So I had an image with a white background, but essentially no white in the image itself. And, I needed to make the background transparent.

Without anti aliasing, this is quite easy. You can just go into gimp, do a ‘Select By Color’, choose the background color, delete the selection, and it’s gone. (make sure you’ve added an alpha channel into the layer if it didn’t have one)

But, with antialiasing you have problems. The antialiasing blends the color pixels of the image with the background color, leading to partially colored fringes around the edges after you’ve done the above step.

So, I did the following:

I did the above, where I did a Select By Color and clicked on the background.

Select | Grow, to grow the selection by 1 pixel.

Then do Filter | Colors | Color To Alpha, and choose the background color. Boom. Gone. Problem solved.

(This isn’t completely perfect. You might get a small amount of fringing of a different color on a small bit of the image. You’ll have to look at it.

So last month my dear grandmother passed away. (God rest her soul. Granny, I’ll never forget the innumerable ways that you made me a better person.)

When she had been brought home from the hospital and was on hospice care, she was unable to eat and drink normal food/water, so about all that we could do for her was to offer her a bit of water via a crushed up ice cube from time to time. She found it to be very comforting to just have the touch of moisture in her mouth, and it was certainly the least we could do.

Hey.. Is this not the page you were expecting to see?

Via a php programming language exploit, a rogue computer script managed to inject some code onto my machine this morning, and it seems to have included a login page for a random bank (more…)

Ever heard of Dick Van Dyke Appliance World? If you live in east central Illinois, you have. They have this catchy little jingle that they litter the airwaves with.. If you buy from us, you get the whole store! And, it’s the home of the $25 service call!

Last Thursday evening, the refrigerator at one my homes started making abnormal clicking noises every few minutes, and this continued throughout the night. It sounded kinda like a cricket, to be honest. The next morning, Friday, my resident that lives in that home emailed me to tell me about it, and I dropped by before work to look things over. My knowledge of appliance repair can basically be summed up on a sheet of notebook paper, and I didn’t have a clue what might be wrong, since all of the exterior things looked approximately normal (except for the dripping water from the melting ice in the freezer).

So I called up Dick Van Dyke a bit after 9am, explained the situation to them, let them know that this was for a resident and not for me, and that they needed to do their best to get this taken care of as soon as possible. They let me know that, even though all of their trucks say $25 service call, that it is actually $28 dollars, as of February 14. Strike 2. (Where’s strike 1, you ask? See down at the bottom)

So yesterday we had a fire in campus town (see my blog post for some pics).

The first illini text alert sent out about it just said that a fire was at ‘631 E. Green’. Didn’t give the city, nor did it give an intersection near there. If you didn’t already know where it was, you might have been confused.

This was discussed quite a bit on the CCSP sysadmin mailing list around campus.

So, today.. we get the following:

Subject: Active Shooter/Threat
Active shooter at BUILDING NAME/INTERSECTION. Escape area if safe to do so or shield/secure your location.

I start getting emails and chats wondering if there’s something going on. I suspected it was a failed test. Sure enough, emails from our building came out saying to ignore it.

Then another txt was sent out saying to ignore the previous.

Then an email from the chief of police was sent saying to ignore it, and that they ‘sincerely apologize’ for the accident.

Gotta love technology.

At 4:36pm (about 6 hours after the incident, the following was sent from the chief of police…

To the campus community:

This morning at 10:40, an Illini-Alert message was sent to 87,000 email
addresses and cellphones indicating there was an active shooter or threat
of an active shooter on the Urbana campus. The message was sent
accidentally while pre-scripted templates used in the Illini-Alert system
were being updated. The updates were being made in response to user
feedback in order to enhance information provided in the alerts.

The alert sent today was caused by a person making a mistake. Rather than
pushing the SAVE button to update the pre-scripted message, the person
pushed the SUBMIT button. We are working with the provider of the
Illini-Alert service to implement additional security features in the
program to prevent this type of error.

The alert system is designed to send all messages as quickly as possible.
The messages generally leave the sending server within two minutes. This
design is essential for emergency communications. However, this prevented
the cancellation of the erroneous alert once it was sent.

Additionally, once we send an emergency message, we are dependent on the
cellular telephone providers to deliver the text message to the owner of
the cellphone. This is a recognized issue with all text-messaging
systems. This is one reason we use multiple communication mechanisms,
including email and our Emergency Web alert system, which is
automatically activated when we send an Illini-Alert message. We cannot
rely solely on text messages to inform our community of an emergency.

The Chief of Police has charged the campus emergency planning office with
reviewing and documenting todays incident. We are reviewing comments we
are receiving as a result of the incident and will implement all
reasonable and appropriate ideas or suggestions.

We recognize the campus community relies on us to provide accurate and
timely emergency information. We are working diligently to improve our
processes so that this type of incident does not happen again. Finally,
we apologize for the confusion and emotional distress caused by the
initial alert.


Barbara R. O'Connor, J.D.

We had a fire today here in little ole Champaign, Illinois. A 3-alarm fire. It is spring break right now, so that helped, but it was still right next to campus.

– More pictures follow –


Ok. I know this isn’t a good picture, but I hope you get the idea. I was driving into work this morning and, at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Florida Avenue, in Urbana, this site presented itself on the southeast corner of the intersection.

This snow plow was, literally, plowing the snow off of a field of grass. Not pavement. Not a parking lot. Not an improved surface at all. It was plowing… a field…

I’m sure that there is a good reason for this. I’m not sure what that reason might be. But I’m confident there’s a reason. In the summer they often play soccer in the area south of this, but I’m not sure what they would be planning for mid December.

Oh well. You gotta spend all that extra money that Illinois has on something, right?

It’s currently 2:04:15. I’m going to see how much of a pain it is to put up a post with a pic in it.

the flash uploader didn’t work well.

That was from the browser uploader. I told it to ‘insert into post’ and had medium selected.

It’s now 2:07:51.

If I want to have that same thing on the right side, with text flowing around it, I can add an (align=”right”) inside the ‘img’ tag.. can change the width’s and height’s, too. It’s good, if one is going to rwap things, to make sure

that I have enough text to actually wrap around it.

Let’s look at fonts. Let’s say I want to change fonts.. Hmm.. I think I have my editor set to not show me the graphical editor version.

That’s a problem. But, I suspect it can be solved, given enough effort.

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