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

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(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   durability of artifacts
Tuesday, March 23 2021
It was another glorious spring day, and Gretchen spent much of her time out on the east deck with the dogs reading a book. As I have been of late, I interspersed my workday with continued laboratory organization and maintenance. Most of the organizing and cleaning is done, and I've moved on to repainting patches of the floor. Later in the day, I made some metal brackets from scraps of standing-seam roofing so that I could slide some items into the north-wall shelving like simple little drawers. I did in the just beneath shelves so as to make better use of unused space. Generally speaking, you see, the least-used part of a shelving unit is the spaces just beneath each shelf. As I worked on these brackets, I listened to a fascinating YouTube segment about the world of social influencers with their face-altering filters and their tightrope walk above the uncanny valley they take with their cosmetic surgery. We'll never know, for example, how Kylie Jenner was supposed to look given that she started getting cosmetic surgery as a tween (if not before).

I experienced two rare issues with the durability of artifacts today in very different spheres. The first was in Woodchuck, my main workstation, which experienced a problem with Explorer (that is, the Windows "Finder"). At first Explorer came back on its own, but when it died a second time, it wouldn't come back no matter what I did. And when I restarted the computer (which I did cleanly using a command window and the command shutdown -r), I got the unwelcome message that my Windows installation needed to be repaired. When I did that repair (using a Windows 7 installation DVD), it didn't seem to work. The computer was able to come up with a very old Windows 7 installation on the mechanical hard drive, but it seemed like the installation on the 2 TB SSD was kaput. So I put in an old 250 GB SSD that had the state of Woodchuck's Windows 7 installation dating to the Fall of 2018. For some reason, that took a long time to boot, but it eventually did successfully. This made me wonder if the Windows 7 installation on the 2 TB SSD might actually still be good. So I connected it back up, and, after a long delay, it booted successfully, saving me from what would've been a multi-day ordeal (or a reversion to the way things had been in 2018). Eventually I ran a disk scan, and that corrected hundreds of errors, the accumulated digital damage of many power outages and other unclean shutdowns. This experience reminded me of the importance of fairly recent saved copies of the operating system (like the 250 GB SSD from 2018). Such copies don't actually even have to be that recent, since nearly all things on my computer that change are either actually in the cloud (that is, on servers at Google and Microsoft), on my mechanical drive or media server, or are in my website (a primitive form of being "in the cloud"). So I pored for a time over SSDs on
After that little scare with Woodchuck SSD, I found it impossible to get Microsoft Teams working on that computer. That was a problem, because Teams (for better or worse) is mostly how my co-workers communicate with me throughout the day. I'd already missed a few audio Teams calls from Alex (because the speakers don't work on my work-issued laptop, so I couldn't hear it alerting me to his incoming call). It turned out, though, that through the recent resets, Woodchuck's clock had been advanced four hours, probably to GMT. When I moved time back to the time it was at the time (something like 2:30pm), Teams worked once more. You'd think this issue would be well enough known at Microsoft for them to present this as a possible fix when Teams refused to load. But no, all it told me was that Teams couldn't log me in, a message so vague that I thought perhaps the saved password was wrong.

The other issue with the durability of artifacts happened early this evening when I went to sit in the chair that I sit in when I'm working at Woodchuck, the chair I spend most of my waking life sitting in. That chair is a wheelchair I'd dumpster-dived in Old Hurley back in 2004. It was old when I got it, and it's experienced mild deterioration over the last sixteen and a half years. Most of this has been to the arm pads, which I rest my elbows on as I type. I've had to wrap them with layers of black duct tape to keep them from disintegrating completely. But when I sat in it today, the surface on which I sat gave way beneath me, and I was lucky to catch myself before falling all the way to the floor. As that surface gave way, I could feel the failure of two of the screws that secure that thin plastic seating surface against the wheelchair's frame on the left side. It turns out that simple metal fatigue had eventually broken the screws where the threads meet the head. I had to drill out the remains of the old screws in order to install new ones, which were wood screws with wide-biting threads. Once those were in the, wheelchair somehow seemed better than it had before.
This evening Gretchen decided we should have Impossible Burgers she'd bought as a frozen food from a supermarket. So fried them up while I chopped tomatoes and red onions. Earlier Powerful had bought high-end trash burger buns, so that formed the outside of the burgers Powerful and I ate, while Gretchen used ciabatta rolls.

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