Friday, May 14, 2010
Very cool in that it will allow you to post to many online services at one time, including twitter and facebook. However, at least for me, the facebook posting does not work as advertised, but does work as an additional posterous tab in my facebook profile. Giving it a try, seeing how it works, fiddling while Rome burns.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Testing Thingamablog 1.5
Howdy, just trying a new version of thingamablog. There are things i need to update here are well, so stay tuned!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Our trip to ministries east of Niamey in early April went very well. Some of what we did can be seen at my daily (well when I have the time) blog. We were able to deliver and setup 5 new computers to Galmi Hospital, install new antivirus there, work on getting backups to work (still some work there to do that needs to be done), and tried to splice together a network wire that a mouse(?) had been nibbling on. (Didn't work, they'll need to run a new cable :-( )
In Maradi we setup all the machines to be one the same workgroup, and then set up a systematic backup system that will run automatically every 3 hours, only backing up the files that have changed. This makes the backup jobs pretty small after the initial backup, and gives pretty good "realish" time backups. We used Karen's Replicator, a free (VB6 source code downloadable too). It does many of the things I do with xxcopy backup scripts on the command line, but Karen's Replicator has a fairly user friendly GUI. In Maradi also I was able to convert one of the last Pegasus mail holdouts to Thunderbird, which can be a time consuming process. Unfortunately, the other users there are still using Outlook :-( We were also able to rescue one Australian family's computer that they use for home schooling. Got everything straighted out on it, did a full new install of the OS and the applications and installed some web filtering software.
Danja was many little tasks, getting antivirus on a couple of machines and trying to update those without an internet connection manually (we could not get that part to work, and I need to get back to them with a better procedure looking over the network changes they have made since my last visit, and made a couple of network cables for inside of one of the houses. The Danja compound always strikes me as a combination of wide open spaces and stark beauty.
I was also blessed to be able to visit many of Issiakou's family across Niger, from Dogonduchi to Maradi. One of the places we greeted family was a small village where I met many people and had some millet porridge (sort of like watered down oatmeal but made out of the grain we use for bird seed.) Other places, part of the hospitality included baked yams (white, not orange) with a few pieces of beef , rice and sauce, cabbage with a spicy peanut based powder, masa, which are small, not sweet, (pan)cakes made out of millet flour, and other Nigerien foods.
We did have one problem on the way back. We had stopped to look at the progress of a Christian conference center being built near Maradi, and as we were going around the buildings we ran into an old piece of iron and ruined our tire. We changed it with the spare, figuring on getting or borrowing one in Galmi to get us back to Niamey. Unfortunately, Galmi did not have our size tire and we had to go on another 50 km (approx 30 miles) to another larger town to get one.
The experience was a typical Nigerien transaction. Not finding what we wanted right away, we stopped to ask a place that fixes tires (they do not sell them) if they knew where we could find a new one. One of the guys there said sure, and he would show us. He hops in the van and directs us through narrow streets, over piles of refuse, and I am wondering if this is the route you go to see if you can sell 2 tires, not just one!
Finally, we arrive at an intersection, make our need known, and with in 2 minutes we have 4 different vendors trying to sell us 8 different kinds of tires! All of them lauding their particular tires traits. "This one is from Thailand, not China!" boasts one. "Steel Belted!" "Radial!" "Tubeless!" shout others. Eventually, even separated by this almost throng we are able to decide on one. The price is reasonable, and we negotiate adding removal of the old tire and mounting of the new one included in the price. No problem.
The tire gets changed, put back up under in the spare rack, we pay the man and get a receipt. The man who showed us the way to the "tire intersection" wants a little stipend for his part in the escapade. Ok. As we are ready to pull away, the man who actually did the changing of the tire, came up to us to get money for his part, even though we had negotiated that as part of the price with the guy we bought the tire from. Here Issiakou did a very smart thing. Instead of arguing with the man, he took him the the first guy, and told them this is what we negotiated, it is now your issue. Very smart! We got in the van once again and headed back to Galmi.
Before we were half way back, it was dark, and driving after dark in Niger is almost impossible. The road we were driving is a series of potholes interrupted occasionally by just enough smooth road to make you think you can go faster, only to be interrupted by cratered road once again. On this tableau are motos with few, if any rear lights (one with out any lights, front or back), overloaded trucks going very slowly, and dark shadowy donkey carts. Thankfully, the Lord guided us back to Galmi safely, ready to return to Niamey the next day.
All in all a good but exhausting trip. We got most of our tasks done, the Lord blessed us with time to greet many people throughout Niger, and He gave us safe travels in potentially dangerous conditions.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Niger Links March 28th
400 Ghanaian truck drivers detained in Niger
N.Africa Qaeda demands hostages-for-militants swap
French president arrives in Niger
Sarkozy wraps up Africa trip
Friday, March 27, 2009
Niger Word Pictures
A cobblestone of smashed bovine excrement on the road marking cattle day at the market.
Flies clustered outside of the window screen drawn by coolness within.
A lounge of lizards grouped on an eastern wall searching for morning warmth.
The defective rooster bursting out in irriatating, asthmatic crowing at three thirty five.
The route was mostly marked by cratered asphalt with occasional stretches where the craters had won.
NIGER: Teacher strike threatens to reverse MDG gains
Sarkozy, Visiting West Africa, Wants End to ‘Colonial’ Ways
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
How is travel in Niger again?
"Casella says millions of people in West Africa and beyond will be in deep trouble if the air service closes. She says there are some areas that can only be reached by air because of security concerns or impassable roads. She cites Niger as an example.
"In Niger, air services are required due to security reasons. The UN Department of Safety and Security has banned all travel by road after several mine incidents and ambushes in the north and east of the country," added Casella. "And, even where roads are passable, it can take up to four days to drive to some of the most remote locations in Niger. And, those same destinations can be reached within two hours by air."
A UN study shows it is actually more cost-effective to fly aid personnel in Niger, because vehicles take too long to get to their destination. The study finds agencies can save nearly $1,000 per passenger by flying rather than driving.
Casella says high profile emergencies tend to attract money for the air service, whereas low-profile emergencies do not. She says it makes little sense for donors to give money for food, medicine and other relief, while not providing the money for transport to get the aid workers to the people who need their help."
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The picture above is from a lutte
match we were able to see a few weeks ago.
- Whew! One of those days where you get so busy you can hardly remember what you did.
- The transfer of the Virtualbox images was not as trouble free as I had thought. It turned out not to be so much an issue with the moving of the image, but the way that Ubuntu dealt with the (virtual) change of cards. The solution is here.
- There seems to be a DNS issue yet since the session server still not adding the application server in the Ulteo Virtual Desktop. After some tinkering, had to leave it to look after other things
- Helped a missionary fix several problems with their email client.
- Helped the same missionary with some ideas to perform backups. After looking at a utility provided by one of the external drives they got, I decided I could pretty easily write something simpler, less confusing and more powerful using xxcopy.
- That same missionary has expressed an interest in switching to Linux. We will revisit that in a couple of weeks.
- Tested several used drives to see if they were usable for the laptop mentioned a couple of days ago. Think we found one that will work.
- Just a last note from yesterday, not that it is anything earth shattering, but it does give a little insight to how things always seem to go here. Bulb (florescent) in the bathroom seems burnt out. In the US go to the store, get a bulb and your done. Here, go to the store, they do not have one there, go to the next one and you get one. Climb up the ladder to change the bulb, and as you pull the bulb out of the cardboard sleeve you get suspicious because in the center of the light is a dried drop of paint, but who knows? Slip it into the socket and it just flickers. Fiddle with it and it does come on. Hmmm, maybe the starter is bad. Starters you happen to have some of. Get down off the ladder (thanking God for the missionary next door who had the foresight to bring such a nice ladder back across the ocean), get a new starter. Climb up the ladder, turn the starter... and the socket the starter goes into breaks, so that you need to take the bulb out, disassemble the outer sheild and figure out a way to cooble the socket together. After a few strands of electrical tape, it seems secure. Pop the starter in, cram the wires into the fixture and cover it up. Insert the bulb. It flickers. Fiddle. Flicker. Fiddle. It stays on. You get off the ladder and leave it on, convinced that it will never come on in the morning. Next day? Works like a champ! So who knows!?!?!?
- Mark 9:5 Commentary from here. "There are those whose understanding of the Bible has never grown beyond the notion that is something like a fortune cookie, a magic talisman which can be cracked open anywhere to reveal God's word for the day. In our culture, we are all guilty sometimes. We like things "the way they were," not realizing that God may be calling us upward and outward toward something newer and better."
Monday, March 09, 2009
How about some squash?
See the techpenguin to learn about squash!
- Today is Mawlid or Muhammad's birthday. As such is it a holiday here. Since the office is officially closed, I decided to do some light work at home. Pictured above is my work area for the day.
- I contacted some financial partners by email thanking them for allowing us to minister here.
- I sent some initial information to other stations for a tech support trip in the future. Giving some organization to that trip.
- Since the power was off at 3am, and the generator was not started until 6:30 I started my day using the dogonay phone (battery powered) until the VSAT came back on line. Normal line power was back about 10 am.
- Talked to one of the office staff concerning UPS batteries for his home computer ... need to get some of those for the office too. Need to see if we can get a bunch of them from the Grande Marche this week.
- Added and entry to http://dustypenguin.com/techpenguin/ concerning squash!
- Worked on the background gathering information sources for an internet privacy email to be sent to the field soon.