sailing the NorSea


WEEK 11 2011

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Saturday 19 March 2011
Saturday -  Gray and cloudy - rain predicted for tonight.

The HOMENAS thing was a fiasco. None of the Windows boxes could see or access it. The Ubuntu 10.10 could, but somehow accessing the drive trashed the wireless setup (yay Linux!), setting it to 169.254.*.* rather than the DHCP of 192.168.0.*, and breaking the connection to the internet.  I had to turn off all the machines, the router, reboot the router, reboot the linux box, delete the wireless configuration, reboot, add the wireless configuration, reboot, and, after a failed reboot (???) got my wireless back. So much for the HOMENAS solution.

On the web you'll see all sorts of linux fanboys saying <high falsetto> "use an old pc as a dedicated linux home server! It's cool, it's so easy!" </high falsetto>.

I don't think I've the patience.

There are a lot of HTPC (Home Theater PC) links out there. But I've a Roku and Tivo, I really don't need more.

Book #25 was A Galaxy Unknown, by Thomas dePrima. This was pretty bad, kind of a poor mans' Honor Harrington series. None the less, I read it all the way through. The thing is, with some work & editing, it could actually be an OK book & series.

I'm trying to buy a gas powered edger off of Craigslist. I talked to the seller, our schedules didn't link up today, but we're to meet tomorrow and if it works I'll buy it. He's only asking $65, for a unit that looks quite a bit like the one's they sell at Lowes (the chinese imports), going now for $180 or so new.

Friday 18 March 2011
Friday -  It looks like things in Japan, at the reactors, are getting back to normal. That's good. Attention really should be on the tens of thousands of homeless people there, without food, without power, without most kinds of aid. While the nuclear thing has taken center stage there are real tragedies and real deaths happening.

I mowed the front lawn, but the gas powered edger recoil starter is broken, again. The mechanic said his repair wouldn't last, but I was hoping for more than two uses. Apparently the clutch engagement mechanism is worn, and Briggs and Stratton doesn't make them anymore. I went to the B&S site, and my model number isn't even in the database. I'd guess the engine dates to the early 70's, from the serial number. A new engine would be about $200, which is what the cost of a new gas edger would be at Lowe's or Home Depot. Ah well.

I could probably disassemble it, and try to machine a new part. Yeah, that'd be cost effective...

Phoebe: "If only I had opposable thumbs, that roastbeef sandwhich would be MINE!"

Thursday 17 March 2011

Thursday - Backup drives: you can have too much of a good thing!

I have a 250GB Nexstar USB drive, an external ACOMDATA 500GB drive with overheat issues, a 320GB Maxtor USB drive, a 1TB Seagate external drive, and an Airlink 101 HOMENAS drive that I've lost the password to - I think it's 500GB. The problem is, of course, that I've stuff scattered among all of these and synchronizing and concatenating it all is giving me a headache. I have the old laptop with a 100GB drive, the new laptop with a 250GB drive, the Ubuntu box with a 350GB drive, and the old 500GB drive that won't boot properly, the old Win2k box with 25GB, and the old linux box with, I think, a 200GB drive.

So, roughly 3TB+ of drives, spread all over hell and gone.

Now, the stuff I have isn't that much, photo's, mp3's, web pages and some personal documents, some work stuff. Probably less than 350GB total. It's just that I hate deleting anything. Still, I need to simplify my life.

I tried two Linux solutions yesterday, and, as I emailed a friend, it was a total clusterf**k. Unison didn't install worth a damm, and  Back In Time installed, but you have to read the help to set it up before you can use it, and the set-it-up dialog won't let you open the help menu. If you close the set-up dialog the program exits as well!  (Yes, yes, I could probably find the manual online, but, if the thing is that f**ked up, what is the chance it actually works? Slim.)

This is why Linux has been, is now, and will always be not quite ready for prime time: basic usability issues unmet. I won't even get into the various window manager changes between versions, and language wars, the lack of decent drivers, the lack of decent documentation and the juvenile snots on the forums that pass for "help" and all the rest of it. If you don't enjoy dealing with the constant aggravation - and I guess I'm getting old, because I don't - then Linux isn't for you.

Oh well. I'll reset the HOMENAS drive and just synchronize everything with Good Sync from the windows box. Stupid, but it's all I can do at this point.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Wednesday - Book #24 was The Wise Man's Fear, by P. Rothfuss, book II in the Kingkiller series. This was the sequel to The Name of the Wind, and written in much the same style/format.

They are still having problems in Japan with the nukes. I'm a little startled by that - you would think that in a country as well prepared as they seem to be that they'd have robots and  emergency equipment resistant to radiation, equipment capable of performing the simple tasks of adding water to an open pool?

I am astonished at the problem, though not to the level of the CNN commentator a**hole, agitating on the air for a government takeover of the plants from the operator. You have a plant in dire straits and you're solution is to yank the management and put strangers in charge of it? Are they insane? Do they think the private company isn't thinking about and asking for every possible resource they can use (and getting them, just as quickly as they can be delivered)?

But of course CNN has been pro-big government and anti-private industry for years, no surprise there. Ideology trumps common sense, every time.

Meanwhile the President of the US plays golf and makes basketball picks on teevee.

Really, "tin ear" is too kind a phrase for Obama.

Someone has said that the Carter Administration is beginning to look like a competent gung-ho administration by comparison. Financial meltdowns, earthquakes & tsunami's and nuclear accidents, revolutions in the middle east; and we've a reincarnation of Jimmy Carter, only without the engineering degree of Carter and even the minimal executive experience of a small state government. Yikes.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Tuesday - Pretty much out of it. The big news in the world is the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of last week, and primarily the damage to the nuclear plants at Fukishima. They came through the initial quake and the tidal wave well, "scramming" in seconds, but have shown progressive signs of deterioration since then - loss of emergency coolant, issues with the spent material cooling ponds, etc.

These are, from what I can tell, first generation designs - someone said they are old GE designs, and were already scheduled for replacement.

A good web site for information is here: the MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub.

Monday 14 March 2011

Monday - not too much to say. Not feeling very well in the evening, actually. Too tired to read much, or even watch teevee -  never a good sign.

Sunday 13 March 2011

Sunday - taking it easy, doing a bit of reading. I may need to go down to Ventura this week, to finish the inspection and some of the ancillary stuff, but probably not tomorrow.

Book #23 was The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rotthfuss. This was fantasy stuff, not quite sword-and-sorcery, and decent enough that I read the second in the series. Essentially it is the story of one Kvoth, wizard and warrior, as told by him to a scribe, later in life when he is just the proprietor of a country inn.

Picture of the Week

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Photo Notes: A view of San Diego, from Shelter Island.

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