billroper: (Default)
2017-07-25 11:30 pm

Hardware Wars

Yes, apparently once I start upgrading bits of hardware, it's hard to get me to stop. This is a well-known phenomenon, at least to Gretchen.

In today's upgrade, the wireless access point that we have upstairs and which most of our computers, tablets, and the like connect to has become increasingly crochety with old age. I frequently have to reboot the beast to get it to deign to provide Internet service. This, of course, is unacceptable under our Household Service-level Agreement -- which pretty much consists of "Daddy! Make it work!"

The obvious solution was to replace the wireless access point. I had noticed while browsing the Micro Center website that they had a suitable WAP device. Of course, I had driven down there enough times by now. Oh, look! The same device is available on Amazon with Prime delivery and for the same price.

And then I stopped to think about it. The WAP was actually an older generation of equipment. If I ever do get fiber-level service here, it doesn't even have a fast wired network connection to run over the network wire to the router in the basement. It would be a shame to buy this beast and then have to replace it.

More browsing followed. Oh, look! Here is a router from the same manufacturer as my current fancy router. It is just as fast as my current router. It just lacks the fancy touchscreen interface. And it is not actually very expensive, as it is only twice the price of the WAP that I am looking at. It can be configured as a WAP and provide redundancy in case the router in the basement decides to fail, because I can pull it out of service, carry it downstairs, and reconfigure it as a router.

And I can have it delivered the next day at no additional charge.

So I bought a router. It arrived today. Configuration was a bit more annoying than it had to be, mostly because I didn't want to fiddle with plugging my desktop computer into it directly, so the initial configuration was done via my cellphone and a wireless connection, at least until I could get the router functions neutered and the new router onto the network as a WAP. But a few hiccups later, we ended up with a nice new WAP.

I think I will stop buying hardware for a while now. :)
billroper: (Default)
2017-07-24 10:34 pm

Hardware Wars

So it was like this:

During yesterday's round of "Get 'Er Done!", I wandered into the studio and discovered that the main monitor was severely static-ridden. Several rounds of reboots, cable tightening, and card reseating later, I decided that the monitor was probably shot and needed to be replaced. The question then became: With what?

Well, there are some lovely 27 inch UHD monitors out there now for not too much money. But the video card in the studio computer is old enough that it doesn't support UHD resolutions. Of course, I could replace the video card too. And I realized that this was not only turning into a project, but into a relatively expensive project. Better to buy a cheaper, decent monitor as a stop gap.

I had pulled up the Micro Center webpage and saw a Dell monitor there on substantial sale. Heck! That was the 16 x 10 monitor that I had been wanting to replace the monitors in my office with. And that sale price was much lower than I had ever seen for this particular monitor. If I bought two matching monitors for the office, I could swap the old 4 x 3 monitor out as a spare, send the widescreen monitor down to the studio for the rest of its life, and declare victory for not too much money.

I discussed this quickly with Gretchen who allowed that I could go ahead and do this. I then dove into the car and started driving, because it was 5:20 PM, Micro Center closes at 6 PM on Sunday, and it is a good half-hour drive to get there -- more if traffic is uncooperative.

Traffic was only moderately uncooperative -- I made it to the store just before 5:55 PM. I had already reserved the monitors on line, so I just had to pick them up at the front desk, pay for them, and head out. I made it back home by 6:30 PM, which allowed us to bundle the girls into the van and head over to the softball league season-ending pool party.

When we got home, Gretchen started making dinner and I started setting up monitors. And once I had the two monitors set up, I looked at them and realized that this was not a matched pair of monitors. One of the monitors had a distinct yellow tinge that I couldn't eliminate with any amount of calibration. Looking at things on line, I discovered that this is endemic with these monitors.

So I packed up the offending monitor. This morning, I drove back to Micro Center, returned the yellow-tinged monitor, got a replacement, and brought it home and hooked it up.

It had a very light yellow tinge. After reading a lot of webpages and a lot of tweaking, the yellow has now been tamed and the monitors are a reasonable match.

Meanwhile, down in the studio, my old office monitor is plugged in and operating nicely with no static. Thus, it appears that the problem was that the studio monitor was getting ready to completely give up the ghost, so I actually replaced the right part.

Overall, this was more of an adventure than it should have been. :)
billroper: (Default)
2017-07-23 02:59 pm

Moving the Pile

There is no softball today, nor baseball, nor parties -- other than the end-of-season pool party for the softball league this evening -- so it is time to start moving the pile of things that need to be done. So far today, I have:

  • Bought memberships for Musecon
  • Reserved hotel rooms for OVFF and Windycon
  • Gone to Sam's Club to pick up staples and things for dinner
  • Started three loads of shirts
  • Updated the video drivers on the studio computer
  • Put the broken banister back up on the basement stairs
  • Thrown the ball for Ruby

    As far as that last, well, you have to have priorities or nothing gets done. :)
  • billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-22 10:44 pm

    Well, At Least It Was a Good Game

    Softball being over for a while, I ventured down to Wrigley Field to see today's Cubs / Cardinals game. Normally, I would go to the Sunday night game instead, but the softball league's family swim party is tomorrow night. (Hmm. Ok, softball not quite over yet. :) ) It was a good game, but sadly, the Cardinals lost as the manager left Wainwright in just a little too long, followed by yet another bullpen meltdown.

    Ah, well. It's not like I have very high hopes for the Cards at this point, but you never know what will happen.
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-21 11:19 pm

    Short Windycon Meeting

    It was a short Windycon meeting tonight, which given that it's still July, was probably a good thing.

    Next meeting is going to be a good bit more busy. :)
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-20 11:31 pm

    Back In the Swim

    I finally made it back to the pool with the rest of the family today after work, although I left home later than they did. Katie and Julie were interested in playing a variety of competitive racing games to retrieve thrown objects; Gretchen and I eventually convinced them to do something less competitive in the interest of sibling peace. :)
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-19 11:52 pm

    Tired

    Well, at least there's no scheduled phone call for work tonight. Maybe I should go to bed. :)
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-18 11:55 pm

    Timing Is Everything

    Oh, look! My midnight phone meeting has just been pushed to 12:30 AM. I think I am going to try to beg off of this...
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-17 10:56 pm

    Moss-Free

    We are now through four chapters of Heinlein's The Rolling Stones. Katie is finding it greatly amusing, although she is occasionally annoyed at Heinlein "picking on" things like automobiles.

    I am waiting until she finds out about the flat cats. :)
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-16 11:28 pm

    That's All, Folks!

    The spring / summer softball season is finally over. The girls lost their final game today to the second team that they beat on Saturday and finished a game short of the tournament finals. But given that they were a team that hadn't played together all season, had had two practices, and one scrimmage game against a short-handed opponent, plus were playing with a massively different set of rules than they'd played under all season -- and lost to two teams that have all of the characteristics of travel teams, as nearly as we can tell -- they did a magnificent job.

    I am very proud of all of them.
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-15 11:31 pm

    Today's Softball Action

    The Des Plaines girls played today in the first day of a softball tournament over in Niles. It appears to be the first year that they're run this tournament and a great many things are being a mystery to us. :)

    For some reason, there are five teams in the tourney and rather than scheduling things with a seeding round on day one, two of the teams got a bye so that they only had to play two games on the first day; the other three teams would need to play and win three games to advance to the finals. We were one of the other three teams, winning the first two games; then losing the third game to one of the teams with a bye which appears to be a tournament team rather than a team or all-star team from a house league.

    But the girls played well overall. And by winning the first two games, we have postponed our first game tomorrow until 3:45. One win will put us into the finals, but then we will have to beat the team that beat us twice in order to win, this being a double elimination tournament, except when it isn't, because it's theoretically quite possible for a team with three losses to get to the finals if we've read the brackets correctly.

    As I said, it's a mystery...
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-14 11:37 pm

    Wrapping Things Up

    We had a lovely end-of-season parent/daughter softball game tonight, followed by a party and trophy presentation. Then it was home and off toward bed, where I finished reading The Star Beast to Katie tonight.

    Now I just need to figure out what book to read next. :)
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-13 11:22 pm

    Practice Makes Perfect

    We had a practice game against one of the other tournament teams today. It went well from out point of view, as our pitchers threw more strikes than theirs did. This whole "walking" thing will require some getting used to.

    But Katie walked once and reached base on a hit twice, so we will definitely declare the New Bat Experiment to be a success. The first hit was a hustle hit down the first baseline; the second hit better struck on the fly and where the shortstop couldn't quite manage to get to it before it touched down.

    And the team won, so there was much rejoicing. :)
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-12 10:44 pm

    And Then It Rained

    The hard rain started last night near the end of the All-Star Game, cutting off the DirecTV signal. It was about a minute later that I realized that I could actually stream the game on my phone using the DirecTV app. If I hadn't disconnected the Roku downstairs, I could have cast the screen to the TV. There was about a fifteen second delay relative to the broadcast, but since I wasn't getting the broadcast, that didn't seem to matter nearly so much as it might otherwise.

    There was more hard rain early this morning. About 9 AM the message came in that we were most likely postponing the practice softball game today. I was horribly surprised. :)

    And then there was some more hard rain while I was at breakfast. By the time I headed home, the right lane of northbound Elmhurst Rd. was not something you wanted to drive on.

    It's stopped raining now. With any luck, we'll play that practice softball game tomorrow.

    And try out the new gear Katie got yesterday. :)
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-11 11:33 pm

    Softball Updating

    We went out to Play It Again Sports to hunt for a new bat for Katie, since the one she's been using won't be in the same place she is for fall softball. An acceptable bat was found, along with a helmet that passes league regulations, a new and larger glove, and a bag to put all of this in.

    We'll see how the bat and glove do tomorrow. And the helmet, although the helmet doesn't do much unless you get hit in the head...
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-10 11:01 pm

    Julie's Tablet

    Julie's tablet is misbehaving again. This is really annoying.

    I've cleared the cache partition. Let's see if that helps...
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-09 11:27 pm

    A Busy Day

    We had a softball practice today for next weekend's tournament. Then we adjourned to the pool with Gretchen and Katie, resulting in a very late dinner of "what's in the refrigerator?" accompanied by a quick trip to the store for turkey and provolone for Katie. :)

    I am really tired. Because the weekend is for resting up...
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-08 11:46 pm

    All Stars

    Katie's team (which included the girls from Des Plaines, Morton Grove, and Norwood Park) won today's Crosstown All-Star game 6-5. Everyone played well and had a good time.

    Then came very late dinner and home to let Ruby out of her kennel. She didn't stay out long, as some damn fool was setting off late night fireworks. Ruby hates big bangs.
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-07 11:07 am

    Cut the Police

    The Cook County soda tax has been placed on hold by a local judge. The next act in our morality play is now proceeding as usual, as the Cook County government is now issuing dire warnings about the draconian cuts that will be required if this relatively small in the whole budgetary scheme amount of money isn't available.

    This includes, of course, a fifteen percent cut in personnel for the Cook County Police, because the first thing that they always threaten to cut is the police. I'm sure they'd threaten to cut the fire department too, except that Cook County doesn't seem to have a fire department to cut, based on my brief Google search. That's all controlled by various municipalities and townships. Well, you threaten where you can...

    In any case, I am old enough to remember Tom Lehrer. For those of you who don't, here's the original. And the altered lyrics follow:
    Read more... )
    billroper: (Default)
    2017-07-06 11:07 pm

    In and Out

    Uncle Jeff came by to visit again today before he departs back to Arizona tomorrow. Katie and Julie (and Gretchen and I, for that matter) enjoyed the chance to see him.

    So did Ruby the Dog who is always interested in someone new to throw the ball for her. :)