first CAD lesson

There are several FOSS (free / open source) CAD programs in linux.  The main ones appear to be LibreCAD for 2D and FreeCAD for 3d.

I chose FreeCAD and did the basic part design tutorial.  It teaches first things  like constraints, extrusion from 2D to 3D, Continue reading


Virtualbox XP guest crashing on Arch

My XP virtual worked fine under Debian for various R/C simulators.

I really hadn’t been playing with it since going to Arch but the virtuals were crashing (“Aborted”) whenever video drawing got complex. Hmmm.

I jacked with every setting that looked promising in VB, BIOS, etc.  Then I checked my video driver.  Ahhh….
Arch was using the Nouveau driver, the open source default driver for nVidia cards.  Arch was running everything so snappy I didn’t think about loading the nVidia drivers. I stuffed the legacy drivers for the GeForce 210 in there and virtualbox seems to be much happier.

sudo pacman -S nvidia-340xx

Squirelly power, battery backup

The power in my area blinks out frequently in wind/weather but the outages are usually just a few seconds.  I’d been threatening to get a minimal UPS but hadn’t done it yet.

Only one of my machines really matters much in this regard (main workstation) since I remote into it regularly from offsite.

I was at a thrift shop recently and found an APC Back-UPS CS 500 for $20.  They are about $100 new so I figured even if I had to buy a fresh battery I’d still be ahead.  Turns out it did need a fresh batt so I picked up this well-reviewed one for $17.49. Works great.

I yanked the plug on the APC and it merrily ran the PC.  I won’t have the monitor on the backup since I would be either 1) offsite; or 2) sitting in the dark when the UPS comes into play.

So that’s $37.49 instead of $100.  I like that discount.

700MB of manpage pre-processor?


Building Tor has failed since manpages cannot be built.

You need asciidoc installed to be able to build the manpages.
To build without manpages, use the –disable-asciidoc argument
when calling configure.

Fine, whatever.

sudo apt-get install asciidoc

Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
dblatex docbook docbook-dsssl docbook-utils docbook-xml docbook-xsl fonts-droid ruby1.9.1-dev ruby-switch

perlsgml w3-recs tcl-tclreadline texlive-doc-en perl-tk purifyeps chktex latexmk dvipng xindy dvidvi fragmaster lacheck latexdiff psutils t1utils libfile-which-

Need to get 699 MB of archives.
After this operation, 1,121 MB of additional disk space will be used.

Uhhhhh, no.

./configure --disable-asciidoc argument

For 700MB of diskspace I am willing to google man pages.


virtuals and containers

I have been using qemu and, increasingly, virtualbox to run various OS experiments.  I also run the OEM XP that came on my workstation in a virtualbox instance on that same workstation;  a demotion of sorts I suppose.  I run R/C aircraft training simulators on XP as it is much cheaper to hit RESTART than to rebuild aircraft.

In the last couple of years I’ve been hearing more about containers as a potentially lighter-weight solution to problems that might have been solved using virtualization before.

Still getting my head wrapped around the container model, but I started a couple of small test containers for running some CLI utilities (screen and mosh, as it happens).  I was reassured to see that adding a 2nd and 3rd Debian-based container required only a few bits of data pulled down to support the new utilities.  I think this is supposed to be a major feature but it’s always good to see something for oneself.


< hello, whale >
                    ##        .            
              ## ## ##       ==            
           ## ## ## ##      ===            
       /""""""""""""""""___/ ===        
  ~~~ {~~ ~~~~ ~~~ ~~~~ ~~ ~ /  ===- ~~~   
       \______ o          __/            
        \    \        __/             


Newegg resolution

I am impressed by Newegg’s handling of my bug report.   Most of the time I stop to report a site error there is no indication that anyone reads it at all.

In this case Newegg followed up multiple times, asking pertinent questions.  Here is the final resolution:

Thank you for your patience. I was able to relay that information to our Website Team and they were unable to duplicate the issue you encountered. I understand you already made the purchase through another retailer, however I’d like to honor the [promo] on a future purchase from us…

The offer to replace the promo in kind was a nice touch, but I am happier that they actually listened and did some digging.



Lite-On failure –> NewEgg fail

Lite-On has a great reputation for quality and performance in optical media burners.  I’ve used them (among others) since the 90s and have never experienced a failure.

But recently the CD head of my Lite-On 24X SATA Internal DVD+/-RW Drive Optical Drive IHAS124-14 fell over after 7 months of very light use.  Maybe 10 burns total?   😦  I started a warranty replacement inquiry with the Amazon seller but figured I’d get a new one on the way.  I’ll use the replacement, if any, as a spare.

So I find the best price for a new one is on NewEgg, $19.99 – $6 promo as listed on their own page.

Screenshot at 2016-05-25 13:01:58


Coolio.  Total price (free slow shipping) = $13.99.  So I add it and check out.

The promo goes in fine and subtracts $6 as designed.  I’m happy.

Screenshot at 2016-05-25 12:48:10

I choose paypal payment and do that.  Return to NewEgg for finalization:

Screenshot at 2016-05-25 12:47:46

Umm, what?

I bailed and bought it from Amazon after all.   I’ll send a copy of this blog entry to NewEgg.

Update:  NewEgg responded and is checking it out, asking the right questions.  Props to them.  Hopefully it will help the next guy.