John's blog

War, public complacency and Katrina

You all witnessed how long it took for the National Guard to get into New Orleans in large numbers. The National Guard takes time to muster as people are diverted from their daily lives and then organized -- it makes sense that they would take days to respond. You can argue that they should have been pre-deployed. I live in California, and I would hope that we'd have a standing force of National Guard ready if we had pre-warning of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake coming. Yet, there is no doubt that active military can move faster than National Guard simply because they are already actively deployed.

His Hepatitis C

A very good friend of mine recently found out that his liver is shot and that he has been living with Hepatitis C for twenty years.

I'll let his bolg ( ) speak for itself. Yet, I'll just add that he is a completely self-made man who has spent the greater part of the last 15 years building an economic and emotional foundation for his family.

He is also a DSL user and has financially helped the Damn Small Linux project with an interest free loan. An act that is very typical of his nature.


So I read somewhere that the Ford Model T got 25 mpg, and that today's average fuel economy is only 21 mpg. Nearly 100 years have gone by and we are doing worse than we were.

With that in mind, I thought I'd post some interesting links:
250 mpg hacked hybrid
How to make your own Biodiesel

I don't have the time to make my own Biodiesel, and there's no way I'd fork down the cash for one of the new hybrids, but I am seriously considering getting me a used subcompact to log the miles on.

Is that a cluster in your pocket?

We are finally in the age of inexpensive embedded hardware. Any geek with
a few hundred dollars to spend can start hacking embedded applications on a

One low cost system that has been getting a lot of attention recently is
the Gumstix ultra tiny computer.
Check out the screen shot of the cluster which could fit inside your

Being as deeply involved in DSL I am sticking to x86 hardware, and
embedded x86 systems are finally getting affordable. Nano-itx should bring out all kinds of cool innovations. We still need an affordable PC104 platform for the masses.

Ebox II - can boot DSL

I bought a couple of Ebox IIs to see how they would boot DSL. They run on a Vortex86 200MHz All-in-One Single Board Computer with 128MB onboard DRAM.

I was really impressed with how small these things were, and they were able to boot DSL from either USB or from IDE. Really, it was a marvel to have DSL run on such tiny hardware.

Unfortunately, X and all the gui apps ran a little too slow for practical use, but I can see such a unit having all sorts of nifty local server applications.

Blogs are blogs

I am going to start trimming help questions in here. If you need help go to the IRC channel or, better yet, go to the forums.

kicking a small chemical addiction today

It may be trivial to those of you who've been tide to something stronger/more dangerous, but today I am kicking caffeine out of my system.

It was getting ridiculous, to the point where I need 12 cups of coffee a day just to keep from getting a splitting headache. So, today I quite. I had my last cup 18 hours ago. I am doing all right so far, I'm just taking Tylenol for the headache and I've been wanting to sleep a lot.

the dangers of running a fanless computer

As many here have seen, I built a cheap mini-itx box using hardware parts and one of the fanless 5000 boards. I find myself using it all the time these days. You guys know these are not the snappiest systems, but they do run DSL nicely.

I'm using my plexiglass computer most of the time. Just yesterday my Mother-in-Law (actually a very nice lady!) was over her and wanted to check her email. I asked her what she thought when she was done. She said, "That was strange, I am use to being able to hear the computer turning on .... It was almost eerie."

I asked my daughter...

(she is four)

Do you like Linux?


Do you like Windows?


What do you like?


mini-itx store changes

We are streamlining the product base in the mini-itx store. Dropping the more esoteric (read expensive) mini-itx boards like the TC 10000. Very few people buy them and when they do it always turns out that there is difficulty obtaining them from the supplier. Instead we are just going to carry the Epia 5000, ME 6000, and the V10000. We will also carry a few of the Nano boards when they finally come out.

With the cases, we are also doing the same thing. We are dropping the Morex 2699 even though it was inexpensive, I think people didn't want them because they look like a VCR. We are also dropping the Castronic cases, they are very nice cases, small and well made, but no one ever ordered them, no doubt it is because of price.

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