Been a while since I've posted much of anything, mainly because things have been pretty routine around here. Well, there's a LibertyCon can report that needs writing, and my main Desktop computer (Himawari) has been feeling ill (Seagate drive has run out of backup sectors).
Anyway, today I was sent out to the flightline to do a job on line 133. Which is a bit odd because the day before I was working on line 348. But line 133 is one of the special ones, it's one of the first three test 797-9's, and having done its job, it's been reconditioned and repainted for Air New Zealand, the launch customer.
The specifics of the job probably wouldn't interest folks much, but it did involve getting on a boom lift and working my way to the very top of the fin, nearly 60 feet above the ground. The view was spectacular. I also have a little ritual for when I get to the top of the fin, which is actually pretty rare, I kiss my fingers and pat the top of the fin for luck. I haven't fallen to my death yet, so it must be working.
The specifics of the job were VERY interesting to the manager of that slot on the flight line. When I ran out of fasteners (Because the early -9's used more screws on these parts than later planes) they even let me take the electric mini-hummer back to the factory to get more. That was a lot more fun than the bicycle ride over.
I was thinking about this lately. I almost helped create the predecessor to the iPhone.
That's what I was doing at Palm, in 2000-2001. We were working on a Palm PDA (codenamed Jabba) that would have a built-in telephone network. (GSM, GPRS, something like that, I didn't work on the RF section). So yeah, back then, except for the camera, you could have done it all, have Apps (in an open development environment) all the usual PDA functions, voice calls and Text messaging, eBook reading.... Not sure about Music playing, but who knows what the future would have brought had the industry not crashed and taken out Palm.
I was working on a thing for "Remote Provisioning" that would allow one's service Provider to send you a specially formatted SMS message that would direct you to an update file and install it (In my documentation I strongly discouraged the use of the silent, automatic feature). But that would allow service providers to supply updates and new features wherever you were.
Unfortunately, in the process I discovered that Palm's TCP/IP stack was incomplete. While they had created and documented all the calls, they had only actually IMPLEMENTED the ones for the features they had needed in previous versions of the OS. And considering the Device/OS divide at Palm, there was little I could do about that.
Anyway, after they laid us all off, and split the company (between Devices and the OS, who'da thunk?) the thing actually came out as the Palm Tungsten M. And it was NOTHING like what we were working on. They added a frigging hard keyboard, fer cryin' out loud! But back then, Blackberry was the thing to beat.
Ah well, just another tale of woe in how I got boned in the Tech Industry. But the mightabeens are the real torture. (Price the market value of 1000 shares of Apple sometime and ask me why I hate Steve Jobs.)
A very telling comment:
If those marching in the streets of Paris were serious every sign would be a cartoon of Mohammed. - Joan of Snark
Only a week after I uploaded it, Kiwi
finally has a new cover – although to be honest, they say each time you go through the submit process fixing other things, it restarts the queue on cover updates....
I had to have a new cover. The original "Eyes in space" cover, supposedly meant to signal SF (the space) and Telepathy (the glowing eyes) really didn't tell you crap about the story.
My friend Sebastian worked with a simple idea I had and then after a few rounds totally blew me away, exceeding my original imagination. I wanted to show the alien character, and I wanted to show the prison situation with her. And yeah, it's meant to be a little sexy, if you're into that kind of thing. Which of course is a signal about the contents to those who are into that kind of thing, and a warning to those who are not.
Sarah didn't like it, she said it made it look like Furry Bondage Porn. But I have to be honest with myself, even with the subtle horror of telepathic manipulation going on in the story, on the physical level, that's what it is. And in the world of Bondage Erotica, constant sex is not required (Consider, how can a bondage story involving a chastity belt be sexy? To the kinky, it is by its very essence, locking up sex.).
Even the reviewers picked up on that. And of course, everyone's least favorite internet troll insulted it as "Fifty Shades of Blue" because he can't tell the brown Al-Natiri from the Na'vi. I wonder if I should try to use that as an editorial review entry....
Now if people would spend a buck to read it, I'd really be happy.
At this point, with my sales rank so low, Amazon's algorithms are burying me, so I have to depend on outside referrers to get any hits.
Since I don't use one of those auto-relay things that proves that I don't actually read LJ any more (since I do):
The PROPER Presidential response to the #TortureReport is to say "And there's more where that came from if you don't quit this shit."
You say Torture doesn't work. I say Mr. Drill here can get me your ATM PIN. How many holes in your kneecap do you think you can take?
Fine, I didn't want to go out today anyway. Four inches of very soggy white stuff isn't a factor.
Unrelated. My toilets are now DISTURBINGLY clean. When you've been in one place long enough, the little defects become part of the scenery, the cut in the linoleum where you dropped the knife, that screw hole from the towel rack you forgot to paint after you patched it....
The toilets had a ring of mineral build up that nothing would budge, and in the very bottom of the drain, where the scrub brush wouldn't reach, another bit of dark impenetrable build up. I have been known to use things like drain-o in the toilets to clean them, and it does normally work very well, except for those aforementioned "Permanent" features. But a few weeks ago at WalMart, I spotted a different product.
Now most drain cleaners are lye-based, and that works very well on grease, and fairly well on hair. But this stuff... "Liquid Lightning" was pretty much undiluted sulfuric acid, the kind Muslims like to throw in the faces of women they don't like. I put it to better use. Pouring an ounce or two into the toilets and letting it sit did unbelievable things.
Make no mistake, this is some scary shit. I used to soak the nozzle of my spot lifter in a little tub of drain cleaner to get the cat hair that wedged itself unremovably in the crevices of it. I tried it with this stuff and we're talking no soaking required. Unfortunately it was so strong it completely clouded the clear plastic and ruined the built-in brush. Highly diluted next time, for sure.
So one of the toilets actually took two treatments, but the results were astounding. The drain isn't a dark cave any more, it's now as pristine white as the toilets were twenty years ago when they were installed. For a couple of days flakes of something from further down the trap were settling to the bottom.
It's disturbing because it looks so unfamiliar. It's all just pure white porcelain.
Now if there were a way to make it foam so it would stick under the rim....
Some time ago Maggie linked to a random (to me) Wordpress blog with a recipe that I finally had an opportunity to try out three years later (yeah, it's been sitting in my bookmarks that long). All you need is some leftover rice (as long as it's not dried out and crunchy), about a cup and a half, and a couple of eggs.
Scramble the eggs, add your preferred seasonings, stir in the rice, and plop it in an oiled frying pan. Presto, rice egg fritters.
Looks Nummy, eh?
Now in my case, I first made them according to her loose recipe. Nice, but a little bland. The second time around I added a lot more salt and pepper than I would to eggs, considering that the rice will bring up the volume by about 4 times. A little garlic powder, and then, the key change, some shredded cheese.
I have one of those infrared thermometers, which I find indispensable in the kitchen. I mean, what the heck temperature is "4"? So I can tell when my cast iron frying pan is at say, 350°, which is a perfect egg cooking heat. I doled out the mixture into three roughly equal masses, and pressed them with a spatula to be maybe 5/8" thick. It took about 5 minutes per side, giving it a nice, slightly crispy exterior.
I suppose you could add just about anything to these, maybe some veggies, or finely diced ham. Bacon, naturally. I've even read comments on the blog entry about someone using brown rice and peanut butter.
In any case, I will definitely be making more of these in the future.
(The fact that I have a little rice cooker makes this much more convenient. But if you order out Chinese, and they give you white rice that you don't eat, it would make a perfect breakfast treat.)
Net Neutrality is about BANDWIDTH not CONTENT! For fuck's sake! Stop talking about the fucking "Fairness Doctrine for the Internet". ISPS are already fucking with people's connections on the basis of content. All Net Neutrality means is that if you pay for X Megabits/sec, you GET X Megabits/sec, regardless of who you are connecting to.
I will never forgive Glenn Beck for confusing the two and making so many people stupidly misinformed on the issue.
And don't get me started on "NetFlix uses so much, they should pay for it." No, the CUSTOMERS have already paid for that bandwidth.
This weekend, I got a dashcam.
Frankly, I'm amazed by the technology, it's so frigging small, but shoots 1080p, and with a 32 gig MicroSD card (it comes with an 8, but I bought one so that I could get the adapters for it.) I think the smallest mode can go around 8 hours. It has a still picture feature, but since it's so hard to hold steady, that's not too useful. It has a built in battery, but that's just to tide it over in the event of power interruptions (like an accident). It records in a loop, producing files between 1 and 10 minutes long (user selectable) and if you push a button, or if the internal G-sensor detects an sudden jolt, it will automatically protect the current file from being overwritten. It also has motion detection, so I'm curious about what it would do with an external power supply. (Connected to a computer, it acts like a USB drive, or it can act like a USB webcam, but I haven't tried that yet). It also auto-starts recording when it detects power from the cigarette lighter cord.
The only thing it doesn't come with is a mini HDMI to HDMI cable, but yes, it can talk to a TV in 1080p or 720p modes, but other than that lack, it comes ready to use out of the box.
I don't really have any amazing videos to share, just my commute to and from work. And hopefully I never will. But considering all the crazy dashcam videos you get coming out of Russia, you can see the logic behind my title.
Here's a link Cobra CDR820 Dashcam.
Update: I bought a MiniHDMI/HDMI cable for too much at WalMart (but the cost of gas for a trip to Fry's and the opportunity cost of waiting made it worth it) and hooked up the Dashcam to my TV. Although they don't say much in the manual to document it, this feature works VERY well if you don't have a computer to play the files from.
I also bought a little portable power source/USB charger thingy, and that also makes the dashcam happy. The thing can charge from USB or plug directly into a lighter socket, has 1450 mAh of capacity, and can function as a car USB power supply without involving its battery. Plus it has a built-in flashlight. I want to try hooking the cam up to the battery, put the cam in motion detect mode, and see if the cats can set it off.
I have a box fan I rather like. It's quiet, without rattling or humming.
Recently I noticed it was a lot quieter, running very slowly, until it finally wouldn't start.
But, I'm a Man, and I have tools, and this fan isn't new enough to have been made tamper-proof!
So I removed all the plastic bits (the fan blade was really dirty, so I cleaned that up too) and took it down into the shop, where I hit it with some engine cleaning spray, and then washed it out. Then I blew it dry with compressed air. It was still very hard to rotate, but it turned out to be easy to disassemble the motor - a mere two bolts held the covers on.
With the front cover off, it was easy to remove the rotor. The obvious problem was that the lubrication was gone from the bushings. I buffed out the shaft of the rotor where it goes into the bushings, lubed them up, and reassembled the motor. It ran much better, although it took a little nudging to get the floating bushings to really self-align.
After I reassembled it, I set it up, and it worked great. I was quite proud of myself.
Then a few minutes later, it suddenly slowed way down and I smelled a smell that reminded me of my BattleBots days. The lacquer on motor magnet wire has a very distinctive smell when it overheats. The motor had a short in it. I might not have noticed it before, because it was running slower then the speed it slowed down to before, or maybe the cleaner attacked the windings (oops.) but in any case, it's now an ex-fan.
A shame, I liked it.
I pulled another fan out of the basement. This one rattles. It should know better, I still have a screwdriver, and I've killed before....
Warning, contains language guaranteed to cause knotted panties.
Saw this on Twitter, and was just blown away by the deployment of yet another Hiroshima Cluehammer. Anyone who made the original argument and sticks to it after seeing this is an imbecile.
So just to test out the KDP Select promotional tools, I've set it up so that one can get Kiwi for free on August 1st and 2nd.
Remember, you don't need a Kindle to read eBooks, you can do it on phones, tablets, PC's, whatever. Amazon has free reader programs for them all.
So mark your calendar and go to Kiwi
(Long-ass link because I'm getting into the Amazon Affiliate program now too).
Or you could go now and spend a buck, I won't mind.
Self-serve Kiosk at Home Depot. $21 with tax. A bit more than refilling at the Co-op store, but they aren't open at 2AM.
Also, stuck with an out-of-date cylinder? Trade it in at the self-service station. They get to re-certify or junk it. Probably why it's not as cheap. Although somehow I got an expired cylinder this trip. I also got one made in 2012. That one I'll keep.
That part with the big 9 on it? I put that on.
(I also had to tear the left side of it open to replace one tiny nutplate, but it's fine now.)
It's amazing how maneuverable an empty airliner is. They REALLY should do a repeat of the 707 Barrel Roll.
Anyway, it LOOKS marvelous.
While preparing to book my hotel for the Reno Air Races, I thought I'd look to see if there were any "Coupon Codes" posted online to get a lower rate. Google reveals a lot of outdated ones. But I found one current one that would save a lot of money. However, it's one for the Sport Class Pilots.
On the one hand, they posted it in the clear on their website.
On the other, clearly it's meant for the pilots.
On the first hand again, if the code doesn't cost the organization anything per user, just the hotel, does it harm the organization?
On the other hand, if they did kick in something to get that discount, that would harm them.
Back to the first hand, if the hotel is willing to rent that room on the same day for half the cost, why pay the full price?
On the other hand, it would be dishonest to misrepresent oneself. (And what happens if they later want proof that you qualify?)
What would you do?
And is it cheaper to book by phone? By Web? By third party site?
In a discussion on a writer's blog I participate on, Sarah Hoyt (yes, THAT Sarah Hoyt) said to me:
If it's 14k words put it at 2.99 or I'll come through the screen and beat you.
Also, write the next one. It's the best way to raise your sales.
I'm not quite sure I have that kind of confidence, but the discussion pointed out that the .99 cent price point is considered the bottom of the barrel. Sure, some people buy there, but I'm only getting one or two a month.
So I said I'd do it, but that I'd run an experiment, bumping it up 50 cents at a time every couple of months to see what it does.
So the Kiwi ebook is now $1.49, or the equivalent in other currencies. Find it here: Kiwi
Get it within the next two months if you want to beat the next hike.
And remember, you don't NEED a Kindle to read eBooks, Amazon has free reader programs for virtually every platform, and free cloud storage of your books.
As for the next thing, I just finished the first draft of my entry into the Baen Fantasy short story contest. I have another month before the deadline to futz around with it, but I am very pleased. I don't expect to win, considering some of the heavy-hitters who have mentioned they are doing it too, but hey, once it's over in August, I'll have a new story all ready to post.
(p.s. I've got a line-numbered PDF available for beta-readers, as long as you're not involved in the contest at all).
(Update: I gave up on the idea and went back to 99 cents)
Inexplicable K-pop animated video: (in real life, the girls are pretty hot, like any other pre-fab four, but this is totally NOT my kind of music.)
It does have some really good bits, my favorite being at 1:54. And the hints of one girl kinda falling for the bad guy, like in the preview frame.
(How on earth did I find this? It was the follow-up to some very odd J-pop video that was in some article Instapundit linked to, so I blame Glenn Reynolds.)