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  08:08:22 pm, by The Dreamer   , 5 words  
Categories: DVDs / NetFlix

DVD: Astro Boy

  12:39:57 pm, by The Dreamer   , 435 words  
Categories: Software

Removing the Bank Logo From the Quicken Splash Screen


One of the peeves that I've developed for Quicken 2010 Premier is the Chase logo on its splash screen.

As I had previously written, I had a growing dislike of Chase. I never got a credit card from them, but they were the bank that acquired the bank that issued my Mastercard...and later they were the bank that acquired the bank that issued my Visa. I never liked the idea of the same bank being the issuer of more than one card....

Well, during my time with Chase, I had more incidents of fraudulent activity than with any other issuer. And, each time that it did happen, they would immediately cancel my card and issue me a new one....without regard to the inconvenience this would cause me. I kept saying after the 3rd strike that it would be time to end my relationship with Chase.

Visa was the first to go, since it was just a basic Visa...and I had been looking for a reward Visa for some time....I had considered converting to a Reward Visa issued by Chase, but after the 2nd strike...I opted to look elsewhere.

And, when the 3rd strike happened with was probably time, though I didn't. But, I did stop using the card. Though in having to update the bills that charge Mastercard directly, I had moved most of these to the new Visa...before the 3rd incident. So, it would just be a matter of getting myself to stop using the Mastercard. Which became easier to do once Chase ended my rewards program on the card.

But, it took some time to finally make the move to get a new Mastercard and close the Chase card.

It didn't happen until after I was forced to transition from MS Money Plus to Quicken.

Shortly after I started using Quicken, I noticed that the splash screen acquired the Chase Logo. I had hoped that once I terminate my Chase relationship that it would go away...but that was many months ago, and it wasn't happening.

Now Quicken takes a long time to start, and the splash screen stays on its blocking me from doing other things like reading email while waiting it to fully start. Which just makes the Chase logo all that more annoying. I had hoped to find a way to shorten or remove the splash screen, or prevent it from preventing me from using my computer during the eternity it takes to load.

But, at least I found a way to get rid of the annoying Chase Logo. :cool:

Now I can go back to the other Quicken peeves.... :**:



  04:52:53 pm, by The Dreamer   , 840 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, BOINC

lhaven upgraded

AKA the end of RedHat 7.3.

For sometime, I have thought that it was time to upgrade 'lhaven' to a more modern release of Linux.

For the longest time, 'lhaven' has been running RedHat 7.3 (it was 7.2, but then I discovered Fedora Legacy...and they were providing patches for RedHat 7.3) And, there are still some production servers running this release, but I no longer have to support I no longer work there.

The problem was that I had compiled a lot of custom apps over the years, that would be difficult to upgrade to newer distro/release of Linux. Since they were done without though to going to a different distro. 'lhaven' did used to run older versions of RedHat, and had been upgraded to where it stopped. But, to go to another distro would require a major effort. And, some of the apps were hard enough to get working to begin with. And, were some what fragile.

'lhaven' has also gone through some hardware iterations. The first major was when the Cyrix 233 that it was one burned up (a transformer had blown a phase, causing really low voltage before it went out....) though more likely it was its return after the outage with none of its fan able to spin. It was working for a while...but then there was smoke, and it all ended.

Got a Duron 800Mhz machine, which grew to an Athlon 2000....and had its motherboard replaced after the icepocalypse. The icepocalpyse was the first time I had to seriously look at upgrading from the old RedHat 7.3....but later I found a compatible motherboard and got the system to boot. The machine I bought at that time became 'orac'.

Later my use of ReplayTVs dropped off, and the one of the main apps that used datadirect for guide data was never successfully updated to support the newer schedules direct service. And, that was one of the things I didn't want to touch. But, now it is gone.

More recently, I started moving some of the other things that ran on 'lhaven' to 'box'. Namely, MRTG and cacti. I also updated all my linux servers to be able to handle mail for my home network, with the local mailboxes on 'box'. Also moved secondary DNS to 'orac' (someday I plan to get fallback DHCP on 'orac', but that'll probably come later.....) During the icepocalypse I had moved DHCP and primary NTP and DNS to 'box'....'lhaven' came back as secondary, because the old 'gumby' was sufficiently broken that I couldn't get it to not require 'lhaven' to function.

So, what I did was install ubuntu-10.04-alternate-i386 to become the new 'lhaven'. Which was the suggested to do RAID at the start, it had been a long time since I had done it, but the last time I was a server install. But ubuntu no longer supports 32-bit hardware as servers, but both 'lhaven' and 'box' are 32-bit machines.

Took some figuring out, but its all done now. Yes, there's a desktop on all my Linux boxes, though 'lhaven' doesn't seem to be really up to the task. The video seems pretty poor and fuzzy compared to the other Linux servers. Perhaps I'll see about replacing its integrated video with an NVidia card of some sort...what that does CUDA, though it'll have to be a PCI card.

Anyways....after the install was done, I installed a few boinc and called it a night.

Full story »


  08:10:52 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1779 words  
Categories: Travel, Home, Appliances

I got a new refrigerator last weekend.


So, I finally gone and done it.

I had been thinking of getting a new refrigerator pretty soon after I became a home owner. Hmmm, strange how that is...because something like that happened when I bought my first home, though the old fridge was much older and was suffering....

Though the fridge here was also old and suffering, it was still capable of being cold....and sometimes too cold. Though it also showed signs that it hadn't been well cared for by previous users....they probably just let it sweat during the hot humid part of the year, and mold was growing out of the insulation.

But, that wasn't why I was looking for a new fridge. Originally, I was dreaming of getting something with a water dispenser. Yes, when I first moved here to Manhattan, I thought the tap water was pretty darn amazing. Though locals complained about it....guess I'm one now. Though water here is still better than some places that I've been.

Now, long before I dreamed of getting a fridge with a water dispenser....I had dr
I had been given the number to the police by the 'landlord' on previous occasions when I had complained about the renters.eamed of getting a bottom freezer fridge. And, while looking at refrigerators....I discovered french door units.

The problem was that most of these units were wider than standard. And, the tiny condo wasn't going to have one. Now, I'm sure I've measured the opening hundreds of times....though I guess I never measured the old fridge or other things like clearance requirements.

But, then newer fridges started coming out that knew people like me might not have the width for wider fridges...but want them. They came out in the magic under 33" width.

Full story »

Pages: 1· 2


  05:57:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1339 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, Storage, Ubuntu

declaring 'orac' alive again.

'orac' is back, long live 'orac'.

'orac' had gone away on Thursday, it actually started in Wednesday.... For some unknown reason, I decided to start the upgrade of 'orac' from 8.04LTS to 10.04LTS.

The upgrade seemed to go okay, but when I wouldn't boot. I scrambled around looking for a livecd to boot with....did have any 64bit ones handy and 10.04 was hit and miss on booting. But, I could see vg0 (root, home, swap) with all the livecds except 10.04.

Something about 10.04 didn't like how vg0 was set up. I looked at 'box', which had been running 10.04 for a while and was working. Noticed the main difference between the all the other md's and vg's...was that they weren't fdisk'd md's. When I had originally set up 'orac', I had used a recipe that I had found online on how to do it...since initial install of ubuntu onto Raid wasn't straight forward then. and after md1 was created, I had fdisk'd and then pvcreate/vgcreate, etc. on it.

When I added the other two raid sets....I just pvcreated the md and then used fdisk of the md.

In retrospect I should probably have done a backup of the filesystems while I was running a livecd that could see it....and then perhaps remade the disk and restored into it. But, I didn't and while trying to 'fix' the problem...I corrupted things, and I wasn't able to recover (tried pvcreate -u + vgcfgrestore...but couldn't get the filesystems to come back.

After lots of other attempts and such, I reached the point where I decided things were lost and set on to figure out if I can get back.

backuppc localhost doesn't back up the entire localhost....but it had my home directory backed up (but not all of /home), and it was also backing up /etc. Realized the the one thing it wouldn't get is my crontab files. But I had a dd image of most of the disk (the front part munged) I string'd and recovered my crontab from it. And, then set out to install 10.04LTS new.

Since md1 was going to get redone, I decided to redo md0..../boot. Made it a bit bigger than before so that it won't get as crowded from accumulating every new kernel that is released until 12.04LTS comes out. Or some future release needed more than the old size to work. Had actually run into this problem years ago at my previous job....

But, the install kept failing....asking for the disk again....I burned several copies, download from other sources, but no go. So, I tried to 9.10 (thinking I would upgrade to 10.04 immediately), but it also didn't work. Eventually, I found a reference on google that said the 10.04 (and 9.10) installs were picky about what kind of optical drive was being used. It specifically mentioned a particular DVD burner, with 'orac' came with a DVD burner...though I have never used the drive since I did the original install. I tried a USB stick, but couldn't get the machine to use that, and the other external drive I could find was firewire (and there's no BIOS option to boot from firewire).

So, I took apart my machine and the firewire drive. And, put the DVD-ROM drive that was in the firewire enclosure into the machine. The DVD-ROM drive had original come from my circa 2003 Dell, known as 'tardis'.....when I had swapped in a DVD burner.

'box' is the Linux machine that I do cd burning on....and I hardly do DVDs anymore, though I did get a new DVD burner recently for the new 'gumby'.

Anyways....with the 'new' optical drive in 'orac'....I was able to get 10.04LTS to install, and then started the long process of getting my environment back. First problem was backuppc installed with a different uid/ it wouldn't access the old /var/lib/backuppc storage. I opted to fix it the wrong way....that took forever....doing the chown of the files/directories. Should've just changed the uid/gid that backuppc had installed itself as. But, then I tried to do the problem was sudoers, had forgotten about that.

I then restored /etc to another place, and restored my home directory along side of the one the install had created. When done I swapped my home dir and rebooted. That was a mess. The desktop was all messed up...not just missing apps. Figured it was because the desktop didn't like the old settings....but couldn't find any details on how to upgrade desktop, if I hadn't done an upgrade. I thought other OSs handled this kind of thing. But, not here. So, I flipped back and slowly copied stuff over and restored settings etc. And, reinstalled various apps as I went.

Then I decided that I had made sufficient progress on getting 'orac' configured, that I didn't want to lose things. I had disabled backupc from doing automatic backups during the restore. So I turned it back on and back up the other systems around my home (after first doing a new backup of the new 'orac'). It didn't like .gvfs in my home old version it complained but continued, in this version it complained and the tar returned an error due to previous error...causing the rest of the backup to fail (the localhost backup does 4 'shares') I tweaked the config to get it to work.

The only thing I saw was that it tried to backup 'ulkc', my ubuntu notebook...but it wasn't on at the moment, so it failed. It wasn't going to automatically back up anything else yet, since its one of my blackout periods. So, I started kicking off manual backups of various things, and watched it work. First thing that didn't work was a backup of a windows share. Seems smbclient changed since 8.04LTS...and one of the options was used in backuppc 3.0 didn't work anymore. The new is 3.1, and the default options is minus that one I matched things up and it did its thing.

The only problem that still didn't work, which I think was the reason I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to 10.04LTS (to get the newer backuppc) was incremental backup where a very large file has changed since the full. Usually the virtual harddrive of a VirtualBox. Sadly this wasn't fixed in 3.1. Guess I'll have to look at some other way to deal with it. Like exclude it from the regular policy and create a new one that only does that one file....or something. Or maybe ....

I continued to work on other things, as I worked through comparing the old /etc with the new 'orac' /etc. Though interrupted by trying to get file shares working (I had exported my Dropbox directory from another server for access from other computers on my home network....though LAN sync is available now, I haven't undone the stuff yet). And, getting snmpd working I could see the impact to resources and network from all the backuppc jobs running in cacti.

One strange problem is that 'orac' can not access the NFS shares on 'lhaven' (RedHat 7.3), but 'box' can....the only difference I can think of is that 'box' was upgraded to 10.04LTS.... Though I guess it is time I worked on moving services off of 'lhaven' and figure out what I'm going to do to either replace or upgrade it.

The other issue was Handbrake. Originally, I had built it by hand...since there wasn't a package for 64-bit Linux. Though later, I got a newer version via PPA. But, the version that I got via PPA for Lucid didn't work. So, I eventually went and built my own again...from the build works....

Hopefully, when 12.04LTS comes along....things'll just upgrade smoothly.

The other odd thing, is that 10.04LTS seems slower....particular in file I/O. The machine seems to really degrade in performance doing a large file copy (as was happening when I was copying directories from my old home dir to the new one.) All the CPUs are bored while this is happening (it's a 2.4GHz Core 2 Quad....with 8G of memory....) Hopefully something that'll resolve itself later?


  02:33:04 pm, by The Dreamer   , 745 words  
Categories: Travel, Home, Appliances, Healthcare

I bought another air cleaner

This time I got a Winix 9000. This is the air cleaner that I had originally intended to get years ago, but in reading reviews...found a comparable model (for same price) under the Kenmore brand at Sears, and Sears was having a sale at that particular went with that one. And, later another one.

But, now it was nearly time to get another one. This'll be like the 3rd or 4th one that I'll have had in my living room since I moved here. Don't recall if there was a 1st one....but if I had, it was it probably didn't stay long or get much use. But this would be the 3rd new one in the not quite 4 years that I've lived here. The first new one was quite expensive, and didn't seem to do much at all....except constantly tell me that it needed cleaning, but cleaning it showed no signs that it had done anything. The next one seemed to do better, but it was difficult to clean and had to be completely dry before it could be used again. The Kenmore units (and the Winix) are much easier to wash periodically and don't need to be completely dry to be put back into service. So, I kind of decided that when it came time to replace the filter in would probably get replaced completely.

Full story »


  06:20:19 pm, by The Dreamer   , 783 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer

Did the weekend upgrades...of 'orac' and 'gumby'

So, having returned from a morning trip to the UPS store to pick up some packages and with my knee bothering me more than yesterday...I didn't feel like going out again today. It seemed that there was a good moment do the upgrades I was planning to do.

First upgrade was to 'orac'. It is to upgrade the machine to its 8GB max, from it's current 6GB. So, I popped out the original 2GB the machine came with, and popped in a pair of 2GB DIMMs that I had purchased for this.

At first nothing special to report about it....

So, then took 'gumby' that I could put that 2GB of memory into 'gumby' to take it to 4GB, knowing of course that it is running 32-bit Windows XP. And, while it was open I set in the other upgrade for 'gumby', swap out its DVD-ROM drive for a DVD burner.

No didn't see all the memory. Though first thing I noticed was that FreeRAM XP pegged out at 2GB. Guess that's something for the future when I get around to replacing 'tardis'...where I plan to have a 64-bit Windows and tons of memory, etc. Perhaps.

But, checking knows that there's 4GB of RAM in the machine, but it seems to only be letting me use 3GB. I then set about to install the software for the DVD burner. I purchased a retail kit, because I wanted the limited version of software that comes with it. Rather than dig around for the ancient version of software I used to have back then. The limited version is much newer version of Roxio than I had (formerly known as Easy CD Creator). The other computer has a dated version of Nero...I haven't done much in the way of burning in a long time, so it wasn't really a major need to get a new full blown package.

Pretty much just burn the occasional ISO here and there. I wanted to see what this lightscribe stuff is. And, at least have the option...since 'gumby' being more, seems to suggest that I might get back into some of that stuff at some point. Some day I'll buy some blank media to use....other than the spindle of blank CD-Rs that I have nearby (first thing I did burn was the restore iso for 'gumby').

Anyways, while I was using the Plextor software, I checked for updates....first no firmware update, but it found a plexutil I updated it. Running that update, it found a firmware then I did update the firmware. It then reported that it wanted to reboot, so I did that.

The reboot took longer than I expected, partly because I had forgotten that I had scheduled a boot-time defrag of the drives and then it hung during the boot. Not sure if the Plextor stuff has something to do with it (there seems to be something added that does something)...but when I switched to 'orac' to go online to see if I had broken something...I found 'orac' acting a big odd. It eventually locked up completely. But, while I was on 'orac'....'gumby' eventually booted, though with all the shared drives disconnected.

I did notice that after the upgrade, while poking around in the BIOS...that the new PC2-5300 (PNY) memory's SPD was being reported as 800MHz, rather than the expected 667MHz. I wondered if it being in the first bank to the older PC2-5300 (Crucial) in the second bank might be causing some problems....I didn't really feel like undoing the memory upgrades to both systems.

So, I switched the memory around (making sure that it really is alternating sockets, unlike the 'gumby' where they weren't...though the original memory was installed as if it were)

So far 'orac' seems happier....guess we'll see. Did notice that the new memory seems hotter than the old memory....but could just be the difference in packaging.

I then had to reboot 'gumby' after installing the Roxio 10 CE, but it was still slow to boot....did seem it flash some kind of window that I hadn't seen before, so it could be something the Plextor install added to my startup that is contributing to the slowdown in boot.

Guess time will tell....

The process did distract me from the other reboot that I was going to do.... Thought I saw the "Your CPU is lacking expected security protection" while logging into 'box' the other day, and was going to see if there was something I needed to change in its BIOS. Of course, I could've just been confused and confused that from the message that shows when logging into my lucid server VM running in VirtualBox...maybe I'll try that now....


  10:20:48 pm, by The Dreamer   , 845 words  
Categories: Hardware, Computer, Storage

Yay, I used backuppc to restore almost 400GB of data

So, yesterday...I finally decided to buy the new external firewire drive for 'gumby'. Originally the plan was so that I would have retrospect express backups of the system drive, that I could boot from its restore CD and get that part back....with backuppc protecting my data.

On that criteria...I was trying to decide if 500GB was sufficient or perhaps smaller. Since the system drive is 160GB. And, whether USB 2.0 would be sufficient or if I still needed firewire. Old 'gumby' only had USB 1.1 and Firewire 400 ports. New 'gumby' came with USB 2.0 ports and I had added a Firewire 400 card to it.

Looking at the computer store at the K-State Student Union and various online sites (such as NewEgg, Tigerdirect, eBay)....that there wasn't a whole lot of good options in the under $100 mark.

OTOH, I had suspicions that another one of the 300GB firewire drives connected to 'gumby' was failing. I thought maybe I'd get a bigger drive. Looking again at the selection at the K-State computer store, I found a few reasonable choices....1TB, USB2.0/Firewire 400...and one USB2.0/Firewire400/Firewire800/eSata...all under $150 ($125+) So, then I wondered if I should get the Firewire800 option. I knew it was unlikely that I would stick an eSata controller in 'gumby' But, I wondered if I could swap the Firewire 400 card for a Firewire 800. Turns out there's very little in the way of 32-bit PCI Firewire 800 cards out there. And, they weren't cheap....enough for me to jump on. So, I decided that I would just settle for one of the USB2.0/Firewire 400 external drives. Namely the cheapest one at $ it was kind of a known quantity....I already had an older (physically larger) Iomega Ultramax 1TB USB2.0/Firewire drive connected to my other Windows XP box ('tardis')...doing just backups.

I hooked it up and tried to get it first it would detect and then it caused other issues, crashing my computer. Eventually I got the wizard to show up so I could initialize it and reformat it from Mac format to NTFS. The crashing seemed to cause some strangeness with the rest of the system. At first I was cursing having put off re-establishing some kind of Restrospect Express backup on the new 'gumby' (lost the old when the first of external drives died on the old 'gumby' -- used to have Maxtor OneTouch ?? externals...), but then I remembered that I can get the configs / apps restored using backuppc. (Hmmm, wait...I should be able to fix my firefox settings using FEBE. OK)

Meanwhile...I didn't notice those minor app issues until this morning. But, what I started to do was copy data from both externals over to the new drive. At first I was going to come up with a new organization and a single drive letter...when I decided that I would do two partitions, so that they could go into the same original drive letters. And, the old drives would go somewhere else. That way I wouldn't need to reconfigure the apps that look for the data, and backuppc would continue to see things in the same place, etc.

And, the plan was to use the two old 300G drives as the store for local (Retrospect Express) backups.

I debated whether it would be faster to copy between firewire drives or restoring the data using backuppc (both computers have 1Gbit NICs...old 'gumby' only had 10/100). I ended up doing both...restore one drive/partition from backuppc and copying the other drive/partition locally.

As luck would have it....the drive I was copying locally then decided it was time to die. And, things came to a halt.

Piecing back together... ended up restoring both drives from backuppc onto the new 1TB drive.

Once finished, I changed drive letters again...and rebooted to make things work (Windows was hungup about write issues on the failed drive, so it wouldn't let me change drive letters without some force.)

Later I got Retrospect Express working...currently I reformatted both old 300GB drives and have it doing two sets of backups to the drives. I kind of expect that one of them is going to fail me at some point in the future....but it should buy me time until I get the next external drive for this computer.

Running an initial backup right now, and when done I'll create a new restore image....and I should get to burning it after I do the next set of upgrades on this computer.

Oh yeah, yesterday I also finally changed out the USB to PS/2 adapter on it....the old one was annoying because the mouse would stop working periodically....have to be really still for a while and then the mouse would work again. Annoying! New adapter I got is a Trendnet (same brand as my KVM) far it seems to be working better, at least in the mouse department. The keyboard has had some issues....stuck repeating 3's.

On tap for next set of upgrades (likely to take place sometime this long weekend), change out DVD-ROM drive for a DVD burner and upgrade the memory to 4GB (after upgrading 'orac' to 8GB and moving the 2GB from there to here).

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Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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