Sunday, 5 May 2013

07:55 – Barbara left yesterday morning to run some errands and then head over to her parents’ apartment to pick up a few items for her dad before visiting him in the hospital. While she was gone, I got a call from a young woman at the hospital, whom I assumed to be one of the nurses caring for Dutch. She was calling to give Barbara an update on her dad’s condition, so I gave her Barbara’s cell phone number. She said I wasn’t on Dutch’s HIPAA list, so she wasn’t allowed to tell me anything, but asked since she already had me on the phone if I’d mind her asking a few questions about Dutch. I answered as best I could based on what Barbara has been telling me. She thanked me before she hung up. It wasn’t until I talked to Barbara later that I found out she wasn’t a nurse. She was one of Dutch’s doctors. At first, I wondered if I’d been unconsciously sexist/agist, but that wasn’t it at all. I assumed that she was a nurse because she wasn’t at all hurried or arrogant. She took her time and didn’t seem to be at all in a hurry to finish the conversation and move on to the next item on her to-do list. She talked to me as though I were an intelligent person who might have useful information rather than just someone she had to talk to to complete a checklist. I suspect that Dutch is lucky to be her patient.

The replacement hard drive for my new system arrived several days ago, but I hadn’t had a spare moment to do anything with it. While Barbara was away yesterday afternoon, I took the time to install the drive and get Linux Mint 13 LTS up and running. The system is still sitting on the kitchen table, but it’ll shortly move into my office, where it will sit, along with its new monitor, keyboard, and mouse, alongside my current system. I’ll run them side-by-side until I’m satisfied that everything I care about on the current system–apps and data and configurations–has been migrated successfully to the new system. Then and only then I’ll do a cut-over.

I’d originally planned to install the system to the 128 GB SSD, but I changed my mind. I installed Linux to the hard drive, and will use the SSD as a second drive devoted exclusively to data. When I leave the house for anything more than walking Colin, I’ll unmount the SSD, slide it out of its bay, and take it along.

09:33 – I just boxed up another forensic science kit and set it out to ship tomorrow. That’s the third one in the last week, which is about two more than I’d expect to sell in a week this time of year. (The biology kits and chemistry kits both ordinarily outsell the forensic science kits by a factor of four or five.) We’re down to only six forensic science kits in stock, so we’d better get another 30 built soon. Or at least get the small parts bags made up and the chemicals bottled and bagged. Given those, we can build kits as needed on the fly.

Going through the list of chemicals and reagents we’ll need for the new batch of forensic kits I noticed glycerol, which is one of my least favorite chemicals to fill bottles with. The stuff is viscous, which makes it very difficult to fill bottles manually because it wants to form a bubble at the bottle’s mouth and then blurp over and run down the side of the bottle. Using the automatic dispenser is easier, but the viscosity of glycerol makes it almost a gym workout to use the pump. Then I realized that the viscosity of glycerol is strongly affected by temperature. At room temperature, the stuff is gloppy. At around body temperature (37 C) to hot tap water temperature (50 C), the stuff is much, much less viscous. So, the next time I fill glycerol bottles, I’m going to run a bucket of hot tap water and put the 3.8 liter stock bottle of glycerol in it to warm up before I dispense it.