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Ken Starks
Works at Reglue
Lives in Taylor Texas
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Ken Starks

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Ugggg. I had forgotten. East coast March=below freezing temps=snow.

Snow? I thought that was only in the movies. grumpffff

Boston is still as beautiful and industrially eclectic as I remember it. My thanks to John Sullivan of the FSF for taking such good care of me. Now I gotta eat.

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Did ya make it back to TX? 
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Ken Starks

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Well, I took that down to the wire.

I have been asked to present our non profit "Reglue" at this year's LibrePlanet gathering in Cambridge. It's not only an honor to be invited, I feel an IQ jump of 20 points every time I come within 25 miles of MIT.

"Speaking" though is going to be an experiment. Most of you know I chose to have my larynx removed in January, to quell pre-cancerous behavior in that tissue. So what I've done is actually typed out every word of my presentation and used an online text to speech service to represent my voice. And please...Don't. I worked for three weeks trying to find a usable Linux Open Source solution for this event. Text to Speech technology in the Linuxshere is in sorry, sorry shape. I'm not going to waste precious time in Cambridge, being a crybaby about this but be forewarned, it's going to be a loud and laser-focused discussion when I get home. I look forward to your solutions.

I will post the streaming link for my talk when it comes available. So 3 hours sleep, 45 minutes to the airport, an hour's wait to board, and heaven only knows how long on the tarmac until we take off. I am due into Baaa-ston at about 12:30 but I won't be renting a caaaa.
Wherever you are, we invite you to participate in LibrePlanet via chat and livestream. [ Karen Sandler, Mako Hill and Richard Stallman speaking at previous LibrePlanets ]. Karen Sandler, Benjamin Mako Hill, and. Richard Stallman announced as keynote speakers. [ Become a member ] ...
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How are you doing and managing after your laryngectomy, Ken?
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Ken Starks

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Well Otay! It's official....Reglue will be attending this year's 2015 LibrePlanet conference to tell folks about Reglue. Hopefully, Boston and the surrounding area has dug itself out of record-shattering snow fall. Every now and then I like to remind myself why I live in Texas.

Since I chose to be one of the last presenters, you can scroll down to the next to the last entry on the link here and you'll see our scheduled talk. If you live in the Boston/Cambridge area, come by and see me. Here's hoping to see you there.
Arvados: a free software platform for big data science. Brett Smith, Ward Vandewege. Large-scale scientific computing work often runs on clusters with petabytes of attached storage and specialized networking. Arvados is a free software platform to store and analyze large data sets, ...
Ken Starks's profile photoCharlie Kravetz (charlie-tca)'s profile photoJim Simpson's profile photoDeeAnn Little's profile photo
Ken, this is fantastic news. Congrats on getting in. I was asked to keep trying and gun for next year.
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Ken Starks

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I haven't used an email client in 10 years but when the gentleman from across the street asked me to look at his computer, I was happy to. We live in a retirement community and we're a fairly tight-knit bunch.

He's running an up to date Ubuntu machine and he is using Thunderbird for his email needs. This is where it gets a bit odd. No matter what email he opens and what link he clicks in  any of those emails... it opens his browser's home page. And of course he can't remember when it started doing this or what he was doing beforehand. I've been searching around but I haven't found anyone reporting this same problem.

Can someone put me on a path that might help me figure this out? I'd appreciate it.
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Sean, thank you. Not sure how I missed that but I appreciate the link.
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Ken Starks

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I usually find it clumsy to post a link to my own articles, but in this case I will make an exception. This needs to be a bigger part of a larger conversation in the Linuxsphere. My woes when dealing with text to speech applications in Linux are more than adequately documented if you search for the answers I sought.

Text to speech applications in Linux are a mess.  I found outdated documentation and many times, documentation that contradicts itself from one post to the other.

I'm not here to criticize any particular developer. They've "scratched their itch" and moved along. They've given us a solid groundwork to make TTS in Linux much, much easier. Now all we have to do is find those brilliant new developers who want to put those pieces together to serve the coming generation of Linux User.

And crusty old curmudgeons like me.
Can you hear me now? The question, if it's presented with early 21st century pop culture in mind, is rhetorical. If you are relying on text to speech (TTS) applications in Linux, then it's not&hell...
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It's kind of sad, that's the best I have ever heard, it's very comfortable and I wish they would release it for the greater good.
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What an amazing shot by +Keith Cuddeback. Much thanks for sharing his processing tips. Beautiful.
Arches National Park

This is the view at sunrise from Delicate Arch looking the other way. While everybody else was snapping away at the arch, I turned around and caught this beautiful scene.  

What I really want to tell you about though is the easy way I processed this photo, because out of the camera, it didn't look like this.  My trick is using Topaz ReStyle to dial in the colors with one of the 1-click presets. 

It'll be great if you'll download the free 30 day trial of Topaz ReStyle and see how it transforms your photos!  Here's the link:

If you find that you like ReStyle, here's another tip. Buy it before the 28th because you'll save $20 during their February promotion!  The promo code to save $20 is all spelled out on the page when you click on the above link to Topaz ReStyle.
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Ken Starks

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This is stunning art. And yeah, I consider photography an art. I most certainly do.
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I need to find the "increase color saturation" button in GIMP.
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Ken Starks

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And this is why.......

I gave family and friends notice back in 2010 that I would no longer support or fix their Windows computers. Yeah, I sounds terrible but I was getting absolutely slammed with "I think I got a virus" and "I didn't do anything wrong" emails. And they all most certainly end with, "Can you look at if for me"?  "Look at it" generally led to a 3+ hour remote session with said relative moving their mouse and breaking the connection several times and prompting me to start all over.

Anyway, I have a neighbor who lives across the street from me. A great guy and a world war II Silver Star awardee. I will fix his computer for eternity out of gratitude for the parts of himself he left on Utah beach...both physically and psychologically.

The good news is that he has a fully-updated Ubuntu 12.04 system running on his computer so there's that. But a "sudden virus" appeared on his computer, according to him anyway. Any link he clicks in Thunderbird produces a Firefox browser with the Google search landing page. His son-in-law told him that the same thing had happened to his computer because a "virus" took over his email.

The guy is in his late 70's and he's a good and trusting soul so he asked me if it was possible to get a "virus" on Linux. I told him no, but he should practice safe computing none the less.  Oh...his mystery "virus"? He has both Chrome and Firefox installed on his computer and the last time he opened Chrome, it asked him if he wanted Chrome to be his default browser. He checked the yes box and that prompted Firefox to misbehave in Thunderbird as a result. I asked him which browser he preferred for day to day use and he stated Firefox. Fixed and forever his default browser.

It's good when you get to slay a "virus" in a Linux box. Life is good. The guy thinks I am a computer genius. sigh.....
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+Kevin Leers
>>If a guy is in his 70s he most certainly

Clarification: as "we" get more mature, the idea of "old" gets pushed up a little.  When I was in grade school, a person of 50 was old.  When I was 28, a young lady in high school told me she thought of me as "middle-aged." 

However, at some point, we get busy and  "old" kind of stops and sits at "some number considerably older than I am."  After a while, we realize we've moved on a few years and  push it up a dab.  And it'll sit there until we notice it again. 

My guess is the neighbor really did what he said and that Ken hasn't noticed that he and I now are in the "incredibly mature"  age bracket.  The neighbor who was at D-Day has acquired more chronological gifts since the last time Ken gave it a thought, so the number Ken gave needs a little adjustment.
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Ken Starks

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Taken from the daily special email I get from This is the site that refers to you as a "sucker" after you buy something from them. They are a lot of fun to do business with. The Daily Mort dialogs are a scream. The site is owned by

LG 1080p LED HDTVs
$349.99 - $449.99

Refurbished A bad TV means your favorite show looks lousy. Immersion is ruined. You and your loved one begin to talk. Problems come to light. You begin to argue. The relationship ends. You die alone. Isn't better to just buy a 1080p TV and avoid all that?
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+A. David

??? Just a bit of sideways humor squeaking through my posts.
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Ken Starks

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Hey, I made a comment/post once about socks and sandals, and it got quite a few comments.  More then it deserved. 
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Ken Starks

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For the early years of my adulthood, I was a boxing fan. Liston, Ali, Shavers, Foreman, Frazier, Duran...Some of the best boxers in the 20th century inhabited my world of boxing. I remember sitting just 3 feet from the old, beat up TV with bent-up rabbit ears as I watched the Ali - Shavers heavyweight title fight. Shavers was favored to slam face-first into the canvas in round 3. The odds makers couldn't have been more wrong

It came down to  a decision at fight's end and Ali had his hand raised. He was behind on two judges score cards going into the last round of the battle and that's when Ali won the fight. As much as I did not like him. His warrior spirit exploded in that last round and he won that last round on all three score cards. In my mind, it was the greatest boxing battle I had ever watched.

To that point. There is one championship-level fighter that I did not list in my string of boxing greats above. Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini. I place him in a category and level unique to the legendary boxers above for a reason.

Of them all, he's the only one to kill a man in the ring.

In November of 1982, I was welded into my living room chair, waiting for the pre-fight hype to end and for two boxers to touch gloves and begin to box. His name was Kuk-Koo-Kim and he was a light heavyweight fighter challenging Mancini for his boxing title. In the Mancini camp, this was only a warm up fight to step up to the next light heavyweight championship fight. 

But it wasn't a tune-up fight. Mancini was battling a man that not only wanted his title, he was fighting for the honor of his family and his country. The Korean people have held such values for thousands of years, but Mancini knew nothing of such things. All he knew was that he was in the fight of his life. By the 14th round, both fighters answered the bell as if they were walking through quicksand. It has been argued that the referee should have stopped the fight long before now. Kim had taken some horrendous blows to the head but he refused to go down.

Many would have you believe that it wasn't Ray Mancini that Killed Kim, it was the referee between them. It was in that 14th round that Mancini delivered that sickening, crunching blow to Kim's head that finally knocked him out...and killed him. He died days later in the hospital.

I rarely watch boxing any more. Every now and the I will watch old, classic bouts between boxers long gone. I know ahead of time that no one will die before my eyes in the name of entertainment sports. Some recommend to me that I watch UFC fighting.

Really? UFC? The bouts that feature fighters trained in the art of killing? The same art I was taught to use in combat?  No thanks. I've seen too much of that in real life. You go ahead. I'll catch up with you later.

Mayweather has an uncanny resemblance to Bradley heh...

#mayweatherpacquiao #maypac #boxing 
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Semirrahge Egharrimes's profile photoJohn Kerr's profile photo
I always enjoy these little rambles from you, Ken. And as much as I've found some UFC fighters to be skilled, your point is well made and I suspect that's a lot of why I don't actually enjoy it.

When I've had the opportunity to watch boxing, though... Few things are as beautifully riveting than a good boxing match.
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Ken Starks

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This is stunning art. And yeah, I consider photography an art. I most certainly do.
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nice picture
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Taylor Texas
Tong Du Chon Korea - Bamberg Germany - Various frozen radar sites, Labrador - Kuwait and various wadi - Phoenix AZ - luxemburg - Subic Bay Phillipines - Carmel CA - Gillette Wyoming - Villa Grove Illinois - Austin Texas - Visenza Italy - Colon Panama
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Executive Director at
I write smash not bash scripts, smash scripts.  About the third time I get a General Parsing Error, I smash my monitor.
Bragging rights
I have the best job in the world. I give computers to financially disadvantaged kids. I've also dated Stevie Nicks. Well, not actually "dated"...we spent time together back stage after a concert, well not exactly time "together". Her body guard threw me 10 yards into the parking lot when I was trying to tell her....oh never mind. It gets ugly from there. Does anyone have her current address?
Executive Director of We rebuild broken computers then give them to kids that cannot afford them.
The last time I played with Python, it tried to eat the neighbor's dog and we had to move away. Oh, you mean the scripting language? Yeah, I do that too. I also write both technical and sociologically-important things about the Linuxsphere and the FOSS community
  • Reglue
    Executive Director, 2005 - present
    I oversee the intake, inventory, refurbishing and placement of computers donated to Reglue. I coordinate the placement of those computers into the homes of financially-disadvantaged kids in Central Texas. I maintain the inventory of parts and other items needed for the operation of the organization. I also act as outreach contact for Reglue.
Basic Information
September 2, 1953
In a relationship
Ken Starks's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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Leland Stevens isn't just a great CPA...He's a great guy. Our newly formed non profit had no idea of what we were doing as far as keeping track of our funding and budgeting. Leland is sitting down with us and setting up our books and doing some initial advising at no cost to us. Of course, we will retain him for our month to month needs. In a world where a financial consultant is more worried about billable hours than customer care, Mr. Stevens has been a blessing for us and our organization.
• • •
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
I rescued a tired old Beagle from the Taylor facility a couple of months ago. it was obvious he was advanced in age and he was the only dog that did not happily meet people as they walked up and down the line of cages. He had been horribly abused by his previous owners, who tied him to a dog house in the middle of a dirt back yard and just moved away. No food, no water. He was just left to die. The next door neighbor saw him and called the animal control folks who took him to the pound. He was the one I adopted. He has several severe medical issues to include congestive heart failure. He has a horrible, hacking cough and he sneezes so violently that he slams his muzzle into the floor or ground and makes his nose bleed. I had taken him to the other vet in Taylor and while I believe him to be competent, I simply got the impression he was more interested in selling me high priced, specialty dog food than he was treating my little guy. The medications he gave him had not caused any improvement in a two month time so I decided to take my boy to Dr. Graef. No appointments, odd hours and first come first served... that's how it works there. A 15 minute wait and Dr. Graef showed up and introduced himself then examined my little guy. Bad news but we knew that. His heart is terribly weak and the cough and sneezing is not only a sign of that condition but it can hasten the end if allowed to go on too long. My other vet had not informed me of that. An examination, a gentle shot of allergy medication, two prescriptions and some good baseball conversation later, we were on our way. Grand total? 60.00. Less than half of what the other vet had charged and his medications did no good what so ever. My little boy has not sneezed or coughed once since the visit and I can finally get some sleep, as when he used to cough, I had to get up to rub his throat to make it stop. This is a great Vet folks. If you can work around his hours and unconventional routine, he's the guy to see if you live in this area.
• • •
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
2 reviews