Steve & Georgia Carter

Our Notebook

Page 14 of 19

Vegetable Garden

I’m testing out how best to share pictures during our upcoming trip, so I thought I’d try a little experiment.
First, a picture of my not-quite-successful cross country ski trip with the Rifle recreation department to Grand Mesa. Yes, it really was that cold.
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The the photoset below is a project which I built for Georgia last week; it’s a raised vegetable garden:

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Vegetable Garden, a set on Flickr.

Then came the winter. For a few hours, it was January all over.
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Finally, Georgia getting things ready for the trip.  To heck with clothes for us!

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Ham Radio – FLDIGI, the KX3 and Linux

I love Linux, not only because it makes sense, but because the programs available for ham radio are in many cases superior to the Windows equivalents.

CQRLOG is one of them, and fldigi is another one that works well with my small laptop and Elecraft KX3. It took me a while to get them both working right, and here’s a couple of tips so that others may not have to reinvent the wheel. I’m running Ubuntu 12.04 on a small laptop.

In the fldigi preferences menu, under rig control, click on “Hamlib” and click the small box that says “Use Hamlib.” Select the K3/KX3 from the drop down box, and the device “/dev/ttyUSB0”, 4800 baud and two stopbits. Leave the other defaults. If you click on “initialize” and see your transmit frequency in the main box, then celebrate and ignore the rest of this post.

When you set up the CQRLOG TRX Control parameters, enter your rig name under “Radio one, desc:,” use Rig ID model 229 (which is the one for the K3, but it works), click the “run rigctld when program starts” box, and specify only the serial speed of 4800 and 2 stop bits. Leave the rest default.

But it probably won’t work, because when you plug the serial port adapter into your Linux machine, the computer may recognize it but will prevent you from accessing it because you don’t have permission to do so. That’s because you don’t belong to the proper group. Part of Linux security. There’s a command you can enter every time you boot up, but that’s a pain and easy to forget.

Here’s a step by step guide to making it work permanently.

1. Plug in your USB to serial port adapter and get your rig running

2. Open a terminal window in Linux by pressing CTL-ALT-T. You’ll get a prompt which consists of your username, the computer you are running on and a dollar sign. Mine is “steve@steve-Latitude-D420:~$” From this prompt, enter the following commands. Case is important.

3. Discover what the USB adapter is called by entering:

ls /sys/class/tty

You’ll get a list of perhaps 50 various devices; the last one is your adapter, and should be ttyUSB0 or ttyUSB1. If you don’t see it, you are in trouble and may have to install the proper drivers. I didn’t have that issue, but if you do, remember that Google Is Your Friend.

4. Find out which user groups are authorized to access the adapter by entering:

ls -l /dev/ttyUSB0 (or ttyUSB1 if that’s where your device ended up)

The output will show you what permissions have been granted, and to which user groups. Mine shows that members of two groups can access ttyUSB0: root and dialout. You don’t want to become a member of the “root” group because that would compromise security.
5. Find out which groups you belong to by entering:

groups

You’ll probably see a long list of groups, but “dialout” isn’t one of them.
6. Join the dialout usergroup by entering:

sudo usermod -a -G dialout yourusername

7. Log out and log back in, or reboot.
No doubt, there are easier ways to do some of these steps, but this worked for me. Good luck.

73’s
Steve, K0GUZ

Cablea’s moment

For those who don’t know about it, Cabela’s advertises itself as the Worlds Largest Outfitter, and their store in Grand Junction (an anchor store at Mesa Mall, located at the site of an abandoned Mervyn’s department store)  is filled with hiking, camping, fishing and hunting equipment.  Including firearms and a huge selection of ammunition…much of which, oddly enough, comes from Russia.  When you enter the store, a large sign announces the greeter is there to check any firearms the customers may be carrying.

I went there yesterday to buy some gifts, and noticed that the man in front of me, who was about my age and looked perfectly normal, bought three boxes of.38 caliber bullets. He grumbled to the the cashier that he wished there wasn’t a limit of only 3 boxes. The total cost was over $200, although he had a Cabela’s loyalty card so I’m sure someone was tracking his purchases.  I wonder what he planned to do with his purchase.

The nice middle aged lady behind me in the line, who was there with her teenage daughter,  had stopped at Cabela’s folksy homemade fudge shop, and bought a box of fudge, and a box of shotgun shells.

Surreal.

Google & Facebook Ads

When ads first appeared on the internet, they were not really very well targeted. But Google has made its fortune by learning all about you by snooping on the websites you visit. Facebook is trying to emulate the same thing by determining who your friends are and what you like. These commercial behemoths have a pretty good idea of your age, sex, marital status, location, what kind of cars you drive, what your hobbies are, etc. Several years ago, I would get ads and emails for programs to restore my credit score (which hasn’t needed restoring, thank you very much), reduce my mortgage, and of course, ads for fake Viagra.

As the years passed, the credit scores and mortgage ads began to decrease in frequency, and the ads became more relevant and pleasant: new cars, cruises, vacations to exotic places, motorcycles and ham radio. Sweet.

However, in the past couple of months, I’ve begun to see a disturbing trend in the ads; Google realizes that I’m over 65, so the ads are now aimed at a new demographic. They’re depressing, because they are for things such as the “Help I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up” security dongle, magic wands that make arthritis pain a thing of the past, or “scam Medicare to get your own mobility scooter.” Those didn’t bother me much, but now they’ve reached a new low: step in bathtubs for old people.

The time may come when we would welcome a mobility scooter or step in bathtub, but for now I wish they’d keep the ads for romantic cruises and vacation destinations.

RIP, Hollis

Our former neighbor, Hollis Cameron, died on New Years’ Day. Hollis worked for Mountain Bell, the phone company (a/k/a US West, Qwest, Century Link). Rifle was the last Mountain Bell exchange in Colorado to convert from operators to dial telephones, and they didn’t do it until the mid 1960’s. She was an operator, and worked the last shift in Rifle before they cut over to dial telephones, so it is quite likely that she was the last person to utter “Number please” in Colorado.

Our kids will remember that Dan and Hollis were the perfect neighbors – never nosy, but always watching. If there was anything out of the ordinary, they’d report it. And when I wanted to play an old LP record of music I brought back from Colombia, they were the only people on the block who still had a functioning turntable.

Happy New Year!

 

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From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

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