The wood burning stove that I installed last winter is paying off big time!  I started this heating season with four cords of firewood and only the propane I had left over from last year.  The needle on the gauge on my propane tank showed exactly 50% (250 gallons), so I thought I’d chance it and skip having Ohio Gas come and top it off.

So far, I have managed to heat the house almost entirely with the wood burning stove.  The furnace has kicked on a few times here and there.  Usually it comes on when we’re away from the house for too long and don’t reload the stove.  It’s also run a few times when I’ve been to lazy to go get firewood and build a fire.

This afternoon, I decided to take a walk to the back of my lot to check the gauge propane tank.  Much to my surprise, the gauge showed 45%!  That’s right!  So far this year, I have only burned 25 gallons of propane.

Not many home improvements can pay for themselves in one year.  It looks like I have enough wood to get through the rest of the season.  By this summer, the woodburner will have paid for itself.

I signed up with Microsoft to beta test the next version of Windows, Windows 7.  I dual boot my PC between Linux and Windows, although I spend nearly 100% of my time booted into Linux.  To make things easy, when I setup a new computer, I install Windows first and Linux second.  Linux handles setting up the dual booting and everything works great.

I installed Windows 7 on two PC’s that already had Linux installed.  On my laptop, I simply wiped out the XP install.  On my desktop at work, I used a gParted Live CD to move and resize my partitions to make room for Windows 7, since I wanted to keep my XP install intact.

After installing Windows 7, I was left with the Windows 7 boot loader that completely ignored the existence of Linux on my computers.  The laptop simply booted directly into Windows 7, and the desktop only allowed me to select between Windows 7 and Windows XP.

Fixing GRUB was a pretty easy task.  To do so, I grabed my Linux install CD (Mine happened to be Kubuntu 8.04).  I booted into the live CD desktop.  I opened up a terminal window and at the comand prompt, I typed:

sudo grub

The “sudo” part is important.  If you don’t run grub with root privelages, it will tell you that the selected disk doesn’t exist.

At the grub prompt, type:

root (

After you type the ( key, press the tab key.  Most likely, it will populate with hd0 (unless you have more than one physical hard drive in your computer).  If there is more than one hard drive in your computer, you will be presented with a list of available options.  You should see on the screen:

root (hd0,

Press the tab key again.  You will be presented with a list of partitions on the drive.  You will want to select the one with your linux installation on it.  For me, I completed the line:

root (hd0,2)

Press enter and you’ll be returned to the grub prompt.  If you want to reinstall GRUB onto the MBR (where most people put it), the next comand is:

setup (hd0)

Once GRUB is reinstalled to your MBR, you can type “quit” at the GRUB prompt.  Restart your computer, and boot back into your Linux install normally.  If you’re fussy like me, you’ll want to edit your /boot/grub/menu.lst to say Windows 7 instead of Windows XP.

On a side note, if you’re tripple booting Windows XP, Windows 7, and Linux, like I am at work, you will only have two options in your GRUB menu: Linux and Windows.  If you slect windows, you’ll be presented with the Windows boot loader to select between Windows XP and Windows 7.

I’m sure it’s possible to boot directly into each from GRUB, but I don’t boot into windows enough to make the extra keystroke that much of an inconvenience.

I like to use SSH to connect to the Linux servers that I manage.  Usually, I’m running Linux on my desktop, but today I needed to SSH into a linux server from Windows Vista.  I downloaded the SSH for Windows installer from SourceForge.  The installation went smoothly enough.  Unsure where the .ssh folder should be, I ran the SSH command to connect to my server and let it create the folder for me.

The folder, for reference is:  C:\Users\[username]\.ssh

I dropped my keys into the folder, and thought I’d be off and running.  Not so much!

SSH gave me a notice that the permissions on my keystore files were “too open”.  I looked at the permissions, and my user was the only one with access.  Funny.  A little bit of quality time with Google found me a quick and easy answer:  Set the compatibility mode on ssh.exe to windows XP.

To do this, navigate to C:\Program Files\OpenSSH\bin\  and then right click on ssh.exe.  Choose properties.  In the compatibility tab, click the box to use compatibility mode, and select Windows XP.  OK out, and you should be done.

SSH behaved normally for me after this fix.

It took me an entire year to get my act together and write up my account of the installation of my Englander 30-NC.  I would like to offer my thoughts, one year later. Click to read more …

Almost exactly one year ago I lit the first fire in my new Wood burning stove.  After nearly a year of research, I selected the Englander 30-NC from England’s Stove Works.  With the help of my father, and the patience of my wife, I tackled the installation myself.  The project ended up taking two months, but it was well worth it.  This is the diary of my installation. Click to read more …