Week up date

HMS Hannibal

About to head back to the cabin for more work. I can’t say “finish up” because that will never happen. Apparently there’s some kind of schedule on the project, but I don’t know what it is. I just know there’s more work to do.

It’s the second day of three days of hot before rain and then cooler temps. If the forecast is accurate, this will be good. For the mosquitoes, not for people.

Spent an insane amount of money yesterday getting more supplies because everything is so damn expensive these days. Had to buy 40 litres of gasoline as well as put 50 in the Xterra’s tank and two tanks of propane. Never mind the $100 dropped at the hardware store – just for six pieces of trim, a can of paint, and some glue. Food? Yeah, bought some of that too.

Mowed lawn, somewhat, and planted bushes the Mrs. got for some unknown reason. They’ll probably die.

Much to do, much to do, much to do. Try not to die while doing it.

Here’s a little dash cam clip from coming home last time. Watch the for the surprise at the end: Rough Road

BTW, I worked on my ‘updated’ computer and managed to get the UEFI cracked open to where it will look at a bootable USB drive. Except I haven’t found a version of Linux that will actually boot up yet. It doesn’t help that the creating program, Rufus, doesn’t look like the on-line instructions anymore and most of the “how to” info out there is out of date for both the hardware and software and therefor unhelpful. You’d expect the latest distros to work but … no. I’ll keep poking at it until it does. Damn Microsoft anyway. As it is I’m still using the old machine with the defective hardware that crashes, jams, doesn’t boot, et cetera on a random basis. Reliable it ain’t.

Cabin update (the dull stuff)

So I’m back out in the middle of nowhere less than a week after visiting the ER. Couple of new prescriptions including nitro – so I can blow this place up if it all goes wahoonie-shaped? Probably not.

The trip out was ‘fun’: they’ve been ‘fixing’ the road. This consists of running the grader over the smooth bits to roughen them up so the rough bits don’t seem so bad by comparison. The one stretch of 2kms where you could do 80 before is down to a 60 zone – and watch out for the potholes. Some of it is now sludgy mud because that’s what you get when it rains on hard surface which then gets ripped up by heavy machinery. I wonder if there’s anyone in that company who understands even the basic concept of “road maintenance”.

Anyway it’s time to get something done. Except that the first thing that happen was one of the kitchen lights failed. We had them in the old house for decades with incandescent lights heating away … and now out here being lightly used with cool LED bulbs they decide to fail. Okay, two new sockets to get next time I’m in town; I’ll rebuild both so there’s no more of that foolishness.

On with the ceiling! That means a lot of planning and careful triple-checking of measurements, followed by a lot of overhead work. Also got a tub surround to go in so I’d better finish prepping for that too. Meanwhile here’s a couple of pictures of what I got done last time:

Trench warfare: underground power line from the generator shed.
Now you don’t see it.

The rest was mostly disassembly and preparing things for rebuilding. That takes longer than putting things together, but is essential to the job going right.

I’ll post a series of pictures of the bathroom rehab when I get it done. If I get it done. In the meantime, enjoy the view:

Snow melt has been slow this year.

I have to start the generator again because it’s rainy again and probably light the fire again because it’s cool again. Another “year without a Summer”. So far. Let’s just hope it doesn’t suddenly turn dry and hot and light everything on fire. Again.

More … whatever the last post was about

I am sparing you a rant about everything going on these days. It requires a huge amount of effort on my part to restrain myself from going on at length. Especially the bit where the word “stupid” appears over and over and …

Anyway.

You will not be spared this rant about the computer problems. In the last episode I updated from Mint 17 to Mint 18 in order to be able to run a certain graphics program that I had used in the past on a Windows system and enjoyed. Now then. Install program. Okay!

Uh-oh. It doesn’t look the same as the version I remember. Gone is the obvious intuitive interface. Gone is the functionality. In the true sense of the word. Id est, it doesn’t actually work. Why not? It just doesn’t. Not even half works. As though the ‘buttons’ aren’t connected to anything. Click -this- and … nothing happens. It took me eight hours to upgrade to OS version 18.3 and the one program I wanted to use doesn’t work anymore even though it should? Okay, there’s a couple of other similar programs so let’s try them.

Ha, ha, ha, ha. Whatever made me think they would work? They don’t. One is just dysfunctional crap that won’t even load a file, the other works as poorly as it did when I tried it on version 17 OS. I suppose my first clue should have been that before I tried any of these programs the computer locked up completely under Mint 18.3 requiring a power button restart. Of course it would do that on the older version too, along with a lot of other little glitches. But at least most of it worked most of the time.

So maybe 18.3 is too old. After all, the first message I got when firing up Firefox (to download Chromium) was “EOL” – end of life – about the OS. Right. Upgrade to the latest and greatest, Mint 19.

It only took me six hours. Well, it took the computer six hours. I watched a couple of movies and occasionally typed ‘y’ and the password as needed to keep it going. After it was done …

First hint: the key transposition is still there. Second hint: the program I was going for still doesn’t work. Third hint: the other two haven’t magically gotten better. Fourth hint: the interface now looks suspiciously like that crappy Windows/Chrome/Android dumb smartphone graphics. Fifth hint: one of the programs I used daily no longer functions correctly.

This is better, is it?

Don’t these people ever test anything before releasing it? I realize that Linux is open source, volunteer developed and costs nothing but … come on! How about a little pride of workmanship? If you’re doing something isn’t it worth doing the best you can? Even if you’re only doing it for yourself? Perhaps especially if you’re doing it for yourself.

Good grief we have a world full of this kind of garbage going on. Oh, I wasn’t going to do that rant. But my recent software experiences are a microcosm of the bigger problem.

Now what do I do? This may be a case of the hardware being too far behind the times to handle the software (I did see some worrying error messages as the upgrade progressed, but nothing that should prove fatal). Even if I could afford a new computer I doubt it would work any better.

So it looks like I get to spend who-knows-how-long regressing the operating system back to 17 when at least what I had worked and I knew what flaws to expect. Easier to put up with those flaws than does-not-work-at-all combined with works-even-worse-than-before. Maybe I have a different idea of “improvement” than other people. It just seems as though all the software upgrades were a case of change for change’s sake and altering the look-and-feel rather than fixing problems or improving performance.

All told, I seem to be swearing a lot these days – and it is not in my nature to swear.

In Space No One Can Hear You Bark

In case you think this is just my opinion: Linux is getting worse

That wasn’t fun

It’s complicated

My computer was becoming ever more erratic. Not a chance of replacing it due to financial constraints. What was more, I’d have to spend money for Win10 – and then delete it because it’s crap. Win11 is even worse as it is specifically designed to lock out old hardware and force sales of new machines. Imagine that: you just bought a Win10 machine and then you ‘upgrade’ it to Win11 and the next thing you know it doesn’t work worth a damn and you’re told you need to buy a new computer. Oh some will take the change, but better find out before you make the switch.

Anyway I’d just delete Microsoft’s bloated Spyware System and install Linux. Which is sort of what I did yesterday, except it was install Linux over Linux – or rather alongside it.

See here’s the thing: there was a program I wanted to use which would not work on Mint 17.3. There is no upgrade path from 17.3 to 18.3 except either deleting and starting over or doing a dual-boot install. As it is I had to backup everything anyway, so I did the dual-boot thing in case I didn’t like 18.3. That took all afternoon and into the night. I can only imagine it’s worse with Windows.

(Comic Note: in Star Trek: Lower Decks one of the characters has a cybernetic implant. In one episode it needs to be ‘updated’ and so it keeps rebooting as it installs progressive increments of the update, causing the character to black out and not know what goes on during that time. It is so much like the Windows update process … The funny line is: “Installing Klingon Fonts” What?! Why do I even need that?!)

Anyway after getting it up and running I then installed the updates and then installed the updates and then began updating it … That is to say transferring the massive number of data files and making sure I had the same programs. Whoops. After the solitaire and mahjong games that got a little dicey. Seems Chromium (the open source version of Chrome) is a bit different. In fact it’s better but hey the included outdated Firefox had to go. Then I need the extensions. Then … Well, you get the picture. (In fact over 20,000 pictures). It’s a good thing Linux does not itself consume massive amounts of drive space. I now have two versions of it with duplicates of my data files – on a 500GB drive with plenty of space leftover. I hear Windows alone can eat that much space.

So the look is slightly different but not so far off it’s unusable. I haven’t had time to fully test it of course, and no I haven’t got to installing that one program which started me down this rabbit hole. It does appear that the video has stabilized and possibly the computer itself (it had developed the habit of locking on boot or shut down or just mid operation). We shall see if it remains so.

There is one tiny little annoyance, though: for some reason the [@] key and the [“] key are now transposed in operation. So far that’s the only glitch and it doesn’t make sense as I thought ASCII codes were standardized decades ago. Yes, I tried changing the keyboard language designation but it isn’t any different on any version of English. If anyone can explain this weird deviation I’d like to know what’s caused it.

Note to self: check and see if the printer and/or scanners now work.

Pretty pictures

All sorts of things continue to go wrong here, the latest being my computer becoming erratic in function. Gee, twelve years old and rebuilt once and it seems to be having hardware difficulties. Unfortunately I can’t replace it because A). I’m not made of money and computers are just one example of things that have shot up obscenely in price and B). everything that is available (and a lot isn’t) is pretty much junk anyway, and not just because they have Win10/11 on them.

That’s all as may be. I mean; we’re having food shortages here again, the COVID numbers are increasing (12 dead one day, 15 the next), weather is still trying to murder everyone by switching between thaw and melt so there’s ice everywhere, and my wife is still stuck in England for the foreseeable future (things have to stabilize before she comes home and there’s no sign of it happening in either country).

Wow, what fun eh?

I’m even having trouble finishing the lens test series as a result of all this craziness.

In the mean time, let’s just look at some pretty pictures out of the venerable Nikon.

One pileated woodpecker who visited.
A second pileated woodpecker who visited at the same time as the first.
A black-capped chickadee (a breed which is fairly abundant here lately).
The yard the birds were in before the melting began.
Ah this is how the leather case turned out once I got the new strap for it. Matches nicely, doesn’t it?
Kitty is sleeping. Sounds like a good idea to me.

We’ll see how things go the next few days. Although I can’t really plan even a day ahead because the forecast is hit-or-miss and the edicts from On High are random and often confusing. For now I’ll go with the cats’ take on things and sleep as much as possible.

Brief update

It’s minus forty here this morning. That’s the same in Celsius and Fahrenheit. Not weather conducive to anything. The only thing that runs is the furnace. In addition to the woodstove.

My wife may well be trapped in England due to increasing pandemic problems such as people getting sick and things being closed down. She didn’t manage to finish making arrangements for her poor sister for the same reasons.

One third of our kids have tested positive for the Omicron variant. Despite being fully vaccinated.

I am staying in, staying away from people, and trying to stay warm. Needless to say it is not good weather for photography. Not even inside.

Oh and the new fibre optic phone system has quit working. Just the phone, though. I don’t care, although it would be a problem if an emergency should arise.

One from the ‘archives’, then:

Icicle. (Nikon P610)

An update kind of thing

Just about a week ago I hauled the last load of this Winter’s wood out of the forest. This was followed by hauling the four cats, two dogs, and one wife out the next day and a second trip that day to bring essentials out. The third trip was Wednesday to shut down all the cabin systems (it’s not simple, believe me) and bring out all that I couldn’t get the previous day. So four loads and each time the Nissan was stacked to the roof inside. I still missed things.

Last load of wood. (Sony a6000).

I needed another trip but it was not to be. Thursday was spent hanging around while the Telus technician installed our new fibre optic cable connections to the world. I have no use for the TV service, but it was included. Really there is nothing worth watching anymore, and the Turner Classic Movies channel that I might look at was extra money. It’s already too expensive. The Internet is 2X faster and barely noticeably so. At least I won’t have to clear snow off the satellite dish this Winter.

Pity the poor Xterra. (Sony a6000)

Friday was taken up with pre-op exam. Got the results back from that already, and they’re not so good. A few “red flags” on some items indicating problems with my kidneys (no kidding? Guess what the procedure is for). Also I have inexplicably lost a lot of weight. It is not good for a man who is 6′ tall to be 158 lbs. This needs watching. Probably just all that work but … I’m old so practically every symptom is “an alarm bell”.

At this point the insurance has expired on the Nissan and I don’t fancy renewing it for $1,000 just for one more cabin trip. Whatever happens, happens. The expenses have been getting out of control of late, nearly $150 a week for gasoline to cite one example, and we have some more unavoidable expenses coming up next month. Yes I know I just bought a camera. That isn’t even included in the financial haemorrhaging.

The trailer suffered badly too. (Sony a6000)

Saturday I spent getting things around the house here ready for snow, because snow is in the forecast for next weekend. It probably won’t happen, or at least not much, and definitely won’t stay; just a ‘trial run’. I still have much more to do before the 4th when they make it impossible for me to do much of anything for a couple of weeks. Be prepared and all that.

This upcoming week it’s building inspection, flu jabs, and a possible trip to the Big City up North to get meds and things. Weather is likely ‘dodgy’ as every forecast made for last week turned out wrong. Photography? I’d like to but … It will be a difficult thing to fit in even if possible.

Oh I ordered a lens adaptor for the Sony. The day it was supposed to be delivered the order was cancelled. No explanation. There’s a lot of ‘no explanation’ happening these days. I just hope my surgery isn’t cancelled like that.

At this rate I figure it will be December before I can relax. If then: my wife has to go to England to see to her demented sister, and the UK is in a pretty terrible state all-around right now with shortages of everything except the disease. Okay maybe I can relax in January when she gets back. If she does. It’s a realistic fear for several reasons.

More photos to come as I have a few ‘stored up’ for whatever reason.

All clean now. (Sony a6000)