WEEK 10 2008

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Saturday 8 March 2008

aturday - I did a bit of garage sale searching, with friends. I didn't really end up with much but it was fun. I saw a carpet, but it was a fairly deep green - a bit dark for a small room. But I may go back on Sunday and see if it's still there. Also a desk, though again, it wouldn't be my first choice, being primarily faux wrought iron with wooden writing surfaces. But then this room is just a place to hang my hat for a few months, not a home.

I'm on the Linux box. I was going to start up the desktop Windows box when I arrived home on Friday, but decided to try a weekend without Windows. So far, so good. This is KompoZer again.

Plus the Windows box overheats easily. I suspect the heat sink has come loose from the CPU, but have been too lazy to go look. As long as I am just web surfing or emailing the temperature stays under control. Try to run an anti-virus scan or do some video editing and it overheats.

My friends 14 year old asked if it would be possible to put Linux on one of his old desktops. It's something like a 600MHz P3, with about a 10GB disk - he has much newer laptop and desktop systems. It should be easy. I was surprised, but he's computer literate - he used to have an old Redhat 9 laptop that I gave him. Also numberless Xbox's, Play Stations and all that embedded gaming gear. In many ways he is more conversant with the cutting edge of computer stuff than I am.

His parents asked it it was possible to upgrade their TIVO's hard drive. I think I've seen links about that, on line, and it's doable. I'll have to check.

Friday 7 March 2008

Friday - just a half day, since the county had the day off. It was a nice day, but the channel was a bit brutal - rock and cobbles, rough dry river bottom stuff. And me without my good boots. The weather was decent, although I didn't have my good straw hat either.

Listened to Chernow on Alexander Hamilton on the way home. He explained that both Jefferson and Adams were of the agrarian persuasion, and considered banks - and bankers - evil thieves. Thus begins one of the reasons for their distrust of Hamilton. Jefferson, along with Madison (both southern planters chronically in debt to bankers) were willing to agree to the assumption of state debts in return for a Potomac (southern) site for the Federal City, which is now called Washington, D.C.. But with the brouhaha over the First Bank of the United States the north/south federalist/republican split became obvious.

Hamilton was probably right in what was needful. But the founding of the First Bank of the US, and Hamilton's interpretation of the 'necessary and sufficient' clause has led to a great deal of power for the U.S. government that isn't actually spelled out in the Constitution, just as Adams and Jefferson feared.

You wouldn't think banking and finance would be interesting, but the story of the first truly American speculative bubble - that being shares in Hamilton's First Bank of the United States - was riveting. And entertaining - poor Hamilton was horrified by it. He was trying to project a staid conservative banker image, and his major triumph as treasury secretay starts 'Script Mania'.

Perhaps some of Hamilton's statements about the value of contracts, and the value of holding to them, apply to todays subprime mortgage debtors.

Thursday 6 March  2008

Thursday - keeping busy. After work we had a meeting yesterday, and tonight another. The days get a big long after a while.

And it was an annoying day. I woke up late. Spilled coffee on myself. Discovered that the brand new inverter for the car doesn't work. Somehow deleted all the GPS points for the entire day. Jeez.

The new place is working out OK though. I've a dresser, a closet, a bed. I need a little desk for a TV and maybe the laptop. A chair, and a clothes hamper. A little bookshelf, perhaps. A carpet of some sort. A toaster. Maybe a one-cup coffee maker, though instant coffee is quicker and less messy. Mostly I just sleep there, so it needn't be fancy. The owner says that, if I can find a place for it, the kayak can be stored there. It's a two seater and takes up a LOT of deck room on the Nor'sea, so I'll probably take him up on that.

Wednesday 5 March 2008

Wednesday - another long day. Seen in the channel:

raccoon paw prints?

My father tells me that he's finished the sequel to Pillars of The Earth, World Without End, by Ken Follett. He says it was excellent. Also that it was 36 CD's!

Tuesday 4 March 2008

Tuesday - back at work. A long day, then we spent some time going over data later. Trying to get organized at the new place.

 Monday 3 March 2008

Monday - push comes to shove, and it's tax time again. It worked out OK, but it was close. I can deduct some medical stuff and SEP contributions (my tax lady says) and that's all that keeps me from paying the man. Ugh. I need more deductions...

Then down to Ventura and a move into a new place. It's a room in a house - time to move off my friends' couch. So far it seems pretty quiet.

Another Hamilton tape done. Lot's of stuff on Assumption, and the famous dinner with Madison and Jefferson.

Sunday 2 March 2008

Sunday - haircut day. Getting a bit shaggy. Got in under the wire at the haircut place this morning - they were going to do some training and were technically closed, but being that it was a return customer and my default haircut is one step above a buzz cut they let me in. Even did my ear hairs ;-) I left them a big tip.

I also tried to buy some groceries but the power in the store went out. Tried to buy gas - power in the station was out. Tried to get money from the ATM and, well, you get the picture. Went home and all the UPS were beeping incessantly. I never hooked up the control software or cables for them so I couldn't log into them to turn off the beeps. Very annoying.

So, when a friend of a friend called up with computer problems I headed over to do my magic. Internet connectivity problems.

First I checked that the phone was working - it was a DSL setup. This took a few minutes, they didn't have a non-mobile handset about so we had to move the wireless base station to the jack in the study where the computer was. It turned out OK, we had a dial tone (That doesn't prove that the DSL signal is going through, but it's the best way I know to check that something is going through). So I then tried checking the modem/router - pinged it from a terminal window and got a reasonable response. I tried logging in via and got to the login screen - but no-one knew the passwords.

So I tried the default fix: turn everything off, including the modem, then turn it on. That fixed it. They should all be that easy.

Then we went out for lunch, at the Texas Cattle Company.

Returning home, mid afternoon, the power was back on.

I watched Kill Bill #1 and Kill Bill #2 this weekend, on the television. Silly really.

I also finished off Book #9, The Clan Corporate by Charles Stross. This is the third in a series, those being this years Book #1 The Family Trade and Book #2 The Hidden Family being the earlier books. The first two weren't great Sci-Fi, but were OK. Book three falters a bit, even from that modest level. Our heroine doesn't actually do anything, except get herself beat up, blackmailed, blacklisted and almost married off against her will to a royal scion labeled 'The Idiot'.

It's irksome when an author has to make the protagonist do things that he/she wouldn't normally do, in order to advance the plot. (Change the plot instead!) In this case an obstinacy bordering on the pathological, and a refusal to even think about how another culture might view things - completely at odds with the first two books in which our heroine manages things pretty well. And of course the portrayal of the NSA and U.S. military as blundering violent idiots, and the injection into the story of an FBI agent that just happens to be an old boyfriend doesn't help in suspension of disbelief.

Heh. I see that the reviewers at Amazon are a bit underwhelmed as well.

Picture of the Week
santa clara river at sunrise
Photo NotesSanta Clara River at sunrise, at the end of Brown Barranca.

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