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Bill Roper's Journal
20th-Aug-2019 11:27 pm - Bedding Down
Yesterday, the Sleep Number people finally repaired my bed after over three weeks.

I slept *so* much better last night.
19th-Aug-2019 10:04 pm - 10-4, Backdoor
Gretchen and I got the back side of Katie's new door painted today. If we can next manage to get the back side of the bathroom door painted, we will be done with this particular gallon of paint for a while. :)
18th-Aug-2019 10:18 pm - Knocking Things Down
While Gretchen and Julie were at the BMX park this afternoon, Katie and I undertook to paint the newly-installed doors. We managed to get both doors painted on one side, along with all but one bit of the trim per door. With any luck, Gretchen can finish up the doors tomorrow and that particular project will be done.

I still need to paint the new drywall in the hall downstairs, but that will have to wait a bit longer.

In Comcast news, I have now found the skip forward and skip back keys on the remote that the installation tech said didn't exist. It turns out that the page up / page down keys are overloaded to handle this during playback. This is a really good thing to know.

Also, although the keypads don't light up and tell you whether the alarm system is armed or not when you are just looking at them, if you put your hand within six inches of the keypad, the appropriate light will come on to let you know the answer to the question. Surprise!

I wonder what I'll find out next...
17th-Aug-2019 06:22 pm - The Long and Winding Road
So one of the things left hanging when the installer left was the question of why the Xfinity Home security app wouldn't work on my phone. This was, apparently, a problem that he hadn't seen before.

It turns out that the problem originated with the statement by the previous installer that "Just plug your router into the back of the new modem and everything will work." As it turns out, this was *almost* correct.

The new cable modem is *also* a router. So when you plug a router into the back of another router, you get *two* home networks that don't talk to each other. The eventual solution was to reconfigure the cable modem's router so that it was on the old set of IP addresses that I use around the house. Then I could reconfigure the existing router and WAP so that the router no longer tried to be a DHCP server (making the cable modem happier) and that both of them were on static IPs outside of the DHCP range (because trying to find them to log into them with dynamic IPs is like shooting fish in Lake Superior).

I have ordered some new network cables -- because, as Gretchen observes, *everything* that I do requires another cable -- but it looks like I now have a very fast little connection, all on the same network.

16th-Aug-2019 11:16 pm - Switch!
We have now switched over from our old services to Comcast for Internet, TV, phone, and home security. I have managed to cancel the old home security; I need to deal with the other services tomorrow.

But, so far, so good. It will take a bit to get used to all of the changes, but we'll manage.
15th-Aug-2019 11:15 pm - Elementary
Tonight was the last episode of Elementary.

I approve of the ending.
14th-Aug-2019 07:42 pm - I Can't Get No Satisfaction
It is being a very frustrating day for a variety of reasons. With luck, some of these will improve.

In the meantime, a brief rant:

There are only two states in the Union that allocate electoral votes on the basis of Congressional district: Maine and Nebraska. All of the other states are "winner take all". Thus, with the exception of Maine and Nebraska, there is no way that gerrymandering can directly affect the Electoral College.

Having watched two separate people today try to explain why we need to change the Electoral College because it is subject to gerrymandering, I am acutely frustrated. There might be reasons that we would want to change the Electoral College system (I do not agree with those who do, if for no other reason than I believe it to be a useful firewall against vote fraud -- said the man who lives next door to the city where vote fraud is a national joke), but gerrymandering is not one of them.

*thud* *thud* *thud*
13th-Aug-2019 10:42 pm - Localize Me!
I have patched the Polish language into the C++ code (as patching localized languages into the C++ code is complex), while I have patched all of the new languages into the C# code. The rest of the work on the C++ side is being left as an exercise for another programmer. I was, however, kind enough to write documentation telling how to do it. :)
12th-Aug-2019 09:51 pm - Picky, Picky, Picky
I spent the afternoon at work today looking at our build process in C++ and figuring out how to build additional resource DLLs in a framework that had been put together by a programmer who departed our group some years ago. Eventually, I managed to sort out a method that seems to work.

Unfortunately, there is -- at the moment -- no place to check this code in for testing.

11th-Aug-2019 10:40 pm - Good and Tired
After the bed fiasco, yesterday pretty much got away from me.

Today, in an attempt to find something that needed to be done that carried actual positive psychic rewards, Gretchen and I went out to do some more work on the garage. Yes, that sounds sad, but it really isn't, because I will feel *so* much better if we can get the garage cleaned out so that she can park in it.

After an hour or so of work, we have managed to mostly finish excavating one end of her side of the garage, which means that we just have to dispatch the mound of boxes that we threw out of the library so that we could have that room back. This is a fair amount of work, but it is manageable.

Meanwhile, my intermittent sciatica is mitting again, probably aggravated by the broken bed. We headed over to the pool and spent an hour and a bit floating around, which seems to have improved the situation. I guess I'll see how it is in the morning.
8th-Aug-2019 10:09 pm - Tired
The problem with having to get girls to school by 8 AM is worse when you have to get one of them to school by 7:20 AM for Jazz Band. I'm all in favor of it, save for the massive sleep disruption two days a week.
7th-Aug-2019 11:22 am - Good News, Bad News
The good news is that the Comcast installer who arrived at my door this morning was able to ask the right questions to determine that my work order was completely screwed up in two different ways. The work order is now fixed so that the right things should happen after he spent some substantial time on the phone. And I should be able to keep my existing home phone number, which is very important to me.

The bad news is that the install will be done late next week by a different installer, because he is not an installer who migrates existing alarm systems.

But, happily, he recognized all of the red flags as we chatted and they should now be fixed...
6th-Aug-2019 11:55 pm - Bad Day
Today was a bad day.

I would like to hold out hope that tomorrow will be better, but since Comcast is coming to install and rearrange all of our services tomorrow morning, I lack optimism.

But who knows? I could be surprised.
4th-Aug-2019 10:33 pm - Progress of a Sort
I made progress on a few things around the house this weekend with help from Gretchen and Katie.

Unfortunately, I *still* am way behind.

Ah, well. Keep slogging, I suppose...
2nd-Aug-2019 11:09 pm - Close, But No Cigar
Well, my new code *almost* works.

Maybe on Monday, I can get it past the "almost" stage.
1st-Aug-2019 10:39 pm - I Choose Taxes
I was monstrously tired today and got way less done than I'd intended to.

I did, however, pay my property taxes on line and on time.
30th-Jul-2019 10:29 pm - I Heard the News Today, Oh Boy
It appears, based on my blood pressure readings, that I am under *way* too much stress.
29th-Jul-2019 12:49 pm - Time to Make a Change
Called Comcast this morning. If all goes according to plan, everything will get shifted over to Comcast XFinity on Wed. August 7th. We are still trying to sort out a glitch involving our current home phone number, so if that stops working for you about then, you'll know what happened. :)

And then it will be time to talk to AT&T, DirecTV, and ADT, as we will no longer be requiring their services.
28th-Jul-2019 05:33 pm - Tune In!
So I'm on the verge of abandoning DirecTV for Comcast, because I need to bundle my Internet, TV, phone, and home security in order to cut costs. While I really *like* DirecTV (other than their current spat with CBS), the absolute inability of AT&T to deliver high-speed Internet to my suburban address is forcing me out. (This may be their business plan; they don't seem happy owning satellites.)

Having done my Comcast research, it looks like your recorded TV ends up ona "cloud DVR" with a maximum recording time of 60 hours. This strikes me as woefully inadequate, given how the kids like to garage many episodes of various series for later viewing. As a result, I've been looking for alternative DVR systems, especially for broadcast TV.

Step one was to buy a newer HDTV antenna and see if I could get decent reception. Channel 2 has always been a problem when I've tried this in the past -- they're the only VHF channel in HD and the reception has been spotty. So I hooked up the antenna to the TV upstairs last night and found that channel 2 continued to be a problem. (Naturally, this is CBS, because *of course* I'm going to have a CBS reception problem.)

And then, as I scrolled up through the channels, I found CBS. Huh?

It appears that CBS has -- at least for now -- given up trying to get a better frequency in Chicago and has sublet a couple of the subfrequencies on channel 48. *Those* come in just fine. Cool! Now, I just need something to record on. My requirements are not high.

It would be nice to have a free or inexpensive TV guide. It is vital that I be able to access it from all of the TVs in the house. And I really want to be able to manually skip commercials.

The reviews on the Fire TV Recast are not so good. Also, I would need Fire TV sticks everywhere to make that work, it seems. The Suttons suggested a Tablo system, but I've seen reviews that suggest that the picture quality there is lacking for 1080i sources. On the other hand, it would likely work with the Roku units that I already have (and the Fire TV sticks I got for the girls).

I do *not* want to have to do a lot of work to configure everything. I have enough projects. :)

Any other thoughts?

27th-Jul-2019 10:37 pm - Let's Do the Time Warp Again
Went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire with the Romans today. A good time was had by all, but we are now officially tired. :)
26th-Jul-2019 10:38 pm - Time to Make a Change
It looks like I am going to end up pulling up my TV stakes and abandoning DirecTV in favor of Comcast. This is not because I particularly *like* Comcast, but AT&T clearly has no interest in providing high-speed Internet service to my address and without that there is no reasonable way to bundle services to lower costs.

My back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that I'm going to end up saving about $100 / month. This is *really* noticeable. We'll see how accurate that is when I go to sign up for service.

In the meantime, we have seven episodes of "Supergirl" and four episodes of "New Girl" on the DVRs that I need to watch before our DirecTV service goes away. Better get to it!
25th-Jul-2019 05:13 pm - Look At That!
I didn't think I would see this, but the Cardinals won today and have moved into a first place tie with the Cubs in the NL Central.

24th-Jul-2019 01:28 pm - I Hear That Train A'Comin...
Remember all that mandatory training that I finished the other day? Today I got an email saying, "Hey, if you want to keep access to this data, you need to take this additional training course."
23rd-Jul-2019 10:11 pm - IndirecTV
CBS and DirecTV are having a little spat right now with the result that our local CBS affiliate is off the satellite dish. It being summer, this is only moderately annoying, as there are only two CBS series that we're following right now: "Blood and Treasure" and "Elementary". However, we still wanted to keep up with them rather than chance getting them eventually if/when this mess gets settled.

So tonight, I downloaded the Locast app to my phone. A bit of screen casting later, we were watching "Blood and Treasure". This is the first time in quite a while that I haven't been able to pause live TV. It's a very high-tech version of "old school".

On Prime Day, I had considered buying the Amazon HD recorder and matching antenna for recording over-the-air broadcasts, but finally decided not to based on the reviews. If this goes on, I may regret that decision...
22nd-Jul-2019 10:27 pm - Rock Island Line
Today was mandatory training day -- well, I could do it any time between a month ago and a month from now, but having gotten the email from the fellow in charge of our large group that we all really needed to get it done, I figured it was probably as good a time as any to get it out of the way.

Six courses later, I have now been successfully reeducated for another year. :)
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