The Dysmey Blog
The personal weblog of Andy West.

June 2024
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The Bad Week
Filed under: General, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 1:49 pm

This has been a bad week, apart from Padre’s passing.

local library

This month’s library board meeting dealt with the budget, not only for next year, but for the rest of this year, too. In order to qualify for a cost-of-working increase for next year, plus the ability to repay an internal loan to our rainy-day fund, the board has had to cut $21,000 from the buudget for the remainder of this year. Everything had to be cut: Books, magazines, wages, supplies, utilities, the works. We were in session until a quarter to ten to get this done.

I sought to lighten the burden this would create by going to Sam’s Club and stocked the library with what is best called patron cleaning supplies.

I would like to remind everyone that the library exists not just for the books. People, especially those who cannot afford computers and an Internet connection, use our computers to look for jobs, type up resumes, and communicate with people who do have Internet access. It is our community’s access to the outside world. Threatening this, the existence of Fairmount’s library, just because the state of Indiana is in a spasm of parsimony over the excesses of Indianapolis and Muncie, is an exercise in folly that does our citizens no good.

On top of that, one of the board members appears to be over-enthusiastic: So much so as to create a conflict of interest. This needs to be resolved quickly.

yard work

I have compelled myself to mow Madre’s lawn and then my own, despite the incredible heat that we have been enduring over the past week. It is just as well: It rained heavily the next day.

ed res imacs

Since I will not in at work on Tuesday or Wednesday, I will have to come in early on Monday to finish the five remaining iMacs for Ed Res. I do not know when the Mac space will become available; nobody does. I want those machines to be ready when the time does come for them to be redeployed.

bioshock infinite

It has not been all bad.

There is a new Bioshock game coming. It is not known whether this will be Bioshock 3, but its basic themes — utopian setting, powered player, powered and armored enemies, and an internal guide — are the same as with the current two games. The overarching theme is not the biopunk of those two games, but steampunk.

Bioshock Infinite takes place in Columbia, a Laputa-like city floating over the American countyside. Its founding philosophy is an American imperialism, complete with eugenics, as corrupt as Andrew Ryan’s objectivism or Sofia Lamb’s collectivism. The resulting corruption is evident everywhere to your protagonist, a super-powered disgraced Pinkerton agent named Booker DeWitt, whose mission is to liberate from the city an equally super-powered woman named Elizabeth.

Outline of the Bioshock Series
Game Setting Player Guide Main Enemy
Bioshock Rapture Jack Ryan Atlas (1st ½)
Brigid Tenenbaum (2d ½)
Andrew Ryan (1st ½)
Frank Fontaine (2d ½)
Bioshock 2 Rapture Subject Delta Eleanor Lamb
Augustus Sinclair
Sofia Lamb
Bioshock Infinite Columbia Booker DeWitt Elizabeth unknown as yet

The announcement of the game came with a trailer:

You move across an ocean landscape until you see the outline of a city around which swims a big fish. It reminds you of the Bioshock trailer … but no: The fish is a goldfish, and the city is a nicknack commemorating the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. It turns out your head was in an aquarium, out of which you are pulled and flung to the floor. Your attacker is a hugh but crude cyborg. The cyborg picks you up and tosses you out a window. You view a city, with American flags flying from odd-looking towers, floating over farm fields miles below. That last detail becomes real to you as you fall a long way until you land on a blimp and manage to break your fall by grabbing its torn fabric.

As you hang from the blimp, catching your breath, you see more of the city: An American city from the early 20th century, complete with American flags and red-white-and-blue bunting hanging from buildings. As your blimp moves along, you see strange posters among the billboards. One has two children at a parapet, watching a parade, and the caption It is our HOLY DUTY — to protect them from the foreign hordes and treacherous anarchists. You pass another billboard of Columbia, the personification of the city, holding a healthy baby and rejecting a sickly one with the words Burden NOT Columbia with your CHAFF! Then you see a man dancing on a balcony to the music of a record player playing You’re A Grand Old Flag. Next comes a view of how these buildings can float: Giant bags of hot air are inflated around the foundation of a building, raising it into the air.

Suddenly, the fabric tears out of your hands, and you resume your fall. But, a cloud of roses emerge from a building. Your fall is broken, and you float towards a balcony wrapped in a rose briar. A young woman in a blue and gold dress has caught you with her mind and is pulling you towards her. Just as she is about to grab your hand, the hand of another cyborg emerges from the darkness behind her. It grabs the woman and pulls her inside. Her concentration broken, you resume your fall until you are smacked in the face by a rose.

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Last Summer Vacation 2010, Part 2
Filed under: General, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 12:50 pm

My 32-bit incarnation of Windows 7 (Win7) has collapsed due to some hardware error that I cannot find. The blue screen of death gaves me the details, but it does not stay put long enough for me to read it. And Win7’s Startup Repair Program loads files and does nothing else. At this point, I have decided to let Nabiki rest until this coming weekend.

Wednesday evening was the book signing at the library for the Fairmount history photo book compiled by a local author/blogger. I bought two of the books and had one of them signed by the author herself. I also had ice cream and cake. But I could not stay.

I had to gather and take out the trash at the folks’ house, which would be Madre’s job if she were not in the hospital. Padre told me Madre’s room number at the hospital, so I drove down and paid her a visit. I was just in time for two nursing assistants to come in and take her vital signs. After a day in hospital, she sounds a whole lot better.

Oh yeah, the cold front came through, and with it some very nasty weather, which I drove through to and from the hospital … which I walked through in and out of the hospital. Even with an umbrella, I got wet. It also knocked out power over a large part of the state. I know I lost power because the clock on the microwave oven is out. Ball State lost power, too, because from the e-mail I read this morning the servers were down.

Speaking of those servers, I had to drive down to the office to fix the wireless printing server. I can restart the server remotely; I cannot fix remotely its tendency to add an extra step to every wireless print job. Well, I could, but I do not remember the password right off my head … which, I suppose, is the idea of password security. Anyway, I asked the folks to provided us with the service why I could not just turn off that extra step.

I had thought that I had to return to campus to redeploy the iMacs in the lower level. Nope: The carpetters are using that area as storage while they pull up the old carpeting and lay down the new in the lobby area.

Yesterday I mowed my lawn, now that the rains have brought the grass back up. Normally, I would shower after that, but I remembered promising to mow the folks’ grass as well. So I mowed the grass there as well. The folks think that their lawn is bigger than mine; it is only more complex because it has side lawns, gardens, laundry-hanging poles and the like; mine, in turn, is one big lawn with only a big maple tree and a basketball court to break the expanse. Their lawn is, in fact, smaller.

Then I learned that the hospital had moved Madre to another room, into an actual hospital room as opposed to the observational room she was originally in. Evidently the doctors decided that she needed to stay. So I paid her another visit, just in time for her to get her dinner.

This morning I had to clean out the outdoor catfood dish because it was full of goo. I had at first thought it was from the male cat, Sugarpuss, being overly slobbery. Then I learned from my sister the editor that the folks’ back yard has a resident slug … a big slug … a slug as long as a grown man’s hand. I have not seen this creature, but if I do, it will be dumped in the compost heap out back. Cat food is for cats, not for applicants to Yubâba’s bathhouse.

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Last Summer Vacation 2010, Part 1
Filed under: General, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 9:34 pm

My vacation started with rain on Saturday, forcing me to put off mowing the lawn until later that evening. There was not much to mow, anyway, due to the dry weather. My yard is puck-marked with plantain, a broad weed that threatens the grass underneath it.

Later Saturday evening, I updated Windows and the folks’ anti-virus software on Madre’s laptop. That laptop, a Hewlett-Packard disaster, confirms my own decision to stick with hand-built generic computers or use ‘netbooks’, which are too limited in space, in memory and in processor speed to be packed with software junk.

Today I took my cat Thyme on her annual trip to the veterinarian. I wore thick vinyl gloves when quickly grabbing her and putting her into the carrier. I was only poked a couple of places on my arm. She was, naturally, exceptionally pissed. Anyway, Thyme was weighed (seven pounds), probed, and given her shots and her dewormer. Compared to last year, Thyme was relatively well-behaved. She waited until after she was put back into the carrier to express herself in effluvia. I has to clean out the carrier before putting it away for another year. As for Thyme herself, she hid herself when she got home … and forgot the whole thing a couple of hours later!

Shortly after I got home, some cement truck drove down Buckeye Street, snagged a utility line, and took down the pole it was connected to. I did not know it had happened until I went outside to fetch a ladder to examine the back gutter. I stopped to talk to some neighbors passing by, and noticed Buckeye blocked off, with two cherry-picker trucks working to restore the pole.

As for gutter itself, I can see where the water from the roof is bypassing the gutter and pouring onto my back door. Either I will have to find some way to fix this or call Handy Randy to see if he can do so.

On Sunday after lunch, I drove to Fry’s and bought myself a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium (Win7 henceforth). It was pricey, naturally, but at least the State has no reason to whine about sales tax lost from ordering online. As I did not want to screw up Madoka, my home box, I decided to test it out on Nabiki, the living room computer.

Nabiki is based on an Asus A8N-VM CSM motherboard with an Athlon 64 processor and an nVIDIA GeForce 6150 / nForce 430 chipset. In other words, the computer uses a five-year-old board whose latest drivers are for Windows XP. I should also add that the only part of the nVidia motherboard I still use is the audio: I have separate cards for video (nVIDIA GeForce 7300 GS) and network connection (US Robotics).

Anyway, after a day of installing, reinstalling and working the operating system over, I have found these:

So I decided to keep the 32-bit Win7 on Nabiki. On Tuesday I bought four new memory modules to give Nabiki its maximum of four gigabytes. True, as I found to my disappointment, 32-bit Win7 cannot handle four gigabytes, but at least it knows its there. I also got a fifty-foot CAT 5e network cable to replace the one I hand-made. I may not need it much longer, as I plan to make another attempt to hook up Nabiki to the television set.

Before I made that second trip to Fry’s for the memory and the cable, I visited Ball State to get a haircut (at the Student Center) and gather my new parking sticker (delivered to my cube). I also confirmed that our print job release software is good for another year: Renewing the license on all the stations in the library is one of my first tasks when I return to work.

I visited the folks’ house on my way to the local library for the monthly Library Friends meeting. I found both of my sisters there, and learned that Madre was on her way to the hospital to get her lungs cleaned out. Evidently the twice-a-day pumping of medicine into her lungs is not working. In the meantime, I will keep her cats fed.

Speaking of pets, my neighbors across Buckeye Street got a new dog: It is the same breed as Skippy (a Belgian Schipperke), and (judging from its snout) about the same age: The neighbors just saved it from euthanasia and named it Buddy.

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The Trials of iMac Prep
Filed under: General, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 9:17 pm



I have been within reach of the completing the new Mac OS X Snow Leopard disk image for most of the library’s iMacs. Everything worked quite well. Even software that tends to be a pain, like those from Adobe, worked fine. There were problems with network login, but these proved to be fixable.

Except one: For each network logon, the User Template folder would open up.

First, some background. The Public Account, which is the basis for all network accounts on an iMac, makes its home folder appear on first logon; but I close it, and it never appears again. I copy the home folders’ subfolders to the two subfolders of the User Template. That’s it. When a user logs onto the network, the settings in the User Template are loaded into the user’s new home folder. And, usually, no window of that home folder appears.

That has been the case with Tiger (10.4) and Leopard (10.5); and on these, the User Template folder has never appeared. Yet, something different was added to Snow Leopard (10.6), such that the User Template folder does appear when a user logs on the network.

I tried to get some help on this from the Apple forums, but the replies have been snarky. I suppose my attempts to provide some background have befuddled the mind of the guy who gave the replies, since it was evident he never read beyond the first paragraph. That, and a falsehood about Carbon Copy Cloner, made me I decide to close the topic on the ground that tiu, kiu estas malsaĝa, estadu malsaĝa.

Anyway, I decided to wipe out the hard disk on the test iMac and build another image. Maybe I will catch the source of the home folder window and keep it from opening.

This and a lot of other tasks I want to complete before my spring vacation next week.



I have measured out the driveway on the side of the house. I am trying to calculate how much driveway gravel I will need. The driveway now is weedy, and even the side of the driveway on my neighbor’s property, which has had landscape fabric installed, is becoming weedy as well because the fabric has broken down.

The driveway turned out to be 1372 (54′ 2″ long × 25′ 4″ wide) square feet. Now I need to find how much it will cost for the driveway gravel. I know what I need, but I do not know what its precise name is. If I knew, I can estimate how much it would cost.

back roof

Also, I need to call someone to come over next week (during my spring vacation) to examine the edge of my back roof to see if it really needs fixed — or, at least, if I can get to stop leaking.

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2009 In Review
Filed under: General, Politics, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 12:35 am







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It Was A Good XMas 2009, Too.
Filed under: General, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 11:52 pm

My XMas vacation is over.

It has been a grey and cold week. The snow came in force the day after XMas. In fact, it was such a mild day on Christmas morning that the previous snow melted away!

My folks got a fake XMas tree this year: One that has colored lights already on it. All it needs is the ornaments. I don’t blame them. It is an annoyance trying to fit a real tree in a base, then string lights on it, then keep the tree watered.

That is why I myself got a fake tree last year. And the house is too small for a real tree, given its ceilings are only half a foot higher than I am. The ornaments on my tree are secured with twisty ties to keep Thyme from knocking them off. And I put the two XMas Coke bottles with plastic poinsettas in the other windows. That is the extent of my XMas holiday decorations.

I got Madre a new Virgin Mary plant holder to replace one that got smashed a couple of months ago. I got my sister the editor a one-terabyte external drive to store all her voluminous files. Everyone else got gift cards.

I also got Moleskin books for the annual meeting of the Friends of the Bracken Library, where I get to be president for a third year, so that all offices will be open next year. I also won a drawing for a XMas basket that included a conical cocoa cup. And I got a two-gigabyte thumb drive that was to be a swap gift at the Whoosier Network XMas party; but I did not go due to inclement weather in Muncie.

I pretty much got what I wanted for XMas: New work pants and a new toaster oven, among other things. That got me thinking that, now that I have new Dockers (the work pants), I might just as well get new jeans, too.

So, the next day, I went to the Big R store in Marion and bought three parts of jeans in the same size as the Dockers. Big R was the only place that sold the size I wear. I figured as much because the store caters to local farmers, who are often a lot bigger than I am.

I stayed home on my vacation for all but one day during XMas week. Mostly I did stuff on my computer, working on my Web site. I also installed a couple of gigabytes of core memory on the folks’ computer. That computer is a professional-model Gateway. Gateway sold its professional computer division to some company that went belly-up within a year. (Incidentally, that is way we use Lenovos at work.) This meant that the only way I can find out what memory it took was to open it up, to record the make and model of motherboard, and look that up.

I did go to the library on last Tuesday to do some work at a workstation. There I met one of my favorite co-workers … for the last time. She was fired just minutes before. Yow!! I never learned the reason. She has a husband and two kids, and now she was stuck celebrating XMas with just them, since she had no money to spend it on anyone else in her extended family. Let’s hope she had a happy XMas, all the same.

I read the letter from my employer on the impedient cuts it will have to make because the governor of my State wants to cut more money from the State budget. It looks like, as an economy, my ex-co-worker’s position will likely not be refilled. Everyone there will have to work harder with what they have.

I had wanted to retake my ASCP examination on Tuesday. But last week I got a call from Ivy Tech Marion, where I was to take the exam. I was told that their connection problems with Prometric, which gives the exams, have gotten worse. They suggested taking the test in Muncie. I did not want to navigate the labyrinth that is Muncie’s street system. I decided to cancel the test, and reapply next month. I want to get this test passed and over with before my evaluation in March.

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Mid-November 2009
Filed under: General, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 1:42 pm

I have had to work during the past three Saturdays this month. The work almost totally involved the Macs.

First, students could not print without logging on again. Then, a missetting on the iMacs’ workstation manager slipped past me, locking up the iMacs on Sundays. Finally, I found the right mix of scripts and apps to make the computer availability system (a service to let students know which computers are available) work on the Macs. For each of these I spent a Saturday morning working on the iMacs in the Reference section, because these are too busy on weekdays to work on them. I used some of my off-time to visit the dentist.

Veterans Day is also Madre’s birthday. With her birthday card I got her a foldout card of native wildlife, so that she can better identify what wanders about in her back yard. The folks’ house is only a block from the business district, and yet all sorts of animal life walk about the yards and streets of the town. I have seen possums, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, and hawks. Their latest visitors have been a mallard duck named Tiny Tim and a chicken who follows him around. Well, two chickens in succession. The fowl belong to the folks’ neighbors, a couple of arts-and-crafts types who have decorated their house and yard with antiques and antique-like kitsch. The neighbors do not seem to know how, or seem to expend enough time, to raise the fowl, so little critters end up escaping their coop and frolicking in my folks’ yard. From time to time I replenish the water the folks leave for the fowl. The duck seems to like me, or at least have this thing for pecking at my shoes.

The folks’ neighbors seem to be locus from which disseminate barnstars. I do not know what those rusty metal stars have anything to do with the native culture where I live. I have never seen them on any house or barn until sometime after 2000. Then they started appearing on houses all over the place. That is so dumb. The nearest Amish community, who would supposedly hang them on their barns, is fifty miles away in Adams County. The barnstars are a home-and-garden fad like those concrete goose ‘gnomes’ that were very popular a decade ago and which I still find in some yards, all dressed up depending on the holiday or season.

I typed this entry on one of the library’s workstations. I do not like to use them. There are all sorts of programs loaded on them, requested by the university’s varied departments. Having to load the configurations of all those programs makes a workstation very, very slow to launch after you log on. Worse, none of those programs are of any use to me. I have to use a licensed version of TextPad 3 because it works from a thumb drive. I have to visit the Microsoft site to download and activate ClearType, so that the Microsoft “new” fonts like Consolas are legible. I also have to download and install Paint.NET. In short, Microsoft’s default utility programs are such trash that others have write improved programs (TextPad, Paint.NET, and AZZ Cardfile for the old Win3x utility) to replace them.

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Hectic Indian Summer 2009
Filed under: General, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 10:17 pm

yard work

I raked the back yard once more. It was about eight in the evening, and already dark, when I finished the last batch of leaves from the maple trees. They are quite bare now. And their leaves, which I piled up along the street, have been vacuumed by the town street department. Later I gave the lawn one last mowing before the warm November days come to an end.

sick kitty

Speaking of my sister’s cats, I lend her my cat carrier, so that she could take one of her cats to the vet. The cat, whom I call Chitlin, is her oldest cat now. I knew him when he was a very active kitten back in the mid-1990’s. Anyway, the cat turned out to have a mouth cancer, which hindered his ability to eat. I do not know whether the tumor was removed, but my sister has to feed the cat via syringe for awhile. I visited the ‘patient’ last Saturday. It was one freaky looking cat, with one side of his face all swollen; but Vickie is giving him pills that should reduce the swelling. Otherwise, Chitlin is his happy, purring self.

ĉe la dentisto

I got my teeth scraped and fluorinated for the next six months. It was more hectic than usual at the dentist’s because he had to break his schedule to treat a little girl, who ran into a metal pole and busted her three front teeth. The strange thing is that the girl did not cry when she was examined, shedding only a single tear when the dentist tested a tooth to see if its root was still firm. I myself, at the girl’s age, would have cried. That is some brave girl!

pricer notepads

I realized that I was running out of those Levenger notepads with the annotation columns and the headers, so I bought two more packs of them. I used to be able to buy five pads per pack. Now the packs have three for the same price. Levenger is falling on hard times, evidently, when it cannot even provide cartridges for the pens it used to sell. I had to go to another pen-and-ink site for more cartridges for my Lamy fountain pen.

à bas Comcast

My folks switched over from Comcast to Frontier this week. The switchover includes satellite television, with a dish antenna that was placed on the southwest corner of the garage, near the door. During my one visit since the install, Madre was thrilled with the choices she now has on the three-month trial, including a view of the Earth from the satellite itself. I myself am impressed by the greater variety of channels they now have for the price they have been paying Comcast.

This leaves only my sister the teacher with cable television. My sister the editor dumped it years ago, and I gave it up early this year. Indeed, it seems that a lot of people in town are giving up on Comcast, either getting satellite television or having antennae erected.


A cat may look upon a king. As if the king has a choice: Cats, being what they are, may look wherever they want to look. Indeed, they can just as easily look up your skirt! That is such a stupid quote.

I am looking at the Gnomologia, a collection of sayings collected by one Thomas Fuller in 1752 and said to be the source of the sayings in Ben Franklin’s Poor Richards Almanac. It is the source of most of the clichés in our own speech. I have noticed that the gnomological formula A φ may ψ is better translated today as Even a φ can ψ; so that the phrase above comes out today as Even a cat can look at a king. But it is still nonsensical.

This saying makes more sense: All cats alike are gray in the night. Unless they are black to begin with, then they are invisible but for their eyes. Anyway, in a different language and form, it is the motto of my sister the editor’s blog: la nuit, tous les chats sont gris.


The installation of the new iMacs in the Reference area two weeks ago did not go as smoothly as they seemed. But I fixed the problems that cropped up, and the iMacs now work as intended.

There are only two major differences in the new imaging of the iMacs.

Any other changes are upgrades to existing software.

The result of all these changes seems to be the disappearance of the Active Directory fix. Last Friday, two weeks after I have ran the dsconfigad -passinterval 0 (extending the Active Directory password indefinitely) on the reference iMacs, users reported being unable to log on them. In the end I rebound the iMacs in the traditional way, but I am not looking forward to having to do this every two weeks. Something changed in the way Active Directory is handled on the campus servers, as I have found nothing in the Apple updates to indicate a change in Active Directory.

acsp test

A couple of Wednesdays mornings ago I took, and flunked, the Apple Certified Support Professional test. I went to the test center inside the Ivy Tech Marion campus. After a few preliminaries, like showing two photo ID cards and signing my name a few times, I got on with the test. I wore ear plugs and headphones at first; but I had to remove firs the plugs and then the headphones, as the room was getting too hot and the background noise was more bearable than the noises in my head.

To make a two-hour test short, I can’t reveal the details under the terms of the test, but I did fail — getting a 62, below the pass threshold of 73.

I did badly in install/config, user accounts, network config and peripherals. I know I was getting stuck with FileVault, Keychains, account recovery, network configurations and Print Utility. I have never had to deal with any of them. I do not work with Mac staff workstations, where these sort of things mattered. I work on public Macs, where students are not supposed to monopolize the workstations, and any problems disappear with a reboot thanks to Deep Freeze.

I plan to retake the test in December, and will read up on my deficiencies to get a passing score, now that I know where I am ignorant.

oh, noriko!

The singing talent of Sakai Noriko graced such animé as Gunbuster and Video Girl Ai, especially the latter, whose manga author was a big fan of hers. And it is easy to understand why: Ms. Sakai is pretty, engaging and talented enough to branch off into acting later in her career. Alas, that was in the 1990’s.

I have found it hard to believe when I saw the BBC feed headline Japan pop star trial draws crowd, and followed the link to discover the pop star in question is — wha? you’re kidding! No, you are NOT kidding! Ahh, why her?

Yes, that pop star was Ms. Sakai, now on trail on the charge of drug possession. The State wants to plug her into a cell for eighteen months; Ms. Sakai, if she ever makes it out of the courtroom, wants to give up acting altogether and start a new career in hospice care.

Perhaps it is just as well. Ms. Sakai is pushing forty. While she is still lovely, her features are not as smooth as they once were. Neither, evidently, is her stamina as in her youth, hence the need for the uppers she was caught with.

What has surprised me is that all this has come about for the past several months — it was during August when Ms. Sakai fled, causing a media sensation in East Asia, only to surrender herself to Tokyo police — yet I had discovered this only a couple of weeks ago.

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Autumn Potpourri 2009
Filed under: General, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 10:25 pm

The autumn is only a month old, and both my maple tree and the one only just over the fench in my neighbor’s yard have lost most of their golden yellow leaves in a big rain last Thursday and Friday. I have just finished raking them to the side of the street for the town street department to vacuum up.

The mountain range of leaves had attracted J.T., my neighbors’ cat. This is the cat that, early this past summer, was found as a sickly kitten abandonned along a country road by one of my high-school classmates. After the kitten was vetted and nursed by a mother cat for some months, J.T. is now a healthy teenaged cat with a penchant for rolling around in the middle of the street, compelling me to either pick him up or chase him off. He also likes the grass bush and tree in the front yard.

I think I am getting the hang of my new deep fryer. The trick is to add the stuff being fried into the basket over the sink, and not when the baskey hangs over the deep fryer. The ice and crumbs in the bag, when they fall into the boiling oil, cause an alarming convaporation. The fries came out decent this time around.

I got another month’s worth of test strips at the new CVS store that has opened at the intersection of Washington Street and State Road 9 on Marion’s south side. The store was designed with a diagonal main aisle that takes you straight to the pharamcy. That is an excellent advantage from the store’s point of view: The customer gets a view of each section of the store and its wares, which they would not have if they just walked through single aisles to the pharamcy like in regular stores. But this will not be good for the CVS in Gas City, the successor to the defunct Fairmount Pharmacy. The new South Marion CVS, while further away, is easier to reach: 26 to 9, then straight north to just past 37.

I have finished deploying the eight new iMacs at work. They have bigger screens and more disk storage. Otherwise they are just like the iMacs they replaced. Half of those will go into a windowed alcove on the third floor near my unit’s office. I cannot add more in there without running out of licenses for the software that lets Mac users print to our public printers or to access their online storage.

It has taken the four years or so of installing public Macs at work to learn what works and what does not. Every academic year there seems to be something wrong with the Macs that I work to fix.

I list all this because I have scheduled an examination to become an Apple Certified Support Professional for this coming Wednesday. It is high time I took this, given the years I spent working on the Macs. I just need to make myself familiar with Mac OS X features that a public Mac would not use, like keychains, Exposé, Spaces, Time Machine and Front Row.

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A Cool Autumn 2009
Filed under: General, Politics, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 11:16 pm

It has been a cool, crisp sunny couple of days to go with the couple of days of rain before them.

After Sunday dinner, I transported to my house an armchair that my folks were getting rid of. It is a rather ugly orange color that clashes with the general bland color of my house’s interior. But I needed a chair for the bedroom, as I had nowhere else to sit in there apart from the bed.

My sister the editor helped me carry the chair and navigate it around the narrow thresholds of my house. In return, I helped her put up her storm windows, put new glazing putty on some of them. (For those of you in newer houses, a storm window is a removable outer window that serves the purpose of a double-glazed window in old houses. It is used during the colder months to protect the house windows from storm and snow.)

This month I decided to go with a series of minor projects instead of the big project during the summer.

I striped out the existing pegboard in the shed and put up new pegboard. I also installed a shelf near the ceiling to store cardboard on its way to the recycling place.

I also got some spring-loaded curtain rods to fit in the sills of the upper room windows, and some curtains to go with the rods. That way, I can get both outside light and privacy.

Along with the standard yard work on Saturday, I took a saw to the maple tree in front, removing the lowest branches that were drooping onto the ground and whose leaves were showing brown/black blotches. I am hoping pruning the tree to keep the branches off the ground, and from swacking my car as I drive to the mail box, will make the tree grow more.

I visited Kennedy’s, the HVAC folks who installed the furnace for the house’s previous owner a year before I bought the house. It has been three years now since the furnace had any maintenance, and it is high time the furnace got it. I will see if I can get the HVAC folks to look over the furnace this coming Friday afternoon, and if I can get time off to attend to it.

During the next couple of weeks, I will study for the Apple Certified Service Professional exam on the last Wednesday of this month. I have worked on Macs and Mac OS X for the past five years, and it is time I have something to prove this. I will take a half-day vacation time to take it, at the new Ivy Tech campus on State Road 18.

I am not the only one who finds the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Barach Obama incredible; who thinks that he does not deserve it (even he thinks thus); and who believes the Prize will make every goal Obama plans to achieve all that much harder.

Obama has been president for only ten months. The fact that both Arabs and Israelis look upon Obama with incredulity means that a Middle East peace will be task far more difficult for him than any other post-WWII president. And he has two Middle Eastern wars of his own, inherited from Bush the Younger, which he has promised to wind down but which, for some reason, he refuses to end. And there are other conflicts, both active and smoldering, in the world (Darfur, the Somali tribes, Abkhazia/Georgia, Iran, Burma, North Korea) that demand his attention. As it is said, he has nothing yet. All that presenting the Nobel Peace Prize has done is to make it the Nobel Wishful Thinking of Some Norwegians Prize in the eyes of the many.

After commenting about this on Slashdot, only to get a -1 hit, I decided to create for my account a password of twenty randomly-generated characters that I cannot — and will not — remember. This is the best I can do to disable my Slashdot account, since it cannot be deleted. I have had enough of this moderation crap. I will keep on reading Slashdot; but active participation is an obvious waste of my time, and I will have no more to do with it.

Finally, from the depths of a media summit in the gathering hall of the world’s most media-repressive nation, the great enemy of the BBC and the Anglophone world, Rupert Murdoch, utters his mantra that the Aggregators, the parasites that suck content from his news Web sites, are out to steal his money. We will make them pay and pay and pay, he grumpled from the depths of the hall. Here’s a good idea from Slashdot: [S]imply stop Google from linking to their news stories by going to his Web site’s robot.txt file and adding Disallow.I have a better idea: Why don’t you just shut down all your Web sites and stick to printed and televised media, where your customers have no choice but to pay? And leave the Web alone, you damn apeling!

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