Mike's Simple Blog

A blog about various stuff

Time for an Update

August 12, 2016 — Michael Schiller


Well, I haven't posted an update in a while, so I thought I might as well post one now. Not a whole lot is happening. The job of Webmaster fell thru, it seems the club member that was doing it before decided to keep on doing it. I think when he heard how fast the club had a replacement for him, and that they didn't beg him to continue made him change his tune!

I got a 3D printer and have been playing around with it, learning how to use it, getting used to how the different plastics act, and so on. The most common plastic is an organic one called PLA, it's fairly hard, but very brittle, so it's mostly good for items that are for display, not for real working parts. For making working parts most people use ABS plastic, but it supposedly puts out some bad vapors while using it, and so needs lots of ventilation, and it's hard to get it to stick to the bed of the printer, so I've yet to use ABS. Instead I've been using a different (and possibly newer?) plastic called PETG which is very similar to PET which is what most soda bottles are made from. PETG is about as strong as ABS, but without the problems of ABS. One really cool thing about 3D printers is that they can make parts to make themselves! In fact, I didn't like the design of the extruder on my printer (the part the moves the plastic filament into the hot end of the printer) so I downloaded an alternative extruder designed for my printer, and I'm going to install it on the printer one of these days.

My granddaughter is growing like a weed, but unfortunately due to the fact that my back is still in bad shape I can't pick her up! I can hold her if I'm sitting down and somebody puts her in my lap, which is what I do when she comes over to visit, but other than that, it's up to my mother to take care of her when she's here, and that really makes me feel strange, after all, my mother is almost 80 years old, and she has to do all the work of watching the baby, and there's not much I can help out with :( I've got an appointment with yet another surgeon, hopefully he'll have some good news for me, as I've been living in pain now for so long I don't remember what it's like to have a day without it! Well, I could go on, and on, so that's it for now, until later...


I’m a Webmaster!

April 19, 2016 — Michael Schiller


For the first time I’ll be running a website other than one of my own! I don’t know any of the details yet, but I’ve been asked to take over running the website for the rifle & pistol club I belong to. I’ll be finding out more later on this week, but in anticipation of having to edit remote files I went ahead and got a text editor called BBEdit. While it’s a commercial product, it’s a really amazing program. It has a built in ftp/sftp client, so it can download files so they can be edited locally, then re-uploaded seamlessly so it’s as if you’re editing a file that’s on your machine locally. Normally when I post these posts to my blog I do it while logged into the machine, but right now I’m using BBEdit to create the file on SDF while I’m editing it on my Mac!


Life goes on...

February 07, 2016 — Michael Schiller


Life goes on, and one day seems to just blend into the next. I guess that's what it's like when you're retired. I think it's worse because I live in Florida, which really doesn't have the four seasons like the rest of country does. Due to the lack of seasons it gets hard to remember when things happened, because I don't have them to use as a reference. When I lived up north, either in NY, TN, or WV, I could remember if it was warm, hot, or cold outside when something happened, so I had some reference point for when something happened. Down here in Florida we really only have 2 or maybe 3 seasons, and they seem to overlap quite a bit. We have the rainy season, the hurricane season, and the hot season!

One thing that has me kind of excited lately is the thought of being a Grandpa. My daughter is doing a great job of being a mother, I'm really proud of how well she's taking care of her daughter, and already planning for her future. When Natasha (my daughter) was young she was into horseback riding, and jumping, and she's got several trophy's too! Now she's planning on taking her daughter riding when she gets older, and training her to ride. She's given many riding lessons to other kids at the barns where she boarded her horses over the years (I say horses, but she only ever had one at a time, but she's had a few different ones through her riding career), so she's really looking forward to being able to give her own daughter lessons, and then riding along with her.


I'm a Grandpa!

January 13, 2016 — Michael Schiller


Today at 1:04PM my daughter made me a grandpa by giving birth to a beautiful 8 pound 10 ounce baby girl! It seems no matter what plans you make, reality has other plans. She was originally due a week from today, but my daughter and her doc had a long conversation about it, and they decided that because it seems that many babies are born in the middle of the night, and that would be a pain in the ass for all involved, she would go to the hospital on this coming Friday, and the doc would at his leisure bring on the birth. Well, it seems little Nellie wasn't going to have any part of that, she was going to make her debut on her own schedule. Last night the phone rings at 3:30AM to let me & my mother know that her water had broken, and she was on her way to the hospital! My mother tells her to relax (at 78 years old my mother still thinks she has to tell everyone what to do), and that we would meet her at the hospital in about an hour or so. So we get there, and like many other things in life, it turns out to be another 'hurry up and wait' situation. I can't complain, my granddaughter is an amazing new life, and I just hope she gets to live to get as old as my mother is, and to be as healthy as my mother is when she gets there!


The Vacation continues...

January 02, 2016 — Michael Schiller


Well, my brother's vacation continues, and as a whole I think they're having a good time. They have one more full day left before they start on another adventure, the trip home. They will be going home via Amtrak, so they get on the train in Ft. Lauderdale and take that train to New York where they then get on a 'commuter' train headed for Boston.

I must admit I really enjoyed having them here this year! Both my brother and sister-in-law were able to help me out by doing things for me that I couldn't do myself. First my SIL took apart my old iMac so we could replace the internal HD that had died a while ago. It's amazing the steps involved in getting into the iMacs, you need suction cups, torx screwdrivers, etc. and I think you need to chant some voodoo stuff as well! But she got it done, so now all I have to do is copy over the system from the external drive I've been using on that computer onto the new internal drive, then it will be all set for me to give to my daughter. Then my brother really helped me out moving a filesystem for a Raspberry Pi2 that was on an 8G SD card onto a 16G SD card. It should have been something easy to do, but the SD card was partitioned into 4 separate partitions, some FAT32, some ext4. The problem comes from the fact that MacOSX can't read ext4 filesystems! I knew that my brother would be able to do this without a problem as he always works with Linux systems, but when I handed him the SD Card and watched him insert it into his laptop that's when I noticed it was a Mac-Book! But with some quick thinking, and the help of both VMware & VirtualBox, lots of fast typing, and I suspect some more muttering voodoo incantations I now have my system moved over to the larger SD card. I guess that's why MIT keeps him around, and pays him the big bucks, when it comes to computers, my brother Jeff knows his stuff!


Vacation Time

December 31, 2015 — Michael Schiller


My brother (who is visiting with his family for the holidays) has let me know that apparently one of the creators of the Debian Linux distro has chosen to take permanent solution to a temporary problem today. When this happens I don't know what to say. I know lots of people are going to be asking lots of questions, making lots of statements about what happened, and why, but the truth is we will never know what was going on, what pushes a person to think that the only only option they have is to end their life. I don't know anything about the person, if they were old, young, sick, etc. so I can't really comment. I just hope that he finds whatever he was looking for in the next life that he didn't find in this one.


Pretty Good Privacy

December 28, 2015 — Michael Schiller


For years when someone wanted to get my PGP key, the bunch of little letters, and numbers that are below this text, what was my key, the way folks could send private messages to me, worked fine. But as time marches on, the strength of the encryption it offered was no longer considered enough. First we had to make the key longer, then we had to add extra keys inside the actual key, then we had to get fancy, and add a photo into the key, so that anyone that gets the key can look at it, and if they know me, can tell right away that it is in fact MY key! Well, now I have a key that's much larger than this one, supposedly it's much more secure than this old one, but I really don't have any way to know if it really is or not. For one thing, I'm not a criminal, so I don't send anything illegal in any of my emails, encrypted or not, so those friendly folks that work for the government and keep us safe would have no reason to contact me even if they have decrypted my emails that I send encrypted. Add to that the fact that as I get older I find that I send fewer emails than I did years ago, and those that I send, only a very few are actually encrypted, most are just signed.

Using GPG2 (rather than paying for the commercial product PGP) I sign each email that I send so that anyone that cares to can take the time to download my key off of a friendly local keyserver to verify my identity. Using GPG/PGP has gotten much easier than it was back in the old days back when the key below was first made. Back then you had to create your email in a text editor separate from your email program, then have PGP encrypt the file, either into an encrypted binary file that you then would send as an attachment to an email, or you could have it encrypted into an ascii 'armored' file that you could then paste into your mail programs text entry screen and send it that way. I guess I should stop my ramblings by saying that the world of public key encryption has come a long way since Phil Zimmerman first wrote the original versions of PGP that were distributed by MIT as freeware.

Michael Schiller's PGP public key

Version: 2.6.2
Comment: PGP Key Server 0.1b1