Chit chat


Having led’s hooked to the parallel port can can a server as well as any machine the chance to send signals whether by predefined code or Morse code to a potential user.

Always looking for software to be able to reach remotely such as ERP. Just a fancy hamve for doing accounting via a web server.

Screenshot from 2015-05-15 19:01:16

Downloaded Debian binaries and the Debian sources. thereby reducing the reliance on the Internet.

Pulled out the old parallax propeller to play with.

Probably play with the new rpi’s first since I finally have the a/v cables/



All of which makes right now the perfect time to hit up your cable, Internet and phone providers for a far better monthly deal, according to Mathew Ong, senior retail specialist at in San Francisco.

“Right now is the best time in 10 years to negotiate with your cable company,” Ong said.

Now, working with the experts at, here are five simple steps to lowering those bills every month.

Step One: Tell the company you want to cancel your service.

“When you call your provider and threaten to cancel your subscription, you’ll be transferred to a customer retention specialist — a person whose whole job is dependent on keeping you on board as a customer, to keep you paying for whatever they can get you for,” said Ong.

Step Two: Tell the company you want the very same pricing they are offering new customers, which is the same as asking for their best deal.

Step Three: If step two fails, tell the company exactly what their competitors are offering and tell them you want that deal.

To make sure you know what you are talking about, have the competitors’ deal printed out in front of you.
“I would be very upfront and say, this is exactly what I want, this is what I can get from your competition if I switch to them,” Ong said.

Step Four: Be professional and polite. Whatever you do, don’t ever get angry and rude.

“Be firm, very firm, but polite. Be positive and persistent and personal with the person you are negotiating with,” Ong said.

Step Five: If you fail, don’t give up. Try again.

“If you fail at negotiating, call a second time a few days later, you will get someone else, and if that does not work, call back a third time a week after that. The trick is finding someone who wants to make the deal bad enough to deal with you and give you what you want,” said Ong.


OpenBSD is a Unix-like computer operating system descended from Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), a Research Unix derivative developed at the University of California, Berkeley. It was forked from NetBSD by project leader Theo de Raadt in late 1995. As well as the operating system, the OpenBSD Project has produced portable versions of numerous subsystems, most notably PF, OpenSSH and OpenNTPD, which are very widely available as packages in other operating systems.

The one thing I like about Openbsd is that you can use it with a variety of hardware. Normally you want to standardize the hardware you use, but on a pinch, you can use alternative hardware. This is also fortunate for people with a limited budget can use older systems to be able to compute. Now Openbsd is being made available for the new microcontrollers. which brings about other exciting opportunities. Shown above is possibly Openbsd 5.2. Notice you can have a graphical user interface aka (gui) so you are not forced to use the traditional text only interface that most people think is cryptic and hard to use.  Though you can can use that type of interface if you prefer.

Actually I prefer to use the textual interface for a lot of tasks as it s easier to automate a lot of duties. The above picture is of a fresh install onto a virtual machine. Sort of a computer within a computer. Openbsd like most computer operating systems has regular upgrades in addition to the usual updates. Version 5.7 I think is the latest version. Openbsd is free as in speech. You can download it and install without paying a price at the door so to speak. is the main site. To install Openbsd, you really need a live internet connection. Generally you will start with some minimal software to load and go from there. This last install was actually started with just a floppy disk so speak. No licensing codes or a set of a zillion disks  to deal with. You will need a system with a free disk drive for installation and a working network card.

If you wanted to try out Openbsd without devoting a system to it you could set up a virtual machine.

Set up the virtual hard drive of 5 gigabytes

$  qemu-img create openbsd.qcow 5G

You will need to download a boot image. you can get it in several formats including a cdrom, I decide to use a floppy disk image as it is only a could of megabytes and not gigabytes. Start the install.

$ qemu -fda  ~/Downloads/floppy57.fs -hda openbsd .qcow -boot d -net nic -net user -m 196 -localtime

More details about the installation can be found at  For the most part I just used the defaults.

Once you have finished the install the floppy is not needed anymore so you can eliminate it from the setup.

$ qemu  -hda openbsd.qcow -boot d -net nic -net user -m 196 -localtime

Once you have done the installation, you can add lots of productivity software depending on the amount of free disk space you have. By the way a web server is built in traditionally.  We plan to outfit some old existing Pentium I computers for use in a school saving the school many dollars in computer hardware costs.

Once you have done the installation, you can add lots of productivity software depending on the amount of free disk space you have. By the way a web server is built in traditionally.  We plan to outfit some old existing Pentium I computers for use in a school saving the school many dollars in computer hardware costs.

Let’s update it. I linux you have a sources.list file. with bsd perse you have to set a parth to the packages the first time

#  export PKG_PATH=”$(uname -r)/packages/$(arch -s)/”

Will take into account the version of bsd and the hardware platform you using.

# Now the upgrade:

# pkg_add -uvi

There should not be any updates if you have just done a fresh install.

Now for packages. Screen is a very useful program especially if you use the command line a lot.

#pkg_add -i screen

Will allow you to install screen interactively.

For more information see:


Picture of Crossword or Scrabble helper.


Doing a crossword and no one around to ask about a word, then this instructable is for you. Have not played scrabble since I was a kid. Also like to do crossword puzzles. If everyone uses the same tools, then it really is playing fair.There is an easy way to make the game more interesting and you increase your vocabulary as well as your typing skills at the same time.Recommended that you have at least some time at the linux command line. These tricks can also be done on the Mac and BSD with minor modifications.Note: a quick grep trick for finding a file wth certain text is:locate filename | grep search text$ locate.pdf | grep arduino

Step 1: Whats required?

Linux based computer where you can access the command line.Software:
A word file which should be already available in linux.
Access to the “grep” command.Knowledge:
Assuming you know how to do a crossword puzzle and or know how to play scrabble.
You know how to use the linux command line.

Step 2: Getting the words.

Picture of Getting the words.


What would one need? Maybe a list of words and a way to search the list of words. Let’s see there is a list of words on a linux system. That file could be easily copied to the home directory. You definitely want to copy it so if you edit it and there is an issue, there will be no problems with your system. $ cp /usr/share/dict/words .

Step 3: Using grep.

Picture of Using grep.
To get to know a command called grep a little better, tried to explore how it could be used to an advantage.  For now, how can I search through the file. The grep command will work perfectly. Well how do you use it. Lets say we want to add some letters where there is ed at the end. We use the “$” sign to show that we want something at the end of the word. $ grep “ed$” words


This generates a rather long list. so we might want to paginate the output.
$ grep “ed$” words | less
or we might want to save the list to a file we can edit and peruse for later use.
$ grep “ed$” words > wordfile
That is nice, now lets do letters at the beggining of the file. We use the “^” sign to show that we want something at the beggining of the word.
$ grep “^th” words


You can combine the two commands so that you can find a word that has the beginning and the ending we want. We want to use an “*” to say any letters can go in between. In this case thought we want one of the letters to be “m”. We use “[]” to show which possible letter or letters we want in between.
$ grep “^zo*[m]*ed$” words
There you can use the “[]” to say I want to have any words that start with these two letters.
$ grep “^[xz]“

…grep “^m..t..s$” words
mysticsBlow by blow:* ^ – The carat (shift-6) says “this is the beginning of the line”. Without it, it would find all words like “fundamentals”.
* $ – The dollar sign is the same thing, only for the end of the line. Without it, you’d also get words like “mattresses”.
* . – The period means “any character here”. One, and one only, character will match here.But suppose you’re dealing with a game besides a crossword puzzle, like Scrabble for instance, and you’re limited by more constraints than in a crossword. You might want to ‘hook’ (Scrabble lingo for ‘add letters to the beginning or end of a word to form more words’). So, let’s see how many words end in “are”.ß grep “are$” words | wc -l
43Well, those are good odds. But we hit the edge of the board with some of them (I peeked). So, we need words that are seven letters or less which end in “are”. “^….are$” would get all of the seven letter words, but not the shorter ones. The solution is rather cryptic this time:ß grep “^.\{1,4\}are$” words
welfare…but we’ve met the caret, dollar sign, and period before, so really the new part is the \{1,4\}. This says “match as few as one, and as many as four, repetitions of the previous character”. The activator for the number range is the curly braces, which then have to be escaped with slashes (does anybody know why, class?). And since the previous character is a period, which matches any letter, we’ve found all the words shorter than eight letters which end in “are”.This is all well and good, but we only have so many letters to work with in Scrabble at one time. Say that our current rack has the letters “C F T W A B M”. Can we limit it to only words which use those letters?ß grep “^[cftwabm]\{1,4\}are$” words
wareAh, now we’re getting somewhere! The [] square brackets give the set of acceptable characters. Another way to use them is to express a range (e. g. [0-9]), but that’s hardly the usual case in word games.The only limitation is the imagination. If you are playing scrabble, let your partners know what you doing to prevent any hurt feelings. I like to use this same idea for crossword puzzles also.

Step 4: Last thoughts.

Picture of Last thoughts.


If you want to combine two or more word lists to have a greater vocabulary to work from is fine also: ( must be an ascii or text file.)$ mv words words.old
$ cat words.old > words.temp
$ sort words.temp | uniq -u > wordsList amount of words$ wc -l wordsYou should now have a larger word file!One other hint:
One zip file I downloaded of words had the words in files separated by the first letter. I needed them in one list. No problem.$ cat {A..Z}.DIC > words.newThere are plenty of on-line web pages to do all this stuff, but for me it is nice not to have to depend on the internet all the time for one’s needs. Have fun!

Step 5: Bonus: What words can you make.

Picture of Bonus: What words can you make.


Like anagrams or wonder what words you can make then try the “an” command.
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install an
$ an “instructables”
inscrutable st
inscrutable t’s
inscrutable ts
inscrutable t s
inscrutable t s

Want a limited list of only 10 options try:
$ an -n 10 “instructables”
inscrutable st
inscrutable t’s
inscrutable ts
inscrutable t s
inscrutable t s
inscrutable t s
inscrutable t s
incurables st t
incurables t’s t
incurables ts t

Step 6: Use grep to extract from a stream

Picture of Use grep to extract from a stream


Simple batch file to get weather information: (head command limits results).
#! /bin/bash
tmon=$(date +”%b”)
tday=$(date +”%d”)
echo “The weather for $zip on $tmon $tday:”
lynx -width 1000 -dump “$zip” > weather
cat weather | grep “Updated”
cat weather | grep “Observed”
cat weather | grep “Temperature”
cat weather | grep “Humidity”
cat weather | grep ” Dew Point”
cat weather | grep “Wind” | head -1
cat weather | grep “Wind Gust” | head -1
cat weather | grep “Pressure”
cat weather | grep “Conditions” | head -1
cat weather | grep “Visibility”
cat weather | grep “UV”
cat weather | grep “Clouds”
cat weather | grep “Yesterday’s Maximum”
cat weather | grep ” Yesterday’s Minimum”
cat weather | grep “Sunrise”
cat weather | grep “Sunset”
cat weather | grep “Moon Rise”
cat weather | grep “Moon Set”
cat weather | grep -A1 “Moon Phase”
cat weather | grep “Raw METAR”


Look at astrology as an intellectual cartoon and an insight into human thinking. So I will peek at it once in a while. Also gave a chance to play with page scraping again.

$ ./ Virgo

Daily Horoscope for Tuesday 19th May 2015

Share :

Through friends of someone close, you could learn more about their
background. This extra information, particularly if it’s related to how
they acquired their qualifications, and the friendships they made en
route, may not be something you wish to discuss with others, but might go
some way towards explaining why they are pulled towards certain
geographical locations. This might even impact on decisions being taken
now for travel in a couple of months time.





Wrote a script to pull the daily horoscope for a particular sign. The site we are getting the data from has changed. So that led me to go to another site for the time being. Actually it seems a blessing in disguise because now we can get more than the daily listing. Here is the original script.

Original script

# Get today's horoscope
# get sign
read -p "Enter your horscope sign: " hsign
if [ -z $hsign  ]
then hsign="virgo"
# hsign=$(zenity --entry \
#        --title="Daily Horoscope" \
#        --text="Enter your _sign:" \
#        --entry-text "$hsign")
# output data
# character width required for information box
#create data file (datadir and file name can be changed to your needs.
# make sure hsign is uppercase
hsign="`echo $hsign|tr '[a-z]' '[A-Z]'`"
cat $datadir/$hsign > $filename
echo -n "Today's date: " >> $filename
date +%D >> $filename
echo "Today's horoscope for:" >> $filename
lynx -width 1000 -dump
 | grep $hsign | fold -sw $cw >> $filename
# zenity --text-info --filename=$filename
cat $filename
#remove  unneeded file
rm $filename

Was not sure how to do the script, but the I remembered the old CNN script we used. Minor changes and so we are back with the scopes again. To invoke the script you would use

./ signname

$ ./ Virgo

First letter must be capitalized and the rest lower case.
New script

# Horoscope  Grabber
# Assignments
# ——————————–
let "flag = 0"
# end assignments
# Get data file
elinks -dump "$1/Daily-Horoscope.php"  > $datafile
# Extract and display data
while read line
do fdata[$a]=$line
    echo $line | grep -q "Daily Horoscope"
    if  [ $? -eq 0 ]; then
        # header
        let "flag = 1"
    if [ $flag -eq 1 ]; then
        echo $line | grep -q "$1"
            if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then
            let "flag = 0"
            echo $line | grep -q "IMG"       
            if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then
                let "response = donothing"
                echo $line | sed ‘s/\[.*\]//’
let "a += 1"
done < $datafile
# footer
echo ———————————————
# End.


Get your google data such as pictures. email and etc. Just go to and then you can choose what to get. an archive will be created for you to download when the archive is finished, or you can wait and use the email they send you when the archive is done to go back and download the data.



Just a bit of news again. According to the Linux Link Tech Show aka #tllts eyeOS  a gui desktop web based application  that can run from a gui-less server has been forked to Oneos.  Actually I have seen several similar sort of micro googledocs projects on Sourceforge.
 Early dual cpu (aka dual core) system that was set up as a router. A collectors item. #retrocomputing.


To determine how many files there are in the current directory, put in ls -1 | wc -l. This uses wc to do a count of the number of lines (-l) in the output of ls -1. It doesn’t count dotfiles. Please note that ls -l (that’s an “L” rather than a “1” as in the previous examples) which I used in previous versions of this HOWTO will actually give you a file count one greater than the actual count. Thanks to Kam Nejad for this point.  If you want to count only files and NOT include symbolic links (just an example of what else you could do), you could use ls -l | grep -v ^l | wc -l (that’s an “L” not a “1” this time, we want a “long” listing here). grep checks for any line beginning with “l” (indicating a link), and discards that line (-v).  Relative speed: “ls -1 /usr/bin/ | wc -l” takes about 1.03 seconds on an unloaded 486SX25 (/usr/bin/ on this machine has 355 files). “ls -l /usr/bin/ | grep -v ^l | wc -l” takes about 1.19 seconds.


CNC is a big thing. You might think of it as the 2d version of a 3d machine. Always have wanted to build one myself. Have the stepper motors, just have to make the rack.

Numerical control (NC) is the automation of machine tools that are operated by precisely programmed commands encoded on a storage medium, as opposed to controlled manually via hand wheels or levers, or mechanically automated via cams alone. Most NC today is computer (or computerized) numerical control (CNC) in which computers play an integral part of the control.

Nowadays You can get a computerand almost do all of it yourself.First you have to have a drawing prepared. There are lots of existing artwork you can use or you can create your own .svg files with Inkscape. Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for interactivity and animation. The SVG specification is an open standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) since 1999. SVG images and their behaviors are defined in XML text files. See also

Once you have created your graphic or use and existing one, you can  use a specialized version of linux know as linuxcnc.

You can also use a program called Jscut that can run from a web server or a local machine. The advantage is that you can install it once and use it many times where ever you are at.  Most systems generate gcode.

G-code (also RS-274), which has many variants, is the common name for the most widely used numerical control (NC) programming language. It is used mainly in computer-aided manufacturing for controlling automated machine tools. G-code is sometimes called G programming language.

In fundamental terms, G-code is a language in which people tell computerized machine tools how to make something. The how is defined by instructions on where to move, how fast to move, and through what path to move. The most common situation is that, within a machine tool, a cutting tool is moved according to these instructions through a toolpath, cutting away excess material to leave only the finished workpiece. The same concept also extends to noncutting tools such as forming or burnishing tools, photoplotting, additive methods such as 3D printing, and measuring instruments.

Jscut is certainly easier generating Gcode by hand then feeding a papertape  into a cnc machine.  You do need to know what cnc is about to really use the Jscut. See also:

What will you make?


Have some of the nrf24l0 wifi units to play with. will test them with the Arduino first. One person suggest that a 100 nf capacitor be placed between plus five and ground for more power stability/



More information at:

Experimental code:


When is the best time to get a free computer? When marriages or couples break apart and when MSWindows users think they need a new machine because the operating system requires beefier hardware. Acquired this old P3 for free from a couple breakup. Wiped the drive and put Linux on it.



Home made pizza peel.

Good day.