3sailing the NorSea


WEEK 28 2018

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Saturday 14 July  2018
Saturday -  Hot, 105F, with humidity in the 20% range.

The swamp cooler was struggling, so I went on the roof and checked things.  There were a couple of plugged outlets in the spiders, and the gutters are designed so that if even one outlet is plugged you will get a dry spot.  Great engineering.  I reamed them out (the orifices, not the engineers), and things are a bit better, but it's just too blamed hot, in the 80's - indoors.

Maybe I'll install the other units this coming week.

I mentioned the numerous annoying OSX and Xcode updates. 

One thing that they fixed at some point is that my external monitor now works with the laptop clamshell closed.  Despite any number of places saying that you could, and the Preferences pane set to that mode...it never did work: close the laptop and the external display goes black.  Bah.  I tended to keep it open just enough to keep the laptop display active - if left open too wide the cat tended to walk on the keyboard.  Well, the cat walked on the top the other day (Q:Where does an 18# tabby walk? A: Anywhere it damn well pleases!), closing the laptop, and it still worked...  Woot!

I wanted it closed for the cat issues, and also to keep dust out of the keyboard, and because it will run cooler if not running the internal display.

Fiddling with the app a bit, as the office is the coolest room in the house.  One thing that S asked for was a button from the Play scene to the Instructions.  Before you could go from the Settings page to the Instructions, but not from Play.  The question was: how to unwind from the Instructions back to the scene that called it.  It turned out, after some digging, to be easy.  So that's done. Did some artwork, a lifesaver icon for the help button.

Friday 13 July 2018
Friday -  Hot (103F) and humid. And Friday the 13th.

Jim threw up in the morning, but I haven't given him his hairball medicine recently, so that may be the problem.  He despises the taste of it (the active ingredient is just mineral oil), but hairball is an issue with longhair cats and he has that pancreatitis issue, so I'll need to get a new tube and rub it on his paw about once a week.

I went into town to do a few errands.

First was to deposit the water bill.  It can't be done electronically, but the office is only about half a mile away.  I often walk over, but since I needed to go into down I drove.  They were closed, but there is a drop slot.


Second was AAA, to see what was up with my drivers license.  I'd sent in a change of address to the state at the end of March, and heard nothing back.  The receptionist was startled at my naivety - you could almost hear her think "crazy old fossil" - because the state doesn't actually do anything after getting the update.  In theory they update their database. They don't send you a notification that they've received it and done the update, and they certainly don't send you a new license with the corrected address.  She gave me a little piece of brown paper, told me to write my drivers ID number and new address on it, and keep it in my wallet alongside the old incorrect drivers license.  Silly me, what kind of service did I expect for my $120 a year in registration fees?

(Apparently you can get a new license if you go to the actual DMV, wait in line, get a picture, and pay them again.  Umm...no.)


After that I deposited a check.  The bank has now closed all but one teller window - the others are actually boarded up - and I was in line behind five people.  After a while I gave up and tried to use the machine.  It only took three tries.  By the time I was done with the "convenience" of the automation the people in the line behind me were being served.


Deposited a insurance company payment.  The Quartz Hill post office doesn't actually have a parking lot, you are forced to find a parking spot on the busy 50th street west, then walk to it.  It was only 101F and it was only a two block walk.


Then I bought some 'Heet' for smogging  the car - it cleans the injectors, had lunch from Taco Bell and went home.  This essentially took all morning.  I had planned other tasks, but just can't stand being in town for more than a few hours now.

I then tried to do some work on the app.  And of course, there was another OS update and another Xcode update due.  They are coming faster and faster, a couple a month it feels like.  It's a lot like having Adobe Acrobat, an endless stream of interruptions.  This update took several hours so I just read and researched stuff.

Neuberg's book is a bit dated in places.  The  Objective-C and Cocoa Foundation Libraries stuff is still good, but I'm reading through his chapters on the use of Xcode and stuff doesn't really match - Apple has moved things around for the most part, and added stuff.  But it's good info, and I'm persisting, though it's very dry reading.  I have a memory leak in the app to fix, so the debugging parts are of the most interest.

The book is good enough that I bought the second volume - again, only about $5 because it came out in 2014, which is paleolithic (OK, no need to be dramatic, mesolithic) in Apple programming.


In the evening I went next door for pizza.  A wasp or something stung me three times on the way over on the back of my knee, so I ate a couple slices and left, back to the house for bite cream.

Thursday 12 July 2018
Thursday - Hot and humid.

Energy stuff.

I finally bit the bullet and called SCE.  When I finally got through on the phone (which took a while) I told them that I hadn't been billed since February.  They then informed me that I had a $66 credit.  I told them that I'd had that same credit showing since February.  Eventually I was put in touch of someone in Billing who informed me that "It looks like we haven't sent you a bill since February!".  Ummmm....yes. It looks like the balance is more like $150 owed, which isn't bad for all of March/April/May/June and a third of July.  They will, they claim, send me an accurate bill...soon.

So I can use the mechanical a/c a bit more perhaps.  The swamp cooler works, but it's only about a 20F delta, so if it is 103F out the "cool" air is 83F.  And at night the humidity rise has been so great - into the 50% range - that the delta is maybe 5F.  Ugh.

I've thought of a de-humidifier stage for the swamp cooler - the dew point is about 58F - but it's a lot of work.  You'd need the heat exchanger to cool down the incoming air and remove the moisture, and you need another heat exchanger to run at night to cool the working fluid reservoir.  And you'd need fans and pumps and sensors and power run to all of that.  And since the swamp cooler is on the roof it's a lot of work, and might attract the permitting authorities.

Which bring to mind something I learned a little while ago: while buying the little mechanical a/c window unit at Walmart a few weeks back the gentleman in line behind me mentioned that he'd recently installed  ductless air conditioning, and really liked it.  I hadn't heard of it before, but it sounds interesting.

I have the solar screening, and will eventually install it (I finally found my dado blade for making the frames), but it will only stop the radiant heat transfer into the house, it won't do anything about the swamp cooler air being too warm.  It might allow me to run that less, so I'm still going ahead with the idea.

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Wednesday - Hot and humid.

The internet guy, Eric, came by and verified for himself that there was no dial tone or signal at the house.  I told him that his office had traced the fault and they'd reported that there was a break within 300' of the local exchange, and he went off to inspect.  After about half an hour he called and said he'd fixed it - it was literally a broken wire in their own giant telephony junction box, which was probably done when someone else was tracing a line.  He was unimpressed by the quality of work in the junction box...

He fixed it and so, a little before noon, I had internet again.

I need to call and get a credit for those 8 days.

I'd asked him for a new DSL filter for the house phone, so he was actually able to call me on that unit.  I don't use it, but I guess it'd be good for an emergence if the cell went out.  The old filter was bad and there was a horrible screeching sound.  I used to have a bunch of the filters, but threw them out after a few years when I signed up for cable internet from Time-Warner (Spectrum) at the old house, and was too lazy to call Frontier for one, and too cheap to buy one online myself.

Then it was bills and a bunch on online stuff (still no SCE bill), and a little bit of app work.

I ordered a copy of Martin Fowler's "Refactoring", since it seems to be the primary resource on updating object-oriented code.  Given that it's C++ oriented, and kind of antique I'm not sure how useful it will be to me, but at $5 for a used copy in "Very Good" shape, it isn't a big outlay.

Tuesday 10 July 2018
Tuesday - Hot and humid.  Mostly overcast skies as well.

Fortunately it drops into the 20% range by noon, so you can get some cooling out of the swamp coolers.  But by 9pm it's still in the high 80's and the humidity is back, so the nights are kind of miserable. Sadly it's supposed to be this way for the rest of the week.

The (screened) door into the garage keeps the garage and dogs nice and cool. In fact, if I wasn't trying to concentrate on the app it'd be a decent temperature to do some house work in.

Dogs at doggy door.
The three dogs in the garage: Angel, Krypton and Khronos,
looking into the kitchen.

Not much to say, working on the app.

Changed the water in the turtle tank as well. 

Monday 9 July  2018
Monday - Hot and humid.

Reading (Neuberg's book on iOS 7, the last of his Objective-C books) and doing a bit of app work.  Too hot in the office to do much.

I have the small a/c in there, which works well in these humid airs, but since SCE hasn't sent me a bill, or updated my account since about February, I don't know what my electricity usage is and don't want to get too crazy.  Their web site is so screwed up that not only do I not know what my bill is, I don't know what my usage was or what Tier I'm in.  In fact, I can't find even basic info like what the number of KWHr's is for the different tiers.  How can they even stay in business at this level of incompetence?  I'd guess solar subsidies from the state.

I go out and water the patio and dog areas every hour or two, which helps quite a bit in the (drier) afternoons. I let the dogs into the garage as well, when it gets much over 90F.  They responded to my kindness by chewing up random things in there...

I have another three mechanical a/c units, in storage, which is enough for the entire house, really.  But it kind of looks tacky, having an a/c in each window.  On the other hand - who cares what it looks like? But they are expensive to operate as well.

I received the smog notice for the Explorer in the mail. Great.

Which reminds me now - I never received my new drivers license with a new address!  I applied for it, months ago, and it hasn't arrived.  Well, when the internet comes back up I'll check on that.

Sunday 8 July 2018
Sunday - Hot. And kind of humid.

I've noticed that if I use the attic hatch as an "up duct" to cool the attic then I also get a lot of bugs in the house - spiders and flies.  I guess I need to figure a way to put some screening or something on that.

Speaking of screening, I still haven't covered the windows with the solar reflective stuff.  Kind of cogitating of just how to make the screen frames.

There are things I need to do online, but can't.  I only have about 2G of data on the Verizon account, and can't burn through it before Wednesday...  I can't, for instance, get the links to the books read, or even post this blog.  If you are reading this, it's after (at the earliest) Wednesday the 11th.

Picture of the Week

Cayucos Beach.

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