Category Archives: Daily Blog

A blog entry with personal information tied to the day it was created.

Wed, Oct 2, 2019

New Job

I’m now a few weeks into my new role at Draeger. Still getting up to speed on things (though I did get my required training done quickly, so that’s behind me). Back to C++ on windows for work…knocking a bit of rust off, but it feels good…once I get rolling I’ll have to see how well some techniques I’ve gotten used to in Java and C# can be ported back to C++ 2011-2017.

Little tech work this summer

It has been a slow summer from a technical standpoint…not much progress on home projects in unity and such. I did upgrade the strap on my vive headset to the newer (and hopefully more comfortable) version with built in earphones. I’ve also moved the lighthouses up to my office for the time being as I’m more likely to get work done up there at the moment. Won’t be starting up off Friday coding sessions with Malcolm and Sam obviously, but hoping we can figure out some other options to get together…whether for software stuff or board games and other such.

Sticking with my current VR headset for now

I looked at the new inside-out headset from HTC and wasn’t impressed enough to consider buying one…thought about it for a little while as I had some money to play with. It wasn’t enough of an upgrade. The fact that they’re talking about offering an outside-in update for ‘more precise tracking’ also suggests to me that I’m better staying with the headset I’ve got for now. The pro was also tempting, but I’ve given that a pass previously and I’m not tempted enough now.

Daydream for google seems to be dying. My new phone (a note 10+) doesn’t support it at all…and indications are that it never will. I much prefer the 6 DOF systems but having a headset that can travel and be used for demos is extremely nice…even if you’re limited to 3 DOF. I had been really hoping that they’d at least find a way to do limited 6 DOF with the controller…but it sounds like that’s not going to happen now.

JetBrains tools…

I am still tempted to buy a Jetbrains individual ‘all products‘ pack to get the C# and C++ tools and the other useful items (PHPStorm seems nice). Got to consider budgeting this at some point as it would allow me to evaluate these tools for broader use and help out with home projects along the way. Probably not a bad investment in the mid-term.

Machen Bachen

Headed to Machen Bachen this weekend. My friend Sam is involved with a steampunk festival. Lorna and I have tickets and we’ll be heading over there this weekend…should be fun.

Good Day Driving Around Southern Cali

We’re in San Diego visiting with Alyssa. Had a great day today driving inland a bit and seeing the sights. Grabbed a great breakfast here in the city and then headed east to a town with a delicious pie place. I’ll post pictures at some later time.

At this point we’re relaxing back at the hotel and Lys is taking a nap. Nice seeing her again and roaming around her new stomping ground with her. Cool to see a new part of the country and new places to explore. Jet lag doesn’t seem to have been to bad getting out here…hoping is isn’t bad when we head home.

Just took my little camera with us today as we drove around. I’ve left the 5D at home as it really needs to be sent it for cleaning and maintenance. i’ve got the 7D with me…should do the job for this trip…expecting it to be used at the zoo (and we will wind up at the San Diego zoo as Lorna has waited a long time to see this zoo).

When Lys wakes up we’ll probably head down to the pool for a swim and then grab dinner.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Relatively slow weekend again. Had a few interesting conversations and dug into gene sequencing technology a bit (kind of like a big brother to the PCR technology I’ve worked with in the past). Interesting stuff and some pretty cool things appear to be looming on the horizon.

Didn’t get much coding on cluster related items accomplished. Still looking at PHP and Angular things. Have tentatively concluded that Angular makes sense for single page web UI work here. It is very popular and keeps showing up in systems I work on so while it may be more complex that the alternatives I’m inclined to go with it.

Noticed that PHP 5.6 is now officially past its end of life. I’m going to need to get on the phone with GoDaddy and see why my hosting still tops out at 5.6. If I’m going to be pushing up some PHP myself, I’d really prefer PHP 7 as many of the tools now require that.

Heading out to San Diego to visit with Alyssa towards the end of the month. The in-laws will be holding down the fort at home white we’re gone. It will be great to see Alyssa in person. It has been a long time since her last visit home. I’m also excited to see more of San Diego. It seems like a nice city and I’ve got very limited experience with California in general.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Done with a hot and rather unproductive weekend. Definitely a summer time feel to things at the moment. Hard to get any momentum going. Did a little somewhat random technical reading. Got the power miter saw set up on the saw horses in the garage to cut the pieces to replace the porch parts that are in bad shape (but did not cut anything).

Binge watching old episodes of Supernatural and playing games mostly. We ate icy fruit pops, had hot-dogs and some delicious ham and cheese treats that Lorna made.

I did swap out the in-law’s recliners and demo the old ones.

Still need to get going on PHP code for RESTful interfaces to the back-end for the cluster game. I really want to get this stuff going, but suspect it will take the approach of fall to get things rolling again.

Turned off the firewall rule that exposed port 80 on my externally facing server machine for the moment. Started the process of setting up a DMZ port on the router. Not quite sure I’ve got that right yet…may want to run that port somewhere in the house to make testing easier. I am realizing that I’d prefer not to have my externally facing machine on my main network. More to come as I figure out the routing setup needed to make the new interface useful.

Turned off the firewall rule that exposed port 80 on my externally facing server machine for the moment. Started the process of setting up a DMZ port on the router. Not quite sure I’ve got that right yet…may want to run that port somewhere in the house to make testing easier. I am realizing that I’d prefer not to have my externally facing machine on my main network. More to come as I figure out the routing setup needed to make the new interface useful.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Things have been rather busy at a fine-grained level and rather slow in terms of larger direction over the last couple of months. Moving quite a few things incrementally towards completion and getting things done at work, but nothing of great heft on any front.

Leak on the Ethernet Switch

Had a nasty little pinhole leak in the house piping last weekend…fried the main household network switch by hosing it down with water. Thankfully the router is a largely sealed, fanless computer and came through without a problem. Very impressed with Amazon’s electronics delivery, I had a new 24 port switch (16 ports had been getting tight, but not worth replacing a working piece of hardware to upgrade) in hand by the following day. Spent one day with only eight ports of ether connected…

Yum Boxes

Lorna got us started on ‘Yum Boxes’ last month. These are small, relatively inexpensive, boxes of treats from some country in the world each month with a description of each treat and enough for each of us to try some. Nice surprise each month and small enough to be no real issue.

We did mess up the address for the initial shipments..curiously the first box reached us regardless. When the second box failed to arrive we went looking and found that the house number had been entered wrong (almost certainly our fault) and pointed to a swampy empty lot across the street. I contacted the company after we fixed the error and they had a replacement box out to us in short order. Very happy with the product and the service.

Inlaw Walkway is almost finished.

Putting the soil back into the shallow trench along the edge of the walkway where the plastic retaining strips run. Sifting the soil before I drop it in so it is taking a bit longer than it otherwise might (but I expect the results will be better). Once that is completed, we’ll only need to rent a plate compactor to settle the stones and the walkway will be done.

Tiles in the Catio

We bought and laid down patio blocks in the bottom of the catio area. With dirt or mulch down there, the cats did what cats will do with loose material. Now that there is a hard surface they’re behaving better in their outdoors area.

Almost done finishing the swing bench

We’ve had a nice swing bench from before Alyssa was born that has followed us from house to house. It has been in the bare wood for all of that time and has come through everything wonderfully. Recently I’ve been staining and applying spar polyurethane to a number of items around the yard lately and thus decided to stain and poly the bench. So far it is looking great. As long as the spar poly doesn’t get damaged by sunlight (and it should not) this will be a nice upgrade to the bench.

Staining and finishing the well house

The little wishing well that sits over the well head in the front yard has been looking rather ragged lately. I’ve made a cap for the center area at Lorna’s request (she puts bird seed on top of it) but the rest has been aging poorly.

I’ve started in on staining and finishing the exposed wood on the well to better preserve it and make the structure look a bit better cared for.

I still need to replace the roof shingles as they’re also badly warn at this point. The rim wood has been stained and coated with spar poly. The sides have been stained (though I think they need another coat this weekend). The upper part if still in dire need of attention and should be some soon enough.

The Light Pole

Something hit the metal light pole in the front yard last fall. The impact was strong enough to shear through the metal pole where it met the concrete that held it in a vertical position.

I’ve built a pressure treated lumber box to run maybe a third of the way up the exposed pole and provide support for it (we had looked for a replacement but this season the color isn’t a popular one it seems). I’m filling the inside of this box part way with rocks to secure the pole in place. Once that is done, I’ll line the rest with plastic and fill that section with soil so that this can act as another sort of raised bed down in front.

I’ve stained the lower box with the same stain I’m using on the well and the swing bench. I still need to do the final fitting on the rim and then stain and apply spar poly there. I expect to poly seal the top rim, but leave the lower part just stained.

Left side of the back yard

Slowing down on this area with rainy days and trying to wrap up work on the in-law walkway. Got much of the near area cleared out and some of the larger wood cut and cleared but still lots left to do. The old electric chain saw seems to be chewing through the old pine back there pretty well so perhaps no need to replace it any time soon. Hoping to get this all cleared up by the end of the summer. Ideally would also get the grape arbor/pergola footings poured and side braceings removed by then.

Cluster game and the sandbox

A particularly slow front at the moment. Lots of low level (and less directly fun) bits to put together on this. Database definitions for storing game state, moves and other such. Server setup details as I’d really like for this to run over a secure connection for password management. Web server programming in PHP to get everything from user sign-up to game turn execution at least fundamentally together.

I’m still not even sure whether I’ll run this through my main web hosting here or use an external connection to my home network. The hosting option is likely more robust, but less flexible. Using my home connection puts all of the security concerns squarely on my shoulders but gives me the flexibility to use a broader range of technologies than my main site hosting makes available. Soon to be decided.

I did grb an evaluation license for PHPStorm (a development tool for creating PHP code) and then allow the license to expire without really getting a good feel for the tool’s value. Perhaps I’ll ask for an evaluation extension…perhaps I’ll just pay for a year of JetBrains tools as they’ve got a range of very useful tools that support a variety of activities.

Still Post Processing Vacation Shots

I’m still working my way through the vacation shots I’ve got. Lots to go still but running faster than I generally have in the past. Partly pulling t his off because work is relatively quiet (no significant hours beyond 40 at least) and I’m pushing off home front sandbox engineering projects. Hoping that in a few more days I’ll have the shots done…then I’ll try to get back to posting sets up here.

I’m also going to try to put a bit of hierarchy in place with an overall vacation page linked to a page for each day with highlight shots for that day and then links down to chunks of the full shot sets for each day. It takes longer to sort things out to this level of detail, but in the end it makes for a better presentation.

Now for a small album of preview shots…

Monday, April 15, 2019

Outdoors

Got started on yard work items over the weekend. Finished up the long run of the in-law apartment walk and got the next step completed to lay down the side spur by the coal house. Still need to dig out the fourth run on the ‘T’ and get some mason’s sand in the trench to level things there.

Once that is complete, I’ve got a couple of areas to move fill to (and with the various projects that have been done over the last few years, there’s plenty of fill available).

Bought some one inch dowel to make the ‘topper’ for our cruise ‘fish extender’ hanging thing. Annoying…home depot was out of only that size dowel up in Nashua. Happily Lowes filled in the gap and provided me with what I needed. Still need to get it over to the saw and cut an appropriate length or two. Probably not today as it is rather drippy out there.

Hellboy

We saw the new Hellboy movie over the weekend. It was a fun but forgettable comic action movie. Didn’t have the ‘heart’ that the previous movies had for us but was a fun romp.

It Snowed in April Yesterday

Yuck…I left work yesterday to little ice pellets bouncing off my head and drove home in a late season snow storm. Cold and overcast…still looking for spring to arrive for good I guess.

Plenty to get done around the yard now that things are looking decent out there. Digging into technical bits along the way (see pandamallet and career areas for more details on that stuff).

Vacation coming up in May…though a short one without any Disney World time. It will be a nice break, but not as long as we’ve usually done…trying to be budget conscious isn’t much fun 🙂

Alyssa is still out at sea and out of touch. Seems as if she’s doing ok all told, but I’ll be happy when she’s back on land and we can stay in touch better.

Sam and Malcolm coming over to do VR coding

On Friday Malcolm and Sam are coming over to do some Unity VR coding. If all goes well we’ll probably continue this on alternate Fridays going forward.

I’ve spent some time over the last few days getting the VR area in the basement straightened out and appropriate development tools loaded on the machines around the house.

I did realized earlier this week that I had created a stripe set on the VR system using WD green drives that had been booted out of the upstairs machine’s stripe set with parity because they don’t play nice as part of an array. I wound up pulling everything off of them, breaking the set and reformatting them as individual drives…a bit of a pain, but necessary.

At this point things should be pretty well set up and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can get done.