Welcome to thatlinuxbox.com Saturday, October 25 2014 @ 02:14 PM EDT

Kano Computer Kit - Great for Kids

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  • Friday, October 03 2014 @ 07:55 PM EDT
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Last week I received our Kano Computer Kit, the "computer anyone can make". I have not backed very many Kickstarter projects and I am just so happy that this one made it. The result is a fully-polished, professional quality computer kit... for kids.



My daughter (10 years old, 5th grade) said over and over again "this is so much fun!" On the first day she spent about 4 hours playing around with the various coding environments. In particular, she liked the "Make Pong" environment where she worked through the exercises and made all kinds of interesting variations on the game (changing the ball size and color and the actions that happened when the ball hit the paddles).

The initial unboxing, assembling, and software setup of the Kano was straightforward and I only had to give my daughter a tiny bit of guidance here and there. For example, it took some care to get the Raspberry Pi board out of its safe and secure packaging. But for the most part, she read the guide and read the screen and followed the instructions and enjoyed the whole experience.

Follow the white rabbit...

(The setup includes a cute sequence of an animated ASCII art rabbit.)

The process was kind of nostalgic for me. The pong game reminded me of the Pong console game we received one Christmas when I was a kid. I remember the few times in my childhood when my dad brought home a new computer and unboxed it and hooked it up to the TV and we all spent hours fooling around with it. In fact, I almost think my dad (now a grandpa who pretends not to know anything about computers) would enjoy having a Kano to play with.

Team Kano received $1.5 million in their Kickstarter campaign, compared to their original goal of $100,000. One of the backer perks is that my name is included in the Credits file that is shipped out to the world on each little Kano computer.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...e-can-make

For more info or to order a Kano Computer Kit for yourself, visit the Kano Computer Kit web site.

WoBtoberfest 5k 2014 - Race Report

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  • Thursday, October 02 2014 @ 07:57 PM EDT
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Running and Fitness

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Gainesville Running Tabs and World of Beer (Tioga) put on a nice little 5k for the Octoberfest season called WoBtoberfest.

Good times!


Pictured are Dan Clark, Dan Stoner, and John Davis. Photo by Colleen Anderson.

I was not able to catch Lederhosen Man Dan Clark in the final sprint:


Photo by Julie Taylor.

I felt pretty good and was able to finish strong for a 2nd place finish. The photo above shows that my form still has some tweaking opportunities. I have not yet been able to completely solve that trailing leg dipping inward.

Here is the Video of the finish:

 
Race schwag included free beer and a really nice Swamp Head Brewery pint glass (pictured below):

Vibram FiveFingers Settlement

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  • Monday, August 18 2014 @ 08:21 PM EDT
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Running and Fitness

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The court documents, online claim form, and additional information are avaiable on the official settlement website:

https://www.fivefingerssettlement.com/

It seems that a number of Vibram FiveFinger shoe fans have such strong opinions on class action lawsuits and the American legal system in general that they want nothing to do with this case. I am not a lawyer (don't construe anything I say for real legal advice) but I did read the court documents and I think that people are missing an opportunity here.

 
A quick summary of the suit begins with the fact that Vibram denies all wrongdoing.
 
 
Vibram will pay a one-time settlement of $3.75 million USD which buys them a quick resolution and freedom from getting sued on this issue ever again. I will come back to that point later. The lawyers get paid a fixed amount regardless of the number of claims filed. The only variable in the case is how much unclaimed money gets donated to the named charity, the American Heart Association (AHA).
 

And as stated elsewhere in the documents:

"Unless you exclude yourself from the Class, if the settlement is approved all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and you will not be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Vibram about the claims in this lawsuit, ever again, regardless of whether you submit a Claim Form."

The date for filing an Exclusion is already passed, so if you bought VFF during the specifiied timeframe and have done nothing to be excluded, you are part of the Class. The only real choice left is whether or not to file a claim.
 
If you continue to do nothing then your share of the settlement will go to the American Heart Association. The AHA continues to support Canola Oil as a "Heart Healthy" food which I know a lot of my Paleo friends are not happy about.

If you wish your donation could go to a different charity, or if you believe that Vibram FiveFingers are good products and do encourage stronger feet, you still have an opportunity to file a claim. It is very easy to file an online claim and no proof of purchase is necessary for 1 or 2 pairs of shoes. You have until Sept. 24, 2014 to file a claim (see the link near the top of this blog post).

 

There are articles flying around the web with titles such as "FiveFingers Maker Will Pay Millions To Suckers Who Bought Its Shoes".

There are also articles that provide other opinions such as "Vibram Suit: Poor Judgement" and "Was Footwear Justice Served When Vibram Recently Settled Its $3.75 Million Class Action Lawsuit?" and "The Vibram lawsuit, barefoot running and science perspectives".

One of the specific claims in the suit says:

"Vibram will not make or assist others in making any claims that the FiveFingers footwear or products similar to the FiveFingers footwear are effective in strengthening muscles or preventing injury unless that representation is true, non-misleading and is supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence;"

In fact just last year a study demonstrated that "barefoot shoes" such as VFF do strengthen foot muscles.

That study, The effect of minimal shoes on arch structure and intrinsic foot muscle strength, makes that very conclusion:

"These results suggest that endurance running in minimal support footwear with 4 mm offset or less makes greater use of the spring-like function of the longitudinal arch, thus leading to greater demands on the intrinsic muscles that support the arch, thereby strengthening the foot."

Maybe Vibram will get to re-use those marketing materials after all.

There are folks who disagree, but my own feeling is that the best way to show support of Vibram and their products is to file a claim, get the settlement payment, and then go buy another pair of FiveFinger shoes. Wouldn't it be interesting if Vibram's sales numbers showed a marked increase immediately following the conclusion of the suit?

As much as I believe that Vibram would have actually won the suit had it gone to trial, I can see how they would jump at the opportunity to make this lawsuit (and all lawsuits like it) go away forever.

While reading through the court documents I found myself impressed by the amazing legal verbiage used to describe the "you cannot sue them ever" condition. Vibram seems to have coverered their butts rather well. Below is the full legal blurb in all its glory:

thatlinuxbox.com now supports OAuth

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  • Saturday, August 02 2014 @ 10:53 AM EDT
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This site now supports OAuth logins via Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

I have upgraded to the latest Geeklog version 2.1.0, available from:
https://www.geeklog.net/filemgmt/index.php/1130

This prompted me to make some changes to the theme. I have my site logo working again and now looks good even on mobile devices. I should probably test the site on a Windows computer but I don't have any available these days. Update: Seems to work ok on modern Windows computers with IE, also.


I made some other plugin updates and additions. These are the plugins I have installed and are compatible with Geeklog 2.1.0:

Autotags 1.1.0
http://www.geeklog.net/filemgmt/index.php/1061

Captcha 3.5.5
https://www.geeklog.net/filemgmt/index.php/1121

SocialShare 1.2
http://www.geeklog.net/filemgmt/index.php/1053

Open Graph Protocol (OGP) 1.1.7
http://mystral-kk.net/filemgmt/index.php/40

A Real Thumb Drive

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  • Friday, July 25 2014 @ 08:49 PM EDT
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Silly or Interesting

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I was looking for a new flash drive aka thumb drive and found this wonderful item:



Get one at Amazon for yourself, as a gag gift, or even a stocking stuffer...

Planet Explorers Game on Linux

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  • Wednesday, July 23 2014 @ 06:47 PM EDT
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A game called Planet Explorers just became available in Early Access style on Steam. It is available for PC Windows, Mac, and Linux. I am writing this as of version Alpha 0.82.

This week, save 40% off Planet Explorers on Steam. http://store.steampowered.com/app/237870/



The graphics are beautiful:



I had no stutter or performance issues at all on my Ubuntu 14.04 system. From Additional Drivers, I am using the NVIDIA binary driver - version 331.38 from package nvidia-331.

For reference, my hardware includes...

Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2400 CPU @ 3.10GHz
NVIDIA Corporation GK106 [GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost]

Gameplay seems to have some features of Minecraft... within a few minutes I was able to dig for stone and metals, harvest plant life, hunt animals for meat, and get attacked by some kind of predator. The online videos I have seen show people building defenses and other structures.

Here are additional screenshots from my Linux system:
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thatlinuxbox.com is the home of Dan Stoner's Personal Blog, Photos, and More (opinions, rants, techno-babble, and possibly a few useful tidbits of knowledge).

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