I discovered a rather largish branch had been blown off a tree, landing about 20 feet from the bedroom corner) and found her sound asleep (I started to say "sawing wood," but somehow that would've been inappropriate, don't you think?). As she is a light sleeper, I felt I dared not risk trying to climb into bed while she was so occupied, so I retired back to my office and prepared to sleep on the couch there.

And somehow, got interested in seeing if my DeLorme Earthmate LT-20 USB GPS "puck" would work with some of the fairly sophisticated GPS software that's been developed for Linux. Ultimately, it'd be a match made in kernel-space if I could use the unit with the Eee for the long trip to Colorado.

My, but was that a big mistake.

Basically, after setting everyting up on proust, nothing happened when everything was set in motion (so to speak). So, I started to look around on the 'net to see what I could see...

From the Ubuntu forum on
The GPS LT-20 (USB-id 1163:0200 DeLorme Publishing, Inc.) sends standard NMEA commands over the USB. After connecting the device, a node is created as expected:

A well-presented summary of output from diagnostic programs... )

Because of this communication bug, neither gpsd nor gpsdrive can communicate with the Earthmate.

User SqRt7744 replied:
To get it to work I did the following:

A pretty good description of how to solve the problem... )

all good -> lots out NMEA output.

For some reason, the suggested makefile didn't work. I kept getting a message to the effect that nothing could be done for 'default'. So, I noodled around for information about make, and found the following, which provided the keys to the kingdom:

Explanatory material I found helpful... )

The command line I actually ended up using to compile the module in my setup on the Eee is this (invoked from the /usr/src/modules subdirectory):
make -C /usr/src/linux-source-2.6.22 \
    O=/lib/modules/2.6.22-14-generic/build \
Although for this to actually work, I needed to create a 'makefile' in the /usr/src/modules directory with the single line
obj-m := cypress_m8.o
Finally, by 1:30 am, everything compiled and installed properly. However, I was too tired to test this out last, um, night, so (um, later) this morning, while on a shopping run, I took the hardware with me and gave the whole shebang a whirl. The software worked like a champ. (Now - and I use the term figuratively, as I must finish the translation due tomorrow - I need to figure out how to use GpsDrive. All in good time.)

Other lessons learned from this solitary orgy of under-the-hood computer goodness:
  • lsusb will show the device, among others
  • lsmod will show the module is loaded, among others
  • dmesg will show where the device is
    ([###] usb 1-1: De...ate USB converter now attached to ttyUSB0)
  • If everything is working cat /dev/ttyUSB0 will start filling the screen with lines of data starting with, typically, $GPxxx.... Get out of this by typing Ctrl-C.
  • GpsDrive isn't too smart (or I am as yet too dumb).
    Run gpsd /dev/ttyUSB0 before invoking it
  • Once the daemon has been launched, you can telnet localhost 2947
    Then type 'r' and see what the daemon is receiving
  • You can get a lot of detail from: cat /proc/bus/usb/devices:
    T: Bus=01 Lev=01 Prnt=01 Port=00 Cnt=01 Dev#= 6 Spd=12 MxCh= 0
    D: Ver= 1.00 Cls=00(>ifc ) Sub=00 Prot=00 MxPS= 8 #Cfgs= 1
    P: Vendor=1163 ProdID=0200 Rev= 0.01
    S: Manufacturer=DeLorme Publishing
    S: Product=DeLorme USB Earthmate
    C:* #Ifs= 1 Cfg#= 1 Atr=80 MxPwr=100mA
    I: If#= 0 Alt= 0 #EPs= 2 Cls=03(HID ) Sub=00 Prot=00 Driver=cypress
    E: Ad=81(I) Atr=03(Int.) MxPS= 32 Ivl=6ms
    E: Ad=02(O) Atr=03(Int.) MxPS= 32 Ivl=6ms

    (But frankly, I don't know what to do with it.)
That's about all. This had better now be well and truly out of my system. Now, on to finish the translation!

alexpgp: (Default)
After weighing in at 229 for my annual physical last December, my weight went up to around 232 in January and hovered there for a while until it popped up another 10 pounds during the road trip to Midland and doggedly hovered there, edging back down below 240 only a couple of times.

Over the past week, though, letting Natalie pretty much run the kitchen and eating smaller portions than I am used to (and which I am repeatedly envisioning mentally as the right portions for me), my weight has decreased steadily, to where I am back around 232.

Now, ten pounds in one week is about 7-8 times what is considered the "safe" rate of weight loss, according to the talking heads on TV (and, okay, by doctors who don't play doctors on TV as well). However, the way I figure it, a fairly good chunk of that loss has to do with, um, shall we describe it as "unloading the conveyor"? Still, seven straight days of weight loss would seem to hint, I think, that a mechanism other than simple loss of physical mass is at work.

Yesterday went by well, and all is okay so far today ("tfu, tfu, tfu," as a Russian might say, meaning: knock wood). I rested quite a bit and plan to continue to take it easy and drink tea all day tomorrow (with fits and starts of effort to put together some more stuff that Galina needs for the loan application).

* * *
In between naps, I took a look at what the "Feisty Fawn" version of Ubuntu had to offer, as one might recall that, some time ago, I trashed the recovery partition on my VAIO (on both VAIOs, as a matter of fact) to give me an opportunity to take Linux for a spin.

The spin was short-lived, however, given that I pipe the broadband in the house through a wireless router whose signal is encrypted using something called WPA (head and shoulders above WEP, which becomes increasingly easy to crack with every passing day). Although technically, Ubuntu had WPA support available as far back as a couple of major revs ago, I could never get it to work, although admittedly I didn't spend copious amounts of blood or treasure in the effort to do so.

Getting wireless with WPA to work with the Fawn was a near thing with webster, though, as none of the how-to explanations available online seemed to match what was going on in my machine. Eventually, I accidentally stumbled across a solution that involved checking an unlikely check box, and now my Linux desktop works wirelessly without complaint.

Upgrading proust was somewhat a more daunting task that theoretically would have called for me to upgrade to the intermediate version, "Edgy Eft," before going on the the Fawn. I circumvented the entire exercise by booting the machine into Windows and using Partition Magic to reformat the Linux partition (I seem to recall, from experience, that the Fawn install CD seems to get confused during an install when faced with an existing Linux file system. (Maybe the problem has been fixed, but I wasn't taking any chances.)

So now both VAIOs are Linux capable, and now that either can hit the 'net through their wireless cards, the way is clear to take a good, hard look at Ubuntu. But later. Right now, I have to concentrate on recuperating fully. If nothing else, I'll need my strength for this weekend, when I'll be by myself and Natalie is visiting friends in Canada.

alexpgp: (Computing)
A client sent me a reminder a few minutes ago - part of a broader effort aimed at its entire freelance staff (about 100 names), since their names were included in the "From:" field - about the need to maintain confidentiality. There is a sort of quintessential irony there, which could have been avoided via the judicious use of the "bcc:" option, but in any event, the irony brought a smile to my face.

I've just discovered Pixel, an image editor that performs much the same functions as Photoshop, but at a much lower price. It does not use the cookie-cutter functionality (i.e., standard dialogs and controls) available through commercial Windows application frameworks, which gives it a slightly different look and feel, but the plus side is that Pixel is available for a number of platforms (including Linux). The trial version is said to be full-featured, except for a popup window exhorting the user to buy a copy of the program and the fact that processed images have a watermark applied to them.

I ran into a feature of TrueCrypt this morning that at first looked like a bug, which I discovered as follows: My VAIO went into hibernation from a Windows session yesterday, but as I am used to starting the machine by jogging the power switch (I am told one hits the "any key" to revive a hibernating Windows session), the unit came up in boot-ready configuration and booted into Ubuntu Linux.

An attempt to mount the TrueCrypt "partition" failed, which flummoxed me, as I was absolutely sure I had the passphrase right. I put it out of my mind until I rebooted the VAIO into Windows (restoring the "hibernating" session) where, hey, presto! it was apparent that the TrueCrypt "partition" was still mounted. I haven't checked to make sure, but I've since dismounted and remounted the partition using the right passphrase, and suspect my problem lay with the partition's having already been mounted (even if hibernating) when I tried to mount it again under Linux.

I'll verify that later, however. As it is, I'm behind the eight-ball for the day's work: I need to apply some effort now.



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