perspective

As I’m finishing my education and getting ready to search for jobs, I know there is so much for me to learn still.  We all come out of our course thinking that we’re qualified, have got the knowledge, will run out and do great things.

I saw a video tour of New York City from 1911 on YouTube.  They had traffic management with electric, petroleum, and horse powered vehicles intermingling.  They had trains being driven several storeys over the street, buildings so high that an engineer these days would take seemingly forever to design and build.  They had so much already back then.  We think we’re doing something new – and we probably are – but we may be forgetting that these things have all been done without the technological help that we have today.  Damn amazing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aohXOpKtns0   Keeps it all in perspective.

just browsing

At the advice of a friend from college a couple of weeks ago, I’ve switched from Mozilla Firefox web browser to Google Chrome.  Yet, i’m not convinced that this is the best idea.  So I’m trying other browsers.  Here are my thoughts.  (BTW – I’m using each browser listed to edit each blog entry.)

  • Google Chrome:
    • Yes, it works; but, it being Google, I’m concerned about privacy and them selling off my browsing habits to the highest bidder.
    • It often doesn’t seem to have a spell-check.  Being a former English teacher, I shouldn’t be worried about this, except that it’d be damb embarasing to mispell somthing wihtout no-ing it.
    • Adding Canadian English is a fight, defaulting back to American English.
    • It’s scrolling up-and-down is very choppy, unlike Firefox’s smooth transition from line to line.
    • There is no provision for automatically switching to a new tab when opening one (Crtl. T).  I have to manually switch (Crtl. Tab).
  • Mozilla Firefox
    • It works well, but it insists on its updates, changing some of its characteristics without me wanting it to.
    • Upon updating, it has a legacy function to allow older add-ons to run.  No, this isn’t a negative.  I’m just listing its characteristics.  This is a review, rememeber?
    • It seems to have a problem running Java or like programs.  (Yes, I said programs, not apps.  I’m old-school.)  Maybe that’s Java’s issue – not sure.
    • It has smooth scrolling.
    • It gives provission to jump immediately to the next tab when opened.
    • Older versions are not listed in Windows 10’s default web browser list.  Try as I might, in the end I must uninstall and reinstall Firefox to be able to choose it as the default browser.  No amount of web helps will help.
    • There are lots of add-ons available for privacy, picture downloading, password saves, everything.
    • It’s open source!
  • Opera
    • Don’t laugh.  Give it a try.  It works.
    • People laugh when I use it.  Stop laughing.
    • It looks the same as all the other browsers except that it has a side menu bar for FacebookWhatsAppSpeed Dial (the front screen showing tiled websites you’ve visited before), Personal News (a place to set favourite news websites, I guess), etc.  Handy.
    • No Canadian English spell check.  Only American.  No place to change it.  (Yes, I know how to spell favourite and colour and doughnut.)  Big downfall.
    • Fast.  It could be my imagination, but it seems faster than the others.
  • Internet Explorer
    • I really don’t know why everyone hates it.  It works.
    • It’s been stable all of its existence.
    • It has a spell-check and spelling error correction.
    • It can remember passwords and forms.
    • It can interact back and forth with Windows Explorer for internet, intranet, etc.
    • It’s made by people who are paid to do their job.
    • Anyone running Windows of any type can use it.  No downloading necessary.
    • It stores Favorites in a folder that is easily accessible.  No searching, no trying unsuccessfully to create a backup copy.
    • The Settings area doesn’t change with every version, forcing one to have to re-learn where everything is.
  • Edge
    • Not sure what is so different with this one or why Microsoft would create it.  Smaller?  Faster?  Better with tablets?
    • It works.
    • The icon looks too much like the ‘e’ in Internet Explorer.  Damn picky, aren’t I?
    • It has something called Web Note.  It allows someone with a pen (stylus) to doodle all over the website and save it.  Where to?  Not sure yet.  In what format?  Uncertain yet.
    • Microsoft has Extensions for it, much like Firefox I suppose.  I haven’t played with them yet.
    • Crtl. W actually works on this program (sigh … app), unlike a lot of the new Windows 10 apps.  (Press Crtl. W now.  But be aware you’ll have to go to og.allansplace.ca again.)
  • Safari
    • Oh my.  What can I say.  Firstly, it was really difficult to download Safari for Windows.  Try it.  Do a Google search.  Or a Yahoo! search, or an Ask.com search, or a GoDaddy, or a DuckDuckGo, anything.  Not many actual links to actual Windows downloads exist.
    • Secondly, right away Safari warned me that my browsing wasn’t secure.  It gave me a link to go get a secure version.  But … there didn’t seem to be anywhere to get it.
    • Next, that very same window bragged about how fast it was.
      I tried to insert a screen shot here, but WordPress doesn’t really work very well.  I think I’ll do a review on website generators next.
    • Then, I tried to edit this OGL entry, but the entire window to edit text was blank!  Good gravy.
    • And, finally, text in a web page is kind of fuzzy.  It’s not sharp.
    • I had a good experience with Safari (yes, for Windows) long ago.  But I guess times change.
      By the way – I’m now using Internet Explorer to edit this entry.
  • Netscape Navigator
    • Holy cow!  Yes, I’m serious.  A generation ago (people generations, not computer generations) Netscape Navigator was a serious contender in the browser realm.  However, things have changed.
    • Easy to download.  Easy to find on many web searches.
    • Doesn’t display my own Ongoing Letter blog page.  The menus are all over the place.
    • Doesn’t allow easy editing of the text.  It’s all white text on a white text window background.  Well that’s nice – not.  I have to highlight all the text to see it – coding and all.
    • Yes, I know what you’re thinking.  Why even bother?  Just because, I guess.  (I’m am using IE again for this entry.)

Here is more reading.

And a lovely picture.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Browser_wars#/media/File:StatCounter-browser-ww-monthly-201707-201707-map.png

And the winner is – oddly enough – Internet Explorer.  Why?

  • It works.
  • It’s on every Windows computer.
  • Spell check – in Canadian English.
  • Extensions & add-0ns.
  • And many, many more.

 

EDDT and Earthships

I have yet to attend Environmental Systems class.  I’ve had two days of classes at the college in the EDDT course so far, with Process Design II, the designing of pressure vessels and their connections; Applied Research, the second class in a series including statistics that builds toward a final presentation to peers and instructors; Architectural Design III, actually the fourth in a series of residential and commercial architecture training; and Civil Design and Drafting, a continuation of topographic, mapping, drainage, landscaping, and all things considered in developing land for habitation, industry, or business.  It’s the weekend now, and I’m looking forward to next week to see what the environmental class has to offer.

I woke up this morning to an Earthship blog from New Zealand as a result of somewhat randomly clicking links online.  YouTube – Healthy Homes – Te Timatanga Earthship New Zealand  Also, Earthship NZ  I also saw an Earthship created here in Southern Alberta.  Alberta’s First Earthship  If I am to go in any direction that I choose, this would be it – sustainable building.

One of my instructors hit on something I lack – confidence.  He wrote on the board a list of characteristics a cook and a chef might have.  I spouted off the first characteristic – creativity vs. following.  It seems odd that I would be the first to offer an entry to his list, which in fact takes leadership, because I seriously lack the confidence needed in planning, creating, building, etc.  (I offered another, which he moved to the top of the list – communication.  I do have that, being an English teacher.)

So this is a personal skill I must work on during this last term in school – confidence in leadership.

now serving

The server is now … serving again.  It crashed a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been trying to find a way to bring it back.

Disk failure.  An ongoing issue, I guess.  My HDDs are kind of old.
For a while, Windows could boot.  So I tried to clone it before it was too late.  It couldn’t clone because of disk errors.
I tried ‘chkdsk’ (part of Windows).  It fixed many errors.  After many reboots, many ‘chkdsk’s, and many cloning attempts, it eventually just wouldn’t boot.
I tried booting a cloned disk.  No go.  The clone didn’t take because it couldn’t complete the cloning process … because of disk errors.
I tried reinstating an image.  The image was no where to be found.
I eventually created a new Windows install on another disk and used it to read the old one so as to fix disk errors.  The new system could read the old disk.
Then, the new disk began making noise.  Drat.
So, another new install, this time on a RAID-1 disk array.  But then I couldn’t read my 3TB drive.  It only read 768GB.
At Caleb’s recommendation, I used Ubuntu Desktop to see if it could read the 3TB.  It couldn’t.  Old RAID system, I guess.
I tried to get the 3TB going in Windows again.  In this process, I lost my secondary backups on the 3TB drive.  Drat again.
New Windows install – Basic MBR disk again.  There’s the 3TB!  But no data.
Research – to find a way to copy my old MySQL database, inetpub webs, and everything else I need to resurrect the old webs.
It’s been a long time coming, but most webs are back up and running again.  Father’s web, lesjohnston.ca, is not yet working.  <sigh>  But I’ll stop here.

Headache from black mould in my house again.  I will leave the server be for now.

performance issues

This entry is about my little Fujitsu Lifebook P7120.  It sits on my wooden IKEA storage shelf above my printers and surround-sound and plays study jazz on YouTube while I study at my desk.  It’s ten years old now.

It’s really too slow for anything else but play music in this age of apps running through the web.  I bought it used way back when and have had it ever since.

It’s gone through some transplants – new main board (a.k.a. motherboard) and power switch.  Also, an upgrade in memory (a whopping 1.5 GB), a solid-state drive, and a new battery.

I did the Windows Experience Index as a test.  Here are the results.

 

tablet ease-of-use test – Surface 4 Pro & reMarkable

I’ve got my two tablets – the Microsoft Surface 4 Pro and the reMarkable.
Even the names begin to give away their characteristics.
It all began with a sore shoulder.  Those of you who read this know why the shoulder is sore, and several kilos of books and binders in my backpack made the shoulder ache big-time.  A tablet would allow me to carry ebooks and store my notes in electronic form rather than paper.
So I bought the Surface.  Really nice to use – except writing on it was glitchy, more so sequentially after each update from Microsoft Update.  Slick, fast, lightweight, powerful.  But glitchy sometimes.
After a year or so, I found an ad for reMarkable, a tablet that uses e-ink.  It’s a cross between an e-reader and a limited version of a tablet.  It does have limits, but I can stare at it for hours without my eyes popping out of my head.  The surface of it, as suggested in their ads, actually does feel for the most part like I’m writing on paper.
Keep in mind that I’d tested these in the classroom, coffee shop, home, inside, outside, in the dark, in sunlight, under pressure, at my leisure – in every imaginable scenario.
I recently loaded up AutoCAD, Revit, AutoCAD Civil 3D, and Inventor on the Surface.  They work well, but the Surface is somewhat under-powered for this.  Pretty good though.  An acceptable second to the HP ZBook 15 that the school provides.  I also put ebooks on the reMarkable and used it as a textbook e-reader.  It’s a little slow to flip from page to page, but it’s not slow when it comes to writing.
So I created a couple of videos.

12/14/2017  6:30 PM    167495387 tablet ease-of-use test Microsoft Surface 4 Pro 20171214_182812.mp4
12/14/2017  6:26 PM    103571641 tablet ease-of-use test reMarkable 20171214_182504.mp4

Have a look and see a comparison.  I cast no judgment on each one since they’re clearly different machines.  I thought I’d sell one of them once I decided.  But I see now that they’re both designed for very different tasks.  I guess I’m keeping them both.

last day of classes, mice, magazines, & banjos

As the title of this journal entry states, today is the last day of classes for this term.  I did my final exams for STS-2260 Statistics / Applied Research I and EDD-2268 Architectural Design II.  The goofy thing is that I think I did much better in my weaker subject, Stats, than I did in the one that gets my blood going, Architecture.  But we shall see.  My other two classes – ENF-2250 Fluid Mechanics and EDD-2255 Process Design I.

I got a subscription at the suggestion of my Architecture prof – Fine Homebuilding.  I haven’t gotten my first issue yet, but they did offer a free two-week online subscription.  Nice, except that I can’t print, can’t store it for later, and can’t get past page 32 of the issue.  I also asked my prof about a magazine I read ages ago called Architectural Digest.  His idea is that it isn’t what it used to be but is still an interesting read about various architecture of well-to-do folk around the world.  But I’m more interested in ideas and such that will help me in the ordinary-folk architectural world.

I’m finding it hard to play the banjo and use a normal (i.e. cheap) mouse.  Why?  Ages ago, on my 16th birthday, I guy hit me and Ron Ripley while we were crossing the street on our bicycles.  His leg was broken and fingertip torn off, and my hand was broken.  To this day, my right ring finger bends somewhat toward my middle finger when curled.  I got a new mouse – the CAD Mouse from 3D Connexion – and even put racing stripes on it, allowing me to speed up my Revit, CAD, & Inventor use.  If only putting racing stripes on my banjo would help me play faster and better.

Sundry things:

Tomorrow I’m getting an oil change for my little Kia, pulling the forms off our experimental concrete blocks, and giving blood.

calm after the storm

Things are settling down now.  I’ve been on my ulcer meds for about two weeks.  Only one somewhat nasty attack during that time.  I’m happy for that.  The doc said the third time I get this there’d be some major s*** to deal with.  I’m hoping this is not the case.

There’s a kind of calm these days.  I can feel it about here and there.  Instructors are not as go-go-go as in the past, no work stress to deal with, no wondering how Father is doing, Mom is doing better these days (made gravy for Sunday’s turkey dinner), Floyd has no issues to speak of, friends (most) are understanding of the various things that have gone down, and the yearly Hell is gone (Pete knows all about this).  Calm before the storm?  No, after.  Feels good.  (Knock on wood.)

I’m not as behind in classes as I was.  I’m actually ahead in one but behind in another.  The rest are good.

I fixed my stereo.  …  Ha!  They don’t call them stereos anymore, do they?  My home entertainment system.

The fan had been making noise, so I cut it out with some metal snips.  In the process, I ended up destroying it.  I just wanted to squirt some WD40 into it.  So much for that.  So I duct-taped a computer fan with a limiter to it.  It seems to work just fine.  A bit overkill, but it is quieter than before.

My little Fujitsu also developed a problem.  A ribbon cable controlling the power supply broke.  I ordered a new used one online and put it in.  It took some monkeying, but it’s working now.  It’s now 12 years old, so it doesn’t compete with today’s computers, but it does make a good background music player.  “Ghibli” on “Study jazz” on YouTube.  Kevin introduced this to me during our final week of last term’s studying.  Look it up – unless you’re allergic to jazz.

slow server, howling server

If you find the server here at ‘Allan’s Place’ a little slow lately, it’s because it’s doing some boinc work.  The CPUs are maxed out at 100% pretty much full-time now.

Because of that, the server is howling like a freight train, so much so that I couldn’t concentrate on my schoolwork.  So I pulled up its stakes and moved it to the storage room.  Peace and quiet.

…until something else makes noise.