Archive for December, 2008

New Years Eve Celebration TONIGHT at Avogadro’s Number

Looking for a fun way to bring in the new year?

Join us at the New Year’s Eve Pot Luck Party tonight at Avogadro’s Number!  The Horsetooth Mountain Rangers will be playing from 7:00 – 8:30.  Bring a dish to share, bring your instrument, bring a friend, and come shake your booty!
http://www.avogadros.com

Hope to see you there!
Have a Happy New Year!!!

Horsetooth Mountain Rangers

The Horsetooth Mountain Rangers have become the regular Wednesday night house band down at Avogadro’s Number in Fort Collins, CO.  We usually play from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., and the long-standing Avo’s Bluegrass jam begins after that.  Amy Finders was there last night to take our photograph; she has recently become the webmaster for the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society‘s website and wanted to update our band info and photo.  She was kind enough to stand in as the designated photographer on this one.  Click images to enlarge.

Horsetooth Mountain Rangers, December 17 2008 at Avogrado's Number, Fort Collins CO

I decided to create an old-timey looking version of the image (below):

Horsetooth Mountain Rangers, December 17 2008 at Avogrado's Number, Fort Collins CO

The Wednesday night jam at Avo’s is a lot of fun. It’s mostly Bluegrass, but there is sometimes an Old Time jam that plays back in the stairwell (that’s where the good acoustics are!). So come on down and join in the fun!

The Matrix Runs On Windows

This one has been floating around the Web for a bit so it’s likely that you may have already seen it.  I figured that I would archive a link to it here so that I could easily find it at some point in the future.

http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1886349

The Matrix Runs on Windows

Collaborative Text Editing With EtherPad

Recently, I have become aware of a really neat online collaboration tool called EtherPad. EtherPad is a tool that allows you and many other participants to collaborate in the creation/modification of a text document. It’s much like working in Notepad, Gedit, Kate, or any of the other basic text editors, but what makes it different is that you and your colleagues can work together on the document in an online setting (from the comfort of their own computers) and make changes in a real-time environment. You can save the document at any time, and you can also revert back to a previously saved version. There is no special text formatting allowed as this is a text tool, but you could easily dump the final version of the document into OpenOffice.org (or whatever your other favorite office word processing tool is) and format it to your liking. EtherPad also incorporates a chat tool so that you can easily communicate with your colleagues while editing the document (or you could also use a telephone).

Due to a very popular response to this tool, the folks at EtherPad have set up a wait-list which you will have to sign up for if you wish to try the beta version of this free software. I just received my email from them today letting me know the following:

“20 days ago you signed up for the EtherPad Beta.  Thanks for being patient!  Now here’s a link that will allow you to create new pads immediately…”
[you can get your own link by signing up]

Below is a screenshot of EtherPad in action. Notice that the different colors represent text that was either written or modified by a different user. The text that is highlighted in green is the original version of the document. Click on the image to see a larger version.

EtherPad Screenshot

You can also read more about the product on their product page and at their FAQ. I am really excited about the release of this new tool and can see the potential for its use in the fields of education, research, and numerous other industries (as well as for personal use too).

Using Meld to Compare Text Files

Often times when I am debugging code, if there are multiple files that contain similar code sets within my web application, if the code works properly in one file but not in another, it is often times helpful to be able to compare the two files.  Sure, you can use the diff or cmp commands in your terminal, but the output is often times difficult to decipher.  Meld is a tool that allows you to visually see where there are differences in your file.  Meld can be found in the Ubuntu repositories, which makes the installation fairly easy (sudo apt-get install meld) if you are using Ubuntu or one of its derivatives.

Meld allows you to view either two or three files in a side-by-side format, and it displays where there are differences in code between the files.  This is a great way to debug code when you have similar code chunks between files (assuming that one file is working properly).

Meld Screenshot

Notice how the code displayed in blue is where there are differences:

Meld Screenshot

Meld homepage: http://meld.sourceforge.net
More screenshots of Meld can be found here: http://meld.sourceforge.net/screenshots.html

2008 Thanksgiving

2008 Thanksgiving was spent this year with family.  Much fun was had by all.  Here’s a handful of images from the afternoon/evening.

2008 Thanksgiving

2008 Thanksgiving

2008 Thanksgiving

2008 Thanksgiving

2008 Thanksgiving

2008 Thanksgiving

#! CrunchBang Linux on ThinkPad T30

CrunchBang #! Linux on the ThinkPad T30

Some years ago, my step-dad gave us a ThinkPad 770Z (Pentium II), and I’ve been a ThinkPad convert ever since.  I also have a ThinkPad X-60 (dual core with 12.1″ lcd), which is awesome for regular bike commuting (small, light weight); however, lately I’ve been accessing Windows servers remotely on campus and have had to use Visual Studio for several applications that I’ve been writing, and the 12.1″ lcd just is too small for working in VS.  Also, I wanted something a little bit larger for mobile computing around the house.  After some shopping around on eBay, I found a T30 for super cheap that had Ubuntu Linux installed on it. Although I picked it up for a song, upon receiving the machine, it appeared that the 512 MB of RAM that had been listed in the auction was actually 256 MB.  [Edit: I have since learned that the T30 has a known issue with the motherboard where only one of the DIMM’s may be accessed: http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?t=13262].  After cracking open the lid that contains the DIMM’s, I found two sticks of 256.  Sitting on top of the RAM were two half-lengths of popsicle sticks, which were apparently pushing down on the RAM [to fix the motherboard issue linked above, but this solution does not work so well…]; I guess that the pressure of the popsicle sticks pushing down on the RAM modules is somehow supposed to help them engage better.  After readjusting the popsicle sticks, closing the lid and rebooting the machine, I was able to utilize all 512 MB of RAM; now I am finding that I may need to find a better remedy for this issue as the machine now only seems to be utilizing 256 MB of memory and that the other stick is not engaging.  I guess that you never know exactly what you are going to get when you shop on eBay.  Although the machine reeks of stale cigarette smoke, the contact under the ‘4’ key does not work very well, and there are a few cracks in the machine’s case, I am pretty happy with this machine.  With a quick rebuild of the OS, I am now running #! (CrunchBang) Linux (8.10.01), which is based on Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex, and am really enjoying having a dedicated #! machine at my fingertips (other than my work lappie, which I don’t use very often and it runs the same OS).  So far, the machine suits all of my needs and then some.  Simple, sleek, not too big, not too heavy… I’m liking it.  The 14.1″ lcd seems to fit my needs very well.  Plus, it seems to smell less like cigarettes with each passing day.  🙂

All of the hardware seems to be running just fine under #!.  Here are the system specs:

  • Mobile Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 – M CPU 2.00GHz
  • RAM: 256 MB – 512 MB, depending on it’s mood. SODIMM SDRAM
  • VGA: ATI Radeon Mobility M7 LW [Radeon Mobility 7500]
  • USB Controller: Intel 82801CA/CAM
  • Wireless Interface: Cisco Aironet Wireless 802.11b
  • Ethernet Interface: Intel 82801CAM (ICH3) PRO/100 VE (LOM) Ethernet Controller
  • Disk: Toshiba PATA 40 GB
  • Audio: Intel 82801CA/CAM AC’97 Audio Controller

Incidentally, I still use the old 770Z quite frequently.  When we go to bed, wifey is often times doing homework, and I’ll be catching up on newsgroups or furthering my knowledge on one thing or another.  DSL (Damn Small Linux – all of 50 MB!) runs quite well on this machine and suits me just fine.

Hand Wash Station

Gearing up for the big Grand Canyon trip.  Here is my home-made hand-washing station.  The idea is that you wash your hands with a non-toxic, biodegradable soap, capture the soapy rinse water, and dilute it in the river when you dump it.  This cuts down on the footprint that is left by each individual group at various campsites down in the Big Ditch.  My primer-bulb-pump is connected to a 6′ and a 3′ section of 3/8″ tubing, and a 3/8″ copper pipe is acting as the faucet.  One bucket is for river water, and the other bucket is to contain the soapy wash water.  Two overlapping spring-loaded clamps hold the copper in place (1.5 & 2″ clamps).

Home-made hand-wash station

Home-made hand-wash station

Looking forward to using my new creation!  This will be a great addition to the kitchen box.

[edit] Here’s where the “super high flow primer bulb” came from:
http://www.iboats.com/Outboard-Fuel-Primer-Bulbs/dm/view_id.238201

Evening Time with the Pooches

Evening times are usually spent cuddling with the family.  We’re dog sitting for Ely for the next few days, and she’s quite the cuddle-bug.  We really enjoy having her, and the girls seem to really enjoy each other’s company too.
Cuddlin' with the pooches

Cuddlin' with the pooches

Cuddlin' with the pooches

Cuddlin' with the pooches

Cuddlin' with the pooches

Cuddlin' with the pooches

Cuddlin' with the pooches

Cuddlin' with the pooches

Cuddlin' with the pooches

Cuddlin' with the pooches

Cuddlin' with the pooches

Cuddlin' with the pooches

Cuddlin' with the pooches

WordPress Upgrade

Just upgraded from 2.1.2 to 2.6.5.  Had to blow out some of the cob webs, but all seems to be fine.  Will try to post here more often.

Also, I enabled reCaptcha, which I like because when you translate the image, you are helping to digitize books that have been scanned in.  Cool!  Captcha images are used to prevent spam-bots from spamming you through a form field.

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-==[ Hilltop_Yodeler ]==-

Welcome to HilltopYodeler, a place where we'll do some hollerin' about Linux, OSS/FOSS, CSS/XHTML, pickin', paddlin', tinkering, snow, rock, bicycles, and other stuff that we're freaky for. Much of what will be discussed here will be related to Ubuntu Linux, Debian Linux, Crunchbang (#!) Linux, Damn Small Linux, OpenBox, PekWM, and Gnome. Grab your coffee... pick up your piolet... tuck in your whiskey nipper... have paddle in hand... grease your boards... bend some wires... plug into your lappie, mow down some sushi... and get your fool-freak yodel on!