Thursday, October 31, 2013

As the Sparks Fly Upward

Today I have a special guest co-writing my blog. None other than
Leah, my wonderful wife.

Yesterday I downloaded my favorite local artist, Tiny Rain's new album "As the Sparks Fly Upward". An introspective departure from their early works, this instrumental album has a much darker tone. Some music is just made for listening to by yourself, with headphones, at night. The recurring theme of despair and emptiness is illuminated with haunting ghosts skirting the periphery. Despite this different sound, there is a string of familiarity throughout, that makes it more like an old friend than a strange journey into the unknown.

I would highly recommend downloading it (for free, no less!) here:

or if you have time to listen to it all in one sitting:

Don't forget if you can to "Leave a tip" and share on Facebook, Twitter,
G+, MySpace, with strangers next to you in traffic...

If you liked that album and want to try something a little different
from the same artists you should try their early works:

By Carl & his lovely wife Leah.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Start of a Geocache

One of my favorite sites "Hack a Day" was running a contest to slap their logo on something and possibly win a Trinket by AdaFruit. Since I didn't have an ion beam to win the small category and didn't have access to any giant building light arrays I thought of a creative way to spray paint something.

A while back I had picked up two surplus ammo boxes which are perfect size for a traditional geocache. I took their logo image and made an outline of it so I could print just what I needed to cut it. After printing the outline I sliced it up and left a small strip to keep the eyes in the appropriate places. A few sprays and the logo was on. Here is a link to the article: 

Future Geocache

Now I need to find a place to stash it. I'll probably need a nice label on the top and side and maybe a QR code to scan when it is found, or a log book for the traditional people. It would be neat to have a few electronic projects to put inside. I'm open to ideas.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Battery on Xmobar

The battery plugin didn't seem to work:

pacman -S bc

gives me a calculator that I can use to divide the full energy from current energy.

echo "scale=2;$(cat /sys/class/power_supply/BAT0/energy_now)/$(cat /sys/class/power_supply/BAT0/energy_full)"| bc -q

a simple cat of /sys/class/power_supply/BAT0/status
gives me charging or discharging

Heres what I've got so far:


Config {bgColor = "black"
       , fgColor = "yellow"
       , position = Top
       , commands = [   
            Run Com "cat" ["/sys/class/power_supply/BAT0/status"] "battstat" 1000,
            Run Com "battpercentage" [] "battcharge" 1000,
                Run StdinReader
       , sepChar = "%"
       , alignSep = "}{"
       , template = "%StdinReader%}{%battcharge% %battstat% %date%"


Sound might work in gnome without additional setup, but in a bare bones enviroment some additional steps might be needed:

pacman -S alsa-utils

probably it will be muted so:

amixer sset Master unmute



and change it

cmus will try and use pulse if you let it

switch it in the ~/.cmus/rc

set output_plugin=alsa
set dsp.alsa.device=default
set mixer.alsa.device=default

What key is that?

showkey --scancodes
showkey --keycodes

xev > somelogfile

Might have to install xorg-xev


Laptops and Xmonad

The Asus laptop is gone. A friend at work wanted a touchscreen laptop so we worked out a deal. He bought an SSD and it seems to work for him. As for me I am back on the E430. It might have a few problems with the case, but it seems to work for now. I switched back to playing with Xmonad. I plan on posting a few smaller posts as I discover bits that I need to document for my reference.

Why Carl can't paste:

If you look at the config from ArchWiki you might use "urxvt" as your terminal. I haven't delved into why they picked that terminal, but I (re)discovered that copy/paste traditional "gnome/windows" ctrl-c ctrl-v doesn't work in urxvt. I've hit this issue before and thought I would document for posterity.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Asus Q200

I bought an ASUS Q200 in July and it served me well until yesterday. S.M.A.R.T. errors warned me the drive was about to die and sure enough it died yesterday afternoon.

After I pulled the back case off, I noticed that a screw was missing. I hadn't touched the insides until yesterday. It was the store display model and seemed fine when I checked it out in the store. "Best Buy" wouldn't let it leave without removing their A.R.C.H.I.E. software or whatever they use these days.

Either ASUS didn't assemble it with all the screws or BB didn't put it back together correctly after pulling the drive to wipe it.  I wonder if they put the same drive back in and didn't grab a malfunctioning drive.

It wouldn't have been a big deal if it hadn't been a thin hard-drive, I have a few 2.5" drives but they don't fit because of the thickness. BB stopped carrying the smaller drives locally because of shoplifters. They wouldn't let me trade it in for a working machine and I haven't had good experiences with sending devices off. So it is out of order until I can get a replacement drive. SSD would be nice, but to get a decent size is a bit too much.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ham Block

As my last post indicated I passed my test. My radio arrived this week and I was checking daily for my license and guess what? The government shutdown. Doesn't look like I'll be transmitting for a while.