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New Apple MacBook Pro Reviewed

berck Re:Optical drive still not optional (627 comments)

What you want is available for $99 from a third party.

Replaces the optical drive with a second SATA slot and provides you with a USB caddy for the optical drive you removed. That way you have a big drive for your a data, and an affordable, fast, SSD for the OS and your applications.

http://www.mcetech.com/optibay/

more than 3 years ago

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Journals

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flight attendant update

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Not able to sleep. Which is frustrating. Maybe I can sleep shortly. This is going to be short because, I'm hoping I can sleep shortly. Right.

So, in case those random people who read/read (hahah) my journal were wondering--I got the flight attendant job.

Training is killing me slowly. Both by testing my patience and ability to do without sleep.

I have a new respect for flight attendants, that's for sure. This 5 weeks of training thing will do that to ya. I'm getting the feeling that despite the fact that I'm anything but a people person, that this is a job I can do. We'll see.

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bad sleeping habits...

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

So I can't sleep. Which wouldn't be a problem except that my "interview" thing is at 9am tomorrow morning. Guess my sleeping habits finally catch up with me.

Watched The Natural on television tonight. Not sure that I much liked it. But now I've seen it.

Helping out the open source community by downloading porn. Hahahah. Got to be the funniest thing I've seen in awhile.

"How can we get a bunch of people to download a 140mb file to test this new file distrubution system? I know, post on slashdot that we've got free porn, and by downloading it you're helping open source peer to peer!" What's amusing is their target was 100 simultaneous downloads. My guess is that they've hit closer to 1,000 and it's 3:45am in this part of the country...

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All-Star Game...

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

So I went to go see a movie, on a lark. Ended up picking "Minority Report" when we got there. It was actually quite a bit better than expected. I really liked the pro civil liberties message. I'm not sure how many people will get it. Does the concept of having to have your retinas scanned in order to board the metro scare you? what about targeted advertising? While we're not close enough with retinal scanning, facial recognition is getting awfully good.

The sci-fi parts of it bothered me, but then speilberg has never impressed me when it comes to sci-fi. Why would a retinal scanner be programed to work on eyes which aren't attached? The "spiders" were awfully fake. They just weren't believable. And I'm not going to get into the whole idea of the "precogs". I think simply having technology allowing a glimpse into the future would be just as interesting, and allow for a more believable plot than people who see the future. This was very spielburg-ish though.

The plot was so-so, predictable in its "twists". I like plots that I'm just a step behind, not plots that I'm constantly a step ahead of.

The computer interface things were bemusing. Sure, they looked cool, but they were ridiculously inefficient. How is waving your hands at images in grandiose gestures helpful? Cool-looking, but I'm not sure I like it. Though this sort of interface HAS been tested. Furthermore, the hand-gestures weren't consistant. I hate it when movie-land people set up a system and don't stick with it. Like the magic button that Natalie Portman pushes in Episode II. First the button calls one person on the 3d communicator. Then it calls another. Then it displays a map. Then it... I mean, come on. she had thirty other buttons to push, why did she have to keep psuhing the same one? Make it SOMEWHAT believeable. Wesley Crusher, for instance, was the best at operating the consoles on enterprise. Why? He insisted upon knowing what parts of the consoles did what, and set designers tried to give him answers. He looks the most realistic. That is, as realistic as you can get flying a ship through 3d space using a 2-d interface. I mean, come on, with all that technology, flying a ship with a 2d interface even when on "manual" is ridiculous.

Anyway, overall, the movie tried to make a good statement, and I like the way it was subtle about it, though most Americans will most likely be simply be like "oh cool" rather than being remotely concerned about privacy.

In other news, the 73rd All-Star game was tied. Only the second tie in All-Star history, the first one due to a rain delay. This one simply because they ran out of pitchers after 11 innings and called it. I think it was handled poorly. They should have had the managers pitch or something. The fans were pretty pissed about it, chanting "let them play".

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nothing exciting...

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Did nothing exciting today. Well, I upgraded to Debian unstable and got KDE 3.0.2 up and working. Or, rather, finished those projects which took far too long to complete. Then promptly rebooted into win2k in order to scan a photocopy of a check.

See, I got this nice letter from the Texas DPS stating that they intend to revoke my license (AGAIN) in 45 days. Why? Because the stupid doughnut-eating redneck-infested county of Greene, MS decided to tell Texas that I did not pay a traffic citation. Two of them, actually... 93mph in a 65 as well as careless driving. Course, I paid that ticket back in May. It was long enough ago that the check didn't exist online, so I had to call First Union.

First Union people have always been exceedingly nice and helpful with everything. They agreed to send me copies of the two checks it probably was since I'm lazy and don't keep a checkbook record, and had no idea which check it was. Didn't even know the specific amount.

Anyway, I got the check today, and had to scan it in order to fax it to the Texas DPS. Still haven't faxed. I guess I'll do that tomorrow. I have, however, scanned.

Which reminds me that I need to finish the wedding pictures. But I'm not in the mood.

I'm in the mood to tinker with a car. I miss the black chevy. I want an old car, with no electronics, to tinker with. One day.

Mostly I'm just depressed and feeling icky. I meant to sit down and read Mansfield Park. Torture I get something odd out of. Last night I finished reading the play which was read by the cast of Mansfield Park. See, I had to go and buy the Norton Critical edition of Mansfield park, becuase I'm a snob and like them. Of course, the norton critical editions come with slews of contemporary texts which might be of assistance in decoding the primary text. Included was the entire text of the play which is performed at Mansfield Park. I decided that reading it was probably important since Austen's audience would have been familiar with it. It ended up being rather intriguing--I'd never read any English drama from that period. (Even if it was adapted from a much earlier German play...)

I even missed all but that last 15min of JAG, which proves to have been sad, since it was not only an episode I hadn't seen, but the first part of a two-parter.

Course this means dad and I will probably have to fight over the television again. He refuses to let me watch something and then switch over to something else during comercials. He'll probably watch the all star game. I'll go into his bedroom and watch JAG. If I'm in the mood.

I just haven't been in a television mood lately, probably why I've been watching a fair amount of it.

I've been told that I should move this over to livejournal. Unfortunately, it's a weird site, which is only free if you know someone with an account who can tell you about it and give you a code.

Or you can pay for it. Which is silly, becuase it's free if you can find someone who's got an account to give you a code.

Anyway, deciding that's stupid, I'm not sure abotu it. But, my journal being on slashdot seems kinda silly. And there's no good way to get save it locally if I wanted. Like I would want? Like it's worth saving?

Anyway, I think I'm going to try to get some sleep.

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words I can't spell

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

I wonder if anyone will ever read this again.

I got a hand-addressed envelope today. Those are very rare these days, so I was rather surprised I got one. I don't know the last time was I got a letter from someone. I guess it was when I was in Rome and e-mail was scarce. Sometimes I'd get real mail sooner.

Inside the envelope was a form letter inviting me to join an open house interview thing for a flight attendant job. I've applied to probably hundreds of jobs in the past few weeks. I've gotten all of ONE rejection, two automated responses and one "We're considering you" form letter. This is the only interview I've gotten, even though it appears to just be a massive screening thing. I guess getting invited to the open house was the first step. I wonder if they'll have any interest in me if I actually go. While I will unless I find a better job in the meantime.

I'm not sure how much I'd like working as a flight attendant, but at least it pays. Sort of. If I get hired I'll have to go through a month of training during which "You will not be paid, but we will provide you with $20 per diem to help with food." Gee. $20/day. And if I get hired, it'll probably be a $15k/year job at best. Not terribly exciting, but you only have to work like 80 hours a week and get to to fly free. It's with a Delta Connections, which means I'd get travel privelleges on Delta. Delta goes everywhere. Course, I'd have to make enough money to actually afford anything once I got there...

Anyway, it sounds like a job I might be able to do for awhile without killing someone or myself. We shall see. I somehow doubt anything will come of it. Just one of those feelings.

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Headphones

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

While I'm wearing headphones, I can't really hear Spot meow. I'm not sure if this is good or not.

I'm bored and tired. I feel like going to sleep, but I don't feel as though it's late enough to go to sleep. So I type.

I was playing with google and found this which seemed pretty interesting. I'd love to be a racecar driver.

My car's doing okay, though it needs new tires badly. And I need a job even more badly so that I can get it new tires. I've applied for endless jobs with not a single offer. Not even a single real rejection. Just silence.

It's hot in Atlanta. Dad says it isn't, but from my point of view, it's hot.

I'm not sure if I like mike's hard lemonade or not. I like it better than Zima (I like most things better than Zima) and better than Smirnoff Ice (which I'll drink). It tastes like a lemon-ey version of Smirnoff Ice. I wonder if I should worry about drastically bad things happening to me if I drink it. Probably not.

I wonder if I should keep this on one of the real journal sites. Probably have added functionality. But, it's already here. So here it stays, at least for now. Considering the last time I typed at it was nearly 6 months ago, I can't imagine moving this simply for bi-annual use.

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Metaxa

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

I like Metaxa. [Ed. note: This line is to legitimize the subject line.] [Ed.'s Ed. note. The author rarely legitimizes his subject lines, and it's awfull presumptuous of you to attempt to guess his intentions] [Ed. reply: bite me]

I'm not sure if i I should agree with John Cusack's character in Hi Fidelity when he asks, "Is this Peter fucking Frampton??" but I'm inclined. Why then, you might ask, am I listening to him? I don't know. Because he was mentioned in Hi Fidelity?

While driving somewhere in Northern La recently, I decided that I would try to experiment with being more honest in my journal. Not that I tell falsehoods, just that I simply don't tell all. Not even that I really tell lies of ommission. I simply felt that I should be more... open? I odn't like the sounds of "open". It sounds like a very womanlike term one might apply to a friendship.

I've been wondering about whether or not one should maintain such seemingly private information on the web. But since my last name isn't used, it would be difficult for a web searcher to turn me up. A search without my last name primarily turns up references to kite-flying events in the plage of Berck sur Mer. As interesting as they are, they are hardly incriminating. But then, this journal isn't really incriminating either. Just... personal. Probably more personal than I would tend to be with some people who might stumble ("Hey, have you checked out my journal?") upon it.

I've got this great fear of becoming, as I put to Todd not so long ago, "a Starbucks customer". Even from that very comment wafted the air of that which I was afraid of becoming. Not the smell of coffee, but the odor of, at least as Todd put it, pseudo-intellectual. I'm not a fan of that word. Maybe because I'm not sure how to define it. I wonder how dictionary.com defines it. As best I can tell it doesn't. A google search turns up http://www.ram.org/ramblings/ramblings.html which is interesting. The author of the page simply claims that he is, in fact, pseudo-intellectual, the pseudo-modesty allowing others to think that maybe he really is an intellectual. Is that what I'm doing, but in a different way? Perhaps. How is a pseudo-intellectual defined, except by what others think. And I don't care what others think. Really. Or so I keep trying to convince myself. So in my pseudo-not-caring, I shouldn't care if I'm a pseudo-intellectual or not, I should just be, and not worry about it. Right. So I don't really care if you think I'm a pseudo-intellectual or not. Really.

His page is entitled "Pseudo-Intellectual Ram-blings" but I think that what I type is far more likely to be classified as rambling. That's what it is, rambling. Probably more likely to be considered pseudo-intellectual. Oh, right, I don't care.

I like Smog. At least, the band with that name. I'm not such a fan of smog, though it does provide for exceptional sunsets, particularily in Rome. Or maybe it's just that because I was in Rome everything seemed exceptional. Don't suppose that really matters. I like Pavement as well. Two bands with a similar sounding lead vocalist named after things very... civilized.

I wonder if I really like Metaxa, or I just think I do/should. I wonder if that question really has much of a meaning.

Why is it that to my unfocused eyes I was convinced that "Devotion" was really "Dresden"?

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A Miata-Trip oriented Post...

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

[Note, the following was written for a miata.net post, and I didn't feel like editing for this audience, it's close enough.]

After celebrating the new year with a new alternator, I picked up a friend and set out from Texas for the Outerbanks of North Carolina. Having never been there before, and not being a fan of places with lots of people, January seemed a fun time to go. As you all know, the weather in North Carolina was... well, cold at best. By the time I started across NC all of the snow had been plowed and it didn't seem likely more would fall. There were plenty of patches of ice, however, so it was slow going whenever I thought ice might be possible.

We started our exploration of the outerbanks from the North, and then proceeded southward. This turned out to be a good choice as I was less than impressed with the likes of Kitty Hawk and Nags Head. While not unpleasant, they struck me as very much like other beach towns I'd been in. We stopped at Jockey's Ridge state park, and were quite impressed with the beauty. I've not seen such an expanse of sand dunes before. There was a harsh, crisp wind, and we never saw another person in the park. On south, we stopped at the Hatteras lighthouse, which while an impressive landmark (and even more impressive that it was moved a few thousand feet), was unfortunately closed. I would have loved to see the view from the top.

Took the free ferry to Ocracoke Island, and was amazed at the contrast. Ocracoke struck me as being the epitome of quaint. We stayed at an inn on the harbor which was fairly inexpensive given the season. We were the sole patrons of the restauraunt at which we ate that night. As best I could tell, there was only one other non-local car on the island while we were there. Ocracoke was an amzingly peaceful place, and I would have liked to have stayed longer. I'm sure it's awfully crowded in the summer though.

The morning we left Ocracoke, we took the 10am ferry to Cedar Island. I decided to head to try to spend the night in the vicinity of Deal's Gap as I'd never seen it in the winter and the my traveling companion hadn't seen much of the mountains at all. This was probably a silly idea given the weather, but... I'm a silly guy.

Well... It took FOREVER to get there as the roads weren't in the best of conditions. Furthermore, I was getting really tired. Unfortunately, I didn't have my tent, so I hoped to be able to stay at either Tapoco or the Crossroads of Time. Much to my surprise, I arrived at the Crossroads of Time only to discover that it was no longer the Crossroads of Time and in addition being "Deal's Gap Motorcycle Resort" or some such, it was also quite closed. So, I headed for Tapoco, only to discover it was very much closed as well. By now the dew on the road was starting to freeze, and a four wheel drift was becoming far too common for the speed I was driving on some of the curves... I wasn't too happy about all the sliding about, and didn't really want to donate any Miata parts to the tree. By now it was close to 10pm, and I was getting very tired. So I parked at what was the crossroads of time and slept.

Or tried to. It wasn't terribly cold as I had the hard top on, and there was the body heat of two people. But I found it quite difficult sleep bolt upright in a miata seat. I found that by placing some clothes I could sort of sleep on the console, with head on the dashboard and feet folded on the rear deck. That worked until I woke up feeling very sore and cold... Moved back to the seat and slept a few more hours.... All in all, I got enough sleep that I wasn't too tired driving to Memphis the next day.

Nothing else exciting happened until somewhere in northeast texas I started hearing this clacking sounds which sounded very much like very bad valve noises. I pulled over, couldn't see anything wrong. Checked the oil, it was toward the L mark, so I added some. My '91 Miata with 153,000 miles was drinking about 1/4 quart of oil every couple days, (Mobil1 5W-30 synthetic when I could find it... when I couldn't and added penzoil 10w-30, not much more oil has dissapeared) so it's not like this was surprising. My car doesn't leak any oil that I can see, so I guess it burns it. No smoke though, so I'm not really worried.

Anyway, not knowing what else to do, I just kept driving. About 5 minutes later I heard a really weird sounding thump from under the engine and the charge light came on. And it all made sense. I sighed with relief realizing that the alternator belt had just broken and that the noise was a disentigrating belt, not a valve at all. I started wondering if I should drive to a well lit gas station as I remembered that the alternator belt also drives the waterpump. I quickly decided I shoudln't drive very much further at all, and glanced down to find out that the temp guage was pointing at the 3/4 position and was visibly moving upward... all in just a few seconds from the time the belt broke. Geeeeze! I killed the engine and coasted to a stop on the side of the road.

And then grinned at my genious for the presence of mind to stash an old alternator belt behind fuel line protector panel in the trunk. And then slapped myself for forgetting to stick the flashlight back in my trunk after using it a couple weeks ago.

Changing an alternator belt is not the easiest thing to do in the dark, but I managed anyway... Took me over an hour for what should be a 15 minute job in the day with all the right tools.

All in all a good trip, and I've managed to drive 8,000 miles in the past 3 weeks... Luckily, the new Toyo's still have plenty of tread of left. As soft as they feel, I was worried they would wear out in no time at all.

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New Years Eve in Tyler, TX

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

------
Somehow, this was not quite how I imagined spending New Years even when I set out from Orlando to go to a party in Dallas. It's 9:38pm, new years eve 2001, and I'm sitting in my car at a gas station. Quite thankfully, I got in touch with Bob Black, who lives not far from where I'm stranded in Tyler, Texas.

As I was somewhere in Mississippi today, I was thinking about the possibility of my alternator dying. I only thought about it because someone had just discussed the demise of the alternator in her '91 miata with about the same mileage as mine. I decided that 150,000 miles was just not a typical lifespan of an alternator. I figured I'd wait until at LEAST 200,000 miles before I would replace it as a preventative measure.

So imagine my thoughts when the charge light popped on dashboard when I was about 50 miles east of Shreveport, LA. It was almost as though my thinking about it caused. I sighed, rolled my eyes at God, and sat about trying to figure out how to get out of this one.

I immediately stopped at a gas station where I learned that the nearest auto parts store was 20 miles away. I eventually found an Autozone which even though they were closing, was nice enough to test my alternator and announce that it was kaput. I had assumed as much, but since I can cahnge an alternator in an hour or two, I wasn't very upset until they told me they didn't have one for a Miata in stock. "We can order it?" the guy asked sheepishly. I sighed, and got another idea. I bought a used battery for $30, which they promised I could return within 90 days. I swapped the largish "new" battery with mine, and decided to drive until it quit. For all I knew, it would get me to Dallas. And, if it only got me 20 miles, I'd know about how long I could expect to get out of my battery.

My headlights started getting very dim about 20 miles from longview. Then the tachometer started going bezerk and the engine started missing. I pulled into a convienently placed "picnic area" and swapped the batteries.

Car started right up, and I headed for the nearest telephone, which is here. After a very long wait for my mother, who was at Universal Studios, to find the number for me, I called Karen and Bob. Man I was glad to hear him answer the phone.

Bob said it would be about 30-45min.... So here I wait. Nice that I had a laptop along to type at, makes the time go faster, even though there's not really enough room between me and the steering wheel to type, so I'm sort of at an angle. And my fingers are so cold, that they're getting numb, which is making typing a bit more difficult.

I sometimes wonder about the cruelty of humanity, but I've encountered several different people so far who went out of their way to try to help me out. First, the people at the autozone (though after much bitching, because they wanted to go home-who could blame them?), then the guy was closing this gas station and came out to see what the deal was with me. He offered to drive me to a motel room, for which I thanked him.

Got the same offer a bit later from a rough looking woman smoking a cigarette, who had stopped to use the phones. She asked for a quarter for two dimes and a nickel, which I provided. She told me how neat looking my car is, for which I thanked her and said that I generally agree, but wished that it was working properly. She hung around for awhile to make sure I got in touch with Karen and Bob, which was quite nice of her. I have my doubts that she was sober.
----------

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She lives!

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

miss miata's all back together and running quite nicely. Still in need of a wheel allignment, so I haven't gone for an extensive drive yet, but all seems well.

I got it all together at about 1pm yesterday. Smiled, sighed, and turned the key. It turned over and over. No fire. Damn.

Then I saw that I'd failed to plug the wiring harness back up to the crank angle sensor, so the computer never got the signal to fire the plugs... Riiiight. Pluged it in, turned the key and it started right up.

And ran like shit. With an awful clicking noise. I rotated the CAS back and forth and it steadied out a bit, but still wasn't running very smooth. And when I disabled the timing advance to check the baseline timing & idle, it nearly died.

I couldn't figure it out, so without any other choices, I decided to take the timing belt off and redo it. When I got all the covers off, I carefully examined the timing belt, and it looked to be lined up perfectly. Regardless, I pulled it off, spun the cams & crank, and lined it back up while fitting the belt back on. Spun the crank with the belt on, everything seemed to still be lined up. Put it all back together and turned the key.

It ran just fine, only smoked all over the place because of all the gear oil I spilled on the exhaust.

As Kevin of the miata list said, "Sometimes the autommotive gods just want you to do it twice."

Today I successfully installed an S2000 starter button. So I guess my car has some Honda blood now. Man is it a sweet switch. I had to refrain from sitting in the garage and repeatedly starting my car, it's so much fun now.

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Feel it in the air...

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

More progress on miss miata today... I would have finished tonight, but it's a real pain to work in that garage once the sun goes down. The lighting is less than helpful. I can see the car. I can't see much else.

I've gotten to the point where I have a small handfull of bolts and quite a few more parts waiting to be installed than I have bolts to install them with. I'm not sure why this happened, as I usually have bolts left over. I tried buying some replacement bolts at home depot, but was less than successful. Metric bolts aren't easy to come buy. (And then there's the issue of my understanding bolt size and thread guage, and so on... which we won't get into)

All that's left is a few more bits of the cooling system as well as the intake system... and we'll be in business. We can hope. Course, after that I've got to get a wheel allignment because I not only disturbed the front suspension by replacing the tie rod ends, but also the rear suspension got mucked with in the differential remove/install.

I'm hungry.

I've also discovered that I will never be able to do crossword puzzles. Dad gives me clues from them occaisionally if I'm nearby, and he thinks I might know the answer... This one he asks just to piss me off because he knows I hate it, and I forget the answer everytime. "Neighbors with a radius". "A chord?" I ask, trying to go through all the parts of a circle I can think of that might qualify. The previous clue, for which "A chord?" was the best answer I could come up with was "parallel to a radius". Now, in the strictest sense, the answer wouldn't be chord because there's no reason a chord would HAVE to be parallel to a radius, but the sense of crossword puzzles is never strict. so they drive me nuts. I'm not sure why dad likes them. They're full of trickery, and it's not about what you know, it's about knowing how to play their stupid little game. The answer is "ulna", which I hope I won't forget next time he asks me.

Slashdot amuses me greatly sometimes. This pictures, linked to from the front page, is great: http://www.dreamhack.org/dh01/photos/PB300345.JPG. Not sure I'd want to be there, no. Well, yeah. I mean, it can't be as bad as a concert, and you've probably got somethign in common with the guy next to you, which is hardly the case with concerts.

It seems U2 has sold out in Atlanta yet again tonight. I think they're playing tomorrow night to? I'd like to see them sometime, but I'm not about to pay the ticket price a band like U2 fetches. And most of their concerts tend to sell out within a few hours of tickets going on sale. I'll go see them when I'm an old fogey, and only old fogeys are going to their concerst. Easier to get into. I mean, a Moody Blues concert isn't ever much of a problem...

Then there's the think geek ads. They always catch my attention. Course, this is the firsttime I've seen the ads in a long time since I'm typically running with some sort of ad blocker program. "Your video card sucks. / Unless it's this one--->. / Suckage is bad. / We can help." I almost got offended.. My video card is only a Geforce2, but still... I mean... but.. I don't even GAME!

I wonder if there's a way to archive all this journal stuff, or if it'll stay on slashdot forever. I wonder if I really care.

Well, that's about all I've got to type about for the moment...

Berck

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Red

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Miata's differential has been installed! It wasn't easy, but it was easier than I thought it would be. Manuevering 80lbs of bulky metal to a position 2 feet above the ground while on one's back under one's car is difficult. Even when using a cheap hydraulic jack.

In the meantime it seems I've got something in my eye, which is driving me nuts.

In addition to reinstalling the differential, I've resintalled everything I had to take apart to initially remove it. I was qutie impressed that I spent a minimal amount of time crawling around the garage floor looking parts. As to what goes where, I was a bit worried about finding all the right bolts for the right parts, but that seems to work itself out... When actually putting it back together, it becomes fairly obvious what bolt goes with what. I was just beginning to wonder since I had no idea what went with what by looking at the enormous tupperware container full of them.

I'm not homefree yet, I still must reinstall the timing belt and all associated covers. Completetion of this task depends on waiting for (yet another) shipment from Mazda South containing the tensioner and idler pulleys... which I didn't realize needed replacing until a few days ago. Which is better than a few days after I put it all back together, I suppose.

Argh.. me eye is troubling me. That's all for now, then.

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Farmhouse 2

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

That's really frustrating. I just wrote a journal entry, but seemed to have managed to not actually post it. Now it's gone for good.

Ah well.

So now you get it nice and short. My differential should be ready TOMORROW. Uh huh.

And the thing about a motorcycle. A 1972 Honda CB350 Motorcycle to be precise. In pieces with lots of rust. But I'm excited about it.

And since I already did this once, this is all you get today.

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I'm still here...

berck berck writes  |  more than 12 years ago

Got somewhat bad about this writing thing when people were here. Must be that Red Alert 2 syndrome, or something.

Anyway, it's back to the normal life of Berck today. Nothing exciting in the mail... My car is still in pieces, and my computer is in shambles.

On Sunday, Dad just thought he'd let me know that there wasn't a chance that I'd get my differential on Monday. His reasoning? "It's an automotive repair. This means it will be late and overbudget."

"But it's ALREADY late and overbudget!" (i.e., I was supposed to get it back by Wednesday (before thanksgiving)for $100. On wednesday we were up to $450 and Monday.)

"You won't get it back Monday."

Sure enough, on Monday, I found a message on my answering machine from Russ at Roswell Mazda. "Berck, this is Russ.. It seems we've come up short a few bearings... you should have it by Wednesday, though."

So, we'll see what happens on Wednesday.

I seem to have lost my Linux installation. My SCSI harddrive was giving me errors last time I tried to boot from it. I figured it was a result of my Win2k install, but I couldn't seem to fix it. So I told the BIOS to do a low level format. Which it did. This didn't make the partition table readable, though. Just non-existent.

Finally tracked the problem to a SCSI cable...

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Blue Chronometers

berck berck writes  |  about 13 years ago

The differential for my car came in the mail today. Interestingly enough, I got home and discovered that I had left my keys at the mailbox. This time I really had, and they were hanging out of the mailbox.

So I took the differential up to Roswell Mazda, a nice 40 mile drive from my house. He said he should be done with it by Wednesday. And then I can start putting things back together, I hope...

I'm really missing being able to drive.

Not a whole lot else happened today. Dad and I went shopping. Bought a turkey.

There's an audiogalaxy client for linux. It actually works.

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Autumn...

berck berck writes  |  about 13 years ago

It was quite a nice fall day. Even smells like fall. The sky was fairly gray today, I'm not sure why. Now that it's twilight, it's very grey. The treeline is grey and brown, the grass is brown. Winter will is near. I like the smell of fall. It smells quite different from spring.

I've felt somewhat gloomy today, and didn't feel like doing much of anything. I've never quite figured out why I don't like Sundays. It's just an icky day. Everyday has a feeling about it, and I've never liked the feeling of Sunday. The Italians are the only ones who seem to make sundays worthwhile. And, darn near the whole time I was in Rome, the weather was beautiful every sunday. And most every other day, as well. I'd never seen a real spring before then.

I really wanted to go for a drive. (which would have been a rather Italian thing to do..) A nice long drive, maybe drive north to the mountains. But with my car on jackstands, this is hardly something I can do. Driving the exploder isn't any fun. In fact, it's a real headache.

Going for a walk might be nice, but I'm not really much of one for strolling about suburbia.

I'd like to get my car back together very much, but who knows when I'll get all the parts to do it. I hate waiting for parts in the mail. And I'm not even sure my latest order has been shipped.

I probably won't get it back together until it'll probably be too bloody cold for a top down ride... But then, it doesn't get all THAT cold in Atlanta, so you never know.

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Victory...

berck berck writes  |  about 13 years ago

Today was a day of victory. Or at least, the beginnigs of victory.

I woke up at 8am. I'm not sure why, but it rather surprised Dad. I haven't been sleeping so well lately, maybe it's because of the ear infection, which is qutie better now. Purple pills....

By 9:30 I was under my car, trying to install new tie rod boots. After removing the tie rod from the tie rod end, I hear and nice "gluck, squish" from the tie rod end. The rubber bit holding the grease around the ball joint had given out, which means I need new tie rod ends. Might as well replace both of them. I'm growing weary of finding parts that need replacing....

After noticing this, I started thinking about my differential... I called one of the guru's and he said he'd set up the new differential for a $100, if I removed it from the car and brought it to him, which seemed to be a very fair price to me. I didn't ask what it would be if he removed it, because I somewhow decided that I was going to do it myself.

Sure enough, a few moments later I was unbolting the power plant frame... 5 hours later and lots of cuts, bruises and scrapes, I had the differential sitting in front of the car. Now, we can just hope that I can get it back in the car.

Dad's so encouraging. He came home and said, "This doesn't look like an improvement..." He keeps harassing me that I'm never going to be able to get it all back together. And that was before I attempted this feat.

In addition, I made Linux print! To a network printer! This is a damn near unbelievable feat for me. Sure, it SHOULD be simple, but I've never managed it before. Took about 2 hours, and there seems to be something not quite right with its queuing... Next linux project: WordPerfect 8 install. I'd also like to convert to Reiser FS, which will involve dumping my system to another hard drive temporarily.. With Linux, this should be nearly trivial..

Anyway, I was planning to do the timing belt install on my car as soon as I got the parts, but I don't think that'll happen until I get the differential back in... Without a drivetrain ending in a parking brake, I don't think I can torque the crank bolt. Unless I come up with some clever way to block the driveshaft from turning.

Quite a nice day out today, as well... Good day for car working. Not hot, but not so cold that I was terribly uncomfortable in a t-shirt.

(See Mom, aren't you glad you read all that?)
Wonder if I can see any meteors before I go to bed...

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Airports and Differentials

berck berck writes  |  about 13 years ago

I ordered a differential for my car. The guy at Mazda Competition told me I needed the stub axels from the open diff to install the diff he was sending me. I knew this already.

It took me awhile to get to MazMart to buy the stub axels. When I got there, I waited for what seemed like forever for Paul to come out and help me.

I like Paul. I'm not sure where he's from, but I'd classify him as genuine rasta-man. He's got a carrabian accent. Dreds. And a nice sense of humor... It's nice to talk to him.

Then they tried very hard to talk me out of the Mazda Competition differential, which was kind of silly since I'd already done it. Mazmart wanted to sell me a torsen differential and all the parts needed to install it in my car, to a tune of $1500. The mazda competition differential was $500, brand new, and seems to be every bit as good. Hey, if it's good enough for a race car, it should be good enough for my car, right?

Anyway, they reminded me how hard it was going to be to get this differential installed, and told me that I basically need someone with the training of a jedi master, or a real guru. I mentioned that I'd hoped R-speed would be able to do it, and Paul said "They might..." just as Joe from R-speed walked in.

No, Joe said, they couldn't do it.

Oh.

Did he know who could?

There was some guy in Roswell who did one once upon a time... The solo miata guy, Randy, should know...

So I bought my parts, thanked them, and drove home.

That took nearly 3 hours thanks to Atlanta traffic. I left 2pm and got back at 5pm. It turns out some guy ran through a security checkpoint Hartsfield, so they closed the whole airport. One guy runs through a checkpoint, and they turn all incoming planes away, ground the ones preparing to take off, and evacuate the airport of the 10,000 people who thought they were going to go somewhere.

Well, I e-mailed Randy who gave me the names (first names, but I assume this will be sufficient) of people at two different places who are the gurus I need.

Now the only question is what sort of small fortune are they going to want to do this...

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Linux functionality, inner ear infections..

berck berck writes  |  about 13 years ago

I've not been feeling very well today, something of an inner ear infection, I think. Dad gave me Zithromax, so we'll see how I feel tomorrow.

I've got linux working... more or less. It's still not as clean as it really ought to be. But, it's come a LONG way. Finally got a scroll wheel as well as dual display working.. And, I know how to make the RAID array work once I get hard drives again.

XMMS is somewhat unimpressive, in that it doesn't seem very stable. WinAMP is even less stable under Linux, but it is still "alpha". Funny when a lot of what you're running is alpha.

I would say that the scroll wheel works BETTER with KDE than it does with windows. Windows has a habit of scrolling the wrong window. KDE is good about knowing waht you want it to do. That's class.

And man, real configurability is sooo nice. Course, it comes at the price of being forced to configure everything.

I'd like to get the web server back up, but that's not going to happen until the DSL modem is back under my control.. And it seems that it has to go in a windoze box. So I need something I can install 2k on.

Maybe I should get a job, build a new system, and put 2k on this one. Yeah. That's it. Or find something really cheap on which to install a 2k server. I could probably do it for not too expensive.

It's amazing how much you get addicted to dual display. I'm glad to have it back.

I wonder how fast thing will be once I get the RAID array back. I wonder if I'll bother install 2k on it. Well, that may depend upon whether or not I can get the printer working. And wordperfect. These are difficult tasks.

That's about all I've been up to today..

I just noticed that there's money in my account. Which means I can order a differential. It was probably there this morning, and I didn't notice. Yay, signs are good that my car will become unified again soon.. Though, not without much work. And it's been so long since I removed the timing belt, I'm beginning to wonder if I'll remember how to put it all back together. And that's the hard part.

Berck

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Why must it require a subject?

berck berck writes  |  about 13 years ago

I'm really not much of one for thinking up subjects.

The box in which one types this says "Entry (This will go down on your permanent record)" Ooooh.. My permanent record. When I was much younger, I was lead to believe there was this "permanent record" on which all ones transgressions were reported. It never bothered me that there didn't seem to be any such authority to keep track of such a record. The concept was frightening enough.

This was, of course, before I got old enough to care about things like civil liberties, and that such a permanent record would surely be in violation of them.

Much like Lowe's tried to violate them today. I needed some CAT-V cable, and I wandered around Lowe's not remembering quite where such things were stored. A very old man came up to me and asked if he could help me find something. I told him what I was looking for, and it turns out I had walked right past it. I was in the electrical section, and I was admiring the cable which was large enough it looked like it could carry all of the current to power a neighborhood. Or three. It probably was, but then I got carried away realizing how small it actually was in comparison to large transmission lines.

They sold CAT-V by the foot, and it appeared they had two different sorts. They were listed as "plenum" and "non-plenum". One, of course, was substantially more expensive than the other. 19 cents a foot instead of 9 cents a foot or some such. The only thing that plenum conjured up in my brain is an evaluation of different sorts of intake manifolds.. The sort of intake manifold one finds in the good old cars from the good old days. A very large one which sits on top of 8 cylinders and supports a carburetor in a fasion not unlike a pedastel. Anyway, a plenum type manifold has a thin peice of metal which separates the manifold into different sections not far from where the carburetor joins. I've never really understood the point in a plenum even though I read a bit on the subject back when I drove a good old car. Some people seemed to think they were good things. Other people suggested filing them down. Others suggested removing them entirely. The intake on my car had one, and I figured that if Eidelbroch though it was a good idea, that he knew more about it than I, and I'd leave it alone.

Anyway, I imagined a thin sheet of metal dividing the twisted pairs in my cat-v briefly, then examined the two cables. One seemed to be a slightly different shade of blue than the other.

So I asked the rather old guy what the difference was, though not expecting much of an answer. He answered "Well, this one's yur plenum. If yur gunna put it in yur livin room, you don't need a conduit with the plenum. IF there's a fire, and you got yur non-plenum, you'll die from the vapors if you don't have a conduit..." he went on for awhile, and nothing he said made any sense. In my mind, there's cat-v. If it's rated as such, it'll do the job. There exterior and interior grade, and I can understand that okay. I picked the cheaper one, wondering what Eidelbroch would have picked.

He took the box of cable up to a little table with contraptions on it. He fed the cable through a tube and started winding a crank. A neat looking cable odometer starting counting. He wound until it read the request 100 feet I'd asked for. He cut the cable and wrapped it in electrical tape, then scribbled on a label and stuck it on the cable.

When I got to the check-out counter, the guy there seemed utterly unsure of what to do with either the cable or the sheets of metal I'd selected (in hopes to fix the armrest on the Exploder). After getting a manager who tried to explain it to him, he took me credit card and asked for my ID.

Which isn't all that bad, but I found it rather frustrating as it was yet another step for them to go through, and was taking much longer for me to get my things.

And then Lowes, in typical capitalistic fashion, violated my rights. My god-given (well.. maybe not god-given) right to be free of unreasonable searches. I mean, there's not a lot that I feel like I've got to be proud of in this country. And the bill of rights was a really bad idea, but I figured that I should at LEAST be granted the rights that someone decided specify a couple hundred years ago, even if that specification ran the risk of depriving me of other rights... The very polite woman a the door insisted upon searching me. And then comparing the results of her search with my receipt.

I never used to understand why this drove my father nuts, but I can understand now, the fuss he always made about it. If we don't stand up for our rights at the beginnings of infringement, what will happen when it gets really important?

Our country is full of contradictions, and of late, I've been rather disgusted by them. This is a country where we seem to take so much pride in our "rights", but here the very "right" to capitalism which we as Americans think is so important, leads directly to infringement of a much more important right, I think, our right to be free of unreasonable searches. It wasn't my government searching me, it was LOWES... I got infuriated thinking about it as I was driving the exploder home. I essentially PAID them to search me.

Anyway, I'll be shopping at Home Depot next time...

(editors note: I could have edited this, and made it more coherent and so on, but I don't feel like it now that I'm done writing it. So deal with it.)

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