Bulletin Board Systems in North Dakota from the mid 90s. This brings back memories :)

No, the numbers don’t work anymore 🙁

Image Courtesy of the Plate Shack


RBBS Bismarck 
John Roswick RBBS
Draconian Information Systems
Jason Froebe
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Help search for causes and cures of diseases like Apraxia, Cancer and AIDS

Apraxia-Information-for-Families~~element67Do you want to help search for causes and cures of diseases like Apraxia, Cancer and AIDS? Donate your unused processing power of your computer and Android Phone!

“World Community Grid’s mission is to create the world’s largest public computing grid to tackle projects that benefit humanity. Our work has developed the technical infrastructure that serves as the grid’s foundation for scientific research. Our success depends upon individuals collectively contributing their unused processing power to change the world for the better. World Community Grid is making technology available only to public and not-for-profit organizations to use in humanitarian research that might otherwise not be completed due to the high cost of the computer infrastructure required in the absence of a public grid. As part of our commitment to advancing human welfare, all results will be in the public domain and made public to the global research community.”

Join me in the Apraxia Kids” team on the World Community Grid:
If you aren’t already part of the World Community Grid (You will need to download and install the World Community Grid software.

If you already use World Community Grid or BOINC

World Community Grid: http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org
Apraxia-Kids: http://www.apraxia-kids.org/

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Nothing to Prove – Geek Girls & The Doubleclicks

Nothing to Prove – Geek Girls & The Doubleclicks

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My Wife (SWMBO) allowed me to install Ubuntu Linux 12.04 on to her Dell laptop

Rebecca Stoler Froebe let me install Ubuntu 12.04: Precise Pangolin on to her three year old laptop.

What was installed:
Ubuntu Linux 12.04 (32bit)
PlayOnLinux to run Windows applications and games (e.g. Microsoft Office and Civilization 4)

Dozens of Linux games 😉
Printer driver for our HP Printer/Scanner downstairs
VLC to play the Windows Media Center (WTV) recorded tv shows on the media server

Still to do: install a knitting font and Age of Mythology

She uses the laptop to sell hand dyed yarn at:
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How to convert videos/movies for the VTech Innotab using FFMPEG (SOLVED)

The VTech Innotab is a young children’s tablet for learning. When I picked up two of them from the local Target, we installed the six free games but was rather disappointed with the video capabilities listed in the manual:

  • File Type: AVI
  • Resolution: 480 x 272
  • Video Codec: MJPEG
  • Video Bit rate: 2400kbps
  • Frame rate: 15fps
  • Audio Sampling Rate: 22.05kHz
  • Audio Channel: Mono
  • Audio Encoder: PCM

MJPEG is a very poor codec as it produces quite large files and tends to be very blocky with any type of motion. After a bit of research, I discovered that the Innotab would accept MPEG4 video but the audio still had to be PCM mono. So the MPEG4 video file specification:

  • File Type: AVI
  • Resolution: 480 x 272
  • Video Codec: MPEG4 with a video tag of “XVID”
  • Video Bit rate: variable or a maximum of 3000kbps
  • Frame rate: 29.997fps
  • Audio Sampling Rate: 22.05kHz
  • Audio Channel: Mono
  • Audio Encoder: PCM

I chose to use ffmpeg as it is available on all major platforms. There are a few steps that need to be performed to create a working video:

Convert the video. We use “-1” for the height as we want to keep the aspect of the original video

ffmpeg -i "input.wmv" -r 65535/2733 -vcodec mpeg4 -vtag XVID -q:v 8 -vf "scale=480:-1" -an -y "video_out.mp4"

Extract the audio to mp3 format. This is necessary as the pcm_s16le codec is very finicky on the audio input

ffmpeg -i "input.wmv" -r 65535/2733 -vn -c:a libmp3lame -ar 22050 -ac 1 -ab 128k -y "audio_out.mp3"

Increase the volume (if necessary). Change the “10” if it is too loud or quiet

mp3gain -g 10 "audio_out.mp3"

Convert the mp3 to PCM and combine with the video to produce the avi file

ffmpeg -i "video_out.mp4" -i "audio_out.mp3" -r 65535/2733 -vcodec copy -map 0:0 -c:a pcm_s16le -ar 22050 -ac 1 -map 1:0 -y video_ready_for_innotab.avi

HINT: you get three free games for each Innotab device but the games, ebooks, etc are tied to the VTech account not to each device. This allows you to save $$ if you have more than one Innotab device.

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For those of you looking for photos for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day 60 Miles Walk (http://www.the3day.org) here you go:


I am uploading 246 photos initially with more to follow.  Please add your photos or find your friends in the photos 🙂

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Greater Chicago Jewish Folks Art Festival Flickr Group

If you’ve attended the Greater Chicago Jewish Folks Art Festival and took photos, please share your photos with the rest of the world! It doesn’t matter what year or if they’re fuzzy or overexposed.. we love all the photos 🙂

I just created the Flickr photo group Greater Chicago Jewish Folks Art Festival so everyone can share their photos from the Greater Chicago Jewish Folks Art Festival:

Flickr is almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world. Show off your favorite photos and videos to the world, securely and privately show content to your friends and family, or blog the photos and videos you take with a cameraphone.

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For those of you that don’t know, last week I had my wisdom teeth removed. There were a few complications..

Tuesday, I took Jason to the oral surgeon’s to have all four of his wisdom teeth pulled. The surgery itself took about 45 minutes. It turned out there was a lot of infection back there, and as the doctor put it “it was messy”. The anesthesia made Jason really funny, and he took direction very well, which was nice for a bit.

However, the bleeding didn’t stop the way it should have. After a few hours of constant, continuous, copious bleeding, I called the doctor’s office again, and they had us go back in. They gave him two more stitches, and Jason finally clotted, after losing about 2 pints of blood.

We came home, and I got Jason to drink a bit of milkshake, and managed to keep him conscious until the fear of actually losing him passed.

He’s still incredibly weak and tired – mostly due to the blood loss.

My wife’s account of it

The oral surgeon wasn’t aware of how much blood was lost, neither myself or my wife were in any condition to think clearly Tuesday. I should have received a transfusion.

Nearly a week later and even though my mouth is doing fine, I’m quite low on red blood cells. Made it into the office today (wife drove) and am leaving early because the room is spinning nearly nonstop and I’m fighting to stay conscious. Going to try to see a doc today/tomorrow … maybe I’ll get some blood. If not, give me a blinkin’ straw and I”ll do it myself… Who’s A Positive around here?

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Asher & Miriam sing along

Yeah, it’s Who Better Than Me by Phil Collins with the Turk and Tarzan names changed but it covers just about any two closely aged siblings IMHO:

You’re one of a kind, I can’t explain it.
You’re kind of cool, in a wonderful way.
Though you’re weird, you can make it.
And who better than me to teach you.
Who better then me to set you on your way. (Mhm)

This could take some hangin’ in there
Though with persuasion I can take you on up
Make you grow up, beside the others
And who better than me to lead you
Who better than me to take you all the way (Hey hey hey yeah)

Asher & Miriam
Struggling along for years and years

Until I came along for you
Now its all comin’ together

Asher & Miriam
And together will see this through
You for me and me for you

I can learn, I can listen
I know there’s something
Deep inside but
I need assistance to go the distance

And who better than me

To teach me

Who better than me

To tell me all you know


Who better than me

You reach me

Who better than me

Asher & Miriam
To show them all we know!

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Asher: Please don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

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