Made some cookies tonight.

Making a tasty apple pie in preparation for Adam and Comfort's visit this weekend.

Alright. I don't feel 100% but by the afternoon today I felt a lot better. It probably helped that I took half a day off of work and rested.

Plus soup. Tasty soup.

I felt well enough that I finally started in on the Shizuku scarf I wanted to make back in February. I'm glad I finished Chris's scarf for this winter season and I look forward to having this one in progress for 6+ months.

The scarf is already more fun to knit, but also a lot more painful on my elbow and wrists. There's a lot of twisting to do knitting front and back in the same stitch, turning needles a lot and so on to gradually make it wider and to keep adding drops along the way. This one is going to take me a long time. Heck, I could probably knit another blanket before I finish this thing. That thing was so chunky and fast to knit.

Today wasn't a whole lot better. I ate more food (two whole bananas and some toast!), made it through the work day, and promptly crashed in the couch when I got home. Leki spent a big portion of the evening under the Christmas tree while I watched a lot of Netflix.

Do you know how awesome Netflix is for sick people? No terrible commercials and crappy cable programming. I can just stream whatever series I was watching.

Netflix has been pretty useful the last few days.

I've felt kind of off all day today. I did get out of the office and walk through the skywalk, just to move around, so that was nice.

I didn't actually end up doing much of anything. I went home early feeling sick and spent a chunk of the evening lying around.
On the plus side, Chris was able to wear the scarf I finished knitting for him yesterday when he picked me up from work. So that was nice!

That thing only took me like 11 months to do. Wow.

So I've been working on and off trying to get the Kindle weather display to work properly between a web server and the Kindle. This morning at around 12:15 am I finally got everything working properly.

How It Works
On the web server a shell script ( runs at certain intervals (via a cronjob) and triggers the following:
  • step 1: python script on web server pulls latest weather data from NOAA
  • step 2: python script replaces placeholder tags on the preprocess.svg with data from NOAA and saves it as weather-script-output.svg
  • step 3: shell script converts the new svg file to a png file (the Kindle can only read png files, not svg)
  • step 4: shell script compresses the png file to make it a smaller file size
Then on the Kindle with the display file ( running:

  • step 5: Kindle looks at the web server. If the png file is available, display it.
  • step 6: update the display by replacing the png file at intervals defined on Kindle (via cron)

The whole thing has been a fantastic exercise. While I didn't create the graphics or write the python script (I can't code in python, but I'm certainly teaching myself because it looks fascinating), I've learned enough along the way to know how to tweak things and see a potential for changes and future projects.

In fact, the first thing was to add a date. The Kindle Weather Display as created by Matthew Petroff doesn't include a date. If you trust everything you're doing and you're looking for the cleanest possible display, there'd be no reason to clutter it with a date.

I don't trust me and I wanted a date.
Chris helped me work out placement with the date since he has more experience working with SVG files. We added a small line (called DATE_VALPLACE) in the weather-script-preprocess.svg file. This creates a place holder for date and time.
The whole thing is only 12 pixels high so it's very small, as you can see.

To accommodate the space for the date, we did shrink down the size of the high and low temperature displays on the bottom row (to 48px from 58) and move them up slightly (about 10 points on the y axis).

After that just a few lines had to be added to the python script to actually calculate the date and time.
Now we have a weather display that shows the date and time of the last update.

If this is something you're interested in setting up, I'd recommend reading the original Kindle Weather Display blogpost and downloading the files Matthew Petroff has available.
Because I didn't already have a web server running I used this as an exercise to learn more about both Linux web servers and general Kindle hacking. I've listed the steps I took below. Here are the modified files on github or if, if you prefer, dropbox. These are what I'm using to run the display with date and time on my Raspberry Pi server.

Before Beginning You Must Have
  1. A Kindle (examples below are for Kindle 4 with software version 4.1.0)
  2. Jailbreak
  3. Ability to SSH into the Kindle (this is how I set up USBNetworking)
  4. Access to a Linux server (this may work on OS X or Windows with some modifications to the shell scripts)

I'd also recommend knowledge working in the linux command line and working with vi editor.

Installing Kite on Kindle 4
Kite is an application launcher that allows you to launch apps from the Kindle home screen. This is what will be used to launch the weather display on the Kindle.

NOTE: once this is running, you cannot exit it. The Kindle will need to be rebooted to get back into the menu. To reboot the kindle hold the power button for 20 seconds. 
  1. Grab Kite  
    • There have been posts about people unable to install from the update .bin file on the Kindle 4 so I used "installation of kite as script" which was the kite.gz download.
  2. Plug the Kindle into your PC and drop kite.gz onto the Kindle
  3. unmount and SSH into the Kindle
  4. mount the Kindle file system 
    • type: mntroot rw
  5. move into /mnt/us 
    • type: cd /mnt/us
  6. Unzip the kite.gz file
    • type:
      • gzip -d kite.gz
      • sh kite
  7. Kite should now be installed. When you restart your kindle you will see a kite pdf (delete me). Simply delete the file.
  8. Next is to add files to the kite folder. Plug the Kindle into your PC and create a folder called kite (you may need to move a file called kite into another folder first)
  9. Create a folder called ondrop within the kite folder.
  10. Drop the relevant files into kite/ondrop
  11. Reboot kindle, select "Kite" from the menu to launch the file in the kite/ondrop folder
Setting the Clock on the Kindle
If you have not registered the Kindle with Amazon, it will probably not be displaying the correct date. Ensuring that the clock is right (or that you are at least aware of the time on the Kindle) is crucial to scheduling cron jobs. Here’s how to change the time on the Kindle if you haven’t registered it with Amazon and downloaded the correct time. This is taken from this blogpost.
  1. SSH into the Kindle
    • type: date MMDDHHMMYYYY
      • example: date 112316102012 (this will set the Kindle to November 23 2012, 4:10pm
  2. Permanently store the time on the Kindle
    • type: hwclock -w
Editing cron on the Kindle
The Kindle does not allow for custom jobs to be created as is typically done in linux. The file system needed is temporary and removed after a reboot. All cron scheduling MUST be done in the root cron file under: /etc/crontab/root

If you're unfamiliar with cron, I recommend starting with here first.
  • SSH into Kindle and mount the file system
    • type: mntroot rw
  • Edit CRON file in vi ( 
    • type: vi /etc/crontab/root
  • A list of jobs in the root cron file should appear 
*/60 * * * * /usr/sbin/loginfo tmpfs
*/60 * * * * /usr/sbin/loginfo localVars
*/60 * * * * /usr/sbin/loginfo memusedump
*/15 * * * * /usr/sbin/loginfo powerdcheck
*/5  * * * * /mnt/us/weather/

Your cron file will look like the above, minus the line highlighted in yellow. Simply add a line to run your script as often as you would like. In this example the file is scheduled to run every 5 minutes. I used this interval for testing purposes to ensure the server and kindle were working properly and updating.

NOTE: I DO NOT RECOMMENDED SETTING THIS TO A LOWER INTERVAL FOR TESTING PURPOSES. As soon as you restart cron (either rebooting the Kindle or from the command line) The display launches at the designated time. If you set this too low (for example 1 or 2 minutes) and reboot the kindle, you will be unable to access the cron and adjust the time. This is because a reboot causes you to lose access to SSH (requiring the ;debug command to be re-entered). If the script is set to run every minute or 2 minutes, that is likely not enough time for you to enter the command, SSH into the device, and edit cron.  

Now, my web server is set to pull the weather every 2 hours so I set the cron on the Kindle to update ever 2 hours at the 5 minute mark. That means the Kindle will now look for an update at 2:05, 4:05, 6:05, etc. That is a full 5 minutes after the server has pulled the weather and processed the data.

Here is the line I added: 

5  */2 * * * /mnt/us/weather/
  • reboot cron 
    • type: /etc/init.d/cron restart
    • cron restart will look like this:
      • system: I cron:def:stopping crond
      • system: I cron:def:starting crond
  • the script will now run at the designated time. You can launch it manually from Kite on the home screen or wait for the interval to pass in cron and it will launch it automatically.
Notes For Setting Up Your Linux Web Server
  • You must have Python installed (version 2.7.3 will work. I have not tested the script in Python3).
  • You will need rsvg-convert or imagemagick to convert the SVG file to PNG (the Kindle cannot read SVG files).
  • You need pngcrush installed to compress the PNG file. If you use the file as provided on the Kindle Weather Display website, you will need version 1.7.22. Pngcrush should be available in your distro repository. 
NOTE: Ubuntu doesn't support the latest version and I couldn't get it to install properly from the command line so I used pngcrush 1.7.0 and modified the shell script to get the properly formatted file. Here is how I modified it:  

cd "$(dirname "$0")" 

rsvg-convert --background-color=white -o weather-script-output-new.png weather-script-output.svgpngcrush -c 0 -nofilecheck weather-script-output-new.png weather-script-output.pngcp -f weather-script-output.png /path/to/web/server/directory/weather-script-output-new.png

Raspberry Pi Special Note: 
If you're setting this up on a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian, as I have, there are a few extra notes to be aware of.
  • Used imagemagick instead of rsvg-convert (I could not find the library for rsvg-convert available on Raspbian)
  • Had to use pngcrush version 1.7.9
  • Had to ensure full paths are included in the custom cronjob because it wouldn't run the file properly.
m h  dom mon dow   command  
  • Had to set file as executable (chmod 755
    • OR add your user (default: pi) to the crontab group in /etc/group (type nano /etc/group)
  • Had to correct the Python name in the shell script from python 2 to python2.7:

cd "$(dirname "$0")"

convert weather-script-output.svg weather-script-output-new.png
pngcrush -c 0 nofilecheck weather-script-output-new weather-script-output.png
cp -f weather-script-output.png /path/to/web/server/directory/weather-script-output-new.png

I've enjoyed this project quite a bit and I'm already thinking about changes and modifications to the project. Some of them are:
  • Modify the display to post the current temperature OR just the low temperature after the sun sets
  • Write a script to display news and information based on RSS feeds
  • Modify the files so that they will work on the Kindle as a stand alone without the web server. Similar to the Kobo Weather Display.
I hope these notes help if you're looking to set one of these up. If you have any questions or something doesn't make sense, leave a comment or send me a tweet (@shatteredhaven) and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Kindle Weather Display Github Repository
Or if you prefer, download directly from dropbox

UPDATE 12/27/2012: I tweaked the SVG to reflect all the days of the week instead of today, tomorrow, etc. Details can be found here: Kindle Weather Display: Days For All Forecasts

We put our tree up super early this year. Normally we wait until much closer to Christmas before putting it up, but this year with a full size and company coming next weekend, we thought we'd set it up a little early.

The only ornaments we put on the tree are non-breakable ones, so if the cat does try to take the tree down it's an easy fix, hopefully.
When it's all said and done, the living room certainly looks more colorful than it usually does. It feels a little weird having the tree up so early in the season, but I suppose we'll get used to it.

Here's hoping that the cat gives enjoys the tree from a distance.

The first Christmas season Leki and I spent together I was pretty sick. I spent about three weeks out of four in December lying around on various medications and feeling exhausted.

The year after that I was moved in with Chris and he set up his small tree. And that is what we have used for the last several years.

But we're in a bigger place and we have room for a larger tree this year. Hooray!
This afternoon Chris and I set up the tree so Leki could get used to it. He did spend most of his time pre-occupied with the box the tree came in, which is probably just as well.
The tree fits snugly in a corner in our small living room and the cat, so far, has seem uninterested. We've decided to leave it undecorated (except for a lone snowman) until tomorrow, just in case he tries to take it down.

I'm sure the tree wont be interesting until lights and shiny things are on it. Good thing I have quite a few random soft decorations we can use before trying anything glass.
UPDATE: well, he has a new favorite napping spot.

We spent the day in at my parent's house in metro Detroit. They had lots variety so plenty of food for everyone.

I didn't feel the greatest so i didn't eat much. I didn't even finish a slice of pumpkin pie! I neglected to snap a photo, but my little brother was there as well.

All in all a good day and I made sure to steal plenty of leftovers so I can lay about for the next three days gaming and not cooking.

I stumbled across a delicious-looking recipe awhile back and I haven't really had an excuse to make it. Apple pie backed in an apple. Brilliant and adorable!

So for Thanksgiving I thought I would make several little apple pies. The whole process is pretty easy. You chop off the tops, dig out the innards, and stuff them back with tasty sugary apple goodness.
Once they're stuffed, you just weave a lattice (or if you want just a simple pie crust with vents) and pop them in the oven.

Now the recipe I took this from recommended tossing the tops and the innards and just cutting up more apples. I didn't really see the point in that. Why toss perfectly good apple to then chop up more apples to use? So I used part of the tops and portions of the apple innards (minus the core of course). I actually didn't end up using any extra apples, so now I have to figure out what to do with a whole bag of them.
The apples turned out pretty nice. I did end up with some split apples, but I blame that on being unable to get my oven above 350 degrees and not so much on the recipe itself. There were several comments on the website noting that people had split apples and it sounded primarily because they weren't baking at 375 degrees.

The entire thing is edible, which makes me very happy. I'm looking forward to trying one tomorrow.

Took a nice stroll around the river in downtown Grand Rapids this afternoon. The weather is fantastic so I couldn't really justify sitting in the office any longer.

There were quite a few people in the river, taking advantage of the nice weather and enjoying some fishing.

Doesn't that look worlds better than yesterday's display?

I fiddled around a little this evening and made some progress. I learned just enough about shell scripts and pngcrush to edit a file and end up with the correct display. I even modified the python file so that it finally reflect the proper longitude and latitude for where I live.

Now, the reason I say tomorrow's forecast is because the Kindle currently thinks it is 1:40am, which means Tuesday's forecast is under today, Wednesday under tomorrow and so on. There is no option to set the time in the device settings. My options are to register the Kindle with Amazon or edit the time from the command line. I don't really want to register a second Kindle device to my account because I don't have any intention of using this as an eReader and I don't want to accidentally send books to it. I've already done that with the tablet and the Kindle. It sounds silly but I'm really just trying to avoid clutter in my Amazon account. So edit via the command line is the likely course of action.

This may not be the perfect Kindle Weather Display yet, it's getting there. Plus I'm learning all sorts of new things along the way.

Next I'll have to edit the refresh time on the web server and the Kindle with the use of cron. There are a few other tweaks I'd like to make after that, but I think once I have the refresh times set up I should be in good shape. I may end up running the web server (currently running the python code and converting SVG files to PNG files) on a Raspberry Pi until I figure out how to move everything to the Kindle.

And yes, I'll eventually blog about something other than the Kindle. I just figured this might be marginally more interesting than reading about playing the Lost Shores content recently added to Guild Wars 2, which I've played a lot of.

Yeah. I know. That kindle does not look like this kindle. I've been poking around off and on all weekend trying to get the kindle set up as a weather display.

The first snag I hit was getting python installed on a Windows server. I found this helpful tutorial and was on my way. I tested a few python scripts, confirmed it worked, and moved on to the next problem.


rsvg-convert is a tool to convert svg files to png, which the Kindle reads. It's also a linux library. So there isn't really support for it in Windows. I also couldn't find any easy alternatives.

So all that time setting up a server to support python in Windows was kind of a waste.

So next up is poking around on a Linux box trying to get everything set up.

The image is also formatted incorrectly because, I assume, I'm running the files in windows and they're not resizing properly.

And the forecast isn't actually for where I live. It's just a random location. I haven't even gotten to setting up that portion.

And I haven't even started trying to get everything to run locally on the kindle yet!

I'll have to spend more time on this over the long weekend since I've spent a fair amount of time playing Guild Wars 2 in their special event this weekend instead of problem solving.

I spent some time playing Guild Wars 2 participating in a new event they had over the weekend. I probably spent more hours gaming than I should have.
In the evening we went to see Lincoln. Chris and I enjoyed it and he has some thoughts up on his blog.

After the movie we hunted down a Christmas tree. It's been four years since I've actually put a large one up. I was too sick one year and the other three I'd lived in Chris's small apartment, so there was no room. But now with a house, we have the room. The one potential problem is that Leki has never seen one. I'm not too worried but I do think that means leaving the tree up for an extended period of time and not decorating it too early (or at all). He likes to get on top of anything that is new so he will probably try to lay on the tree if given half a chance.

I stumbled across two NPCs while playing Guild Wars 2 and I thought this was cute.

After all the reading yesterday and a little more today, I felt reasonably confident that I could get the USBNet hack to work, thus allowing me access to the Kindle file system.
The whole process turned out to be less painful than I had anticipated and I was logged into the Kindle in no time.
The basic steps I took are as follows:
  1. Install the network drivers for the Kindle on your machine. I had difficulty installing the ini file from the wiki, so for Windows 7 I did this while in the diagnostics menu
      • Go to Device Manager in Windows
      • Choose the unrecognized device from the list
      • Choose update driver/install driver
      • Choose "Let me pick from a list..."
      • Choose Network Adapter
      • Choose Microsoft Corporation
      • Choose Remote NDIS based Internet Sharing Device
  2. Next is determining if SSH is on the device or not. The wiki has a good tutorial here
If you determine that SSH is not running on your device, like I did, you'll need to do the USBNet hack. The file can be downloaded from this forum post (kindle-usbnetwork-0.XX.N where XX is the latest version number).

Read the README.txt for instructions and details. These steps are outlined in the README. The README also has more detail on what you need to do than what is below. The basics steps are:
  1. Plug Kindle into computer, place the appropriate update .bin file onto your Kindle.
      • Note: If you don't know your root password, write down your Kindle Serial Number found under the 2nd page under Device Info (Menu-->Settings). Input that serial into Kindle root password tool, and it will give you a list of few possible passwords.
  2. Eject the Kindle and install the usbnetwork update (Menu-->Settings-->Menu-->Update Your Kindle).
  3. Wait for the update to install and for the Kindle to reboot (took just a few minutes for mine to install and reboot).
  4. Review the config file on the Kindle under src\usbnet\etc and make any changes as necessary. As noted in the config file, this MUST be done in a UNIX/Linux environment and not Windows. (Line endings). 
      • Aside from adjusting USE_VOLUMD to true for the Kindle 4, I would recommend leaving the default settings for now to ensure that everything is working properly before editing the config file.
  5. Make sure the Kindle is not plugged into your PC. If it is, eject the device. 
  6. On the Kindle keyboard (you can use the keyboard key on the Kindle 4) type: 
      • ";debugOn" (with no quotes). Choose "search my items" to enter this information into the Kindle. You will see no changes. 
      • Next type "~usbNetwork". Choose "search my items" again. 
        • Side note: I noticed after typing the last command that the battery icon at the top of the Kindle has a lightning bolt through it (the charging symbol) appears. I'm not sure if this is an indicator on all Kindle versions, but it did indicate on my K4 that it was now in "usbnetworking mode". 
  7. Plug the Kindle into your computer. It should be recognized by your OS as a Network Adapter.
  8. Set the IP address on your computer to the address defined under "HOST_IP" in the config file. Subnet should be Everything else can be blank. 
      • NOTE: When you plug the Kindle into your computer you should see two network adapters. You are changing the IP address for your Kindle network connection and not your regular ethernet/wifi connection.
  9. Launch your preferred SSH application (ex Putty). Type in the IP address that was listed under KINDLE_IP in the config file.
  10. You should now see the login screen. Login! 
      • If you enabled SSH over Wifi or made some changes other options, you will need to know your password for root. This is where your Kindle Serial Number comes in handy. If you didn't retrieve your password earlier, simply visit the Kindle root password tool, and it will give you a list of few possible passwords.

I'd love to have this Kindle Weather Display hack, and when I stumbled across a cheap Kindle 4 on eBay, I couldn't pass it up. So tonight it's just me, an orange meow meow, a bowl of popcorn and endlessly surfing forum posts for details now that I've jailbroken a Kindle 4.

The jailbreak was super easy. Trust me. Drop some files on it, reboot, reboot, etc.

But no project is without it's bumps, and this one is no exception. This Kindle is running the latest software and that version appears to have killed off native ssh support. I can ping the device, but I can't actually log into it and the port (22) isn't open. So that means I can't simply access it remotely and edit files and do what I'd like to do.

No ssh support means performing a USBNet hack and I'm a little less comfortable with that. So I've been reading forum posts all night on successes and failures. I'll likely try something on the weekend when I have more time and feel pretty confident with how to proceed.

Right now I'm enjoying poking around in the diagnostics menu and learning about the different workings of the Kindle.

While the Kindle 4 is adorably small, I really do love my much larger Kindle 2. Honestly, unless that beast completed died I can't see using the smaller e-readers out on the market. That's why this Kindle 4 is going up on the wall (plus it would look better mounted) as opposed to my older Kindle 2. I guess I'm too used to being able to have my hands all over the device without actually covering the screen. And I've always thought the traditional 7" form factor is perfect for portability.

Yes, technically it's 8" and the screen is definitely not as large as a 7" tablet, but seriously - the dimensions of the Kindle 2 are almost the same as a 7" tablet when you take into account the plastic border surrounding the 7" screen. Anyway, that's why I've enjoyed the smaller android tablets.

Chris has often commented that he laments the lack of true loose coney dogs in the Grand Rapids area. I'm not a huge coney lover so I've never really checked out all of the different restaurants in Grand Rapids. Maybe there has been some hidden restaurant that's served a loose coney the entire time he's lived here, maybe they're new on the scene. Who knows.

All I know is we stopped at Grand Coney on a whim today at lunch and they served the true loose coney dogs he loves. Huzzah!

Also, I'm a little sad I didn't know about this place earlier. It opened, I think, in 2004.

It's getting cold outside so instead of strolling around downtown on the sidewalk I opted for the Skywalk. walking through it I was able to view all of the newly installed Christmas decorations.

You can't make them out too well in this photo, but trust me, there's garland around some lamposts and a Santa light installed on the outside of that parking structure dead ahead.

I don't remember them putting up decorations quite this early last year, but I may not have walked by this particular part of downtown this early in November last year. I'll have to see if they have the tree up near Rosa Parks Circle as well.

Awhile back I ordered two more cheap tiny routers (TP-Link 703N) off of eBay. They're very cheap (about $21) and compact, which is appealing when you're working on smaller projects involving an Arduino or the Raspberry Pi.

The routers arrived on Friday so today I flashed OpenWRT onto one of the new router. To my surprise, the latest version of OpenWRT now comes with the web interface (LuCI), which means no installing it from the command line. That's really convenient if I ever want to configure something that way.

Once flashed, the router needed to be configured as a wireless client. That means connecting to the wifi in the house and passing that connection through to the ethernet port. Luckily, thanks to an awesome Instructables page, I already have one of these routers connected to the Snail Mail Notifier so the setup was pretty easy. I just grabbed the config files from the existing router, changed a few static IP addresses, and I was up and running in a matter of minutes. I can't tell you how much easier that was the second time around.

So we now have a Raspberry Pi on the wifi. The setup may not be as pretty as this miniature wifi dongle, but I'm happy with it.

I've wanted the Adafruit Raspberry Pi clear case for awhile so when it was back in stock earlier this week I ordered two immediately (one for each Pi we have). They arrived today which meant I had to drop everything immediately and play with them.

The cases shipped unassembled so we each put one together. They were very easy to snap together and the case holds the Pi nicely. The board shifts every so slightly in the case, but not enough to misalign any holes for the various ports on the board.
Since it's clear, that means you get to see everything inside, which is something I like. When I was younger and teaching myself how to build computers in the 90's, I really wanted a clear computer case. This clear case for the Raspberry Pi satisfies that want.

Maybe I can stick some blue LEDs in there or a water cooling system.

I'm just kidding!

What a difference sleeping makes! One simple change in the processing code (from a 0 to a 1) and ambient lighting was working! Many thanks to Silicon Republic for the awesome tutorial and code.

So I did a quick test by playing a random video of fire on youtube. As you can see, the LEDs do change based on what is on the screen. 

Now to get this working with the raspberry pi, somehow, and mounted somewhere. Ambinent lighting while gaming would be awesome.

Ambient light via the arduino and a PC is something I've wanted to do for awhile but didn't have all the parts until earlier this week.

First I wanted to make sure the LED strip actually worked and I had everything wired properly. It was pretty easy to do following the ladyada RGB LED tutorial.

Everything worked perfectly but when I tried to transfer things to an ambient lighting project I'd found, I couldn't get one component to work properly. Since I'm not well versed with Processing (which is a component that runs on the computer to determine what color to tell the arduino to display), I didn't see an immediately solution and I didn't have the time for in-depth troubleshooting.

I'll have to spend a little more time with it on a weekend when I have more time to devote but for now, I have a fancy LED strip. That's a whole lot more fun than just a single red, single blue, and single green LED.

It's that magical time of year where the time change combined with shortening daylight hours make for a 20 minute (give or take) blinding session every morning for the next few weeks.

Here's hoping for cloudy days the next few weeks.

We left early in the morning to go vote. We arrived a little before 7am and were out about 40 minutes later. Not bad. The new polling place by our house is a church, just like the last place. I've voted in public schools while living in Grand Rapids, but never while living in the suburbs of Grand Rapids. I don't know if that means they have more churches than public schools or what, but it's always a little off-putting, especially when you think about separation of church and state.
The evening was filled with, as you can imagine, a lot of news on the TV. Chris spent a fair amount of the evening listening to various pundits who offered little in the way of substance.

Meanwhile I spent a chunk of the night working on getting a DVR set up on the Raspberry Pi. I'm trying to get a popular piece of software, TVheadend, running on the Pi. I had encountered a compiling error yesterday, but fixed it today and away I went. Software was loaded onto the Pi!

Now to just wait for the mpeg-2 license I ordered so I can actually stream video. And of course, tweak any settings once that's up and running. There's always that. Still - progress! These little $35 computers are kind of awesome.

There are quite a few ballot proposals this year, so I thought it would be best to come equipped with a handy cheat sheet of my selections. In all the years past there have been so few that I could remember which way I wanted to vote without writing anything down, but this year I figured why take any chances?

Thanks League of Women Voters!
You may remember me discussing political ads received in the mail a month or so ago. At that time we'd only received two pieces of mail.

As you can see, we received quite a bit more since then.
Unlike the rest of the household, Leki appreciates the mailers. They make for a crinkly bed.

Today we spent more time raking. not as much as yesterday, but still quite a bit. We had all of the leaves in the front of the house who were just hanging out in piles from yesterday, plus some more leaves Chris wanted to mulch.

It may not look like it, but that pile of leaves off in the distance is about to my shoulders, not five feet, but more than four.

We have a lot of leaves to mulch.

I love living in an area with so many trees. Except when it comes time to do any raking...

It's been several years since I've had to rake any leaves. I guess that's the byproduct of living in an apartment for so long. So I wasn't looking forward to doing any raking. Especially in our back yard.
The front yard wasn't too bad, but the back is sloped and has three levels to it. Those bricks, as you can see, really like to hold onto leaves.

We spent several hours raking and we're still not quite done. This city doesn't offer leaf pickup in the street, like the city I grew up in. It also doesn't offer a trash service, so yard waste collection is slim pickings. In fact, they only pick up leaves, bagged, once. In the whole year. Just once.

So our alternative is to pay for a private company to pick up the leaves, rent a trailer from the city/dump the leaves somewhere, or attempt to mulch them like crazy.

So we're trying to mulch as many as we can and we'll likely have to bag the rest.

I see more mulching in my future.

I couldn't get the Raspberry Pi working yesterday, but I found a nice Fedora ARM Installer that lets you choose your own image to install on your SD card. That seemed to do the trick.

On my way to a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian.

It's been awhile since Iv'e used the triple-boot hackintosh (which boots linux, OS X (snow leopard), and Windows 7) but I've been having some difficulty getting a Debian port onto the Raspberry Pi.

Of course, part of my issue might actually be the SD cards I'm using. They're all kind of small.

Still, it's nice to pull out the old netbook and see that everything works fine on it. Having a mac or linux OS at my disposal can be useful.