5 Truck Day

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

We’ve had two busy days at the cabin site this week.

Yesterday, our crew installed all but 2 of the windows, and all the outside doors (3 standard doors from local maker Provia, and 1 sliding door).  They also built the stairway from the basement to the ground floor, so there is no longer a stepladder leaning against the outside of the building towards the first floor door hole.  


We had a visit from Mike, a county engineer. Given that the original driveway to the township road has been there for over a century, all drainage issues seem to have been dealt with, but he spent a long hour discussing ditches and collecting a permit that we didn’t know that we needed.  

Today turned out to be even busier.  Our carpenter crew started in on the ground floor interior wall studding, while Sam and his driver installed gutter drainage around the base of the foundation, and started filling it with the 2 dump truck loads of river gravel that arrived first thing this morning.

 Elizabeth went into town for pizza for everyone, and fortunately, she ordered extra. There were two more pickups by the time she got back with lunch.  The first to arrive was Owen, who’ll be staining the exterior, and then Sheldon, who, weather permitting, will install the septic system and back fill this week.  Elizabeth talked about different exterior finish options, and Sheldon and I walked around the 2 building sites, talked to Sam about optimal position for the septic risers, and then went down to look at the driveway.

After lunch, the carpentry crew started in on the second floor, which was trickier to stud, because the ceilings are higher, and are peaked.  Yesterday, Elizabeth had made her last minute changes to a couple of the upstairs walls, and at this point, all of the studs seem to be in place for the ground and upper floor. 

Sam and his driver started in on the gutter drains for the barn.  Sam and his crew also cleaned up a lot of the discarded building material around the outside, neatly piling it out of the way of the bulldozer.  At this point, we’re ready for Sheldon to back fill the earth around the foundation, recontour the land around the cabin and barn, and install the septic. Its already so muddy that Elizabeth and I have defaulted to boots, and it is supposed to rain 2 out of the next 3 days. 

 The 5th pickup truck today was one of the neighbors, who stopped by to visit and compare notes on a similarly-configured cabin that he’s building. We gave 2 tours of the unfinished cabin to neighbors today.

[If you want to see all the entries for the cabin building project, they start here. The next Building the Cabin entry is 7 Truck Day.]

Windows version what?

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

What’s the matter with the OS I’m using?

“Can’t you tell that your Window’s too wide?”

Maybe I should buy some old Sidekick?

“Welcome back to the age of hive.

Where have you been hiden’ out lately, Sam?

You can’t throw trash till you spend a lot of RAM.”

Everybody’s talkin’ ‘bout the new GUI,

Funny, but it’s still NT to me.

Reinstall: A pain in the Microsoft Windows

Friday, January 9th, 2009

I took an extra long vacation this winter, from Dec 22 until Jan 4.  I needed that many days so I’d have some undisturbed time to reinstall XP on my home computer. This is just one of the normal rituals necessary when using the world’s most popular operating system. Historically, I’ve done it every year or two, once the computer gets painfully slow and unreliable.

I managed to go almost 3 years without having to do it.  My machine  just got slower, and slower, and less reliable. I couldn’t hear sound on YouTube (big loss, there), the slot wouldn’t read CF cards from my DSLR, a couple peripherals wouldn’t work in some USB ports, strange install scripts would kick off for no apparent reason.  It’s a weirdness that gives Microsoft products their own special random charm.

A reinstall is when you hope you know where you’ve put everything on your PC, you open up the box, you hose out the 2 inches of dust that the 4 fans collected, you put in new drives that will hold another 6 months of RAW files, you reinstall Windows, and then you do your best to restore all your data (neatly ruining useful meta data).  Once you are sure it is running correctly, and is faster and more reliable than it has ever been, you  spend a solid two days carefully reinstalling all your software, just to slow it all back down again and introduce random errors and internal conflicts.

Then you spend a couple weeks reinstalling the stuff that you didn’t know you didn’t have.

Windows is especially challenging because you can’t just pick up stuff and move it. Unlike Apple’s OS, Linux, Xenix, Unix, and other efficient, reliable, and easily-administered computer operating systems, Microsoft consistently avoided design facilitating intuitive decisions about system operation. With a normal OS,  if you want to move somebody’s files, you just pick them up and move them. If you want to move an application, you pick it up and move it. If you want to delete temporary files, you delete them.  Windows just throws all that stuff together–in three entirely different places, one of which is not visible to mortals. You can’t just move it–you need to do a planned migration.

How did this happen, you might ask?  Well, it is actually very simple: (more…)

Just send them to your home PC and then upload them from there

Friday, July 4th, 2008

I’ve spent most of the evening trying to upload 20 pictures from my high school reunion to Facebook. Processing the pictures was easy–I use Lightroom and once I got the RAW files into the correct directory on my Vosonic drive, it only took about 15 minutes to change color balance, exposure, and cropping. Then it got interesting.

My corporate laptop, due for upgrade, is peculiarly challenged with server side scripts. I don’t know what the technical explanation for this is–if there can even be one. I just find web-based applications as being especially conducive to data loss. Not being able to login to www.facebook.com directly thru my corporate laptop (nor my personal email), I finally got the pictures online by logging into my home computer, using www.logmein.com. After establishing that I didn’t have any probs connecting into logmein, I mailed a zipped folder full of pictures to my home account, and then loaded them into Facebook thru my home desktop, the screen of which is conveniently scraped off and presented to me thru Logmein. Neither Rube Goldberg nor Heath Robinson could have come up with a more convoluted path from my DSLR to my Facebook photo directory.

This is the penalty I pay after a week that started off reasonably well on the PC front. It had been 11 months since my last visit to Ohio, and Dad had a laundry list of things for me to do on his PC. I won’t go into gory details on why his laptop had 3 portable hard drives hanging off of it like suckling digital piglets. A quick trip to the computer superstore and a couple hours of consolidating files resulted in a single external drive for photos, with a second only attached as a backup. That hardware triumph was followed by a software success, reconfiguring his copy of Lightroom, and importing approximately 11,000 photos. All of it must have worked, because he’s been merrily keywording photographs for 2 days now.

After struggling mightily to actually write and save my last posting using the www.wordpress.com software I’d installed on my new web site (you can blame it on my laptops aversion to php if you want), I decided to experiment with a new blog client called www.zoundryraven.com. Once I established that it actually seemed to work (connecting itself to my blogging account in record time), I installed it on a memory stick running www.portableapps.com. If you can read this, then it must have worked.

Assuming it keeps working, I can plug my USB stick into any of the 4 laptops that my family is taking to Heiser Hollow next week, write a blog posting, and then upload it by pushing a button. Given this week’s lack of online success, I’m thinking that web-based apps at dial-up modem speed just aren’t going to cut it.