Ephemerides

A Daily Diatribe by a Pompous Git

Who is that fat bastard? A Sturm's Eye View, Guaranteed Free of Harmful, or Potentially Harmful Chemicals -- but Watch Out for the Ideas! Some of them are Contagious! 

A journal of sorts to record Jonathan Sturm's (and others') thoughts and observations on things worth thinking about. Feedback welcome, but be aware that unless you prominently say you want your communication kept private, I may publish it.

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Monday 12 November 2001

I am hoping that this turns out to be a better week than last. Today, Tony Dunshea is due to start welding up the stainless steel balustrade for The House of Steel. Tomorrow, I will pick up my new reading spectacles so I can return to my normal reading speed and comfort. Hopefully, Telstra will restore our voice telephone line, I will be able to talk with my mother and sister and clients will be able to talk to me.

I had hoped to continue the resurrection of my vegetable garden, but it's raining again! Yesterday, I managed to pull many weeds, surprisingly many. In the past, I always had to wait several days following rain for the soil to return to a safe moisture level before doing much in the garden. The addition of sand to the silt/clay has changed all that and it's much easier to work the soil. I imagine I will become used to it in time. Usually, the soil temperature is around 15-18C at this time, but it's only about 12C this year. Too cool for sowing beans, pumpkins and zucchini. I will be sowing Brussels sprouts and cauliflower this week and likely carrots, parsnips and beetroot.

Fans of DayNotes Gang member, Warlock, note that he is posting again.

The replacement Seagate Barracuda ATA III hard disk arrived today. I wonder if it will perform properly, or self-destruct like its predecessors.

Thought for the day:

Everybody sets out to do something, and everybody does something, but no one does what he sets out to do.

George Moore


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Tuesday 13 November 2001

First thing I did with the replacement Barracuda was run the Seagate Diagnostics on it. To do this I thought it wise to create a fresh diskette as all my old diskettes are, well, old! Like recycled CorelDRAW! 3 floppies. Remember when CorelDRAW! used to come on 20 3.5 inch floppies? So, I bought a couple of new boxes of Verbatim floppies. The first time I purchased a box of 3.5 inch floppies, they were Verbatim and cost a tad over $AU100 for 10. This time, they cost around $A6.50 for 11. The first one produced an unbootable disk, but I got lucky with the second. And the drive checked out fine. Let's hope it stays that way.

Then I started the SuSE 7.1 Pro install to the Seagate from the DVD, so I went walkabout to watch where the rain was gathering around The House of Steel. I needed to cut the odd little channel here and there to keep water away from where I didn't want it. Kids do that kind of thing for fun, so I got as much fun from it as I could. Much more interesting than watching an OS install! When I returned, it was to a phone call from She Who Must Be Obeyed to tell me that Telstra has restored our telephone service!

Then I received a phone call from a colleague waiting for the Microsoft Roadshow to present XP to Hobart's computer professionals. MS had bribed him with the offer of $AU2,000 of free software if he mustered 10 clients to attend with him! They must be desperate!

While on the phone to my colleague, I managed to configure my printer, a LaserJet 5MP (Postscript) despite SuSE telling me I didn't have a parallel port. After manually choosing a printer, it decided that I had a parallel port after all! After relatively painlessly getting to the KDE desktop, I logged onto the Internet with Konqueror and there it was, in all it's pristine ugliness -- my website with screen fonts that reminded me of PageMaker version 1 on a friend's Mac Plus all those years ago when floppies were $AU10 each! I quickly found the Font Installer, but when I clicked on Help for some instruction on how to use it, NOTHING happened. This is distinctly different to Microsoft online help, where there're lots of words that mean NOTHING.

I opened the CD where I keep my thousands of high quality PostScript and TrueType fonts and attempted to drag them into either of the two windows of the "font handler", but nothing doing. I guess it's time to dig into those manuals that came with SuSE Pro. You know, those thick paperback books we used to get with software when diskettes were ten bucks each! Fonts, I discover, barely rate a mention in the manual <sigh>

Thought for the day:

I love Americans, but not when they try to talk French. What a blessing it is that they never try to talk English.

Saki (H. H. Munro)


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Wednesday 14 November 2001

At last! The floor sanding Richard put the final coat of varnish on the floor of The House of Steel yesterday while I was in the city. My main purpose for the city visit was to have a second fields test on my eyes and pick up my new reading glasses. The good news is that I am unlikely to go blind for the foreseeable future and I can read comfortably again. I also purchased several stainless-steel shackles and bolts for the balustrade we will be putting on the front deck of the new house. This reminded me that I hadn't seen my rigger friend, Speed, for some time and his watering hole is near the shop I purchased the stainless-steel bits from. So, I hied into that den of ill repute for a beer and a natter.

Speed and I were talking about one of his more difficult jobs where he was dangling at the end of a rope with a 200 metre drop below and he responded to my comment with: "That's a good point". This coincided with the barmaid taking off her shirt and I said: "Natasha has two good points!" and we all had a good laugh. After finishing my beer, I headed in the direction of the bus stop and it being lunchtime, met several of my clients on the way. This led to brief conversations about their computer training needs in the near future and there's plenty of work available coming up.

I finished the afternoon at my favourite watering hole, the Vic Tav. The new publican is planning various changes to the interior, no doubt anticipating that this will improve his income. I have seen this all before and the only time it worked, the changes attracted a clientele that drove most of the regulars away. Six months later, the new clientele had found another place that was more fashionable. I suspect that the temporary lift in takings never paid for the lull following this while the regulars slowly drifted back.

Thought for the day:

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.

Oscar Wilde


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Thursday 15 November 2001

The mortgage for The House of Steel has happened so I will be spending some of it today on MDF, Blum drawers and such for the kitchen cabinets today. Three to four weeks should see us ensconced in our new abode and me planning the first extension -- a decent sized office. First, Thomas and I will be renovating the cottage so that it's easier to sell. We already have what we need for that as well as much of what we need for the new office.

My new reading glasses work superbly -- except the monitor on my desk is just at the limit of their range -- fingertip length from my seating position. It's just at the near limit of the mid-range spectacles I wear most of the time. So, I'm either leaning slightly forwards or back. Then I realise that my old reading glasses work just fine for computer use. So, I now have four pairs of spectacles including the graded bifocals that I hardly ever use!

Thanks to Tom Syroid's mentioning the new font rendering technology in WinXP, I am contemplating trying it. Had I attended the Microsoft Roadshow on Monday, I would have a free copy. There had to be some sort of reward for what I am reliably told was the worst performance by Microsoft Professionals in Hobart, ever. I have attended some pathetic Tech Briefings myself, so it must have been bad! I have emailed Microsoft to see if they have any freebies left for Certified Professionals like myself that weren't quite certifiable enough to be bored shitless by out-of-town blow-ins. Whenever they have used local presenters, the presentations have been much more effective because they know what we want to know, given our client base and its needs.

The weather looks set to be totally unsuitable for viewing the Leonid meteor shower due in four days or so. I am more than a little disappointed. But we could get lucky and the weather fronts could speed up enough. I can live in hope.

Thought for the day:

You know you're getting old when everything hurts. And what doesn't hurt doesn't work.

Hy Gardner


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Friday 16 November 2001

A day eaten by snakes... or something. Like cutting the lawns. The weather is set to deteriorate for at least two days, so I should be able to post some more recent pix of The House of Steel. Shopping tomorrow for the last few things we need to complete the house.

Thought for the day:

We are unable to announce the weather. We depend on weather reports from the airport, which is closed, due to weather. Whether we will be able to give you a weather report tomorrow will depend on the weather.

Arab News


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Saturday 17 November 2001

I must have had a brain-fart today. Arrived at the hardware store, only to discover I had put the shopping list (complicated) into my briefcase rather than the smaller bag I was carrying! I will fax the details through over the weekend. Fortunately, the plumbing requisites were easier to remember and we ordered and paid for those. We visited several floor covering stores, but it was mid afternoon before we found what we are looking for to use in the bathroom and laundry. It's genuine linoleum. Not too much more in price than high quality vinyl, but it wears a lot better. And looks different. The supplier warns that he only has one installer capable of doing linoleum.

Thought for the day:

Try to go through life a little bit hungry. You never know when you'll meet someone edible. 

T.J. Bass


 

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Jonathan Sturm 2001

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Jonathan Sturm 2001