Archive for September, 2005
I see I haven’t updated in a week or so. It’s been a busy (and sad) one. My father passed away last Sunday and I went down last Wednesday to be with family, go to the funeral and try and put the house and other affairs in order.
I’m getting to be a pro at the drive between Denver and Tucson. I headed out reasonably early in the morning. Only problem on the road was in Denver. Lots of construction and traffic. Once that was past it was just 13.5 hours of driving along. The dogs have gotten used to the long car rides too, they just sleep and relax.
Kurt and Twyla were ready to go:
I sure hate these Russian thistles:
And tons of antelope. They were hard to take pictures of while driving:
Got in around 9:15pm MST. All my sisters and my brother were already there.
Thursday I didn’t sleep all that well (Merlin was sleeping on my feet for some reason). Got up early and managed to do some work. We do have high speed cable at the house there which was nice. My brothers and sisters all worked at setting up appointments for lawyers and accountants and calling people. We also went though a bunch of pictures of my dad and setup a slide show for the reception. Finally we worked a lot on what we should say at the service and everyone related stores of my dad.
In the afternoon we got a number of other visitors and we did a cookout for dinner with many many relatives and friends in attendance.
My dad’s house has a very nice gigantic window looking out on a bunch of bird feeders. My dad loved to sit and watch the birds:
There were a number of dogs in attendance:
Friday morning was the funeral. There was a graveside service at 10am, then a service at the local episcopal church at 10:30, followed by a reception. It was nice to see lots of family and friends I seldom see, but it would be better to see them under better conditions. The service was very nice and the reception was very organized. After the reception we all went back to my dads place and had lunch and visited some more.
Later in the afternoon all 5 of us siblings went and met with a estate lawyer that had been recommended to us from many sources. He was very nice and seemed good at explaining things. Hopefully he will be worth his fees.
Saturday we just relaxed around the house and tried to figure out estate issues. It’s amazing how complicated things like that can be.
For dinner we went out to a local mexican food place, it was not at all spicy, but very tasty.
We all scattered for our various homes on Sunday. We are planning on getting together again in October and dividing up property and so forth.
The 13.5 hour drive was about like always. Uneventfully until I got to Denver. Of course there was T-Rex to worry about and lots of very stupid drivers. I was amazed that at least 2 people managed to run over construction cones because they failed to see the GIGANTIC FLASHING SIGN telling them that the lane was going away and that they needed to merge over.
It’s sure good to be back home.
I have a few bryophyllum crenatum plants that I got from my mom, who in turn got them from my brother when he was in high school. They are pretty cool…they are viviparous, in this case meaning new plants form from the edges of the leaves. Like this:
Anyone in the area is welcome to a leaf to make their own plants.
I also played with the move mode on my new camera for the first time. Not too bad really. I had always been very underwhelmed with the movie modes I have seen on digital cameras. Very small pictures, very poor speed and just second rate in every way. The new camea isn’t too shabby tho:
Movie of the dogs wandering around the yard.
(it’s probibly wise to just download the movie and view it locally…)
I am quite enjoying the t42p thinkpad I got a while back. It’s a very nice laptop and (nearly) everything works fine under linux. It’s down to just the last 3 things I can think of that didn’t have support, and I just played around with 2 of them and they are working great, and the 3rd one is on the way.
The last 3 items I can think of that needed linux support were the fingerprint reader, the hard drive active protection system, and the accelerated X driver. Today I looked at the state of beta linux support for them:
- HDAPS, the “Hard Drive Active protection System” is pretty cool. it’s a 2 axis accelerometer thats built into the laptop. So, if the laptop is dropped suddenly it can detect that and park the heads on the hard drive to prevent damage. The support for the device is in the OS, so linux needed to have it’s own driver to support it. I went and grabbed the latest release from the HDAPS project and tried it out. It compiled and installed just fine. Some of the userspace tools to access the information are still primitive, but they work. There is a GL application that shows you a window with a laptop in it and moves it as data from the accelerometer comes in. There is a gkrellm plugin that lets you see the X/Y tilt all the time. It’s very slick. You can also enable a mouse mode so moving the laptop around moves your mouse pointer.
- Next up was the fingerprint reader. Some T4x thinkpad models have a small “swipe style” fingerprint reader on them. I have one on mine. I had set it in the bios to use that for a power on password, which was pretty nifty. The folks that make the hardware are coming out with a linux driver soon. The 2nd beta release of the driver is now out. Unfortunately it’s a binary only library, but at least it’s not a kernel module. It uses the open bioapi framework. First I needed to install the base bioapi libraries. This proved to be a pain. gcc4 (default on Fedora Core 4) isn’t supported, so I had to load the gcc32 compat packages and use them. Next it had a problem with the qt libs. I couldn’t get it to see them, so I finally just disabled the qt support. There are no rpms available, so I needed to install in /usr/local. I try and avoid doing that kind of thing, but at least it only installs in a few dirs there. Once that was in, installing the UPEK library with support for the fingerprint reader was no problem. Next up was some permssions issues. If you want to run anything as a non root user you have to tweak the permissions on your /proc/usb area and make some log files writable. After that the test worked ok. Next I pulled in the pam bioapi module. There were a number of tweaks to make that work. I had to pull some more bioapi includes, and mess with /etc/pam.d/ and /etc/bioapi areas a bunch. I did finally get it working. I can now use the fingerprint reader to login, to unlock my xscreensaver, and anything else pam related. This will be very slick once it gets polished up and pushed into the distributions.
- Not sure I am quite up for it now, but for the video the r300 project has a driver. It’s been merged into the upstream Mesa and X libraries. All it will take is compiling xorg and mesa and possibly a new kernel. I might just wait for that to get into the regular distributions. 🙂
With those items working I can’t think of anything on the laptop that doesn’t work under linux. Very impressive. We have come a long way in the last few years.
The dogs were all barking and excited the other day… we had a intruder in the apple tree in the front yard:
The leaves are starting to fall:
Spot the rabbit. It was very cute… he even lowered his ears as the dogs and I walked by: