Would You Like To Donate?

Donation Sign
Donation Sign

It seems you can’t go anywhere these days without being bombarded by a donation request.

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe strongly in giving. I have run funding campaigns for various organizations that have provide assistance to combat homelessness, hunger, poverty, and especially veterans. During the holiday season, I always donate to the Salvation Army.

But, I want to know where my money is going and how it will be used. I like to know some things about you before I give you my money. To be put on the spot is not agreeable at most times, especially in a public setting. It makes people feel bad if they choose to not give.

When I lived in Las Vegas, there were days in which walking down the street could invite a constant attack of open hands waiting for spare change. Stopping at a corner to wait to cross the intersection was asking for trouble.

There was one episode during my time in Vegas in which I was asked for some “spare” change. I told the person that I didn’t have any cash on me. They then had the nerve to ask me to go to the nearby ATM to withdraw money so I could give. One could get worn down.

It is not that most people do not want to give, but I would gather that most do not not like being confronted out of the blue, even for a good cause.

I find myself going to the self-checkout to avoid being asked by a cashier to give. In the beginning, I would get depressed, but later I became content with it. I can live with myself as I do actively help whenever possible. I am willing to donate to any cause. I just want to know for who, and for what.

I’m A Racist, and Didn’t Even Know It

The Dukes of Hazzard Album, courtesy of Amazon Images
The Dukes of Hazzard Album, courtesy of Amazon Images

I’m a product of the 70’s and 80’s. Like many of my generation, I watched the television show “The Dukes of Hazzard.” This is the same show that the television network TV Land pulled for fear of offending viewers.

The issue that TV Land had with show was the car, yes, the car. The car was called “The General Lee”, and featured a Rebel flag on the top. In the minds of many, the flag is a symbol of racism. So, does that mean anyone who watched the show was racist? I watched it, and so did many of my friends, black and white. Every young boy during my time had a crush on Daisy Duke, who was played by Catherine Bach. We would all go around doing impressions of Sheriff Rosco P. Colthrane, and saying Boss Hog’s famous words, “handle it.” I guess we were all racist.

Speaking of Daisy Duke, she spawned a fashion style of shorts called “Daisy Dukes”, which usually describe shorts worn by women that were short and tight. Black women especially, began wearing those shorts. Heck, even a very famous rap was made about those shorts. That means blacks, black women who wear really tight shorts, and rappers are racist toward minorities, for example, blacks. For the record, I’m black.

Now people want to remove anything that may symbolize racism, and that is understandable. So, let’s look at that premise in detail. Currently, everyone wants to remove all the statues that were put up to honor the Civil War. Well, they shouldn’t stop there.

As I already stated, blacks who watched the Dukes should be gotten rid of. Then there are the statues of Buffalo Soldiers, some who helped in the fights to kill, or displace the American Indian. Those statues have to go too. Speaking of the military, it was them who conquered the American Indian, plus, lets not forget the many years up until World War II that the U.S. military was very segregated. After Pearl Harbor, it was the military that ran the internment camps of Japanese citizens. So, the military must be disbanded.

As far as the Civil War is concerned, most slave owners were white, so all whites must go too. Plus, when the West was being settled by white settlers, who were protected by the military which was controlled by a federal government. So, the Federal government has a history of racism, and therefore, should go. We can throw in Federal Housing Subsidies, and along with support of discriminatory lending practices from banks directed toward minorities as further proof.

It is because of discriminatory lending practices, that the banks should all be shut down. Not that they are exactly lending money anyway.

So far we have blacks, whites, the military, federal government, and banks should all go. But, wait, there’s more.

Hollywood is guilty of racism. Many years in the early days, blacks were always portrayed as uneducated servants in cinema and on television. Compared to white characters, minorities are still under served in movies and on television. So, Hollywood, gone.

Any newspaper or magazine that has been in existence at least 50-plus years probably was not kind to minorities in their coverage. Gone.

Back to the American Indian. Say everyone and everything was gone to eliminate racism. Will that solve all the problems? Nope. Indians participated in slavery pre-European so they need to go too. But, most historians would tell it was not the same as the slavery experienced by blacks, as many slaves were assimilated into tribes. Yet some tribes were known to have kept black slaves, for example, the Chickasaw and Choctaw, so, they would at least have to go.

This is all stupid conjecture. The thing is this: Removing symbols do not remove ideas. It is the minds that must be changed. Running from history will not solve anything. What are all these people who want to destroy artifacts doing beyond that? Are they having discussions? Are they reaching out to others? Are they finding ways that we can all come together for the good of the whole?

Well, I’m in search of the season DVDs of The Dukes of Hazzards. If you call me racist, then I’m a racist.

Learning Raspberry Pi: Changing Over a Micro Center Pi

Micro Center Raspberry Pi shown with access slots for power, HDMI, audio, Ethernet, and USB
Micro Center Raspberry Pi shown with access slots for power, HDMI, audio, Ethernet, and USB

The computer and hobbyist retail chain, Micro Center is offering a Raspberry Pi 3 deal that includes a Raspberry Pi 3, microSD with OS already installed, and a power adapter with conversion plugs.

The price was $79.95 at the local store, and at first it seemed a very good deal at the time. But, for the normal use that the average user of a Pi would desire, it is totally inadequate.

The Case

The major issue with the case is that it is sealed. The various Raspberry Pis have General-Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) pins, that allow for other boards or interfaces to be connected to the Pi. If one desired to use the included case, a slot would have to be cut in the top, a terrible proposition.

The Power Supply

The power supply is also inadequate for normal use. A Raspberry Pi 3 requires a 5V, 2.5A source to ensure proper operation. The one included is on 2.0A.

The Operating System

A 8GB  microSD card is included, that is a good thing. The pre-installed OS is just Citrix client software, and not a full-blown OS, that is bad. So, in order to transform the Raspberry Pi into what an average user would need for intended use, a complete overhaul is required. In this article, I will concentrate on the case and the power supply. The next article will deal with the operating system.

Replacing the Case
Micro Center Raspberry Pi with back removed to show microSD slot, and Torx screw
Micro Center Raspberry Pi with back removed to show microSD slot, and Torx screw

The first thing required is to snap out the back is the end opposite the USB and Ethernet ports. This exposes the Torx screw. A Torx screwdriver is required, a flat head or Phillips-type will not work.

Torx Screwdriver
Torx Screwdriver

Unscrew and remove the back, then pull out the side away from the micro-USB power slot and audio port.





Micro Center Raspberry with cover removed
Micro Center Raspberry with cover removed

This is how things look with the cover removed:




Getting Official
Official Raspberry Pi Case - Black
Official Raspberry Pi Case – Black

The Raspberry Pi Foundation provides a official case for each Pi. It can assembled and disassembled based on need of the user. Plus, it allows for access to the GPIO pins, and easy access to the microSD card when needed.

Raspberry Pi 3 and Case
Raspberry Pi 3 and Case

Remove the Raspberry Pi from the Micro Center case and place it in the official case. It does not have to be snapped in. The port openings match the USB, Ethernet, micro-USB, etc.

Before placing the Raspberry Pi in the case, remove the microSD card. You will need it later to install a proper operating system.

Official Raspberry Pi Power Cord
Official Raspberry Pi Power Cord

Lastly, an adequate power supply certified to be used with the Pi is needed. When using a Pi, always consider a supply that can power the Pi, and the Pi only. A Raspberry Pi should never be used to power any peripherals that may be attached to it, a powered USB hub should be used instead.

A Completed Pi
Raspberry Pi 3 inside Official Case
Raspberry Pi 3 inside Official Case

This completes the hardware conversion of the Pi. Next time, we will concentrate on choosing an operating system, installation, and then set-up of the system.




Random Musing Cogitation #5

You know what really irritates me? It’s those instructional videos on YouTube that feature hand-drawn cartoons. I’m not talking about the cartoons themselves, rather, when there is an actual hand being shown drawing the cartoons. The creators want to make it seem like some artist is drawing while speaking at the same time.

What the heck is the purpose of doing that anyway? Why can’t they just show a completed panel? Why must I see it being drawn? It is nothing but total distraction. With a completed panel, I would have more time to process the information they hope to impress on me. Yet, some big, crusty hand is taking up most of my screen. Even worse, most of the drawing sucks. Have any of these people ever heard of Power Point?

Random Musing Cogitation #4

I am back, finally. After so long a time of being away. I am finally moving into the next chapter of my life. It is time for that period that hopefully, we all dream about. I’m talking about a life of independence. For now on, I will do what I want to do. I will be who I want to be and not be beholden to anyone.

That means I can finally get this blog to be what I want it to be. So, stay tuned!

Learning Linux: LXLE

It has been awhile since I have posted; unfortunately, school and life has gotten in the way. This post will not be detailed, but a summation of my activities.

Find A Linux Distro That Works

Micro Center USB Drive
Micro Center USB Drive

I initially chose to install Lubuntu, which is a version of Ubuntu Linux, that is meant work on older machines. Before that I purchased two things, a USB drive and a cheap mouse, both from the local Micro Center. I wanted to make this project as cheap as possible, so both came to less than $12 in total. Linux is open source, and therefore free, so my drive and mouse was my greatest cost so far.

I did attempt a battery purchase from a seller on Amazon, but was sent a charger instead. I returned the charger and decided to worry about a battery later.

Cheap Mouse
Cheap Mouse

As I said, I had chosen Lubuntu, which is available for download from the Ubuntu site. Ubuntu comes in all shapes and sizes depending on your needs, so it pays to do your research. Lubuntu contains the same kernel as Ubuntu, with the difference being a reduction in included software.

Screenshot of UNetbootin Homepage
Screenshot of UNetbootin Homepage

The download is a compressed image that must be unzipped before saving it to the USB. Special software is needed to properly save the image to an USB so it boots properly. I chose UNetbootin as recommended by the Ubuntu website. Make sure you follow the instructions to the letter, or you could damage your current system.

Before you can perform an install, you must set your system to boot from USB. Each system may be different, I had to hit the F2 function key as soon as the splash screen appeared. This takes you to a configuration menu, which is where you change boot priorities.

One good thing about using an USB drive is that you can test drive a Linux distro before deciding to install. That is what I decided at first, and everything worked great. Windows Vista was shot, so I decided to install Lubuntu. That was when the fun started as I tried about ten times and could never get things to work. Another problem was Ubuntu does not work with Broadcom modems, which the Dell has. I ended up buying a TP-Link TL-WN722N WiFi dongle, which works out the box with Linux.

I finally gave up and tried to find another distro which brings me to…


Screenshot of LXLE Desktop
Screenshot of LXLE Desktop

Per the LXLE, “LXLE is a GNU/Linux operating system based on Lubuntu which is an official Ubuntu OS using the LXDE desktop environment.” Unlike my attempt of installing plain Lubuntu, LXLE installed quite easily. That is a photo of the desktop to the left. It has made a dead and almost buried Dell alive again. In fact, this post is being written on it. I’m still learning the ends and outs and will address those in due time.

That is all for now, and I have much, I mean much more to share with you. Can you say “Raspberry PI”?



Random Musing Cogitation #3

“Thank you for your service.” I hear it all the time from persons once they know I am a veteran. Those are such kinds words to hear and it shows that people care. That said, I wish to reflect on some things concerning that particular phrase.

Before 9/11, no one ever said it, after 9/11, many have jumped on the “thank you for your service” bandwagon. I do not want to sound bitter, but it is a shame that it took a tragedy for people to start saying it. Did people not care before 9/11? Now that people are saying it, it makes one wonder how genuine someone is when they utter those words. Are they just saying because it is the right thing to do?

Some people feel an obligation to say it, why? Does it make their conscience better if they say it? Is there some kind of hidden guilt that gives them relief after thanking a veteran?

Truth be told, many veterans, not all, do not want to hear that. Many are angry because military service has damaged their lives, especially as it applies to mental and physical health. Then veterans have to deal with the number one enemy of the military and veterans, that is the Federal Government, specifically, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). You think combat was bad, wait until fight the VA. You know what the longest war in U.S. history is? It was not the Vietnam War, or Iraq War, Civil War, or even the Revolutionary War. For over 150 years, it has been the War on Veterans. The government of the U.S. has failed completely in meeting its promises to the military veteran. So, as far as “thank you for your service” is concerned, tell it to someone who cares.

Let us move on to the most irritating saying of them all, “We are so proud of what you do.” First, of all, do people know what it is we do? The military kills people. That is what war is, when one country, or organization, kills citizens of a country, or constituents of an organization. Once again, many veterans are not proud of that. Most who have served would prefer peace, but would pick up arms if necessary to defend what they think is right. If veterans were proud of what they did, then we would not have 22 suicides each day. Think about that.