Friday, October 21, 2005

To upgrade or not to upgrade, that is the question 

SuSe 10.0 I have decided to wait a while.

I mentioned in a previous post that the new release of SuSe Linux was available for downloading. Well it appears that the popularity of this distribution knows no bounds. I think the data line that feeds the server hosting OpenSuSe.org has been sucked flat since the announcement. I got the first two ISO images downloaded with not much trouble but have been trying for a few days now to get the third without success. It looks like everyone was so happy with the improvements that came with the upgrade to version 9.3 that everyone was waiting with baited breath for the next release.

There has also been a lot of message traffic on the various discussion groups both those that are oriented towards Linux in general and SuSe in particular. So while waiting for servers and their connecting pipeline to cool down a little I have been reading about the experiences of those that did manage to get a new set of disks burned and either begin the upgrade process or a clean install of the new version.

Most of the comments have been favorable but I have seen a number of message from people that are having problems with the video drivers. Especially those using cards with the NVIDIA chip set. To the best of my knowledge NVIDIA cards have been the preferred choice among Linux users for some time now. I am using one in my main system here in the ham shack and it has performed flawlessly.

So complaints about video problems have caused me to take pause in my thinking about jumping directly into an upgrade to 10.0 at this time. I think I will continue to watch the discussion groups for another month or so before taking the plunge. I'm sure I will upgrade in the end since the improvements going from 9.1 to 9.3 were so great. At this point in time though a little patients are in order.

If you have personal experience with version 10.0 drop me a note in email and let me know how you make out.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Following the signature file 

I am on a number of mailing lists and sometimes I don't get to read every message that comes my way. Often I will scan the subject line and if it is something I know nothing about, don't have any interest in or a topic that has been discussed a hundred times already I will just delete it and move on.

On the other hand if it is something I think I can help with I will give it a quick read and if appropriate reply. I try to help out newcomers when I can. When I do read messages I always look at the signature file if one is attached. Every so often I will find some tidbit of worthwhile information there. I read one such message today in the discussion list for the PRO-92 scanner.

The message was posted by Doc, KD4E, asking about programming cables for the scanner. In his signature line was a link to his web log which I click on and read a few of the entries. Then I went from his blog to his web site and there I found a lot of interesting information. Among other things I found information on steel house construction. I have wondered out loud on more than one occasion why we don't use steel as the basic construction material for the frame of a house. Well I found out that Doc lives in a house made entirely from steel and that it is not only impervious to mold, termites and hurricanes but it is also very energy efficient. That is just one topic that he covers on his site. If you have some spare “surfing” time follow this LINK to the KD4E web site and look around. I think you will find it worth while.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Web site moves to new url 

The World Wide Web has become a fantastic information resource for almost any hobby you can name. Scanning and amateur radio are no exception. Talking with each other on ham radio is great and in many cases is the only information channel that you need. As many hams found out long before the Internet became a household word though being able to pass information along in a non time dependent asynchronous manner has some real advantages. One of the first things that early radio teletype operators developed were “mailbox” type setups that would allow their machines to be turned on remotely, print out a message and then shut down or go back into a standby mode.

These were “real” Teletype machine. At that time Teletype had a policy that if there we something that you could accomplish with two electronic components, solid state or otherwise, they would take an alternate path. In involved letting one of their design engineers out of his rubber room and giving him some paper and crayons and letting him design a box with fifty gears, twenty five leavers, two dozen springs and associates hardware that would do the same function. You really had to see one of these machines operate to appreciate the art involved in doing things mechanically. But I digress.

My point is that the store and forward technology of the Internet and the World Wide Web are ideal platforms for the exchange of large amounts of information. So much so that at times it is very hard to keep track of it all. That is why so called “portals” like eHam and QRZ have become so popular. In the same way people are starting to read blogs to gather bits and pieces of information that will help you enjoy your favorite aspect of your hobby. That is one of the reason that I write this blog to help others enjoy the hobby of scanning and monitoring and in the process learn new things myself thus improving my knowledge of the subject.

So when I run across a tidbit like this one I will pass it along that you might benefit from the information that it leads to. Today I ran across an email that said that a ham who maintains a frequency listing page has moved to another url. Daniel Ruhe, KE3UC, has moved his South Western Pa. Scanner web site to http://wpascan.info. Note the .info domain. I visited the site and found that one of the links has a problem. The one that leads to Pittsburgh & Allegheny County combined produces an error message saying that the site has exceeded its bandwidth limits for the month. I'm not quite sure how that can be since all the other links on the home page seem to work correctly. Dan has a very extensive listing of the Pennsylvania State Police on his site in addition to lots of other information. Wander over and take a look for yourself. Enjoy.

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