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Madeira and email changes

May 2nd, 2013 Comments off

Landed in Madeira today after seven days crossing the Atlantic. The seas were not high, but there were still at least the usual complaints – mostly from the people who put on their patches prior to boarding the ship in Galveston. It certainly was not the level of fun that Chere and I had last spring riding the rollercoaster of the bow – so I guess I am missing the issue.

I know that some people get ill (I have a daughter who does, but she is great about it and certainly doesn’t feel obligated to inform everyone on the ship in an extremely loud voice.)

But I have no idea what is going on with the old email, yahoo seems to believe that I am totally and completely not me. As a result, I will be retiring the old UK email address. It actually makes sense considering I set that one up in Jan 2008 while I was living in the UK at that particular address. I could have changed to our address in Heidelberg, but none of us believe that I am actually there all that much – so what would be the point?

(If I was there, I would actually have to get back to sorting out this attic full of stuff, three storage rooms full of stuff, shelves full of books and containers of craft supplies……)

The weather is holding for the moment, but I do expect rain later today.

At sea again tomorrow – Gibraltar the day after where my Pounds Sterling may actually be of some use followed by Alicante then a flight home on Monday from Barcelona….

Categories: computers, Travel Tags:

Not having fun here

February 11th, 2013 Comments off

Oh no, not all all. You see, WordPress has been nagging me for a while to update to the latest version. Since doing that involves FTPing a bunch of files (my other choice would be to reinstall and use subversions from here on out – not an option because I would have to call the nice people in Hamburg, get passwords reset and otherwise try to figure out exactly what I did on account set up almost six years ago)…

Where was I? Oh yes, losing my mind in electronic technicalities. I dearly love my MacBook Air, but I have yet to find a decent FTP program for the Mac that offers the range of capabilites in SmartFTP. Also, there is that issue of log-in passwords and the like. All of this comes down to needing to be at home with access to an old small Acer netbook purchased back in about when I went to the UK. I know this because I remember having it in the UK plus it has an older version of windoze that works reasonably well (and still has an easy to find Command line interface).

So there I am, dragging and dropping sets of files into FTP on this tiny and hard on my eyes screen. When I finally finish I head back to my blog. It opens. I don’t like the new admin interface but that is easily fixable.

What I really don’t like is that a couple of the edit buttons don’t work. I use the “edit date/time” function to place posts ahead for the first day of a cruise. I also use it occasionally when uploading back posts for reasons of clarity. Then I find the public/private post toggle isn’t working either. Then the media uploader refuses to function.

It is time to go back to my knitting!

Categories: computers Tags:

Audience of One

January 27th, 2012 Comments off

After emptying the SPAM folder once again, I have decided that the purpose of SPAM is not to provide comments on a website/blog for all to see.

Rather, it is a plot to drive the owner of said site insane, or at least to make them slow down when they see the same stupid message over and over and over, tempting the fool into clicking on a link. Now, I have not done that but I can see how it might happen providing another malicious way to trash a computer.

Of course, using a MAC makes me a little less vulnerable but still. I have decided that the world is not their target, it is me. Personally, me whose attention this spambot wants. Having figured out that much, I can wield my deleting abilities with impunity completely sure that I will never delete anything worth saving.

After all, it has been close to four years and 27,507 bits of spam. In all that time, I think I have rescued two comments. Skimming the spam doesn’t seem like a particularly good use of time given those odds. I might have been educated on the fact that certain words seem to trigger Russian and other former eastern block spam while others invite comments from the far east. Most of it seems to be good ‘ol USA entrepreneurship targeted at me.

It must be the attempted English language in the blog because I am hosted in Germany. Go figure.

Categories: computers Tags:

Fancy Phones

July 13th, 2011 9 comments

As a child, we had a phone whose last four digits were 1101. Not a good thing as it was close in numbers to a couple of business resulting in more than one late night drunk getting us instead of his intended target. That was my introduction to wrong numbers as well as rotary phones.

Remember the Princess Line phone? Or the first phones that were not nailed to the kitchen wall?

What a concept – a house with more than one phone increasing a person’s privacy so that the kitchen did not have to be cleared every time the phone rang while creating the side effect of “hang up the phone” yells from one end of the house to the other. And slim phones; and in color! Wow! A serious interior design effect after years of black, black and more utilitarian black phones.

The only thing more important was the shift from Party line (with everyone listening in) to private phone lines.

There progress sat for years. You can Google if you want – but most of the articles about Telephones and History devote themselves to the early development of the actual first instrument. Wikipedia does address briefly some of the improvements in the 20th Century. The most fun site is here – on antique phones, collections and current collectors.

The next major step was the change to push buttons – more choices in phone designs and less painful fingers. My Eldest may have seen rotary phones (we certainly still had them on the all military bases in the early 90s) but I don’t think my younger three have any familiarity with the actual practice of dialing a phone numbers. Never the less – dialing up someone, or dialing a number is still in common usage only more recently superseded by “phoning.”

Remember the development of private phone lines where you could actually talk to someone without all of your neighbors and family listening in? Well, here we are in 2011 – everyone has a cell phone with their words being broadcast and bounced through relay towers providing a great chance for eavesdropping. It isn’t necessary though – all you have to do is sit anywhere in public and all those around you will happily let you in on the most intimate details of their lives as they sit and chat within a pretend bubble of privacy.

I am on this rant again because, after a wasted a couple of hours (by one technologically quite competent individual and his father) we have discovered why our expensive, fancy phones (bells, whistles, answering capability, programable rings, a call log and a contact register.) don’t work.

There is a problem with the line. Not the whole line – Telekom informs us – just the voice portion.

So here I sit on my computer, able to email to the world, post to this blog, and dial internationally on the VoIP phone but can’t make a local call or a Germany call on the regular phone. The reset that was tried also wipes the phone memory which means my alternative of calling people on my handi is limited since I don’t have any numbers…….

Categories: computers Tags:

How many pages

April 6th, 2011 8 comments

does it take to duplicate a medical record?

Well, it is a lot. At least when accounting for 30 years in “one practice.” Since the military uses a consolidated, cumulative record that “goes where ever you go” (provided that the information from the pre-electronic medical record actually ever made it back into permanent records).

Even if one rarely got seen – there are records checks which are recorded, routine physicals, mandatory blood work. Now, with the new electronic record there is little to no reason to conserve space. Forms don’t take up electrons. Blank space doesn’t take up much room. But when you got to print out an electronic visit – what used to be one of three visits on one side of a double used page now takes up three pages all by itself (that is right – where up to six used to be on one sheet -> probably 18 pages).

Even having gotten LRMC medical records room to print out a lot for me – it was still pages and pages and pages of print.

There is a logical reason to be doing this – the VA wants as complete a copy of your medical record as you can provide. They don’t accept electronic copies – it has to be hard copy paper. If I am going through the effort of doing this, unfortunately it means that conserving trees doesn’t factor into the equation. Instead, I have to make it as clear as I can for the person who is going to have to wade through the mess. That means skipping the double sided printing.

Much of it is a copy of a copy since my originals took a walk a number of years ago (2005?) and have not turned up since. The few originals I had actually slowed things down – 30 year old flimsy paper doesn’t do well through a sheet feeder.

More than 1/2 a ream of paper (with all the AHLTA notes printed double sided anyway). Thinking, while I feeding through paper and organising the output, of jobs Carmen and I working at the University of MN library while undergrads – running a xerox machine……and thinking that I have come full circle after 40 years.

Categories: computers, military Tags:

Miscellaneous

March 29th, 2011 4 comments
This is a collection of this, that, and the other for updates.
Offspring -

Maus is doing well and a happy dance. So far she heard from two of the four schools on her “I am really interested” list. Both have accepted her. One, unsolicited also is offering her a significant Merit Scholarship. RISD and Parsons have yet to let her know. The other two schools (which she applied to because her parents asked her to) have sent her polite “no thank you” notes. Didn’t phase her a bit.
Military related -

1) got the survivor’s benefit briefing. No question – if you have a spouse who is significantly younger than you especially with small children – Survivor Benefit Program is the way to go. Think of an annuity that is calculated based on your retirement age and your years of service (which means that it is a retirement salary replacement for your pension for your spouse in case of your death). Now, if you are older, your spouse makes a good living with a retirement plan of your own and – most importantly – they are an older male – statistically you are going to out live them. This is not whole life. If they die first the only benefit you get is not having to make the monthly payment. There is a “child only” option which essentially provides for family members under 21 or till 23rd birthday if still in school. That one makes some sense, since it cuts off at the point where the youngest is no longer eligible to collect benefits.
2) no progress on getting the whole “retirement mess” straightened out. Talked to the ERMC IG this afternoon. I need to put this whole mess in writing and she will see what she can do.
3) picked up the last of the boxes I shipped and the Tuff Box. I think I have all but two items I have to turn in to CIF… now if I can manage to not lose them in the next month. Fact is, I think I am going to take them in next week just to be safe. Dropped of chocolate chip cookies to my favourite mailroom guy as a thanks.
4) Exercise is going decently – back again tomorrow morning. Yes – as several of you have asked – guilt and work ethic are alive and well
Mailing list -

Before I forget – if you want me to take you off the distribution – please let me know. Since starting the email distro in 1998 with my Balkan’s deployment this list has waxed and waned.  Dropping and adding people is not a problem, neither is use of the <delete>.
Starting March 2007, I added the “blog” part to the websites that I had put up the previous year. That means that I have been at it more than 4 years, around the 13th or so of this month. The first couple of years the anniversary was a big deal. Now I don’t even think about it. Humm – doesn’t that feel like birthdays and anniversaries in adulthood?
Off to write the epic of trying to retire from the army.
Categories: computers, family, military Tags:

Cables and Cords

March 23rd, 2011 9 comments

Even though retirement paperwork is on my mind, I am not going to talk about it. I want to stay sane and it is enough to start me screaming. I have my new passport. Perhaps I should claim that as victory and move on?

Otherwise I will need to be frustrated – I can’t do a “European out” because, on paper, I am assigned to the US. Never mind I haven’t been officially working in the US since summer of 1993 – that is what the paper says. So I need the paper changed, but no one seems to be empowered to make that happen.

Argh! less than 40 days, but who is counting?

So that takes me back to cables. And cords, can’t forget the cords. To get you oriented, please remember that I have been living in Europe for a while – that is two round prongs and 240V. Except for when I was living in the UK which is three flat prongs, but still 240v (or is it 220? never mind). Unfortunately, the various back up drives I have purchased over the years seem to have come with 110 plugs (those two skinny parallel flat prongs?) which means I need to find adapters.

Or a different cord. None of which seem to be marked with amps so I know what can be substituted. This might seem like a small thing, but I have bags and backpacks of cords and cables. Everything seems to come with a cable; each unique. iPods are not the same as Zunes or Sansas or Zens let alone let us talk about all the different connectors for cell phones and PDAs which seem to have been mixed in over the years.

All of which leaves me to the two small, WD external hard drives sitting there glaring balefully at me. They, instead of a normal USB to 5 pin (hidden) mini plug just happen to have a “micro” plug on one end. So far I have been through three bags, two back packs and a fistful of strays that came back from downrange with me.

Now, since I have the two nasty little black beasties – I know that I had the appropriate cables at some point. I haven’t given up yet – no, not me. You see – you can’t buy this kind of cable in isolation. For 19.95 I can buy a USB kit that will let me make such a cord, but not just the single cord. For that – I am 1/2 way to the cost of another little hard drive that also will scuttle its cord, just to make my life cheerful.

For the knitters – this is like needing a 3.25mm needle. You have 3.0 and 3.5 but the flipping pattern just has to call for a US size in the middle.

So back into the fray – trying to consolidate audiobooks, eBooks and TV shows so that I might actually know what I have.

Failing that – I suppose I could just wrap the cords and cables around someone’s neck till they re-do my paperwork the way I want? Oh, that is right – I am in Germany and the fools are in the US….

Categories: computers, military Tags:

Downloading Disgust

January 7th, 2011 3 comments

More than once I have mentioned the fact that I am an audiobook junkie. Some audiobooks come out as Podcasts (www.Podiobooks.com ) or iTunes are great ways to get those. Then there are downloads from various commercial enterprises which includes, again, iTunes but also Audible, Amazon, AudiobooksDL and a host of other sites.

What all of these sites require is either enough bandwidth allocation to download said file in something less than a lifetime and sometimes specialized software. The government does not allow us to download MP3 files on gov computers, so that particular option is a non-starter.

Even those people here paying the $100 a month for the high connect satellite feed say that moving large files often requires multiple restarts and a lot of frustration. Without it, the only other option is the WiFi at the USO. The connect speeds there are set so that no one gets a large share at the expense of others. The result is an average of 4 minutes per MEG downloaded. Obviously, they are successful in encouraging people to use the network for basic browsing and email while discouraging the rest of us from hanging out for hours in a vain attempt to get much desired book content.

I am fussing today more than others because one of my favorite Podiobook Authors – Nathan Lowell - has started the release of the last book in his Share series. It took more time than I want to admit over the last week, but I managed to secure Episodes 1-9. 10 will not download. Not from iTunes, and not from Podiobooks; keeps telling me that I don’t have permission. The same thing happens with Episode 12. I did grab Episode 11.

Listen to me whine. Sheesh, you would think that I don’t have enough books here. Of course, this is not including the fact that I can buy on Audible but not download at all (bandwidth at the USO and the software issue on gov computers).

I think tonight after services I am just going to curl up with a real book for a change! 

Categories: computers, deployment Tags:

No Chinese here …

December 25th, 2010 5 comments

Or Indian either for that matter.  

Instead, in the tradition of DFACs everywhere – the breakfast service was moved up by 30 to 60 minutes and stopped by 0730 in order to prepare for the main meal which is served at noon. Also, like many other facilities, the senior personnel – officers, first sergeants and command sergeant majors staff the serving line. The only significant variation that I saw is that all of us senior types were in ACUs rather than Dress Blues.  

At Aviation DFAC there are two lines – for this meal both the same. First station is roast carving, followed by choice (more than one ok) of turkey, prime rib, ham, pineapple chicken and corn on the cob. Following that was self serve for mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, collard greens and black eyed peas. There was a separate ham carving station along with a seafood area featuring cold crab legs and shrimp cocktails. In the next room were the salads, fruits and deserts.  

My line, of course, was the most efficient (grin). I spent a bit over an hour before my back said enough. I will attribute all of our ability to serve at double the speed of the other time to both the CSM asking everyone what they wanted and the SPC who was fast and efficient at the roast carving.  

 Seriously, the BDE Commander from 10th Mountain stopped by to say hello later and asked how we managed. His CSM and a good carver. In fact, the only thing that slowed us down at all were people self serving multiple side dishes. Oh, yes, Mac&Cheese, there was Mac & Cheese. I will need to ask Bonnie why, but it did give me something with protein besides ice cream.  

I am now back in the office with the following to finish before the end of the day

1) ABFM Part II Patient Simulation. Since this is open anything (as far as I can tell) I finally located a couple of great review articles to walk me through the two main diagnoses. With luck I will be done today – a bit in advance of 31 Dec….

2) two awards

3) review another award

4) Dari.  

My reward for getting through each section is to be able to stop and listen to an episode of Owner’s Share by Nathan Lowell. The first five episodes are up and I managed to download them last night and today at the USO. Remember those old 56k modems? With the limits on the USO system it takes about an hour to download 35 MEG. I also have the new Rawlins Cross album (Heart Head Hands) which came in the mail this week.

Categories: Books & Tapes, computers, deployment Tags:

what not to say

December 11th, 2010 2 comments

Just like there seem to be certain images that are SPAM magnets, apparently there are key phrases as well to be avoided.

Blithely I mentioned last night about some [not] bright person somewhere who wanted us all get through Dari Headstart before the end of the month. Didn’t think anything of it at all when I slapped the title on the blog post.

Well, color me stupid or astonished – whichever suits your sense of humor. Using the word “Dari” was honey to a whole new set of SPAM bots. Those bots all lead to sites that I can’t read. More importantly, they lead to web locations where I really don’t want to be on someone’s list.

Perfectly fine to have friends and family reading about my little corner of the world. Whole ‘nother idea to be linked or listed in wrap up webs. So far most are not appearing on my dashboard in-coming links which is reducing my anxiety level only somewhat.

Grumble, grumble…..

Categories: computers Tags:

Site Down

November 26th, 2010 5 comments

It is the day after Thanksgiving. Since it is Friday morning, it is quiet anyway. Dinner last night at the Korean Hospital was great. Much better than the noon time meal, truth be told.

It was late in the afternoon when I headed over to the blog intending to post the pictures.

The site was down. All three sites were down as a matter of fact. A bit of digging in a defunct email account turned up some warning notices. Now, since we haven’t changed banks or accounts in years and this bill is on direct pay I have no idea why they think it is not paid.

Everything is pretty well backed up, but still, this is a pain.

You are stuck with email till this is sorted out. Sorry about that.

Categories: computers, deployment Tags:

not allowed

November 12th, 2010 6 comments

No, I was not looking for thanks for me with what I wrote yesterday – I get lots of thanks both in person and warm emails. Rather, it was the idea of thinking of family history, of what those who went before us have done. While I really appreciate the notes and comments – it has left me more than a bit embarrased.

All of which leads me to the fun stuff that is not allowed……

Would you like -

free room in a glamours container palace? Or a cell in a flimsy plywood model? Board in your choice of one star DFACs complete with plastic silverware and trays made of recycled paper?? All of this is just waiting for you in on military bases everywhere in Afghanistan!

It did not surprise me to learn that there were various restrictions in theater when I arrived. Most of them make a lot of sense, especially when related to the use of the Internet. Obviously, gaming, porn, gambling and playing the stock market (or did I already say gambling?) are not things one should do on gov time, much less with government equipment.

Another limitation is realy starting to bother me – “personal use blogs” are not reachable. That means if I normally read your blog – and you are on Blogspot – I can’t get there from here. Nor can I get to WordPress.com, LiveJournal or Facebook (well, this one is not an issue – I don’t do Facebook). Feeds still come through on Google reader, but writing comments is not an option.

If you are self-hosted I probably should be able to get there from here – but heck -  the German and Australian IPs are giving the system an occasional burp.  And Twitter is obviously a road wayyy too far. If I want to indulge, it means a trip to the MWR and 30-90 minutes in line for a computer. I can get to Ravelry – go figure. It means that the computer people have not figured out that it is a social networking site.

Clothing

Civilian clothes are not allowed for military. There is even clothing bag undergarments if you are cheap. Regular uniforms I have mentioned – PTs and ACUs (unless you have been issued the new fraqs – all the colours of baby excrements in one mottled package) being the only thing allowed. Hair down is not ok, iPods while exercising are not allowed unless in the gym. I could go on and on, but there is really no point. A sense of humor is mandatory – and so are gloves early in the morning.

Breakfast is allowed – and my favorite Aviation DFAC opens at 0630 ………

Categories: computers, deployment Tags:

Ah, computers

October 3rd, 2010 Comments off

I had a lovely, quiet day and thank you all for the birthday greetings. I enjoy getting to the office well before anyone else arrives. And if the attendence so far is any indication, I might well be the only one here today!

Computers

The “blog won’t let me leave comments” issue.  From what I can tell, there are two issues:

I am GMT:+4:30. A few reading this are GMT:+1 or GMT:0. The problem comes when you are GMT:-5-8 or so. WordPress does not allow comments to be posted at a date/time prior to when the post was written. Never mind that it is a technical issue of time zones and reality and has absolutely nothing to do what I would want.

The second issue is post naming. Apparently using a number to name the post is fine in the permalinks-but messes up the calls. I have changed the name on yesterday’s post and it is now possible to leave comments.

The archive function is also not functioning; getting to old posts is not an option without paging back. I ask your indulgence. Getting things fixed from here is going to be difficult a best. I am loathe to have any access to HOSTDE from here and risk hackers.

Services

Current routine attendance at Friday night services here seems to be about a dozen, give or take. Civilains, Army and Air Force made up the crew this past Friday. There is a cupboard full of goodies, different shuls and synagogues have been more than generous with their care packages. If I need any munchies, I know where to go.

Categories: computers, Jewish Life, Uncategorized Tags:

why am I here?

September 16th, 2010 8 comments
trip mascot

Trip Mascot

My friend Diane in Germany asked an excellent question – what am I doing and why.

The “what” is relatively simple: sitting at a US Army post in Georgia and processing for deployment.

The “why” is straight forward, but not obvious to those who are not military related. The Army does it this way since they are supposed to insure that everyone has completed all the mandatory training on the list, has the proper uniforms, immunizations, and qualifications. They run a one week cycle. As it is set up, people dropping in at odd times just does not work. Units do their training at home and are certified there. Individuals are another matter. It is much more sensible and cost effective to handle all individual replacements in one location. All individual replacements below the rank of general officer come here: Department of the Army civilians, active duty, reserve, National Guard and contractors.

The cut-off for health care providers is 1200 on Monday. Because I was flying from Europe, obviously I did not arrive till well after that time; translates into too late to add to this cycle.

Knitting

Yes, I have not forgotten how to knit even though it has been ages since I have posted anything even remotely related to handwork.

Current scarf in progress is “Dove” by Sharon Miller adapted for fingering weight yarn (Hunterwasser Opal). The pattern is mindlessly simple and comforting – a two row pattern that is repeated six times followed by stitches casted on each end which shift the pattern over by 9 stitches. And repeat.

scarf

100 gm scarf

Images and Spam

For some reason – one image that I added to a post back in early June is still accumulating dozens of spam per day. I have no clue as to why – it is a simple picture of white clapboard houses lining a street in Stavanger.

streets of white board houses

Can any of you see a reason why this picture is a magnet for a repetitive spam relating to health care issues and products? I certainly do not have a clue.

Categories: computers, Knitting, military Tags:

Want SPAM?

December 19th, 2009 3 comments

Feeling sad? Feeling lonely? Don’t get enough SPAM?

Well I have a solution, a secret, that I am wiling to share with you for free.

That is right, no money now and no money later. To get almost unlimited SPAM for your blog just follow my easy instructions.

Place the word “Russian” in the title of your post. Like magic, you will receive increased comments in your SPAM filter. Not just for a few days, mind you, but lasting for weeks. I am sure that the entertainment value would be even greater if I could actually read Russian. Perhaps it is better that I am spared some of the scurrilous comments. It is definitely a way of being assured that your blog is being picked up by some search engine or another.

You could experiment, go one better. Put the word “penis” in a blog title. The resulting viagra SPAM could send your count to a new high.

Now back to regular insanity and knitting.

Categories: computers Tags:

Found by the Russians

November 19th, 2009 4 comments

No clue as to what is going on, but for the last five days I have been inundated by SPAM from Russian IPs. Not just one or two replies caught in the filter, but 20-30 a day.

Heck, I normally do not see that many comments in a month. Of course, I have no clue as to why I would want to see 20-30 replies a day. At that rate, it is no longer personal, rather it is  comments for the sake of same.

To balance out the insanity, I got to spend the morning with the electrician. Good guy, he was tasked with the every five year electrical inspection. Translates to every socket (outlet for Americans), overhead light or government furnished appliance being tested.

Oh, yes, and the electrical connection to the smoke detectors. Never mind that they are tested out four times a year.

In a house the size of this one coupled with a multi-screen PDA program the process took over 4 hours. Meanwhile, I did some dishes, changed a light bulb or three, knit and talked audio books.

The afternoon run to Croughton was a waste. No decent library books and only my new glasses to justify the trip.

Categories: computers, home Tags:

themes

July 28th, 2009 1 comment

As you can tell, or perhaps you can’t if you are using one of the readers, I have been vainly trying to stabilize the design of this blog since I switched off Mandigo.

I liked it, but it took forever to load. With every theme since then, I have had issues with either the design or the sidebar. Frustration is mounting. I am not really interested in designing something from scratch so it looks like I need to head back to the style.css and change things one at a time till I get what I want.

Clear and easy to read are important to me. proper borders that outline the pix are better than the current blue line. I might need to go to two sidebars to make the design look more balanced and I really like fluid themes more than fixed width.

Breadcrumbs, can’t forget the breadcrumbs for easy navigation.

All of these should be so simple. Why am I having such problems?

Categories: computers Tags:

Spinning

July 26th, 2009 1 comment

There is a certain quiet of a house when the dog has gone. Toys sitting where they have been forgotten, dog bed empty and the food dish just waiting to be filled. There is dog hair on the carpet of several rooms waiting to be vacuumed. Completing all these tasks will make things a bit more final than I think my daughter is ready to have happen.

Friday night we had dinner in Guildford with a friend which eased things a bit and yesterday was a quiet day with Internet only an option at work. Today it was more of the same. BT down and me thinking about how I can force them to give me two days credit for service not delivered.

I am not talented in jewelry making. Ms Soprano messed around a bit and came up with both button cuff links and a good dozen lovely stitch markers for me.

stitch markers and cufflinks

stitch markers and cufflinks

The black wool that I received in the Ongoing Swap (Ravelry UK Spinnners) is now spun -

singles

singles

The Dreamsicle merino/silk is now plyed

two ply with remaining fiber

two ply with remaining fiber

I also finishing spinning and plying all of the grey shetland that I had coned. Not being smart enough to take a picture prior to dropping it in the sink, at least I managed to weigh it (445 gm) prior to the start of the soak.  There seemed to still be a bit too much lanolin left so I expect to lose as much as 50 gm in the washing.

Now, all I need is a set of wringers. You know, the kind of wringers that used to top every old fashion washing machine. If you crank yarn through them, you can powder remaining veg matter….

Categories: computers, fiber toys, home, Spinning Tags:

Off-line

July 25th, 2009 Comments off

As of 0820 this morning, BT Broadband went toes up.

could it have been yesterday’s downpour with water flooding across the yard and lawn?

yesterday afternoon

yesterday afternoon

hardly able to see across the garden

hardly able to see across the garden

As if I didn’t have enough else going on in our lives. Esp to cut the daughter off from her Internet support community seemed especially cruel.

In any case, non of the usual attempts to reboot or reconfigure worked. Of course, I was directed to their internet page for the rest of the ideas.  Can you give me the logic? If I could get to the web, I wouldn’t need their help pages on the web. ARGH!!!!!

Spinning

Needing cheering up and sanity, I started on a merino silk mix that Ms Soprano and I agreed looks like a Dreamsicle.

ball of roving

ball of roving

and spins up like this

fine singles

fine singles

with neither the orange or yellow appearing quite so garrish. I have two 100 gm balls and look to spin up the first tonight.

Other than that, it is audio books and figuring out what to have for supper.

Categories: computers Tags:

What is a Tweet?

July 18th, 2009 3 comments

I am old. Well, not really, but older than a lot of those at the surrounding tables at this conference.

there are a lot of people here, mostly developers and professionals, but with a good smattering of community and serious hobbyists.

WordCamp is about the use of WordPress: as a blogging platform, as a CMS, as the basis underlying e-Commerce. While one is at it, you could also layer on BuddyPress for social networking or bbPress for forums…. or ….

Anyway, none of that explains the love affairs with Twitter that seems to be taking over so many people.

Now, I date from USENET and FIDONET. I know and understand about random noise and chatter. I avoided IRC and all of its channels in favor of listserve and being able to look at things when I wanted, rather than on someone else’s schedule.

I don’t get Twitter. Primarily it seems to be 140 character comments on whatever # mark channel without any common sense or finger governers. It really is not anything different than a running instant messanger with more than one delivery route. I am not arrogant enough to believe that anyone really cares what I am doing at any particular time. If I need to contact my family, there is email and text messaging.

End Rant.

Knitting

All of Print O’ the Wave

completed

completed

is completed out of two balls of Regia Cotton knit on 5.0 mm needles and badly needs blocking.
I started a second out of some Rowan Tapestry, only one repeat wide

After using up a previous ball of Rowan on an angle scarf

angles

angles

detail

Video, Audio, other

iTunes US makes a certain amount of material available free every week. For the last several months, I have been collecting it up. Not wanting another late night at a pub with a long cold hike back I decided to reclaim some hard drive space by going through it.

No clue why any one would want to watch a reality TV show about a family with multiples. The fact that there is more than one out there is totally beyond me. Same goes for various fashion, fighting, school related, and vehicle demo productions. Ice Truckers? Really.

End result is that I have 15Gig more free on my laptop and found only one show that I might want to watch.

Categories: computers, Knitting Tags:

Trains and rain

July 17th, 2009 Comments off

It doesn’t take any more time to walk from my house to the Blackwater Station than it does to hike into Camberley. In fact it might just be a few minutes shorter. Allowing for plenty of time, I cut through the Meadows and arrived on the Platform 17 minutes later.

If I was smart, I would skip the time I spent at Reading. Something about trains being canceled, someone trying to take off with my suitcase (the clothes don’t matter, the laptop does) and me almost getting on a train without it. Or, maybe I just forgot where I was sitting?

In anycase, my luggage and I finally managed to get on the 1141 to Cardiff.

Did I mention it was raining? That it didn’t seem worth wandering around the city in such weather so I bopped through to Cardiff Bay and the Future Inn.

duh, conference

duh, conference room

with its conference facilities, excellent restaurant, and modern rooms. As a conference location, it might be off the end of the earth but it was more than price worthy and lovely.

Conference?

WordCamp2009

Knitting Update

Managed to almost complete the current scarf on the needles (Eunny Jang’s Print O’ the Wave ) in Regia Sock Cotton.

detail of scarf

detail of scarf

Audio

Blackhills – Nora Roberts
Demons are Forever – Simon R Green

Both of which are long, long books.

Categories: Books & Tapes, computers, Travel Tags:

Spinning around

June 23rd, 2009 1 comment

As you can tell, I have been messing around with the blog appearance again. Never mind that the sidebars seem beyond repair in all themes or that this particular theme has no options whatsoever. (Meaning that I have to get creative and actually edit some php and css files myself. Not mentioning that the editor does not seem to be working nor remotely does anything resembling the archive function.

Ah well. Clean, simple. Lots of white and the Heidelberg pictures rather than my current garden. Please let me know in the comments what you think and what you find that is broken, I would really appreciate it.  For that matter, does anyone really check the blogs anymore as apposed to reading feeds?

In better use of my time, I hauled out the spinning wheel yesterday.

fine black singles

fine black singles

and tried spinning a bit of the black roving I received in the On-Going UK Swap.
Looked at some of the white shetland

unprepared locks

unprepared locks

and combed at bit, spun it into singles, then plyed.

two ply shetalnd

two ply shetalnd

it was happy to be fine

15 threads over a pound coin

15 threads over a pound coin

and it is now washed and hanging. That small amount turned into 30 meters of two ply.

not for dogs

not for dogs

meanwhile, the grey fleece I washed last night is mostly dry

grey shetland

grey shetland

My choice of listening today has been Zombie Chronicles by James Melzer which you can find on his website or Podiobooks and The Fledgling by Sharon Lee and Steven Miller. You can find it contained in the Saltation Podcast on Fireheart Foundry or available on iTunes. It will be out in hardcover from Baen this fall.

At almost 2200, it is dark enough that I need to bring in yarn and fleece.

Categories: Books & Tapes, computers, Spinning Tags:

Totally Scr*

April 5th, 2009 5 comments

Nothing to do with any knitting. I almost wish it had to do with knitting.

It was late last night; I should know better than to do anything when I am tired.  The update software family pack finally arrived in the mail on Friday from Ms Soprano.  The start of computer updates was not auspicious. Leopard did not want to install on The Moles computer. It installed on mine just fine. So did iWork which gives me programs. The issue came with iLife. It happily started, deleted the old programs, then informed me that there was no software on the DvD to install. This happened several tries. It was at this point that I realized what had happened. iPhoto was gone. totally and completely gone. The icon sits in the dock, but no software and no photos.

My panic subsided a bit when I noticed that the “library” was still there at a few gigs – I just don’t have any software with which to open it.

The Mole was home, we tried moving a copy of iPhoto from his computer to mine via the server. No dice. I now have the program, but it tells me that the library is “associated with a more recent software” and can’t be opened.

This may explain to you why there is only a whining post today and no pictures.

Categories: computers Tags:

Check that block

December 22nd, 2008 3 comments

According to the blurb – Part II of this module was only supposed to take 90 minutes. Right, and which genius figured that out? By 1600 I was seeing more grey hair every time I looked in the mirror and the whole project was going sideways. There are 6 (7?) hours time difference to Kansas City from Greenwich Mean time. My wailing note about needing a reset (read do-over because the computer on the fourth of many crashes had skipped past some things that I wanted to check) was sent at that absolute low point.

By the time I got a very nice reply, I was finally on a roll. The note included a cheat sheet. Seems like I am not the first person to be foiled by the programing. I took a few breaks – knitting is sanity,

a bit further

a bit further

laundry needed to be done

2nd of 4

2nd of 4

and I required the peace of candles to get through the rest of the evening.

Second Night

Second Night

Right after 2200, this nice email dropped in. Done. Finished. Checked that box. Next year – patient safety model and I am not waiting till the dead end of the year.

Now, all I have to do is clean, pack, drive to Croughton. Drop off the dog, submit a bunch of paperwork……

I need to knit some more…..

Pesky Presentations

July 24th, 2008 3 comments

I had them complete. The two presentations for the FHP in August. I wasn’t thrilled, but they were acceptable. In some ways I haven’t left Harvard Graphics. Simple, clear and bullets.

Then I made the mistake of reading Simon Wheatley’s note on Great Presentations. Which led me to Lessing, with this excellent presesntation on the subject of Free Culture which fits right into yesterday’s thoughts. It is a bit long, so if you have only a few minutes, listen to the first portion. It is more about the ideas of open code/source placed in the historical context of copyright.

I am tempted to put together lectures solely of photo slides. It would be easy for the presentation on Disaster Prep/Military mission; and photos of RMAS for discussing this liaison position. But what do you think the attitude would be of the PAO/Security people who have to approve all presentations? They would want my notes. What notes? With boring bullets in outline format, it is easy to see the “lesson plan” and as long as it sticks to the abstract, anything close will probably wash. Blah!

This leads me to back around to thinking that the key determinates of a successful presentation are determined by the material (make the presentation suit the material) and knowing your audience (if it is military, the slides have to be in the proper format. Just like a story with a beginning, middle and end. Complete with a ? slide.) Boring.

I need to go find some new jokes.

Other Blogs

Bob was our oldest participant this past weekend at WordCampUK. I am glad he liked the photo.

Jon did a Geeky Picture Quizz for us on Saturday evening. My poor group did fine on the Cats, but not as well on some of the other people. I never knew that the Pac people had names…

Knitting

And then there are socks, Jeannie’s socks to be specific. Have you looked at them? Not your ordinary socks at all.

I am at a halt on the UFO front. I am out of grey yarn for the Walk-in-the-Woods. I have just sleeves to go on the Garter Baby Sweater (to be knit on the Ferry on Sunday) and I am just about to the bind-together on the first sleeve cuff for the Viking. Now, if the yarn had arrived, I would start the shawl for the eldest. Since it hasn’t and I will be away from the mailroom for 3 weeks, I might just change yarns.

Books &

Personal Demon – Kelley Armstrong. Maiden Rock – Mary Logue. In Audio – Time Bomb – Jonathan Kellerman.

Categories: Books & Tapes, computers, Knitting, military Tags:

Who has time?

July 23rd, 2008 4 comments

If you are looking for knitting, I have been distracted.

By a deer in the back garden before six in the morning that could move rather rapidly. Much more so than my ability to get outside with the camera.

Under the tree

Under the tree

taking off

taking off

By setting up SQL & Apache Servers on my laptop.  By noting a new (to me) WordPress Theme – Anvil which I found from Interconnect IT’s blog.  ( Dave has a nice example of it in use. )

And by dealing with the TV Licensing Authority which is having problems getting their minds (?) around the concept of a householder without a TV. They have escalated the tone and quality of their letters. Since I have the same phone number as the previous tenant the telephone harassment will likely begin any day.

BT got it when they called the other week to market their new package:

“We would like to tell you about…., who is your current cable provider?”

“I don’t have one. I don’t have a TV.”

“Oh, well then. Thank you very much for your time.”

And she rang off.

Tying the  concepts together: what I do with my time,  not having a TV, and all those comments we all receive about “I don’t have enough time for that.”

Clay Shirky has an interesting take in his Article Gin, Television, and Social Surplus in which he traces waves of social change and society’s investment of excess time. He does it with a look at critical technologies – gin during the industrial revolution, sitcoms in the later half of the 20th Century (we know where all that excess time went….) and the new social cooperative ventures of the Internet.

And what’s astonished people who were committed to the structure of the previous society, prior to trying to take this surplus and do something interesting, is that they’re discovering that when you offer people the opportunity to produce and to share, they’ll take you up on that offer.

All of us are engaging each other. In the fiber community, besides the thousands and thousand of blogs and websites there is Ravelery. Social networking and cooperation, perhaps at its finest: yarn is being mailed around the world to help someone finish a project; forums cover everything from particular garments, locations and yarns through technology and audiobooks;working relationships are being made that span the globe.

Me? I test and use open source software, listen to podcasts from around the world, cruise blogs, and knit.

Why would I need a TV?

What Now?

July 22nd, 2008 Comments off

My panic on waking this morning receded as soon as I figured out that it was 0515, not 0830. Rotating the alarm clock 90 degrees back to upright really helped…

The rest of the day, presentations, replacing the petrol cap and picking up mail from one of the other officers proved to be cake.

Which ended when the broadband went out.

Categories: computers Tags:

Nightlights

July 21st, 2008 Comments off

My nights are lit by the backwash of computer monitors. Changing patterns reflected off the wall or ceiling entertains while giving reassurance that the screen saver function is working.  Not quite as engaging as an infant entranced by a ceiling fan, but by far better a soporific than counting sheep.

Along time ago, I was compulsive about computer shut down in the evening. All the discussions about burning out monitors and over heating made sense. Then came my foray into OS/2 and a Fido-net BBS. That computer ran continually without problems or reboot for 18 months. The reboot only happened because of an operating system update; again it ran flawlessly.

After that, several years after that, stuck with Windoze, I got frustrated with boot up times and started just leaving my laptops running. It didn’t seem to make a difference in their performance. After all, that blue screen appeared often enough to force a shutdown anyway. 

I now have a MAC. I should probably think about shutting it down in the evenings as the boot up is so rapid it eliminates that excuse. Unlike my various Win laptops, this Power Book is probably going to last more than a couple of years, causing me to rethink the whole – computer as a door stop long before the monitor dies – theory. 

But then my bedroom might not have patterns dancing across the ceiling, leaving only the lights on the router to keep me oriented as to house and country of my current sleeping location.

Audio

A few more Arbiter Chronicles from PRT. I admit, i don’t enjoy them as much on my MP3 player as on the computer where I can easily move the slider and skip all the extra chatter.

Categories: computers Tags:

WordCampUK Day 2

July 20th, 2008 Comments off

I finally can wander from BackPackers to somewhere in the pedestrian zone without any unplanned detours.

Birmingham is not a bad city at all; I am still not used to the idea that stores, big stores and malls are open on Sunday. Too many years of living has definitely damaged my outlook. The Apple Store gave me a UK extension cord for my Mac. That is right, gave me that cord that goes from the transformer box to the wall.  Enabling me to change from my current system of unwieldly 2-prong German plugged into UK three prong.  Didn’t I mention that the three prong Swiss/Italian plug doesn’t fit into any UK adapters?

Overall – I got some major lightbulb knowledge out of the conference. The presentations especially on mobile blogging, ecosystems, plug-ins and subversion were worth the trip up. Some of the more technical sessions were well above my head…

End result? Over the next couple of weeks in my copious <not> spare time, I am going to migrate over both my book site and the family website. As one of the participants asked – what about the kid’s non-pages? Well, since they seem to be able to cope with live journal, perhaps they can handle having a real blog.  (while I get the advantage of running several WordPress branches). 

Along with that, there are some simple structural changes that I can make in my file set up on the server which will make updating and backup a snap.

Interesting Participants

Long enough list for today. More as I have time.
X-Country Trains and South West Train Service are not exactly timely on Sundays. About all I had time to do after getting home was crop a few photos, upload some to Flikr and crash.
Categories: computers, Travel Tags:

WordCamp UK

July 19th, 2008 1 comment

Up the streets, through the train station and out onto the pedestrian zone. Up Cannon Street is the Studio.

the studio


Now add 40-60 individuals with varying levels of geekness and you have a pretty good idea of the crowd sitting comfortably around tables in an upstairs conference room. Laptops on the tables hooked into the conveniently placed power strip under each, I found myself by luck sitting with five other Mac users plus the video/photo’er for the conference. (Down side – Benjamin is from Camberley, near the Jolly Farmer Round-a-bout and he drove. Nothing like finding out that if either of you had been a bit smarter, you could have had a ride.)

The venue is terrific; open, airy and a great coffee maker. Add in a variety of muffins and I was a happy camper. I didn’t even bother with lunch.

Topics today ranged from a run down of some essential plug-ins, SEO (search engine opitimization), through use and responsibility of bloggers vis a vis journalism and use of Word Press as a complete platform, not just as a blog.

An evening detour through the Royal complete with quizes and a bit of music topped off the day.

Now if I just had a clue about all the Twitter jokes …..

Knitting

Back completed on this garter stitch baby jacket and the right front now on the needles.

Baby Garter Jacket

Baby Garter Jacket

Categories: computers, Travel Tags: ,

Watchless

July 18th, 2008 Comments off

Thursday morning was the last time that I saw my watch. It is nothing fancy; a $20US Timex on a well worn velcro band. And that probably explains why it has gone astray. I have been meaning to buy a new band, as soon as I can find one that fits.

Yesterday, functioning in the office wasn’t all that difficult between the Brit Army computer and my own laptop, the time was continually on display. I didn’t start noticing world slippage till evening. Between the Northern latitude and daylight savings time ambient light can be quite deceptive.

Hunger certainly is not a good alternative driver for monitoring the lateness of the evening.

Today it became a completely different issue.  Digging out an alarm clock, I needed to be up early enough to pack. After all, it would not do to be too organized.

After the trip to Keogh, I turned into a civilian at the office. From then on, it was just follow the crowd and see when trains appeared. I might have a schedule, but I was an hour early and didn’t have a clue when it really was.

Reading was a bit of a challenge with a track change, delayed train and sheer luck on finding a seat.

Central Back-Packers is located in an industrial area below the BullRing and quite near the Coach Station. Almost but no quite what you would expect of the area around a Greyhound bus station in the US. Located in a former pub, they have managed to keep their liquor license but only serve those in house.

Backpackers

Backpackers

We had an informal get together planned for Penny Blacks – (not Penny Lane’s, the song which had me walking up and down the Mailbox twice till I spotted the pub)

Knitting

The Candle Flame Shawl is grafted (completed between Ascot and Reading).

I cast on the facing for the first sleeve on the Viking Sweater, taking away all question of UFO. Problem became managing it on dps. when I tried to move to circulars with Magic Loop, it was just not cooperating.

Which left me to cast on for a baby jacket – with the number of people producing additional off-spring I am sure that it will find a home.

Pictures? I have them on the camera, but haven’t conquered the Mac’s editing software….. end of the weekend, I promise!

Military

Turning around, I went back in the house and put on Class As, the proper uniform for the Environmental Health Tech graduation at Keogh Barracks. Between my vague time sense and worry about the traffic pattern generated by the Farnborough Airshow I managed to be 45 minutes early.

I find it quite interesting – the US, like most of its allies, had a relatively short course for training its techs. They are then assigned to work under supervision for yeaars, no one really expects then to know much of anything. The 2LT Environmental Science Officers are usually a new University science grad with a short course turned lose.

In contrast, the Britis have a 2yr. training curriculum which includes extensive academics, an extended supervised internship and a final academic phase (we will not talk about all the exams). The students who are graduating are privates -> corporals. with frankly the knowledge equivalent to most other armies mid-rank captains. But not the Brits, their Environmental Science officers, all of whom spent at least 10-15 years as a techs prior to selection to graduate school and eventual commissioning.

The graduation was a combination of boring speeches, presentations and some well executed ribbing complete with slides on the part of both the faculty and the students followed by a reception.

Arches

Pix to be uploaded at the end of the weekend – see above.

Rental Row

Rental Row


In case you don’t believe me – here is the sign on the entry way -
To Let

To Let

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