The Year is Dead; Long Live the Year!

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Taken at Lake Alice, on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville.

The sun didn't peek out until close to 9am, but it was lovely watching the lake come to life; two flocks of ibises, a couple of cormorants, several turtles, a goose or two, a great blue heron, a snowy egret, a red-tailed hawk building a nest, and two Chinese students in their pyjamas all made appearances as I watched the fog slowly brightening over the placid waters.

The end of (another) era

Yesterday was my last day at Philips/Invivo, bringing a disappointing end to three years of effort on a project that company politics finally managed to sink, along with everyone else employed in Gainesville.

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It's bittersweet, but.. I'm glad its finally over.

I relocated for this job, and for once in my life I can honestly say I love where I am, and want to stay. Fortunately, will be able to -- After two days of unemployment I will start a new gig with a fully-remote company, doing some very interesting things indeed.

And I will be able to do it with cats sprawled across my desk, chittering at the birds flitting in the trees that fill my view.

A little pick-me-up in the morning

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Having to jump-start your airplane is bad enough, but getting a boost from an old Geo Metro... that's a whole new level of embarassment.

(As it turns out the Geo couldn't do it either; last I heard the working theory is that the starter was to blame)

What I did over the past week LXXIV

Not a lot to talk about this week; final winding-down of my Philips job and the run-up to Christmas.

Home:

  • Swept up several more loads of leaves. Finally making a difference
  • Additional cleaning in the home office and around the house

ShaftNet:

  • Fixed an IPv6 reachability problem due to ISP's router masquerading the outbound tunnel

Tick Farm:

  • Took apart the toilet and replaced all of its guts and seals after rinsing out the layers of crud
  • Well pump appears to be working properly; however it cycles off and on far too quickly. I suspect the pressure vessel is partially clogged with mud and gunk, but I'm not quite sure how to go about trying to clean it out just yet

Rockbox:

  • Found out the VM will be forcibly migrated later this week. Still don't have the new IPs yet. I hate last-minute shit like this, especially when I've been out of town

What I did over the past week LXXIII

Home:

  • Cleaned out most of the soon-to-be-former-employer-related stuff from my home office. There are still a few things left to bring back in, but I'll take care of that when I go back in to turn in my badge and sign the final discharge paperwork

ShaftNet:

  • Lit up another one of the FatTwin's nodes, with a pair of 10 core CPUs. This one's going to be hosting virtual machines, though it'll eventually need more disks and RAM. Just what I need, another heat source in my home office...

Rockbox:

  • Fix RTL language file generation (Arabic & Hebrew) that I broke back in July... of 2020
  • Closed several dozen obsolete bug tickets and convinced others to triage some of the older stuff
  • Minor tweaks to the translation site
  • Merged in some updated translations
  • Enabled nightly voice generation for Turkish

What I did over the past two weeks LXXII

It's been an eventful couple of weeks. Trying to wind down the Philips gig while simultaneously preparing for one final technology demo has meant for some long hours, and then there's the time spent trying to find a new job and negotiating more printer work. My official last day is the 31st but my effective final day is the 17th due to non-reimbursable sick time needing to be used up.

There have been some cool developments on the job front but I'm not in a position to talk about any of it yet. In the mean time, here's the more mundane goings-on:

Home:

  • Storage rearrangement and consolidation in the home office
  • Storage consolidation in the garage
  • Installed some makeshift shoe shelves
  • Hung some additional hooks in the kitchen area
  • OMG SO..MANY..LEAVES... The house was half-buried, the driveway was nearly invisible, and parts of the yard had over a foot of leaves. Over the weekend I swept up eight loads and shoveled 10 bags to be hauled away, and by Monday morning it seemed worse than before I'd started. As an aside, Running my electric leaf blower off of a generator seems to yield the both of both worlds..

Rockbox:

  • Patch review, including cleaning up some breakage
  • Some work on the theme website
  • Fixed some issues on the wiki due to missing Perl modules
  • Restarted hosted VM when it kernel panicked (!) while I was working on the wiki issues
  • Further work on the foswiki 2.x migration
  • Security update to the gerrit instance
  • Some semi-automated cleanup of a few strings

What I did over the past week LXXI

No software hackery this time around. All of my attention was spent in meatspace...

Home:

  • Thanksgiving. Made my best turkey, pecan pie, and green bean casserole EVAR
  • Blew leaves off the roof and the perimeter of the house, and swept up half a dozen or so loads. Tis the season, apparently

Vehicles:

  • Adjusted the truck's headlights upwards a little bit
  • Replaced the barely-used brake pads on the WRX with ones that actually work. After some bedding-in, it's night and day versus the older pads
  • Oil change on the WRX
  • Replaced the truck's master cylinder (again) with the correct model this time. It actually stops now, but still needs further bleeding or other adjustments, but I'll deal with that when I replace the rear pads

What I did over the past two weeks LXX

I got very little done during the first week of this period. Just as a FYI, don't get a flu shot and COVID-19 booster at the same time!

Home:

  • Cleaned off the roof and swept up something like six loads of leaves and acorns
  • Cleaned up my home office; everything is now up off the floor and properly stacked/stashed on shelves. Gave everything a much-needed vacuuming

Shaftnet:

  • Fixed an unexpected mail delivery problem due to the ISP's modem masquerading all outbound connections from my public IP block...WTF? Corrected the SPF records to include the full IP range

Vehicles:

  • Swapped out the truck's brake master cylinder and vacuum booster as the old one was leaking. Two quarts of fluid, three bench bleedings, and a malfunctioning (and subsequently deleted) RWAL solenoid later, I discovered that I'd purchased the wrong replacement master cylinder. The correct one is now on order and should be here Tuesday.
  • Additionally, during one of several gravity bleeding sessions, I inspected and cleaned the rear brakes, discovering that the bottom third of one of the trailing shoes had broken off. A new set of shoes will be here by Wednesday (and will be a real PITA to install...) but everything else looked okay
  • The WRX's brakes are fucked up, with the new pads glazed over due to my improperly bedding them in. It can still stop okay at low speeds but it's downright dangerous in traffic or on the highway. A new set of (different!) pads should be here Wednesday, and will be pretty quick to install. While I was inspecting everything I decided to do a four-corner bleed just in case; all seems to be well otherwise
  • The WRX got a full set of inner and outer tie rods installed, followed by a long-overdue alignment. Unfortunately, the shop reported that driving with the broken camber bolt damaged the strut's string perch, but a quick inspection didn't show anything obvious. It seems most likely that the damage is to the upper spring perch and/or top hat (ie the steering pivot point) but either way it's going to require disassembling the strut(s) to find out. The shop also claimed the power steering pump I just installed is failing. I don't have the time and/or budget to deal with all of this nonsense just yet.

All in all, more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Moral of the story? Don't take apart your working vehicle when the other one is out of commission. And double-check that you have the correct parts first!

Rockbox:

  • A bunch of patch review and helping out folks on IRC
  • Minor cleanup on the jz47xx USB driver

Printing:

  • Does vacuuming the cat hair off of the racks of printers count?

What I did over the past week LXIX

Home:

  • Minor yard work; inclement weather scrapped the plans to do more

Shaftnet:

  • Relocated shaftnet from the lab at my soon-to-be-former employer to my home office, along with the new IP address, and dealt with (most of) the fallout. There's still an issue with the ISP's modem that's causing some horrible latency swings
  • Migrated shaftnet off of its 12-year-old special snowflake 4U case (which saw three motherboard swaps over the years) onto one of the unused nodes in the FatTwin chassis in my rack. The storage stayed much the same, other than converting it to UEFI booting, XFS on all partitions, and the FatTwin's MegaRAID card instead of the 3Ware controllers I've used for twenty-odd years

Tick Farm:

  • Something's wrong with the well pump. And the toilet's guts are shot. These are probably related, but I don't have time to deal with this right now

Vehicles:

  • Spliced the truck's new fan controller's temperature sensor into the upper radiator hose instead of wedged into the radiator itself
  • New (not re-manufactured!) brake booster and master cylinder for the truck ordered and delivered, but were not installed due to crappy weather and the desire to wait until the WRX was back from the shop
  • The WRX now has new inner and outer tie rod ends, but is still out of commission owing to a broken eccentric camber adjusting bolt discovered during the alignment. That broken bolt was probably the initial failure that could have gone much more badly.

Rockbox:

  • On the xDuoo X3ii, ignore "remote" events when the headphone is not plugged in
  • Some patch review

Printing:

  • Allow the backend data files to be installed independently