Saturday, April 30, 2016

Linux needs a better Panorama Maker.....

This is definitely NOT like Image Composite Editor from Microsoft Research.

Friday, April 29, 2016

More fun with Linux Mint 17.3

This was a little experiment in learning how to use the color features in Gimp, and then to test its text features, by adding some text using a font just downloaded today. I've figured out how to install fonts into Linux Mint, and have them available for adding to images in the Gimp program. So I'm learning, slowly. Now, if I could just find a really good image splicing program for it......

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

And on Computer Number Two...

Color me frustrated with Mighty Microsoft's Windows 10. "How frustrated?", you ask. A lot! I wanted to deactivate Cortana and began that process Tuesday morning quite early. I found several "sure fire" methods for it, tried each a couple or three or four times, until convinced it wasn't working, and by then, it was into the afternoon. Then, I found another hot item explaining why it couldn't be done.

It couldn't be done, because Microsoft has now integrated Cortana so well into its main systems that any attempt to remove it via the Registry or other hack will result in damaging other parts of the system. So the story goes... So, if I want to get rid of it, and I most assuredly do, then the most efficient way is to simply throw out Windows 10 completely. So I did. Welcome to Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon. It doesn't need a Cortana, because its users already know what they are looking for, and where it might be found.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Linux Mint 17.3 and Google Earth: "Yes, you can have it..."

Google Earth isn't normally available in the packages choices for Linux Mint, and doing your thing in Terminal (similar to Windows Powershell or Command Prompt) returns the information that it couldn't be found. So I'm feeling pretty smug just now, because I just installed Google Earth in my Linux Mint 17.3 "Cinnamon" and it's working just fine, thanks...

Actually, it's not a big deal - it just takes some googling to find the right set of scripts to use in Terminal to give it the right commands to hack the kernel so it goes in smoothly and works like 'downtown' after it gets there. And this is what I like about Linux - you can usually re-work it to customize it to your own liking, if you aren't entirely delighted with what comes out of the box from the factory. Where there's a will, there's usually a work-around. (Or hungry relatives!)

Moving along here, (may we?) under "Things I'd never know if I didn't fall asleep with the TV on and wake up with it still going at 5:00 a.m." - did you know that King Herod of Judea developed the Olympics in the Middle East? Yep! Honest! - I got this straight from "Joe" on "100 Huntley Street".  That's a TV home base for pseudo-religious con-artists pretending to be authentic Bible-punchers working, they say, for God. But stashing the profits for more earthly activities. At least, that's my impression, after watching the long, drawn out build-up for their charts from which to pick your own size of contributions to their cause. And what will you bet their "cause" is a work-avoidance scheme involving frequent trips out of town, to places known for tropical vacations or cosy back-country fishing lodges?


Friday, April 22, 2016

It's a Friday, and that means: Another new Windows Build: 14328

It now comes with an easily-seen video for the opening remarks and a little "get acquainted" to the latest incarnation, along with the usual singing of praises for it. Mercifully, this time, I haven't heard or seen anyone saying "We're so excited!" - I mean, really now, aren't we all grown-ups here? Or is all this fumbling around being done by kids at a local day care? You'll pardon me if I sometimes seem to be wondering.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Around the property...

Our gardeners at work. Thanks to them, the place looks very attractive. There was an annual contest for the best looking grounds in the city, and we won it for several years running, until they finally gave it up. I guess they got tired of handing us first prize year after year.

This is "Checkpoint Charlie" - Our front gate, where everything comes in and goes out, across the bridge over our moat. Actually, it's the Capilano River, where the fish sometimes have to walk, because the water's too shallow.

Same bridge, but a different perspective. Nice tulips, but a variety of colors would be more interesting.

The Chestnuts are in bloom again...

Blackbird is one of my favorites....

Bob Fosse

Bob Fosse

About that HUD Weather Gadget....

It's not automatically updating for conditions and not showing the correct present temperature. So it's back to MSN Weather, which has the right stuff.

OK, I found the problem: Since they changed the location codes, the ones that you will find in the HUD Weather Gadget's locations are not correct. You need to Google for the updated codes, and for Canada, those are found here....

And using the one for my location, I've now got the right results, which I've compared with MSN Weather to check.....

Please Note:
Even though this now shows the correct location info, it still isn't updating to show changes in temperature, etc., unless you re-activate it by putting in its location code again. So I'm going back to MSN Weather, which works OK.


Windows 10 Gadgets - The HUD Weather Gadget is Fixed

Some time ago, Yahoo changed its system for showing the location codes for this great Heads Up Display Weather Gadget, and we lost our ability to program the gadget to show the weather for our own locations. It kept saying "Check...." instead, and following the directions didn't help. 

It's now fixed, thanks to a dedicated user who has posted a URL in the Comments on the gadget's home page. You can download an updated version of it from that URL, and it works again. You can find it here -->

And if you're a "Windows Insider" running the latest Fast Ring release, which is Build # 14316, and you've seen a note saying your gadgets have been removed from this version, the answer is "not entirely". You can get 8GadgetPack to do a repair of itself, and all will be well. Or, if all else fails, reinstall it from its own home page,


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Another lovely day in Lotusland...

This is the duck that was in the pond in the larger picture above.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Just a little chatter....

In the previous posting, I mentioned the weather, and then later on in the afternoon, it got quite hot. "How hot?" you ask. About this hot....

This was in the shade, before the sun got around to my deck...

 And this is after the sun found the thermometer, later in the afternoon.

Dawn, "creeping over the hill on little cat's feet..." at 05:20 a.m. Pacific....

Last, but not least, this unit's old Moffat stove, after a good cleaning, in case my owner drops by, about 1:30 p.m. to look the place over....

If it wasn't for the style of it, and the clock-timer that died years ago, you might have trouble believing this is about 43 years old, give or take a year or so.

I think my cleaning job turned out rather well, don't you? And except for that clock-timer, everything still works. Sort of like me... Enjoy your day!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ubuntu - more testing...

This is a test of the camera card importing program "gThumb" ...... (Honest!)


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Yes, Ubuntu has a nice media player, like Linux Mint

I can almost hear you saying "it's too big!" so here's the secret: you minimize it and it disappears into its icon on the left margin. To bring it back, just click that icon one more time.

And now, for the real Ubuntu......

This is the genuine article itself, not running inside anything else, but installed as a operating system on its own. And "looking good" I might add. Windows is going to keep on screwing around until we all get pissed off and switch to a system like this, which is clean, modern, free, and kicks ass!

I've put it on my number one PC, the one with the quad core processor, running in a dual-boot configuration with Linux Mint 17.3, so I can easily compare them. At first glance, I'd say they are quite a lot alike, and they share a fair amount of software. So I can add some of my favorites from Mint into Ubuntu. And I don't have to wait for a couple of hours while an upgrade arrives and gets installed. Windows is going from better to worse, I think . It's getting so fat & happy, nobody cares if it takes half a day to do an upgrade and configure it to begin working again. And that isn't going to sit well with the folks who have to work for a living with it. But they can always switch to Linux. More of us are every day. After all, Unix, on which it's based, was around before Windows saw the light of day, and it still has a lot going for it. You should try Ubuntu or Linux Mint and see for yourself. 

These systems really work, and they're fully dressed with all the software you'll need to get the job done. And some to spare. Ubuntu, along with everything else, has a nice selection of games for those who enjoy them. It also comes with LibreOffice already installed, for those who want to actually work with it. It's a nice operating system. You should try it.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Windows 10 and Linux Ubuntu....

Last blog, I was babbling on about "Wouldn't it be nice if Microsoft and Linux got together?" - Well, Sports Fans, they did, in this latest build 14316, and it's now possible to have Ubuntu inside your Windows.....

But...( there's almost-always a 'but')...there's no GUI - the graphical user interface of Ubuntu is disabled. And I know for sure, because I got into this CMD Prompt window as soon as I could, and used the right Linux commands to tell it to download one of Linux most popular Graphical User Interfaces, and it chugged along for about two and a half hours, importing massive amounts of data, but when it was all over, sure enough, error messages about being unable to start this, that, and the other, all of which was telling me "No user interface other than command-line texts." And you don't get very visually inspired that way. So I wasted an afternoon proving what I already suspected. Yes, we can run Ubuntu, but only in a non-graphic way. Which isn't my thing. So I had to spend more time getting rid of all that again, because there's no point using disc space on something that can't show me what I want to see.

This is the kind of stuff I spent the afternoon watching as it came in, only to discover it wasn't going to do a whole lot for me, except keep me watching for most of the afternoon. In an actual Linux installation, this stuff flies in almost at the speed of light. It doesn't take all afternoon. So Mighty Microsoft hasn't yet got what I was hoping for. And I really don't care, because I can get it faster from its own source. I wanted to see what this was like. Now I know. It isn't like Ubuntu is from its own home base, unfiltered through Microsoft's Windows 10. And that's for damned sure! So if you want Linux Ubuntu, or Linux Mint, get it from the original source, not an intermediary who has his own agenda and his own axe to grind. I suspected as much, but I wanted something to show you.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Trying to find my Crystal Ball...

I was trying to find out what's coming down the pipeline from Microsoft, and tuned into this weekly blab from these self-styled "experts", because it promised to give us the inside poop. They're babbling on and on about their kids and iPhones, and Cortana, and Echo, and voice-activated Apps, and after about half an hour, I said (censored) and got out. But don't let me discourage you.

And this is 'Echo', and artificial intelligence gizmo that works with other bots to help you get a life, using only your big mouth. And those "experts" say it's the wave of the future. Maybe they should get off the couch. And I never did find out what Microsoft is doing with Linux, which is what started this search in the first place. So I'll have to get back to you on that..... And I'd like to know these things because I'm a "Windows Insider" who is supposed to know. 

Why do I care? Because - I did a rant in Microsoft's 'Feedback' app a while back, about how quick and how easy and how well Linux boots, updates, and installs things, and suggested "Why can't we do that?" - And I think Satya and the folks in the back room may have actually read it, and decided to do something. It seems that way, from what I'm hearing. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

More This and That...

Last night's moon, through thin clouds, about ten in the evening. 

And here's tonight's moon, from Stellarium's enlarged view of it. It isn't quite at First Quarter. That's happening tomorrow evening just before midnight. I can't photograph it tonight, because it's overcast with a thunderstorm happening here just now. 

I had my Dodge Journey in for servicing today, to fix a couple of recall notices I got last fall. It wasn't anything serious, so I wasn't in any rush. While there, it got a regular lube job, and a wash, and they checked the battery for me because all my driving is very short trips and I wondered if it was getting enough recharging to keep it up. They say it is OK. Our shuttle driver, Doug, is back on the job again following some serious health problems, and we were glad to see other. He's 63 and I'm 83, so we had to compare notes on all that. Going to the garage for servicing these days is more like visiting friends. They take good care of me. And they are always impressed by the low mileage on my vehicle. I've had this one now just over a year, and it has the magnificent total of 1,185 kilometers on the odometer!

There was one bad note to all that though. Doug told me that the former owner, who had been very well liked by all of us, and who had sold the business to move back home to India, had suddenly died of a heart attack while in the midst of coming back here to Canada. He lived for years on the top floor of this building, and whenever we would meet in the lobby or the elevators, he always had a friendly smile and a cheery greeting for me. I'm saddened to learn that he is no longer with us. I never really understood why he decided to move back to India in the first place, and it seems he had second thoughts too. It's too bad because he was a really nice guy, and we all liked him very much.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

More 'This and That'.....

This is another pano done with the Nikon zoom and spliced together using the Image Composite Editor from Microsoft Research. It was raining at the time, so this isn't the best result I've ever had, but it's still not all that bad.

I've been spending too much time on Facebook lately, and I'm rapidly getting fed up with that nitwit Trump and his asinine remarks. I would never have believed that anyone with a mouth like his would even think of running for the presidency of the USA. He comes across as a completely uncultured ignoramus, and the last sort of person anyone would want representing their country.  You should read the complete Wikipedia article about him. There's some interesting details in it.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A picture within a picture, using Gimp

One handy thing you can do with the photo-editing program Gimp is to paste another picture into a larger one, as above. Not many programs can do this.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Some helpful hints...

Updating Linux Mint on my other PC

I've added the 'Reboot' and 'Shutdown' icons for one-click reboots and shutdowns, using Windows icons converted in Gimp. Helpful hint: In Gimp, before you convert from original .ico to .png, go into 'Images' and "Merge visible layers", then proceed with exporting it back to its original folder as a ".png" file.

I also like the Linux feature that allows us to change the color of our folders, as with that 'Shortcuts' icon on the desktop here. We can't do that in Windows.