Virtual Moving Day!

Well, I finally decided to do it!  I got my own website.  So, now comes the challenging part of moving it all to the new site.

So, please update your feeds and bookmarks to:

And, if you have any suggestions on how I can make it better, please comment.  I apologize for the inconvenience.

2010 in review

This page has moved.  Please update your links:

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 30,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.


In 2010, there were 70 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 207 posts.

The busiest day of the year was October 21st with 166 views. The most popular post that day was Webex in Ubuntu 8.10.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for webex linux, webex ubuntu, linux ports in use, iso to usb linux, and ubuntu webex.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Webex in Ubuntu 8.10 February 2009


Bootable ISO to USB Drive November 2008


Linux Alternatives for OneNote October 2008
1 comment


WebDav and fstab September 2008


Webex in Linux August 2008
1 comment

Installing APK files through ADB

I was having trouble getting adb to recognize my phone.  I found this post that helped.  Here is what I did.

First, I used this command to determine, which device was my phone:

lsusb | grep "High Tech Computer Corp"

The output looked like this:

Bus 002 Device 008: ID 0bb4:0c01 High Tech Computer Corp.

When I look at the device node, I can see that permissions might be an issue.  If you notice from the above statement, the Bus is 002 and the Device is 008 so those are the numbers I will use in looking at the device.  Here is the command:

ls -l /dev/bus/usb/002/008

Here is the output

crw-rw-r-- 1 root vboxusers 189, 135 2010-06-16 09:54 /dev/bus/usb/002/008

Next, the post did not say where to place the rules file to correct this.  I found another article with a little more information on udev rules.

So, I opened the file with this command:

sudo gedit /etc/udev/rules.d/70-android.rules

And, I placed this in the file:

BUS=="usb", SYSFS{idVendor}=="0bb4", GROUP="android", MODE="0660" /* HTC */

Next add the group with this command:

sudo groupadd android

Next add the user (my username is skp) to the group with this command:

sudo usermod -a -G android skp

Then, it was time to test.  I restarted the udev service with this command:

sudo restart udev

Here is the output of the service:

udev start/running, process 23528

Now, I don’t see the phone, but I had VMWare running, so that may have grabbed the device instead.  I don’t know what happened and I had to come back to this later.  Then, after a reboot, my security settings looked better:

crw-rw---- 1 root android 189, 133 2010-06-16 21:25 /dev/bus/usb/002/006

Still, it didn’t work.  The command:

./adb devices

gives this output:

* daemon not running. starting it now *
* daemon started successfully *
List of devices attached
Then, I realized that there is security on the phone. (I felt kind of silly)  I had to turn on the USB debugging option.  In the settings, I enabled Settings > Application settings > Development > USB debugging.
Then, the adb output looks like this:
List of devices attached
HT849GZ65323	device

Now that I have access to the phone, I used this command:

./adb install ~/app/<my program file>.apk

The output looked like this (I had already installed the application from the SDCard, so it makes sense):

383 KB/s (28018 bytes in 0.071s)
	pkg: /data/local/tmp/nehemiahG1.apk

This command did the reinstall:

./adb install -r ~/app/nehemiahG1.apk

Here is the output

224 KB/s (28018 bytes in 0.121s)
	pkg: /data/local/tmp/nehemiahG1.apk


Open Office Updated

An update came across for me for Open Office.  It updated from 3.0

Here is what the about dialog was:


And, here is what it is now:


I found a link to the features: 3.1 New Features

Sprinkler Project

This page has moved.  Please update your links:

We are planning to put some sprinklers in, and I wanted to try to use my computer as the controller rather than buy one.  But, I need some help.  Please comment if you have any expertise in this area or any tips.

This article is very similar to what I want to do:

Acacia Projects — Sprinkler Controller

First of all, I am not exactly sure how the “24 VAC Plug Pack” comes into play.  I am assuming that the valve needs more power than what the card produces, and the plug pack gives it that boost, but where do you purchase one?  I am assuming that you need one for each station.

I think I found where they were talking about buying the board from:

One of the problems that I might have is that my computer is on the opposite side of the house from where I might want to place the valves.  I thought about using Ethernet to get the signal closer to the valves and place the card nearer to the valves.  This product looked helpful:

Ether I/O 24R

I found a couple of other examples, but they didn’t have quite enough detail for me:

Embedded Linux Router Hacked for Sprinkler Controller

This link does seem to have more detail:

Sprinkler control with embedded…

They mention using the USB Bit Whacker board.  I think I found where I could buy it: SparkFun Electronics.

Skype Problems on Ubuntu 8.10

I have been having trouble getting Skype to work.  If anyone has any ideas, please post a comment.  I at least have it working, but the microphone is quiet.  Also, at this point, I only get output on the left speaker.

One thing that helped was going into the System > Preferences > Sessions and changing the Skype command from “skype” to “padsp skype”.

Here are some articles that I have looked at and tried:

Blog Entry Poster

I think I tried this Blog Entry Poster program in the Ubuntu repository in the past and it wouldn’t work with my blog. Well, I don’t know what changed or if I was doing it wrong, but it works now assuming you can see this post.

There are a few features I would like though. 1) Support for multiple blog settings. It has a drop down for multiple blogs, but only one Base Blog URL. 2) Support to add images on other sites. 3) Support to edit the HTML 4) More formatting options such as adding bullet points and headings. 5) Save a draft rather than post the entry.


XML-RPC Support

Mail Notifier

I found this nifty device on Engadget.  My question is does it work with Linux?  Also, can I have it notify only certain labels in GMail or mail from certain recipients?  I don’t need to be notified when I have newsletters.

Vista Virtual Machine

I finally had enough of trying to run Word 2007 on Wine.  It worked several times, but every time I really needed to use it, it would fail to start.  It would just hang on the splash screen.  Even more annoying was that the splash screen stayed on top obstructing my view of other windows.

So, I installed Vista as a virtual machine.  It works relatively well.  Here are a few links I found helpful in the process.

Convert Youtube Videos

I found this command that successfully strips the audio into a wav file:

ffmpeg -i Blessed_Be_Your_Name.flv -vn -acodec pcm_s16le \
   -ar 44100 -ac 2 Blessed_Be_Your_Name.wav

Here is the same command that includes the video that will play in Window’s Media Player:

ffmpeg -i Blessed_Be_Your_Name.flv -vcodec msmpeg4v2 -acodec pcm_s16le \
   -ar 44100 -ac 2 Blessed_Be_Your_Name.avi

I was able to use this command to convert an flv file from a downloaded Google Tech talk to an mp4 file that I could play with mplayer in Linux:

ffmpeg -i Using_bluemail_to_renew_the_design_and_study_of_enterprise_email.flv \
    -vcodec xvid -acodec pcm_s16le -ar 44100 -ac 2 \



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