Friday, January 29, 2010

computer changeover coming

It's always a stressful thing to contemplate, but Ben convinced me that his old desktop (which he never uses since he migrated to a small, very powerful laptop) is a better computer than my main development machine, which has been loyally running daily for about 4 years.

More memory, faster processor, better video, etc. I haven't had any problems with my current, very reliable Dell, but moving to a freshly-rebuilt, totally clean PC is too good to pass up.

There were some hurdles to eliminating the few issues with his machine, to wit:

1) It had a very noisy fan, but Ben found a free utility called SpeedFan, that monitors CPU heat and adjusts the fan level accordingly. Most of the time, it's now a whisper, occasionally rising to the level of a murmer.

2) The PC would not wake from Hibernation. I use Hibernate all the time, so this was a problem. He updated drivers on all peripherals and finally ended up flashing the BIOS on the motherboard - problem solved!

3) The built-in Ethernet port was flaky (i.e. not working). Ben said that the guy he bought the unit from admitted this from the start, so he's been using a USB WiFi connector with it. Yesterday, I made a pilgrimage to FreeGeek, and bought a PCI Ethernet card for $5. I popped it in the morning, plugged it directly into my router, and, voila, I am in business.

Now comes the onerous task of moving all my files and applications over, but I just might take the next big step (I've already installed and tested my super-critical apps), to unplug my old computer, plug in the new one, and, little by little, get all my files and apps moved over.

It's a little scary.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

making progress at ben's new house

Been here since 8:00 am, doing a variety of chores including:

Figuring out why the garbage disposal wasn't working
Fixing a gate latch
Setting up the dining room
Cleaning and applying a coat of finish to the kitchen and bathroom floors
Sweeping a ton of sheet-rock dust in the garage room
Mopping the garage floor
Setting up the WiFi router, after the DSL guys arrived (more about that, if I want to go into the gory details)
Testing out the WiFi in various rooms in the house - it works!

Doesn't sound like a lot, but it's been a busy time, and now I'm about ready to finish the clean-up, then take the carpet we bought from a craigslist dog-owner, to get it clean and deodorized.

Somewhere in the house is the stylus for my phone, which I must have put down and walked away. That would be nice to find before I leave. There's always something.

All we need now is a refrigerator, and the place is ready to have him move in.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

turning a tree into building materials

Here is our diseased Port Orford cedar, which has been slowly dying for a couple of years.We had a tree guy take it down in 9 foot sections. It took him over two months, due to weather and flakiness. He finally finished the major work last Saturday (although there is still a big brush pile, which he's supposed to clean up this afternoon - we'll see).

So, we are envisioning a structure to be built over our slowly-being-restored backyard well, and, since we now have some pretty big chunks of cedar, it made sense to get it milled. Karen found a local guy on craigslist, who has a portable mill.

Justin arrived on time this morning, got his monster set up, and we rolled the logs over to the staging area.

He's a real artist, constantly making measurements. Our goal was to get six 6x6's, a bunch of 4x4's, and whatever else could be created.

Halfway done, and the pile of finished lumber is growing. Zacky was enjoying the view and sounds (not to mention the pungent cedar smell permeating the yard).

And here's the finished pile. Beautiful 6x6's, 4x4's, a bunch of 2x4's, and assorted other pieces. Total cost of transforming all those logs: $115

Pretty amazing. Don't forget to call Justin for all your wood-milling needs!

Friday, January 22, 2010

a headline that made me do a double-take

On Buzzflash this morning, I scanned this headline and then had to re-read it:

Air America Will Cease Operations, Liquidate Holdings

When I first read it, I missed the word 'Air'. I thought it was a case where the American Empire had just formally crumbled, after yesterday's Supreme Court ruling.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

as if the 2000 coup was not bad enough

There appears to be a growing nasty smell about Ohio 2004.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Big Brother meets Amazing Effeciency

We ran thru Ikea last weekend, grabbing a bunch of things for Ben's new house. Naturally, once the dust settled, there were a couple of items that we didn't really need, so they had to be returned.

No problem, since Ikea's return policy is quite liberal, as long as you have the receipt, which we did.

HOWEVER, scrutinizing the receipt at home, we noticed that the checker had mistakenly rung up one ($22) item twice, and I was wondering if they would just take my word that we had indeed only purchased one dish set, especially since I was returning that set.

'No problem', says the returns person, who saw the date/time of our purchase on the receipt. "Who were you with and what were you wearing?" I answered as best I could, she made a phone call, and, a couple of minutes later, got a call back authorizing the credit for the mistake.

This means they have archived video of every purchase, in every checkout line, and can quickly go to the video of us and the items we unloaded on the belt, and verify that what we claim is true.

Now isn't that amazing?

Monday, January 11, 2010

for the record: it was NOT a one-way ticket

Spread the word. The meme got planted in the public consciousness by a couple of media outlets, and reinforced by Rush, et al to the point where it's now accepted truth.

Makes you wonder what else you believe that just ain't so??

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

the world turned upside down

Watch the linked BBC video, and let me know what you think.

Then refresh your memory about Emmanuel Goldstein, the public face of Evil in '1984'.

It seems altogether possible that 'Al Queda', that started out as a necesary component of BushCo's 'perception management', has become a self-fulfilling reality.

This is not to say that there are no Bad Guys, and overlooks the entire issue of Why They Hate Us.

Monday, January 04, 2010

headline: Miami shivers from coldest weather in decade


If they think they have problems now, just wait until Sea Level rises a few meters over the next century. Honestly, I remember chugging out of Miami on a cruise ship a couple of years ago, and looking back at the Miami skyline, and wondering two things:
  1. How odd will it be for future people to go sailing around those abandoned skyscrapers?
  2. How much am I personally contributing to the problem by flying to Florida to cruise around for a week, in a big circle?
Our modern world is so damn unsustainable, and we collectively spent a billion dollars on Avatar, over the past couple of weeks. Gotta stay entertained!


OK, we gave in to the hype and saw it, in 3D, at a nearby filled-to-capacity (both the theater and the parking lots) multiplex.

Aside from the fact that it's basically Cowboys-vs.-Indians, wow.

Several scenes give new meaning to the phrase 'over the top'. You know that you WILL see it eventually, so you might as well give in soon.

I think Roger Ebert's comment, likening it to the first 'Star Wars' impact, is right on. Something new has happened to film technology.

We had tried to get in New Years Eve, but it was sold out, so we saw the new 'Sherlock Holmes' movie instead. It was, in it's own way, also over the top. I'd give it a B+, only because it was so much more CGI-whiz-bang than Conan-Doyle deductive reasoning.

This is a big week - we are to close on the house for Ben tomorrow, which means, among other things, that we will not only be driving to NE Portland a lot over the next couple of months, but also, by March, we should reclaim our basement space that he 'temporarily' occupied last August.

Now for some coffee and maybe even a little work.

Friday, January 01, 2010

'democrats join call for Napolitano resignation'

I see this headline in 'google news'.

Will someone explain to me how the failure of airport people in Amsterdam to keep the guy off the plane is Napolitano's fault?