Archive for October, 2009

Who needs work?

I remember several people at OLF recently telling me that they were hurting for / looking for some work. Well, I get hounded by headhunters quite often and would gladly pass stuff on to those people who are interested, but I need to know who you are :-) Send me an email at linc dot fessenden at G mail dot com and let me know.

First Haurache Run

Today I finally got to take my haurache sandals out for a run and it was very interesting. You don’t get that same feel of the surfaces as you do with barefeet but you can feel the textures of the ground, particularly when running of pebbles and such. I find myself not paying as much attention to the road in front of me because of this and I’m not sure that is a good thing. I noticed I had to focus on my form a bit more as I tended to sway back to old habits.

I Hope to try mixing it up a bit by going barefoot for a distance and then putting on the haurache’s. I cannot wait to take these on a trail run.

New Toy

Hey, if Dann can post about his new sandals then me posting about my new TV should be a no brainer. My wife made me go out and get myself a “good daddy” present for her to be able to use. For the first time in many, many years we bought a new TV. This thing is a Toshiba 32″ LCD TV that does HD at 720p. I spent just about an arm and a leg on it. As long as I don’t use the coax input, it actually looks pretty good. I Am really curious, however, about how nice it’ll look once I finally get it hooked up to a high-def picture source though :-)

Retail w/ Linux

It’s been a while since I last posted. I have been pretty sick for a week or so.

A couple weeks ago I had to make a quick run to Microcenter and, while there, I spied these on their discount software shelf for $3 a piece. Nice to see Linux disks in places other than stuck to a magazine - even if it IS the discount software rack :-)



GNU Four Freedoms Translation Attempt One

I was reading an article about Freesoftware adoption and it noted that the freedoms afforded by the GNU Gpl were written largely for developers not end users. End users being regular Janes and Joes milling about big box stores looking for bits and bytes to do something useful for them. So I figured I would take a shot at positing the four freedoms to general users. It’s a very rough attempt but hopefully something to think about.

First Benefit: The freedom to run the software as you would like to run it on as many computers as you would like to run it on. Want the run the software on your laptop and your workstation at the same time? Go ahead! Want to copy the software to each computer in a computer lab and then let any student run it when he or she wants to? You may!

Second Benefit: You can learn how the program operates and share this information with anyone. This is great if you want to learn how to write your own software. But even more, if you are the kind of person that likes to learn as much as they can about something, benefit 2 will aid you. Even more, because this benefit is available to everyone, you get to learn from their experiences too! You can take what you learn and publish it to the web, make a movie or even write a book! Sure you can do this with non-free software but there are no limits, no restrictions when it comes to freesoftware.

Third Benefit: You can share the software with your friends and family. School can give a copy of the software they use in the computer labs to each student so he or she can use the software at home. That way mom and dad can also use the same programs their children are using. They could even take the programs to work and let people in the office use them should their IT department allow this? Want to continue working on a project for work at home? If you are using free software at work there are no barriers to you using the same software at home!

Fourth Benefit: Freedom to change and improve the software. Maybe you are not a programmer, most people are not. Therefore you might think this benefit is not going to help you, but you could be wrong. Think about it. You find a piece of software that is almost a 100% fit for your company or a project you are working on. Almost! If only it had this one feature. Well, you can ask or even pay someone to add that feature for you. You nor they are restricted in making these changes! Another bonus of this is as you or others make changes those changes can be released to the rest of the world so everyone benefits. The more people doing this the better the software gets; the more features it can have! No barriers baby!

Walmart – wtf?

Last Saturday I was checking out at Walmart. I was looking for a place to set some frozen pizzas so they would not get crushed. I was in the aisle with the soda coolers and looking on top of the cooler I found two chicken wing bones. I thought to myself: “Of course!” I mean come on! It’s Walmart! What do you expect?

Case in point, take a look at People of Walmart for more validation of this sentiment.

But then I got to thinking… In any other store, had I found chicken bones I would have been appalled and considered never shopping there again. Now I will say given the amount of traffic that goes through the Walmart I usually shop and that they are open 24/7 I have to say they do a pretty darn good job keeping the place clean. But then again, is it the actual store that is appalling or a segment of the people shopping there? Do I want to shop in a store people treat like a garbage can?

Sure Walmart is synonymous with cheap, mass-produced, imported goods from a company that undercuts the local mom and pop establishments. But if you are going to shop there, at least show some respect for the employees and the people of your neighborhood.


Home Made Huaraches

my huarachesWhoohoo! My Huarache kit came today and I set about getting me some fancy footwear. The 4mm Cherry Vibram sole is wicked! Man was it a chore to cut out though. I used a utility knife and it had me sweating like a pig.

I admit I was impatient and did not wait to go to the store to get some hole punches, so I set to cutting some holes myself. That was the worst. I think the next time I do this I will definetly have hole punches; that took longer than tracing the foot, cutting the vibram and stringing the leather laces.

Well for a first time try they are interesting. They may look a bit crappy but hell, I did it baby!

If you are interested in trying to make a pair yourself you can get kit over at Barefoot Ted’s shop. Kits range from $25 to $35 US or you can buy custom made huaraches starting at $60. If you elect to go with the kit make sure you get the right size sheet of vibram. They come in 9×11″ or 11×12″

Have a good run!

Bad News, Sad News, Good News

Well the sad news is that my boss of the last three years is leaving the company to take a job in Kansas. Not only was he a great boss but he was probably the best software engineer I have ever met. This guy was a coding god and it was great to learn under him. I wish him the best of luck in the future but I know where ever he ends up, he’s gonna do a bang up job.

The bad news, well, it’s not that bad really, but the division in my company that I work for has been transferred to another division. In the process of doing this, the shared resources we a lotted from our team to the original division are not coming with us. We lost two engineers, two web developers, a top level manager and our system administrator. It sucks losing team members like this. Even more, we are being moved from the 16th to the 13th floor. Uh-oh! Unlucky 13.

On the flip side to this, that means the remaining engineer and myself have to step up and take the project over. That means doing it our way, the way we think it should be done with hopefully some guidance. Had my manager not taken the job in Kansas we would have lost him anyway in the move. Alas, it is sink or swim for us and we aim to finally take the project to the next level.

Now the good news! Erin is being laid off! Why is that good news? Well that is going to force her to get her Massage Therapist Certification all the sooner, no dilly-dallying around; not that I think she would have. She has until mid-November to get things cleared away on that end and then hopefully she will roll right into her new career full time or with a bit of a break.

The tough thing about her leaving her job is that she already does Massage Therapy work as a grad student level in the clinic at the school she went to an has the opportunity to work in their partner saloon. But until she gets certified she really cannot work anywhere else nor get paid the full salary. Thus, we have to be careful how many hours she works like this after she gets laid off or she cannot get supplemental un-employment until she finds a full time gig. That would be a serious hit to our income which stinks. I need me monies! I am falling behind on comic books and computer equipment!

On Web Video

When I decided I wanted to do this new show thing and do it in video, I didn’t know what I was really in for. Then as I started playing a little with video and wanted to stick a snippet on the web, I was sure I was in trouble.

This is a collection of quick notes on how I did it.

First, I grabbed some video off of my camera. Now the camera records to avi but does it in high-def, which is a little large for what I wanted, so I ran it through tablet-encode, which is an mencoder wraparound script that generates small-enough video that works on the n770/800/810 devices. This worked like a charm and a line like so: (code is all one line)

tablet-encode –preset=best -2 file.avi newshow.avi

got me an avi file that was 400×200 30fps.

Next I wanted to get that on the web and viewable. A quick look through some internet available howtos revealed that an flv (flash video file) was the way to go there. So, off I went to create flv from avi. After some serious digging I was direted, once again, back to mplayer/mencoder. (code is all one line)

mencoder -forceidx -of lavf -oac mp3lame -lameopts abr:br=56 -srate 22050 -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=flv:vbitrate=250:mbd=2:mv0:trell:v4mv:cbp:last_pred=3 -vf scale=360:240 -o $1.flv $1

Then was the tricky part. I wanted to just use an embed or object statement in some html to stick that video in the page, but that would not work at all. It took me hours of looking through people’s bad documentation on the net to discern that what I really needed was a flash player in order to play flash video. Another quick search revealed the free-enough JW FLV Player.

Once you have that and get the “player-viral.swf” or flv player on your webserver and accessible, there is only one more little barrier. It’s nice to have a picture to have at the front of your video instead of a black screen (before your play the video). Once again, mplayer: (and once again, all one line)

mplayer -ss 10 -nosound -vo jpeg -frames 1 newshow.flv

Which will create an image named 000001.jpg or some such. I just renamed it to newshow.jpg.

Now with all that, I can put my flv and jpg somewhere I can get to, and do an embed statement in a webpage like so:

< embed

Obviously the lessthan sign and the embed command should go together but, alas, it will not let me post the code any other way :-)

New Show – Update

Due to the overwhelming response of 4 people on the idea of doing a Linux System Administration show, I have decided to do it anyway. I know - glutton for punishment. I believe I will do this in a video format, or I will at least try. I need to work out just how to get that accomplished, but we’ll see what happens. What I do need from you 4 listeners/readers/watchers is a NAME and (hopefully RFQuerin is reading) a LOGO :-)

As always, hit me up with suggestions, questions or concerns at linc dot fessenden at gmail dot com. Thanks!

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