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Hobby Public Radio

Your ideas, projects, opinions - podcasted.

New episodes Monday through Friday.


Frank Bell

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Host ID: 195

A Linux enthusiast who enjoys making stuff work.

episodes: 30

hpr2387 :: Free Weights and a Bicycle

Released on 2017-09-26 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank discusses his long experience with trying not to get fat by using free weights and a bicycle. Free weights are, without question, the geekiest form of exercise, having a versatility and flexibility unmatched by any alternative.

Here are some sample programs:

Sample Programs:

  • Procedure: 3 sets × 8 reps, increasing to 10 reps, then add five pounds and start over with 8 reps.

  • Exercises (* = requires bench, **= bench desirable):

    • Program One: Leg Raises,* Leg Curls,* Dumbbell Flies,** Barbell Curls, Triceps Pull-Overs, Forward and Reverse Wrist Twists (using pipe with rope to raise and lower weights)

    • Program Two: Dumbbell Lunge, Bench Press,* Bent-Over Rows, Dumbbell Kickbacks, Zottman Curls, Forward and Reverse Wrist Curls

    • Program Three: Half Squats, Bench Press, Concentration Curls, Dumbbell Kickbacks, Forward and Reverse Wrist Curls.

As stated in the podcast, Frank has not found many weight-training websites appealing. The websites tend to be for fanatic bodybuilders or for pitching products. This one, though, has a pretty good catalog of exercises: Note that the same exercise may be known by several names, depending on the speaker.

Free Weights:

Free Weights

A bicycle:

A bicycle

hpr2364 :: Managing Your Android with AirDroid

Released on 2017-08-24 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank Bell talks about the Android app, AirDroid, a utility for managing your Android phone via your browser. You can use it to transfer files back and forth between your phone and a computer, edit your contacts, control your camera, and much more.


Some screenshots:

AirDroid "Accept Connection" Screen:

"AirDroid Devices" Screen:

AirDroid Browser Interface:

hpr2312 :: Troubleshooting Websites with XAMPP

Released on 2017-06-13 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Using XAMMP To Toubleshoot a Website

XAMMP is package containing a complete LAMPP stack configured to work out of the box. It is avalable for Mac, Windows, and Linux from and includes

  1. Apache
  2. MariaDB
  3. PHP
  4. Perl

XAMPP is excellent for testing a new website, testing updates for an existing site, or troubleshooting a misbehaving site.

In this podcast, Frank tells how to set up XAMPP against the background of having recently had to troubleshoot his own recalcitrant website.

XAMPP startup messages:

# cd /opt/lampp
# ./lampp start
Starting XAMPP for Linux 5.6.30-0...
XAMPP: Starting Apache...ok.
XAMPP: Starting MySQL...ok.
XAMPP: Starting ProFTPD...ok.

hpr2064 :: Test-Driving Devuan

Released on 2016-06-30 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank Bell takes the Devuan Beta for a test drive and finds it accelerates smoothly, corners nicely, and rides comfortably.


hpr2034 :: Frank's Five Seed Bread

Released on 2016-05-19 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank describes his recipe for Five Seed Bread, inspired by Kerry Greenwood's first Corinna Chapman mystery novel, "Earthly Delights."

List of Ingredients:

  • 1 cp. (237 ml.) warm water
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 1 1/2 cps. (213 grams) white flour, approx.
  • 1 1/2 cps. (213 grams) rye flour, approx.
  • 1 tbs. (14 grams) each dill seed, fennel seed, sesame seed, caraway seed, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml.) coriander (the reference in the story referred to coriander seed, but I didn’t have any of that, so I ad libbed)
  • 1/4 (1 ml.) tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. (2 ml.) light brown sugar

hpr1948 :: Check Your Spelling in Vim

Released on 2016-01-20 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank Bell describes how to check your spelling in the Vim editor and to create your own wordlist.

Frank's ~/.vimrc file:

set ruler laststatus=2 number title hlsearch
syntax on
set textwidth=80
set spell spelllang=en_us
set spellfile=$HOME/.Vim/spell/en.utf-8.add


Text file in Vim with spellcheck enabled:

A screen shot of a text document opened in VIM with mis-spelled words highlighted in a different color

Vim "choose the right word" list:

Vim options showing the text change ESC to and then providing a long list of alternatives. At the bottom you are asked to fill in the number of the alternative you wish to use


hpr1910 :: QMMP--The Qt-based MultiMedia Player

Released on 2015-11-27 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Qmmp is an audio and video player for Linux, BSD, and Windows that's similar in appearance and functionality to Wimamp and XMMS. The Linux and BSD version are capable of playing video as well, through an mplayer plugin.

If you like eye candy, it's skinnable; a library of skins is available from the maintainer. In addition, it works nicely with legacy XMMS and Winamp skins.


Qmmp interface.

Qmmp video play:

Qmmp settings dialog:



Slackbuilds links: Qmmp: Qmmp Plugins:

Wikipedia article:

Playlist (*.m3u) specification:



hpr1848 :: Introduction to w3m, a Command Line Web Browser

Released on 2015-09-02 under a CC-BY-SA license.

W3M is a text browser with image and tab support which supports both keyboard and mouse navigation. (Image support is not available in some terminals, but does work in Xterm and rxvt, but images may be opened in a external viewer)). Mouse and keyboard navigation are supported, but I recommend learning the keybindings. Keybindings are case sensitive.

The manual is 12 pages long and quite exhaustive. Here are some useful keybindings to get started with.

  • Open new tab: SHIFT-T
  • Close tab: CTRL-Q

  • Open URL: U (opens text dialog at bottom of window)
  • See URL of current page: u (displays current URL at bottom of window)
  • Close tab: CTRL Q

  • Go left one tab: {
  • Go right one tab: }

  • Back in the same page: b

  • Page Up: - (hyphen) or PG UP
  • Page Down: SPACE or PG DOWN

  • Previous page ("Buffer"): B
  • There is no "forward" button, but you can use view History: CTRL-h

  • Search in page: / (opens search dialog at bottom of window)

  • Help: H

  • Add bookmark: ESC-a
  • View bookmarks: ESC-v

  • Run shell command: # (Opens a dialog at the bottom of the window. Exit with B.)

  • Paste into dialogs (e. g., passwords): Middle mouse button.

  • Scroll left: . (period)
  • Scroll right: , (comma)

hpr1821 :: James Beard's Never-Fail Blender Hollandaise Sauce

Released on 2015-07-27 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank describes James Beard's simple and almost infallible recipe for making Hollandaise sauce with a blender.
The recipe from the _Theory_and_Practice_of_Good_Cooking_, used copies of which can be readily found via a web search. According to Amazon.doc, new copies are also available. Frank's copy is a first edition dating from 1977, though it's been used too much to be a collector's item.


hpr1787 :: A Beginner with a Wok

Released on 2015-06-09 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Merriam-Websters defines "stir-fry" as "to fry quickly over high heat in a lightly oiled pan (as a wok) while stirring continuously." (Source:

Talk about stir-frying. Not an expert by any means, but think I've learned enough to share a bit.

Frank bought a wok, quite on impulse, and has been experimenting with stir-fry recipes and has found it surprisingly easy--much easier than, say, making a souffle or oysters Rockefeller. In this podcast, he discusses what he has learned and in the context of narrating the preparation of a meal.

Some Links:

Wok How-Tos:

Two Recipes:

hpr1764 :: Introduction to Rogue Class Linux

Released on 2015-05-07 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Rogue Class describes itself as "a toy Linux distribution for playing games and reading books. RCL favors turn-based games, such as puzzles and rogue-like games. "

What are Rogue Class games? According to a link at the Rogue Class website, Rogue Class games are characterized by

  • "Tactical play. The unit of action is based on the individual adventurer. The game is not twitch oriented (like Quake, rewarding reflexes & well trained actions) nor is it strategy oriented (like Civilizations or Warcraft, requiring working on the large picture)
  • "Based in Hack and Slash. A roguelike isn't primarily about plot development or telling a story. It is about killing things and acquiring treasure.
  • "Random games. A roguelike is a dungeon crawler where no two games are the same. The maps are different, the items are different, there are no guaranteed win paths.
  • "Permadeath. You die, that is it. No restoring a savegame. Good roguelikes delete your save game after loading them. This is compensated by the replayability of the game.
  • "Complex interactions of properties. While the commands for a roguelike are simple, the potential interactions are not. My favourite example is equipping a silver ring as a weapon in order to damage a creature vulnerable to silver, but not one's other weapons. [Editor: This matches the Hack branch of the roguelike tree, not the Angband branch]
  • "Steam rolling monsters. If a critter is in your way, and weak, you shouldn't even notice it is there."


Rogue Class contains four dozen or so games, two of which are actually categories which in turn contain additional games, as well as a number of utilities, including a network manager, an IRC client, and more. Some representative games include the following, picked quite at random: Angband, Fargoal, Magus, Moria, Nethack, and Tome.

If you liked the old games, give Rogue Class a spin.


The Rogue Class forum is located at Linux

You can see an interesting chart of Rogue Class's graphics subsystems at this link:

hpr1737 :: Five Steps to Vim

Released on 2015-03-31 under a CC-BY-SA license.

The vim editor is based on the venerable vi editor, which dates from the very early days of Unix. Many persons find it intimidating for the absence of a menu bar, a terse command set that is very much its own, and its "modal" design.

Nevertheless, under its plain surface is a powerful and versatile tool. Frank Bell describes his five steps to learning to use and love vim.

  1. Use a .vimrc file.
  2. Train yourself to change modes.
  3. Learn and use a few basic commands. These should be enough to get you going: x, dd, dw (to delete text); cw (change a work); yy ("yank" or copy a line); p and P (to paste text); u (undo); w ("write") or save text; q (quit vim).
  4. Don't force yourself to move the cursor with the h-j-k-l keys if that doesn't feel natural. Use the arrow keys.
  5. Use vim to write stuff.


hpr1727 :: Basic Mutt

Released on 2015-03-17 under a CC-BY-SA license.
Using a text email client such as Mutt is quite a learning experience. Here is some information to help you get started.
The programs that Frank used to set up Mutt:
Getting and Sorting Mail:
Procmail and Formail
Reading and Composing Mail: Mutt
Sending Mail: msmtp
These are the references that Frank found most helpful:
Configuring Mutt:
Quickstart Guide to Mutt:
Calmar on Mutt:
Feeding the Cloud: Handling multiple identities/accounts in mutt:
Procmail (the UMBC link is a great introduction to procmail and procmail's regex):
Mail Filtering with Procmail:
Some Text Browsers (for help in parsing HTML emails)

hpr1377 :: Zareason ZaTab 2 Android Tablet

Released on 2013-11-12 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank Bell discusses the Zareason ZaTab ZT2 Tablet, an open, rooted Android tablet.

ZaTab 2 on the web:

TWUUG Handout about the ZaTab 2 (PDF):

hpr1327 :: Frank Bell Bakes Bread

Released on 2013-09-03 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank Bell prattles on about baking bread while he bakes two loaves of honey wheat bread.


hpr1319 :: Frank Bell Presents HPR to His LUG

Released on 2013-08-22 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Links from the show:

Frank's LUG, the Tidewater Unix Users Group,

Podcast and sites mentioned in the show:

hpr1314 :: Impressions of Mageia

Released on 2013-08-15 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank Bell describes his recent experiences with Mageia v. 2, including upgrading online to v. 3, as well as his overall impressions of Mageia.

Links from the show:

Mageia website:

Mageia Wiki:

About the online version upgrade (from the release notes):

About the Mageia Repositories, including "tainted" repos (from the release notes):

Mageia Forum thread on the "no MP4 audio" in VLC:

About Drak3D:


hpr1269 :: Frank Bell Achieves Enlightenment Adventures with E17 Pt Two

Released on 2013-06-13 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank concludes his two-part series on the E17 (Enlightenment 0.17.x) Desktop Environment with a look at some nuts-and-bolts configuration items.

He covers several configuration settings that illustrate how Enlightenment's various configuration dialogs work, including the

  • Shelf (Panel) and Gadgets (Widgets) in the Shelf.
  • Settings Panel, and, within the Settings Panel,
  • Key and Mouse Bindings.
  • Favorite Applications.
  • Startup Applications.
  • Themes and Wallpapers.
  • The Titlebar Menu, including "Window" settings, such as Maximize, Half-Maximize, Vertical Maximize; and "Remember" settings, such as Position and "Sticky" state.


ICCCM (Inter-Client Communications Conventions Manual):

NetWM (Extended Window Manager Hits):

For a list of links to E17 resources and to listen to the first episode, see Part One:

hpr1248 :: Frank Bell Achieves Enlightenment Adventures with E17 Pt One

Released on 2013-05-15 under a CC-BY-SA license.

There was great rejoicing in the Linux community when the Enlightenment Desktop, v. 0.17 (AKA E17), was released recently. It was the first major upgrade in well over a decade to a desktop environment that many remembered fondly for its commitment to a visually pleasing computing experience.

Frank Bell describes how he started using Enlightenment and what he has encountered so far. In this, the first of two parts, he addresses installing Enlightenment, Enlightenment's "first-run" dialog, the structure of the desktop, the menu, and the management applications and windows on the desktop.

Part Two will focus on the nitty-gritty of configuring the appearance and behavior of Enlightenment.


hpr1199 :: Old Time Radio on the web

Released on 2013-03-07 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank Bell talks about Old Time Radio (OTR), his history as a radio listener, and his Old Time Radio websites.

The OTR Fans site defines OTR as "Old time radio often called "OTR" refers to radio shows from the early days of radio broadcasting. The term usually applies to dramas, comedies, mystery shows, westerns and variety shows that were acted out by professional actors and sent out over the airwaves. In the golden age of radio families would sit around their radio listening to the exciting shows the way we sit around our television sets watching them today."
OTR copyright information:

Old Time Radio streaming and download sites mentioned in the show:

Streamable shows mentioned in the podcast. Note that many of the OTR shows and episodes can be found at multiple sites and that some sites may have a larger number than and different episodes from other sites. I have restricted these links to ones I know will be playable in Linux (in other words, no links to real media format).

Radio personalities mentioned in the show:

hpr1179 :: Interview with Mark A Davis of TWUUG

Released on 2013-02-07 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank Bell interviews Mark Davis, IT Director for Lake Taylor Transistional Care Hospital and head of the Tidewater Unix Users Group (TWUUG), an organization which predates the creation of the Linux kernel.

Mark talks about how his early computer experience and he got started with computers and *nix, the history and development of TWUUG, and the history and architecture of Lake Taylor's Linux-based network. He also shares his thoughts about Ubuntu's Wayland project and distributed versus centralized computing, as well as a summary his reaction to his new Windows 8 computer.


hpr1123 :: Move! Bike Computer

Released on 2012-11-21 under a CC-BY-SA license.
Frank Bell describes his favorite Android app: Move! Bike Computer.

Move! Bike Computer use GPS to track your bicycle ride (or your hikes, walks, runs), then computes times and speeds and plots the course on Google Maps. Frank describes how he found it and uses it, then highlights the most important user settings.

The free version displays a small ad in the bottom 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) of the screen; the ad-free version costs $1.25.

Screen shots:

Track Display:
Track Display with Stats:
Settings Display:
Main Screen with Menu Open:

Related links:

Developer Site:
Move! Bike Computer FAQ:
Move! Bike Computer User Manual:
Franks Fuji Sports 10:

hpr1096 :: KeepassX

Released on 2012-10-15 under a CC-BY-SA license.
Frank Bell discusses KeepassX, a versatile cross platform password manager for Linux and other *nix operating systems, Windows, and MAC. He talks about how he learned about it and why he has become a user after years of resisting password vaults.

Related links:
Twofish encryption:
AES (Rijndael) encryption:
Gnome Keyring:
Linux Journal article on KeepassX:
KeepassX Slackbuild:
Keepass, the inspiration of KeepassX:

hpr1081 :: Preparing Pictures for Posting with the GIMP

Released on 2012-09-24 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank Bell describes the process he uses to prepare photographs for posting pictures on his website. The goal of the process is not to transform the pictures, but to enhance them, and includes sharpening, adjusting the contrast and brightness, cropping, and resizing. Frank walks through applying the process to a snapshot from his deck garden.

The unedited original
The picture sharpened
The picture with brightness and contrast adjusted
The cropped picture
The resized picture
Blog post of the picture


The pictures from the podcast:

hpr1026 :: Setting up a WordPress blog: part 4

Released on 2012-07-09 under a CC-BY-SA license.

This is the fourth and last of Frank's series on setting up a WordPress blog, now projected to be four episodes.

This episode discusses when and what to back up and maintaining a MySQL database using phpMyAdmin.


Wordpress article on backing up your database:

WordPress article on database maintenance:

hpr0993 :: Setting up a Wordpress blog: part 3 - tweaking appearance

Released on 2012-05-23 under a CC-BY-SA license.
This is the third of Frank's series on setting up a WordPress blog, now projected to be four episodes.

This episode discusses tweaking appearance, particularly the theme. The next episode will be about maintenance.

Links:'s webdesign reference and tutorial.


WordPress themes and plugins

Connections Reloaded WordPress theme.

GGSimpleWhite WordPress theme.

Report of malware in WordPress themes from Geek News Central.

hpr0977 :: Setting Up a WordPress Blog: part 2

Released on 2012-04-30 under a CC-BY-SA license.
This is the second Frank's series on setting up a WordPress blog, now projected to be four episodes.
This episode discusses navigating the WordPress administrative interface and discusses important concepts, such as Posts and Post Categories, Pages, Links and Link Categories, and preventing comment spam.
The next episode will be about tweaking appearance.
Links from the show:
Wordpress Development blog:
Wordpress News blog:
WordPress Codex (documentation site):
Wordpress "Extend" site (plugins and themes):
Akismet comment spam plugin:
My Local Weather plugin:
Statpress plugin:
Download some screenshots (JPG) of WP administrative pages:
Contact Frank: frank at pineviewfarm dot net.

hpr0927 :: Setting up a WordPress blog: part 1

Released on 2012-02-21 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Frank Bell summarizes the steps involved in setting up a WordPress blog. This episode covers creating a database and database user, installing the WordPress software, and configuring basic WordPress settings.

Related links:

WordPress Software, including the codex, themes, and plugins. (
Wordpress blog hosting site (
Xampp LAMPP server stack. (
Some other blog hosting sites:
Blogger (
Blogspot (
Typepad (
Tumblr (

hpr0918 :: How I Started with Linux Part 2

Released on 2012-02-07 under a CC-BY-SA license.
In his long waited second part Frank continues his Linux story, describing how he used Linux to self-host his website from his guest room and some of the things he learned along the way. Some links mentioned in the show:
Slackware (
Debian (
Samba by Example (
The Slackware Wiki (
Linux Questions Linux Forums (
no-ip dot com dynamic DNS service (

hpr0877 :: Welcome Frank Bell

Released on 2011-12-12 under a CC-BY-SA license.

Today our newest host, Frank Bell describes how he started on the road to Linux and some of the things he noticed along the way. In this episode, he goes from a empty computer to one running Slackware 10.0.

Become a Correspondent