Category Archives: Administrative

Light Posting

I’m going down to Long Beach in a few minutes for the Space Tech Expo today and tomorrow. Then on Thursday I’ll be flying to DC for the ISDC. I’ll have my laptop with me, but not sure how much posting I’ll be able to do. It’s the first space conferences I’ve attended since the beginning of the plague, so I’ll have a lot of networking and catching up to do. Consider this an open thread, and be good in comments.

Checking In

So, the Reason Weekend was great. Saw many old friends, made some new ones. Average age of the attendees was pretty high (Patricia and I no doubt contributed to that), but it’s a gathering of long-time Reason supporters, so no surprise, and there was an encouraging number of young people.

We’ve been ensconced since Sunday in a vacation rental just north of the park boundary of Smoky Mountain National Park, above Wear Valley. I’ll put up a picture of the view after I take one from our balcony. Yesterday we drove from the Gatlinburg entrance down to Cherokee, with a side trip to Clingman’s Dome. The weather up there was funky; fifties and windy, and drizzly, so we didn’t other to walk the half mile to the top for the non-view. From Cherokee we came back up I-40, back to Gatlinburg, where we had dinner. One drive down the main drag there was enough to convince us that we didn’t have to visit again, It’s a place for families with kids to be separated from their money.

Today it rained most of the day, so we cocooned and enjoyed it (even heard some thunder). Then, when it cleared up, we drove the loop around Cade’s Cove, and saw several bears. We’re heading back to Nashville tomorrow, maybe via Chattanooga, to see a little more of the state, then flying back to LA early Thursday morning.

It’s been a nice break: our first real vacation since October 2020, and our second one since the onset of the plague.

[Friday-morning update]

We did drive through Chattanooga, and went up to Lookout Mountain. It doesn’t really look like a battlefield (in the way that Gettysburg or Antietam do), but it provides an interesting perspective on the Battle Above The Clouds. We thought about seeing the cave and Ruby Falls, but didn’t really have time, so it’s an excuse to go back sometime. We did manage to get to three states, but just for brief sojourns in North Carolina south of the park, and a brush with Georgia in going up on Lookout.

Had a hectic early morning yesterday getting on the flight (American check-in at BNA was chaotic, nothing like LAX), and had to suffer through a mask for six hours, but back home now with the cats, and life getting back to normal.

New Pond Problem

After all the rain in December, the pond got very murky. It eventually cleared up, but the stream flow had slowed to a trickle from when I first installed it. I figured the filter box must be clogged up with the sludge, and when I took it apart, I was right. But I cleaned it all out, and put it back in. But now the problem seems worse. Is there a failure mode for a submersible pond pump that would result in not zero, but low flow?

My New Keyboard

So I bought a mechanical keyboard. It was reviewed as a good value for someone who wanted it for typing (though it’s also a gaming keyboard). I like the action on it, but it has a big problem. See the key to the left of the right Ctrl key? It seems to have the same function as a right click, but I have no use for it.

Unfortunately, where it’s placed means that I’m often accidentally hitting it with my palm just below my right pinkie, at which point it screws up whatever I’m typing, by inserting text or something else, which I have to then undo with ctrl-z. It would be nice if it could be reprogrammed but even if it was a Windows key (as it was on my previous keyboard, that would screw thing up in Linux by going to the workspace menu. I didn’t have the problem on my previous keyboard because the key profile was lower. I guess I’ll just try removing the key and see if the problem goes away.

[Update a while later]

In the process of trying to figure out how to delete the mapping on the problem key, I discovered this amusing document. “Before you read this, please understand that I never wanted to write this document, being grossly under-qualified, but I always wanted to read it, and this was the only way.”

Computer Woes Continue

OK, things get worse and worse. I got the MSI motherboard, and installed it yesterday. The build went fine, except it still refuses to issue video output. Fans are running, no debug LEDs are lit, but I’m in the same situation I was with the ASUS board.

I tried swapping out video cards again, with no joy. I swapped memory with my own desktop, and not only did it not work, but when I put the stick back in the computer, it gave me a DRAM error, so somehow I managed to damage half of my 32G of RAM. Plus, now my computer won’t boot. It just dumps me into rescue mode, and I don’t see anything obvious in the journal.

I’d be pulling hair if I had any to spare.

[Friday-afternoon update]

So we had a power failure in the middle of the night, when a high-speed police chase through the neighborhood resulted in the perp crashing a stolen BMW into an Edison pole and breaking it (both the pole and the car, apparently). It lasted almost twelve hours, and just came back up (I wandered over around the block a couple times and watched SoCal Edison replacing the pole and reattaching lines).

No status update on the computer. At this point, I’m just going to load it all in the car and take it to Colorado with us, because I’m out of time to fix it before we leave tomorrow. I’ll be there until next weekend, but it was intended to go and be left there anyway. Worst case is I’ll take it to Best Buy (since I got the motherboard there) and see if they can figure it out.

[Thanksgiving Eve update]

So I took it to the Geek Squad yesterday (because I bought the replacement mobo at Best Buy), and with their test GPU, we determined that it was in fact the video card, so the original mobo was probably OK. I went to Micro Center to get another one, and the machine is finally running.

Now I’m trying to install Windows on it (I know, I know, but it’s not my machine…).

It booted into Linux with the SSD that I use to boot into my laptop, so I made a boot disk from a Windows 10 ISO on a USB stick. But it won’t boot from that stick. I just get a message to put in a proper boot device and hit return, but there is no way to do that. And when I hit return, I just keep getting the same message. I’ve booted back into Linux whence I am updating this post.