Pages: 1 ... 3 4 5 6 8 10 11 12 13 ... 141

07/21/12

  07:26:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1104 words  
Categories: General, Travel, Home

Transit Service comes to Manhattan, KS

This was originally going to be a longer, and possibly angrier blog post about transit service finally coming to Manhattan, KS.

But, it needs to come first before another post that I've been writing in my head...so I need to get something out.

The background, is that back when I lived in Medicine Hat, which at the time was about a 35k population...though it has its cyclic population factors....the main being summer army training activities, and the influx of british soldiers. But, it was nice small city with a town like feel...and it had a wonderful bus system....5.5 routes. Well...4 of the routes were really 2, two buses on the routes...and downtown terminal crossings. Then there was a route that ran between the two malls, so didn't ever go to the downtown terminal. And, a part-time route that went to the community by the airport. They were probably 50k population in real numbers...but there's also a large chunk of the population that give their primary residence as being across the border where auto insurance is cheap...being a no-fault state.

One of the ideas that brought me to Manhattan, KS was that its kind of like Medicine Hat. Well...it does have the huge population swing....when the 23k+ students are here and then aren't. And, it was an under 50k population city. But, the big surprise was there is no bus service here....which is kind of problem since I don't drive. Though it did have much better walk-ability than where I was before in Columbus, Ohio.

Anyways...finally being over 50k in the 2010 census....a bus service could finally be created. And, there had been a few proposals on what it would take form of when it started. Eventually, the paratransit service (ATA Bus) expanded into doing fixed route public transit service that has finally arrived. ATA used to stand for "Aging Transportation Agency", but now it stands for "Area Transportation Agency".

The service was started with funding from federal, state, county and private funds. There was originally a proposal to seek city funding, but the city rejected it. So, the service went ahead with private funds....which causes the first problem with the fixed route service in Manhattan, KS.

City wouldn't allow bus stop signs to be put up. So, where the stops are exactly...is pretty much only known to the drivers. And, in some cases...it is only known to the specific driver. There have been numerous times where I was missed or nearly missed, because a driver stopped (or didn't stop) in a different place than expected.

There are like 3 places where the bus driver might stop in the College Ave United Methodist Church parking lot.... two are in front of the church, but one is where the driver hairpins entering the parking lot and pauses only long enough to quickly open and close the doors at the street entrance. And, doesn't really look around to see if anybody is standing running from the entrance of the church screaming because of this.

There are also at least 2 places for the stop in the Ace Hardware parking lot....usually its kind of in front of "Alex's Affordable Eyewear"...but once when it was running late....it just came in straight off Hosteller Dr and went straight to the exit to Bluemont Ave, and then just quickly opened and closed the doors for a split second and then took off without looking around.

Where the bus stops are shouldn't be a game where only the drivers know where they are (and they can move them when its suites them) and penalize anybody that didn't guess right.

Which brings us to the second problem with the ATA Bus service.

While running late could be understood....providing the drivers still stopped in their efforts to get back on schedule, instead of not picking up people waiting for the bus. Even the people that have ridden before, so know where the stops should be.

But, there's also the problem that if the bus is running fast...they don't care. There have been numerous times where I've been waiting at the CAUMC stop...and having an Atomic sync'd watch...know that I was there before the scheduled time....only to have no bus ever show up, because they were probably early. Except to make things worse, if you call to complain...they'll claim that the bus was there exactly on time, ignoring if you tell them that you've been waiting there 5 minutes before that time. Or that the stops have no shelter from the rain or the sun...and its 102 or hotter.

Otherwise...the service has been great, and I hope it gets better.

Pages: 1· 2

  06:13:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1047 words  
Categories: Stuff, Healthcare

Glasses are fixed

The previous posting How to check your PD, was a prelude to ordering a replacement pair of glasses online. Which seems to have turned into a mini-review of 3 online companies....

First: Given the hassle of getting dental costs reimbursed by my limited use FSA, for dental and vision expenses.... I was worried that I may have put too much into FSA this year.... So, I decided that I would probably be looking at getting a pair of prescription sunglasses this year. Somewhere after I've had time to adjust to my new progressive eyeglasses.

Which hasn't been going so well...so I was considering that a LASIK evaluation help spend down my FSA. And, plan on next year's FSA paying for that.

But, lately...the progression of my disease now has me falling a lot lately. (the latest casualty being my Casio Waveceptor watch....had thought it being atomic, solar and metal, would mean it would last forever....or more than a year or two. Alas, I fell yesterday and broke it. :..( )

So, anyways...back to breaking my glasses recently.... I found myself looking online for a temporary replacement...the damaged pair were semi wearable, but eventually to fully fix it...it would require a transplant. So, I checked a couple of online sites. Now, until this time, I have pretty much only been only dealing with one company for my online purchases of eyeglasses -- 39DollarGlasses.com But, now and then, I'll see listings on deals.woot.com for 'cheaper' deals. And, now I was thinking more cheap for this temporary/spare pair.

After pricing things out quickly...the base cost (frames + conventional single vision lenses) is rather negligible when you start piling on things like "As Thin As Possible" lenses, Free Form / Computer Progressive, and Anti-Scratch, UV Protection, Anti-Glare, Water Repellent coatings. It more comes down to how much the different companies charge for those options. That decides which is the better deal. As it happened, EyeBuyDirect has a first time customer discount that put it ahead of staying with 39DollarGlasses for this order.

Later, I poked around online to see where I could get the frames of my first pair could be had. And, there were a couple of places that still had the now-discontinued frame style, and I went with LensesRx.com.

This is where the mini-review part kicks in.

In all 3 cases, I normally go for the free USPS delivery option. Which is Priority Mail. And, with 39DollarGlasses.com and EyeBuyDirect.com, it was just with regular Delivery Confirmation service. This means the letter carrier can leave safely locked up in the mail lockers outside my condo. And, I'll have my new glasses when I get home from work. With LensesRX.com, I was order just frames, no lenses....for $99.95....(first pair were like $350, the temp/spare that I got were $170.)....they opted to send it with Signature Confirmation. Which meant that I came home to an orange-ish delivery notice instead of the frames.

That was a Friday...July 13th. Since Saturday, July 14th was the day for the Virtual 5K walk/run for Narcolepsy Research...I decided that I would adjust my route to swing by the post office to pickup the frames. Except I got off to a late start, and by the time I got there...they were closed.

Pages: 1· 2

07/02/12

  04:29:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 440 words  
Categories: Stuff, Healthcare

How to check your PD

Since I seem to have this problem recently, that seems to lead to unexplained damage to eyeglasses....I thought I should acquire some cheap spares. Like using offers that appear via deals.woot.com or such sites now and then.

But, I had a bad experience before, because my PD wasn't right.

Now, I had noticed that there was a different PD measurement listed on my prescriptions that I've been getting from Eyecare Associates....which are probably right, but I thought I should see if there was some way to check for myself.

Searching the Internet, I found these instructions.

Self measure PD in front of a mirror: you need a mirror and a MM ruler.

  • Stand with you face about 20 cm (8 inches) from the mirror.
  • Close your right eye and look only with your left eye.
  • Place a ruler flat against the mirror and align it horizontally with the millimeter scale pointing up.
  • Look over the top of the ruler and align the zero mark in the center of your left pupil.
  • Open your right eye and close the left, but do not move your face or the ruler.
  • Read the millimeter measurement corresponding to the center of your right pupil.
  • Repeat the procedure several times to make sure you have a consistent measurement.

But this is rather difficult....well, there's another procedure:

  1. Hold the mm ruler on the bridge of your nose for stability. Pretend you can look through the mirror (X-ray vision) to see the horizon far away. This keeps your eyes from rotating in toward your nose.
  2. Point your face [nose] straight into a mirror.

    --- CLOSE your left eye to avoid parallax error. ---
  3. Align the ruler's zero to the center of your right pupil. The pupil is the black spot in the middle of the eye.
  4. Without moving the ruler, close your right eye and open your left eye.
  5. Read the millimeter line under your left pupil (careful -- backwards in mirror!).

    --- Keep you face "square" to the mirror to avoid parallax error. ---
  6. Repeat two or three times to confirm accuracy.

Using this second procedure, seems to confirm the PD on record for my prescription from Eyecare Associates.

65mm.

That's kind of a big difference than the number entered at Lenscrafters (62mm). Probably explains why buying glasses from anywhere other than Lenscrafters had always been a disaster. Which they don't use in the store, rather marking PD locations on the demo lenses and making the pair from that....within an hour.

Time to see if a few $9 pairs will really work....well, they'll end up much more than that, because I'll add in things like anti-scratch, anti-glare, high-index and progressive....and maybe I'll tint one.

06/14/12

  10:06:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1662 words  
Categories: General, Hardware, Computer, Networking, BOINC, Storage, Ubuntu, Windows, Printers

lhaven misstep - nForce4 blows OCZ

So, lhaven was this computer I bought specifically for Stanford's Quake Catcher Network project. This was because when I received my sensor, I found that it only worked on Windows or Mac. Linux would require the older sensor, which they weren't selling anymore.

Things seemed to work...except that the machine would lock up now and then. Well, it is Windows...so maybe I'll just schedule it to reboot regularly.

At first that seemed to help...but gradually, I was rebooting it more and more frequently. Eventually, I was down to rebooting it 5 times a week. Sometimes it would fail to restart, other times it would still lock up between reboots.

Eventually, they came out with Linux support for the sensor and I moved the sensor over to orac. That worked great for a while...and then it got a kernel update, and then starting VirtualBox would cause the machine to reboot. And, not just when I needed up update my Quicken. Because I was also participating in LHC's Test4Theory.

So, it was time to find a new home for the sensor. After moving it back to lhaven.

I looked for various low power x86 dedicated SBC or plug computer to run it. Though these things aren't cheap, so I'd want to do more than just QCN with it.

Then it occurred me...that I was overthinking this whole mess. Why don't I just install Linux on lhaven?

I haven't been looking forward to the leap from 10.04LTS to 12.04LTS. While Orac has a GT440 in it that's not being used, not sure what I would do for box....though I've been eye'ng either a GT218 or an NVS 300. It only has an LP PCIe x1 slot.... there are other concerns.

In the Scheme of things...I had planned to upgrade the video card in zen someday...and take its GT420 and change to an LP bracket and put it in lhaven. Hadn't quite worked out what I'll do about gumby, but it has since died...and when I get around to resurrecting it, I might have a Radeon HD5450 that I'll free up (not sure if it helps with BOINC, but eventually...I want all the systems using DVI....so I can switch to my new 4-port DVI KVM. DVI to VGA through the old KVM was horrible....plus keyboard issues with the old KVM, makes me wonder if I can wait until I can fully make the switch.)

So, I had downloaded 12.04LTS beta1, but never got around to install it anywhere....and when this idea occurred, 12.04LTS beta2 was just starting to appear. Though the question was, would I go with ubuntu, or try one of the other variants. Namely, xubuntu or lubuntu.

I ended up going with xubuntu 12.04LTS beta 2. I didn't hear about lubuntu until after I had started downloading xubuntu...so I envisioned that I would resurrect gumby with lubuntu....though so far I haven't gotten around to that.

Pages: 1· 2· 3

04/04/12

  09:12:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 376 words  
Categories: General, Travel, Healthcare

The Dreamer Claims A(nother?) Victim!

Link: http://remrunner.blogspot.com/2012/04/legs-on-fire-starting-my-training-for.html

What did Julie Flygare do to deserve this? I have no idea....

She ran the Boston Marathon in 2010 for Wake Up Narcolepsy....before I knew who she was and what Narcolepsy is. But, somebody had apparently told her to be on the look out for me at the Narcolepsy Network Conference in Crystal City, Arlington, VA.... but I didn't really learn much about her until I started following her blog and other online presence after that conference.

I learned a lot at the conference, and continued to learn after the conference...including lots of stuff about myself. I'm still a work in progress. (idiopathic hypersomnia, hypnagogia, hypnic jerk, sleep paralysis, automatic behavior, long sleep, etc.)

But, back to Julie.... because I was stalking her online.... about a week and half ago, this post from a few days earlier caught my eye:

In My Father's Footsteps: Trying to Find Registration for Mt Washington Road Race to run in my father's honor on Father's Day for charity

So, I did a little research of my own.... and then wrote this blog entry on my Tumblr site: REM Runner wants to run The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race 2012 -- In memory of her father and to raise money for Narcolepsy Awareness and Research.

I have my Tumblr site set to tweet my posts.

Using the APA Style

LawrenceChen. (2012, Mar 25). REM Runner wants to run The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race 2012 - In memory of her father... http://tmblr.co/ZmWZfwIYfD1N [Twitter post.] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/#!/LawrenceChen/status/183999798339313665

Which surprisingly lead to this tweet:

NortheastDelta. (2012, Mar 27). @LawrenceChen Tom Raffio the CEO of @NortheastDelta will be contacting soon. :) [Twitter post.] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/#!/NortheastDelta/status/184740188797419520

And

NortheastDelta. (2012, Mar 27). @LawrenceChen - for clarification - we are contacting Julie re the Mount Washington Road Race :) [Twitter post.] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/#!/NortheastDelta/status/184745755431550976

Concluding with

RemRunner. (2012, Mar 27). @NortheastDelta @LawrenceChen Thank you so much! REM Runnning up a mountain for my dad would be the honor of a lifetime! [Twitter post.] Retrieved from https://twitter.com/#!/RemRunner/status/184749224636850177

And, then it seemed like an eternity passed before I heard anything further...until I spotted her "Legs on Fire" post this morning.... Guess that means my next project is to get her published ;D

Full story »

04/01/12

  08:03:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 273 words  
Categories: b2evolution

Time to finally upgrade to b2evolution-4.1.3

Some how I screwed up copying the diffs over top of the site, so that when I put the new index.php...it didn't work. But, the updated conf files made it. (backpatching the multidomain stuff)

Oh I see what I did....I had copied into the top level the other dirs the first time.

IE:

Code

cp -rp inc/* ~/lawrencechen.net

instead of

Code

cp -rp inc/* ~/lawrencechen.net/inc

Guess I need to clean that up before calling it done.

Full story »

03/31/12

  03:27:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1112 words  
Categories: Software, Computer, Networking, Ubuntu, Windows, Printers, Scanner

I got a Brother DCP-7065DN

In a rather impulsive move, I bought a Brother DCP7065DN Monochrome Laser Multi-Function Copier via an Amazon Lightning Deal!

I had been considering getting a new laser printer for a very long time. I had ditched my old Brother HL-630 laser printer about a dozen years ago. This was a crappy printer from the start...with its grey background problem that they never seemed to resolve. Had gotten it from Future Shop of years way gone by....where it had been a special buy for them...so they were selling them really cheap. Kind of like the Canon BJ-5e bubble jet printer I had gotten before.... (It was a BJ-10e, but made cheaper just for them. And, used a special ink cartridge not used by any other model from Canon...at the time. Otherwise, I often wish I still had it....though when I moved from Canada to the US, it became kind of a problem to get ink for.)

So, after the Brother HL-630 was scrapped....I spent a long time thinking about my next laser printer....I was heavily leaning towards getting an HP Laser printer....so it was going to likely take a very long time before I would make a move. And, then I started to lean towards getting a Color Laser Printer.....and then I wanted built-in Duplex. And, having been spoiled by the HP Photosmart 8450xi, it also needed network capability....

There was an HP Color Laser printer that seemed to fit the bill, and it was popping up on sale now and then. But, then I upgraded to Windows 7...and found that not only is my old Photosmart 8450xi no longer fully supported in Windows 7, neither is the HP Color Laser printer that I had been considering.

So, that nixed wanting to jump on it the next time it went on sale. (Sale as in cheaper than it would cost to buy 4 new toner cartridges for it.)

So, the search continued....I started looking at Brother again....in current models, something like the HL-4150CDN or the HL-4570CDWT.... but, then I was introduced to a multifunction printer. Which actually was kind of useful. Being able to scan a document onto a USB drive. And, there's always the once a year or so occasion, where somebody wants me to fax something. I used to have a fax machine...first a dedicated thermal fax type thing, and later a refurbished HP OfficeJet v40xi. A power surge took out my first fax machine...and then a few years later...living in the same apartment still....a power surge took out the HP OfficeJet....

So, I then started to consider printers like the Brother MFC-9560CDW....plus the idea of color copying seemed useful, especially duplex color copying.

Of course, now its getting expensive to start and expensive to keep....

I also had this issue of printing envelopes....a capability I had lost when I upgraded to Windows 7. The Dymo Labelwriter that I had gotten from stamps.com didn't work on Windows 7. And, I didn't really want to buy a new Dymo Labelwriter to keep this capability. Eventually I canceled stamps.com, though still have the occasional postage need....which it would be nice if I could still print postage, etc. Think there are cheaper ways than stamps.com, but probably not from Linux.

But, then last December while visiting my parents...my dad snapped up a Brother HL-2270DW, and this was a pretty decent little printer. It was on sale for the holidays...but it does PCL emulation. I wish I had just gotten one of these for myself then, too.

Instead, I started to reconsider whether I really needed color laser. Around year end...there were things I needed scanned or copied, for things like taxes and FSA...so I was still was still leaning towards getting a multifunction printer of some sort. And, I kind of fell for the Samsung SCX-47xxFN, and then later the Samsung SCX-4828FN (about $400). The 4828FN adding Postscript emulation. I've always wanted a postscript printer....

Though these are still expensive printers. These ones had fax....and I did have to need to send a fax once this year, so far. If I were to leave out fax, it should've been something like the Brother DCP-8085DN (about $350)....which would've had duplex copying, and both PCL and PS emulations.

But, instead the Brother DCP-7065DN showed up as an Amazon Lightning deal for $80 (50% off)....I did a quick google search to see if it work on Linux, and some sites seemed to say it had PCL and PS as well. And, bought it.

Well...apparently its common in the industry to make similar internals/firmware across their product line with different features available or not, etc. And, Brother didn't even bother to remove PCL and PS from the capabilities page that the printer spits out or not advertise the LPD queues for these modes in its network info. But, trying to use the queues is like sending to /dev/null. This particular printer is only GDI (so in someways worse than the HL-2270DW ... currently about $120. And, then there's an HL-2280DW for about $10 more, and adds a scanner....a network scanner would be useful. Though a standalone scanner would be more useful during my situation where my primary desktop is dead.

But, I was able to get the DCP-7065DN working from my Ubuntu server, after following some websites on the subject. Namely..the detail that they only provided 32-bit deb's, and I have a 64-bit Ubuntu Server. I haven't tried the scanning feature, since the printer sits by TARDIS...and I have my Fujitsu ScanSnap S300M working on my Ubuntu server....though not sure if I've gotten the two-sided scanning part to work. So far the bills that I've needed to scan for FSA reimbursement have been one-sided.

But, the DCP-7065DN doesn't have a duplex ADF...so it doesn't provide an alternative. And, my other scanner is a Fujitsu ScanSnap S300! (I bought the Mac only S300M on a Black Friday sale, and back when I used to bring work macbook pro home now and then. Later I got the S300, when I had more FSA money to spend and wanting faster turn around...but wasn't bring the macbook pro home anymore.) A regular flatbed scanner has been on my wishlist...perhaps the DCP-7065DN will satisfy that need. Something to probably check out after I get around to finally upgrading TARDIS.

So, while it was a problem to find that the DCP-7065DN is only a GDI printer...it does currently work from Ubuntu...and sharing it out from my Ubuntu server is interesting. There's no native DCP-7065DN driver in Windows XP, but I just pick some Postscript printer driver...and that worked. And, it looks pretty good (compared to the early days of ghostscript...)

What what I'll do when I finally get around to rebuilding my Windows 7 desktop????

  09:18:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 57 words  
Categories: Quicken/TurboTax

[Solved] Quicken 2012 Annual Privacy Notice won’t go away

Link: http://tidystorm.com/577/solved-quicken-2010-annual-privacy-notice-wont-go-away/

Been getting annoyed that the Annual Privacy Notice in my Quicken 2012 Premiere keeps appearing and appearing and appearing....

Finally did a good search, and found this above linked article.

In my quicken.ini file, the GLB section, I had:

Date=0/0/1901

If I have it right, I should hopefully not see it until April Fools Day next year.... :lalala:

03/19/12

  10:38:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 266 words  
Categories: Home, Appliances

My 'new' Dyson DC35 (Digital Slim) Multi Floor vacuum cleaner

Link: http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GN8UYA/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=la34thdr34chs-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B004GN8UYA

So, I got a new Dyson....

I had been eyeballing this model for some time. Wanting the convenience of cordless, but still having a power head and do real vacuuming.

Because, there are times where I just need spot cleaning, like around my chair in front of computer, or the floor runner by the front door. But, its a pain dragging out my DC18 and dealing with its cord....its more the cord that is issue.

Last year I had picked up a Refurbished Dyson DC31 via Woot.com. And, discovered how nice this is...it sucked way better than my Hoover cordless hand vac, and is just perfect for dealing with crumbs near my coffee table....or other small spills. Though found myself wishing for the extras of the DC35 for other small areas/jobs...

Though I didn't figure out the 65AW button until I got the DC35 (which says MAX on it instead...) So, when a Refurbished Dyson DC35 showed up on Woot, I decided I was going to snap it up.

The only problem is trying to figure out where I should hang it....the DC35 is kind of awkward laying on the floor by an outlet (unlike the DC31). Probably should just toss out my other handvac...

Someday there might be a Dyson Canister vac in my future. I had always intended to get a Canister vac in the beginning, but back then Dyson didn't make one. Right now it would be a question between a Dyson Dyson DC35 or a DC39

The only thing missing from Dyson now...is one that can also deal with wet (cordless...) :idea:

03/17/12

  06:53:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 337 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, Healthcare, Windows, VirtualBox, Quicken/TurboTax

CPAP Data Recovered

As I may or may not have mentioned, Zen failed to boot after it got the latest set of Microsoft patches on February 15th. After various attempts to recover, it has been declared lost. I haven't gotten around to resurrecting it.

So, I've been making do with a Windows XP VirtualBox that I have my on Linux system (starting to look like when I do get around to resurrecting it, I'm going to try 12.04LTS Desktop and Windows 7 in VirtualBox....)

Previously, it was just Quicken and then TurboTax. But, I've been wondering about my CPAP data.

First was EncoreViewer. How do I recover that historical data. I knew where it kept the files, because I had copied them from TARDIS into Windows XP mode. The question now was how do I get the files out of Windows XP mode. In the end, the answer was WinImage...to merge the differencing-VHD that Windows XP Mode uses, into a single file and then convert it for VirtualBox use. Could've gone direct...except that I found first try with WinImage didn't work...so second time I converted to a fixed VMDK file, and then converted the fixed file into a dynamic sizing virtual disk for use on VirtualBox.

Though later I realized that I only want it as read-only....to get my data back....anyways.

That worked.

Next question was how do I recover my data in SmartLink.

I installed it into my Windows XP VirtualBox, and wondered where does C:\ProgramData exist in Windows XP space....but, while poking around, I remembered it has a backup/restore database option...and wondered if I had ever done a backup.

I lucked out. The last time I used the software was the only time I had ever used the backup function....and that's just perfect, I restored from that and then did my latest downloads from both my xPAPs.

:cool:

Just have to see if I remember to do another download before my next doctor appointment. I didn't print anything, because I hope that by then...I'll also have my new printer. :))

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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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