Home » Daynotes Home » Week of 12 December 2005

Photograph of Robert Bruce Thompson
Daynotes Journal

Week of 12 December 2005

Latest Update: Friday, 16 December 2005 13:40 -0500
Free Speech Online - Blue Ribbon Campaign

Paying for this Place
Visit Barbara's Journal Page

Monday, 12 December 2005
[Daynotes Forums]    [Last Week]   [Mon]  [Tue]  [Wed]  [Thu]  [Fri]  [Sat]  [Sun]   [Next Week]    [HardwareGuys Forums]

09:30 - No anti-Santa gun this year. In years past, I've tried everything up to and including a Shilka ZSU-23/4 with no luck. Nothing tracks fast enough, and Santa's sleigh apparently has some pretty serious ECM. I've tried everything else I can think of, including reindeer nets, poisoned bait, and, one year, a surface-to-air missile. No joy. Santa moves very fast, especially for an old guy. And, since my quad .50 BMG with APIT blue-tips had no apparent effect on it, I suspect that elderly-looking sleigh is actually a titanium bathtub, like a Warthog.

My SEAL buddies tell me that one-on-one is the best way to do this. Lie in wait, and pounce. For that, camouflage is important, so I'm currently working on some ideas to help me fade into the background. Santa will never know what hit him. Ho, ho, ho.

11:43 - Sometimes I really don't understand what Netflix is doing. As of this morning, my queue showed three discs out. I'd returned two of those on Friday and just put the third one out on the mailbox. I got email from Netflix telling me they'd received one (not both) of the discs I returned on Friday. I went over to look at my queue. Here it is:

So why, when they'd received only one disc back from me, did they add two discs to the shipping queue? And what's the plus symbol beside the fourth disc mean?


Tuesday, 13 December 2005
[Daynotes Forums]    [Last Week]   [Mon]  [Tue]  [Wed]  [Thu]  [Fri]  [Sat]  [Sun]   [Next Week]    [HardwareGuys Forums]

08:43 - Deadlines loom, and much remains undone. Don't expect much to be posted here before the New Year.


Wednesday, 14 December 2005
[Daynotes Forums]    [Last Week]   [Mon]  [Tue]  [Wed]  [Thu]  [Fri]  [Sat]  [Sun]   [Next Week]    [HardwareGuys Forums]

11:00 - Although OpenOffice.org 2.0 is a lot better than Microsoft Word for long documents, it's by no means perfect. As I was working on a chapter yesterday, I copied and pasted a lot of material to the working document.  After that, each time I made even a small change to the document, OOo began to flicker in a 4-blink-pause-1-blink pattern, apparently as as a result of repaginating the document or updating the screen. After five blinks, it'd settle down and let me edit until the next time. That was bad enough, but eventually it started to flicker constantly, even when I hadn't changed anything. It just sat there flickering.

I spent some time searching the web, but couldn't find anything pertinent. I also search OOo help, again with no luck. So I went into the configuration options and increased the amount of memory allocated to graphics. Still no joy. The material I'd copied into the document had a lot of embedded images, so I decided to delete all of the images I wasn't planning to re-use. That took a while, because OOo was jumping all over the place. I'd click on an image to delete it, and OOo would jump elsewhere in the document, sometimes a couple of screens away from the image I'd selected. It was a struggle, but I eventually succeeded in deleting 20 or so unneeded images, after which OOo stopped misbehaving.

There's obviously a serious bug that causes this behavior, but at least OOo doesn't trash long documents, which MS Word is famous for doing.

Netflix is annoying me again. They shipped three discs in the first few days of this month. After that, they started throttling. Of the seven discs I've received so far this month and the three I'm currently owed, all but four of them have been delayed a day or more in shipping. At this point, I'll be surprised if I manage to make it up to 15 discs this month.


Thursday, 15 December 2005
[Daynotes Forums]    [Last Week]   [Mon]  [Tue]  [Wed]  [Thu]  [Fri]  [Sat]  [Sun]   [Next Week]    [HardwareGuys Forums]

08:55 - We've had our first winter weather of the season. We had some sleet and freezing rain overnight, with more predicted for this morning. Barbara, never willing to give in to weather, put her Trooper into four-wheel drive and headed in to work this morning. Her boss has farther to come, and called this morning to say he might be late or not be able to make it in. Barbara's other co-worker also may not be able to make it in, so Barbara may be working by herself today.

The dogs will have fun today, sliding around on the ice. It's fun to watch them make what Barbara calls "snow paws". As soon as they get on ice or snow, they spread their toes far apart to make their paws larger and get more traction. Of course, the downside to that is that they end up with ice between their toes and have to spend some time cleaning them once they return indoors.

With two exceptions, all of the Saturnalia presents I ordered have now arrived, so now I have to think about wrapping them.

11:51 - My Falcon Electric UPSs are driving me nuts this morning. We didn't have much icing overnight, but apparently it was enough to cause the electric power to fluctuate. Things will be fine for half an hour or an hour, and then for several minutes all the UPSs are beeping at me.

I'm tempted to turn off the warning beeps, but that wouldn't be a good idea. I work in a darkened office with only one desk lamp, and that's connected to an outlet strip that plugs into the UPS. If the power really did fail, I might not know about it until the UPS batteries ran down.


Friday, 16 December 2005
[Daynotes Forums]    [Last Week]   [Mon]  [Tue]  [Wed]  [Thu]  [Fri]  [Sat]  [Sun]   [Next Week]    [HardwareGuys Forums]

10:10 - The icing yesterday was worse than I thought. At the peak, there were about 140,000 homes and business without power in North Carolina, mostly to the west and south of us. Winston-Salem was not unscathed, though. There were fairly widespread power outages here, including areas within half a mile of our home.

The TV weather weasels say that Winston-Salem had up to 3/4" (19mm) of ice accumulation, which is more than enough to cause power outages. Each time I walked the dogs yesterday, I heard the crack of breaking branches. We were fortunate to have only some minor power glitches. Our friend Mary Chervenak, who works at home, lost power yesterday morning and didn't get it back until 10:00 p.m. last night. She lives less than two miles from us.

Barbara is going to her firm's Christmas party tonight. This is the first year that spouses and significant others have been invited. I thought about going, but a law firm party at the country club really isn't my cup of tea. I told Barbara I'd be happy to go if she wanted me to, but otherwise I wouldn't. So I'll just work until she gets home tonight. She left me a "Hungry Man" TV dinner in the freezer, so I'll survive.

12:18 - Netflix has been behaving strangely lately. For example, here's part of my queue.

The Duchess of Duke Street entry has been in my queue for a long time, with availability jumping around from "Now" to "Short Wait" to "Long Wait" to "Very Long Wait". Once or twice, Netflix has failed to ship DoDS Disc 1 even when it was first in my queue and had availability listed as "Now". Okay, I can deal with that. I'm a patient kind of guy.

But now they've done it again.  Even though Buffy the Vampire Slayer was at the top of my queue and showing as "Now", Netflix decided to ship A History of Britain Disc 1, which was at #10 in my queue. That's okay. If I didn't want to watch it, it wouldn't be in my queue. But it still seems odd.

I wonder if the Netflix scheduling/shipping software is playing games with me. "This guy's getting too many discs, so I'll yank his chain a little." Hmmm.

Netflix let me know of its displeasure with the number of discs I'm getting by starting to throttle me very early this month. In return, to show my displeasure with Netflix, I started sending discs back to them one-per-envelope, which probably costs them more in postage, instead of returning two discs in one envelope whenever possible.

If Netflix starts throttling me even more heavily, I may use a black Magic Marker to color over the barcode at the bottom of the reply envelope. I haven't checked the USPS site, but I suspect it charges more for a reply envelope that isn't barcoded. Heh, heh, heh.

(For the record, I should say that I'm immensely pleased with Netflix's service, and would recommend it to anyone. It's just that when someone plays games with me, I play games back.)

13:40 - It's worse than I thought. According to this report, there are still 328,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina without power, and it may be several days before power is restored to all of them. That's a million people, give or take, no matter how you look at it, and the low temperatures these folks are expecting are well below freezing. I'm glad we have the natural gas logs.


Saturday, 17 December 2005
[Daynotes Forums]    [Last Week]   [Mon]  [Tue]  [Wed]  [Thu]  [Fri]  [Sat]  [Sun]   [Next Week]    [HardwareGuys Forums]

00:00 -


Sunday, 18 December 2005
[Daynotes Forums]    [Last Week]   [Mon]  [Tue]  [Wed]  [Thu]  [Fri]  [Sat]  [Sun]   [Next Week]    [HardwareGuys Forums]

00:00 -


Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 by Robert Bruce Thompson. All Rights Reserved.