Archive for the ‘Behind the scenes’ Category

Back from travel

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Just returned this evening from a trip to New York. Part of it was fine, but I came down (hard!) with something on Christmas Day. Since then, I’ve been congested, unable to sleep at night, unable to stay awake during the day, and generally miserable.

On my return, I had a few hundred spam emails and pending comments for this blog, mostly trying to advertise sneakers, boots, headphones, sunglasses, drugs, shemale porn, surprises (“click the upcoming website”), and one for personalized Hanukkah pencils. They’ve been simple links, links with text in broken English, links in Japanese characters, in Chinese characters, and several in Arabic characters. At least my blog is so obscure and ignored that I can safely presume that any comments I receive are spam – the last valid comment came in over a year ago.

So here I am …

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

… sitting at home, with plumbers (plural) working on the drain mechanisms of my two tubs, and my car in the shop because it broke down on my commute home yesterday.

The tubs need repair because the lever that shifts the drain mechanism is made of two dissimilar metals – a bad idea in moist environments – and I was unaware that I had to open and close the drains regularly in order to prevent corrosion from building up and locking the mechanisms. Bleah.

Replacing the drain mechanism is a two-plumber job, involving one plumber working in the tub and the other beneath the tub. It’s taken three hours or so to do the upstairs tub (the easy one). For the downstairs tub, the plumber will have to chip away some of the cement floor beneath the tub in order to have room for the new drain mechanism. Again, bleah.

The car is in the shop because, apparently, Saturns with standard transmissions are notorious for having problems with the mechanisms connecting the shift lever to the transmission. When you’re on the road, and all of a sudden the shift lever starts flopping around, it’s not a happy occasion. This is the second time I’ve had it happen. The first time was almost exactly a year ago – Marion and I were returning home from a play, and when I shifted into neutral at a stop light, all of the normal “feel” of the shifter went away, and it flopped around loosely. I flipped the lever around a couple of times and joked to Marion that she shouldn’t feel bad, this sort of thing happened to every guy now and then, but there wasn’t much humor involved in waiting for a tow truck at midnight, miles from home. My mechanic replaced the cables that were part of the linkage mechanism, and I was good to go.

This time, I was on my way home and it happened while I was shifting gears coming away from a stop light. It wasn’t the cables this time. It was a couple of plastic parts that the cables go to. Same effect, though. I’m just lucky that both times, the car ended up in neutral. If it had been in gear, it would have been tougher getting it onto the tow truck.

Joe tells me the repair parts may be in tomorrow, so I may get the car back tomorrow afternoon. Not the way I wanted to spend today, but what can you do? Once more, and third time’s the charm … bleah.

Milestone

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Ten years ago today, I posted the first article on my first website. That blog lasted a little more than three years. I moved from there to here so that I could obtain my own domain.

There’s nothing significant in that first post (or, indeed, most of my posts), but it’s interesting to me to see some of the sites I had in my blogroll back then.

Did you miss me?

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Probably not – I doubt that there are many who read this blog. However, my ISP recently upgraded things, and I was unable to access admin mode for a while. I’ve got a different interface to deal with now, but it shouldn’t be a problem.

It’s likely time for another Miscellany post; I have a bunch of accumulated links to deal with.

Proficiency in English is too much to ask for, apparently

Monday, August 6th, 2012

I get spam comments submitted to this website all the time, even though I’m neither very prolific nor is the blog very popular. However, could they at least try to make it less obvious that they don’t speak English (even if it’s their only language)? I just got the following comment submitted by someone spamming for a real estate firm, and, while its poor grammar is, unfortunately, all too plausible today, it still bothers me:

naturally like your website but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to inform the reality then again I’ll definitely come again again.

Tough trip for tech

Monday, November 28th, 2011

I just got back from a trip to New York (NYC and Binghamton/Syracuse). Overall, I had a great time, but I can’t say the same for much of the technology I took with me. My cellphone came through without problems, but my camera and laptop both suffered.

The camera (a Sony DSC-TX5) got turned on my pocket, where I’d started to carry it after I noticed the stitching on the belt strap on the pouch I normally kept it in had come almost completely undone. When this happened, it appears that the touchscreen got recalibrated. I can’t get it back into working order, because, with the touchscreen as far out of calibration as it is, I can’t operate the menus to invoke the touchscreen calibration routine. If there’s a way to do it through the USB connection, Sony won’t admit it, so I’m left with sending it in for service (or buying a replacement). The current more-or-less equivalent camera (the DSC-TX9, I think), has more megapixels, which is likely a point against it in my book. Some years ago, I read a very good article that made the point that most point-and-shoot cameras don’t have lenses that are good enough to make more than 7-8 megapixels worthwhile. My camera has 10 megapixels, and the newer model has 14, IIRC.

The laptop is a different story. It worked through most of the trip without problem, but Friday morning, the screen was totally dead. I tried a number of things, and it appeared that everything was working except the display. Luckily, I have a smartphone with internet access, and a quick search for “MacBook Pro screen dead” revealed that this is a known problem caused by defective video chips that were supplied to Apple. Because of that, Apple decided that repairs of this problem would be free of charge, even if your laptop was no longer covered by warranty, as long as it occurred within 4 years of purchase. I’m probably out of luck – I’m about 3-4 weeks past 4 years. Maybe they’ll be lenient.

As it is, I’m just glad that Apple put the ability to boot into “target disk” mode into the OS – I’m currently moving the contents of my hard drive over to an external USB drive prior to taking the laptop in for evaluation/repair. I’ve read that Apple, like numerous other repair centers, has been known to reformat a hard drive even when it’s not necessary, just because it makes it easier for them. Since the MacBook has been my primary system for a few years now, I’m not willing to let them do that without getting a current backup (my last one is a bit out of date). It took me a while to find a local store that had the correct FireWire cable (even my local Apple Store didn’t), but the process seems to be going smoothly enough.

I’ve been corrected

Friday, November 4th, 2011

A couple of years ago, I reminisced about the early days of personal computing.

Yesterday, a comment showed up on that post, pointing out that one of my memories wasn’t accurate, from the pioneer in the field who was involved.

Nice.

Missed Anniversary

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

I knew it was coming up, and I still missed it. I started blogging at this site five years ago, as of August 24th, 2006. I’d been blogging a little over three years at my previous site, but I decided that I wanted my own domain name.

I chose “bendreth.com” as the domain for the phrase, “Wheels within wheels, bendreth.” The only other “bendreth” I could find was a bicycle-centric site on Blogspot, for which the phrase also seems appropriate. Although it wasn’t as obvious at the time, that blog had apparently gone dormant or dead – it’s still there, but hasn’t been updated since before I acquired my domain.

Spam, spam, spam, spam

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

I’ve just deleted 691 spam comments, all but three of them identical – same name, same email address, same IP address, same (long and link-filled) body. I realize that spambots aren’t as intelligent as people, but surely they can avoid putting that many comments to the same place in less than 24 hours?

Not that I’d want them to be more intelligent, really. I’m just frustrated at how long it took to delete them all. Too bad WordPress couldn’t recognize all of the duplication.

This is a test

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

I’m seeing if I can post from my phone, preferably with a photo. If I’m lucky, then (and you’re not, perhaps), there’ll be a cat photo below this.

Skelly at rest

Ah, I see that I’ll have to be careful with orientation of the camera with cellphone photos I want to upload. Good to know. I also don’t get a scrollbar on my categories list, so anything that I post from the phone may not have the correct tags.