sailing the NorSea


WEEK 12 2010

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First Post, 17 March 2002
Eight Years Ago, This Week, 2002 Seven Years Ago, This Week, 2003 Six Years Ago, this week, 2004 Five Years Ago, this week, 2005 Four Years Ago, This Week, 2006
Three Years Ago, This Week, 2007
Two Years Ago, This Week, 2008
One Year Ago, This Week, 2009

Saturday 27 March 2010
Saturday - still working away. I spent a bit of time in the office, mapping out where stuff is, and most of the day out with the boss and another engineer, inspecting the damage and discussing possible fixes.

Back at the boat I started hearing huge splashes, like someone throwing rocks or bricks into the water. Going on deck I realized it was pelicans, diving for the fish, at night. They fly along three to four feet above the surface, then 'ker-splash'. Then, after a moment, take off again, in the same direction and strike again in a hundred feet or so. There were several of them doing this, kind of neat, moving upstream away from the ocean.

There was a swap-meet in the parking lot in the morning, but I didn't see anything I couldn't live without, and didn't really have time to rummage.

But I am getting the urge to fix up the boat brightwork, plumbing and wiring.

Book #20 was The Wizardry Consulted, by Rick Cook, third book in the series. Much like the others in this series, light but enjoyable.

Friday 26 March 2010
Friday - A day out in the field, which is nice, but in underground spider-webbed tunnels, not so nice. But not horrible.

The boat is kind of neat. The neighbors have been relatively quiet, and I sleep reasonably well. There is a shower down at the office, and I use that, and make my coffee and oatmeal in the mornings. The little quartz heater works well - I run it for a few minutes to take the chill off in the morning, but the weather is reasonably warm - about 50F at night - and I stay snug in the little cabin.

It sounded like it was raining out, despite clear skies, and I finally realized that it was hundreds of small fish making 'strikes' at the surface. Odd.

Thursday 25 March 2010

Thursday - back on the road, down to Ventura. Since I gave up the apartment I'm staying at the boat for a few days. This should be interesting...

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Wednesday - a few small chores, but I decided to give myself a day off, having planned to have been out of town anyway.

Mostly the wifi works with the Mint 8 system. Sometimes, after  turning things off it's a bit slow to reconnect. When I'm home I tend to  leave the Linux box on, so it's no big deal. It hasn't actually dropped me yet, which is an improvement over the data card/Kyocera modem setup, which would drop me multiple times a day. Speed seems Ok.

Book #18 was Wizard's Bane, by Rick Cook. This is a computer geek-becomes-wizard type of fantasy, reasonably well done. Nothing extraordinary, but not as painful to read as the Shaper books. It was followed by Book #19, The Wizardry Compiled. There are five of these, which I am reading in tandem with a fairly thick presidential biography, so bear with me...

Eric S. Raymond says that "Technically, Social Security is now broke". The payouts started to exceed the receipts this month. In theory there is a reserve, but the government has actually spent  that money already. Social Security will get the money back (for now) - the US Treasury will certainly pay the SS Administration - but the Treasury will now have to sell more bonds to make up the money. Read the comments (ignoring the whole off topic drug war stuff). As commenters mention:
  1. If I owe the bank $1,000 then I have a problem
  2. If I owe the bank $1,000,000 then the bank has a problem
  3. If I owe the bank $1,000,000,000,000 the country has a problem
As the number of bonds increases the pressure to lower the ratings on Treasury bonds increases, meaning that the Treasury has to offer a better return to sell them. Fantasy? Perhaps - but Berkshire Hathaway (BRK), a privately held company, for a brief time may have been selling below Treasury. Again, read the comments - I did and have to confess, I have no idea of what this all means, or what the future holds.

The Skeptical Optimist
, on the other hand, hasn't been quite as worried about vast quantities of debt. He thinks we can grow out way out of things. Well, maybe, "vast" being a very relative term, but growth happens but only if politicians take growth seriously enough not to damage it, or at least to keep government spending below growth, and I don't see a lot of evidence for that type of fiscal seriousness.

TSO hasn't posted since August of 2009, and that's too bad.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Tuesday - another day in Lancaster. Did some more errands and chores. Nice weather.

It's been a while since the last one but here's another "Found CD":

found cd
Found next to a field full of strawberry pickers, in Ventura.

Monday 22 March 2010

Monday - well, the cable modem & Dlink wifi router are installed and working. It sits on the stereo cabinet in the family room, where the wired connection to the TIVO is short and it no longer runs across the carpet. I was a bit concerned about connectivity to the Linux systems, but after just a few minutes fiddling the Dlink WUA-1340 USB adapter connected up to the WPA, no drivers or s/w install needed. The trick was to use 'personal WPA', rather than some of the other options. Hopefully that is a reasonable secure choice. The WinXP laptop had no problem hooking up, so it looks like everything is copacetic.

I'll fiddle with the upstairs Ubuntu system and Vista Laptop at some other date.

In theory I should get near the 1.5Mb download speed, versus the 250-400Kb that I normally got with the data card when it was located in the low bandwidth location downstairs. Things seem a bit zippier, but not amazingly so. My Dad's 6Mb cable download was amazing - you would click and things, songs, documents, would download almost before the button was lifted.

Also I hopefully won't be resetting the thing five or six times a day, as was required with the data card and Kyocera KR-2 router.

I think I'll take some pics of the old equipment, then get a friend to try to sell them on Ebay. Worth a shot, right?

I read Book #17, Shaper's Legacy, by Sheila Finch. Volume II in the trilogy, taking place about 100 years after the first volume. Again, eh. I see that these are all "coming of age" stories, but with a female protagonist rather than the usual male. Well, OK, that's a little different. I found the characters rather unenthralling, to be honest.

Volume III, Shaping the Dawn, I just skimmed, so I'm not going to count it here. Though apparently I read it at some time. The remaining Venn goddess, one of the supposedly ageless gene engineers - now old, altzheimered and repentant, was the most interesting character in the book.

This is kind of my 8th blogiversary - 17 March 2002 or Week 12 2002 would have been the first post. Happy 8th to myself!

Sunday 21 March_2010

Sunday - a nice quiet day. Did a bit more yard work and cleanup. I read Book #16, The Garden of the Shaped, by Sheila Finch. Eh. I found it on my shelf and couldn't even remember what it might be about. Essentially scientists practicing genetic modification are driven off Earth, and use their skills on an alien planet to create several separate species of human. I found it uneven and rather mediocre, but I see that I have have volumes II and III, so apparently I felt differently at the time (1989?).

I suppose I should say something about "Health Care Reform", but it's just too depressing. How often does one wake up a free man - and go to sleep a ward of the state?

Picture of the Week

March 18, nearly the spring equinox
Photo NotesTwo days before the equinox...clouds on that day!

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