Category: computing

Wed. Aug. 2, 2023 – Home for a few days… so I’ve got work to do!

Hot and humid of course. It was smoking hot when I left my BOL, and pretty freaking hot when I got to Houston. It started blowing and raining shortly after I got home, and that helped for a short time. Still hot.

Got everything buttoned up, and finished cleaning up some of the mess from all the grading and excavating I did last month at the BOL. It wasn’t on my list to clean the driveway but after seeing it through fresh eyes, it had to be done. It was also the coolest thing I could think of to do in the morning. I’m glad I did it too, as it made a huge difference.

That and putting everything away took most of the day. I left for Houston, did a stop for gas and to pick up some auction items, and eventually got home.

Where I discovered some computer issues. We had a power outage and things didn’t come back up. Details are in yesterday’s comments, but the takeaway is- be sure your electronics are on surge protectors and UPSs, not just ‘power strips’. Even good power strips with metal cases, aren’t necessarily surge protectors. My main PC is one month shy of being 10 years old. It still works (other than this new power supply issue) well for everything I need to do. I have a software environment that I like, with everything saved and auto-filling what needs to be filled, and don’t want to change or re-install a bunch of software. Besides that, it offends my soul to get rid of something that is working well.

So I’ll try a new psu and hope there wasn’t any damage to motherboard or other components.

Today I’ve got stuff to take to my auctioneer. I’ll try to make a couple of trips if I can. One pickup in the afternoon, and IF there is time left after that, I need to go by the rent house and see what my part of the ‘getting ready to rent to new tenants’ clusterflock will be. I’m thinking fence repair, porch floor repair, and ceiling drywall repair, just from what I already know. My wife will be cleaning and painting and doing any small wall repairs. Thank gnu we only have to do this every few years. Five years in this case. I would not like to do it every year.

It’s a busy time of year and the rent house changeover isn’t helping. We’ve got to hit it hard and get the place rented again. There’s no rest for the weary, or the wicked. Take your pick. And stack something.

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Sat. July 22, 2023 – headed home later today… but work first

Hot, but not as bad as Houston. It was only 88F when I got here, and got down to 78F at midnight. Very pleasant. Only a hint of a breeze but the smoke kept the bugs away.

I did my auction pickups, cruised through the ‘bins’ store near one of them. Picked up some more red ropelight for the dock. I’ve already got some, but needed more. It’s to light the edges when we have the telescopes out… When I got here, the 88F temps and setting sun felt cool. How messed up is that? So I got most of the trailer unloaded. I’ll do the rest today, and might do some of the construction/setup to see what the issues are and if I need more supplies.

Then it’s back to Houston.

Where there is plenty of work waiting for me.

Like always.

Stack up some projects. And stack up some supplies. Hurricane season is here after all. And so might be ‘canned sunshine’ season. If that happens, the panic alone will make you want to hunker down and avoid going out. So stack it up.


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Fri. July 21, 2023 – which has come far too quickly this week

Hot hot hot. Humid, humid, humid. 100F or more today, with sun. Like yesterday. It’s hot.

Got my trailer, got to SA, got it loaded, and safely home. Today I will take it to the BOL and unload. Still not sure if I’m just staying up there and installing the stuff or if I’m turning and burning for home. I have not gotten enough stuff done at home recently, but there are jobs to do at the BOL too.

D1 going to camp on Sunday complicates things, as W and D2 will stay home to get her ready and then to camp… otherwise, I think my wife would just bring the kids up for the weekend too. Staying at the BOL by myself feels a bit like hiding from the work down here. Which is really weird.

Oh well, I’ll play it by ear. Maybe I’ll split the difference.

In any case, I’ll be heading up later today. I do have a pickup to make and I want to get a couple of things from Lowes so that should fill my morning.

There is always more to do. I will have to make choices.

Making choices sucks because once you do, you have collapsed all the possibilities down into that one choice. And what if it’s the wrong choice?? Don’t be paralyzed by that fear. You can change it later. There may be more cost, there may be opportunity lost, but for almost everything, you can fix or modify it later. So make a choice. It’s also why I try to have costs as low as possible, so the impact of a wrong choice is minimized, at least financially.

One choice NOT to make is to put off prepping. Do it. Stack some things. Otherwise, you will be cursing yourself later.


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Thur. July 20, 2023 – lots of driving today

Hot and humid again and still. Well over 100F in my driveway yesterday but I missed the peak. It was still 99F in the shade at 7pm. Today will likely be similar. Which should be miserable.

Didn’t do much yesterday. Got my trash and debris from the BOL disposed of. Took D1 to an appointment. Mostly caught up on auctions. Several things I need are in this week’s sales. Hope I get a few.

Today will mostly be eaten by picking up a trailer, heading to San Antonio, picking up a load of stuff there, and heading home. Should be about 7 hours round trip, once I have the trailer. I’ll be driving the Expedition as it has more towing capacity. It’s more comfortable, but drinks more gas. At least I’ll have the Jim Butcher audio book to listen to. Should be pretty close to the end by the time I get home.

I ordered a set of the first 4 books in the series since I’m liking this one so much. I’ve read them, some more than once, but I’m laughing at the humor and turn of phrase. There is a lot of detail in the books, and knowing where the story goes, it’s easy to see where some of the arcs start. One inconvenient thing is that the set is MP3 audio on CDs. I’ll have to convert and rip to regular CDs to listen in my Ranger, it doesn’t play mp3. I think it’s about 10 hours per book, so it will take me a while to get through the first ones, after I finish the current one. The MP3 sets are MUCH cheaper than standard 10 disc CD sets. 4 disks vs 40 is a dramatic reduction.

It might be easier to move them to my phone and play through an FM modulator. That’s how I have my XM radio attached in the Ranger. Or move them to a different phone… android really doesn’t handle concurrent audio from different sources very well. I’ll lose the turn by turn navigation, or the audio stream. Or I could swap out the older factory radio for something more capable. I’ve got the upgraded radio, that will play mp3s, on the shelf as a backup. Nothing is ever as easy or straightforward as it should be though, and I’ve got more projects than I can get to already.


All the chattering aside, the work on the BOL will be eating up the majority of my time for a while. Somehow I’ll have to fit in the changeover to new tenants and all that entails at the rental house too. Got to keep that income stream flowing. That’s a backup too. And doing all the stuff around the house here, and the vehicle maintenance, and getting the kids started in the new school year…

Yeah. Don’t weaken. Don’t falter. Get ready. Stack.


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Wed. July 19, 2023 – home sweet home

Where it is hot and humid. Because Texas. Hoping we don’t cross 100F again, but not betting against it. It was certainly that hot at the BOL yesterday.

Did some stuff before heading home, details are in yesterday’s comments. Mostly little short tasks that weren’t critical. It was too hot to do much.

Today I’ve got to get caught up here at home, make arrangements for a pickup in San Antonio, and get rid of all the trash and debris I brought home with me. It would also be nice to take a load to my auctioneer… but I’m not counting on that.

And I need to take a look at the current auctions. There is still stuff I need for the BOL and even some things for home.

I may even break down a buy some stuff directly, mainly sprinkler stuff. I need pipe, connectors, and sprinkler heads. I’ll give the auctions a chance, and even cruise ‘the bins’ once before paying retail though.

There is always something needed, and something missing. And usually something that needs replacing or updating. So get to it, stack some things.


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Sun. July 2, 2023 – turning money into smoke and noise, God Bless America!

Hot and humid, likely to be just like yesterday. Too hot to be in the sun, but ok in the shade. High 90s, low 100s and sweaty like a sex worker in the non-denominational house of worship of your choice…

Took a bit of a break yesterday. I was fried. So I slept (mostly) for 10 hours and felt better. Still easily frustrated and fighting with life which is not my normal state. Once I got on the machines I was better.

Built the stairs I should have built the day before. They’ll do just fine for a while, up to a year if needed. Now I have to build a set for the other patio door too.

Spent 5 hours breaking concrete. Dumpster is pretty near full so I’m glad I ordered one for Monday. Still got plenty to remove.

Then we had the community Independence Day celebration. A couple of the neighbors pool their money and put on a 3/4 sized professional fireworks show. They also have a party with food and a live band, and they ask for donations to the local volunteer fire department. The show lasted for 40 minutes and had all the stuff a big pro show would, just slightly smaller, and they don’t go as high. Still freaking awesome. And we watched from just across the cove, about 100-200 ft away.

After the fireworks the band played another set. We could hear them just fine, and it wasn’t too loud.

The guys organize this every year and our little subdivision takes part. This is “community”. This is what we are very aware that we are joining. We are joining with an existing group. I think a lot of people don’t consider this, or give it enough weight when looking for a BOL or a retirement place. Especially in rural areas, you are joining THEM. Act accordingly.

You need to work on fitting in, and starting to take your place in the web of favors, obligations, service, and support. You probably don’t have the family ties the locals do, so you will have to work harder. You need to be ‘known’ to them and be well thought of.

And in this mostly working class community, I think I just ratcheted up my cred by running the machines and doing the work myself. That is an unexpected bonus for something that was driven by necessity. Being known as a hard worker, and someone who can run a machine all day carries a lot more weight than a degree with a lot of the guys in the area. Don’t know if it will pay off, but it can’t hurt.

Today I’ll probably start with fixing the drain for the washing machine. That is nice and quiet and the area should be in shade in the morning. Later, I’ll start back in on busting up concrete. SO MUCH CONCRETE.

Join a community. Ham radio, some service org, school volunteer, or whatever you are interested in. Get out of the house and DO something. You need to be a part of your local community, if for no other reason, so that you can recognize when things are normal and when they are not. Trouble or help is most likely to come from those nearest to you. Get to know who they are.

Stack up some community.

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Sat. June 17, 2023 – poetry circle time…

Hot and humid.   Next 5 days too.   Very hot yesterday.  I was careful working, but still got a touch of sunburn and felt a little “off”.

Did a quick pickup yesterday morning, then headed to my client’s house to finish up the open items.  Stopped at my local electronics/networking/installer stuff store and grabbed a ubiquiti access point.   Didn’t realize I was grabbing the heavy duty “long range” mack daddy version.   That thing will light your hair on fire…

I was careful to alternate indoor and outdoor tasks throughout the afternoon and evening.   The late start gave me some good shade to work in, and I work a big straw hat and my cool vest.  Even so I fell behind in my hydration.   When the sweat stops dripping off my nose and eyelids, it’s time to drink some more.

Got most of the work done.  Took longer than it should have.  Automagic is great, when it works, and if it works.   Sometimes it takes a lot of messing around and multiple tries before the magic does its thing.   That can be very frustrating.   I fought with adding cameras to the NVR and with adding the WAP to the existing network.

Upsold the client on three more cams, so I’ll still have money coming in next month.

Today is my non-prepping hobby meeting.  It got moved a week due to a conflict with the venue.   After that, I’ll do a couple of small pickups, and hit my secondary location to load up some stuff for the BOL.  Then it’s home to do yard work so I can get out of town for a while and work at the BOL.

In the interest of ‘improving’ myself, I will occasionally do something I don’t normally do.   Reading poetry is one of those  things.   I do enjoy Kipling, and many of the people I read online make sure to mention his poems from time to time.

A week or two or a few ago I picked up a book at the goodwill ‘bins’ store it was vintage, but not particularly valuable.   It was poetry  by Robert L. Service and a couple bits I read were funny or engaging so I got it for me, even though it wasn’t worth enough to re-sell.   Imagine my surprise when I was reading along in the smallest room in the house, and I found I recognized something…   I’ll close today with the last stanza.   The whole thing is available here.

It Is Later Than You Think

Lastly, you who read; aye, you
Who this very line may scan:
Think of all you planned to do …
Have you done the best you can?
See! the tavern lights are low;
Black’s the night, and how you shrink!
God! and is it time to go?
Ah! the clock is always slow;
It is later than you think;
Sadly later than you think;
Far, far later than you think.

emphasis added.

Stack it up.


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Sat. May 20, 2023 – finally a day without obligations… so I get to do my own

Cooler but warming later.  Some chance of rain.   Maybe clear later.   Yesterday was nice and hot, sunny too.   D1 had a good time at the beach.

I was looking for a safety monitor to watch out for me in the attic at my client’s place.   It was REALLY hot in the attic.   Fortunately I did all the hard and sweaty crawling around last time.  All I had to do was enter, and connect cabling.  Still, last time I measured the attic temps in summer, I got 142F iirc.   I might take a thermometer back with me on Monday or Tues. just to see.   In any case it was dangerously hot.

I didn’t get any one thing done over there either.   Got the camera rebooted.   Tried adding the new cam, but firmware and OS on the NVR were too old.   I’m replacing it all next week anyway so I didn’t update anything.   Did some maintenance on the ubiquiti Cloud Key appliance that works as a manager and dashboard for the system.   Didn’t update any firmware in the system either, as I didn’t have time to recover if anything broke.  Did get new hardware added.

Got the NanoStation 5AC loco added, and configured as an access point.  I confirmed there is signal at the gate opener and keypad.   If I have to, I can add the other one, a switch at the gate, and config it all as a wire replacement.   More gear, more time, more effort, so I’m hoping that I’ve done enough with wifi coverage.  I couldn’t quite finish, as I needed to locate a PoE injector in the attic, and I didn’t have what I needed with me to plug everything in.  I’ll bring that back next week and finish that.

And I got the control gear installed, the piece I had to wait most of a year to find on ebay as normal channels are dry.   It’s configured but not complete as the controls programmer hasn’t done his part yet.  He wants me there when he connects and sets it up.  I’ll need to test it in any case.

So a lot got done, but nothing got done.

Today I should be doing more cleaning, and taking stuff out of the house and to storage.  It’s piling up while waiting for an auctioneer, but it needs to be out of the foyer and living room.  I’ve been doing other stuff, and making the piles higher as I organized.   If it isn’t raining, today is the day that organizing will bear fruit as the stuff goes away.

Oh, all the normal weekly domestic bliss needs to happen too.   Joy.

It’s a great life, if you don’t falter.

Stack something, even if it’s a small stack.


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Sun. Apr. 2, 2023 – hoping the weather holds…

It might be warm and damp.  Might not, but I’m betting on warm and damp.   Yesterday cleared to a beautiful afternoon and early evening, but got overcast and cooled a bit later.   There were even some spotty drops from the sky depending on where you were in town.   Nothing real at my house though.

I’ll have to move fixing the sprinklers up the list if it stays dry much longer.

Spent yesterday afternoon doing auction things.   Picked up at two houses, mostly stuff for the BOL and home.  One item was a needful thing that has been in short supply for a while.  Price was reasonable too.  Went by the GW outlet, and picked up a couple of handy things and a couple of things for resale.

Came home and looked as some of the stuff I got at the hobby estate.   I’ve still got some books and some more tools to go through, but I’m happy so far.

I also sorted some auction stuff.   I’ll do more of that today.

It would be nice to get a freezer delivered to make room in  my storage unit…   but I’ll settle for sorting more auction stuff, and maybe doing home maintenance.   I’ve got to stick close to home to get the child from her GS trip.  I should break down and vac seal some meat too.  Just my normal domestic bliss…

For the first time in a couple of years I was able to add to the stack of one certain thing in a meaningful way.   Look around, supply might be opening up a tad.

Stack whatever you can find.


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Fri. Feb. 24, 2023 – in which our hero discovers another week has flown by…

Warm and humid.  No rain in the forecast but maybe some more overcast.   Yesterday was mostly overcast, but we didn’t get any rain in the places I visited.   I’ve got stuff in the back of my truck that I don’t really want to get wet before I can get it put away…

Did get pickups done.   Last pickup for the one auctioneer, who is calling it quits.   We may be at the same stage of returns and overstock reselling as house flipping was just before that collapsed.   New players with no experience are paying too much to buy in, thinking it’s easy money, while more experienced players are finding it hard to stay in the game, or no longer profitable.   A crash and consolidation seem to be headed this way for this nascent but quite large market activity.

It is actually a new version of an old business.   There have been resellers, wholesalers, surplus outlets, auctions, and fire sales for a long time.  Probably since the first failed product in the market.  But the old business model of insiders and somewhat disguised markets (Ross Dress for Less did pretty well selling the stock other retailers couldn’t move, ditto for Marshalls and the “outlet store” fiction) expanded and shifted and combined with online auctions, cottage industry, and the idea of the side hustle to spawn a whole new crop of reseller businesses.   There has been a huge increase in the size and scope of the market, as new sellers pop up and buyers become aware of what’s available.

Shakeout and consolidation is probably inevitable.

One consideration is that it has broken the traditional retail model, and opened people up to the idea that goods don’t have to come from a store (or a big company  — I mean selling platform– like Amazon).   As the general economy worsens, there will be an increase in bargain hunters, of necessity.  That means more person to person selling, more non-traditional venues (like swapmeets, black and grey markets, permanent yard sales, etc.)   If it happens it means I was right to advocate learning about this way to shop before it became a necessity 😛

Anyway, consider your own habits and routines for getting the stuff you need and use.   What if those options are not available, or not available at a price you can afford?   It’s always easier to learn a new skill while you still have the backup option of doing things the old way.

Get out there and start learning about the secondary economy, or the “informal” economy.   Use the practice to increase your stacks, and kill two birds with one stone.



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