Friday, January 1 2021
Gretchen worked at the bookstore today, which is unusual for a Friday (or a New Year's Day for that matter). Her shift started later than usual, though, so we still had some time for sitting around in the living room with the woodstove and playing the New York Times Spelling Bee. The panagram today was "promentory" (with "n" in the middle). That word struck me as a bit obscure for a panagram, a view Gretchen interpreted as sour grapes when I expressed it.
Later I tinkered in the laboratory on several projects. First I wanted to see if there was any chance I could wire the old NP-943 laptop's keyboard as a PS/2 keyboard, which seemed possible given that it had a PS/2 port built into it. But that port was designed to override its functionality when another keyboard was plugged into it (when it was part of a laptop). Perhaps, though, a cord attached to that port could make the keyboard function as a PS/2 keyboard on another computer. So I cut the cords off two crappy old PS/2 keyboards and wired them together into a PS/2-to-PS/2 patch cord (I've never seen such a thing) and then tried to use that to attach the NP-943 keyboard to a computer that accepts PS/2 keyboards. Such computers are increasingly rare, but my "Dazzle Mac" (a Hackintosh I'd assembled back in 2011 that still usually works when I need a Macintosh) was good enough to prove that this PS/2 patch cord idea was never going to work.
Meanwhile, Powerful recently spent part of his stimulus money on an audio recording kit that came complete with a microphone and a multitrack mixer. It's designed to plug into a computer via USB and then be controlled by software something like Cubase. So today I carefully waded into Bittorrent in hopes of scoring a free copy of Cubase. I used to download software all the time using Bittorrent, but lately I've been spooked by the large number of virus-carrying payloads being distributed there. I use ClamWin Free to scan all such downloads, and usually get a clean report. But then if I try an online virus scanner like VirusTotal, I usually get a few indications that the software is malevolent. This makes me want to have a sandbox to test downloaded software in. Such a sandbox would have a suite of virus scanners and malware-detecting runtimes likely to complain if bad software started doing bad things. But then the question would be: what computer should I use for this?
I have a couple small-case desktop computers that I never use and that contain low-power budget processors such as the AMD C-60 and the Intel Atom 330. I thought I could use a clone of a Windows 10 computer's boot drive, put it in one of those boxes, and use it as a sandbox, not allowing it to connect to either the local network or the global internet. But when I tried to fire up these computers, I was perplexed by the fact that none could produce a display. I finally got the AMD C-60 to generate a display, but only after dragging out a 1920 X 1080 LCD from storage. Figuring all this out took a lot of time, and it made me feel like I was being technologically cursed.
Making copies of a good Windows 10 installation was much easier. I used Wolverine, my Windows 10 Professional desktop, as the source, and a CloneZilla USB stick to do the work. Since discovering Windows 10 (and sometimes Windows 7) installations can be moved to completely different hardware and will happily adjust themselves to live there, I've been much happier with Windows than I used to be.
To further replenish the indoor firewood supply, today I went west of the Farm Road and cut down the other half of a dual skeletonized trunk whose first half I'd cut down yesterday. Such wood is usually well-seasoned and ready for immediate use.
I heard Powerful tinkering in the kitchen this evening, and that meant I didn't have to make dinner tonight. The meal was pretty good: rice & beans, another dish that features beans & carrots, and some sort of vegan faux-meat (seitan-based) rins in a thick, somewhat-sweet dark sauce.
I initially didn't take any sleep-inducing drugs tonight, but I woke up at 4:00am and decided to take 10mg of ambien.
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