Hal's Blog at Halblog

Welcome to my blog.  There are other "Hal Blog's," but I guess this is the only real one, given it's at halblog.com, right?  It's just my corner of the web where I can put up my comments in my blog, get comments back from friends (or whoever stumbles on this site) and where I can post photos I take or images I create while I'm learning 3D animation.  I'm not here to make the best or biggest site, just one I can use to communicate with friends.  I have a number of wide ranging topics on my blog, from learning 3D animation to learning to repair a classic Mercedes convertible.  I'm also interested in open source software.  This is not a place where I want to bore you with as much drivel as possible about every mundane detail of my life or "revenge stories" about the latest person to irritate me.  It's a place where I can share what I think is worth sharing.

Oh, while I have halblog.com as my domain, due to technical issues and the fact that I'd rather spend my time writing or ballroom dancing, the blog is now hosted by Wordpress.  That way I can write and not deal with upgrades and technical issues.

So, if you're interested, here's the main blog!

FOSS (Free/Open Source Software)

FOSS, or Free/Open Source Software, is software that is developed openly so anyone who has a copy of it can make changes to it.  Often a programmer will make changes to a FOSS program and send the improvements back to the author so the new changes can be included for everyone to use.

The other benefit, at least with the FOSS programs I write, is that they are free to download.  All my open source programs that are on this site are free to download and use.  That means you can download them and use them for free.  If you're a programmer, you can download the source code and make your own changes.

While the software is free, I would deeply appreciate hearing from those who download and use my software.  I'm not going to pester those who email me about the software, but after the work it takes to write a program, it's nice to hear from people who find it useful or fun.

Old Time Radio Downloader: There are at least ten thousand (maybe tens of thousands) old time radio, or OTR, radio shows on the Internet Archive.  This includes episodes of great OTR shows like The Shadow, X Minus 1, George Burns and Gracie Allen, The Jack Benny Show, You are There, and even historic broadcasts like the original "Panic Broadcast" of War of the Worlds that made thousands think Earth was being invaded by Martians.  While these shows can be downloaded with any web browser, I've written the Old Time Radio Downloader, or OTRDownloader, that makes it easy to download these shows in MP3, Ogg Vorbis, or flac files.

HD Radio Controller: This is more for the technically oriented, since it's mainly just a library of routines for C++ programmers, but this will allow control of some HD and satellite radios from Linux through the serial port.  I've provided the code to a Linux distro, LinuxICE, so they can create an interface for it so it can be used as part of a carputer to let the carputer control the radio.  There's also a simple command line program included for testing that can be used to control a HD radio from the command line.  I don't have any compiled binaries included, just the source code.

Debian Squeeze on Soekris: Soekris makes handy small computers that work well for embedded applications (in other words, there's no place for a keyboard or a monitor on a Soekris computer). If you want an easy way to put Debian Squeeze on a Soekris box, check this out.

Photo Collections

A lot of the photos are taken with my sister's digital camera.  I'm used to a 35mm SLR I inherited from my brother, so I have not gotten used to "features" like auto-focus.  Silly me.  I thought auto-focus would mean it would focus on the main object in the picture.  That doesn't mean everything is out of focus, but it's interesting to see what the camera focused on in some shots.

Click here for pictures of my first dance competition, in Raleigh, NC (8/9/2008)

Click here for pictures of my second dance competition, in Greensboro, NC (11/08/2008)

Click here for pictures of the first River City Ballroom Dance Competition (5/30/2009)

Click here for pictures of the Second Annual River City Ballroom Dance Competition (3/27/2010)

Click here for pictures of Tango in the Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens (10/2/2010)

Click here for pictures of the Third Annual River City Ballroom Dance Competition (3/19/2011)

Click here for pictures of the Fourth Annual River City Ballroom Dance Competition (3/17/2012)

Click here for pictures of Hal's latest toy (a 1985 Mercedes 380SL).

Click here for pictures of the same 1985 Mercedes 380SL after the bulk of the restoration has been done.  (Includes a few pictures of some nearby monuments at Hollywood Cemetary, where the pictures were taken.)

Click here for pictures of snow in spring, with lacy snow on flowers, ferns, and budding dogwoods.

Click here for Hal's blog.