Monday, 11 November 2013

Index to Commonwealth War Graves Registers - First World War

This weekend, held another of their "freebies", with access to Canadian Military records for the past 5 or so days. In general, I assumed that I already have most of the information since they were available from the previous freebies as well as free on the Government of Canada or CWGC sites. However, I took a look anyway, just in case.

One new thing that I found was the "Commonwealth War Graves Registers, First World War" (also known as the Black Binders, volumes 39 to 144 of the series Accession RG 150, 1992-93/314). It's not that new, in fact, as they were digitized in 2011. As pointed out here, the real advantage of the Ancestry site is the integrated search, as most of the information is on the CWGC site, but with a slightly less capable search.

However, there are small bits of additional information, and if you're like me, you'd like to have as many references as possible (even if just scanned). The trouble is that the Ancestry site will no longer be free in a few hours. One could use the Library and Archives Canada site but it is completely unsearchable. I don't know why they couldn't have listed the names included in each set. After all, they went through the trouble of labelling the names on Page 2 of every set. The time it would take to type this up is surely much shorter than the time taken to scan the binders (or else something is terribly wrong).

Anyway, I decided to do so, and it didn't take too long. The index is available below:

IndexNameLocationFirst PersonLast Person
131830_B016669France, Belgium, etc.AaronAllan
231830_B016673France, Belgium, etc.AllansonAngst
331830_B016674France, Belgium, etc.AngusAstley
431830_B016672France, Belgium, etc.AstonBaker
531830_B016677France, Belgium, etc.BakysBarrow
631830_B016663France, Belgium, etc.BarryBeebe
731830_B034750France, Belgium, etc.BeechBerner
831830_B016668France, Belgium, etc.BernhartBittle
931830_B016662France, Belgium, etc.BjarnasonBolger
1031830_B016667France, Belgium, etc.BolinBowes
1131830_B016666France, Belgium, etc.BowhayBriden
1231830_B016665France, Belgium, etc.BridgeBrown, I. F.
1331830_B016671France, Belgium, etc.Brown, J.Buist
1431830_B016670France, Belgium, etc.BulbickBytheway
1531830_B016591France, Belgium, etc.CabanaCanning
1631830_B016590France, Belgium, etc.CannonCave
1731830_B016589France, Belgium, etc.CavelleChristmas
1831830_B016594France, Belgium, etc.ChristoCobley
1931830_B016593France, Belgium, etc.CoburnCoogan
2031830_B016592France, Belgium, etc.CookCotton
2131830_B016595France, Belgium, etc.CottrellCrewe
2231830_B016596France, Belgium, etc.CribbesCyrs
2331830_B016600France, Belgium, etc.DabateDawson
2431830_B016597France, Belgium, etc.DayDickie
2531830_B016599France, Belgium, etc.DickinsDostie
2631830_B016598France, Belgium, etc.DotyDunbar
2731830_B016602France, Belgium, etc.DuncanEdwards
2831830_B016601France, Belgium, etc.EdworthyEzric
2931830_B016606France, Belgium, etc.FaberFincham
3031830_B016605France, Belgium, etc.FinderFord
3131830_B034751France, Belgium, etc.FordyceFreymuth
3231830_B016604France, Belgium, etc.FrickerGaston
3331830_B016609France, Belgium, etc.GateGingras
3431830_B016608France, Belgium, etc.GinnGotze
3531830_B016607France, Belgium, etc.GoucherGreen
3631830_B016611France, Belgium, etc.GreenawayGysin
3731830_B016610France, Belgium, etc.HaasHancox
3831830_B016675France, Belgium, etc.HandHarty
3931830_B016676France, Belgium, etc.HarveyHelms
4031830_B016680France, Belgium, etc.HelpsHildreth
4131830_B034451France, Belgium, etc.HillHolmden
4231830_B016679France, Belgium, etc.HolmesHowles
4331830_B016678France, Belgium, etc.HowlettHutson
4431830_B034447France, Belgium, etc.HuttJames
4531830_B016681France, Belgium, etc.JamesonJohnsson
4631830_B034450France, Belgium, etc.JohnstonJuteau
4731830_B034449France, Belgium, etc.KaarKernick
4831830_B016682France, Belgium, etc.KerrKnibbs
4931830_B034448France, Belgium, etc.KnightLandymore
5031830_B034452France, Belgium, etc.LaneLeach
5131830_B016603France, Belgium, etc.LeachmanLevine
5231830_B016614France, Belgium, etc.LevingsLockie
5331830_B016613France, Belgium, etc.LockleyLyttle
5431830_B016612France, Belgium, etc.MabeeMarsden
5531830_B016617France, Belgium, etc.MarshMay
5631830_B016616France, Belgium, etc.MayallMillens
5731830_B016615France, Belgium, etc.MillerMoir
5831830_B016620France, Belgium, etc.MoisleyMorley
5931830_B016619France, Belgium, etc.MorphewMuir
6031830_B016621France, Belgium, etc.MuirheadMyson
6131830_B034752France, Belgium, etc.McAdamMcCoubrey
6231830_B016618France, Belgium, etc.McCourtMcDonaugh
6331830_B016622France, Belgium, etc.McDonellMcIntire
6431830_B016626France, Belgium, etc.McIntoshMacKenzie
6531830_B016625France, Belgium, etc.McKeoghMcLeman
6631830_B016624France, Belgium, etc.McLennanMcNaughton
6731830_B016623France, Belgium, etc.McNaulMcWilliams
6831830_B016630France, Belgium, etc.NadeauNicoletti
6931830_B016629France, Belgium, etc.NicollOlivier
7031830_B016628France, Belgium, etc.OlliffPapworth
7131830_B016627France, Belgium, etc.PaquetPattison
7231830_B016633France, Belgium, etc.PattonPerry
7331830_B016632France, Belgium, etc.PerrymanPlow
7431830_B016631France, Belgium, etc.PlowmanPrice
7531830_B016635France, Belgium, etc.PrickettRamsey
7631830_B016634France, Belgium, etc.RanceReid
7731830_B016638France, Belgium, etc.ReileyRizza
7831830_B016637France, Belgium, etc.RoachRoffey
7931830_B016636France, Belgium, etc.RogerRoy
8031830_B016641France, Belgium, etc.RoyalSaunders
8131830_B016640France, Belgium, etc.SauvageSelfe
8231830_B034455France, Belgium, etc.SelkirkSholds
8331830_B016644France, Belgium, etc.SholertSmales
8431830_B016643France, Belgium, etc.SmallSmith, P. M.
8531830_B034454France, Belgium, etc.Smith, R.Spence
8631830_B016642France, Belgium, etc.SpencerSteven
8731830_B016647France, Belgium, etc.StevensSt. Pierre
8831830_B016646France, Belgium, etc.StraceySyvret
8931830_B016645France, Belgium, etc.TabbenerThom
9031830_B016639France, Belgium, etc.ThomasTizzard
9131830_B034453France, Belgium, etc.TobiasTurnbull
9231830_B016649France, Belgium, etc.TurnerVyse
9331830_B016656France, Belgium, etc.WabanosseWarby
9431830_B016651France, Belgium, etc.WardWebb
9531830_B016653France, Belgium, etc.WebberWhitcutt
9631830_B016654France, Belgium, etc.WhiteWilley
9731830_B016655France, Belgium, etc.WilliamsWilson
9831830_B016658France, Belgium, etc.WiltonWorsley
9931830_B016652France, Belgium, etc.WorsterZykoski
10031830_B016657United KingdomAbbottByrt
10131830_B016650United KingdomCadieuxEwens
10231830_B016661United KingdomFaggHolmes
10331830_B016648United KingdomHoltumMeads
10431830_B016660United KingdomMeehenOzanne
10531830_B016659United KingdomPackhamSmith
10631830_B016664United KingdomSmolletZinck

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

On GPG/PGP Keys...

Way back in 2010, I attended the GSoC Mentors Summit. I thought that would be a perfect time to get a new GPG key signed by a lot of people. Unfortunately, I decided to do this the night before flying out to Mountain View. With the lack of sleep, long flight, and busy weekend, I promptly forgot the passphrase to that key.

For quite a while, I tried to remember or somehow guess the passphrase, to no avail. I even wrote a Python script to try out combinations of fragments I thought might be in it. Alas, I had no success.1

Since I just attended another Mentors Summit this past weekend, I had no choice but to come up with a new key. The new key ID is 0x8D86E7FA E5EB0C10 and eventually it will accumulate some signatures from the event as I go through them. The old key, 0xACA35FE6, really didn't have too many signatures2, so I guess it's no great loss.

1 Okay, I realize you have no way of trusting this statement if you've already trusted the old key, but I can't really do anything about that anymore.

2 At least you can check this statement on the keyservers, though.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

AGU Fall Meeting Poster

It's been a busy week, but my poster for AGU is finally printed and ready to go. Here's a small copy of it:

Note, ImageMagick doesn't seem to convert to colours exactly correct, so you may want to check out the PDF. If you want to have a look at the full PDF, check out the ePoster at the AGU. That page has the abstract, and you can click "View ePoster" for the poster.

This poster was the result of a monster-combination of Scribus, LaTeX, GMT, and even a bit of Inkscape. But at least I didn't use PowerPoint! I was planning to write some information about the process, but that's turning into a rather large post. I want to post this one before AGU and I'll write separate posts about the process later.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Missing Library in Rhythmbox on F17

One of the bugs I encountered after upgrading to Fedora 17 is that my music library seemed to have disappeared in Rhythmbox. In fact, everything appeared in the Missing Files view. The strange thing is that all the files appeared exactly where Rhythmbox thought they should be. In fact, I could even play them directly from the Missing Files view!

Anyway, after a bit of searching, it appears that I am facing this bug. You see, on my laptop, I encrypt the /home directory. Back on Fedora 16, some bug in gvfs or udisks caused things to think that that directory was a removable partition. Something must have been fixed in Fedora 17, because it's no longer marked that way (which is good, because I hate seeing it in nautilus.) However, Rhythmbox still thinks those files should be on a separate partition and doesn't correctly update itself (the aforementioned bug.)

This is pretty easy to fix, in fact. Since /home is now no longer considered a separate mount point, you just have to remove those indicators from Rhythmbox's config. The config is an XML file that's been pretty-printed, so the offending information appears on a single line (per file entry). That makes fixing it a pretty simple thing to do:

$ cd ~/.local/share/rhythmbox/
$ cp rhythmdb.xml rhythmdb.xml.backup
$ sed -i -e '/<mountpoint>/d' rhythmdb.xml

Friday, 8 June 2012

The Fedora 17 "Beefy Miracle"

So, a new release of Fedora was set free just last week, the so-called "Beefy Miracle". A couple of releases ago (or maybe last release), I had really thought I might wait at least a month after a release before upgrading. Turns out my curiosity got the best of me, and I went and upgraded my laptop mere days after the release.

Fortunately, this release has been much much better right out of the box. Having read the release notes, I was prepared for the one major bug, namely the kernel being stuck at an old version. Since it only affected shutdown, it wasn't too big of a deal, just a bit annoying.

Being the third release with GNOME3, it's finally starting to come together into something usable. With the right extensions, it's even better than GNOME2 was. I can't say exactly what changes went into it, but I guess it's a lot of behind the scenes changes to make things Just Work.

There are still a few things that need work, of course. I'm still not a big fan of the grey theme, but at least the window decoration is not huge anymore. It's still a bit difficult to find good complete themes that fix that. Also, it seems they introduced a fade-out of windows that are not in focus. It's sort of like it's disabled-in-appearance-only. I'm sort of yes-no on this change. It seems like it might be good for accessibility, but they don't seem to have tried this out all too much. Sometimes widgets remain faded even when the rest of the application is back in focus. Using some dialogs (like gedit's Replace) do weird things.

One last point is going to be about the wallpaper. I know I don't see it all too much, but the last three releases have had wallpapers that are really quite nice. Fedora's wallpapers have been traditionally mostly blue, the trademark colour. This one deviates a bit with a splash of pink, but I think it's just enough to make it pop. And who could not like fireworks?

Thursday, 31 May 2012

"Video" Editing in Linux

Video editing is one of those domains for which there are some expensive options and several attempts at open source alternatives. Unfortunately, few efforts have even gotten past the first few months.

A couple months ago, I had to do some "video" editing. I put that in quotes because in fact, it was more of a slideshow. I had done something similar a few years ago in PowerPoint. After the pain of that experience, I was quite certain I didn't want to do it that way again. I looked for some alternatives, but pretty much knew what my list of prerequisites was:

  1. Background music and voiceover audio
  2. Easy positioning of audio clips (Possibly meaning multi-track editing)
  3. Good set of transitions
  4. HD output, if possible, since all my photos were high resolution already

Weighing the Options

I know there are dedicated slideshow tools out there, like Imagination, but I wasn't sure how to get points 1 and 2 taken care of. I was pretty much certain that I'd have to use a video editor of some sort. There are really only about three or four I'd expect to work.

I was originally thinking of OpenShot, but annoyingly, you can't drag multiple clips from the Project to the Timeline. This might seem like a small issue, but for a slideshow of a few hundred images, it becomes a bit tedious. That's one of the reasons I didn't like PowerPoint, since you had to create a slide per picture and then add it. Overall, OpenShot just seemed to be a bit too simplified to be usable. On the upside, it did seem to have a good selection of transition effects.

The next option was PiTiVi. A long time ago, when I had to settle for PowerPoint, I had looked at PiTiVi. It was really just not ready to use for much of anything then. Just loading files used to cause a caught-in-abrt-but-not-totally-fatal exception. Nowadays, it's become much more polished. The UI looks much nicer with a good layout of controls. Unfortunately, it's limited in the transition aspect. Basically, you've got crossfading and that's about it. With no transition wipes, that pretty much cut out PiTiVi, although I really do like the direction it's going.

A possible contender?

The final choice was Kdenlive. Kdenlive uses the same video processing toolkit as OpenShot (MLT), but has been around since before OpenShot and PiTiVi. I can't say whether this longer development time is the sole reason or not, but it's certainly turned out to be the best of the three at this time. It's obviously multi-track (points 1 and 2), there's a good selection of transitions (point 3), and it'll render almost whatever resolution you want (point 4).

Now, does editing real video have its issues? I can't exactly say, but for what I had to do, I found Kdenlive to be extremely stable. In the course of this project, I saw maybe two crashes. That's two crashes too many, but video editing seems to be a tricky art (likely due to there being too many video specs, with poor descriptions, and poorer implementations). Actually, I did have to insert two real video clips, and they didn't cause any trouble.

Kdenlive was certainly up to the task for this slideshow/video project. It was perhaps of a moderate size, a few hundred images, two video clips, a dozen music tracks, plus 15-20 audio voice clips, resulting in about 25 minutes of final video.

Alas, it's not quite perfect...

Let's not say that Kdenlive doesn't still have its rough edges. It did appear to use a large amount of RAM, but I think that's because the project was 1080p, and I wasn't using proxies. Randomly (but thankfully not too many times), an invisible spacer would insert itself on a track and shift all the subsequent clips. Eventually, I did find the Lock Track button, and then could shift the incorrect track back. Once, a clip became half-deleted, getting in the way of other clips, but staying immovable and un-deletable until I re-opened the file.

While there are many to choose from, there are twenty transitions that are just named numerically, meaning you have to pick a point in the middle of a transition, look at the result, and guess which direction it's going (it doesn't auto-preview the whole thing, for example). What would be really useful is a "base" transition set, with an editor to tweak a few settings. For example, if you had a expanding star, the editor could enable you to position that star over some important object instead of dead-centre.

The other transitions that were missing were some good 3D effects. I tried following these instructions to create a page curl effect, but ended up keying every frame of the overlay position just to make sure it looked good. For another effect, I used a rotate about Z to create a sort of full page flip, but the Z rotate doesn't seem to cause any perspective changes (the far end does not shrink in height and the near end does not grow in height). It didn't look too bad in the end, but it could have been easier to do.

Wrapping up

In the end, I managed to finish my project relatively easily with Kdenlive. OpenShot is really just not up there at this time, although it does have a nice set of 3D titles in Blender. PiTiVi is also moving along quite nicely, and if it wasn't for the lack of transitions, I might have used it. Kdenlive seems to be the best choice right now. But everything's under rapid development, so this might change any time soon.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Fixing the Toaster

Sometimes, things just break. Maybe it's planned obsolescence; I don't really know. But I don't want to be wasting things just because they "seem" to not work anymore.

Speaking of things not working, our toaster-oven (a Bravetti) recently stopped turning on. (You didn't see that coming, did you?) Turning on the timer didn't light the lamp, and didn't electrify the elements. A bit of a problem when you want to toast things (pizza in a microwave just isn't the same!)

Taking Things Apart

As it turns out, the same thing has happened before. That made this work pretty easy as I knew exactly where to look for the problem. As a plus, this is an easy fix and if it must fail, I'd pick this over some other problem.

First, you need to take out all the screws around the top cover. On this model, they're on the back and on the bottom along the feet. Remove the cover and you can see all the wiring as in the picture.

The top control is temperature, middle is heating mode, and bottom is the timer. Our trouble arises in the timer control. You need to pull off the front dial. It's got some goop in it to hold it in place, so I wedge it out with a flathead screwdriver. Once it's off, take out the two screws holding the timer control onto the panel. Pull out the electrical contacts, and you're good.

So now you have the timer control; what to do with it? Open it up, of course! It's locked up using small bent metal tabs. Simply straighten them up with some pliers and you should be able to pull off the top bit. You need to take all of the shell off, as below.

In the picture to the left are the separated parts of the timer control. At the left is the outer shell with the bell. Then the timer mechanism, a cover and another mounting cover.

In this picture we have the back view of the timer mechanism. Keep in mind the little black arm as that interfaces with the silver arm in the bell.

Cleaning the Contacts

That black plastic bit at the top is the site of all the trouble. Take a look at the contact below, which has become black. I don't know whether this is some kind of galvanic corrosion, but it means the switch just doesn't close.

I can't quite remember what I did the last time, but it may have involved scratching at it with a screwdriver. This time, I used a cone sanding bit on a rotary tool to clean it up entirely. It's a bit difficult to see below, but it's much cleaner now. Note, I didn't clean the mount around the contact, so you can see the difference between before and after there.

Finishing Up

Now that the contacts are clean, it's just a matter of putting everything back together. It's important to get the post on the timer aligned with the lever in the bell, or it won't ring when finished. Then reattach all the casing, bend the tabs, and screw the rest all together. And the final test, of course, is to turn it on and toast some bread!