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

I've cleared the cache partition. Let's see if that helps...
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Well, actually, upgrading Gretchen's laptop.

Nearly two years ago, I bought Gretchen an HP Stream. Never again. It is now in the process of failing in all sorts of interesting ways. I may open it up and see if a cable is badly seated or something like that, but since the stupid machine will reboot itself when you have booted into the BIOS settings, I'm fairly sure that this is not a Windows problem.

And being an HP Stream, unless the problem is a badly seated cable, the machine is nigh unto unrepairable. For example, if this is a RAM error, you are out of luck, because the RAM is soldered to the motherboard.

But I will take a look at it. Eventually. (I have a litany of complaints about the machine, not the least of which is having to plug in an external hard drive in order to update Windows 10, because the Microsoft-size-mandated built-in flash drive is too small to allow for it.)

In the meantime, I have bought a nice little lightweight Acer laptop for Gretchen on heavy sale. It's only a dual core, but I've now upgraded the not-soldered-in RAM to 8 GB, which should give Windows 10 plenty of room to operate. I have also purged Firefox and McAfee and installed Chrome, Avira, and Alpine.

All of this only took about two hours, the largest single item being installing Avira.

I am sure that the machine will shortly busy itself downloading Windows 10 updates. But it can do that without me.


May. 10th, 2017 11:27 pm
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There is nothing like preparing to go to a con and realizing that none of the electronics for the dealer table have been charged recently. Nor have I actually tried pairing the Square readers with the new phone.

I could set up the pairing, of course, but that would require that the readers be charged.

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Julie wanted a drone for her birthday present. A bit of searching found a not-too-expensive and reportedly rugged quad-copter on Amazon. With Prime shipping, it arrived today, a day early for her birthday, but not too early to be opened. :)

After I assembled the parts, we spent some time flying it -- carefully! -- around the living room. Then it was time to run Katie over for her softball clinic.

When I got back, Julie begged me to take the drone outside for a flight, despite the misty, drizzly, windy weather. I finally agreed.

We put the drone down on the driveway and I launched it into the air.

Where it caught the wind and soared off beyond the range of the remote control. Ack!

Happily, it crash landed safely in front of the fire station some distance away and we recovered it without damage. Because losing Julie's birthday present to the wind had not been on my list of things to do. It gives you a really bad feeling when you see the drone trying to vanish into the bottom of the very low cloud deck...

Further flights for the day were back in the living room. :)


Apr. 28th, 2017 11:55 pm
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It has been a complex day.

The insurance adjuster was our early this morning to look at the wind damage from the storm last month. The result of this is that we'll be replacing the roof, which is, overall, a good thing. By the time we were done sorting all of that out, it was nearly noon.

A bit later, Gretchen and I went out for lunch. Shortly thereafter, it was time to pick up the girls from school. Gretchen had to take Ruby to the vet for a checkup, Julie having decided to join her. I figured I would go down into the basement and try recording a vocal track. I wasn't entirely happy with the first try, so I did it again. And as I sat down to listen to it, the power went off.

Oh, good.

Gretchen had just come home to take the girls out for ice cream and I decided the better part of valor was to join them. While driving around, I called ComEd and discovered that they thought the power would be out for a couple of hours, so I suggested dinner. (Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first. Or something like that.)

We eventually arrived home after dinner to discover that the power was back on. This was followed by a game of Apples to Apples by candlelight, because Katie and Julie had wanted to use the candles while the power was out. After this, I spent some time following the Cardinals game on MLB Tonight.

And finally, I went back down to the studio. I started up Cubase, loaded up the project, and discovered that the reverbs wouldn't load due to an iLok problem. A reboot didn't fix it, so I had to reinstall the iLok software. Once that was done, I started up Cubase and found that the last recording had vanished into the ether. *sigh*

I also discovered that Cubase had dropped a maintenance upgrade yesterday. When you install an upgrade like that, all of the plugins get verified the next time the software is loaded, a process that takes far too long. So I downloaded the upgrade, installed it, and launched Cubase so that the plugins verification would be done the next time I was ready to use it.

It has been that sort of day, I suppose.
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Amazing what technology will let you do while someone else is driving. :)


Apr. 18th, 2017 11:56 pm
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Well, it only took three of us to sort this particular bug out.

I had a glitch when I was converting files. This caused reports to send out bad data. The bad data then caused the Excel plugin to fall down and crash.

So first, we got the Excel plugin fixed so that it didn't fall down and crash.

Then we fixed one of the methods in the reports to be a bit more bulletproof than it had been before.

Then I fixed the conversion.

Because you have to be able to see what's broken before you can fix it...

Mic Test

Apr. 16th, 2017 06:31 pm
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Well, the new mic sounds good. The vocal still needs some work. :)
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The new microphones arrived this afternoon. I hope to get time to work with them this weekend. :)
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The phone arrived today, a day earlier than FedEx had predicted, but on schedule for what Ting had promised. Score one for Ting. :)

The mics are still apparently in transit. As things worked out today, there wasn't time to plug them in anyway.

The phone is now (mostly) configured and up and running. I am happy to report that it has working GPS...
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Tomorrow should be entertaining.

I have an intractable, mysterious bug at work where some code from a different group falls over dead and kills Excel. On some machines. With some files. But not on other machines with the same files. I am hoping that the other group will get involved, because I am out of good ideas.

Meanwhile, I have packages that should be arriving tomorrow.

I have a new phone coming, because my old phone has become thoroughly uncooperative about GPS and Bluetooth.

And I have new microphones coming for the studio, because it seemed like time to buy some new microphones.

Will I get time to play with the new toys?

Well, that depends on how things go at work... :)
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The new back for my phone arrived today, I having ordered one to replace the back that had lost two of the locking tabs right next to each other at the top. I popped it on and then went to test a few things. Unfortunately, the camera wasn't working. So I took the back off and started disassembling the phone. It turned out that when I had popped the motherboard out, I had inadvertently left the connector for the camera underneath the board and disconnected. So I fixed that.

Unfortunately, the GPS still isn't working since I pulled the phone apart to fix the power switch, which is making Ingress (and anything else that needs GPS) increasingly problematic. I'm working on some ideas here, but so far, no luck.

On the other hand, the new arms for my desk chair arrived today. These, from a different source, are not the same as the original arms, but they do fit on the chair perfectly.

So it's progress.
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This does not seem like a lot, but it was a very good thing, as it has allowed me to play with some things that I've been kicking around.

Now I need to introduce them to some different ears to see what the result is.

(Yes, I know what my ears say, but they are not the be all and end all of getting things mixed correctly. :) )
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I went to print out the Dodeka tax forms where I had carefully filled in the PDF forms the other day.

And when I opened them, every single Federal of them was blank, completely devoid of the values that I had filled in and saved. I do not know exactly how this happened, but I am not at all happy about it.

So I filled them in again.

Interestingly, the Illinois tax forms had kept their values. I have no idea why.

And I caught a six dollar error in calculation when I was filling in the forms again. So I had to tweak the values on the Illinois form anyway.

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Is not so good to me.

We're pushing to try to get the project out the door. I need to test my code.

Sadly, the build process for the project has been modified in such a way that I can't actually build and test right now.

Oh, and we've managed to triple the length of the compile too.

I figured I'd go out to lunch and cool down, but I noticed that the new RAM for my laptop had arrived, so I figured I'd take the fifteen minutes that would be required to pop it in.

Except that what has arrived is one of the two sticks of RAM. The other is coming in a different package that will arrive later today.

Clearly, because it is Monday.

I think I'll go get lunch now.
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The bad news is that Katie's tablet has stopped working. There's no apparent damage, but it won't wake up or accept a charge, from the look of things.

The good news is that the tablet is under warranty.

The bad news is that it's a carry-in or depot warranty.

The good news is that there's a service center diagonally across the street from T-Bob's Barbeque. :)

The service center may or may not be open on Saturday. We'll see.
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I'm working on downloading the particular Linux version that I'm planning on installing on the laptop. I'm a stunning third of the way through it. Chrome claims it will be another hour. We'll see how that goes.


Feb. 14th, 2017 10:13 pm
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I have an old Toshiba laptop running Windows Vista that has become increasingly crochety about it. I've decided to try loading one variant or another of Linux on it and see if it becomes more useful.

Having seen a similar old Toshiba laptop doing so earlier this evening at the girls' school encourages me. :)
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There is nothing like finding a really old bug in the code.

Today, someone sent me a file and said, "This won't open. It doesn't open in the older version either."

I tried opening the file and discovered that they were correct. Hmm. I opened up the file in an editor just to check and make sure that it was, in general, correctly formatted, which it was. Of course, there could be something more subtle wrong.

Nope, nothing subtle about it at all.

Someone had once -- and against my advice -- put in a check for the specific file extension that we use for our files to solve a particular problem that they were dealing with. That obviously wasn't the problem here, because the file had the correct extension.

In ALL CAPS. Darned shame that whoever was checking for the extension had written code that checked for the extension in all lower case.

The comparison is now case-insensitive.

And the very old bug has gone away.
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See, they sold my bank.

This happens to us periodically. This is the bank where Gretchen used to work. The original parent bank sold off the suburban branches to a bank from downstate after a management shakeup. Then they got into trouble and sold themselves to a bank from California and Missouri who figured that penetrating the Chicago market would be a piece of cake. When that didn't work out for them, they sold the Chicago area branches to a bank from Ohio who figured that penetrating the Chicago market would be a piece of cake. (Still wasn't, but at least they tried advertising.) So now, that bank has sold all of itself to a different Ohio bank.

The changeover to the new online banking system will be next weekend while we're at Capricon. It is also just about the time of year when I make sure that I've downloaded all of the banking info for Dodeka and ISFiC Press so that I can work through the taxes.

So I downloaded all of that today and printed out all of the check images so that I have them safely on my computer.

I also went to StubHub and put together a big spreadsheet so I could figure out what I made from selling Cubs tickets last season. This has never been a problem before, because the only question would be how much money I had lost on my Cubs tickets, with the losses being (sadly) not deductible. Gains, on the other hand...

Having done all that, I thought about the issue of having all of this data "safely" on my computer. And I looked at the NAS sitting on my desk that should hold my backup.

Why is that not powered on?

So I powered it on.

And apparently, the backup that I started when I got the NAS had never finished.

It is running now. When that is done, I will back up all of the music on the Dodeka side of the machine.

This will take a while... :)


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