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.
90Days - A daily task blog
We invite you to take a look at Randy's daily task log at http://dustypenguin.blogspot.com
It is an daily log that will help answer the question, "What do you do?"
Sunday, March 08, 2009
- Sunday! Down day. Day of rest. One of the things we do as a family on Sunday is have an extended time of discussion. Lately we have been discussing the book Epiphany.
- This evening Chris has sound board duty for the English language church service.
- Are we weak enough to be used of the Lord? 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
Saturday, March 07, 2009
Saturday, March 07, 2009
- This morning one of the boys had a 3 on 3 basketball tournament put on by the American School in Niamey. For the second consecutive year Noah's team won their class.
- Later in the day I went as far as I could go at home setting up the two servers for the beta test of the Ulteo Open Virtual Desktop. The software will be running in Virtualbox VMs. Part of the process was moving the VMs from the Linux machine they were created on to the MS Windows based hosts they will be running on in the office. This proved to be even easier than moving Virtual PC created machines we have used before.
- In the afternoon the boys played softball at the Rec Center. I did some application installation on my traveling Linux laptop and some news web surfing using the dogonay phone.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Friday, March 06, 2009
- Installed battery in two UPS's
- Installed operating system and office suite (and associated service packs) to a computer for the bible school.
- Discussed changes to computer acceptable use policy for the field.
- Got paperwork ready for a stamp for our car.
- Talked to someone about adding some users to the internet system at the bible school.
- Troubleshoot an antivirus update problem
- Read a DVD in Linux and transfered files enclosed to a USB stick ... disk would not read in Microsoft Vista
- Researching a possible automatic (or pretty simple) backup / synchronizing tool to sync XP and Vista laptops connecting to a network
- It looks like the easy answer is Windows offline files feature. However, I have seen it fail before so I am leery!
- Finishing up bible school computer. This entailed the aforementioned operating system and office suite, but also the French language packs for both of those things, the latest service packs for each of those things AND the latest service packs for the language packs!!! God Bless Microsoft (sarcasm).
- Consulted with another missionary on what do do with his now disabled laptop (bad hard drive)
- The evening project today is setting up a couple of decent powered XP machines (They are the old servers that need to be reconfigured to workstations anyway), to play host to a couple of virtual machines for a couple of proof of concept ideas. The first is a beta test we have been invited to participate in of the Ulteo Open Virtual Desktop. The second project has to do with setting up a virtual SME server for a university ministry here for their computer room.