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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in RKOV's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, November 28th, 2013
10:09 am
Happy Thanksgiving!
(and OBTW, I'm way behind on email - I haven't really had a chance to deal with much email since last weekend.  So, if it is urgent, please call or text me.)
This entry was originally posted at http://paradoox.dreamwidth.org/5416.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
9:01 pm
Well it's been about six months since Balticon ...
In case you've forgotten, my car, Victor, a 1999 Volvo V70 T5M, passed 220k and 240k miles the last two years in May on the Balticon trips. It's been about six months since Balticon. Guess what that means? Yep, we passed 250k miles on Monday while driving around Boston.

This entry was originally posted at http://paradoox.dreamwidth.org/5061.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Monday, September 16th, 2013
2:26 pm
First World Problems ...
WGBH just gave me two "free" tickets to their $150 pp Food and Wine Weekend kickoff reception on Thursday night and invited me to the VIP invitiation only pre-reception. I wonder what this is really going to "cost" me in the long run.

This entry was originally posted at http://paradoox.dreamwidth.org/3584.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Friday, September 6th, 2013
8:29 am
And in better news ...
And in perhaps better news, due to the laptop disk drive failure, I've lost about the last month of Smofs email that I hadn't read yet.

This entry was originally posted at http://paradoox.dreamwidth.org/3484.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
8:28 am
More laptop issues ...
If I was a conspiracy theorist, I'd say there was something in Texas that was eating disk drives. The bad news is that the disk drive in my primary laptop started throwing all sorts of read and seek errors while at LSC3 and this was the second drive that I'd seen that had failed down there (Hi Lisa). The good news is that at least it waited until after the con was over to fail.

So, I'm back to carrying around a backup laptop. I actually have two more recent laptops from work, but one is too big and one doesn't have any of my software on it.

I guess the other piece of good news is that the disk drive is still under warranty and I have an RMA from Hitachi already. The bad news is that it was a replacement for the drive that failed in May and they apparently sent me a refurbished drive which I guess wasn't all that refurbished. I may just go out and buy a WD drive from Microcenter.

This entry was originally posted at http://paradoox.dreamwidth.org/3295.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Friday, August 16th, 2013
8:49 am
Laptop repair 201 (or 301) ...
Sigh my "Go to" laptop has developed a new problem. It is randomly rebooting. Dell D630 running XP about 4 years old. Yes, I know I should bite the bullet and upgrade probably to Win7. But, I like the D630 and I like XP. Recently L convinced me to bite the bullet and replace the screen which would flake out under heat. I did that and it was fine for a while. Now I have random reboots. BIOS diagnostics are clean. Norton says no viruses. Malwarebytes Anti-Spyware says no problems. Here is the kicker: IT DOESN'T HAPPEN IN SAFE MODE. Does the Nvidia card (which has known problems) run differently in safe mode? Is that driver not used and the default on-board video used in that case instead or something?

This entry was originally posted at http://paradoox.dreamwidth.org/2715.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Sunday, August 4th, 2013
11:14 pm
replacement power adapter causes only touchpad to misbehave???
I've just spent about an hour trying to cleaning the touchpad on my Dell E6510 which I use as the family room computer at Chez Wood. The touchpad was working poorly but the trackball (once I turned it back on) was working fine. I even went so far as to take the keyboard out to see how hard it would be to replace the touchpad (non-trivial). I was trying to figure out what I had spilled on the touchpad or something. Eventually it occurred to me that I was trying out a new "non-OEM" power adapter. (I bought it by mistake on Ebay. I should have realized the price was too good to be true and looked more carefully at the listing. But, since it was my mistake I wasn't going to send it back for the $10 I paid including postage, given the postage back would probably have been $5.) I switched back to the previous Dell adapter and the problem went away. I then tried it with just the battery and it also worked fine. This is weird because while the laptop technically requires a 90 watt adapter, it will run fine (but not charge well) on one of the 65 watt D-series adapters. I can only theorize that the non-OEM adapter isn't really putting out 19.5 volts and the touchpad is more sensitive to this than the rest of the computer or something.

I then tried the non-OEM adapter on one of my D630s and everything seems find there.

So, then I pulled out my trusty old (and I do mean old) voltmeter / multitester. I turns out the non-OEM adapter is putting out closer to 20 volts while the real Dell adapters are putting out closer to 19.5 volts.

So, the touchpad is sensitive to over-voltage?

This entry was originally posted at http://paradoox.dreamwidth.org/2386.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Thursday, June 20th, 2013
5:54 pm
Achievement Unlocked ... Lifetime SPG Platinum Status
Over the weekend in NJ, I stayed for my 500th night in a Starwood Hotel. Today I received the following email:

Welcome to SPG Lifetime Platinum

The best things in life. For life.

No more counting stays, no more qualifying. After all, you've stayed with us at least 500 eligible nights since joining the SPG® program, and you've got 10 [actually 15 in my case] years of Platinum status under your belt. Now that's an accomplishment.

...
Saturday, May 11th, 2013
9:18 pm
And in other news ... to the Moon!
I missed it. Given the odometer is sitting at about 239k miles and change, sometime in the last week (possibly yesterday on the way to the Cape), Victor the Volvo passed the mean distance between the Earth and the Moon (238,900 miles). While he's 14 years old (and change), I've been driving about 20k miles annually lately and should pass 240k on the way to or from Balticon over Memorial Day weekend. I also passed 200k miles and 220k miles on Balticon / Memorial Day trips the last two years.
9:01 pm
The Good, The Better, and The Ugly ... re: Stratus ...
So, the good news is that Stratus did well enough on its EBITDA goals to give out bonuses for last fiscal year. OK, technically they are variable compensation payouts.

Now, Stratus didn't actually make the full EBITDA goal, so I think the "bonuses" were funded at like 30% or so of target.

The better news is that I got one - for the first time in several years.

The ugly news is that I found out about this by checking my checking account balance online and finding an extra "Stratus Technologies" deposit on Friday. I then signed in the the Stratus HR system and found the "pay stub".

I would have been nice for management to tell me directly or make an announcement during the staff meeting yesterday especially since I assume everyone in our group got one.
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
1:25 am
just saying ...
(laptop) hard disk failures are not a great way to end the evening ...

Fortunately, I think everything was pretty well backed up on the desktop and NAS except for a couple of files which I should be able to recreate pretty easily and my bookmarks file which might be a bigger issue. Still this is going to waste a bunch of time tomorrow or Friday. Sigh.
Friday, April 19th, 2013
7:58 am
PSA: Do not ever call 911 unless it is a real emergency.
PSA: Do not ever call 911 unless it is a real emergency. (Look up the local police number or call 411.) In fact don't bother the police today unless you have to. If you need to call the police to ask if it safe to go outside, just don't (do either). (The Newton police felt it necessary to add this to the robocall I received this morning and I felt it was worth sharing.)

Current Mood: anxious
Thursday, April 18th, 2013
10:37 pm
Drive by "con"ing
So, I'm in Roswell, GA for business. When I checked into the Doubletree Hotel, the lobby had a certain fanish look to it. I asked someone in the elevator what the convention was and he said it was JordonCon (which it turns out it also Deep South Con this year). For better or for worse, I'm only staying one night at this hotel. I checked the online program and didn't see any one I recognized (well, other than Michael Whelan and Seanan McGuire). Still it is kind of amusing.

Current Mood: amused
Monday, April 15th, 2013
5:10 pm
I'm fine ...
I'm fine. I was out shopping when the Boston Marathon explosions happened and rather surprised when I was driving home to find Comm Ave in Newton still closed from Newton City Hall east including Centre Street (it was supposed to open at 3:30 PM) (the route of the Marathon is about 1/5 of a mile from my house). Needless to say, traffic in Newton was fubared and the police were taking no shit. When I got home I found out why.
Friday, March 8th, 2013
9:38 pm
Other than the snow Mrs. Lincoln how was your day ... or the joys of home ownership ...
So, last night (Thrusday) as I opening the garage door to put out some recycling, the opener jammed. When I turned on the light to see what happened, it was obvious that the opener had fallen from the ceiling and was being held up by a combination of the track, some wires, and one remaining nail. Which was all that was stopping it from crashing through the moon roof on the Volvo.

Yes, I said nail. Actually the opener hadn't fallen from the ceiling, but the board that the opener was correctly attached by screws to had fallen from the ceiling. Which it was nailed to.
Apparently the rocket scientists who did the addition to the house in 1992 thought it was sufficient to nail a weight bearing board up to plaster with six nails, four of which weren't even going into the joists above the two layers (fire code) of blue board and plaster skim coat. I'm kind of surprised it lasted 20.5 years before the vibration of the opener worked all the nails loose.

Given the Volvo was now stuck in the garage, I placed a large plastic tote on top of the Volvo which came to which about 2 inches of where the opener was hanging. That way if the opener fell it wouldn't do any damage to the car. And I called for backup. We eventually jury-rigged a spare 2x6 from one side of the garage to the other to hold the opener up, pulled the power fail release and gingerly raised the garage door to pull the car out. (After shoveling the driveway.)

We then contemplated a better solution than just re-nailing the board to the ceiling. While it was tempting to use screws and figure they would hold if we got them into the joists above the ceiling, we decided to use a combination of screws and toggle bolts. Unfortunately the collection of toggle bolts at Chez Wood were all too short (needing to go through the 1" board and the two layers of blue board and plaster). I didn't feel like running our to Home Depot at 8:30 at night when it was snowing. So, I waited to this morning and went to Scwartz Hardware today and picked up some 4" and 6" toggle bolts. After drilling holes to get the toggle bolts up into the ceiling we pushed the opener back up where it belonged using two of the existing nails as guides, screwed down the toggle bolts and put a couple of screws in for good measure.

And of course we had to snowblow a foot or so of snow today. At least it was light.

P.S. We made a note to screw in the board holding the opener on the other side of the garage next week when it is warmer.
Sunday, March 3rd, 2013
10:48 pm
Thought of the day
"You can travel (on) ten thousand miles and still stay where you are."

In other news it was a good weekend. I got a lot of stuff done. Friday I finally bought some bookcases at Ikea to replace the ones smozz took in the divorce. I spent part of the weekend putting them together and finally getting the books out of the boxes in the corner of the room. I also got rid of some of the piles of books in my study and brought five boxes of books down from the attic. There is even still room in the bookcases. We'll see how long that lasts.

L and I along with some others helped a friend celebrate his birthday.

Current Mood: Accomplished
Saturday, February 9th, 2013
11:30 pm
Done for the day ...
I just finished the driveway about 11 PM. I managed to do the front stairs and hydrant before dinner. Tomorrow I probably should do the back stairs and patio door.
12:18 pm
Snow Status ...
Snow-blowing this morning was easier than at 11 PM last night. (I really should have got out between 5 PM and 11 PM last night.) It was drier / lighter and less of it. Maybe 10" since midnight rather than the 12" or so from 5 PM to 11 PM. The path to the front door is mostly done. The Chesley Road sidewalk is done. People are working on the Beacon Street sidewalk. The corner of Chesley and Beacon has a 6' high pile of snow (FU snowplow operators) and is impassable. The corner of Beacon and Sumner is clear to the street and has maybe 10" of snow in the street to where the street is plowed. I'm betting the snowplows will come by and F that up too.

I had to come in to warm up my hands. The weatherproof gloves really aren't. So, I'm warming up my hands, icing down my ankle, and drying my gloves and pants. Besides better gloves I really should get snowpants. Snowplowing in wet jeans gets (c)old fast.

And Arthur is asleep in a patch of sun on the love-seat.

When I go out again it is time to un-bury the fire hydrant (you can't even tell it is there), finish the front walk, and start on the driveway.
12:59 am
It's not the snow, it's the drifts.
So, I think we've gotten about a foot so far in Newton. I took out the snowblower about 5 PM and did about 4 inches (mostly the driveway as someone else had recently made a pass with their snowblower on the sidewalks on Chesley and Beacon). I then took out the snowblower again about 11 PM and did another 8 inches or so (this time including most of Chesley and part of Beacon to the light). It's hard to tell because the wind is blowing stuff all over. In the main part of my driveway I'm getting a lot of snow off the roof, so I probably had another 16 inches there. Hindsight being 20-20, it would have been a lot easier if I went out about 8 or 9 PM and then again at 11. 12 inches is the most my snowblower can easily do. 16" requires forcing the first pass by pushing forward about 4 inches at time and then backing off. Subsequent passes can be done by not going full width into the snow. Of course, this has probably set my sprained ankle back.
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
10:14 am
Figure I'm offline ...
It's Arisia time.  People should assume I'm offline (starting about 60 hours ago Sunday evening) and am not likely to see anything posted to LJ or FB since them until after Arisia if ever.  Even Email is getting dicey at this point.  Email should be considered depreciated after tonight.

For the duration, if you want me to see / know something please call.   If I don't answer or it isn't time critical, text.   If I don't get back to you in a reasonable period of time, call again.  In an absolute emergency, call my work Dispatch at 1-800-221-6588, say it is a emergency, and ask them to send me URGENT mail to call you.  That will cause my phone to make me take notice.  Please don't give details to work.
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