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03/16/09
The Second Friday The 13Th Is Out Of The Way
Filed under: General
Posted by: Andy @ 10:20 pm

delay

The entry is later than the date because my DSL service had been down for several days. The telephone company I subscribe to had to replace some electronics on their end. It did not help. I had an extended talk with the technician this evening, and in the end I did get my Internet connection back. Why? The problem was the router itself! I had to reset the router to get my Internet connection back.

weekend work

Let me get the weekend stuff out of the way first.

brick path

I have planned for a long time to lay landscaping fabric (the stuff that keeps plants from growing where they shouldn’t) under the brick path from the back door to the basketball court. This afternoon I have pulled the bricks, dug out the weeds, laid the fabric, repositioned the bricks, and poured filling material between the bricks.

I did not have enough fabric on hand, so I had to drive to Lowe’s to buy more. I had more than enough bricks on standby from the other brick path (which I pulled up last year); but there were not as many broken bricks to replace. And the filling stuff I used was that sand/cement mix I used on the patio and front walk last year. I used that stuff because I could not find any sand. In all it took several hours to do all forty-odd feet of the brick path. But it is done at last.

the ood

Also done at last was my plan to recycle the Serener GS-L08, my failed pico-server from last year. The reason it failed was the power supply that came with it: It could power the Pico-ITX motherboard, or the hard disk, but not both. Another pico-sized power supply could power both, but it was too big to fit inside the Serener. And I did not want the supply exposed while it is running.

So a couple of weeks ago I bought a couple of small metal cases at Fry’s. (It was that trip that stressed the transmission to the slipping point. More on where I took it.) I bought a ¼-inch drill bit and a file bit; borrowed my folks’ power drill; and bored two holes in the bigger case. One hole was for the power jack; the other was to let out the cable connecting the supply to the motherboard. That cable was sheathed in a yellow casing that is supposed to shrink with heat. But my small soldering iron did not have the heat to shrink the sheathing, so I bound the sheath with mouse belts on each end.

The final work has a yellow cable coming out the serial port hole of the Serener and into the round hole of the shiny metal case. It kind of reminds me of an Ood, an alien from the new series of Doctor Who, with its forebrain coming out of its mouth. So I chose to call my creation the Ood. It works with Fedora 10. I may try it with a Windows system.

next projects

My next projects will include:

I will also need to make a decision on what to do with the metal/plastic lawn mower. Its inner workings appear to be shot; and since there is nobody I know of who can repair it I may have to dispose of it and use the old lawn mower — old as in early 2000’s but still working.

my car

My car is at Precision Transmission on the far northeast side of Muncie. There it is getting its transmission rebuilt. This is a challenge for them, because the Ford Aspire was not a big seller to begin with, and nobody makes parts for them anymore. I dropped off the car Wednesday afternoon; it’s Monday, and they are still working on it. The parts for the gearbox did not come until late Friday, and they are not up to the job.

In the meantime, I got a rental car from a nearby shop. It is a blue Geo Metro that runs okay, but (as advised by the guy who rented the car) I had to put five dollars of gas at a time. I thought I would have the car for only two days, so I did not bother to get a temp permit from the campus parking service. I used the garage near the library instead, costing me five bucks per day.

miscellany

I ordered a book on the mail transfer software Postfix from O’Reilly Media. Usually when I order a book from them I get the book within a week or so. But it has been several weeks and still no Postfix book. I sent a message to O’Reilly’s accounts folks.

I ordered the Book of Postfix back in late March. I am still waiting for the book to arrive. Normally O’Reilly is very good in fulfilling orders. But when I examined the order on the O’Reilly Web site I noticed that the order’s status is “BOOKED”. What does that mean, and what is a probable date I can expect the book to arrive?

Oops, I meant late February. But the point is that for an O’Reilly book it is later than usual.

I really do need that book because in my next Janovac iteration, I want to install Postfix along with the Apache and MySQL servers. I would like to install stuff like WordPress, MediaWiki and EPrints; but, although they do not explicitly state such a requirement, they do need a mail transfer agent.

In the meantime, I requested the book via the University Libraries interlibrary loan.

And now, I will let the summary of this Slashdot posting say it all:

According to a TV Week article, NBC Universal has decided to change the name of their Sci Fi Channel to Syfy. Why? To pull in a more ‘mainstream’ audience. If you’re unclear what ‘more mainstream’ means, TV Historian Tim Brooks spells it out for you: ‘The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular.’ Yes, we should probably all be offended. And telling us that a crack marketing team came up with the name because that’s how tech-savvy 18-to-34 year-olds would text it really doesn’t help.

I did not know that techies text the phrase science fiction as syfy. I did not know techies actually use text messaging (as opposed to Internet chat/messaging), given how much of a ripoff it is. I did not even know that the world needed another channel like Lifetime or Oxygen.

This has pretty much convinced me that it is time either to drop cable TV or at least to drop down to basic service. To tell the truth, I hardly watch television anymore, anyway.

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