Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-29
Posted in Twitter
Morning watch, 6 bells (7:03 am)
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Happy 7th
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:13 pm)

I blew past my 7th blogiversary last Thursday. No celebratory post, no nothing. Seven years of blogging. So little to say, so few to listen…

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-22
Posted in Twitter
Morning watch, 6 bells (7:03 am)
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I Call Her “Vera”
Posted in Hobbies
First watch, 2 bells (9:24 pm)

A few weeks ago I had some work done on my plumbing. I ended up with an extra hot water expansion tank, a 2.2 gallon tank with a hose connection on one side and a valve like a tire's valve stem has on the other.

Of course, as soon as I saw it I thought SQUIRT GUN and started stewing over some ideas of how to implement it. In the end, I decided to use a sprinkler valve with a momentary switch connected to it, and a handful of PVC pipes, adapters, and couplers. Home sprinkler valves run on 24v AC power, but I found that for whatever reason a 9v DC battery seems to trigger it just fine. I have yet to do a full pressure test though.

I'll write up more of this later, after my final tests. I've already got some ideas for Vera Mark II (a switch to use a 555 timer generating a square wave with a rheostat or potentiometer as a frequency modulator—think variable machine gun pulses—and a power LED.

If I dress her up she'll get taken out somewhere nice…

Addendum One: The 9v power wasn't enough to trigger the solenoid when it was under pressure. I thought this might happen. Working on a higher power source to see how it goes.

Addendum Two: Switching to a 12v or 18v supply works just fine. Two 9v batteries in series is more compact than 8 AA batteries in a holder.

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If I Owned a Gas Station
Posted in Random Thoughts
Forenoon watch, 8 bells (12:05 pm)

I would put short hoses at the pumps to punish the people that pull up on the wrong side just to get a quicker spot.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-15
Posted in Twitter
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:03 am)
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Robert Howard’s Conan
First dog watch, 3 bells (5:59 pm)

This short passage from Robert E. Howard's The Jewels of Gwahlur (one of his Conan short stories) continues to crack me up:

And, oh, by the way, they took off Zargheba's head and hung it up in a thicket." She shivered, yet at the same time breathed a sigh of relief. "He'll never whip me again." "Not this side of Hell," agreed Conan.

I love how Conan oh-so-nonchalantly implies the girl is going to hell. And that she will be whipped by him again.

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L(a)ying Press
Posted in Bookbinding
Last dog watch, 2 bells (7:04 pm)

I ordered an old lying press today. Depending on where you search, it's also called a laying press. It looks like this. The bit on top is a plough, the last piece of my bindery puzzle. I'm tempted to just buy a few more tools so I can make my own press and plough. I got a good deal, and having one will make it easier to reproduce if I decide to start making them in the future. There aren't a lot of places to buy them…

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-08
Posted in Twitter
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:03 am)
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Forget Garden Gnomes
Posted in Creepiness
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:10 pm)

You need a Garden Zombie!

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Fixing the ‘Net One Router at a Time
Posted in Tech
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:09 pm)

I'm trying to track down a very strange issue that seems to be geographically related, but not completely so. Basically, certain routes to some servers have long connection delays, sometimes 30 seconds or more, before any data are transferred. I can reproduce it at home some of the time. Other times, the problem is just gone. Several other people at work see the same issue, but others with the same service don't. I told you it was strange&8230;

I'm going to cash in some chips with some business associates and get some help finding the issue, it's a bit over my head at this point, and that doesn't happen to me very often.

It's not latency, because ping times are nominal. Yet traceroute results may be delayed for 30+ seconds while I wait for the second hop (first is my home router) to return results, despite having 10ms or less latency. It's like the connection itself is being held up somewhere, and seems to be happening mostly on a hand-off from Time Warner to XO Communications' network.

I'll post updates when I get closer to finding the issue.

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Wrong Line of Work
First dog watch, 2 bells (5:05 pm)

Every now and then I see how I chose the wrong line of work. Today at the office I had a refrigerator repairman come to fix an issue with the ice maker. The flap that the ice drops through the door was broken, and warm air was frosting up the chute and ice was melting and blocking things up.

Anyway, the job took him an hour or so, and the part was $115 (but that's a separate gripe). Labor was charged at around $120 per hour, plus the $65 "I showed up" fee. Almost $400 for an hour of work and a bag of cheap plastic parts…

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-08-01
Posted in Twitter
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:03 am)
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