Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thoughts on Video

So, I was taking a moment to watch this below video of the snow storm in Buffalo:



and when the pilot brings the drone back to take a selfie, I had a flashback to when we moved back to California, and I recorded a video tour of the new house for family and friends.  There were a few times in bathrooms and bedrooms where I caught myself in a mirror, and broke the description of the house with, "Cameraman."

It was on a compact camera that used magnetic tape.  We then transferred the video to VHS tapes for distribution.  This was in 1986 and most everyone's VHS players were standardized.

This had not been the case just a few years prior when we had lived in Kentucky and done another video of our redone backyard with new brick patio and flower mounds.  We recorded our tour at what we assumed was the normal speed because our VHS player could record up to 6 hours of material on a cassette.  Unfortunately, the friends we sent our tape to did not have that format on their player and could only record 4 hours of material on a cassette (maybe only even 2).

So what happened?  Apparently it was like watching a poorly cranked film on playback.  The dog and I were accused of extreme hyperactivity and it was recommended that I cut back on the sugar.  And we were asked if the scenic flower mounds were Indian burial mounds.

At the time of this writing, the snow drone video has been viewed over 300,000 times.  And yet 30 years ago, we couldn't even get our video to be properly watched once.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Tech and Old Tech

So, almost a month ago, I bought a new external hard drive, and shuffled around our home network a bit.  The way it had been was an network attached storage (NAS) with an external via USB, plus a smaller external attached directly to my computer.  Our music collection (as well as shared photos and other documents) was on the NAS-external, and syncing our iPods was something we would do over a weekend.  It was just slow.

With the new external, I moved the small external to the NAS and each laptop got an external.  Then the real shuffling began.  The NAS and its external are formatted with a UNIX file system.  So there was a bit of file movement to perform.  And some other things as well.


  1. Attach new external to my laptop, and copy (over wifi) complete contents of old NAS-external to new external.
  2. Connect old external to my laptop, reformat, and copy contents.
  3. Connect small external to NAS, reformat.
  4. Connect old external to Jennifer's laptop, redirect iTunes look locally for files
  5. Redirect iTunes on my computer to look locally for files
  6. Spend some time deleting music of Jennifer's from my external
  7. Spend more time renaming folders for consistent naming.
  8. Realize the majority of folders have been renamed, so re-import music for iTunes.
  9. Reorganize playlists
  10. Attach iPod to re-sync, get notice that Windows needs to run a disk check.
  11. Check disk crashes iTunes, making restart necessary.
  12. iTunes requires Restore of iPod, but Restore locks up iTunes, and three repeated attempts yields same results.
  13. Attempt Restore using Jennifer's laptop, locking iTunes again.
  14. Setup appointment at Appel Store - Genius Bar.
  15. Go to Apple Store.  iTunes not seeing iPod, but Genius gets it working after a few restarts of iPod.  iPod is Restored, but iTunes is not seeing the iPod.  I am wished luck.
  16. Plugging iPod into computer brings up Checkdisk requirement again.  I hold my breath and do it again.  This time no crashes.
  17. iTunes require a Restore of the iPod.  I hold my breath, and do it.  Again, no crash.  Trying to hide excitement.
  18. After Restore, iPod begins syncing.

Now, as I mentioned before, syncing the entire iPod (an iPod Classic with 160 GB) used to take from Friday night and often run all weekend and might be done by Tuesday morning.  I was about 30% synced in less than 3 hours.

And so, happily, when I got up this morning the sync was complete.  So all is well, and I can put off buying a replacement for a while.  But I may buy one anyway, just to have a spare.




Friday, November 07, 2014

New Madness

So, you should know that I'm a regular reader of science sites.

io9

Gizmodo

Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy

And so today io9 had the follwing article on the removal of information from a textbook as the Republicans continue their anti-science, over-religious attempts to control the country.

The links referred to in the site are for Rachel Maddow's site.

And a biologist's site.

However, just in case these should go away, here are the pages (545 and 546) that are being ripped out of the seventh edition of Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections textbook:



Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Stop the Madness

So we have six or seven smoke detectors at home.  They are wired into the building's main power, but they also have a battery backup.  Apparently, the detector sends a check regularly through the battery  to check its voltage and ensure that it is in working order.  If that voltage (maybe current?  Dammit Jim, I'm a geologist not an electrician!) is too low to run the detector, then the detector chirps.

Perhaps this is common knowledge to people, but last night I had a bit of a situation as all four upstairs and one downstairs detector began chirping when we were heading to bed.  They did this for half an hour.  I tried pushing the silence button (which usually works), and changed out the batteries in them.  Nothing worked.

Now to forestall any admonishments, I know you're supposed to change out the batteries every 6 months.  I just wish they lasted that long.  These things have been 9-volt vampires and end up getting changed when they chirp.

Finally out of frustration, I called our property manager and asked him if he had any tricks to get them to be quiet.  (And yes, they did chirp a few times during the conversation.)  He said to completely disconnect the ones that were chirping completely from power.  I ended up only having to do that to two of them before they all quieted down.

Apparently there are new code laws coming into effect in 2015, and so next year we will be getting new detectors that have their own 10-year battery life and not be connected to power.  He is coming by today to install three of the new detectors in the most important locations: master bedroom, guest bedroom, and upstairs hallway.  The rest will get replaced next year.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Book Nook

So, I'm going to be moving on to some non-fiction for my next book.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August was lots of fun.  It was so much more than I expected it to be after its beginning.

Then I read Patrick Rothfuss' The Slow Regard of Silent Things.  I cannot begin to describe how reading this novella makes me feel inadequate in any sort of field of putting words together.  This book has no dialogue, but there is conflict, and action, and tension.  It takes place in Rothfuss' Kingkiller world, and had me riveted the entire time.

But now, I'm on to Self-Made Man by Norah Vincent.  I'm not sure where I came across the book, but this may be another Kinja/iO9/Jezebel reference.  It initially strikes me as a Black Like Me kind of book, but i'm intrigued.

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