Saturday, November 17, 2018

The machine that started it all...


In December of 2010, I started a website called Pretender to the Power. I was recently back to school and thought I had a little free time on my hands. Not so.

Instead of learning how to blog, I spent much of my time with my Asus PC EEE 700 series machine trying to get a handle on Linux.

Today, I found that little machine shoved in a drawer.

I plugged it in and booted up. It worked. It has 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB on a SSD with an actual 8 GB SD card for supplemental storage space runs at 800 mhz and as a 7" screen.

It's a Kindle Fire without the touchscreen. Or a Fire with a keyboard.

Well, not quite. The Fire is on the left. Both had their uses but I find myself using my Chromebook for most tasks. How things change.

I purchased the EEE PC for $138 back in 2009 on NewEgg. It was an open box return. For less than 200 bucks, I figured I could take a chance. It came with two 8 SD cards, a sleeve and the charger. Out of the box, it ran Xandros. Xandros served for a time but I out grew it.

I ended up running Netbook Remix, Ubuntu 10.10. It was simple, clean and invigorated my curiosity about Linux. I never really looked back. My current Chromebook has a copy of Linux hiding in the Crosh.

I recently updated my C710-2487 Chromebook from 4 to 8 Gb and my first thought was to transfer the old ram to the Asus. No dice. Wrong type.


Of course, I found 3 other 512 mb RAM chips lying around, but with a single slot, that is no help.

I am trying to decide if I will keep my old Asus or let it go. Not sure. In the image above, note the large empty space begging for some new gadget to be installed. Oh... the pain of being a nerd.

I can't find the Asus EEE 700 on Amazon, but these are similar. I would be remiss if I didn't also share a selection of Kindles and Fires.

David Macaulay
On Amazon
Kindle or Print







Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Getting Social Buttons

One of the biggest hindrances of going to new media is a lack of linking tools. Tonight, I took some of the logos of my favorite sites and edited them down to 120x120.


If you like these button sized images, you can download a zip of them here.

For my site, I wanted these buttons in the upper right, in a tight space. I used some code to get them down to 42x42.


MeWe
The code is pretty straight forward:

<div>
<a href="your link here" target="_blank"></a><
<img alt="A description of image" src="Image.png" style="border: 0; height: 42px; width: 42px;" />
</div>

If 42px is too big or small, go ahead and change it. The target="_blank" opens the link in a new tab. You can delete it. I happen to like how that works, so I use it. But some people believe that it causes new users NOT to return to your site via the back button and leave frustrated. It is really up to you.  

Monday, October 8, 2018

Amazon in the Classroom and on the Commute. .

In my classroom this week, we watched Hocus Pocus. The library had a copy, but one of the other classes snatched it up. I figure it would be available on Netflix, but I was wrong. I checked CBS All Access and Hulu. No dice. Amazon has it, as does Google Play. I went with Amazon because I had some coupons which reduced the price by $2.00. Otherwise, Google and Amazon would have had the same price.

The $.299 price is listed in the ad is for a rental. I've only rented a digital product once. It doesn't seem worth the cost but it is quick and easy. Live and learn.




What I find amazing is that the DVD ranges from $4.99 to $24.99. Who pays $24.99 for a DVD? The Blu Ray is less than $18.00.


Since I was already there, I loaded some music to my phone for the ride home. Twenty One Pilot's Levitate is catchy. The album is less than 11 bucks.



So much for saving money.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Kindle again

I need a new Kindle. This might be the day, they are on sale on Amazon for $39.00. This hardy little tab has lasted many years but is starting to feel a little rough around the edges. It has been well used and abused.

Time to take Amazon up on a good deal.


Shop Amazon Devices - Save $10 on the Fire 7 Tablet

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Ubuntu Reinstall on Chromebook

There are many guides to installing Linux on a Chromebook. What I don't see are too many guides on what needs to be done afterwards. Using Crouton gives a very basic experience with Ubuntu, so a lot of things need tweaking.

One step that I often forget is switching to Dev Mode on a Chromebook can require a restart. Also, walking through the Ubuntu install also requires a restart. You can combo these together or do them one at a time. It doesn't really matter. What does matter is the restart option in Ubuntu will turn off your Chromebook. Think ahead.

I find the best way to get software easily is the Software Center. I know it can be buggy and odd, but it is a good place to start. Under the standard install of Ubuntu via Crouton, it isn't there and the terminal is the best option. First things first, make sure your install is up to date:

sudo apt-get update

This should only take a few seconds. Now you can get the software center:

sudo apt-get install software-center

The Software Center takes much longer to download and install. For whatever reason, sometimes the Software Center doesn't work. Simply repeat the command:

sudo apt-get update

The next thing I hit is a proper browser. NetSurf is 3 years old and kind of funky. It works fine in a pinch but doesn't offer a lot of features. I like Chromium.

A good word processor is a must and I am a fan of Libre Write. Write isn't the only game in town, you could simply use Google Docs, Abiword or WPS Writer. WPS Writer has the look and feel of MS Word, Abiword is a stripped down word processor which is easy to use and distraction free.

Stay tuned for more ideas of how to extend your Chromebook's usefulness.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Using GIMP to Resize Photos to a Specific Size

This afternoon I am editing photos for a website. I would like to take some images from 4992x4000 down to exactly 620 px across. I will be using Gimp and a little math to make this happen in seven steps.

First things first, I could do the math in my head, but I want to make this a step by step process. The second thing is, unpwnd doesn't require a specific size so the images in this walkthru will not be 620 px. That is not lost on me, I happen to Blogger as my platform and it has very different tools from Wordpress.

Step one. Open the image.
Step two. Click on Set Image Canvas Size. The dialog box will open and show that the image is currently 4992x4000. That is nothing like 620 px across.
Step three. I am going to adjust the width and the height. For the width, I need to lose those to extra pixels, it is so small no one will notice. So width becomes 2992-2=2990.

Height is another story. I am going to take away a multiple of 620. I decided that I would go with 620 times 2, so what I end up with is 2760. That is 4000-1240=2760.

Before I hit resize, I clicked the Center button. It just so happens that my subjects are dead center and this works. If it did not, I could have adjusted this manually.
Step four. I want to point out that I have been working with Canvas Size and not Image Size. Essentially, I am cropping the image to a particular size based on some math rather than an eye for photographic composition. Actual photographers have a great eye for composition and would not use this method.

Anyway, I think I can trim a little more of the edges and when I do that, I want my height and width to be an exact multiple of 620. I take the width of 2990 and divide by 620 which gives me 4.822 and some change. I do the same for the height which gives my 4.451 and change.

Now for a trick. I am going to take four away from each number leaving 0.822 and 0.451. Both of these numbers need to multiplied by 620. 620 is the only number I know for this process, which is why it keeps popping up. The results are 510 and 280.

2990-510 is 2480 and 2760-280 is also 2480.  2480 divided by 620 is 4.

Again, I am using the center bottom so I don't clip away my subjects. Also, this could a manual process.
Step five. Scale the image. I could do this part 2 ways. I picked the easy way: I scaled the image to 620. I could have also used the drop down box to select percent and typed in 25. There is no difference.
Step six. This is the result, an image that appears way too small. But not really, GIMP didn't change the scale of the display and the image is actually much bigger.
 Step seven. I set my view to 1:1. Looks good.
While all of this seems labor intensive, it is. But only once. Changes are your camera always outputs the same size image so you can save this as a macro making the process automatic.

And here is the final output at 620 px.

Neat, eh?

Monday, May 28, 2018

Security Update

I've been reviewing my websites for security issues and noticed my robot.txt fell off and the https settings were wrong. Both have been fixed. I'm adding more content this week and hope that I can appeal to a greater readership.

To that end, I will be reviewing software and apps that pull in blogs.