Daily notes for 2023-02-27

Β· 1629 words Β· 8 minute read

I used to do a daily page for my old dotunplanned blog, where I’d dump things in as I thought about them and publish at the end of the day. Today’s attempt to revive the custom is longer than usual because I ended up with a ton of time on my hands waiting for the electrician with all the infra shut down. We’ll see how it goes.

I, gamer πŸ”—

The fun part of the PS4 has just been catching up on whatever has been going on in console gaming over the past while. I remember being a very avid gamer once upon a time – during the PS1 and PS2 era – then I was just really into the Nintendo DS, and then I didn’t play much anymore. My 3DS never saw a lot of use, and I don’t get much time in on the Switch. It has always felt like games on the Switch are too big to just pick up and put down between meetings, but too small to really invest discretionary time in.

So I got a PlayStationPlus membership and I’ve been taking advantage of how cheap everything I’m curious about is.

I took a detour into the Doom remake, and I am not sure if it’s okay to say so, but I find it hilarious.

I remember Doom from when it was the slightly grittier evolution of Wolfenstein 3D, and it always to me to be solid execution with an excellent vibe. The remastered version I downloaded to my PlayStation is also pretty well executed, and the vibe benefits from the graphical advancements.

The first time I killed a demon by running up to it, tearing its arm off and beating it until it spilled ammo and health like an infernal piΓ±ata made me howl.

The whole thing is sort of hilarious that way. You end up in hell fighting demons to a grinding, thrashing soundtrack, there are demonic runes everywhere, bodies, flames, blood all over the place. It’s just hilarious.

I, handyman πŸ”—

I just fixed our garage door sensor for the third time in fourteen years. I predicted it would go differently this time the last time I fixed it, because the recurring problem is a pair of wires leading to the sensor that periodically get snagged by … something — a yard tool, a piece of bicycle, a carelessly plopped laundry basket — and one of them breaks.

Whoever built the house and installed the garage door provided as much wire as was needed to connect the sensor, then covered the wiring in dryall. If there is any spare wiring available up there in the wall somewhere, it is smashed in place behind the drywall and I’ve tugged at it as hard as I dare lest I break off the remaining bits coming out of the wall.

So I’ve known for five years now that there was no more wire coming out of the wall … that the next break would be the one where I’d have to splice more wire in, because there wasn’t enough left to cover the space from the wall to the sensor and still get it wrapped around the post.

Anyhow, this time Gorilla Tape is involved in making it all sit there more snugly and less likely to be snagged and I can close the garage door without standing there holding the button. That has created a surprising amount of friction where taking my bike anywhere is concerned.

I had the time to do this today because the half of the house that hosts all our networking infrastructure and my office sits shrouded in darkness. The breaker for that circuit failed last week as the winter storm was happening. It didn’t fail in the “it just blew, you can reset it” kind of way, but in the “fails and doesn’t even seem to have blown and you can’t even trip the test switch” kind of way.

I felt it coming – the UPS for all the infrastructure was making the click it makes when the supply is getting frisky, but never tripped over into “I’m running on battery power now.” When everything did finally go dark I went down to the garage, couldn’t seen a tripped breaker, flipped the two candidates (both are labeled the same thing and I’ve never taken the time to label them “front” and “back”) and went back upstairs to … nothing.

Then eight hours later it all lit up again. Then failed again.

Same symptoms: Not tripped, can’t test.

I called the home warranty company and they promised a 24 hour window for a contractor, but by then Portland was covered in ice. They finally texted this morning, asked for availability, and are on their way.

For now the router, Wi-Fi, and switch are running off of a long extension cord running out of my office, down the hall and into an outlet on the not-blown upstairs circuit.

The last time we had an electrical problem like this was maybe 10 years ago during a pair of 100-degree-plus days. A light fixture that was a little heavy pulled itself free of a softened nylon anchor and the clash of wires tripped the arc breaker (on the same circuit that’s bothering me now). That was when we learned that whoever wired the house had run the range hood in the kitchen downstairs into the same circuit as the two bedrooms and bathroom on the other, upstairs end of the house.

“Some Russian, probably,” opined the contractor who came to have a look.

I destroyed an Airport Extreme that week by bringing it down from my office and putting it the only place it could rest near the only open outlet, in a window.

I say “destroyed,” but what really happened was that the Ethernet port stopped working.

The “Progress!” note in all this is that during the period where all the networking and Wi-Fi was down, we just flipped to the 5G hotspots our phones provide and carried on with our business. It doesn’t outperform the new MOCA/EdgeRouter/CenturyLink setup, but it is faster than our Xfinity/Eero-as-wireless-only-mesh setup was.

Last time, I would imagine all we had was 3G, and there was no “all you can eat.” I remember because we burned through our cap, decided to go to the mall for the air conditioning, and my attempt to transfer some spending money to Ben using the mobile bank page took five minutes because AT&T dealt with data hogs by dropping them to EDGE speeds until the month was over.

TickTick πŸ”—

I’m giving TickTick a try this week. Stuff I like about it:

  • The interface looks as simple or busy as I want it to be. Something I appreciate about Things 3 is its ability to fall back to “just a nice todo list app” during those times when I don’t feel like messing with it.
  • It has a habit tracker that integrates with the rest of the app. If you set up a habit and it’s due, it turns up in the “Today” list, or you can interact with it in its own “habits” area.
  • It has a built-in Pomodoro timer. That method works pretty well for me (using it now!) and it’s more than a superficial integration: You can specify what on your list is getting the time.

Stuff I’d rather it not:

Everything is framed as “how productive” you are. I’m just tired of that language.

I am tired of that language because after a couple of years of watching people burn out and then thrash around trying to figure out what was “wrong” with them, I came to the conclusion that as much as the gentrification of mental illness annoys the living hell out of me, it doesn’t outrage me the way the modern workplace turns workers on themselves (and deepens that gentrification feedback loop, because the only help you’re going to get as you thrash around, worrying that you’re falling behind your peers in the company’s “performance culture,” is a non-ironic invitation to take your woes to the EAP).

And, more importantly, not every single thing you want to do has to be “productive.” It is not, for instance, a matter of “productivity” to remind myself that I want to read a chapter of a book every day, or learn how to make my own mayonnaise, or take a picture every day.

Anyhow, it’s pretty easily ignored if you stay away from the reporting, which I intend to. I just want something more ergonomically sound than Apple’s Reminders, and the purpose-built habit and pomodoro stuff rolls a number of things into one context.

Tailscale πŸ”—

I spent a while not bothering to play with tech stuff, so when I heard about Tailscale I never did anything with it. Once I got my new network stuff going I decided to start doing more with my Synology NAS just because it’d be easier to network and secure with a decent router in place.

Poking around the VPN packages available for it I saw the Tailscale app and thought “oh, that.” In just a few minutes I had all my stuff added to it and talking to each other, and a whole set of problems I was willing to create for myself went away.

I haven’t done any testing with it out in the world yet, but internally it integrates fine with my internal DNS. It’s so smooth.

Design fiddling πŸ”—

I spent a little time fiddling with site design today, too, just to make the front page a little more lively. I took a swing at some responsive design, as well. It’s crude, but the front page is way more “just the essentials” on a phone, were someone to wander out to it.