[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Sunday, 2018-01-28

Identify this device

Filed under: Society,Technology — bblackmoor @ 15:18

From time to time, there is a meme about “name something today’s generation would not recognize”, or something to that effect. How about this? This is what I used to carry in my laptop bag circa 1990 to get on the Internet when I traveled. This was before the World Wide Web was invented (although AOL, Compuserve, and Genie existed — I had accounts on all three). You had to connect to a phone line and make a telephone call to an Internet provider. This was called “dial-up”.

Fun fact! Millions of Americans are still limited to dial-up Internet, because in the USA, Internet access is not legally treated as the essential utility that it is.

telephone cable with alligator clips

Tuesday, 2018-01-16

The case against home automation

Filed under: Fine Living,Technology — bblackmoor @ 11:04

I have said (and will continue to say) that if a machine can do a task as well and as inexpensively as a human, it should. No one wants to wash clothes by hand, and no one should have to perform drudgery just to give them a job to do.

However, I was an early adopter of home automation. I had voice-activated indoor and outdoor lights in the 1990s, for example. I eventually realized that most of the time, it’s easier to use a button.

I see little use for these voice-activated Google/Amazon gadgets. In the time it takes to turn down the TV or music and speak clearly, I could have typed in “Ewan Macgregor birthday” and found out how old he is. If you have hands and a phone, you don’t need a Google Echo, or whatever. You certainly don’t need one that smiles at you. They’re the current generation’s version of those countertop gadgets that collected dust back in the late 1980s/early 1990s (quesadilla makers, sandwich fryers, etc.). Useless frippery.

Friday, 2018-01-12

Wanted: a simple black computer case

Filed under: Technology — bblackmoor @ 17:30

If you want a new computer case that does not look like a glowing alien life support pod, good luck. I looked high and low for a simple black metal box with no weird protrusions, glowing LEDs, or peek-a-boo windows. I did eventually find one, at a good price, but it took a while.

PH-ES614PC_BK

Wednesday, 2017-07-12

Twitter

Filed under: Humour,Society,The Internet — bblackmoor @ 15:12

Twitter is the very worst of humanity, delivered 140 characters at a time. It is the untreated sewage of the Internet.

Friday, 2016-12-09

A better class of wingnut

Filed under: Politics,The Internet — bblackmoor @ 17:23

I might sound like a grumpy old man, but I think we had a better class of angry white wingnuts back before the Internet. Nowadays, every halfwit with a keyboard thinks he’s William F. Buckley.

Monday, 2016-11-28

How to copy a folder and retain its permissions in Windows 10

Filed under: Windows — bblackmoor @ 10:25
  1. Click the Start button.
  2. In the search box, type “command”.
  3. Right-click the “Command Prompt” item, and select “Run as administrator”.
  4. In the command prompt that opens, type

    xcopy sourcepath destinationpath /O /X /E /H /K

    and then press ENTER, where sourcepath is the source path for the files to be copied, and destinationpath is the destination path for the files.

  5. For example:

    xcopy C:\Users\Public D:\Public /O /X /E /H /K

Tuesday, 2016-07-05

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

Filed under: Fine Living,Technology — bblackmoor @ 10:26

I’m not saying that I am buying a new car, but if I were, I think the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth would be on my short list of cars I would test drive. Not that I am buying a new car any time soon. In black.

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth

Monday, 2016-04-25

Mobile audio 2003-2016

Filed under: Fine Living,Technology — bblackmoor @ 10:49

One of the first things I did when I bought my Hyundai Tiburon in 2003 was to replace the stereo and install an mp3 player in the trunk (mounted on the back of one of the back seats). It was a full size 20 GB hard drive that connected to the “head unit” (the stereo in the dash board) via the interface that was originally intended for a trunk-mounted CD changer (basically a very long extension cord). Imagine that: 20 GB of music in a space the size of a large hardback book! Keep in mind that this was a year before the iPod was released: we are talking some cutting edge stuff here.

Neo 35 mp3 car jukebox

A couple of years later, I upgraded from that beast to a Creative Zen Touch portable mp3 player, which held as much as the Neo did in a fraction of the size. I replaced the stereo with one that had an auxiliary jack in the back, and custom-wired a headphone jack into one of my blank dash buttons. As the years passed, I eventually upgraded to an 80 GB iPod Touch (running Rockbox firmware — I have no love for iTunes). 80 GB in a package the size of a pack of cigarettes? Astounding!

Tiburon dash 2010-07-13

Now it has come time to upgrade again. This time, the stereo has USB ports in the back that can support a standard thumb drive. I removed the headphone jack from the dash, and installed USB ports in the ash tray (which is normally closed). Into one of those USB ports, I now have a 128 GB flash drive: six times as much music storage as the Neo 35, in a widget the size of a nickel, hidden in my ash tray.

Freaking amazing.

Tiburon ash tray 2016-04-25

Monday, 2016-03-28

Playing music into a Google Hangout

Filed under: Music,Podcast,Software,The Internet,Windows — bblackmoor @ 11:04

Here is how I play music (MP3 files) into a Google Hangout.

Hardware

Software

Setup

  1. Install Virtual Audio Cable. Don’t mess with the settings. Just install it.
  2. Run “Audio repeater (MME)”, which was installed by Virtual Audio Cable.
    1. Set “Wave in” to your headset microphone.
    2. Set “Wave out” to Line 1 (Virtual Audio cable).
    3. Set “Total buffer (ms)” to 100.
    4. Click “Start”.
  3. In the task icon area of the taskbar, right-click the speaker, and select “Recording Devices”.
    1. Right-click the headset microphone, and select “Set as Default Device”.
    2. Right-click the headset microphone, and select “Properties”.
    3. Under “Levels”, set to 60.
    4. Double-click Line 1. On the Listen tab, select “Listen to this device”.
    5. Also on the Listen tab, set “Playback through this device” to the headset.
  4. In the “Playback” tab of the Sound application.
    1. Right-click the headset, and select “Set as Default Device”.
  5. Run Chrome.
  6. In Chrome, go to Google Hangouts, and click “Video Call”.
  7. When the Hangouts window opens, click the gear icon in the upper right corner. On the General tab…
    1. Select the webcam for the “Video”.
    2. Select Line 1 for the “Microphone”.
    3. Select the headset for the “Speakers”.
  8. Open VLC Media Player.
    1. Add songs to the playlist.
    2. In the Audio menu, select Audio >> Audio Device >> Line 1 (Virtual Audio Cable).
  9. Invite people to join the hangout.
  10. Play songs in VLC. Other people in the Hangout will hear them. To avoid drowning myself out, I set the VLC output level to about 90%.

Recording

Here are the settings I used to record in Flashback Express.

  1. In the Tools >> Options menu, look in the Sound section.
  2. Under Sound Source, select “PC Speakers (what you hear)”.
  3. In the drop-down under “PC Speakers (what you hear)”, select the headset.
  4. Now, when recording in Flashback Express…
    1. Under “Record”, select “Window”.
    2. Check “Record Sound”.
  5. Still in Flashback Express, in the sound section, check “Record Sound”, and for the source select “Speakers (Logitech G930 Headset)”.

When done with the hangout

  1. Close the Hangout window.
  2. Click “Stop” in Audio Repeater, and close it.
  3. In the Windows “Sound” dialog, select “Recording Devices”.
    1. Double-click Line 1. On the Listen tab, un-select “Listen to this device”.
    2. Click “Okay”.
  4. Close VLC Media Player.

Friday, 2016-01-08

Expanding Ubuntu LVM in VCenter

Filed under: Linux — bblackmoor @ 16:40

These are notes for my own benefit, but I am sharing them publicly in case someone else might find them useful. The paths and volume names below are specific to my own situation, of course: yours will probably be different.

  • In VCenter, add an ISO for GParted to the data store.
  • Set the VM to boot to the bios.
  • Set the bios to boot from the CD drive.
  • Load the ISO in the CD drive of the VM.
  • In gparted, deactivate the partitions so they can be resized.
  • In gparted, expand the LVM partitions to use the additional 100 GB of file space.
  • Shut down the VM and remove the ISO from the VM.
  • Start up the VM, and in Ubuntu, run these commands:
  • sudo lvextend /dev/mapper/template-root /dev/sda5
  • sudo resize2fs /dev/mapper/template-root
  • Then reboot the VM one more time.
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