Goodbye, Virtual Hammer.

May. 20th, 2017 05:38 pm
azurelunatic: Blue-iced cupcake with sprinkles.  (cupcake)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Friday was more boxes. Putting olives and pineapple and a few other things in a sturdy box half-filled it, but it was already heavy enough. I made up the rest of the space with dry noodle soup cups: not easily crushed, but hella light.

It was beer bash day at Virtual Hammer, and my last one. My former manager's last day had been the week before (onward and upward). I was skeptical of the food choices, as the theme was "pizza party", and I was aware of what the "catering pizza" was like.

By 2pm, when the maintenance guy hadn't shown up for the pre-departure inspection, I called the office. I didn't want to miss beer bash. He came through at 2:45. No major issues, and maybe X place would be good for the moving pod, but it was a hard problem. (In this case, "major issues" is holes in walls, destroyed appliances, etc. I am sure there will be "minor issues".)

I headed for beer bash, slightly melancholy. (My partner urged me to try for not too much sadness.) I chatted with Nora, of course. I walked briskly up the path, but paused at the duck pond to take a few last pictures.

The duck pond at Virtual Hammer, glowing in the sunlight (with a certain amount of algae bloom).

Purple called just about then, as he was about a hundred meters behind me and wanted to catch up. He had a new-ish teammate with him, someone of a delightfully compatible sense of humor.

We grabbed some pizza (fortunately, there was sufficient pepperoni pizza, as the veggie pizza was laced with bell pepper), and contemplated the desserts.

1) Streusel pizza, an uninspiring-looking cinnamon-sugar crumb on something flat and pale.
2) Brownie pizza, with toasted mini marshmallows and peanut butter cups.
3) Popcorn with some red coating on it; this would prove to be mostly spicy.
4) Cookie pizza, chocolate chip with frosting, coconut shreds, and walnuts on top.

#1 looked like a waste of carbohydrate. #3 looked like not-dessert (and upon tasting, was indeed not-dessert).
I texted my partner with the descriptions of #2 and #4, and got back some incredulous punctuation. I loathe peanut butter, and have an oral hypersensitivity reaction to walnuts. (It burns and the lining of my mouth peels off. It's great.) My partner has complementary reactions: oral hypersensitivity to peanuts, and loathes walnuts.

Purple and his teammate and I had a lovely time in one of the tucked-away back tables. There was a lovely view out the windows. We talked about squirrels (Purple's noticed that modern squirrels know how to freeze and duck for cars), bees (Purple's childhood home had a prodigious amount of comb removed from a wall), the nature of "Netflix and Chill", and other such things.

Eventually, Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly called, and we figured out dinner. I spotted the cute receptionist across the upper quad, and said goodbye. We wandered back down to the lower quad, and Purple wrapped up. I dropped some spare buttons from the 2015 department conference, because I didn't really need that many as keepsakes, and someone at work might think they were cool.

We headed off for dinner. Goodbye, campus in the hills. You were beautiful, and I met so many lovely people there. Perhaps I'll visit again someday.

Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly had been delayed in leaving for dinner, because as she was heading out, there was a machine overheating, so she'd had to spray the fans with compressed air and such. I was careful to avoid "blowing" jokes at first. The restaurant had the air conditioning cranked up high, which had likely been appropriate in the heat of the day, but was less and less appropriate as the air cooled. I put on my jacket. Purple ran out to his car to grab his button-down shirt.

The on-table tablet thing behaved itself this time, by which I mean Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly was able to look at the drinks menu and pick out something, and then we were able to aim it away from us without it blinking. I got a sip of Purple's drink, which was just about the right amount. (Two would have been an okay amount too, but it was a little sour for me.)

Ms. Antisocialest Butterfly has picked up a new online game, where she is now known as "Finger." Most of the obvious jokes were less made than they were implied. She observed that it's very important to not (as someone had) leave the punctuation out of the greeting "Finger, my friend!" What happened was that she'd joined the game and picked a nickname; some dick had immediately taken offense to her basic existence. She'd argued that this was the internet, perhaps she didn't exist at all! Perhaps she was just a disembodied finger, typing. And thus her new name.

Purple walked me to my car. We chatted about this and that, and the move. I'll be fine. I tend to pre-react, rather than post-react. (Purple post-reacts.) My partner and I have good communications. I'll be sad to leave California, but not heartbroken like I was about leaving Darkside.

We set the date and time for our last dinner: Tuesday night, in the hole-in-the-wall Mediterranean place where they treat us like family. I'll want to say goodbye there, too.

The language of apology

May. 20th, 2017 04:10 pm
azurelunatic: A baji-naji symbol.  (baji-naji)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, I started contemplating the components that make up an effective apology to me. There are the "five apology languages", which are siblings of the "five love languages", or something. That's interesting, but it isn't quite what I'm looking for.

What am I looking for?

a) Acknowledgment of the effect, and regret. (Regret is one of the apology languages.) Something happened and I was hurt; in an intimate and trustworthy relationship, I want them to know how I was hurt, and why it was hurtful. (Late to an event, hurt feelings, stubbed toe, irritated, etc.) Since they need to care for my well-being, I feel that it's appropriate that they regret my well-being was affected.
(In an untrustworthy relationship, giving them more information on how they have hurt me just gives them ammunition to hurt me further. If you find in your life that there are people where you don't want to let them know that you are hurt or how, contemplate your options for reducing those people's access to you.)

b) Root-cause analysis. What are the factors that led to this happening? Some are the responsibility of the person. (Accepting responsibility is one of the apology languages.) Sometimes there are factors that are nobody's responsibility, or are the responsibility of entities who are in no position to have things changed as a result of the incident. (A terrible day at the DMV is not likely to be solved by anyone saying "Hey, this was terrible.")

c) Making restitution, if appropriate. (Making restitution is one of the apology languages.) A date can often be rescheduled. Doing something nice and out of the ordinary is a mood-lifter. Fixing or replacing the broken thing. Sometimes there isn't really anything that can be done to make it better, and that probably should be acknowledged.

d) Failure prevention. (In the listed apology languages, "genuinely repenting" seems to fit this the closest.) With root-cause analysis and knowledge of the effects, we can use those to plan to avoid circumstances where this comes up again, and make a plan for mitigating the effects if it does come up again.

In my present primary relationship, my partner always genuinely regrets the hurt. They don't always understand why it was hurtful, so that portion often involves a lot of discussion. (And I can contribute to things going better by being more flexible in when and how that discussion happens.) The root cause often involves things that have grown out of traumatic experiences and situations in our past, which is ... fun. Restitution hasn't been a huge factor.

Root cause analysis and failure prevention tend to slide together, even though I have them listed as separate steps. It's at the failure prevention step where, like magic, I start calming down and feeling incredibly secure and loved. Since some of the factors involve trauma, the failure prevention often involves the slow process of healing (with and without the assistance of professionals), and my understanding and forgiveness of those things.

We're learning how to fight well and safely, and I love them so much.


May. 18th, 2017 07:43 pm
azurelunatic: The (old) Tacoma Narrows Bridge, intact but twisted. (Tacoma)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
So as I alluded to in passing, I'm moving.

My departure from the Bay Area is May 31st.

The moving pod(s) will be with me from sometime May 26 through sometime May 31st.

I am driving to Tacoma with some of the stuff that's too delicate or otherwise unsuitable to be trusted to a pod. (Alcohol in the trunk. My computer. Stuff I'll need to survive for a week or so without things from the pod. The ancestral tea set from Dad's mom's side of the family, eventually destined for Ev. The box with the paper volumes of my journal.) The drive often takes two days; it's possible that I may accomplish it in one go, though I haven't yet driven it. (I did the Phoenix/SF drive in two days the first time, and one day on the two subsequent trips.)

The plan for Tacoma is:
* some sort of long-term pre-payable hotel for the first ~month, keeping in mind that I'll be off at Open Source Bridge for part of that, too
* two specific call centers to apply to
* look for a ~year lease
* look for a better job

Oh yes, and: see my partner and metamour on a regular basis.

This is earlier than I thought I'd be going, but it was suddenly time.

My world is boxes. Company would be welcome but is not necessary, and the number of sitting surfaces in here is drastically lower than usual.

let's book

May. 17th, 2017 12:15 pm
jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
[personal profile] jazzfish
What are you reading?

The ebook of Max Gladstone's first five Craft novels was $13, and I've been meaning to read them for ages, so I picked that up. I'm about halfway through Three Parts Dead so far.

It's very good, as expected. Like Walter Jon Williams's Metropolitan / City On Fire, it would be "urban fantasy" if that term hadn't been co-opted first for punk-rock elves and then for werewolves and vampires. Secondary-world fantasy, set in a city that's decidedly post-medieval. It's detective-ish: a failed wizarding student and her mentor come to town to find out why the god who powers the city seems to have died, and what if anything they can do to fix things. Neat stuff, neat characters.

It's also hitting the exact tone and close to the exact feel that I was going for in my own partially-begun novel. This is mostly frustrating: someone already did the thing I want to do, now if I do it I'll be ripping him off. It's also kind of validating: hey, I had a pretty good idea, there, maybe I ought to stick with it.

What did you just finish reading?

The Skill of Our Hands, by Steven Brust and Skyler White. Took me forever to get through this, for reasons that are not necessarily the fault of the book. It's disconcerting to read a book set in 2014 about how the immigration nonsense in Arizona was clearly a threat to decency, while living through 2017 as it's enacted. So that threw me. More, I think these are just not my kind of book, at least not on first read, and I'm not sure why.

What do you think you'll read next?

At the Gathering, Jason Holt, one of the guys from Czech Games Editions, handed out copies of his Galaxy Trucker novel to everyone who got something at the prize table. Emily's read it and was highly amused, so, probably that. Along with the second Craft novel in ebook.

When you see a URL..

May. 17th, 2017 10:04 am
lovingboth: (Default)
[personal profile] lovingboth
.. contain 'BUNDLE_PRICE_TEST_1M_UK_C', you can tell someone's doing some market research.

If you go to The Guardian's homepage today, what price are you offered if you click on the 'Support the Guardian' banner?

Spoiler?! )

biking bits

May. 16th, 2017 11:55 am
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
As of yesterday I've developed a sore spot on the inside/back of my right hip, at a contact point for the bike seat. Excuse me, saddle. I'm not sure whether it's a bruise or a stretched muscle. I'd been thinking "bruise" but this morning it started out sore and felt much more neutral after a five-minute walk. I can't figure out a work-appropriate way to stretch it, unfortunately. Ibuprofen it is. I'm not sure whether the saddle needs adjusting, or if I just need to adjust to it.

I'm taking the bike in tomorrow anyway to get a rear fender attached. I rode home yesterday through a pretty good rain. That's still a surprisingly pleasant experience: the rain keeps me from overheating, and not having glasses means I can see in the rain, which is neat. But the pannier and the back of my jacket are both mildly mudspattered, and I'm told a fender will help with the worst of that.

The other thing about biking in rush hour in the rain is that it feels ... unsafe? Unpredictable? Impossible? I get a sense that there's no way I can possibly be sufficiently alert to account for all the cars and the pavement and the weather conditions and whatever else. That it's only a matter of time before something unpleasant inevitably happens. That part is less thrilling.

From a phishing attempt today

May. 16th, 2017 04:16 pm
lovingboth: (Default)
[personal profile] lovingboth
Oh noes! Someone's trying to hack an account that doesn't exist!

Unusual sign-in activity
We detected something unusual about a recent sign-in to the Microsoft account 8050303@(me).com
details:
Country/region: Romania
IP address: 869.3.58.913

Well yes, that is unusual...

I don't think I'll be biting.

things and also other things

May. 14th, 2017 09:17 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
A Tribute to Carrie Fisher: I grew up on Star Wars: the original was one of the first movies we had on VHS and got watched over and over again, Jedi was one of the first movies I saw in the theatre. And I still hadn't realised how much of an impact it'd had on me until I got unexpectedly sniffly at this video. Gonna have to look up Wishful Drinking and The Princess Diaries, I think.

Frodo Didn't Fail: "Again and again in The Lord of the Rings, we see that strategically pursuing the greater good fails, while remaining true to moral principles succeeds even when it looked foolish."

Love in the Time of Cryptography: "Having your friends and community testifying to your love beats all the selfies in the world."

The Ballad of Maui Hair: "Friend 1: I'm going in for surgery on the 18th. Friend 2: Oh, dear-- Maui Hair: I didn't see the hospital in Maui. *thunderstruck silence* Friend 3: Of course you didn't. Bless your heart."

So A Nazi Walks Into An Iron Bar: the Meyer Lansky Story: "I'm picturing a lot of newsboy caps and comments like 'no no not like that, my bubbe (ofblessedmemory) punches better than that, you grip the brass knuckles like this.'"

Also, hey, it's been awhile since I checked in with my 101 in 1001 list. I've not been ignoring it, just not talking much about it.

101 in 1001 update )

Chocolate covered strawberries

May. 14th, 2017 02:21 pm
azurelunatic: Chocolate dessert, captioned No Artificial Shortages  (no artificial shortages)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
Eurovision was yesterday! That was certainly an experience...

In honor of that, my traditional contribution to the party: chocolate covered strawberries.

Read more... )
lovingboth: (Default)
[personal profile] lovingboth
.. is that it reminds you what programs you're actually using when you can't find them any more.

For updating here, I use Drivel as a Linux client. It's not been updated in years, to the point that Debian dropped it as a package at some point since the release of Wheezy in 2013.

I'm a bit surprised that no-one seems to have done anything better, on Linux at least. Is there one I'm not aware of?

first day out

May. 11th, 2017 01:05 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
The tops of my thighs are serious about letting me know that they have been Used. Yoga this morning may have been an error in judgement; even on a good day 'powerful pose' is the devil incarnate, and today even the prayertwists were rough. Hoping for good things from the "continue to work/stretch those muscles rather than letting them freeze" plan.

Had my first dropped chain yesterday. I turned to head up a steep hill, shifted down to low gear in front, and couldn't figure out why I was pedaling and still losing speed. Walked up the hill, took a look, and convinced it to reseat on the gear with minimal fiddling. YAY I FIXED THE THING.

First ride in the light rain this morning. (Not that Vancouver really gets any other kind.) Rather pleasant, honestly. Kept me cooled down, kept me alert, feet didn't slip off the pedals too many times. Suspect I'm gonna want a rear fender sooner than later.

I spent some time yesterday and today studying the city's map of surprisingly comprehensive bike paths. Makes me want to get out and ride the seawall. Or Stanley Park. Or, hell, just through some of the more pleasant and interesting East Van neighborhoods.
lovingboth: (mini me + poo)
[personal profile] lovingboth

Someone I know makes a habit of saying that whenever someone has a serious computer problem like a hard drive failure or stolen laptop or…, and wants their help getting data back. Amazingly, I don't think anyone's punched them.

But it's a reminder that you need a good backup system.

I have gone from paper tape (I might still have one with O-Level computer science coursework on!), to floppy disks (urgh), to 120Mb tapes (better, but since someone stole the PC with the reader, I now have some tapes with ancient stuff I can't read), to writeable CDs (good until multi-Gb hard drives became affordable), to writeable DVDs (only slightly better than the CDs), to online offsite backup.

Oh, there are also some spare hard drives for local copies, but one of the points of an online backup system is that it will survive your house burning down, for example. Plus writeable DVDs and CDs are distinctly fragile! They have a lifespan of only a few years and I have some blank ones that were not blank before. (Fortunately, this has mostly just involved losing some copies of CDs for use 'out and about'.)

As well as having things on Google Drive and Dropbox – fine and free for smaller backups, expensive for larger ones – I've used four online services: Carbonite, Diino, altDrive, and Crashplan.

Carbonite was one of the first and helped set the basic idea: a client on your computer regularly looks at what's changed recently, and automatically backs it up. The less you as a user have to do, the more likely it is that it will happen, and this is much better than only being able to go 'Oh, yes, there has been some important changes since my last backup, I will backup now' as with consumer writeable media.

I might be with them still, but for a few things. They don't have a Linux client for a start, and from 2008 I've quickly gone from working mostly in Windows to barely booting into it. Although you can get Windows to read file systems more usually used by Linux, on Windows PCs, if it's not a local FAT or NTFS partition, Carbonite wouldn't touch it.* At one point, I had /home** on an NTFS partition – "it's not advisable, but it can be done" – to accommodate this, but when Carbonite failed to tell me about a discount for renewing, I ditched them and reformatted /home properly.

Diino had both a Linux client and weren't at all fussy about how your data was stored. In fact, you could install the software on multiple computers on one account. They had a couple of issues with 64-bit Linux back in 2009 – memory tells me that there wasn't a 64-bit version of Java for Linux then, so some workarounds were needed – but those were sorted by the helpful support. They also did versioning better than Carbonite- if you changed a file, you'd always be able to restore previous versions of it.

But then they didn't bother renewing a security certificate which stopped things starting automatically, hmmm. Worse, they announced in October 2012 that they'd be closing – a couple of months after taking an annual renewal fee from me! They got new funding, but it didn't inspire confidence, so I looked for alternatives.

AltDrive was the one picked. It worked ok for a couple of years, and again the support was helpful when needed. (I particularly liked their asides that no-one used some of the neat features they had.) But it stopped working reliably in 2014 and whatever I tried couldn't get it to show me what it had backed up. Erk.

So it was back to Diino. Until last year, when it stopped working reliably for me too and a clearly reduced level of support couldn't fix it.

CrashPlan, another one of the three I looked at in 2012, was where I went. And it's been great! As well as backing up to their servers, their client will manage local backups. Or any other PC that also has the software and gives you permission. Unlike several other services, it doesn't seem to slow you down your data transfer when you use it – the initial backup was quite big, but took as long as I'd expect.

After having some lockups, I recently did a fresh install of Ubuntu MATE as part of working out what the issue is. Having a separate /home partition meant that none of my data was lost, but it did mean that I had to reinstall things that I'd installed over the past few years, like Steam, the Atom editor, youtube-dl, get_iplayer etc etc. And, partly because it's been working away, barely noticeable, I forgot about the CrashPlan client..

.. until I got an automatic email from them yesterday to say that they hadn't heard from my computer in three days, was there a problem? Oops! Reinstalling the client was easy, as was saying 'you know about it already, and you don't need to start the backup from scratch'. Backing up the 500Mb or so of changes in that time took a couple of minutes – sorted!


Both Diino and AltDrive closed this year. It looks like Diino did it more gracefully, but online backup is a brutal business to be in. You've got Amazon, Google and Microsoft as rivals for a start, and they have huge advantages of scale. Plenty of backup firms have tried to resell Amazon's storage and been killed off when they changed their pricing.

So I hope it's not a kiss of death to say that all this has reminded me that my CrashPlan subscription is due for renewal later this month and I've got no hesitation in doing so…

* It wants to stop people using a single licence to back up a whole network, but they never could tell me why they insisted you use file systems they have rejected as too problematic themselves – when they asked Microsoft why NTFS was falling over all the time, they were told it wasn't designed to store lots of files! They will now allow you to back up one (only) locally connected hard drive, like a USB connected one, but charge you more for the privilege.

** Where Linux stores virtually all of your data.

Mirrored from my website's blog, The deranged mad of a brain man.

keep on ridin' ridin' ridin'

May. 10th, 2017 03:03 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
So, um, yesterday I bought a bike.

This was not something I'd ever intended to do.

and yet, here we are. )
lovingboth: (Default)
[personal profile] lovingboth
The main PC here has locked up about five times in the past ten days. It normally just doesn't do that.

As it's running the same software (Ubuntu MATE 17.04) as JA's one and the main hardware difference is her's has a slightly slower CPU, I am suspecting a hardware issue. The other difference between the two is that this one is on 24/7 and hers is only on when she's awake at home, and it's possible that a motherboard component is dying. Capacitors are the usual suspect.

As they're nearly four years old and have been great in that time - the AMD APU processors are amazing in terms of how well they can run 3D software without needing a separate graphics card, for example - I would get an updated version in a shot...

.. except there don't seem to be any.

Well, there are two from the makers of these, Zoostorm. One's 'about' JA one's speed, but for the price (£272) I paid for mine (£281). That's just Wrong. The other has a faster APU, but it's also £420. That's just Wrong too. I know evilBrexit has affected the pound's value, but four years of development mean it should be cheaper.


It looks like the site I'm looking on's search is A Bit Crap and doesn't show you everything that fits your search. I can indeed have a better one for the same price* or a even better one for that £420.


* Unless I want Windows. Which I don't - I'm quite shocked at the difference the Microsoft tax still makes...
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
[personal profile] jazzfish
I have driven the Fraser Canyon (most of it, anyway, 'round midnight my lack of sleep, lack of updated glasses, and unfamiliarity with logging truck ruts caught up with me and I handed off the driving) and stared down logging trucks. I have watched the seasons roll back from full-throated spring to the tail end of winter as we traveled north. I have walked a property that felt a great deal like Gram and Pop's place in Helena gone to seed. I have flown over mountains and forests in a 2x2 prop plane, and seen the approach to Vancouver in the daytime for only the second or third time.

It was a good trip. It's still settling out in my head: there's a lot to process, here. A lot a lot.

Gonna be an interesting summer.