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WEEK 32 2013

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First Post, 17 March 2002
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Saturday 10 August 2013
Saturday - Got up and decided to get some work done in the yard before it got warm. This all quickly spiraled out of control.

I have a bunch a bricks, about 500, that I was thinking of using to pave an area in the side yard. To border these I'd bought some 4x4 pressure treated lumber a few weeks ago, as I think I mentioned. In order to place the pressure treated end caps I had to move the bricks, as they were in the way.

As I started to move them it became clear that I had four groups of brick: smaller smooth clay bricks, large smooth clay brick, and larger yet clay brick with corrugated edges. About 30% of each, with another 10% of miscellaneous stuff - concrete brick, pavers, tiny brick, half-thickness paver brick, etc. And each of the brick groups had a different thickness - which meant I couldn't scree smooth the sand that they'd need to be laid on and have them present a level surface to the pedestrian.

So I decided to use these as trim in the back yard, and use a bunch of consistent sized pavers. Which means I had to move 500 pavers, in a wheel barrow. It took nearly five hours, with the required breaks for for cold drinks and resting my nearly 57 year old back. It was also humid, in the 30% range, which meant I sweat a lot. Once you get used to it, and have a dry bandanna it isn't so bad.

I started with Ibuprofen, then took more 4 hours later, than a hot shower when I was done, then a nap.

S called me up, from a conference she's at, with excitement over meeting a good app person there. Who said they had their first app out the door in three months. Yikes. Sadly the connection was so bad that eventually we had to stop. I'll hear more soon, I'm sure.

After that the Time-Warner tech showed up, took one look and said "You have the wrong modem, you need a DOCSYS-3 to get over 3Mbs!" We swapped it out, and it works pretty good now. I don't see a stable 20Mbs, but I do get in the mid-to-high teens, with occasion spikes to 20+. Which I can live with... I see uploads of 2.5Mbs, which is nice as well.

I have been dismissive of Riley's hunting skills, but have to give credit where it is due. I found the carcass pictured below, in the grass, near a spot he likes to lurk in. So, the lifetime tally is (1) hummingbird and (1) finch. Good for him.

The might hunter's prey.

Friday 9 August 2013
Friday - Working away on things, including the app. Trying to figure out how to communicate some info between modules. You can use global variables, KVO, and it turns out that 'blocks' can access things globally as well.

Sadly a book I was reading, Book #40 Objective-C by Jiva DeVoe isn't as good as it could be. Figures are wrong, text is wrong, stuff is introduced without warning and without discussion. It's clear the author knows his stuff, and I suspect that we are seeing, in part, a cut-down version of his actual text. The book comes out to 353 pages of text, not counting appendices and intro's and 'further reading' stuff - I suspect that the original text was more like 400 or 450 pages and that editors cut chunks out to make it 350. It's too bad.

I knew enough to see errors and mistakes in the first five chapters, but after that it becomes an irritating puzzle. Something doesn't make sense, or clearly follow from what the book was saying, or is apparently even in contradiction. Is that something correct, a misprint, an error, or am I just being slow and dense? This really plays havoc with one's self studying confidence. I'm going to put it down as a 'read book' I think, since I'm past the halfway point. I tried to finish it, but time is too valuable to waste on stuff like that. It's a library book, so that's something, no money lost, just time.

I see that the re viewer's at Amazon pretty much came to the same conclusion.

I was fiddling around in the back yard and stuck my hand in a hole I had dug a while earlier to feed some drip lines to my tomatoes. And something soft moved under my touch. Argghhhh. After leaping away I realized that it was just a toad, probably the one that's been leaving little "proof of life" deposits on my patio each night. I wonder who was more surprised? I'd guess the pinhole leaks from the water line keep it moist enough in the little ditch that he's comfortable. So I'll hold off on pavers for that little area until late fall or winter.

Thursday 8 August 2013

Thursday - Uploaded the files for Tim fairly quickly. I use a program on the Windows side, and it's more trouble getting stuff stored on the Mac side onto the Windows side than it is to actually upload. Sometimes you can cut and paste using Windows Explorer, sometimes you can use Finder, sometimes neither will work. It's a mystery.

I also uploaded the Grand Canyon pics for my friend Dave. Who thanked me politely, but said it was the Mt. Whitney pictures that he was missing. So I uploaded those as well.

570MB took less than an hour, which is a lot faster than before. These were from the little Optio waterproof camera, only 5 megapixels, so they aren't great, but are better than nothing.

However I noticed in the evening that I was still getting cable TV programming. I'll have to call again tomorrow. Maybe they turn it off on the anniversary date, which would be (for some unknown reason) the 10th.

I've been using tomatoes from my garden for various food things - slices on sandwiches mostly. Today on a home made hamburger. I need to get into the habit of eating the little cherry tomatoes more, as well.

I really need to buy some AA batteries. I keep buying AAA's for some reason - there will shortly be a national shortage if I keep making that mistake. I must have 50 or more now.... Meanwhile because of the lack of AA's the small flashlight, the blu-tooth mouse and the dome light in the closet are all dead.

Spent most of the day reading Objective-C gobbledygook. Bah. I need to sort out some issues with the code that have accumulated lately.

Book #39 was Admiral's Tribulation, by Luke Sky Wachter. Number 3 in the series. There's a cameo character in the book named Luke Sky Wachter,who (probably) dies.

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Wednesday  - Nice to be home. Pretty tired, didn't get up until 8am.

Well, I finally cut the cable TV cord. Kind of. I canceled the cable TV portion, but kept the cable Internet since it's pretty much a requirement for work.

I guess I've been talking about it for a while, but July put things into perspective - I was gone for over half the month, sick for a lot of the rest, and didn't watch anything. I had a mild urge to watch the Dodger's, but never figured out their tv schedule enough to actually do it. And they raised the per month rental cost of the modem to $6, which puts it all over $125 a month, which is ridiculous. Internet alone will cost me about $45, so thats a savings of $80. And if I cancel the TIVO service - not needed now, that's a bigger savings yet.

It's weird, because I've had cable TV since 1985, almost uninterrupted. Like the phone land line, it was hard to start the cancellation, but easy once you've started the process. I did have to take the cable card out of the TIVO and return it, but the lines were short and it was no big deal.

The tech support at Time Warner claimed I could get better than my 3.0 megabits per second "squalor Internet" - up to 20Mb, and that all their customers should get at least 15Mbs. He changed the settings on his end, and I rebooted the modem on mine, and got around 6Mbs. About a third of what he claims I should get. So they'll send a tech out on Saturday, and they'll see if I am getting the 20Mbs at the house, or the substation across the street. If it is their cable from substation to house they will replace at not cost to me. If it's mine... I'll probably just run my own line direct to the modem. I'm pretty sure it's on their end, the tech that came out to the house last August said I was only getting minimal signal at the house.

Because it is a promotion, for a year I'd get 20Mbs for just $5 over the $45 I'm paying now. I could live with that....

I sent a few pics of the demo sites to Tim, but he asked that I upload all of them. I'll try it tomorrow, with the faster upload enabled the 500MB folder should not take hours like last time, even if it isn't as fast as it's supposed to be.

The Time Warner speedtest requires Flash and/or JAVA by the way, which I won't put on my systems, but there is an HTML5 version at   that works.

Tuesday  6 August 2013
Tuesday - OTR. We did a final walk through the three demolition sites, things went OK, the various clients seemed happy with the condition of the sites. I had a couple of other meetings planned, but they sort of fell through and I just headed back to Lancaster from Thousand Oaks.

As I was driving down the 101 south there were various road signs. The first said "I-405 20 min". Five miles later there was a sign saying "I-405 20 min", and five miles past that was a sign with no 405 information at all. I was concerned, but while there was a slowdown near the interchange it wasn't too bad and once on the 405 north things were OK. I was home about 3:30pm, having stopped first for lunch, then again for gas.

Last time I took the 118 east, just a couple of weeks ago, they had completely shut down the 405 north exit, so I was forced to continue driving past the next two exits that were backed up onto the freeway with people (no doubt) trying to make a U and use the working ramp from the other side. I think I got off on the third or fourth exit, made my U and came back that way - about a half hour of wasted time and gas. There was zero notification of the ramp being closed due to work until I was upon it, by the way.

I would have taken the 126 if I'd known.

There was a moderately good Space Station (ISS) flight predicted ed on Heavens Above, about 9:00pm, so I went into the back yard to check. Having not been able to see a couple recently (at the coast on vacation and just the other day in Lancaster) I was wondering if their clock was messed up, but the ISS appeared, on schedule and where they said. About magnitude -1.1, which is a bit brighter than the starts of Ursa Major - the Big Dipper - whose dipper it passed in directly in front of. It had a definite yellowish cast, looking a bit like a bright Saturn.

Monday  5 August 2013
Monday - OTR, down to Ventura in the evening.

S came by in the morning looking for me, or rather, as she said: "your bloated body with a face half eaten by your cat". Apparently my phone, though plugged into the wall and showing a nice green light, was OFF. They'd been trying to call me all day on Sunday and she finally came over to actually check. And there I was, out back sitting in the Adirondack chair, with coffee and an Ipad under my mulberry tree. When I rebooted the phone all sorts of texts and messages appeared. Have I mentioned I hate my Samsung phone this month already? Because I do.

I think I'd run the battery down into the red zone on Saturday night, so it probably powered itself off just before I plugged it in and went to bed. Thanks, Samsung.

Now that it's caused me to miss a great Jambalaya lunch at Lee Esther's I'm feeling particularly aggrieved. Well, in a few months I'll be at my one year anniversary and no doubt Verizon will let me upgrade cheaply. I can probably hold out until then.

Let's see, there were a couple of scifi books I've read lately.

Book #37 would be Admiral Who?, by Luke Sky Wachter. Heh - I'm pretty sure the author's name is an alias. But it's not a terrible book, particularly as the price was right (free) and I just wanted a piece of mind candy to take my mind off things. Which it was and did.

Book #38 was Admiral 's Gambit, by our above mentioned nom-de-plume. I paid the outrageous price of $2.99 for it, as it was the sequel to #37 and I'm just too OCD to stop when I should.

It's been a while since a two-book day, what can I say?

Sunday 4 August 2013
Sunday -  Slept in. Not much going on here. I was going to do some yard work, but never got around to it, and then it got hot. Dry though, 10% or less, so the swamp cooler is working well again.

The swamp cooler I helped refurbish a few weeks back, for a friend's rental, is also working well. The tenants are delighted, it apparently works much better than the old unit. They made a service call about water running out of it, but it turned out that this was just the second pump doing it's timed purge.

My electric bill jumped, from 11Kwh last year to 16Kwh this year. Just a bit into the second tier rate. I put it down to running the mechanical a/c so much. It couldn't really be helped.

I guess Time Warner and a network are having a battle over the fee's for carrying the network feed, so no Dodger's on KTLA for a while. I wonder who will blink first, TW or CBS?

Picture of the Week
Roadside near Harmony 
Photo Notes: After sunset, near Harmony California.

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