Fred's Blog

Fred's Bike Blog (a seperate blog on Bike page)

INDEX to blog entries thru Sep 2009  or
Search repeatedly for 2 underscores to step thru blog entries.
===========


07-08-2014 __ Caponi Art Park  . 
Becca saw sculptures by Anthony Caponi in St Cloud recently.
We plan to visit the park soon.  Fred's modified map of/to park

07-02-2014 __ The Hearth Community . 
Cohousing that we have long been interested in is only one form of
community. Another that we have participated in is the Hearth
Community.  Hearth is what I call a 'commuter community'.  That is,
Hearth members don't generally live close to each other but travel to
periodic gatherings including annual group camping Up North (Northern
Minnesota).  Hearth folks mostly live in the western half of the Twin
Cities tho some live 25 miles west of Mpls.  Hearth folks tend to
have a similar outlook on life, various members share various
interests, background etc but no one thing draws us together other
than a shared intentional community building interest.  Hearth folks
have explored cohousing but we have not attempted to develop
cohousing. One member lived at Monterey Cohousing for a while.  I am
currently bringing up the idea again.

02-08-2014 __ Fred's Computer 2014 . 
UNDER CONSTRUCTION See also FRED's COMPUTER Sept 2005
After the 09-28-2013 entry below about my computer problems, I ended up buying components
and assembling a new computer including:
GIGABYTE GA-Z87X-UD3H motherboard with INTEL CORE I5-4670K processor
I am using my old (2012) operating system on new hardware until April see below.

Screenshot of Fred's desktop 2014-02-08
which shows programs/windows I typically have running:
Operating system: Ubuntu Linux version 12.04 (the last "long term support" (LTS) version;
I plan to install the next LTS version 14.04 in April when it becomes available.
Desktop: Unity
A) Firefox (upper right tho usually is full screen)
   Note tabs "Weath...", List ms..." etc.  I usually start up with 11 tabs
   (using bookmarks Open All [in this folder] in Tabs )
B) Terminal emulator (lower left ) with 3 tabs:
   1)  TSE Linux text editor (beta - not shown) from semware.com
   2)  ssh to my ISP where I run Alpine email program (shown)
   3)  command line for misc use
C) File browser (full screen behind A) and B) )

Icons on the left are programs I run often enough (or at some time intended to...)
to warrant icons.  Note tiny arrows or lines to left of some icons.
Arrow indicates program is running and has a window. With this desktop these icons serve to both
start up the corresponding program or if it is running to put it's window on top -
sort of like Macintosh's desktop.
List of icons:  (to do)



09-28-2013 __ Computer problems / General Nanosystems Store Closing . 
My computer which I bought new in 2006 ("Nano6") has been failing to boot for a
week or so.  So far the symptoms have been confusing and puzzling. I was
fearful at first that I had a hard drive failure but that did not turn
out to be the case.  My backups are not to great :(  Maybe I'll write
more later about it but will put a few more comments below.

In the process of dealing with it I finally became aware that the
local computer store where I got our last two computers including Nano6 and
upgrades, General Nanosystems, closed in July. The store's
service department will continue to exist in a smaller building next
door as a new company, Logic Systems.

About Nanosystems closing in Daily Planet (Originally in MN Daily)

             A few new computer insights
A) I confirmed that my 2010 hard drive is ok by booting it on our
other computer.  SATA hard drives (hd) have become more popular since
I got Nano6 in 2006. I upgraded to a 500 GByte SATA drive in 2010.
SATA hd's do not have master/slave jumpers which is unlike the older
IDE (aka PATA) drives. This makes it much easier to move a drive to
another computer. SATA hd's seem to be able to be just plugged in (I
power down first but am not sure that is required) and they just work.
I plugged in my hd while leaving the one in the second computer alone.
There are typically several SATA connecots on mother boards.

Once plugged in it is usually possible to interact with the bios
(sometimes at boot time) to boot off the recent SATA drive.  On our
2009 computer one presses  repeatedly at bootup and it will give
a menu of which drive to boot - original hd, "recent" hd or CD.
Choosing the recent drive puts me into my usual highly customized
Ubuntu 12.04 Linux environment.

B) Even tho Nano6 has a somewhat "crippled" AMD Sempron 2800+ processor,
it is 64 bit and the installed Ubuntu is 64-bit.  I've been thinking of
replacing Nano6 with a used computer from Free Geek Twin Cities
which is a nonprofit organization with the mission "to reuse or
recycle computers and to provide access to computers, the internet,
education and job skills in exchange for community service. is to
reuse or recycle computers and to provide access to computers, the
internet, education and job skills in exchange for community service."

One of my requirements is that I be able to boot my hard drive. So far
I have not found a SATA 64 bit computer at Geek that will boot my hd.

Sometimes it seems that the problem is a computer that is not 64 bit
in which case it takes a long time trying to boot but does not - not
very elegant.  It sure would be nice if attempting to boot a 64 bit OS
on a 32 bit computer would simple give an informative error message.

I have found it is often difficult to defermine if a computer is 64
bit.

Some ways to tell if a computer is 32 or 64 bit: 
1) BIOS will sometimes have this info.
2) If Ubuntu is booted, the System Info gui program will indicate under >System
3) From the Linux command line,  open the terminal prompt and run:
 grep --color=always -iw lm /proc/cpuinfo
 If this command returns lm as one of the flags, then your
 processor is capable of 64-bit. "lm" means Long Mode and should be highlighted
 in color by this command.
4) From MS Windows, download, install, and run CPU-Z to check for
AMD64 (AMD processors) or EM64T (Intel processors).

Note: 3) and 4) is from https://help.ubuntu.com/community/32bit_and_64bit
which also recommends "unless you have specific reasons to choose
32-bit, we recommend 64-bit to utilise the full capacity of your
hardware".

C) I am pondering a backup system using a standard SATA drive that I
plug into our computers occasionally thru an available / empty drive
bay to which I leave and extra set of SATA power / data cables.
I'm thinking of fashioning a little pull out shelf (drawer) out of a
piece of paneling to set the drive on while connecting cables.  The
cables could be secured to the back of the drawer.  A hole in the
plastic empty drive bay cover would allow it to be easily opened up
and also hold it while it is open.  Once the backup was updated using
a suitable rsync script (from both computers) the drive could be stored in
the bank safety deposit box. (I checked it will fit in ours - the smallest
box.)  I'm thinking I might try to do this monthly.  Key files would continue
to be backed up on line the way I do my html files tho I am thinking of
defining more file to be "key".


09-21-2013 __ Recumbent bikes at Lowry Ave N Open Streets  . 
Here in Minneapolis this year there will be 4 "Open Streets" events --
one each month this summer.  For these events about 20 blocks of a major street
are closed to motor vehicles for a weekday afternoon.  People on bike and walking
fill the street with a party atmosphere.  Organizations and businesses have
booths and activities.  For example Nice Ride (the Mpls bike sharing system)
has "slow races" (who can take the longest between two points without putting
one's foot on the ground).

I plan to have a display of recumbent bikes along the Lowry Ave N Open Streets route.

When I ride my recumbent bike around North Minneapolis I get a lot of comments
from people on the street like "nice bike".  So I think there is interest.
I think it is unfortunate that upright bikes are so dominant in the "market"
and that recumbents are more the way bikes should be designed.  ( I also think
bikes should be designed to be much more tolerant of inclement weather and
sloppy wet streets. )

I will have at least 4 recumbent bikes on display including some being ridden by their
owners in an fenced parking area adjacent to the route.  I do not plan to allow
passersby to ride the recumbents at the display due to various possible complications
including liability and supervision staffing requirements.  I encourage people who have
a recumenbent bike to bring it to this event - either to have at the display for a while
or just to ride in the event.  For details contact fred by email: fholson at cohousing.org
or call [ Mpls five eight eight - 9532 ]

Note that the date on this entry has not yet arrived as of this writing; I'll be adding to
this entry as the date approaches.



08-08-2013 __ Danish famil slide show   . 
The end of July we went to a family reunion on my Danish side.
Preben, a distant cousin from Denmark joined us. He is writing a
book about relatives who emigrated to the US.  He showed a slide
show about our relatives lives in Denmark before the came to the US.

I am now trying to get the his presentation into a form that I
can share with relatives that were not at the reunion.  I got his iworks
Keynote presentation with 110 slides and we recorded his narration
on Becca's iphone. The text notes are pretty sketchy and in Danish...
In addition some of the image file names had Danish characters that
caused them to fail to convert (to powerpoint) at zamzar.com.
The two bits of info that I lack are when the slides should advance
relative to the narration and where the laser pointer was on the images...
From powerpoint I converted to multi-pane html format.  I may eventually
get something presentable.  I wish I knew how to have an mp3 player
embeded in the html... I'd like it to have a pause/play button,
elapsed time display and a slider to change it.

06-25-2013 __ DOMA falls ; Love legal in MN   . 
Wow! The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was largely overturned by the current rather
conservative US Supreme Court.  Hurrah.  This comes a few months after Minnesota where I
live defeated a ban on gay marriage and shortly after our legislature legalized gay marriage.
For several years I have thought such changes were inevitable - eventually.
In 2004 I wrote "We believe ALL people have the right to reach their potential, be healthy,
and a part of loving families." ( http://justcomm.org/#about ) But I never
expected these changes to happen so soon. I'n very pleased to have been wrong.

In retrospect it seems in some ways not so surprizing.  The arguements for the
ban here in Minnesota were weak.  The claim that somehow gay marriage
threatened traditional straight marriage was always a stretch.  It essentially
was "other people having rights diminishes mine". Absurd.  But logic does not
always win the day if enough people believe something, however absurd it,
rules in a democracy.  Fortunately in the long run such absurdities tend to fall.
And sometimes as in this case it happens sooner than may have been expected.

Now we need to get the issue of Climate Change to gain momentum in the right
direction -- less carbon dioxide releases into the atmostphere.  Those who deny
the huge human role in climate change are clearly denying reality.  When will
they realize that this too will ultimately not be a viable position.
What price will they pay for being wrong on this issue?

04-29-2013 __ Real names - howmanyofme   . 
Our system of real names for people in the Internet age has problems.
Lots of people in the US have the same first and last name and so a
name is not enough to identify a person.  Surprizingly few Web
registration forms and such accept a middle name or initial which
helps distiguish people a lot.

I would like to see a system of Internet People Names (IPN) that would
assure that the IPN is unique.  It could be based on the current
"real" name ( RNm ) but have provision for distinguishing between
people with the addition of the birth year and additionaly characters
if needed.  So I might be fred.harlan.olson.1947 but I may have to be
something like fred.harlan.olson.1947.k2 As long as we are at it lets
assign a permanent contact address that works like  and email alias
that the individual (?) keeps updated to get to them. so my email
address might be  fred.harlan.olson.1947.k2@em  similarly my phone "#"
might be fred.harlan.olson.1947.k2@ph  It's way past time when we most
people should need to keep track of phone numbers. Imagine if we had
to keep track of IP addresses for email and web sites! So why do we
still do it for phone calls?

See also Namespace at Wikipedia

Obviously you would not want to type in that long address very often
but that is what addressbooks are for.

Today a friend told me about a web site howmanyofme.com
that will estimate how many people have a given name that you enter.
It says there are 241 Fred Olson's in the US.  Unfortunately the web
site does not accept middle names/initials.  I think the number of
Fred H Olson's is considerably smaller.  Even fholson's is not too
big. If I had thought of it when I was 17 I wish I had taken my
mothers's last name and my name would be pretty unique.


- howmanyofme


03-14-2013 __ USING Bread machine by streamlining recipe  . 
4/29 update.  I'm still making a high percentage of our bread this way.
I have varied the flour I use and add powdered gluten (1-3 tsp depending on what
kind of flour - "bread" flour - less gluten)  Instead of the recipe below
I now use a ckecklist with room for variation - 2 flours gluten
a checkmark means standard amt, # means amt "=" on second flour means
amt to get to 400 grams total flour.  I developed a code to describe the type
of flour suscinctly e.g.: W=whole wheat, B=white flour (blanco) P=bread flour (pan)

I also record the height of the resulting bread and comments.

We ha some baking sugar that was not getting used but it was caked up
and hard to measure with a measuring spoon.  It disolves quickly so I am
using it up by weight - eventually I'll use up the 1/2 gallon milk
like carton of it.

I have not figured out how to get the mixing paddle to consistantly
pull off the shaft when the bread is done.  Lately it pulls a big hunk
out of the bread. If it comes off the shaft I can carefully cut it out
of the bread and leave a smaller hole. I need an edible lubricant that
keeps lubricating when the baking happens and displaces the dough.  Oh
well.

- end 4/29 update -

In my experience a fair number of people have purchased bread machines but
few use them significantly after they have had them for a while.  That was the
case for us.  About 10 years ago I bought one at a yard sale that had been used
very little.  Until recently we used it very little.  Somehow all the possible
recipes was confusing and a nuisance to use.  I made wone attempt to streamline
the process that failed - I made dedicated measures from plastic grape juice
containers.

Recently I made another attempt and so far it seems to be working.  I can get
the machine set up in about 3-5 minutes.  One key was to WEIGH 3 key ingredients
which eliminated washing measuring tools.  I do this with a Weightwatchers
electronic scale that has a "zero" function so one can put an empty container
on the scale and hit the on/zero button and thereafter the readout is the weight
of the contents of the container added after the Zero.  I also put dedicated
measuring spoons in other ingredients and have dedicated storage containers
near my prep area / scale for two ingredients.
Also (for now) I only make the basic white bread.

If you want to try this, you may have to adapt to your machine.
If you do not have a bread machine, they can be purchased used,
search Craig's List - I found a bunch at $20-$50

Following is my current recipe (which I keep covered / taped to the top of the
microwave oven where I do the prep. It makes about 1.5 pound loaf (somewhat larger
cross section / slices than normal US bread.  (I saw one on Craig's list with
two mixer paddles that appeared more conventional size but would have two
holes where the paddles were.)

NOTE this recipe may continue to evolve.

---------------------------
Fred's  streamlined  bread recipe   US=Use scale                     Cost in $
   - Amt -  ingred. how/wh measure  UM= Use measuring spoon in container
ZERO 266 grams  water               US  tap - any container             .000
ZERO  27 g      Oil                 US  left of stove                   .056
      3  HT 20g sugar  Ht= 1/2 Tbsp UM  S steel right of stove          .024
      3  Ht 10g salt   Ht= 1/2 tsp  UM  jar under micro wave            .010
ZERO 400 g bread flour scoop in bag US  3rd shelf above bowls           .530
      2  T    pwd milk              UM  jar under micro wave            .080
      3  Ht    yeast   Ht in salt   UM  sm brn jar fridge door left     .256
--------------------------                                              .956

Put bread machine bucket with paddle on scale. Turn on scale - auto zeros.
Add "US" ingredients with scale, **ZERO scale** then add till scale reads Amt.
Add "UM" ingredients using measuring spoon in it's container  [sugar&salt grams ]
Last on TOP of flour so they don't get wet:                   [are in case one  ]
Put bucket in machine. Plug in machine (note "UP").           [forgot to ZERO...]
If baking immediately (ready in 3 hours) press Start (using defaults) ( else **)
When done hit stop and take bucket out with pot holder.  Slide clean table
knife around edges gently.  Shake bucket vigorously over bread board to
get bread out.  If padle came out with bread, carefully cut around it to get it
out and leave minimum sized hole.

10-31-2012 __ Purgatory Creek and parks along it  . 
I've gotten interested in Purgatory Creek in the southwest suburbs of Minneapolis and the parks,
trails and bike trails near it. The creek starts a few miles southeast of Lake Minne/tonka and
flows generally southeast to the Minnesota River.  The Hennepin County bike map gives a good
overview of the creek route and bike trails in the area. See Fred's Purgatory park page

 9-12-2011 __ Light rail open house / Penn Broadway  . 
The open house last weekend (26 hours over 3 days) sponsored by Northside Transportation Network
seemed to be successful at helping many people understand the LRT proposal near us better.  I
learned things during the 8 hours I spent there. Nothing like trying to explain something to
deepen one's understanding.

One question was about how many houses alternatives D2a and D2b would take. I think D2a would
take several houses near Broadway to make room for north bound car traffic on Oliver to rejoin
Penn before intersecting Broadway.  I wonder about having Oliver extend more staight up to
Broadway (tho the actual intersection should be at right angles to facilitate access to/from
east on Broadway.).  To help examine this I extracted these two images:

D2a near Penn Av and Broadway (LRT on Penn)  Extracted from D2a pdf *B 
D2b near Penn Av and Broadway (LRT on Oliver) Extracted from D2b pdf *B 


 7-27-2011 __ New arch at Lincoln Garden .
Fred with help from Becca and friends built new arch for roses at
see Lincoln Garden Arch

 7-17-2011 __ Cruise on the Mississippi River .

 6-17-2011 __ Howe School site cohousing proposal  .
The school has been closed since 2005, the cohousing proposal was made in late May 2011.
See Howe School site cohousing proposal

 6-10-2011 __ Buy a Terra Trike Rover Recumbent "tadpole" trike for Becca .
This is a new simpler cheaper design with a higher seat than most tadpoles (18.5 inches off ground.
Rover trike picture  Terra Trike site

 6-02-2011 __ Minnesota budget crisis  .
Explanation of distorted MN budget numbers being cited

 5-25-2011 __ Tornado near our house ...  .

overview of tornado in City pages
Map of tornado damage in Minneapolis
Our block circled in blue on part of Damage map

Personal notes:
Wed May 25

The storm track was sw to nnw and the closest damage to our house was
about 2 block west of us with many uprooted trees, a roof blown off
some windows smashed and shingles blown off.  May be worse damage
north of us.  We had no damage tho our power was out from 2:15 pm cdt
Sunday 5/22.  Power was restored across the street east of us Sunday
evening. Ours came back Monday evening.

Even not having electricity seems like a major hinderence to normal
functioning.  It sure demonstrates how dependent we are of
electricity.  Even finding phone numbers is crippled tho I had a 10
year old printed phone list. Nothaving net access at home is a pain too.

We sent stuff from the freezer compartment in coolers to Becca's work
where she has a fridge.  She got a ride to work with our neighbor Sam.
We have great neighbors which helps a lot.

Thur May 26 10:30 am

Finally on Thursday I've found a way and time to get full net access
near home.  See below. I've decided to create a blog entries...  Probably
not formatted too well since I'm not at my usual computer... The Wednesday
entry was hacked together from an email I'd sent.

We still do not have net access... Just discovered that my little
green computer OLPC XO-1 that I rarely use (and my only laptop) is
working - battery is suspect and green fully charged led never comes
on) but after botting it says it is 99% charged. Mpls wireless node 3
blocks from my house (penn & plym) is working.  So I am sitting at bus
stop online...

Fri May 27

Our Internet access was back about 3 pm today

 3-17-2011 __ Drive by huge gas main fireball near I-35W  .
On the way to the airport this morning southbound on I-35W we saw huge flames ahead.
At one point they appeared to be over the Russian Art Museum in the former church on west side at 50th St.
Aerial image of gas main fireball clipped from KSTP TV segment *B  that shows location just west
of I 35W on 60th Street.  Fortunately there is a cub parking lot to the north and a pond to the south so there
was little nearby to catch fire.  Some parked cars got scorched paint, melted rubber.  Glass at cub broke.
There were no injuries. The first images available that I found were Youtube video from fellow on the way to work
Both I35W and Hwy 62 freeways were closed for a couple hours shortly after we went by.

 3- 3-2011 __ Experiment converting .pdf to an .png file .

10-07-2010 __ Exhaust system problem  .

The connection on our old (1995)  Saturn between the catalytic converter
( "catcon" ) and the tailpipe was corroded to the point the bottom bolt
no longer held it together. ( ~1/8" gap). I looked for a way to get it
repaired that might last a year or two until a vehicle with high enough
fuel efficiency becomes available here that we'd be happy with. Possibly
the all electric Nissan Leaf which my friend who is converting a
pickup to run on batteries says looks promising.

I consulted several people and places about the exhaust problem.

Saturn would only replace the the catcon and the tailpipe for
about $500. The catcon is particlularly expensive to replace.

Midas would cut out the bad connection and attempt to weld in a short
piece of pipe to bridge the gap ( $50) but warned that if there was not
enough metal left in the pipes to weld they may have to replace the
catcon (with a generic one) and pipe ($350)

I stopped at an auto parts place and they suggested that one could cut
out the bad connection and clamp in a short piece of pipe to bridge
the gap.  (Tho others warned this would likely leak a bit and make some
noise.

I consulted two local friends.  My 80 year old neighbor
thought the clamped solution might be ok.  I considered doing this
myself but getting the car up to work on it would be a problem and
weldiong would be better.

The catcon and exhaust pipe seemed to be otherwise in fair shape
I banged on them with a cold chisel and they seemed fairly solid.

Here's a picture of the area of exhaust system that failed
(The green lines are where the bad part could be cut out and a new
piece of pipe could be clamped or welded in place.)

I decided to have Midas attempt to weld in a new piece.  When they cut
out the bad connection (about 3.5" long) with a sawzall one could
see that the pipes were in good shape and they predicted welding in
a piece about 8" long would weld ok.  It seems to be fine.  At my
request they also welded in a rod across the main hanger for the
system  to reinforce it. It was quite rusted.  Total bill $57.50.
I was quite pleased the service from our local Midas shop
( 20 West Broadway Minneapolis, MN 55411 612-529-9559 )

10-03-2010 __ PBS rebroadcasts  .

An email message I sent today.  If I get a response I'll update this line.

Dear TPT / PBS etal ** ,

It took me several days a couple sessions digging on the web to
finally conclude that the episodes of Scientific American Frontiers
being aired on Twin Cities Public TV (TPT) currently (Oct 2010) are
indeed from 2005 - 5 years ago.. My first step was to consult
Wikipedia which indeed said "until the show ended in 2005" but given
the nature of Wikipedia and the way most TPT and PBS web pages talked
about the show, I still thought maybe these were more recent episodes.

Finally I found  Scientific American Frontiers archives
and by searching for the episode titles there I found the
associated dates in 2005.

While the episodes are surely still interesting information, even the
descriptions imply a timeliness aspect.  For example the episode
Friday 10/1/10 :

 Surgical Slimmers
 In spite of the risks, people are lining up to solve their weight
 problems in the operating room. And if the latest device - an
 implantable stomach "pacer" - works out, millions more will be taking
 the surgical way out.

"Latest device" is obviously subject to no longer being true and
by now there is probably evidence whether it "worked out".

I am not complaining that TPT is airing five year old shows but that
the dates they were produced is not readily available.  Why can't
TPT and/or PBS simply include production dates with program schedules
and descriptions?

Long time PBS watchers like myself are aware that shows get re-aired
and may have been produced some time ago. But in this case I was
truely confused.  and if youall were more forthcoming about dates, I
think viewers would be truely appreciative.

When one reads a book one does not assume it was published a few
months ago but with TV, I think most people expect shows were recently
produced unless otherwise indicated ( or on PBS ? ).  With books
the publication date is recorded in a very standard and easily
accessible way.  Production dates of PBS shows should be similarly
accessible.

Thanks,

Fred

** Note about recipients of this message.

From: SAF contact
 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN FRONTIERS is produced by The Chedd-Angier-Lewis
 Production Company in association with SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN magazine,
 and presented on PBS by Connecticut Public Television.

So the recipients of this message include addresses for the above
organizations.

09-24-2010 __ 10 minute video: Cycling Copenhagen, Through North American Eyes  .
Note that Streetfilms.org has many liveable streets /city transportation videos.

09-07-2010 __ We go wild ricing  .
Over Labor Day weekend 2010 Fred and Becca took a wild rice harvesting course
at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN on the North Shore (of Lake
Superior northeast of Duluth.  See Wild ricing pictures

 6-10-2010 __ Nice Ride MN Public Bike system grand opening
See Niceride blog entry on Fred's Bicycle blog

03-23-2010 __ Health Care Reform Passed!  .
After a torturous effort, Health Care Reform Passed!  I am very pleased
(and disappointed. )  It is not what I or many people wanted but it
is a huge improvement.  I think we really need a Single Payer system or at
least a robust public option and that it would work much better.

It's like a glass half full for a person whose life in danger from thirst.
I'll take it but we should have something better.

2010 US Health Care Reform Summary
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at Wikipedia

Annimated summary from Obama

During the reform effort I've had these two links in my email signature and
my Fred's link page in a huge font on urging steps toward 'better reform' :

June 8, 2009: Stop the plan to kill real health care reform
Jun 22, 2009: Robert Reich's Rx for real health care reform
I wish I had a succinct critique of the bill comparable to the summary of the
good things it will do, when I find one I'll post it here.




02-28-2010 __ Record icy streets in Minneapolis this winter  .
This was originally a Jan 17 email to a friend
Subject: Re: Why our streets are worse the Hibbing's

Minneapolis streets have had a lot of ice and snow this year. The city
has imposed a parking ban on the even side of residential streets till
April since the space between parked cars was getting so narrow that
fire trucks could not get thru.

The following are my explanation of how this happened.

I suspect the difference (between Minneapolis and Hibbing that accounts
for Minneapolis' worse condition on streets) is temperature.  It was
above freezing on Xams day but got cold and then very cold after that
before the streets got plowed.  That along with packed show from traffic
meant we had icy snow by the time the plowing got done which is much
harder to plow.

In addition to the temperature, another big factor was the timing -
holiday and weekend and consequently no trash pickup with which alley
plowing is coordinated. In adition there may have been some postponement
of plowing (I dont know this for sure) in order to avoid multiple "snow
emergencies" and still get it all; that is wait til it stopped snowing to
plow.

And of course there was also the long cold spell afterward - about 3 weeks
not getting above or even near freezing, often -10 degrees F meant that
the frozen mess could not be easily removed.

Another complication was the combination of snow/water that came down
after the last shoveling (few of us shoveled in the wee hours as the temp
dropped) The resulting thin frozen slush layer was slippery and over time
got polished and more slippery.

On sidewalks that had not been shoveled foot traffic made foot steps of
packed snow that became frozen irregular surfaces that are hard to walk
on. In alleys and side streets traffic on unplowed streets made for deep
frozen ruts.  Some plowing furrows at intersections became frozen barriers
to the first plowed roadway.

All of this resulted in a near "perfect storm" of factors to make for a
mess.

From:  Wikipedia Perfect storm article
 A "perfect storm" is an expression that describes an event where a rare
 combination of circumstances will aggravate a situation drastically.

Feb 28th update (message to Whomail - neighborhood mailing list)

The street drains on both sides of 12th Av N just west of Penn Av (by
Lincoln Peace Garden that we maintain )
were totally covered with ice and snow and as a result water several
inches deep across the street extended nearly a half block west.  My wife
and I used a pickaxe to open them up yesterday.

Anyone else have lots of standing water on streets?

Next summer I'll make notes on the exact location of drains around us
to make such tasks easier...

March 18 update.  The one side parking ban was lifted in early March.
We've actually had relatively warm weather the last few weeks
Snow and ice is virtually gone from streets and are laaargely dry as
are sidewalks. A few big piles of snow and
shaded areas still have remnants of snow.  The bike path thru Wirth Park
has a bit of snow left in spots and running over it in places
We have a record number of pot holes. Bike lanes and other places have
lots of sand and gravel till sweeping gets done. Temp today was in 60's.

10-30-2009 __ Max's costume  .
At Andrew's request Becca has been making a costume like Max's in _Where the Wild Things Are_

Here are some pictures of Max in costume from the web:
Max's costume 1 *B    Max's costume 2   Max's costume 3   Max's costume 4

Here are pix of Becca's Max coustume 1  Becca's Max coustume 2  Becca's Max coustume 3 

10-28-2009 __ Light Rail Transit (LRT) on streets   .
I've created a web page about North Minneapolis Transit
Maybe I'll get this blog entry integrated into it some time...

There is currently a proposal for the Bottineau Transitway going North and West of downtown
thru or around North Minneapolis and then on out along Highway 81.  Public info sessions have been
held recently. Construction is probably 10 years away if it ever happens.  Tho the Penn Av route
would make crossing Penn Av and driving on it less convenient, I think that alternative is
clearly preferable because the stations would be much more convenient and therefore used
more by North Minneapolis.  I think it also offers suprior development potential for North Minneapolis.

The official Bottineau Transitway has a lot of information --
so much it is easy to be overwhelmed or lost.  The recently posted "Alignment
Alternative Concept Drawings" are very detailed and useful about the route but they are huge.

Monday I took my recumbent bike on the bus and LRT ** to the VA Hospital station
of the existing Hiawatha LRT line that goes SW from downtown to the airport and Megamall to
look at the LRT layout there.  On the two blocks north of E 54th St the tracks are
in the middle of the street with one car lane on each side. This resembles how I think
Penn Av near our house would look tho on Penn there would be only one wider one-way south
car lane on the west side of the tracks.

Note that cars cannot cross the LRT between 54th and 52nd but pedestrians can walk across
(AFTER CAREFULLY LOOKING BOTH WAYS) but this is discouraged. The electric powered trains are
quiet so do no depend on hearing them.

Open Street Map of LRT route north of VA
Google map (Satellite view) of LRT route north of VA (Note that LRT not show between 52nd and 54th
and Minnehaha is mislabeled "Hiawatha". Zoom and "Street View" allow closer examination.

Track on street looking south from turn by 52nd St
Track on street looking north from 54th St (New townhouses in background)
New Condos site SW of 53rd St
New Condos NW of E 53rd St and 48th Av S looking NW from along LRT
New Condos NE of E 53rd St and Minnehaha looking NE with train passing
Olin Crossings illustration of 6 multifamily housing building they are developing north of E 54th St.

South of 54th the LRT is on the West side with two way traffic on the East and
the tracks are on crushed rock and have a fence along them.

I started a custom Google map of the route with "pins" color code like the maps on page:
1 of Open House Flyer *B  (3.7 Mb)
I've started drawing lines for the "D2" (Penn Av) but have not goten taht done as of today.
The under reconstruction version is at Fred's Bottineau LRT map (much improved 10/30, click on 'map')

** All Minneapolis buses have fold down racks for two bikes on the front.  Bikes on Buses
Mpls LRT cars have racks for four bikes in each car.
"the middle two doors are closest to the onboard racks"  From: Bikes on Train

What's an LRT "car"?  Note that "cars" are 94 feet long and articulated. There
are two doors on each end on each side. Trains can have two cars and soon (when
stations have been expanded) 3 cars per train.


10-05-2009 __ Used Sun EZ-Speedster CX Recumbent Bike .
(see next entry)

10- 5-2009 __ Navigation problems...  .
Yesterday I bought a used Sun EZ-Speedster CX Recumbent Bike from
Jory in Carver, MN. See entry at Used Sun EZ-Speedster CX Recumbent Bike in Fred's bike blog

I had multiple navigation problems resulting in a half hour delay
getting to his house.

In reviewing my problems on the trip out, I concluded that there
were several main problems (note that I do not have GPS) :

1) No navigator; it's much easier when my wife Becca and I are together
so one of us can be following the map. I had to stop to consult the maps
and therefore did not do so very often.

2) Out of date labeling on maps I had.
 k) 2004 King's street map book pg 145 +
 m) Metro map on 2007 MN map
 g) hand drawn map from Google Maps
 o) OpenStreetMap.org ("osm" is kind of the Wikipedia (user contributed) map)
which I consulted today (not yesterday) OSM map that includes Jory's location

I had attended an introduction to osm a couple months ago but have not continued
to contribute changes to it or use it much.  It is not as good as Google in some ways
yet but could be customized by local people to have bikeways better than Google could
ever have, for example.

The new 212 was not labeled "212" on my maps the way it is now posted.
 212 IS correct on o)
Also the north south road just west of Jory's has various labels
 Jonathon Carver Rd (signs)  "11" on m) , townline Rd on g)
 "147" k) and o)

When I realized I'd missed the new 212 I stayed on 5 and turned south on
41 (after a few stops to check map)

I overshot old hwy 212 in downtown Chaska by a few blocks (it is no longer
labeled "212" -- now signed "Chaska Rd").  I recovered from this fairly
quickly but stopped again once I got on Chaska Rd til I decided
decided it was the road I should be on.

3) Detour around my destination with complications related to route names.

The turn onto 40 was closed with detour west to mislabeled 147.
I stayed on "147" till I got to sign for East Union when I finally turned
around. (I had suspected I was off course but did not know where I was...)

This time the other intersection with 40 which also was closed to thru traffic
also had a sign something like "historic Carver village".  I took that and
finally got to downtown Carver and found my way to Jory's with k)

 5-16-2009 __ Html aware wordwrap   .

I maintain most of my very simple web pages / html with TSE editor . Most
of my pages use "pre" "/pre" tags for the whole page. pre tags are
"preformated" and format lines based on the end of line characters in
the file. ( "Normal" html ignores eol char. and reformats lines based on
the setup.)

With pre tags source lines have to be longer if there are html tags
(like links) in the line since these are not displayed as long as the
source.

It would be nice if the TSE macro mWrapPara() (or similar) could treat
html tags special and wrap paragraphs containing them so RENDERED lines
are all about the length as determined by the TSE Right Margin variable.

 5-15-2009 __ DC-SC driving trip -- Mom's final hospitalization   .
~ 3/14 - 3/31/09 We drove to a family wedding in Greenville, SC by way
of Washington, DC with several visits on the way.  A great trip to a
part of the country I had never been in.

A few days after getting home, we went to Iowa for the weekend to visit
my mom in the hospital and I ended up staying about 2 weeks thru her
funeral.  My sister was there a bit longer.  Other family came too.

While she was in the hospital we did not know if she was going
to recover.  Seemed like she might but other times it did not.  A day or
so before she died we finally accepted that she would not recover and put
her in in-hospital hospice.

She was 90 and had a good life.  And a good death too.  The two weeks
stay with her in the hospital (my sister and I took turns staying all night)
was good in retrospect.  A long chance to say goodbye.

Since then I have made a trip back to Iowa to deal with her
financial affairs which she had made very simple but still the
experience of being her executor has been a challenge for me.  It's the
sort of thing which takes some time to learn how to do but I or most
people are not likely to use this knowledge more than once.

Maybe some time I will blog more here about these experiences.  I've
written lots of email about it to draw from. ( Two paragraphs added Oct '09)

 2-20-2009 __ WUMB - U Mass Boston 's "Contemporary Folk" streaming radio  .
I've been enjoying  WUMB Contemporary Folk stream
Still am Oct '09

 1-10-2009 __ UHF antenna Fred built for DTV from youtube video .
See also: Fred's DTV notes for Minneapolis-St Paul

11-24-2008 __ My new Ubuntu Version 8.10 operating system  .
comes with the local temperature displayed on the top status line. It
also has an extension to the pull down calendar (click on current time)
that shows up to six a configurable locations ( For me set to
Singapore, Copenhagen, Portland, ME , Lima, Peru , Mpls, Casper, WY )
They appear to be in East to West (time) sequence).

For each location, it shows:
0) Location name
1) a clock face with current time and shaded to current daylight
2) current weather symbol
4) current time and time zone

If one mouses over the weather symbol a little popup window appears with a brief
weather description temp, windchill, wind dir and speed, sunrise and set times.
If you are using Firefox (if not, why not???) use <F11> to view in full screen:
Screen shot of Fred's desktop with calendar pulled down
Alternate Screen shot (explanation ABOVE ibn_ AFTER you've viewed it)

--- About Ubuntu 8.10 ---

I had been using Ubuntu version 6.06 since it came out in June 2006. It
was a 'long term support' (LTS) version.  The next LTS version came out
in April 2008 but I did not get around to installing it till 8.10 was
available. I actually have both 6.06 and 8.10 installed so I can compare
them. It only takes about 90 seconds to reboot into the other operating
system.

I particularly needed to go back to see the many customizations I've
made. Unlike when I first made them I am trying hard to keep detailed
records of what and how I added such things to make it easier to make
them again next time.

A summary:

My /home (where Linux stores a user's data files) is effectively the
same partition used with version 6.06 by having links in my real 8.10
/home folder to sub directories of /home partition.

I aim to put very few files in /home directly ( I put them in
subdirectories linked from it instead). Software of course puts
configuration files in hidden directories directly in the /home
directory.   I intend to have a carefully selected set of directories,
preferably 25 or so main ones starting with digit 1 so they can be
displayed mostly on one screen one per line. I'd also like to have this
set of directories correspond closely to my bookmark folders.

Other links I add include: in / (root dir) to mirror directories of my
web pages (see f9m_) to allow urls like file:///fholson.cohousing.org .
Other links are for alternate/easier command line navigation.

I use tcsh as default shell since I've used it for about 20 years and
have never learned bash as well. I use the shell for some things (50% ?
) , GUI for some things depending on what I find easier. Generally
things I do infrequently (e.g. network setup, apt-get installs)for which
there is a good GUI alternative).  Some things are easier becuase I have
aliases and scripts for them.  Some things are done via TSE (editor) macros.

I like to have several terminals automatically set up for various uses
including one dedicated to ssh to my online shell account. (The GUI SSH
client now looks very useable but I see no need to switch yet.)

Firefox: Port bookmarks and a few other configuration tweaks. I keep an
automatically updated copy of my bookmarks on the web (password protected).

Ramdisk auto created on bootup (mounted as ~/l ) with near empty working
file: "~/l/temp" that I use for scratch pad.

Tho Ubuntu automatically installs* most standard applications I install a
few more including dosemu so I can use a few legacy programs including
my old dos based editor TSE ver 2.00, and the PAF genealogy program.
I also install a flash player*, gnucash, minicom pine, audio codecs* needed.
* Copyright issues prevent automatically installing some things :(
Installing other sortware is amazingly easy with the GUI Synaptic program
that uses apt-get packaging tool.

BTW today's Public Radio feature 'Future Tense' recommended a minimum
computer spec of 2 GB memory for Vista... I'm only using 512 KB with
Ubuntu 8.10 and have not noticed any problem.  I should upgrade anyway
since memory is so cheap.  Similarly, I understand 4 GB flash drives are
now available for $10

ALTERNATE SCREEN SHOT was made by viewing first screenshot (with Ubuntu's
Eye of Gnome image viewer) , rotated 180 degrees in full screen mode
and taking another screenshot. One of these days I'll leave it showing
fullscreen on my computer when I expect Becca to come use my computer...

11-23-2008 __ Bike rack prototype  .
I've been pondering a new way to haul groceries and such on the back of a
bicycle. Reuseable bags are starting to replace one time use plastic and
paper bags. Bikes with elongated frames (behind pedals) are showing up
that can carry more cargo, in part by allowing cargo to be further back
away from pedalling feet.

My design suspends two reuseable bags on the sides of the rack but moves
them back a few inches.  A piece of plywood attaches to a the top of a
typical bike rack and extends back and has two cross pieces that slip into
sleeves added to the bags. The cross pieces can be removed and stowed
parallel to the bike and the plywood can be slid forward over the rack
when not being used. The latter is needed to allow the bike to be maneuvered
vertically in tight spaces (like the garage) which I do often.  Here are 3
pictures of my prototype:
Bike rack 22
Bike rack 23
Bike rack 24

10-17-2008 __ Tour de bike pumps on way home from GCOS  .
See blog entry at on Fred's Bike/walk Page

 8-29-2008 __ Growing Communities Of Scientists (GCOS) computers in classrooms  .

This summer I have been working with some Mpls science teachers
who are setting up a new version of their computer system IN their science
classroom / labs (to be more accessible than in typical separate computer lab.
2 students per computer to encourage collaboration, monitor under glass tabletop
so they do not impeded face to face interaction or use of other materials).
The old system used Apple computers suspended under the tables; the new system uses
10 year old pc's which function as "Thin Clients".

One of the 4 GCOS classrooms will be at Nellie Stone Johnson school (NSJ) here in North
Minneapolis - a much easier bike ride from my house than to Roosevelt HS where the other
classrooms are located.

At some point I hope to explore the effective similarities between GCOS and the OLPC,
One Laptop Per Child learning environment.

Links about the project:

General Ubuntu thin client in education wiki page
Minneapolis project that David is pursuing
Notes on the progress of getting the thin client classrooms set up in Mpls
The July 11th blog entry still has the best  image of what the tables will look like when set up



 7-19-2008 __ Wellstone Crash Site Memorial on the way to Bearhead .
This year we visited the Wellstone Memorial on the way to Bearhead State
Park where we go group camping.  On two previous attempts when we were
up that way we did not plan far enough in advance and did not find it /
take the right route.

The Wellstone Memorial and Historic Site is near the location of the plane
crash that took the lives of Paul and Sheila Wellstone and six others.

The crash site memorial is located about 4 miles south of Eveleth, MN and
about 3 miles East of US Hwy 53 on Bodas Road (County Hwy 95). Hwy 95
intersects Hwy 53 about a half mile north of where State Hwy 37 goes west
from Hwy 53.  All of these Hwy's appear on MN State map. You will see
signs On Hwy 95 for the site and directions for parking.
Google map to crash memorial site (zoom in)

A crushed stone path meanders through the woods with periodic stops
that have plaques about the Wellstone legasy. There is a boardwalk to a
viewing platform toward the actual site.  Very impressive and felt sacred.
(note this paragraph added 3/23/13 after the second link (wellstone.org)
I had below broke.  This page is as permanent as I can make it.  Fred )

Web sites about the Memorial:

Wellstone Memorial at Historical Marker Database has pictures and description.
Wellstone Memorial at Wellstone Action as of 3/13 mostly a link to:
Wellstone Memorial at MPR
WCCO 3 minute video about the memorial *B  WCCO: "Those links no longer exist and are unavailable."

Wikipedia on Wellstone

 7- 2-2008 __ Reading blogs / helping friends / still showing OLPC .
I happened onto the blog of our former neighbor Jenell Williams Paris *B  . She wanted her web
page at the college to show up with google, so the link above should do that.

I found her blog by way of the blog of a neighbor who lives where Jenell formerly lived on my block.
I  was also reading the blog of David Groos recently Growing Communities of Scientists
I helped David a bit on Tuesday with his computers lab in his high school science class.
The new lab will be using an Ubuntu Linux "thin client" system with older, readily available
computers acting as terminals on a central server.

Reading blogs for the first time, one lacks context.  Often an "About" section is absent or
does not provide much context.  One way to gain context is to read / browse older entries.
Trying to read older entries in chronological order -- is a bit of a challenge.  You have to go
to the oldest entry you wish to read; read / don thru the entry then to read the next, scroll
up to the beginning of the preceding entry and read down, etc. I'm beginning to rethink the use
of reverse chronological order for entries in blogs and archives. I used this order when I set
up the Archives of Cohousing-L after the last reorganization / move in 2004.
This order clearly has the advantage of putting recent entries at the top of the page.  But
following a sequence on messages - recent or otherwise - seems unnatural with "rev. chron."
order.  I have been using "blogs" on my computer (not online) to keep notes etc on various
topics.  Many on my top level folders have a "start" file that includes a blog.  I've recently
pondered converting them to chronological order but have a very easy way to "get to" the (top
of) the most recent entry...  This online blog, like all my web pages is basically a very
simple web page that I maintain with a text editor.  For a while I've been thinking of having a
an index to entries here.  But now I'm thinking that I may reverse the order too.

While I'm at it, a couple things about blogs (that use blog software ) that bug me:
Often they do not have an adequate (IMHO) introduction / overview / profile / "about" page.
This may be that the blogger simply has not set that up or it may be that the software does
not provide facility for it.  Second I'm surprised how often no email contact for the blogger
is provided.  Maybe they figure any contact with the blogger should be via a comment / response
to a blog entry but some times a private note is more appropriate and I prefer to do that by
email.  One reason I prefer this is that a copy of my message ends up in my sent mail archive
where I can more easily find it.  If more blog comment forms (and web contact forms in general)
provided the option for sending a copy of messages left to the sender, this would reason would
be reduced. (Tho such copies end up in the inbox instead of the sent mail where they are harder
to find ( bigger haystack to lose them in.)  Many blogs these days provide an option for an RSS feed
which is helpful for following new entries.  I don't currently use RSS, I prefer to get a
brief email message saying there is a new entry. Some how finding how to set this up is harder
than setting up an RSS feed.  Sometimes it is not offered, sometimes it is obscure how to
set it up.  Maybe we need a new term / icon like "MSS" (Mail notification simple setup).

I continue to show the One Laptop Per Child laptop to interested people (see earlier blog entry).
The Walker Art Center has an exhibit currently "Design for the Other 90%" of mostly practical designs
for the third world - shelters, water carrying, human powered transport etc.  They have two OLPC's
on display - under glass with a nice little write up.  On their family day on Sat, I plan to take my
OLPC and show it.

 5- 2-2008 __ Our "mystery weekend" trip to North House Folk School .

4/23-25/08 we went on a "mystery weekend' that Becca planned without Fred's involvement.  She
got Fred to consent to the dates well in advance but otherwise did not reveal details tho some
slipped out. She signed us up for classes at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN on the
north shore.
Fred: hands on solar electricity
Becca: twig chair building.

In order to attend a bike trail meeting (about Cedar Lake trail to the river under the new
stadium) Thur night before the classes that started at 9:00 am Friday, we left at 3 am Friday.
Worked fine and we missed the fog other folks encountered Thur night. We stayed in a 5 unit
little motel two blocks up the hill from the folk school that happened to be owned by the
instructor of Fred's class. While there Fred used the net access at the library a few blocks
away (twice - mid day Friday and Sat).  He also showed the OLPC XO to folks but was only able to
get connected usefully once.  Becca took Monday off to give plenty of time to get home.  We came
home by way of Grand Rapids where we visited a very distant Brackett cousin who we stay in touch
with.

 4-30-2008 __ Python (computer language) book / MN Barcamp .
Yesterday I found an online book that I plan to read:
_A Byte of Python_ by C H Swaroop
> This book will help you to learn the Python programming language,
> whether you are new to computers or are an experienced programmer.

While reading about the book I came on reference to Barcamps.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
 BarCamp is an international network of user generated conferences
 open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by
 participants  often focusing on early-stage web applications, and
 related open source technologies, social protocols, and open data
 formats.

 I plan to go to the Barcamp here in Minneapolis on May 10th: MinneBar


 4- 7-2008 __ Playing with webcams .
Last weekend I played with webcams i.e. searched for and looked at webcam pages in locations where friends live etc.
I created this page (by extracting html for the webcams folder in my bookmarks and modifying it and adding comments.
Fred's links to webcams

I intend to add to bookmark and my webcam page the time between updates for some more of the
webcams.  Update time varies from 1 sec to one hour (and broken ones that "never" update).

Some webcams have "control" options pan, zoom, update time.

Idea: Have a non-default option to open new updates in a separate
browser. This might be implemented at the web site (with a way of
selecting the option.  Or maybe there is a way to implement it the
brower end which would allow it to be done with any webcam.

 4- 5-2008 __ Final spurt of winter 07-08 ?   .
This winter seems to have hung on and on. Repeatedly I've said I hope this is the last cold spell.
And Sunday, Mnday Tuesday we had up to 8+ inches of snow. The temperature was around or a bit above freezing
and warmer weather was predicted so it was a wet snow (about an inch of moisture) that was not expected
to last long.  Some people did not bother to shovel tho I did.  Here's a couple of pictures:
Russell Av N after snow (in new window , compare)
Russell Av N a few days later
Note that the first picture had the date stamp "03/31/2008" (which I overwrote)
turns out that for months the date/time in the camera had been off by 12 hours...
It felt a lot more like spring the next day tho there was more snow left than show in the after picture.

 3-24-2008 __ Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan   .
I've never been to Asia. My knowledge of that part of the world has long been lacking.
In particular I realize I confuse Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
A friend is moving to Singapore for 3 years for a job and I decided to summarize a bit of
research here. As usual I turned to a map and Wikipedia. See eastmap.htm

 2-24-2008 __ I WON a little One Laptop Per Child ( OLPC) laptop  .
It looks like a toy. Wikipedia:Olpc
I won it at the Linux meeting I went to yesterday (see prev
blog entry for details about linux group). The goal of this education program is to
get one of these kid friendly devices to kids everywhere in the third world so they can have
a powerful education tool that can access the Internet.

Fred's OLPC page / links

A few highlights: Picture of OLPC 'XO-1' laptop      With features labeled
o hardware design goals:rugged, low cost, long battery life laptop.
  Modest performance accepted to get this.
o 433 MHz AMD Geode LX700 cpu
o no hard drive - 1 Gigabyte Flash drive, 256 MB ram (currently) 3 USB ports
o innovative dual mode (backlit-color/sunlit-monochrome) LCD display
o built-in wifi with ability to access / serve others
o rugged, downsized (about 9x9x1.25 inches), moisture resistant membrane useable keypad,
  low/flexible power requirements including solar and hand cranked options coming,
  relatively environmenatlly friendly
o Special Linux based evolving, upgradeable open source software that uses collaborative
  learning environment metaphor gui instead of just usual desktop metaphor with numerous
  built-in applications - "activities". Gui hides filesystem which is frustrating to experienced
  computer users since it seems (is?) less flexible.
o goal of mass production at $100 per laptop in 2008 in support of...
o goal is universal education of world's children via access learning to communities and
  to the Internet using purpose built laptops

I plan to study and use the laptop to promote the idea, demonstrate it to groups.
I may even USE the laptop as my portable computing capability (I don't have another
laptop tho my son does (Mac) and my wife may get one ( MS Windows for work compatibility :(

The Timeline of ideas that led to OLPC *B  starts with the introduction of Logo, the first
programming language written especially for children.  I tutored kids in math / Logo in the
early 1980's here in north Minneapolis.  The activities include "Pippy" an intro. to programming.

Update: 3/24/08 I've learned much more about the OLPC, shown it to many people and will be giving a presentation
at Penguins Unbound Linux Group meeting in May (last Sat). Here's a page that summarizes the XO nicely
David Pogue (NYTimes) video / Eric Pettifor review *B 
I've been invited to write an article about it for a local community paper.
Note that the "Wikipedia:Olpc" link at in above is about the organization; the "$100 laptop" link on that page
is a detailed wikipedia article about the XO laptop.


 2-23-2008 __ Penguins Unbound Linux Group meeting this morning on Audacity Topic Audacity sound editing program .
File made by our camera that "chirps" instead of playing in Audacity.


Other Topics I'd like to ask:
show and tell with Ruckus  DONE
flash install problem      mentioned
various streaming media formats and clients and problems
should I install new Ubuntu version?  Is there an upgrade path instead?
partitinns on nano6 (and sectors not in a partition).
have both old and new ubuntu installed?
Install questions again apt/rpm tool that supports both?
automating my config preferences when installing new OS version

pping.bat script that I wrote this morning to help track down reason for
ssh and streaming audio being interrupted (due to occasional Wireless disconnects (?)) :
#! /bin/bash
# This script will be run periodically (extra "p") - once every 30-60 seconds  (later: runs ever 10 sec)
# to check usiw connection (which as of 2/23/08 is getting disconnected a few times a day brieflywhile true ; do
#infinite loop!
# use ^c to exit
sleep 10
 if ping -c1 usiwireless.com >nul ; then
  echo -n "ok   " ; date
 else
  # if this ping fails....
  # log that fact "ppdn" and make a bell sound
  echo -n "fail " ; date ;
  echo -n ppdn >> ~/log-conn ; date >> ~/log-conn ;
  aplay -c 1 -t raw -r 22050 -f mu_law 1nix/bell1.wav
 fi
done


 2- 1-2008 __ Fred gets community wireless net access  .
See also Keeping 'em down on the farm in the computer age

Yesterday (1/30/08) I finally upgraded from dialup access to the net.
I'd been waiting a long time for the Minneapolis municipal network . Recently
the phase of the build out by USIWireless was completed in my area. Earlier
this week I signed up on line after consulting their techs about a few
details (I wanted to get the Ruckus modem (model 2211 , ruckuswireless.com )
that has external antenna connection in case I ever need that (units
with this feature had been expected but not shipped until recently)).
Currently there is a 'rubber duck antenna' connected here which is used
along with the internal directional antenna system. The external Ruckus
connects to the computer via Ethernet so no drivers are required.

I fashioned a "shelf" that supports the Ruckus near the top of a window
on the back of our house where one can see the
USIW node we use at 12th and Sheridan Av N across the block.

I got the 1Mb/s package for 2 years for $240 special deal (2 years for
the price of one year's month to month price / 50% less than regular
cost of annual payment price) I purchased the modem for $80 (it can be
rented for $5/month).

I'm using Ubuntu 6.06 currently and I had no problems using the USIW
and performance has seemed fine. To put things in perspective tho,
1Mb/s is not particularly fast but compared to dialup it is fast.
Compared to fiber to the door it is slow; see first 'related link' below.
For me the cost/performance tradeoff is for my needs the best available
here that I know of.

Speed test result Fri Feb  1 08:28:22 CST 2008 at Download test at pcpitstop.com :
Time done:                                                   8:28am  10:15am   10:55M
Download speed in kilobits per second                       (1477    1508      1587   )
Test details: Time to 3200 kilobytes downloaded in seconds: (17.334  16.98     16.134 )

--- ping statistics --- estimates of round-trip time. See wikipedia: Ping
usiwireless.com  17 packets transmitted, 17 received, 0% packet loss, time 16059ms
ave: 37ms        rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 19.809/37.014/79.784/17.424 ms

yahoo.com       23 packets transmitted, 23 received, 0% packet loss, time 22092ms
ave: 105ms      rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 76.691/121.560/158.442/25.154 ms

google.com      35 packets transmitted, 25 received, 28% packet loss, time 34111ms
ave: 81 ms      rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 56.717/80.870/247.315/39.309 ms

cnet.com        25 packets transmitted, 24 received, 4% packet loss, time 24099ms
ave: 105        rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 91.208/104.506/134.688/10.736 ms

espn.com        30 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 29127ms

blogger.com     28 packets transmitted, 28 received, 0% packet loss, time 27111ms
ave: 66 ms      rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 54.430/66.380/86.699/9.161 ms

Ping time norms from pcpitstop.com
    <=100 ms        Great, typical of a high-speed cable or DSL connection.
    100 to 200 ms   Good, common for cable and DSL connections.
    200 to 400 ms   Fair, usually seen with dialup connections or faraway sites.
    400 to 600 ms   Slow, either the connection or the remote site is slow.
    600 to 1999 ms  Poor, high latency. Typical for satellite connections.
    > 1999 ms       No response, the ping was blocked or the site did not reply.

There seems to be more latency in response when I first fetch a web
page from a site than when I access additional pages at that site.
Does this have to do with lookups that have to be done initially that
are cached for subsequent accesses that I never noticed before?

Practical example of improved performance
I have an archiving process for my listservs ( justcomm.org
that I perform the first of each month. It fetches a bunch of many html
pages with wget (non interactive content retrieval from web servers) and
extracts selected info to text files on my computer. I did that today
and it took less than 11 minutes instead of the 26 minutes using
dialup on Jan 1.

Related links:
Interesting table of 'broadband access in vtop 20 countries
Wikipedia: Broadband Internet access
Wikipedia: Measuring network throughput

 UPDATE 10/16/08.  I've been using Mpls wireless for 9.5 months now and continue to be fairly
pleased with it. I continue to get about 1Mb/s download tho I don't check it often; right now I'm
getting 700-800 Kb/s (I was getting 1.5 Mb/s initially but that was a benefit to compensate for
other initial shortcomings) I think there have been two outages that lasted hours to 2-3 days
due to equipment failure / weather, USWI provided temporary dialup access during those periods.
I continue to have SSH disconnects tho the frequency has dropped off from about daily to only
twice in the last two weeks.  The problem may be a software issue on my computer related to long
ssh connections.  I's been easier to tolerate than investigate so far.

I still think radio is not the best solution for the last mile problem; I still dream of having
fiber optic cable all the way to my computer but for now I think the cost benefit of Mpls
Wireless is hard to beat for my needs.  I also think the main benefit is not speed tho that is
certainly an improvement over dialup.  The "always on" nature is the most useful - no waiting to
connect or grouping net uses for the next time I am connected.

One continues to hear anecdotes about people having poor performance from USWI at their
residence but it is quite difficult to get a balanced picture of the degree of the problem.  I
have concluded that performance is quite location dependant but do not have enough experience
with enough locations to conclude how widespread inadequate performance is.

I have used the USWI roaming from various places in the city some with the OLPC.
It seems to be quite location dependant but often works fine.


12-15-2007 __ Wikipedia is a great resource  .
I find Wikipedia to be a very useful source of information.
Tho it can potentially have less than valid information due to it's open collaborative nature,
I find the information to be better and more useful than say TV ad, TV news, TV generally.
To find useful information on it requires much less sifting than using Google (tho of course
there are still topics that Google can find info on that are not in Wikipedia.  I've been surprised how
useful Wikipedia can be for current news sometimes (with background available if one needs it
and of course much less repetition of the same main points).  I'm thinking of making a monetary contribution.

10-26-2007 __ Note to community station KAXE on MN Iron Range  .
Sent via KAXE talk back *B 

Good morning from near north Minneapolis, the home of US Congressman Keith
Ellison.

I've been listening to KAXE a bit via the Internet lately and appreciate the low bandwidth
24kbps mp3 stream which works over a dialup connection. It works pretty well and I can use the
net for other things at the same time as long as I don't use too much bandwidth. We are still
waiting for the municipal wireless system to get installed in our part of town.

We went to the five year memorial of the Wellstone plane crash at the College of  St Catherine
last night and blogged a bit about it {below!}

Thanks KAXE, keep up the good work. Fred  fholson.cohousing.org


10-25-2007 __ Five Year memorial Wellstone plane crash  .
Last night we went to the 5 Year memorial of the plane crash that killed Paul and Shiela
Wellstone and 4 others.  Our friend Mark Ritchie who is now MN Secretary of State committed to
getting as many people to vote as possible. He gave one of the main remembrances and (as did
others) spoke of the ongoing legacy and challenges.  A Picture of and tiny audio clip of Mark
speaking captured off TV taken off the TV news on Ch 11 (crudely):
Mark Ritchie  (196 kB)
Mark Ritchie Audio clip  (244kB .wav)


10- 6-2007 __ Banking hassles related to computers  .

I don't currently use online banking except when I'm using MS Windows
somewhere away from home. (I try to keep my computer free of software
produced by the monopoly Microsoft.) My bank http://franklinbankmpls.com/ *1
has online banking that I can not / do not currently use it from my
computer (Ubuntu 6.06 Linux / Firefox 2.0.0.7 browser see Fred's system).
This is because of several "hassles" (numbered below based on chronology).

I have never used online banking extensively (my "offline banking" is
easier for most things). About the only thing I need online banking for is
to look up the image of a cleared check once in a while. In the US it
seems banks no longer return cleared checks - maybe if you pay an extra
charge.

Hassle #1 The online banking requires the pass word to change
periodically - with about the same frequency as I use online banking so
I have trouble keeping track of the current pass word.

Hassle #2)  I get an error when I try to log in with their "new improved
security" feature. I can't get past an error after entering my username.
Curiously I can log in using Firefox running on MS Windows! Also curiously
I was able to get logged in and use the system from my computer when I
FIRST used the "new improved security" system.  There may be a workaround
by always telling the system I am a new user - I have not pursued this - I
don't need a another hassle.  Of course the support folks generally
consider the problem to be with my computer not using Internet Explorer;
I consider it their software's requiring IE...

Hassle #3 Not online banking related.  On the bank statement (we may be
unusual in that we reconcile our records with bank statements) debit
card transaction entries are poorly structured.  They lack a something
like a check number - a sequential id by which entries can be ordered
and identified. This means they are not listed in a very useful order
and hard to identify. Theoretically the transaction date could serve
this purpose but the various dates related to a transaction (actual time
of transaction, time transaction gets reported to bank etc) vary enough
(a few days) that it is not very helpful.  Also the payee is identified
inconsistently.  I try to record the address *2 when I use my debit card
since that is sometimes listed in the statement. Debit card entries also
have alpha numeric information that is meaningless to me but which takes
up room - enough to spread the info so the entries take multiple awkward
lines each.

*1 I am generally quite pleased with Franklin Bank . They are relatively
small - enough to give me the impression that they can legitimately
offer "personal service". They have a great record of service to the
community and other public spirited programs and such.  I think the
hassles above are largely out of their control and based on vendor
software.  They probably are not big enough to have enough clout to
effectively pressure vendors to fix their lame software but this blog
entry is part of an effort in that direction anyway.  Anyone know of a
bank that supports Open Source software ( http://www.opensource.org ) to a
reasonable extent?

*2 Sometimes I have a debit transaction with only an address that I do not
recognize so I google the address and can sometimes figure out the store name.

 9-17-2007 __ Scouting and ham radio .
 Jamboree On The Air (JOTA)  -- From the ARRL -- Annual event in which
Boy and Girl Scouts and Guides from all over the world speak to each
other by means of Amateur (ham) Radio. http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/jota.html *B 
The official site for the most current JOTA information sponsored by the
World Scouting Organization:
http://www.scout.org/jota/
You'll find additional resources at ARRL:
http://www.arrl.org/scouts/jota-resources *B 
http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/scouthbk/ic.html *B 
http://www.starc-corpuschristi.org/USS_Lexington/gs_radio_badge.htm
http://www.ac6v.com/scouts.htm
http://www.arrl.org/scouts/
http://www2.arrl.org/FandES/ead/youthskeds... *B 
http://www.radio-scouting.org.uk
http://www.k0bsa.org *B 
See misc blog same date.

==========

 8- 2-2007 __ Interstate 35W bridge collapse  .
I had this note about the I-35W bridge collapse on the top of
Fred's link page ( fholson.cohousing.org)  for most of August

 SPECIAL NOTE 8/2/07  None of my family or any one I know (so far) was on the I-35W
 bridge when it collapsed at 6:05 pm on 8/1.  We use that bridge occasionally but not
 often and not often at rush hour.  I do bike under a section (north end) that
 collapsed ** sometimes when I am headed over toward the Dinkytown area by the U of MN.
 Andrew will be living in a dorm about two blocks from where I bike under the bridge.

** Turns out this was wrong the section over 2nd St SE did not collapse tho some adjacent sections did.
The section on the other side of the river over the parkway and bike path did collapse.

Three images that summarize the collapse:

( Note: the images open in new windows so you can come back to this window to
open the second and third image and then go back and forth to compare.)

Middle section of collapsed bridge on the day after the collapse,
as seen from the nearby 10th Avenue Bridge, looking north.
This picture is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-35W_Mississippi_River_bridge
As of 4/17/13 small version of picture is shown in
the upper right corner at: Collapse section of Wiki article.

Collapsed bridge looking south on the evening of the collapse.

North end of the bridge A freight train was traveling under the bridge when it collapsed.
Note that tho this is the "North end of the bridge" there are more
elevated sections of the approach to the left of this image - one of
which had one end collapse so it rested at a steep angle. Also that
the tall building on the left is the dorm (Sanford Hall) where
Andrew will be living for the 2007-8 school year.

Note that all three images have some common items which help relate
them.  There is a big straight truck with a red boom and "clamshell"
bucket on a partially collapsed section of the approach on the north end
of the bridge.  There are also long white train cars under and west of
the truck in all three pictures.

computerworld.com article New Wi-Fi network proves critical in Minneapolis bridge disaster

UPDATE
Fred's I-35W replacement bridge construction archive of close shots on 6/18/08

 7-19-2007 __ Environmental impact vs price of production .
Lately there has been a discussion on Cohousing-L that I found interesting.
Searching for (w/o quotes) for "Walking gently 2007" at
Cohousing-L archives

 3-19-2007 __ Flash 'puter" --  Virtual use of Fred's computer via UsbDisk on other computers .
  Decide to develop ways to be able to use copies of Fred's disk files
  from Flash drive (UsbDisk) on friend's computer (Win XP also potentially on
  other computers) as compatibly as possible to the way they are used ON
  Fred's computer (Nano6) including some software.
1) have copies of most used files on flash drive including those accessed via QuickBrowse ( qb)
2) have qb init things upon boot including:
   detect where root 0start file is (d: (Nano6) or g: (flash at friends)
   If at friend's, use dos subst command so files look like they are at d:
   Hopefully this will also allow Firefox to access start page, bookmarks, cookies
3) if this works well enough it will be like having Nano6 in my pocket and thus the
   term "Flash puter"
4) files on Flash drive would be kept current by special rsync macro.
5) Unresolved problem - how to be able to make file changes on Flash puter and get them
   Nano6 back in sync with these changes since it would normally be the Prime copy)
   Not ready to consider the Flash copy prime ... but maybe someday.  That is use
   Flash puter technique even when using Nano6...

 2-10-2007 __ Mike Casper passed recently, We'll go to funeral in Northfield .
Mike was a buddy and collaborator with Paul Wellstone.
Like Paul we knew Mike after Becca's days at Carleton related to the
1980's reincarnation of the Farmer Labor Association.
History of the 1930's  Farmer-Labor Movement

Found while googling to see if there is a physical memorial to Paul in N'fld:
0) Mike Casper's funeral (see http://northfield.org/node/2585
1) Abt Paul's Memorial's political result: http://www.collegenews.org/x2886.xml *B 
2) They love Paul back in NC: http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/oct04/wellstone100604.html
I presume Mike's funeral will maintain decorum but with Molly's spirit recently
in turmoil (see below) who knows.

Update: h2m_ It did maintain decorum - more or less, some subtle comments
during funeral reflections from about 10 people.  The reception
afterward was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and
acquaintences and swap stories and meet some folks.  The goodies Becca baked and
brought got their own little table and consumed.  The catered food was great.

There is no memorial to Paul in Northfield presently.  I have two modest proposals
to remedy this:
1) A Carleton Classroom dedicated to Mike Casper (and Paul Wellstone)
   Maybe the classroom in the framed picture of them that was at Mike's funeral reception that
   has Paul informally dressed sitting on table at front with big smile and big gestures while
   Mike stands nearby in suit with his arms folded and a somewhat more reserved smile.
   That picture should be on the wall of the memorial classroom.  Other
   considerations for which classroom are accessibility and open on
   weekends.

2) Some sort of plaque dedicated to Paul Wellstone (and Mike Casper) at a spot in
   the Arb, maybe on the route they typically ran,  Maybe a site that resembles
   the crash site (where Paul's US Senate re-election campaign plane crashed in 2002).

   h6c_ Today I stopped by Paul and Shiela and Marcia's grave - in the northwest corner of Lakewood
   cemetery.  The memorial stone with carved epitaph on it's irregular natural shape reminded me
   of Olof Palme Monument stone in Stockholm that I visited in 1999; it has his signature carved in it.

   i7j_ See also  Wellstone Crash Site Memorial

 2- 1-2007 __ Feb/1/07 I mourn Molly Ivins passing too soon. .
      see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molly_Ivins
The above was at the top of my email "signature" from Feb 1-11,2007

 8-22-2006 __ Learning to modify that Open source .

My approach to computers has always been from low level software up.
That is I like to know how things work, often create my own solutions
from simple tools that I understand rather than use a more complicated
tool that I dont understand in depth. This is partly because the Forth
language that I used was oriented this way.

Another influence in this was my first personal computer - a 6502 based
single board Sym. The Sym had an "open" "monitor" - prom based 8 Kbyte
'operating system' callm "Mon". Mon was provided with complete source
code and ram based pointers to key functions (initialized at boot) that
allowed one to redirect those functions to ones own routines.  For
example one could write character inout routines to get them from a full
keybard rather than the default keypad.

My text editor with flexible macro language has allowed me to solve many
problems that go well beyond basic editng.

But it is not always possible. Software and operating systems have
gotten more complicated Since I started using computers back around
1970.

Along comes Linux.

Linux, based on Unix is a very large and complicated system.
Particularly when used with a GUI like Gnome.  On the other hand the
"Open Source" philosophy makes it theoretically possible to write or
software change to suit one's preferences. My guess is that very few
people actually do this much tho scripts, command aliases and many
configuration options allow much customizations which I have done.

Tho I've been quite happy with Ubuntu Linux that I've been using for a
couple months, the terminal program has one feature that can be annoying.
I've decided to try making a minor change to that program as an exercise
that will involve learning some C programming in the Linux / Gnome
environment.

I knew this would be a big undertaking but various unexpected hurdles
have come up and gotten solved but I still have a long way to go.  I
decided to blog about the exercise here in case it might be helpful to
others.

My first step was to post a note to the gnome on July 17, 2006 and got some
useful replies particularly Don Scorgie's.  See archived note
I also had some off list correspondence that came from this post
including Don's reply about my asking for more info on API's:

  An API reference is basically a list of functions and constants within a
  library.  This allows you to see what a function actually does and what
  parameters can / should be passed in to it.  There are various gtk+ /
  gnome API references for the different libraries available at:
  http://developer.gnome.org/doc/API/ *B 
  They can also be viewed offline using devhelp (although, I don't know
  how to set this up or use it).

  In the code, any function starting with gtk_ is from the gtk library, g_
  come from the glib library and gnome_ are from libgnome library.  The
  glib library also has an object system (gobjects) that are used by GNOME
  to make C more object-orientated.  The reference for these functions
  etc. are split out from the main glib docs to a separate document
  (gobject).

  Looking through the gnome-hello code, it appears most of it is gtk /
  glib calls.  There is a couple of other calls (at the start of the main
  function to bindtextdomain etc.).  These are calls to set up
  internationalization stuff.  Other than this, all the functions should
  be listed in the glib / gobject / gtk documentation.

I'm reading the C book at: http://publications.gbdirect.co.uk/c_book/

~8/20 Cant "find" GCC... GCC compiler not installed on Ubuntu  (tho
      related ("base") is).. Install it.
 8/21 Header files for standard library not installed either or by installing
      GCC. Install them.
 8/21 Compile first program from book.
 8/22 Running low on disk space in / partition (not solved yet 8/22/06)
 8/22 start this blog.

Update 2/07 , like all my attempts so far this one did not last long.
I've learned to live with the close button on tabs.

 7-17-2006 __ Community contributor recognition and validated community participant system. .

Sometimes when I write email the ideas start flowing and evolving and the recipient gets
a longer message than I probably should have sent them.  But if the
ideas have merit (sometimes they do I hope) it may be worth it.  Below is such a message
generalized a bit to set the context for presentation here.

Gnome is an easy to understand desktop (graphical user interface including many tools)
for a Linux or UNIX computer. Gnome is Open Source Software (OSS), roughly that means
developed and maintained by a vast range of volunteers and there is no charge to use it.
I am using the current version of Gnome which came with the OSS operating system
Ubuntu version of the GNU/Linux.  Open Source Software is an
alternative to the proprietary and often monopolistic software including Microsoft.

Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 00:21:32 -0700 (PDT)
From: Fred H Olson fholson@cohousing.org
To: fundraising@gnome.org
Subject: Idea: optional info "about" Gnome Friends

Hi,

I've just been browsing the http://www.gnome.org/ site (I think for the first time).
I'm very impressed (with version 2.14 which was released recently as well).
I had an idea that I decided to share with you..

I think recognition of Friends ( contributors )  is great - we all like to be appreciated
and this is a great way.  How about offering Friends the option of
listing something about themselves e.g.

o home location (encouraged)
o a few words about interests
o a url or email addr (preferable: url to page that has email)

All this would be limited to what could be displayed on one line in
columns (that were retained when captured) for sorting.  Remember all is
optional.

A couple thoughts on displaying of Friends
It might be nice to be able to list all friends in one page (till that
becomes impractical :) with a tag for what years they contributed at what
level.  Having this sortable by location would be neat.  If all years are
not in one page some way to search all would be nice.

One last thought, the folks who work on Gnome as volunteers deserve
recognition as well.  Maybe monetary contributors and work contributors
could be recognized in an integrated list.  Of course some are both.

I lied, on more last (blue sky) thought.  Gnome is not the only OSS
project that people can contribute ($ or wk) to and it is unreasonable to
expect any one person to contribute much ($ or wk) to multiple / many
deserving projects.  Therefore maybe someday there could be an integrated
OSS member / $ or work contributor recognition system.

I lied again, one last even bluer sky idea.  OSS is only one part of
a bunch of alternative better visions for the world to which people can
volunteer $ and work.  Maybe someday we can have an even broader
recognition system.

BTW in my chosen volunteer field ( Communications for Justice ( http://justcomm.org )
(using Mailman for good causes)), I dream of someday having some kind of
"validated community participant" system that many different discussion
and announcement systems etc could share the validation we now do
usually on a per list basis (thru subscribe / confirmation email /
response to complete subscription).  This would allow one to choose what
to participate in with a simple checkbox from a page (hierarchy of
pages) once they had logged with their validated community participant
(VCP) username and password.  This came to mind since the consolidated
contributor system and the VCP system might be usefully integrated.
Obviously there are many challenges including privacy and trust issues.
But one needs a vision. Dream on.

Sorry this message got way out of hand...  Feel free to forward it to
whomever if you feel appropriate.

Keep up the good work.

 6- 6-2006 __ Fred's computer system - (This entry updated periodically) **  .
Operating system: Ubuntu Gnu Linux Version 6.06
   (Version 6.06 is "Long term support" version - not the newest)
Desktop: Gnome (often use it's File browser, Terminal (automatically open with 4 tabs
 for shell (2), editing, ssh) , Spider solitare game various multimedia, vieweres etc etc)
Web Browser: Foxfire Version 2.0.0.6
Email: Pine running at my ISP (I use SSH to access it) (can access main folders via webmail too)
Text editing: TSEPro version 2.0 (ancient. it's dos based running under dosemu --
  native Linux version of Tsepro is under development.
Info access: homebrew Quick Browse macro in Tsepro
Reminders/calendar: Another homebrew Quick Browse macro in Tsepro
Html editing: Another homebrew Quick Browse macro in Tsepro.  Note I keep primary copy of
 web pages on my computer where I generally do editing and keep a mirror of them at ISP with:
Upload / sychronise software: Rsync
Office Suite: Open Office
Image editing: Gimp
IM: Pidgin (actually still (10/07) using Gaim - pre name change version)
(lots of other less used software not listed yet. No Microsoft software.)

** sorry no links for details here yet - look up program names at
Wikipedia

 4- 3-2006 __ Back online... For several weeks in March modem problems  .
kept my main computer offline and therefore few of my web pages got updated.
A few were updated online.  Today I got this computer back on line and
downloaded the few "updated online" files and then resynced accumulated
changes made locally.

At the same time I have been working on setting up a new computer
with a new Linux distribution (Ubuntu) which will eventually be set up
as my main computer and have the local copy of web pages.

But all the little scripts, macros, command aliases, installed programs
etc take a while to get set up, so it is easier to use this computer
till that all gets done.

12-13-2005 __ Format modification / Radix 36  .
I've added some html links to sections of this document to ease cross
references... And other of other tweaks and updates.

I decided "Radix 36" (used in my Date Code) needed explanation.
The "radix" of a number system is also known as it's base. It's probably
most easily understood by comparison to familiar systems. Note that the
radix is generally expressed in decimal.  Symbols used when radix is
greater than 10 are letters of the alphabet.

Decimal is base/radix 10
Binary  is base/radix  2
Octal   is base/radix  8
Hexadecimal is base/radix 16  a=10, b=11, c=12, d=13, e=14, f=15
Radix 36 is ... base/radix 36 a=10 ... k=20 ... u=30 ... z=35
I use radix 36 sometimes when I want a very compact way to encode and record
numbers in ascii.

12-12-2005 __ The Rev Billy Stop Shopping Gospel Choir 'revival' was great .
Yesterday we went to hear Rev billy and the Choir (www.revbilly.com
There were about 25 people; most in red robes, two trumpets, electronic
organ and drums. Rev Billy was in a bright white suit with his blond
hair in a pompadour resembling what Billy Graham looked like in his
younger years.  Note that that Billy moved his organization headquarters
away from Minneapolis a few years ago; the building is now a college
building.

Rev Billy's revival was a cross between great music, a revival meeting, a
spoof, and a campaign for a noble cause - to resist the over
commercialization of life to the detriment of more worthwhile lives.  He
even brought tears when he remembered Richard Prior and Eugene McCarthy
who died the day before.  The question was addressed: 'how can you
really totally stop shopping?' which friends have asked.  The Rev considered
calling themselves something more moderate which would acknowledged that
commerce is part of life but still addressed the rampant over
commercialization in the US; but there is only so much that can be said
in a name...

Here's a nice picture  of Rev Billy and a few of the Choir members *B 
This picture is currently on their home page. Note that their web page
is updated often including blogs - check in often. There's already some
references to their time in Minneapolis and pictures of the bus that was
hit by a truck in Ohio. One group member is still in the hospital.

After the show some people (tho not us) boarded their biodiesel buses to go
to the Megamall in their 100 extra robes to confront the beast.

A few observations:
Sometimes it was difficult to understand the words of the singers.
Unlike the usual gospel choir, the words are not familiar enough to
understand despite a suboptimal sound system, loud instruments, echoes
etc.  A few measures come to me - lyric/song sheets tho this would
reduce some of the surprises that add fun to the show and of course the
words probably vary from time to time and place to place. A high tech
approach would display the words electronically above the choir.  A
third approach appeals to me - something like Bob Dylan's video where he
has placards with the main words that he discards as they are sung to
reveal the next next placard with words coming up. This would require
experimentation, practice and coordination to show words most usefully.

The choir was maybe 20 percent African American, the audience seemed
overwhelmingly white which is a bit ironic since it was at Sabathani
Community Center which serves the Black community. This may have been in
part due the way publicity was done (the publicity in Minneapolis was a
problem). I wonder how authentic African American gospel choir's react
to Rev Billy's choir.
See the biography entry of James Solomon Benn -- Choir Director, Soloist' at
Choir bios

Here in Minneapolis most people had not / have not heard of Rev Billy
and even after I had it was hard to be sure what to expect.  I suspect
"Word of mouth" could be used more systematically to encourage people
who have seen the Choir to alert their friends who might have an
opportunity to see the choir.  Today I finally subscribed to the Choir's
"bulletin" even tho it does not say how much mail to expect or indicate
how I can get off again should I decide to. I previously subscribed to
the Rev Billy Mailman list (so I could read the archives) and
unsubscribed.  It's very inactive.

11-23-2005 __ Are George Bush's lies finally catching up to him? Two articles: .

1) Here is an article that lays out a sober case for impeachment.

"George W. Bush [and associates] ... used half-truths and recklessly
false statements to manipulate people who trusted them."

The White House Criminal Conspiracy
By Elizabeth de la Vega  The Nation  November 14,2005
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051114/delavega

------

2) Pre-Iraq War Intelligence: A Look at the Facts

by Don Gonyea and Jackie Northam

Morning Edition, November 23, 2005  "Critics of President Bush say he
misled the nation. In speeches, the president and Vice President Dick
Cheney now accuse their critics of rewriting history. We check the facts
with a pair of reporters who covered some of that history."

Listen to the report via link at:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5024408

10-13-2005 __ Visually comparing two files by "flashing" between them. / Scanner lab .
I sometimes like to compare two files - slightly different
versions of the same document such as program source code so that I can
spot differences down to an individual character difference in context.
One way that I sometimes do this is to "flash" quickly between two files
on the computer monitor to compare them.  I have yet to implement a quick
and easy way to do this short of only having two files open. It's a
matter of coming up with a convenient user interface.
see flash.s (TSE macros source file - on Fred's computer...)

Update. I have implemented this tho the routine to pick the two files is
still awkward. They include shift routines so both files shift one
screen up, down, side to side (for long lines), home and end. I'm
pondering an extension of shift routines to more than two files that
compares all files open.

Aside: About 20 years ago (~1984) I did some low level software work at
the U of MN Astronomy Scanner Lab that implemented a computerized system
to compare two images of the same location in space ( at different
times). As I understand it, astronomers have long used mechanical
systems to "flash" between two sky images so a human observer could
easily look for noteworthy differences.  The scanner lab scanned a large
collection of images (and stored data in a special format that basically
noted location of "bright spots"). Software compared this data in a way
analogous to "flashing" between two images.

The scanner was built on the base of a precision metal working machine
that could move an image (a glass plate up to about one foot
square) in two dimensions. The scanner moved the plate "raster fashion"
so that strips (about an inch wide (?) ) were scanned by a laser and
receptor system that sent a stream of data to the main computer - a VAX
system at that time running Forth. Multiple passes of adjacent strips
collected precision data for the whole plate.

I worked on routines on a microcomputer that controlled the motion of
the plate in response to commands from the main computer.

 9-22-2005 __ Using Rsync to facilitate Web page management .
I see it's been well over a month since I set this up and no
entries.... (except for entry f9l_ whose date I faked to make easier
reference to it...) It is not because it's difficult.  Adding an entry is as
simple as editing a file on my computer  since "rsync" makes updating
files online so easy.  The system works something like this.

o web pages are actually at my ISP (Tigertech.net)
o on my computer I have a similar set of directories and files which are
  actually the "originals" and the ones at the ISP are copies.
  I have a small script (like an MsDos batch file)  that calls a Unix
  program called "rsync" which very efficiently and quickly compares the
  original files and the copies and uploads differences.  The script file
  excludes backup copies and certain other files that are in this directory
  structure.

  For a good introduction to rsync see Wikipedia on rsync which starts:

  rsync is a free software computer program for Unix systems which
  synchronizes files and directories from one location to another while
  minimizing data transfer using delta encoding when appropriate.

o I have a command alias "rsf" which calls that script which makes it 4 keystrokes
  to insure that all local updates are moved online.

Of course, I use rsf to update all the web pages in these directories
that I maintain.  And I don't have to be online to be assured that a
change gets made to the online copy.  The next time I am online and use
rsf, if updates all files that have changed.

 9-21-2005 __ 3 letter date code format  .

I've used it for years as part of 8.3 dos file names... Sometimes as the
extension, sometimes as the last 3 of 8 char file name. Since the year comes first
they sort into chronological order easily.
Basically one char each for Year, Month, Day in fcd_ radix 36 with years starting in 1990.
Some examples:
011 - 1990 Jan 1
357 - 1993 May 7th
9ab - 1999 Oct 11th
eat - 2004 Oct 29th
fcp - 2005 Dec 25th
zcv - 2035 Dec 31st  (date by which I'll have to have a new system - I'll be
                      84 years old.)

 8-12-2005 __ FRED's COMPUTER Sept 2005 .
As of 10/05 I'm running Linux exclusively on one of the last PC-AT
format motherboards. I use a highly adapted MSDos based text editor
under Dos emulation.  Thus the "d:" drive designator which is really my
Linux home directory.  The editor is Version 2.0 of The Semware Editor
(TSE) Version 2.0 is ancient (about 1995). A native Linux version is
being developed and most TSE users use a MS Window version now.  All
versions of TSE have many convenient features including a very flexible
macro language which can also be used to modify the editor functioning
itself.  See semware.com

I use text to develop my simple web pages and maintain listserv records
and email and numerous other files.  I have some macros to facilitate
some of these.  Curiously I don't currently use some html writing macros
that I do have.  (12/05 wrote a simpler html aid macro that I use some.)

I use use Rsync to facilitate Web page management (see f9m_ Using Rsync)
This requires a directory structure that is similar to the one at my isp
the directory d:\1html (aka in Unix terms: /home/fholson/1html )
corresponds to my www.cohousing.org (tho I do not maintain that web
space).  I do have several subdomains there which correspond to
subdirectories there and on my system.  Thus files accessed by TSE in:
d:\1html\fholson  appear on the web at: fholson.cohousing.org
d:\1html\mn       appear on the web at: mn.cohousing.org

Tho the way it all fits together is a bit convoluted it really works
slick.  (again, see f9m_ Using Rsync)

 8-11-2005 __ I will try a blog in my computer QBC format (see next entry below)  .
I'm going to try having a Blog that is just like the 'blog' text files I
use on my computer extensively to organize text information in many
files. This is mostly for my convenience since it is easy for me to
create and maintain.  The explanation without software to facilitate use
of features is probably hard to appreciate.  Sorry.

 11-20-2009: I decided to hide my 3 character date codes and replaced them with
regular format date codes.

On my computer it is the quick browse links that are most useful.  I
have a root text file with links to other text files I consult and add to
etc with varying frequency.  The second level files often have links to
other text files etc so the result is my personal web.  Unlike the html
files used on World Wide Web there is no separation between source and
rendered version - everything is text files and everything is
immediately editable.  It's much simpler.  It works for me.

 8-10-2005 __ Fred's "QBC" format for text files . 

Note this entry originally included "FORMAT OF THIS FILE" but the blog has evolved
so no longer uses this format.

(Quick-browse, Blog, C3*_sections ( C3* means 'See 3 asterisks')

Quick-browse: Links to other files of format ** {path/filename}
  Example: a link to Fred's Link page (on Fred's computer): ** d:\1html\fholson\index.htm
  Having a bunch of these makes maneuvering to desired information in other files much
  easier.  See section about ON FRED's COMPUTER a few paragraphs below and f8c_ FRED's COMPUTER Sept 2005)

Note: Files with qb links must start with a designator I call the "D-Path" :
q:     or
// q:  or   (a TSE macro comment)
&lt;!-- q: --&gt; (an html comment)

BLOG: Log entries w/ most recent at top of Blog section with 3 character date code
  followed by 2 underscores and a space.
  ( References to log entries have ONE underscore) (see f9l_ Date code format)

C3* sections: Lines with '***' tag important entries and sections.

Commands (in TSE editor ON FRED's COMPUTER) to facilitate use of QBC
format files:
Open another QB file (full path preceded by "**"  [F12][F12]
Get picklist of BLOG entries  [F12][7]                 (compressed view search for "__ " )
Get picklist of c3* sections  [F12][8] ("*" w/o shift) (compressed view search for "*** " )
(Note that a picklist is easier to implement than point to point links
and works pretty well as long as the number items is not excessive (as
in case sometimes of Blog entries).  It's also helpful if words in
section headings (with 3*'s ) are in a similar format and not too wordy.)

 1- 1-1970 __ Keeping 'em down on the farm in the computer age  .
This entry is really being written on Feb 1, 2008 but I've been observing this computer age
phenomenon analogous to "How do you keep 'em down on the farm once they've seen Paris" since
about 1973 at least.

Basically once one has experienced better, faster performance of a technology for a task,
it is difficult to tolerate the previous way of doing the task.  A few examples:

Old way                         New way                              Next way?
black & white TV                color TV                             HDTV
300 baud mechanical terminal    1200 Baud Video Terminal             PC w/ large flat display
30 baud modem                   1200, 9600, 14.4K, 56K, "broadband"  Fiber to the door
CP/M, MSDOS cmd line ui         MAC OS,  MSWindows, Linux w/ Gnome or KDE    ?
walk...bus...bike...car
Gopher protocol                 HTML (Web)
Text                            graphic/multimedia

Sometimes there are significant drawbacks to a better/faster way
sustainability e.g. private cars
often high cost
limits on future choices (locked in to proprietary software)
Inability to customize, update, fix    (proprietary software)   Better way: Open source.

Sometimes there are less obvious advantages of "old" ways of doing things, e.g.
the exercise, low resource use, pleasure of walking and biking.
The joy of seeing friends versus only electronic mediated communications.
I think that "appropriate technology" takes into account these drawbacks and advantages.
One can use a variety of technologies to accomplish some tasks depending on the specifics.
For example, our household has one small car, many bicycles, lots of bus maps and we use
radio, text messages etc to coordinate shared use, multipurpose trips, multimodal trips etc.

To avoid some of the drawbacks I often resist the latest and greatest
for a while. My frugal nature prevents me from being an "early adopter"
in general.  I typically use a computer that is a few years old design
when I get it, I also tend to keep my computers for a long time
(6 years - for 5 main computers in the last 28 years or so.

First computer < Sym-1 (80)>
Previous "Main" computers:  Osborne ('81),   8Mhz Xt (87),   Zeos 33 Mhz 486 PC (93),
             Cyber used 266 Mhz AT (99),   Nano6 "ATX" (1.6Ghz AMD (06)
In addition to these "main" computers I've had a variety of other computers and made upgrades to
some of these including a new mother board on Cyber.  I even used my son's MS Windows computer
a fair amount at one time. And I used computers several places (colleges) before I had my own.










































































Blog Indes as of 4/11/13
 3-14-2013 USING Bread machine by streamlining recipe
10-31-2012 Purgatory Creek and parks along it
 9-12-2011 Light rail open house / Penn Broadway
 7-27-2011 New arch at Lincoln Garden
 7-17-2011 Cruise on the Mississippi River
 6-17-2011 Howe School site cohousing proposal
 6-10-2011 Buy a Terra Trike Rover Recumbent "tadpole" trike for Becca
 6-02-2011 Minnesota budget crisis
 5-25-2011 Tornado near our house ...
 3-17-2011 Drive by huge gas main fireball near I-35W
 3- 3-2011 Experiment converting .pdf to an .png file
10-07-2010 Exhaust system problem
10-03-2010 PBS rebroadcasts
09-24-2010 10 minute video: Cycling Copenhagen, Through North American Eyes
09-07-2010 We go wild ricing
 6-10-2010 Nice Ride MN Public Bike system grand opening
03-23-2010 Health Care Reform Passed!
02-28-2010 Record icy streets in Minneapolis this winter
10-30-2009  Max's costume
10-28-2009  Light Rail Transit (LRT) on streets
10-05-2009  Used Sun EZ-Speedster CX Recumbent Bike
10- 5-2009  Navigation problems...
 5-16-2009  Html aware wordwrap
 5-15-2009  DC-SC driving trip -- Mom's final hospitalization
 2-20-2009  WUMB - U Mass Boston 's "Contemporary Folk" streaming radio
 1-10-2009  UHF antenna Fred built for DTV from youtube video
11-24-2008  My new Ubuntu Version 8.10 operating system
11-23-2008  Bike rack prototype
10-17-2008  Tour de bike pumps on way home from GCOS
 8-29-2008  Growing Communities Of Scientists (GCOS) computers in classrooms
 7-19-2008  Wellstone Crash Site Memorial on the way to Bearhead
 7- 2-2008  Reading blogs / helping friends / still showing OLPC
 5- 2-2008  Our "mystery weekend" trip to North House Folk School
 4-30-2008  Python (computer language) book / MN Barcamp
 4- 7-2008  Playing with webcams
 4- 5-2008  Final spurt of winter 07-08 ?
 3-24-2008  Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan
 2-24-2008  I WON a little "One Laptop Per Child" ( OLPC) laptop
 2-23-2008  Penguins Unbound Linux Group meeting this morning on the Audacity sound editing program
 2- 1-2008  Fred gets community wireless net access
12-15-2007  Wikipedia is a great resource
10-26-2007  Note to community station KAXE on MN Iron Range
10-25-2007  Five Year memorial Wellstone plane crash
10- 6-2007  Banking hassles related to computers
 9-17-2007  Scouting and ham radio
 8- 2-2007  I had this note about the I-35W bridge collapse on the top of
 7-19-2007  Environmental impact vs price of production
 3-19-2007  Flash 'puter" --  Virtual use of Fred's computer via UsbDisk on other computers
 2-10-2007  Mike Casper passed recently, We'll go to funeral in Northfield
 2- 1-2007  Feb/1/07 I mourn Molly Ivins passing too soon.
 8-22-2006  Learning to modify that Open source
 7-17-2006  Community contributor recognition and validated community participant system.
 6- 6-2006  Fred's computer system - (This entry updated periodically) **
 4- 3-2006  Back online... For several weeks in March modem problems
12-13-2005  Format modification / Radix 36
12-12-2005  The Rev Billy Stop Shopping Gospel Choir 'revival' was great
11-23-2005  Are George Bush's lies finally catching up to him? Two articles:
10-13-2005  Visually comparing two files by "flashing" between them. / Scanner lab
 9-22-2005  Using Rsync to facilitate Web page management
 9-21-2005  3 letter date code format
 8-12-2005  FRED's COMPUTER Sept 2005
 8-11-2005  I will try a blog in my computer QBC format (see next entry below)
 8-10-2005  Fred's "QBC" format for text files
 1- 1-1970  Keeping 'em down on the farm in the computer age