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In one move or another, a shitload of my track has gotten misplaced - some switches and all of the curved track. So, there went about $60 to replace it. Now I've got the track to put this thing together.

More tech issues. The trackball's crapping out. Replacement is ordered - a first-generation Magic Mouse, because every wireless trackball I could find uses a USB receiver and the Magic Mouse 2 requires macOS X 10.11 or newer.

Truth

Jun. 22nd, 2017 07:12 pm
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Calendar summer is upon us. Short nights, hot days, and at the moment, a heavy rain here in Bowman.

I saw Wonder Woman this afternoon. Loved it from start to finish. It's a gorgeous movie, long on action and myth. Gal Gadot is fantastic as Diana, and I'm sure I missed plenty of details in the movie, because there are times when I couldn't look away from her. She's attractive enough in the collection of period costumes, but when she's on screen in the WW costume, I'm just enthralled. She moves and looks and acts like a goddess. It's uncanny and so lovely.

On the smaller screen, I've started Amazon's The Man in the High Castle. It's quite good, expanding logically on the book.

And on - or behind - a different screen ... my trusty ol' iMac remains trusty, but there are some consequences of its age showing up. Not so much in the machine itself, but in some software. OS updates are no longer available for it (10.10.5 is the last version that it'll run), and Blizzard reminds me that 10.10.5 won't be supported much longer. So, I'm looking at a replacement, or successor, maybe. Despite being nearly ten years old (I bought it in '08, a factory refurb probably built in late '07), it still performs more than adequately, and, well, it does what I want and need it to do, and there is this grossly underutilized PS4 over there.

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Graduate regalia acquired, and Rebel Alliance starbird sticker placed on the cap. Rehearsal tonight, and then dinner with Mom&Dad, I figure. They're coming up this afternoon, staying downtown to avoid a very early start tomorrow morning.

I've had some off-the-record talks with some professors about ways to make up for the policy class. If/when I pursue a terminal degree, that's almost certainly the field. My undergrad policy instructor has provided a healthy reading list, and suggested that I go hard on self-education and consider writing, essentially, a thesis by any other name. A couple of instructors here at SPHIS have offered to tag me in if the right opportunity for collaboration comes along, and agree with the undergrad instructor's suggestions.

Replaced the ancient router this week. Tuesday night, it dropped the wireless connections four times in an hour, and my patience just evaporated. Now there's a sinister-looking dual-band device handling things, and everything is hunky-dory so far. This has me in the mind of a couple more little projects. Simplest, and just a matter of dropping $30 on a couple of sticks, is the Peppermint laptop. More complicated, and quite possibly more than I'm capable of, is replacing the old Macbook's optical drive with a solid-state drive. That's a little bit more expensive, because in addition to the new SSD, I feel obligated, somehow, to max out the thing's RAM.

No, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me, either, but I hung onto the old machines to tinker with them.

On the negative side regarding technology, the Mariner needs exhaust work and the most recent Alexa update seems to have removed TuneIn function from the Echo Dot. One of these has a much higher priority than the other - my little cute-ute should not be nearly as rumbly as the old Monte Carlo.

Nightcall

Feb. 12th, 2017 02:37 pm
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Graduation is now 90 days away. This past week saw a lot of progress, and one small hitch. Got to see a couple of unpleasant egomanics butt heads in class. Had my second meeting at the Nia Center, and this week I'll be out at Shawnee Academy. MRC training went well Thursday night. Going to start winding the practicum down in a few weeks.

Good Star Wars game Friday night. One player's Obligation is nearly discharged, so we can start replacing that with Duty soon. The Jedi is learning to work with the other Force-sensitive on the team (but mostly wants to find the Inquisitor who stole his lightsaber). It's a good game, and I'm so glad that the players are enjoying it. In a couple of weeks, I'm on the hook for Shadowrun Anarchy at SYR, and I think I've got a sufficient handle on that one.

The PeppermintOS laptop is doing what I wanted it to, and that's work. The hardware is old, and limited - about the same HD space that I have in these USB jump drives floating around - but Peppermint's pretty light and fast, and OpenOffice's descendant runs very well there. Now, I want a cheap Chromebook, just for comparison.
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My players got me out of the jam I'd written us into, and we had a good action-packed session Friday night. Got in some space combat for the Ace and enough spotlight time for everyone else. Next up, more Jedi action, introducing an Inquisitor.

The first pairings for the Corellian Conflict are assigned. Task Force 29 is defending Corfai against an Imperial attack. Just have to coordinate schedules with my opponent.

After last weekend's mostly-terrible wild card games, I had hope for better games in the divisionals. I mostly got my wish. Better games, although only one went the way I wanted - Atlanta over Seattle. Green Bay beat Dallas by a field goal, and the Steelers got past the Chiefs. Also New England beat the Texans, so I'm pulling for the eventual NFC champion in the Super Bowl. Best part of the weekend was watching the Dallas game with some of the cohort.

Swapped out some old and half-functional tech for an equally old but fully functional piece, and finally set up the Echo Dot I was given for Christmas. The Dot ... I don't know quite what to do with it.

Cored

Oct. 27th, 2016 03:51 pm
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Gods, Apple Music is an awful product.
tracker7: (SPHIS)
I tested an 11" Macbook Air. The keyboard feels good, but that screen just isn't big enough for me. I tend to have three or four windows open at once, and the small screen didn't feel suited to that. I can make use of the sidebar on the iPad in small doses, and it really is meant to be a limited-use function; I'm just too used to the 13" screen that's been my primary for better than seven years now. Also, the 11" Airs don't have a SD card slot, and while that's not a deal-breaker, I'd rather have one than have to give over a USB port to a reader.

Somewhere along the way, my existing Macbook picked up the firmware upgrade that allows it to make use of an 8GB RAM installation. Apple never publicized this, and I only stumbled onto it when asking around about the machine's lifespan. $55 ain't bad for that kind of improvement.

I passed the biostats midterm with stumbling colors. Just one more exam and this subject and I can part ways. It'll show up again, I know, and I'll manage, but the dosage will be much much smaller.

We closed the SPHIS building on Friday (3/4) due to water line replacement. Turned out to be a boon, as I got hit with some kind of stomach flu Thursday evening. Lovecraft had the Colour out of Space; I had the color out of orifices, and I believe them to be equally unearthly. Like, colors seen only on those arrow-poison tree frogs. Still dealing with some congestion and coughing, but those are minor and don't leave me waiting for the sweet release of death.

One upside to having a weakened sense of smell and taste because of a cold is the easy justification of eating something more spicy than I usually have, and this time, there was Joella's, a hot chicken joint over on Frankfort Avenue. So good, y'all.

This looks like a fast week. I've got a debate tonight, and it should be a lovely train wreck - my wonderful partner and I are assigned the pro side of arming teachers in JCPS. It's an indefensible position, so we decided to just dive into the NRA gibberish pool and vomit out talking points for seven minutes. I'll throw in a personal story - my dad left the Standard Gravure building a half-hour before some asshole walked in and shot 20 people back in '89, and for proper effective cheapness, anecdote trumps data. Normal stuff in the other two classes, and then Spring Break. I have to be at SPHIS part of the week, since offices stay open, but I've got a four-day weekend at the end and hopefully new little toy spaceships to play with.
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Decent enough time at the model train show. Bought a couple of things I shouldn't have, but whatever. I needed the break from studying for biostats. I had nightmares over this exam, and by Monday afternoon, I felt like my mind was full of spiders made of broken glass.

The exam wasn't as bad as I feared. At least, I hope that's what it was, because otherwise I'm dumb as a sack of hammers. This class is my white whale. I'm going like mad in every other class, but, man, fuckin' biostats.

I'm growing more and more fond of iCloud. Better integration across different machines than Google Drive, and additional space is ridiculously cheap. My tax refund is going into savings for an eventual Macbook replacement, almost definitely a Macbook Air of one size or the other. I only take my Macbook in one day a week, and I'm really comfortable with the iPad and its keyboard case, so I'm thinking about trying the smaller MB Air.

Sanctified

Nov. 13th, 2015 09:29 am
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In a month, the semester will be over. I've got a week to finish up my parts of a couple of term papers. Biostats is still the source of all terror. But I think I'm going to be okay.

Tuesday was a new experience. One of my instructors from last year (and next semester) asked me to pinch hit for his undergrad class session. I enjoyed it, got to see some folks from last year's classes (including Adaline, who reminds me way too much of #1C), and marked it down as a pretty good experience. But not something I'd want to do every day.

Bought an iPhone 6 last night. My 4S's little issues weren't getting any better. The 6's form factor is going to take some getting used to. I'm already taken with the Touch ID feature. Need to get a new dice roller app, as the old one won't run on the 6 for whatever reason.

Off to Liberty in the morning. Mom's developed cataracts and really can't safely see to drive. Surgery in a few days to remove them, and Dad's working in Chicago until Monday, so I'm going to make sure Mom isn't immobilized while he's gone.

I think I've talked myself into getting a PlayStation 4. Well, Star Wars Battlefront has talked me into doing it. Trailers for The Force Awakens have turned the warm fire from FFG's excellent gaming products into a full roaring blaze. I am in. All in. Also, there are other games on the console, which I understand to be good.

Starting a Delta Green game Thanksgiving weekend. Getting some time with Shadow next weekend.

Onward.
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Yesterday was the last day of classes for the spring semester. I'm still in limbo about the fall - hoping that I'll get to start the MPH, afraid that I'll have to spend another year in the undergrad program.

I have four finals, beginning with tomorrow's public policy exam. That's the class I'm most concerned about, as far as my final grade. I've enjoyed the class, and feel that I've learned quite a bit, but I've struggled with the exams. Communications looks to be the GPA booster I expected it to be. Epidemiology's been tough, and the most valuable class of the semester - again, as I expected. 430 and 405, though ... there's a lesson somewhere here. I'm borderline A/B in 430 and have a high A in 405, and I've done no honest work in either course. In fact, my work in 405 is arguably fraudulent (as is the entire course, in my opinion). I've abandoned much of the team-based work in 430 - not because it's been difficult, but because I just haven't cared about the course and the lack of learning it's offered. Frustrations abound.

I've used my old iPhone as a slightly heavier iPod for a while, and I've gotten used to having the dedicated device. Doesn't make sense, sure - means carrying around a second device instead throwing music and podcasts on the iPhone in my pocket. But I liked continuing to get some utility out of the old phone, and having nothing else on it meant lots more space for music. A few days ago, the home button stopped working, which made the whole thing just about useless. About $40 to repair it, assuming the screen doesn't have to be replaced as well - it's cracked along the top. Irrational as anything - if the screen has to be replaced, too, I'll just set resources aside for a Nano, I think.
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It's somehow fitting that a town named Liberty, even with a small population, would put on a pretty terrific fireworks show for Independence Day. About a half-hour long, all manner of pyrotechnics. A heck of a lot of fun.

Dad bought a smartphone today, a Nokia Lumia 520. We've worked on setting it up for him this evening, and while I'm still quite happy with my iPhone 4S/iOS7, the Windows OS on the Lumia is pretty nifty.

Dropped into The Louisville Game Shop this week. Talked with Colin M about the hobby, confessed my intent to abandon print products outside of extraordinary circumstances - and asked him to set aside a copy of Age of Rebellion, which falls into the "extraordinary circumstances" category.

Still no interest in GMing anything, not for a while. Would like to play something, once I'm resettled, but the list of stuff I'd commit to isn't long. I really can't see myself even thinking about taking on a GM role for the next couple of years. School has to come first.

But not tonight. Tonight's been time with Mom&Dad and a fun horror flick and a couple episodes of True Blood.
tracker7: (Default)
Sometimes it's the littlest things that make me happy. I've been looking at/pricing new monitors for a few weeks. I don't exactly need one, but I just want one. I found plenty in the $100 or so range, which was the price I'd set for such an expenditure. So, last night, after work and some errands, I found myself digging through a closet, looking for an old portable file folder box. Found it - and found an old CRT monitor. Old as in probably last fired up in 2005, and probably purchased in 2001 or 2002. What the heck, I figure, and plug it in. Powers right up. While running some more errands before a movie today, I picked up a Mini DVI-to-VGA adapter, and now I have a small secondary screen! Yes, I know I could just use Spaces and have effectively the same thing, but this is works, and I'm pleased with it.

The movie? Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby. Enjoyed the heck out of it. I love the novel, and Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet is just a joy to me, so I had pretty high hopes. I was not disappointed at all.
tracker7: (Gaming)
I'm not going to call it a disappointment, because All For One is a darned terrific read. I love the writing, especially the flavor text attached to the character templates. The book left me wanting a little bit more - specifically, how the mid 17th-Century France of the game is different from that of The Three Musketeers (I mean, besides the demons and witches and monsters).

I'm a little over halfway through DC Adventures: Hero's Handbook, and am very very pleased. I like the changes in the Mutants & Masterminds rules; without playing it *cough*Stacey*cough*, it seems streamlined and a bit faster in play.

My post-GenCon burst of energy seemed to have disappeared by Thursday afternoon - work-related crapstravaganza striking again. It came back this morning, thanks to some Facebook and YIM interactions. Wasn't expecting that, but I'm sure not going to turn it aside. I've got my notes for an article on drug trafficking and anti-drug law-enforcement agencies strewn across the couch, and wordcount is starting to come together.

After seeing quite a few of the things used as really really good PDF readers at GenCon, I'm looking hard at getting an iPad in the near future. Page rendering is terrific, and the screen is big enough to show a full page clearly.

Time to get back at it. It's the politics of contraband, after all.
tracker7: (Comics)
So, as planned, I hosted Christmas dinner today. Right now, holy cow, the leftovers.

The Niece got two phones. A TracFone from her mom and stepdad, and a LG Xenon from Matt. Combine those with the netbook Mom&Dad and I got her (and the upcoming accessories for it), and she was a very happy and technologically-connected kid.

Dinner itself was a good thing. Short on crazy and stupid for the first time in a long while.

The Niece's netbook is pretty nifty. We were able to get one in purple (her favorite color), and it's a Win7 machine. I'm going to get her an external DVD-RW drive for it soon and get the necessary OS upgrade. It is a tiny little machine. Keyboard's way too small for me to use (the Macbook has spoiled me, too), but her hands are much smaller than my octave-and-a-half paws, so she should be just fine.

Hoping to get in a late showing of Avatar tonight, and maybe an early one of Sherlock Holmes tomorrow.
tracker7: (Comics)
Replaced the old Nokia yesterday - finally gave in to my rampant technofetishism and bought an iPhone. It is, in fact, a darned nifty piece of technology, and I've only barely begun to monkey around with it.

I would be much further along the iPhone's learning curve, but for a curious event last night. An old friend and I started zinging e-mails back and forth, then IMing, then phone calls. And we were on the phone together for a bit over six hours. Six hours. You know those people that were in your life way back when, but when you reconnect it's like the intervening time never happened? Yes. This. And over the course of the conversation, we opened up to one another, things going back to our teens, good, bad, ugly, involving ourselves and each other and other people, and I wound up spilling the entire godawful mess of S, from the first fleeting glance in 1988 to the final reciprocated contact attempt in 2005. We laughed and cried together. She told me her own heartbreaks and triumphs, and we joked and laughed. We finally called it a night around 6:30 this morning. Maybe meeting up this afternoon for more catching up and football and what-have-you.

I needed this. I've needed good exciting late-night conversation for a long, long time. I missed it more than I knew. This morning, I feel refreshed and somehow free of a millstone around my neck. I'm feeling darn good.

If only, y'know?

tracker7: (Comics)
The new iPhone launches today.  I would not want to be at an Apple or AT&T store, and I got a text from AT&T yesterday morning warning of possible service outages today.  I think they're terrific devices, but not yet terrific enough that I want one.

Comics this week:
The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #5 (of 5):  Disappointing ending to the story.  It's another case of me not knowing what I expected, but this certainly wasn't it, I think.  Another series is planned for September, and I expect I'll get sucked into that one, too.
Invincible Iron Man #3:  Matt Fraction, for whatever other sins he might have committed, knows how to write IM.
Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #4 (of 4):  The post-Armor Wars red-and-gold suit merged with Excalibur's scabbard!  Doctor Doom!  A giant demon-thing made entirely of eyeballs and optic nerves!  This was great fun.
Justice Society of America #17:  More with Gog.  The JLA shows up.  Mister Terrific faces his disbelief.  I love this series so much.

34 days until GenCon.
tracker7: (Default)
It is exceedingly terrible that at the time when we need someone the most, they're taken away from us.  Tim Russert and George Carlin, within a few days of one another.

I took in a few movies this weekend, on DVD and cable.  Against my better judgment, I gave A&E's Andromeda Strain another try, and it is absolutely no better at all than it was the first time around.  In fact, being able to pay attention to things that I didn't completely follow before only made the final result even worse.  TCM outdid it later that night, though - it presented The Apple.  I've wanted to see this ever since reading the review over at Cold Fusion Video, and so help me, I think Shumate may have been kind in his review.  This is well and truly one of the most screwed-up things I've ever seen - including a midnight show of Liquid Sky.  Somewhat better was an nth viewing of RoboCop 2.  I've lambasted this movie a lot - RoboCop is one of my favorite movies, and the sequel falls awfully short.  Maybe it's thanks to the recent massive resurgence in my old cyberpunk jones, but I was able to see a lot of good stuff in the movie this time around.  The biggest problem remains, I guess, that it just tried to do everything the first one did but bigger.  It lost the sharpness along the way, though.  The extremely pleasant surprise was Brick.  A low-budget indie film noir set in a modern high school.  It was, in fact, so crazy that it just worked wonderfully.

I came within a hair's breadth of getting the iMac tonight.  I've got a massive amount of rearranging to do first, but I expect I'll have the thing by the end of the week.  Probably just in time for another round of layoffs at 100 Midland.

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