Month: August 2014

How to Easily Take Website Pages to Go with Built in Ubuntu Features

Want to read an article later and not use your data plan? Going somewhere and want to look at a website page without worrying about an internet connection?  Can’t seem to find the time to read an article in the near future but worry the article might be gone when you get around to reading it?  If you are using Ubuntu, you’re already set up for an ultra simple solution to grab ‘n’ go websites.

In my case, I just wanted to take a bunch of articles and read them on my tablet or netbook up at my parents cabin where the internet is either spotty or notty.  At first I started downloading Firefox add-ons and this and that but it turns out the most simple and effective solution was sitting there ready to go: the ‘print to file’ option when you print *anything* in Ubuntu.  Ubuntu, because it’s just plain awesome out of the box, comes with the ability to print anything to PDF.  So, the solution is this simple:

1. Go to the website you want to have as a PDF

2. Choose to print the page (I use the control + P buttons because it’s rocket fast)

3. Choose ‘print to file’ option

4. KEY STEP!! Rename the file now.  It defaults to some ‘mozilla’ file name and will remember your last file name so every time you save a new article/page you have to remember to change the name or they will all end up in your last folder with the same name.  Makes for an annoying time.  NOTE: When you rename the file, do *not* erase the final .pdf tag or the file might have issues.

 

pdf-to-go-rename-file
5. Change the directory where you want it to go.  Customize this exactly by using the ‘other’ option in the dropdown list as in the following image:
pdf-to-go-dropdown
That’s it. Your file will be waiting for you in that directory and then all you have to do is get the file to your other device.  In my case I just email it to my tablet, or use a usb stick and transfer it around from devices.  In the case of most reasonable devices (Apple products are not reasonable, FYI) you can just plug it right into your computer (ie phone, tablet) and transfer the PDF like that.
One other enhancement I did was add a firefox add-on called ‘image block 2.1’ which can be turned on and off from a simple button at the top right side of firefox.  What this does is block all images from loading on the page which makes, in my opinion, a much better PDF to read later.  Here is a screenshot of the benefit.  The one on the left is without using the image blocker and the one on the right is using it.
pdf-to-go-image-no-image

Hope that helps and keep on stopping the suffering by sharing Ubuntu!

Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chewy Junior: When You’re This Yummy, They Call You “Junior”

chewy

“Chewy Junior” – There’s just something awesome in the name.  I’m not sure if it sounds ‘saucy’ or ‘childish’, but no matter what, whenever I tell my friends I’m going to Chewy Junior,  by far Canada’s most exciting franchised food and beverage business to open in recent history, they look at me funny.

But that all ends when I flip them a Chewy.  They clam up when I get all Junior on them.

Well, maybe linguistics and Asian culture don’t amuse you like they do me.  Maybe you just want to go out and have something that’s sweet, high quality, and actually gets you excited?

Then Chewy Junior is for you.

Not only are they the most delicious looking cream puff balls I’ve ever laid my eyes on, but they taste even better than they look.  This is rarely the case.  I was so sick and tired of having to both eat and take for others to eat Tim Horton’s trash. Not only did I feel bad about giving them something that tasted like last week’s stale bread deep fried with sugar on top, but I just felt kind of guilty in general about the health aspect. I feel as if I’m reaching deep into their heart and jamming a wad of sugar lard in their heart tubes (I think they have a better name than that…).

Then along walks Chewy Junior into my life.

They look awesome.

They taste amazing.

They cost well under $3.00 each and they taste like $5.00 + (and I’m cheap).

I had the privilege  of meeting Ashvin Abraham while he was doing his soft launch on Cordova and Richards and he said he will be willing to be interviewed on video for me without any scripts.  So look out for that soon.

So, go ahead, get on the Skytrain and get off on the last stop, walk across the road, hand over your money and get ready to make a lot of friends and influence people.

I guarantee if you brought these to your next business presentation you would have a 78% better closing ratio, by the way.

These aren’t good.  These are Chewy.

 

 

Tags : , , , ,

Why Yelp is No So Good

Yes, I did intend to write ‘no so good’.  I have an accent so lay off, cut me some slack and throw a dog a bone.

I have meaning to post this for a long time and failed but recently there was some article about how Yelp was found to be scammy in the way it deals with reviews, so it motivated me to blog something.

Yes, they are scammy to the core.  The summary of why it’s not good is as follows:

  1. If you review negatively, and you aren’t ‘special’ to Yelp, it will get filtered
  2. If you review positively, and you aren’t ‘special’ it will get filtered
  3. It keeps records forever.  What business has the same employees forever?
  4. The business can’t really do anything to respond but if I recall there was some way if you pay money (need to check this one again)
  5. There are professional Yelpers out there who take money to review positively.  They are considered ‘special’ by Yelp because they review so much.

In short, it must be the most undiplomatic ‘review’ website I’ve seen and it should go the way of the dinosaurs faster than it appeared.

Thankfully it seems to be finally happening.

End Yelp rant.

Tags : , , ,

How to Start Thunderbird and Other Programs at Startup in Ubuntu 14.04

This is a slight modification of my previous tutorial on the same topic for 13.10 since a couple of small things changed that mucked it up.  Hope this helps!

————-

I always open my email when I turn on my computer so I figured I could save a few steps and have it open automatically.  It’s easier than I thought and you could apply this to other programs/applications as well (like Firefox, etc).  It is reported this tutorial also works as far back as Ubuntu 12.04 as well.

So put on your seatbelt, kids! Here we go!

1. Press the Super Key and open your Dash and type ‘start’ and wait.  It should bring up the ‘Startup Applications’ thingy below.  Click it.

open-hud
2.Click the ‘add’ button on the first window that pops open and then the ‘browse’ button to go on the hunt for The Bird that is Most  Thunderous…
add-startup
3.Click the word ‘computer’ in the left pane.  Then double click the ‘usr’ folder in the right pane.
click-computer-and-usr
*The rest of the following bits in the tutorial should be the same as 13.10 so I’ll keep the same images.  Don’t be confused if it looks slightly different.
4. Navigate down to find the ‘bin’ folder, open it
open-bin
5. Navigate down (you might want to use your ‘page down’ button to speed this up) until you find ‘Thunderbird’ and click ‘open’ button
page-down-to-thunderbird
6. Fill in your favourite deets as I did in the most creative way below and click ‘add’:
name-it
7. In order for this to actually work you have to log out or restart your computer.  You can do that with the ‘log out’ option at the cogwheel on the top right side of your screen
You are done, son.  It’s that fun and easy.  Next time invite your friends and Gramma.
*Note: for some reason I had trouble finding Firefox but eventually it was there and I found it.
Now when you turn on your computer Thunderbird and whatever other program you want will be ready and waiting.
Tags : , , , , , , , , , , ,

Telus: You Call That Tech Support?

I just had to share my horrific Telus internet tech support story.  It was so frustrating that it is interesting.  Because they have said they will be giving me a couple of months free internet, I’m not going to include a few other stories that surrounded this one, but it’s wrong for me not to share at least this one.  It must be exposed to spare others from pain.

I just moved to North Delta and decided to use Telus just because they seemed to have less presence than what seemed to be a near-monopoly of the over-priced Delta Cable.  My philosophy behind the decision was that if there wasn’t some reasonable competition in the market the monopolist would win removing all options and lower pricing from me.

The installation was fine (in fact great) and the service speed was good enough for my needs.   However, as the excited amateur radio (ham radio) operator that I am, I needed to open a few ports in my modem-router to make Qtel work.  I needed to simply open a few ports that seemed to be blocked by the router.

Since I know that tech support is always busy with people who don’t even know that they have ports, I decided to fix it on my own.  I did the usual steps: found my modem-router admin password and IP address, logged in, went into the port-forwarding section.  I typed in 5200 and tried to save my changes.  The router sent back a message “Wait a second while your settings are being saved. You will come back to this page again (something like that).  When I came back to the page, *no changes were saved*.  Thankfully, I kind of somewhat know a little bit about how computers work.  I envisioned that these changes were not being written to the router’s internal memory/hard drive.  I don’t know how a router works, per se, but it must have it’s own light weight operating system built in and memory to save changes to so that it can perform the jobs it needs to.

My settings are not being saved, therefore I reasoned there must be a problem with either the permissions of my user name or the router itself.

So, I called Telus tech support to let them know and get the permissions fixed assuming all they had to do was remotely log into the router and boost up my permission power.  And here is a rough summary of the dialogue with my buddy Telus and I (W):

——————–

W: Hello.  There is either a permission problem with my router admin user, or there is a problem with my router.

TELUS: Oh, explain

W: (explains)

TELUS: Oh, did you say ‘ports’?  We are not trained at this level of tech support to deal with port setting changes.  In order to deal with that, you will need to move to our premium tech support division.  If you go there and the problem turns out not to be the router problem, then it will cost you $40 [I can’t remember the number, exactly but it was nasty].  If the problem is our router, like you say, there will be no charge.

W: Hold on.  Stop for a second.  Did you just say that opening  a port is ‘advanced’ for your first level tech support?
TELUS: Yes.  We are not trained to do this.

W: Tell me you are joking.  Tell me this is a bad joke.  Tell me I will wake up and you will say ‘Ha, ha, gotcha’  – because my 75 year old mother knows how to open a port in her router…

TELUS: I’m sorry, sir, but to deal with ports you need to go to our paid tech support.

W: Ok, send me through [Note: I was deeply stressed about this because I’m coming through serious financial hardship so the decision was not as easy as it might have been for someone else]

TELUS: Hello, my name is ___.  What can I do for you.

W: There is a problem with (explained again)

TELUS: Ok, try this.  Now try that.  Ok, now try this.

W: Dude. No offence but this is not rocket science and I’ve done all these steps already and I’ve now wasted nearly 45 minutes on hold and qualifying to speak to you…

TELUS: Yes, sir.  Sorry about that.  Now try this, and this, and this.

W: There. See? I’ve done all this stuff.  Exactly what you told me to do already.  Are we done? What’s your solution?
TELUS: You need a new router.  You’re right.  There is a problem with the router.

W: *laughs psychotically*

——————-

So, if you are deciding to move to Telus, or start with Telus, you had better be freakin’ amazing at router stuff and networking or you are going to be funding their new revenue stream in a big way. I had used Shaw for years and ACN for a few years and never had I experienced such a blatant display of cash-grabbing from a cornered customer as that experience.

If they didn’t quickly give me two months free like they did, I would have also blogged my experience that I had one of their corporate stores when I picked up the router!

 

Tags : , , , , ,

Morse Code in Music

As a licensed and active amateur radio operator, I started learning morse code a few months back.  My reasoning is that it’s like audible brail – why would I not want to learn that?  If I was fluent at it I could communicate effectively without words…

Anyway, my buddy Joe found this video on youtube which actually caught me off guard and make me wonder more of the history of Morse Code and what kind of people surround it.  I was surprised to see some of the modern folks who used it… but I digress.

For now, just watch this interesting video about modern use of morse code in music.  Please note that there are some highly offensive sections so if you have kids this wouldn’t be a good fit for them, sadly.

Here is the video about Morse Code in music.

Tags : , , , , ,

Should a Believer be Active or Passive Against Injustice and Evil?

If something unfair, unjust, or evil happens, should we simply pray for the power to forgive the evildoer or should we take action against the evil?  This is the question I was in sudden need of exploring after a friend of mine called into question the motives behind where I was spending some of my time and whether or not the work I am doing is worth it.  His comment was, “The Bible says to forgive and move on.  God will take care of them.”

The Bible says to forgive and move on.  God will take care of them.

I am in a law suit against a group of people I believe operate their business  in a very wrong way that violates ethics and morals and that has direct and negative impact on the people we know and the communities we live in.  I have see the results of their style of business which includes, but is not limited to: depression, anxiety, broken families and shattered marriages, extreme financial hardship, increase in suicidal language, hopelessness, anger, fear and more.  No one would every associate these kind of results with the chain that is causing them.  After experiencing enough of the pain myself, and discovering that I was not alone in this unneeded suffering, I decided it was right to take visible and public action against it.  The comment from my friend made me stop in my tracks and check myself to make sure I was at peace with my direction.

During my personal quiet time today, I came across this article in a Catholic publication about non-violence which is a must read.   This quote in particular jumped out at me:

Nonviolence is directed “against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to be doing the evil. It is evil that the nonviolent resister seeks to defeat, not the persons victimized by evil.”

It is true that I am not doing a rally, or a march or a boycott, although we most certainly entertained the idea.  By doing this, we would damage the franchisees of the brand during the process who are already suffering enough.

Filing a lawsuit is the next best non-violent option in an attempt to bring about justice and expose wrong-doings.  A lawsuit, if picked up by the media, will shed light on darkness and bring about enough potential damage on the wrongdoer that they may be forced to look at their ways and hopefully even change them.  Everyone knows that a plaintiff in a lawsuit, if they even get their legal fees back, has succeeded and that oftentimes the lawyers are the ones who end up with the payout.   For this reason there must accompany every lawsuit a purpose that supercedes the cut-and-dry black-and-white letter of the filing.  There must exist, with every lawsuit, a desire to see injustice resolved – not just for the plaintiff but for every person who follows.

There must exist, with every lawsuit, a desire to see injustice resolved – not just for the plaintiff but for every person who follows.

The courts have one very useful feature built into them:  once the documents have been filed, they become part of the public record and can be discussed freely in public without fear of being sued for saying something personal. This one key feature is the reason why I am encouraged to carry on and spend my time on this.  I hope that one day someone will come across this document, read the details, and steer clear of the path of destruction that my family and I were forced to walk.

The crux of the matter is this: your ‘why’ that powers the battle must be based on good intentions for others, not ill will for the wrong-doer.

I hope that the people who have wronged us and others change.  I most genuinely hope that they fall to their knees and meet Jesus.  All things are possible.  Jesus died for them as much as He did for me.  It actually intrigues me to no end when I think of what their lives and business would look like if they were dedicated to serving God.  I hope that through this lawsuit that all parties experience an amazing personal spiritual revolution and revival.  But that is up to them and God.  Not even God Himself will force them to their knees – yet.

So, between now and then, I believe that I am called to action.  It’s a kind of ‘mission’ if you will.  I feel that I am well suited to participate in the process of bringing this to resolution – and one that will bring lasting positive change to the community where I live.

But what about my friend’s comment about what the Bible says?  Interestingly, it doesn’t have much at all on the direct topic of courts and faith.  It has a clear scripture that Christians are not to sue other Christians, it also shows that the courts exist to deal with the matters of this life, but it doesn’t give much if any teaching on this.  But I’m not concerned because the deeper issues are always those of motivation and heart condition.  With any issue in this life like, whether to sue someone, whether to buy a business, whether to get married, whether to accept a job in another country, etc, etc, are all matters of motivation and heart condition.  Instead of asking myself whether or not I should be suing these people, I ask myself these questions daily:

  • Am I at peace, or am I fighting against God’s will here?
  • Am I doing this out of vengeance or to bring about justice?
  • Will others stand to gain from this or just me (is this selfish or otherwise)?
  • What is the ROI on my time? Is it worth it?
  • and so on

I have perfect peace that I am doing the right thing.  Even though I have spent a lot of time on this process, I have learned innumerable useful life skills and have become a consultant to quite a few people already to whom I can pay it forward.  I am fully confident I am on the right path and I sleep like a baby every night.  Much better than before the lawsuit was started, in fact.  Furthermore, since starting the lawsuit, I have made many  new friends I would not have otherwise met.

So check your heart.

And fight for justice wherever you can in your sphere of influence.

Satan wins when you stand around and do nothing about evil.

 

 

Tags : , , , , , , ,

The Secrets of Pipe Smoking

It was hard to come up with a title for this.  Here are some ideas I toyed with:

  • Why Smoking a Pipe Makes You Cooler
  • Why Losers Don’t Smoke Pipes
  • If You Want to be 79% More Classy, Smoke a Pipe.
  • Why your Grandpa Smoked a Pipe and Why He was Cooler Than You
  • Why Pipe Smoke Smells Awesome and your Cigarette Smoke Smells like A$$
  • etc

But I went with “The Secrets of Pipe Smoking” so as not to offend too many people at once.

The truth of the matter is that a fine gentleman (that’s the title you get just for smoking a pipe, by the way) named Marcus wrote this article and summarized most of the matter.  It was truly one of the most true and enjoyable articles I’ve read on the topic.  In fact, it may have been the very first article I’ve read on the topic come to think of it…

I wanted to take a few minutes and elaborate on some of the issues Marcus hits on in his article by using it as some kind of authoritative reference manual, if you will.

Pipe smoking is an art that requires thought and dedication; the rituals of loading your pipe, then lighting and tamping to produce a wonderful smoke, take patience and practice. In time, as you become accustomed to your new briar friend, you develop your own rites of preparation and puffing to achieve full smoking enjoyment.

Yes!  This is true.  Just two weeks ago I won another pipe convert.  He was a cigarette smoker who wanted to quit.  I simply stated that if he wanted to quit smoking the very ignorant, unsophisticated and cocaine-like drug of cigarettes, he would need to start smoking a pipe.  I pulled out my pipe holder, all my paraphernalia, loaded two bowls, handed him a box of wooden matches and instructed him to follow along.  Within 10 minutes he was taking selfies and posting them to his friends around the globe. He looked 71% more classy right away.  Cigarette smokers are typically unable to convert because they lack the patience or understanding.  To smoke a pipe, you must view it functionally.  You must find your ‘why’. There are many functions you may choose:

  • Fashion accessory
  • Cigarette quit-tool
  • Testosterone increase mechanism
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Air freshener
  • Forced smoke break-time extender (lasts 4 to 5 times longer than a cigarette)
  • Wisdom generator (you gain 41% extra wisdom with each year you smoke a pipe)
  • Adulteror Repellent (my 90 year old great auntie always said “A man who smokes a pipe is faithful to his wife”  Until my wife told me what it does to my breath I didn’t know why…)
  • and more

To a cigarette smoker, their ‘why’ is “I need nicotine in my blood. NOW, you !@#!!!!”

Yet, recently, I was at a red light and noticed the people in the next car staring at me like I had a fork sticking out of my head

This is a good point.  Smoking your pipe in your car will yield lots of interesting looks.  It may also become a point of contention as an officer might try to ticket you for ‘use of electronic device’ if you take both hands off the wheel to light it…

In the early part of the last century, pipe smoking was the norm — men actually considered their pipes to be part of their haberdashery. Tobacconists would fit the shape of the pipe to complement a gentleman’s face structure and choice of clothing. Many high-class clothing stores carried pipes, not only for smoking pleasure but also as a distinct fashion statement.

And such is still the case.

Don’t rush and buy the first pipe you see.  You will certainly have buyers regret.  For some reason, the shape of the pipe and material is very important.  I favour the sherlock holmes style but as small as possible.  Although once in a while I will use a straight pipe, I always come back to the droopy Holmes.  I also prefer rough wood rather than smooth if I have the choice.  Again, I don’t know why but I’m glad I have it.  In fact, this might be the only addiction related to the sport – the fact that you’ll have to buy a bunch of pipes to find the right one and there will always be a nicer and newer one out there – But Jesus didn’t promise us a bed of roses, did He?

During this incredible Boom, cigar clubs and smoking rooms sprang up all over the country, and cigar dinners became a big attraction. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for pipes. My guess is that, when a bunch of guys have big, fat cigars in their mouths, they will inevitably start talking about women and sports, whereas a group of pipe smokers might become engrossed in the topic of the economy in Zimbabwe or the declining quality of tweed elbow patches, which would make for what most would find a very boring evening

Pure literary genius and perfect scientific research!  This is *exactly* what happened.  There has been a significant decrease in thoughtful males, corresponding to an equal and opposite proliferation of meat heads.  I would give the cigar smokers one level higher credit, though, and suggest that perhaps they were talking about sports and weather, not women.  Only cigarette smokers degrade women.  I would also add that if there was a pipe smoking room in your neighbourhood they would also be talking about how to overcome the invasive presence of the government in our personal affairs as well as how to overcome the predatory tendencies of monopolist-capitalists.  But it wouldn’t end there.  I suspect they would also look their fellow pipe-smoking brethren in the eyes and ask how things are with his wife.  He would then, with the most genuine care and taste, share his wisdom that he gained by smoking his pipe, to help improve the marriage.

Another reason for the pipe’s decline may be its lack of appeal to women.

No. Sorry.  Piping has always been a predominantly male sport.  Although I would welcome [with excitement] any woman of any age to join me for a bowl and conversation, I will not wait around for them, nor spend the energy trying to convert them.  Men are from Mars, and so be it.

Maybe the knowledge that a pipe is no longer the “chick magnet” it once was has led to a serious decline.

Yes. This has indeed played a part of the decline.  But, the root of the cause for the decline is not this.  The root is the sudden and serious disappearance of the male’s self confidence! If the male piper was convinced [as I am] that smoking a pipe is both right and good, then he would simply not allow the pursuit of women to destroy this greater good.  The pipe-smoking male should be able to light a bowl, walk to a mirror, look at himself in the mirror and say “Verily dost thou look refined.  And a fine female of the highest quality will agree with me whether I needs travel the entire globe to find her.”  Can you imagine the adventures you’d have along the way?  Chin up, men.  Light the bowl and don’t succumb.

As for the pipe itself, I recommend a low cost corncob or 10 minute briar style, just to see if this hobby is for you. Corncob pipes may look funny but they smoke cool right from the first puff, and the sweetness of the cob brings out the entire flavor of the tobacco.

I disagree.

Don’t start until you find the pipe that matches who you are.  Rarely does a corncob pipe match anyone, nor do they smoke the way they should.  Sorry Marcus, I’m going to have to disagree in the most gentlemanly way,  but I will one day talk about this with you over a bowl.

Marcus’ top 10 reasons why he smokes a pipe:

10.  It keeps me from chewing on my pen.

9.    It is relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of smoking.

8.    The variety of tobacco blends and flavors are endless. Endless!

7.    It makes me feel calm and relaxed.

6.    I can just stick it in my mouth whenever I get the urge for a chocolate bar.

5.    It makes me look smart even when I can’t remember where I left my glasses.

4.    Taking a few extra puffs during an argument gives me time to think before I say something stupid.

3.    I usually don’t get asked to put it out.

2.    It keeps my dog from licking me in the face.

1.    I already have a wife so I no longer need to try and appeal to the fairer sex!

A great list and all valid, too.  I suggest every pipe smoke make their own list.  Here are my top five:

  1. It keeps mosquitos away
  2. It generates new and creative thoughts
  3. It forces me to take at least a 20 minute break from my home office
  4. It goes so well with coffee which I also love
  5. It goes so well with amateur radio which I also love

On behalf of Marcus, whom I have never met, we would like to encourage you to join us and discover for yourself the hidden secret of pipe smoking that has been locked away for years.

I had to somehow tie it in with my title…

 

 

 

Tags : , , , , , ,