Category Archives: Administrative

Across The Pond

About to leave Miami for London, first time in an A380. I’ll check in when I get to Heathrow. If my phone works…

(Update a few hours later)

Standing in a long line at Heathrow for passport control. If they have the poor judgment to let me into the country, I’ll be heading into town for lunch with friends in Chelsea.

Patching Vinyl

I’m sleeping on an aerobed in Florida (the house is basically devoid of furniture while we prep it to sell). It was a fairly cheap one, just a double, low to the ground. It’s developed a leak (two, actually) and I’ve been waking up on a hard tile floor in the middle of the night. I tried patching it with a standard tire kit, and no joy. I went to Walmart to get a vinyl repair kit. No joy. Only thing I can try at this point is to try to clean it with acetone, then try once more, but I suspect that the glues simply don’t work on this material.

Fortunately, I had the foresight to purchase another bed at Walmart, so I guess that’s what I’ll sleep on for the next couple nights.

[Thursday-afternoon update]

OK, a tube of Loctite 60 and duct tape seems to have done the trick. I now have a double-thick mattress. Should be the most comfortable sleep I’ve had since I moved back in here.

[Update a few minutes later]

Oh, fun. I got glue on my index finger, and now my phone won’t recognize my fingerprint. #21stCenturyProblems

On The Road Again

I’m flying to Miami this afternoon, to make more progress on the house in Florida, then I’m off to London on Friday night from there. I’ll be staying with Samizdata people there, then to Vienna on Sunday for the Legal Subcommittee meeting of COPUOS, to see what’s going on in terms of space law and particularly property rights. Not sure when I’ll be back in London after that, but I’ll be back in Florida on the 18th. I’ll be taking devices and try to check in occasionally, but blogging may be light and scattered for the next couple weeks.

It’s Always Something

I ran out of hot water yesterday. Checked the heater, and the pilot was out. Relit it (piezoelectric igniter), and it wouldn’t stay lit. So I went to Home Depot and got a new thermocouple. After I replaced it, now it won’t light. So, either igniter, or not getting gas (neither of which should be the result of changing a thermocouple).


[Update a couple minutes later]

OK, I’m seeing a spark when I hit the button. Hoping that maybe I just have to clear some air out of the pilot line from when I removed the assembly to replace the thermocouple.

[Update a few more minutes later]

Disconnected the pilot line, definitely gas coming out of the valve. All I can think is that I clogged it somehow when I changed out the thermocouple. I’ll try inspecting and cleaning it.

[Update a couple minutes later]

I can blow through the line, but there’s a lot of resistance. Don’t know if that’s normal, or if it’s too much for the gas pressure to overcome.

[Update a few minutes later]

When I hook the line back up, and open the pilot valve, I can faintly smell gas at the tip, but I don’t hear a flow. It’s more like seeping, and probably not enough to sustain a flame. Not sure where the problem is, though. Might see if I can just replace it.

[Update a while later]

Took it apart, put it back together, tested it outside the unit, and saw a pilot flame. Put it back in and didn’t see much, but there was a dim light in there. I turned the heater on, and apparently there was sufficient pilot to make it work. It was probably working before, and I just hadn’t realized it…


I’m back in Florida, not for fun. Still trying to get another house ready to sell, so we’ll finally be done with real estate in this wretched state. I hope to see the Falcon launch on Sunday, but from afar (I’ll be down in west Palm Beach County). So probably not a lot of blogging for the next week, but I’ll post a couple of things a day, to keep the conversation going. Just to let you know, you know, that I am at least keeping an eye on comments.

And congrats to SpaceX for another successful launch and getting closer on fairing recovery. I’m sure Mr. Steven is disappointed. Though I’ve heard that ships get upset when you anthropomorphize them.

On The Road Again

Heading to Florida in the morning for the mundane, non-landing Falcon 9 launch on Tuesday (though recent wind forecasts make me suspect it will slip to Wednesday), then down to south Florida to deal with another house we want to sell. Then back up to the Cape on Monday for what I hope is a Tuesday Falcon Heavy launch (which will be historic). From there, to DC on Tuesday night. I’ll be checking in from the road, but be good in comments.

Linux Issue

Patricia’s HP printer, which I used to use to scan, has died (don’t know if it’s a bad power supply, or it’s just bricked). My Brother DCP-L2540DW laser, which is a great printer, refuses to scan. I can see it with Simple Scan, but I get a message that it cannot connect to the scanner. I went to the Brother web site, and installed their own drivers from rpm (actually from a bash script), and still no joy. A Google search indicates that others have had similar issues, but none exactly like mine (for instance, they can’t print, either, whereas the printer works fine). Any suggestions for trouble shooting?

My New Computer

Regular readers are aware of my recent travails (no, I’m not going to search for links). As an experiment this fall, I’ve been using an ASUS tablet and bluetooth keyboard and mouse. I won’t go into all of the frustration and screaming I’ve gone through to make this work, but it just. doesn’t.

I finally broke down and went out shopping at Best Buy near our place in Golden, CO (that’s where we are until the trip back next weekend). They had a fantastic deal on an HP AMD laptop for $229. Two problems with it: its 4G RAM isn’t expandable, and it has a 15″ screen. Why is the latter a problem, you ask? And well you may. It’s a problem because in addition to my old laptop needing replacement, seat pitch has gotten to a state at which you cannot use a laptop that size on a seatback table. I needed a smaller machine.

So I looked some more, and I found a 2-in-1 HP with a much smaller footprint, and a touchscreen. It also has a pen, in theory, but I don’t give a rat’s tuchus about that because the whole reason that I love computers is that I no longer have to drag something across something to communicate my thoughts. God’s gift to me, despite the fact that I don’t believe in Him/Her is the keyboard.

Its memory is also not expandable, but I’ve given up on that; these new machines are so thin that the RAM has to be soldered to the board. For $350 plus tax, it’s good enough. And so far it has been.

Next step is to see if I can install a good OS on it…

Off The Air

I’m driving out to Denver today and tomorrow, then the suborbital researchers conference on Monday through Wednesday. Play nice in comments.

[Monday-morning update]

Arrived in Denver area without incident, other than chickenpoop speeding ticket in northern NM for 82 in a 75 zone. I’ve always assumed that if you’re within 10% you’re OK. Guess this is my decadal ticket.