Author Archive

Environmentally Friendly CD?

May 28th, 2008 3 comments

Now I am getting closer to producing the book, I have to try to find the most environmentally friendly CD production process. All CDs and DVDs are made of virgin plastic because recycled plastic always has too much risk of impurities. Any impurity in the disk plastic will result in the laser skipping over that part or returning an error to the reader.

I was unable to find any company that is using a different process to manufacture disks so far, but packaging has come a long way since the plastic jewel case. Many CD/DVD duplication companies have taken the lead in reducing their environmental impact. I am listing my top picks for now and will continue to research until I have to finalize production.

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MMS is committed to reducing its environmental footprint.When you have your CD manufactured by MMS, you are purchasing products and services from a company that is doing its utmost to reduce its environmental impact.

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Oasis logo

Oasis Disk Manufacturing is probably the best known manufacturer of independent music projects in the US. They have a great reputation in the industry and were one of the first to supply cardboard sleeves instead of jewel cases.


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Categories: Uncategorized

Is Human Impact on the Earth Over Rated?

May 13th, 2008 2 comments

A friend sent me this link and I have to consider that the scientists may have a point. We know that the world was very much warmer climatically during the era of the dinosaurs and very much colder during ice ages, without any human intervention.

However, at this point in my life, I have to question the source of funding for these scientists before I attach much weight to their findings.

Wikipedia Global Warming states,

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes “most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas concentrations”[1] via the greenhouse effect.”

My project is about the impact of humanity on the earth. I believe that we can reduce our impact without seriously reducing our living standard if we do it in a thoughtful, directed way. Eventually, we can change society enough that we will be able to minimize our impact on the planet. It is happening now, and will continue to grow and spread because it make sense in a practical way.

No one is going to convince me that it is better to throw stuff in a landfill than re-use or recycle it.
This is an attempt to maintain the status quo. Buy things, break them and throw them away. Things are made more breakable and less fixable to speed up the consumerism process.

Check this out

Watch the film.

I don’t want to live to buy.

As far as the global warming problem — certainly geology and the earth have natural cycles, but anyone who argues against using a motorcycle instead of a car, or a gasoline van instead of a propane van should be put in a closed garage with one running for a while and see how long it takes before someone has to drag them out.

The earth is a closed system — we have to consider that.

The poisons that would kill you when concentrated in a closed space, such as a garage, are still being released by all the millions of cars on the road. We are still breathing toxins in a diluted form and the increased carbon in the atmosphere is having an effect on the life on our planet and on the climate of the planet itself.

Categories: Uncategorized

Word Press Anti-Spam on Comments

May 2nd, 2008 No comments

Yesterday I found that my  Word Press anti-spam filter, Akismet,  had classified a comment made in German as Spam. I apologize to any one who has made a legitimate comment and had it deleted as I did not realize that would happen. The rest of the comments were spam and contained gibberish, ads and strange messages that did not make sense with quotes from the blog included. Akismet has deleted 58 comments as spam and the four that were there today were definitely produced by bots who are programmed to search for open blogs and post their ad links.

I will continue to leave the postings open and use the spam filter, but I promise to check it more often for potential legit. comments. Please fee free to post again.


Why did you break a computer that was working perfectly?

May 2nd, 2008 No comments

One of my sons asked this question when I was first installing Ubuntu on my notebook. I told him that I wanted it to work even better than it already did. Vista was working perfectly, but I wanted to have the choice of running Ubuntu.
I felt that the previous system was great. I had the dual boot working and both OS functioned well, but the disk partitioning issues had to be solved, so it is better to do it now before I start really using the computer. My first choice is still to repair the install that I already have so, I brought out the Super Grub Disk. It was a bit of a disappointment as I was not able to boot from it even though my system is configured to boot from CD/DVD. I will investigate this further.

So back to the Ubuntu install disk and this time I chose “Repair a broken system”.


It went through the configuration just fine, then it got to the partition management. I looked at the partitions and they were all correct looking. The one at the end is the extra swap partition that I converted to an ordinary drive before and the Free Geek volunteer had advised me to get the system working before I tried to merge it with the other, larger drive. I decided that the first problem was that I needed to make one the boot drive as they were all set to data drive. The system could not boot without a boot drive.


The next screen told me one of my problems, there was no root drive specified. I had changed it to \boot not \ . The boot designation is for the purpose of setting a separate partition for the boot mechanism only, said the help. It seems like a good idea if you had a desktop or mainframe with several different OS on it, then when you upgraded or re-installed, your boot system would still work. Not practical for me though, I am not advanced enough to make this work and once I get this system running, I will upgrade the Ubuntu to Hardy Heron, but not right away. I don’t think that will affect my boot system if it is an upgrade. I am of the opinion that an operating system has to mature before the software catches up to it. As a power user, I desire stability and reliable performance over nifty tricks. I do hear that Hardy is faster though …


I set the correct partition to the \ designation and I changed the large partition to my \home.


Not Yet. Back to the drawing board.

I was able to satisfy the system that I did want it to boot from the partition that has Ubuntu installed and I continued on to try booting.





I diagnose that it is a problem with designating the partition as \home. Perhaps if I go back and change it to an ordinary drive everything will work. The Grub bootloader is not the problem as Ubuntu tries to boot and Vista does boot. Vista still works perfectly, by the way, using the second entry on the Grub menu. My Free Geek helper and I decided that it is a specially formulated Asus Vista install and I will talk about it later — after I get this working.

I hope I can get this finished up soon. It is May already and I have so much work to do.



Free Geek Visit

May 1st, 2008 No comments

The Free Geek workshop had to be entered through the rear door after hours, but I had contacted them finally through IRC chat. Of course, I should have known … to be fair, they did call me back after I left a message on their new phone system. Windows Free Wednesday is a time for volunteers to help Ubuntu users who have trouble with their computers. I was happy to scrawl my name on the whiteboard and get in line

Free Geek Logo

As I waited, I looked at the stacks of old computer parts and at the cart of monitors all displaying a bright test pattern. These items could be sold in the computer thrift store or given to a needy charity. Volunteers can earn computers by helping around the shop and you don’t have to be experienced to start. The helpful Free Geek people here tonight were experienced Ubuntu users and they started installing the latest version on one computer, helping sync a Palm device with another and then, it was my turn.

I quickly logged in to the internet and called up my blog. All of the information was there with screenshots to explain what was wrong with my computer. I did not ask if I could put his name on my blog, so I won’t, but he immediately started brainstorming with me on how to remove the Ubuntu Studio kernel from the unwanted partition. We considered the Synaptic route, but we did not know which kernel to delete. He told me that we could just re-partition using the Ubuntu install disk as a “Live” boot. I had brought the bootable Gparted disk to manage the partitions, but we couldn’t get the keyboard to respond properly. Every time we typed it was random characters even after we tried to configure the system. I should have gotten pictures of this, but I already had enough stuff to carry. Back to the Gutsy install disk, and it was easy to get the partition manager running from the Ubuntu OS on the disk. After a few small problems we were able to re-partition the system. The swap drive is increased in size as the volunteer explained to me that GiB are just a little larger than GB and the same protocol is now used for MiB (MB) and KiB (KB) as it is more accurate. It is true that memory sticks come in 512MB not 500, but I don’t really understand the mathematics. At any rate, the partition was successful and these size issues were explained to me as well because when I set the size of the swap drive I had been confused by the MiB and had made it very small.

Ubuntu partition

This was the end result, a nice tidy organized partition system. Just what I wanted, but it won’t boot. As we had changed the partitions around, the Grub boot loader could not longer boot from the partition number that was previously the root directory with the Ubuntu OS. Now I have two choices, either reinstall Ubuntu and loose all my data (not much really, just screenshots and bookmarks) or try to fix the bootloader and point it in the right direction.

I’d like to try to fix it, but we ran out of time at the shop and had to leave. After thanking the Free Geek personnel, I tied everything back on my bike and rode off. I will look at the Super Grub disk on Thu. and see what it can do.


Yamaha FJ Road Ready

April 25th, 2008 2 comments

I went over to Simon’s after work as I have been having a bit of a problem shifting gears. It was not happening all the time, so it made it difficult to diagnose. Occasionally, the bike would refuse to shift into 3rd gear. It would “hit the ceiling” as it does in 5th and give my foot the signal that there are no more upshifts here. I left a phone message for Simon, then rode around a bit. I can easily ride to work in 2nd gear as the Fj is so powerful, but the high revs are not good in the long run. It was only happening from time to time and I started to think that, in Simon’s parlance, “It’s the nut behind the wheel”, particularly when the nut has new boots on ….

It started getting worse, so when Simon called, I was happy to go over and poke around on the bike. It always astonishes me when I see how easily he moves these big machines around. I try not to react when he casually holds the bike up with one hand before putting it up on the centre stand with a quick practiced motion. I mentally coach myself that Simon can do this and I don’t have to rush over to steady the bike or “help” him.

He quickly diagnosed the problem as a need for lubrication in the joints and then he rode the bike around the back to do the work. I tried to help, but I think I mostly got in the way. Despite my assistance, Simon managed to lube the significant parts, tighten and oil the chain and put the right amount of air in the tires. Only Simon could have made my throttle work better by putting the counterweight in the lathe and shaving it down a hair.

I always enjoy Simon’s company as he shows me all of his projects and the bikes he is working on. I rode off and started feeling the difference his changes had made. The work he did on the clutch last year and this work means the Fj shifts like a new bike. The extra air in the front tire made me feel the bumps on the road and I almost lost it going into a gas station. I am not used to that much of a direct road feel as I went over the driveway bump. I will get used to it, I am sure and the extra air made it corner so much better!

Simon says: make sure your chain is lubed and adjusted properly and keep checking your tire pressure as every bike looses some air.

Thanks Simon!

Categories: 1990 Yamaha FJ 1200

Ubuntu+Notebook IV

April 25th, 2008 1 comment

Yesterday I took my notebook to work because I had to repair the internet and I wanted one computer I could rely on. I maintain 3 old macintosh computers on a LAN at work. The problem turned out to be that a recent ADSL outage had changed some settings and I had to reset the router. At first the ADSL provider admin wanted to use Vista, so I tried to log in with the second Vista (longhorn) boot and the boot sequence turned into a circle of returns to the Grub menu. I decided to use Ubuntu as the tech was somewhat familiar with linux.

It was easy to set up a static IP in Ubuntu and the testing was completed quickly and efficiently. I was then able to set up my employer’s ibook on the crosscable from the modem after setting up the static IP on that machine. I reset the router, plugged it into the crosscable and then there was internet.

I was puzzled about the Vista boot until I remembered the happy downloading of updates. Did one of those updates affect the boot loader? Recalling the sequence of events that led to Vista working in the first place: the first Vista boot choice had transferred all of the files and booted in a strange way, then the second one worked. I started the Asus notebook again and chose the first Vista option. After the microsoft loading screen, several files were processed, then I got the giant error screen.

Vista Error

Back to unclipping the battery just enough …

Now I rebooted, choosing the second Vista boot and voila Vista.

I really don’t know what is happening here, but now I know what to do. If I have a problem booting after downloading updates, then try the first boot choice and see if it loads the software.

Today, I am trying something new. I wanted to clean up the failed install of Ubuntustudio, so I opened Synaptic and searched for linux-image. I received this info here. Thanks to aysiu, I was confident I could remove the install, then the partition would not be locked. However, when I opened the linux-image all the software that is pre-installed in Ubuntustudio is there! The software installed correctly, but maybe not the desktop? Now I will copy the software I want before deleting the kernel and reorganizing the partitions.

I went on the #ubuntu IRC channel to get some help as I am having mouse problems with my desktop. I will switch mice with XP and see what happens, but I wanted to find a list of key-commands for Ubuntu — just in case the other mouse exhibits the same problems. I did install a lot of music software and multi-media editing tools, so maybe one of them doesn’t like my mouse.

I had not been on IRC (Internet Relay chat) since the BBS days on Mindlink, from 1989-95. I am hoping that Ubuntu will show me the internet I used to know in those times, before GUI browsers, when the internet filtered all the early technology adapters into one place where they could talk. I wonder if there are still moderated Usenet groups? If I want to read sometime, I will try to find them.


Ubuntu and Vista Dual boot Notebook III

April 24th, 2008 No comments

Vista is now booting from the grub bootloader and is working perfectly while completely ignoring all Ubuntu on the partitioned drive.  It has enough space, and I will be able to practice on it as I know I will get some Vista support calls.

Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10 works wonderfully on my notebook as the default OS.  I still have a few issues to solve but the forum support has been very helpful. I was worried that my Nvidia card would be tricky to install, but it seems to be working fine and I set up Alsa for audio now.

I have to clean up the failed install and reclaim my home partition. There is also some space that is not being used by either OS.


I installed a home partition because I read that all your personal data, including application preferences would be saved there and then I could upgrade without loosing my personal computer. My problem now is that the partitions were made during the failed install, so now I have to reclaim of remove them.

The hard drive listing before I removed the swap drive [matches above gparted screenshot]:


Here is a screenshot of the present drive situation with the end swap drive deleted.


Note the new 570.9 MB volume that was formerly the swap drive. With this configuration both OS run, but my Ubuntu drive is fragmented and I can’t use most of it. I will try to fix it, but I will be cautious so I don’t loose the set-up I have — I hope.

I am researching Firewire audio for this notebook and I am trying to get my M-Audio Delta 44 card to work on my desktop. This all seems like so much work when I have to try to meet the publishing deadline for my book. I know it will be worth it to have a mobile Ubuntu recording system. I am trying not to buy another mac. I loved my mac, but I couldn’t afford it. It was so expensive to buy that I couldn’t afford software. The studio I work for bought the software for me to use, but I ended up realizing that the best option was to sell them the hardware too. I need to have a notebook that I can take on my tour and that one was purposely configured for the studio environment.

I know that I can pirate anything I need — but I won’t. I am an advanced user and I should not have to steal the tools of my trade. Ubuntu is giving me those tools and I hope to use them to the complete every aspect of my project except the music notation. I am doing that on the aforementioned mac in the studio using Finale. All of the book design is planned using The Gimp and Scribus and I hope to be able to do some of the audio too. I am exploring starting with the desktop until I get firewire. I have not yet found a Final Cut Pro for Ubuntu, but maybe somewhere in a repository far, far away …


Dual Boot – Truth is Stranger than Fiction

April 20th, 2008 No comments

After a spectacularly unsuccessful day of trying to get my (working perfectly before this process started) notebook to dual boot Vista and Ubuntu, I went to look at the Ubuntu forums to see if anyone else had replied to my post. There was no new information since last night, so I decided to keep trying.

This morning I went into Ubuntu and deleted the swap drive at the end of the list of partitions using gparted. I also found out that the Home folder that Ubuntu sees belongs to the previous Ubuntu studio install as I did not have permission to save anything.

I wanted to take a photo of the giant ERROR message that I get when starting Vista so everyone on the Ubuntu forum could see that this is a really different problem. I had some helpful feedback, but some of it was relating to a different type of problem. One poster had asked for more details and I feel that I need all the help I can get.

I rebooted into Windows Vista (longhorn) but now it is installing.

There is a small window called “Windows Setup”

Windows Setup
Windows is now installing the following items:
Install the application


Behind this small window is a listing of programs example:

C:\preload\touchpad>start /w C:\preload\patch\sleep.exe

Now Vista is starting up.

This is so odd.

I didn’t do anything except remove one swap drive.

I will now see how functional Vista is — and if I can still boot into a working Ubuntu.


Truth is stranger than fiction.


I still have the problem with the hard drive fragmentation and the Ubuntu studio kernal being on the drive and owning the home directory.

This is progress though – now where is my WEP key?.


After this post, I went back to see how Vista was installing and saw this screen.

Ubuntu works

Ubuntu booted?

Possible explanation: Vista restarted to install and the bootloader defaults to Ubuntu.

Check it out – it seems to still be working despite all of the Vista activity.

Back to a reboot and I chose the first listing of Vista – that is where all the installing was happening before.

Vista Error

The giant ERROR screen

Possible explanation: This is some type of back-up archive and something happened before that is not happening now.

How technical can you get? I mean that some event was triggered to initiate the recovery when I deleted the one swap partition (maybe) and once the recovery was completed — I am back to the error screen. But will this happen on the second listing because if this theory is correct, then the restore would have been installed to the second Vista partition.

Reboot – I am getting really good at loosening the battery just enough ….

The second listing of Vista (longhorn) booted into the Vista Welcome screen.

Vita works

Is Vista really working?

This is not the same boot-up that happened before. This one asks to set my language and password and makes me check the license agreement. (there is nothing on there against dual boot)

Now it seems that Vista will work.

I will be checking out the functionality now.


Strange but true, the computer repaired itself — so that now the grub loader will boot ubuntu (default) after a few seconds of wait to allow me to select the second choice of Vista (longhorn) Home Edition. The kernal 7.10 selection is the failed install of ubuntu studio that boots into kernal mode with no GUI.

Vista is happily installing updates from the internet.  It only sees it’s own harddrive partition used for the install and not any part of the Ubuntu partitions. Strangely enough, it doesn’t recognize the Fat32 partition that I think is used to back up and restore the system. Vista has enough space to operate and install programs and I plan to use an external drive for most data.

Ubuntu operates the Wifi card and seems happy on the system. I just have to figure out a way of removing the failed Ubuntu studio install (kernal 7.10) and assign the home drive to the Ubuntu that is working.  Then I can test out the built in camera and microphone and try to get some music and graphics programs installed.

Once I get this notebook running, it will be my primary mobile computer so I will need a firewire audio interface. Is there one that supports Vista, Ubuntu 7.10 and mac? I will find out soon.


Yamaha FJ – On the Road

April 20th, 2008 No comments

Two sunny days in a row happened last weekend, so on Monday I bought insurance for the big bike — my Yamaha FJ1200. By Friday, I was riding confidently, under a partly cloudy sky, to Yaletown. I was scheduled to meet with a documentary film maker who wanted to interview me about one of my teachers and the benefits of her program.

After the interview, which was quite short, I thought I would join my daughter for dinner, so I phoned her as it started to rain. We made plans, but as I talked to her the rain turned to small beads of hail. I decided to have a coffee and wait this one out. The closest Starbucks was the only organic coffee in the area. Starbucks will go organic if you insist, they will make you a bodum press of organic coffee if they don’t have any on tap. As the hail was quite fierce, I lingered over the brew, but then it started to clear up a bit. I quickly saw my chance to head out, returned to my bike and shook the hail off the bike cover. The FJ started easily, even in the cold, but I knew the remnants of the hail was still on the street, so I was careful not to start or stop too quickly.

I started to head over to my daughter’s house, but decided to go home instead as it was really cold and I was worried about the weather. I had seen a couple of lightning strikes and the big, dark clouds now covered the sky. I was quite close to home when the hail started coming down again. My hands freezing as I drove very carefully on the slippery stuff, I managed to park outside my house and cover the bike quickly. The hail was coming down very thickly by then and I felt lucky to have made it home.

Later, I looked out the window and confirmed I had made the right choice.


In Vancouver, it usually snows enough to cover the ground a couple of times a year. This was taken Friday, April 18th, 2008. The spring flowers are out, the daffodils and tulips are blooming and the early cherry trees are already finished. It is so unusual that I know this unseasonable cold is a symptom of climate change. This cold and hail must be affecting the local farmers and gardeners. There are some people who think that the global warming can cause an ice age as the pendulum swings back to self-correct the climate. I am worried about the future, but I will do what I can in the present.


Categories: 1990 Yamaha FJ 1200