Monday, October 17, 2016

Replacement Smartphone

I love my Nexus 4. But like Hank the cat, it has a finite life.

It's done well for about six years. Hank lasted 14. Good work both.

But the Nexus won't hold a charge and times (and smartphones) have changed.

AT&T said I had an upgrade available.

The upgrade is to pay for a ~$600 phone at $20 per month for 30 months, or words to that effect, at zero interest.

Nice, but, hmmm.

20x30 = 600

So where's the beef? I guess in stretching it out.

OK, but you also have to sign a contract for 30 months, during which the phone is locked to AT&T.

May work for some, but I move around a lot, so it doesn't work for me.


OK, back  to the drawing board: Find Another Phone.

Well, thank you very much:

Outstandingly comprehensive review of all the current versions and the many alphabet soup options (OIS, AMOLED, etc. (and I'm an engineer...)).

Good, indeed excellent, work, Will Shanklin, thank you.

He only lacks an easy comparison chart that I constructed today. My choice is the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge


Parameter LG Nexus 4 HTC 10 Samsung Galaxy S7 Samsung Galaxy S7 edge LG G5 Huawei/ Google Nexus 6P
H mm 140 146 142 151 149 159
W mm 72 72 70 73 74 78
D mm 10 9 7.9 7.7 7.7 7.3
Wt g
161 152 157 159 178
Build Aluminium Aluminium Glass Aluminium Glass Aluminium Aluminium Aluminium
Black x
x x
x x x x

x x
Display in 4 5.2 5.1 5.5 5.3 5.7
2560x1440 2560x1440 2560x1440 2560x1440 2560x1440
564 577 534 401 518
Display type
Pressure sensitive
No No No No No
Always on
No Optional Optional Optional No
3000 3000 3600 2800 3450
Fast charging
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wireless charging No No Yes Yes No No
Removable battery No No No No Yes No
Camera megapixels
12 12 12 16 12
Aperture (rear) f/
1.8 1.7 1.7 1.8 2
Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 810
Storage GB
32, 64 32, 64, 128 32, 64, 128 32 32, 64, 128
Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Fingerprint sensor
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Water resistance
IP53 IP68 IP68 Yes No
$650.00 $670.00 $790.00 $630.00 $500.00

Friday, June 17, 2016


Wow. Just so totally weird.

I finally deconflicted xinetd from Dovecot.

I've been working this for months:

Reboot the machine:

     xinetd starts
     Dovecot does not
     Check the logs
     Something is listening on dovecot's ports
     netstat -plnt
     The culprit is xinetd

How to prevent xinetd from listening on the desired ports?

ITOT you must INSTALL /etc/xinetd.d/imap

and then go into it and disable = yes

the services for which you do not want xinetd to listen. Is that backwards or what???

xinetd must have default listening conditions. If you don't explicitly tell it to ignore them then it grabs them and prevents anyone else from using them.


But at least now it is working.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Log into Chromium as a different user

Chromium requires "users" to be added. The users must have been created in Google accounts.

It creates a profile for each "user". The first user is "Default", the next is "Profile 1" and so on.

It stores the profiles in the Home directory. Under linux this is

It will start with the Default profile unless you give it something else. Do the following to open it with "Profile 1":
chromium --profile-directory="Profile 1"

You can add a text file (e.g., urls_treas.txt) containing the desired URLs to be opened on start:
chromium --profile-directory="Profile 1" --new-window $(cat /data/develop/bin/comms/urls_treas.txt) &

Friday, June 10, 2016

Red wine reduction sauce

This adaption of Joy of Cooking (p. 346) brown sauce is lovely over tenderloin, potatoes, and green beans. It can be reserved and adapted for lamb by adding rosemary. It sounds like a Bordelaise, but on steroids... :-) It helps if you have an herb garden. :-)

This quantity serves one person. Multiply linearly for more people.


     2 cloves Fresh garlic
     ½ cup Fresh parsley
     6 leaves Fresh sage
     (1 tbsp Fresh rosemary leaves—for lamb)
     2 tbsp Fresh thyme leaves
     1 cup Heavy red (Malbec, Sangre de Toro, Cabernet Sauvignon) wine
     1 tbsp Beef Better than Bouillon (or two beef bouillon cubes, dissolved)
     ¼ Lemon
     4 dash Maggi sauce
     4 dash Worcestershire sauce
     2 tbsp (4 pats) Butter
     2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil (e.g., Colavita)
     1 tbsp Black truffle olive oil (e.g., Virgin and Aged)

     ⅓ lb Tenderloin filet
     1 small (1½" diameter) red potato
     ½ cup "Exotic" mushrooms (e.g., shiitake, oyster, portabella, baby bella)
     ~24 French (or hand selected regular) green beans

     Double boiler
     ½ quart sauce pan
     8" frying pan

     • Preparation ("sous-chef"):
          This takes about an hour: 15 minutes to slice, dice, and combine; 45 minutes to simmer, reduce,
           and combine, during which you prepare the remainder of the meal.

     • Combining, cooking and presenting:
          This takes about twenty minutes.


     • The potato takes the longest time. Remove the eyes from the potato and put it to boil in a saucepan (I prefer bottled water). Bring the water to boil (four minutes) then reduce to a simmer. After ten minutes turn the potato over.

     • The waterbased portion of the sauce is referred to as the "brown sauce":

          + Wash and dry the mushrooms and remove the stems
               - Cut off the bottom of the stems
               - Slice the mushroom caps (e.g., ¼" slices) and reserve

          + Finely mince garlic, mushroom stems, parsley, sage, (rosemary for lamb), thyme. Combine in a saucepan with wine.

          + Dissolve the bouillon in the liquid. Squeeze the lemon juice in. Add the dashes of Maggi and Worchester sauces.

     • Set to simmer on a very low (gas) heat with the top on for ten minutes to combine flavors and then another 35 minutes with the top off to reduce. Check at least every ten minutes to prevent burning.

     • Meanwhile combine butter, olive, and truffle oil in the top of a double boiler and set to simmer on low heat while the brown sauce reduces satisfactorily.

     • Prepare the rest of the meal while this simmering is going on:

          + Trim the tenderloin of any gristle

          + Trim the ends of the green beans

          + Heat the dinner plate (e.g., heat for 30 seconds in a microwave) and remove the potato when almost done. It will finish softening on the warm plate.

Combining, cooking and presenting:

     • Either wait until the reduction is to your satisfaction (e.g., ⅛ cup or less) or until about five minutes before you think it will—if you're in a hurry— put the green beans on to steam on a low heat. Beans take about fifteen minutes to be tender but still crunchy.

     • Five minutes after putting the beans on, start cooking the tenderloin in a small frying pan:

          1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
          Touch Truffle oil

          + Heat on high for about two minutes. Test with small droplets of water. Put the tenderloin in when the droplets start to sizzle. Wait 15 seconds and turn over to sear the meat then reduce the gas to ¾ and cover the pan.

          + Continue to cook for about three minutes, then turn over for another four minutes for medium rare. It is medium rare when it has the firmness of your palm edge under your thumb.

     • While this proceeds, squeeze the brown sauce into the top of the double boiler through a sieve and stir to combine with the butter and oil.

     • As the meat nears readiness remove the beans from the steamer and put on plate. Remove the meat when done and put on the plate.

     • Cook the mushrooms: Add a touch of water to the meat brownings in the frying pan and use a spatula to dissolve them (15 seconds). Return the heat to high and add the mushrooms. "Shuffle" the frying pan to keep the slices moving and not sticking, for about 30 seconds. As the liquid is absorbed pour the mushrooms over the tenderloin.

     • Giving the sauce a final whisk, pour it over all the elements.

     • Serve with a glass of aforesaid heavy red wine, candlelight, and friends.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Had a fun afternoon making gazpacho. It is so scorchy hot here in Newport that it reminds me of Spain.

Well, it's all relative. 65°F is scorchy hot in Newport at this time of year. Spain is more like 105°F. I know. I've been there.

Anyhow, fired up a glass of Jeréz Fino and proceeded to do the do.

Bottom line up front:

How long does it take? About thirty minutes, but if you use the Fino, it can take a while longer, but no more than an hour...


Adapted from p. 171 Joy of Cooking

Chilled clear soup full of fresh vegetables with fresh herbs.

Serves 6. Halve the recipe for one person.

4 garlic cloves
3 cups (2 cans) beef consommé
2 Beefsteak tomatoes or 4 tomatoes on the vine.
1 Sweet bell pepper
1 Cucumber
1 Spanish (red) onion
1 Lemon
1 cup or more of mixed chopped fresh herbs:
     (Cilantro appears too strong)
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Remove top and root of garlic. Remove green germ from the center of the cloves:
     Chop finely and set aside.

Blanch the tomatoes for 30 seconds, then immerse in cold water to remove the peel. Cut them in quarters and remove the seeds. Continue to dice them (~½" square dices) and set aside.

Halve the sweet pepper and remove seeds and blanched flesh. Continue to dice it (~½" square dices) and set aside.

Peel the cucumber. Slice lengthwise in half, us a teaspoon to scrape out the seeds. Dice it (~½" square dices) and set aside.

Chop off the root and top of the onion and peel it. Dice it (~½" square dices) and set aside.

Combine and chop the herbs finely.

Combine all of the above in a bowl (e.g., 2 quart bowl) and toss with a cooking spoon to mix the ingredients in a pretty colorful pattern. Reserve one scoop in a small bowl to use as garnish.

Put the remainder in a blender,

Add the consommé and olive oil and pulse lightly until uniform. Do not blend excessively.

Return to the 2 quart bowl and chill (with the reserved garnish) at least two hours.

To serve:
     Place in each bowl
          1 tablespoon chopped parsley
          ½ cup of the reserved garnish
     Add the soup.
     Season and garnish to taste. JOC suggests bread crumbs.
     Accompany with a Spanish Riója, chilled Sangria, or chilled dry sherry (Jeréz Fino).

Savory & James 'Fino' Dry Sherry


Monday, March 7, 2016

openSUSE Leap 42.1 Transition

We recently (1 March 2016) transitioned the home machine and remote server to openSUSE Leap 42.1. It is a hybrid of stable and development packages:

Remarkably smooth transition.

A few minor irritants:
     • CUPS / HPLIP / Printer. Initially the printer fails with "Filter Failed". We tried reinstalling CUPS, HPLIP and various other contortions. Finally, by googling and finding
we installed a new repository for hplip: | Printing
This then found a new version 3.15.11-133.1

This solved the problem. Hope Google makes this helpful to someone else.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


My grandmother, God rest her soul, influenced me greatly. She was (among many other things) a stringer for the Chattanooga Times, the parent and then later a subsidiary of the New York Times and the occasional plaything of Adolf Ochs:

At the age of 19, he borrowed $250 from his family to purchase a controlling interest in The Chattanooga Times, becoming its publisher... In 1896, at the age of 38, he was advised by The New York Times reporter Henry Alloway that the paper could be bought at a greatly reduced price due to its financial losses and wide range of competitors in New York City.[5]

Fascinating story, but I digress... :-)

At any rate he became the publisher of NYT but still regularly visited Tennessee, resulting in the eventual employment of my grandmother to report to the Times about events in Shelbyville, Bedford County, Tennessee, for which she was paid a few cents per inch of published material... I helped her cut out the printings and glue them to a page to mail off so she could be paid, by the inch...

She taught me early on about the five W's:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why


How to garner the most amount of information in the least amount of words... Lead type and paper were expensive...

These are a corollary to the principle of Entropy espoused in Information Theory. The formula:

    E = mc²

is the epitome of high entropy: all the physical information of the universe condensed into five little characters...
Entropy irritates some, but it pleases others, because you are imparting volumes of valuable knowledge without wasting their precious time.

Although it may be drinking from a firehose: they do need to think about it for themselves... :-(

Monday, January 4, 2016

Another drummer...

Is capitalism a great thing or what?

I have two beloved sweaters that have holes in their elbows. Because I spend too much time thinking...

After numerous attempts at sewing etc. I decided on a different path and found a very clever Nederlandse solution to my problem:

Unfortunately UncommonGoods do not carry the product but directed me to the manufacturer's website:

There you can either buy preset packages or put together your own mix of colors.

Brilliant idea. This will definitely make my day.