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Bien Trucha in Geneva IL

We tried to eat here last year, but the line was out the door. This time we arrived well before 5 o’clock opening on a weekday and sat outside in the crazily-warm November breeze in the al-fresco area watching traffic go by. A woman came out to light our votive candles on the table; sorry we were not able to order a drink. Presently a gentleman came out and asked if we had reservations, we did not. He explained there was the “fancy” dining room with more large-plate selections, and the main room with small plates – he would try to get us into the dining room.

Come 5 PM we were escorted by the same gentleman (who as it turns out was an assistant manager) into the small room — he was not able to get us into the main room. Bummer, On the way in he described briefly the history of the space. We sat at a nice table for two at the window – good to be early. A busboy brought wonderful chips and a black bean dip with a subtle spice — nice change from the usual salsa. I ordered a guacamole-of-the-day with pomegranate pips – one of the best guacs I have had. I will say again, chips were excellent.

The server Jessica introduced herself and her trainee at her hip, and pointed at the wall full of different tequilas. I ordered a Tradicional margarita, she asked if I wanted to try an “upgrade” tequila and described the differences. I stuck with the stock version. My wife had a Coladita, pineapple juice and coconut liquor. Both were good; the margarita was not great, and for $10 seemed small. I have trouble identifying good tequila, so it may be better than I can tell.

The server described the dishes available. I chose the Bien Trucha tacos, with grilled skirt steak & chorizo. Wonderful. My wife had the a la Diabla with sauteed shrimp and a butter-mojo de ajo. The tacos came 4 to a plate, sized to be easy to eat. We traded a taco (food is very shareable) and we both liked the other’s dish.

For our dinner drinks, I had a Michelada with Negra Modelo Dark and various flavorings in a salted glass, as I had discovered in Cancun, and it was as good as I remember – reminiscent of a Bloody Mary with a Mexican twist. My wife had the Chelada which was basically Negra Modelo Dark in a salted glass with lime. She preferred the Michelada. I forgot how good they are, especially in summer.

Summary: wonderful meal and drinks, fun, loud atmosphere, impeccable casual service. I would not hesitate to return, perhaps with a reservation to try the larger-plate dining room.  They also have a lunch time “LIL DONKEYS” menu that really looks good. Recommended.

Also reviewed on Yelp

The New Napster and Launchy

Rhapsody, the long-suffering little brother streaming music service, recently rebranded itself as Napster. Same app, different name. Big deal.

I noticed that I could not start the app with the great Launchy in my new Windows 10 install. Not sure if it worked in Windows 7.

Looking at Properties of the launch shortcut, in C:\Users\Me\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Rhapsody International Inc, I noticed that the shortcut has a weird extension, .appref-ms. Having come of age in the era of .com and .exe, this was unknown. Seems it is the launcher for the new  style Windows apps, and Launchy did not know how to find them.

Screenshot (3)

 

So I opened the Launchy options panel, and found the Start Menu folder was already in the search path for catalogs. The extension was missing. So I added “*.appref-ms”

DAC_20160723_Launchy_ms

Rescan, index increased by one. Works. Nice.

Screenshot (4)

API Guidelines

Microsoft recently published ReST API guidelines on GitHub. They are worth reading over if you design ReST APIs.

My Highlights:

Welcome to Windows 10

Finally beat the July 28th deadline for upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 10.

Made backups with Macrium Reflect first.  Paid for that one, got rid of the perpetually flaky Acronis.

Both machines (Intel Core Duo 2Ghz dual-core and old AMD dual core) upgraded successfully. AMD box slow, but it worked, with install apps and files in place. A little juggling the start menu to lose the junk, and we are back in biz.

A potential issue came up where the audio was crackling.  One post suggested the LatencyMon app from Resplendence Software.   Way cool. Said I had serious latency issues and could not host real-time software – like audio. Duh.

This post, Speakers Crackling since Windows 10 update, suggested I reinstall the old audio driver.  Not trying that yet.

Ultimately, this YouTube video, How to FIX Windows 10 Audio/Sound Problem , worked by running the non-low-power power profile. Not sure why that matters – tries to starve the CPU? Seems to work.

Then I replaced the CPU with Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650 3Ghz from eBay for $65. Windows 10 rebooted and barfed a few times; I had to reset the BIOS to even have Windows 10 detect the new CPU. Then I had an issue with the CPU fan, but I think that was related to the dust buildup. 5 minutes with the compressor outside cleaned it out, and using the great HWMonitor program,  cores are running 100-110F. Not bad. The machine runs very smoothly with the new two cores, for very little coin.

Google Nexus 6P

I finally decided my old Google Galaxy Nexus was done. I couldn’t use the phone in the house, it was having random meltdowns where apps would kill the battery in 4 hours, and was getting text messages duplicated inbound and outbound. Surfing was a slow nightmare. I just could not trust it as I could when it was new, and could not use it reliably for texting. I don’t text a lot, but I do need it to work.

So after reading a gob of reviews, I decided to go Google Nexus 6P, the new Huawei Nexus version in the phone form factor. I ordered the 64Gb version, and the Speck case in black and white. It quickly arrived.

Phone? More like a surfboard. Large, about halfway between the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 Tablet. Fits into my hand, barely. Gorgeous display. I downloaded a selection of apps, redid the 2-factor setups on several accounts, restored a backup using Helium (was Carbon). Called Consumer Cellular (AT&T MVNO) to transfer the number – had to go to local Sears first to get the Nano-SIM, my existing Micro-SIM did not fit. After a bit I had to order cables – it uses the new Type-C USB format, and I needed USB to USB Type-C for connection to a laptop and car charger. Love the format, hate having to buy new cables, but now I won’t ever again.

It calls and texts in the basement in my pocket. Old phone did not. I spilled coffee on it today. The Speck case seals around the edge, and a ArmorSuit Military Grade screen protector prevented anything from touching the screen. I have dropped it several times, no problem. I did get the insurance.

Pros

  • Fast charge, good battery life. Phone used for 10 mins/day, some surfing, mostly WiFi.
  • Great display.
  • Fingerprint unlock is the best. Grab, unlock, go. I would never go back.
  • Android 6 Marshmallow works and looks great for fans of stock Android. No crapware.
  • Unlocked and compatible with Verizon AND AT&T. Can’t wait to try in Canada or Europe.

Cons

  • Big, sometimes gets away from you. If have small hands, it won’t be an easy one-hander. Hard to stow in pockets.
  • New cables required for USB Type-C
  • Expensive
  • That’s it. Great phone.

Compacting a VirtualBox VM Centos disk

At work I used Centos 6.4 to convert a large Subversion repo to Git. This required a VM with a 100Gb disk, more than my old iMac could deal with, to the point where I could not update to newer OS version or even run iTunes to update apps.

[dchwalis@imac ~]$ df -h
Filesystem      Size   Used  Avail Capacity   iused   ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk0s2   931Gi  915Gi   16Gi    99% 239830061 4150681   98%   /

This article “How can I reduce the size of a VM on disk” started me off. Then I found https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?p=34636&sid=5bbe19387a6797d599beb35ec2e8b96c#p34636. Looks like since I used a large portion of the expandable virtual disk, there was data in it, and could not be reclaimed. I needed to zero out the now-deleted files and then pack the virtual disk image.

The tool to zero out the unused storage is zerofree and I needed to build that. Luckily my VM had all the dev tools installed, so it was a simple make. I grabbed the latest version, 1.0.3.

[dchwalis@centos ~]$ df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/vg_vmxxfscv62979-lv_home
                      242G   74G  156G  33% /home

First bust the system down to runlevel 1 to prevent other processes from keeping the disk busy.

sudo telinit 1

Now how to run a tool on a mount that was being used. This is why you should ALWAYS create new disks and mount them instead of expanding the system disk.

(Mount command line missing. It disappeared into runlevel 1)
Something like

# mkdir /fred
# mount -o remount,rw /dev/mapper/vg_vmxxfscv62979-lv_home /fred

I ran zerofree on the device. That took a long time and my iMac kept sleeping. Not good.

# /usr/bin/zerofree /dev/mapper/vg_vmxxfscv62979-lv_home

Then to have fsck run when the VM started up, I did per “Force fsck on reboot

# touch /forcefsck
# reboot

Then back to to have

[dchwalis@imac ~]$ VBoxManage modifyhd --compact centos-64-x64.vdi
0%...10%...

This step took a while.

[dchwalis@imac ~]$ df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity iused ifree %iused Mounted on
/dev/disk0s2 931Gi 780Gi 151Gi 84% 204440272 39540470 84% /

So 16Gb free to 151Gb free. Looks like it worked. Lets start up the VM… Yay!

[1] http://askubuntu.com/questions/175739/how-do-i-remount-a-filesystem-as-read-write
[2] http://linux.die.net/man/8/mount
[3] http://ianozsvald.com/2012/07/26/using-zerofree-to-shrink-a-virtualbox-linux-image/
[4] http://frippery.org/uml/index.html
[5] “How can I reduce the size of a VM on disk”
[6] http://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/11100/how-to-make-ext4-filesystem-sparse

πυθαγόρας Ζει

Why is πυθαγόρας Ζει on a sticker on the long piano string gadget in the Drums/Space of the 7/5/15 Grateful Dead show? (see 4:46:26). It’s Greek to me….

God of Carnage

Saw “God of Carnage” by Yasmina Reza last night with our friend Shannon Mayhall giving her usual magnificent performance. Dark, funny, and 80 minutes just flies. Make sure you sit behind the “tulip row”. At the Black Box Theater, McHenry County College, Crystal Lake IL tonight and next week.

Fun with Dell Laptop WiDI

I was messing around with the WiDi driver to stream the Grateful Dead show tonite and disabled the Intel Video driver. At this point, the machine started up, did POST, did the swirly page and then a blue dim (not BSOD) screen came up and nothing. HD activity, not much else.

 Could NOT get safe mode to launch per (Fixya) How to get into safe mode
Using this article, (Dell) Inspiron 17R will not boot (5720) – I tried to change the UEFI boot to legacy boot and was able to run diagnostics and setup.
Then used Pre-boot assessment error 2000-0332, Inspiron 7720  to run the Pre Boot Assessment
After messing around, I was able to see
2000-0332 Video memory – Video memory integrity test discrepancy ePSA diagnostics detected a video memory failure. Please reset the system memory and update the BIOS to most current version/
  • Update to the latest BIOS.
  • Reseat the system memory
  • Turn off your computer and reconnect your LCD cable.
  • Repeat the ePSA diagnostics..
  • If failure continues contact Technical Support
It said to update the Bios, I was at A18, the latest was A19  (Dell) Inspiron 5720 System BIOS
I used (Dell) How to Create a Bootable USB Flash Drive using Dell Diagnostic Deployment Package (DDDP) to create a bootable flash disk. I then copied the new flash utility to the flash image, ran the program to create the flash booter. Booted fine, and ran the installer from the DOS command line. Success.
Reset the boot mode to UEFI or windows would not boot.
It came up with the same blue screen. I started whomping on the LCD/CRT key, thinking I had put the video to external CRT, and I got the login screen. Whew.
Now I need to turn on the safe mode boot option before I try again…
Now why didn’t I want a MacBook???

Dirty Printer Test Page

I started getting vertical dark lines in my ADF scans on the the highly great Canon MF4570dw Laser/Multifunction.

Use this to determine location of small bits of dust on your scans. Then clean the glass under the ADF guide, slide it out carefully.

Print the OpenOffice file Dirty Printer Test Sheet and then feed the ADF. Your white streaks can be located and the cleaning intensified at that location. Takes several tries in my experience.

See: Black vertical line on scans and inspired by the suggestion from Fixya Lines when scanned