Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2012 - What a Great Summer!

This was one of the most memorable summers ever for me.

It included two big events with Kelly and Rachel getting married in June and Alex and Becca getting married in August. Both weddings were in beautiful locations, very well planned with lots of family and friends celebrating and having a really good time.

Another life changing event happened in September as Alex and Becca moved to San Franscisco to take new jobs. They've found a good location to live and we'll be visiting often.

I had other fun times either solo or with family this summer.

 In April I rode to the Vintage Motorcycle Show in Tsawwassen, BC Canada. There were some beautiful classic bikes, some cool daily riders and one Unique Motorcycle Rig ridden by an seasoned motorcyclist.

We celebrated Cinco De Mayo in Poulsbo, WA. by taking a cruise out on the Sound on a Duffy electric boat. That was fun! It was a good deal too since I used a half-off coupon from Groupon. I put some photos from B's camera at Poulsbo May 2012 - a set on Flickr.

June brought Rachel and Kelly's wedding at Chico Hot Springs in Pray Montana. Good times, and such a great location. We have lots of special memories staying at Chico but this will be the best of them. It was a blast to drive out there and stay at Russ and Judy's nice house in Missoula.

In July we got together at Kelly and Rachel's house in Tacoma for the July 4th celebration. Fun times with sparklers, dogs and good food - plus a really cool air show.

August brought Alex and Becca's wedding at Alderbrook Resort in Union, Washington. A perfect venue for a wedding and the weather couldn't have been any better. So many good memories.

Both Rachel and Becca planned their weddings so well and there were so many people helping that things were just perfect. Beautiful brides and handsome grooms. Little things like the gift bags were so cool - with local and homemade items, special chocolate, jerky, smoked salmon...personalized Jones Soda.

September was the month of the big move for Alex and Becca. They had nice bon voyage parties at Rachel and Kelly's and then later at Jason and Kay's house. Very busy time for them - wrap up jobs, trip to Florida for honeymoon, pack, move, find housing...start new job, find new job. Yikes! Things are calming down now that Alex has started his new job and they have a place to live and Becca is exploring multiple job possibilities.

I rode up to Anacortes for the Oyster Run last Sunday. It's fun to see all the motorcycles and people. I parked down by the Anchor Tavern and walked into the busy part of town. Didn't have any real problem with traffic at all. I think it's because I showed up about 11 am and left about 2 or 3 pm...or I was just lucky.

I didn't take any major motorcycle trips this summer - just the trip up to BC and a day trip around the Highway 2 to Highway 20 loop to Eastern Washington and back. I do ride a motorcycle most every day so I'm not missing out on the wind in my face.

We went to a couple of Mariner's games this summer. We had lots of beautiful flowers in the yard, planters, hanging baskets and our flower boxes thanks to B. I started some tomatoes from seed that are ripening now. We had an unusual number of days without rain and with sun so that helped.

This was one great summer.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Oyster Run 2012

It was kind of cool to see this girl on a bicycle among all the motorcycles. Someone said she's from France - maybe heading to the ferry? I bet she was pretty surprised to see how busy Anacortes was today, probably ten thousand motorcyclists out on the streets.

I put the photographs I took at the Oyster Run today on Oyster Run 2012 - a set on Flickr

Linux Mint and a New Laptop

I installed Linux Mint on my laptop yesterday.

I've tried a variety of Linux distributions over the last 5 years and found Ubuntu worked the best for me. That is until recent releases of Ubuntu began using the Unity user interface.

As often happens with software development, things continue to change - into either something better or something different. Unity was different for me.

I liked using Cairo-Dock but it was becoming to labor intensive to get it to work the way I wanted with Unity. A simple explanation of Unity vs. Cairo-Dock is that Unity features a big honkin task bar/dock on the left side of your screen and Cairo-Dock has a nice sleek task bar/dock on the bottom of your screen.

Like most things in Linux this is all highly customizable. Here's a YouTube video of Cairo Dock on Ubuntu.


I think the bottom line is Ubuntu is great, Windows is great, Apple is great, and I wanted something different so I'm using Mint. 

Talking about the best - operating system/software/laptop/computer/motorcycle oil/coffee/phone is like discussing the Worlds Best Cup of Coffee. Lots of other things fall into that highly subjective "whatever you like is best" realm...but I digress. I like Mint fine so far. It's nice and clean, and not totally unlike an older version of Windows in some ways.

Here's screenshot of my desktop -

So anyhoooo....

Mint was easy to install. I didn't have a DVD or DVD burner so I loaded the ISO file on a memory stick and booted from that. Like many Linux distributions, Mint is a "live distribution". This means that you can use it before actually installing it on your computer. After you've driven it around the block a few times you can install it or just reboot you computer from the hard drive and use your other favorite OS.

It took less than 30 minutes to download and have Mint up and running on my very simple and fast.


My Dell Inspiron E1405 laptop is getting a little tattered around the edges. It's 6.5 years old so that's pretty ancient I guess. It still works fine for me - I upgraded the RAM at one point and installed a faster 500 gig HD after that. The case has a small crack in it and one of the USB ports is broken; the latest problem is a Toy Fox Terrier jumped on my lap and laptop and broke off my 7 key. It's not fixable. It's still functional but I think it's time for a new laptop. This Dell Inspiron with a 14 inch screen weighs in at 5 lbs. It's not built to withstand much abuse. It's good enough for a laptop you leave at home or carry carefully to wherever you are going.

My old Fujitsu Lifebook laptop was built like a rock but was relatively expensive. My work laptop. a Dell Latitude E4200 is also rock solid. I throw it in the saddle bag of a motorcycle most days of the week and it's never complained. It has a SSD HD so that may help some. It has a 12 inch screen and weighs less than 3 pounds so it's a good portable laptop.

I think a laptop with a screen size between 12 and 14 inches works for portability and readability. 12 being a little on the small side and 14 being a little on the big side. The 15 inch screen laptops are too big in my opinion to be carried with you. I ordered a 15 inch Fujitsu once and returned it after I realized how big those things are. The 15.6 inch screens must be cheap though since it seems like the good deals tend to be that size. 

I ordered a  Sony VAIO S 13.3″ laptop. The one I got is a pretty basic model - but it has a couple of things I want; not too big and not too ugly.

I upgraded to 8 Gigs of RAM and the 500 Gig HD. I've wanted to try Sony laptops for awhile and was considering either the Vaio 13.3 laptop or a Mac. 

Since it's a custom build, my new silver Vaio (Vio) won't be here until October. I'm looking forward to trying it. I have my memory stick with Mint all ready so I can set it up to boot into Windows or Mint. I'm going to try using Windows as my main OS for awhile and see how that experience goes since I haven't used Windows on a home PC for quite awhile. 

I gave up on Windows for home use about 6 plus years ago when I was trying to reload Windows on a laptop. I had multiple Windows installation CD's around the house, none of which had the right code for my laptop. I'd bought all the software for 3 different Dell laptops we used at home/school, and it really bugged me that I couldn't re-install it on my laptop because of the security. The other problem - if I recall correctly was that Dell didn't include the complete Windows OS on a CD or DVD with some laptops. Sort of a problem if you want to install a new HD or need to re-install Windows for whatever reason.

With Linux you can download a distribution like Mint in 15 minutes using a torrent and install it in another 15 minutes - no problem with codes since it's free. I'm not sure how that business model works but if you've never tried a Linux distribution I'd recommend it if you have a bit of tech savvy and curiousity about what's available.

I guess that's enough geek talk for now. I think I'll meander up to the OYSTER RUN '12 and look at all the motorcycles that will be in the streets of Anacortes today.