Categories
Life in lockdown

Are we human, or are we dancer?

Tomorrow marks the very gradual lifting of restrictions on daily life for England (Scotland and Wales having made different choices).

On reflection, so far the lockdown hasn’t been all bad. People have made sure to look at for one another and a sense of comaradrie is present.

That said, there still have been tough times. It feels very normal and yet not normal sometimes. Seeing the number of people who have died each day makes sobering reading and I find myself switching between seeing small troubles at home and work disappear into insignifance and at other times, those same annoyances loom large as they are ever present.

Anyway, for now, I hope tomorrow marks the path forward. I took a walk this evening and listened to music. The streets were deserted. I danced, let go of my self consciousness and reminded myself that life is indeed, very precious.

Categories
Software

Game Emulators – GameCube, Wii, PlayStation

www.youtube.com/watch

My boy.

Categories
Life in lockdown

Cast Iron Dutch Oven

I’ve wanted a cast iron Dutch oven for a long time. I saw this Kelty Ridgeway on goodwill for a good price. It was in sad shape. Rust and crud really made this one a mess. I cleaned it using a method of lye and elbow grease and a steel wool pad. That for the piece to more or less bare metal but I still had to deal with the rust. I soaked her in a vinegar and water bath for 72 hours which returned her to bare metal. I quickly rinsed and dried and seasoned to restore her. Looks good if I do say so myself.

Categories
Software

Fixed Goodreads Plugins

The Goodreads plugins I’ve been using on my blog have been broken for the past few months. When I installed WordPress fresh in a FreeBSD jail I got everything working on WordPress except the Goodreads plugins so I left it for another day. I was seeing a series of error messages in the nginx error logs and I wasn’t sure if the issue was related HTTPS and SSL or another type of issue. Well, today I had a bit of time to dig into the issue and I found that there were in fact four (4) separate issues that needed to be solved (all very sneaky). The first issue related to the cacert.pem file in the curl configuration; I was on to this before but I hadn’t experimented enough to solve it. The second issue was a missing module php73-simplexml which I needed to install (duh!). After that I had an http dom module in a plugin that was throwing regular expression errors and I had to scan the file and escape a series of dashes in the regexp pattern. I also had to correctly define the bookshelf I used in my Goodreads configuration (it had a dash!). Everything seems to be working fine now. The site is looking more profesh now and bonus, no more daily errors in the errorlog!

Categories
Life in lockdown Science

Stargazing

I read an article yesterday that there was to be a meteor shower for the next two nights that would be visible without the need for a telescope. Given I’d got myself all worked up about an issue at work, I thought a nice reminder of how unimportant it all is would be just the thing I needed. I went out after 10pm to have a look as the sky was clear, I couldn’t see any meteors, or indeed the satellites which everyone else seems to be spotting recently but I did see what I think is Venus shining brightly in the sky. I tried to capture it, but it’s a bit blurry:

Anyway, today is a new day. I’ve downloaded an app to my phone which helps you identify which stars/constellations you’re looking at & I’ll try again tonight.

UPDATE: Still couldn’t see the meteor shower but the app (Star Tracker) did at least show me where the Lyrid constellation was so I could be confident of looking in the right place. Rose and I had some fun using the app to try and find the names of the stars we could see.

Categories
Software

Failure!?!

I had big plans for the weekend. I was going to fix both my iMacs (one had a faulty ambient temperature sensor) and the other a faulty lcd video interface. Both seem fixable and in the proper hands and with the proper supplies I’m sure they would be fixed. But, sadly, this weekend was not my weekend to be that guy to fix them. I was working on the Big Mac the 27 in one and in the final stages or reassembly. I had pulled out the ambient temp sensor and visually inspected it. So I was putting it all back and my hands were a bit sweaty and the lcd heavy. Anyways a slip and the video cable ripped out of the mother board. A simple slip has such a drastic outcome. I have to say I was crestfallen. To add insult to injury the ambient temp sensor was still faulty meaning the pins are maybe bent inside connector. I left the machine the way it was and made dinner and played a board game to occupy my mind. I must have been outwardly really sad because my daughters, my mom and Katie all mentioned I sounded sad. Not one to wallow in sadness long I laid in bed and thought. Those machines had a good lifespan. 8 and 10 years old. I also thought that building a nice new pc with modern parts would obviously be more powerful and even run cooler and less power consumption. I had run geekbench before and even my best iMac was woeful in the stats compared to cams more modern setup. So, with that I will build a new pc. Only question is hackintosh or Linux? How about both! I can salvage the two ssds from the iMacs and I have a case. I have that nvidia graphics card. Just need power supply, memory and cpu. I put the iMacs in my closet and I can revisit them again at some later point if I desire. They are not collectible now but who knows in the future.

Categories
Software

Garden Furniture Restoration: Part 1

Started restoring the outdoor table and chairs today. OK, so strictly speaking, I started to treat the wood last weekend, but I had to admit to myself more serious prep was required.

So roll on this weekend… And armed with an electric sander, the job begins in earnest. I’ve not used an electric sander before. It made my hands feel a bit strange after using it for a while. Here’s the table so far:

I managed to do half a chair as well before needing to give my hands a break. Quite pleased with result so far. Plenty more to do as I don’t feel I can make shortcuts now. All the old stain will have to be removed. Part 2 tomorrow if the weather holds.

Categories
Life in lockdown Weather

Arduino weather station

Happy Easter (on lockdown). Weather is beautiful today. A bit warm but the wind is blowing. The girls and I had a confetti egg fight earlier. I still have confetti in my hair.

I setup the weather station in the front garden. I’m sure I’ll get a note from the association. Ella is coloring the sidewalk with chalk now. Ham will go in oven soon. Happy Easter.

Categories
Software

If it ain’t broke…

The sun has been shining in the UK! I know, I’m surprised too. Anyway, because of that, I’ve missed my glasses with transition lenses which have been out of action since the right arm broke.

I set out to see it I could replace the arms with spares from an old pair, but having been mostly a contact lens wearer for the past decade, I didn’t have much to use. The best contender looked like my current day to day pair. So I set about a little test run.

Using a really old pair of glasses to see, I set about removing the right arm of my current pair. It came off easy enough, but the hinge was different so it was a non starter. I go to put it back together, and I can’t get the screw back in. OK…. Tweezers…. Nope. Nothing was working. Now I have 2 pairs of non functioning glasses. Great.

Annoyed with myself, I leave it be and decide to try again to glue the broken arm of the 1st pair back together. Are you managing to keep track so far?

I spend a good bit of time on the super glue and manage to get the broken arm to hold together and I then reassemble the glasses. It works, but I have my doubts it will take much stress before it breaks.

Back to the pair I wear all the time. Well, I try and try. Nothing. But I won’t be beaten. I get a safety pin and use the pin to align the holes between the frame and the arm, take out the pin. Place the screw lightly in the hole and use some pincers to push it in slightly. Bingo! It pops into the hole. I screw it tightly and then pinch it home when it seems it won’t go any further. Success!

So yes, if it ain’t broke… Don’t try and fix it. I spent a good part of the day on it. You’ve done well to read all of that. Now for a photo…..

Categories
Hardware

Sad iMac

Do you remember the old Sad Mac icon on old system 7 (that was hip for us 70’s kids)? Well, imagine my iMac 27″ right now is a sad, sad Mac. The hard drive is failing. I was suspecting this so I ran an diagnostic utility called DriveDX and the disk failed it’s SMART healthcheck. The drive itself has 34K hours on it so it’s no spring chicking