Welcome, Linux Users!



I love Linux! And I hope you do, too. I have been using Linux as a desktop platform since 1994. After I retired in 1997, I decided to focus my efforts on using and writing about Linux and free software. This page contains links to some of my fun stuff and other projects.


escposf - A Thermal Printer control and filter command for ESC/POS Printing Under Linux

Thermal printers are everywhere. I recently realized how much fun using one could be after getting a Raspberry Pi 3 and an inexpensive ($28) thermal printer. The problems I had were that I had never used one before and initially had a little trouble printing. Of course the first task was finding a driver for CUPS. After playing around with the printer I came up with a quick hack to control printing output or embed printer control codes into text streams for the printer. This page describes escposf, a thermal printer control and filter for ESC/POS Printing under Linux.

escposf - ESC/POS thermal printing for Linux

Nokia N800 Clock and Talking Scripts - IPTalk and WXTalk

The Nokia N800 is a great little Linux tablet with Wifi, touchscreen, support for two SDHC slots, and many hundreds of apps. Here is a simple Web clock and two scripts that speak your N800's current IP address and the weather.

Nokia Clock and N800 Talking Scripts

Chotto Shot USB Camera and iPhoto Bug Fix for the PSP

Here's a quick wrap-up on the PSP's Chotto Shot USB camera. Since this handy little device is not available in the U.S., it must be purchased from an importer or overseas. While it works great and is supported under the current PSP firmware, Mac OS X iPhoto users may need to use a handly little script I developed to get around a nasty JPEG import bug.

Chotto Shot USB Camera Utility Script and Bug Fix for Mac OS X and the PSP

Simple RSS, Wireless Streaming Audio, and JPEG Books for the PSP

This page provides some information on my recent acquisition and experience with use of a Sony PSP. You'll also get a short description of how to build JPEG books from PDFs, and see how to set up simple RSS feeds of your .mp3 albums so you can listen to music wirelessly on your PSP. A shell script listing is included to get you started.

JPEG Books, Simple RSS and Wireless Streaming Audio for the PSP

Linux on the HP L2000 Lance Armstrong Notebook

This is a short page on describing how to get around using at least one proprietary driver when installing and configuring KANOTIX64, a 64-bit live distro that can be installed and used on the HP L2000 notebook. At this time, everything works (!) with the exception of Bluetooth and the media card slots. Time to install and configure:  About 15 minutes!

Installing KANOTIX64 on the HP L2000

A Ford F-150 FT-857 and ATAS-120 No-drill Installation

Yaesu's FT-857 mobile transceiver and ATAS-120 coax-driven mini-screwdriver antenna are a great combination for easy installation, single-coax control, and lots of fun. While purists will deride the ATAS-120 as an inefficient radiator, I have found the antenna to be perfectly satisfactory for use in safe HF mobiling in my truck. The link below provides a quick summary of my install of the transceiver, battery cabling, and antenna mount.

F-150 and Yaesu FT-857, ATAS-120 Install

Linux, X11, and the Ten Tec Argonaut V HF Transceiver

Ten-Tec, Inc.'s Argonaut V HF transceiver (model 516) now has graphical and command-line Linux rig control clients! The following link provides some details on xtt516 and tt516, two quick hacks I made to existing code for the Ten Tex RX320 receiver. The programs provide rig control through a null-modem cable connection between a PC (or notebook) and the RS232 port on the transceiver.

Linux and the Ten Tec Argonaut V HF Transceiver 

Linux and the Ten-Tec RX-320 Computer-Controlled Receiver

Ten-Tec, Inc.'s RX-320 DSP PC radio works great with Linux thanks to Ten-Tec, open-source specs, and fellow UNIX, X11, and Linux programmers! The following link provides some details on some hacks I made to (such as scan sweep) to Hector Peraza's most excellent xclass-enabled rx320 client.

Linux and the Ten-Tec RX-320 Receiver 

NetBSD UNIX on a MIPS CPU Laptop

The IBM Z50  (aka "WorkPad") is a great little laptop, powered by a 131MHz MIPS CPU. Thanks to the NetBSD folks, this little gem handily runs UNIX. NetBSD supports the X Window System, the Z50's TrackPoint, audio, PCMCIA (for networking, storage, SCSI media, or serial comms), and compact flash media (such as the IBM Microdrive).

Using an IBM WorkPad Z50 with NetBSD 1.5.1 and Linux

Hardware Hacks:

Radio Shack Pro-95 1000-channel dual-trunking handheld scanner

Here's a little writeup on a nice little toy, along with pics of a cheap case and a link to a handy guide that compresses the scanner's 92-page manual into a single-sided piece of paper.

An inexpensive case and one-sheet guide to the Radio Shack Pro-95

Building an inexpensive 2.4GHz omnidirectional antenna for a wireless LAN

Here's a page describing my efforts and results after building a $5.47 external antenna for my wireless LAN:

How to build an inexpensive but powerful 2.4GHz omnidirectional antenna for a wireless LAN 

A Cheap Plexi-glass PC Case

Here's a  quick project to show that you can build a transparent PC case. It's ugly, but functional, and costs less than $30:

Building an inexpensive Plexiglass PC case and computer

A mini-ITX PC Case Using a Recycled SCSI enclosure 

Want to save some metal from the landfill and get a great case for your small form-factor PC? Here's a link to my firewall project:

Building a mini-ITX case from a recycled external SCSI enclosure

Zip Zap Madness!

Here are some quick and inexpensive mods for a popular line of mini-R/C cars. These cars cost less than $20 and include a controller.

My Zip Zap Projects

Software Hacks:

Linux is a powerful platform, and complete distributions fit on 40, 50, 185, 210, and 245MB CDRs and CDRWs. Here's a short page with a wrapup on a number of "mini-distros" for a "mini-distribution":

How to build a 3" mini-CDR Linux distribution 

NEWS FLASH! Tzones, my old software project for the PalmOS, has now been adopted and updated!  Go to the new Tzones page on SourceForge.net to see the great work by the new maintainer, Daniel Thompson. The below link is retained for historical purposes only, and provides original information, pre-compiled binaries and source to a now outdated animated world clock for Palm platforms:

The Old Tzones

Writing Projects:

I've been using computers for many years, and have been writing about computer software and hardware since the mid-1980s. My first stint as a technical editor was with Que and two books: Jack Purdum's The C Standard Library and another title named Using Lotus HAL (which never took off, IIRC). Since then I've been a reviewer for Computer Shopper (before Ziff-Davis destroyed the publication), and a QuarkXPress developer (created the first auto-save and date-time stamping feature!). I have also written for MacTech Magazine (when it was named MacTutor), and for Linux Journal.

My interest in UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems was first sparked by Microware's OS-9 operating system. I've used TRSDOS, CP/M, DOS, OS-9, BTOS, CTOS, WangVS, SunOS, Dynix, MacOS, and Windows [shudder]. I'm also a big fan of Mac OS X. But I've never had the same degree of satisfaction and productivity until I started using Linux (around 1992, but hardcore since 1994).

Here are some of my books:

Sams Teach Yourself Linux in 24 Hours (1st ed. - includes Red Hat 5.0)
Que's Using Linux (one copy included with every VA Linux workstation!)
Sams Red Hat Linux Unleashed (3rd ed. - includes Red Hat 5.2)
Red Hat Linux 6 Unleashed (includes Red Hat 6.0)
Sams How to Use Linux  (1st ed. - includes Caldera OpenLinux 1.3, StarOffice 4.0)
Sams Linux Unleashed (4th ed. - with RH6.0 CD)
Sams Teach Yourself Linux in 24 Hours (2nd ed. - includes Caldera OpenLinux 2.2)
Sams Teach Yourself SuSE Linux in 24 Hours (1st ed. - includes SuSE 6.2)
Sams SuSE Linux Unleashed (1st. ed. - includes SuSE 6.2)
Prima's Linux for Your Laptop (1st ed. - includes a bootable business card from Linuxcare!)
Sams Red Hat Linux 7 Unleashed (includes Red Hat 7.0 on 3 CDs)
Sams Red Hat Linux 7 Unleashed (2nd ed.;includes Red Hat 7.1 on 3 CDs) 
Prima's New XFree86 (1st. ed.)
Que's Practical Linux (1st. ed)
Linux for Your Mac (1st. ed)
Sams Red Hat Linux 7.2 Unleashed (3rd ed.; includes Red Hat 7.2 on CD)
Sams Red Hat Linux 7.3 Unleashed (4th ed.; includes Red Hat 7.3 on CD)
Sams Red Hat Linux 8 Unleashed (includes Red Hat 8.0 on 2 CDs)
Sams Red Hat Linux 9 Unleashed (includes Red Hat 9 on 2 CDs)
Sams Red Hat Linux and Fedora Unleashed (includes Fedora Core 1 on 2 CDs and a DVD!) 

Suggestions? Mail them to:

main(){int j=-1;char t[]="rfnqyt?%ggfqqEyz}3twl\n";
while(t[j]!='\n'){putchar(t[++j]-'\05');}return 0;}

Here's a picture of me in a former life. A webcam shot of me at work long ago:

(made using the mcam X11 client and the Zora webcam
(included with White Pine's CuSee-Me Cam Kit - remember that one?).

Cool! It Works With Linux!(tm)