Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I've got eight drive platters and a microphone...

I vant to suck your signalZOMG, a second blog entry in a week, posted before Jamie could see the first! Okay, really this is to show off two photos, the second of which I didn't take. At right is the new and improved WiFi booster antenna developed from the prototype seen a couple days ago. It's not elegant but it's shiiiny and functional. So what it is: I took a regular slim CD case, folded it open, covered the inside with aluminum foil, hot-glued a couple Twis-Ties to the corners so the WiFi card can act as a tripod to hold the antenna up, and did some cutting/filing so that the case would close flat. If you looked at the video linked in the previous post, these are variations from what the Turkish guy advised -- gluing the case into a 90° angle permanently which reduces its ease of portability, foiling what was the outside of the case, and constantly having to prop the antenna up somehow. I've only given it a test run from the end of my driveway, I haven't gone out looking for trouble, but it works and unlike the model shown online it can be folded up and put away in the computer's totebag.

For an actual stupidity, this one just became evident about half an hour ago: As you may know, on Sept 1 the skanky people across the street moved out of the hovel. The owners of the hovel are again trying to rent it out, initially without doing any work on the place first but I think they saw the light so there have been some workers in at random intervals to do various things. Okay, so I'm sitting here and a pickup hauling a hot-tub backs into that driveway, and four people get out. The magnetic sign on the truck says they're a hot-tub installer but also do verandas. They go in the front door, wander through the house, go out the back door and look at the back yard (the renters of 20 years had an above-ground pool back there which they took with them, so basically the back yard is a large round hole surrounded by tall grass and weeds), and then three of them leave with the hot tub and the fourth starts in on painting the master bedroom. My wife and I said to each other, "how can they be planning a hot-tub when they need a new bathtub?" [See that house's bathroom for what I mean.] Okay, to be honest, we don't know what the plan is, or if they were just friends coming to see the house rather than a professional call, but we have no doubt that with all the lipstick the owners have applied to that pig corpse of a house (the neighbor says they plan to replace the roof; that's long overdue since it's concave on one side) beautifying the back yard would come before fixing the inside.

The Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul site had its November update, y'all.

Okay, now for something especially for my bud The Illiterate: After we were shoved out of gracefully left vee-zed-dub for more competent cellular teledildonics technical support management, there was a large backfill that should have required the use of more office space but, true to form, dub-dee-ass couldn't get authorization from the vendor for more equipment. So here's what their office looks like now... and aren't you glad you're not still there?:
could Natosha please share a desk with me?

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's the Information Superhighway version of a string and two tin cans

My new computer!Hello, my two disciples followers out of four readers, and the rest of ye mythical folks as well. Yes, I survived my 41st birthday... wasn't really that hard, the day was busy yet not what anyone would call exciting in a "it's your birthday!" way. First, before I tell you about the day, dig my birthday present on the left! It's a Dell Latitude LS400 notebook computer, courtesy of my dear friend Wayne. More on that shortly. I'll itemize now how the day went:

I got up around noon, which isn't unusual for me, and it was Paige's day off. We eventually got ourselves moving, we had a couple events down the street to attend -- a Lutheran church having a rummage sale, and the Lutheran university having a surplus sale. I spent 10¢ total. We got home and sat down to watch the Saturday morning cartoons home improvement shows on HGTV on tape, then started working on painting and putting up the trim in the utility room. Eventually my friend Wayne from the other side of the state showed up, with a box containing three notebook computers in tow. His mother had gotten them as surplus from a family services agency that was getting rid of the junk in the closet. Also in the box were three sets of external CDROMs and 3½" drives, six batteries, five docking stations, several pairs of Harmon/Kardon powered speakers, and other "wow, you got this free?!" stuff. (Summary for the geeks: 700MHz, 6gb HD, 128mb RAM, 1 USB 1.1 and 1 PCMCIA, 56k and NIC, Win98, circa 2002. See YouTube for how fast it can run XP.) So we had them on my livingroom floor... One booted just fine, and I got to keep that machine. One took 15 minutes to get to the desktop. One never got to the desktop (unless booted into Safe Mode), it was even slower. Performed some stupid Windows tricks (doo dah, doo dah...) and got those two functional. So once that was done and Wayne left, Paige and I headed to The Outback for dinner, and we were nearly the only customers so it all worked out. We got home and there were cupcakes... I blew out the candle on my carrotcake cupcake. A little checking of email and off to bed.

So I got a computer, two docking stations (one in box), two spare batteries (one in original package), CD and floppy drives, power supply (and a spare in the docking box). I'm not going to change the CDROM to a burner until I have a larger hard drive, and the stray 30gb 2½" drive I had laying around died a clicking death after finishing the Windows install so no rush. But one upgrade I did see fit to make...

After doing a little research and a system overhaul on my notebook, I ordered a WiFi card on eBay for cheap, which I had by the end of the week. (And had not noticed that I had received a 10% off coupon in eBay's messages before making the purchase, d'oh!) Today I did a little experimentation. There is no WiFi signal in my house, so I took a trip to the library to see how well it worked outside the building. Hmm, one bar in the parking lot outside the periodicals, three to four bars in the parking lot by the front door and the children's area. I had noticed yesterday when I was at a crafts bazaar at the Masonic Temple there was someone online on his notebook so I thought, "hey, signal!" So I drove over to the funeral home parking lot which is next door to the Temple. (I sense a connection between the Masons and the morticians. Both are even named after the same person.) Check for signal... woot, four connections listed, one of which is unprotected and has one bar. The connection name coincides with an office in the next building, so I drove around the building checking for better signal. Left side, same. Right side, same. im in ur wifi network, swipin ur bandwidth Front side, same -- but a new unprotected connection was listed, with three bars. I grinned as I thought, "Someone could sit in the supermarket's parking lot across the street and do some serious browsing unnoticed!" I came home and decided I'd try something I saw on teh intarweb, making a WiFi booster antenna out of aluminum foil and a CD case. I didn't follow the directions exactly because I disagree with the guy's gluing a case together backwards into a stiff angle -- I think it should be able to fold up flat, like a CD case, for portability. Here at right is a photo of the result in use from the edge of my driveway. It's ghetto but it works. You will notice it found that open connection again, maybe it is the supermarket two blocks up the street that is the source of it since it is in line-of-sight from where I was sitting, with one or two bars depending on how I aim the case. Yeah!!

Hmm, I don't have any real stupidities to report (you all know about the political races, that'll be stupid for another three weeks) and here's one thing I hope does not evolve into stupid: I've been using the same Unemployment claim since Internet Identity gave me the boot on Oct 20, 2007 (I've worked at two places since then, and just keep reopening the same claim when I need to) and since there's a year expiration that one's done and I need to open a new one, which will only take a few minutes to do and (sigh) possibly a week or two for them to approve. My wife discovered a different kind of stupid yesterday -- she had been taking these round purple pills, and when she got a refill she noticed the new ones were white and oblong. The paperwork with the bottle says they're supposed to be round and purple. A few calls and a followup from a pharmacist in a different city later, and it turns out those are the right pills, just a different maker of them with a different appearnace, but no one had updated the computer to reflect this change. Anyhow, it's 3am and I needs to go to bed. Hasta yer pasta.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In a world full of green dust and grey floor

First things: Just noticed that there's a "Followers" thingie on Blogspot nowadays -- and I had one follower listed, smitty1e. The list of blogs this person follows is kind of random, mostly dealing with several programming languages. linseed and dust is what we breathe I hope you don't mind if I block you, Smitty, since you've never commented on any of my posts and I suspect you are a bringer of spam or other bad things.

Well, hello everyone! The Marmoleum flooring is nearly done, hurrah! I say "nearly" because as I suspected, the person at the flooring store went by total area, not perimeter rounded to the nearest whole foot (since these are 12" square tiles), thus I need another 21 tiles to finish this job. That's today's real stupidity, that I should have been done!! at 10pm last night but now have to wait until the end of the week for tile I ordered today to show up. The picture at left is from the pile of sawdust and effluvia generated by cutting flooring tiles to size. Don't worry, Marmoleum is all-natural so this isn't going to harm the environment. The picture at lower right [which you can click on to enlarge to screen size] is how the kitchen and diningroom look from the utility room. Like?

Appliances and furniture and such have been slowly returning to the kitchen and diningroom. Not entirely since there's still one more thing to do before we can really re-settle in, but as long as everything we have dragged back in is portable enough to get away from the walls for a little while (which is why the washer and drier are still on the back porch)...

Next I need to measure the baseboards, doors, and cupboard tops for new trim. The next hard labor won't be cutting the trim to size, painting it, or putting it up. No, the difficult step will be in Paige and I agreeing on what kind of trim to buy. It will have to be tallish, like 3", because of the crummy crap the previous crackheads™ had glued to the walls and we had to literally tear out. come slide across my flo' It will have to be widish, like ¾", because the instructions for Marmoleum say that the gap between the floor and the wall must be 10mm when most other flooring it's more like 5mm, and some of the gaps I cut are a bit more than half an inch. It'll all look really awesome when it's done. It had better.

So our kitchen project is nearing completion. :) Hmm, there isn't much else to report about life in general... it's still right where I left it. (Where was that?) I saw a gas station today that had standard grade unleaded for $3.019 so that's a good sign. And a block away from that station was a bearded guy with a cardboard sign at the island where the onramp meets the city road. The sign however said "Bad Day. Need Beer." I like honesty in a man. And the inevitable aging event happens in three days and some hours. I don't have any wishes that I can say out loud except for the one that involves being employed locally so I don't have to commute 40+ miles, though in what capacity I still haven't given enough thought. Tech support has been fun but it's time for a change.

[Edit: 10/16 2:30pm PST] Half an hour ago, Flickr forced its new homepage layout on its users -- and it really bones stuff. One "recent activity" link rather than separating comments you made from comments you received, clicking that link on the homepage messes up your preferred layout, etcetera etcetera. That's the new major stupidity. And gas went down to $2.879

Enjoy the white space. Oh, and Oliva of Buzz Marketing... No shit, that's why we chose Marmoleum, that and (you fail to mention) it's earth-friendly. Preachin' to the choir, so could you take the spam elsewhere?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My favorite weapon is the look in your eyes

Hello, folks. I'm going to say very little about the home improvement thang today [audience: "yaaay!"] because there isn't a lot to report since last time. Obama & Clark Kent The flooring hasn't been started, the pantry door is being painted (translate: paint one side, wait a day, paint the other side, wait a day, we're busy so let's wait another day, time for a second coat... etc.), and I'd be putting up the cabinet doors right now but it seems those hinges that have been sitting around for months are chrome not nickel so I need to go get another package at yonder big-box store. Along with some coarse-grit sandpaper, since it seems that Ace may offer Black & Decker and 3M brand sandpapers for my Mouse™ but only in fine. But anyhow, the project is wrapping up, with only the floors and the painting of the utility room walls and the replacement of the utility room doors and of course cutting and sticking up new trim around the doors and kitchen cabinets left to go...

What else is dumb beside Ace Hardware not carrying 80-grit sandpaper? And my lethargy regarding both small home projects and replying to an email that's been in my box since mid-September? Well, daily-dose Cialis ads (and the notion of taking Cialis on a daily basis... do you know how much that stuff costs?) are making their way to the top of the heap. Banks and mortgage lenders falling into the toilet is exceptionally stupid since, gee whiz, they're the ones with the money. I can think of a couple three new friends from Flickr who the longer I know the more confusing they become (how exactly does someone tell for two weeks how they're going to take a vacation from looking for a new love due to some recent-past issues, then disappears for four days only to post a few pictures of them with someone never previously mentioned, with cryptic captions about weekends being too short?) but I don't consider the people stupid, just the situations they put themselves into and how they treat others in those situations' wakes. I could call Sarah Palin stupid but that wouldn't be accurate -- she merely says ignorant things when she gives speeches and is condescending when she discusses things with others. (Stupid would be to vote for her and McCain, of course, but there are people who believe in staying the Bush course another four years... apparently those people heard the same rumor about the Rapture that Bush did eight years ago so have no issue with running this country into the ground even further, thinking they won't be here to pay for the shortsightedness; those people are stupid.) for Greg The constant misuse of the word "maverick" is particularly stupid and annoying -- look it up, it means "not thinking and acting like everyone around you." And I think anyone who claims they miss talking to you but make no effort to get in touch with you in the many means they have available is definitely acting a certain way, you can guess what it is. (Hint: There isn't a firm parallel between saying you have been "too busy lately against my will" and that 'busy' being going out on dates every night with different people. Sounds like it does require your planning and consent!)

But I think the most stupid thing I can think of is: Turning 41 in eleven days. How the hell did this happen? Sure, I'm happy that I'm above-ground, no doubt about that, but I don't feel a day over 25 most of the time. While working on some projects, I'm so worn out I feel 75, but that passes. I don't look a day over 25, and in what I've accomplished in my life I may as well be 25. Can I call this my twenty-sixth birthday without sounding like one of those vapid people who claim to be, for example, "turning 29 (for the fifteenth time)"? I know... I tell people that I have a given name and a taken name, since I prefer Mushroom Mandrake to that thing my parents called me. How about a practical age and a chronological age? No lying involved, just here's what my license says and here's what I prefer you think.

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