WEEK 11 2018
Tue- Wed- Thur-
Picture of the Week
Years Ago, This Week, 2003
Years Ago, this week, 2004
Years Ago, this week, 2005
Years Ago, This Week, 2006
Years Ago, This Week, 2007
Years Ago, This Week, 2008
Years Ago, This Week, 2009
Years Ago, This Week, 2010
Years Ago This Week,
Years Ago This Week,
Years Ago This Week 2014
Three Years Ago This Week, 2015
Two Years Ago
This Week, 2016
Year Ago This Week, 2017
Saturday - Went out and made a parts list for
the fence. Since I've never actually put up a chain link fence before
I'm probably missing some stuff.
S found some shelves, cheap, at a yard sale, so I went over and picked them
up. The sellers are retired, and moving to a rural area near the
Willamette river in Oregon - nice.
Did a bit more on tax paper assembly.
Friday 16 March 2018
Friday - Clear
in the morning, then intermittent clouds and medium force winds (20mph) for
the rest of the day. My brother sent me a picture of snow in his back
Snow falling in Carson City.
S called. There were some domain names that needed to be paid for, so
I talked to her about it, and forwarded the info, and she paid them (she has
the Task Mechanic credit card).
We had discussed earlier in the week her harboring her dogs over here when
they are away, but the yard isn't fully fenced. Dogs board around here
for $25 a day, and she has four.
She had found some used dog runs on the internet, but nothing local and they
were rather pricey ($600 and up). The yard isn't, as I said, completely
fenced - but there is a 35' x 70' area to the garage side that has chain
link on three sides,and the garage partially blocking the fourth side.
I'd need about 40' to finish it - and they sell 50' rolls for $70.
Posts and furniture would add a bit, but the entire cost would be under
$200. She indicated she wanted a hot wire at the base to deter
tunneling, but it would be a lot cheaper for her to improve my property than
to even board the dogs for a long weekend...
Played with the little propane heater head for a bit. Running on full,
15,000BTU, it actually seems to put out more heat than the pellet stove -
raising the front roomfrom 61F to 70F in about an hour. I don't plan to use
it for that, but it's nice to know.
Finished setting up the printer. Oddly the Windows 10 software
installed without a hitch. OSX on the other hand...it's like 1998
called, wanting two hours to set up. Bah. I finally got it
going, and can even print from the phone and tablet, but what a pain.
It's color, which is nice, as the little manuals I wrote are all in
color. I need to redo them in a consistent format, but one thing at a
Thursday 15 March
Cool and windy again.
I was trying to use the Win10 laptop, and having real troubles getting
things to run. I finally realized that it wanted to do **another**
update. I had to actually go to shut it down as it wouldn't run
properly (tens of seconds delays after key-presses, refusing to open Librie
Office, etc), and there was: "Install Updates and Reboot" as an
option. It then proceeded to do so, taking a couple of hours.
And then the Brave browser wouldn't start, and it needed a Java update,
I installed the new version of Brave (8 bytes different in size), and it
opened with all my old tabs intact (once I had re-enabled the wifi, which
was broken by the Windows update).
All while I was trying to do something for someone else. All told I'm
thinking the laptop has spent 50 hours or so "updating" in the last
month. This is insane, I'll probably have to build a separate
non-internet attached machine to do any serious Windows work on.
Started to install the new printer but got distracted by all this stuff.
Talked to Dr. G about the STARS stuff. I feel bad about dropping out
of sight for three or four months, but he was very kind about it.
Looking at the FreeCAD forums I see one of the more prolific
contributor/developers died over Christmas - a young guy, only in
his 40's, over in Germany. That's sad. They are going to name the next
release candidate after him, that's a nice honor and memorial.
Thinking about the app, I asked Mike yesterday if he'd ever used a "state
machine". He sort of looked at me blankly, then said "I've written a
couple...". Heh. Programmers.
Reading the C++ book was interesting. There was an example of using
Class functions. I hadn't used their equivalents in Objective-C for
the app, but they might be a much better way to handle some issues I had,
and that I had finessed with global data and a singleton...
I'm strongly tempted to re-write everything in Swift, but don't want
to take the time. But S has so many changes in mind, and so much of
the modern stuff is in Swift that it might be the best way to go...
Wednesday 14 March
Wednesday - Sunny but windy and cool.
I went over to the accountant in the morning, meeting up with my brother M,
about the final tax bill on the old Grandview property. No unpleasant
surprises, so that's good.
They reminded me that I have stuff to do for them as well...
I was sitting in the chain in the kitchen (the only furniture) and watching
the clouds pass by, and decided to use the iPhone to take a time
lapse. It came out pretty cool, actually.
Tuesday - I heard rain spitting against the
windows Monday night, but it was just mildly damp when I got up.
The Windows PC was finally down to minimal levels of CPU and disk access
Talked to Dr. G about STARS for a bit - I am still a bit under the weather
but am trying to get back to where I was in late October of last year.
I had ordered a burner top for the standard 20# propane tank types the other
day from Amazon, and it arrived Monday. Today I tested it, and it
worked fine. This was the Mr. Heater brand, the MH15T model. I
was actually about to buy a cheaper model at Harbor Freight - they have
roughly the same reliability rating now that the MH model is made in China -
but Harbor Freight was out of stock, and the price was essentially the
same. It seems to work fine when I tested it. The failure mode
seems to be the safety stuff - the tipping sensor and heat sensor - and
there are various hacks to work around them, though I hope to never do so...
Essentially this is for the garage and outdoor uses, in the colder
weather. Kind of a prepping thing as well I guess, but I hope to get
actual use out of it, though the weather has been really warm lately - in
the 70's during the day.
Last frost is officially April 15th here in the valley, but people are
already flocking to the stores for gardening stuff I've noticed.
On the topic of heating: my garage is surprisingly cold/warm - it's
insulated on the lower parts, but not in the (open) attic above the
rafters. The previous owner left a bunch of fiberglass insulation
batts, I will probably apply them and put some Sheetrock over it, one of
these days. But the roll-up door is the big culprit, it doesn't have
flexible seals at the edges, so there is a 1/2" to 3/8" gap all around,
facing directly into the prevailing wind. Another easy fix, when I get
around to it.
I checked the large external propane tank last week, it was at 40%
(gallons). The gauge hasn't moved in a week since then.
According to a piece of paper stuck in it, it was filled to 100% on
September 15th, so it's been using an average of 10 gallons a month for the
last six months.
It was very cold in November and December and early January (the teens), and
the thermostat would have kicked the central heater on at 54F. I've been
moved in for about a month, and it hasn't been used for household heat - I
use the pellet stove for that, so the propane used is just for the stove
(minimal) and the water heater.
Monday - Feeling better.
I had the urge to take a nice long walk, but resisted. The cold moved
down to my chest last week, and I know from personal experience that it can
take me weeks to completely shake it, and the cold air seems to make
things worse. Bah.
Cleaned house a bit, did the dishes. I put away some food stuff that I'd
bought yesterday, and some pots and pans that I'd bummed off S - without a
sauce pan or fry pan you can't do much cooking, even at my paleolithic
Book #7 was Teach
Yourself C++ in 24 Hours, by Rogers Cadenhead and Jesse Liberty
(interesting set of names). I'd been reading through it for the last week or
so and finally finished. When they say "24 Hours" they mean 24
chapters, at an hour each of reading, BTW. If you do the
lessons it takes longer (I didn't, but I probably will). Towards the
last few chapters it got a bit cryptic - I need to review them again.
Still, I read every page - my C++ skills are much improved :-)
It's C++ 14, I guess the new version is 17. But good enough (probably)
for the stuff I plan to do.
Fiddled with the Windows 10 laptop a bit: it's been an entire week since I
last used it and it's far to busy loading updates and thrashing the disk to
actually be usable today. I will probably have to build a box not
connected to the internet for development work - I have an unused Win 7
install disk somewhere. It's too bad, but I can see the various
intrusive "Windows Experience" tasks maxing the disk out - I believe that's
the Windows spyware stuff. Since I only use the machine for STARS
coding it must be pretty thin pickings, but they persist.
Sunday - I forgot it was Daylight Savings
Time... It didn't really matter, just had some shopping to do in the
morning, I wasn't late.
Did some grocery shopping with S for the house - I really needed some more
It was cool overnight, even some light rain in the morning, but getting
nicer as the day went on.
Sheryl and Roger''s son Kirk got married last week, a civil ceremony.
He's going into the Navy in a few weeks, as a nuclear engineering officer,
and she'll be in grad school, so they wanted to tie the knot as soon as
possible I guess. I've met J, she's a great girl, and I'm sure they'll
have a good marriage. I texted him in the evening and wished them all the
I asked S if they wanted any gifts, and she said 'no'. At least
for now. He's off to boot camp, then OCS, then a navy naval
engineering school, and she'll be following when she can, so they just don't
want any extra stuff to cart about. A some point he'll be off at sea
in a carrier I believe, but not for a year or so.
I understand, but will try to get them something fun, maybe an 'experience'
they can enjoy together, rather than a 'thing', when things sort themselves
Feeling pretty tired after shopping. I went over to the H's for a
pancake brunch, then went home and collapsed for about four hours.
Feeling a bit better in the afternoon, I read some more C++ stuff (Abstract
Data Types and Virtual Functions and Static Members).
I was supposed to go over to the H's for dinner but begged off, too tired
and kind of an upset stomach. I had some chicken dumplings and called
it a meal...