Month: December 2015

Thursday, 10 December 2015

09:58 – I’m back to the point where I can ship kits. My Brother 3070 laser printer is set up, connected, and working. I have 50 or 60 assorted kits in inventory, packing materials, a tape dispenser, and shipping labels. Tomorrow morning, we ship our first kits from our new location.

We’ve still got boxes stacked all over the place, but we’ll get that sorted out over the coming days and weeks. One bad thing about the move. We apparently lost all of our firearms and ammunition. They must have fallen out of the Trooper when we stopped at that scenic overlook. Come to think of it, I do remember hearing a loud splash from the river, about 500 feet below the overlook. I’d go back and look for them, but I can’t remember which overlook it was. All we have left is two 550-round boxes of .22LR and a couple cans of .177 pellets. Those, and Barbara’s old slingshot.

At a commenter’s recommendation, I ordered a powerline networking kit from Amazon yesterday. It arrives tomorrow. All I have to do is plug the base unit in near the router/WAP, connect it to the router with an Ethernet cable, plug in the client unit near the upstairs TV, and run an Ethernet cable to the TV. That sure beats drilling holes and running a physical Ethernet cable.

I tried all of my backup flash drives. I’m able to copy the backup zip files to my notebook hard drive, but I get an error trying to unzip them. All is not lost. I have a fresh WD hard drive lying on my desk that has a complete uncompressed backup of my main system’s hard drive. I’m keeping that in reserve, though. The hard drive in the main system won’t boot, but it spins up and the BIOS recognizes it. I suspect I can just stick it in an external USB or e-SATA frame and pull all the data off it. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try the WD hard drive lying on the desk.

14:31 – I’ve got all my data back. I lost nothing at all, not so much as a single email.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

13:41 – Oh, boy. I just tried to extract my most recent data backups from two flash drives. Both files blow up with an error message. I’ll try earlier versions from the flash drives. If those don’t work. I have a hard drive copy uncompressed that I can try.

The wood stove is installed and tested with burning paper to make sure it draws normally. The guys we’re contracting with to maintain our main heating/cooling system installed it. They strongly recommended getting some good firewood rather than using the pile of rotting stuff that’s sitting out back at the fence line, although we could use that in an emergency. Since it’s a new stove, they said we should expect it to emit a strong odor when we burn the first load of wood. They recommended just buying a small amount of firewood at Lowe’s and using that for the first burn-in pass. I told them I’d just open the back door and let the odors go outside rather than into the house. The flue is completely unused, so they recommended just using the stove as we normally would for the first year and then getting a chimney sweep out to look at it and recommend how often it needed to be cleaned.

I fixed the small TV upstairs, which had randomly fluctuating brightness. I thought we were going to have to return it to Costco, but it turns out that random brightness fluctuations on Vizio TV’s are a feature, not a bug. All I had to do was change the viewing mode from Normal to one of the other modes. I think I picked Gaming. It now works as it should. I can’t believe anyone would consider Normal mode to be in any way normal. At least Vizio’s WiFi implementation Just Works, so we’re good for now. I’ll set up the Roku with the big screen TV downstairs, at least until I have time to run an Ethernet cable up to the den/sitting room.

We’re gradually getting things normalized here. I’m looking forward to running some local errands once I have a moment. I want to visit the gun store, which is owned by our closing attorney’s husband, and stop in at several local places that look interesting. I also want to stop by the local LDS church and meet the people there. When I mentioned that to Barbara, she said, “We are NOT joining the Mormon church.” I agreed with her, but pointing out that LDS churches welcome non-members to take part in their emergency preparedness programs.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

12:32 – I’m back, hitting on two or three of eight cylinders. Our Internet service is working fine, as is Barbara’s Windows notebook, but that’s about the only technology I have working at this point.

I’m typing this on my Dell notebook, which until this morning was running stock Win 8. I tried to create a set of emergency restore discs last night so that I could restore Windows to this notebook if I ever wanted to. The backup created the first disc and then died on the second disk. It did that twice, drawing down my supply of DVD+R discs from the 10 I bought locally yesterday. I finally decided to write off Windows. I downloaded and burned the new Linux Mint LTS version late last night. This morning I installed it, blowing away Windows. I was fully aware that it might be difficult or impossible to get the wireless adapter working under Linux, so I just plugged it into an Ethernet port on the router and am sitting downstairs a few feet from the router.

That router, incidentally, is the original one and is working fine. My problem getting the Roku 3 to connect to it is entirely down to Roku’s completely inept implementation of wireless networking. Every other device we have sees and connects to the router with no problem. So I carried the big TV downstairs this morning and put it next to the router. I’ll run an Ethernet cable to the Roku and everything will work fine. We’ll just have to watch TV downstairs until I can get around to running wired Ethernet upstairs.

I need to get in position to ship kits. That means getting a printer connected to this notebook, not to mention locating all the miscellany needed–tape dispenser, packing material, labels, etc. etc. Fortunately, customers have been understanding when I explain that their orders caught us in the middle of relocating. I WILL get all outstanding orders shipped well in time for Christmas.

The woodstove was delived yesterday. The HVAC guy is coming tomorrow to give our heat pump a checkover and will also install the stove. Barbara left early this morning to make a run down to Winston-Salem to run some errands, buy some stuff we need, and stop by the house to grab some of the stuff we didn’t get moved last week.

Computer-wise, this move has been a disaster. My main desktop system won’t boot. I just tried to restore my data and Firefox/Thunderbird configs from two USB thumb drives. The zip files are on the thumb drives and appear to copy normally to the notebook hard drive, but attempting to unzip them just gives an unhelpful error message. I have more backup copies on other thumb drives and two other hard drives, including copies that weren’t compressed, so I should be able to get a reasonably recent copy of my data back.

So right now I’ve got much more to do than I have time to do it. Still, the move was worth it, and this too shall pass.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

12:32 – We got moved up to Sparta on Friday. Two moving vans worth of stuff. The only casualty was my main desktop PC, which now claims not to be able to find a bootable disk. I may be able to get it fixed when I have a moment. Meanwhile, I can’t connect to my D-link DIR-615 router to configure it to allow MAC addresses for things like my notebook, the Roku (which was previously hardwired), my network printer, and so on.

I just happen to have a spare 615 NIB, which I’ll swap in for the current one once I post this. It may be a few more days before my Internet access is back to normal.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

07:18 – This is my last post for at least a couple of days. In a few minutes, I’ll disconnect our cable modem so that Barbara can drop it by the TWC equipment return place when she’s out running errands this morning. Our Internet connection in Sparta should be live as of now, so I’ll get that connected and working sometime over the weekend.

As much as possible, please put any new comments here rather than with earlier posts. That’ll make it easier for me to catch up on comments once I’m up and running again.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

07:32 – Happy Birthday to Barbara, who turns 3Dx today. I couldn’t think of a better gift than a new house.

With the movers due to arrive Friday morning, frantic packing continues. We won’t get it all finished by Friday, but we’ll get enough of it done that we probably won’t need to hire a U-Haul truck later.

Our Internet service in Winston-Salem is being disconnected tomorrow and it may take a day or two to get it working in Sparta, so this post or tomorrow morning’s post will be the last one here for a few days. Tomorrow evening will be our first time without a full-time Internet connection since 1990, when we were using a nailed-up modem connection for 24×7 Internet service. I guess we’ll have to do something old-fashioned, like reading.

14:55 – We got back about half an hour ago from a quick trip up to Sparta. We made a quick stop at the attorney’s office to pick up the deed and a refund for an overpayment, stopped at the Internet place to get the fiber broadband activated, stopped by to do a quick check of the house, and headed back down to Winston.

We’re trying very hard not to let this move interfere at all with our business. We try hard to ship orders the day they’re received or the next day if they arrive too late for us to get them out first-day. So far, we haven’t had to delay shipping even one kit by even one day. As a matter of fact, I just boxed up and shipped a kit that was ordered early this morning. I’d like to continue our perfect record. In the five years we’ve been doing this, we’ve never failed to meet that standard for in-stock kits, and we’ve almost never been out-of-stock on any kit.

Back to packing.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

08:02 – The house is officially ours, and we’re packing like crazy to get ready for the moving company to arrive here Friday morning. As of Friday afternoon, we’ll be moved up to Sparta and officially living there. Which means we need to get everything packed in the next three days that needs to go on the trucks.

Barbara went furniture shopping yesterday. She has several items scheduled to arrive here on Thursday, including a new sofa and recliner chair, a platform bed, and various lamps and other accessories. We’ll have them stick the new furniture in the garage so the movers can load them easily.

I spent most of yesterday on the phone and web, getting services canceled and address changes made. I also arranged to have a Buck Stoves wood stove delivered to our new house next Monday and installed. There’s most of a cord of wood in a random pile back along the back fence line, just sitting there rotting. But it’s good enough for now, and I’ll get fresh wood delivered once we have time to get a rack installed under the deck. But if we do have a power failure, at least we can keep the house warm and we can do basic cooking.

13:27 – We’re taking a break from packing stuff. We’ve now admitted to ourselves that there’s no way we can have everything ready to go on the moving truck on Friday, but that’s okay. We’ll take both vehicles up, and the stuff we can’t get moved Friday we’ll simply move later. We’ll be down here anyway getting the house ready to go on the market next spring, so there’ll be plenty of trips. If we need to, we’ll rent a U-Haul truck large enough to get everything in one trip. That’d also let us transport some heavy/bulky items that we can’t have ready in time for Friday. That may not be necessary, though. The Trooper does haul a fair amount of weight and volume. Interesting datum. We found out on the last couple of trips up and back that we’re getting a bit more than 18 MPG, which I thought was extraordinary for a pretty heavily loaded 5,500 pound GVWR vehicle climbing the mountain on the way up to Sparta.

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