Asus Eeepc Update

I finally settled on a setup for my Asus 1018P. I’m running a very minimal install of Arch Linux with the Awesome window manager. I’m using Lightdm as my login manager and wicd for networking. Currently, the only applications I have installed that were not part of the base install are Chromium and Firefox browsers, xterm and urxvt terminals, and Geeqie as my image viewer.  I also managed to do some editing to my rc.lua file and create a theme personalized theme.

I am not planning on making any other changes for a while, and will be using this for basic web surfing and learning the Python programming language.

Arch Linux on an ASUS Eee-PC 1018P

Over the last 10 days I’ve been playing with different installs of Linux on my ASUS Eee-PC 1018P.  From past experiences, I have found that I really like “minimal” desktops with my favorite being Openbox. Another window manager that I wanted to test more with was awesome. The only drawback  to either of these was I couldn’t find a way to disable my touch pad. Being able to disable this is a must for me. as the touch pad seems hyper-sensitive and when ever I am typing the cursor jumps all over the screen.  I was only able to disable my touch pad using the GNOME Desktop Environment.

I began with an install of Debian 7.0 (Wheezy). Wheezy ran great, and I didn’t have any issues with my hot keys, but I really wanted something a little more “current”. I also wasn’t sure if I liked the GNOME 3 desktop.

I next tried Linux Mint with the MATE desktop, which is forked from the GNOME 2 desktop. I liked the looks of this, but some of my hot keys didn’t work.

I then installed Arch Linux.  The first time I installed the MATE desktop, installing the “mate-panel” package which is a minimal desktop shell according to the Arch Wiki entry. I installed this package because from past experiences installing GNOME  has installed a lot of stuff that I didn’t want or need.  After the install I found I did indeed have a minimal install like I wanted, but the hot key to disable my touch pad wasn’t working.

I next tried the GNOME desktop.  With this install all of the hot keys I use worked, but there was just something I didn’t like visually. I stayed with this setup but I still wanted to go back to either Openbox or Awesome as my window manager (WM).

This morning, a thought came to me that there should be a way to disable the touch pad other than using the hot key, so I began researching.  I found my answer on the Advanced configuration section of the Arch Wiki Touchpad Synaptics page! I could use the xinput command to enable and disable my touchpad.  I have created an alias for each command and added it to my .bashrc.

I’m going to do a clean reinstall on my netbook over the weekend.

Back to Linux

I recently found my old ASUS Eee PC that I had packed away when we moved.  It had Debian GNU/Linux installed, but I can’t remember my password.  I think I’m going to install Arch Linux on it now. While I’m at it, I’m installing Arch on a Parallels virtual machine (VM) on my iMac. I’ll use this as a testing environment.  It has been a couple of years since I’ve done anything with Linux.

Model Railroad

When I was a boy, my parents gave me a Lionel train set for Christmas. This was the old 3-rail type with a steam locomotive and tender, gondola, boxcar and caboose. (It may also have a tank car, but I can’t remember for sure and the set is now in storage.) There were drops or tablets that you could put in the smoke stack and the locomotive would then produce “smoke” as the train ran around the track. I only had enough track to make a loop, no switches. Being a boy, I spent my time running the train as fast as it would go trying to get it to jump the rails in the curves. That train set is now showing the abuse I gave it. Some of the couplers were broken and are now glued in the closed position. One corner of the locomotive “roof” was broken off also. But last I checked, it still runs!

In my teens (1970’s), I began reading Model Railroading Magazine and decided I wanted to build a “real” model railroad like I saw in the magazines. The problem was there wasn’t any spare room, let alone a basement, in my parent’s house and I wasn’t aware of the idea of a shelf-layout at the time. I finally convinced my parents to let me build a layout in the garage. This would be a HO layout following a track plan I had seen in one of the magazines. It would be suspended from the ceiling using ropes and a pulley system. This would allow it to be pulled up to allow parking the car in the garage and lowered to run the trains.  I got as far as building the  and roadbed, using the “cookie-cutter” method.  One of my friends has also began to purchase some locomotives and rolling stock along with some structure kits.  There was no pre-planning and thing were bought based on what was in the hobby shop and caught our eye.  The layout never got any further and was eventually dismantled. I can’t remember the exact model of locomotive, but it was an Atlas EMD GP in Union Pacific livery. Even then, I had planned on modeling the modern era.  I had no interest in steam or transition era modeling.  I kept that locomotive until July of 2014 when I donated it to a local club just before we moved from Texas to North Dakota.

Time moves on and I still haven’t built a layout.  I’ve started planning on several different occasions but have never gotten past the design phase. No construction and no purchases.

Hopefully in 2015 this will change. I’ve become inspired by Lance Mindheim’s books and website and I am looking forward to building a shelf-layout of my own.  When I get settled on a name and location for my railroad I plan on creating a website for that. In the meantime, I’ll post my thoughts and progress here.

Starting Over

Wow! It has been over four months since I’ve posted anything here.  I hope I will do better in the future.  There has been a lot of changes in these last four months.  My wife has a new job in North Dakota, which resulted in our moving from Texas in July. I am currently playing the role of stay-at-home dad, getting our daughter ready for school, unpacking (which I’m not doing a very good job of) and then begin house hunting.

Also, during this time of change, I began thinking about my family  history again and decided that now would be a good time to get started again on that. We recently traveled to Utah to attend a nephew’s wedding and  my wife’s high school reunion.  During that trip I was able to visit my parent’s grave site and see the head stone for the first time. This event reinforced the need for me to work on my genealogy.

Upon returning home, I started up my genealogy software and began looking at what I had.  It was a mess!  Few, if any, good source citations for some of my more distant ancestors along with a lot of conflicting information.  I had done most of my past research using and I admit I added items to my tree without really verifying things.  Well, since we were starting a new journey in North Dakota I decided I would start over with my genealogy.  I deleted my family tree from and upgraded my desktop software to Family Tree Maker for Mac 3. I have also been watching a lot of the videos from’s YouTube Channel to learn more about the proper way to source entries and do research.

I’m now in the process of researching and entering my family history with the goal of having better sources for other’s to follow. I’ll be posting my experiences here as I re-discover my past.


Getting Organized

Even though I have been using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom since version 3 my collection of photographs is highly disorganized. Between my wife and I we have photos scattered across multiple external hard drives and two computers. There are also stacks of CDROM containing images from back in the days of film. Last week I made the decision to finally get all of our photographs (at least the ones we have in some digital format) organized.

I started by reorganizing my external hard disks.  I have three, two 2TB and one 1TB, and all three were being under utilized. On one of the 2TB disks I relabeled it as “Shared” and created a folder each for myself, my wife and daughter. Then all the files, except photographs, go into the respective folders depending on who they belonged to.  The 1TB disk, labeled “WorkDisk”, is used as a Photoshop scratch disk. It also currently holds backups of my Lightroom photos and catalogs. The other 2TB disk is my “PhotoLibrary”.  This disk is currently has all of the disorganized photos residing in a folder “Legacy”. The folder that will hold my Lightroom photos is labeled “Photos” and inside it are folders labeled for each member of the family. We will each have separate Lightroom catalogs, but the photos will all stay on this one drive.

The Organization Begins:

I began importing the photographs into a folder labeled “LegacyImport” and stopped when I reached 20,000 images. I’m now in the process of going through these and moving them into the folders labeled for me and my wife. I will then go through those and delete the all of the duplicates. Although I had the check box “Don’t import suspected duplicates” checked in Lightroom some still managed to slip through. I’m guessing because of different file names. I have also noticed that metadata dates for duplicates of the same photo are different. This is mostly from images that have been scanned from print, but also some of the film-to-CD images have this also.  All of the legacy imports were renamed “Legacy” with a sequential file number. Some images I have noticed have up to 8 duplicates.  After these duplicates have been culled I will begin importing the remaining legacy photos – one folder at a time – repeating the process until completed.

There are three books that I have used as reference during this organization process. They are: Adobe Lightroom 5 – The Missing FAQ, by Victoria Bampton; Organizing your Photos with Lightroom 5, by Peter Krogh and  Thousands of Images: Now What?, by Mike Hagen.

My Epson Multi-Function Printer Vomits Yellow Ink

I have been a fan of Epson printers for a long time. The current Epson printer that I own is a WorkForce 4530. This was a very nice printer for general use as it would print on both sides automatically. No need to print on one side then turn the paper over and hope you insert it back properly to print on the other.

Now for the downside and it’s a huge one.  In late January I was printing a document and the page came out covered in yellow ink. Not just a little ink, a lot of ink! When I opened the printer, this is what I saw. Yellow ink was all over the inside of the printer. At first I just thought it was a cartridge problem so I replaced cartridges and tried to clean up the inside as best I could. When I printed a test page, the page was again saturated in ink as was the inside of the printer. Not having the time to spend troubleshooting I disconnected the printer, put it in storage, and connected a HP printer that we had. This is what we are using to this day.

Last night I decided to see if I could find anything on the web regarding similar issues and I was surprised to find a YouTube video. The printer in the video is a 4540, but the problem seems to be the same.  The person who posted the video doesn’t have anything good to say about Epson, and I can understand his frustration.  From reading the comments, some people have had good luck getting their printers replaced, other’s repaired (although it is reported that the part costs $250).  I have yet to contact Epson to see what they say, as my printer is out of warranty.


Forty-six Years ago this Month

I grew up in Tooele (pronounced too-ill-uhh), Utah. In March of 1968 The United States Army conducted a test of the chemical nerve agent VX at the Dugway Proving Grounds, located some 60 miles southwest of my home town at the southern end of the Utah Test and Training Range. I was 9 years old at the time. I’m sure that many such tests were conducted at Dugway, but on this date (March 13 or 14) something went terribly wrong.  The morning following the test nearby ranchers woke to find their sheep dead or dying. The total number of sheep killed is estimated to be near 6, 000. Of course the Army denied responsibility for the deaths but a report, that remained classified until 1978 and was unreleased to the public until 1998, showed that VX was found in snow and grass samples that were collected three weeks after the incident. To my knowledge the Army has never officially taken responsibility for the incident.

In 1974, when I was a freshman in high school, a Hollywood film studio came to Tooele and filmed a movie “Wiffs”, starring Elliott Gould. This movie was loosely based on the 1968 Dugway incident.

A childhood neighbor of mine, Craig Rosenburg, has a post on his blog about this incident. Another account can be found  here, as well as on Wikipedia.

Tooele was an interesting place to grow up during the height of the Cold War. Surrounded by military test and storage sites, I remember watching military jets fly low just to the north of town on their way to the Utah Test and Training Range. When I was old enough to drive, my friends and I would sometimes drive out near the range to watch as the jet would practice air-to-ground attack runs. Besides Dugway and the Test and Training Range there was the Tooele Army Depot (TAD). TAD was probably the largest employer in Tooele County. It was divided into two parts, the North Area and the South Area. My father worked in the North Area as a mechanic. Most of the North area was repair shops and storage areas, there were rows and rows of round buildings my father told me were storage for tanks.  the North Area also did “disposal” of munitions in an area west of the main complex. This area was less than 10 miles due west from my home. I can remember hearing loud booms during the day and looking out to the west to see small mushroom clouds of smoke rising in the sky. The South Area, located 16 miles south of Tooele, was much more “secret”, although among the residents an open secret,  and served as the storage site for much of

the countries chemical weapons at the time.

So what prompted this post?  My friend, Craig, has a video posted on YouTube “KEep toOeLE pUNk” that has apparently been censored.

According to Craig  “there’s nothing top secret or classified in this video. Some pictures of signs, roads, and a few places in Skull Valley including Iosepa, an early Hawaiian Mormon settlement. There is no commentary on the video with the exception of one spoken sentence, ‘this area here is where the infamous “sheep Incident” occurred back in 1968 when 6,000 sheep were mysteriously poisoned by VX Agent.'”  Taken from a Facebook post of his regarding the apparent censorship


I May be Old, But…

Since it is my birthday today, I thought I would post something different.

In my cubicle at work, I have a sticker that reads “I May be Old, But I Got to See all the Cool Bands.” My wife gave that to me a few years ago.

Recently, I hooked up with a childhood neighbour on Facebook. He recently shared a link with me to a post he had made on his blog about his second concert, that we had attended together. I also found a post of his that listed all the concerts he has attended. Since it’s my birthday and a time to reflect I decided list the concerts I have seen.  It’s not as extensive as his, but it was fun looking back and remembering. Numbers in parentheses indicate the number of times I’ve seen that band.

.38 Special

The Bay City Rollers

The Beach Boys

Jeff Beck

Berlin (2)

Blue Swede

Garth Brooks

The Cars

Cheap Trick (2)

John Denver

The Guess Who (3)


The Judds



Eddie Money

Pirates of the Mississippi

Todd Rundgren

Rod Stewart

George Strait

Talk Talk

The Thompson Twins

I am sure I have missed some, but these are the ones I remember.  I have a faint memory of seeing Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton, but I didn’t include them as the memory isn’t very strong and I would have expected to remember seeing Eric Clapton.

Some great – Rod Stewart, Todd Rundgren, Meatloaf – some not so great – The Cars, George Strait, Pirates of the Mississippi & the third concert of The Guess Who. Some I would never have gone to on my own – I was invited to go to Blue Swede and the Bay City Rollers and only went because I had a crush on my friends sister.

Unexpected surprises – I had never heard of Cheap Trick when they opened for Kiss. I bought their album the following week.