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

So. A reasonably productive week, at least at home, where I've been cleaning up my server so that I can use git for most deployments and backup, instead of my clunky old rsync system (which worked pretty damned well, but a large USB hard drive represents a pretty big single point of failure, and it did). That doesn't keep me from doing a nightly mirror, but I'll be relying on git for history.

In the process, I wrote the website deployment git hook and make targets, so I can say "make deploy" on my laptop and have the changes checked in, pushed to the server, and pulled onto the web host with no further interaction.

There are still some remaining tasks around asset management, since my audio files are way too big to be flinging around with git.

At work... not so much. I feel as though I'm not being as productive as I should be.

Also on the down side, I managed to tweak my left QL muscle getting into a car on Wednesday. Naomi managed to get it mostly relaxed, but says that I have to start acting my age and learn to move like an old man instead of assuming that my body will just do what I tell it to. Grump.

And we nearly lost our ninja cat, Desti, who snuck out an insufficiently-closed door. She was, of course, wet and miserable and scared, but that probably won't keep her from trying to sneak out. Because ninja cat.

Oh, and two of Colleen's three lift chairs are broken. She's going to have a repair person come out this week. Fortunately the chairs, her power wheelchairs, and her scooter (which also need attention) are all made by Pride, so she can get them all looked at at once.

To end on a high note, and a link, we saw a preview of the first two episodes of the HBO/American Museum of Natural History mini-series Saving My Tomorrow, about young environmental activists. N's kids were interviewed for it, although they didn't appear in the episodes we saw.

More links in the notes, of course.

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

So, after another lenghty break, we finally come around to the Thursday before Thanksgiving. We'll see whether I can get two weeks in a row. But for now, I'm thankful for..

  • Having finally sold Grand Central Starport. An era has well and truly ended, and I'm still somewhat in shock. But still.
  • Rainbow's End.
  • My wonderful family.
  • Cat therapy.
  • ssh -Xf $MYBOX gnome-panel

ETA: The first sentence would probably have been more effective if I hadn't posted this on Wednesday.

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

Well, escrow closed Friday on the Starport. My mood has been extremely volatile, and mostly in the bad direction, all week; took me until Friday to recognize that I was grieving. Knowing me, that probably means I'm in for a long run of it. Maybe I'll write something this evening.

Our hotel experience at Orycon was pretty poor, to the extent that we may very well not be back for the Westercon in 2016. (Ory is moving -- Yay!) But they gave us half a night off the bill, so there's that.

I spent yesterday puttering. The money from the Starport still hasn't shown up; if it doesn't hit my account Monday I'll hit the panic button.

Lasting Relationships Rely On 2 Traits tl;dr: kindness and generosity. Well, yeah. More links in the notes.

raw notes, with links )
mdlbear: (rose)

This was the sixteenth Father's Day without my Dad. I miss him a lot.

It was also the sixteenth Mother's Day without Colleen's mom, whose birthday was yesterday.

And our old house in San Jose is on the market.

On the whole it's been a good weekend for nostalgia, but I'm not in the greatest of shape emotionally, even with antidepressants and alexithymia, and more cat cuddles than usual. Please bear with me.

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

The big news for this week is that the Starport is up for sale. You can see it at 343LeighAve.com/ (which immediately redirects to 343leighave.isnowforsale.com, but it's kind of cute anyway), here on Zillow, and likewise here, here, and here. Make me a high enough offer and I'll throw in theStarport.com.

Um... maybe I should update that site?

The miserable headache I had last night turns out to have been due to dehydration. I need to drink more. Water, that is. I probably don't need to drink more coffee or gin. Beer?

Comcast has been giving us trouble all week; first a widespread outage in our area on Tuesday, then video flakiness yesterday. Thinking seriously of dumping them and going to CenturyLink and Dish. Tempting.

Work has been fairly interesting; I'm starting to work on a new (internal) service. Which means learning new things, which is fun even while being frustrating.

I've been doing a lot of puttering, including some yardwork. I hate yardwork. Grumpy bear. For some reason I like putting dishes into the dishwasher, but not putting them away after they're clean. Why, yes, I am avoiding paperwork. I disappoint myself frequently.

The usual hodge-podge of links and random notes below.

raw notes, with links )
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)

Well, well. An entire week. Which just happens to coincide with the end of the month, this time.

Did a little work on the network configuration, aimed at making things more stable in the DMZ (the area between the Internet modem/router (polaris) and the inside gateway/router (stargate)). In particular, I got rid of an obsolete DHCP reservation for cygnus, that was conflicting with stargate's static IP address. Gleep! No wonder stargate's WiFi dropped out every so often.

Also for computer geeks: I got Colleen a 7" tablet. It's a Jazz, on sale at Office Depot for $70. Markedly inferior to my Nexus 7, but it does what she wants it to: web browsing and email. The only problem right now is printing; that's going to require setting up Google cloudprint. Which is kind of stupid for talking to a CUPS printer, but...

I *finally* got autoraise back -- turns out that the compiz window manager doesn't actually listen to the desktop config items anymore; Ubuntu has hacked them up to accomodate the Unity desktop. Which is Unbearable.

A number of other geeky items that I ordered during the last week dribbled in, including a case and USB-OTG cable for the Nexus, a really tiny 32-GB USB drive, a couple of uSD cards and adapters (16- and 32-GB), and a couple of other items that suggest that I probably need to stay off of Amazon for a while.

We got Chaos a microwave oven (hers had died). Colleen got the amethyst necklace she'd commissioned at Orycon -- this involved a trip to Wayward.

Moving on, ... I don't really like the way my weight has been going. I think that much of the recent increase was due to going off my diuretic. It was an interesting experiment, but my BP's on the high edge of normal right now; it may be worthwhile going back on the meds.

Of course, my BP would probably go down if I lost 30 poumds, too. Which would be better for me in other ways as well.

The last time I successfully lost weight was my senior year in college. Over 40 years ago.

Humph. One of the things I really like about commuting by bus is that it gives me time to read. I'm not a particularly fast reader, a trait which is better adapted to poetry than to novels. I am, nevertheless, reading two books right now. The one on my Nexus (via Kindle) is Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman -- an anthropologist's view of hacker culture. Fascinating.

The other, on my phone from Gutenberg via Cool Reader, is Pride and Prejudice, which has been highly recommended to me but was something I was always leery of. It's... ok, I guess. Perhaps someone more familiar with the genre could tell me whether it's meant to be funny -- there's an undercurrent of what appears to be wry amusement on the part of the author. Perhaps one problem is simply the lack of characters I can easily identify with. I'm curious, but not involved.

Anyway... details in the notes, as usual. I should probably try to get back on a twice/week schedule, shouldn't I?

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

Tuesday I moved nova, the printers, and the starport (inside) router to the computer desk; moved polaris (the outside router) to the corner of the kitchen where the phone jack lives; and set up (linux desktop) algol and (mac mini) whitewood. Everything works! Much better signal from the routers, though there is still the occasional glitching from starport which I suspect is due to 802-11G/N issues.

Tip: it helps if you turn the printer on before trying to print a test page.

I did quite a lot of re-organizing, which resulted in a usable amount of space around the desk and several other items going to useful places. Decided to use Elfa "easyhang" shelving on the long livingroom wall -- it'll be fairly expensive, but a lot less than the price of even freestanding bookcases.

My copy of Cat Faber's new CD, The King's Lute, arrived in the mail. It's wonderful -- go get one. Cat is an absolutely brilliant songwriter. There are several songs on there that I need to learn.

Wednesday I got a confirmation of my COBRA health plan selections. WTF? I didn't recall making any. Thursday I got a letter dated the 5th saying that they couldn't contact me. WTF? Five phone calls later, on Friday, I determined that they had my area code wrong -- I might conceivably have messed up when I updated my profile, but they had my email address and never sent anything to it. The last person I called, Susan, was extremely helpful and pleasant to talk to. This was Friday morning, and may have been due to my already having decided what to do.

After determining that I had already received more from my FSA than I'd put in so far I dropped it, saving myself at least $860. (There was another $430 payment due, but I had already determined that I wasn't going to continue my COBRA coverage after my coverage from $K kicks in in December.) I also dropped my vision plan.

Friday I also (finally!) followed up on my house, car, and renter's insurance. And saved quite a lot. I should have done that months ago, of course. I don't know where my brain was between June and September. Well, job-hunting and moving and unpacking ate up a lot of it, I'm sure. Anxiety, apathy, and depression probably ate up the rest.

Colleen and I visited the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell -- it was only $50/year for a couple membership. If she can get transportation it'll be a great place for her to hang out, especially the quilting group.

I made several tasty meals, including a great corned beef hash using the potatoes that had been cooked in the slow cooker with the beast. Details, along with the usual links, in the notes.

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

My mindspace continues to be largely occupied with day-to-day stuff: unpacking, installing shelves, shopping, cooking... Life is starting to settle into a routine, though, and I'm enjoying it.

We finally got over to a DOL (Department of Licensing -- WA's partial equivalent of the DMV), where the YD and I got new IDs and driver's licenses respectively. Colleen has to come in for a driving test (!), which is a major incentive for her to exercise. She has about 2 more weeks; I suspect she still won't be ready, but would be delighted to be proved wrong.

We also got in to the bank and updated our information there. And I rolled over my 401K -- I had misread the mail they sent me, so ended up with an actual check. Unfortunately I won't get the withholding back until I do my taxes next year. :P Too bad -- could've used it NOW.

A couple of phone screens, but no in-person interviews yet. Growf! Several online resume submissions, but I have low expectations from those.

On the home computing front, I pulled my laser printer out of storage (for resumes), and finally fixed Starport's DNS (which turned out to be a bad forwarder). It works fine now. Much better than CenturyLink's WiFi, which keeps crapping out on me.

The bedroom shelves are nearly done -- all the tracks and standards are in place, and most of the shelves (except for a few near the bed, and in the laundry closet). The dining room is next.

The usual collection of links and details in the raw notes, below.

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

Good grief, indeed! It looks like this post is going to try to cover an eventful two-and-a-half weeks; there's no way I can do it justice.

tl;dr: Our Stuff arrived two weeks ago, I flew down and got the Honda and more Stuff, and we're gradually getting unpacked and settled in. I still don't have a job, or even any interviews scheduled, so I've decided to offer dinner at the Herb Farm to anyone who finds me one.

And now a few highlights.

The movers arrived on Wednesday, having had another stop along the way because our 17,000+ pounds of stuff only filled about 2/3 of their big-rig. Props to Billy, who managed to get the rig parked next to our entrance, which the apartment office staff had assured me was next to impossible. Billy and Pam were the husband-and-wife team of drivers; I can't praise them, United Van Lines, Chipman Relocation, and the loading and unloading teams too highly. A very smooth, painless, hassle-free operation.

... that left us with an apartment full of boxes, of course. We still have more Stuff than space, even after paring down a lot and storing almost half of it in N's garage. Well, we knew the job was impossible when we took it.

Speaking of jobs: I got my rejection from EnergySavvy, so I now have nothing on the schedule because the move totally ate my brain. I have until the end of September before my severance pay runs out.

I do not like it, Sam-I-Am.

Two weeks ago (Monday the 30th), something finally clicked in my head, and the apartment felt like home. I was in the kitchen; I knew where everything was, it was small and comfortable and convenient, and I felt like I belonged here. It's still scary, but only because of the job problem, not the move. I like it here.

I discovered something else about myself: I like giving stuff away to people who will give it a good home. More than like it -- it's *wonderful*. I'd been talking with Nathan, the guy who owns the painting service that did such a good job on the interior. I'd been referred to him because he's in a Christian group with Liz. Anyway, the conversation turned to music, and the instruments we play, and he asked about the beat-up old mandolin in the "what the heck do I do with this?" pile by the garage door. And then the balalaika, which I'd bought on a whim in high school and never learned to play.

I ended up giving them to him. I felt both relief in simplifying them out of my life, and joy -- mudita, actually -- in seeing how happy the gift made him. A very middle-sized-bear thing, I think. And I realized that this was one of the things that was making the move an enjoyable experience.

I also realized how much I enjoy traveling by myself.

One reason I haven't been posting has been the difficulty of connecting to the fileserver from outside the firewall; I think I've finally fixed most of that, but also copied my emacs-based posting client onto the netbook. We'll see how that works in a few minutes...

Loads of links in the notes, of course.

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

We got up reasonably early on Wednesday, were on the road by a little after 9am after a huge breakfast at Black Bear Diner, and arrived at the Starport in time to order pizza and chicken wings for dinner. Not staying again at the Grants Pass Travelodge -- the 2-bed rooms are tiny, and even the ground floor isn't really scooter accessible. There's just enough room between the bed and the wall to drop my CPAP into.

Og has done yeoman's work on the living room floor; it looks terrific (as long as you don't look at the edges, which are ragged). Liz and Devon did great work packing, though they apparently didn't realize that we wouldn't want to use paper plates and plastic forks for the rest of the time we're here. Normally, you save things like the kitchen and bathroom for the last minute.

I spent most of Thursday and yestday packing. Thursday mostly the office; Friday included taking down one set of the garage shelves. I'm pretty sure now, looking at them, that the end bays were assembled on their sides and tilted up. I think I'm going to leave one set here.

I still have a huge amount of triage and packing to do, even though most of it is almost certainly junk.

Links, as usual, below in the notes.

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

Anyone have a recommendation about internet service? The choice is between Century Link (which seems to be the default phone company for the new apartment) and Comcast (which seems to be the default cable company unless there's a place where I can hang a dish). I'm leaning toward Century Link because Comcast has such a horrid reputation.

The other possibility would be to get all three services -- cable, internet, and phone -- from Comcast. I don't like that idea much. I checked, and can't keep my UVerse service -- they don't serve that address. Grumph.

Inquiring minds need to know.

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

As I mentioned downwhen Stargate, our gateway/router, had become basically unusable by Sunday morning. It's rather mysterious -- the CPU seems to be working fine, and it passed rootkit, memory and filesystem checks just fine. But there you have it: it would slow down rapidly after each reboot.

The next problem was finding a replacement. I tried the machine that had been our router. It wouldn't boot. Even after I noticed that the power connector on the disk had been disconnected, and fixed that. I tried several different ways of replacing it with the fileserver, and succeeded only in disabling its networking altogether with an ill-advised firewall install.

At that point I had two choices: add an extra ethernet card to one of the laptops, or reconfigure our wireless access point as a router instead of a bridge. Fortunately I did the latter. Which was something I'd been toying with for quite a while anyway. Did I mention that I'm somewhat obsessed with saving power?

At this point I have to mention that it wasn't quite that simple. I had to do quite a lot of reconfiguring, and got some of it wrong. For example, forgetting to test incoming ssh. I never did get that to work; it's something of a security hole, so it's not surprising that the router's ssh daemon doesn't listen to the WAN port. When I got back I did what I should have done in the first place, and forwarded the fileserver's ssh port to an alternate on the router.

Also forwarded the fileserver's web server; I still need to set up the appropriate virtual hosting. The other thing that needed attention was that the router was hosting my external git repositories. I moved them to my external host, at savitzky.net. No problem.

DHCP and DNS were a bit of a problem -- the DD-WRT distribution on the router doesn't seem to support multi-homed interfaces or my usual config files. I'll deal. I'll probably have to abandon my hare-brained idea of keeping WiFi and wired interfaces on separate subnets, but that wasn't working too well anyway. And I lose an instance of apcupsd, unless I can get that going on the router.

But the net gain is huge -- I've eliminated a box and about 12W of power-sucking from my rack, improved my security, and gotten a major project out of my "to.do" file. I win.

mdlbear: (hacker traveling)
My trusty Linux router has, apparently, been gradually dying. As of Saturday night it was basically unusable, slowing down to a crawl within minutes of a reboot. It passed memory and rootkit checks just fine, though. Sunday morning I decided to scrap it. This may have been a mistake. I tried several different approaches. The mini-ITX box I _had_ been using as my router wouldn't boot. Spent quite a while chasing my tail on that one. Finally, after much flailing, got my WAP on line as the router. Nice and fast, and of course low power. Sweet. I'd been meaning to do that for a while. Except that by then it was 4pm, and nearly time to head to the airport. (Note: I'm up in the Seattle area until Thursday afternoon; I'm available for an interview Wednesday afternoon. Hint.) A couple of things got forgotten, chief among them being testing ssh. Oops. I thought briefly about setting up port forwarding, but got distracted by things like hugging my wife and daughter goodbye. I read my email by ssh-ing in to my file server. But the ssh daemon on the router doesn't appear to be listening to the WAN port. This is an excellent security measure, but right now it sucks. The other thing I do only on the home system is keep my password database. OOPS. Fortunately, I was able to set up email forwarding this morning, so I only lose access to my archives (including a lot of job-related stuff) and anything that was sent to me yesterday. But still... It could be a painful couple of days, and it certainly made for a bad trip yesterday. Flying out of San Jose on a Delta puddle-jumper didn't help.
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So... back to "work". Quotes, because (as it has been for the last couple of weeks) it was more about leaving than getting anything new done. I have 19 years worth of files to triage, after all. Meanwhile, Colleen is triaging her cookbooks, which is an equally gargantuan job.

The next -- and quite possibly the last -- party at the Starport will be Saturday, June 9th. There's a move to Seattle in our near future. It's rather hard to wrap my head around.

I installed the new-to-the-house 1900x1200 monitor. Very nice, though it uses more power than its 1900x1080 predecessor, and has less contrast. On the plus side, along with the extra inch or so of vertical pixels, it stands taller so more of it is visible without having to look down.

Several links in the notes. Most of them are political :( If you prefer horror with entertainment value, try this gorgeous retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, using silhouettes.

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

A pretty good day. I even took a walk, albeit a short one because the weather looked dicey. I felt a few stray drops, but stayed dry. (In fact, it did rain, hard, in the evening, and I got wet taking the garbage out.) I walked over to Savers in search of dress pants, and found a pair of dark gray ones that will work nicely with the darker of the silk jackets and the gray-and-black striped shirt that I'm wearing now.

Hey, I'm a fan. Dressing up for an interview is cosplay. Easy.

I made a yummy pot roast for dinner, using most of a bottle of cheap red wine and two bottles of non-alcoholic beer (left over from the last party, because nobody would actually drink the stuff). I had some of the broth in a mug -- it made lovely soup. And a cole slaw, with half a head of cabbage and a Granny Smith apple.

I got the Mac Mini, Whitewood, installed on the desktop to the right of the main monitor, and got x2vnc installed and working. That'll be my machine for doing taxes.

And I got through about 2/3 of the pile of papers to the left of the desk, turning up my (expired) passport, two uncashed checks, a renewal notice from AARP, some still-valid Office Max discount cards, ..., and some sore muscles in my left side from reaching back to throw stuff in the recycle bin.

In a separate search, I found a photostat of my birth certificate and the stub from my social security card. So that's good.

In other news, the move to Seattle is looking more and more feasible. Colleen spent several hours thinking about what books she wanted to keep, and searching for restaurants and museums. Naomi and I talked about housing options. Moving is going to be somewhat hellish, but we'll manage somehow.

I am encouraged by the fact that an albatross, metaphorically a dead weight hung around one's neck as a penance, is a beautiful and far-traveling seabird when it's alive.

And finally, Colleen made it through the entire day without using her scooter -- I think that's the first time in months.

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

So... I guess the main thing that happened yesterday was the idiocy with my pension, which you can read about in the previous post or in the notes, so I don't have to repeat it here. Which is just as well for my blood pressure; it's already too high. That started around 2pm; I spent the rest of the afternoon pretty much a basket case.

Maybe I'm a little bit fragile right now? Oh, right.

After having tried my monster 1600x1200 monitor on the desk, I decided to take home the 17" Samsung, which is now sitting comfortably atop the mac mini and its backup drive. Its first task will be running the application formerly known as TaxCut. Since I have no intention of running it on the Windows partition of my netbook, thank you very much. Not going there.

As for links, how about Out of Reach 2012: National Low Income Housing Coalition, wherein it is shown that there is *no place in the country* where one can afford rent on a minimum-wage job. Just what I needed to know right now.

OK, go look at S. J. Tucker's music videos. Much better.

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

A good walk yesterday, and one of my tech reports is nearly finished. Just one more section to go, and maybe a diagram. Good walking weather; maybe a little on the warm side.

After chasing down links to recordings of Wheelin' looking for a usable one, I realized that the one on the song page was ancient and awful. It's been replaced, now, with the one from Baycon 2010. I need to go back and do that for more of my songs.

Not to mention setting up a tip jar.

There are no more world-writable directories on my web host. They were left over from various CGI hacks on other hosts (all CGIs on Dreamhost run as me, so that's no longer a problem). I discovered yesterday that someone had put oddly-named php files into them (rsync -av tells me what's being deleted on the remote end).

I also put an rsync upload, and git push in some of the relevant web-related repos, into the script that runs every day when I'm logged in. Ought to write that up sometime.

I also had to do some scanning so I could mail PDFs to [personal profile] chaoswolf; I was delighted to find that xsane found the networked Epson Workforce 600 MFP on my desktop without any trouble. Go Linux!

A couple of good links at the bottom of the notes.

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

Pretty good week so far, actually. A lot of my mindspace early in the week was taken up by a River post on telling your friends what they need to hear, which replaced a previous post with, let's just say, more heat and much less light.

But I mostly kept up the momentum from the latter half of last week, and got quite a lot done. In particular, I managed to get some music-related work done every day, three walks and a drive with Colleen, and a lot of small but important tasks at work. Breaking things down into tiny steps really seems to work for me, and while there aren't all that many items here tagged with "15min", there probably should have been.

Sunday's drive was glorious. We reversed our usual route and drove up I280 to 92, then south along the coast via Highway 1 to Santa Cruz, and back by way of 17. This gave us a better view of the ocean than usual, and we saw a gorgeous effect that I'd never seen before -- bits of sunlight streaming through gaps in the clouds and making bright patches far out on the ocean, made more visible by the contrast. Just... wow.

I made chicken soup with rice for dinner. From scratch, using the chicken bones I'd saved from Saturday's broccoli chicken. Yum.

Monday I finally put two and two together and realized that the fact that my (AT&T) cell phone signal at work had gone from unusable to 100% and the fact that a group from Apple had moved in next door might possibly be related. Ya think?

Tuesday morning I had a nice conversation with the YD -- every once in a while she gets up early. Later that evening, I worked on the blackout code for steve.savitzky.net, lookingglassfolk.com, tempered-glass.info, tres-qique.com, and pocketpoems.net, using code from SopaBlackout.org. (I understand that PIPA won't be brought to a cloture vote today as previously scheduled. The net can kick ass sometimes.)

Wednesday I woke up remembering a dream mostly about plumbing. No idea what that signifies. Thursday I finally got printing back online for the netbooks and the YD's laptop. The latter also required booting from the "startup repair" partition and waiting for an hour or so while it cranked away, fixing what appeared to be a corrupt filesystem. Pretty slick, actually. F12. It would be nice if the boot screen actually mentioned that feature, though.

Note to self: make a restore disk first thing when configuring a new Windows machine.

I don't know whether batching up my daily updates like this is a good idea or not, but I do seem to have a little more time on days when I forget. I thought briefly of doing a "Wednesday Wrap-up", but I'd forgotten by the time I got home. They say your memory is the second thing to go.

I've forgotten the first.

Quite a few links, on a wide range of topics. I'm going to signal-boost [livejournal.com profile] moon_fox's Character Art Jam, in part because I left a prompt there (and a tip).

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

A pretty good day; I took a 3-mile walk (Los Gatos Creek trail), and made a tasty dinner (broccoli chicken). I also got an unexpected $6K refund from the mortgage impound, apparently because the bank once again failed to pay the earthquake insurance. I covered it with a credit card, IIRC, so that's where this particular windfall is headed.

On the way back from dropping Colleen off at FurCon, I stopped in at OSH and saw that they had iGo laptop chargers on sale for half off, so I got one. It'll stay in the living room where I keep Cygnus, so I'll be able to leave the original charger in the bag.

Since I started dinner with a whole (though cut-up) chicken, I now have two bags in the fridge for tonight: one of bones for soup, and one of skin, fat, and wings for frying to crispy goodness. *rubs hands gleefully*

I've gotten a lot of comments on my last couple of posts, not all of them favorable. In the future I will resist the temptation to comment in public about other people's posts, even when they close them to my direct comments.

I have also been contemplating stopping my daily "done yesterday" updates, as a way of giving myself a little more time in the mornings. I think I'll keep going for now, just because it's useful to be able to look back and try to see what happened. What do people think about that? Should I drop back to once or twice a week, perhaps?

A good link from +Mike Shaw on depression, shared on G+. On a much lighter note, also from G+, here's an animated version of "The Cat Came Back".

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

Not all that good a day; I spend my lunch hour on IM rather than out walking. Not sure what I can do about that. And a lot of my time and even more of my mindspace went down the rabbit-hole of a difficult but necessary post (trigger warning: domestic violence). Somebody has to say these things, even if C doesn't want to hear them.

I did, finally, track down the problem I've been having with printing. Apparently, CUPS gets confused if the print server's name is associated with in the hosts file, instead of with its actual IP address. Sheesh!

There are links under the cut. Most of them will be triggery.

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mdlbear: (river)

Um... right. You can tell it was a productive day from the small number of notes? Something like that.

Because, aside from not taking a walk due to working through lunchtime, it was a very productive day. I got a couple of overdue bills paid, practiced a couple of songs, blew through my JIRA task list at work, helped the coworker who's integrating audio into the client, and did some long-delayed web stuff in the evening.

I also spent the entire evening in the living room with Colleen working on Cygnus -- it's a real pleasure to have a netbook that has a full-sized keyboard with good (i.e., IBM-like) key feel.

I finally folded up at 11:30. DO NOT LIKE this "need to get more sleep" thing. I know, self-care and all that. It still sucks.

I don't know what it was about those two bills. They're from Kaiser, because my employer switched our plan from a from the HMO plan we've had since forever, to one that sends me two totally incomprehensible bills every month. And because I tend to put off anything that smells of paperwork. Which reminds me to get my W2 out of my bag.

Anyway, that's done.

I also don't know what it is about some of my coworkers. I mean, R is an experienced contractor, and can't be all that much younger than I am. But he's a Mac expert, uncomfortable with the command line, and shows an appalling ignorance of such Unix fundamentals as processes and PTYs. I've seen this before -- S back at my previous gig had similar problems.

I really don't like to think of myself as smarter than most people -- when you're one of a handful of researchers that doesn't have a PhD it's hard to hang on to that illusion -- but I probably do have a much broader range of experience than most. Starting in the days of vacuum tubes and Hollerith cards can do that, I guess.

One link, to Whose site is it anyway? | Files That Last. Worth a read if you have someone else maintaining your website; my employer ran afoul of this last year.

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

A quiet day. Not productive, but I had a very nice 3-mile walk, so that's ok. And went out for sushi -- I'd forgotten how expensive it is for four hungry people to have sushi, but it was well worth it. As always.

More on the "dumb bear" side, I rebooted the fileserver, forgetting that I'd moved DHCP to it after discovering that the router doesn't stay up very long in a power outage. Need to set up a secondary server somewhere. Or maybe move it to the WAP.

Ah, well. I now have another book recommendation to chase down: The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney. If that's not your thing, how about this "Gamer Girl Manifesto"?

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

LJ Release 88 is out, complete with sucky comment pages. There are nearly 5000 comments on the release announcement; it'll probably be over by the time I post this. Why they did this is just absolutely baffling. What, were they thinking? Yet another triumph of "design" over usability. Them and Gnome 3.

I tried installing the lxde desktop on Cygnus; it looks ok and is fast, but doesn't seem to have a network manager applet, so it's useless. It would work well on a hardwired, low-resource machine like one of the old Thinkpads, though. I'd already given up on xfce because, for all its flaws, I like my Gnome2 layout better.

A lot of the morning was spent at Kaiser, getting a new glasses prescription and an EKG. The optometrist also noticed that I have blepharitis in my left eye. Which I'd already noticed. Have to work on that.

I also mailed a package of holiday gifts, having given up trying to gift-wrap them in favor of getting them actually, you know, in the mail. I don't know what it is about gift-wrapping, but I always leave it for the last minute -- or beyond.

I also took a walk, and got a reasonable amount done at work. So... good.

In the links, Mexico's Mayan region launches apocalypse countdown. Tom Smith pointed out that there were Only 367 Shopping Days Left -- it would be 366, now. Happy apocalypse. Hmm. Maybe LJ is celebrating it a year early?

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

Moderately productive at work, though not so much at home. Some practice time, and no disasters.

No walk, either -- met Chaos, Colleen, and Justin at Mongolian Barbecue for lunch. Yummy.

Speaking of yummy, here are naamah_darling: I am a ginger slut (crystallized ginger and "ginger slut" cookies), and The traditional Christmas dinner in many parts of western Europe: Roast Goose.

Plenty of other good links; just go look. No wonder it wasn't a very productive day!

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mdlbear: (ubuntu-hello-cthulhu)

Gnomes ate my Sunday. Gnome 3, actually. Upgrading my old netbook to Ubuntu 11.04 had gone so well that I fooishly told Colleen that I'd upgrade hers "Sunday morning before [she] gets up." Yeah, right. There were three big flaws in this:

  • Colleen's netbook is a Dell mini-10; Kat's is a mini-10v. Different video. It didn't correctly identify the screen size.
  • So, based on the fact that Kat loved the shiny new Gnome 3 UI, I went ahead and upgraded to 11.10, and left it happily loading away while we went to brunch at El Torito (one of Kat's faves). When we got back I discovered that Colleen hated Gnome 3, and it still didn't recognize the screen size.
  • After restoring gnome-panel for the old Gnome 2 UI, that's when I found out that the new mail program, Thunderbird, didn't automatically migrate her email from evolution. And that evolution, which was still around, crashed on startup.

So I dropped back to 11.04 which at least had a more familiar configuration (but still had the problem of evolution crashing), and did some frantic googling to find out how to install the proper video driver and which index files to blow away so that evolution could recreate them with the proper format. And, along the way, how to configure gnome-panel in Gnome 3 (which turns out to require alt-right-click to bring up the menus, instead of right-click). :P

Then I went to bed, because it was 11:30pm.

Much of the afternoon was taken up by a shopping trip with the Wolfling, mostly to REI (luggage and camping gear) and AT&T (getting her phone, which hasn't been charging properly, looked at). Also Fry's and Office Max, but they didn't have what I was looking for there. It was a lot of fun, though. We ended up getting Kat an REI membership of her own, to take advantage of the additional 30% discount (on one REI-logo item per member).

Despite the frustrations it was a pretty good day, and I greatly enjoyed having the whole family together. We're a weird bunch, and I like that.

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

Pretty good day. I've been trying to be more consistent about taking Cygnus (my netbook) to work; this is especially useful on days when I have meetings, since both of my work lappies are ancient and have crummy battery life. I noticed that all the blue function labels on the keys on Cygnus appear to be recognized by Ubuntu, which is cool.

On the down side, I opened my bag before the first meeting to find Cygnus happily cooking itself to death. No harm done, apparently, but obviously I count on closing the lid to suspend with 100% reliability.

Links? Go read Four Difficult Questions Regarding Bullying and Youth Suicide.

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

Another calm but unproductive day, I'm afraid. A fair amount of puttering around the house. I finally tracked down the WiFi dropouts on Cygnus to incompatibility between 802.11N and G -- mixed networks basically don't work. So I turned off N on the WAP, and everything's cool now.

I also re-strung one of the living room ethernet cables with Cat-5e, enabling a gigabit hardwired (almost typed hardweird) connection. SPEED! I love it.

Went for a drive with Colleen, all the way down to Gilroy. Picked up dinner from Famous Dave's BBQ, which has been recommended. For good reason -- it was excellent. Still is; we had a lot of leftovers because we couldn't wake up the YD. Her sleep schedule has been pretty weird lately.

Just realized I forgot to post a Songs for Saturday yesterday. Here's one: Cat Faber's "Axial Tilt" (the real reason for the season).

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

So... yesterday was Black Friday, which we observed by staying home, eating leftovers, and going out for a nice st/roll.

The battery pack in Colleen's scooter seems to be dying. We bought it less than a year ago, but OTOH we got it from a local store, so there's really no telling what its history is.

Cygnus, the new netbook, continues to be a pleasure to use, though it also shows signs of instability, and the WiFi connection seemed to be distinctly weird. Rebooting the WAP may have fixed it. Or I could try turning off 802.11n, which I know we were having trouble with back at EWS.

I still need to string new ethernet cable to the living room; right now it's CAT-5, and with Cygnus running Gigabit, that just won't cut it.

I've noticed that I seem to have trouble telling when the person I'm conversing with is done talking. It may even have gotten worse recently; I'm going to have to work on that.

Still very worried about my friends up north. Very worried.

Some links. This is disturbing: Senators Demand the Military Lock Up American Citizens in a “Battlefield” They Define as Being Right Outside Your Window » ACLU blog.

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

Probably not such a good day, on the whole. My new netbook, Cygnus, arrived, which pretty much blew the afternoon. It took four or five reboots to get through all the Windows upgrades. When I got home I installed Ubuntu 11.04, which went smooth as glass up until the end. It took an additional two installs to figure out that (1) you have to be careful about how you install grub and (2) the proprietary video driver is buggy.

The fan stays on all the time, which is annoying, but it's not really noticable from a normal working distance. At least to me, but I already know my hearing is deteriorating. And Windows 7 may be the best one so far, but it's still Windows, and I still hate click-to-type. On the plus side, it's a dream to type on compared to the Dell, and all the hardware Just Works in Ubuntu.

I had a serious adrenaline spike about 25 minutes after reading [livejournal.com profile] pocketnaomi's post about what happened Monday night. It's often difficult for me to figure out what causes a spike like that; this seemed pretty straightforward. Although, from the timing, it could have been excitement at Cygnus's arrival.

I made an appointment to see my doctor about the neuropathy.

Some good links in the notes, and one bad one -- don't click over to Naomi's post unless you can handle a detailed description of domestic violence. Sorry about that.

I really want to shake [livejournal.com profile] cflute and ask "What in hell are you and what have you done with my friend?"

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

It rained most of the day; I stayed home and puttered. Lox and bagels for lunch; we had a bag frozen in the fridge, and Colleen had bought cream cheese, so I didn't have to go out. I made chicken quesadillas for dinner.

Notable bits of puttering included transferring Colleen's scooter supplies to the Swissgear bag, which makes them much easier to keep organized and to get at, moving the DHCP server, and dusting off Sherman (the Thinkpad T21) so Colleen can use it for her embroidery program and some ancient games. Sherman was so named by [personal profile] pocketnaomi, who borrowed him for a couple of years.

Quite a few good links. "osewalrus: Citizen Pushback Against SOPA Is Working!" is pretty encouraging. And How To Be Alone (YouTube) is beautiful and possibly healing.

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mdlbear: (g15-meters)

Power is one of those things you don't think of much unless you're paying the bill or it suddenly isn't there. There was a power outage Friday evening, and we learned a couple of things.

The outage only lasted an hour, and the fileserver and network switch (which are on the same UPS) could easily have gone on another hour. The odd thing is that the gateway subnet (my Linux router and the UVerse "cable" router), on an identical UPS with basically the same steady-state power draw (around 25W) shut itself down after only 26 minutes.

It's pretty clear that the UVerse router is the culprit; it draws at least an extra 9W or so when there's data flowing, and sometimes as much as 20. My hunch is that it wastes a lot of power trying to reconnect to its satellite set-top boxes. Stupid.

There's not much I can do about that, except to move the DHCP server from the gateway to the fileserver, so that people with laptops can keep on working. That's basically me, since Colleen uses her netbook mostly for web browsing.

I moved DHCP this morning, with no obvious problems so far.

We also learned that it's really hard to find a bag of candles after the lights go out. Yes, we had flashlights, but those only work if what you're looking for is reasonably close to the last place anyone remembers putting it. It wasn't.

mdlbear: Franklin on the $100 bill wearing Guy Fawkes mask (transfer-me)

Hmm. I think it was a pretty good day, but mostly I kept busy and didn't notice. Which I guess makes it a very good day, in some sense. I did some chord and singing practice, recorded The Owl and the Pussycat with two microphones (the ribbon may have a slight edge, but it's really hard for me to tell -- I'll have to get someone with younger ears to help), and did a lot of work toward revamping the Makefile that builds practice, concert and album web pages.

On the other hand, I wasn't feeling all that well in the afternoon, so I opted out of the local housefilk to stay home, make dinner for Colleen, and keep hacking. And it started raining just as I was leaving for a walk. Which I wasn't feeling up to in any case.

And on the gripping hand, I did manage to post Songs for Saturday, and made two icons (for trainwreck and Bank Transfer Day).

On the fourth hand, somewhat down on myself for not starting set-up early enough to actually transfer money on the day. Which is minor in itself, but triggers a long chain of associations with other things I didn't do in time.

So... mixed, I guess.

This Bank Transfer Day poster is particularly good, and as you can see I made an icon out of it.

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

Felt like a pretty good day -- it was perfect weather for walking, and I actually made use of it. There's a nice little trail along Stevens Creek, which I walked a bit of. I got lucky; it apparently started raining sometime in the afternoon.

And I made a phone call to make an appointment. That's two this week so far. Of course, there are lots more phone calls I need to make.

I finally Read The Find Manual on shorewall, and found the incantation I needed to make inbound port forwarding work. So now I can ssh directly to the fileserver. Am now looking into locking it down more. Not hard; the simplest way is just to set up a server running as an unprivileged user on a different port.

Elevating the head of the bed still seems to be working on reflux: I woke up with my throat dry and a little scratchy, but not filled with mucus the way it often is.

Lots of links this time. I particularly recommend these Soviet technical magazine covers from the 1050s (courtesy of solarbird), and The Benjamin Franklin Effect (the power of cognitive dissonance) by way of naamah_darling. There's a longish quote in the notes that seems particularly applicable to me.

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

Good day, good party. More people than I was afraid would show up, including (former coworker) Jake. The folks at EWS are working all weekend trying to get their release out; I sang The Mushroom Song for him. He bought a CD :). I may need to package up some more of the Limited Edition; if people are going to insist on paying $20 for a $15 CD, I have to have something extra to sell them.

I made two pots of chili for dinner, since the amount of ground beef Colleen had purchased didn't fit in one pot. The larger pot was a straightforward batch of Caroll Shelby's chili kit -- ~5 lbs of meat with onions, red wine, and a little extra cumin, ancho chili, and Penzey's Chili 3000. The smaller pot had ~2.5 lbs of meat, 5 Serano peppers sliced into little circles and sauteed with the onions, the aforementioned spices in larger quantity, and cider vinegar as well as the wine (2-buck Chuck, of course). Both came out yummy. Some left over, of course; one partly-filled 1-quart ziplock bag of each.

I was out in the living room and social for a fair amount of time (including two bouts of singing), and had conversations in both the office and the kitchen. In between, I worked on configuring Nagios for monitoring the Starport's network infrastructure. Took me a while to figure out whether I wanted to do it as a separate git repo (which I could then pull from for updates), or put just the changes into a subtree of starport/Config and install with make and rsync. I eventually settled on the latter, because that's what I'm doing with all my other config files. This also lets me install things differently on different systems.

Only one link, to Irregular Webcomic! #3198, which marks the end of an era.

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

My attempt at CARE's Live Below The Line -- eating for $1.50/person -- was something of a failure yesterday: they served pizza at work after the all-hands meeting, and dinner was the crock-pot pot roast that wasn't ready in time for dinner Sunday. (Though when I ran the numbers on the pot roast it came out to about $1/serving, and I had $.50 worth of cottage cheese in the morning, so what I actually spent was $1.50... :)

I'll do better today. I miss my coffee.

I did more work on the netbook, deleting its now-useless recovery partition (1.4GB!), and quite a bit of music work in the evening. That included the last bits of editing from last month's rehearsal, and working out the chords on one song. As of now there's only one song that needs any formatting work at all.

One of the things that happened at yesterday's all-hands meeting was getting a patent bonus, for US Patent #8,006,094. Trustworthy timestamps and certifiable clocks using logs linked by cryptographic hashes. This is number 23.

It doesn't mean I'm in favor of software patents. Far from it.

A couple of interesting links. Take a look at the charts in "It's the Inequality, Stupid". And on a lighter note, Zombies: The Safer Terrorists.

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

Most of the day -- a lot more than I wanted to spend -- was taken up by upgrading my netbook. I repartitioned it to give it separate root and home partitions. The new home/old root partition stayed bootable, which was a Good Thing, because I had trouble with Debian. The 3GB partition I set up was too small for a full desktop install, so I had to redo it with just a basic X system plus gnome. The other problem was finding the firmware for the stupid Broadcom wifi -- that turned out to be in firmware-b43-lpphy-installer.

Meanwhile, I tried installing the latest Ubuntu. It offered to upgrade the existing install, so I let it. Bletch. Even their alleged "classic" look is thoroughly wretched -- it looks like Gnome, but you can't add launchers to the panel! Esr's right -- they've jumped the shark.

Anyway, I finally have a usable Debian, so I'll happily delete Ubuntu and free up a whole lot of space. I'm sad about Ubuntu -- they've always given me a smooth install experience, recognizing all my devices out of the box. But their new UI is so dumbed-down as to be unusable.

I also rode my bike downtown to City Hall to spend some more time with Occupy San Jose. It's 2.9 miles each way, according to Google Maps, which also found me a nice safe route. Wish I'd known about that while I worked near the airport. (For reference, it's via Park Avenue, which has bike lanes on both sides of the railroad underpass.) I'm seriously out of shape -- between not walking much and not having gotten on my bike in nearly a year, it was an effort getting home.

So, all-in-all not too bad of a day, though there are as usual too many things left undone. I really wanted to have done more music, for example. But there it is.

Not many links, but Millions Withdrawn from Bank of America and Wells Fargo is encouraging. (A couple of local churches moved $4M into a credit union.)

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

Another weekend day with what felt like very little done, though on reflection I actually did some things. I need to prioritize better, I suppose, given that I'm never going to have time for everything I want or even need to do.

Things that did get done include setting up the gateway to boot from its USB stick, getting bagels and cream cheese for lunch (the lox was the second half of the package Colleen bought at Costco the week before last), and another 3-mile walk on the Los Gatos Creek trail.

I'm pretty happy with the USB stick (which is actually an 8GB micro-SD card) -- it saves a couple of watts over the old laptop drive, and should be more reliable. Some additional work will be needed to get around the fact that it no longer includes a mirror of my websites and audio -- those will have to be reverse-proxied from the fileserver.

Oh, and a little work on chording and scripting for Tempered Glass material.

Anyway... I guess it was ok. Links, as usual, below in the notes.

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

A good day. Pretty good? No, good. The YD actually came downstairs and asked to play a game of chess with me! That's huge -- she claims the last time we played was a decade ago. She's probably right.

I also took a walk -- the usual 3 miles along Los Gatos Creek. Afterwards I went shopping, and had a nice talk with the girl at checkout while waiting for them to turn up one of the items I wanted to purchase. That was a 32GB keychain drive for $40, which is about half the going price.

To whoever left a candid anonymous comment on yesterday's "Done Yesterday" post, THANK YOU very much. About what I expected. It's worth noting that the UBF is now kept out of the house by court order, so that one is taken care of. As for the other disgusting creatures, I'm thinking of Planet Orange or Clark, though I'll take suggestions. We've made a lot of progress on our own over the last six months.

I also took the problematic laptop drive out of the gateway and replaced it with an 8GB microSD card in a keychain drive. Saves a couple of watts -- I'm not complaining. It seems to be pretty slow, at least on boot-up. A SATA flash drive would be a lot faster, but they're still pricy and I don't need the capacity right now. Maybe not ever.

Down in the notes you'll find some links about the dark side of Steve Jobs' legacy; there are paragraph-long quotes if you're not sure you want to click through.

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

Kind of a mixed couple of days -- a memorial service and a post that gets me all teary-eyed can do that. So can a defunct disk drive. On the other hand, I have a final determination on my current job title: Sr. Software Architect.

"Architect" makes me happy and comfortable, both because I consider programming to be one of the Useful Arts, like architecture, rather than an engineering discipline like civil engineering or a scientific ones like physics or materials science. Also, because I'm not really all that good a programmer anymore. I don't think I ever was. Sure, I can get programs written, but lots of other people are faster and more accurate at it. What I'm really good at, IMNSHO, is designing software systems in the first place, stringing existing programs together Unix-fashion with scripts and makefiles, and debugging (especially debugging other people's code).

The memorial service? Paul Metz ([personal profile] kshandra says it better than I could). The article that made me tear up? DEAR SUGAR, The Rumpus Advice Column #44: How You Get Unstuck.

As an experiment, I'm putting the notes at the bottom so that if you follow a link directly to the post, you won't have them at the top of the page. Let me know what you think of that.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A fairly busy day at work, installing virtualization software. VMware doesn't have a free player for the Mac, so I went with virtualbox there. And I took a good walk: McClellan, Stelling, Stevens Creek, and Bubb Road; not quite 3 miles.

I went to Whole Paycheck on the way home; they didn't have much in the way of fish, so I settled for sausage instead: 4 mild Italian, and 2 habanero/green chili. The latter were bright, but not excessively so. Colleen and I had one of each type, saving the two remaining Italians for the YD.

The net connection crapped out a little before midnight (although the TV stayed on), and after determining that I could ping AT&T's gateway but nothing beyond it, I spent 45 minutes on hold listening to their stupid ad loop only to be told by the tech that there was a massive outage in California, and that tech support was experiencing unusually high call volumes. Ya think?

I'm afraid I wasn't too polite, though not actually abusive, when I suggested that they could have changed the on-hold message to say something about the problem. Idiots!

The gateway and my router probably needed rebooting anyway.

I should mention that it's Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. I'll have a post on mine sometime soon. Other links, as usual, in the notes.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A good day. About a three-mile walk, a patent issued, and the router upgraded and configured. A fair amount of other puttering. A new icon, by meeks, and a new River post to show it off with.

On the dark side, it was my first walk in over a week, a software patent, and only my third River posts this year. (Though there's been River content in quite a few "done yesterday" posts, it's not the same.)

A few links in the notes. I ought to join Diaspora at some point.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Hmm. I finished packing my cube, went to a going-away lunch, and posted my last weekly status report. Mostly, that was a pointer to my "When I Go" page, which I will link to here after it gets a bit more editing. (The title was, of course, chosen purely as an excuse to embed the obvious video.)

I also got the dhcp server running on my upgraded router; I think that leaves only DNS to configure before I can switch over and get rid of the power-hogging, ancient 3.5" hard drive.

The Pegasus Awards Ballot for this year is out in the wild. I'm not on it, so in view of my ravaged travel budget I think I'll skip OVFF this year.

A couple of food blogs in the links: Veganomics 101 | Nifty, Thrifty, and Vegan (run by the girlfriend of a friend of a friend), and Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, which I found via a link to warm brown rice and grilled vegetables salad, which despite the title is mostly about the perils of blogging-while-female. Which is despicable.

Over on twitter, I observed that "@ssavitzky: Now that I think of it, G+ does sound like the grade below F-, doesn't it?"

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day. I put in an hour's worth of work on the router upgrade (and made good progress), then headed North to the Menlo Park office to triage the stuff I'd abandoned there in advance of the last move. On the way I stopped at the Cupertino building to looked at the new offices there. It turned out that they hadn't selected one for me, and I was the first to show up, so I got my pick. I picked the one with a huge U-shaped desk -- it'll be the first time in decades I've been able to have my monitor facing away from the door.

Whether there's going to be room for all my stuff is another question. I have 10 boxes worth in my cube. Fortunately I was only able to find one box worth of stuff up in Menlo, the rest can be recycled or put up for grabs. Go me!

I left a little before 3pm for a dentist appointment. No problems -- which has been pretty typical for the last few years, but it's a major and comparatively recent improvement. Part of that, no doubt, is that first item up in the notes -- writing it every morning is a powerful reminder.

On the way back I stopped at Office Max for a new box of Pilot G2 pens (I got blue this time). I hardly ever actually use them up; they just mysteriously disappear.

Just down the block in the same strip mall as Office Max is a Whole Paycheck, and the YD had an evening class, which meant that I was cooking dinner. Coho salmon and asparagus. I pan-fried the salmon with butter, pepper, and lemon juice. Yum.

I crashed around 11pm. I really hate having to go to bed before midnight, but I seem to need the sleep. Grumble.

Only one link in the notes; nothing very exciting -- that's mainly because I went up to Menlo without my netbook. Silly bear. But a good day.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Mixed. Very mixed. Tasty food at the Baycon staff barbecue, but we also had word that a family friend had died on Saturday (now confirmed as a suicide). As far as I'm concerned this whole damned year can go back where it came from and start over.

Much of the rest of my mindspace was taken up with upgrading the router/firewall to Squeeze; this is in combination with ditching the old 3.5" hard drive and moving everything to a 500GB laptop drive. It's not all done, because of course it has to be worked on when everyone else is asleep, and I've been oversleeping myself lately.

No walk, either.

Ok, so mostly not a good day.

Links, as usual. I probably need to re-read Be Gentle With Yourself, don't I?

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Not a bad day. I took a 3-mile walk (second one this week), and went to the Ford dealership to point out that their bill was about $80 more than the estimate I had authorized. I was pleasantly surprised to have my service advisor immediately set about arranging for a refund. I had almost chickened out. Nice.

A lot of puttering, including 3 bags of recycling, a trip to the bank, some music work, and some furniture setup in the office. OK, the phrase "re-arranging the deck chairs" comes to mind, but I did want to set up a monitor and keyboard next to the rack for working on the router.

I also signed up on PG&E's website so I could look at my smart meter readings. They lag by at least a day, unfortunately, so no real-time updates. *sigh*

Oh, and that monitor? In spite of being an LCD, it gobbles about 30W. At first I thought the power brick was consuming half of that, but apparently not (according to the meter I just hooked up to it); that was just an artifact of trying use the UPS as a power meter.

There are links, as usual. If you're suffering from limited mobility, check out Four Walls No Limits - For The Bedbound, Homebound, And Anybody Else Stuck In One Place by the amazing [personal profile] rb.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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Hmm. Not a bad day, with a two mile walk and a little music practice, though the van needing major service and new tires did put a slight damper on things. The pain was noticably less, but I noticed some "muting"; much the same audio effect as walking around in a fog.

The fog doesn't seem to have affected the programming part of my brain much; I was actually more productive at work than I have been in about a week. Pain is a major distraction, apparently, even when it's not the only thing I can think about.

The UBF's severe back trouble, dating back to an fall at work, is apparently an act. He couldn't help load his boxes into the van, but had no trouble unloading in Simi Valley. Fascinating.

Moving the new switch evened out the load on the UPSs nicely; there's still some additional power consumption on the router side that I'd like to get rid of, though. That will require moving off the old 3.5" hard drive, and is probably best combined with an OS upgrade. So... when I have the time? Oh. Right.

Did I mention that Colleen had her cast taken off Monday? Her arm is still sore, and her fingers are pretty weak, but she can actually use her dominant hand now. Happy cat. Happy bear, for that matter. She can do a lot more for herself now.

A few links up in the notes.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
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A pretty good day. I took off work early to see my doctor, who identified my head/neck/shoulder pain as all coming from the right trapezius muscle. I have no idea how I did that. He said I'm doing all the right things, and scheduled me for a PT appointment Tuesday morning. While I was there I took a walk all the way around the building complex, a little under a mile, and stopped in at the other Kaiser building to make a couple of other appointments.

On the way home I stopped at Central Computing, where I got a Logitech Anywhere mouse -- it works just as I'd hoped, with the menu button under the scroll wheel serving as the middle mouse button. Yay! I have a 3-button mouse again!

They also had the TP Link gigabit switch I've had my eye on. Unfortunately, it eats more power than the TrendNet it replaces, which makes me grumpy. It's compensated by the fact that it also replaces the 5-port gigabit switch, but...

My plan is to move the WAP back into the rack and use its switch for the DSL modem, router, and fileserver, moving the 16-port switch to the fileserver's UPS. That will rebalance the load on the two UPSs.

A nice lunchtime conversation with Naomi and Ame. That exercise stretches my mind in interesting directions; Naomi's always been good at prodding me gently outside my comfort zone.

There are links in the notes, as usual; one whole block is about "the art of grieving", inspired by a comment I made on haikujaguar's latest installment of Black Blossom:

I must respectfully disagree with the Calligrapher -- there may be no art in tears, but there is art to be made of them, and grieving can be as much an art in its own right as loving can.

And the grieving have, I think, more need of art than the joyful. They have farther to go.

Nevertheless, I'm doing ok at the moment. Time and Good Drugs work wonders. Or at least second-rate tourist attractions.

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