About bilborg

I am who I am, there's plenty of data on this site to tell you more. Briefly, I'm a husband, computer geek, avid reader, gardener, and builder of furniture.

RIP Steve

Steve Jobs was an insanely great dude. He pushed his people and his company to innovate and create in ways that would not have been possible without him. Rest in Peace.

Is Not and Is … Insanely Great

Some of the folks I know are really disappointed that today’s announcement was only for an iPhone 4S + some new iPods and release dates for those and for iOS 5.

I pointed out that if all the features and guts of the new phone were in a angular new skin (like some of the “leaked” photos showed) with a bit more screen resolution and it were called an iPhone 5, they’d be drooling. There was general acknowledgement of this, yet and still, “it’s just an iPhone 4S, argh!”

There’s no pleasing some people. Of course, it doesn’t please me either, at least not enough to even remotely think I need a refresh. The bloody phone has far more capability today than I ask of it. What I do need is a new case, since the old bumper is disintegrating, and I’ll find one I like someday.

*     *     *

I want to point out Bitter Ruin, a “new” band out of the UK that pleases me and a great number of other people. They’re another of the leading edge of unsigned, self-promoted, highly talented people that really define the modern music scene for me, along with folks like JoCo, Pomplamoose, and Zoe Keating. The new video for Trust is cool, the song is insanely great, and they’re worthy of your attention and your dollars.

*     *     *

A mid-week-ish visit from Linda tonight, and pizza for supper (Yay!). So it’s time to get organized and feed the mutt. Ciao!

Day and Duty

The day was successful, in that everything that needed doing got done. Shopping, coffee roasting, further research for school project, school work, lots of dog walking. Additionally, more of Marcia’s wall-mounted shelving started auto-detaching. So I pulled the balance off and patched the holes. I purchased two more 4′ wide x 6′ tall wire rack units (6 shelves each) to put into that space, and assembled them. Marcia’s already started reorganizing all that fabric onto the new storage.

*     *     *

I was looking at the flow chart that SF Signal created for the NPR Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books. It turns out that on the SF side, I only missed the top marks by not reading any of the Star Wars fiction (Really in the Top 100? Really?) and, it appears I’ve missed Connie Willis. So there’s an author to add to my reading list. I’ve read 85% or so of the rest of the books on that chart, too. Of course, I only just recently read the Vorkorsigan Saga, and Bob’s been after me to read those for ages.

*     *     *

The worst of times for sixteen of our friends and family at war. Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Sgt. Tyler N. Holtz, 22, of Dana Point, California, died Sept. 24 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.
  • Spc. Francisco J. Briseno-Alvarez Jr., 27, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, died Sept. 25 in Laghman province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.
  • Lance Cpl. Franklin N. Watson, 21, of Vonore, Tennessee, died Sept. 24 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Spc. Garrett A. Fant, 21, of American Canyon, California, died Sept. 26 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • 1st Lt. Ryan K. Iannelli, 27, of Clarksboro, New Jersey, died Sept. 28 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Lance Cpl. John R. Wimpey Cagle, 19, of Tucker, Georgia, died Sept. 28 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • 1st. Lt. Andres Zermeno, 26, of San Antonio, Texas, died Sep. 25 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade.
  • 1st Lt. Ivan D. Lechowich, 27, of Valrico, Florida, died Sep 28, in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Steven E. Gutowski, 24, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, died Sep 28, in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  •  Pfc. David A. Drake, 21, of Lumberton, Texas, died Sep 28, in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Staff Sgt. Nicholas A. Sprovtsoff, 28, of Davison, Michigan, died Sept. 28 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Sgt. Christopher Diaz, 27, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, died Sept. 28 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Spc. Adrian G. Mills, 23, of Newnan, Georgia, died Sept. 29 in Kirkuk, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by insurgents using indirect fire.
  • Spc. James A. Butz, 21, of Porter, Indiana, died Sept. 28 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.
  • Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Caleb A. Nelson, 26, of Omaha, Nebraska,died after his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device while conducting a combat patrol in Zabul province, Afghanistan on Oct.1.
  • First Sgt. Billy J. Siercks, 32, of Velda Village, Missouri, died Sept. 28 in Landstuhl, Germany, of wounds suffered Sept. 27 in Logar, Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit using indirect fire.

Putting the garden to bed…

Summer session (school)  wiped out my garden. That is, I didn’t have enough time to tend it, and it went a bit wild. Today, I mostly put the garden to bed. There’s some basil still in, and the peppers need final harvest, but all of the cruft is cleared out, and I’ll have to turn the soil soon. That and a quick threshing of the hay (the back “lawn” was well over 12″ tall) just about finished up my day. I spent a while playing Witcher 2, a fun RPG. A new release this week brought a very useful new tutorial stage, which helped me tune up the skills needed to enjoy the game instead of just thrashing my way through it.

Tomorrow: shopping, coffee roasting, and schoolwork.

NAS, BlackArmor 220, Lion, and Time Machine

At work, there happened to be a Seagate BlackArmor 220 NAS device floating around uncommitted. I suggested that I might bring it home and test it a bit. That happened.

The primary driver for looking into this kind of appliance is that I’m currently running a mid-tower Linux box all the time … and only personally using it rarely. It does, however, also function as the house DNS server, the home SMB server, and the backup central host.  It fires off scripts to connect to remote systems (like the virtual host for this place) and pull down backups, too.

That system draws the same as a hundred watt bulb, full time. By way of contrast, that BlackArmor device draws between 17 and 20 watts, depending on disk activity. That’s what I measured with my Kill-a-Watt meter.

One of the other things I want from a home storage system is the ability for the Apple gear to use it properly, as an iTunes server as well as a Time Machine backup disk. The tricky bit about that latter is that Apple changed the AFP and discovery protocols a bit, so that gear (networked drives) that worked as Time Machine destinations under Leopard and earlier OS X releases stopped working when Lion tries to connect. I did a bunch of reading, and found that the BlackArmor appliance was a suitable Time Machine target.

Turns out that’s true with fresh firmware for the 220 from just a month or so ago, which I found on the Seagate site. There are similar firmware updates for other BlackArmor models. Once updated, I was able to get Time Machine up and working with Agog, the new Mac Air. I also tested files on and off using CIFS – that worked fine, too. So it would be a suitable target for Marcia’s backups. What doesn’t work for me is that I can’t trivially script activities for the system to pull backups, which is a crucial part of what I want such a system to do.

Most of these appliance-style NAS devices aren’t configurable or controllable to that level, although I’ve found that there’s ways to expose the underlying Linux in the BlackArmor. The upside of an appliance is that it’s already working properly, and it’s relatively inexpensive.

I could buy components, and build a low-power system. I’m thinking that maybe the next release of FreeNAS might do the trick with that. And I can do a lot more with a fully-accessible FreeBSD-based OS than with a hacked Linux image on an underpowered appliance. Figure that the Linux box is costing me on the order of a hundred bucks a year for electricity. If it costs me $400 to build a 20 watt replacement system, the build pays for itself in … 5 years. Which is about the life of the system. That ain’t bad. I wonder if I can build what I want for $400?

*     *     *

[[Warning: Pedantry]] You see that I used the Oxford comma in the title. I still do most of the time, although not always. I’m not even sure if consistency is called for. Ah, well.

No guilt at all

Last night was fun – in between the chores we got to visit with Marcia’s friend and former manager Judy, who was in town for a Peace Corps event. Out to supper at Mi Hacienda, then the girls had a nice chat while I finished up the trash and did some school work.

We were up at 0530, and Marcia ran Judy down to the train while I confused the dog by walking her early on a working day.

What I’m not feeling guilty about is schooling some of my fellow students in the Social Gerontology course. At least one of them took exception to my language in my posts and responses last week. Frankly, it isn’t my problem if their vocabulary isn’t up to snuff. And if they want to have attitude about what I say (as opposed to the words I use to say it), well, that’s their right. But assholes with attitude rarely get useful constructive criticism from me, later in the class.

Of course, on occasion, I am the asshole with an attitude, but I strive always to use the “I” rather than the “you”… but the difference is lost on some of these kids. So be it.

Sunday

School work and work around the house, along with remote systems work both days made for a long weekend. World economic news is depressingly awful, and sadly, our losses in Iran and Afghanistan still mount.

Our condolences to the families and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Sgt. Garrick L. Eppinger Jr., 25, of Appleton, Wisconsin, died Sept. 17 in Parwan province, Afghanistan.
  • Spc. Chazray C. Clark, 24, of Ecorse, Michigan, died Sept. 18 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.
  • Staff Sgt. Estevan Altamirano, 30, of Edcouch, Texas, died Sep. 18 in Tikrit, Iraq, of injuries suffered in a non-combat related incident.
  • Spc. Ryan J. Cook, 29, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, died Sept. 18 in Takhar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. Timothy D. Sayne, 31, of Reno, Nevada, died Sept. 18 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Spc. Jakob J. Roelli, 24, of Darlington, Wisconsin, died Sep. 21, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
  • Spc. Robert E. Dyas, 21, of Nampa, Idaho, died Sep. 21, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire.
  • Lance Cpl. Terry C. Wright, 21, of Scio, Ohio, died Sept. 21 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Sgt. Andy C. Morales, 32, of Longwood, Florida, died Sept. 22 in Baghdad, Iraq.
  • Sgt. Rafael E. Bigai Baez, 28, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, died Sept. 23 in Wardak, province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.
  • Pfc. Carlos A. Aparicio, 19, of San Bernadino, California, died Sept. 23 in Wardak, province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using an improvised explosive device.

Lexi Pictured Here

Lexi loves the camera

Lexi loves the camera

Lexi especially loves the new camera. I’ve been researching DSLRs for over a year. What I wanted and what is prudent are two very different things, too. I’ve held back from buying a D7000, since I’m not a “serious” photographer. But I want to take much better pictures than I can with any of our other cameras. So when a great deal came up at BJ’s, I plunked down for a Nikon D5100 kit with a couple of lenses and a bag. I’ve supplemented that with a spare battery, a 35mm prime lens, a filter, an SB400 flash, and a diffuser for that. More pictures as worthwhile ones appear.

*     *     *

I don’t think I mentioned this previously: I made the Dean’s List again this year. If I maintain this level of work, I’ll finish up with all A’s, and another year on the Dean’s List before I finish up next December. I just hope I manage it before the Mayan calendar runs dry!

 

Another Week Down

A very social day today – a company picnic this afternoon, and Linda Rose brought Mike over for pizza and an episode of BAB5. I only wish I felt good … but I don’t. Not sure what ails (I probably ate too much!), but I’m not going to let it slow me much.

*     *     *

Our condolences to the families and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Quintana, 30, of Huntington Park, California, died Sept. 10 in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.
  • Staff Sgt. Keith F. Rudd, 36, of Winder, Georgia, died Sept. 10 in Parvan, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained while supporting combat operations.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Danial R. Adams, 35, of Portland, Oregon, died Sept. 13 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using mortar, machine-gun and small-arms fires.
  • Sgt. Rodolfo Rodriguez Jr., 26, of Pharr, Texas, died Sep. 14 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. Chester G. Stoda, 32, of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, died Sep. 2, from a non-combat related incident.
  • Sgt. Mycal L. Prince, 28, of Minco, Oklahoma, died Sept. 15 in Laghman province, Afghanistan of injuries sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire.
  • Cpl. Michael J. Dutcher, 22, of Asheville, North Carolina, died Sept. 15 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Staff Sgt. Michael W. Hosey, 27, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Sept. 17 in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

 

School’s started again

Can you tell that I’m back in class. I sure can. Actually, this week and next are likely to be the “worst” in terms of time commitment for a few weeks – I’m trying to get well ahead so that when the next class starts up in a little over five weeks from now, I can cruise through the tail end of this first class.

*     *     *

The most interesting thing I read today was Jerry’s analysis of NASA’s new “old” plan. Sigh.