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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

(This bit of nonfiction is being written in response to recent events; it also seems to fit the "communication" part of the theme, "Community & Communication", of this month's Crowdfunding Creative Jam)

Someone died recently and left his widow with a problem: his computer's hard drive is encrypted, and he didn't leave the recovery key or his password anywhere that she can find.

Oops.

This is not unlike losing track of the key to the safe deposit box, forgetting the combination to the safe, or neglecting to make out a will. "But I have all that in a file on my computer!" I hear you cry.

Oh, right.

You need a JustIn Case file, someplace where it's safe but reasonably easy to find if anything happens to you. (I'm talking to myself here, too, by the way.) The bare minimum is whatever it takes to get into your computer (a FileVault recovery key, BitLocker PIN, or alternate admin password) and possibly into your password file, browser keychain, or whatever. *That* information needs to be in a couple of different places known to your family! At least one place should be outside your house, e.g. with a trusted relative, your lawyer, your safe deposit box, or the like. The other place should be in your house, e.g. in a locked filing cabinet (they're pretty easy to break into if necessary). Lable the file "Justin Case".

Even if almost everything is on your hard drive, there's a minimum set of things that have to be written down on hardcopy:

  • Your master password, recovery key, or whatever it takes to get into your data. Or at least all of your data that you don't want effectively burned when you're gone. (Keep that separate.)
  • The location of your will, safe deposit box, offsite backups, retirement and bank accounts, life insurance policies, and so on.
  • The name of your executor/executrix.
  • Any important information that your family is likely to need

My plan is to add an SD card with my most important files on it -- I checked, and the directory with all my passwords, tax information, receipts, and so on is only about 200MB. Perfect use for an old 500MB card or thumb drive that's too small to be useful for anything else.

Don't forget to update it if you change your password! That, after all, is the main point of this little exercise.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Oh. Right. I started working on this an hour or so ago and got distracted when my Mom called. So.

Last Monday was our return from Consonance -- I'd booked the latest flight, which allowed us to do some visiting and talk with the realtor. It seems many people are sad about losing the Starport -- it has, after all, been a fannish landmark for over three decades. *sigh* Keeping two houses just isn't feasible. I just hope the proceeds are enough to cover the new construction.

Naomi's friend Rika flew up with her and spent the week; we had quite a lot of music at the house, and visitors most nights. No complaints from me! The week ended with Colleen's birthday party yesterday. We still haven't built up a good list for these things; we'll have to work on that. Also a household calendar and mailing list -- probably means I have an excuse to learn Wordpress, or something like it.

Yesterday, along with the party, I installed a pair of powerline ethernet dongles. Took me forever to do it, partly because the house has two breaker boxes (meaning there are outlets that can't talk to one another), and partly because I misunderstood how the "sync" button works. It really means "rotate keys", not "synchronize" :P. The extension router is now installed in the coffee niche.

The gadgets are advertised as "500MHz", but only have 100MHz ethernet; 500 must be the aggregate across all nodes in the network. We definitely need to install some cable. *sigh*

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

The main event this last week was, of course, Consonance . Fun! I signed Lookingglass Folk up for a 2x10 on Sunday, along with international guest Rika Koerte, who is one of N's dearest friends. We sang "Lord Of the Buffalo" -- we'd been planning to sing The Fox as well, but the sound crew had an incredible amount of trouble setting us up. No idea why.

I also got a surprise 2x10 slot on Saturday, because they were short on sign-ups. Did a quick solo of "Bigger On the Inside" (with an extra Rainbow's End verse scribbled down during the previous two songs) and "Wheelin'".

Both sets were well-received. I also had a long conversation/song-swap with a guy named Ashton (no relation to the UXBF), a Mills College grad student working on a paper on filk as an oral tradition. Many songs, including QV, Ship of Stone, World Inside the Crystal, and Keep the Dream Alive. Others.

I re-packed for the trip, going from the JanSport backpack/shoulder bag (itself a re-pack from the old REI shoulder bag) to the new rolling backpack that I picked up a few weeks ago. Both modes proved extremely useful. A couple of things didn't get packed, though, including a small power strip, which would have been handy in the airport.

The con was back in the Milpitas Crowne Plaza (which calls itself the San Jose/Silicon Valley CP, because who's heard of Milpitas); recently remodeled. The changes are mostly a win -- there are more power outlets in the lobby, and our (accessible) room had a door that opens outward, which is a major win. The toilet, not so much, and the bed was as usual way too high for Colleen. Wait staff spread seriously thin.

Anyway, good con.

We also met with our realtor -- the Starport should officially go on the market sometime around the end of May.

I also got my WiFi extension hooked up, via a dumb travel router; it has a bridge mode, but won't connect to a secured network in that mode. I promptly ordered a set of high-speed power-line Ethernet interfaces, but haven't set them up yet because they don't work through surge suppressors. Which we have on both ends, because electronics.

  • The other small router, the DIR-505, would have worked better except its receiver sucks -- it couldn't make a connection with either of our access points, despite the fact that my laptop had no problems only 2m away. :P
  • raw notes, with links )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Not a whole lot going on last week. I installed a new main drive on nova; it's still not fully configured because I'm lazy, but at least it's running. And able to boot. Because I'd installed a SATA card, which I discovered that my motherboard wouldn't boot from. :P Ended up putting the optical drive on it.

    I don't seem to post much, if anything, on work days. This says something about work/life balance. Or work/internet balance, which may or may not be the same thing.

    Loads of links.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Short one this time, because I want to wrap up the year. We had a power outage Monday that apparently hosed my server -- again. Not happy about that. I am happy about fixing both our non-sucking vacuum cleaners by the simple expedient of cleaning their filters.

    So, Happy New Year, and here's hoping it's a good one for all of us.

    Links in the notes, as usual.

    raw notes )

    Tha' Tha' That's all, folks. Welcome to 2014.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Or anyway, the last ten days of last month. I finally got around to doing some much-needed maintenance on the computers and their configuration... and figured out why the UPS kept turning itself off -- it must have been doing its periodic battery test... on a totally dead battery. :P

    I also got the backup scripts back in operation. I now have a complete, almost-ready-to-boot mirror drive as well as my traditional incremental backup. What, me paranoid?

    The Shuttle box I've been using as a desktop system is dead; it runs for a few minutes, then kernel panics. Possibly memory. Not going to worry about it; it's had a good run. I seem to be doing ok with just the netbook for most purposes.

    Colleen's caregiver turned in her resignation on Monday, after leaving early Saturday for a family emergency, and not showing up at all on Monday. That's ok; today was going to have been her last day anyway. We've doubled Emmy's allowance.

    The YD is just as good a caregiver as May was, and more concerned with cooking things the whole household would like to eat. I'll miss the occasional spicy dish, but that's what sriracha's for.

    Colleen is mostly doing better, gradually getting her strength back. The YD is more willing to be firm with her about exercise than May was, so that's a plus, too. Of course she did spend the week with a fever of 102, not eating, and ended up spending most of the weekend in the hospital. (With a UTI, low blood pressure, dehydration, and messed-up blood chemistry.) She's better now, as I said.

    The LG washer/dryer combo arrived last Saturday; they couldn't actually install it because there wasn't a 110V outlet within reach. Got that taken care of, and finished the install myself. Not as tight against the wall as it should be, but it'll do. It's nice to have the extra laundry capacity.

    Somebody, probably May, didn't close the door to the deck firmly enough, and it blew open. Naturally, out little cat burgler found it and went outside. She hadn't gone far, though; after I tracked her down Naomi coaxed her back inside, looking wet and bedraggled. I doubt she's learned anything from her little adventure, though.

    Oh, and the idiot Republicans let the government go into shutdown. Again. The problem with coming up with a string of lies aimed at getting stupid people to vote the way you want, is that eventually they end up voting in stupid people who believe the lies. Oops. Did I mention idiots?

    Links in the notes.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Well, I have Nova (the file server) back online, though not fully configured. I also reconfigured the network, adding another WAP. This lets me drop the main SSID, rainbows-end, down to 802-11G. Trying to run G and N on the same network turns out to be a serious mistake. I resurrected the Netgear WNR3500L from Starport for the purpose, so it's running rainbows-end-N and functioning and providing 4 ethernet ports over in the desk area.

    Meanwhile, Colleen is making progress -- she gets into her power chair on a regular basis, though she's still not too good at unassisted transfers.

    Desti, our little feline escape artist, managed to let herself out onto the roof via the bathroom window, which was open because the mis-drilled holes in the tub had been repaired, and the workman hadn't bothered to close the door. I know, it's expecting a lot, and my little bear-like brain kept thinking up ways to make it my fault, including not remembering to mention the possibility to Naomi, and not having cat-proofed the door to Naomi's bedroom. Desti had, in fact, been put in there, but she was out the door before Naomi could get across the room to stop her.

    Fortunately, "The Cat Came Back, the very next day" -- Curio stood on the kitchen counter meowing out the window, and I heard an answer. Opened the front door and there she was. She was very clingy for the next day or so.

    Think she's learned not to leave the house? Nawwww. Not likely.

    We also had our new instant hot water tap installed. But it didn't work. Spent about an hour tracing tubes and verifying the installation before finally figuring out that it was plugged into the same outlet as the garbage disposal. Both outlets are swtched. :P

    We'll have to have an electrician out to re-wire it; it's not a job I feel like tackling myself. While he's here he can install a 110V outlet upstairs in the closet -- the washer-drier combo doesn't take 220. Naturally, nobody sells an adapter. :P

    A good collection of links in the notes, as usual.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Tried to log in on my file server last week and found out that the hard drive was dead. Finally went to Fry's yesterday, and bought a couple of Western Digital red (NAS) 2TB drives. Designed for continuous duty, which would be a good thing. Disassembled the lock on the docking bay I had the backup drive in (and promptly found the key, lurking in what had been my nightstand).

    Confirmed that the backup works and the old main drive doesn't, and installed the latest Debian. Which only took about an hour. It boots fast as a bat, and ships with a driver for the Realtek ethernet controller on my motherboard. So I can free up the PCI slot for something more useful, like maybe an ESATA/USB-3 card, if I can find one.

    Now begins the tedious process of restoring (done, as of this evening) and reconfiguring. Which will take time because I want to make some long-overdue changes in the config.

    It looks like the last time a backup was made was June 25th. I don't *think* I did much, if anything, since then except maybe add a couple of passwords to the keychain. And of course I've lost a lot of email. If you sent anything to steve at thestarport.org in the last couple of months, I haven't seen it. (It is now forwarded to my gmail account, along with steve at savitzky.net which I've been doing pretty well at keeping up with.)

    It's possible that some of the transient stuff can be rescued from the old drive -- it seems to run ok for a few minutes before suddenly going offline. Not entirely clear that it's worth bothering with.

    Apart from that... Colleen has been getting physical therapy three times/week, and is now able to stand up and transfer into her power chair. Progress. Her caregiver is an excellent cook -- Thai, Chinese, and Japanese, with an emphasis on lean and low sodium. Yum!

    Links in the notes, as usual. One, found by a coworker after I'd mentioned something to that effect, is one of my favorite stats: iPad 2 as fast as Cray 2 supercomputer. I also dropped a donation on YsabetWordsmith's poem, "Part of Who I Am". Some great links there, too.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    The big news is that COLLEEN IS HOME!!. The bad news is that she still is nowhere near being able to walk (despite PT twice a week), and can't even transfer reliably from the bed to her power chair. Getting her into bed the evening she came home was hard enough; she made several attempts to get back in the chair the next day, but couldn't.

    It's going to be a long, difficult, expensive month. We have someone coming in during the day to take care of her and cook, but I still have to change her at least twice/day, and usually more. Ouch! I'm too old for the amount of bending-over required, and even with the suggestions that Naomi made about body mechanics, there's still a fair amount of it.

    At least the cats are getting along better, and Curio seems to be especially fond of Colleen. Of course: the bed smells like me, and has someone in it all the time who's happy to pet him.

    Having cats around is a Very Good Thing.

    In other news, the disk in my file server is dead. And I haven't pulled the backup drive to check it -- that was supposed to be particularly easy because it's in a dock. It's not easy because the dock has a key, and I can't find it. So I'll have to pull the whole damned thing, or else install a new main drive.

    If the backup drive is also hosed, I won't have lost too much -- most of the really important stuff is off on the web host. It's ironic, though, that I discovered this by trying to log in in order to convert my main website from CVS to git. I'm not sure the CVS repo is uploaded. I don't think the copy of my password keychain on the laptop is up to date, either. And I'll lose most of my audio -- ripped CDs and concert recordings.

    And our TV is still dead. Its problem seems to be thermal -- it runs for a couple of hours, then turns itself off. I went to Fry's and got another -- smaller (29" as opposed to 32"), but newer and lighter.

    I've also written an article about git: Why and How To Keep Your Master Happy. It's work-related -- all of our new hires and many of my other coworkers seem to be unfamiliar with git and how to keep their changelog nice and tidy. Should have written it six months ago -- I wrote a rather sketchy wiki page, but it didn't go into the motivation for any of it.

    Other links, as usual, in the raw notes:

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    The big news this week: Colleen has been ok'ed for full weightbearing on her formerly-broken ankle, and my tax refund finally showed up. (I found out about that today, but they post deposits at 11:30pm so technically it counts. Or something.)

    The downside, of course, is that I get to spend the entire weekend writing checks for the many (mostly medical) bills that I've been ignoring for the last several months. And making the house ready for Colleen to come home to.

    Apart from that...

    We have a huge new cat tower in the Great Room. The cats mostly ignore it, of course, in favor of hanging out on the floor. Though Desti does like curling up on top of the old tower, which is now in the master bedroom.

    The guinea pigs' cage fell off its table; I suspect the cats. I managed to recapture the two that fled the scene. Whew! We moved the cage downstairs to the basement, which is a cat-free zone because G. is allergic.

    ("G." is of course ambiguous; as well as being Naomi's daughter, she shares her initial with our housekeeper, and her name with the housekeeper's daughter. Fortunately, the youngest G. (g.?) has a nickname.

    I "fixed" the YD's old laptop, by first dual-booting it with Ubuntu, then booting up the restore partition and doing a nuke-and-pave on Windows. Surprisingly, the operation didn't affect Ubuntu's Grub bootloader, so I won that round.

    It took six hours to install all the updates. Vs. about half an hour for Ubuntu.

    I bought a double-edge safety razor. Fairly expensive, but I'll save it on blades over the course of a few months. It also gives a very nice shave.

    I spent a lot of time last weekend puttering, and managed to get several boxes emptied, and brought several more down to the garage for storage.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: a pair of interacting galaxies that look like a rose (galaxy-rose)

    Both the job search and the house triage continue, if not apace, at least somewhat. I finally feel as though the search is gaining a little traction: I've gotten replies on several of the job applications I've put in, and have three phone interviews set up between now and Monday. And I've taken about nine feet of books out of the office and piled them in the living room to see whether anyone in the Wednesday crowd wants them.

    I'll be up in Shoreline from tomorrow afternoon through Tuesday afternoon. Mostly looking at apartments.

    My first shipment of tapeless moving boxes arrived. Those were the small book boxes; the medium and large ones haven't even shipped yet.

    And I actually took walks both days. I cut yesterday's a little short because my left ankle was bothering me. Growf.

    Quite a few good links. A rose made of galaxies is absolutely gorgeous. The best news is "The Bomb Buried In Obamacare Explodes Today-Hallelujah!" -- this is the rule that health insurance companies have to spend 80% of their budget on actual health care. What a concept! Health care after the move still scares the heck out of me.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Hmm. Pretty decent, I guess; some music, a walk, and some reading. On the other hand, my netbook flaked out twice, and I ended the day feeling rather restless. More on that later.

    On my walk I tried out the Cardio Trainer app on my phone. It immediately started talking at me, and playing the one song I'd downloaded as a test to see if the phone could play oggs. But once I'd gotten it properly configured, it seemed to work ok. Expect better walking stats, on those days when I remember to use it.

    The phone's AMOLED screen is bright enough to use outdoors in the shade; that's a major win, and makes me glad I went for the Pantech over the HTC.

    I've started reading The Language of Emotions by Karla McLaren. It's rather odd. I alternate between little "aha" moments, and wondering what language she's writing in. It's going to take some serious work, but will probably be valuable.

    I'm hoping the netbook's flakiness turns out to be Firefox and flash. However, it just occurred to me that a memory test might be in order.

    And, ok, about that restless feeling. I'm wondering whether it's bleeding over from my economic trainwreck, where I'm feeling trapped by a lifetime of inaction and bad decisions. Not much I can do at this point, hence the trapped feeling. It would make some kind of sense, but I'm not sure that rationality really applies here.

    It is, perhaps, appropriate that the song I've been working on lately is "Landscapes": "In your heart and your mind/I am traveling blind..." Something like that. Only it's my heart, too.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    A pretty good day, despite not getting very much done. Took a 2-mile walk, which went pretty well modulo a little hip pain and the fact that my pants don't fit very well right now. My weight was under 190 for the first time since 2009! It was still down this morning, so it's possible I have some momentum going there. Hope so; my goal is to have a waist again.

    I installed Puppy Linux on one of my keychain drives using UNetbootin, which totally rocks! Puppy didn't quite know what to make of the large screen on Cygnus, and it didn't have the right wifi drivers, but it has enough tools to be useful and it'll probably do just fine on my older hardware. UNetbootin, for those who don't know, is a cross-platform program that lets you select from a list of dozens of live CDs, which it then downloads for you and installs on a USB drive. Slick.

    Public service announcement: Google apparently added all my gmail contacts as IM "buddies". Growf. I have, accordingly, disabled the gmail and lj accounts in my IM client; if you want to talk to me, you're stuck with Yahoo or AIM for the moment. I'd welcome feedback on that decision.

    Link sausage: Can Augmented Reality Save the Printed Page? (cute hack) and What would Sharon do? - Cringely (computers and education).

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    A good, quiet day. After taking the [personal profile] chaoswolf to the airport, I woke Colleen a little after 8am so we could watch the Rose Parade. Some amazing stuff this year.

    We went out around 3:30 on a shopping expedition that ultimately turned into a drive through downtown Los Gatos, Saratoga, Los Altos, and Menlo Park, ending with dinner in Iberia. We arrived a couple of minutes before it opened, on what turned out to be a very slow day, so we got excellent service to go with the excellent food. So we had our 37th anniversary dinner a day early.

    Today's link is for computer geeks, woodworkers, and artists: Jeffrey Stephenson's handmade wooden computer cases. I've been admiring this guy's work for a long time.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Odd day. I had an extremely satisfying morning at work, building the pjsua command line SIP user agent/softphone and verifying that it actually works with the hardware we're planning to use for our demo in late January. $BOSS was my assistant; he's thrilled. I'm relieved -- this close to retirement age I kinda have to keep pulling miracles out of my hat to stay employed.

    I also noticed a newish (mid-2010, as it turned out) MacBook on $BOSS's desk; it had been intended for the new hire who turned us down and went to Microsoft a few weeks ago. Since my old one is ancient and obsolete, this was a major win for me. I spent the afternoon configuring it. Which was tedious in the extreme -- see the notes for details.

    Macs still feel somewhat toy-like to me. Apple's keyboards have always been pretty horrid compared to IBM's, and the one-button UI gives the impression of having been dumbed-down for newbies. I mean, it's great marketing, but if you've been using computers professionally for the last half-century, ...

    I spent most of the evening splitting up Tempered Glass's next-to-last practice session, so we'd have something to remember it by. I still need to do the last session, and I think there may be some concerts back there that need work. Note that the practice sessions will not be going up on the web -- at least, not yet, and maybe not ever. Nostalgic bear.

    After that, I let the kids introduce me to Munchkin Cthulhu. Fun! I can see how that can be an addictive game.

    When it finally wound down around 1am I did a little more Perl hacking to fix problems in the concert rendering, and remembered somewhat belatedly that pseudoephedrine is a stimulant. Well, it's better than not breathing.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    A pretty good day, mostly spent puttering. Colleen needed to buy some fabric and patterns, so we went to Jo-Ann's and added a drive and a trip to Ross. I was sorely tempted by some very lightweight luggage, but had doubts about its durability. We did re-arrange Colleen's scooter bags, moving the black-and-purple shoulder bag to the front, and moving her supplies to the purple SwissGear mini-duffel in back (where they'll be much more accessible).

    I also moved the folding cup-holder from her cane (where it wasn't particularly useful) to her scooter.

    I spent much of the evening sitting out in the living room with Colleen, watching the news and cleaning out my netbook so I can give it to the Wolfling. I inadvertently deleted more than I intended, but no harm done: I just restored the deleted config files from git and my home directory on the fileserver.

    Thinking about my experiences in junior high seems to raise my anxiety level. A lot. It wasn't exactly a geek-friendly environment. Or maybe it's anger; I got a similar reaction from Police officer pepper-sprays seated, non-violent students at UC Davis

    More links down in the notes.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    A good day. I'm not sure why, and probably shouldn't analyze it too much, but on the way home from my "Avoid Avoiding" group I suddenly realized that I was feeling better about myself. No idea how long that's been going on, either, or how long it's going to last.

    I wonder whether I would even have noticed, a couple of years and 30mg/day of citalopram ago.

    Took a nice walk; somewhere upwards of 3 miles. Decided to call the new netbook Cygnus (mainly because of the Cygnus X1 black hole, but also because of the association with black swans). Hopefully it will be shipping soon.

    Following [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi's lead, I ordered a bunch of mylar emergency blankets to take down to Occupy San Jose. The weather has gotten distinctly cold, especially at night.

    Lots of links, mainly about the Occupy movement and the recent raids. Especially, check out Dorli Rainey, octagenarian pepper-sprayed by police at Occupy Seattle, on "the importance of activism" (video) "I feel great. I feel so energized. It's so amazing the effect a little pepper spray can have on you." She's right.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Orycon was good. Lots of music. A couple of good conversations. Not so much exercise; I gained a couple of pounds. But good.

    Getting there was frustrating -- WiFi still wasn't working worth a damn on my netbook, and the way I had our bags stacked made for an exhausting trip from the airport to the hotel on Max. But we got there, around dinner time on Friday (missing a concert that we would have liked to get to).

    Saturday morning I nuked the root partition on Barnard and installed Ubuntu 11.04, the last good one before they jumped the Gnome 3 shark. With working WiFi (reconnecting much faster than earlier versions, too), the rest of the weekend went very well indeed from a computerish point of view.

    The con itself was great. I spent most of my time either in the concerts (there was a set of tables in back within reach of a power socket), or nearby talking to filkers. Not having a concert slot myself meant that I didn't have to spend any time rehearsing or fretting about not rehearsing, which helped make for a relaxed weekend.

    Also adding to the relaxed experience was the fact that Colleen was more independent than she's been in years, able to get up to the room and back by herself. An independent cat is a happy cat, and makes for a happy bear.

    It seems that I really need about 8 hours of sleep. Not too happy about that.

    I also had conversations with musicians in the airport on both ends of the trip -- I traded CDs with Edward Dee, who had noticed Plink while waiting for the same flight we were on up to Portland. And had a good talk with Jimmy Free in PDX, admiring his skill with a 7-string violin and a looper.

    Musical highlights of the con itself included concerts by The Doubleclicks, Katy Tinney, and Betsy Tinney (solo, with cello and looper). Want a looper. I missed most of Alexander Adams' concert in favor of a good conversation with [personal profile] runnerwolf, which was something I'd been wanting to do for a long time. Looking forward to more. A good dead dog in the almost-empty filk room swapping songs and talking with Andrew Ross and two women named Elizabeth and Jennifer whose last names I never caught.

    Good con. Good weekend. And we came home to dinner and a clean house, thanks to our wonderful Younger Daughter, Emmy. We win.

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    A good, long walk, music, and signs of progress in The Case of the Unfortunate Boyfriend (henceforth tCotUBF :) sort of made up for the fact that I spent almost the entire damned day fighting with WiFi. I don't get it. It used to Just Work, but after upgrades to Squeeze and Oneiric my work laptop and home netbook seem to have trouble with some, but not all, access points. Including the one here at the Starport, unfortunately. Driver problems?

    Fortunately, it seems to be ok with the WAP on my DSL modem, and has no trouble at all with a wired connection, so it's still usable. But annoying, and a waste of time. When I get home from Orycon I'm going to try dropping back to an earlier version. And look for alternative drivers.

    Did I mention Orycon? Colleen and I will be up there this afternoon through Monday.

    Some links. Check out naamah_darling's "Pricing Handmade Goods".

    raw notes )
    mdlbear: (bday song)

    To Alan Turing (who would have been turning 99 today), and to my esteemed brother Alan Savitzky.

    mdlbear: (equill)

    So, as of this morning, I can finally talk about what I've been working on for the last year. Basically, it's a "business-oriented" tablet that's designed to be a replacement for a form on a clipboard. It costs a business about $2/page to process a form. We can do it for a tenth that cost.

    Ricoh Introduces the eWriter Solution | ews.ricoh.com

    SAN JOSE, Calif., June 1, 2011 ─ Ricoh Company, Ltd., a global leader in digital office innovations, today introduced its new eWriter Solution: a business-class tablet with back-end services designed to improve business efficiencies by moving paper processes online. The company also announced that the device and services will be offered through its new business unit, Ricoh eWriter Solutions (EWS).

    Ricoh Builds a Tablet Meant to Get Some Paper Out of Your Work Life. Symblogogy: Ricoh's eWriter Combo Solution Automates Knowledge Management. eChannelLine - Ricoh Introduces next-gen business tablet for the channel. Ricoh launches eWriter package: Another stab at the paperless office. Ricoh Wants to Kill Paper Forms, Forever - Gizmodo

    I've mostly been working on the code that synchronizes documents between the tablet and the server, although the last few months I've been writing the framework for the factory diagnostics, and along the way I've also written much of the code that converts back and forth between PDF and our internal format.

    We're having a party at the Starport on Saturday; I'll have one to demo.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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    I moved my stuff from the large suitcase to the smaller Travelpro; it fit, except for a couple of things I really didn't need and a couple more I forgot. I am now at home after having collected the latter.

    Baycon seems rather disorganized (no pocket programs!?), and the hotel sinks are dreadful as usual. But the room is huge, has a large desk/counter, and actual counter space in the bathroom, so that's a major plus. I'm not sure we got one of the accessible rooms, but it works.

    Colleen got her hair re-tinted, and looks fantastic (and a decade or so younger). Almost didn't recognize her when I walked in to the hotel after work.

    Blew off my 2:30 Filk 101 panel (what were they thinking?), but the 4pm "Computers: What's Next?" was a lot of fun. Chris Garcia, who works at the Computer History Museum, did a good job moderating.

    The filk circle was very thinly attended, and Colleen found herself a place where she was completely hidden from the door so I didn't realize she was there the first time I poked my nose in. She found me on the party floor. I had the only guitar.

    Went splat somewhere close to midnight.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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    A pretty relaxing day. I finally figured out what was going wrong with my scratch track yesterday -- silly bear was mistaken about where the downbeat comes in the picking pattern. I was able to get about halfway through Filksong Lullabye before I got off by a beat; I need to make the click track a little louder, I think.

    It looks as though getting USB audio interfaces to work with ALSA is non-trivial. That kinda sucks. I have been trying to figure out how to put together a portable, mini-ITX-based recording box, though just how portable I can make a 4-U rack is something of an open question.

    A four-mile walk by Los Gatos Creek, shopping with Colleen, sushi with Colleen and the YD, and a nice drive afterward. Yeah, good day.

    A few links up there under the cut.

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    Good day? I guess so. It didn't seem all that productive, but when I sat down at work to write my weekly status report, it at least looked as though things have been getting done. (Yes, I keep a to.do file at work, too.)

    Took a walk, about 2 miles. Some little twinges of assorted pain. Yeah, I know, getting old is better than the alternative. That doesn't mean it doesn't still suck.

    We decided to stay home rather than going out for our usual "date night", in large part because Marty was over sewing. So I stopped at Zanotto's, the neighborhood's high-end grocery, and got lettuce, olives, and .8 lbs of the red snapper they had on sale. Pan-fried in butter, for the win.

    I've been in the habit lately of turning my desktop computer off at night and when I'm at work. Saves a lot of power, but it's annoying to have to log in and restart all the apps. So last night I installed acpitool and used the -s option to put the thing to sleep. Worked fine except that X didn't come back; switching to the console and back fixed it. So that's a win, too.

    Sticks and Stones: anger, responsibility, and control by [livejournal.com profile] naamah_darling is an excellent article on the positive side of "negative" emotions like anger, grief, and lust. Go read.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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    Quote of the day, which makes a good summary, came from an IM conversation: "I think what's really rare is my _noticing_ that it's a nice day while it's happening. I'm getting better at it, though."

    It was a good day -- I split up and posted the Tempered Glass concert from Norwescon (and fixed a long-standing bug in the process), went out with the YD to buy her graduation present (a laptop, of course), made dinner, sang for Colleen, ...

    The evening was marked by many good things: a breathtakingly beautiful video of sand animation, a wonderful mnemonic for the strings on a guitar: "Every Adult Dragon Grows Big Ears" (from judifilksign -- N thinks I should write a song about learning guitar) conversation and song... and learning that the YD has named her new laptop Ame.

    A couple more good links under the cut.

    mdlbear: (flowers for you)
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    A very good day. From a little clutter reduction in the morning, to ordering a new netbook for Colleen, to the YD's impressively gorgeous "zed cards", to a st/roll twice around the Rose Garden with Colleen, to making a tasty dinner of chicken piccata and kasha. And ending with a last-minute shopping run, originally just for supplies at Walgreen's. But W. had closed half an hour before, so I ended up at Safeway and impulse-bought a bunch of flowers for Colleen. Go Me! She was surprised and delighted, which delighted me as well.

    Sometimes, on the bad days, it's hard to remember that I can have good ones. This was a timely reminder.

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    Not a whole lot done yesterday. Calm, but not especially productive. No walk, no exercise.

    Made my room reservations for Consonance and Norwescon. The con hotel for the latter is sold out (well, the con's room block and all the accessible rooms are sold out); I got a room at the nearby Hilton that the con specified as the alternate. Grump. Well, I know who to blame for that screw-up: me and my procrastination.

    Dusted off the XO and upgraded it to the latest stable build. Painless. The trackpad is very flaky, and various attempts to recalibrate it were unsuccessful, so it will probably require disassembling the bottom and re-seating the cable. I'll pack a mouse just in case.

    Attempts to install the Sugar desktop on my Debian desktop machine were similarly unsuccessful -- some parts appear to be incompatible with Gnome -- but that's a lot less important. Will try the USB bootable version at some point.

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    The day started rather badly. Apparently I spoke too soon about the new med working on BPH. :-P And I discovered, when I went to put the laundry in the drier, that I'd managed to wash my Samsung headset. (It appears to be sort-of working after drying out and charging; we'll see.)

    But I got the YD to the airport on time, ordered a couple of Dr. Seuss books that somehow eluded me over the years, had a visit from an old friend, and took a good walk around the Rose Garden in between. (9444 steps for the day! Best this week -- go me!)

    And I managed to reconstitute Harmony, my old desktop system, to the point where it would at least boot and let me grab the root filesystem off Nova's old disk before reformatting it as NTFS for the Wolfling's external drive.

    I was very sleepy in the evening; something about being awakened by the YD sometime around 5am. And two glasses of wine in the evening probably didn't hurt, either. On the whole not a bad day, I guess.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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    Hmm. A pretty good day, I guess. OK, a very good day in terms of things accomplished: I started on the FSA receipts (didn't get very far, but hopefully I have some momentum now), got a diagnosis for my very recent urological problems (enlarged prostate), got some lab-work done (everything looks good except the triglycerides, as usual) got a start on The Next Sub-Project at work, and had a couple of good insights. But it didn't really feel all that productive.

    And I know that a single dose of something that takes at least 3 weeks to work isn't going to fix the problem all at once, but...

    Hopefully the momentum will keep me going.

    OK, the insights:

    • You can make a set of base-64 digits that sort properly and can be used in URLs and filenames in two different ways:
      "0123456789ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz~"
      "0123456789-ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ_abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz"
    • I avoid a lot of things because of excess caution. If I don't do anything, I can't screw it up. (I think I mentioned this a couple of days ago.) It's closely related to avoiding things because I'm not sure of what I'm doing.
    • I avoid a lot of things because of depression, not anxiety. I'm not actually afraid of them, they're just depressing to think about, and depression makes me apathetic.

    I'm getting better, but it's rather slow.

    Lots of good, fun links up there in the notes.

    mdlbear: (hacker glider)

    I just realized, while helping Colleen navigate around an unfamiliar part of LJ and teaching her about the "find" feature of her browser, that her attitude around computers was exactly like my attitude around people. ("Attitude" isn't the right word here; I don't know what is. I also tried "situation" and that didn't work either. Emotions? Maybe.)

    Anyway: unfamiliar, scary, confusing, frustrating; easy to get into situations that one doesn't know how to get out of without rebooting and losing a lot of context. A lot of terminology that everyone else seems to have absorbed long ago. Inability to explain to someone else what the problem is, because you don't have the right words. The feeling that you're going to break something, or get something hopelessly messed up. The feeling that everything you've done has just made the situation more and more broken, messed up, and hopeless.

    The difference is that computers are infinitely patient, totally consistent, mostly comprehsible, and don't go into a feedback loop when you panic or get stuck.

    (23:18) [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi quite rightly points out that what she and Colleen feel about computers is exactly as valid as what I feel about people, and adds a list of differences that are almost a perfect mirror-image of mine:

    To me, the difference is that people are able to catch imprecise statements and translate them in their own minds into precise ones. You don't HAVE to do absolutely everything right with people... doing them marginally close is usually good enough. With computers, there are only two options: 100% perfection and absolute failure. If you don't do EVERYTHING right, it will block you again and again and again. It has no pity or compassion, no willingness to meet you halfway or help out when you are exhausted from trying.

    I think the problem on both sides is that I'm trying to think about people the way I think about computers, and "people people" like Naomi and Colleen think about computers the way they think about people. It's the natural, obvious thing to do, and it's equally wrong in both directions.

    We're both learning.

    Chrome

    Nov. 24th, 2009 09:55 am
    mdlbear: (hacker glider)

    Today's feeds included this post on ChromeOS by Cringely.

    Last week Google made a preemptive strike against Microsoft, revealing details of its Chrome OS months before that product reaches its near-infinite beta release. The idea is simple: who needs a big OS if you are doing everything in a browser? It’s a huge threat to Microsoft and Apple. But then it struck me I’ve heard this all before, so I went back and found this video clip from my show Triumph of the Nerds, circa 1996, where Larry Ellison predicts the future, not knowing he was actually describing 2010.

    It struck me that I've seen it before, too: Sun's Display Postscript. The difference is that Javascript is a far friendlier language to program in than Postscript, and that Chrome has some solid security behind it. We've learned a lot in the last two decades: Javascript was designed from the ground up for implementing the programming side of a user interface, and HTML 5 plus SVG on the front end are more than good enough to replace a 2-d graphics toolkit like GTK. So there's that.

    Sun also invented the catch-phrase "the network is the computer", and NFS (which stands for Network File System, in case you've forgotten).

    Cringe ends with:

    We know that under the Chrome OS Google Apps will be very secure. Any tampering will trigger the download of a new and pure OS image. But will the Chrome OS have enough performance to compete with Microsoft Office? I think it eventually will, based, for example, on extensions like Google’s recently announced O3D API, which will allow Google Apps and approved third-party apps to grab spare GPU cycles to improve performance.

    What’s left to be seen here is whether these improvements will be enough to beat Office or if Google will have to make a standalone (local PC-based) version of these apps. Only time will tell.

    The most interesting part for me will be Microsoft’s response. This strikes at the very heart of Redmond’s business success and Microsoft will not take it lying down. Expect thermonuclear warfare.

    What he seems to be forgetting is that it's going to be a three-front war. Down underneath ChromeOS, Android, Maemo, Moblin, and the Ubuntu Netbook Remix -- all of which are designed for mobile devices and thin clients -- is a perfectly functional Linux kernel. Mass storage is still dirt-cheap, and even after we get fiber to the home a suitcase full of hard drives will have more bandwidth than a pipeline to the cloud.

    And a net app doesn't much care whether the back-end server it's talking to is in the next room or the next state, but you'll notice the performance difference. Heck, I notice the performance difference in my favorite audio editor between a local SATA drive and the same drive over gigabit ethernet.

    Yeah, you'll back up to the cloud, use it for communication and sharing, and use it for deploying massive multi-user web applications. But all your applications will be running their front ends locally on Linux, so they can sneak behind the web to the local filesystem, and sneak behind the browser to X and the GPU, when you need performance. Your photos and music and video may be synchronized to a big server in the sky, but they'll all be in the fileserver in the closet, too. And some things won't get synced; the reasons are left as an exercise for the reader.

    No matter what the (other) pundits are trying to claim, a URL is still a (virtual) pathname, a website is still a hierarchical filesystem (which you can of course mount with WebDAV), and the hierarchy of INTERconnected NETworks doesn't stop at your DSL modem or even at the ethernet port on the back of your PC. PCI is a network, too.

    ChromeOS may take down Microsoft, and the Google Store may become a strong competitor for Apple. But is it the end of operating systems as we know them? I doubt it. Will you get all your applications from the Google Store? Probably not, any more than you'll get all your music from iTunes and all your books from Amazon. You'll hit some indy website, download to your local server, and away you go.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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    I moved everything out of my old wallet and into a travel wallet with more slots for cards. A bit of a tight fit, though, and of course larger and heavier. So I may end up moving back. Or getting one with slightly wider slots.

    It was a fairly productive day at work again. I'm not sure why I seem to have the most fun when I'm hacking on Makefiles, but there you have it. Perhaps it's because they automate so much of the repetitive, boring stuff. And also because debugging them can be... interesting.

    Took a nice walk around the pond. Rather scattered thoughts, but I ended up pretty calm and somewhat refreshed.

    Got a well-timed call from [livejournal.com profile] cflute, while we were on the way to our date-night dinner at Estrellita's, a Mexican place in Los Altos that's been there forever and has a wonderful mole poblano and excellent sangria. Also three different dipping salsas with their chips. We drove home the long way, of course.

    Ended the evening making a signal boost post for [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi, and hunting down my old but still functional (and still unused) slug, since [livejournal.com profile] cflute's laptop doesn't want to recognize the USB hard drive I sent her. I'll send that and a check this morning.

    Went to take a bath and ended up in the back tub, because I still haven't finished taking the drinks out of the front tub after our party last weekend. Oops.

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    A lot of tightness in my legs, standing up too long doing dishes. Went out with Colleen to BevMo, which was a nice excursion, but getting her scooter in and out of the car twice was all I felt I could handle. I ended up much more tired, irritable, and in pain than I'd expected.

    The amazing [livejournal.com profile] screaming_angel spent most of the afternoon and all evening working on the YD's computer upgrades. She now has a pretty hot desktop and laptop (though he still had to take the latter home to image the disk for backup purposes).

    Some major drama between distant friends left me first scared and helpless, then relieved but drained. I learned once again that my ability to hypothesize about what's going on in other peoples' heads is still very limited. For that matter, my ability to hypothesize about what's going on my own head is pretty limited, too.

    Still, a day that ended in bed in a tight embrace, happily in love with my wife, can't have been all bad.

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    Any day that ends with pon-pon chicken, yu-shiang eggplant, szechuan beef, dry-braised green beans, and an hour-long drive to noplace in particular with my lovely Cat has to be a good one, right? It was.

    It also included a walk, with a little meditation and the koi emerging mysteriously out of the murky depths of the pond like gilded and silvered submarines.

    And I got a new toy at work -- the next generation of the eWriter device we've been working on. The hardware is a bit ramshackle, and the software is still rather flaky, but Oh! it's sweet. (I can only say that much because a paper's been presented.) My demo, on the older hardware that went to Japan with $grandboss last week, will be going to New Orleans with $boss next week.

    On the other hand (literally), washing dishes is not kind to my right shoulder: I tend to hold pots in my right hand and sponge them with my left. Oh. Right.

    On the gripping hand, I finally talked myself into buying a new 1.5TB hard drive for the file server, instead of using the three existing .5GB drives in a RAID. Simpler, and much lower power. Between California's outrageous power rates and my current tax bracket, it has about a one-year payback.

    And here's a fascinating wikipedia article on "disaffectation", which may be the best description yet of what "my main problem" is.

    So, yeah. Good day.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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    Another largely unproductive day, especially at work, though I did manage to make and write up some significant decisions about $current_project.

    I tried to print the taxes, and was unsuccessful. Weird -- it worked last year, on the same hardware and OS versions. Oh, well; I'll take it in to work today and print there. I did, finally, manage to track down and exorcise two "phantom printers" that have been around for the last year on my desktop system. The magic file is /var/cache/cups/remote.cache.

    Most of the pain from the torn muscle was gone; what was left were some secondary soreness in the neck and shoulder from working around it. I still need to baby that arm; it's all too easy to forget that it's injured at this point.

    I found myself smiling when [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi came online on IM -- I'd missed her over the weekend. It feels a little odd to be noting that, but simply noticing my mood is a big step for me.

    I took a walk; the weather was cool and cloudy -- perfect for walking.

    I came home before Colleen and her friends got back from Britex (a huge fabric store in San Francisco that was having their Columbus Day sale), and was surprised and happy to find a dealer order for CC S waiting in my inbox, for delivery at OVFF.

    It's amazing how much energy pain and recovery use up.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Just in case anyone still thinks that letting a third party control your data is a good idea, here's T-Mobile telling Sidekick users that their data has all been lost. If you have a Sidekick, don't turn it off!

    I just love the fact that the company that developed the Sidekick is called Danger. And that they were bought by Microsoft.

    Have a nice day.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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    I started the day with comparatively little pain in my shoulder, but trying to put my shirt on took care of that detail very quickly. Ouch!! It turns out that reaching up or behind my back is what makes it hurt the most; that must have been what I was doing when I damaged it: picking up something a little behind me.

    I spent the rest of the day listless and rather foggy. It seems that pain wears me out physically and eats away at my ability to think; probably effects of adrenaline and endorphins, respectively. I could pretty easily identify the adrenaline reaction, since it's similar to anxiety; a little deep breathing helped.

    At Colleen's suggestion I took a walk around the rose garden. It did help; I found that I could swing both arms naturally. It took out a lot of the stress.

    After my walk I did the final data entry on the taxes. I get a little back from my withholding, which was a huge relief. (For those not familiar with the US's horrible income tax system, you can get an extension on filing, but you have to pay up front or you end up paying both penalties and interest on the difference.) I still have to do the printing, and mail in the forms.

    I finally put Argo (the Thinkpad) away pending a memory upgrade, and switched over to Barnard (the Dell netbook). Much smaller and lighter, though the keyboard is pretty bad and the touchpad is absolutely loathsome. A mouse largely fixes that.

    I spent the evening out in the living room doing things that didn't involve either my right arm or much of my brain: re-arranging files and culling old stuff from my to.do file.

    Anyone out there reading this who has chronic pain has my heartfelt sympathy.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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    Mixed day? I was basically lazy around the house all morning and much of the afternoon, after getting up around 9am. I went in to work, made sure that the demo worked, and packed it up. Win. Happy and relieved -- that's a problem I won't be having in the future. Made dinner (corned beef and cabbage -- not very difficult).

    [livejournal.com profile] screaming_angel came over in mid-afternoon to upgrade the YD's computers; he put together a reasonably powerful Ubuntu box with lots of space for a Windows partition if I can find an install disk at work, and upgraded the RAM in her laptop. Which he then took home so he could upgrade the disk (with the one he's freeing up when he upgrades the disk in his laptop).

    On the other hand, I'm having more trouble with email: now Emacs gives me a "max buffer size exceeded" when I try to read it. Some experimentation indicates that this is probably due to a mailbox full of spam.

    And on the gripping hand, I seem to have somehow torn a muscle in my upper right arm near the shoulder. OWWW! As it turns out, because I'm left handed, that is my gripping hand: I tend to pick up and carry things with my right hand, which leaves my left hand free for things like keys and doorknobs. Not happening. Also, lifting that arm up, or especially trying to reach behind me with it, are excruciating. No T-shirts for a while.

    I got to sleep with the help of cyclobenzaprine, and somehow managed not to re-injure the shoulder in the process. Fortunately I tend to sleep on my left side.

    So... mixed.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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    A good day. Busy. Some free-floating anxiety in the afternoon.

    Lunch with [livejournal.com profile] kaath9, [livejournal.com profile] harmonyheifer, and Colleen. At Arya. Yum! Lunch at Arya isn't all that expensive.

    Thanks to Paul for fixing the YD's bike. I am a bad father -- I haven't taught the kids to fix their own bikes. :( (Of course, my Dad didn't teach me, I just started with the assumption that one could learn that kind of thing from books, and taught myself.)

    Got a call from Callie in the evening, and sang my setlist for her, Chaos, and Colleen. I even went so far as to print the setlist lyrics and put them in the set binder. A few packing-related things didn't get done, but I've gotten a lot more casual about dropping items off the to-do list if I don't have time for them and they aren't actually critical.

    Went to bed before midnight, as I recall, but apparently not enough before -- I'm wiped.

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    It would have been a good day to get my car serviced, if I'd scheduled it sooner. I did a little maintenance on my main workstation computer instead, and got the new backup drive installed. The plan is to work on the fileserver tomorrow.

    I took a walk, but felt slightly down and very anxious about something. Never did figure out what. I might have had a touch of a virus, or simply low blood sugar; I was OK by the time I got home.

    I had a nice IM conversation with [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi, where she praised both my kids. We agreed that it's easier to believe people when they say good things about our kids than when they say good things about ourselves.

    Colleen bought a ceiling-projector clock this afternoon. Major win. Why didn't we do it years ago?

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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    A pretty good day yesterday -- shipped the Wolfling's computer up, and went to dinner at MacArthur Park in Palo Alto with Colleen for our date night.

    I was also pleased to see from this post that I have Made A Difference in somebody's life, even if it's only recommending the IBM Model M keyboard to them. I <3 my Model M.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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    My walk yesterday was interrupted by finding a garage sale across the street with a lovely red tablecloth and a set of wire baskets for $1 each. It was interrupted again by a blood-sugar crash -- apparently what I'd had for breakfast wasn't quite enough. Ended up nibbling all afternoon. The Rose Garden was pretty, though.

    I made fajitas for dinner. Easy except for juicing the key limes.

    Played a game of scrabble with Colleen and the YD (who suggested it). Fun; we haven't done that in a while. Colleen and the YD played another while I went back to the office and played with Google Chrome. I miss a few features from Firefox, but the speed boost and tiny resource footprint are worth it most of the time. I'll switch back to FF when I need printing or flash, which appear to be missing in the Linux port at the moment.

    Spent a lot of time puttering and decluttering. Made good progress, too, though I'm feeling a little guilty about not doing $work.

    You know you're a caregiver when a normal-looking turd in a bucket is a welcome sight.

    You know you're getting old when you start collecting pill bottles for storage instead of baby-food jars.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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    It didn't really feel like a notable day, but in fact it was one: not only was it Bastille Day, but I finished ripping the last of the CDs in the folk/filk/rock side of the shelves. A quick check shows 934 CDs ripped, which is only an approximation but likely to be fairly close. It's cheating in some ways, because I still have a sizeable stack of unshelved CDs, and another stack of CDs that didn't turn up in FreeDB and so will require data entry "when I have time".

    I also got quite a lot done at work; unfortunately in an area I wasn't planning to spend nearly as much time on, so some other stuff isn't ready when I wanted it to be.

    I did get a walk in, and went to bed about 10:30 with Colleen.

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    Colleen decided to sort through some of the boxes of stuff from her (former) desk in the bedroom, and ran across a Bear Bell. It says so on the tag. I wasn't aware of the fact that I needed one.

    My watch battery died. I'm wondering whether to replace the battery, replace the watch, or join the growing multitude of people who use their cell phone as a pocket-watch.

    I finished configuring my work desktop computer, but it's not talking to me this morning. So much for working from home, not that I was planning to anyway. I did, however, find the website with the source code for my favorite calendar program, complete with instructions for building it in Lenny. I win.

    mdlbear: (hacker glider)

    So... as promised, here's the state of the Starport's silicon life-forms and their network ecosystem. In some ways it's not all that bad. In other ways it's awful.

    basically thinking things out in text here; skip if you're not the right kind of geek to be interested in this stuff. )

    It would be nice to get enough of this done by the time Colleen comes home for her to come home to working, largely spam-free email. It would also be nice not to be paying for over $100/month worth of services we don't need.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
    to.done 20090321 )

    Yesterday was a good day. I didn't get much done, of course, out of all the things that have been piling up needing attention, but I was happy.

    First there was a visit with Colleen; she seemed optimistic, which cheered me. She was also happy to get her Kindle back. I'm glad I got it -- she really loves that thing. It would drive me crazy, but I'm me; it seems almost perfect for her. I'll have to make backups occasionally, though.

    Then I went for my walk, along Los Gatos Creek to the park at Campbell Avenue. I haven't been getting enough walks lately. Unlike most walks I deliberately tried not to think too much, but just observe and enjoy the green Spring day. That let me notice that I was happy -- I seem more in touch with my feelings when I'm not thinking.

    I stopped at a garage sale on the way back -- they were closing up after a busy morning, and giving away books. I found no less than four that I wanted: The Five Love Languages (Chapman), The Etiquette Edge -- The Unspoken Rules for Business Success (Beverly Langford -- an etiquette book has been recommended as a way of learning about social interaction norms), Legacy -- a step-by-step guide to writing personal history (Linda Spence -- I figure if I'm writing a sort of memoire of the last year...), and the Tao Teh Ching (Lao Tzu, translated by John C. H. Wu -- I'm always interested in reading a new translation of one of my all-time favorites).

    After lunch I went to the Computer History Museum with [livejournal.com profile] chaoswolf. It's been ages since the two of us went to a museum together; it was a nice father-daughter bonding experience. Fun! Of course, it also made me feel very old, to see things I grew up with behind a "please don't touch the artifacts" sign. The Difference Engine was awesome, even though we missed the demos, which were at 1pm and 2pm. I'll have to go back to see it run.

    The Wolfling was able to fill in some of the references in my filksongs: things like magnetic drums, vacuum tubes, teletypes, keypunches, Deep Blue (in an exhibit on computer chess, which she found fascinating), the Cray 1 and the PDP-10. And plugboards. Brings back memories, it does.

    The Wolfling bought herself a "Paper Palm" (also known as an analog PDA) and immediately started thinking of making a leather case for it. I realized that carrying around a small stack of Hollerith cards for taking notes and sketching on might be a good conversation-starter, though they may be a little too bulky for every day.

    It rained on and off during the afternoon.

    After the museum we went to REI, because Chaos had expressed an interest in getting buckles and clips for leatherwork. I picked up a new hat (mine have been disappearing lately) and a purple bandana for Colleen. Took a new route. Got lost a couple of times, but with nobody providing panicky feedback I stayed calm and centered. I actually like exploring when I'm not rushed or sleepy.

    We stopped off to visit Colleen on the way home. She'd had an hour and a half of physical therapy, and had come close -- three times! -- to getting out of her wheelchair unassisted.

    I was very sleepy in the evening. It occurs to me to wonder whether the fact that I'm sleeping more has anything to do with my improved mood. It would be unfortunate to have to make that trade-off. Can I think about it? I thought depression made you sleep more.

    I could get used to days like this. I may have to... :-)

    Beware!!

    Feb. 9th, 2009 11:13 am
    mdlbear: (sureal time)
    Beware: UNIX Time to Read 1234567890 On Friday the 13th
    perl -e 'print scalar localtime(1234567890),"\n";'
    Fri Feb 13 15:31:30 2009
    
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    As I mentioned upwhen, I went to Fry's yesterday: the main purchases were a 4GB microSD card, a cheap bluetooth headset, and a power supply for Nova to replace the functional but noisy one I had to put in a month or so ago.

    The headset was the cheapest I could find; a little Plantronics job that charges via what looks like a micro-USB plug. Haven't had occasion to try it yet. The microSD was a 4GB Kingston that came with SD, mini-SD, and USB adapters; it'll be $10 after the rebate.

    The PSU was the cheapest I could find with a 120mm fan, a 500W supply from Apevia, whoever they are. In spite of the fact that it's rated significantly higher than the 380W Antec it replaced, it appears to be more efficient: UPS load went from 26% to 22% of 480VA. So that's a win.

    The office is noticably quieter now, though there's still some fan noise from the miniITX system I'm using as a router.

    The main thing still pending hardware-wise is the AT&T fiber hookup; I really need to get email redirected off the old service in preparation for that.

    "New" toy

    Dec. 18th, 2008 10:18 pm
    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    As I mentioned upstream, [livejournal.com profile] andyheninger gave me an old but serviicable Thinkpad A30 last night -- his father had been about to have it recycled. It currently has Ubuntu 8.10 on it; I figure I'll do a little messing around and exploring before probably reconfiguring it with Lenny. Or possibly dual-booting.

    I've also come into a little nano-ITX board, from a co-worker who'd gotten it at a conference. Looks like a good choice for an X-terminal, or maybe a portable server. Only one SATA port, 100BaseT networking, and no PCI slots, so it's a bit too wimpy for a fileserver.

    Neither has a name, as yet.

    mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

    Over the course of the last couple of mornings I've finally finished fixing my toolchain software, and in particular the rather misnamed album.make, to handle multiple named sessions (concerts, for example) in a single directory. There are, needless to say, a few bugs left, but I should have split copies of [livejournal.com profile] cflute's and [livejournal.com profile] tibicina's concerts at ConChord by sometime this weekend.

    My attempt to upgrade Matrix, the ancient Thinkpad that I've been using as the living-room browsing machine, to Lenny ended with no X and a mysterious hang. Considering its age and condition, I'm going to give up and either drop back to Etch, intall Puppy, or, more likely, give it an honorable burial in the attic. Harmony or one of the mini-ITX systems will work fine. I'll start with Dantooine, currently the bedroom computer, because Colleen won't be needing it for the next month or so. I'll have to come up with something to put it on.

    Some good phone conversations: [livejournal.com profile] cflute on Tuesday, [livejournal.com profile] joecoustic today, and of course multiple conversations with Colleen. Still not as good as I'd like to be at originating calls -- it's all too easy for me to procrastinate them.

    I slept fairly well last night, but woke up about 5:30 with a somewhat sore throat and the impression that I'd forgotten my facehugger. That or woken up, taken it off, and gone back to sleep. *sigh* I really resent the time I spend sleeping. Especially when I don't have anyone to sleep with. That's what I miss the most.

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