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Blaine Clark

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since Jan 01, 2018
West-central Pennsylvania
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Recent posts by Blaine Clark

John Weiland wrote:So I'm pulling my hair out on a tangential problem.
I've been able to access/enable the "Boot menu manager" as well as the "Boot order menu".  The Boot order menu has a lot of offerings including USB-FDD, USB-HDD, a network option, along with the main hard drive and the CD-ROM.  I've changed the order so that the priority sequence is 1. CD-ROM, 2. USB-HDD, and 3. Main HDD before the other options.  This does not enable booting to the USB drive and the system goes into Windows.  Additionally and unlike Win7, the USB bootable (Linux) drive is not seen in the Boot Option Manager so there is no way to simply select the drive and say "That one!....That is the drive from which ye shall boot!" :-/

Move your Main HDD all the way to the bottom of the list. I'd say just move the USB-FDD up, but cover all the bases and drop the HDD to the bottom.
2 days ago

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Re Linux Mint installations, three things I do:

1. Turn on the firewall, which is Off by default. In 19.3 and 20.1, it's in Menu > Control Center > Firewall.

2. Turn off screensaver. Menu > Control Center > Screensaver. On some PCs, it locks up the system.

3. Check if Wifi power management is On or Off. Open Terminal and type "iwconfig" to find out. Turning it off is a more involved process. But when On, it has a tendency to put wifi to sleep and then fail to wake up without rebooting (grr).

Yes to number 1! Just make sure that you're prompted for root authorization. I prefer to just open the terminal and use 'sudo ufw enable'. Three's no question.
Regarding number 2  I turn the standard screensaver off as well, then install xscreensaver and usually some of the additional libraries. I don't know it it's more stable but it's more fun and more customizable. I like to rotate the Star Wars with a text file of whatever I'd like to see scrolling, Pyro for one type of fireworks and fireworkx for standard firworks. I'm not sure if the Hibernation or Sleep settings have much to do with the locking up, but I disable them as well.
I haven't had a single wifi problem.
2 days ago
2007 MS support and I had quite a go-round. I had a not old XP system that crashed after one particular update. Every time. They had me try every trick they could come up with. After about a month they started telling me I needed new hardware. It wasn't old plus I'd taken it to a shop to see if there was anything wrong and if they could handle the update. Nothing was wrong with the hardware. I got pi$$ed and went looking for a Mac to try. No one had one that I could try for an hour or two. I finally decided to try that Linux stuff I'd heard about. I found and OMG where to start! OK, start with the most common one, Ubuntu. I managed to burn it, then set the BIOS boot order and tossed the disk in. I tried it for an afternoon and was impressed. Everything had different names, different menus and different functions, but not THAT different. I took the plunge and installed Ubuntu wiping XP. My wife had to watch over my shoulder because all of a sudden I was working on the computer and I wasn't swearing every few minutes. She was impressed. She'd just bought a brand new Vista system and we were having 'fun' with it too. She's blind in one eye and has slightly distorted vision in the other eye so her desktop settings are critical for her comfort. Too bright, too much contrast and a couple other things can give her headaches. At least every other MS update reverted her settings to default. Microsoft know best after all. She wanted to try that Linux stuff too, so I dual booted her Vista.Two months was all it took. "I don't want Vista any more, can you get rid of it"? I moved her personal files over to the dark - I mean Linux side and made Vista disappear. We've been a Linux only household ever since.
A nephew had some old disks with his mother's poetry. He bought a new Win-7. He couldn't open the old documents because MS Office is not backward compatible. I got a panicked phone call; "Hey Unc, what can I do"? Install Libre Office and call me in the morning. Problem solved, LO is wonderfully backward compatible. An auctioneer friend had a string of troubles with each brand new MS computer he bought for his office. Each time he'd take it in for one repair. on the second crash he'd demand a warranty replacement. He called me up to vent and I asked him if he'd consider trying Linux if he had one of his old computers laid back. He was more than game so I installed Linux-Mint Cinnamon and helped him switch over. Then, trouble! His brand new HP office printer wouldn't set up. I found the driver, downloaded and installed it and his office was cooking! He's retired bow and still using that computer for his personal stuff. Our co-grandmother (son's mother-in-law) and a retired nurse, had a Toshiba laptop that started crashing. She took it to a shop and they got it going, for two days. She took it back and it worked for two days. Her daughter took it back and it worked - for two days. She was venting about it one day and I asked if she'd like to try something that might fix it? "Sure, if you can get it to start"! "I won't need to start MS". ?? She brought it over and I booted up several choices until she decided on Linux-Mint Mate. That old Toshiba just got upgraded to LMDE (Linux-Mint Debian Edition) this past fall.
When we first switched in 2007, both my wife and I were officers in our local chapter of the American Council of the Blind. We had no trouble doing our chores with Ubuntu. I'd also discovered Vinux, Linux for the Visually Impaired at about the same time. I collected quite a bunch of used computers from our local Rotary Club and our local electric supply office. I installed Vinux on every working computer and sent them all over Pennsylvania to Pennsylvania Council of the Blind members. BTW, the USPS has a free postal program for equipment that's prepared especially for the handicapped! All I had to do was box them, pack them, seal them and send them. I got several replies that amounted to "WOW"! Sadly, when Ubuntu went to the Unity desktop in 2012 and dropped the Gnome desktop, Vinux was abandoned as most of their settings depended on the Gnome environment and Unity wasn't compatible. R.I.P. Vinux.
Today, my wife and I use LMDE and we're very happy with it.
The usual questions;
What's Linux? The best answer? Here, I'll show you.
How do I get it? Easy, download it, burn it to disk, get your BIOS or UEFI set to boot from disk and/or USB before the hard drive. Huh? Here, I'll show you.
The hardest and scariest part is setting your BIOS or UEFI. I'll do that if you'd like, but the rest you'll do as I show you.
Holy cats! How many Linuxes are there? Which is the best one for me? (Pulls out the USB with Ventoy and several ISOs) Here, I'll show you then you pick. Ventoy is quite the slick stick trick, check it out.
Wow! And how do I do this? Here, I'll show you as you do it.
There is one thing I insist on after every fresh install, enabling the firewall which I feel is easiest done in the terminal with;
sudo ufw enable
That's really all the security a good desk/laptop user needs.
Here's something to remember - DON'T EVER EXECUTE A COMMAND YOU DON'T KNOW UNTIL YOU HAVE SEARCHED FOR IT EITHER THROUGH man ufw IN THE TERMINAL OR ONLINE. There we go again, how many of you know for sure what 'man' does?
6 days ago

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:Wow, Blaine! I knew very little about that, and yes, it is really creepy. All along, while people have been going to war to "safeguard our Freedoms", who knew that we could be "owned" by something smaller than a breadbox that sits in our office or that we can carry in a pocket! Resolution for this New Year: LEARN MORE on this topic. How did you get this savvy?

How'd I get savvy? Searched and signed up for emailed newsletters I thought I could use. That meant that I got quite a few that were WAY over my head to start with, but stick with it and study. First rule for signing up for email newsletters is to make a new 'throw-away' email address. When I first started I made a few mistakes. I started with Yahoo mail. I got spammed left and right. That's when I found out that Yahoo didn't care one spit about their users. Their security was awful, they got hacked regularly and customer into was stolen. I started the Yahoo address thinking I was going to prevent possible spam from any of the subscriptions I made. I figured I'd use this address to sort the serious news from the scammers, then when I was satisfied with a newsletter, I'd resubscribe under a different account that I wouldn't have to sort through spam. - HA! Yahoo was the biggest threat! Of course, now that such hacks have to be reported to the authorities, Yahoo has tightened it's security, but only as much as it absolutely has to. It still ranks low on email provider security.
Today I use Google, knowing that they know the subject matter at least, if not the contents of each email, but that's OK, the account I use for subscription testing isn't my personal contact account. I use another high ranking provider for that.
Your personal info on the web? Going to those sites to 'opt out' is worthless and those that take your money are worse. Search for 'DMV sold info'. That's right, the Dept. of Motor Vehicles makes a profit off of YOUR personal info. Other public sources have been mentioned elsewhere in this thread. Your local court house and don't forget the Feds. Some agencies do indeed keep as much info on as many citizens as they possibly can. You can 'opt out' from a lot of sites and they'll erase your info - if they're honest, but it just doesn't matter. They'll repopulate your info at their earliest opportunity from other public records. It puts you in the position of the dog chasing its own tail. I generally like to toss this little gem in on deals like this; "Circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works".
The best you can do, honestly is to confuse the collectors who are after you for ad targeting. Do another couple of searches; "browser fingerprinting" and "device fingerprinting". This is why I use several different browsers and why I occasionally change a setting or three. If they want to store info about me, I can't stop them, but I sure can give them a headache trying to connect me to a dozen or more fingerprints! And when they do try to load me up with ads? I found out a well kept secret about Microsoft, Mac and my favorite OS, Linux. They use a system file called the hosts file for determining which web sites can be blocked. Most all ads are supplied to the sites displaying them by other providers. The hosts file can be easily set up to block those ad providers, as well as known malware spreaders, casino sites and ads, fake news sites, porn and your boss could even have the IT team block gaming and social media sites if there's suspicion anyone is playing on company time. There's another good search for you, "hosts file". I update mine monthly from this source; Steven Black has other specialized hosts files and combinations. I'd heartily recommend including the one that blocks malware for Microsoft users, and for everyone to learn how to use their hosts file. The hosts file is extremely effective. It's on mobile devices too, but you have to jailbreak them to get access to their hosts file. You can do away with your browser ad blocker add-ons.
Here's a decent article about browsers; ComputerWorld will have you register to read the entire article. I can vouch for them and I get their email newsletters (hint). Here's one about Facebook Messenger; Now here's a bit of good news;
This all brings up videoconferencing. The big ones are Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Zoom with a couple more floating around. Most everyone who uses Zoom has heard about their encryption fiasco last year. It's fixed. Not everyone knows that got hacked recently by SolarWinds, the same malware that got inside the Dept. of Defense, the Dept. of Homeland Security, the Dept. of the Treasury and several other Government servers. The attack got deep enough to expose the proprietary code for Microsoft's operating systems and major programs.
OK, the key word above is "Proprietary". That means copyright protected. It's illegal to de-compile and view the code. The opposite to this is "Opensource", that means anyone who can read the code may do so and analyze it. Most opensource software is free, like Linux and nearly all software available for Linux. Some opensource is not free, but it's still 'open' so anyone can read the code. Why opensource? There are volunteer developers all around the world that offer new features and updates to Linux and to most of the software offered by Linux, a good reason why it's free! These volunteers also look the code over for mistakes and for serious mistakes that could lead to serious compromises. There can be no backdoors in Linux or its software packages without someone seeing it and making a major stink about it. Matter of fact, a good while back the US govt. approached Linus Torvalds, the originator and still current lead developer of Linux about putting in backdoors for them. I can't repeat his reply here, but basically Mr. Torvalds told the US that would be an exercise in fertility ... yeah, fertility. He told them to go ---- themselves. Seriously. Anyway, back to videoconferencing, obviously the best ones are opensource. They have no backdoors. The newer ones and the ones that have an active developer group are incorporating encryption. The brainwashed masses (note the M is sometimes silent) have to have the big name programs for the same reason that a name like Gucci somehow makes a pair of shoes so-o-o much better. Well, see for yourselves;
2 weeks ago
Websites use Javascript mainly as their tool to find out all sorts of things about you.
They can tell what device and Operating System you use. I use a HP laptop with Linux.
They can tell what version of OS and what browser you use. I use LMDE4 for my build of Linux and sometimes Firefox, sometimes Opera, sometimes Chromium to browse. They can even tell what version of browser you use.
For an example of what info can be grabbed, gird yer loins and head over to They will show you most of what can be gleaned by the average, run of the mill website. They hawk their browser plug-ins. When it comes to browser plug-ins I say trust them if you personally know the developer. Don't know the developer? How can you trust their plug-ins?
Here's a tool I use on occasion to see some other stuff that websites actually do; Did you know that the Microsoft .com home site records your keystrokes and your mouse/touchpad/mobile device screen touches? Isn't that something that a virus would do? Microsoft collects this info through its operating system too. That's right, if you use Windows, Microsoft knows every key you hit and every mouse or touchpad action from your PC. You're so very welcome.
You might think they can't track your mouse or touch actions? Head on over to and move around and click or tap around, see what the site tells you!
There are ways to scramble some of this info, but you can't scramble or hide all info. The Tor browser and Linux distribution called Tails comes very close, but they're not for novices.
I use DNS redirection and the hosts file to sidestep and block quite a bit, but again, they only block so much. I also use the Opera browser with its VNC enabled on occasion, such as when I need to contact my bank or any other sensitive site.
3 weeks ago
If the Inulin, the fiber in them ferments in the small gut, gas is produced. In a perfectly balanced gut biome, this fermenting wouldn't happen until in the large gut and there wouldn't be nearly as much gas produced, but we live in a world of preservatives and sugars that throw the healthy gut balance way off. If the Inulin is converted into Fructose, the gas isn't an ... issue! I'm a terrible punster.
There are four ways to convert Inulin into Fructose. One is to cook them for several hours. Two is to cook them in an acid such as vinegar, citric acid or lemon juice. Three is to thoroughly freeze them. Frosts don't really reach them in the ground, but frosts do help drive the nutrients in the leaves and stalks down into the tubers making them sweeter. For some, this is enough to reduce the gas, but not for all. Four is to ferment them. They can be fermented like refrigerator pickles, lacto-fermented on the shelf, then moved into the fridge. They can be fermented like sauerkraut or in a Kimchi. There is actually a fifth way. I take an Inulin supplement for gut health on a daily basis. My guts are well accustomed to Inulin and I can chow down on them raw in the fall with no ill wind effects.
We can most of the ones we pull in the fall as pickles and relishes. The vinegar and the canning process followed by shelf storage cures every bit of the gas problem. And the pickles? I like them better than cukes! The rest we leave in the ground over winter. In our Zone 5 area, as soon as I can work the soil, I pull more for cooking and eating raw. They can be harvested until they start to sprout and that happens when the soil reaches about 50°F.
I've dried raw chips, ground them in a food processor into flour and used it to thicken stews and gravies. It's a heavy flour, like Buckwheat, it has to be mixed with other lighter flours and it has to be mixed with wheat for it to raise. A bit added to thin crust pizza dough makes it much stiffer. I also toss chips onto pizzas for a different taste.
I'm going to try to overwinter some in 5 gallon buckets, layered with sawdust on our back deck. Our winter temps can drop to -20°F so I might have fun breaking some loose on really cold days, but I figure I could bring a bucket inside to thaw a bit and dig some out. If it works, we'll have some all through the winter. I wish we had a root cellar.
They're called Topinambours by the French, and by the Algonquins, Kaishúcpenauk, a compound of "sun" and "tubers". Kaishúcpenauk, from - Thomas Harriot. A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (Kindle Location 273). The Mohawk name is Ohnennata’ó:we, original potato. Let's all take a moment to pronounce the Native names ... OK, long enough. The Pennsylvania Dutch call them Aerdebbel in their Pennsylfaanisch. They're Cicoka in eastern Europe. To those of the Manglish persuasion they're called Fartichokes.
4 months ago
We go the already prepared way with Mrs. Wage's packaged mixes. We have a couple different recipes left over from last year and I picked up a couple more a few months ago. Around here they've been hit hard and nearly cleaned out as are most other canning supplies.
Cooking them for several hours as in a slow cooker, cooking with an acidic ingredient such as vinegar or citric acid, deep freezing for at least a day, or fermenting them as sauerkraut or Kimchi are the four main ways to convert the Inulin into Fructose and get rid of the gas issue.
4 months ago
We can most of the ones we harvest in the fall as pickles and relishes. Vinegar in the canning process + during shelf storage converts the Inulin into Fructose. I prefer them to cukes! After the winter freeze in zone 5 converts the Inulin into Fructose we harvest for canning like canned potatoes, roasting, grilling, adding into soups and stews, stir fries, boiling and mashing alone or mixed with potatoes and sometimes some garlic, frying as home fires and hashbrowns, raw in salads or just for nibbling on, dehydrating for chips and we grind chips in a food processor for flour. The flour is a heavy flour, like Buckwheat, you should mix it with other flours for lighter dough and you have to mix it with wheat to get it to rise.
I take a daily Inulin supplement for gut health so I can handle the fresh Inulin in the fall, so I also eat them any which way without any gas effects then. Some people have little or no gas effects from eating Inulin in the fall while others aren't fit company to be around!!
4 months ago
Take a look into Helianthus Tuberosus, Jerusalem Artichokes AKA Sunchokes. Once you've got them established some of the varieties spread like crazy while others spread slowly. They are perennials and totally maintenance free and disease free. Typical Ron Popeil's "Set it and forget it". Chickens love the young tender shoots and will take them right down. When the 'chokes get around two feet tall you can turn the chickens loose and they'll just eat on the lower leaves and the bugs the 'choke plants attract. When the stalks die and dry in the late fall the tubers can be exposed and most chickens will dig around and eat them raw, some won't. If you boil or roast the tubers all chickens should love them when softened. The tubers are packed with minerals and polysaccharides, very healthy for chickens before winter sets in. The dead stalks attract ground beetles, pillbugs, snails and slugs when they're piled. The 'choke plants along a chicken run will provide a windbreak and shade for the chickens and the ones that spread into the runs will give the chickens young shoots to eat in the spring.
4 months ago
Looking for a parts source for a Game Winner M# 1A-DS725. I've tried contacting academy .com, but they haven't responded.
4 months ago