This is Eric Wilner's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Eric Wilner's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Eric Wilner
An eclectical engineer, attempting to find Slack in Silicon Valley.
Interests: Electronics, computers, Linux, science fiction, gadgeteering, costuming, creative absurdity, hiking
Recent Activity
The Israelis did it! And it was a tactical nuke! Er, no. Are we to believe that the Israelis set fire to the warehouse, waited until there'd been a medium-sized explosion and a bunch of small ones, and then hit the conflagration with a missile? Or they didn't start the fire, but as long as the building was on fire they used a missile on it anyway? Either way, it makes no sense. Also, that final explosion was way too big for a deliverable conventional warhead*, so.... No, it wasn't a tac nuke. Definitely a chemical explosion, from the look of it - or rather, if I'm seeing things correctly in one of the vids, several chemical explosions very close together, consistent with either a munitions dump or just a warehouse full of piles of explosive material. (A nuke blast does happen in multiple stages, but on a sub-millisecond time scale, and everything prior to the fission reaction is tiny... Continue reading
Posted 1 hour ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Image
Will it hop? Can I chase it? (Sorry, but the hop didn't happen until Tuesday, by which time she wasn't watching.) Continue reading
Posted 8 hours ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Amendment XIV Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Seems that an awful lot of public officials in various States are in fact denying equal protection, in a variety of ways. The recent proposal in Seattle to restrict prosecution of participants in particular, named protests is especially blatant, in that it's right there in writing and not just an unwritten directive. Looks like we really need to dust off some of those Reconstruction-era civil-rights laws, from the time when certain local officials had a pattern... Continue reading
Posted 14 hours ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Image
Apparently, Baldrick is now teaching Education. Seems that Our Betters Who Control The Curriculum have determined that two beans plus two beans is not four beans but merely some beans, number indeterminate, or possibly giraffe. Because basic arithmetic is a social construct (like basic anatomy), and a tool of white supremacy. Hey, ya know what? If you teach all the not-white people that arithmetic doesn't matter... only white people will be able to do arithmetic, and, whaddaya know, they'll reign supreme. Whereas if you teach everybody to use these universal tools that work exactly the same for everyone, you erode that white (or Asian, or Jewish) advantage. Update: , and don't you dare question my lived experience. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Silicon Valley Redneck
Has anyone under fifty been exposed to history in school? Like, at all? Seems the latest belief is that the Nazis were the onliest ones ever to use chicken-on-a-beach-ball iconography, so when Donny Junior used some sort of eagle-on-a-circle on a web site it must have been a Fascist thing and not related to, say, the seal that appears in front of Nancy Pelosi, or perhaps the KAOS logo.* The 1619 Project's blatant attempt to rewrite history is the end stage, not the beginning. Most of the true history has already been erased, little by little over the decades; it merely remains to substitute a new history that better serves the interests of Big Brother. And, yes, making people ashamed of their nation's history and culture does serve the interests of Big Brother, much better than would a sense of pride in long-established institutions; see also the push to discredit the Constitution and replace it with unfettered one-party rule. Oh,... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Silicon Valley Redneck
Direct from the manufacturer. Checkout invokes the Stripe popup for payment. Stripe conveniently has my card on file, and just needs to send me a text for verification. Except... The card on file is outdated. Like, my bank replaced it a year or so back with a new card with a new number. There doesn't seem to be any provision for entering a different card number. (By the way, guys? A lot of different business use Stripe. 'Twould be really nice if the popup allowed for selecting among multiple saved cards, as well as replacing the one on file and adding a new one. Some of us like to use different cards for different types of purchases. Business vs. personal, for example. Maybe I'm supposed to use separate e-mail addresses? But sometimes I buy business stuff and personal stuff from the same vendor.) So anyway. Click on the "go ahead and pay" button, knowing that it won't work. Card declined,... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Regrading the utility of the "two weeks months years to flatten the curve" thing: I keep hearing that antibodies to the Wuhan virus don't last very long. Like, maybe a couple of months or so, after which they fade away and acquired immunity is presumably lost. If so, well: by spreading the plague out over many months, we're allowing infected-and-recovered people to lose their immunity while the virus is still running rampant, so they have the opportunity to get infected again. Seems counterproductive, no? Also, if the immunity only lasts a couple of months, a vaccine won't help much, will it? I mean, unless everyone in the world gets vaccinated within a few-week interval? Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Dunno what happened here, but I just got a late-payment notice from AAA. I check online, and it looks like the membership is current, and furthermore on autopay. Guess I'll have to call them tomorrow and try to sort it out. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Supposedly we have outdoor coyotes, but they don't seem to be eating anything like enough of the rabbits. Have to do some serious habitat reduction, probably over the winter when things are less leafy.
Toggle Commented 4 days ago on Lawn hamsters at Silicon Valley Redneck
Something scurries out of the tall grass. Many somethings. Rodentlike, between mouse and rat in size, and short of tail. I suppose they're voles, but shouldn't they be wearing little orange jerseys? Or have I got that wrong? Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
So I set up a modest-sized dehumidifier in the garage.... Given the amount of water in the air out there, a drain hose was mandatory; I ran one from the little hose fitting out to the driveway. It worked for a little while, after which the dehumidifier's bucket filled up. Hm. I tried various things: putting the dehumidifier on a 2' pedestal, affixing the hose to the fitting with a hose clamp, etc., and still the bucket filled up. The dehumidifier refuses to operate with a full bucket. Aha! The problem here is that there's very little head between the collection basin and the drain hose fitting, so that even a tiny bit of back-pressure will cause the basin to overflow instead of draining. And... though the hose had that 2¾' drop right at the beginning... after that, it went over some bumps. Up a couple of inches, and then back down. So, as water trickled down the hose, it... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Been dusting off some tools that had been mothballed these past two decades and more, and ordering parts and supplies from companies with which I'd done some business 25-30 years ago and that had been Good Suppliers way-back-when. I'm being coy about the nature of this stuff because Reasons, so we'll call them companies "M", "L", and "D" for now. "M" is a major (in its business sector, which isn't all that large) reseller; "L" and "D" are manufacturers. First up was "M": still slightly gimmicky (as it was in the days of printed catalogs and phone orders), a bit low on inventory at the moment (as is everybody) but keeping to list-or-below prices and still managing to have a lot of stuff to sell. In the computer age, ordering is easy, and shipment is fast, though they're being very apologetic about delays, so maybe they were even better last year? Their web site could use some improvements; I suppose... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Image
Amazon had a suggestion: magnesium ribbon. Hm. Well, click on it and have a look. Not that I think I have much use for it just now. That's... an interesting combination. Frequently bought together, you say? I wonder who's buying those things together, and what they're up to. Also, to what extent Big Brother monitors such purchases. There's also a suggestion for "Green Fuse for Model Rocketry 2mm". For model rocketry. Riiiight. Model rocketeers ain't supposed to use fuse, are they? Last I heard, 'twas electrical ignition only. Afterthought: song. And book. Guys? It ain't boog o'clock yet. Nowhere near... unless the crazies gain control. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
We had a fairly fierce thunderstorm last night, with 25 MPH wind (as reported by the weather station by the side fence, which doesn't report peaks as such) and quite a bit of rain. We'd had some rain a few days ago, too, with the regrettable consequence that the grass had started growing again, so I had to do some mowing yesterday before the storm arrived. While I was out there... Backing those few days: when the last bit of rain turned up, the weather station didn't record it. At all. I guessed maybe there were wasps nesting in the rain gauge or something, and figured I'd have to haul a ladder out there sometime soon and take a look. Well, as I was mowing in that area, I encountered a round black plastic thing among the grass. Luckily, I encountered it visually and not lawnmower-bladeally. A bit of contemplation, and I realized that it was the funnel meant to... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
I could sworn that Android used to let me set alert volume separately from ring volume, but it doesn't now, and just when I really want the text-message alert to be quieter while keeping the ring sound at full volume. And furthermore! How come I can't enable alert sounds for urgent weather situations, like lightning nearby? And, for those alerts that do have audible notifications, why do they all use the same sound as the text-message alert? It doesn't help that sometimes one volume setting or another will get changed unexpectedly, so maybe I'll notice the phone vibrating and see that there's an incoming call, but the ring volume is mysteriously zero instead of maximum. Does anyone actually test these UI changes? Should I be downloading some alternative volume-control / audio-alert app that's stable and does what I want? Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Well, duh: It means taking money away from long-established public services (however flawed) and transferring it, without input from the voters, to a slush fund controlled by whatever political faction may happen to be in power locally (hint: D). Said slush fund is then used to pay off the Party's shock troops, or the radical faction that's successfully intimidated the local politicians, take your pick. In short, really blatant corruption masquerading as appeasement. (Cue Echo's Children song about riding a tiger.) Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Took a little (much needed) nap. Woke up, sort of. Checked phone. No missed calls, but a voicemail. 'Twas the Frigidaire apology-bot announcing that, owing to inventory issues, that freezer I'd ordered from Home Depot on June 18th for delivery July 1st ain't happening August 19th either. Someone, or something, is supposed to call within the next 48 hours to schedule a new delivery date. Next spring, ya think? And meanwhile I haven't been looking around for any-freezer-that-I-might-actually-be-able-to-buy. Oh, and Home Depot's web site isn't terribly helpful. Go to Freezers, check the box for Hide Unavailable Products, and it still shows plenty of items, including the one we were supposed to be getting, complete with Add to Cart buttons. Click through to any particular product page, though, and it shows Out of stock. Great. Update: It's now Sunday afternoon, a bit over 49 hours since that message was left, and no sign of the promised followup call. Maybe - dare... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Apparently the new rule is that everyone has to wear sneeze guards. Er, face shields. Well, sneeze guards. Which kinda-sorta makes sense for, e.g., medical workers who are in close proximity to those who may be infected with the Klonovirus and are coughing and/or sneezing. But for the general public? Really? I thought we were supposed to be worried about respiratory ærosols, about which those face shields do nothing. You can't play it the same way twice. No one's allowed to question the masks. I think the next move is rook takes battleship. ... Maybe this is an excuse to go around in public wearing a motorcycle helmet, which not only comes with a built-in face shield but also protects against both impact and identification? Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Traditionally, a mural has been a large work of art painted directly on a wall, or perhaps a ceiling. The word comes from a Latin word meaning wall; see also intramural (within the walls), etc. In Newspeak, words painted on a road now constitute a mural. I think crosswalks may also be included when convenient. Not art, not on a wall, but we'll call it a mural anyway. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
So I mentioned there was supposed to be a whole lot of stuff arriving today? Lot of it grouped together today because Wednesday is Amazon Day? I got a dozen Amazon notifications of attempted delivery. Tracking info says "either the item was too large or your mailbox was too small." Also something about looking for an attempted-delivery notice. Apparently Joy likewise got notifications regarding some things she was expecting. Er. At least a couple of times a week, just about every week this year, there's been at least one USPS delivery of stuff that most definitely does not fit in the mailbox. Vehicle (station wagon, Jeep, or regulation parcel truck) comes right up the driveway, and the driver deposits the parcels outside the garage door. I did trudge down to the mailbox, and there wasn't a note in it, so this wasn't a case of not-the-usual-driver unexpectedly finding that a 40-pound case of kitty litter doesn't fit in the box.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
A saying, of late: "This is a peaceful protest, and as long as all of our demands are met it'll stay that way." Translation: "I come in peace. Give me all the money and nobody gets hurt." Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Seems people have been getting mysterious, unexpected packets of seeds in the mail, apparently from China. (I've gotten packets of seeds with only Chinese markings many weeks after ordering semi-arcane seeds on Amazon. Making assumptions about their connection to my Amazon orders, I attempted to sprout them, in little pots. Nary a one of them germinated.) Sometimes, gift horses require close examination. Afterthought: What do these seeds look like, and has anyone heard from Putrid T. Gangreen lately? Update: Or was it the Press Secretary? Bit of a tomato herself, no? Has anyone translated the Chinese markings on these seed packets? "Seed of the Damn' Gorgeous Tree" perchance? Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
I must be getting serious about setting it up. I just ordered a beer fridge. OK, so... basically a mini-fridge that (1) gets decent reviews, and (2) is short enough to fit under one of the folding tables. And it's not actually for beer (duh). I just need a place to store things like solder paste that aren't all that shelf-stable (various sorts of adhesives, probably some other things) and that don't really belong in with the food. ... Still need to run a drain line for a dehumidifier; if I can't, at this point, air-condition the lab area, perhaps I can at least keep the humidity down to something tolerable. Meanwhile, I'm still learning KiCad, which has improved considerably since I first looked at it, but still seems to have a ways to go. I might use it for an open-hardware project later this year, in addition to the client project that's the current incentive (making minor changes to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Supposed to be probably-thunderstormy most of today, but no promise of any actual rain showing up locally. Early-morning conditions: temperature in the low 70s; humidity in the low 90s. Fine for lounging around; not so great for wrestling with heavy stuff. Which, yes.... What with a bunch of stuff expected to arrive this week, I figured it was time to remove some of the clutter from the staging area in the garage. So, two small but very heavy pieces of furniture to be moved out of the garage, across the top of the gravel driveway, over the retaining wall, across the back lawn, into the barn, then to their new positions where maybe they'll even see some use. I got very sweaty indeed, for so early in the morning. But, there's now a good-sized patch of clear floor space in that corner of the garage, and I have some more options for organizing the stuff that I use over in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Earl wasn't exactly a close friend (mainly owing to busy schedules and general lack of opportunity to get better acquainted). Still, he was the sort of person one misses even as an occasional acquaintance.
Toggle Commented Jul 27, 2020 on More unwelcome news at Silicon Valley Redneck