The Dysmey Blog
The personal weblog of Andy West.

March 2010
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It Is Good To Be Warm Again
Filed under: General
Posted by: Andy @ 9:05 pm

Winter has finally left us, even though the first official day of spring has not arrived yet. The snow has all gone except in places where it was piled high during the mid-winter blizzards. The green grass appears in the soggy ground. And the bulb plants have pushed their way out of the ground. I am getting ready for my first weekend of yard work, replacing old mulch and fertilizing the lawn for the Sunday rains.

The census came and went. What was said about the new census form was right: Even thought it was humongous, since there is only one of me, I only had to fill out a single page: Name, age, date of birth, race, and whether I owned and lived in my house.

It is sixteen months since the new library building opened, and minor annoyances left over from construction have emerged: A leak in the furance room from poor drainage from the roof of a neighboring building; porous concrete causing floor tile in one room to rise; and a temperamental thermostat. Also, we need to renovate the old library building, which we are using as meeting rooms. On a brighter note, the Friends group have new tote bags for your books (or anything else you want to carry) on the way.

I mentioned in my 2009 review that service at the local grocery store became poor after a change of owners. By and large, it still is. The new people who run the store evidently do not know how to manage a business. One more letter in the town paper reports the owners bitching at the employees for trivial reasons. No wonder the people there are so dour every time I visit.

And, while the store — realizing that few people here read the Marion paper — has started putting their ads in the town paper several weeks ago, the paper is still airing angry letters about the store. Normally, newspapers suppress reports, letters and opinions hostile to businesses for fear of losing advertising. I guess the town paper has gone without ads from that grocer store for so long, and the new ads are so small (only ¾ of a page as opposed to two whole pages under the old owners), that its editor likely would not mind if the new owners would simply go away.

And they just might. I do not think those people realize that their unsociable behavior is going to cause them to fail. Whatever else I learned from my days at the Bank, I learned that if you render bad service to a customer, that customer will tell up to nine other people about it — people who will avoid your business. A bad rep is such that even a favorable location cannot overcome it. And in a place where depression hangs on long after it lifts elsewhere, that is the last thing you want.

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Winter is Ending 2010
Filed under: General
Posted by: Andy @ 9:31 pm

apple certification

I have been studying off and on for the past two weeks in preperation for the Apple Certified Support Professional examination in Mac OS X 10.6 Essentials. And there are a lot of essentials: Installing and configuring Snow Leopard; Boot Camp; User Accounts; File Systems; Command-Line Work and Unix; Applications; Network Setup and Services; and Peripherals. Much of the stuff I already knew; some of it is new to me. But what was a good sign was that I took the sample test from the Apple site and, for the first time ever, got all of the ten questions right!

And yet, when I took the test, I got within three percentage points of passing. But I still didn’t pass!

Worse, I know why I didn’t pass: weaknesses in knowledge of network configuration and services — again! And weaknesses in data management and backup (with Time Machine) also caused me trouble.

I will try again sometime in May, during my spring vacation.

the ants emerge

It has been one winter storm after another this past month. I have lost two days of work due to being stuck at home in the snow. We have had at least one death in town due to the weather. And last month’s library board meeting had to be cut short because we did not have the necessary quorum.

Now spring is struggling to return. The snow, which not one week ago was piled up level with my deck, is melting away so much that most of the lawn is now visible. The weather is slowing getting warmer, too. Both have made the ground very soggy and wet. This, in turn, is forcing out the ants from their nests into my kitchen!

The ants are coming out of the floor along the bottom edge of my sink cabinet, and climbing up into my sink. I have tried pepper to slow them down. It does not work. They are ignoring the Grant’s ant trap I laid under the sink because their trail does not go there. I decided to lay another Grant’s trap near their entry point, hidden by a toolbox to keep the cat away. I also scrubbed the ant path with Comet to remove the pheremone trail.

So far this has been working. The ant invasion has been reduced to just a half a dozen ants on the countertop, cabinet and floor.

I also have other insect problems.

There are firebrats (black silverfish) coming out of the walls next to the stairs. They are coming from the cracks in the plaster caused by the stress from the stairs when I walk up and down them. I intend to seal the cracks. But before I can do that, I must prop up the stairs, supported as they are only at the top, the bottom, and at some post anchored to the ceiling.

I bought two six-foot lengths of 2″ × 2″ posts usually used for decks. I plan to cut them to size; to paint them white; and to pound them into place under the staircase to give it bottom support.

bioshock 2

Bioshock 2 came out just after my last entry, and I got my copy a couple of days later. I find it a nuisance to have to set up a Windows for Games Live account, and then to have to log onto it every time I want to play Bioshock 2. But, otherwise, I have had no trouble with installing the game.

I have gone over the differences between the first and second Bioshock games on my own Bioshock 2 page (which I am redesigning), but I summarize them here.

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