timekpr Grows Up ( or “Why I Love Open Source” )

Back in February, I had the need to limit the amount of time my kids spent on a shared Ubuntu box. I cobbled together a simple script that would give a warning then shutdown the user session. It worked for me (made my kids unhappy, tho’), but I knew it could be better. Dispite my full knowledge it was a cheesy little script, I posted it on my blog since it fit I need I had as a Dad that I thought others might have.

Well, a number of folks have commented, posted bug fixes and enhancements, even translated it to Hungarian! A few hours ago, one of the folks that had offered others help and enhancements on Ubuntu Forums, Even Nedberg, posted a comment to the old blog entry that he and a friend had converted the script to Python and added a GUI and other cool enhancements.They have even set up a project at to make the code more accessible.

Wow! I have been pretty busy this summer, and couldn’t have hoped to provide these types enhancements, but thanks to the spirit of open source and the need to “scratch an itch”, ‘timekpr’ has grown up, and is on it’s way to becoming a really useful (and needed) tool for the Linux desktop.

.nedberg and forger – Please take this blog entry as my permission to use the name ‘timekpr’ and any code or ideas in the original script (please don’t take the bugs, I’ll keep those!) and just go wild. I know parents will greatly appreciate you efforts!

General linux

Firefox 3.0 is coming! (finally!)

The folks at have finally pick a release date for Firefox 3.0. As a Ubuntu user, I have been using the betas and release candidates for a while, but, for those not as willing to live on the edge like myself, mark “June 17th” on your calendar as the day to head over to pick up a copy. While your waiting, sign-up to help set a Guinness World Record for the most downloads of a software package in 24 hrs.
Of the tons of enhancements and new features, I would have to say some of my favorites are the faster, more standards compliant rendering engine, one-click bookmarks, and easier plugin searching and installation.
Now, I can’t wait for the new Javascript Just-in-Time compiler (Tamarin) to give some of those rich web apps a kick in the pants.

Coding General

12 Step Program for Ubuntu Update-Manager Addicts

Hi, my name is Chris.

I am Ubuntu update-manager addict.

I began innocently enough, sometime back in Febuary, I ran ‘update-manager -d‘ to get a peek at Unbuntu Hardy Heron. Since that time I have been unable to resist the little orange “Updates Available” icon. Checking two or three times a day for improved progams, bug fixes, and new features. Swearing off updates after each bad dependency problem, only to run update again in hopes it will get fixed this time.

My family is tired of the home PCs being tied up running update-manager all the time and I’m not getting much done on my laptop while it’s burning up bandwidth updating the repository indexes. It’s time for an intervention.

I know I can’t break this habit alone, so I’m thinking of starting a 12 step program. I know there are others out there with the same problem so maybe a support group will help, all we have to do is:


Faith hacking

I recently set up a new blog/site to share and collect ideas for increasing the effectiveness of our walk as Christians called FaithHack. Based on the cool sites like Life Hacker, FaithHack will, hopefully become a repository of helpful hits and tips for increasing our faith and living and authentic Christian life that extends beyond the church doors and into our work places, recreations and community relationships.


How to Limit Daily Desktop Usage in Ubuntu

I have been looking for a way to limit the amount of time my kids spend on the computer. After toying with a couple of different things like timeoutd and pam_time, I decided to hack together something to meet my needs:

Coding Learning

6 Tools for Keeping Kids Safe with Open Source

My family uses open source software almost exclusively. Everyone from the toddlers to the teen to the Mrs. have what they need to play games, chat with friends, manager emails, surf the web, keep busy schedules straight, do homeschooling, and pretty much anything they may want to do.


What I Learned using Linux over the last 10 years

I started using Linux as my primary desktop and operating system in 1998. After brief flirtations with FVWM 95 and Enlightenment, I settle on Gnome (with it’s various WMs over the years ) and Redhat/Fedora (until switching to Ubuntu last fall ).


Why your kids should read your blog…

Or “Requiem for a Sea-Monkey”

If you caught my last entry, you would know about the Sea-Monkeys. Yesterday, it came time to add the “Instant Life Eggs” package, and since Dad was busy, my son decided to help out. He read the package, took note of the fact sea-monkeys hatch faster if the tank is around 80F. Noting also that the room temperature was a little cooler, he took it on himself to warm up the water. While there are a variety of ways to warm up a small volume of water, I could sense a potential problem when I heard the tea kettle begin to boil in the kitchen. I rushed to the kitchen to find my first born ready to poor water from the steaming kettle into the sea-monkey’s tank.


Uhhh… the sea monkeys have my money…

The last vestiges of my childhood sense of wonder have just died. The have become road-kill on the information superhighway under the wheels of Wikipedia. Let me explain…
My daughter just received a box of Sea-Monkeys for her birthday. The world became a bit wavy as I flashed back to my childhood. Memories of waiting anxiously for 24 hrs. while the “Water Purifier” packet prepared my soon-to-be new best friends’ home. Then peering intently into the Sea-Monkeys kingdom as they instantly sprank to life from the contents of the “Instant Life Eggs” packet.


Fifteen Blogs in Fifteen Days (sort of…)

Monday I finished the 15th blog entry in our ReadingThru project, covering the first 11 chapters in Genesis and finishing off the 42 chapters of Book of Job. My pastor is taking the next week and has done a great job with his first couple of entries here and here. At first I thought it would be nice to get a break from the writing and just get to read, but after a couple of days I miss it – to the point where I have seriously considered adding a couple of entries here to cover the next chunk of Genesis.

When I first thought of ReadingThru, I thought it was a novel idea, but nothing is new under the sun (or at least withing Google’s reach) and I found the excellent One Year Bible blog,, which has archive entries from as far back as Sept. 2004! Their entry for the 17th is full of images and a YouTube video – very cool.

The downside 15 blog entries in fifteen days is WaggleDance has been neglected (a bit). Elim has started to see an influx of geeks, so I hope to post some reviews of open source software useful for Christians and Churches.