yon Leveron blog

John's musings on the Interknot cowpath

Cinco de Mayo, revisited

Posted by John on May 7th, 2011

Good day friends! </wave>

I’ve been pretty lax about keeping current on FaceBook with my friends and acquaintances; doh! Been trying to fix this the last few days, however.

I’ve occasionally tried to post a little bit of history via my Facebook page at times : http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history & http://www.440.com/twtd/ are two popular sites I’ve used.  Facebook has been a really decent way to reconnect with lost friends and to meet new folks, and to somewhat keep up with current friends and family as well.  I decided this was a great idea (after May 5, 2009 – two years ago) and it definitely has been a positive so far!

Side note : Recommended Reading List – for folks young and old to see what could and should be our future & legacy . . .

Sometimes though, despite trying to live by one of my Dad’s favorite bits (the Desiderata),  you end up falling short, or stumble.

When you do fall short, reading things like what this grumpy dude wrote don’t really help a lot, in keeping a positive outlook. (see previous post . . . happier is a lot more peaceful, too!)

Getting an email to read (daily) of the Dilbert cartoon, as well as Day by Day cartoon, is a lot more positive I think : at least when you can laugh a bit, you’re not so close to crying when things seem tough.

A definite positive I’ve enjoyed in recent times : taking up the tobacco pipe again on New Year’s eve, 2009.  A wonderful hobby indeed, is My Lady Nicotine . . . I hadn’t smoked a pipe really since using a cheap corn-cob pipe in High School.  Ahh, the days of trying not to get caught, being ‘somewhat’ adventurous . . .

While I’m putting out some random bits here . . . while I’m getting around to things I haven’t done lately : since I’ve never publicly thanked them, I’ll just say I have the greatest appreciation for Keith and rest of the Bowman Family for all their assistance.  What wonderful folks and family they are to many of us!

To close out today’s post, I’d like to leave you with a few images and a few tunes :

John Belushi - SNL

click for related image


Belushi, boy, there’s a lot there for some of us to identify with.  OK, safer / better to say “a lot of images” <hah!> . . . including :


Don't look back in anger . . .

click the picture above for the backstory, and video


To see all of my accumulated FaceBook pictures, you can head over here (near the bottom of my main page). (there just wasn’t a nice way, otherwise, that I could easily locate to show them off to the world at large, who aren’t ‘friends’ with me on FB ….)

As well, here are a few songs I’ve enjoyed listening to recently (right click and save, to get your very own copy on your machine) :

The Blues Brothers, 1

The Blues Brothers, 2

The song listed at the bottom of this post ….

I’m feeling better already from the public venting …. blogging is definitely therapeutic ;)

Cheers friends!

Now playing: The Police – Bring On The Night
via FoxyTunes

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a rough last weekend, but a better week now

Posted by John on May 6th, 2011


Some days are just tougher than others.  Allergies have been killing me, and I think I caught a bug last week as well.

Allergy meds to the rescue :)   That, and kind friends stopping by my home – thanks!

Unfortunately, missed a friend’s wedding over last weekend due to just not being up for traveling.  Everyone and their dog has been out cutting grass, as well, which doesn’t help :(

At least the rain on Sunday (May 1) helped damp down the pollen a bit.  Ah well, got to keep trying for the cheerful bits :

Cheerful Cookies

Same as the link on the main page suggests (click the puppies to get to the goods :) )  — puppies , rainbows , & butterflies <grin> – those are cheerful bits, and that’s the backstory for why those pictures are what they are, on the website, just FYI ;)

Well at least by staying indoors and using the air purifiers, I’m avoiding a lot of the pollen, so there’s that to be thankful for!  That, and going out to lunch with friends once a week – it’s a blessing to stay in contact and involved with at least some of the local folks (scheduling can be tough on us all, naturally!)

Hope everyone else had a stellar weekend, and that your work week is flowing along as mine is.  Happy days, friends!

Now playing: The Eagles – In The City
via FoxyTunes

Now playing: The Specials – Enjoy Yourself
via FoxyTunes

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Some of the (mostly free) e-book sources I’ve found

Posted by John on May 3rd, 2011

Some of the (mostly free) e-book sources I’ve found are listed here, just for general convenience.

I haven’t used them all, by any means, but am planning to add to my e-book collection soon.  There are a lot of good books out there, waiting to be read!  And the convenience factor of using your iPod touch, or phone, or whatever to read them is awfully handy . . .

Here goes :

www.pdfgeni.com – general searching options here

www.Scribd.com – general document search

http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/ general free spots, Gutenberg rocks BTW

www.freecomputerbooks.com Technical books of various sorts



commercial / paid :


We’ve come a long way since the e-book reader days of even 10 months ago, friends . . .

Posted by email, but I’ll edit by hand in a minute or two, once this goes live.  It will auto-parse the links above, this way – so I’m making it easy on myself :)


edited : to add one of the best (& free) e-book conversion programs out there – Calibre E-book management.  Basically lets you use anything you can find, in any format, in the format your device(s) prefer.  Includes a viewer, and other tools as well; is available for windows, OS X, and Linux.  Win !


John Leveron


Now playing: David Bowie – I’m Afraid Of Americans (V1)
via FoxyTunes

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“Plug” computers – will they become commonplace?

Posted by John on April 28th, 2011

Plug Computers: Access Your Data from Anywhere

6:00 PM – April 19, 2011 – by Eric Geier


1. Discovering Plug Computers

Looking for a way to share your files form one central location, via your network or the Internet?

One relatively new option is to invest in a “Plug Computer”, a common name for a relatively new type of small, energy efficient computer. Plug computers first hit the scene in early 2009, when companies like CTERA, Cloud Engines and Marvell committed to releasing new low-power, small form factor (SFF) computers that would focus on data backup. While the hardware has been around for about two years now, the included software has now evolved into something more than just a data backup service. Printer sharing, social networking, smartphone connectivity and dozens of other applications are now being included (or at the very least can be downloaded from an app portal).

Some of these plug computers are about the size of those lamp timers that you plug into an outlet (or a Clapper, if that’s a more hip analogy), while some are slightly bigger, resembling a network router. They are meant to be headless—meaning no monitor, keyboard, or mouse—and used remotely.


Plug Computers can serve many purposes, the biggest of which is creating your own personal cloud, allowing you to access your files, printers, and other services from anywhere on the Internet using PCs and mobile devices. They are basically a low-cost and energy efficient alternative to using a traditional server, such as Microsoft’s Windows Home Server. They can be used for personal use, to access your files when at work, school, or traveling. They can also be used to share and collaborate among your family, friends, or small business.


Plug Computers can be preloaded with a Linux OS and the vendor’s software that integrates it with their third-party apps and services—which is the type we’re going to discuss. Alternatively, you can buy a bare Plug Computer with no third-party integration and use a Linux OS and applications. Keep in mind; you can also usually access the core Linux OS on devices powered by third-party services for further customization.

There are several solutions or devices you can use to create your own personal cloud. In addition to reviewing two Plug Computers, we’ll discuss some alternatives, such as Network-Attached Servers (NASs) and network drives, routers with USB storage, and home servers.


For the full article, please hit this link : (via Tom’s Guide)

Now playing: The Rolling Stones – Angie
via FoxyTunes

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Google Motion for Gmail, Google Docs version coming soon!

Posted by John on April 1st, 2011


Good bits :)   http://gmail.com/motion


Motion BETA

A new way to communicate

The mouse and keyboard were invented before the Internet even existed. Since then, countless technological advancements have allowed for much more efficient human computer interaction. Why then do we continue to use outdated technology? Introducing Gmail Motion — now you can control Gmail with your body.

Don’t have Gmail? Create an account

  • Easy to learnSimple and intuitive gestures
  • Improved productivityIn and out of your email up to 12% faster
  • Increased physical activityGet out of that chair and start moving today
  • Gmail Motion - How it works

    How it works

    Gmail Motion uses your computer’s built-in webcam and Google’s patented spatial tracking technology to detect your movements and translate them into meaningful characters and commands. Movements are designed to be simple and intuitive for people of all skill levels.

  • Gmail Motion - Motion Guide

    Motion Guide

    Familiarize yourself with some of the basic functionality of Gmail Motion using this printable guide of sample gestures. With it, you’ll be able to start writing and responding to emails – with your body – in no time.

  • Gmail Motion - Safety precautions

    Safety precautions

    Using Gmail Motion is not only safe but also healthy and fun. As with any physical activity, certain precautions are recommended. First, make sure to clear the area around you. Second, try to take short breaks every 30-40 minutes, just as you would if you were typing. And finally, take time to stretch after each session to give the muscles you’ll be using some relief.

  • Gmail Motion - Coming soon to Google Docs

    Coming soon to Google Docs

    This new motion detection technology doesn’t stop with Gmail. We’re excited to announce that Google Docs Motion will be coming later this year. Learn more

  • Lorraine Klayman, Environmental Movement Specialist, Nevada Polytechnic College“No longer will people be required to bend to the will of technology. Instead, technology will now bend to our will.” Lorraine Klayman, Environmental Movement Specialist, Nevada Polytechnic College
  • Dennis Tooley, Ph.D, California Center for Kinesis and Paralanguage“It is commonly known that 80% of communication is non-verbal. Gmail Motion not only accepts this fact – it embraces it.” Dennis Tooley, Ph.D, California Center for Kinesis and Paralanguage
  • Ken Harrenstien, Software Engineer, Google Accessibility Team

    “Kudos to the Gmail team for bridging the divide. I’m eagerly awaiting the next version with ASL turbo boost!” Ken Harrenstien, Software Engineer, Google Accessibility Team

© Google – Terms & Privacy

(and yes, you ought to check the date of this post here and on Google <grin>)
Now playing: The Who – Boris the Spider
via FoxyTunes

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Amazon gives Google some competition via free giveaways

Posted by John on March 30th, 2011

Pretty cool for all music lovers, and 5 gigs free (I like free!)



For anyone you know with an Android phone, they also give away one paid application per day, for free.  Today’s free app (15+ hours left before $4.99 again) is SoundHound Infinity.

Now playing: The Who – Eminence Front
via FoxyTunes

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outdoor wireless – extreme range

Posted by John on March 24th, 2011


Saw one of these in action over the last weekend : http://www.ubnt.com/nanostation

ubiquiti networks NanoStation

(you can see further pictures here)


The range was rather incredible, at well over 1000 meters, to an android phone no less.  It was mounted on the exterior of a one-story metal barn like structure, on the end opposite from where I was approaching.  Impressive stuff!

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Biggest GPS jammer ever, courtesy of the FCC

Posted by John on March 15th, 2011


lifted from http://gpstracklog.com/2011/03/biggest-gps-jammer-ever-courtesy-the-fcc.html – get the full story there!


Biggest GPS jammer ever, courtesy the FCC

March 11, 2011 by Rich Owings

gps_satellite_altThere’s been a spate of stories recently about how we’re over-reliant on GPS, and while some threats are overblown, GPS jamming can be more serious, especially on the scale tentatively approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Wha? Read on my friend…


GPS jammers

GPS jammers like the one pictured below are illegal in the US, and with good reason. GPS signals are extremely weak. Broadcast on the same frequency and it’s easy to overwhelm receivers for many miles around you. The FCC is finally cracking down on the sale of these devices, but I’m betting there are hundreds if not thousands out there in the US alone. For more information, check out this excellent article on GPS jammers that New Scientist posted earlier this week.



LightSquared is a company planning to delivery wireless broadband services via satellite. Unfortunately it operates in the L-band frequencies adjacent to those used by GPS. Many members of the GPS industry were surprised (and probably caught off guard) when the FCC gave tentative approval to LightSquared’s plans, signing off on what is tantamount to GPS jamming on a massive nationwide scale. Normal process was apparently circumvented, possibly due to political favors. Garmin’s tests have shown jamming at 3.57 to 13.76 miles from a LightSquared transmitter and complete loss of fix from 0.66 to 5.6 miles away. Even the US Air Force thinks the FCC is way off base here. A new industry group, the Coalition to Save Our GPS, has been formed. A final report from an industry working group is due to the FCC by June 15, 2011, but by then much of LightSquared’s network will have already been constructed.

FCC asleep at the wheel

It looks to me like the biggest threat to GPS is coming from its owners – the US government. An FCC that just recently woke up to the threat posed by jammers goes and approves the biggest jamming system ever?! Somebody in DC needs a wake up call, and we know who it is…



Now playing: Alice In Chains – Them Bones
via FoxyTunes

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nifty Google Maps overlay for U.S. counties

Posted by John on March 14th, 2011

At http://www.maptechnica.com/map_tools_counties.php you can access a nifty Google Maps overlay  interface for counties in the USA.


Now playing: Audioslave – Show Me How to Live
via FoxyTunes


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Looks like the marketplace listened – sort-of . . .

Posted by John on March 7th, 2011


Update : From my previous take on the crappy initial Blu-Ray release of LOTR, it seems they are readying the Extended Editions . . . . you can click the pictures to expand them.

Pre-Order the set they should have released, $83.99 for the extended trilogy

You can now pre-order from Amazon.com

The Quest Is Over: All three extended versions in dazzling 1080p and DTS HD-MA 5.1 Audio. Deluxe set includes over 26 Hours of spellbinding behind-the- moviemaking material, including the rare Costa Botes documentaries.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Extended Edition: With the help of a courageous fellowship of friends and allies, Frodo embarks on a perilous mission to destroy the legendary One Ring.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Extended Edition: In the middle chapter of this historic movie trilogy, the Fellowship is broken but its quest to destroy the One Ring continues.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Extended Edition: The final battle for Middle-earth begins. Frodo and Sam, led by Gollum, continue their dangerous mission toward the fires of Mount Doom in order to destroy the One Ring.


A short preview of LOTR – extended editions on blu-ray is available (opens in a new window, .mp4 format, you can also right click the link and “Save As” to your local computer).

Now playing: Steely Dan – Hey Nineteen
via FoxyTunes

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