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
Just turned the page on my 2020 Discworld wall calendar. All looks normal up to the end of the year. The space following the 31st of December, though, proclaims, in large unfriendly red letters: ICK I guess we'll find out. Continue reading
Posted 4 hours ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Image
Not exactly Hawaiian-shirt-and-cargo-shorts weather out there at the moment. On the other hand, there's not enough for a proper snowman, either. Nor for sledding down the front lawn. Not that I've ever owned a sled anyway. (Hey, Amazon! Can I get same-day delivery on a sled?) Update: Southmoon has noticed the snow (and is watching the clumps that are still falling). Alas, we still haven't gotten around to a fenced-in cat run (various other things are supposed to happen first, and they didn't happen this year), so she can't go out and play, not can Top Hat try out her snowfeet. Continue reading
Posted 6 hours ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
The forecast had the rain turning fluffy around dinnertime; in fact, it happened somewhat before 1600. Mail didn't arrive until 1720, so, after dinner, I had to trudge 20 miles to the mailbox through snow and darkness, uphill both ways. Update: Snow continues into the morning. There's even a small accumulation on the grass, cars, mailbox, etc. Good thing we weren't planning to go anywhere this morning. Pics later, after it gets light out there. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Silicon Valley Redneck
Spotted here: “The state of peace among men living side by side is not the natural state; the natural state is one of war,” wrote philosopher Immanuel Kant in 1795. Contrast: Man, a bear in most relations—worm and savage otherwise,— Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise. Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act. And, in real life? Yeah, men compete, but men also cooperate to accomplish great deeds. And maintaining a state of war requires strict supervision, lest spontaneous and unauthorized peace break out. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Posted 2 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Spent a chunk of the morning doing unexpectedly hard work with my hands. Got both hands and wrists, and my left forearm, right sore. Then, this afternoon, I got around to swapping in the new 12V (Aux) battery in the Younger Prius. This process involved a considerable amount of contortion. So now my back is sore too. There was other stuff I had planned for this fine sunny afternoon, but I guess it'll have to wait. I hope the weather will cooperate tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow evening is supposed to bring rain lasting most of the way through Monday, followed by snow. Which I'm fine with, as long as I'm not trying to accomplish anything outdoors. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Image
I find this a little difficult to comprehend: (It actually arrived right around 2000 on Friday, not 2055, but whatever.) Amazon to carrier to Amazon to carrier to Amazon to another carrier and eventually here? And when it got here, it was wearing a Priority Mail envelope, which isn't how Amazon usually ships small Prime parcels. Correction: The Priority Mail item that showed up on the doorstep at 2000 wasn't that one (I thought it was a bit bulky), but in fact was from another vendor, and I wasn't expecting it until Monday. The little item from Amazon turned up in the mailbox, with the mail, sometime well after dark - so it could have been 2055 at that. I found a full mailbox this morning when I trudged down to the road to fetch the paper. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Wake up at 0300 with various leg cramps and my glucose alarm buzzing. (The buzzer isn't actually glucose-specific, but that's one of the things that will set my left ear a-buzzing). Eventually stumble out into the kitchen in search of morning caffeine. Dishpan is still full. Cat food is everywhere. Oh, right: there were a lot of dishes, so the drainers were still full of slowly-drying cooking and dinner stuff at bedtime, leaving the dishpan full of dessert things. Also, Joy zonked out uncharacteristically early, what with a lingering headache and a food overdose, having given the cats their last feed of the evening. So, bunch of cleanup to be done. Now that I'm moving around and somewhat caffeinated, the buzzing is diminishing. Almost time to go face the mess, and do something about breakfast. A high-protein breakfast, I think. Something to calm the warning buzzer, not further provoke it. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Two significant cooking items today: one large chicken, and one pumpkin pie. There'll be side dishes too, of course. Got the chicken unwrapped, giblets removed, and tucked into a giant zipper-bag with seasoning (cooking oil, balsamic vinegar, a little salt, a little red pepper, some thyme, and all the tarragon - this called for a trip to the basement to confirm the presence of a backup supply of tarragon). Have to start the pie soon, so it'll be done in time for chicken-roasting to commence. Planning an early dinner today, so everything has to start early. Update: In between my baking the pie and starting the chicken, Joy was busy in the kitchen with other things. Coming up on chicken-roasting time, she informed me that the handle on the upper oven (the one we haven't been using for cooking of late) had come unmoored: the hole in the plastic handle into which a self-tapping screw is scrod (one such at... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
At least according to the current weather report, which calls for a couple of inches of snow Monday night. I think we'd better not plan on going anywhere Tuesday. Also, maybe I should make a point of taking the garbage out early Monday evening. Dragging that bin 600 feet through snow sounds like Not Fun. (If snow is going to be a thing this winter, maybe I need to learn to carry the bin on the pallet forks... and operate the tractor in the snow. Well, it does have 4-wheel drive and aggressive tread.) Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
I've had a nasty headache developing this morning. Joy has a nasty headache this morning. Huckleberry has been acting like he has a headache this morning. The other cats seem normal, or at least normal for cats. My father hasn't been complaining. The carbon-monoxide alarms (plural) remain silent, and besides we don't have any CO sources active. Caffeine isn't helping, and indeed may be making it worse. Oh, well. The only must-do item for today, specifically, is to bake a pumpkin, and even that I could get away with skipping, being as how we do have several cans of already-cooked pumpkin. Maybe I should nap the day away (never having gotten around to either of the planned naps yesterday). Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Tom Scott offers a brief explanation of how the Interwebs got to be such a mess. Of note: European regulations forbid any sort of tracking of users without consent. Ergo, any site, including all those sites that serve up all the annoying embedded ads, that wants to track users, has to pop up a notice asking permission. What I didn't hear him note is this: What happens if you don't consent to tracking? Why, the site in question can't remember anything about you... including the fact that you don't consent to tracking. So it has to ask again on the next page load, and the next, and so on until you do consent. Or install an adblocker, turn off JawaScript, etc. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
I seem to have come unstuck in time. Again. This feels like a Sunday. Yesterday, I was sufficiently connected to the calendar to remember that it was Monday, hence today would be Tuesday, that being garbage day, so I took out the garbage before it got dark. This morning, the garbage bin was still down by the road when I went to fetch the paper, and it was definitely not a Sunday paper, so those are pretty good indications that it's more Tuesday than Sunday. And yet... I keep thinking it's Sunday. That doesn't even make sense; if Saturday comes on Thursday this week (because of the holiday), then this should be Thursday, shouldn't it? Maybe if I take a nap I'll wake up thinking it's Monday. Then one more nap ought to get me to Tuesday, right? Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Ever notice how some song lyrics just want to mutate? Every so often, my playlist will include this variant of "The Water is Wide": And, somehow, the last line, I'll wait for you on Avalon's shore. keeps trying to become: I'll wait for you on Babylon Four. I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean, but either way it is bad for Zathras. (I've been largely out of touch with the filk community for many years; could be someone's run with this already and I didn't notice.) Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
No, I don't know why this has been stuck in my head since before breakfast. Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
I was out in the garage, fiddling with a roll of tools (in a mostly-unrolled state), when something hissed at me. Hissed, I say! Like an angry cat, or maybe an angry snake! Alarmed, I stopped what I was doing and looked around. The hiss had certainly come from somewhere in front of me, and there was no plausible place for a cat nor a largish serpent to be lurking. I didn't think the sound could have come from any of the powered equipment in the vicinity. Back to fiddling with the tools. Another hiss. Hmmm... is the end of the tool roll slipping, and making noise as it slides across a very dry old paper bag? Maybe? That was the last I heard of it for a while. Then, as I was repacking the tool roll, with the end nowhere near the paper bag in question, came another hiss. From the overstuffed storage bin whereon the tool roll rested.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Image
Assuming I'm reading the TWRA summary right, anyway. I'm not clear on the details, and it's not like anyone in the household has a hunting license. But two deer, both antlerless, crossed the front lawn a little while ago. Southmoon and Huckleberry both went very alert. Sorry, kitties, but I don't think cats are even eligible for hunting licenses, and hunting with cats is famously not a thing. Oh, and speaking of Southmoon, she has a new favorite YouTube channel: Yes, that's a full-scale mountain lion those people have. They also have bobcats, a serval, some other exotics, assorted domestic cats, various dogs, and a baby. The channel is "BobCat TB", or possibly "BobCat ТВ", the latter appearing the same but actually changing alphabets mid-name and being an extra-confusing way to write "BobCat TV". (It's bad enough we have three formerly-feral domestic cats, two semi-exotics (well, hemi-semi-demi-exotic or thereabouts) with medical and behavioral issues, and a pigeon that wants to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
It's a glorious cool sunny day out there... and I seem to have some sort of metabolic crud. Happens from time to time. Generally doesn't last more'n a couple of days, if that. According to the weather forecast, there's a bunch of stuff I need to get done in the next few days. Let's see if I can at least manage to mow selected lawn & walkway areas this afternoon. Update: Got some of the mowing done (back-yard walkways, mostly). Being outdoors helped, but I definitely should have been wearing a neck gaiter and goggles; there was a lot of flying detritus, mainly from the previously-mown tall stuff. ... And, looking at the terrain, methinks one of the walkways will need to be relocated some distance to the northeast to avoid the seasonal swamp. Though, once I get the drainage ditch done, perhaps that area won't flood, or perhaps I can build it up with spoil from the drainage ditch... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
With pruning lopper and reciprocating saw, I reduced a couple of small hickory branches to smoker chunks. Which is kinda why I'd made a point of cutting those branches down after they broke, and setting them aside rather than tossing them on some brush pile. Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
I'd been keeping track of days of the week. Really, I had. But somehow I lost track of yesterday evening having been Monday evening and today being Tuesday. Tuesday is garbage day. And this time of Tuesday afternoon, had I remembered to trundle the bin down to the road last night, 'twould be just about time to retrieve it. Oh, well. It's less'n half full at this point, and we're not generating trash at a particularly high rate just now. Not a crisis. Maybe I need a few more day-specific things to keep me anchored to the week, lest I come unstuck in time. Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Well, some things still work. SpaceX just lit off a great clumsy candle with people inside. All seems to have gone as planned, and the crew capsule is now in orbit and on track. (Filk reference in title.) Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
This is turning into a day for not being outdoors, even if I wanted to be out there; wind's been gusting up above 20 MPH, and there's supposed to be rain coming through soon. That wasn't in the forecast yesterday. Meanwhile, indoors, I'm still having the upper-respiratory irritation, plus a headache, plus sore muscles (the ones I was using to lug boxes of books around and plod up and down stairs), plus not enough sleep. There's plenty of stuff I should be doing, and even more that I want to be doing, but I think this is gonna be a day of slacking off. Update: Bursts of 25 MPH rain? A good day to Remain Indoors. And, for a change, we're right in the middle of the weather system; it's not fizzling out a few miles to the south. Update 2: Seems our flag didn't want to be out in that either. Nominally an all-weather, synthetic-fabric sort of flag, but... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
In the intro to what seems an otherwise fine piece on the current state of Western Civilization, Graeme Wood quotes Peter Turchin thus: “One way you know I am Russian is that I cannot think sitting down,” he told me. “I have to go for a walk.” Um. I have that issue, and I'm not Russian hardly at all, so far as anyone can tell. Might be a distant connection by way of the Kievan Rus', or I suppose the Tsipris (Циприс?) branch of the family may at one point have dwelt within the Russian Empire, but that hardly counts as being Russian. It's not just Russians who need to go walkies to think. It's all of us who get distracted when at our desks. Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Joy tried to send an e-mail to her mother. From Gumbyware to Hotmail, that'd be. I'd had suspicions that Hotmail might (once again) not be delivering mail from Gumbyware, but on this occasion their server was civilized enough to bounce the message instead of silently dropping it. From the bounce message: host hotmail-com.olc.protection.outlook.com [104.47.6.33] SMTP error from remote mail server after pipelined MAIL FROM:<edited@out> SIZE=3817: 550 5.7.1 Unfortunately, messages from [69.164.195.204] weren't sent. Please contact your Internet service provider since part of their network is on our block list (S3140). You can also refer your provider to http://mail.live.com/mail/troubleshooting.aspx#errors. [VE1EUR02FT026.eop-EUR02.prod.protection.outlook.com] So I follow the link... and it has a list of excuses, with no way to connect the bounce message to any particular excuse. Duckduckgo hotmail block list s3140 and find various things, including a pointer to Microsoft's "SNDS" thingie, where, by confirming that I can receive mail directed to postmaster at a domain that maps to my Linode IP address,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Image
Well, I hauled another few hundred pounds of books over from the barn; there's now a quite visible change in the piles over there, and there's enough floor space in the basement to spread them out in a single layer of double rows of moving boxes, so each box is actually accessible. (I'll worry about shelves later.) I also lugged one of the 4"~5" diameter by 7' long pressure-treated poles over to the spot where a bridge will soon be required, and determined that there really isn't all that much of a dip in the land there (which is maybe why the runoff spreads so far, which condition is what I'm hoping to remedy with a smallish drainage ditch). I'm still trying to come up with a good plan for the bridge. (Doesn't have to be that good a plan, being as how the actual span should end up being a tad over 2', but I still need a plan... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2020 at Silicon Valley Redneck