Quick Camping Trip with Jacob and Lucas


So far this summer the boys and I have not gotten in a single night of camping. I did a three night trip on motorcycles with my friend Vince but the summer was so crazy that the boys had not slept in a tent all year.

With football season starting and the summer ending, labor day weekend was really our last chance. I decided that for Lucas’ first backpacking trip we would just do a single night. I also was not that familiar with where we were going so I thought it might be safer to not head in too far.

Our destination was the Buchanan Pass Trail which starts at Camp Dick and heads west.

Map picture

We hiked in about 3.5 miles and found an awesome place to setup camp.

We were about 50 feet off of the trail, next to a meadow but in the trees. The river was about 100 feet from our campsite so we had access to fresh water.

Part of the reason for going this late in the year was that there was a fire ban earlier in the year due to all of the forest fires. Luckily there was no fire ban this weekend so we set to making a fire. Jacob took care of cutting up a log with the saw and Lucas found kindling. We had no problems getting a fire going in no time. IMG_20120831_175143We needed water so we went down to the river to fill the bottles using the purifier. Pumping water with the filter seemed to be one of Lucas’ favorite things to do.

We ate a huge dinner of steak, hot dogs and dehydrated Kung Pao Rice and Chicken. The boys said it wasn’t too bad. We also had fruit and nuts.

The moon was full but we really couldn’t see it because it was cloudy. I was just happy it wasn’t raining.

In the morning was all slept in until about 8am and then I made up some coffee in my new Jetboil Flash Java Kit. That thing rocks. It boils water in no time and comes with accessories to turn it into a French press. Properly caffeinated I was then able to make us a breakfast of bacon and eggs using the fire and the Jetboil.

After breakfast we set out for Red Deer Lake. The hike was longer than we expected, probably about 5 or 6 miles. The lake was beautiful though. It is not huge but it is right under the continental divide and the view was spectacular. We brought poles and some flies and were hoping to catch some fish but unfortunately we didn’t have any luck. Typically around mountain lakes we can see trout by the shore but there seemed to be none this day.

Here are some of the pictures around the lake.

In the cave below the melting snow.

We then hiked back to camp, took a little nap and then packed up. It took longer than expected to get out and everyone was pretty wiped out.

All around it was a great trip and hopefully the start of a new tradition.

First Post Using Windows Live Writer

So, I have been playing around with Windows Live components, primarily the sync with SkyDrive. But, I thought I would give this tool a try to see if it would make updating my blog a little easier.


I figured I would start with adding a picture and some formatting to see how easy it is.

So far it seems pretty straight forward.

There are also a few plugins that might be useful such a Facebook notification and a way to make you pictures look like a Polaroid:

I am not sure if there are better tools out there but this one seems pretty good for someone just getting started.

Goodbye Dad

Last night I got a call from my mom telling my that my genetic father, Don Mills, had died. While the title of this post refers to him as “Dad”, I never called him dad or have thought of him as my dad (at least since I was a very small child).

For as long as I can remember I have worked hard to be the opposite of him.

Nonetheless, this is still difficult.

Making Progress

So it has been a couple of days since I started this new program and I have lost about 2.5 lbs.
This is most likely almost all water weight but I feel better (more energy) and it is always nice to see progress.

Here are the basics of the program I working on:

  • According to the paleo meal plan: eat lots of meat, tons of vegetables, some fruit (lots of berries) and some nuts.
  • Don’t worry about quantity of fats but strive to eat good fats like avocados, fish oil and grass fed, free range red meats.
  • Concentrate on interval training when working out (I try to break a serious sweat 6 days a week). My primary workout are boxing and circuit training, which helps a lot with my favorite, snowboarding.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Rest is key!

So far I feel great. This may just because I am starting a new program but it also think there is some very legitimate aspects to this program.

Fedora 16

I like Mint a lot but my battery life is really bad and I have a lot of issues with hibernating and suspending my laptop. I am going to give Fedora 16 a shot to see how I like it. Downloading the liveCD right now to try it off of a USB thumb drive.

I didn’t really find it that impressive and didn’t really see the advantage over Mint. I am going to try upgrading to Mint 12 (Lisa) and see if that fixes some of the quirkiness that my system seems to have (specifically the wireless not always working upon boot up or coming out of suspend unless I turn off the wireless via the switch and then turn it back on again).

Jolicloud on a Dell mini9

Today I am going to torture myself some more and put Jolicloud on an old netbook I have laying around.

The the value proposition of Jolicloud seems to be that it can run on very low end hardware and essentially syncs your desktop to the cloud so that you can access your stuff from any browser that can handle HTML5. The other thing that seems pretty cool is that you can install packages locally meaning that you can run just about anything on the netbook. I don’t believe that those locally installed apps are then available on the cloud version but I think all of your data is.

Because my I netbook only has a pretty small SSD hard drive I decided against a Windows dual boot so see ya Windows 7. Windows 7 actually ran really well on this netbook but I really only used it for web browsing so no point in keeping it.

Here are the steps I have taken to get it up and running:

  • Downloaded the Jolicloud ISO file and the Windows application that creates a USB installer for you.
  • Booted to the USB thumb drive.
  • Filled out the 7 screens with all of my information such as time zone, username, password, etc.
  • Told it to go ahead and wipe my hard drive and waited for the install to complete.

Once it rebooted I logged in I was prompted to log into my Jolicloud account and then associate this netbook with that account. It asked me what kind of device I was using, including the brand and model. I then had to name my netbook (which I am assuming is different than the computer name, I believe it is the cloud name).

Once that was done I was presented with a panel full of apps and ready to go.

More to follow once I play around with it for a bit.

Video Driver Issues continued (nVidia NVS 3100m on Dell e6410)

This is not really an issue with the specific video card as much as is it is with Linux and nVidia.

Under Windows 7 my laptop would just find additional monitors and make them available. Under Linux this is MUCH harder. I wanted to use the nVidia drivers for better performance but every time I would install them I would have all kinds of problems. Yesterday I got them working. Shut down the machine, undocked it, took it home and it worked fine undocked. Then when I put it back in the docking station this morning I had no GUI. I got X to run again by going back to the nouveau driver. This gave me multiple monitors but the performance was not great. Everything looked okay by my mouse kept kind of pausing for half a second on things. The system worked but it was very annoying.

I went back to the nVidia drivers and then ended up with X not working at all. I was stuck with it showing text of the boot sequence and if I went hit ctrl-alt-F8 I just had a blinking cursor. If I hit ctrl-alt-F1 I was able to get to a command line.

After a lot of searching I eventually I found a post about http://smxi.org/.
This site has a script that you can run that pretty much automates the whole install of the video drivers. I was able to run it from the command line as root (sudo su) and fixed my issues completely.
Performance of the system is noticeably  faster and feels normal. I still need to test some video but initial tests look really good.

The one think I think at will be as issue is it seems like I will have to configure the dual monitors every time I dock the laptop because if I save the changes to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file it will mess things up when docking and undocking.

Moving from one Linux Mint laptop to another

I believe I got my i7 laptop working with Linux Mint. I blew out the fans and all of the other dust inside the laptop and it has been stable ever since. I am not a dirty person but I guess my laptop had been used by someone who was.

So now that I have it working I don’t want to install everything again and I would really like to keep my desktop settings. It turns out that Linux makes this really easy. At least it seems like it so far.

First I installed Déjà Dup because it seemed to get great reviews. It then ran it and told it to backup my home folder to an external USB drive.
I then went to the new laptop and restored that backup. Once I logged out and then back in again it looked like all of my settings were there.

I also did not want to install all of my apps again. I used APTonCD to  make an ISO on an external drive of all of my installed packages.
I then extracted that ISO to a folder and ran the following command:

sudo dpkg -i /"path to your archive folder"/*.deb

I found this command here:

It seems like everything is copied over except for my VirtualBox settings.

Getting Plex Media Server to see folders in Linux Mint

As I have mentioned before, I have a Boxee Box. I also have Roku on another TV that has the Plex app installed. I wanted the Plex app to see the media I have shared on the Linux Mint machine.
I installed the Plex server, no problem there. But then I could not get it to index the folders my media was in.
For the life of me I could not get the Plex user account to have rights to the folders with the media. Eventually I just changed the user that Plex runs the service as:
This is from:
You can always change the user that PMS is running as by editing /etc/init/plexmediaserver.conf and change the the line that says:

su -c /usr/sbin/start_pms plex


su -c /usr/sbin/start_pms <MYUSER>

NOTE, the reason why MOST services doesn’t run as YOUR user on Linux is because if there is a exploit or bad bug in the software it will have total access to your home directory and all your files. DO IT ON YOUR OWN RISK.

I restarted the Plex service:
sudo service plexmediaserver stop
and then
sudo service plexmediaserver start
(probably could have probably just done restart)

Now everything seems to be working. Modifying permissions in Linux really should not be this hard. It is MUCH easier in Windows.