The release of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) is old news, I know. And after one of my previous posts, you might think I wouldn’t care. But one of my previous Ubuntu installations left behind a few files that, by Windows XP standards, had invalid filenames (I’m to blame for that, not Ubuntu) and couldn’t be deleted. So I grabbed the latest Ubuntu iso, burned it to a DVD, and booted from the Ubuntu Live CD (it’s a way to run Ubuntu without actually installing it) to see if I could delete them that way. I was impressed with what I saw.

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Being a techie kind of a guy, you’d think I’d be more abreast of the latest in computer hardware and gadgets. But up until a few months ago, I was pathetically unaware of the new class of computer hardware known as the netbook.

Netbooks first popped up on my radar screen when I stumbled upon an article describing how somebody was successfully running Mac OS X on theirs. That was (and still is) intriguing to me–OS X is supposed to be pretty slick, but I’ve always been put off by the Mac price tag. But I digress.

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If you were expecting to land on one of my other web sites (like one of my blogs, or my Digital Setting Circles web site), you might be a bit surprised at having been thrust into unfamiliar territory. But, rest assured, you’ve arrived in the right place. In one of my seemingly-endless fits of dorkery, I decided to consolidate all my web content back in one place. And this is the place. Hopefully, your arrival is the result of being smoothly redirected.

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A year ago I was having a lot of fun playing with and using Ubuntu. I’d created a nice dual-boot system that allowed me to switch between Ubuntu and Windows as desired, and I probably spent more than half my time on the Ubuntu side. That was, until two things happened:

1) I got my iPod Nano, and

2) Ubuntu 9.04 was released.

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Update (20 Sept 2009): Here’s wGØAT’s YouTube video of the whole excursion!


Field Day 2009 was a total blast for me this year! After missing the last few years for various reasons, I finally managed to get out of the house and on the trail with Steve wGØAT and his QRP goats Rooster and Peanut (well-known characters here in the list). As usual, we chose Mt. Herman (just west of Monument, Colorado) as our Field Day site, due to its close proximity, elevation, and abundance of excellent campsites.

I met Steve at his place on Friday afternoon, and he promptly provided me with my own official QRPgoat expedition t-shirt–a picture of Rooster with the caption, “Old Goats Rule–QRP Adventures.” For me, this was like getting my Gold Card–I knew I’d *arrived*!

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I think I got my money’s worth during last night’s guitar lesson. At my previous lesson, Charlie Hall (my guitar teacher) had given me a neat little arrangement of Here Comes the Sun (written by George Harrison) to work on. One of the things I like about Charlie is that he keeps me supplied with interesting music to use for learning and practice, and I had no trouble motivating myself to work on that piece for the past two weeks. I got it down, too, more or less–I never play anything without making a mistake or two, and I could certainly stand some improvement, but I could get through most of it and feel like I was making music.

So I showed up to my guitar lesson yesterday evening, and while I was waiting for my turn with Charlie  I played through the song a couple of times for warmup. No problems there.

Then it was my turn with Charlie.

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Eddie from Australia wrote me recently to tell me about his success using a serial-to-bluetooth adapter to connect his Digital Setting Circles board to his laptop (avoiding the serial cable which is an obvious tripping hazard, especially in the dark during an observing session). Eddie is using the SENA Parani-SD 200 serial-to-bluetooth adapter connected to the DSC board, and the SENA Parani UD100 USB-to-bluetooth adapter with his laptop.

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A question from a builder of my Digital Setting Circles project caused me to notice a plastic enclosure that another builder had used to contain the circuit board for that project. Oscar’s web page gives a nice narrative on how he built my project, and this page shows a nice enclosure with a clear plastic top he used for the project. The box came from Jameco, and it appears to be part no. 141832. Make no mistake–you’ll have to cut holes in the sides for the serial connector, encoder connectors, and battery connector, but at least the box is about the right size and looks to be easy to work with. I’m sure there are other suitable enclosures out there, as well.

If you’ve used another enclosure and liked the results, leave a comment below and tell me about it.

Update (8 May 2009): Wow–this method of stringing really works great! I finally got to the point where it was time to put new strings on my Martin, and I copied the method shown in the video below (‘cept I don’t have a fancy motor winder–yet…). The strings wrapped around the tuning pegs as neat as can be, with just the right number of wraps. Waaaaay better than any of my previous restringing jobs…

Buddy sent me a link to this cool video (below) from Taylor Guitars on how to restring your guitar. Heaven knows I could use some guidance in that area. I’ve restrung my guitars several times but by the time I need to do my next restringing, I’ve forgotten all the things I’d learned the last time I did it.

It’s not that there’s a shortage of resources that tell you how to do it, and to my own credit, I’ve never had a problem with one of my restringing jobs, but it never looks quite as neat as I’d like, either.

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I’ve been a guitar owner since about 2003. I’ve been a guitar player since, well, about now.

When I first bought my guitar, I was convinced that I could teach myself to play it. After all, I could already read music. It was just a matter of finding a suitable instruction book and putting in the practice time. I bought the Hal Leonard Guitar Method book and began working my way through. Generally, that book was decent, and I learned the notes on the strings, some chords, and was able to begin playing a few songs. It taught my left hand (the chord-fingering hand) how to play the guitar. But it didn’t really teach my right hand (the strumming and plucking hand) what to do.

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