Rediscovering wget

I used to run wget, an old command line Unix utility program, to “get” things from one server and drop them on another. I am pretty sure that it came with an old version MS-DOS or Windows.
I am using wget to clone a copy of my JT30.COM website from the internet down onto my local disk. The command line (sorry no window for wget) is

wget --mirror --convert-links --adjust-extension --page-requisites --no-parent https://site-to-download.com

I am grabbing JT30.COM so that that I can use my local disk to host my websites and this is the next one on my list. I am using wget in order get “flat files” only because the original site uses the PHP programming language to fix files as they are requested. My goal is to have no programming at all on any of my sites. So far wget has copied more than 22,000 files and shows no sign of stopping. JT30 was a big website and I wrote or collected lots of information on how to play blues harmonica.
At one point I had split off several website into their own domains because JT30.COM was getting too big. Since then I have recombined the websites into one big one. I had HARPAMPS.COM, HARPLOG.COM, HARPL.COM and probably others that I don’t remember. They are all together now, though.
Wget has been running for a half an hour and shows no sign of slowing down.
The next site that I get will be BLOGSEYE.COM which was my programming blog for many years. It has a few thousand blog entries, but will be easier to work with since I gave up the domain a long time ago (it is now registered with a domain squatter so I can’t get it back). I have a zip of the last version of the site. I will probably be adding it here to my KPGraham.com domain.

Domains Moving to Cloudflare

Several years ago I moved all of my domains to Google. At $12 per year they were cheaper than the domain company that I was using. (This was so long ago that I don’t even remember who handled the domains before Google.) Recently CloudFlare started doing domain name registrations for about $8 per year. You don’t need to convince me that saving a total of about $40 a year by switching all of my domains is a good idea.
The main problem that I had was using Blogger.com accounts. Google makes it easy to use a custom domain with Blogger. I can’t get it to work with CloudFlare. The one I had setup for Erica is now a redirect, but it gets very little traffic so I don’t think anyone will ever notice.
The last one that I have yet to do belongs to the editor of a magazine that I sold to. I volunteered to help with the domain (big mistake) and for the last 6 years I have been paying for it. He has problems dealing with the publication process and may never publish the book that the domain is advertising. 6 years later and the book has not been published, I have not been paid and there seems to be no future in the domain. The story is good and I could get a few hundred dollars for it if I sold it somewhere else. When I bring this up the guy says he has a signed contract and threatens to sue me.
I don’t want to resort to a redirect, because I am afraid that I’ll get a snarky email. I’ll guess I’ll try it and see what I can do. I’ll steel myself to the nasty feedback. Worse comes to worse I’ll offer transfer the domain to him and let him do the development.

Queen Bees

I bought three packages of bees to replace hives that died over the winter. When you get a package, the queen comes in a little mesh covered box with sugar plugging one end and then a cork. After you dump the bees into the hive you have to take the cork out and hope that the bees eat the sugar plug and release the queen bee. It is done this way so the bees get used to their new queen and won’t kill her.
I installed the three packages last Friday afternoon. Now it has been three days so I have to check to see if the queens have been released. One hive had released their queen and one had not. The other looked like they had gnawed mostly through the sugar, but the queen bee was still inside the cage. I released the trapped queens and put the lids back on the boxes.
I am being careful about this because last year I was not feeling well, and I did not release the bees properly. By the time I got around to checking the queens were dead in two boxes. This is a waste of $150 per box, plus the gas to get up to Kingston, NY and back. This year I am feeling much better and I think that I did a good job.
There is no guarantee that the queens will flourish in the hives.
The queens should start laying eggs almost immediately. The eggs will hatch in 21 days. I should see the new bees at the entrances to the hives on May 18th. Sometime in the next couple of weeks I will open the hives and look for “brood” which is immature bees. If I don’t see any then I will have to hurry up and find a queen. A hive without a queen is often cranky and will sting anyone who comes near it. If one of the three hives is behaving different than the others, I will open it as soon as I get a good day to see what is going on.
Beekeeping is much more technical than you would think. That’s why so many programmers seem to keep bees if they can.

WordPress Plugins Updated

Back when I wasn’t feeling well I became very frustrated when I tried to update my plugins. I just couldn’t trust my logic. Today I was able to get around these frustrations and update the plugins to show that they work with the latest versions of WordPress. This, at least, is a start.
I want to make some changes to the plugins other than version numbers. I am not sure that I should be wasting my time. I am making about $20 a year off them and it seems to be that it is not worth the effort.
I get requests and complaints from users which I largely ignore. I can’t debug minor issues related to conflicts with other plugins.
The “No Right Click” plugin will probably never work on every website with every browser. Browsers do not want you messing with the context menu. I tried running JavaScript that prevented right clicks altogether, but even that didn’t work. The “No Right Click” plugin has 5000 users which I don’t understand. It must be working for some people.
I don’t understand why “The Astounding Spam” plugin is not more popular. I am going to update some of the tables and see if it helps.

Websites Still working

I sat down with the laptop this morning and tried to access www.kpgraham.com. It timed out and I figured that I still had some work to do.
It turns out that I had been experimenting with my hosts file trying to force access to the domain and I had done it wrong. I cleared out the hosts file and reset the dns cache. It worked just fine.
One of the things that concerns me is that Cloudflare “flattens” my “CNAME” dns entry to point directly to the IP address of my server. I worry what is going to happen when Optimum changes my IP address. It does that after power outages, or when the network resets things in the computer room in West Nyack. I don’t know if Cloudflare will re-flatten the dns entry.
For the time being www.kpgraham.com and www.cthreepo.com are working well and I will sit tight. I found a bunch of broken links in cthreepo.com and I am writing a program to validate my links. It will use the apache access control to report the bad links and requires some fancy programming. We’ll see if I am up to it.

On the Internet

I discovered, after 4 days of trying to fix things, that Optimum blocks the web port 80, so I could not access my home computer from the internet. I was running WAMP and I have moved kpgraham.com to my office computer. I was upset when I found out that my cable company did this.
I had an inspiration and searched for the cure. Of course I found it on some obscure discussion board and I’ll be damned, but it worked.
Now I have to do some more configuring and I am done with this site.
It goes from my browser to cloudflare to noip.com to my box. Very cool. I will have to see how stable it is.
www.cthreepo.com is next.

Running on WAMP

Wamp is a way of running the Apache web server with PHP and MySQL on your own machine. Windows-Apache-MySQL-PHP.
I have been using Wamp for many years to test things. Now I am going to use it to make sites that the world can see that run right here.
I am using a website called NOIP.COM to provide the internet address of my home network and you should be able to see https://www.kpgraham.com on the computer in my home office.
Why? I can eventually run all of my websites for free. The only down side is that when the power goes out I may have to click a few things to get it started again.

Static site creation

I have been fooling with github,com and netlify.com and have been able to turn some of my hosted sites into static pages. It seemed very difficult, but it turned out to be possible. I think this site -kpgraham.com- might be the next site to work on.

The advantage is that I can write a web page, in this case a blog entry, and then “commit” it to github and magically it appears on the internet.

Github gives you 2GB of space and believe it or not, that is not enough to put all my websites out as static sites. CThreePO.com is about 1GB and HarpAmps.com is about 3GB. Some people create multiple user ids on github, but I want a better alternative.

I have a local webserver called WAMP running on this machine (the desktop in my “office”) and I can run everything that I need here. What I am having trouble with is connecting my local machine to the outside world. My router will not allow me to connect to NO-IP.com and I can’t afford a static IP address. (If this confuses you, don’t worry. It means that my network address keeps changing every time there is a power outage or my router resets, and I have no way of announcing to the real world that my web server is here.)

I am going to spend some money on a fancy router sooner or later and get this working.

CThreePO.com

https://www.cthreepo.com is my oldest domain. The content is even older so this is a record of my blogging writings going back at least 25 years.
I felt a little sharper this week, so I revived a static version of the site. In so doing I lost a hundred or so program pages, but they are no great loss.
It is fascinating to read how I wrote and thought back then. I was pretty smart back in those days.

Tree Folk Story

I have not been writing much. The pills I take make language difficult. I have what is called “tip-of-the-tongue” syndrome and have trouble getting the right word. I sold my mystery story that I wrote in October on the first try, so I still have some skills. The language of the story is a little less colorful than I’d like, but the plot works.
I saw another market open up for stories that are similar to one that I’ve got kicking around in my back-brain. I think that I want to sit down and make an outline for it and maybe try to write it. The story isn’t too complicated and may be short. The story venue has a minimum of 2,500 words. I probably can make that with a little push. My stories are usually 3,500 to 5,000 words, but, like I say, I am not confident in my writing ability.
I’ll sit down in the office (where I have the good keyboard) and see what I can do. Maybe nothing, but we’ll see.

Here is the description of the story anthology. It only pays $25, but I don’t think I can produce a $500 story right now. A sale is a sale.

Gonna talk about writing for a second.
As an editor and practitioner, I am of the school that believes that every word in a story needs to have a specific reason for being there, and that the writer should ‘control’ that.
Anything less denotes a lack of craft mastery, to me.
That doesn’t mean that every ‘that’ must go away, or that mss HAVE to be as pared-down as possible (though I like that, especially when paying by the word), but that there must be ‘purpose’.
Creation of effect should be ‘intentional’, and it is not a substitute for story.
This by way of reminding you that open subs for The Dark Heart of the Wood (OM Folk, vol 2) begin March 1. The sub period is sixty days.
We are looking for folk horror, especially that which is off the beaten path or advances the concept in some way. 2500-5500 words prose, 25$. Poetry also acceptable at negotiable pay rate.
We are limiting to 15 slots this time around.
Submit to: [email protected]

note: I wrote a pretty comprehensive outline. It is about 800 words and I added some interesting ideas as I wrote it. I will try to write the story this week. The snow will keep me in the house. I am now worried that I might make the story too long just to fit in the ideas that I’ve come up with.
If I can sell the story, sometimes the editor sends me a PDF of the anthology. Watch here and if he does ask me to send you a copy. My rich friends will have to pay the 10 bucks for a copy, but friends, relatives and blues players can get a freebie.
kpg

Premier Amp

I collect Premier amplifiers, but recently they price has gone through the roof. For instance I own 3 Premier Twin-8 amps. These are sweet little amps that sound great, but are not loud enough to be useful. I am thinking about getting rid of two of them. I bought them for $50 to $75 each and now they go for $1,500 on eBay. I saw a model 76 amp that is “pick-up only” that is cheap. I don’t have a model 76 and I would like to go get it.
The amp is in Manchester PA more than 5 hours away. So I could get the amp cheap with the added cost of 11 hours of gas and time.
I am tempted to do this because I have had both vaccine shots and it would be an interesting trip. I’ve been stuck in the house for a year and this might be fun. My brother will have his second shot in a couple of weeks, and he already had a case of COVID once already, so he could ride right seat on the trip.
The whole thing comes down to the question of whether or not I really need another amplifier and if I can negotiate the amp price even cheaper.

Converting my Luggable - Costs

I need some adapters for my luggable conversion.

The portable PC has a an old style PC keyboard. I need to convert that to USB using a Soarer’s cable. $45.00

I need to power the Raspberry Pi using the internal molex connector. These were used to power hard disks and floppies. This is an inexpensive cable that just connects the lines. $15.00

I need a USB adapter for a 3-1/2 inch floppy. I don’t really need a floppy drive, but I need it for authenticity. $25.00

I also need a Raspberry Pi. I need one with a composite av video output to run the orange screen. This is like a an old black & white TV. The newer Pi’s have the composite output. Raspberry Pi Model 4 B. $50

I want a front panel that has USB ports so I can load data onto the Pi without taking the case apart. $25.00

Total $160.00

==================================================
Update:

I decided not to do the floppy drive and replace that with a drawer that can hold the Pi. Cost a little less, but I am not sure.

I decided to rewire the PC power supply to put a receptacle inside the box and use a PI branded power supply, Add $10.00

The PI 4 does not work well with composite. I can buy a box that converts HDMI to composite. Add $20

Figure $200 for a PI Luggable.

I am up to $190. I might wait for the PI 5.0 to do this. I will be buying two of everything because I have two 5155 luggables. Neither one works. Non-working ones go for $200. Working ones go for $450.

Figure each box goes for $300 plus $200 plus $100 labor and I might be able to sell them for $600 if I want.

IBM Luggable

In the mid 1980s I bought a portable IBM PC through a friend who worked at IBM. These were not like laptops. They were basically full size computers with a handle. They were not really portable, but were called Luggable. I used it for a good 10 years. I have it in the cellar. I also bought another one as a backup that is down there somewhere.
I modified it over the years so it used a Intel ‘486 motherboard with lots of memory and a video card that can drive the little orange monitor like a VGA monitor. I packed 5 hard disks into the thing.
I did a lot of work on that computer. I carried it on many airplanes and was able to fix systems in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washing D.C. and other cities over the years. Eventually it was not practical to use it and I had an IBM Thinkpad the weighed about 10 pounds as apposed the luggable that weighed about 40 pounds.
The old luggable has sentimental value and I’ve wanted to get it going again. The last time that I tried I did not get good results. I could not boot it. I think that I don’t have something hooked up correctly, or else the motherboard has died. The onboard motherboard battery is supposed to be good for 7 years and it has been 35 years since I got it.
I just read an article about the Raspberry Pi being able to run MS-Dos or Windows XP. It has a composite output that should be able to drive the old orange screen built into the luggable. It is 1000 times more powerful than the original 8088 motherboard in the luggable.
I decided that a project this Spring will be to rip out the guts of the old PC and make a nice bracket for the Raspberry PI. It will not only be much lighter, but much more powerful. I can make a boot menu to load MS-Dos 6.22, Windows XP or even Linux. I can relive my glory days in writing MASM programs, something that nobody does anymore. I can load Visual Basic, which is a language that I loved. I can transfer my programs to the Linux system and get them to run on modern machines. …Or maybe not. These are great ideas. We’ll see how far I get.
ppc1.jpg

Installing a Power Suppply in my old Desktop

Justine sent me an old desktop computer about 10 years ago. It is a little slow and old and over the last year it has started making fan noise an overheating. I considered buying a new desktop, but they go for about $600-$700 for the one I wanted. I vacuumed out the fans and it ran well for a few months, but it started making horrible noises again.
I bought a NVIDIA video card (because it has a fan). I bought a nice 1 TB ssd. I also bought a power supply on eBay. I had to return the power supply because it was not compatible with my computer, even though it was advertised as thus. I returned the power supply bought an inexpensive one (that cost less than the eBay one).
I replaced everything and now I have a very cool, very fast , quiet system. The ssd makes a huge difference in the speed of my 10 year old system. The NVIDIA card also seems to make all the graphics much faster. The power supply is twice the wattage of the old one.
I now have an old system that may be good for another 10 years for about $150.
Pretty soon I will be wandering the back roads of Rockland County and I might find a nearly new desktop computer in the junk. I’ll just transfer my hard disk to the new machine and have an even newer machine. The older machine might be good to run a local security server that runs a DNS server and VPN or maybe a media server.

Responsive Theme for Flatpress

Flatpress is an old blogging system. It has very few features and will run without any problems on most hosting services. Some hosting companies offer it as an automated installation. Since at 7 years it is very old, I am a little concerned that it has security issues and other bugs, but I took the chance.
I chose Flatpress because WordPress became way too complicated and I needed an old fashioned blog to use like a diary, but without all the headaches. The “themes” that come with Flatpress are all old-fashioned styles with fixed font sized measured in pixels. They look just awful on cell phones so I modified one of the standard themes.
I didn’t like the results that I got, and after some searching I found a “responsive” style theme for Flatpress. The bad thing was that it used a Germanic block font for the headings, but that was easy to fix. It is still using some “pixel” measurements for some elements, but it mostly works. I will continue to tweak it as I find things that annoy me.
I am using it for entries with limited interest to anyone other than myself (like this entry). General interest posts will still go on Facebook.
I will continue looking for simple blogging software, but this is good enough, if not perfect.

Old Blog Folder Discovered

I found a folder in my bookmarks called Blogs. It originally had about 50 entries, but after deleting the dead blogs I wound up with about 12.
Many are well known and some I don’t remember, but I will be checking them regularly. Some of these are updated irregularly, and some are not all that interesting. I have another folder with science blogs and another folder with news related sites. I may list them here if this works.
Here they are:
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/
http://boingboing.net/
http://www.kathryncramer.com/wblog/
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/
http://www.rudyrucker.com/blog/
http://slashdot.org/
http://mumpsimus.blogspot.com/
http://jalanerwine.blogspot.com/
http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/
http://www.techdirt.com/
http://www.researchbuzz.org/
http://www.contrapositivediary.com/

WhoDoneIt Story is going to press

I received the contract for my story The Tele-Med Murder Case this morning. I signed it and returned it. The anthology will appear sometime this month and I should be getting a free copy.

Interzone Story

I received a nice rejection from Interzone today. It turns out the editor wasn’t the real editor and the original editor was going to be doing the slush readings. He encouraged me to try again with the new guy.

Story acknowledged - Interzone

My story was acknowledged by Ian at Interzone overnight. He indicated that it might be some time before he could get to it.

New entry for kpgraham.com

Trying to make some kind of use out of the old domain names

Interzone

I sent Interzone Magazine a short story.
I have only sent stories to Interzone a couple of times over the last 20 years because they usually don’t respond for 6 to 9 months. I would love to sell a story there, though.
Interzone has changed hands and there is a new editor. My hope is that the new editor will be trying to keep ahead of the slush pile and I will get my rejection quickly, perhaps even with a friendly comment.
I’ll try to post here if I get any response (unless I get bored with this site.)