ImaWestie

Raising little Westies, and life as parent of a special needs son

Tag Archives: success

More milestones

I’ve been taking a few moments to review what I’ve written in the past, to think about, what I should be writing about both in the future – and right now. Because of course, right now will bridge what I have written about in the past, with what I want to write about in the future.

Of course, I will continue to write for myself. And hope that some of you out there will find value in what I am writing.

I’m not sure how normal this is, but it would really appear I must have a whole bunch of drop-in-once “followers” because my follower to like ratio is really quite terrible. I passed both 1000 likes in total, and 100 followers, within the last ten days. Over on other social media, I am back onto Twitter more than I have been for a while. While I’m not adding my own photos, I’m certainly active following other users on Instagram, and I’m making an effort to remember to use Facebook not as myself but as my page.

But, if I’m not sure why I’m online… is it still about Autism, or not? … then there remains somewhat of a problem.

If I’m here to be a consumer. That’s fine.

I think, though, for better or worse, there will be some politics flying around this space for the coming few months.

Local to my current home, and my intended home, and more broad election theme coverage (such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme, should any candidates or party mouthpiece bother to mention such a thing). Role on September, so I can return to normal scheduling!

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Ubuntu and Logitech: More of a match than the forums suggest

Magpie turned 9 in December 2012.

He had one real request for a birthday present: headphones with a microphone, so he could both use the computer in the lounge room without causing disturbance, and also, so he could record voiceovers on videos he was uploading to YouTube.

Logitech H600 wireless headset with integrated microphone

 

With a bit of research… I decided on a Logitech H600 wireless headset. Because, in what I searched for… it seemed that they should work OK with Ubuntu.

I’m very unhappy with that result.

The best I could find on a wide range of Ubunut forums, was unclear information about reported problems. With very little to say “Yay! It worked!

That is the main reason for this post, really – to say that my sons Logitech H600 headset with headphones and microphone, work fine with Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal. The only drama being, Logitech seem to have not yet done anything about a utility to allow pairing of the headset with the universal reciever.

I am considering having a bit of a fiddle with both a virtual machine which I already have on the Ubuntu PC, that runs Windows XP, and simply trying to use the pairing utility with WINE. I will have a fiddle with both of those options over the next week, and write another entry about my success or otherwise.

Quantal Quetzal Queerness

For the uninitiated: Quantal Quetzal is the version name of Ubuntu 12.10

My journey with Ubuntu has been pretty good all told. I have run a netbook (which suffered a fault in the charging port), a laptop (which suffered a fault in the graphics ribbon from the motherboard to the lid/display), a media centre/server (which suffered a hard disk failure, from running a “Green” disk in a torrent server 24/7/365), and a desktop.

The desktop is in daily use by my wife and three kids, as well as frequent use by myself when I am home. I mentioned the other day the troubles I had upgrading Ubuntu to Quantal Quetzal. Unfortunately my troubles are not quite over…

My googling tells me there is a bit of a long standing problem with Ubunut users losing sound. And the problem has been around for quite some time with very poor clear concise pointers to how to actually fix it.

My elder son suffered from the issue shortly after my update. But it only effected his profile. To be a bit clearer about the sequence of events:

  1. I installed Quantal Quetzal.
  2. I configured all users with a user ID and a Gnome desktop profile, which worked fully as expected.
  3. At some time, my eldest son’s profile suffered a problem where sound would work from everything except Firefox.
    That is, sound worked from VNC, it worked from Banshee… but not from Youtube or any other online media. Videos would playback fine, but there is no sound.
  4. All other users had no problem.

To solve this, initially, I created a new user profile for my son. This restored him to having a fully working profile and computing experience (including having Minecraft working, and being able to record screen captures with voiceovers, and play them back).

Then a couple of days later… the same symptom occurred to my daughter.

This time my solution was a lot less drastic: I logged off all users, rebooted the PC, and everything worked fine.

Hmm, I thought, I wonder if that fixed Magpie’s problem?

As it turned out, nope it did not. His original profile was still displaying the same problem.

 

Anyone who knows anything about Ubuntu knows that a lot of per-user settings reside within hidden files, and that hidden files in Ubuntu (and other *nix systems) are simply a file (or folder) where the file (or folder) name starts with a . character. So I figured… seeing as this issue is restricted to a single user profile (at a time) then it’s quite possibly situated in one (or more) of these “hidden” files.

So… I logged into the computer with a different user ID, dropped into a terminal, and used the following commands:

sudo su
cd /home/Magpie
rm -r .*

I then logged back in as Magpie.

Lo and behold! His desktop had reverted to that of a newly created user, but with the files from his /home/Magpie/Desktop folder sitting on it. I fired up Firefox, went to Youtube, and opened a random One Direction music clip (because that’s what’s on my kids shared Youtube account recent files list – YUCK!) – and it worked fine!

So: I have narrowed my response from the generic (reboot) or the outright avoidance (create a new user profile) to a slightly smaller sledge-hammer (delete all configuration files and let them all be recreated). I’m sure that the actual files which I needed to delete were only a small subset of what I deleted. I hope that if this problem comes back again, I will take a bit more time to study and narrow down exactly which hidden file or folder I need to delete, to solve this problem of “no sound in YouTube on Mozilla FireFox on Ubuntu version 12.10 Quantal Quetzal.

Another day at the river

About a year ago I wrote about taking my family to the Hawkesbury River. Since then our kids are now about a year older. They have all undertaken some swimming lessons and had a lot of opportunities to grow and develop.

We’ve been back to the river a few times and although it hasn’t been as hot in Sydney as it has been elsewhere in Australia these last few days… it has been hot enough.

Today we went to the river again, all five of us plus the dogs. There were several other people there with dogs, so that wasn’t at all a problem.

The amount of swimming out kids have been doing lately really shone through. We spent over two hours relaxing in the water – with not many other options given the temperature on the sand!

Our dogs as it turned out were the biggest cause of problem – with our female being in season, they saw the trip to the river as a romantic getaway from home.

It’s a strong mark of how far we have come that the evening following an unplanned day out, our biggest cause of concern is our randy dog!

New Years Eve – in pictures

It seems I missed actually presenting any kind of record of the New Year at Westy Central.

20130104-205416.jpg

I hope the coming of the new year was a time of happiness and togetherness for all of you.

New Years 2013

Resolutions for 2013.

  • Become less unfit. This is not “become super fit.”
  • Drink less, and have more alcohol free days.
  • Work toward relocating my family to a new city in time for school year starting in 2014.

That’s it.

PS. Yes, this is last night’s blog.

The Bourne Legacy

I absolutely love the whole Bourne series of films. They do a fantastic job of setting a stage within a very close-to-real universe which could believably overlap with the one the rest of us happen to inhabit.

Then along came The Bourne Legacy.

A fantastic cinematic experience with a great cast, and a great storyline. Without going too deep, it just happens to be very similar to the movies that came before. It relies on those movies to set the scene. But if you think your experience with the earlier movies is going to tell you everything there is to know about The Bourne Legacy … well you’re in for a shock. You may even get upset that it’s not what you were expecting.

Just like getting on an airplane bound for Rome, and hopping off in … Holland?

Or expecting that your experience with previous children – maybe even children with a disability – will prepare you for a child with Autism.

Taken as an experience on their own, a child with Autism on the most part is a joy. One that may be a lot of hard work. But in the main, Autism itself does not preclude a full enjoyable relationship between child and carer. Let assumptions based on other children assume control of the journey though, and everyone involved will become confused, upset, and possibly needlessly angry.

Enjoy the movie you have. Stop wishing it was a movie that was never made.

Stretching

Lizzie… on one of her cleaner moments!

Today was a bit of a big one at Westie Central. For the first day since I came home from working in Canberra, Bec had to work, leaving me with all three kids all at once. Which of course is a Big Deal for a dad, even though I’m one of the first to say if they are my kids it’s parenting not babysitting.

There has been far too much electronic time happening in our place since Christmas (or even since Magpie’s birthday). Yesterday I thought that Bec’s return to work was a perfect opportunity to do something about that. So the kids were put on notice that once I returned from my own run, they would be coming with me for a run. So I ran my lap of the suburb, did a few chores and we hit the pavement.

There is a very convenient landmark which is almost exactly 1km from our front gate, which is right on the path of a running track. So all of us headed for that landmark (it’s a bridge), me leading he way with BTB Fan and the dogs. Given the dogs had already finished about 8km, Howie was still eager to go while Lizzie was a bit over it. Yet in only a small fraction longer a time than my standard time, there I was at that bridge with BTB Fan and two dogs.

About a minute later up came Princess P.

Several minutes later again… Magpie finally staggered up. Grumbling about not being at home.
My understanding is the run home was quicker by all parties – except me, who at this point was pushing 10km for the day, and had mown the lawn as well…

Hitting the pool

Later we headed off to the pool. Both Magpie and Princess P had been told point blank that they would be requried to swim a lap of the full size outdoor pool, because with all the pool time they have had they have spent none of it improving their swimming. I take responsibility for that, but I will reqiure them to put some effort into improving the situation in my own way, if they don’t fix it themselves.

This was accomodated quite readily by Princess P. But somewhere it seems the message had not filtered all the way into Magpie’s head.

As a result… he was less prepared than I had thought he was.

So I had my first in-pool meltdown. In front of some of his school friends, as well as a lifeguard…. Which ended with him swimming his first ever lap of the Olympic pool, back-stroke. Well done mate! At which point I told him that he needed to do it “freestyle” (meaing “front crawl“), and we had another meltdown. In the pool. But again, I perservered, and he swum the lap in the stroke I expected him to use, albeit freaking out and grabbing the lane rope every three to ten strokes.

At the end of it all, he was glad he’d done it, though.

Later, I went through much the same with my littlest Westie, “swimming” (with me supporting his hips) two lengths of the outdoor childrens pool.

Not the best trip to the pool for us. We had been going so well before Christmas, too, but with our routine broken… it was as good an opportunity to establish the routine I need these kids to follow, if they want me to take them to the pool every day while it’s hot and I’m not working.

Stretching our boundaries will bring some growth. One way or another.

Now on YouTube – BestieBest3000

BestieBest3000Everyone who follows my blog.

I would absolutely LOVE it… as would my son… if you could pop over to youtube and check out BestieBest3000. This is the work of my son Magpie, who turned nine years old only a few days ago.

Working on quite a low spec PC running Ubuntu, he has been working out how to do a wide range of tasks. How to find out what version of Java he has, so he can work out how to install Minecraft in user space.

What software he needs, to record screen movies.

How to then record what he does on the screen, so once he works something out he has his own video tutorial to watch until he can remember how to do it more easily.

How to upload his own tutorials to youtube, so he can share them!

I’m really proud of what he has done. So far it’s pretty simple videos… but I have real thoughts that with the way he is going with the latest, he is going to come up with some real surprises sometime soon.

My second Fitness blog

My second Fitness blog.

Westie Fitness

So far I’m still in my first week of training. It has been rough!

My thighs are killing me! The temperature has been swinging like a pendulum, hot now cold and raining. My technology assistance has been a bit sporadic, I started with one app which let me down – not only the app but also the support. However, Map My Run has been looking after me quite nicely. So far I have tracked my run “around the block*” twice with that application and it’s served the purpose splendidly, as well as helping me track my cool-down walks, my trips to the swimming pool, and my swimming sessions.

However, one of my swimming sessions had to be cancelled – due to the massive storm we experienced on Christmas Eve, the outdoor pool was closed in case of lightning, while at the same time the indoor pool is closed for repair.

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