Friday, December 12, 2008


Does anyone remember the little hatching peep I had some posts back? It was from a baby songbird that I was tinkering with on my pclinuxos install. It wasn't available in the repositories at that time if I recall correctly.. But that was many moons ago, and a whole lot of linux water has passed under the bridge. Songbird is currently playing some tunes on the other pc as I type this from my main box.

Since that time I've learned a lot of command line, something of a necessity if you're going to do any IT admin work at all.. I've even found it to be quite fun (the cli or command line stuff, that is). Anyway, I'm now running webservers, rpm repositories for BEL (Business Edition Linux), found at and helping the devs out at as well.

Getting back to Songbird.. I thought I'd throw a copy of my ZEN Mini install up so you can see how much Songbird has grown in the last year (or less). Also just a thought here.. You can find the ZEN Mini (Based on Texstar's Minime 2008) at ... Just incase you want to try out this great lil' distro too...

Ain't it purdy???

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Some final tweaks are helpful

I've had to tweak the D80 a bit to work 'with me' and here are some of the results.. I love the way it handles..

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Review of D80 10.2 Megapixel SLR Digital Camera (Camera Body)

Originally submitted at Abes of Maine

The Nikon D80 SLR Digital Camera features a 10.2 effective megapixel DX Format CCD image sensor, providing a high level of resolution and sharp detail, so users can have the freedom to crop creatively and print impressive enlargements. It features Nikon's high-resolution image processing engin...

Best Bang for the Buck!!

By CSolisnfl from Hollywood, Florida on 11/17/2008


5out of 5

Pros: Great Resolution, Excellent in Low Light, Easy to Use, Good sized screen, Fast Shutter Speed, Nice Features and Settings, Good Battery Life

Best Uses: Portraits, Weddings/Events, Travel, Sports/Action, Outdoors, Home

Describe Yourself: Photo Enthusiast

I've upgraded from a Nikon D70s to the D80 and can't believe the leap in image quality. The metering system and color sensors are really great, even in low light situations. I'd love to have 2 or 3 of these bodies, just to keep from changing lenses while out shooting.

Musician on Las Olas Riverfront


Tags: Using Product


Monday, October 6, 2008

The Stupid Things We Do...

Okay, so as my dad reminds me.... "No one ever took out an add in the local paper saying you were a genius" (Meaning probably that I'm not the brightest bulb in the pack). I did manage to pull a real 'Stupid' this morning. I don't know where my mind was, but I was getting everything I needed for my trek to work including two small bags of trash that needed to go to the big green thing in the parking lot where I park the car. I also had a smaller bag with two Linux editions CD's that I had downloaded and burned for one of the guys at work, and a library book, plus some TCM (traditional chinese medicine) remedies that I take to keep things working as well as they can.

Did I mention to two plastic grocery bags that had trash in them, and the big green thing in the parking lot?

Have you already figured out what I did? Can you tell me where my mind was as I put all three bags in the big green thing in the parking lot? Can you imagine the shame on my face as I go back to the library and pay for the Italo Calvino book I was in the middle of reading?

I think it's almost time for some type of ad in the paper, though which one of my family members is going to have the nerve to take the ad out in the paper is beyond my wildest imagination..

Just something else to ponder as I go along my way trying to figure out my reason for existence on this big round ball...


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Kitten, lappies, and dogs

I can't believe I've had the good 'fortune' to have this kitten adopt us, but he seems to fit right in. Took a few days before the pups settled down and realized kitty was here to stay, more or less.

He's waiting for me at the door when I come home from work, and sometimes when I take the girls out for our morning stroll. He eats his fill, finds a place to snooze a while, gets up, gets a drink and then is headed for the door again.

Sometimes he even want attention, which signals the pups to want attention at the same time. So, I wind up with kitty in lap, one dog standing with her front feet on my lap, and the other dog standing beside me pawing for some attention too. God should have given me 3 hands for this chore, but I have to do it all with 2. I'm greatful when it's snooze time because I end up with 2 free hands to wrap around the camera.

Ain't life fun?

Sunday, September 7, 2008


I have been sorely disappointed again. Ike seems to breezing right on by us to the south. He'll head over to the gulf of Mexico without even stopping in to say 'Howdy'. I can't say I envy the folks who live on the northern coast of the gulf, but danged... why do they get all the hurricanes? I was hoping for one to come visit us between the August Primaries and the November General elections. How else are we going to get any time off for good behaviour?

Guess I'll just have to find some other way to 'enjoy' myself for the time being..

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Elections and Tropical Storms

I'm sorry to report that Tropical Storm Fay is not playing fair this week. We have tons of stuff to do before elections, and Fay just keeps dragging her feet around here. Would somebody jerk her chain and tell her to get a move-on, so we can get back to work?

Thanks, and have a less than soggy day, week, month, etc..

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Living with Hep C

Since I've been dealing with this for some time now, I thought I would bring it to the forefront of my blog site. It's more than just dealing with the Hep C that bothers me. As a matter of fact, if it were only dealing with Hep C that I had to do, it might just be easy as pie, but it's not. Let me explain.

I have been dealing with Hep C for about 30 years or so. Unbeknownst to me, all the quirky little problems I've had over the last 40 years can be directly attributed to the Hep C virus. Take for instance the time I had just gotten out of basic training back in 73. I was waiting for tech school to begin over at the West Coast Language Institute in Monterrey, California, and I had to wait on base (Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas). About a month into my 'wait' I went home on leave just to visit, and while there seemed to come down with some mysterious 'illness'. I quickly went over to Luke AFB where the medical staff pronounced the results of their examination as "German Measles". For some reason that just didn't hold water as far as I was concerned. I hadn't been exposed to German Measles that I knew of, and no one on base had been reported as having them. A few days later, things cleared up and I was on my way to California.

In 1980, about 6 weeks after my daughter was born, up pops this 'mysterious' illness again, and the doctor in Montgomery, AL diagnoses me with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Gold shots and anti-inflamatory were the standard procedure of the day. A month later this strange illness just 'disappears' as fast as it came.

1989 brought on a whole new set of problems which neither the doctors or I could understand where they were coming from. One day I was healthy as a horse (I know, I had them at the time), and the next day I was down and out. Depression was the primary diagnosis and Xanax was the 'cure'. Xanax just didn't help out much. I didn't want to get addicted either, so down the toilet they went.

2000 - I'm feeling lumps up under my ribcage, psoriasis on the elbows, bouts of depresson, muscle stiffness, and the works on and off. Oh, did I mention cold sores the size of quarters?

2002 - I go to the VA hospital in Miami (I was living in N Miami Beach at the time), and I'm just not feeling well. 'Take aspirin'.

2005 - Still visiting the VA hospital on a routine basis and the PA (Physician Assistant) I'm assigned to knows I don't have RA so she gets this idea and tests me for Hep C. She is then shuffled off to the terminal heart patient unit and my test results are left in the VA's computer system. No one followed up.

2007 - Another new PA comes on the scene in my VA experience and asks: "Have you ever been tested for Hep C?" Now she has the computer with all my labs, all my exams, all my tests, visits, etc in front of her and she's asking me. I keep going back for this lab and that clinic (dermatology, women's clinic, lab work again, RA clinic, radiology, general surgeon)and it was when I got to the general surgeon's office that I found out about the Hep C. Viral load of 5 Million. What??? Why hasn't anyone told me?? What do I do???

Okay, it's now 2008, late 2008 I might add. I find out that the Interferon Coctail that the VA serves up is not in my best interest, yet they have no alternatives. Did I mention I also was told I had Osteopenia a year and a half ago (now advanced Osteoporosis within a year and a half's time) and that the Fosamax they gave me didn't get along with my stomach or intestines at all, yet the VA doesn't have any alternative treatments.

I'm hanging in there with TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). I have to keep a close watch on the balance of things. Sometimes I go too far to the left or right and I have to struggle to regain balance. Body chemistry is a funny thing. Everything you eat affects it. Exercise affects it. Sleep or lack thereof affects it. But inspite of all this, I'm just hanging in there, hoping for a better option to come along.

Did I mention I'm just a bit peeved at the US Government through all of this? Seems like those Jet Guns they used to vaccinate us could have been contaminated, but it's not sure. As long as they are not sure, there's no responsibility to accept, and therefore 11% of all US Military Vets don't have to be compensated. As long as there are no alternative methods of treatment available it's just....... too bad!

I have to wonder if any treatment options will be available in the next several years. I'm missing out on an average of 3 days of work a month, because I'm just too tired to get up and go to work because my liver is not doing what a normal liver is supposed to do. Bile salts are really important when it comes to digesting food and getting available energy out of it. I'm also wondering all of those 'what if's' that come along when you are not sure if you can make it to retirement. Wondering who will take care of me when I can't take care of myself. It's not a pleasant thing to thing about but someone has to take resposibility for thinking about it. I'm sure my boss won't, or my coworkers, or the doctors at the VA hospital wont.

Just something to think about.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I take exception to the BBC

I'm slow at getting around to the news, mostly because I hate reading it. However, I was going through the morning ritual of seeing what updates could be found on Hep C (as I have it), and ran across the following article in the BBC online site:

What bothers me is not that they reported on the fact Natalie Cole has Hep C and has responded to treatment, but the last 2 lines of the article. It's a very seedy slant on the way Hep C is acquired. They never listed blood transfusions, dentist's offices, or even the Jet Gun used by the military to immunize the troops.

Why not report that 11% of Military Vets have Hep C, compared to a national average of only 5% ?

Maybe truth is not what the BBC is looking for, but sales. In the meantime they have not done the rest of us Hep C recipients any great favors. Now we all look like a bunch of drug using idiots!!

I'll post their response to my complaint, if and when it rolls into my email box.

Just something else to think about.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Oh, Ouch!

Wow, I can't believe this. I couldn't telnet into BTOB my IRC Channel bot today, so I did the routine launchmodem in my favorite web browser and lo and behold, the static IP addy I finally managed to get assigned had disappeared.

I put in yet another call to ATT DSL tech support and got Gloria on the line, who said what she got by pinging my modem was not the same as what was assigned to my account. 1 point for ATT today. She also switched me to billing so I could get a few issues worked out.. Thanks Greg, you did a great job. Can I mention you are a MAC guy looking at linux?

I currently on the phone with Jeffrie at the DSL tech support center again, and he seems to have the issue well under hand..........

Oops, my cell phone dopped the call, Jeffrie didn't call me back, so I called the 'secret' number for DSL back.

I got another gal who was entirely hard to understand, and I won't mention having to explain the whole routine to her several times so that she understood what the problem was. I'm now hoping we can get this whole mess resolved today.. Please God, today...

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I can't believe it. I have my 'old' static IP address back.. Will wonders ever cease??

Now, I still have to get all those minutes back, and see about my 'free' month for all the stress and aggravation those peeps put me through..

Just remember... stick with it long enough and eventually something will happen..

Two weeks and counting

You realize it's been two weeks and counting since I started the 'great' adventure with AT & T. I had to call them back yesterday and remind them to shut off the phone service at the old address. Seems like they had shut off the DSL (that's one department) but hadn't turned off the phone service (that's another department).. Why didn't I think of that one???

I also finally got my static IP address, however that was also another call just to talk to tech support and some 3rd level up supervisor who's going to try to get my old one back.. (Remember this was a 2.5 mile move, but I'm now on a new server..)

Today I have two chores. Call AT & T and demand a month of service free for all the phone calls and hours I've wasted getting my service correct, and going to the AT & T to dispute the 6 + hours of service calls to AT & T on my AT & T cell phone. I WANT MY MINUTES BACK!!!

Maybe I can write one day and say... Yup, it's finally a done deal. But until that time, I'll just keep ya'll updated.

I would have switched to some other company if I didn't need the same static IP address that I had at the old location, but If it comes down to not being able to get it, I'm going to find someone else to provide me service... This really has been rediculously rediculous.

I sure hope the president/CEO/head guy in charge of AT & T reads my blog!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On and On goes the Frustration (updated)

To think I had to completely wipe a good Minime 2008 install off of a laptop, just to get XP loaded on there so I could finalize my account registration with ATT. Can you imagine? One plus hours to install XP on an older laptop, so I could get out another CD from the phone company so I could set up a connection so I could tell them who I was.

I will be glad when this is all over and done with. I will load Minime 2008 back onto the little machine in less that 15 minutes. That includes copying over the data files I had move to USB flash prior to the Windows wipeout.

Just goes to show what one monopolizing company will do to scratch the back of another.

Bell South, you sold us down the river when you sold out to ATT.


I managed to get my ATT/Bell South registration completed. Only took several hours (more than 3), a wipeout of a perfectly good linux install, a waste of more hours installing the 'minimally required software' (i.e., Windoze XP), the Bell South Installation CD stuff, and one last phone call yet to be made to get my static IP addy back. (I need it because I do host webpages and one of those IRC Bot thingies. All this just to associate my new phone number with my old USER ID and password.

Can life be any more controlled than that? I should have charged them for the use of my hours changing my entire lifestyle just to get services I am paying for.

Just something to think about!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Continuing with Frustration

Okay, I managed to get through to tech support so I could register my new DSL line. Seems like it isn't going to happen until I get someone over here with a laptop or computer with Windows installed on it. Now that just doesn't seem right. Why should I have to have Windows on my computer(s) in order to finalize registration of my DSL account. Over 70% of world wide servers use Unix/Linux, yet ATT is telling me that without Windows on my home computers, I cannot finish registering my account, or get my static IP address moved to the new number?

Why is everyone so dependent on that monopolizing enterprise? Isn't there any freedom any more? Those of us who do enjoy our freedom to compute via any OS (Operating System) that we choose, or any viable alternative to Microsoft are being punished for doing it.

Hours and hours of my time were wasted today only to find out I just can't get there from here if I don't have Windows.

Sickening. Absolutely Sickening...

And I still have to pay for this service??

Totally Frustrating

I just went through one of the most frustrating experiences with ATT that I've ever encountered with any service.

I moved a mere 2.6 miles north of my previous location and had to move my DSL service along with me. I called in to make the request, and had to be 'served' by three different departments to get the job done. Disconnect old service (one department), request new service (second department), and request Static IP address be retained (third department). That took 60 of my 'anytime' minutes on my cell phone that I also get from ATT.

The service was supposed to be connected on Wednesday, but when I arrived home there was a card on the door of my apartment saying they couldn't complete the order because they didn't know which line was mine without accessing the jack on the inside of the apartment. To top that off, they let a $100 modem sitting on my doorstep which I told the gal in department #2 I didn't need since I already had one. (I'm just moving my service, obviously I have a modem!!)

So, now a second 50+ minute call to ATT where I reach the 'wrong' department and the guy is so apologetic about not having the answers that instead of telling me to call the 'service' department, he puts me on hold various times while he tried to figure out which department CAN help me. Okay, I've used up 2 hours of my 'anytime' minutes (out of 450) and at least I have some assurance that someone will come out to connect my line between 8am and 12 noon on Saturday.

I wait at home and shortly after 12 noon on Saturday I'm outside with the dogs when an ATT van stops to ask me where such and such an address is. (Hurray!!! That's me!!!) I escort him into the apartment, show him the jack(s) and tell him which one I WANT to use because all of my computer gear is set up there. (He checked everyone of them no less). Out the door we go and follow the line up the wall and around the building to the box. It was the sound his little gismo made that told him which one to hook up.

Back inside to turn on the modem, and Voila, I had DSL running like a champ. I fired up the laptop with PCLinuxOS, hooked up to my modem in less than 2 minutes and was cruising the net.
He looked at my laptop and the ease with which I connected to the net and asked "That's Linux??" with such amazement. (And the techs on the phone couldn't understand why I didn't need help setting up my DSL, DOH??)

Okay, I'm happy, the tech who hooked up my DSL line is happy (I sent him away with a shiney CD with PCLinuxOS Minime 2008 on it. Now to call the tech line back and asked them to please move my static IP addy to the new line. (This should be a riot!!!)

Something to think about: Why do I pay so much for inept service when I have to provide top notch service or lose my job???

Friday, July 4, 2008

In Case You are Wondering

Those photos on the slide show are all mine. I've had a Nikon D70s for some time, and occasionally I feel inspired to go out and 'shoot' something. I haven't been too inspired as of late since elections has me working over time, I'm in the process of moving, and a few other not so important things keep me busy. But, with the new move to Hollywood, FL, I'm sure I will get reinspired shortly... At least that's what I'm hoping for anyway.

P.S. Happy Independence Day!!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Disposablity of Humans

I'm not here to talk about the disposability of human lives, but another type of disposability. It's one that I am currently witnessing in the real estate arena, so I have first hand knowledge of the subject.

Let me tell you how this works in the real estate market. First, a person of unknown origins decides to buy a piece of property for future gains. He knows at the moment, the property value is lower than it could be, or is in distress for some reason or another and decides to take advantage of said property. In our case it was someone from Europe who purchased our small complex with the intent of making money off of it in the future as land values in our area continued to rise dramatically. He bought the 8 unit property, collect rents which paid the mortgage, property taxes, insurance, etc. All the while, no repairs were done after major storm damage happened due to a hurricane, although he did collect checks from the insurance company. So people were paying rent for a place to sleep safely and soundly, and yet the owner did nothing to fix any needed items including termites.

Next comes the sale of the property because the city has hounded this owner with one Code Violation after the next, and he's been cruising by with one excuse after another for some time. It's boiling down to fix it, or pay! What's his option if he doesn't want to pay to have repairs done? Sell it to the next guy who's wanting to make a buck off the property. So now the first guy makes a profit on his money, the second guy buys to tear down all the buildings and wait until the value of the property goes back up. Some folks just have enough money in the bank to do that. Besides, with the buildings gone, the taxable value is almost nill, there's no insurance to pay for, and life goes on while the waiting game is played out.

But wait!!! What about those poor folks, living from paycheck to paycheck that have been paying the mortgage for guy #1 all this time? They got 15 day eviction notices. Fifteen days to move out, or have the sherriff come knock on their doors and put their belongings in the street.

Amazing this 'American Capitalism Society', isn't it? Turning living beings into disposable trash to be thrown to the curb when no longer needed to pay someone else's mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc.

Life never ceases to amaze me. Nor some of the 'human beings' I get to share this 'journey' with.

Something to think about.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Waking up to Reality

I'm sure this is going to make some folks mad, especially people in certain 'industries', however I just can't seem to contain myself.

How many times have you seen that hogwash on TV about this bank, or that bank, doing you some 'great service'? Did you fall for it 'hook, line, and sinker'? That's a shame if you did. Really a shame. Let me explain why I feel that way.

First off, I use direct deposit to have my salary sent to X Institution. For all accounts and purposes, I am making a loan to X until I'm ready to use those funds. What has X provided me? A safe place to keep my money, a debit card and checks so I can withdraw it to pay my bills or purchase something.

What I have done for them was loan them my entire paycheck to use, until I need it. So during the course of the year I have loaned them, say $30,000 (fictional sum used). What have they done with that money while they had use of it? Made more money by loaning it to someone else. What portion of the interest that they collect is given back to me? Zilch, zip, nada.

Now lets take a nice round figure to represent the number of 'customers' the bank has who are doing the same as me. Say 100,000 (it's just a small bank, okay?) So these 100,000 customers donate on average (just for simplicity's sake) $1,500 a month in X Institution. That is a whopping $150 million dollars each month, or $1.8 billion a year. If I had that kind of money coming in yearly, I'm sure I could make some money on that, take a trip, buy a new home or two, several new cars, etc...and that's just on the interest, not on the principal.

So who's getting the most benefit out of the money we are working for?

Just something else to think about.

Have a spiffy week!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

You Tube Videos

I guess You Tube has a way of keeping us on our toes. Seems like a few vids I posted here within the last few months were no longer available, which keeps me coming back if only to make sure content is still available. Then on the other hand, it gives me an excuse to write something like this.... Thanks You Tube!!

Writing, Handwriting Specifically..

I have the awesome duty and responsibility to register voters for the county I live in. I work in the Supervisor of Elections office and do data entry. That means I have to read voter registration applications from all types of people. The ones that get to me the most are the ones from the High School drives we have. This brings me to the main point of this topic.

Handwriting is a form of communication between two or more people. I'm not talking about notes you might take to help jog your own memory, but the things you write with the intention of communicating information to another person. If I were to speak English to a non-English speaking person, there would be no communication between us. Same goes for the person who writes in such a sloppy fashion that you can't make out heads or tails of what he/she is writing.

What ever happened to the class in school where children actually learned to write, be it in block letters or script? Why are our children not being educated in handwriting any more? Why don't the teachers enforce some type of standard, so that children learn the importance of communicating via the written word?

Just my thoughts and opinions, but well worth thinking about.

Have a Jiffy Father's day all you dads out there..

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Speaking of addictions in the IRC Channel this morning, some of us had the realization that we are all addicted.... to Linux, PCLinuxOS specifically. In describing some of the withdrawal symptoms that might arise if a cure was to be affected, these were some that came up:

Searching for a kernel, or kernel panic!! Where's my kernel ?!?!? I need a kernel fix right now!!!!
Looking for your 'imaginary' friends, Where did Paul and John go?? I haven't seen them and I miss them horribly... I can't find them anywhere.
Keying on an invisible keyboard, staring at an unseen monitor, playing with an invisible mouse.

Can you imagine what the world would be like without Linux? I can't...

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I just happened to be on (actually working with) the computer when I got notification via Firefox that there is severe weather in the area. A tornado seems to be ripping through the northern section of Broward county as I write this and listen on another tab to Weather Bloopers. Here is one I just couldn't resist sharing.. ha ha ha!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sign the petition

If any one out there is reading this blog, how about going on over to this site and signing the petition. It's all about VIA Technologies making better drivers for Linux Distros...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Santa's Little Helper

I am learning the ins and outs of building rpms with the team over at . It's no less than a great joy when you can actually do something to get your spec file correctly done and have a program build... But... But, so many things to learn and not nearly enough time or brain power to get it all done in one sitting... Then you come back to the project and....and... Shoot! I've forgotten where I was.

I'm currently working on the latest release of Songbird over at . It's a nifty little open source jukebox, player, etc. Works fine unpacked and right out of the folder on my desktop, so what's the deal here? Why won't it go when I've built an rpm and installed it? Dang, I must have goofed somewhere along the lines... Buaaaaaaaaaaa... chirpbuaaaaaaaaaaa...

Get Songbird

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Here we go!!

Here's the first in a series of never ending new things for me. I've left notes and thoughts on MSN's MySpace in the past, along with some photo albums. Of course, I have albums on Google's Picasa, and my very own photography website.

I will post relevant and not so relevant material here from time to time. Just notes of what I've learned, what I've stumbled upon, or what I like. I will keep my dislikes to myself as it helps no one in general.

A short list of what I do like will help you get to know me a bit better.

Torah, Talmud, all things Misterious and unknowable for the most part.
Animals (I guess my dogs and birds are happy with that)
Florida (Sunshine is great!)

Enough for now. I will look for blogs to add for your reading pleasure, or at least one's I find educational or entertaining.

C Solis