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Bill Roper's Journal
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22nd-Aug-2016 10:32 pm - Lonely Guitar
It is sitting next to my desk, wondering why it has not been played lately. I suppose it and I need to have a conversation...
When we dropped off supplies at school on Thursday, Katie's new teacher had a handout asking them to bring a "Me Bag" containing things that would tell a story about them, including a family portrait.

Yeah, family portrait. Right. This would require everyone holding still at the same time and someone to take the picture.

Pause me while I laugh hysterically.

On the other hand, a solution could be created.
The-Roper-Bunch
20th-Aug-2016 11:48 pm - Two Tripper
It seems that I now own a reciprocating saw.

Why, you ask? Well, a few months ago, a friend of mine came over and helped me fix the fence to keep Ruby in and to mount the new gate hardware to make sure that the gates stayed closed. The problem was that the gate in the back fence had shifted over the years and the new hardware that I had bought would not fit in the spot that the old hardware had occupied, being of a substantially different design.

Ted suggested shifting the hardware to a lower position on the gate, I agreed, and he screwed it all together. And life was good.

Except that the screws holding the latch that was attached to the gate went through a single cedar plank. And given a certain amount of abuse, they loosened and one of them fell out and became lost.

I took a look at the situation. OK, I would need two new screws and a piece of scrap wood that I could stick behind the holes and I could make this work. I picked up the screws at Home Depot and they were good enough to let me salvage a piece of scrap and home I went.

When I screwed the new screws through the cedar plank and into the scrap wood that I'd tacked to the back of the plank with some nails, the scrap wood fell apart into pieces. This was not at all what I had in mind.

Time to reexamine the problem. The gate swung freely at the bottom, but the cedar plank was a problem up near the top. Let's pop it off and see what everything looks like. After all, I had spare planks in the garage. The aged plank was removed and it now became apparent that the problem was with the piece of wood 2x4 at the top of the gate which had been inserted to anchor some older revision of the gate hardware at some time during the 20 years that the fence has been up. It stuck out too far.

Well, I could fix that. If I had the right tool. But I didn't actually have a hand saw at this point in time.

I had, however, been musing about the general usefulness of a reciprocating saw for a while now.

So back to Home Depot I went. I checked out the rechargeable saws and determined that they were damnably expensive; I then purchased the cheapest Ryobi corded saw I could find and an extra 100 feet of extension cord in the interest of avoiding a three tripper for this project.

Gretchen stabilized the gate while I used the new off-brand Sawzall to remove about an inch from the end of the offending 2x4. (Somewhere during the middle of sawing off this inch of extremely damp wood, it decided to rain and we unplugged and retreated to the house for ten minutes, since I think trying to use a plugged-in saw in the rain is just asking for it.) The gate now swung freely. I installed the post-side hardware, then nailed the new plank onto the gate. Screwed the gate-side hardware back in and the gate closed happily.

And then I went back to the house to grab the saw, lopped off the excess length of cedar plank at the top, and declared victory.

I am sure that I will find something else that I need a reciprocating saw for.

It will come in handy some day.

Really.
20th-Aug-2016 12:14 am - Google, Dammit!
Or Bing. Or whatever the search engine of your choice is.

But before you decide to post something on line and reveal that you are ignorant, it is worth checking to see whether you are contradicted by a reliable source found by the most cursory of searches. It's not like you don't have an Internet connection. I know you do, because you are posting this drivel.

The More You Know (TM)... :)
19th-Aug-2016 11:18 pm - It's Been a Long Week
I am really, really tired.

But I don't have to get up early tomorrow.

This is the last day that will be true of for a while, since the girls have their first fall softball game on Sunday. :)
18th-Aug-2016 10:35 pm - We Have Top Men Working On It!
That would be me. Or as I occasionally refer to myself, "The Roadkill On the Critical Path".

I managed to get a test version of one of our critical new APIs up and running today. Part of the entertainment here was that I looked at some of the behaviors of the older version of the product and said, "OK, this really needs to be changed to work properly in the new environment." This is followed by having to convince everyone that the new behavior is actually, well, better behaved. I don't mind substantive objections that say, "If you do that, this thing will break." It's the "But we've always done it the other way" that doesn't necessarily help to move the ball down the field.

But the API has been tested and appears to work in the simple cases. More testing will follow, I'm sure, but there is a queue of people waiting for more stuff from me.

So the prize for finishing this is that I get to go try to finish up a different API tomorrow. :)

It keeps life entertaining!

(Hey! I could have been at Worldcon!)
17th-Aug-2016 11:00 pm - Softball Redux
There was a second softball practice today. I got there late, as I had more work to do, but then I stayed late so the girls could get more batting practice. It looks like it should be interesting. :)
16th-Aug-2016 11:10 pm - Winding Down the Summer
We're officially in the post-season for the local swimming pools, which means that the big pool is closed on weekdays. But the smaller pool near us is still open on weekdays, so we headed there after work for an hour or so. The nice thing about having a pool pass is that you don't feel like it's a waste of money to go for just an hour. :)
15th-Aug-2016 11:30 pm - Tedium
Coding diagnostics so that they'll produce user-readable localized messages is a pain in the butt.
14th-Aug-2016 04:11 pm - Not Much Ado, But a Lot of Nothing
The amount of nothing that I am getting done today is going to be legendary.

On the other hand, I broke down three boxes of software for the d8b that I no longer own and consigned them to recycling. I have a picture that came down in the renovation last summer that I am about to hang.

As progress goes, this is extremely marginal. Nevertheless, it is progress.
13th-Aug-2016 07:24 pm - Roomba + Dog = Pooptastrophe
I needed a laugh today. I so needed a laugh.

And sometimes, comedy is simply something really annoying happening to someone who isn't you.

So if you can laugh at someone who has really had a bad day, feel free to click on this endearing tale of The Imperfectly Housebroken Dog and the Little Roomba That Could (But Really Shouldn't Have).
12th-Aug-2016 09:41 pm - Everybody's Working For the Weekend
And I am so looking forward to it. It has been a very long week.
11th-Aug-2016 10:46 pm - Code We Must
Much useful code written today. Tomorrow, I see if it actually works. :)
10th-Aug-2016 11:46 pm - Fin
I think the ISFiC Press financials are finally done. I now need to write a bunch of checks, but that can wait until tomorrow. :)
9th-Aug-2016 11:08 pm - Cubs Win
I went down to watch tonight's Cubs / Angels game with a friend of mine. The Cubs won 5-1 and we departed, as is sadly becoming a regular event, before the game was over so we didn't have to wait over an hour to catch the shuttle bus back to remote parking.

I feel like a Dodgers fan. :(
8th-Aug-2016 10:20 pm - Numeric Spelunking
It is bad when you are checking your work e-mail to get a break from working on the ISFiC Press financials.
I have looked at 3500 e-mails tonight and deleted all of the ones that I no longer need, dispatching the others to various folders that are not my Inbox.

This leaves about 2500 e-mails in my Inbox, but none of them are from 2015. :)
7th-Aug-2016 09:18 pm - My Miserable Filing System
I am trying valiantly to finish the ISFiC Press financials. I am now scanning through e-mail, looking for messages about various shipments of books.

If I had categorized this mess as it came in, I would have been far better off. Deleting a bunch of them way back when would have been good too...

*sigh*
6th-Aug-2016 11:27 pm - Nice Little Filk You've Got There
Shame if anything should happen to it.
5th-Aug-2016 01:13 pm - Less Than Done
I still have too many things to do across this weekend. Some of them are going to end up getting done Sunday night, I think.

*sigh*
4th-Aug-2016 11:35 pm - Fixes
I fixed a bunch of little things at work today. This is good, because I'm taking a vacation day tomorrow. First, I work on ISFiC Press financials. Then I head off for Musecon.

See some of you there!
3rd-Aug-2016 11:04 pm - Shaggy
I had hoped to get a haircut today. Maybe tomorrow.

I certainly need one...
2nd-Aug-2016 10:07 pm - Less Than Productive
I lost a large percentage of today at work to yet another JDeveloper failure. For some mysterious reason, it decides it will no longer launch applications using the Integrated WebLogic Server. The cure for this (which I had misplaced) is to delete all of your custom setup information and recreate it.

I am less than pleased with this particular failure mode, but at least I am able to work again.
1st-Aug-2016 10:39 pm - Me vs. The Wi-Fi
Or as we call it around here, Wi-Fi Fo Fum...

My Nexus 5 phone has been suffering from what seems to be an endemic problem that came with Android Marshmallow that causes it to connect poorly with certain Wi-Fi hotspots, especially the one that sits in my office here at home. This means that the connection drops, picks up, drops, streams a few bytes, drops -- well, you start to get the picture. And it's been going on for several months now, despite my best efforts at jiggering the Wi-Fi configuration on both the phone and my WAP to get around it.

I have been swearing at my cheap Tenda access point hardware. A lot. Of course, the trick is finding something to replace it with.

And then my friend Greg posted a link to this prodigy of a Wi-Fi router which can also be easily configured as a WAP. I figured that I had more money than sense -- a configuration that is not quite as true today after paying the second installment of property taxes -- so I ordered the beastie in the hope that it would solve my problem.

The router arrived on Saturday. I hauled it upstairs, configured it as a WAP, told it what address range it should run in, plugged it into the network, and--

Well, things would connect to it. They just couldn't get any data out of it.

After about an hour of futzing around with the thing, I figured I would haul it down to the basement, reconfigure it as a router, and bring the old Cisco/Linksys E4200 router upstairs and configure it as the WAP in the hope that something would work.

A few minutes later, the new TP-LINK router was in the basement, connected, and happily broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal that my phone could connect to.

So I took the Cisco/Linksys router upstairs, reconfigured it as a WAP, plugged it into the network, and--

Well, things would connect to it. They just couldn't get any data out of it.

More swearing ensued.

Finally, I reset the Tenda WAP and plugged it directly into my computer so that I could get at it, which required me to reset the IP address for the computer, because my address range and the default IP address for the Tenda WAP are not compatible. And I reconfigured the Tenda WAP and set it up for assorted bits of default configuration. And I plugged it into the network, and...

Things saw it. Things connected to it. They got data out of it.

More to the point, my phone connected to it correctly and has continued to do so.

I am beginning to believe that the problem in the system was the Cisco/Linksys E4200 router and (possibly) how it was configured.

It is going on the shelf as an emergency spare.

And things are working.

Knock on wood.

(You would not believe how annoyed the girls got when I kept pulling the Internet access out from under the computers they were using while this hardware fandango was going on! You'd think that they had some sort of Service Level Guarantee or something...)
31st-Jul-2016 11:08 pm - Someone Is Wrong On the Internet
It's going to be a very long 100 days until the U.S. Presidential election.
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