07:57 – Barbara’s dad is still in the hospital, but I suspect they’ll soon be transferring him to a rehab facility. Given the way the hospital has behaved, I suggested to Barbara last night that she tell the hospital that getting him to the rehab facility is up to the hospital. If Barbara and Frances picked him up at the hospital to transport him to the rehab facility, I’m afraid they’d be stuck with him, with the rehab facility refusing to accept him. So I told her to refuse to take custody of their dad until he’s well enough to be on his own at his apartment.
Nor is just Barbara’s dad. When Barbara was walking Colin yesterday, she talked to our neighbor Kim. Kim’s mother, Mary, is in her 80’s. A week or ten days ago, she fell and fractured her pelvis. She was in the hospital for a few days, and was then transferred to a rehab facility. The rehab facility is discharging Mary this Thursday to go home. The problem is, Kim is totally disabled with a back injury and Jasmine is away at college. Mary is not supposed to put any weight on her pelvis, which means she can’t even stand, let alone walk. And yet they’re expecting Kim to take care of Mary by herself. Barbara said Kim’s teenage niece was at Kim’s house while she was talking to Kim, helping get the house cleaned up and ready for Mary’s return. I’d already told Kim when her mom was in the hospital to call me if she needed help lifting or moving anything, because Kim simply can’t lift anything and I’m only three houses away. I’ll tell her again today, because she’s going to need help when Mary gets home.
I keep thinking that with millions of unemployed people drawing government benefits, there shouldn’t be any shortage of unskilled labor to provide assistance like this to elderly people. We, the taxpayers, are paying people to sit at home watching TV and pretending to look for jobs that aren’t there, when they could and should be doing something useful with their time like assisting the elderly or cleaning up public areas.
08:44 – I got Barbara’s new desktop system installed and configured yesterday. That was harder than it should have been. All she really uses the system for is OpenOffice, email, and web browsing, with Kontact/Kmail/Korganizer for email and Chrome for the browsing. After pulling three full backups of her system, two to DVD and one to a flash drive, I disconnected her system and slid it out of the way. I slid the new system, an Intel Atom, into place, connected it up, and got rolling. The first problem was that the current version of Kmail uses a completely different format for storing email and contact information than the version Barbara had been running. I’d copied her email/contact data to /home/barbara/.kde, and expected the new version simply to see it and use it. No dice. When I started Kontact on the new system, it informed me that it was using a new data format. It offered to import the old data, so I told it to proceed. About two seconds later, it said it had encountered a fatal error, and terminated. So I tried running it again, and it said it had already been run. So I deleted all the appropriate directories, recopied over her data, and tried again. No dice. The new version simply wouldn’t touch the maildir email files, and apparently had no clue what to do with the contact information.
So I fired up Thunderbird, which was installed by default, and tried to get it to import Barbara’s mail/contact data. I screwed around with that for a while, including installing a maildir->mbox converter, but no joy. So I disconnected the new system, reconnected the old system, fired up Kontact, exported her contacts as a .VCF file, and forwarded all her email to myself. I then disconnected the old system, reconnected the new system, blew away Kontact and all the old data, and reconfigured Thunderbird, including installing the Calendar plugin. I then forwarded all of Barbara’s email from my own system back to her and pulled it into Thunderbird. Geez.
But at least I was finished except for getting the Chrome data off the old system and into Firefox on her new system. (I’ve found I don’t much like Chrome; compared to Firefox it’s feature-poor and unstable.) Surprise. The conversion didn’t work. So I installed Chromium on her new system, expecting it to just use the data from the old Chrome installation. Surprise. It wouldn’t import Barbara’s old data. So we just said the hell with it and re-entered her bookmarks and so on manually. Geez.
Barbara’s old system is now sitting on the floor of her office. She says her new system is working fine, but I think I’ll leave the old system there for a while, just in case we missed migrating something. Once I’m pretty sure everything on the new system is present and working properly, I’ll pull the hard drive and put it on the shelf. I’ll then clean up her old system (a hex-core i7), install a 3 TB hard drive, and turn it into my new system.
Given what I just went through migrating her simple configuration to a new box, the idea of migrating my configuration to a new box scares the hell out of me. I don’t have just OpenOffice, email, and browsing. I have literally dozens of other apps installed, from science number crunching to DVD ripping to video/photo/ sound editors and converters to scanning apps to astronomy apps to who knows what else. Even just figuring out what I have installed will be time-consuming, let alone getting everything moved over.