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I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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Random Thought: Whoever controls the purple, controls the world.

One Fast Cat exercise wheel

Posted in Geekery, Life, Reviews on February 25th, 2016

Since we’ve moved to the smaller apartment, Trouble has been missing having a racetrack, and Wasabi, well, he’s just got energy to burn, so we took a recent windfall and splurged on a One Fast Cat exercise wheel. They get good reviews, and people say their cats are happier, so it was worth looking into.

Wasabi agrees:

New feline master – Wasabi Six-Toes

Posted in Life on November 10th, 2015

Zoe hasn’t been gone long, but there has definitely been a cat-sized hole in our lives ever since, and Trouble has been especially mopey, since he’s here all alone for most of the day while we’re out at work. I also happened to take this week off from work and would have the rare opportunity to just hang around the house with a new cat and get in some bonding time. So, we took a trip down to Sherwood and met with CAT – the Cat Adoption Team. (@CATAdopt for you twitterers.)

We met with a happy and helpful lot who kindly introduced us to a grey, almost-spotted medium-hair kitten. The family he fostered with checked off all the boxes on his personality form that we were looking for, and well, he’s just so darn cute we couldn’t resist.

Allow me to introduce you to Wasabi Six-toes:

Wasabi Six-Toes  6 toes!

Yes, he’s polydactyl!

He’s also everywhere! I swear the little guy has a nuclear battery pack, he runs at about mach 4.

Trouble seems to be warming up to the idea of having a rambunctious fluffball running around the house – he spends about 15 minutes every evening trying to pin Wasabi down to groom him. Wasabi thinks it’s a wrestling match and breaks away to scramble up onto the chair and then jump on Trouble in full Death-from-Above style.

(I almost named him Robin after our lost Mr. Williams, voice of “the un-containable Genie… of… The Laaaaaaamp”.)

[Crash!]…[Zoom!]

I should probably go try to distract him with something before he knocks over a bookshelf…

In Memoriam

Posted in Life on September 27th, 2015

Shortly after The EMC and I moved into our first solo apartment after getting hitched, she surprised me with the gift of a little black ball of fluff – an American Longhair cat that we christened Zoe The Monster (because she was fluffy like Sesame Street ‘monsters’ – it made sense to me…). I don’t have any digitized pictures of her from before 2009 – primarily because most of her pictures look like a pair of eyes floating in a puddle of darkness, as seen here in the Xmas 2009 album:

ZoeTheMonster

This picture is about the best one I have as far as getting any visual detail is concerned: Read the rest of this entry »

New Workbench

Posted in Miscelleny on June 7th, 2015

I did the full write-up over on my leatherworking site – here’s the link:

workbench 2.0

And a teaser:

Resurface Complete

Happy reading!

Apartment Living

Posted in Life on June 4th, 2015

So, we’re all moved in to the new apartment now, and I’d forgotten so much about apartment living in the years spent at the last place.

We’re on the first floor, so I have upstairs neighbors – and of course they have a small child. A stompy child. (Not that the parents are any better, mind you…) Thankfully, they’ve figured out they should keep it down after 9pm, so it’s just during the day that it drives me nuts.

My assigned parking place is of course next to an un-assigned one, and the most-frequent denizen of that space had a habit of parking way too far to one side of the space making it hard for me to get in the car. Last time he did that he out-and-out parked over the line and I had to leave a polite note on his windshield. He’s been good since then, but he’s still pissing me off because the car is a rust-bucket with expired Washington tags and I want it towed.

Bitch! Whine!! Moan!!! getoffmylawn!!1!

Okay, rant over.

On the good news side of things, I talked to the maintenance guy and there’s no rule against some light wood working on the patio, so I don’t have to drag my desk all over town to find someplace to do rebuild it as a leatherworking bench.

I bought all the materials last weekend and had them cut to size, so all I have to do now is glue and screw it together. Mounting the monitor on the spring rod will be a bit more challenging since I have to make some custom brackets, but nothing I can’t manage.

I think the hardest part is going to be dragging the needed tools out of storage.

ye Gods, I’m a Grandpa

Posted in Life on May 6th, 2015

Welcome to the world, little girl!

Hmm… Grandpa? Grampa? Gramps? “Hey Old Guy”?

#30

Posted in Life on April 4th, 2015

Moving Day – a phrase that strikes fear and loathing into the hearts of most, with only those blithely possession-less folks able to resist the call to despair at the thought of picking up all your crap and lugging it somewhere else. When I moved to Las Vegas shortly after high School, it was no big deal – just two duffel bags and a box of books. Leaving Las Vegas 8 years later, however was an entirely different proposition involving a 14-foot box truck – and if I hadn’t got rid of the TV, I would have needed a bigger truck.

15 years ago, I packed it all up for the 29th time and hauled it to my current digs. I was 29 years old. Some of the places I have lived had seen me for several years, while other had been mere temporary stays of a few months. None of the long stays exceeded 4 years prior to this last residence.

Now, however, this run must come to an end. The landlords have realized that we were getting away with exceedingly cheap rent considering what the market will bear, and decided to rectify that to the tune of an $800 per month increase that my budget simply will not bear. So, out come the boxes from the cardboard hoard and off to the dump we go to start seriously offloading 15 years’ worth of accumulated crap to pare down to human-movable volumes of stuff.

Bleah.

Car analogies and computers

Posted in Life on December 6th, 2014

For many years, I have been perfecting ways to compare computers to cars, since most of my clients know nothing about the magic box under their desk, but they usually know at least a little something about your average car – you change the oil, replace the tires, take it in for a tune-up, that sort of thing. Recently, a similar thought struck me about cell phones – specifically, smart phones – that compares rather well to certain brands of performance cars:

The iPhone is a Porsche 911

Think about it: back in 1963, Porsche unveiled the 911, and it has been in continuous production ever since, with only incremental changes. Tweak a little here, update the technology behind that thing over there, and roll it out onto the dealer lot with a minor incremental change in the type number. Porsche loves the 911 so much, that it can be argued rather well that in fact it is the only car they make, considering that the other models look more like they took a 911 through a funhouse and took pictures of the reflections in the funny mirrors than as car designs in their own right. (That’s right, Panamera, I’m looking at you…)

Well, we have the same thing with the iPhone. Any changes to the iPhone in each generation have been merely incremental tweaks – a slight change to a curve here, a slightly updated processor there, just enough to make sure that the end-users don’t think they are stagnating and not moving forward with the times. iOS compares rather straight across to the venerable rear-engine Boxer arrangement found in the 911 – which was air-cooled until 1998.

So, if the iPhone is a Porsche, then the other major brands can be equated to BMW, Audi, Mercedes and the like. While the iPhone sticks to that rear-engine Boxer, the other brands put the engine in front with Android, using a number of different engine configurations, body styles, performance packages and trim levels. Everything from zippy little two-seaters (your humble feature phones) up to massively overpowered station wagons that you can’t fit into your garage pocket (Samsung Galaxy Note).

Now, don’t get me wrong – the Porsche 911 and the iPhone it compares to are both capable machines – but sometimes, you have to wonder if maybe the designers have taken what was a good thing and dragged it out too long. While the other major players have been out there innovating and developing and taking risks with design, the iPhone has been playing the same song. With the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, it’s really playing catch-up with the other guys.

Good for the goose…

Posted in Politics on July 27th, 2014

To all of you self-entitled pedestrians and bicyclists that assume the law doesn’t apply to you: if it is OK for you to break the law, then it’s OK for me to break the law. Remember that when you see me accelerating at you while you’re running a red light.

Seriously now, let’s look at this. If a car runs a red light, he’s a madman, but if a bicycle runs a red, it’s somehow supposed to be OK? If there is room for the bicycle to run the red, then arguably a car with faster acceleration can make it through as well. Maybe I should run those reds alongside you?

For all of you peds that shout “pedestrians have the right of way”, that just means that if I hit you, I will get a ticket. It does not mean you have carte blanche to cross whenever you want. Yes, yes, I know Oregon has a rule that lets peds cross without a crosswalk, but that only applies if you can manage to be more than 150 feet from an intersection on a back road somewhere that doesn’t have crosswalks. City blocks are 200 feet long. Here’s some of the relevant City codes:

PORTLAND CITY CODE
16.70.200 Pedestrians.
16.70.210 Must Use Crosswalks.
No pedestrian may cross a street other than within a crosswalk if within 150 feet of a crosswalk
.
16.70.750 Penalty.
(Amended by ordinance nos 165987 and 176394, effective April 17, 2002.)
Violation of this Chapter is an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $150
.
(A) Except as provided below, violation of this Chapter is an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $150
.
(B) Violation of sections 16.20.470, 16.70.510 A,16.70.210, 16.70.220 and 16.10.060, is punishable by a fine of not more than $500, or by
imprisonment not exceeding 10 days or both
.

That’s right, kids, crossing without a crosswalk is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or 10 days in jail. The only reason you’ve never seen anyone get a ticket from this is the fact that there just aren’t enough cops to enforce it.

Some days I really miss my old Plymouth with the 400-inch engine. Power-braking that while revving the engine was a sure way to clear the crosswalk instantly. Nothing says “move” like a 3-ton car experiencing 6 inches of  torque roll.

 

Here’s a great reference for pedestrian traffic laws in Oregon

New computational assistant

Posted in Geekery on May 18th, 2014

So the last time the Boss got me a new work laptop, they let me buy the old one cheap and I took it home and set it up in the living room for general use. For the last few months, however, it has been getting slower and slower. 2 weeks ago, I cloned the hard drive over to a good spare, but that hasn’t helped things any. Obviously, it’s just a dying machine.

So, on to a replacement. I’ve sold enough HP gear over the last few years to build up a decent nest-egg in reward points, so I converted them into a gift card and went shopping. Since all I really needed the machine n the living room for was basic web activity, I figured I’d save some and went with a Chromebook 14.

Overall impression? Aside from some odd choices in the interface design, it does what it says on the tin. It’s hard to remember that you can’t do certain things, but otherwise it handily does what it’s told.

As for those design choices, the first one that really grabs you is the keyboard keys – they’re larger than standard, which means I keep finding myself hitting the paces between the keys and not typing anything. Which is doubly weird for me, since I don’t touch-type, but even with staring at the keyboard, I’m not doing as well as normal.

Second is the choice of keys. They left out the standard PgUp/Dn Home/End keys, and instead of making the Function keys dual-purpose like many modern keyboards, these ones have been fully converted to the computer’s special functions. The lack of a Delete key is singularly confusing.

The most confusing bit by far, however, was the really poorly-worded instructions for a right-click: the paperwork clearly says “Double-Tap for Right-click”; what they actually meant was “Click with two fingers to Right-click”. Real helpful there, guys.

Still, so far, so good. Seems like just the thing if all you need is web access and light productivity.