Showing posts from November, 2011

At Work with Linux: OpenSUSE 12.1 and VMware Player 4.0.1

After the surprising installation failure with Linux Mint 12, I moved on to OpenSUSE 12.1, 64-bit. It turned out to be a straight-forward installation, reminiscent of all the other OpenSUSE installations I've conducted in the past. Whereas Linux Mint (and Ubuntu) now hew to a very simplistic installation experience, OpenSUSE stays with their unique highly detailed and highly refined installation system. Normally I try to stay away from bunches of intermediate screen shots, but I've included these few for those who might be interested.

OpenSUSE has always been professionally oriented, going back to when it was just plain old SuSE. To the novice it may appear to contain a lot of overwhelming information, but it's the kind of information you actually need, and quite frankly should read at least once.

I chose KDE because of it's continuing evolution and because OpenSUSE is primarily a KDE distribution, in spite of Novell's attempts when it first purchased SuSE to conve…

At Work with Linux: Linux Mint 12 Installation Failure

This post will be short and sweet. I attempted to install Linux Mint 12, 64-bit, as a virtual machine using VMware's Player, version 4.0.1, on one of the workstations in the lab. The workstation was running Windows 2K8R2 as the host OS.

A very nice feature of Player is the ability to boot directly from the ISO rather than burning the ISO to physical media and then booting the virtual machine from that. I hate having physical media littering the lab, and the ISOs can all be stored on the SAN and accessed if needed at any time without having to hunt down a physical disc.

I had no problems booting Linux Mint 12 in this fashion. It booted and allowed me to begin the installation of Linux Mint on a VM. The problem is that about a third of the way through the installation problem the installer hung. Not once, but twice. Both times I started with a freshly created VM. After the second hang I basically gave up and moved on.

I suspect that the hang was due to a network access problem. I k…

Back to St. Marks NWR

It's become something of a tradition with Megs and I. At least one day of a trip is devoted to a photo safari. So we put mom in the car with all our camera gear, then go somewhere Megs and I can photograph together while mom, the non-photographer, can sightsee. Everybody's happy.

Today we went back out to St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), which is south of Tallahassee on Apalachee Bay and the Gulf. We'd been there once before in May, and we decided to go again because... because we liked it. That, and the fact it was the off season, and I wanted to see what it looked like in the off season.

And it looked very different for two reasons. The first is this is late fall in Florida.

Yes, we do have seasons, even in Florida. It does get cold, but not as cold as say Detroit. But it gets cold enough, and the life goes through changes that pretty much parallel life changes up north. And so, down here in Florida in late fall, the foliage has turned from vibrant greens (mostl…

A Quick Tour of Master Craftsman Studio

Megs has been working a part-time unpaid internship at the Florida State University Master Craftsman Studio on West Gaines Street. The Master Craftsman Studio is an in-house studio to the university. Master Craftsman works with many university departments for the production and installation of art. Master Craftsman has been setup to be a self-subsidizing auxiliary of the university which means they need to generate their own funding through projects they do for the university. As is unfortunately typical for self-funding organizations such as this, the funding is slim, especially in tough economic times as these. And they have to be careful not to charge "too much", which means they're probably not charging as much as they should.

Megan had already established a good reputation with the Master Craftsman staff while an undergraduate, which allowed her to apply for the unpaid internship after she graduated and to be accepted. In return she's allowed to share a corner …

Big Red Ugly Truck in Tallahassee

I don't normally write something this quickly, but in this case I'm making an exception.

We all met at the Cracker Barrel on Monroe and I-10 for a late breakfast. As I drove into the parking lot I noticed all the handicapped parking spots were taken.

Normally if the lot is full and spilling out into the side parking lot of the close hotel I don't give it much mind. But this morning the lot was lightly filled and there was a big red ugly truck sitting in one of the slots.
We did find a spot out in the regular lot, and my knee wasn't bothering me too much, so it wasn't much a deal walking in. Fortunately my wife was in pretty good shape this morning as well, so she didn't mind walking either.

As I passed the big red ugly truck I automatically checked the cab to see if it had a handicap hanger.

It didn't.

So I limped around to the back of the big red ugly truck to see if it had a regular handicap license.

It didn't.

So I fired up the Olympus E-P2 (which I a…

Thanksgiving Travel

Traveling up to Tallahassee for the next few days to visit daughter #2. She's been out of school since she graduated in late May, working at both the Brogan as well as a free internship at FSU's Master Craftsman studio. It's what she wants to do as an artist.

We're going up to visit her at Thanksgiving, as this will be the first (probably of many) Thanksgivings she won't be coming down to stay with us. I've taken the week and split off the first few days to travel and visit since she'll be busy working.

The Labs are coming along as usual. Max is all of eleven now, and Ruby is a big three-year-old. Still, Max is the alpha male and does as he wills with sweet young Ruby, even using her rump as his pillow on the way up. It looks a little sexist until you realize that Ruby will often sleep next to Max, resting her head on his back. In some ways they both still behave like litter-mates, even though their births are years apart.

I'm still nursing the left kne…

E-1 Experiment #8

While the left knee is showing signs of progress, it's still no where near normal. And so my wife suggested we go out and get something to eat and take back home rather than have me out cooking over the grill. I love to cook, especially over the grill, but I didn't look forward to standing next to it on crutches. So we drove down to one of our favorites, Chipotle, and ordered our regular burrito bowls to go.

Even though it's still fairly early in the evening the local Chipotle's shares the store frontage and the parking lot with a fairly large World of Beer. I'm not too crazy about that place due to its traffic and patrons swarming over the place once WoB opens. Tonight it was oddly low key with a light crowd and there were multiple empty parking slots open right at the door, and both handicapped parking spots were empty. More often than not I'll drive past them and they'll have drinking patrons parked in both without any handicap tag or hanger showing. It…

E-1 Experiment #7

My wife drove me up to see a hand specialist this afternoon. I've got something else on my body that's failing, and this appointment was set up long before my left knee went all to hell. On the way back I was playing with the E-1 at the shotgun position the way a five-year-old plays with a favorite toy so he'll keep quiet while the grownups drive. Taken through a very dirty front windshield.

The bottom one was taken from the passenger side earlier in the day. I just like the little bit of chrome and white lettering against the broad grays and blacks.

Nothing fancy. Just black and white with with the KT E-1 and the Sigma 30mm. Post processed in Lighroom 3.6 and Special Efex Pro 2.0.1.

Still Gimpy

So here it is mid-week and I'm still nursing this wonky left knee. I was having a bit of cabin fever today so I drove out to Lime Fresh Mexican Grill for lunch with my wife. I ate one of their queso burritos and my wife had their fish tacos. I've come to prefer Lime Fresh over Tijuana Flats. It was great to get outside into the really nice weather.

When last we looked, I'd spent an eight-hour stint in the emergency room Sunday at Florida Hospital South near Winter Park. I managed (via my wife's persistence on the phone) to get into an MRI facility late Monday evening (8:30pm) so they could scan my left knee. I managed to get in after my wife went to a physician's office in the area that knew her, and the nurses at that office called back to the charge nurse at the ER I'd been in on Sunday. So for an hour and a half, 45 minutes of which was spent clamped down and stuck in the noisy-as-hell MRI machine (I was wearing ear plugs), I had my old and busted left knee…

The Wonders of the Internets

After writing about my Twitter encounter earlier in the day with Wil Wheaton I sat back and waited with morbid interest to see if web traffic would increase. Sure enough it did, but in a way that's baffling and a little bit concerning.

I use Google statistics to track site hits. Most of the time the statistics make sense. For example, several of my posts about the Olympus E-P2 and E-P3 generated quite a few hits. But there are times when I look at the statistics Google is generating and they make absolutely no sense at all. Today was one of those head-scratching events.

I've been writing in this blog since May 2005, and at this point it has over 1,000 posts (1,056 including this posting). The subjects range all over the place. And its popularity has varied widely over time. I know, for example, that during 2007 and 2008, when I was writing pretty extensively about Linux, my site was in the hundred thousands as far as popularity was concerned. It's since dropped down to the…

My 15 Seconds of Fame

What an interesting 24 hours, in which I've been blocked from following @wilw by @wilw on Twitter.

It all started around midnight of the 14th. While in my alter-ego as a statistically insignificant Usenet weenie, I fired up the aging Multivac down in the basement and logged onto the Internets (I would have been surfing the Information Superhighway sooner but it's getting really hard to find spare tubes for the old beast, and I needed to hunt around town a bit before I found a couple of replacement 12AX7As for the audio input preamp).

Once powered up it took a while to get the old girl to attach to Twitter. Ever since she accidentally discovered Simon Pegg (@simonpegg) on Twitter she's been somewhat erratic, asking spontaneously from time to time for a cricket bat. It was while I was reading the paper tape from @wilw's (Wil Weaton) tweets that I came across this
Me: Here's a post, G+. Google Plus: Hey! I'm going to Randomly Capitalize some Words, for Fun! Me: Um.…

A Crummy Sunday

Today was a crummy Sunday. I spent nearly eight hours in an emergency room trying to diagnose what was wrong with my left knee. Sharp pains, inability to take normal weight on it, stiffness to the point of immobility, swelling, joint overly warm to the touch. This is a first time for me. Before I left I was given several prescriptions for an anti-inflammatory and pain med (all generic). Before I broke down and went to the ER I tried self-medication, such as over-the-counter pain meds, an Ace bandage, and lots of ice to try to bring down the swelling and relieve the pain.

While the hospital staff was sympathetic they found nothing definitive. That was after X-rays, a sonogram of my left leg to check for any clotting, and a CT scan which they admitted afterwards didn't need to be run because of all the swelling. Best guess is a hairline fracture of the tibia at the knee joint. Great. Now I get to schedule for an MRI and then I get to see a local orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon is t…

Pilgrim Retrievers

Today was a very mixed experience. The high point was taking the labs to get their six-week grooming, followed by a quick trip to the local vet for a photo session for the vet's clientele. It's always something of an adventure with the Labs and having their formal photographs taken. While the vet had one of the nurses take the "formal" photo, I was there to document the behind-the-scenes efforts to get the Labs to cooperate. That's my long suffering but sainted wife in between the two holy terrors.

The low point was my left knee and Max's right rear leg. I have bone spurs in both knees, and I'm afraid that the one in the left knee might have gotten dislodged (I was crammed into an Air Tran 717 going up and Air Tran 737 coming back) and is now giving me hell. I'm headed to a local emergency room tomorrow morning if the pain and swelling don't go down.

Then, to top it all off, Max decided to favor his hip or his right rear leg. We don't know w…


Today was a holiday for me because my company recognizes Veteran's Day. This one snuck up on me. In all the years I've worked, my current company is the only company to recognize the holiday as a day off. After three years I'm still not used to having it off.

I've been on travel for the majority of the week so I spent it catching up with work around the house. Among other tasks I cleaned up and straightened and took Lucy to the vets to have her annual checkup. That was an interesting little adventure.

Lucy balked a bit going into her carrier, and talked all the way over to the vets. After they started to examine her and give her her shots, she tried desperately to go back into her carrier to be left alone. When the exam was finished she made a bee-line into the safety of her carrier. We heard barely a peep out of her all the way back home.

All the animals missed me. All last night and into today all of them visited me where-ever I happened to be for some sort of inter…

The Golden Hour

I left the office early on Thursday. I had a few hours to drive around Ann Arbor and enjoy the scenery before heading back to the airport and the flight home. I drove through the University of Michigan and appreciated the campus. It's very nice, with a number of interesting large outdoor modern-art sculptures. I would have parked and taken a few photographs, but everywhere I looked parking was marked as decal only, tow-away zones. So I left the campus, drove across 23, and made my way to the University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum.

With a limited amount of time I spent all of it out doors photographing the scenery. This is the late fall season; winter solstice is 22 December, a little less than six weeks away. And being a bit further north (just a bit), the days are noticeably shorter than even in Orlando. The upshot is that by the time I made it to the gardens it was the golden hour.

And what a golden hour it turned out to be. The weather wa…

It's Turning Cold. Time to Go Home.

Last day at the office in Ann Arbor. Wouldn't you know it, the network into the company went down. The regular network to the rest of the world is still up, but I need connectivity with the mothership. So I grabbed the E-1 with the ZD 50mm and went out for some quick shutter therapy.

That's when The Cold really hit me. I'm not cold weather tolerant. I've spent nearly three decades living in Florida. I developed some tolerance while growing up in Georgia because the cold weather would cover Atlanta and surrounding areas for about three to four months in the winter. Cold in Atlanta meant down into the teens on occasion, sometimes for a solid week, as well as the occasional ice storm that snapped tree limbs and power lines, interrupting power to a lot of folks. One of my earliest memories as a child growing up in Atlanta was driving to my Aunt Perl's house one winter from our apartment. The power was off then, and my Aunt Perl had gas heat and a warm house for us to …

The Truth About Republicans, by George Carlin

It's been a little over three years since George died (June 22, 2008). In a country heaping praise on The Steve for little more than building lots of expensive widgets and with all the political shenanigans the current crop of Republicans are trying to pull on this nation, I thought it worth while to transcribe this routine George recorded in 1988, some 23 years ago, and in the process heap some well deserved praise on another important contemporary American. What he had to say in this routine is truly worth remembering. And note that while he's ranting about the Reagan administration and the Moral Majority, little has changed in the last 23 years. Especially his observations about Wall Street.

I really haven't seen this many people in one place since they took the group photographs of all the criminals and law breakers in the Ronald Reagan administration. Yeah! Yeah! Oh! Two hundred and twenty five of 'em so far. Two hundred and twenty five different people in the Ron…

E-1 Experiment #6

Up at 6am. Drive from Ann Arbor to Sterling Heights. Get stuck in traffic north-bound on 275 before hte 696 interchange, then get off of 275 at 9 Mile Road and take surface streets to 696 east and finally to Sterling Heights. Total transit time: two hours. Spend a day split between two meetings. At the end of the second meeting drive back to Ann Arbor like "Steve McQueen in his Mustang" to get back to a third meeting (I've got a 2011 Dodge Avenger rental). Fortunately, Michigan between Sterling Heights and Ann Arbor is fairly flat. Total transit time back: 45 minutes.

Once again by the time the day ended and I got back to my hotel it was getting dark. Still, I grabbed the E-1 with the 30mm and fired off a few shots. Then I swapped the 30mm with the 50mm macro. Therapy for the long stressful day. Besides, if I waited for ideal conditions for photography I wouldn't take much of anything. Instead I deal with what I've been given the best way I know how.

Everything …