If I knew then – Guitar

I was late to learning to play a musical instrument, not being subjugated to lessons when I was a tike, but instead developing a desire to learn when I was in high school. I didn’t really have the funds to pursue this until I graduated, but then I got into playing guitar.

Fast forward 33 years or so, and here I am. Recently, I joined a closed Facebook group called “Everything Guitars”, and I enjoy it, but it seems somewhat harsh. That is a topic for another post, as this one had its genesis in a post on this group that asked: “If you could go back to your just starting out self, what would you say?” Continue reading →

Music, on Vinyl, and cheap sleeves

I am going to admit that I am mostly streaming my music (and I pay for Apple Music and Pandora), so when I come across something I really like, I go out of my way to buy it.

Being an old fart, and having inherited a decent stereo with turntable when my Father in-law passed, I try to buy on vinyl. I know that it isn’t as crisp as a good digital copy, and that in a blind hearing, I probably can’t tell the difference, but I don’t care. I like the tactile feeling of pulling an LP down from the shelf, removing it, putting it on the turntable, using the Discwasher to remove the dust, blowing the dust off the stylus, and dropping the needle on the disc. Continue reading →

Vintage Computing – Atari

One of the things about being old is reminiscing about the “good ol’ days”. Most people think about their athleticism, or past loves. Me, I remember my first computer. An Atari 800 8-bit system that I bought in 1980 with my paper route money.

I greatly enjoyed that experience. Of course, my first taste of personal computing was on the Apple ][ systems at Prospect High School, but they were far outside my budget (at the time, an Apple 2 with one disk drive, and a monochrome monitor was a smidgen over $2,000.)

The Atari, with a disk drive, and plugged into a TV was a good starting point. But I needed to begin collecting software. So, I got a modem, a Hayes 300 baud, the 850 interface box, and I was off to the races. Continue reading →

AWS Experimentation – WordPress basic installation

This weekend, on a lark, I decided to do some experimentation with Amazon’s AWS services. I have been using their S3 for backing up my home Mac for a while, but since I use Arq it was really not a serious dive into the AWS infrastructure. However, when I started down that path, I had to do some interesting things, like create an IAM user profile, and the like.

Then I saw some tutorials that looked interesting, including one on how to setup a WordPress instance on an EC2 virtual machine. Since I have setup many WordPress sites, on a variety of hosting solutions, I thought why not give it a throw?

Fortunately, for the first year you are a customer, you have access to a “Free Tier” that pretty much allows you to run 1 VM solutions up to 750 hours each month. More than enough to play without paying.

The TL;DR answer: Is isn’t difficult, but there are some extra steps that AWS brings into it than using a major hosting site, even one where you start with a plain VM (like Digital Ocean). It gets you closer to the iron, and you can’t help but to gain an appreciation for the background processes that are in play. Continue reading →

Trumpcare – A disaster by all measures

This week, we have been treated to the spectacle of the house Republicans jamming their “replacement” of the ACA through their two subcommittees with astounding speed and virtually no comment or open debate.

Last week, it was the rage that the supposed plan was available to be viewed in a “secret” room, no note taking, no removal from this room, heck, the reports were that it wasn’t to be found anywhere. Amusing, funny, but tragic to our republic.

7 years of bloviating. 7 years of promising to repeal the disaster that was Obamacare – or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The complication was that the cheeto-faced Shit-Gibbon promised that they would replace the out of control Obamacare with something better, cheaper, and everybody was going to be covered. Continue reading →

The Trump Administration and Surveillance

I try to not discuss politics here, but sometimes, you hear or see something so over the top, so insane, so awful, that you can’t help yourself.

Today, that happened. I was sitting on my couch, drafting a blog post for my professional site, and I got a ping on my phone, an alert from the New York Times, that without any evidence, Trump tweeted that former President Obama had the phones tapped in Trump Tower, and some comments about how sad this was.

This is in the midst of a flurry of instantiations of the Trump campaign and administration team having contacts with a Russian ambassador, who is also a known Russian intelligence operator (aka – Spy). Already the original National Security Director, Michael Flynn, has resigned due to his lying about a conversation with this Russian spy. Continue reading →

A Labor of Love – Doc Savage

I recently posted about finally finding a workflow to properly convert a cache of old Doc Savage books to ePub files.

In the last installment, I used Calibre to convert the original BBeB format (Sony) files into rich text files. Then I was using Nisus Writer Pro to clean them up, and then finally copy the text to Apple Pages for the final tweaks.

This was workable, but I learned a few things, and improved my processes:

First – OCR Conversion issues

Continue reading →

Doc Savage eBook Fun

When I got my first eBook “Reader,” a Sony PRS-700, in 2008, I went stumbling around for books.

One of the things I stumbled on was an archive of the 180+ Doc Savage books, in .lrf format, for the Sony Reader series. (yes, I am aware that they were not “legal” to download, so if you are offended you can move away now).

The .lrf format worked great on the old Sony reader. Table of contents, chapters, and all navigation worked.

Cool. Continue reading →

Amazon Music – A review

I have in the past blogged extensively around the streaming music services, and my waffling back and forth until I chose my current preferences – Apple Music for the on demand streaming, and Pandora for ‘radio’. Both have a place in my dock, and I don’t mind paying for them.

Along the way, I compared Google Play, Amazon, Spotify (a former winner) as well as the two I settled on.

Amazon’s music offering was not chosen because it had a less than satisfactory web app, and the iOS app was weak. A benefit was access to much free music just due to my Prime subscription, but again, that list and roster kept changing (and it still does). This was before their plan to give access to their whole library “Unlimited Music” (for $7.99 a month – prime subscriber price, or $14.99 for all members of a family). A latecomer, they are entering a crowded market, but have made a solid entry. (Launched on October 12, 2016) Continue reading →

Diet Update

Update – 1/15

Continuing on the thread of finally losing some of this weight I gained that I wrote about first on 1/8, today is the weekly update.

On 1/2, I kicked the effort off. That day, I stepped on the scale, and it was an eye-boggling 263.2 pounds.

I will be honest, I had been hiding from the scale, and this number shocked me, but I was not surprised.

While it isn’t a New Year’s resolution, as I know that would be doomed to failure, it was a wake up call.

Today, when I woke up and stepped on the scale, it read 254.4 pounds. Of course, in the first week, I lost about 5#’s of probable water weight, so that lead to a precipitous decline that wasn’t real. Now I am settling into a routine.

Continue reading →