Done last week (20171008Su - 14Sa)

Oct. 15th, 2017 10:56 am
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
[personal profile] mdlbear

On the whole a pretty good week. (I was going to say, "not a bad week", but it may actually qualify for good this time. I'm really bad at evaluating subjective stuff like that.)

I got my taxes done. Probably still some things missing, but since I only owed $117 over what I estimated back in April I'm not going to complain. Much. I'm still in a world of trouble over the lack of withholding on some of the pensions. That's going to bite me. Well, I'll put in an estimated payment for the quarter; that will help.

Naomi came home Sunday with the scooters, and we got one of them out of the van. (G and I got the other out last night with the help of my folding ramp.) And yesterday on the way home from dinner out we stopped at the bike shop in Bayview and ordered Colleen a (purple, of course) helmet.

Meanwhile, I have reconfirmed my dislike for the Mac user interface (Windows would be worse). The main reason is the inconsistent bindings for control, meta, and super (the "logo" key). It's almost tolerable with a Thinkpad keyboard and x2vnc, but the key bindings in Emacs are wonky and cut-and-paste doesn't work between the two systems.

Also, of course, Raven's handling of its external monitor is broken, and the desk isn't wide enough for it plus the monitor anyway. (It is wide enough for Cygnus to the left of the monitor, so I may end up doing that.) I have Raven on a tray table to the right of the monitor, which isn't ideal because, oh, yeah: my newest Thinkpad keyboard has started dropping keystrokes. Basically unusable at this point, and it's only a year old. Lenovo's QC has really tanked -- I miss IBM. And I can't find the box with my other keyboards :P Unlike the drill and the router, I know that one is in the garage because I saw it there. I blame the cats.

The cats are all doing okay. Even Bronx, who remains a bit fragile and isn't eating all that well.

We are making progress toward making the room over the garage into a usable living space. By not making large structural changes, and not making it an official ADU, we can probably save a lot.

Notes & links, as usual )

elf: John Egbert with a rocketpack, captioned "THIS IS STUPID" in all caps. (This is stupid)
[personal profile] elf
I have to watch episodes with several breaks, because TEH STOOPID bothers me.

I mean, there's the standard TV show stupid where characters have to tell each other things that they already know, so that we the audience can catch up on what happened since last season. Fine. Normal TV stupid.

There's the stupid of watching combat scenes - streets somehow devoid of cars except for those belonging to the villains; martial artists spinning into HTH despite facing their opponents and having a clear path between them (you don't turn your back on an enemy if you don't get something from it - sure, spinning around may get you leverage for an attack, but nobody did that); old Western-style one-shot-insta-death bullet wounds (except, of course, for any character with a name), and so on. TV violence stupid. Fine. Normal.

There's the interpersonal drama stupid, which includes both "let's talk about stuff that we would never directly say, except for the audience to catch up" and "let's make sure the audience has been informed, AGAIN, of exactly who has what relationship with whom." Bleh. Fine. Gotta throw in some backstory exposition for the new watchers. Then there's the mind games and secrets bullshit, where everyone pretends that they haven't spent five years learning that you need to rely on your teammates and that means telling them when something weird is going on. Fine. Emotionally constipated characters in order to stretch out the tension.

There's also spoilerific stupid, so I'm putting that behind a cut. )

I suppose I'm getting some Pathfinder

Oct. 11th, 2017 08:31 pm
elf: Life's a die, and then you bitch. (Gamer Geek)
[personal profile] elf
I have basically played no D&D since 1st ed AD&D. I remember writing up a character in 2nd ed (oh look; elves can finally be druids!) and again in... 3.5, maybe? But I don't remember actually playing in either of those; if I did, it was a single session of getting-the-party-together that later went nowhere.

I'm vaguely aware that D&D and Pathfinder are similar but not the same. I don't particularly need to know; until D&D gives up on the stupidity that is alignments (I do hear they've dropped alignment languages, at least) and the notion of dozens of character classes to allow variety instead of switching to a point system that actually lets people build the players they want... not particularly interested. D&D as a system is designed for a particular type of play, or at best, a particular range of types of play, none of which appeal to me.

I keep coming back to, "why aren't they using GURPS" if they want granular details about combat and character building, or, "why don't they switch to FATE" if they want free-flowing story adventures.

Anyway. Humble Bundle has Pathfinder books on sale, and in the way of HB, a large swarm are available for the $1 minimum. I'll get that.

I scrolled down. Normally, there's a $1 ("pay what you want") level, a mid ($8 here), and a $15 level. This time, there's also higher levels. At the top, for $45, you can get a set of miniatures.

The Red Sonja figurine shows everything I hate about D&D, the high fantasy genre, and the tabletop RPG industry.

Done this month (20171001Su - 07Sa)

Oct. 8th, 2017 08:21 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
[personal profile] mdlbear

This marks the first week for which, at N's suggestion, Colleen and I prepared a weekly menu in advance. It came out fairly well -- you can see it at the end of the notes. There were a couple of substitutions, but on the whole it was a success. We did the same this week.

I got a fair amount done. Unfortunately, very little of it was my taxes; that's the top project for this week. I did, however, get the Mac set up and the program I still think of as TaxCut (currently called "H&R Block at Home" or something like that) updated. The Mac, Whitewood, is set up on my desk, with (ThinkPad) Raven next to it on a tray table. There's a little story about that...

You see, sometime Friday morning I managed to spill some coffee onto my little ThinkPad, Cygnus. I shut it down and left it to dry out. An hour or so later, it booted, but some of the keys on the lower right-hand corner were flaky, and I couldn't get it to accept my hard drive password. That's when I set up Whitewood and Raven. Fortunately I had pushed recently, so Raven was able to sync right up and be productive.

Then, since I had a Linux laptop and a Mac mini with a nice large monitor, the obvious next step was to install x2vnc and share the Mac's keyboard (a ThinkPad keyboard, of course -- I'd had it at work), trackball, and mouse. I put those all on a KVM switch (which I don't use for monitors, only for USB, because switching a VGA monitor confuses my computers). Win. It took altogether too much time to figure out that the reason x2vnc didn't seem to be connecting was that Apple's implementation puts up a lock screen when you first connect. :P

x2vnc is pretty cool -- it lets you share a keyboard and mouse between two computers, using VNC's screen-sharing in the input direction, but not actually viewing the screen. Instead, you just move the cursor onto the other machine's screen, across whichever edge you specify.

The other tech-related failure Friday was that my attempt to replace the charging port on Colleen's old tablet was unsuccessful. Quite possibly the flat cable isn't seated correctly. It was a bit of a long shot, though I would have liked to be able to at least do a factory reset.

I spent quite a lot of time Friday looking up ways of unlocking a password-protected hard drive when one doesn't have a working computer to enter the password into. Apparently Lenovo changes their password hashing algorithm every so often, so you have to get a ThinkPad that was made close enough to the time your dead one was. Ouch! I didn't really care too much about the data, since it was all backed up, but that was a comparatively new SSD and I wanted to at least make it usable even if that included wiping it.

Around 9:30 Friday evening I turned Cygnus on again and it booted. Not wanting to push my luck I turned it off again almost immediately, but not before I'd removed the password on the hard drive.

It turns out that password-locking a drive is a massively bad idea. Among other things it means that you can't use it in an external enclosure, and might not even be able to use it in another computer. It's better to use your OS's "whole-disk" encryption, because that actually encrypts everything but the boot partition, and it does so in a standardized way so that you can use it anywhere as long as you have the password. You can use a variant on the same encryption technique to encrypt a single home directory, or even a single subdirectory.

Also Sunday, I discovered when I went to post last week's summary that my client, ljupdate.el, doesn't work any more because Dreamwidth has gone to SSL everywhere. I made several attempts to fix it, but so far no joy. I'll probably have to cut-and-paste again. After I get my taxes in, the first thing I want to do is write a new -- and more general -- posting client and integrate it with my build system (see MakeStuff).

This Saturday, though, N went to the Seattle Home Show and found a company that was having a 2-for-1 deal on some pretty awesome scooters. They're not exactly travel scooters -- they fold a little but don't come apart, and they're pretty heavy, but they're designed to be roadworthy. 18mph with a 25-mile range. We'll probably have to replace the seat on one for Colleen to be comfortable, but... She can definitely ride to Freeland and back in one.

In all, a rather frustrating week, but it could have been a lot worse.

Notes & links, as usual )


jasheffe: (Default)

October 2017


Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 18th, 2017 02:30 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios