The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Goodbye Licorice

| August 14, 2017

I buried Licorice (aka Meeps) today. She was a sweet kitty, and died on the back porch with the setting sun. She was our Allison Reynolds (Ally Sheedy’s character from Breakfast Club), a basket case who needed to be drawn out of her shell with patience and lots of ear scritches. After a couple of years, she would come up to anyone on the couch to get cuddles. She loved to go outside, chase things (especially flying things) and sleep in the sun. She had the softest fur.


You will be missed, sweet girl.

Goodbye Heidi

| January 29, 2016

Our tortie, Heidi, passed quietly in her sleep yesterday afternoon, stretched out in her bed in a sunspot.

When we got Heidi, she was thin and had ear mites and what could best be described as a “smoker’s cough”. As near as we could tell, she’d had a rough life as a street cat and then rescue. She wasn’t adopted at clinics because she just sat in her cage. Not shy, really, just ambivalent. We took her to her new forever home, took care of the mites, and let her play in the yard. She fattened right up, enjoyed sleeping in the sun, catching birds, and loved it when we’d feed her poultry scraps, especially duck. LOVED duck. She’s also the only cat who would stand up to Mikey, because she didn’t take anything from anyone else. Loved having her ears scratched, hated being picked up. Later in life, he cough became more pronounced, so she was on prednisone for the past fear years. Just before Thanksgiving, she started having accidents in the house. The vet couldn’t find anything obviously wrong. Over the next few months, we tried different foods, etc. but nothing seemed to help. Just after Christmas, I noticed that her weight loss had become pretty severe and brought her in for another exam, where the vet was able to feel an abdominal mass. She only lasted about a month after that. Up until the end, she still liked being petted and brushed.

This is the most recent picture I have which actually is of her, rather than her in the background.



I don’t have any of her playing with the boys, but they both loved her. We’d even found her curled up in a crib with one of them at times. I just don’t have pictures of it.

For reference, here is the post where I first talked about her. (For what it’s worth, it seems their website has moved and is now here.

For the curious, we don’t know how old she was. She was full grown at the time, so at least 2, which means she was at least 10, but she could have been anywhere from 10 to.. who knows. 15?

She was a good cat, and we will miss her. I hope she enjoyed her time with us. We enjoyed our time with her.

In the end, I guess that’s all you can hope for, right? Enjoy spending time with the people you love, chasing your passions, living your life, and eventually you’ll die warm and safe in your sleep.

Got OwnCloud video working… mostly.

| February 5, 2014

This little project has turned into a bit of a crash course of the state of video on the web, and I uncovered a couple of bugs with ownCloud along the way.

The first thing you may notice is that I’m not embedding them in to this page. The reason is that, due to a latent bug in ownCloud, were I to do so, it wouldn’t work.

I also fixed an issue where it would make the videos appear too large on small screens, and submitted a patch to fix that. It is already live on my instance of ownCloud, so you should notice no such issue.

Now, all that said, I’m not using any funny players (at least, not intentionally – there may be other players on ownCloud of which I’m not aware), just straight HTML5 video tags. The video format I’m using is Ogg Theora, which is Well Supported. So, if it doesn’t work for you, then you’re likely either using a very old browser or IE. In both cases, the solution is to upgrade your browser, I think. Further, I found an HTML5 compatibility tests to see how your browser fares.

Anyway, having sat through all of that, now you get videos of cats.

Mikey reacts to Liz’s alarm

Mikey on the prowl in the woods

Heidi coming out to meet me

Edit: Despite the browser support claiming that it is supported, apparently that does not include on Android. Further, apparently Ogg Theora is not supported on Android at all. So, I did go back and check to see how well h.264 works and the answer is.. not well. The above are all full HD (1920×1080) lossy encoded video, which basically doesn’t work on my Android tablet (ASUS TF101 running 4.2.2.). I can get them to work, but only at really low resolution, and for really small samples. I’m not willing to force such a low quality to support mobile devices, especially since video on those devices is (in my experience) pretty hit or miss without a custom app like YouTube and Netflix have). I realize that this tablet is a few years old at this point, so it may be that more modern machines have the horsepower to decode HD h.264 videos, All that said, I’m going to switch to h.264, as it seems about as compatible as Ogg Theora on the desktop, and is more compatible on mobile and embedded devices. However, I’m not going to compromise on the quality settings, so the videos still may not work if your device isn’t powerful enough. I have updated the above according to this logic.

If anyone has suggestions as to settings which would make my h.264 .m4v’s more compatible, I’d love to hear them.

Back in the saddle

| November 23, 2013

So, I’ve been away for a bit, at first because I’ve been legitimately busy with harvest activities:

  • Making applesauce from a pile of apples we got from my father-in-law’s apple trees (up to 21 qts so far).
  • It’s deer season! I’m about finished processing the first one, but there are two more in the fridge.

However, I also ended up having to change hosting providers. I moved from, where I’d been a customer for somewhere along the lines of 10 years, because the mailing list portion of their hosting had been down for three weeks, and their tech support was not being very responsive.

In the end, I decided it was better to just run the whole thing myself, and then I could set it up exactly as I wanted (I’m picky), so I ended up just singing up for a Virtual Private Server at Linode, which came recommended by one of my gaming buddies. Their base package, at $20/month, is $5/month cheaper than what I was paying before. On top of that, I get more flexibility and (hopefully) more stability (once I get everything set up the way that I want). I’ve already had to contact Linode’s tech support once, and found their ticket system to be excellent and their customer service to be prompt and helpful.

One of the things that came out of this is that I’ve finally sanitized all my system install notes, which actually go all the way back to my Red Hat 7.3 install notes from 2002. I’ve kept all of those for posterity. However, for those who are likely to be configuring their own mail/web/etc. server, the Linode server install instructions are likely of the most used to you. It is actually comprised of a pile of different bits and pieces borrowed from work server projects, my house Amahi install, and my standard system install. Then there was some interesting bits that I set up for the first time on the Linode install, and then fed back to work. So, it’s all a big feedback loop.

I also been playing around with a light box and, once I get it right, I hope to be posting some more pictures of minis. I also have a pile of things in the back of my brain that I want to write about, I just need to have time to do it.

Anyway, in the meantime, here’s a picture of a couple of critters on the back porch, on a warm October day.

Diesel and Heidi on the back porch

Diesel and Heidi on the back porch

Random (live) critterpics….

| October 12, 2013

Got your tail!

Got your tail!

Rowr! I'm fierce!

Rowr! I’m fierce!



Socks has two modes - this one, and causing trouble.

Socks has two modes – this one, and causing trouble.

And here’s some video of socks and diesel.

If you listen very carefully, she does her cute “chirp” right at the beginning. I try to get her to do it later in the video (hence why I keep saying “Socks” in that odd pitch – she seems to respond to that better), but she’s being shy.

Sarah McLachlan antidote post

| December 28, 2010

They keep running those sad ASPCA commercials during the Christmas movies while I’m trying to paint tanks. So, here are some happy critter pictures. (more…)

Kittehpix megapost

| October 9, 2009

I tend to take a lot of pictures of cats.. these are the pictures from May until about now.


| July 6, 2009

Been busy, but still here.

I’ve updated the blog to WP 3.8.

I also had a bit of an overloaded meltdown a couple of weeks ago. Basically, the working theory was that we weren’t going to work on the house or do anything until after the potatoes went in (which happens about the second week of July). At least, this is what I thought. After the list got stupidly long, and it had to be done sooner, rather than later, I basically just stopped doing everything outside work, working on the house, and being a fire commissioner. This made Liz sad, because she was looking forward to brewing beer, and I had told her not to get me any brewing stuff for my birthday, since I would not have time to use it and it would just take up space. I think that put a bit of a point on it, so she agreed to let me set the pace of things, and not set deadlines, and try to slow down. So, theoretically, we’re actually going to be able to do things like brew beer and sit and read…

At least, once the peas are picked and the potatoes are in. We picked and processed about 4 gallons of peapods today, and we’ll do our first picking of garden peas later this week. The replacement tomato, pepper, squash, etc. plants are all in (next year we’ll wait until the second week of June to plant them).

Fire stuff continues to be stupidly busy, with 3 meetings last week, and while there right now aren’t any this week, I expect there to be 2 by the time the week is out.

As I mentioned, I’m basically not gaming. Essentially, I’m not going to schedule anything recurring until it’s been a year and I’ve actually had at least one night free a week for a year where I can just read and play video games. I’m still buying game books, as I tend to collect them, and like to just read them, etc.

I upgraded everything to Jaunty, fixing the XFCE bad window placement problem by giving new windows focus. While it is not ideal, I spent several days poking different window managers and basically being disappointed by them. KDE4 is too unstable, GNOME is not configurable enough, and FVWM would take too much work to make it not make my eyes bleed. E17 is too unstable (though I may try the official Jaunty builds)

There’s more, but I think I’m going to break here for tonight. I finished reading Watchmen (there’s a pile of other books I need to review, and will do once I unbury them in the mess which used to be my office), and am now on to V for Vendetta.

Oh, as of right now, I’m planning on hitting Carnage, and will likely be bringing some homebrew. Since it’s not a regularly schedule thing, I likely will be able to find the time. If anyone else is going, let me know – especially if you want me to run something.

I always feel like

| March 11, 2009

somebody’s watching meeeee….

Sunkist, Heidi and Lucky watching me.

Sunkist, Heidi and Lucky watching me.

Oh, and these are the laptop skins I was talking about skins in a previous post and promised pictures. Well, here they are:

Clockwise from top - thinkpad T60, iPod 3g, Dell Mini 9

Clockwise from top - thinkpad T60, iPod 3g, Dell Mini 9

And we got the cats a new scratching post which, as you can see, is being used:

Socks chasing her tail around the scratching post.

Socks chasing her tail around the scratching post.

Socks says: What?

Socks says: What?


| March 10, 2009

  • I found myself searching for “The Definitive Tank Girl” to add to my Amazon list. It turns out that you want the “Remastered” ones, as they have been restored and such.
  • Of course, this brings up my book stack – this is what is currently on my bedside table:


  • I have some reviews of books which I’ve recently read, and plan to post about those.
  • I’m also not going to worry about posting larger pictures in my blog… after all, kylecassidy does it all the time, and it doesn’t bother me, so I presume it doesn’t bother any of you folks.
  • I’ll also be posting from Cold Wars, including photos, since I got a nice tiny little camera for Christmas, so I’ll actually carry it around in my pocket and take pictures.
  • I’ve also got some stuff to post about my Dell Mini, minimal Linux distros, VM’s, and other such hackerish things.

I think that’s it for tonight – I’m headed off to Cold Wars this weekend, and I need to figure out what I want to play (lots of zombie games this year, with a bit of other interesting topical things, like BSG and such).

Anyway, have a Socks: