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Steve Brinich
02 July 2012 @ 11:46 pm
starmalachite and I got home a little while ago. We were one of the houses that didn't lose power; when thelongshot called and offered to check in on the cats we invited him to camp out at our place if so (which we didn't know at the time). He tells us the cats were clingy and glad for the visit.

The con was a lot of fun, but I'm too busy falling asleep to comment on specifics.
 
 
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
 
 
Steve Brinich
11 July 2011 @ 01:34 pm
I picked up some kind of scratchy throat and headache bug that caused me to mostly miss Saturday at Shore Leave. I felt a bit better yesterday, and attended the con Sunday, but started to feel sick again after the Mystery Trekkie Theater presentation of "The Way To Eden". This was obviously cause and effect (I mean I probably should have gotten more rest).

I took a sick day, and seem to be throwing it off finally.
 
 
Current Mood: sicksick
 
 
Steve Brinich
(Notice from Steven Joel Zeve, also posted to starmalachite's LJ)

In honor of filker Dave Clement's visit from Winnipeg, Steven Joel Zeve & France Andrews are hosting a housefilk at their home this Sunday from 2PM till TBD.  Don't be shy if you don't perform -- we need audience members too!

Dave is a wonderful singer & guitarist, & a heck of a nice guy to boot.  If you've never met or heard him, do yourself a favor & come on by. 

Relevant info below, cut & pasted from the local housefilk mailing list:

Decadent Dave Clement is visiting, but he has commitments that
require to be back to Winnipeg before Contata, so we're having a
pre-Contata house filk this weekend.

Sunday June 26, 2011 starting @ 2:00pm

Directions appended below.

		Steven Joel Z.

DirectionsCollapse )



 
 
Steve Brinich
10 March 2011 @ 07:46 am
Heidi (the elderly Maine Coon mix tortie) has a long-standing habit of complaining about the food bowl as soon as she can see the bottom, regardless of the amount of food still in it.

Kimba (in userpic) seems to have learned it from her over the past few months.
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Current Mood: amusedamused
 
 
Steve Brinich
27 February 2011 @ 10:32 am
After her latest vet visit, we've been giving Heidi (in userpic) glucosamine supplements. She's in good shape for a 15ish-year-old cat, but definitely starting to show her age.

The cats mostly get dry food, but the powder works best with soft food so that it will stay on top instead of falling to the bottom. Whenever we give Heidi her special meal, the other cats come crowding around to demand their share. I put some of the soft food aside for the purpose and offered it to the other cats... who turned their noses up at it and continued trying to get at Heidi's.

It could be something about the smell of the glucosamine powder, but I suspect it's just annoyance that one of the cats seems to be getting special treatment.
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Current Mood: amusedamused
 
 
Steve Brinich
After the service call for the computer at work (see post from earlier today). I got a call from starmalachite that the desktop at home was making unaccustomed noises. From what I could hear over the cell phone (and remembered from a brief intermittent incident last week that I never got around to following up), it seemed like a fan issue. I suggested shutting it down until I could get a look at it.

When I got home and opened up the case, I found (eventually -- let's just say that it if karma works, the designer of the fan casings will one day have charley-horses in both hands that respond only to medication that comes in a triple-sealed childproof bottle) that a couple of the front fans had some dustbunny bits wrapped around the spindles. Also, the power connection to the main fain at the side was loose, so the front fans had to do all the work. The problem seems to be fixed (though, like the one at the office, it's one of those intermittent things that can't really be confirmed fixed for a while).
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Current Location: home
Current Mood: accomplished
 
 
Steve Brinich
03 February 2011 @ 03:12 pm
...if the original problem was that my computer randomly reboots every once in a while, up to twice in one day, it doesn't do either of us any good to ask whether or not the problem has been fixed half an hour after the tech leaves. Try looking up "randomly" in the dictionary.

Gah....

 
 
Current Location: work
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
 
 
Steve Brinich
27 January 2011 @ 07:31 pm
An item from Toronto, by way of thelongshot :

New Board Game Café Welcomes You, But Not Your Laptop

Ben Castanie's new Koreatown café, at 600 Bloor Street West, just east of Palmerston Avenue, will emphatically not have free Wi-Fi. In fact, laptops and their attendant air of isolation are completely counter to what Castanie is trying to do. "I just don't want people sitting staring at their screens," he says. Then he starts explaining the system of categorization he'd used to organize his café's library of 1,500-plus board games....

With luck, it might catch on closer to here....
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Steve Brinich
27 January 2011 @ 11:44 am
From a Washington Post account of the latest snow mess:

Salt trucks that might have mitigated the effect of the fresh layer of ice were trapped in the same traffic jams that drivers were. And very quickly those trucks were stuck behind cars that were spinning their wheels on hills and buses with modern technology that caused them to shut down when they lose traction.

WTF? Why would anybody think that's a good idea?
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Steve Brinich
19 January 2011 @ 07:18 pm
1. As I finish converting my contacts over to my new e-mail address, I got to the Recycle Bank customer credit site -- which lets you change everything in your profile *except* your contact e-mail. That, you have to do over the phone. Great way to introduce transcription errors. (I set my username to my new e-mail address and told the rep to copy-and-paste that.)

2. I managed to misplace my copy of the Dominion rules. Fortunately, the publisher has a PDF of the rules on its website. Unfortunately, it includes the full-page background graphics, which are pretty when reproduced on a high-res commercial printing press but a text-blurring waste of ink/toner when reproduced on the kind of printers most people have at home. Fortunately, I have a PDF editor program and was able to strip them out (after which I decided to just manually copy-paste-and-reedit the base rules and the tweaks added in each expansion into one document, rendering the previous process moot).
 
 
Current Mood: bemused
 
 
Steve Brinich
18 January 2011 @ 09:06 am
Another WikiLeaks story:

A former senior Swiss bank executive said on Monday that he had given the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, details of more than 2,000 prominent individuals and companies that he contends engaged in tax evasion and other possible criminal activity....

If you thought he'd caught a lot of flak for exposing The Powers That Be trash-talking each other like so many feuding SMOFs, you ain't seen nothing yet....
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Current Mood: amusedamused
 
 
Steve Brinich
11 January 2011 @ 01:02 pm
starmalachite and I are back from GAFilk after the fourth flight booking finally got off the ground. We arrived back in the DC area just as the first flurries started here (it looks like we'll avoid the brunt of the storm, with just 2-3 inches expected).
 
 
Current Mood: tiredtired
 
 
Steve Brinich
05 January 2011 @ 07:49 am
When I got up this morning to go back to work after vacation, I filled one of the cats' water dishes. Dorothy (in userpic) immediately started drinking, while Kimba (one of the Siamese-mix tabbypoints) waited patiently in line.

The amusing thing is that Kimba is 19 pounds (all muscle and frame, according to the vet), while Dorothy is maybe 10 pounds soaking wet (not that I've dared try that experiment).
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Current Mood: amusedamused
 
 
Steve Brinich
07 December 2010 @ 02:25 pm
Our service from Speakeasy has been getting increasingly flaky, with more outages in the last couple months than in the previous few years. The last straw was that messages from addresses that are in the spam filter whitelist have been repeatedly dropping into the spam bucket anyway (and attempts to re-enter them into the whitelist don't work); the dreadful webmail interface to fish through the spam bucket is just the icing on the cake.

After considering the range of "competition", such as it is, we're going to Verizon FiOS. I have some misgivings, but they seem less bad than the alternative (Cox cable internet). The scheduled install is in two weeks; once I verify that it works I'll distribute the new e-mail address.
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Steve Brinich
26 October 2010 @ 12:10 pm
starmalachite and I got home last night to four very needy cats. The two new arrivals took the first prolonged absence of their humans better than I was expecting, actually. It helps that the household has settled into two pairs: Vir and Dorothy are the two psycho cats who chase and wrestle each other; Heidi and Kimba(in userpic) are the two sedate cats who keep each other company and generally ignore anything they consider beneath their notice.
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Current Mood: refreshedrefreshed
 
 
Steve Brinich
23 September 2010 @ 10:02 pm
We acquired a fourth cat at the local gaming convention over Labor Day weekend.

There was a gray kitten hanging around the hotel parking lot, approaching cars and people (possibly looking for her people, who either lost her or -- more likely, given the lack of habitation in the area -- dumped her). A bit reluctantly, since we already had three cats including one fairly recent addition who was only just learning to fit in, we decided that if nobody else took her, we would. Several people at the convention were willing but unable for various reasons, so we started making preliminary plans.

We heard unconfirmed reports that someone had decided to take her in, and she wasn't hanging around as usual Sunday night, but we swung by the hotel Monday after dance-group practice to be sure. Within a few minutes, somebody near the Outback steakhouse pointed the kitten out to starmalachite, and we got her stowed away in a duffel bag that was emptied into my suitcase to serve as an impromptu cat carrier. We got her home, set her up in a walk-in closet isolated from the other cats, and did the decontamination routine of dumping all clothes right into the wash and showering.

Fortunately, the vet found nothing worse than some fleas and a nasty ear mite infestation (she had a punctured eardrum, but no apparent damage to her hearing); we were apparently successful in keeping them away from the other cats. After getting a clean bill of health and a spaying, she was introduced to the other cats. Heidi generally ignores her (she was an only cat for years, and tends to be a bit reserved toward either humans or felines). Vir bonded with her easily, playing tag and wrestling (a good thing; the vet says he could stand to lose a bit of weight). Kimba hissed and growled at her for a week or so (he was probably feeling insecure, having barely settled in himself), but is getting more tolerant. The kitten takes all this in stride, including being growled at by a cat three times her size.

Everything is going smoothly, with a couple of minor difficulties of feeding her kitten food without letting the older cats (especially Vir) get into it and keeping her inside. She got out at 5 AM Sunday when starmalachite went out to the car to retrieve something and led us on a merry chase around the neighborhood until I caught her. We're trying to get her to accept that she's an indoor cat now, but she's stubborn.

After a bit of dithering, we decided on the name "Dorothy". I'm sure the experience for her was not unlike being dropped into Oz. :-)
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Current Location: home
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
 
 
Steve Brinich
16 September 2010 @ 03:02 pm
A poster boy for the caption on this userpic:

Ferndale police collar 'Darth Vader' hold-up suspect

After arresting a suspect last night for the armed robbery of a convenience store, Ferndale police observed in a statement that "[t]his is one of the world's dumbest criminals."

The suspect took an undisclosed amount of money from the clerk at knife-point, wearing a Darth Vader mask that completely covered his face. The fatal flaw in his plan was that he entered the store before donning his disguise. That meant that the store's surveillance cameras contained images of the man's face....
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Steve Brinich
10 August 2010 @ 11:32 pm
Kimba (left) poking at his wheel-ball cat toy as Vir (right) looks on:

Kimba and VirCollapse )

When they were kittens, they were so hard to tell apart that we suspected that they were identical twins; this seems unlikely now. ("You're not clones; you're just garden-variety twins!")


Heidi (as usual) prefers to stay aloof from the undignified display.
 
 
Steve Brinich
06 August 2010 @ 03:32 pm
Last weekend, we took in one of Vir's littermates -- his human has been out of work and in bad health. There was some posturing and hissing at first, but Kimba (we kept the same name; he has enough other stuff to adjust to) has been warming up to the new humans and new cats.

One of the first good pictures we got (after some redeye correction) is under the cut-tag; you can see how much he resembles Vir (in userpic), except for being bigger and darker colored:

Kimba investigating cat toysCollapse )
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Steve Brinich
11 July 2010 @ 11:47 am
I'd been feeling a bit congested and generally "off" yesterday, but thought it was just the usual hotel-air issues (I'm at Shore Leave this weekend). I was functioning pretty well through the afternoon, winning a game of Dominion narrowly and Ticket to Ride in a blowout (in the initial deal, I got three tickets each from the northeast corner of the country to the southwest corner, a recipe for either glory or disaster if I kept them all. I did, and it worked out).

After dinner and the masquerade, I felt a more congested and a bit lightheaded, so I went looking for a place to rest a while. Once starmalachite got a look at me and felt my temperature, she insisted that the EMTs have a look. There was no sign of it being anything worse than a nasty sinus-infection flareup (she had a bad cold last week; I seem to have gotten it worse), and everything tested normal except my blood pressure being a bit high (not surprising under the circumstances; she was clearly worried and I was still thinking clearly enough to realize that the situation just might be worse that it seemed). I was starting to feel better, but she convinced me it was probably best to head back to our hotel.

I'm feeling better now, and the fever is broken, so I'll be back at the con. I may decide to take a sick day tomorrow to fully recover, though.
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Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
 
 
Steve Brinich
24 June 2010 @ 09:45 am
I'll be spending the rest of the morning checking that we have all the stuff we'll need for the con ready to go, and then we'll be headed out to check in, start picking up guests, and hauling the bulk con suite supplies.

The cats have figured out that the humans are getting ready to shamefully abandon them again....

MOAR COFFY PLZNTNKU
 
 
Current Mood: busy
 
 
Steve Brinich
21 June 2010 @ 09:54 am
An example of why it's sometimes a bad idea to even ask the question if the answer is going to be something you don't want to hear:

Last month, House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and his lieutenants launched "America Speaking Out," a public outreach campaign involving an interactive website and town hall meetings with GOP lawmakers. Its stated purpose is to provide people with "a new platform to share their priorities and ideas for a national policy agenda."

Thousands of people posted ideas or voted on their favorite suggestions. But the project's usefulness in shaping a Republican agenda is questionable.

Last week, the top five entries in the "Liberty and Freedom" category were: ban handguns, "drop the idea that we're a 'Christian' country," declare abortion "none of the government's business," allow gays to serve openly in the military and legalize marijuana.

Imagine my surprise at the next statement in the article:

Republican leaders mentioned none of these when they began highlighting proposals from the project.
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Steve Brinich
10 June 2010 @ 01:04 pm
From the Washington Post account of the winner of the South Carolina US Senate primary:

Alvin M. Greene never gave a speech during his quixotic campaign to become this state's Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate. The mystery man of South Carolina politics didn't launch a Web site or hire consultants or plant lawn signs. There's only $114 in his campaign bank account, he says, and the only check he ever wrote was to cover his filing fee.

Indeed, in the course of a rambling, repetitive and frequently inchoate three-hour interview, this jobless military veteran could not name a single specific thing he'd done to campaign for lofty political office....

Now that people are paying attention to him, matters have taken a turn for the worse:

Things have gotten even stranger since Greene's startling win. First, the Associated Press reported that Greene faces pending felony obscenity charges for allegedly showing pornography to a University of South Carolina student. Then, the state's Democratic Party chairman called on him to withdraw from the general election. He's been accused of being a Republican plant and listened to his victory explained away as a fluke that resulted from his name coming before his opponent's in the alphabet....

I suspect that the real explanation is a less comfortable one for the state's Democratic Party chairman, and everyone else in the political establishment -- as an unknown, Greene was effectively a protest vote for "None Of The Above". (Of course, one can reject the candidates and/or the system generally by declining to vote at all. The disadvantage of that is that it produces the same result as not voting for any other reason, which dilutes the message.)

If nothing else, this ought to cause some amusing Headless Chicken Syndrome symptoms in the local political establishment.
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Current Mood: cynicalcynical
 
 
Steve Brinich
02 June 2010 @ 04:23 pm
LHR News, the internal newsletter of British Airways, illustrated an article on mobile-device boarding passes with this example:

Osama bin Laden"s Boarding Pass

It remains to be seen how or why this happened -- speculation centers on the possibility of a prank that got out of hand or a gesture by a disgruntled employee.
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Steve Brinich
16 May 2010 @ 10:37 pm
I set up a backup to portable hard drive to run tonight so I could park it at the office as an off-site backup. It worked, except for two little details:

1. I should have run it from the master admin account so it could access the data files on both my and starmalachite's accounts. The log had a long list of "could not access file..." complaints.

2. Turning on the encryption would probably be a good idea.

The process seems to run about four hours, so I can try again tonight and have it ready in the morning.
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Steve Brinich
I got a robocall from a local politician whose name I recognize, but decline to promulgate. It was something about the health care bill. According to the message, he is either a paladin of liberty promising to repeal the bill, or a defender of the downtrodden promising to preserve it -- my crapfilters let in enough to ascertain that he is definitely one or the other, but not which.

The one useful thing I did get was a phone number for donations. During office hours tomorrow, it will have to do double duty as a phone number for complaints. (If it's another robot... well, I understand that it costs considerably more than a penny to process a one-cent donation.)
 
 
Current Mood: irritatedirritated
 
 
Steve Brinich
16 March 2010 @ 09:18 pm
I got the census form in the mail today; the main inconvenience was that the pen kept giving out in the middle of writing in "HUMAN" for the "race" question.

Most of the federal and state tax paperwork (electronwork?) is done, pending one or two more bits of stray documentation I might squeeze a few more deductions out of.
 
 
Current Mood: busy
Current Music: "The Paper Sea", Leslie Fish
 
 
Steve Brinich
05 March 2010 @ 12:30 pm
The new keyboard (Digital Media Pro) arrived to replace the generic one that came with the desktop. So far, so good -- the key feel is a bit "mushier" than the old one, but in general it's more comfortable. Unfortunately, the new keyboard and driver install didn't fix the one recurring annoyance I have with the machine (it won't wake from sleep mode in response to the keyboard or mouse; I have to press the button on the case).
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Steve Brinich
19 February 2010 @ 11:24 am
Poll result:

As the Obama administration proposes repealing the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a new New York Times/CBS News poll finds that a majority of the public support allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military.

There’s less support, however, for allowing homosexuals to serve openly.

Confused?

If I weren't so cynical, I would be....
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Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: "The DHMO Song", Mark Mandel
 
 
Steve Brinich
18 February 2010 @ 10:19 pm
I picked up a copy of the game Pandemic and the On The Brink expansion, after finding it on sale and recalling it as interesting the one or two times I've tried it. As a bit of flavor, the expansion has a set of six "Petri Dishes" with "Infectious Substance" labels (presumably sufficiently different from real medical labels that anyone familiar with the latter would recognize them as parodies) for holding the game bits.

I think I'll stick to the little ziplock baggies, though, for two reasons. First, the baggies are small enough that I can combine game and expansion into the base game box; the dishes are just too bulky for that. Second, I'd rather not try to explain the labels to one of the Thousands Standing Around....
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Current Mood: cheerfulinfectious
Current Music: "Smallpox Gone" -- Leslie Fish
 
 
Steve Brinich
07 February 2010 @ 09:18 am
The furnace quit on us last night. We called our plumbing/heating contractor, but (not surprisingly) they're booked with truly dire emergency cases through Monday.

The good news is that it seems to be working now (the inside temp was below 60 a few hours ago, according to starmalachite; it's now up to 62). Based on the pattern I observed last night (the pilot igniter came on, the gas jets lit for about 10 seconds, the gas jets quit, about 15 seconds later the pilot igniter came on again, lather-rinse-repeat, accompanied by occasional sounds suggesting strained air circulation), my guess is that the snow was blocking an outlet vent, triggering the safeties to shut off the burner when the exhaust wasn't escaping properly. If so, the problem may have solved itself when enough warm air got through to melt the blockage. I'll be monitoring the situation for now.
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Current Mood: coldcold
 
 
Steve Brinich
30 January 2010 @ 12:45 pm
Between a few of my games showing a bit of card wear, and the fact that we've been meeting Friday nights at Fuddruckers, I decided that it was probably a good idea to sleeve the cards in my various games as much as possible.

There were two basic options for sleeves that actually fit standard playing-card size cards (rather than the somewhat larger sleeves designed for the Magic: the Gathering card size). The Mayday Games version is 40 microns; the Fantasy Flight Games version is 100 microns. Normally, I'd prefer the heavier one, except for games with a huge number of cards (the deck gets impractically thick, and of course the thicker and more durable sleeves are priced accordingly). There was one catch, though -- for some reason, the Fantasy Flight sleeves are actually a couple millimeters larger than the nominal size. It's not a critical problem, but it's an annoying one, because it's the one thing that demotes a near-perfect product to a merely-acceptable one.

I'll use up the FFG ones I got for testing purposes, but I don't think I'll get any more unless they decide to make them in the proper size.
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Current Mood: confusedconfused
 
 
Steve Brinich
14 January 2010 @ 07:54 am
Vir has gotten extra-clingy after we left to visit relatives over Christmas, then were at a New Year's party, then for Brunswick Games Day, and then for GAFilk. Returning to the routine of going to work after vacation also convinced him that he needs attention right now.

Heidi has been taking it more in stride, simply glaring disapprovingly when she notices the signs that the humans are leaving again.
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Current Mood: amusedamused
 
 
Steve Brinich
23 December 2009 @ 03:53 pm
Among Christmas presents we're in the process of wrapping up are a few bottled of spices from Auntie Arwen. Ever since he caught sight of the bottles, Vir has been underfoot yammering -- evidently, he recognized the bottles as the same kind his catnip comes in.

Alas, he's doomed to disappointment for now.
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Steve Brinich
20 December 2009 @ 10:34 am
Bring me the head of the guy who designed a snow shovel with a blade made of plastic that gets brittle in the cold....

Addendum: A jury-rigged repair with lots of Gorilla Tape held the blade together long enough to get the job done, but I think we'll want a new shovel before the next snowstorm. After I finished, one of the neighbors came through with a snowblower (he cleared all the sidewalks on both sides of the cul-de-sac, so I assume it's helpfulness rather than an implicit criticism).
 
 
Current Mood: grumpygrumpy
 
 
Steve Brinich
19 December 2009 @ 01:20 am
We had a very interesting drive (no real close calls, fortunately) home from Friday night gaming as the snowstorm (now projected to be somewhere around 2 feet and among the top-ten recorded winter storms) began. Now, we're set to hunker down at home for the next few days.

I hope everybody else in the area is safe.

PS on the new-computer stuff: I removed and started to gradually reinstall the Firefox extensions and turned off auto-updates (in case that's causing a conflict with the antivirus or the "OMG THIS CODE WANTS TO CHANGE SOMETHING" user notifications); so far the lock-up problem hasn't recurred even under the conditions (start Firefox after the computer's been inactive for a few hours) that triggered it before. So far, so good.
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Steve Brinich
18 December 2009 @ 10:35 am

So far, the shift to the new desktop is going well, except that it locked up twice when I started Firefox first thing in the morning. I suspect that the underlying problem was that Windows Easy Transfer directly ported all the plugins that had been installed under XP straight into the 64-bit Win7 program (they all automagically showed up in the new Firefox install, just like my bookmarks), and some of them either needed to be properly installed in Win7 or are just incompatible. I've scrubbed and reinstalled Firefox and plugins to see if that fixes it. Anybody else know of a possible alternative fix if that doesn't solve the problem?

On the more positive side, I was able to transfer all my (and starmalachite's) archived e-mail with MozBackup.
 


 
 
Steve Brinich
17 December 2009 @ 08:46 am
So far, so good. Almost everything has transferred to the new machine, except my old Thunderbird e-mail boxes. I'll need to fire up the old machine long enough to recover those, deauthorize iTunes, and steam-clean it to the original factory state.

I've been slogging through the process of installing my software on the new box. Mostly that's just a matter of going through the motions, except that the Nero help files give "Access Denied" errors when I try to install them (they were a separate download because, as the popup said, it reduces the download file size. Yeah, I wouldn't have bothered if the install file had been a bloated 360 MB instead of a nice svelte 355...).
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Current Mood: busy
 
 
Steve Brinich
15 December 2009 @ 01:20 pm
I spent this year's bonus on a new laptop and a new desktop. Both were scheduled to arrive yesterday.

The laptop was delivered (by FedEx) without incident. The desktop... not so much.

The first indication of a problem was that when I did a check of the UPS tracking page, it claimed that a delivery attempt had been made. I called starmalachite (who had gotten the FedEx package earlier, and was on the alert for the arrival of the other one) to see if something was wrong at home. Everything was normal -- but there had been no doorbell ring or knock (the bell had rung for the earlier delivery, and she re-confirmed that it was working), and there was no delivery-attempt notice on the door.

I called UPS to find out what the problem was. They insisted that a delivery attempt had been made, the lack of note notwithstanding. The kicker: when starmalachite left the house that evening, there was a UPS failed-delivery note on the door (much too prominently for her to have simply overlooked it earlier). I can only assume that my complaint was relayed to the driver, who directed his efforts to ass-covering (i.e. putting up the note) rather than customer service (i.e. knocking/ringing at the door to deliver the pacakge while he was MAKING ANOTHER(?) STOP THERE ANYWAY).

Allegedly, UPS is making another delivery attempt today... but the latest info as of 1:15 PM still shows nothing later than yesterday's "failed delivery attempt". We'll see....
 
 
Current Mood: irritatedirritated
 
 
Steve Brinich
08 December 2009 @ 07:09 am
Our Speakeasy DSL line has started flaking out on a daily basis after being fairly solid for years. The techs think that it's probably our DSL box failing (it's about ten years old) and are overnight-shipping a new one. If this doesn't fix the problem, they don't know what will -- our line is a bit longer than they can really guarantee, though it's been good enough to provide 1.5M/384 speeds (and still does on those occasions when it works at all, which makes me optimistic that the replacement will work).

That said, it's time to look at fallback plans. (And, ultimately, we may want to move to a service that will support higher speeds in any case, but I'd prefer to do so in my own time.) The two main alternative options seem to be Verizon FIOS and Cox cable internet; does anybody have any rants or raves for those services?

Thanks for any useful tips.

ADDENDUM Tuesday Evening: The new DSL box was waiting at home. I installed it; after an initial failure it worked when I pulled and re-planted the phone and ethernet lines. So far, so good, but given that the problem was an intermittent one it'll be a while before I know whether replacing the box is going to make a difference.
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Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
 
 
Steve Brinich
24 November 2009 @ 09:23 am
We had a little adventure* on the drive home Sunday night when a pothole flattened both tires on one side of the car. We were able to pull off the road without further incident, and eventually** got through to our auto club. When the tow truck arrived (they were fairly quick after the auto club finally got its act together), it stopped off at a nearby Holiday Inn so we could retrieve luggage for the night, and then went on to the operator's shop. It took until yesterday afternoon for the shop to find the right tires and put them on; we finally got home late last night.

FootnotesCollapse )
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Steve Brinich
02 November 2009 @ 07:31 pm
The King Street Metro escalator has always had a declared "November 16" estimated repair date. Anyone who saw a "November 1" estimated repair date is in league with the Eastasian saboteurs who broke it in the first place.
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Current Location: Metro
Current Mood: irritatedirritated
 
 
Steve Brinich
27 October 2009 @ 08:46 pm
I've been looking for video editing software for processing camcorder recordings (AVCHD video *.MTS files). In the short term, I'm looking for basic functions like clipping, 90-degree rotations, format conversion, and the like; ideally, it should also support more advanced projects like placing a new soundtrack over video clips.

So far, I've been playing with a trial edition of Corel VideoStudio, which looks like it has all the functionality I'd need (but behind an interface apparently written by programmers who hate the end users). There's a good deal on the full version at the moment, but I'm also looking into free (as in beer and/or as in speech) alternatives.

Any useful advice would be greatly appreciated.


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Steve Brinich
26 October 2009 @ 09:50 pm
starmalachite and I are back from OVFF; we had a one-hour flight delay and some heavy traffic on the way home (kind of like the delays caused by people slowing to watch an ugly wreck, only in this case caused by people going to watch the latest Redskins game). The cats are in the full love-me-love-me-love-me phase of greeting their humans


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Current Location: home
Current Mood: tiredtired
 
 
Steve Brinich
19 October 2009 @ 08:22 pm
Capclave went rather well. I ended up doing more of my usual routine of settling into the con suite/game room and less panels than I'd originally intended, but I had a good time introducing a few people to Kingsburg (I ended up playing three games over the weekend, making it about the only game from the traveling collection that saw any real use, if you don't count bringing the Revolution box to protect a couple prints and a sketch from the Erfworld party).

Saturday night was a bit abbreviated because starmalachite hadn't been sleeping well, so we left as soon as I acquired the aforementioned sketch (a two-part sketch, actually, part by outgoing artist Jamie Noguchi and part by incoming artist Xin Ye). On the other hand, we returned Sunday (originally, we'd been planning to make one last visit to the Maryland Ren Faire for the season, but between the mud and starmalachite not really feeling up to that long a drive, we decided to catch the rest of the con instead). That gave us a chance to see a panel on the significance of the Civil War (featuring author GoH Harry Turtledove, of course) and get in one more Kingsburg game.

The con also gave me a chance to experiment with the video camera we got last week. So far, the results look good; now I need to figure out how to do format-conversion and turn the pictures sideways. (I held the camera sideways, figuring that that would better frame a single standing person; this may have been a mistake.)

Now to get ready for OVFF (first step, review this example of How Not To Deal With Airport Security).



 
 
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Steve Brinich
12 October 2009 @ 12:35 pm
Why relying on somebody else for primary storage of your data (as opposed to off-site backup of your data) is an idea that ranks somewhere between "Hey! Let's change the formula for Coke!" and "Hey! Let's invade Russia during the winter!":

T-Mobile: we probably lost all your Sidekick data

Well, this is shaping up to be one of the biggest disasters in the history of cloud computing, and certainly the largest blow to Danger and the Sidekick platform: T-Mobile's now reporting that personal data stored on Sidekicks has "almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger." They're still looking for a way to recover it, but they're not giving users a lot of hope -- meanwhile, servers are still on the fritz and customers are being advised not to let their devices power down because anything that's still on there will be lost the next time the device is turned on. Another communique is promised from T-Mobile on Monday to give everyone a status update on the recovery efforts, but at this point, it's not looking good at all.
 
 
Steve Brinich
09 October 2009 @ 10:24 am
Another example of government officials justifying the level of faith and trust I have in them:

FBI Director Robert Mueller was banned by his wife from doing online banking after he nearly fell for a phishing scam, he said on Wednesday during a talk at the Commonwealth Club of California.

He received an e-mail purporting to be from his bank that looked "perfectly legitimate" and which prompted him to verify some information. He started to follow the instructions but then realized that that "might not be such a good idea," he said.

"Just a few clicks away from falling into a classic Internet phishing scam," Mueller "barely caught himself in time" and admitted he "definitely should have known better."

He said he changed his passwords and tried to pass the incident off to his wife as a "teachable moment," but she was having none of it and told him, "It is our money. No more Internet banking for you!..."

 
 
Steve Brinich
06 October 2009 @ 12:04 am
Heidi (in userpic) has never been much of a cuddly cat -- she'll let her human pet her, but doesn't like to be picked up and held. It took her a few years to accept starmalachite as one of her people (she was smart enough to figure out that the influx of strange cats into a formerly one-cat household was Her Fault).

However, she seems to be mellowing out in middle age....

Before I got home, she was soliciting attention from starmalachite (and not for the usual ONOZ I SEE THE BOTTOM OF MY FOOD DISH reason). Later, after we we got home from the dance group meeting and dinner, she let starmalachite hold her and even relaxed into it.

This made Vir (the tabby-point Siamese) jealous. He started complaining about the injustice of it all, and capped it off by ostentatiously jumping up onto Heidi's favorite perching spot on top of the rolltop desk and giving the humans his Tragic Neglected Face.

Oh, the injustice of not having the humans' undivided attention....
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Steve Brinich
03 October 2009 @ 11:58 am
After cutting up part of the big tree branch that fell in the yard about a month and a half ago, I got to the bigger sections and decided to call in the pros to finish the job. I got a few bids, and the contractor I ended up hiring came by (after a one-day weather-related delay) to hack up and remove the remaining bits a few weeks ago.

Just yesterday, one of the others finally got around to giving me a call. If that's typical, I wonder how they stay in business....


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Steve Brinich
23 September 2009 @ 09:26 am

Work is going to be a bit busier than usual as the end-of-fiscal-year rush hits, but I was able to distract myself by getting ready for the next batch of conventions.

Usually, I spend most of Capclave in the gaming room, but the programming (especially some of the new-media stuff) looks more interesting this time (and I definitely want to catch the Erfworld party). I'm planning to bring more of the travelling game collection than usual, though; somebody has to pick up the slack now that Hal Haag is no longer with us.

I also made final arrangements for OVFF* (found an excellent deal on Southwest flights in and out of BWI for a little over $200 for the two of us). I'll probably bring a few games along (one advantage of Southwest is that they haven't followed the lead of most airlines in nickel-and-diming passengers for checked baggage).

(*Their site has been hit by malware attacks over the last few weeks; it seems to be OK now but I thought it was prudent to warn people to have shields up just in case.)

 
 
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