Quiet Weekend

It looks to be a quiet weekend.

Doing a good bit of work stuff on a program that I finished major work on about a year ago. Nice that at KMC I can get paid for these hours. Hoping this gets the job done.

Watching some python programming videos to improve my fluency in that language. Not my favorite language, but useful in a number of places.

Also been looking at my old wargames. Hoping I may fond folks interested in trying a few things out at work. My current challenge is to find all of right parts for games I haven’t played in a long time.

Microgames…probably more suitable for short time play.
…and the lower shelves in my home office…bigger games

Quite a few of these appear to have bits missing that I’m going to have to locate. Hoping that I can (should as I am unlikely to have thrown any of this stuff away). I’m sorting through all my old storage boxes in any case so I should have a good shot. I’ll likely take backup scans of a bunch of this stuff for personal use as digital is likely to be more robust in the long term.

Wed, January 2, 2019

Back at work after the annual KMC week off between Christmas and New Years. KMC is the first place I’ve had this sort of stretch of time off without something else to get done in a long time…not off on vacation but just at home for the holiday.

Woke up to a rosy red dawn over the pond this morning.

Quiet one this year as Alyssa is on deployment and its just the two of us and the in-laws. Went for a goat hike (SLR pictures coming soon) before Christmas and got various work around the house done but otherwise was a quiet time. No gift exchanges in the house this year…neither of us really needed anything and we’re trying to budget wisely.

Got a bit of sandbox programming done (and pushed to github). Hoping to keep the momentum up and get this tool working rather than rehashing the same bits of code (with improvements) again and again.

Looking at improving my python programming as well. Not my favorite language but (as with Java) an important language to have in the toolbox in the modern world. This stuff can provide a nice side line when tool building is a bit much so should keep rolling over the next few weeks.

In the process of staining the big plywood reindeer that sometimes stands out in front of the porch at Christmas time and then coating it in spar urethane. Staining is done, sealing is a longer process as the spar urethane takes some time to cure between coats. Expecting that this will take the balance of the week if not a bit longer to wrap up.

Still plenty of sorting to do as can be seen from the other half of the back basement…

Boxes of paperback books on the shelves but the stuff to the right needs sorting…

Once the work table is clear of reindeer parts I’m going to see if I can reassemble to partially broken monitor from the office and perhaps use it on the VR machine (which currently has two really old monitors attached) to play some of the steam games I’ve got loaded there.

I moved that machine to clear room around the heavy bag but it is going to have to move again to get it close enough to the open area in front of the TV for the VR to be usable. Got to get to that soon so that I can try out doom VR…had intended to try that over Christmas but wound up doing more practical things instead.

Sometime between early morning and mid-afternoon on New Years day our light pole toppled over. The cause remains a mystery at this point as the pole is part way up the driveway and a pretty stout piece of metal. It had been bumped in the fall by the guy who clears our leaves, but was still firmly standing. Currently the steel pole is torn loose from the cement footing and only vertical because I have two six foot steel bars propping it up.

I expect that I’ll have to dig out the footing i the spring and buy a replacement post. A quick online search found only black and white posts so perhaps we’ll have to live with a color mismatch…we’ll see come spring. Perhaps they’ll have stocked up on additional color options at that point.

We had some real snow New Year’s eve but by the time I went to bed it had mostly melted away.

Bought a new snow blower but haven’t needed it yet this year. I’m expecting that an Ariens should last me at least as long as the Craftsman is replaced 🙂

The happy new snow blower in its new winter quarters

HAPPY 2019 TO ALL

Ringing out a year of higher highs and lower lows, many of which I still can’t discuss in detail. It seems that we ring out 2018 in about the same spot we rang it in. Some things looking a bit up and others less than happy but nothing major to complain about.

Hoping for a more stable year to come with an upward course along the way. Much is in process and moving steadily ahead as we slide into 2019 but far more is nascent than ready to go.

I expect that we’ll soon have the basement squared away (it has been a bit of a nightmare as I embarked on a long deferred cleaning out of things no longer needed). I hope to have much of the pending work on the house squared away as the year runs on.

We’re budgeting better than we have in the recent past and finances should be in a better place when 2019 rolls over to 2020 than they were when 2018 arrived.

With the basement in a usable state and friends willing to help out, I’m expecting to get my long stalled RepRap 3D printer work moving forward again and I will be disappointed if I don’t have a working printer in service by this time next year.

A new snow blower is now in the garage so the twenty year old craftsman model that dies a year ago has finally been replace and shoveling is less of a concern. The walkway to the in-law apartment won’t get its finishing touches until the spring thaw but it is largely complete.

I’ve found time over the KMC winter break to get some programming work that I’ve had pending for a long time moving forward again and have hopes that I’ll finish some tools I need to get built. Previously this has tended to be ‘two steps forward, one and three quarters back’ as other priorities intruded.

I’m hoping that I can get this work wrapped up and spend time on some other projects I want to play with including some VR programming and some more web development (angular, vue and/or react). Working on my drawing and learning how to run blender competently would be good as well.

We’re expecting a bit less on the vacation front this year with a week in Orlando (cruise only, no time at Disney) and a week in San Diego to visit Alyssa. It will be great to see ‘Lys and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the San Diego area as well.

Overall, I’m guardedly optimistic that 2019 will be a good year. Likely one without the spectacular potential that 2018 offered, but hopefully without the major down-sides as well. Getting back to a stable course and with a firmer hand on the tiller is a worthy goal…

Monday, Dec 17, 2018

Another quiet weekend. Mostly spent sorting and cleaning in the basement. I’ve almost got my work bench ready to use again after some time partly buried under various things that needed sorting out.

Once I have the work bench back in a functional state, I’ll likely get started taking the next steps towards building a RepRap 3D printer. Malcolm at work has offered to print the plastics for me (got to buy a spool of filament to support this) and I’ve dug out my stepper motors and main electronics board. I may have to re-buy some stepper controllers as those I bought before seem to have scattered to the four winds (I currently have one in hand) but they’re not that expensive.

We went to Sherrill and Ed Cieleszko’s Christmas party and, as always, had a great time. Didn’t even get lost on the way (google maps doesn’t really understand their address and can misdirect pretty badly on the way).

It has been a somewhat crazy year and we’ve got to get back in touch with folks as the new year rolls around. Lots has been dealt with so we should be pretty well primed for a less crazy 2019.

I had been writing paper letters (printed not hand-written as my writing is less than legible) to Alyssa for a while. As of this last week I’ve realized that sending her emails on a daily basis is probably a better thing as Lorna is sending paper letters and boxes and the emails are more immediate and a continuing stream of them is likely helpful.

Media Center Linux

I’ve populated a spare NUC that I had around (was a bit flaky under heavy load and thus it got shelved for software development purposes) with memory and storage as a media PC for our basement television.

I’m looking at using Ubuntu Linux or a derivative as the operating system as I’m hoping to get a more integrated look and feel than I have with the living-room machine that runs windows and is used with a mouse and keyboard.

I’m also adding in an HDMI switch as this is a less expensive television and only has two direct HDMI inputs. We currently have the VR system and a blue-ray player occupying these inputs. I’m borrowing the blue ray player input for the NUC for the moment but would like to have the NUC as the primary input switched against the VR system and the blue-ray on the secondary.

A friend at work dug up some options on the linux front that seem to center around variations of the kodi package running on an Ubuntu variant.

Over the weekend I loaded Ubuntu on the machine and after a few missteps got a new enough version of Chrome loaded to allow Netflix to run properly. Older versions complain that Silverlight isn’t available and HTLM5 support isn’t there (or at least not sufficient).

I’ve loaded kodi and the base package seems pretty nice. It even supports the IR remote that I used to have working with windows media center before that went away with windows 10.

I did not have much success in getting the Netflix plug in loaded. In order to really do the job I want, kodi must at least stream Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon Prime Video. I’ll likely keep after this as time permits and stick with Chrome based video for the time being.

https://kodi.wiki/view/X86_hardware11:29 AM
https://kodi.wiki/view/JeOS_implementations_for_Kodi11:29 AM
https://libreelec.tv/downloads/11:31 AM
or if you still want the flexibility of a full desktop behind it all, install normal latest Ubuntu and then install Kodi on top of it https://www.smarthomebeginner.com/ubuntu-boot-to-kodi-2-ways-to-boot-directly-to-kodi-on-ubuntu-systems/

Mon, November 5, 2018

Birthday today. Not much really going on for it though. Quiet weekend, feeling a bit under the weather after having a head cold last week.

Got the aggregate laid into the trench for the in-law walkway over the weekend. 

I had been concerned about the supply of aggregate, but after finishing I had a decent sized pile left over. Now as long as the sand also stretches to the end, we’ll be in good shape. Expecting that by the end of the coming weekend this will have sand and patio blocks laid down and edging in place.

Spent some time watching youtube history segments by a couple of military history/ancient weapons folks and some science fiction segments. Rolled in some more code to process and generate JSON and code to read in JSON from a file to support testing.

Thurs, October 25, 2018

A short on sleep week so far. Alyssa is going out on a long deployment soon (so late night phone calls as she’s in California), work being busy and I’m trying to keep some sandbox software work moving forwards. Livable, but definitely feeling a bit frayed around the edges.

I definitely want to look a bit deeper into JavaFX. There are a number of bits of functionality that I expect in a UI toolkit that I haven’t yet found in JavaFX. This particularly centers around UI state notifications (visible/hidden and such). These matter quite a bit as a UI tool gets larger as retrieving and displaying large amounts of information that the user will never see is not terribly useful.

Tues, October 23, 2018

A bit of a gray day out there at the moment.

Got some code sketched in to handle JSON generation and processing last night. Much more to be done and I want to do everything I can to use C++ 2011/2014/2017 features in this code. A simple, free-standing implementation tuned to handling small, local bits of JSON is what I’m looking for here.

I need to spend some time tonight getting photos ready and fired off to Sams Club for Lorna’s upcoming scrap booking.

I need to get the next step done on the long part of the walkway. I suspect I need another inch or three of bed before dropping in aggregate. I also would like to narrow the bed width a bit to conserve supplies of aggregate. This has to get done before we get snow and probably a good bit earlier.

My copy of Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry arrived yesterday (used and surprisingly inexpensive). Probably going to be a background task as other things have priority, but it is an interesting technology to learn more about. Always trying to pick up knowledge where interesting things cross my path.

Mon, October 22, 2018

Alyssa’s birthday yesterday. Talked to her on the phone in San Diego. She had duty yesterday, but was able to talk for a bit. Hoping all goes well on her upcoming deployment.

Heard geese honking as they flew overhead this morning. Finally feeling like fall with the chill in the air (below freezing by a bit overnight) and the leaves falling.

Malcolm came in this morning with a 3D printed pumpkin spider that was pretty cool. Printer has to come together over the winter at some point. For now, baby steps.

Got some work java coding and some tooling code in C++ done over the weekend. GitHub was a mess when I tried to upload my little unique file identifier retrieval program last night. Hoping they’ll get their act together better by tonight and I can try the upload again.

Didn’t get much done on the walk this weekend. Pulled up the stones in the strip between the walk ‘T’ crossing and the parking spot and replaced them with sifted topsoil as Lorna is looking at filling that strip with ground cover. I’ll need to finish packing the base level for the main run after work this week so I can get started with the aggregate and sand base soon. This has to get done before we get snow.

The local turkeys continue their depredations, showing up when Lorna puts out food for the local woodland critters. Haven’t seen the opossum again though.

Tues, October 16, 2018

More work on the walk last night. A bit drippy, but got the edging in place for the ‘T’ crossing (had run the trench a bit too narrow and had to dig out the edges in places to get it down).

Also sifted a bunch more soil to add to the bed level in the long run to the in-law apartment door. That is currently in piles as it was full dark by the time I was done so I’ll have to rake that out tonight. I think I also should use some dirt for edging on the aggregate runs as I expect that I’m going to be touch and go on aggregate by the end of the run.

I’m currently holding on to a couple of wheel barrows of small rocks that I may very well use to edge between the parking spot and the ‘T’. Hoping that this will keep down the weeds.

I’ll probably sift some topsoil tonight to use as fill around the edges that aren’t adjacent to the parking space and then put some clay in on top 

Thinking of dipping my toes back into Facebook again…staying away from the politics side of things, but probably visiting the Disney groups to see what is going on there…

Thoughts and Considerations…