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What I did over the past week L

Home:

  • Repaired and re-routed the extension cord plugged into the camper
  • One of the server rack's UPSes failed; moved everything over to the remaining unit. Batteries seem okay; problem appears to be the electronics
  • Cleaned up the server rack's wiring

Vehicles:

  • Replaced headlamp assemblies on the truck; new ones are actual glass! Did my best to align them but they probably need more work
  • Inspected the brakes on the truck and Prius; the latter is in good shape but the former is in need of replacement
  • Truck broke down on a road trip; was able to limp it home 5-10 miles at a time. Problem is most likely the distributor; either the pickup coil or ignition timing module

Rockbox:

  • Reworked the mp3 parsing fixes to deal with regressions
  • Improved the www site's git log htmlizer
  • Fixed and improved the 'make tar' build target
  • Bug triage and review

Printing:

  • Hopefully fix 8x10" printing on the Sinfonia CE1/S6245
  • Bug fixes for the Mitsubishi CP-D90 panorama mode (still untested)

What I did over the past week XLIX

Home:

  • Overdue yard cleanup; lots of fallen limbs and other miscellany
  • Seeded the re-excavated drainage ditch next to the street with grass and sunshine mimosa
  • Temporary repair for the hole punched in the siding

Vehicles:

  • Cleaned and re-oiled the truck's air filter
  • Primary fan relay went bad on the truck, drained the battery
  • Discovered a leaking headlight housing, a blown turn signal bulb, and a blown high beam bulb. Replacements on order
  • Opted to replace the WRX's (washable) air filter due to sheer nastiness and years of mechanical damage. Idles noticeably more consistently now

Rockbox:

  • Improved the mp3 metadata decoder's ability to handle slightly malformed (but still technically legal) files
  • Misc bug triage & patch review
  • Minor www site tweak

Printing:

  • Found multiple bugs in ipp-usb, proposed fixes for some of them
  • Fixed 2x6" strip printing on Citizen CX-02 models

Garglk:

  • Chased down visual glitches when running under GNOME

What I did over the past week XLVIII

Home:

  • 6" thick tree branch punched a small hole through the house. Joy...

Vehicles:

  • Long-overdue maintenance on the camper -- topped off the batteries with distilled water, emptied, bleached, and refilled the (disgusting) water tanks, stripped out all bedding, towels, etc for washing, and relocated the stash of books and games into the house.

Rockbox:

  • Fixed a formatting error in the IRC log reader
  • Cleaned up some magic numbers in the ipod6g ATA driver
  • Fixed toolchain compilation with GCC 11
  • Finally completed project registration with the libera.chat network
  • Patch review and bug triage

Printing:

  • Lots of discussions on mailing lists about the IPP and Printing Applications
  • Put together a cheap laser engraver and rotary tool. After a little tweaking I successfully burned some art onto cork coasters and scrap wood
  • Got the cutter/plotter going for the first time in a couple of years, and properly dialed it in for the material I had on hand

What I did over the past week XLVI

Home:

  • Picked up a concrete birdbath for the back yard. Not a single surface was flat or square; took a lot of jiggery to get the base to be stable and the basin relatively level
  • Burned another couple of barrelfuls of yard trash
  • Cleaned out the gutters yet again

Vehicles:

  • Lower radiator hose on the WRX blew, stranding me about 20 miles from home. The replacement is still on order, alas

Rockbox:

  • Fix rbspeex build when using system speex libraries
  • More patch review & closed some more old tickets
  • Migrated Rockbox's IRC channels from Freenode to Liberachat

What I did over the past week XLV

Home:

  • Goats are all gone now, having cleared out about a quarter of the back yard. Poison ivy goes in, fertilizer comes out!
  • Burned up a lot of the stuff the goats didn't finish.
  • Un-buried the camper, and what I didn't put away properly got hauled away to the landfill. Garage is almost tidy-looking now!
  • Prep work to excavating the sand-filled bar ditch in the front yard

Rockbox:

  • Fix a crash parsing 0-length WMA files
  • Patch review
  • Started closing (very) obsolete bug tickets
  • iBasso DX50/DX90 support 192KHz playback
  • Updated Gerrit to latest point release

Printing

  • Further test/diagnostic command decoding on the Mitsubishi D70 & D90 families
  • Correct lifetime printer counter on the Mitsubishi D70 family
  • Add support for test print modes on the Mitsubishi D90 family
  • Detect & support "HG" media on the Mitsubishi CP-K60DW-S
  • Properly log small transfers from a large buffer in debug level 2
  • Consolidate some Sinfonia/Kodak parameter definitions
  • Detect Sticker media on Citizen CX02S printers

What I did over the past week XLIV

Home:

  • Upgraded shaftnet to Fedora 33. I thought it went smoothly, only to discover six hours later that incoming (or outgoing) mail wasn't working. Three hours later I finally worked out the root cause; the antivirus scanner had disabled itself and that silently took down the mail server. What a mess..
  • One of my PVC-pipe-speakers took one tumble too many. Fortunately I was able to repair it using... PVC glue. It's a good thing too; otherwise I'd have to spend about $20 for new pipe fittings.
  • Fed the burn barrel two more loads of yard trash

Vehicles:

  • Oil changes and coolant top-offs on the truck and WRX.

Rockbox:

  • A lot of cleanup to old/duplicated gerrit accounts. Found a bug in upstream gerrit in the process!
  • The usual patch reviews

Photo Organizer:

  • Fixed a long-standing printing bug where embedded ICC profiles were being ignored

Printing

  • Silence spurious INFO output in BACKEND_STATS_ONLY modes
  • Support built-in-self-test print generation on the Mitsubishi D70 and its siblings.

What I did over the past week XLIII

Home:

  • Upgraded 3 more systems to Fedora 34.
  • Had some goats over to do some landscaping
  • Minor yard work, including gutter cleaning. The burn barrel is now 2/3rds full of ash and new charcoal.

Rockbox:

  • Updated the bug tracker to Flyspray 1.0-rc10
  • Reviewed a whopping one patch

Printing

  • Cleanups in the early probe/attach code

Truth through fiction

Buckle up, it's time for more navel-gazing introspective wankery!

Every now and then you come across a book that grips you in a way that leaves you feeling a sense of loss (and well, lost) when you turn the last page.

Yesterday, I finished Cemetery Road by Greg Isles. It had it all; believable, ordinary characters acting in ways that made sense, protagonists and (nominal) villains alike, wrapped up in a world that carried so many self-consistent details to make me wonder if the story was at least partially autobiographical. And the emotional punch of a Mack truck.

But now I must digress.

I used to be a voracious reader. If I'm honest it was mostly about escape, immersing myself in other folks' imaginary worlds that were somehow much more real, making more sense than the one I was inhabiting.

I quickly developed a preference for science fiction, mainly the "indistinguishable from magic" dreck that remains the reason the genre is still lumped together with Fantasy, but there was something intangible about certain stories or authors that stuck with me.

In college (and beyond) my reading dropped way off due to the realities of quasi-adult life, but at some point afterwards I (re-)discovered two things; audio books and compilations of short stories. So my "reading" picked up again, mostly consumed during 20-minute commutes or the occasional road trip.

These consisted mostly of serials, with their established characters and worlds and their well-trodden escapist adventures (and/or descents into darkness), but as time went on I'd increasingly mix in more standalone books by unfamiliar (to me) authors across a wider variety of genres, plus the occasional short story anthology.

In hindsight, there have been several core themes to books (or more accurately, stories) I've really liked -- at its heart, science fiction is philosophical in nature, exploring the human condition via "what-if" speculation, but the dives beyond the boundaries of mind and self are what still get me tingly.

As I've (presumably) matured into middle age and my general awareness (both of my self and the world about me) has grown, the scale and scope of my own possible futures have shrunk. I don't know how much I wanted to change (or escape from?) the world via some sort of grand adventure, but I've come to recognize that "adventure" is really just a childish way to say that you did something, it affected people, and you learned something along the way.

So even a trip to the grocery store can be an adventure, and perhaps more importantly, I already have, and continue to, change the world.

Which brings me to Cemetery Road.

Cemetery Road was one of those random mix-ins. It's cliche, but I really did pick it up due to its cover, and put it on my audio player despite its generic-meh "death and dark secrets in a southern town" plot synopsis, because there seemed to be something more there.

It turned out to be a deeply personal story; of the importance of family and escaping the shadows of our parents; of accepting our own truths, flaws and self-betrayals; of love, pain, and forgiveness; of good works and the passage of time. But most of all, it is about about middle age and growing up.

... Not bad for a book that takes place over just six days!

You don't need speculative science fiction to explore the human condition. You don't need epic, world-shattering supernatural battles between good and evil. You just need ordinary people living their ordinary lives.

Don't fall for a magic world
We humans got it all
Every one of us
Has a heaven inside
  -- Kate Bush

Ordinary people. Like you. Or me.

Go in beauty.