Found a new blog

October 20th, 2016

Well, it’s new to me, at least. Via Gerard Vanderleun.

Here is his post on why he moved from the political left to the political right. I’ve read several of these from different people, and they’re all interesting. The key paragraph for me was this:

This was the final straw, to see that all of the things that a kind must do in order to continue to persist are exactly what liberalism condemns. That if you have two groups, one of which refuses to do what it must in order to persist through time, and another group which does, the latter will inherit the Earth. In fact, the Earth will always be inherited by those groups who take the effort to persist. These considerations are detailed in “The Ultimate Guide to Cultural Marxist Genocide.” I wrestled with these implications for a long time, for over a year actually. But in the end I could not get over the conclusion that, whatever moral or political theory you prefer, it can’t, like the Shakers, lead to the extinction of those who practice it. Values have survival value. On the other hand, liberal values are “Deathwish Values,” they lead to the extinction of those who live by them, and can not endure through time. If you adopt liberalism, you go extinct (see “The Shakers, Deathwish Values, and Autonomy“). This is what is currently happening to all the ancient people’s of Europe due to their adoption of liberalism. The world will always be inherited by those who live by values that ensure the survival of their kind.

He also has a good post about the push to declare sexual differences to be “social constructs.” He’s responding to someone else who lists a number of abnormal conditions as reasons to discard the normal. Again, there is a paragraph I find key:

The problem is that biology does not work on this essentialist basis; it works on the basis of function/malfunction, normal/abnormal. The real lesson to draw from examples such as those presented by EvoX is that sex is a functional biological norm, and individuals can deviate from this norm in many different ways. “Biologically normal” means working as designed by natural selection, or being in the condition it is supposed to be in, where “design” and “supposed to” means that the item is in the condition its ancestors were in on those occasions where they actually were selected for by natural selection. I will use “design” and “supposed to” since they are more intuitive to grasp and easier than writing out “as happened historically when the mechanism was selected for” each time.

I’m looking forward to spending more time reading what he’s got on the site.

Can’t Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me

October 19th, 2016

What with all the brouhaha concerning clowns in the news recently, I thought I’d dust off a song I wrote a few years ago and post it. I had run across a graphic showing a young boy crying, with the words, “Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat me.” It’s from a Simpsons episode, apparently, but I didn’t know that. I also started off with a blues joke, because it seems that most of the old-time blues songs start with, “I woke up this morning, and <something bad happened>.”

In any case, the following goes to the tune of “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Well, I didn’t wake up this morning,
‘Cause I never slept last night.
The clowns were coming to eat me
And you know that just ain’t right.

And I’m getting so tired, baby,
So frightened and tired.
I’m getting so tired, I could cry.

Well, they’ve got those big, red noses,
And they wear those floppy shoes,
And the way they paint their faces, Lord,
It just gives me the blues.


I saw that little car coming,
With twelve of them inside,
And when they started to pour out
Well, I tried to run and hide.


They had loaded up big with weapons –
Cream pies and squirting flowers.
The fighting was hot and heavy
And the cleanup just took hours.


So I’m watching for polka-dot jumpsuits,
Balloon animals, as well.
I want you people to know
These clowns are making my life hell.


Yesterday, all my troubles …

October 13th, 2016

… were dealt with, but not always well.

I mentioned last week that I had a growth cut off my nose. They finished the biopsy and called me to say that it was a fibrous papule, and benign. More or less what I expected, but still good news.

However, I also dropped my car off at 8am yesterday for a recall service (ignition problems with Saturn Vue). They provided me with a loaner, because they said it would take most of the day. Around 4:30pm, I called to ask if it was ready. They said it was, and that they had left a message with me around 11:30am. Since I’d received no messages, I asked what number they called.

It wasn’t mine.

It was one digit off, which, because I went over my number three times to make certain they had it correctly, was disappointing. The dealership that had to do the service was more-or-less at one point of an equilateral triangle, the other points being my home and my work, and now I had to go through the evening rush to pick up my car.

Oh, well. At least I’ve got the car back now, and everything is working.

I think.

I’ve also been working on an SDCARD interface. It’s worked, at least mostly, a few times, but not reliably. I’d determined that the code was apparently ignoring whatever signals that something is deleted, and reformatting the card seemed to help. Now, it’s looking more like it’s the card itself that’s the problem, or at least contributing to the problems I’m seeing. I’ve been explaining things to the stuffed moa on my desk, but that hasn’t helped me come up with a solution yet.

Saw a Captain Kirk fan this morning

October 7th, 2016

At least, that’s what the indications are. The vehicle had a Star Trek logo on one side of the rear window, a Tardis police box on the other, and a personalized plate with the name, “Tiberius” on it (missing one vowel so that it would fit in seven letters).

Seems pretty obvious to me.

Blood and books

October 6th, 2016

Yesterday, I had a growth cut off my nose. I had thought it was a wen, but I appear to have been wrong. I’d been referred to a dermatologist, because the techs in my doctor’s office felt that they couldn’t deal with it without causing a significant scar.

The appointment was in the middle of the afternoon, so I went back to work afterward. Unfortunately, it bled enough that the bandaid they put over it was useless. When I got home, I pulled it off, which wasn’t hard because the blood had undermined the adhesive. I cleaned my nose and put a new bandaid on.

Tonight, I had dance classes – samba and west coast swing. I perspired so much in class that the new bandaid came off. Not fun. I’ll put another one on before I go to bed, to reduce the chance of bleeding on my pillowcase, but I’m not sure how long I should expect it to last.

Prior to the samba class, the instructor was teasing one of the women about a book she was reading. During class, I asked her about it (we switch off every few minutes, so every man dances with every woman), and she mentioned that it was a story called “The Lottery.” Apparently not the Shirley Jackson story by that name, because she mentioned that one separately. I told her that my favorite Shirley Jackson story was “One Ordinary Day, With Peanuts.” She hadn’t heard of it. I guess she’ll have the fun of reading it for the first time.

It’s too early

October 2nd, 2016

Wednesday evening, I had occasion to visit a nearby mall. I expected to see Halloween decorations in the stores. What I didn’t expect to see was one store that had Halloween decorations and items on sale that was in the process of putting out Christmas decorations and items.

When I was a child, I don’t remember seeing Christmas decorations going up before Thanksgiving. It’s possible that I just didn’t notice, but I doubt that, because I remember the arrival of the Sears and Montgomery Wards Christmas Catalogs being A Big Thing. We’d go page-by-page through the catalogs, trying to put together our wish lists.

A web search tells me that it is popularly known as Christmas Creep, and I had no idea it was getting quite so bad. I knew that one of the forces driving it is the fact that many retailers do most of their business in the lead to Christmas, but how long will it be before Christmas shopping season is a year-round phenomenon?

Yes, thank you. You’re very helpful.

September 21st, 2016


It’s ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’ today

September 19th, 2016

I missed last Saturday’s ukulele meeting at Swallow Hill, which had ‘Pirate Songs’ as the theme, because I wasn’t quite feeling up to it. I fell asleep so quickly Friday night that I didn’t get my CPAP on, and I woke up Saturday irritable and tired. Meh.

I don’t have much to say that’s new or unique, so I’ll just point to a couple of posts by someone else (caution: likely NSFW).

There’s a joke here somewhere, and I think it’s the code

September 19th, 2016

I’m working on systems software for a new ARM Cortex-M3 board, and right now, I’m trying to get the SDRAM interface working. I’ve never done SDRAM interfacing before, and it’s pretty complex, compared to most processor subsystems I’ve worked with before. There’s a lot of detail you have to handle. The library that came with the compiler includes initialization routines for most, if not all, of the processor subsystems, and the external memory controller (EMC) is one of them.

I’ve taken the configuration for an existing board (one that I don’t have) as my starting point, and modified it for my hardware. It hasn’t worked.

I’ve starting taking a “deeper dive” into the code, and I have a lot less trust in it than before. I’m not certain the configuration for the existing board actually works, now that I’ve looked at things in more detail. Part of the problem is that some comments are inconsistent with the code, and others are just plain wrong.

For inconsistency, there are three places where the comment says that a delay is needed. They’re implemented with busy-wait loops, with a comment that it would be better to use a system timer. For a 100 microsecond delay, an empty loop is executed 1000 times. For the first 200 microsecond delay, an empty loop is executed 1000 times. For the second 200 microsecond delay, an empty loop is executed 80 times. I’ve got some calculations ahead of me, it seems.

For being out-and-out wrong, another section of the code has a comment that if the external device has a 32-bit bus, use a burst length of 4. If the external device has a 16-bit bus, use a burst length of 2. According to the processor reference manual, the EMC will use a burst length of 8 for a device with a 16-bit bus (which my hardware has).

Finally, some of the values in the configuration structure are populated using predefined constants combined using shifts and ORs. When I work through two of the key values manually based on the predefined constants I’m combining, I come up with values of 0x27 and 0x1380. When I look at the structure in memory, it contains 0x23 and 0x280. I haven’t figured out yet how that’s happening.

I’ve only just found these problems; I haven’t determined how they’re occurring. I just needed to rant about it.

DirecTV has just lost a customer

September 12th, 2016

I’ve always had occasional reception problems with DirecTV, in this house, anyway. Their website claims that on rare occasions, extremely bad weather can cause very short losses of reception. My experience is that anything more than a light drizzle will knock out reception completely, often for hours.

Back at the end of July, I started seeing my video go blocky on all channels, with accompanying audio garbling. It’s the sort of thing you see when you lose sync in decoding a video file. My initial suspicion was that the antenna had become misaligned, and the receiver wasn’t getting a full data stream. I called their support line, and we went through various fixes for about an hour. I had to cut the call after an hour because I had to get to a class, but the last thing they recommended was doing a local reset of the receiver (they’d already done a remote reset). That apparently cleared things up for about a month, but it could have been coincidental, because the problem came back about a week ago.

It started with messages stating that the receiver was looking for a satellite signal, but that would go away after a few seconds, and nothing was affected, anyway. After a day or two of that, my video became blocky, with garbled audio, just as before. Tonight was the first time I had a long-enough block of time to call for support, because if your problem isn’t addressed by the FAQs on their website, you have to call them on the telephone.

After explaining the situation to the person who answered, I was told that I had to provide my cellphone number so that I could receive AT&T texts and other notifications. I didn’t realize that I had AT&T services, because I don’t, but they’ve apparently bought DirecTV, and you can’t get help without giving AT&T your cellphone number.

She did a remote reset of my receiver, which didn’t help, and I didn’t expect it to. While that was in process, she tried to upsell me on NFL Sunday Ticket and an $8/month warranty to save $50 if a service call needed to be made. I declined both. I like football, but I’ve been watching it less in recent years, and the last service call I required was when I had DirecTV installed when I moved here almost a decade ago. It’s also pretty tacky to try to sell me premium services when I’m asking for help because basic services aren’t working.

She then asked me to disconnect and reconnect all of the cables, which I had done back in July, and which had no effect. Next, she told me that I needed to get a technician from my television’s manufacturer to make a service call and determine what the television’s problem was. I told her that it was not a television problem, because shows that I’d recorded on the DVR prior to the problem’s recurrence could be watched without problem, the over-the-air antenna did not show the problem, and watching DVDs did not show the problem.

She reiterated that the required next step in troubleshooting was to have a technician from the manufacturer examine the television.

I hung up. I’ve been contemplating getting rid of DirecTV for a while, and the fact that I can expect neither reception nor service has tipped the balance for me. I’ll drop by the local office tomorrow after work and let them know – I’m not going to sign up for a new account on their website just to cancel service. Probably can’t do it online, anyway.