Genealogy Update (Again)

Well, after tinkering with TribalPages.com for a bit, I’ve reached the conclusion that they provide a much nicer family tree (sans adoption records, I guess) than phpGedView, when considering the total maintenance. The online editing feature works very well and for $2 a month, it’s hard to beat. If you visit http://genealogy.marstella.net, you’ll automatically be redirected to http://marstellafamily.tribalpages.com. That was the easiest way to do things at this point. There’s an option to request access, as I really don’t want the scavengers taking data from the system that might be invalid. I will probably open it up a bit after I upload some of the current data that I have written scribbled in various places, but it will probably be around Christmas.

Fairly Simple Skillet Cornbread

We had plenty of soup beans tonight but I forgot to buy the cornbread mix that I normally get, so I went looking for a recipe I could whip up from things already at the house. Unfortunately, nearly everybody puts baking powder (which I didn’t have) in their cornbread, so I made a few changes. The only real problem with the batch I made is that it didn’t taste as sweet as we prefer. Still, turned out pretty good for hybrid recipe taken from 4 others.

  • 1-3/4 c corn meal
  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1 tsp salt (forgot to put it in, but turned out okay anyway)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 3-4 drops lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 c milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • a few small pinches of sugar

Let the pan heat up; I used a little more than medium heat. Once it’s hot, I add a little canola oil. I don’t normally put much oil in the bottom of the skillet since it’s non-stick, just enough to get the edges of the “pancakes” to sizzle. Then cook until you can see the cake starting to solidify up the side just a little and carefully flip. Total cook time per “pancake” is about 3 to 4 minutes, maybe less. Once the pan gets good and hot, you’ll have to watch or they may cook too quickly.

The recipe actually turned out a little thick, so cutting in some more milk probably wouldn’t hurt. Also, they rose much more than I expected, considering the way I substituted for the missing baking powder. A little more sugar and these would have been just about right.

Netflix, Silverlight 4, XP, and N8156-6013 Error

Turns out this is remarkably easy to fix. Silverlight 4 apparently has issues under Netflix for users that upgrade after using Silverlight 3. Not sure if this affects users who start with Silverlight 4, but I suspect that it doesn’t. After the upgrade, Netflix is unable to write to a file that needs to be edited frequently. I found the solution at http://www.kristoferbrozio.com/2010/06/25/fix-for-netflix-error-code-n8156-6013/ but not directly in the text. Reading down through several comments, the file name is mentioned that is causing the problem. Simply rename this file .old on the end and you’ll be able to resume playback.

This file is actually located at C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication DataMicrosoftPlayReadymspr.hds on XP with SP3 installed, but could be at other locations for other operating systems. To see this file, you must be able to see hidden files (from Windows Explorer, select Tools -> Folder Options -> View and then click Show Hidden Files and Folders. In order to rename it, make sure all Internet Explorer, Firefox, and other browser windows are closed. From the Tools -> Folder Options -> View, uncheck Hide Extensions for Known File Types. Then if you right-click on the file and select rename, then add .old to the end of the existing filename, you will have a nice working installation again.

BTW, for those that might be interested, I use Windows XP SP3 through VirtualBox on my Linux-fied MacBook 6,1. Works fine with Netflix, although I really hate having the Windows license installed. Still, in my line of work, I have to have access to a full-blown Windows machine as well, so this is a good enough option.

MacBook 6,1; Windows XP; and Windows Update

I finished installing Windows XP Pro (32-bit) along with Apple’s 3.0 Boot Camp drivers (included on the main DVD). Everything seemed to be working fine but my XP version was dated, so I ran Windows Update. I mistakenly allowed it to update the NVidia 9400M driver, which completely toasted my video. I had 640×480 resolution at 2-bit color, so had to go into the device manager and completely uninstall the NVidia display device. I’m now running with VESA only, which is pretty slow compared to the built-in graphics. Here’s hoping that running the Boot Camp update 3.1 fixes the issue.

Stop 7B after Moving a Machine with VMWare Converter Tool

I recently had to move a virtual machine from Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 to VMWare ESXi 4.0. The easiest way to perform this seemed to be the VMWare Converter Tool, which worked with no problems. The machine was a Windows Web Server 2008 SP1 (not R2). When the machine was fired up, however, I got a STOP 7B code. Well, the complete code was actually STOP 0x0000007B (0x80599BB0, 0xC0000034, 0x00000000, 0x00000000). Looking through various sites, I didn’t see anything specific for this migration, but several references to hard drives not found. Checking the settings, the original system was configured as a generic SCSI device, while VMWare had automatically imported as an SAS device.

To fix the problem, I first made sure the machine was powered off and then right-clicked it in the inventory list. Select Edit Settings and then click on the SCSI controller that is listed. If it’s listed as a LSI Logic Parallel SAS controller, click Change Type and select LSI Logic Parallel instead. Reboot and the machine goes through and sets up the correct drivers with no further problems.

Don’t forget to install VMWare Guest Additions. Even if you remote into your system from another machine most of the time, there are still some good drivers.

Genealogy Update!

Finally, I’ve taken a few moments to add some genealogy content to http://genealogy.marstella.net. Unfortunately, it’s not the most recent file; the most recent is currently in storage from our move and will probably be a few weeks before it’s posted. The current content is missing about 50 extended family persons, no direct ancestors or descendants for Henry Garret Hall, Sr., or William Marstella.

Anyone wishing to have an account will need to request one as the old database was lost when marstella.com was killed.

Stay tuned!

Baking Cakes

I enjoy baking cakes and have had several comments on the fluffiness and moistness of each cake. I attribute this to:

1. Generally, the box recommends mixing at low speed for 30 seconds, which I do. However, I mix the cake for about 5 minutes at medium speed and constantly use a spatula to mix in any mix that is sticking to the walls of the bowl. You have to be careful not to catch the spatula in the mixer, but this gives a more even mixture. The box normally says to mix only 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed, but I find mixing the additional time actually gives a noticeably “fluffier” mix even before it goes into the oven.
2. Use a small amount of oil to grease both the sides and bottom of the cake pan, even if instructed not to. Also, dust a small amount of flour after greasing to help prevent sticking.
3. Cook the cake at about 25 F lower than recommended by the box. If the cake rises a lot more in the middle than along the sides, you might want to reduce by an additional 25 F the next time you cook one.
4. After removing the cake from the oven, move it around carefully (don’t jar it) and allow it to stand for at least 45 minutes or so before attempting to decorate it.

Grilled Corn

We needed grilled corn tonight so I went out looking for a recipe. As it turned out, a nice storm came rumbling through, so I decided to go ahead and cook the corn in the oven instead. The results were much better than I expected. The only reason we have leftovers is because we got too full.

Grilled Corn (still in husk):

1 Ear of Corn, still in husk (won’t work if already shucked)
1 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp crushed ice

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Place butter and some crushed ice on a piece of aluminum foil and then wrap the corn in the foil. Make sure the butter and ice are in contact with the corn. Also, the foil should wrap at least 2 full times around the corn and should be sealed at the ends so little moisture can escape.
3. Place on baking sheet and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, turning once. I couldn’t really tell a difference in the tenderness of the corn, but you might want to check a few times during cooking. Word is that different types of corn might cook in half the time.
4. Remove corn from foil, clean husk and silk from corn, enjoy!

Systemax 4110 with Ubuntu 10.04, Part 2

Yesterday, I attempted to install Ubuntu 10.04 through the Alternative distribution in the hopes that it would give me more flexibility in selecting or manually editing the graphics driver for X to be used. Unfortunately, the results are less than stellar. In short, it appears that the drivers that come with Ubuntu are not going to function properly and I haven’t even been able to get a stable system boot to manually edit any files. I’ve essentially had to give up on Ubuntu 10.04 on the Systemax 4110 for now as I have too many other pressing concerns. I’ll be trying with Slackware to see how it performs and will try Ubuntu when 10.10 is released in the October-ish time-frame.