“Day off”

Wherein I:

  • Went shopping for food.
  • Paid the bills.
  • Took a nap.
  • Swapped disks around and reloaded OS X Lion onto Darla…

That last item may deserve a bit more explanation. A while back, I picked up a 160 GB SSD to muck around with. Since I was in a bit of a limbo with the Mac at the time, I chose to drop the SSD into the big workstation and load Windows 7 onto it. Because that box is a VM host (VirtualBox) and gaming machine, I put a 1TB drive in as ‘S:’ (for “Storage”) – that’s where all the multi-gig games are installed. It’s a fast-booting windows box, and that’s no bad thing, since it’s one of the few systems that spends more time off than on around here. But … really, it’s overkill for the use I put the box to – I can live with 40 seconds of boot time, and make the old MacBook Pro shine for a bit longer perhaps (probably as a media box attached to the TV downstairs). In that role, fast booting is an advantage.

So I snagged and burnt a copy of Clonezilla, and used it to image the SSD onto a spare 500 GB Seagate 7200.10 drive I had laying about. Then I swapped the Seagate into the system and it booted just fine, thanks. Then I went over to iFixit and pulled up the guide for replacing the HD in my model of MBP. It’s the same guide I used before to upgrade the drive from small 5400 RPM drive to larger 7200 RPM drive a couple of years ago. Oh, yeah, before I did that, I re-downloaded a copy of OS X Lion …

There’s a trick to that. Assuming you’ve purchased and installed Lion via the App Store, it deletes the local copy of the download as part of the install. In order to create a USB key that you can boot from, to install Lion on a new HD, you need to have that downloaded app, again. I’ve read several different methods, but only this one worked for me. Open up the App Store and sign in. Then hold down the Option button (sub-labeled: “Alt”) and do NOT let that Option button loose while you click on “Purchased”, then OS X Lion, then Install. That bypassed the checks that say you’ve already got it installed, or updated – those checks burp out various “error” messages, and won’t let you download. DO NOT then start to install Lion again, just Command-Q to terminate that, and follow all of the directions in this howto (also linked above).

So, I swapped in the SSD, booted from the USB stick, erased the drive, then did a clean install of Lion onto it. Of course, I’ve only got half the RAM that the Air has, and I don’t know about application performance yet, but with the SSD in place, Darlion (formerly Darla) boots nearly as fast as Agog. Wow! Now to get the software updates installed. Ciao!

Gone Fishin’

Brian caught a chain pickerel

And there’s only one way that happens… we went fishin’

We drove up to Maine last Thursday, and stayed near to Marcia’s sister up there. The rest of her siblings and their spousal units were present, too. A good time was had, great food was consumed, and the Three Consecutive Days Fishing Achievement was unlocked. Today we left shortly after 5AM, and picked up Lexi from the kennel at about 4 in the afternoon, then headed home from there. V.tired, but a fun long weekend.

Tomorrow, we unwind, and catch up on a couple of chores before returning to work on Wednesday.

Sitting here, looking up

I’m sitting here at sub-desk one, working on the Air and looking up at the wall (not precisely in that order, perhaps). I see two crooked pictures on the wall … and now I know the answer to the question, “Why earthquakes?”

Of course, it’s to piss off all the people with OCD.

*    *    *

JoCo released his new album an hour ago. I’d link to it, but he announced the event on Twatter, and killed his own secure server with the crush of traffic. HO HO, JoCo! To help with the joyeous crash and burn, I did retwat the announcement myself. After all, maybe ONE of the 70 or so folks who stalk me on Twatter don’t also follow Jonathan Coulton. One can never tell.

Rainageddon

Rain: an inch and a half since 11 AM, and lots more on the way. The sump pump is firing out about 2 gallons US every thirty seconds or so (2′ diameter sump, about 6″ at a time). We’re going to get a fair bit more rain, and if we’re unlucky lose power … but that’s about it unless Irene changes course drastically to the west. Right now we’re outside the projected pattern for even tropical storm winds.

I’ve been up the ladder once, unclogging one downspout. I also neglected to consider the angle of attack for this storm – wind-driven rain from the east/northeast. I just now swapped out the screen insert for the glass insert on our back storm door – it was driving rain through the screen and making a pool between the doors. So it was leaking in, of course.

More later if anything interesting happens. Ciao!

Incoming!

Or another starts-with-an-`I`, like Irene (and a bit like another `I`-storm: Isabel of 2003) … regionally, we’re sure taking it on the chin. Earthquakes (okay, a tiny one by left coast standards, but still), now hurricanes. Plague of locusts, anyone?

School-wise, I’m still waiting for the second grade to drop, the instructor promises tomorrow afternoon. Next class starts on or about 12 September: a class on Gerontology. It’s one of a few that fulfill a specific general education requirement I’m lacking. Later in the Fall session, I’ll be taking a class on Java programming. That should be fun.

I think I’ll walk the dog and collapse. It’s been a long week. Ciao!

Productivity

Well, that’s summer session done. By noon this morning, I’d taken both finals, come back home and mowed the lawns front and back. Then I replaced Marcia’s broken fan/light in the sewing area. A productive day. I should have grades in a few days, but I think I did well enough to get the A in both courses. Eight more classes and I’ll be done (unless I’ve counted/calculated wrong – hard to know until I file for graduation in late Fall, 2012).

Anyway, slept badly last night (pre-test jitters, weird), and busy today: very tired now. Ciao!

Culture Shock

Left over from yesterday: A bit of link-love for MIT’s OpenCourseware. ‘Cause they’re totally worth it. I was told that using my Xoom to watch MIT Chemistry courses while working out on the elliptical was a bit … nerdy. SRSLY? Oh, yeah, and bonus link for people wondering how homeopathy works: http://www.howdoeshomeopathywork.com/. I promise that’s no Rick-roll.

*     *     *

So, Culture shock. How, you ask? More specifically (since the topic even needs disambiguation at Wikipedia), I’m talking about The Culture – the pre-Sublimation galaxy-spanning “civilization” spawned from the mind of Iain M. Banks. I’ve read eight books from the Culture series, from Consider Phlebas through Surface Detail. I finished the latter last night.  I enjoyed some of the books more than others, but taken as a body of work, I’m deeply impressed.

I love the depth of detail in all of the books. I especially love that I can’t always see what’s coming, but once I’m there, it’s been an obvious possible outcome all along. Mostly I’m used to authors telegraphing their moves so far ahead that all I can do is see what color the bride wears to the wedding, because that’s all the mystery that’s left.

Banks’ blend of intelligent hedonistic humanity and the post-AI Mindsof the culture surprised me at many turns, and left me thoughtful often as not. They’re in dead tree format, and they’re on the keeper shelf – I’ll be reading them again one day. There are too many books to say that about many of them. Thanks, Iain!

*     *     *

Next up from the TBR stack? Some pTerry. I’ve got A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight all queued up.

Another use for the Xoom

Motorola Xoom + MIT OpenCourseware + NordicTrack mashup

Motorola Xoom + MIT OpenCourseware + NordicTrack mashup

It turns out that the Xoom fits right nicely in the book-holder slot on the elliptical machine. But I really can’t read while I’m exercising … and I’ve never gotten the knack of listening to audio books. But hey! There’s a lot of video lectures out of MIT and elsewhere. That’s one of my biggest problems with exercise – I get bored. This has possibilities! No, there’s no woman with improbably blue contacts and a glass of some liquid fiber product lurking just outside of the frame. Multi-tasking has its advantages, though.

Passages

Thursday: Oh, right, you heard from me on Thursday, at least to show you the yummy chili.

Friday: Work, then I wrote that 600 word paper that came out to 840 or so words, and turned it in. Shortly thereafter, I noticed that the instructions didn’t just say must be 600 words, but also included the “must not be over 800 words” category. Really? The prose that described the topic to be addressed was 534 words. Why can’t I use as many words as I want? F#@(*U&. So I pulled the paper back, then edited down to 783 words, by dropping some impactful but ultimately unnecessary verbiage from from the introductory paragraph. It no longer read as well, but it was under the arbitrary limit.

Saturday: I weeded and mowed in front and in back. About 4 hours worth, for the first time in over a month. We’ve been getting a bit of rain recently, and the lawns had transitioned from mostly dead to zombie:Mostly dead, but with a mullet of green here and there.

Sunday: Shopping and cooking, mostly.  A bit of catch-up reading from the 18″ tall stack of periodicals that have accumulated while this database class took every non-paid waking moment. Supper (chili, duh) with Linda and Marcia, and an episode from Season 5 of Babylon 5. And in other good news, I got all the available points for that paper.And now we’re caught up.

*     *     *

The duty: I’m unhappy about this. It’s going to be an f’ed up week, with that chopper downed eight days ago… Our condolences to the families and units of these forty one fallen warriors:

Sgt. Daniel J. Patron, 26, of Canton, Ohio, died Aug. 6 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Adan Gonzales Jr., 28, of Bakersfield, California, died Aug. 7 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Joshua J. Robinson, 29, of Omaha, Nebraska, died Aug. 7 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Alessandro L. Plutino, 28, of Pitman, New Jersey, died Aug. 8 in Paktia province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit using small arms fire.

Lt. Cmdr. (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, California, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Arkansas, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Connecticut, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Massachusetts, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Missouri, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, West Virginia, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit, Michigan, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, California, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, North Carolina, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Nebraska, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Florida, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, California, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of Saint Paul, Minnesota, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colorado, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kansas, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Staff Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Nebraska, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Washington, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kansas, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Florida, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, California, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pennsylvania, died Aug. 6 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed.

Cpl. Nicholas S. Ott, 23, of Manchester, New Jersey, died Aug. 10 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Hospitalman Riley Gallinger-Long, 19, of Cornelius, Oregon, died Aug. 11 while conducting a dismounted patrol in the Marjah district, Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Sgt. Edward J. Frank II, 26, of Yonkers, New York, died Aug. 11 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Spc. Jameel T. Freeman, 26, of Baltimore, Maryland, died Aug. 11 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Spc. Patrick L. Lay II, 21, of Fletcher, North Carolina, died Aug. 11 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Spc. Jordan M. Morris, 23, of Stillwater, Oklahoma, died Aug. 11 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

Pfc. Rueben J. Lopez, 27, of Williams, California, died Aug. 11 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.