"Save me, oh God, from people who have no sense of humor."
— Ludlow Porch

October Fresh Pumpkin Pie Soup

For those of you who don't know, October is THE month for pumpkin pie pumpkins.

If you like Pumpkin pies, then you most likely have been raised on pies made from canned pumpkin. While it's sad, it's also instructive. Pumpkin pie pumpkins are only a small sliver of the pumpkin growing industry. Most of the pumpkin growing industry is dedicated to the growing of the big pumpkins used for throwaway Jack-O-Lanterns.

Pumpkin pie pumpkins are very small and very sweet pumpkins that are only available for a very short period of time from early October until mid to late October.

BUY THEM WHEN YOU SEE THEM! The pie pumpkins should cost about $2 each and they will keep for about two months.

The best thing to do is buy them when they are ripe, gut and seed them and process them for puree. Save the puree in Food Saver freezer bags, or can it for future use. That way when Thanksgiving and Christmas comes up, you can make fresh pumpkin pies from your own fresh pumpkin puree. People who use commercially canned puree are losers. 

Here is a relatively good instruction set for fresh pumpkin pie (at this time).

Pumpkin Pie Puree

The only thing that I don't like about it is the many different ways to cook the pie pumpkin in order to make the puree. I ONLY subscribe to the baking method. Cut the top open like you are going to make a small jack-o-lantern, gut the pumpkin and inside the lid from all of its seeds and stringy stuff, rinse it well making sure you got all of the stringy stuff out. Dry it, slather it all outside with vegetable oil, and place it in a baking dish big enough to hold it. Put a tablesoon of butter and a quarter cup of heavy cream and quarter cup of water inside the pumpkin, drop the lid back on and bake it for one and a half to one and three quarter hours at 375. 

After you take the pumpkin out of the oven, carefully scrape the insides and underside of the lid out with a spoon and put it in a separate bowl. Once you get the pumpkin meat all removed, use a immersion blender to completely mix the meat into a puree.

Can or freeze the puree for later use in your pumpkin pie recipe. 

Update: October 19, 2012

I was at the local Albertson's last night, and saw that they had placed all of their pumpkins in the same pallet container with a "49 cents / pound" sign in front of it. I picked out four nice pie pumpkins but when I got to the checkout, the girl told me that the pie pumpkins were still $2.99 each. Even though they were piled in with the 49 cents per pound pumpkins. I was disappointed and left without any pie pumpkins.  

Acer Aspire 1420P Running Linux

Like those of you who are hitting this post, I received an Acer Aspire 1420P at the 2009 PDC in Los Angeles, California. I have searched and have not found any other posts about the Acer Aspire 1420P so I assume that the lappy wasn't ever released outside of the 2009 PDC in LA.

Suffice it to say, the Acer 1420P was a seriously nice touchscreen lappy/tablet with a; "meh" microsoft operating system running on a crappy touchy version of Win 7.

In fact I gave this lappy to my daughter as a 2009 Christmas present. She used it for a year, then handed it back to me when I gave her a 15" Macbook Pro for the next Christmas.

It sat in my (crappy computer) pile for a while until I recently realized that it is in fact quite a capable computer. This is the log of my trying different flavors of Linux on this laptop. My goal is to have a lappy/tab computer that I can hold while watching TV / drinking coffee / smoking barbecue / welding art / well, doing whatever I want.

I am particular to Suse linux, but will try Ubuntu first. The biggest hurdle will be enabling the touchscreen on the machine. I suspect that Ubuntu will fail... then I will try Suse, which I also expect will fail. I will let you all know what is the best Linux OS for the Acer Aspire 1420P. Bear with me.

Update Oct 10, 2012: 

I installed Ubuntu 12.04 LTS by creating a live-disk flash drive using the Windows version of LinuxLive USB Creator. I installed the Ubuntu iso onto the flash drive and booted up to the installer with no problems. The installation went very smoothly and I was running Ubuntu Linux in under an hour. After the installation, the touchscreen worked fine. I was impressed. Then, I noticed that there were some problems with Firefox (I could only use as a search engine) and other niggling issues that were preventing me from having joy. Then I ran the updater and noticed that there was an upgrade available for the version of Ubuntu I had just downloaded. >:(

After running the upgrade, all of the problems disappeared, except the touchscreen no longer worked. I played with it for about an hour, trying to find a solution, but didn't have any luck. I was impressed that ALL of the hardware on the machine was supported out of the box, except for the touchscreen. Bluetooth worked, Wifi worked, all of the alternate functions of the 'F' keys worked! It was pretty cool. 

Next... Suse

Update Oct 10,2012... Later

Ok, Suse was a bust. I couldn't find an easy way to create a flash drive installer for Suse. All of the instructions I found were to burn the iso to a disk and boot to the live disk in order to create the USB flash drive. Um... Hello... I need a USB flash drive in order to boot Suse!

So I chose Kubuntu as my second install. I used the same tools to create the Kubuntu flash drive that I had used to create the Ubuntu flash drive. After running the install on the Aspire 1420P, everything looks great. The touchscreen works fine as does all of the built in hardware. I am running the updates now and hope they don't break the little bocks. 

After the update, the touchscreen still works, but upon closer examination, the taps by your finger and the stylus, seem to be something other than normal clicks. they are also not exactly right-clicks. For instance, tapping on the "K" menu icon shows a little window that says,

"Kickoff Application Launcher.
Favori tes, applications,
computer places,recently
used items and desktop

Not exactly useful. Using the mouse, I can't reproduce the same results, so I expect that the touchscreen is doing something completely different. 

Update Oct 11, 2014: 

Yesterday I installed Fedora 20 on it while watching television. The Fedora 20 flash drive instructions were great. In fact I did it on my 27" iMac. I have never had so much luck with Linux live flash drive creation before. Especially not on a Mac. Good job Fedora.

The installation was a breeze. I still haven't gotten the touch screen working, but the laptop works great under Fedora. After two years, I am looking forward to actually getting the touchscreen to work.

Changing your IP Address on Mac OSX Mountain Lion.

About three years ago I switched my whole family from Windows computers to Apple Macs. In fact, my eldest daughter got our first mac (a 15" Macbook Pro) as a gift for her sixteenth birthday. She is now nineteen and works behind the "Genuis Bar" at the local Apple store.

From time to time though, I get this notice on my iMac or Macbook Pro...

The solution (on OSX Mountain Lion) is as follows...

1. Close out of any applications that are connected to the Web.

2. Click on the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.

3. Select your active network interface from the pane on the left.

4. Click "Advanced" in the lower-right corner of the main pane.

5. Click the TCP/IP tab, and click the "Renew DHCP Lease" button.

The system will toss your existing IP Address and assign you a new one that doesn't conflict with others on your network.

Hand Made Cribbage Boards

Hand-made cribbage boards.

This guy in Montana has super-nice hand-made cribbage boards. The big plus is that they have a slide out pocket for the pegs and a deck of cards. I saw them at the art fair in Manitou Springs, Colorado this last Monday and was super impressed. I want to buy the maple one (the one pictured above) but couldn't justify the $95 expense.

I have been playing cribbage since my stint in Navy back in the mid eighties. Mary Ann and I play it regularly on a cheapie wal-mart board. I seriously want that maple board and will eventually buy it.

If any of you like to play cribbage, then this is the ONLY guy to buy a custom cribbage board from. I have handled them and can say without a doubt that his are the best.

Here is his cribbage board link...

Deleting locked files from the trash in Mac OSX

If you use Mac OSX and use Time Machine to keep your system backed up, eventually you will run out of space on your backup volume. The answer is to go into the backup volume and delete the oldest backups. Why the OS doesn't do this for you automatically, is a mystery to me.

Once you delete the older backups, then you will want to empty your trash. Sometimes this is a problem.

Occasionally the trash will end up with a "Locked" file in it. This prevents the trash from emptying and sometime hangs the trash emptying process. Here's the solution...

1. Restart your Mac. This releases files that are in use.

2. Try to empty the trash again. If it fails, telling you that some items in the trash are locked, it will offer the seemingly helpful option of deleting ALL files or only deleting the LOCKED ones. Neither will work.

3. Right click (or left click and hold) on your trashcan icon and you will get the context menu with "Empty Trash" in it. Let go of the mouse button and hold down the [option] key while clicking "Empty Trash".

That should do it. The trick to emptying the trash can of LOCKED files is to hold down [option] while clicking "Empty Trash". Seems to me that Apple would do that in the background when you select either "Delete ALL Files" or "Delete LOCKED Files"... but they don't. So much for "Just Works" eh?

Snagit won't do scrolling captures on a mac.

I have used Snagit for years on my PC and loved it. One of the best features is the ability to perform scrolling captures. Unfortunately Snagit won't do scrolling captures on a Mac.

I recently switched to a mac for most of my work. I use a 27" iMac and a 17" Macbook pro. My wife uses a 13" macbook pro. Today she came down to my office and asked me to help her capture an order form from a website. The form was longer than the page could display without scrolling, and I thought, "Snagit!"

Unfortunately it was not the solution. We eventually used snagit and captured three individual images in order to send the order form to the seller. The scrolling capture won't work on a Mac.

I did navigate to Snagit's capture preferences and saw that scrolling was disabled. I clicked the "Help me fix it" button and followed the instructions, but still wasn't able to capture scrolling pages. In fact, the "Scrolling is disabled" message never goes away, so I suppose that it is impossible to actually fix the problem. Apparrently the issue is systemic and can't be fixed. I'd appreciate it if Snagit would just tell me that scrolling capture is not supported, rather than leading me to belive that it can be fixed.


My iPhone 4s won't sleep

Recently my iPhone 4s stopped sleeping. I'd receive a phone call or a text, then after I was done, I'd lay my phone down and it'd NEVER sleep.

I looked at all the settings and then gave up and called my daughter who works for Apple. I explained the situation and she told me to look into the "Settings|General|Auto Lock" settings page and make sure it wasn't set to "Never".

It was.

The issue was that, for the past ten months I had been working on a contract for a company that used Microsoft Exchange. Having their email on my phone forced me to use the passcode feature (which I HATE) on my iphone. Once I no longer needed access to their stupid exchange email (I hate Exchange as an email server. It seriously sucks. It's a classic example of Microsoft's "Embrace and extend" model gone awry. But let's not get into it), I deleted it from my phone and disabled the stupid passcode. While doing that I was also prompted to change a value called "AutoLock". Since I didn't want to automatically lock my phone anymore, I set it to "NEVER". That was a mistake. AutoLock is the feature that makes your iphone sleep when you are done with it. You WANT that feature set to at least one minute. Never is bad. Never choose Never.

So... after setting my "Settings|General|Auto Lock" to "One Minute", my phone now sleeps properly.

I feel sorry for those of you who don't have a kid who is a "genius" at Apple, while I simultaneously envy you. You have no idea the eye-rolls I get from my own kid when I ask her for help with Apple technology. HEY! Didn't I once feed you applesauce shortly before you puked it back all over me?! And let's not even go into the "pokies" incident.

Maybe this is what my dad meant when he said, "I hope you have ten kids just like YOU!"

I always thought it was a native American blessing of some sort. Maybe not :-/

Windows 8 sucks. Time for Linux?

I created a new virtual machine and installed Windows 8 on it. The trouble is, I keep getting stuck in apps and have to reboot in order to quit them. For instance, I clicked on the calendar and am stuck there. Right clicking gives me a "Day Week Month Feedback Today and New" option... none of which brings me back to the os. I have tried everything I know (and I am NOT a newbie) but can't get back to the OS. Rebooting again...

Damn Windows 8 sucks. Don't get it.

Ok. I figured that part out, but am overall pretty displeased with the lack of intiutiveness of this new "Metro" interface. I'd say that if you are a Windows user from way back and have considered trying Linux, but thought it's be too hard to switch, Now's your day. Switching from Windows XP, Vista or 7, to Windows 8 is like starting all over again. Maybe it's time to give Linux a try?

If you want to, you can try Linux with no risk, by downloading the Ubuntu Live Disk iso image from here...

Or you can buy a bootable flash drive from them for about $5 here.

Once you have a Linux or flash drive, insert it appropriately and reboot. Once the boot screen comes up, you'll need to hit the key that allows you to boot from the CD-ROM drive or USB flash drive. It's different on many PCs, but it usually something like [F10], [F11], [F12] or [Spacebar]. Once you have the OS booting from the CD/Flash Drive, it will load up Linux and run it in a virtual environment, right off of the CD or flash drive. It runs a bit slower that way, but is a risk-free way to see what you think of Linux.

After you are done playing with Linux, pull out the CD/flash drive, and reboot your computer. It will come up with your old operating system, just like before, and you can throw away the Linux disk if you want.

If you do decide to move to Linux, you can install it right off of the same CD/flash drive. You can choose to completely replace your old operating system and make the leap to Linux or, if you have enough room on your hard drive, you can install Linux and windows side-by-side and choose whichever one you want to run from a boot menu. Linux will handle all of the heavy lifting of installing the boot menu for you but if you are tech-averse, you may want to have a geek handy. Any run-of-the mill neighborhood geek would be pleased to help you set up Linux.

Umbraco Development

I was recently tasked with evaluating Umbraco CMS. When I opened it in Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate, I got the following error...

   The project type is not supported by this installation  

To fix this, open the CMS UI project file with a text editor (I use Notepad++) and delete whatever you find between <ProjectTypeGuids></ProjectTypeGuids>

Next time you open the solution, all projects will load. 

The project file can be found at "Source\Web Apps\Umbraco.CMS.Web.UI\Umbraco.Cms.Web.UI.csproj"


Who doesn't want a car elevator?

Mitt Romney may not be the most conservative candidate in the republican race, but he will likely win the nomination.

I have recently heard derogatory rumblings in the republican realm, that his new home in La Jolla, has car elevators.

HECK YEAH! Who among you doesn't want car elevators in your own home? I dang sure do!

A car elevator in every garage and a wagyu T-Bone in every frying pan. That's a vision of America I can get behind.