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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Fri, 03 Feb 2017

At jury duty, and boy are my arms tired

It's been years since my last call for jury duty, and I find myself once again in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.

Except last time they sprung me by noon. And today I'm still here at 3:30 p.m. I didn't get called for any panels, and I suspect there won't be any more need for jurors today. Yet I am still here.

I took the Metro Orange Line to the Red Line to get here, and I was surprised (though I shouldn't have been) to see the refurbished Pacific Electric Train Depot at the end of the Orange Line open and serving Groundwork Coffee. Love that coffee. I smell a bike ride down the Orange Line in my future.

This was also my first time taking the fancy new underground pathway (you can call it a tunnel) on Lankershim Boulevard from the Orange Line terminus straight into the North Hollywood Red Line Station. That is slick, and I'll thank all the politicos who helped make it happen, including Rep. Brad Sherman, City Councilman Paul Krekorian and anybody else I missed. This is the kind of thing the San Fernando Valley needs, and I'm glad it now has it.

During the long lunch break they give us chickens jurors, I walked around a bit. I haven't cracked the code for this part of downtown (Music Center and Civic Center). Grand Park is nice but smaller than you think it is. Other than all the Music Center and Civic Center buildings, there's nothing here. I passed by the Colburn School and saw a sole classical-music student making her way into the building.

If you're looking for something other than huge buildings, I guess you have to truck it to Little Tokyo in one direction or Chinatown in the other.

Gadget-wise, I didn't bring my laptop, just the tablet and wireless keyboard and mouse. I can't use all three at once because there are few table- or desk-like surfaces here. Just my actual lap and a book I brought that is serving as a small table for the keyboard while I balance the tablet with its built-in magnetic stand on my knees. Weak as shit. Whatever.

I got through a few hundred Disqus comments from my day job, deleted a couple of months' worth of personal e-mail clutter and checked in with the news via Google and Twitter (Trump, Trump travel ban, Uber guy says no to Trump, Snap as in Chat gets ready to IPO, Facebook's Zuck is either clueless or crafty, Trump, Trump), and then got the keyboard out to write a bit.

A few months ago, I did a whole setup on this tablet to use my day job's CMS -- the awful Saxo Mediaware Center via Citrix -- but I soured on it like I've rarely soured before when I realized that putting Citrix in the background, as one does with everything in Android all the time, results in my losing the connect to the app's Citrix-connected server. Call it a nonstarter. I'm slated to say goodbye to Saxo and Citrix in a few months, and it couldn't be too soon.

Meanwhile, Jury Duty Lady, let us go home!!!

Update: 3:40 p.m. It's over. I'm done with jury duty for 2017.

A couple of observations: All buses and trains I was on were crowded, so Metro seems to be doing more than fine ridership-wise. And I don't recall seeing any law enforcement presence at all on either line, whereas in the past the Metro system could be thick with deputies. Might be a byproduct of Metro's wish to either scale back or end its contract with the sheriff's department. Or not ...

Wed, 05 Oct 2016

I bring the Blogger version of The CTRL Freak to Ode, plus a tally of what's left to move

It's low-hanging-fruit day. In my quest to archive all of my old blogs here in Ode, where I have everything on my server and in filesystem-level backups, I'm aiming to bring all of my "old" (and just plain old) blogs into this file-based Ode system that I host myself.

Today I did The CTRL Freak -- the Blogger version (there's also a WordPress version, the blog itself tells me).

It was only eight entries, I left at least one behind (because all it did was point to another blog entry), and there were no images. That made it a quick conversion, hence the low-hanging-fruit analogy.

I'm starting to get pre-2011 entries on this site. I'll expand the date links on the right when I get more vintage content on the site.

Here is what I have on Blogger:

2,000 Days in the Valley
142 posts to do

This Old Mac
61 posts to do

This Old PC
40 posts to do

My jazz guitar journey
48 posts to do

The CTRL freak
9 posts done

The status of my WordPress.com blogs is more complicated because there are backups in there from my company-owned WordPress.org sites as well as the Blogger sites mentioned above.

The WordPress.com sites are:

Steven Rosenberg
378 posts

Takectrl's Weblog (I think this is an old Click backup)
1,149 posts

The CTRL freak (WordPress version with maybe a few more entries)
27 posts

I also have:

Master and Server, which is a WordPress.org site on the devio.us OpenBSD server. It only has a few entries.
20 posts

And then there are my two big Daily News blogs that started their lives on Movable Type and which were converted to WordPress.org:

Click
1,950 posts

Come on Feel the Nuys
367 posts

Clearly these last two are going to either take a Herculean effort or some kind of scripting magic from me. I used to have access to the server and could grab the images in bulk, but I don't think I can do that any more. The hard parts of these kinds of "automatic" conversions are the internal links (WordPress uses absolute links, which are good for SEO but bad for portability) and images (and their URLs, also absolute links).

Today's mood (or mode): I could be programming, but I'm moving blog entries around instead ...

Tue, 04 Oct 2016

Blogging over the years: bringing it all together

After I started using self-hosted blogging software that wasn't WordPress in February 2011, I began with FlatPress and continued using it through October until I discovered and settled on Ode as the blogging software that best fit how I wanted to run my personal site.

As I write this post, it occurs to me that I've been running Ode just about five years.

It was always my intention to bring all of my past blog posts from Flatpress, WordPress and even Blogger to a single platform. I moved most of my Flatpress posts over some time ago but there were about a dozen or so entries from the early Flatpress months that never made it over. Over the past day and a half, I moved those entries into this Ode site.

I guess that means I can shut down the Flatpress site.

Migrating blog posts is hard. There's the formatting, the file naming (and organizing) and the images. There are ways of doing it automatically, and I might explore scripting the rest of it. But I'll probably just chip away at it manually, starting with my Blogger sites.

That's if I do it at all. The idea of having all of my blog entries in this Ode site, which means I'll have them in a local filesystem, too, is something I would like to do, but it is a lot of work.

Sat, 19 Dec 2015

Personality type: I'm an INTP

Every take one of those personality-type tests?

I did. Turns out I'm an INTP:

INTPs are independent, reserved, and live in a world of ideas. They can work well on a team but prefer to work alone in sporadic bursts of energy.

Although private, INTPs can at times seem totally outspoken because of their directness of communication and economy of words.

Other people may assume that INTPs say very little, but this is only when there is nothing to say. The general chitchat of social life is not for them.

They prefer to speak only about areas that interest them, things they consider important.
Fri, 18 Dec 2015

Blogging without Internet is easy when you're just writing text files

I'm in one of more than a few places I've been in recent days with my laptop but no Internet connectivity.

I can write an Ode entry with no problems. This would be just as true for the many static blog engines that are if not all then at least some of the rage among the more geeky bloggers out there.

Like I'm doing write now, all I have to do is use my favorite (or any available) text editor, write into a file and upload it to the server later.

And in my case, I have helper applications (chiefly Unison) and short scripts that make those uploads virtually automatic when I do.

Thu, 12 Nov 2015

Me and Unix and the '80s

That's me on an ADM-3A terminal at UC Santa Cruz some time in the late '80s. I'm using whatever version of Unix the university had at the time. I can see from the screen that I'm running the talk program with one of my friends on UCSC's Unix B system.

Unlike the other Unix machines (all named with various letters), Unix B was open to anybody who wanted to start an account.

With the help of a photocopied manual called "Unix for Luddites,"available for a couple bucks at the campus' Bay Tree Bookstore, you could learn vi for writing, nroff for formatting and a smattering of shell commands to get your papers printed on a mysterious, before-its-time laser printer somewhere deep in the campus computer center. Your work would eventually end up in cubby holes for later pickup.

While the ADM-3A was the coolest, most retro-looking terminal, even back then you were a little lucky if a DEC VT100 (or similar) was available. Its screen was green and clearer, its keyboard less mushy.

You were really lucky if one of the even-newer Wyse (unsure of model numbers) terminals was in your college's computer room (or the college next to yours; though a Porter student, I gravitated toward Kresge's much better computer lab/room). The Wyse terminals had amber screens that were even clearer than those of the DECs and (more importantly) featured nice, clicky keyboards.

But for sheer design, the ADM-3A was (and is) a classic.

Sat, 26 Jul 2014

Working Saturday, sweating it out

So I'm working Saturday. At the office. I'm the only one here. And since it's Saturday, there is no air conditioning until 10 a.m.

I'm trapped in a large glass bottle of stale, hot air.

Update: It's 10:01. The air just kicked on. Half of any good employer-employee relationship involves free air-conditioning.

Internet, you bore me

Just wanted to say that.

Thu, 30 Jan 2014

Yes?

(Photo by Hans Gutknecht)

Come toward the light

(Photo by Hans Gutknecht)