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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
That bargain-in-its-time 3D printer that I bought 7 years ago? The FlashForge Creator X? I'm back to making heavy use of it, or trying to. And, things are getting frotzed. Looks like the right-hand extruder is malfunctioning, and maybe worn out. Seems I can buy a replacement extruder set for not too much money... it's for the newer model, so I'll have to look closely at compatibility. Apparently the current extruders have some upgrades, including the ability to handle NinjaFlex and suchlike squishy materials, which would be good. And, if I swap in a new assembly, I can perhaps rebuild the old one as a spare. For the moment, it seems that the left-hand extruder is working OK, so it's not a huge rush. I can consider my options, including maybe getting a newer model with a larger build volume. (And I still want to get a photoresin printer at some point, for tiny, high-detail things that you just can't... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
So I'm scrolling down my Amazon order status, and one from a while back shows "On the way, but it's running late." Hm. Click on "Track Package." It says: Your package may be lost We're very sorry your delivery is so late. Although it may still arrive, you can request a refund now. And there's a button for requesting a refund. I was kinda hoping to find a button for "It arrived already, and all's well." 'Cause the package in question did indeed arrive a few days ago - Tuesday, I think. But there's no way to report that, just to ask for my money back. I guess the postman forgot to scan that one, so it never got marked as delivered. Or... huh. Tracking details show it arriving at the carrier facility - that's be the post office - early Monday morning, but it never got marked "out for delivery." Just got put on the delivery vehicle (Tuesday morning,... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
In the latest astounding news, the heavily-publicized right-wing militia assault on the Capitol yesterday didn't happen, apparently discouraged by the ongoing presence of 5000 National Guard troops who are being kept unarmed and fed garbage. The fact that every visible right-wing group has been thoroughly infiltrated by government operatives may also have been a factor. Or maybe our rulers got the date wrong. My imaginary friend Harvey informs me that there will definitely not be an armed march on the Capitol on March 14th, beginning at noon. Pass it on. Update: Tinfoil time! About an hour after I posted the above, our Internet connection went dead. I've power-cycled the modem, and it's just sitting there looking for a signal. Been out for over an hour now. Guess the cable company doesn't like people with imaginary friends who say that something isn't going to happen. (Posted using my phone as a hotspot; we shall see how long the phone continues to... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Border Patrol: SUV in Deadly California Crash Part of Human Smuggling Operation Really? Who'd a' thunk it? An SUV with 25 people packed into it... if it's near a circus and the occupants are clowns, that's one thing. If it's near a border? Pretty safe bet people are being smuggled. The other possibility that occurred to me was that it could be a load of migrant workers being (illegally, without seatbelts, etc.) transported between farms or something. But border smugglers seemed most likely. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Spotted this at the Daily Caller, of all places: One Capitol police officer, Brian Sicknick, died during the melee, though the cause of death has not been officially released. Nope. Despite the wild tales that have been making the rounds, he didn't die during the melee. He collapsed hours later, and subsequently died. Any fact-based connection to the events of the day has not been made public. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
"Chicken fried Spanish rice" ... Yeah, it was OK. Mostly it was something to do with some leftovers. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
One more unto the topic of User Interfaces, dear friends, once more.... OK, maybe twice more; this post is a twofer. Those noisy froggies in the swamp? I decided to get a measurement. Installed a couple of sound level measuring apps on my phone. Both show the swamp noise being 75 to 80 dBA close up. Probably more if I took a chair out there, sat down, and waited for the nearby critters to start back up (they get real quiet when something moves near them). And! Both apps have reset buttons, for clearing the peak reading. All well and good, except that touching the button causes a "sound" spike at the microphone. Hey, guys? Maybe consider having a delay between button press and resuming acquisition? The second topic: I bought a pair of Midland X-Talker FRS walkie-talkies for communication around the yard. Nice feature set and all that, including built-in weather radio, but... there's that big "SCAN" button. One... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
The next week of rain has vanished from the forecast, apparently blown off course by this chill North wind. Cool (currently 43°F), breezy, and overcast. Supposed to be sunny and warmer the next several days, assuming the forecast is to be believed. Could be the pond really won't fill up this year... which would be good news, as I want to address the drainage issues, and we'd really like to get somebody out here this summer (or maybe late spring, conditions permitting) to clear the trees out of the bottom, dig it deeper, adjust the contours, add a clay barrier, and generally transform it from a seasonal swamp into a proper year-round pond (which apparently it used to be, years ago). Then we see about adding fish! If the pond doesn't get close to overflowing, I can leave the drainage issues until the guys with the real earth-moving equipment are here. It's too cold and dim for going out to... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Spotted here: “Hypergolics have been used all the way back to the Apollo era and before,” said Steven Son, Purdue’s Alfred J. McAllister Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Ah, "before." Yeah, I guess the run-up to WWII was a bit before the Apollo era, wasn't it? LMDDGTFY. "Apollo", from "a-", meaning without, and "pollo", meaning chicken.</chubbyemu> Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
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Lots of gusty wind around midnight. As of 0355, the rain gauge has logged 1.16" since midnight, and it looks like there's a bunch more on the way. Well, the frogs will be happy. And the low-lying areas of the Annex will be getting swampier and swampier. Project for summer: do something about drainage. Now I'm thinking a couple of small seasonal ponds might be called for. Update: As of 0745, we've had 1.70" of rain since midnight. There's quite a lot of water in the bottom of the pond. The low-lying regions of the Annex are looking very swampy indeed (the garden patch remaining safely above the flood zone). The drainage ditch across the neighbors' lawn, under the driveway, across the other neighbors' lawn, and down to the roadside ditch is flowing vigorously; thanks to the late-summer shovel work, the water is staying within the ditch here, and not (so far!) overflowing across the driveway. The other bit of... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Silicon Valley Redneck
Last forecast I'd seen for today: lots of rain, lots of wind, temperature maybe getting into the mid-60s. Weather around sunrise: calm and very foggy indeed. Could barely see where I was going. Weather around lunchtime: sunny, lots of wind, mid-70s. Very froggy across the road; slightly froggy in the back yard (not much water in our swamp at this point, so the li'l froggies aren't partying much). It'd be a grand day for outdoor activities, but my right arm is still kinda iffy. Actually... just this much typing is making my hand cramp up. Guess I'll go sit on the lawn with a book. (Probably one without wind-sensitive paper pages.) (There's plenty of outdoors stuff in need of doing that ought not to set off the arm, but the tractor still awaits its 50-hour maintenance, and I don't want to approach that without a complete set of fully-functioning appendages.) Today's major deluge now seems to be scheduled for tomorrow... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
I was about to convey my confusion about the scandal involving an odalisque being spotted on stage at CPAC. So... just to confirm... I DuckDuckWent "odalisque" to confirm my recollection that it meant a painting of a reclining nude, or something to that effect, which I believe was the common meaning in Western usage a few years ago. Seems that meaning has been purged from the Newspeak dictionary; it now means a female slave or a concubine, with a usage example claiming that it's an image depicting the subjugation of a black woman. (Funny how just about all the subjects of the paintings that turn up in an image search are of the white persuasion.) (Digging out an old paper dictionary, I find that this isn't strictly a new thing; said dictionary doesn't mention the art meaning either. No room on the page for the term, as it were, of art? Or nudes were too naughty for inclusion, even by... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
We had a family outing yesterday, all buttoned up in the car, to the edge of Knoxville. Even the edge of the "big" city was daunting. Guess I've become a hick from the sticks. Mind you, I've always been a hick from the 'burbs when it comes to actual big cities; I find crowds, densely-packed tall concrete buildings, and urban density in general to be disorienting and intimidating. Sensory overload, can't see the horizon, lack of cues for big-picture spatial orientation... nopity nope nope. But the area we ventured into? A year ago, that was normal-type territory for me, though unfamiliar in detail. And it's not like Knoxville is even a real big city. Afterthought: Looking out my office window? Greater metropolitan downtown Boyds Creek is looking a lot more crowded than it did a year ago. Yes, there has been some construction... well, quite a lot, but not much of it visible from here. Mostly, my perceptions have changed.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
I'm not sure exactly how the "[one of your contacts] is on Signal!" notification scheme works, but I'm guessing it involves phone numbers in your contacts list. Which, if not maintained.... A couple of days ago, I got one of these notifications, naming an old friend from Silicon Valley with whom I've kept in touch via e-mail over the years. She'd left Silicon Valley several years ago, for family reasons, but once in a while will return briefly. Anyway, the notification having popped up, I said hi... and got someone who didn't seem much like the friend in question launching into a tale of woe about being a political prisoner in Mountain View, about to be put in jail, looking for local contacts, and by the way there's this guy who runs a crypto hedge fund and I should totally get in touch with him to help keep my friend out of jail. Er. Last I heard, which was around... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Sunny, mid-60s, minimal wind. This would have been a much better time for that mowing I did yesterday! There is, of course, no end to outdoors stuff I should be doing. Unfortunately, my right arm is still acting up. Even this little bit of typing is setting it off, so I'd better wrap up quickly. Got a week or so of rain in the forecast, so not much outdoors. I'll have to do indoors stuff that doesn't involve overmuch use of keyboards, mice, and such. And maybe there'll be a day for doing tractor maintenance (not too wet, wind preferably from the North or thereabouts and not too much of it, and arm being cooperative). Continue reading
Posted Feb 25, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Mowing paths through an old hayfield on a windy day. Especially when the field in question wasn't actually harvested last time, just mowed. So there's a lot of uncollected hay just lying around being piles of dry grass clippings. Mower operates as designed, chopping old and new grass alike into little bits and spewing them forth from the discharge chute. Wind catches the dry bits, and... well, particles in my hair, particles in my eyes, particles up my nose, particles down my shirt... an emergency shower and a change of clothes were called for. Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Seems Fry's Electronics has gone under. (Via Insty.) Fry's would have been one of those things I missed about Silicon Valley, except that it had been circling the drain for a great many years. It was still a place to buy emergency replacements for power supplies, monitors, and such, but even for those it had gone sadly downhill. Back in the day, now... I remember when the first one opened, in Sunnyvale - Oakmead Parkway, at Lawrence, I think it was. The Commodore Amiga was a thing, or perhaps I'm thinking of the Atari ST. One of those. Anyway, they carried a diversity of personal computers, back in the days before Wintel took over. And they carried lots of prototyping components! I got my NS16032 parts kit there, and a content-addressable-memory chip, and sundry other exotica. (Am I showing my age?) Eventually, though, the stores (plural by then) were increasingly filled with ordinary consumer electronics, major appliances, office supplies, generic... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Well, the weather was nice - sunny, lower 60s in the afternoon, trees budding, frogs chirping. A little windy, though. So, what could I usefully do outdoors while either wearing a wrist brace or avoiding the sort of things that set the wrist off? Oh, and wearing sandals, because putting boots on is problematic with my heel bandaged. Grab a shovel and head down to the Annex. Pick a spot on the proposed victory garden plateau, and commence digging. The hayfield roots and the soil below are somewhat resistant to digging, but I got more'n a foot down without hitting clay. Looks like a nice thick layer of brown silt loam, and no rocks that I noticed. Yup, good place for a garden! So, after I get the scheduled maintenance done on the tractor (change engine oil & filter, change both hydraulic-fluid filters, grease everything, inspect a few things) and the coming rainy time passes, I guess I'll hook up... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Or something like it. My right wrist is decidedly unhappy of late. Using the mouse, or even the keyboard, makes it worse, never mind using the reciprocating saw at awkward angles. I had this sort of thing once before, a few years ago. Didn't last all that long, but it was decidedly inconvenient. Today, the wrist, per se, isn't in so much pain, but I keep having hand and forearm cramps. I think I'd better cut way back on my computer time this week. It's a good week for getting out in the yard... if only most of the stuff I should be doing in the yard didn't also involve using my right hand in ways that set it off. (A wrist brace helps avoid setting off the pain, but also prevents getting work done. Such is life.) Anyway, probably light posting this week. And maybe light reading, too. Reading time may be the out-on-the-lawn-with-a-book type. Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
So I'd ordered this CD... Backstory, short form: a week or so back, Alma Boykin had a blog post regarding the Uffington Horse, and referenced the eponymous song by the eponymous band, whose existence I'd somehow managed to forget... though the song (but not the performance) seemed remarkably familiar, and very Heather Alexander indeed. Okay, so that band was an early-noughties thing; the Enchantment CD is from 2004. Before Heather went off to dance in the circle, like; not from back in the audio-cassette era. How do I not have a copy? I ordered a copy via Amazon, for delivery February 26th or so, assuming that this would cause a still-in-the-wrapper copy to appear by magic among my misfiled office clutter. Well, it arrived yesterday, having apparently been somehow expedited by the Great Central Freeze. This morning, hm. No actual CD player handy. Stick it in a DVD-RW drive plugged into the old workstation. Select "Play Audio CD with Amarok."... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
Yeah... got me looking more closely at the stairs. A few months ago, I installed an improvised barrier in the basement, under the stairs, to keep Sumatra (Bengal cat) from getting into the way-back corner and marking his territory where it's nigh-impossible to clean up. Well, I just found the pointy ends of the screws I used to secure the top of the barrier. Oopsie! Dremel time.
Toggle Commented Feb 21, 2021 on Multiple owies at Silicon Valley Redneck
Various scratches from various yard work, including a blackberry scratch from this morning that warranted coming back indoors for a band-aid. Then, comes time to fix dinner... fetch stuff up from the basement. Decide I also want some triple-ginger teriyaki sauce, whereof there's no bottle up, so back down to the basement for that. On the way down, scratch the back of my left heel, badly, on something stair-related. Argh. Remove sock. Wash heel, and allow to bleed for a while. Dry with a paper towel. Apply a large band-aid goobered with antibiotic ointment. Sometime soon I guess I'd better inspect those stairs. Getting them finished properly was originally on the pre-move-in list, but got postponed until after we got moved in, then everything got postponed.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
from the big winter storm. Several of the delayed Amazon items turned up today, and there's finally plausible-looking tracking information for the others. New orders from Amazon and Walmart are still showing extended delivery times, though. Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
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(Keeping in mind that "anti-racism" is the most virulent form of racism....) Seems that part of the purported justification for the current push is that the language of math puts the Intersectional at a cultural disadvantage, and because culture and race are inseparable (I said this was racist, didn't I?) it must therefore be racist. And what's the language of math? Well! For the New Generation, it's Common Core. Which, as I noted many years ago, hides the actual math behind at least one layer of impenetrable, made-up, baby-talk edu-jargon. So if kids are having trouble getting past the Common Core jargon to the underlying (objective, culture-independent, race-independent) mathematical principles, it must be the fault of the principles themselves and the white people (and Asians, and Arabs) who derived them, so the principles must be regarded as invalid. Ergo, And if you disagree, you're denying my lived experience. Or somebody else's lived experience. Or imagined experience. Or what some guy... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck
I bought a couple of dinky little $11 GPS modules, just because. That's $11 including the little antenna pucks. Tried one out this afternoon, indoors. It found enough satellites fairly quickly, and settled down to reporting a location that was pretty close to where Google Earth thinks its actual location was. It did wander considerably at one point, roughly corresponding to the time I was away from my desk to fetch the mail. Perhaps my presence between the window and the antenna affects the RF paths. Maybe I should really be testing it outdoors, or at least right next to the window. Anyway, I'm pondering setting up a solar-powered DGPS reference station or two, and playing around, just to see what I can do with really cheap hardware plus a reference point and communication. Afterthought: Earth to Google! Earth to Google! Not everybody's GPS is connected on /dev/ttyS0. Please consider updating the "GPS/Realtime" menu in Google Earth to include port... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2021 at Silicon Valley Redneck