Saturday, February 25, 2023

Global Warming

So it seems as though global warming isn't incredibly well distributed.

I woke up on Thursday morning to the sight of some flaky white stuff across the way in the east hills. These hills are the diablo range, so I guess this means hell froze over.

I was expecting this to be all there was, but imagine my surprise when Friday morning delivered this sight.

Yup, that's some proper snow up there.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Up and Over

I decided to go see the ocean today.

Yup, it's still there. The wharf, however, has seen better days.

To elaborate a little, I wanted to put a few miles on Gregg and, while I was at it, scout out a possible future cycling route. The scouting was a success though I don't currently have any specific plans for when I might attempt it. I think I want to wait for slightly warmer weather first, and certainly this week things are heading in the exact opposite direction. Thankfully I'm not in any hurry, the ocean will still be there tomorrow.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

One Cubic Motorcycle

I decided to take Orthrus up to the top of Mt Um today.

I succeeded. I also even made it back in one piece.

The reason for this ride today was that I needed to move the bike in order to get the palm a beard trimming.

It was definitely about time.

This lead to the discovery that a rat had been munching on all the palm seeds, and making a nest for itself inside of Orthrus. So, I had to make a minor eviction there and clean the crap out from under the tank. Annoying.

Since I'd already been through that much trouble with the bike, going for a ride seemed like a reasonable thing to do. You know, to make sure that everything was still in good working order.

Luckily the rat didn't do any damage, other than making a bit of a mess, so all's right with the world.

Friday, February 17, 2023

Let There Be Uberlight

Ages ago now I bought some LED task lights, mostly for helping me see while I'm doing my nails. They were reasonably ok for this task but they had their drawbacks.

For one, while they did fit in my slant-front desk, they didn't fit particularly well.

And while they did stand up...

...they kind of had a pathetic droop to them.

But recently I was recommended a new task light, the Uberlight 3200 Flex. In particular, it was promised that the flexible arm would actually stay where I put it, in whatever orientation I desired.

With a promise like that, what could I do but order it? A few days later, a box arrived.

And within it was... another box.

Ok that's maybe not strictly necessary and not especially environmentally friendly but whatever. What matters is that inside THIS box was my promised illumination nirvana.

Curiously it derived its power by way of a USB A plug, which has the distinguishing feature that it can be inserted into its socket in two orientations, both of which are incorrect. It also included a USB A wall wart. I suppose a USB connector is just fine.

Anyway, I clamped it into place and wouldn't you know it, it works quite nicely!

It also clears up a little space, since it doesn't sit on the desk top itself. When I'm done using it, it folds up nicely within the desk space.

And the slant top closes without issues.

All in all this was a very good upgrade, and money well spent.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

To A Flame

On a whim, I decided to dust off the top of my slant front desk, the one I use for doing my nails. I also use it for displaying some stuffed toys, since it's as good a place as any.

As I was ridding this surface of dust, I noticed something peculiar with one of the toys. The fur next to one of its ears seemed to be stuck together in a rather odd way, and I wondered if perhaps, at some point in the long distant past, a repair had been made there? Like some bit had been hot-glued together and over the past 30-odd years the glue had started to suffer some strange chemical changes.

Examining it a bit more closely, it looked almost as if a bit of spray-foam had gotten lodged in the fur. Given I was quite confident that I could certainly do a better repair now, assuming this was evidence a previous fix, I began picking the curious wad of... something, out from behind the ear.

After removal (pictured above), there appeared to be no damage to the bear at all. Whatever it was, it didn't appear to be the remnants of a past repair.

The object was somewhat crunchy, obviously hollow with a very thin shell, and rattled a little when shaken. I thought about just throwing it out and giving it no further thought, but then my curiosity got the best of me and I cut it in half with my scissors.

This turned out to be a slightly unfortunate decision, as what was revealed inside was in fact a caterpillar of some sort of silk moth.

Well, two halves of what up until then was a caterpillar of some sort of silk moth, and which was now leaking its half metamorphosized guts all over my kitchen counter. Oops. Also eww.

I didn't take a picture of the two caterpillar halves because I wanted to save you poor readers from the distress of looking at that mess, but I did take a few snaps of the cocoon.

I think this unfortunate fellow probably hitched a ride on my hoodie when I was doing a little yard work yesterday, then crawled from there over to the bear which, I guess, seemed like a cozy place to cocoon itself up. I can't imagine where else it could have come from, as the bear is pretty much smack dab in the middle of my house, so it's pretty unlikely that the caterpillar would have gone so far off course as to crawl over to my house, find a way inside, then crawl all the way to the middle of my house just to find this stuffed toy.

I'm certainly glad I found it when I did, though. I wouldn't really like to wake up one morning to find a giant silk moth fluttering around inside my house.

Also I'm happy to report that other than losing just the tiniest bit of fuzz, the bear is completely unharmed.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Shiny and Chrome

For a while now I've been using my old, resurrected Pixel C tablet as a little accessory device in my office. I use it for playing music, IMing with friends, and so on.

This was working fine... ish. But there were problems.

First off, this tablet is old as stink. It was first released in 2015 to much fanfare, but it didn't last particularly long, both in sales and updates. The major problem was that nVidia yeeted themselves out of the mobile processor market and their interest in maintaining the Android kernel for the processor in this tablet almost immediately went to zero. So, the Android version on this thing is a wee bit old.

But there's other problems. You might notice there's two keyboards here. The keyboard case that came with the tablet works "fine", but has an issue where it goes to sleep pretty quickly and takes something like 5 seconds to reconnect to the tablet when it wakes up. This makes it incredibly useless for an IM device, and so I've been using my (discontinued) Logitech Solar Bluetooth Keyboard instead. It also doesn't connect particularly swiftly, but it at least stays connected a lot longer.

The real killer, though, is that the tablet is just slow and clumsy as all hell. The world has apparently moved on over the past 7 or 8 years, and this tablet has not kept up. Not to mention that Android apps in general don't get a whole lot of polish, and Android tablet apps even less, and Android tablet apps when using a keyboard less still... It wasn't a good experience, let's just say.

So off to Amazon we go.

This is a Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5i model 82M7004CUX with an 11th gen Intel i3 CPU, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It's actually a slightly older model, but for $300 it was a pretty good deal.

For whatever reason, the white balance on the camera on my iPhone goes really nuts when taking photos of the screen, or of anything where the screen is present somewhere in the shot.

Anyway, I had to pause and contemplate this set-up screen for a moment. What if the laptop is for me, but I am a child inside? I wasn't prepared for this level of deep introspection on a Saturday morning.

While supposedly being a laptop, it also does tricks if you snap the spine and flip it around. Combined with the android compatibility and built-in touch screen, I can relive those heady days of awful Android tablet apps all over again.

Ok, let's just forget that feature exists, and see about fixing the colour temperature of the screen.

Phew, that's a little better.

But enough of that, the real question is: does it run Doom Skyrim?

Why yes, yes it does.

I mean, sort of. The framerate is respectable, but for some reason there's a lot of input latency. It didn't feel especially good to play. I'll be keeping an eye on future developments here I guess.

Or, more likely, I'll completely forget about it and just use this for playing music and IMing with friends in my office.