Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ubuntu Fun

With the new (used) PC installed in the kitchen running XP, I decided it would be a good test bed to see how I liked running Ubuntu Linux for all sorts of common browsing tasks.

Since I wanted to do it with a minimum of fuss and the ability to revert back to just XP on the system I used the Wubi installer. It installs (and uninstalls) Ubuntu and other varieties of Linux as though it were a Windows program. Worked well and I now have a dual boot system.

While I haven't decided whether I like it enough to use in place of Windows (not going to happen on my main work PC) on most of our PCs, and I haven't used it enough to see if it's as good as XP for web browsing/media enjoyment, it seems just as good. Here's a great guide on How-To Geek.

So I also installed the Ubuntu Netbook Remix on the Toshiba Netbook we have. Used Wubi as before. It was very slow (10+ minutes) on bootup however. Luckily the internet is full of information and a few minutes of googling produced this forum thread that had me change a setting in the BIOS. Now it boots quickly. There's another page on How-To Geek about doing this install.

Now I just need to get Felice to learn how to use it. She managed to get hit by a virus (fake antivirus/trojan/etc) on the netbook a few days ago and I'd like to avoid that in the future.

If you're wondering how I cleaned the virus up? Well that's how I first found the How-To Geek site as they have a good lesson on doing just that. Avast failed miserably in preventing the infection, so I now run MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials) instead. I'm doing a scan a day with MSE and Malwarebytes just to make sure it's all gone. Here's hoping. Having Linux on the netbook will at least assist me in fixing future problems should they arise.

Friday, May 28, 2010

EZ UP, Easier

Felice has been having a hard time putting our EZ UP, up. The instructions helpfully show two people deploying it. Unfortunately she usually sets it up on her own.

Turning some acetal plastic...

Pressed into the end of a piece of conduit.

And the other end.

By pushing up on the middle of the EZ Up, the shelter deploys. Certainly not optimal but hey.

With the pole holding up the center it's a simple matter for Felice to snap each corner into place. A piece of broom stick probably would work just as well.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Separation Anxiety

Been a bit busy lately as Felice had to fly out to Albuquerque earlier this week to help her folks out for a few days. She's back now. But I much prefer this type of separator:

Picked it up at a yard sale for Kent as he likes blacksmithing ephemera. I'd love to know the story behind it. I also found a variable speed Delta scroll saw, which I've been wanting for a while.

Since I couldn't get into the shop much while watching the kids 24/7 (or more accurately, 24/4) I spent a good deal of time continuing work on my first (in a long while) computer program. It's developing nicely but I had to ressurect all the dormant trig in my brain. I'm still using "Just Basic" which is simple enough that I can code without looking stuff up every two minutes. Most Basic commands are etched in my brain. But the whole GUI thing took a bit of effort to get right. The program is a simple conversion of a linear g-code axis to a rotary axis, but I'm adding in a bunch of functionality. A nice hobby activity.
This trig. page was quite helpful. As was Machinery's handbook.

At the last open shop night a fellow named John Heinz showed up. He makes some interesting tools! He came over later in the week to borrow the use of my surface grinder but we couldn't get the chuck to hold the M4 steel with enough force to surface some tiny plane blades.

Speaking of blades, my airgun co-blogger Derrick sent me a link to his uncle's knife blog. Great writing and stories.