Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   finally abandoning Homesite
Tuesday, April 19 2011
Today was just another rainy day in what is proving to be an unusually cold, rainy Spring. I spent several hours replacing the flexible copper line connecting the brownhouse cistern to the faucet with a length of vinyl hose. The new hose had a diameter approximately three times that of the copper line, meaning my faucet could now run at something more impressive than a trickle. The pressure, of course, could not be changed. (This upgrade is analogous to running heavier copper wire from a circuit breaker to get more current.) A side benefit of using vinyl hose is that it is immune to ice-induced bursting, though the faucet and adjacent plumbing, being made of brass and copper, remain vulnerable, so I will still have to drain the system in cold weather.
Mostly all I ate today was matzos in some form or other. I started off just buttering (using Earth Balance, the vegan butter alternative) and lightly salting it, but then copied Gretchen when she used it as a substrate for matzos pizza (matzos covered with tomato paste and sprinkled with Daiya-brand vegan cheese). Though Gretchen had been warning me that my gastrointestinal system would seize up from all that gooey gluten, that wasn't my experience.

My main computer (Woodchuck) had been running badly recently, refusing to open new windows well before its usual memory-imposed window limit (which I normally run into over time as a sort of human-computer memory-leak). I'd thought maybe I was the victim of some sort of nefarious crapware, though everything in the file system looked okay even when booted from a Linux live CD. Today, though, after coming up from a reboot, I saw that something bad had happened. Gone was my desktop background, replaced by the surreal treeless hills of the default Windows XP installation. Also making an unwelcome appearance on my computer was the default Windows XP taskbar, with its garish cartoon colors seemingly designed to appeal to preteen children. It seemed that my computer's registry, at least the part associated with my profile, had been deleted and replaced. This wasn't as bad as it sounds; changing the settings from the buffonish XP defaults to the ones I prefer was not difficult. The main annoyance was actually the repositioning of icons on my desktop (I have an icon position saver, but evidently it saves the backup of the positions in the registry). As I've mentioned in the past, having folder and application shortcuts in predictable places on my desktop is essential to the way I use my computer; I never want my icons "cleaned up," hidden, reshuffled, or aligned to Microsoft's notion of a grid.
Another irritating consequence of the loss of registry data was that Homesite my preferred text editor, had reverted to factory settings, erasing years of hard-won customizations (mostly in the form of file types it was willing to edit, since, vexingly, it only willingly opens a few file types by default). This brought home a realization: I can no longer tolerate using programs that store their configuration information in the registry. Most modern Windows applications do not store their configuration in the registry, which, as a large monolithic file whose very location is obscured, is difficult to back up and impossible to transfer to a different computer. I need to be able to take the settings from my favorite programs and copy them to my laptop so I can continue working in my preferred environment. This is easy to do with a program like Filezilla, which, despite its other flaws (I still can't get rid of the useless local directory tree!), makes it easy to transfer access information for a whole mess of servers to a different computer just by copying a single XML file. This has rarely been an issue with Homesite, since its default settings are usually "good enough" on the road. But today I decided I needed to do better.
Homesite is an old program that is no longer supported by the company that now owns it (Adobe, which bought Macromedia, which bought Allaire, which bought the original Homesite from its developer). I've been using Homesite as my preferred text editor since December 14th, 1997. I use it for everything from PHP to HTML to Javascript to SQL to the .PDE files used as source files in the Arduino environment. It is my principle creative framework. I've tried to migrate to other text editors in the past, but there was always some little deal breaker that sent me back to Homesite. Today, though, I think I managed to find a modern text editor that I could use as a replacement: UltraEdit. I'd tried migrating to it in the past back when it wasn't as advanced, and there was some problem then. Today, though, I found that it met all my requirements: a robust multi-file search and replace, an interactive spell checker (one that actually works better than Homesite's), and a wide range of syntax highlighting. Also, it opens all files by default, even providing a hex editor when appropriate. Happily, it does not store its configuration information in the Windows registry.
By the way, after Windows rebuilt my user registry, I noticed my computer was behaving like its old self again, able to open dozens of windows without complaint.

This evening Sarah the Vegan came over with a half dozen grain-based vegan dishes she had prepared as part of the editing process for a nascent cookbook (Sarah works as an editor). Later we were joined by Ray and Nancy and we made a meal of it, complete with two bottles of wine. Because the savory dishes were all of the sort served from a bowl with a spoon, they seemed to cry out for some sort of edible substrate. Happily, we had plenty of matzos on hand willing to oblige. Sarah wanted on to try the dishes so she could give the writer any recommendations we had, but all we really did was say that this or that was yummy and rank them according to how much they pleased us. There was also a dessert course, one item of which was encrusted with popped amaranth. This led me to conjecture whether or not coconuts might also be poppable (perhaps in the way that hand grenades are).
It was an unseasonably cold evening, and it took awhile for me to develop a fire in the woodstove sufficiently hot to drive the chill from the living room.

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