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:
   a couple things that counted as wins
Friday, March 17 2023
Today a weird database glitch was discovered on that somewhat-archaic web-based program (I wouldn't use a word like "app") that I worked on in Costa Rica, the one that uses a discontinued Microsoft technology called Web Forms. Dan, the guy who built the program, is now a manager at my company and didn't have time to debug the problem, so he gave it to me to work on, apologizing that it was a hot potato. So, after the usual period of procrastination, I started looking at the data and determined a few things. The problem must've been in a particular stored procedure, but it was long and complicated and I didn't really know how to begin understanding it. Meanwhile the customers who actually use the program had my Team identity and kept bothering me about it. I did, however, have a quick win when they wanted a message posted on the website saying it was experiencing technical difficulties. Initially I thought that would be a pain to put up, but then it turned out that the front page for the website was served using WordPress technology, something I have experience with. So I was able to get that message up quickly. But then I really didn't make any progress on the problem throughout the rest of the day (which is normal for me, even in a crisis). By the end of the day I was looking for a bandaid that could just fix bad data in the database should it occur, but then it turned out that getting that working was either impossible or just as complicated as fixing the underlying problem.
At the very end of the day, I identified why the wrong connection strings were finding their way onto the QA website of the main application I work on these days, so that felt a little like a win.
Meanwhile, I taken delivery of a new monitor, a 27 inch AXM "gaming monitor" with a resolution of 2560 X 1440 pixels. It was perhaps open box or refurbished and supposedly in "good condition," though a bit discounted (it cost me about $150 after taxes, which is good for a monitor with those specs). When I opened the box, I found some of the plastic bezel had unclipped itself, though that was easily popped back into place. I then removed the stand and put it aside (as it might prove useful on another VESA-compatible monitor). This new monitor would be replacing the problematic one in the lower left corner of Woodchuck's five-monitor display array. Earlier this week, I'd had to swap out the Acer monitor that had been in that position for eleven years due to reliability issues, and the new monitor had a couple dead pixels. This new AXM monitor has VESA mounting holes, so I could use the holes already drilled into a custom "swing arm" I'd made from two boards hinged together. Those holes had supported a ViewSonic 1680 X 1050 monitor initially, but that was replaced in late 2011 with the Acer monitor, which had no provision for VESA mounting. This meant that I had to add a number of steel brackets to the hinged arm. But to install the larger 27 inch monitor I received today, those brackets were just in the way, so I removed them. The new monitor is bigger than anything that had been on that arm in the past, but it's not too big and doesn't seem to intrude into any space I can't have it intruding into.
When I fired up the new monitor, I eventually managed to get it to display at its natural resolution, rendering windows about 4% larger than they appear on the 40 inch Vizio teevee that is the main monitor of the constellation. I made a few other changes along with adding this new monitor, including changing the way the tiny monitor I almost never use on the far-right of the monitor constellation attaches to Woodchuck. I also reduced its resolution to 1152 X 2048, as running it at 4K in portrait mode made everything so tiny that I didn't want to see things there. After all these changes, the total pixel count of this new setup is 18,487,296. Yes, I have over 18 million pixels in my monitor array.
Actually, one of those pixels doesn't really work. It's in new AXM monitor, which, when I turned it on, had one pixel about a third of the way from the top and a third of the way from the right that was stuck on, shining brightly even when the rest of the monitor was showing black. That was going to be irritating, so I looked up what could be done about such defects. In the past I remembered seeing something about blasting it with flickering patterns, so I eventually ended up at, which creates something similar to television static using Javascript. I let the small patch of such video pound away at the pixel, and before long it had faded to a more neutral color. It would be better if it were black than if it were white, so this counts as another win I suppose.

I'd read that ChatGPT (the AI chatbot that nobody will shut up about) was trained on texts from the Web, so I wondered if it could talk to me coherently about the Big Fun Glossary. So I asked ChatGPT "who were the people who lived at big fun, a house south of charlottesville, virginia back in the late 1990s[?]." ChatGPT replied with:

As an AI language model, I do not have access to information about every individual who lived in a specific location during a specific time period, especially if the information is not widely available online. Therefore, I cannot provide you with a list of people who lived at Big Fun, a house south of Charlottesville, Virginia, in the late 1990s. It is also worth noting that sharing personal information about individuals without their consent could potentially be a violation of their privacy.

So then I asked, "so you have never heard of something called the Big Fun Glossary?" ChatGPT took awhile to come back with an answer, which was:

I apologize for any confusion. Yes, I am aware of the Big Fun Glossary, which was a document that was created by the residents of Big Fun, a communal house located near Charlottesville, Virginia, in the late 1990s. The Big Fun Glossary was a collection of slang terms, inside jokes, and other terminology that was unique to the Big Fun community. It was a way for the residents to define and communicate their own culture, values, and experiences. However, as an AI language model, I don't have access to specific information about the individuals who contributed to or were mentioned in the glossary.

Further probing suggested that, though it had noted the existence of the the Big Fun Glossary, it had been careful not to remember any names from it, perhaps because its contents weren't "widely available" on the World Wide Web.

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