Sunday, November 30, 2008

not the light fantastic

Now that Thanksgiving has been and gone, everyting turns to Christmas.

While we will not put the tree up for another week or two, we are starting to put up some decorations. In that vain, I decided to hang out the lights outside.

Sure it was about 28 degrees out there, but chances are it will not be any warmer in the next few weeks.

So I get out the string of lights, I test them and they all work. Next I hang them out. After what felt like a good long time perching on a ladder and messing with hooks and cables with gloves hampering dexterity, I fanally get the lights hung out. Now its time to turn them on.

So after all that, fifty of the one hundred work and fifty do not. Why does that always happen? You test them and they work, then when they are hung out they don't.

Next I go and reseat all the dark bulbs. I get to the very last bulb on the chain (the last possible bulb to test) and the bulb comes apart in my (very cold) hand. So I have the glass bit but the bulb casing is still in the socket. To make matters worse it ill nt come out. No amount of pulling at it with needle nosed pliers while cursing, perched on top of a ladder in the freezing cold helped.

This morning one of my freinds recounted a similar story. I smiled and said it was murphy. Whenshe hears this story I'm sure she will return the compliment.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

electoral parrallels

I am a fan of the now finished telly program "The West Wing". In the final season, the presidential election campaign was, in my mind, spookily similar to the one we have just experienced in real life. Let me point out some similarities:
  1. In the West Wing, the Democratic candidate was a Latino, in real life, he is African american. So, both are non-white.
  2. In both cases the Democratic candidates are young.
  3. Both Republican Candidates were old men with centrist tendencies and who were dragged to the right by their parties.
  4. Current events hampered the campaigns of both republican candidates (the nuclear power plant in the West Wing, and the financial crisis in real life).
I'm sure there are more.

In the West Wing, the Republican candidate becomes a member of the new Democratic cabinet. If I remember right, he became the secretary of state. So, if the parallels hold true, should we expect McCain getting a job in Obama's administration?

Friday, November 07, 2008

first snow of winter

snowy house panorama

Winter came to North Dakota with a thud - well more of a whoosh and then a flump!

Snow came yesterday afternoon with high winds. Blizzard conditions ensued for pretty much the rest of the night. During the evening the wind started to gust up to 40-50 mph.

While we were eating our evening meal, the power started to blip off and back on again every so often. As the evening wore on the blips would start to be a couple of seconds then at 8:30 we lost power for about an hour.

Woke up in the morning to find that school was cancelled, and we had a waist high snow drift going all the way down the drive. I dug a trench through the snow to the roadside and then went back in and worked from home for the morning.

By lunchtime, the risk of more snow showers was pretty much gone and I started to shovel snow. After an hour and a half, all I had managed was to clear away the shallow drifts. I still had the big waist high drift to do. Time to call my father in law. He brought over his snow blower and an hour later he had the big drift cleared away too. It would not have been so hard if the bank of discarded snow at the side of the driveway was not taller than the outlet for his snow blower.

After all that I then tramped t work.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Liferea 1.5 has this cool feature where you can read blogs you have subscribed to on Google Reader. Now that is a feature worth compiling source for.

So I did!

Not all that bad of an install - was expecting worse.

Feature kind of works right now but seg faults every 10 minutes. So it is back to version 1.4 for now and I will eagerly await the stabilising of 1.5

Open Solaris

So I tried Open Solaris this week. I tried both the current release (2008.05) and the latest beta for 2008.11. I must say that they have done quite a nice job of it. It installed nicely and was quite simple to get a running system going.

What made me remove it after a couple of days was the lack of packages for it, and laziness on my part. In order to get Open Solaris up and running with all the extra stuff that I get from the Ubuntu community, I would have to spend a long time researching alternative package locations and probably compiling a bunch of stuff. Right now I am not willing to put in that much effort.

I have always had a soft spot for Solaris. I do want to use it and give it a decent shot. Its niche nature, underdog status and all those toys I want to play with make it a compelling thing. It flirts with me and every so often I install it. The thing is I am usually far too lazy and the draw of the seemingly effortless Ubuntu pulls me back.