1. Crash handlers in Python

    03 August 2023

    Some weeks ago when I was trying to get the bot that runs my weather station stable, I ran yet again into a problem that for various reasons I hadn't put forth the brainpower to come up with a solution for. Stability implies that a system of some kind doesn't crash, which Weather Station Bot was doing occasionally. Part of this wound up being due to the microSD card Clavicula 1 was running on wasn't well suited to being outside all the time, but part of this was due to bugs in my code that I hadn't quite shaken out …

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  2. Neologism: Avocado Toast

    05 July 2023

    Avocado toast (n): a cheap luxury, especially one which is perceived as being very expensive but is actually trivial; can also refer to the trivial cost thereof.

    "Oh, hey, when can I drop off that fleece you loaned me?"

    "Nah, keep it. It's just avocado toast."

    Avocado toast (v): To reduce your spending by a trivial amount, (i.e., by the cost of avocado toast).

    "Oh shit. How are we going to pay to fix the car?"

    "We could... stop eating out?"

    "The frame is bent, it's leaking coolant, and the front bumper is in a tree. I don't think …

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  3. Orienteering in life.

    14 June 2023

    "Don't follow me, I don't know where I'm going either."

    --Unknown

    Since I got my last big project finished up I've been trying to figure out what to do with myself. A certain amount of debugging was involved (as one might reasonably expect), culminating with the microSD card in my weather station tanking with terminal corruption (such that the card's on-board controller permanently locked it read-only). I'm fairly sure this was due to the card being used outside; enclosure aside the thermal cycling of the natural day/night cycle probably wrecked the silicon. I've since replaced it with an industrial-grade …

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  4. Organics, AI, and what people want to believe.

    25 May 2023

    You pretty much have to have been living inside a farday cage with a stack of dead trees for company to have not heard anything about large language models taking the tech world by storm. Without going into too much detail (because that's not what this essay is about) you take some clever statistical math, a metric fuckton of GPUs, and several petabytes of text scraped from most of the Web, mix thoroughly with a couple of million USD from investors and some Python, and bake it all in a large network of virtual machines running in someone's network (usually …

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  5. Building a weather station.

    28 April 2023

    Note: There are some affiliate links in this post. You don't have to buy stuff with them if you don't want to.

    One of the things I always wanted to build was a weather station. For some odd reason they always struck me as being intrinisically neat; sensors that could tell you about what was going on outside when you couldn't be outside yourself. Many years later when I got into amateur radio, I discovered that weather stations were a thing that people would build and put on the APRS network to broadcast local weather conditions. Thing was, I never …

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  6. On retreat again, October 2022.

    04 April 2023

    Time and funds permitting, I try to go on retreat every year or two. I like driving someplace new, someplace I've never been before, and getting off the grid for a couple of days. I find that it makes it much easier to relax, rest, catch up on my reading (or sometimes television), do some writing, tinker with locks a bit, and generally be nonverbal for about a week. It's not easy these days (and won't be for a while, I suspect) but it is something that I at least attempt periodically. The AirBnB I rented had a most unusual …

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  7. Visiting the Ramses the Great Exhibit.

    22 March 2023

    Early in October of 2022.ev, we paid a visit to an exhibit of artifacts at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco from the reign of Ramesses II, third ruler of the nineteenth dynasty of Egypt. Since covid started we haven't done a whole lot of going places so we figured that, all things in our respective risk models being equal, this would be an outing worth making the time for. As I write those post I don't know if it's still there, but the museum's page didn't 404 so it probably is. If you're in the area, it's …

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  8. Propmaking: Lego handlink replica

    09 March 2023

    Warning: I'm going to be geeking about about science fiction to provide context for the rest of the post. Either skip to the bottom and page up a few times or close the tab. Also, the narrative is going to wander around a bit because there's a fair amount of setup.

    Note: There are a couple of affiliate links.

    As my handle implies I'm a sucker for time travel stories. I love the idea of seeing history as it happens and not just reading about it. I'm not that inclined to talk about fandom, so I tend to not bring …

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  9. I may as well clear my cache.

    22 February 2023

    I'm back from Pittsburgh. I think everything's done. Somewhere in the back of my head I have things to write about and maybe some photographs to post. I don't have the brainpower to do that right now, though. Hopefully I'll get my head together soon.

    Anyway, I've updated my .plan file. The usual warnings apply, you have been warned.

    I also finally got around to fleshing out and posting an essay that I've had going for a year or two, which is some of the stuff I ran into while running my mom's estate. It's not my best writing, it's …

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