Monday, January 5, 2015

A Laptop for...

I am a amateur radio operator or ham as many people say. First step is to admit you have a problem? Well, I do spend a lot of time on the radio. Not so much in the way of talking, but listening. I listen to all sorts of crap out there. I like to see what country is booming in to the US and what type of traffic it is. Voice is cool and fun, but digital or data mode is really cool. Most of my time is spent watching the waterfall on FLDIGI. This program performs on all bands in many different data modes. Best of all it is free.
Let's get on to my thoughts on laptops. I have used laptops by Dell, Toshiba, IBM/Lenovo, HP. Had all them for a few years at a whack. Used for all sorts of tasks, serial port comm, network tasks like email, and swatting hornets and the like. The most reliable laptop I have used for work and personal tasks has been the IBM T41/T61 series. Batteries are hit & miss. But, I have had good luck with the batteries for the IBM series of laptops. I comb e-bay looking for these and there is a lot of them out there in good operational shape. They are not fancy machines at all. But, they work and last. They may not survive a gravity check, but they are a work horse. I bump up the RAM if there is only 1Gb and load Linux Xubuntu on it.
While I am on the topic check out Compaq dc7900 SFF desktops or dc7800 SFF desktops. These can be awesome machines for radio. Runs Linux and is reliable and tough as well. Bump the RAM to max and you have a machine that will play video or music and let you get into your radio hobby. Efficient power consumption and a small footprint that does not eat up a lot of real estate around the desk.  I have built the PC's with the 600w power supplies, 4Gb of RAM, and ASUS mother board made with surround sound in the giant server case. It was fun to do and learn how to build a PC.
So, you may say Ok, but what do these handy dandy computers cost? A used one with no OS can be had for less than 100$. Hard drives can be had at a reasonable price, same with RAM. Linux is free. You end up with a machine that is hard to beat.
Just my thoughts. Everyone has their opinions and I am sharing mine with the equipment that works for me. If you are looking, just some ideas that won't break the bank.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

to Arrest a Coughing Fit...

My wife was suffering from a bout of sinusitis and a nasty migraine headache over the weekend. I ended up taking her to the emergency room because she was vomiting, dizziness, etc. A real mess. After an IV the migraine subsided and her sinus started to drain. After a few days the sinus was clear, no migraine, but the cold had moved into the chest. One night she was having a coughing fit.
Several of the standard things like honey and concoctions were not helping. I had a thought and went out and grabbed a hand full of yarrow from the yard around midnight. Brought the yarrow in chopped it up and boiled some water. Placed the yarrow in a coffee cup and poured the boiled water over the yarrow. Brought the cup over to my wife and had her cover her head and inhale the steam from the mix. Within fifteen minutes and after a few coughs the spams stopped and she was able to get some sleep. One of yarrow's properties is being antispasmodic which helped her out.

** This is just for informational purposes. Now this worked for my wife and may not work for you. I am just sharing what we did and it seemed to help her.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Needed Something Natural for a Cold or Health Maintenance...

I wander around my yard with my herbal medicine & flower books to see what I have. It is amazing what you find if one lays off of weed killers, fertilizers. A quick and short video of some of the plants I have in my yard in N. VT. Search the web for recipes, I have made teas & tinctures. Search the internet for more information, get a few books. Stop using pesticides and weed killers to see what can be provided for you to use for your health.

A quick video of the backyard medicine cabinet

Self-Heal (Prunella)

White Clover


Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium)

Wild Rasberries (No need for further information)

Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)


Monday, July 14, 2014

A Pouch to???

Ok, I am going to post some links here. Some time ago I posted about this cool little mess kit for my pack; Stanley Camp Cook Set, this set comes with two small cups and the cooking "pot" with lid. Over all a really nice, simple cook set.
Then I picked up this handy-dandy carrier or MOLLE pouch for it; Ncstar Vsim Airsoft Molle Hydration Bottle Water Carrier Tan - CVWBC2948T. This pouch can be attached to a backpack or ruck. Also has a shoulder strap to carry solo. In my MOLLE pouch I carry my field silverware, small single burner stove, fire starter, one can of fuel for the stove, a small stainless steel tea strainer for making various woodland teas for refreshment, and one stainless steel cup that the mess kit fits nicely in. Very spacious and keeps the field mess kit together. Another handy product is this Stanley Utility Water Bottle 24 ounce. One can replace the mess kit with this stainless steel water bottle if desired.
The links are from Amazon, but you can find some of these items at one of the big box stores for a bit cheaper (W*lmart). The pouch is a bargain on Amazon.

Below are some photos of the goodies. The digital pouch has a smaller pocket, the tan pouch is a bit bigger overall.

Below is the contents of the digital pouch attached to my pack.

Seeing a couple of pictures always helps. Check around for pricing on these gadgets, you just never know where a bargain can be found.


Monday, May 26, 2014

My Macbook to Print!!!

Well, today I am going to USE LINUX as my PRIMARY OS from now on. I have this Macbook Pro I bought for school. As most folks know Mac's are awesome machines. Mine was to, but at some point Apple changed something that broke my printer connectivity (HP Officejet 6310 All-in-One). I can print test pages for ever and a day, but try to print a document... Forget it. I have reloaded drivers, updated drivers, and tried all sorts of BS to make it work. I could print fine to this printer before. What broke it? Not sure, but the web is filled with folks who have had this same problem. Some fixed it, but the fixes did not work for me.
Ubuntu works fine. Never have a problem.
The Apple addicts will gasp... But, I don't need garage band. I don't need all of the other neat things a Mac can do. I just need the blasted POS to work. So, back to Linux as the primary laptop.

I have been using Ubuntu for several years along side the Mac. I guess the Mac gets set aside and data backed up.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A New Type of Educational Card Game...

Where to start for this one? Not sure, but the card game is call Conflicted. This deck of cards will make your brain work overtime if you take them seriously. The deck consists of 52 different scenarios that deal with survival. Some will be directed to individual situations while others place you in a group or responsible for a group of people.
The game maybe helpful in identifying personal weaknesses; e.g. difficulty working with others. On the other hand the game could be useful in helping someone find people that they are compatible with and associate with for mutual benefit?
No need to continue rambling on. Follow the link and read what folks are saying about the game here: Conflicted Card Game.

** Not associated with the folks who produce the game. Purchased the game and find it interesting and worth sharing.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Information During a Power Outage....

Continuing on from the last post. One of the areas that I wanted to work out was the ability to gather news from the local media in the general area. Specifically the media would be local television. The goal is to pursue DC power and the DC power source had to be common. My location makes 12 VDC the easiest to work out and get batteries easily.
My laptop is a dual-boot machine. I run Linux & Win 7, while the better half uses Win 7. The laptops will run for one to three hours depending on how they are configured. Purchased 12 VDC adapters for laptops that could have them. To use the battery power more efficiently the WiFi gets turned off. No need for the laptop to keep looking for a network to connect to. Not to mention that my internet connection went through a revamp. I will share that as well, nothing earth shattering, but the new config lets the UPS last much longer. Back to getting local TV...
I picked up a couple of the USB digital TV tuners. A Monoprice Digital TV Anywhere USB device, the other happened to be a Hauppauge HVR 950Q. Both tuners come with the ever important disc to load the software and drivers for MS Windows OS', expandable whip antennas, and remote control. These two devices are separated by price, but function is the same. Both work very well on Windows while the Hauppauge works on Linux as well. The Monoprice device did not work or rather I have not worked out a way to make it work on Linux. The Hauppauge gave me a bit of trouble. Had to poke around on the internet to get an updated firmware patch.

One way a fellow got it to work on Linux can be found here: Hauppauge HVR 950Q Updated Firmware. Linux is funny. It never loads the same. Each machine is different and will give different results.
The top device is the Monprice and the bottom is the Hauppauge. The cable came with the Hauppauge and should be used. It will take stress off of your laptop USB port. I tried a couple of generic USB extension cables; a big No GO.

Put up a small digital TV antenna picked up from Amazon.

With this antenna we get twelve to fourteen channels. Not to bad for being mounted approx. fifteen feet up off the ground. A little more elevation and I may be able to get another 5 or so. On Linux Kaffeine seems to be the choice of most folks from what I have read. No complaints from me as it seems to work well.

Linux and the apps on Linux are FREE. Awesome. So now we can attempt to receive the local news in the area during disasters, power outages, etc. Pretty cool stuff. More to follow in internet equipment and configuration.