Sunday, September 18, 2022

Watching The First Avenger for the first time in a while, I can't help but suspect the blonde that goes, "Hi" during the war bonds sequence; in light of She-Hulk's recent end-cap comment about his time with the USO.

I also can't help but think about the classic style shield fitting into the story. Just how much would a guy have to be tossing that thing around between shows to end up carting it along on his daring rescue mission. That, and that in context it would have likely been a slab of wood. The only reason I can imagine it being made of metal, as seen when Red Skull punches an indent in it, is consideration for the Italian campaign being far more at risk than state side.

I.e., I have a rather hard time imagining someone making such a fine metal "Stage prop" given the extent of war time rationing and prioritization. The only thing I can imagine is someone deciding, "Yeah, if artillery shells start bursting or something, let's try and avoid shrapnel going through it like a hot knife through butter." Somehow, I doubt Roger's would have appreciated that treatment.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Migration to macOS has been relatively successful so far. Juggling work and dogs and the need to occasionally vegetate, it took a couple weeks to get Shion properly setup.

For me one of the key problems with switching between Mac and PC has been the great modifier shift. The annoying kind of things when I come home and start using Mac shortcuts on my PC, or go to work and start using PC shortcuts on my Mac.

As a work device, my issued MBP has mostly been a case of IDGAF in terms of PC vs Mac. Contemporary OS X and its successors-thus-far, are suitable BSD under the hood with GNU sprinkled on top that it's basically a non-issue. On Windows, I would be using Windows Subsystem for Linux and SSH. On Mac, well it's native enough unless it needs to be Linux ELFs. Like NT, it comes with some nice to have GUI software but most of what I care about can be found in the Terminal.

As a home device, I'm finding it fits quite nicely. It does the desktop things that better maintained Linux distributions and Windows systems do, and it provides most of the goodness I'd get out of running FreeBSD or Debian. More importantly I don't find myself !@#$%ing mixing up the command and control keys ^_^.

Outside of Direct3D based games the majority of software that I care about is cross platform, often with GNU/Linux as the primary platform if one could be defined. So, basically everything I want to run either runs on unix, NT, and Mac systems already; or it's tied to POSIX APIs longer than Linux and OS X have been around, or it's unlikely to run on anything that doesn't do Big Honking DirectX GPUs.

Thus: Rimuru's intended mission profile is what it was chiefly built for. Playing video games, converting videos, and cursing those times when compiling on NT is a thing. Meanwhile Shion takes over the more secretarial domain of general productivity and desktop computing.

Saturday, September 3, 2022

To say that the dogs' expressions were sad and concerned when I went out the door, would be a fair statement.

To say that the dogs' were angry when I came home with two dozen donuts, would be an understatement.

Mischief managed....

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

So far, one of the unexpectedly nice things about macOS: I can use my Bluetooth keyboard to wake my MacBook Air. No putzing required. I'd like to assume my desktop could pull that off with fiddling with the power management options for the front ports or motherboard root controller, and/or the Bluetooth USB dongle. But my relationship with NT and things USB/BT is one of pain and suffering, so I'm less inclined to putz with that.

Further iterating my Gateway Station concept, I've tossed the Anker 555 in the closet and hooked up a TS4 from CalDigit. Under macOS, I'm finding that this works flawlessly and resolves the "Well, if I just use a second cable for power" issue I observed with the hub.

And then there's windows (>_<).

One reason that I opted to get the newer TS4 is its love for 10 Gbit/s ports versus the older TS3 Plus. Basically the ports are either rated for 10 Gbit/s USB or 40 Gbit/s TB. Another reason is because of the Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4 capability made me wonder if it would be both backwards and forwards compatible with my desktop.

Migrating All The Things (tm) to the CalDigit appears to work well enough for my purposes. I've no need for the DisplayPort or Ethernet port on the desktop side. All the USB ports appear to function when plugged into my ASMedia controller, and the only issue observed is that USB drives won't work. I am unsure if this is due to power negotiation, or drivers. Under macOS, I can basically plug any damn thing in  without issue. Part of me is tempted to swap out the USB 3.1 10 Gbit/s card for a Thunderbolt card, and part of me just does not want to know what the fuck Intel's NT drivers for that are like ^_^.

When I decided to consider a dock, I decided if I was going to spend the big bucks, which my previous solution was meant to avoid, that I was going to make sure it was cable of being the heart of my desk setup. Such that it could be the Single Point of Truth in connectivity instead of just the break out. That way if the desktop side of the coin proved sufficient I could do that, and if not, I could retain the previous configuration for Gateway Station. Compared to the Windows issues my previous arrangement had, it's been a bigger issue finding room for the dock on my desk.

Considering that I can use Rimuru's front panel USB ports when storage drives are required, and have USB-C extension cables that could be routed to the spare port on the ASMedia card, I'm not particularly concerned about my observations so far. My goal with this transition was to have my laptop become the core for the non gaming stuff and relegate my desktop to being focused on gaming. Thus far that's working. The test that remains is to determine how reliable this turns out on the NT side.

And to remember to turn off my speakers so they don't fallback to Bluetooth pairing mode, if I leave it connected to Rimuru instead of Shion.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Thus far, as Gateway Station has continued to evolve, I've come to the conclusion that the Anker 555 hub needs to die. I posted an earlier entry on it's troubles with Rimuru, and the process of elimination from the NT side of my setup.

Now that Shion the MacBook Air is at the center point, and Stark is officially retired to /dev/closet, the issues of course continue.

What I'm finding is that the hub works great with macOS when connected to Apple's Thunderbolt 3 / USB 4.0 controller. Except when you use the Power Delivery port, in which case it doesn't do jack shit. But otherwise seems to function provided I leave the USB-PD port clear and power Shion directly.

Now part of this may owe to the fact that I'm now using one of Anker's new GaNPrime chargers to drive everything. A downside of Anker's new fancy chargers is they expect intelligent negotiation of power that sometimes causes issues, Anker chargers being heavily marked for compatibility, aside the point ^_^. To eliminate the possibility that my nearest Apple C-to-C cable might not be rated for enough power draw to charge a laptop rather than an iPad, I also opted to try the same configuration using one of Anker's 100W rated PD cables with the exact same result.

Thus, I am reminded that the hub cost about as much as retrofitting Rimuru from my USB 3.2 Gen 2 10 Gbit/s card to a Titan Ridge based Thunderbolt 4 card, which also has a pair of USB-C connections. For now, I think a Thunderbolt dock will be replacing the Anker hub. The question will be whether or not my one cable swap approach remains, using the dock in place of the hub, or move everything through the dock and dare to suffer whatever the state of Thunderbolt drivers are for Windows 11....

Sunday, August 14, 2022

 Random things I blame on Bill and Ted: being able to spell Socrates from memory.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

 A second experiment: 44 grams of coffee (about 6 spoons of beans) to 800 ml of coffee for 4 minutes. A nice bold coffee, but without that kite flying value of the previous stump water experiment.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

A strong cup of coffee

Last year, I had ordered a French press and a nice burr hand grinder. Made a dandy cup of coffee, but I found that typically, it took too long to grind up a few cups worth of beans. So, sadly, it hasn't seen much use lately.

Well, given my recent temptations to either buy an espresso machine or a new Keurig, I decided to try investing in an experiment. See, the problem with the hand crank is after a few minutes of dire need for coffee it's exhausting, lol. The problem with an electric of course is defined in dollars.

In looking for a decent grinder that doesn't cost too much to dub an experiment, and carefully avoiding several espresso machines, I came across a Shardor based grinder that was both cheap enough to at least call an expensive experiment at about $40, plus on sale for about 40% off (~$24) making it about as cheap as any coffee grinder with a motor in it. It's even a Burr based model and small enough for an afternoon or weekend supply of coffee. While it arrived yesterday, I've been too busy and frankly, after dark isn't a great time for a cup of cafinated joy.

This morning, I basically had to skip food and drink for other errands. Needless to say, I was pretty ready to try out the new grinder.  About 8 spoonfuls of beans and about 800 ml later, I have me some pretty good coffeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Damn, that's a nice cup of coffee!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

There’s plenty of reasons why I prefer Alexa to Siri and Google Assistant as far as digital voice things go.

One of those reasons is that when I address Alexa, the closest device tends to be the one that responds. Makes sense for something that has to listen for a key word.

Now, by contrast there is Siri. I can raise my watch to my face and address Siri with some request. But instead of processing this, my phone or tablet across room takes over and of course can’t here a damned thing that I’m saying. I’ve experienced this with my phone and tablet enough to know a work around for that is to put your phone screen down as a STFU indicator, because obviously the device the user is interacting with isn’t the one the user obviously wants to use by default.

Or, you know, just do the sane thing, Apple. It’s not rocket science.

Looking around for a markdown editer, because sometimes even I like something snazzier than vi^1, I came across an interesting blog post: On Apps and Coffee - iA.

iA Writer is an application that I had glossed over when I first got my iPad and filed away as a "Remember for later". Imagine my surprise, that it actually supports other platforms. But anyhow, moving on.

I think the author makes an interesting point that apps are not coffee but coffee machines. Much the way that to the old world, computers are office tools not just a way to warm up a cold candy bar out of the office vending machine.

In general, as a consumer: I tend to avoid subscriptionware as a rule of thumb. I'm spending enough money on things like video streaming services that I don't often accept this for software. Or should we say, if your quaint (or even truly awesome sauce) app costs $30/month (or even 40¢ a month) then I'm probably going to keep on scrolling. You've got to be something I use excessively or offer some major value, not just fill a personal niche.

Unlike most consumers however, I tend to be quite willing to pay for good software. As a programmer, I understand the effort that goes into making great software more than most users. Further when I encounter good software that solves my problems, I can see the value metric—how much time is this saving me versus developing my own solution? Yeah. That's a thing. In my experience, people are either willing to pay for a good product or they weren't going to give you jack shit no matter how much effort it takes to pirate it.

People often forget that the one who produced the product also has to eat, not just slurp a coffee. One of the reasons why I've never opted to sell my software, is the profitability is keyed to unit sales. How many apps do you need to sell to buy a coffee? Yeah. Subscriptions are an easier sell when you're renting access to something. Cloud storage and media libraries make easier sells than say, an address book or a mail client. I've seen a few modern models, based on progressive unlock: a few dollars for features here, a few dollars for features there, if you actually want the nice to haves or support the developer. The one I think that makes the most sense to me, as a consumer, is a model like Working Copy. Full cost of the app to unlock the pro features, and future features for up to a year. After which an upgrade cost is pertinent.

I kind of love iA's analogy hat apps aren't like coffee but like coffee makers. Whether you buy the $25 coffee maker at Walmart or the $25,000 imported espresso machine, you're going to periodically have to deal with the costs of service. For a coffee maker this is an expense like coffee beans and k-cups. For software, this is the cost of someone maintaining the software and periodically developing new features. You know what? Never underestimate the cost of maintainence unless you're willing to coax a 20-year old computer into powering up just so you can run some piece of software that hasn't been updated in forever. Whether you're acquiring software from an indy developer, helping maintain it yourself as a open source contributor, or you're licensing it from an enterprise with more money than your entire family combined, it's not free to deal with maintaining software over a long term.

Be it our mental models or our monetary worlds, I'm not really sure a good solution exists. But apps definitely aren't coffee: apps are the coffee makers. Also remember, coffee makers eventually need replacement and that may look like a trip to Amazon or Walmart some bleary eyed morningπŸ˜‚

 

Footnotes:

  1. Actually, the ease of previewing is one of the reasons I've enjoyed using VS Code the past couple years. But I still need the vim plugin πŸ˜ƒ

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Ahh, sweet, sweet solace of NOT hearing the USB enumeration sound all the fscking time! Swapping the Anker all the things hub out for a simple USB-C that has two pair each of USB-A and USB-C ports resolves the grumbles.

Functionally, I think this is kind of preferable because the extra pieces of the Anker hub that refuse the enumerate when connected to my ASMedia controller, are only needed for the laptop side. I.e., HDMI, Ethernet, and USB-PD. For the tower, I only need the USB ports coalesced into a one cable swap over.

I've also been thinking for a while now about Stark's successor. When I built Rimuru last year, I chose the name for three main reasons.

  1. Rimuru is rather overpowered and became a demon lord. 
    1. Centauri was built for a 5-year machine and nearly lasted the decade before her retirement.
    2. So, I was specing the replacement based on 10-years of service life and planning ahead for multiple refits.
  2. Aside from being largely new hardware: Rimuru's key design factors are based on Centauri's design processes.
    1. You could say that Centauri's design was reincarnated as a modern PC.
  3. Obviously, I rather like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.

As such, I have a feeling that if Stark's successor is from either of the laptop series that I envision, it seems that Shion would be a great host name for my next laptop. Because Shion is Rimuru's first secretary, prone to solving problems with brute force, and tends to get him into trouble πŸ˜„.

In a somewhat similar convention, my iPhone SE 2020 was nicknamed Benimaru because I bought the red model and my transition from Android to iPhone, was not unlike the time Benimaru and the ogres showed up in Tempest all pissed off and ready for a fight. My devices are usually given a hostname based on whatever comes to mind relatively quickly in terms of the device's personality. But once in a while, ideas pop up ahead of time.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Musings of an aging nerd

Having transitioned from "Gahh, no space!" to compact, so far the new desk is working out fairly well. If nothing else, it's certainly nice to feel like I've got some desk space.

Because of the change up, I've been thinking of migrating Nerine's charging point from my headboard to my desk, since it's usually bedtime when I put my tablet on charge and that's really the only time, I use my phone at home. My headboard's been the charging station for ages, both due to convenience and the lack of desk space.

Actually, working off that metric and the dual desktop/laptop setup where usually my tablet is guarding my left flank anyway, I'm starting to think of my desk setup as the "Gateway station" where starships go in transient. Plus, the grey slab with technology sprouting out of it rather reminds me more of the space station in Aliens than any of the pocket-sized classes of Star Destroyer.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Evidence that Windows NT is in fact, the most annoying operating system when it comes to USB, or that me, USB, and Microsoft just don't mix well += 1.

So, for the day I've been rather perturbed that about every ten minutes or so, Rimuru makes the USB enumeration sounds.

Running Device Manager in "Devices by connection" mode allows me to obtain a decent tree view of USB things. Fucking with cables like a mad man allows using the process of elimination to determine what the actual fuck device or port causes this.

Interesting to me, after process of elimination across all ports on my motherboard's Intel controller and the twin ports on my ASMedia controller, I've figured out something interesting about my new Anker hub.

When connected to the ASMedia (directly or extension) the onboard network port shows up as Unknown USB Device (Device Descriptor Request Failed). Likewise, if you insert a memory card into either card slot, no driver letter appears, and it starts making USB enumeration sounds like a mother fucker. Looks like two ports on an NS1081 USB flash card controller judging by the device manager but doesn't work. Connect something to the Gigabit port and it does not even light up past the hubs power up cycle. This is true even if nothing is connected to the hub's USB ports, so that it's a straight shot to the controller's C port and as minimal a downstream power draw as physically possible (i.e., only the hub's power LED, network port or sd port).

By contrast, connect the hub to my motherboard's front USB-C port and instead of Unknown USB Device (Device Descriptor Request Failed) that entry becomes a typical AIX based USB Ethernet port. Didn't try the card slots when connected to the Intel controller, but I imagine they would work in that configuration.

So, this boils down to when connected to the Intel controller the hub works just fine and when connected to the ASMedia controller, the bridge chips on the hub don't work.

Also, by contrast if I swap in one of the HooToo USB-C hubs that are so ubiquitous on Amazon, it just works fine regardless of which USB controller it is connected to.

Yeah. Pretty much by down, I don't really care which vendor is the problem child here. Fuck'em all.

BASB Categories of Intention and my digital brain

A while back, I came across Tiago Forte and his Building a Second Brain concept by way of a YouTuber channel that I follow. Watching a related playlist, Pick Your Digital Notes App: Step-by-Step Walkthrough also generated some interesting food for thought.

For the most part, I tend to apply a huge grain of salt or a tune out and keep walking relationship towards productivity, task, and time management systems. In my case, I was both interested in a little more detail in favor of deciding which side of my crap sifter that lands on and the rather lenghly list of notes apps referenced being cataloged by style.

In context, my long-term use of Evernote as my digital brain can be classified as the Librarian architype that Tiago mentions. I was quite amused, actually, how Evernote and that mentality went together in his playlist πŸ˜„.

But there's another concept of BASB stuff I've seen that's kind of curious to me at the higher level. Here's an excerpt from one of my notes:

Categories of intention

  1. Tasks
    1. Actionable priorities separate from other stuff.
  2. Read/Watch Later
    1. Yeah, right.
  3. Projects
    1. Goals and deadline
    2. Longer term.
  4. Areas
    1. Important to spend and time on but no specific deadline.
  5. Resources
    1. Hang on to stuff.
    2. Collect knowledge, etc.
  6. Archives
Tiago Forte suggests these as notes. I envision them as notebook stacks, or notebooks that require a sea of tags.

Periodically, I try to re-evaluate and "Clean up" how information is stored, or "Filed away". In thinking about how my notebooks have become laid out, I realized that most of my notebooks are largely one of these architypes categorized by some greater context to narrow the scope to what I am looking for during search.

One of the reasons I came to appreciate Evernote and, in many ways, modern applications in general, is a greater focus on data rather than files. This is why for example, as I've grown older the structure of my data has become less like an "Anally organized tree of fine-grained stuff" and more like a flat and wide breath of collections.

Where younger me might have viewed a structure like ~/Documents/Papers/General Knowledge Domain/Refined Knowledge Domain/Some Computer Science Study.ps" to be useful, contemporary me is just pissed off by the excessive nesting. I don't want to spend my time organizing or finding, I want to spend my time using and storing information. So, by contrast, contemporary me would simply store such a PostScript file in my "Programming" notebook, attach tags for any relevant languages, and consider creating tags for the knowledge domain if and only if it's likely key to being able to find the information again. That is to say, if I'm trying to narrow the hundreds of notes in my Programming notebook or searching across my entire Evernote, I might create a tag. In the area where I started to collect lots of digital information, tags were already quite the fad; one in which I have a relatively negative view towards after years of [ab]using tags.

Thus, presently my notebooks are relatively flat making it easy to glance and guess where stuff goes or should be found. Tags are for useful things only. No more debating which notebook is more specific -- it's either a high-level context, or it's not a notebook! This is why for example, my Programming stack of "XYZ Programming" and "XYZ Software" notebooks were merged into Programming and Software notebooks and all the XYZ became tags or were simply unimportant. Part of why this works really well, is that computers have come a fair way past the old 'find where | grep pattern' way of searching for data, but we still think in those terms whatever our tools for finding and grepping hae become.

My notebooks like Programming, Games, Hardware, Formats & Notations, Mathematics & Science, Linguistics, Food, Photography; are all notebooks in the domain of "Resources", in terms of the above categories of intention. Whereas notebooks like Clipped Articles and Image Scrapbook would be considered Archives and notebooks such as Travel and Financial, would-be areas. Since I store a whole lot of stuff in Evernote, it really is like a library of resources and areas of focus, as well as other intentions.

I kind of like this notion of categories of intention. I may have to give it some thought both into my next great data cleanup and the relationship between tools that I utilize.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

So far, my evil desk replacement plan has gone relatively well.

The riser that came with my new desk places the monitor too high for my tastes, and was kind of edge to edge. To compensate, I've replaced it with a decent monitor arm. In general: I tend to prefer my monitors lower when they're larger / further away and high up there when they're smaller / closer. My goal was to open room under neath for a laptop to be docked not change the monitor positioning.

On the flip side, my LG was pretty darn painless to replace its integrated stand with the arm. Using the arm also gives me better cable management and unlike the un-adjustable one my monitor came with; I could always add binder clips to it. Hehe.

Speaking of binder clips: since I had to rewire all the things, I added a pair to the back of my desk. One to the left to keep the monitor's power brick from moving around and one to the right to retain the incoming Ethernet cable. I also fed my mouse and probably speaker data cables through it before routing accordingly.

To facilitate fast swapping between Rimuru and a laptop, I got myself a fancy USB-C hub. The USB-A hub affixed to monitor via velcro is now connected to one of its USB-A ports and my speaker is in its USB-C data port. Mouse, web camera, and Xbox adapter are in the USB-A hub on the monitor. Pretty much fetch an HDMI cable and network cable out of the closet and it's a one cable swap to my work MBP, and a second cable for its charger. 

Because the hub's cable can't reach Rimuru's 10 Gbit/s USB-C card and the 5 Gbit/s hub on the monitor was barely reaching one of Rimuru's motherboard USB-A ports, the solution was a 10 Gbit/s USB-C extension cable running from his expansion card to the hub. That extension cable is retained by the same binder clip as the monitor's power supply, so it won't fall off between the narrow gap between desk and wall when swapping cables. 'Cuz I know how that goes ;).

To facilitate this "All the things follow one cable" plan creates a bottle neck but considering that this bottle neck is a 10 Gbit/s, I don't really mind. Most of my USB-A peripherals have limited power and data requirements. We're talking about whether the 1080p web cam or the simple speakers draw more juice. Not trying to power a spinning hard drive and a desk lamp.

An added benefit of this novel approach is I've worked around an annoying problem.

Back when my first USB floppy drive went bork-bork, I had a spell where some of Rimuru's USB-A ports seemed dead, then went back to working. In the months (~year) since then most of his ports behave in a way that makes me believe that most of the fuses are blown. As a consequence, peripherals have generally been moved to the USB-A hub on the monitor and it connected to one of the still good ports on the motherboard's I/O panel.

Given that whatever the warranty status and pain in the assery of that might be, it's probably a good thing my Real Focus on connectivity has been USB-C stuff, it's probably a good thing that I bought that 10 Gbit/s expansion card for two more C ports. Considering the fuses are probably under the big ass heat sinkage and tiny as !@#$ to desoldier and replace, I'm going with definitely was a good plan to buy that expansion card.

Moving things to my one cable swap all the equipment plan kind of removes this problem. But to cope with it, I'm thinking of two more changes. Another hub on the back of the monitor that keeps the mouse/camera from sticking out the side, and a 5 Gbit/s expansion card to put some A ports where my motherboard's PCI-E x1 slot is available. Since 10 Gbit/s requires an x4 slot, that's already consumed by my USB-C expansion card.

Ahh, the joy of computers. Fuck them all.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

On one hand it was a little early for lunch. On the other hand, I've basically been physically active since I woke up at 0730'ish. So, I'm going with a notion from one of my favorite visual novels, that having expanded a lot of calories and having no good reason to wait: you naturally eat lunch, early.

Which also makes me realize that I haven't had any coffee yet. Therefore, it's time to make coffee while I update my journal ;).


Because I'm weird, I like pickles on the side. Because I'll eat at least half the bag otherwise, I'm smart enough to put chips on the side too. And who needs a few bits of tomato leftover just because you were one piece of ham shy of another wrap.

Think I've found a pattern that works really well for me in terms of making a sandwich wrap. These are made by:

  • One slice of American cheese
    • Broken into smaller strips and lined up so that it's smaller than half a slice deep.
    • Starting about 1 centimeter below the edge of the tortilla.
  • Three slices of salami
    • Simply, a thin layer of cold drier cold cuts.
    • These are nice sandwich sized and thin sliced, so it takes that many to fill a layer.
  • Enough leafy greens to fit between my fingers and palm.
    • I'm more inclined towards greens like arugula, spinach, chard, etc.
    • Thinly layered.
  • A swing of sauce.
    • In this case, ranch dressing.
    • Often, I'll use horse radish sauce, or whatever salad dressing I'm in the mood for.
  • A few chunks of tomato.
    • Romas are easily chopped into chunks a bit larger than a fingernail in length and three or four tossed in the middle.
    • Adds more crunch and variety to my diet.
    • Which works because I don't like to eat a tomato, but I do like tomato in stuff.
  • One slice of hot honey ham
    • Simply, a second layer of cold cuts to help hold it together.
  • One slice of Cheddar cheese.
    • Broken into strips and positioned similarly.
    • I like two kinds of cheese for flavor and tend to shop that way to compensate for the odds that one will become midnight snacking instead of sandwich fixings.
  • Roll the burrito sized tortilla up, press to help keep it shut, and optionally slice in half.
I've been following variations on this pattern for a while and like how this turns out. Putting the cheese on the outside seems to help bind it together, as the softer cheeses will melt relatively quickly. Putting the cold cuts between the cheese and the watery bits seems to keep it tidy and less likely to spew out.

For me, I find that bread often goes bad before I can work through a loaf unless I go on quite the sandwich kick. Wrapping up a tortilla on the other hand, is at least no less healthy than my taste in breads, and easily tossed in a refrigerator bin with the cold cuts and cheeses.


From a healthier prospect, I should probably have skipped one of these halves. Not sure if it's due to this morning's exercise or the more sating approach to filling a sandwich wrap, but I found this to be quite a lunch. In either case, Misty would have been happy to eat the other half!

Saturday, July 2, 2022

For a while now, I've meant to get a thing of Altoids. Both because of all the cool projects I've encountered over the years that would fit in one and wondering what they taste like. Not bad actually.

That said, I found it curious that the curiously strong mints can be smelled through the cellophane wrapped tin, lol.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Desk Plans

For the first time in quite a few years, I'm planning on a different desk setup at home. Actually, for the first time in about 16 years, I'm buying a new desk as part of the plan.

The small desk that I use has been slighted modified to suit my preference for keyboard on slab over its slide out keyboard tray. But otherwise, it's about the same desk my mom bought about 20 years ago when we got a Pentium 4. Making the migration away from keyboard trays, and frankly having held up much better, is why it replaced my desk that I bought about 16 years ago when I got my own personal computer.

Here's what I'm envisioning:

  1. A slab style desk about 40" wide.
  2. Monitor riser to hold the big ass monitor.
  3. Laptop docked under the riser.
  4. Speakers to either side.
  5. Some means of swapping between tower and laptop.
For the desk part of this equation, I'm looking at this gaming desk. It's close enough in dimensions to my mom's old desk that I don't think Corky will notice it encourching on his beloved bedside corner unless the cupholder falls off and hits him in the snoop or I spill a drink on his head. The included riser should be just enough to handle my monitor's stand, and I could probably go with one of those arms if that doesn't work out.

This should allow sliding my development Latitude or my work MacBook Pro under the riser, and in theory, maybe I can get away from the annoyance of the monitor leg being under my mouse pad πŸ˜‚.

Having a slab of comparable dimension should maintain the benefit of having the room to the side for my laptop / phone / whatever the crap I'm working on but put it at the same height as my desk instead of being a "Lowered" shelf the size of a PC shelf. The lack of a place to stow my PC other than on the slab means that Rimuru will probably end up on a little rolly stand of his own, or that I'll duct tape some cardboard together to make one.

The part that I haven't quite figured out is device swapping.

On the back of my monitor there are strips of Velcro affixing a Gigabit switch and a USB hub. On the top is my webcam and behind are my speakers jacked into one of the dual USB-C 10 GBit/s ports on Rimuru's expansion card.

Stack has a Dell docking station that solves most problems of interfacing if it fits but won't be able to share much. Whether I replace it with a shiny XPS or a Mac someday, my next laptop is going to have USB-C ports much as this was a design requirement when I built Rimuru! Since most of my gear is either Bluetooth (keyboard, headphones) or USB-A (mouse, webcam, USB-A hub, Xbox controller adapter) it would be relatively easy to swap from desktop to laptop as desired by using a USB-C hub because the only Bluetooth device switching around is one with multiple device pairings. The sticky one is that my speakers require a USB-C for their data connection to actually work. The only solution I've been able to figure on so far, is one of the few hubs readily available that has both USB-A and USB-C ports. I figure that most connections of interest can be routed to such a hub, along with display/network for the laptop. Personally, I would prefer something like the 4-port USB-A hub on my monitor but as a 4-port USB-C hub, but those are still harder to find as most vendors are C-to-A style hubs and most have short cable lengths. The alternative would be having to switch my speakers between USB-C input and Bluetooth mode, which isn't totally convenient since they would still need Rimuru to be powered on, making USB the better deal for toggling between devices.

A tricky part of this is the cable length such a hub. That effectively means that cable swaps would require running a USB-C to C extension cable from Rimuru to the hub and swapping the hub between that extension cable and whatever Stark's successor is. And probably hoping that the new desk or riser lets me put binder clips on the back for cable retention, to keep the cable for falling off, lol.

Well, at least that is my concept for right now.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Debugged; Noun

When you wonder why the automation isn't turning off Work focus after you've been home a while, and realize it's using the wrong device's location to geo-fence.

Then add another automation for the same location on another device.

Then can't delete either of these, because your phone and tablet both still show two entries with details from the original automation entry because deleting the automation doesn't do nadda, and your watch doesn't show any automations.

Then you finally say screw it and delete the entire focus.

That's debugged. o(*_*)o

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Dusting off DooM '93 for a refreshing break, I managed to leisurely make it through most of episode 2 before my watch reminded me that I should in fact, get off my fat butt and walk around a bit.

I'm well reminded of how the map designers were often out to get the player. E2M6: Halls of the damned has a rather obtuse layout by modern norms but really good flow for a DooM map. Magic closets unleashing enemies are kind of overused, but it's a pretty nice map.

On DoomMaps: we can see a fair look at the various curves and bends that funnel you towards monsters.

Having survived the dance of shotguns between mobs, painted the halls in plasma and exploding lost souls, and said screw it and chainsawed through hordes of Pinkies, I eventually came across a second exit door guarded by the yellow skull key. It's been long enough since I've played episode 2 that I had no real recollection of this, but of course by that point in the map I was really not surprised when this turns out to be a fake exit door leading to Cacodemons, shotgun guys, lost souls, and other things making the back of my mind shout, "PLASMA, PLASMA!!!"

Confession: when the closet full of demons opened up on the way back to the real exit door, I opted to whip out the chainsaw in order to conserve my plasma cells and chaingun bullets for E2M7.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

So, I've finally decided to give it a shot. For a while I've had some interest in the various sensors Apple Watches have, and due to recent affairs, I pretty much find myself with greater need to be aware of what time it happens to be and whether or not there is a meeting on the agenda. Frankly, I'm tired of walking to the head or the snack bar and checking my phone for the time.

Combining these factors, along with the Xbox Series X continuing to be more Unicorn than not as far as budgeted upgrade paths go, I did something I rarely do: I bought myself an expensive birthday present! With my birthday coming up soon, I decided to pull the trigger and just do it. Something that's not a unicorn always taps that earmarked piece of my savings anyway. Actually, thinking about it, if you discount that time I ended up needing a car near Christmas time, buying a Apple Watch Series 7 is probably the second or the most expensive 'gift' I've ever picked for myself πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜„πŸ˜‚. In retrospect, it's also the first time I've ever been to an Apple Store, and probably the first time I've gone to a certain nearby mall in a about a decade.

My choice between the SE and S7 is mainly about the sensors; for all other factors I'd rather save on price. Of course, in September there will probably be nice sales if Series 8 lands at the usual time frame but I'm not a Virgo or a Libra. In terms of style being the bland sort, a nice black case and a dark green leather band in 45 mm. Something that fits both my taste and will blend in whether at work or out and about. Might investigate some of the NATO nylon straps and stainless-steel bands on Amazon for variety, but so far, so happy. The leather link uses a magnet clasp that's as easy as Velcro, and more comfortable than the regular sports and leather bands with the usual through hole buckle that I've worn over the years.

This makes the third watch I've owned since about 1999, and the second that I've bought for myself. Remarkably, it's also the most expensive. Back around '99 is when I bought the watch that I used most in my life, for a whole remarkable ten bucks at Walmart. The only other watch I've used since then was a really, really slick hand me down. Until about 2010, I had intermixed between watch and watch less and set it aside sometime after adapting to phones in 2010. I can say that my desire for phones likely peaked somewhere in the middle and has long since waned in favor of tablets.

On the flipside, maybe the three rings will convince me to move my lazy fat ass more often ^_^.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

For work related reasons, I’ve found myself using a Mac for the past two weeks rather than my aging Latitude. Along with whatever the sale related winds happen to be when Stark finally retired, I suppose this will influence whether my next laptop ends up an XPS or a MacBook, lol.

Having adapted an iPad and fiddled around with old-ass PowerBooks, I’m already well aware that Apple has its own standards when it comes to keyboard shortcuts, and that it’s probably as old as anyone else’s :P.

One of the most annoying points of transition for me isn’t the control, option, and command thing — rather it’s the differences in use. For the most part these modifiers are what you’d expect compared to control, alt, and super (windows). The part that will corrupt my muscle memory is some everyday control+shortcuts are control+shortcuts and some are command+shortcuts. Unlike a simple difference in modifier layout: this calls for learning which ones are and aren’t different modifiers; not just different key positions.

While the pattern is pretty straight forward for application specific shortcuts, e.g., cntrl+t to open a tab will almost always be cmd+t instead and changing tabs remains the control+tab of a PC; it’s the cursor movements for hopping by words and lines with the arrow keys that are harder to muscle memory. Those feel to have much less rime to reason to me. To balance that out, macOS comes with a version of vim pre-installed!

My relationship to Mac OSX was mostly focused on the unix layer. BSD with bits of GNU, and a little fruit on the side. Apple’s GUI itself never interested me much when I was getting deeper into computers.

As a consequence: I find the macOS window manager very “Different”, but surprisingly interesting. An early source of confusion for me was control+up versus control+down. One of these effectively shows the windows on the desktop and one of these effectively shows the windows for the current application. That’s the key.

macOS’s window manager is decidedly modern but it has rather classic notions!

Another source of such confusion is differences between cmd+tab and cmd+`, a distinction between applications and windows quickly becomes a “Huh” when you start having handfuls of terminal windows intermixed with handfuls and handfuls of other application windows. If I hadn’t played with the classic MacOS, I’m not sure I would have figured that distinction out as quick since no modern platform really does the difference between application window group and windows of the current application that way.

Actually, it’s surprising how much macOS has retained from the ‘90s and ‘80s era system software. Both in spirit and in direct function. While at the same time embracing UNIX, which typically takes a more “PC” approach to things once you leap from minicomputers to microcomputers.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Taking Greek inspiration for lunch, I'm reminded of one of the things I love about living in the US: the food! I remember a German friend describing our approach to eating as a giant "Salad bowl" because you can find a little bit of everything in America.

Being a nation made up of immigrants, people of course brought their tastes in cooking along. It's like if there is anything we can all gather around and enjoy together: it's food. Different families may have different preferences in baking bread, but it's still in breaking bread together that we find joy.

In terms of cuisine, traditionally "American food" is not that different from western European countries. In fact, I'm pretty sure a Frenchman just rolled over in his grave somewhere at that very thought :^o). The subtleties of cooking in such countries are often lost upon us, IMHO. Which makes sense given that so many early colonists came from Europe, and the concepts of cooking came along with them and then mingled together and became adapted to what the home cooks had to work with. The same is often true of other island nations and former territories.

As time moved on more and more delicious food has become common. I find it somewhat amusing that whenever people here are on the search for food, it often is discussed in terms of a type of food (e.g., sandwiches; fried chicken; etc), or in terms of ethnicity (e.g., Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai) that best describes what they are in the mood for. In my area: there's a particularly broad range of food to choose from. We always end up adapting what we cook to what is available to work with, but what form it takes is always shaped by some point of reference.

Growing up, I was fortunate that ma went with a broad range of food. My mother's cooking was heavily influenced both by our shared ancestry and the people we knew. My mother learned to cook from her grandmother, who didn't even speak English. Obviously, Italian food was a big thing to them -- as a child, arguably the pallet of her parents and grandparents were the biggest influences. That had both positive and negatives for my mom, such as the war between her and her mother about the definition of gravy and the occasional horrors of her family eating whatever her grandfather brought home. At the same time, she also loved dinner with friends and neighbors. That could be mean anything, and as a side effect my mother's pallet was far broader than our ancestors. I in turn, benefited from this very much, lol.

It's also kind of funny that often the best home cooks are named grandma, in whatever language the terms of endearment may take.

Note to self: I should definitely make ma's spinach lasagna when the holiday season comes around.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

I’ve always been a collection of oxymorons. Or, as a fan of Oscar, I prefer to say “I am an ox AND a moron!”; although sometimes I find it intriguing how that works out in practice.

Viewing plans for the weekend include both Eraser and Emily In Paris, which is probably a wide apart as you can get for genres.

On the flip side while Eraser is as technologically silly as it gets, and the CGI and compositing shots haven’t held up that great, it’s still as entertaining a collection of bullets and explosions as I remember.

Friday, June 3, 2022

Ahh, it’s been a busy few weeks.

As such I mainly have two core objectives right now.

First is what I refer to as “Drool on the couch”. Rest and relaxation in the manner of Home Simpson. Except for me that tends to look more like Netflix or video games than a beer.

Second is to catch up on my backlog. Things that need to get sorted but don’t always make it into the week. Not to mention trying to get a headstart.

Actually, I find it kind of bemusing that grocery shopping is usually scheduled in terms of when the dogs food and snacks are getting due for refill, or when my own snack pool thins out πŸ˜‹

Saturday, May 14, 2022

For a while now, I've resisted Disney+. Often, just barely. I kind of recognized immediately when it launched: if my mother had been alive there would have been no choice in the matter from the beginning. With Star Wars and Marvel joining the house of mouse, that beelines it straight into my interests. I already grew up in front of Disney's content library being the son of Disney fanatic. Throwing in the franchises that most interest me: that just makes a dangerous recipe for a streaming service, lol.

The way I've largely resisted is the notion that I have enough of my budget devoted to such subscriptions, and don't need another. Less about the cost, more about the principal.

And then I notice how cheaply this can expand my existing Hulu package....and darn it.

For bonus points, not only does this allow me to catch up on recent SW/MCU series, it has quite the back catalog. Including filling in the gaps in my Blu-ray collection. Seeing the back catalog has the old ewoks movies and Spiderman and His Amazing Friends series from the '80s listed, somehow just makes me feel old more than tempted. But I'm pretty sure we've long since passed the point of "Pass the popcorn". Sigh.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

 Famous last words? "Damn it, Amazon. Don't show me coffee makers!"

Friday, May 6, 2022

Reflections upon my career

For the most part, I've never been a big believer in bucket lists. At least not the kind you wait until you're dying to start checking off. In thinking recently, I've come to realize that the work I've done over the years probably checks those kinds of boxes on my career in software engineering.

Over the past 16½ years of programming: I've ...

Followed as part of a larger group where the big picture issues were someone else's problem, been the mythical programmer doing it all, led small groups where the big picture is my domain, and been the contact point for small groups.

Learned that I like design and architecture. Both creating them anew and studying existing projects.

Somehow ended up the guy everyone asks when they don't know the answers.

Gotten to enjoy coffee machines that may have had more moving parts than my car.

Worked on traditional application and system level software, but also many other pieces that were off the beaten path. Kernel level drivers that needed porting, microcontrollers that drive hardware interfaces, developed libraries, tools, and frameworks.

Discovered those are all less magical than you think when you're a young padawan. It's less that it's drastically different from normal software development and more that it's important that you not screw up, explode, or paint yourself into a corner.

At times been both the smarted and the stupidest person in the room.

Made features people loved that were based off my ideas. Especially the curious ones when I wanted to know how something worked, and then found an imaginative use case for what was learned.

Made features people loved that we based off other people's ideas. Especially the ones that made the product better for the customer.

Been one of the engineers that gets called when a customer goes down on a Sunday.

Been deemed the expert on some problem domain. Actually, I don't want to know how many times that's happened.

Seen code that I worked on make the magic happen and seen the results on a scope, even though I'll never be able to spell oscilloscope from memory!

Been grateful for hardware engineers and technicians and their skill sets. As well as gladly working alongside them.

Had my hands in more than pieces of internal infrastructure than I can count. As a coworker recently pointed out, while "IT guy" has never been my job title at any of the places that I've worked, he noted that I could probably run an IT dept it I had to. The part of that bugs me, is he was serious, and others agreed.

Been a webmaster, not that I miss that job.

Gotten to work with equipment that I always thought was so expensive that I would never be allowed to touch it.

Seen more than one 8-inch floppy diskette.

Oh wow, satellites!

Been one of the guys who knows too much about what needs doing after the power comes back on.

Both saved the day like Mr. Scott and reminded people that I am not in fact Scotty.

Quoted Jurassic Park more times than I ever thought possible.

Had to wear both my red shirt and my brown pants.

Kept working on a problem everyone else gave up on, and actually found a solution.

Written code to handle parsing existing formats and data streams, including at least one parser of MPEG2 Transport Streams and various propriety things.

Written code, specifications, and documentation for formats and data streams I've created. Sadly, more often for propriety things.

Debugged more than a few weird problems.

Been the guy that gets to solve a problem because the team that should fix it in their project decided it's too much work to do the right thing.

Solved problems at both ends so a system is tolerant if only upgraded one end.

Will probably forget more about the X Windows system as I get older than younger folk will ever learn.

Will never forget there was a character encoding named EBCDIC because test equipment was so much older than I was, defaulting to EBCDIC rather than ASCII made sense when it was manufactured.

Worked on existing and developed new products that actually get used and deployed.

Never got to go to tradeshows and conferences related to my fields but was the chief code monkey on a product that got an award at one.

There will probably be at least letter from a customer in my keepsake box.

Ahh. I've got to admit, it hasn't been a dull career to date.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

It’s been an unusually full weekend. A couple friends were in Atlanta making for a nice chance to hang out. As someone that already passes for a potato during my time off, this was probably the most time out I’ve spent since the pre-COVID age. Between work and medicine schedules it’s been difficult to get very far on the weekends, even after being vaccinated.

I’m also reminded that driving in Atlanta isn’t quite as bad as I remember, thanks to it being the weekend. But I’m still going with the accurate statement that Atlanta is a gravity well where cars go and pedestrians can walk faster πŸ˜…. Driving on the interstate doesn’t bother me, it’s just a case in methodical driving and trying to avoid the psychopaths. It’s more specifically the metropolitan gravity well that sucks.

Oddly the thing I’m most looking forward to about the coming week is coffee. I’m able to be a fully functional human being without caffeine, and did so the first twenty or so years of my life. Yet, I’m still in favor of an IV drip of espresso given how little coffee I’ve had this weekend.

As a side note, a entry in embarrassing life moments: wondering why the parking machine refuses to acknowledge my credit card exists, and then noting the machine is too old for chip cards which meant my mag strip was therefore on the wrong side. Or as my brain’s internal monologue phrased it, “Damn, I shouldn’t have skipped coffee”. Yes, never skip coffee. Something, something. Mm, coffee.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Thus far, getting the 2300c up and running has proven to be a bit of a longer running side project than expected.

Part of the juggle:

  1. Most of my software base targets M68K and system 7: about the time PowerPC support began.
  2. Most of my media for installing MacOS 9 either can't boot on older than a G3 or is media that can neither be booted nor readily connected to the older hardware.
  3. Which parts will end up in which machine.
Now that I have a second IDE to SD adapter, I can fit the 2300c with its own internal drive. I'm thinking the larger RAM card from my 230c will get swapped with the 8 MB RAM card from the 2300c. At least if I can get the machine running MacOS 9 or 8.x where memory use will probably be higher. I can't say that I care as much about the modem card given the process to swap that and my lack of a local test loop.

I'm thinking that the 2300c will get nicknamed "Maxwell", after Gundam Wing's Duo Maxwell.

Looking like the next steps will be creating an image for the SD card via emulator or trying to arrange booting my G3 machine and seeing if it can run an install to the 2300c using Target Disk mode and a SCSI connection. In the meantime, I might just see if the 230's system 7 install will boot on the 2300c. If so, a whole lotta Zip disk swapping and multiple partitions might be an effective solution.

While the 2300c has proven to be in much better shape than I expected, the fancier color screen looks like it would benefit from recapping far more than the 230's B&W. Figuring out replacement capacitors though, may be a project for another year. When it comes to the trouble of dismantling that section of PowerBook, it would probably make a good opportunity to do the same to the motherboard. Especially if the PowerPC model also has most of the caps in the same zone near the DC input.

Actually, come to think of it, I believe the baseline floppy setup system 7 that I used for the 230c should be viable if I make a PPC disk utilities floppy to bootstrap from. Decades after the fact, I'm not entirely sure I want to know how well an upgrade process from System 7.x to MacOS 9 would work.

Random thought

I think I can now say it is universally known that I love coffee.

That, or the only way to make it better known would be having coffee paraphernalia tattooed on my face..... lol

For the most part, lately I tend to find myself in an often-tired state. Part of this, I reckon is simply how life is right now. Between work and home, I'm usually kept busy at both ends. I'm used to it being a busy season by now. Another part, I think is that spring just doesn't tend to be a great time of year for me in practice. Most years, actually I've been kind of glad this time of year leans towards busy much stronger than idle.

Recently, I marked 6 years since ma passed away. Events like that seem to make up the lion share of events on my calendar for the early parts of the year, that don't involve meetings and appointments. It kind of bugs me that that trend has only grown since I was a kid. In many cases, it's the death of someone I care about or the birthday of someone I care about whose no longer alive. That sums up the key highlights of my personal calendar for early months of the year. But I also guess that comes with getting older.

My grandfather used to say, "Adapt!" My mother was fond of pointing out that most of the things her dad said were utter non-sense, but she also had a talent for re-iterating the ones that were wise. For me, adaption has usually equated to get things done whatever needs doing.

In the course of my life, I've learned that I probably adapt a bit quicker than most folks I know. For things that I can file under doing, that's kind of easier. It's a more mechanical type of processing that leaves you something to focus on, whether or not it pisses you off in the process. It's the things that aren't as focused that I find harder.

For life in general, well, I'm pretty sure if I pointed out the times that my family had to adapt growing up, my momma would have both slapped me in the head for implying that she hated change that strongly and have listened to my two cents that she did well at making the most of it. That's just how life is. You adapt or you stagnate.

Over the past few years, I've felt that my life has been headed towards a different chapter.

Oddly, this reminds me I've got about 30 more years until my age hits the next power of two.... 🀣

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Passing thought: if personal cybernetics or portable nuclear power cells are ever a thing, I so need an integrated espresso machine.

For some reason this makes me remember Killing Floor's Fleshpound. A type of zombie that effectively turns into a meat grinding berserker when the squad's gunfire causes its chemical injectors to respond to its rage.

You know, having an espresso machine built into you would probably be a case of be careful what you wish for.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Great plan: saving leftover chili, macraroni, that could be smothered in cheese and tossed in the oven.

Bad plan: eating the entire pan for chilimac. Then polishing off a bunch of cheesecake.

Or was that a perfect plan....

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Windows: oh, so poorly defined

Wondering what the heck Rimuru is so lethargic at I/O, to the point that programs take minutes to launch from the start menu and Explorer instances minutes to refresh.

Task Manager reports that my NVMe drive is at locked on 100% but only registers tens of MB/s in I/O. That's kind of silly in more ways than one.

Running perfmon /res from PowerShell, imagine my greater surprise when the Resource Monitor paints the finger at PID 4, SYSTEM and shows executable files from the new XBox advanced management feature.

Now here's the real kicker! Of the top three entries two are for a file that no longer exists on disk because I uninstalled the game a few weeks ago. Both marked at roughly 10~11 MB/s reads if you translate the B/s into reality. The third is installed but is registering ~4.5 MB/s reads for a file that is 600 something KB in size.

But I suspect that this non-sense is also a red herring, as system performance has leveled off despite the silly entries in the monitor. Whatever really sledgehammered the drive at startup is likely long since gone by the time I could get the monitors up and running.

That said, I kind of have to wonder what kind of I/O pattern could possibly register tens of megabytes of reads on a file that does not exist for thirty plus minutes and going, and if it did exist, would probably fit on a floppy diskette with plenty of room to spare.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Sometimes random things make you frown.

  1. Paper weight falls off the tea bag.
  2. String falls in the cup.
  3. Can’t reach the teabag or the string.
  4. Flip over cup and it still won’t come out.
  5. Tie the string to the handle and it flies off when adding water.

When they all in a neat streak of events: I call this an incremental frown.

On the upside sitting down with a spot of tea and not going ass over tea kettle in the process πŸ˜…

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Done it again

So, it seems like I've done a naughty thing: I bought another vintage PowerBook. This time it's a Duo 2300c.

A downside of 30-year-old Mac is the trackball is sometimes finicky and has proven resilient to my efforts. I've actually thought about acquiring a Wombat ADB-USB bridge so that I can use a modern mouse^ with my Duo 230. Later models tended to retain some serious hardware compatibility and reuse but eventually replaced the trackball with a standard trackpad. 

I've thought about acquiring a junked late model Duo for parts or trying to find piece meal parts of the old upgrade kits to refit my Duo 230 with a trackpad. Given the age of parts, probably better off with the Wombat approach. Encountering a 2300c in good shape that doesn't cost more than a decent modern laptop of course was too tempting a target.

In my tastes for PowerBooks, things tend to lean more in the direction of subnotebook and ultra-portables. Even today, the Duo series greatly reflects my tastes in computing. 20-year-old-Mac's PowerPC processor has been kind of nifty since it can emulate Motorola 68k and run native PPC code. But the 'Street series is too damned hefty for my tastes even if its G3 blazes compared to an old '30.

Interchangeability of parts between the Duo 200 series seems to be pretty high, but I'm not sure how true that is with the 2300c for internals. But unlike other PowerPC models I'd care for, because it's the last Duo: it's compatible with my peripherals. By contrast, other options lead in the direction of proprietary model-specific gear. The 2300c has the same dock port as the earlier Duo 200 series.

Depending on what shape its internals are in, I might end up with two functioning machines or kit bashing them together. I've been more interested in the 68k / system 7 era, but I can't say that I really mind prospects of a 603e at nearly triple the clockrate of my 68030.

^ While I'm sure Apple must have made a decent ADB mouse at some point, I can't say that I enjoy the rolling ball mice of old as much as I do an actual track ball or an optical based mouse.

Feels So Good: AM Gold


This morning's playlist: Feels So Good: AM Gold

While I guess I've always had a soft spot for cheesy songs, I'm totally blaming Guardians of the Galaxy that I found myself singing along to this one while waiting on a cup of coffee.

Ooga-chaka ooga-ooga

Ooga-chaka ooga-ooga

Ooga-chaka ooga-ooga

Ooga-chaka ooga-ooga


I can't stop this feeling

Deep inside of me

Girl, you just don't realize

What you do to me


When you hold me

In your arms so tight

You let me know

Everything's all right


I'm hooked on a feeling

I'm high on believing

That you're in love with me


Lips as sweet as candy

Its taste is on my mind

Girl, you got me thirsty

For another cup of wine


Got a bug from you, girl

But I don't need no cure

I just stay a victim

If I can for sure


All the good love when we're all alone

Keep it up girl

Yeah, you turn me on


I'm hooked on a feeling

I'm high on believing

That you're in love with me


All the good love

When we're all alone

Keep it up girl

Yeah, you turn me on


I'm hooked on a feeling

I'm high on believing

That you're in love with me


I'm hooked on a feeling

And I'm high on believing

That you're in love with me


I said I'm hooked on a feeling

And I'm high on believing

That you're in love with me


Hooked on a feeling

-- Hooked on a Feeling 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Think I understand how the Tin Man felt about needing that oil can. I managed to sleep sounder and stiller than many a log and passed out snoring quite early. By the time I started to work up there was the distinct feeling of having not moved in many hours.

Willow of course is the smart one. Every morning I get up at a certain time because Misty has her medicines on a schedule. Willow debated getting up and decided if her pillow was moving, she was still going back to sleep, lol.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Things I should never forget: that Windows and USB always makes Linux and USB look like heaven.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

A big bet to kill the password for good

Rather interesting, but I think the real question is when will existing systems catch up.

For the most part the only real problem I’ve experienced with 2-factor authentication is exactly the one that they outlined. In fact, it was a key reason why I stopped using Google’s authenticator in favor of physical keys around Lollipop.

The notion of storing keys in a synced keychain also intrigues me. My password manager of choice is synchronized between devices, and I generally don’t worry about it because.
  1. Database is locally encrypted with a pass phrase. I’m not getting those back if I forget how to unlock the password manager.
  2. Local storage is typically an encrypted file system, and typically on a system where applications aren’t allowed to access each other’s files without permission.
  3. Synchronization is to remote storage that should be encrypted at rest and transferred over the wire at least as secure as HTTPS/TLS.
  4. Accessing that account requires 2-factor authentication, or an emergency code that is difficult to obtain over network.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

One of the reasons that I love choice-based adventure games is that it offers opportunities for both introspection and escape. Will you put yourself into context, or will you role-play a part? Games like Detroit: Become Human and House of Ashes offer much opportunity for both.

In my experience, choices in games tend to reflect me. Not purely the role of the character or an artificial mentality. Actually, I think it would be neat to see statistics about how players respond to such games.

Become Human is even more thoughtful than most because of the issue of Android rights and revolution. I love that the story keeps making you evaluate this. Do you thrash the square, or do you send a message of civil disobedience? Do you respond to violence and injustice with justice and violence, or do you believe an eye for an eye is how the world goes blind? When things heat up will you stick to what you believe or evaluate. Where will you draw the point of no return? I found the point following the fall of Jericho especially pointed.

Thinking about my play through, I do think that as I get older that I am becoming more of a pacifist at heart. I believe that conflict will exist as long as humanity does, but I also see there is so much protentional in our species. Hopefully, if someday our creations become alive as we are, they will learn the right things from us.

Note: Spoilers below.








An earlier version of myself would likely have opted for revolution after the fall of Jericho. On the notion of social justice, it's certainly a difficult point where you need to decide which side of the line you'll land on. Even for peaceful people, turning it into an android revolution may be a valid response to the situation. Of all the choices in the game, I found that probably the hardest to make.

Choosing to march the Androids down to the recall camps and sit, demanding freedom wasn't something that I would have imagined. Choosing to sing at the Android's last stand as execution closes in lead to a beautiful ending. I love that the game doesn't necessarily turn it into a brutal moment rather than one of hope and humanity. A path that says much about both mankind and the androids.

On the prospect that someday our machines could one day become alive rather than simply automatons, I kind of hope whatever our creations learn from mankind: it'll be a lesson of hope. That, and for us humans to be wise enough not to repeat our own mistakes instead of rise above them.

Detroit: Become Human

Detroit: Become Human is one of the more emotional games that I've ever played. As a story-based adventure game, it's superb.

Connor the Deviant Runner, Kara the mother, Markus the revolutionary. Each character's story twists and turns and entwines until by the end they veer off again but continue to be influenced by the choices that lead them, your choices.

I found the story very emotion provoking. Kara's story especially resonated, and I think perhaps she is the most human. Connor's story splits down the middle. Whether you choose to role play or be yourself eventually his paths will make you decide who he really is. Faced with Android slavery, Markus can follow a path that would make MLK proud or paint the streets in blood, or somewhere in between. It's left up to you and many a quick time event.

As a human, I find the games choices remarkable. Kara may represent the best in us in a grey, grey world. The crisis of conscious an identity Connor experiences aren't that far off from what most people will eventually face. Markus's story stabs us right in the belief, perhaps even more so if you're familiar with America's history. It's even neat how the main menu Android fits into the picture, and Kamski's test is an awesome test of humanity.

I'd give it 5/5 except for technical issues. To play via Steam Link: you need to set the game to regular Windowed mode, not Fullscreen or Boardless Window. Probably related to the company's fondess of rolling their own tech rather than using a common game engine. Periodically the screen will go black except for overlay based UI (like interaction prompts) or go to a fuzzy outline, as if certain shaders crashed and broke the rendering until quitting to desktop and restarting the game. That may be because I have an old GTX 780, or because I don't have the kind of AMD GPU you'd find in a PlayStation 4. But those issues were relatively minor, and most often occurring right after a check point save or major scene change.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Given how consistently my knee has been getting stiff and achey, part of me wonders it I'm getting like my mother was with the rainy weathers or if I'm just starting to get old and fat.

Well, to be fair: I'm not getting thinner with ageπŸ˜…

Monday, February 21, 2022

Japanese internment camps: How a long-lost kimono unearthed a family secret https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-60408913 

I think that it would be rather a shame to have such a beautiful piece of your heritage locked away. But given what was done to their generation, I can’t say that I blame their grandparents for being so disinclined to talk about it.

Growing up, I was always rather glad that my mother would share what it was like in her family. Being Italian Americans, my grandparents didn’t have it quite so hard. My grandmother worked in a factory and my grandfather served in the Navy. To my understanding, he didn’t like discussing the war but I believe that had more to do with his experiences in the pacific. By their generation, English had already become the dominate language in the family, and I imagine that no one really cared that much about the Italians.

By contrast many folks of Japanese decent were not so fortunate. And to top it off, there were many nisei who still chose to fight and join the war effort despite what was being done to their families at home.

My mother’s generation was the last that truly spoke any of the Italian dialect of the old folks because that was the only way to communicate with her grandmother. The Italian influences were very much apart of her upbringing, significantly more than my brother and I. And there was never any reason for anyone to mind or fear that. I think that we were very lucky for that.

The thought of people missing out on that kind of thing, kind of bugs me. Given what Japanese Americans went through in those days, I can’t say that I am surprised. Not only is it wrong what was done to that generation, but to help break up being able to share their heritage with their children and grandchildren that is even more wrong.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

 https://flip.it/aaAKg4Crazy Thin Ultrabook Announced with No Ports

Not sure if this idea is just insane, or if I’m in love.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Things that make dogs angry: the smell of chicken cooking.

Things that make dogs happy: the taste of fresh chicken.

Trick is somewhere in between, not getting Rube Goldberged off a cliff like a cartoon character while the dogs abscond with the whole supply of chicken.

Friday, January 28, 2022

"Wait, isn't that downloading too fast?"

"Alexa, what's 45 times 8"

"Well, yeah, I guess that is a lot of bits"

Let's just say I don't miss the days when downloading a game's patch could make me glad that no one called for 3 to 4 consecutive hours. Although with file sizes of modern games being measured by the Blu-ray scale, I still prefer it when the phone doesn't ring :^o.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Operation New Coat

Ordinarily, I wear the same black light all year jacket that I've worn for so many years... I was already wearing it in photos 17 years ago. After so many years, it's gotten a bit thinner and worn in places that I've worried someday it'll fall apart. But it's fit that sweet spot of a coat that is light enough to wear when it's chilly outside and warm enough that when it's insufficient: switching to thermal shirts or multiple layers is both a solution and recommended anyway, lol. Like my hat, it handles wind and rain well enough that I rarely need an umbrella. Actually, I've rarely used an umbrella or a dedicated raincoat for at least a decade now because my jacket is close enough for 70% of my rainy weather needs not just keeping warm. I love my jacket because it made a pretty effective wind breaker in its youth and remains an all year 'round coat.

When it gets really cold and windy during the winter it's layer duty. Typically, I will add a heavy-duty fleece and a scarf that I'm pretty sure is a few decades older than I am. The over the head fleece is bothersome and ineffective against water, but as a second layer over my regular jacket it works damn well until the wind warrants thermal underwear.

The other day, Amazon's prime deal of the day just happened to be Wantdo Men's Waterproof 3 in 1 Ski Jacket Warm Winter Coat Windproof Snowboarding Jackets with Detachable Puffer Coat for about 20% off its current pricing. It aligns well enough with what I've been thinking of in a new coat for several years, and priced as "Yeah, let's give it a shot" while the sale lasts.

So far, this is looking to be a success!

Material wise it seems like it should handle water slightly better than my old jacket; certainly, no worse. Especially given that by wearing it since circa high school: my normal jacket isn't getting any thicker or more water resistant with age. The removable "Puffer" liner looks like on its own and zipped into the main jacket, should replace use cases where I either switch to heavy-duty fleece or wear it over my old jacket. The change from a mesh lining to warm and cozy might make it less all-year wear than my old coat, but we'll see.

Kind of happy to see that the zippers are far from the weakest point. My old jacket, shall we say fits in that gap between decent zippers either last almost forever or make you wonder about the value of replacing them. Not sure if the various draw string pieces will hold up any better than my old jacket, but I can live with that.

A sweet boon is that the cuffs are fitted with Velcro tabs that can be used to batten down the cuffs. I've been stuck for years having to make do with gloves and mittens as the only pseudo-work-around when it gets windy as **** out. That the hood zips to the back of the neck and Veclros under the collar bands is nice. Typically, I'll prefer my Boonie hat to wearing my old jacket's hood because of superior range of head movement. Except when it is brutally cold in which case I'm putting the hood up, hat on, and wrapping a scarf around the hood, lol. So mostly, it just serves as something to snag on or tell which end of the jacket is which, or an aide for the rare days when I forget my hat and it starts to rain.

Something that remains to be seen is whether or not the pockets will be kickass or useless. My old jacket's pockets are good enough for storing gloves or snot rags but aren't safe for things like my phone that don't take kindly to bouncing off concrete nor reliable for holding things that you can't have fallen out unnoticed. The zip shut pockets are both deeper than my old jackets, ideal for keeping the free hand warm while walking the dogs. Plus, the zipped breast pocket would be a good way to store my phone for such occasions because my BDU trousers aren't very convenient for that.

All in all, not the worst ~$66 bucks I've ever spent.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Rock & Roll Founders


Whole lotta' good music here, but I have to admit when you open with Bill Haley & The Comets singing (We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock Tonight: it's impossible for my mind not to flash back to Happy Days!

For better or worse growing up as a couch potato has led me to associate certain audios and visuals together. Given the next tune on the playlist is Chuck Berry poppin' Johnny B. Good, you can guess where my mind flashes to next....

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Sand in My Boots, Morgan Wallen

 She asked me where I was from

I said "Somewhere you never been to"

Little town outside of Knoxville

Hidden by some dogwood trees

She tried talkin' with my accent

We held hands and waded into

That blue water

She left her flip-flops by my Red Wings on the beach


Yeah, but now I'm dodging potholes in my sunburnt Silverado

Like a heart-broke Desperado, headed right back to my roots

Somethin' bout the way she kissed me tells me she'd love Eastern Tennessee

Yeah, but all I brought back with me was some sand in my boots


I said "Let's go shoot tequila"

So we walked back to that beach bar

She said "Don't cowboy's drink whiskey?" huh

So we drank bottom shelf

She said "Damn, that sky looks perfect"

I said, "Girl you've never seen stars like the ones back home"

And she said "Maybe I should see them for myself"


Yeah but, now I'm dodging potholes in my sunburnt Silverado

Like a heart-broke Desperado, headed right back to my roots

Somethin' bout the way she kissed me tells me she'd love Eastern Tennessee

Yeah, but all I brought back with me was some sand in my boots


I said "Meet me in the mornin'"

And she told me I was crazy

Yeah, but I still thought that maybe she'd show up


Ah, but now I'm dodging potholes in my sunburnt Silverado

Like a heart-broke Desperado, headed right back to my roots

Somethin' bout the way she kissed me tells me she'd love Eastern Tennessee

Yeah, but all I brought back with me was some sand in my boots

Yeah, but all I brought back with me was some sand in my boots

-- Sand in My Boots, Morgan Wallen

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Here are the most interesting USB-C accessories at CES 2022

Now that’s a trend I’d like to see more of: USB-C hubs that have more USB-C downstream ports than USB-A all over.

While Tech News Outlets (tm) have been groaning and moaning about the need for dongles, I’ve been more interested in when more USB-C centric hubs would get some lime light. Most that I’ve seen in recent years have been a tad pricey.

Passing thought: Bestheda’s release manager used to ship new games. Then he took an arrow to the knee. 

When I was younger, my friends loved Oblivion and in retrospect it’s one of my favorite Elder Scrolls games. But Skyrim was actually the first game in the series that I played, and by then it was long enough for it to have a decent sale price. Even though it had yet to be re-released in every edition known to mer kind.

Actually now that I think of it, between PCs and consoles: I’m not sure I want to fathom how many hours I’ve spent playing Skyrim over the years. Probably more than most ES games with Oblivion coming in as a second. Hmmm… damn it now I’m tempted to play Skyrim again.

Getting with the 21st century

Thanks to a bit of Christmas goodness and Microcenter having them 50% off, I finally got myself a NVMe style portable drive. A while ago, I had tried to find one that would have a slot for my lanyard and only could find expensive SanDisks that would meet that criterion. Thus, fire sale equal fire win.


Which gives me a superb replacement for my ruggedized USB-A hard drive. My old drive has served well, but it's a spinning platter that I bought back in 2014. Making it about 8 years old. Getting USB-C and fancy speed is just a win. Since it includes a suitable C-to-C and a C-to-A adapter even my old development beast, Stark, can utilize it. I had figured the old drive would remain for his backups but probably not.

Rimuru's 10 Gbit/s ports give me in the neighborhood of 860 MByte/s reads and writes. Rimuru and Stark's 5 Gbit/s ports basically max out around 460 MByte/s.

Sorting through my usual backpack, I've decided while I'm retiring the ruggedized hard drive from my standard work and travel kit, my null modem cable is going with. As much use as I've gotten out of a serial cable in the past decade, I've also found it somewhat sad that I still carry a null modem cable.... lol.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Why iMac G4 is still the greatest Mac ever made 20 years later

While I can’t say that I ever thought much of the iMacs until I saw the modern style flats on people’s desks, I have to admit that the G4 certainly had a unique design. The original CRT design, I think would be deserving whether you wanted to give it an award for excellence or failure in style. But the lamp style G4s, at least were unique.

But I’m pretty sure most people don’t want to experience 20 year old processors and the modern Internet :P.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Turns Out the Nintendo Game Boy Is the Worst Possible Way to Watch Movies

Real not sure if this is utterly horrifying, or tempts me to grab my Game Boy Color and a soldering iron. Maybe both?

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Scary Stores to Tell in the Dark (2019) is probably the best scary movie that I’ve seen in a while. Not quite Drag Me to Hell kind of scary but rather close.

Fairly quickly the film comes off as a period piece. The home made Halloween costumes, Night of the Living Dead at a drive through, and racial slurs that you shouldn’t hear out of a sheriff, all quickly begin to paint the scene. Thorough the film if you pay attention: you’ll notice the 1968 setting. I really liked the opening: while I grew up in the era of commercial Halloween costumes and shopping malls, my mother grew up in an era when kinds made their own costumes and went around the neighborhood. My mom and dad would have been in their early 20s at the time the film is set, making it more apparent to me. some of my mom’s stories of course had to do with her Halloween experiences as a kid.

The various stories are superb twists of horror. Often grisly, yet classic. But it’s painted over with a modern varnish. Sarah’s story is the kind that would often be skipped over or down played. Her chilling tales of terror on the other hand are ones you’d sell in the horror isle of a bookstore (remember when those were a thing?). Stella and her dad, and friends serve a stark contrast. In many ways, I’d say Stella is rather modern despite the film pelting us with ‘60s vibes.

In some ways, I have mixed feelings about the ending. I kind of agree with the way it plays out android The more positive tone. It’s not the kind of “Oh, shit!” Twist at the end that horror stories often train us to expect. Instead it’s rather hopeful and determined. Most of all it sets the stage for a sequel :).