Leaking meters and flying shower curtain rods

Today was not as expected of the typical Monday, time change or no. It began with, well aside from getting up with the sunrise, lots of water. Turns out that the old unused water meter over the hot water heater decided to spew water everywhere. Today was mostly not fun in that regard.

For bonus points reaching that point where I tell the dogs, either I go take a shower and make some lunch or I’ll pass out and hit the floor, of course I end up hitting the floor ^_^. The tub was so wet from the cleaning up, and neutralizing a spider, that I ended up taking a nice slip.

Ejected from the shower screaming, “Aiieeeeeeee” and hit the floor on top of the shower curtain. On the upside putting the shower curtain rod back up was less of a pain in the arse than I remember, and my rear end is still harder than the bathroom floor.

On the positive side the dogs napped really well after everything was done.

Theme updates

While still considered provisional, I’ve updated a few things.

  1. Color scheme
    • For starters, something inspired by the green phosphor style of monochrome monitors.
    • Debating between this retro direction and more contemporary tighty-whitey typography.
  2. Side bar
    • Archives added to side bar.
    • Categories added to side bar.
  3. Pages
    • Privacy Policy sorted over.
    • Think I’ll stuff these in a menu at some point.

New website, same address

Migration from blogger is nearly complete. I think the only real content to be migrated are my static pages, and that should be wrapped up later this week. Theme related details are provisional and may be monkeyed at my leisure.

A key new awesomeness comes with this migration: HTTPS all the things! Well, at least that are hosted here!

I’ve set my feed burner’s original feed to the new source. I apologize if the migration interferes with anyones newsreader, and recommend that you migrate accordingly.

  • Old RSS: https://feeds.feedburner.com/spidey01
  • New RSS: https://blog.spidey01.com/feed

The old feed should continue to function fore the foreseeable future, in as much as Feed Burner does. Any bookmarks to the raw spidey01.blogspot.com address should be updated to blog.spidey01.com or spidey01.com, feel free to go HTTPS if ya do because I am.

The canonical address has been blog.spidey01.com for quite a few years, after all.

Future Plans: Moving My Blog

Something that I’ve had in mind for a while since the end of Google Photos being such a nice free storage system, and again since there was no luck with HTTPS: migrating away from Blogger, again.

Details are still being planned, but I expect this to occur sometime in the near future. Accessing things by blog.spidey01.com or even spidey01.com, should continue to work (and gain HTTPS). Anyone using the raw blogspot address will probably not see a lot more posts once the transition point.

FeedBurner will probably get pointed at whatever the new feed source ends up, but left as is beyond that. But no idea how that will deal with the wider migration, and FeedBurner isn’t exactly known for a lack of bugs these days.

Why am I planning on migrating platforms? Well, it’s a fairly simple set of reasons:

  1. Lack of support.
    1. While Blogger was once one of the top blogging platforms, at this point I imagine that it only continues to exist because it would cause more trouble for Google’s own blogs to migrate somewhere else than maintaining the system.
    2. Google’s never been very forth coming with details here :P.
  2. Tablet experience
    1. I prefer share -> post to share -> copy -> switch apps -> goto web page -> create new post -> paste.
    2. Google has done such a fine job of maintaining their own app that it no longer exists.
    3. Likewise, APIs and things for third party clients are increasingly pissed on from what I can observe.
  3. HTTPS
    1. haven’t had any luck combining my custom domain with my taste in TLS, and I’m basically done dealing with what passes for Blogger’s documentation and UI :P.

Rimuru Restoration – With a screwdriver, I stab at thee

Despite it only being only a few years old, motherboards compatible with Rimuru’s processor are largely gone and needless to say, my AsRock isn’t re-obtainable as far as local resources go. That’s been the sad trend IMHO, that yes, desktops are still pretty modular, no the parts won’t be worth a fart tomorrow. But alas, that’s a different issue.

Deciding that the motherboard is the root of the problem based on my multimeter readings and the screwed up power behavior, I debated two courses of action: decommission Rimuru in favor of a laptop, as it was already expected to be my last desktop build; or attempt to fix things with replacement parts. The upside of the later is that it is the minimal cost option, the former that it’s the less likely to piss me off.

Rimuru is now rocking an Asus motherboard a generation forward. A small fortune and the better part of my day later, everything seems to be operational. Fortunately, re-activating Windows licenses purchased from Microsoft’s own store are still not too terrible to deal with motherboard replacement.

In the process, I’ve also decided to ditch the humongous air cooler and get a liquid cooler, cue kraken, stage left. When I originally designed Rimuru, I had considered liquid cooling and decided to stick with what I know. Well, I decided if I was going to be replacing a motherboard, there was going to be something a lot smaller hovering over the processor getting int he way of my hands, or I was going to drive a spike through the board. So, liquid cooler it be.

Now if there was just a solution for the raging headache ^_^.

Rimuru facing decommissioning

Before the holidays, I had the problem that Rimuru would power on in a brain dead state — fans would spin up, most buses would power their components, and so on. But it wouldn’t POST or reach BIOS. Just brain dead. The only way to turn it on or off was the cord and kill switch on the PSU, and trying to hold the power switch on the case would just act like a reset and then total brain death with running fans.

Tried all the good jumping off points: trying to boot off integrated graphics, reseating and walking RAM sticks, etc. Then I took my multimeter to the power supply’s ATX main and CPU power pins, and that seemed to be fine.
At that point the only thing I hadn’t reseated was the CPU, and I’d have to go to Micro Center for fresh thermal gloop anyway if I did that. So, I decided to drop it off and see what they could figure out. Today, I got my machine back. Reseated memory, POSTS. Well, I hoped their touch was more magical than mine. But no dice.
When I had asked, it was unknown if it fresh thermal paste was used, since the guy doing initial processing had tried reseating the CPU and swapping in another of the same model with no luck. Reseated the processor with fresh thermal gloop, and I’ve decided that I am taking a new policy on this. If the CPU cooler is connected and it don’t catch fire, I’m not effing remounting CPU coolers for this–it’s just to much of a pain in the ass in such cramped spaces, and my hands ain’t gettin’ tinier. If I ever build another desktop, there better not be a huge ass heatsinkage over the processor or I think I’m outsourcing to someone fitting that description.
Anyhow, the machine wouldn’t boot and was doing the same thing as when I dropped it off. Gave it a kick and numerous elevated heart rate notifications later while choking on my urge to go Incredible Hulk on the decommissioning, I eventually came back to try a few things.
Tried loading a single RAM channel up and with some fiddly, I got into the OS. To do so, I had to pull the front panel header and rub a nail clipper on the pins. Eventually, I put in the other RAM channel but it didn’t seem to make a difference what I did with the memory.
Depending on how I manually short the reset and power switch pins, the system either hangs as before, goes into brain death, or does a sorta reset and may boot or die.
Fiddling around, I noticed that USB ports may or may not have power. I.e., plug in a keyboard while in BIOS, walk it through the ports toggling num lock, cycle back and what the fuck there’s no power, and then again and now it works. Stuff like that. In some cases the keyboard would draw power enough to light the num lock LED but wouldn’t toggle, and then in some cases it would just be flashing all three LEDs at the top for a while and then go dead.
Anything resembling a “Proper” shutdown like the OS would do leaves the machine brain dead. Have to pull the power and fiddle pins trying to find the right fiddling and timing to boot. Trip the right way and the processor fan cranks and the case fan turns off, and it’s total death until power pull.
So at this point, I think a technician who’s able to test piece by piece and determine what is failed would be needed. That’s beyond my skill without a schematic, and the tiny as hell components to desolder and resolder would make the repair work beyond my ability even if I did have a schematic to work off.
Based on its behavior, I’m inclined to believe the power management chip is screwed up or something has gone awry with the path of power causing it to just “Leak” into systems that should remain unpowered until initialized properly.
To garner a second opinion, I think I may buy one of those PSU tester things to double check my power supply’s readings vs my multimeter. Which basically means, motherboard if it’s not the power supply. If that’s the case, given how much issue it is to get ahold of another motherboard of that model; I may opt to decommission  Rimuru.

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.

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 ๐Ÿ˜‚.
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.

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 ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜‚. 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 ^_^.

Ahh, itโ€™s been a busy few weeks.

As such I mainly have two core objectives right now.

First is what I refer to as โ€œDrool on the couchโ€. 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 donโ€™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 ๐Ÿ˜‹