02 May 2021

every-application-is-part-of-a-toolkit at work

I have a LibreOffice Impress slideshow that I wish to turn into a narrated video.

1. export the slideshow as PNG images (if that is partially broken — as at now — at higher resolutions, Export Directly as PDF then use ‘pdftoppm’ (from the poppler-utils package) to do the same).

2. write a small C program (63 lines including comments) to display those images one at a time, writing a config file entry for Imagination (default transition: ‘cross fade’) based on when the image-viewer application (‘display,’ from the GraphicsMagick suite) is closed on each one; run that, read each image aloud, then close each image in turn.

3. run ‘Imagination’ over the config file to produce a silent MP4 video with the correct timings.

4. run ‘Audacity’ to record speech while using ‘SMPlayer’ to display the silent video, then export that recording as a WAV file.

4a. optionally, use ‘TiMIDIty’ to convert a non-copyright-encumbered MIDI tune to WAV, then import that and blend it with the speech (as a quiet background, gently drowning out random sounds and providing a little audio infill between words and sentences).

5. use ‘ffmpeg’ to blend the video and audio together (‘-c:v copy’). perhaps adjust the audio timing with Audacity (then re-export), and repeat if the audio timing is imperfect.

07 March 2021

mac on mac

There is an ancient PowerPC-based Macintosh (still working!) about 18km West of here.

The chap who began using it about two decades ago has a need to access some of the CAD files on it, and to print some of those out.

So I installed QEMU on an hp laptop I own (based on Lubuntu), then a PowerPC emulator module for it, Mac OS 9.2 on that (retired 17 years ago), the free CAD package, and a print-to-PDF plugin.

After copying the CAD files into the emulated file space (from the internal hard-disk drive borrowed from the original Mac), they can be opened, viewed, edited and/or PDFed.

The next step was to install QEMU under OS X on his MacBook Pro under OS X, and copy the virtual workspaces to it. Now the owner can edit drawings of machinery (some of it older than I am), print them out on a modern printer, and back up the entire system by copying two files.

If his MacBook ever quits the game, QEMU can be installed on whatever replaces it, those two files copied into it, then away he goes again.

not so technical... or so mindless...

Posit a human being who claims to be Christian.

They might also claim to be Atheist, or Hindu, or almost anything else.

To this particular individual, the most important person is their grandiose — false — self-image. Everyone else (everything else) comes secondary to that.

Regardless of their claims, the belief system they follow is Virtual Idolatry.


Yes. There is zero tangible evidence of the physical existence of the principal object of their affection.


Yes.  What they effectively worship was created by mankind (in this case, themselves, although they may have been conditioned to act that way by an authority figure early in their lives).

Their actions reveal them to not follow the best-documented human in history (Christ) in any practical way, so they are evidently not Christian.

That they regard themselves (by projection of that image) to be better than any other human being clashes with the basic Monism upon which Hinduism is built, so they are evidently not Hindu (the greeting ‘namasté’ has no place in their life).

A being with no physical existence dictates their attitude and actions, which clashes with a foundational dogma of Atheism (either the ‘lack-a-belief’ kind, or the ‘does-not-exist’ kind) that everything in existence is physical, so they are not Atheist.

Extending that list of belief systems could go on indefinitely, however the practical aspects for someone who has to deal with such a person have some serious consequences: you will experience Gaslighting from them, and other two-faced manipulative behaviours. Empathy — for them — is not a real concept.

Yet if you (in any way) express distrust of them (even fail to admire them enough or to give them enough attention), you may experience a very destructive form of rage (which relates to mere anger as a lightning bolt relates to a phone battery) in which not even their own life is important to them: only that image.

In an attempt to fit the rest of the universe into their view of things, they will attempt to control (sometimes subtly) everyone around them.

The only safe way to proceed is to isolate yourselves from them, do not cross paths with them — which must be done very carefully and if possible subtly, as they are likely to regard it as an insult and slam into rage mode.

Not every person will consider this an advantage, yet nevertheless it can be: if an object is not alive, it has no feelings. This can make dealing with them very much simpler, however a (literally) mindless object cannot do anything creative, of itself.

02 May 2019

Person T has had Person A design a one-page flyer and sent it to Person J... as a single image. Person T is two hours ahead, time-zone wise, and Person A is roughly 12 hours behind.

Person J also wishes to email out the flyer with hyperlinks on each of two names in the image.

Sent as a bare image, she will not fly.

Embedding the image in a PDF would allow only the entire image to possess a single hyperlink.

So... crank up GIMP, open image, select the Move tool, drag Guides from each Ruler to section up the image. Each Guide changes nothing, however its presence allows the Rectangle Select tool to be very precise and consistent.

Now File ⇒ Save the work-file in case you wish to adjust things for another round. Here, I have applied the Cubist tool from the Filters to most of the content, so the idea is conveyed without revealing details of said content.

The next step is to Rectangle Select the top area (in the screenshot above, the left-name area has been Rectangle Selected), then Copy it (Ctrl+C is the keyboard shortcut), then File ⇒ Create ⇒ From Clipboard (Ctrl+Shift+V is the shortcut) to make the copy into a new image, export that image (File ⇒ Export) as a PNG (lossless compression), repeat for the bottom area, then in the central section, for the left, left-name, centre, right-name, right areas.

Open LibreOffice Writer, Insert ⇒ Image the top-area image, right-click, choose Properties, under the Type tab make it “As character” under the Crop tab set the Scale so it will all fit nicely (58% in this case, which can be tweaked later to suit), OK. Click to the right of the image, press Shift+Enter to insert a NewLine (rather than a paragraph).

Now Insert ⇒ Image the centre left area, then left-name, centre, right-name, right. With the name areas (in this case) I also chose the Hyperlink tab within the Properties dialogue, and pasted the link into the URL field, making that image section click-able. When done, Shift+Enter to make a place for the bottom area.

Finally, Insert ⇒ Image the bottom-area image (and if it does not all butt up squarely, check (Format ⇒ Paragraph) that the Line Spacing for the document’s sole paragraph is set to Single). Now save (for the sake of posterior) and click the “Export as PDF” button.

19 March 2016

“What do you actually need it to do?”

That one question can simplify a process so very much.

The outcome as a whole can become simpler, when features which are not necessary for this to be able to do are discarded.

The outcome can become cheaper, as less resources are required to perform fewer functions.

The outcome can become untangled from ‘political’ factors such as who might have a vested interest in things happening a certain way, or who might expect to derive consequential benefits of various kinds.

The outcome can arrive sooner, as less needs to be done — in simpler ways — with fewer dependencies — to make it happen.

The final result is likely to be more flexible, as it is less burdened by specific (unnecessary) features — and so by implied limitations — than a poorly-targeted or very generalised solution.

For a very simplistic result, rather than buy a new PC, this 3rd-hand desktop box over here, with this video card plugged into it, plus these two 3rd-hand screens, this mouse, this keyboard, these two hard-disk drives (all free) and this Linux distribution will do absolutely everything required to source (and edit) words and images to reliably make a newsletter every certain amount of time.

It will also do other things (flexibility as a kind of a bonus), however by staying true to purpose it does not need expensive hardware, expensive software, a virus scanner, constant maintenance, or any one of a dozen other complex and/or pricey components to continue operating indefinitely.

As another bonus, some computer hardware which may have partially become scrap metal but mostly land-fill, continues to provide utility without any additional input in terms of energy, finance or transport.

31 January 2016

An education in two minutes

Today, another will switch from the Borg to Kubuntu.  All that was necessary was to list the things one can do without viruses, without paying the proverbial arm-and-leg, without facing six conflicting EULAs to use one application.  Done.

In less sanguine news, it became apparent that the heartless hypocrite has further isolated one of their emotional slaves.

07 October 2015

Two for our gummint to think upon...

...oh, and one more for a person who can do no wrong... in their own eyes, anyhow... you do actually have a possible future, one which centres on choosing to no longer be totally self-righteous, and sticking to that choice:

18 August 2015

Making good Canon LP-E6 battery-pack contacts

battery-pack contacts
Canon LP-E6 battery packs (such as those using in my 70D camera) have two fine connector wires used for charging them.  These seem to be a weak point, as (if left to themselves) they eventually fail to connect well, which means that they do not charge adequately, or (in the field) do not run the equipment at all.

One experimenter discovered that scrubbing them with the edge of a stiff business card helped to make
with (nonCanon this time) charger contacts
them good.  So I considered something more extensive.

Parts: squeeze-bottle of cleaner (I use a citrus-based cleaner from PlanetArk, which seems to be able to clean almost anything off without being excessively invasive); spray-can
equipment required
of WD-40; cheap tooth-brush, paper towels (or tissues, or bum-fodder).

Method: lightly
brush head
spray cleaner onto contacts. Gently but vigorously rub along the contacts with toothbrush. Paper-dry the contacts.

Lightly spray WD-40 onto contacts. Gently but vigorously rub along the contacts with toothbrush. Paper-dry the contacts.

wider view of brush on contacts

(optional) When thoroughly dry, add a touch of light machine oil. This wards off moisture.

This appears to be just as effective with 3rd-party battery packs.

15 August 2015

In this case, it was similar to having the garbage dispose of itself... except for the kidnappees also taken and reprogrammed into psychopathy, as was done to the kidnapper when they were an infant.

14 April 2015

Imagine a roadblock which is a wall of perfectly transparent AeroGel.

Here you are, barrelling down a highway at the speed limit, when suddenly you realise that you have come to a halt, so gently that you weren’t aware of as much as having slowed down.

Viola! You now have some idea of what is like to have been Gaslighted for over 5000 days by a person who is an emotional vampire: their goal is not to kill you, it’s to keep sucking away your self in order to present a façade of having a self themselves.

If you have been “told,” tens of thousands of times in indirect ways (never directly: you only become aware of an increasing number of knives accumulating in your back over a span of time), that you cannot succeed, that establishes just such an emotional roadblock.

Right now, teaching a Raspberry Pi to sing is not happening. I know what needs to be done. The resources to discover exactly how to do it are freely available. It simply does not happen. Welcome to the AeroGel roadblock.

The self-righteous Psychopath who spent so much time installing this roadblock in my mind can do no wrong in their own eyes. To actually imply that their integrity is less than complete inspires a rage attack (which is not the same as anger: there is no control at all). Deprogramming each of these blocks will not take place instantly.

13 April 2015

Would a book entitled “I married a Psychopath” or the like sell well?

One of the risks here for even a strong Empath is that there are no “red flags” in the differences between feelings and expression of them (body-language etc), for the very simple reason that there are no feelings, so there are no differences to sense.

It must be a lonely, empty life for someone who consists only of an empty bubble of Ego. Yet they are the only person who could change that. It begins with genuine humility (which has nothing to do with acting humble). They need to think nothing of themselves.

This may not sound so difficult until you understand that they think everything of themselves, full time. Religion (including Atheism) is not possible for them, as the only person they worship is themselves.

06 August 2014

Well, that was both nauseating and educational

Today, as I walked into a grocery store, I spotted a person whom I know (call them ‘Pan’ as a suitable acronym/handle) at the other end of an aisle.

They were dressed in a “power” colour and black, were (as always) so wrapped up in themselves that they were oblivious to everything outside their circle of interest, and were dominating a conversation with an older couple.

The husband was significantly taller than Pan, the wife significantly shorter. Pan hadn’t needed to assume an overbearing posture or anything like that, however the couple were reacting to Pan’s controlling actions as if they were puppets. The only important thing in the Universe to them at that that instant was obviously Pan.

This fits the character: to Pan, other people are only important in their appointed rôle (always, of which rôle they are completely unaware) of making Pan look good. That is all.

One of the (many) contradictions in Pan’s life is that they literally don’t care about others at all, other than that they appear to look good to said others. <shrug> I don’t know how this can be, and I very much wish that their actions had no effect on me or on those I care about.

Contra that, feelings like fear, love, anger or joy have no meaning at all for Pan beyond their use as methods for controlling others. Consequently, they have no conscience at all, and absolutely no sense of empathy.

Nausea? I remember having reacted like a puppet, in very much the same fashion.

Education? That massive disconnection from reality explains some of the apparently idiotic actions Pan has taken (legal documents applying only to premises outside their area of jurisdiction, false accusations of others having done the very things that Pan had already (and/or has since) done, painstakingly hammering false memories into the minds of innocents, that manner of thing).

As long as Pan can claim that they have taken certain actions, aspects of the situation like truth or integrity have no meaning; they are irrelevant to Pan, and so (by regal definition) irrelevant to all others. Pan can effectively get what they want, and hang the consequences, if any. The one-word term for this is bullying.’

Since angerhas no meaning for them, actions which are immediately potentially lethal (including to themselves) were not taken by Pan out of anger (although they willingly feign anger when it suits their purposes), they were taken in defence’ of a grandiose (and false) self-image.

Pan thinks that without said grandiose (and false) self-image, they have nothing and are nothing.

News Bulletin: as this self-image is a mirage (not real, not genuine at all) Pan has nothing and is nothing.

How someone who is (in emotional terms) completely heartless deals with this, I dont know. I strongly suspect that the answer is “not at all.”

01 November 2013

Equipment or Intelligence

A cowboy named Billy was overseeing his herd in a pasture in remote countryside one day, when suddenly a brand-new BMW drove towards him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni® suit, Gucci® shoes, RayBan® sunglasses and YSL® tie, leaned out of the window and asked the cowboy, “If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?”

Billy looks at the man, who obviously is a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, “Sure, why not?”

The yuppie switches his car off, whips out his Dell® notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3® phone, calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location, surfs to a NASA web page, where he feeds the location to another satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop® and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany … within seconds, he received an email on his Palm Pilot® announcing that the image has been processed and the data stored.

He then accesses an MS-SQL® database through an ODBC-connected Excel® spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry® and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-colour, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturised hp LaserJet® printer, turns to the cowboy and says, “You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”

“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” says Billy.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Billy says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?”

The young man thinks about it for a second then says, “Okay, why not?”

"You’re a Federal politician," says Billy.

“Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”

“No guessing’s required.” answered the cowboy, “You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don’t know a thing about how working people make a living – or about cows, for that matter.”

“This is a herd of sheep.”

“Now give me back my dog.”

High voltage rock and roll?

When you have a use for 4kV at up to 300mA, some of the microwave ovens so often discarded in solid-waste collection runs include these.

Driving the primary of a Tesla coil through a spark-gap (or maybe an IGBT-based switch) with one of these would lead to a really fancy-looking electric fence (modulate the pulses to make the fence play Orpheus In The Underworld, or perhaps add a MIDI interface?) which would be absolute death to any near-by electronic devices (iPhone becomes iFried or maybe even iPhirework?) however would also make a clearly visible security boundary...

Ignorance is...? Life-long shame

If you happen to be totally self-righteous and inwardly terrified that others might realise this and scorn you to oblivion, there is a very simple step you can take: realise that you’re not even fooling yourself, that we all make mistakes, that the huge mega-dose of shame you’re accumulating for yourself will be unbearable when it hits, and begin apologising.


Yes, you really are a legend in your own mind. Only.

Apologise to yourself for never having had the integrity to confront this and begin dealing with it. Then pick out, identify, and apologise to yourself for each and every failing in your life. On each such occasion, forgive yourself for that flaw. This may take some time.

With that well underway, apologise to others. It can be a minor thing, to someone you barely know: it’s important to start somewhere.

Eventually, your life can be worth something. By building up your integrity, you’re approaching a time when the world is not so terrifying. Your ultimate goal may right now seem unapproachable, however genuine humility is achievable.

21 February 2013

This morning, I saw that old truism in action: “Avarice is the root of all kinds of evil.”

As I drove by the ANZAC park, just before the new(ish) Entertainment Centre here, I drove past a pigeon
(one of several) who had been unfortunate enough to fail in a space dispute with two tonnes of moving metal... and a Silver Gull which had been so intent on eating its part (as much as possible) of the unfortunate pigeon (a gull will eat anything which gives the appearance of having once been organic in nature, so this must have given it the appearance of a banquet) that it had also failed to notice a few tonnes of moving metal, and had actually become a new layer atop the pigeon. Feathers and all.

So... be sure that your immediate goal is worth the risk before withdrawing your focus from the surrounding issues...

11 February 2013

Backup often, starting now

“Backup regularly” has just had a new win.

Behold, a letter informing a creditor that there was no reason to believe that any of half a million dollars could be collected from a debtor who had gone through a mental breakdown etc.

Behold, another letter thanking a mother-in-law for providing the final payments on a house initially bought with half a million dollars “mistakenly” paid into their own accounts by said debtor, as they had so directed.


Yes, some of the paperwork has “mysteriously” disappeared from separately kept, ordered files. The banks are obliged to keep records for long enough that said disappearance will not be permanent. If you find yourself in a hole, the obvious next step is to stop digging. Evidently, they didn’t.

Your sysadmin backing up often means that there are times when documents you have forged and forgotten to/been too careless or lazy to delete or overwrite by the time a backup happens may (have, in many cases) come back to haunt you.

I am becoming increasingly glad that honesty is my only policy. I have no pressing need to remember exactly what I said to anybody at any particular instant.