"Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man."

Maintenance Update

06:50 Wednesday, 31 May 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 70.45°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 91% Wind: 1.99mph

This is a test post to check the operation of a bit of automation. HTML Export has changed in Tinderbox, and I'm getting a folder for each month's archive, with each post in it as a separate html file. That's not how this site is built, and I don't need them, so I've been manually deleting them before sync'ing with Forklift.

If all goes well, Hazel will delete any folder in 2023 that isn't named Images and I can just go right to Forklift.

Insert Jurassic Park, Samuel L. Jackson "Hold onto your butts" gif here.

Update: Test sat.


06:16 Wednesday, 31 May 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 70.3°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 90% Wind: 1.01mph

I'm reading Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention--and How to Think Deeply Again (The Kindle Edition). I'm loving it. I can't say I love the author's style of writing, but I'm enjoying the content of what he's written.

I was up early this morning, and the iMac wanted to perform a MacOS update, and that always takes a while, so I started that and decided to return to reading the book.

While I'm reading about all the sources of distractions in our lives, my watch taps me on the wrist and congratulates me on my standing yesterday and encourages me to keep going. A few minutes later, it taps me on the wrist and tells me that the RAV4 has finished charging (It finished yesterday, I think Mitzi unplugging it prompted the unnecessary update.) A few minutes later, it tapped me on the wrist again and suggested I should meditate now. A few minutes after that it tapped me on the wrist and reminded me that Work focus was now turned on.

I was using the Apple Pencil to highlight certain sentences and phrases. Occasionally, I'd let go of the pencil by letting it magnetically attach to the side of the iPad mini. Each time, a little alert bubble would pop up with some update about the state of the pencil's charge.

Clearly, I have some work to do with my notification settings!

Radio Report

08:25 Sunday, 28 May 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 62.1°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 83% Wind: 8.05mph

Got the Panasonic RF-2600 back from being re-capped and having the lamp replaced with an LED. Works great. All the switches and pots cleaned up, no noise.

Took it outside yesterday and listened to it on 20 meters single sideband along with the RF-2200 (older by a few years). Both radios performed similarly in terms of sensitivity, but the 2200 has a better sound. This was true on AM and FM as well. It may have something to do with the cabinet size, I think, as they both have 4" speakers. The 2600 is a bigger cabinet. But there may be differences in audio amplifier design that account for it too. The 2600 isn't bad to listen to, but the 2200 sounds better.

Some quirks on the 2600. It has a digital frequency counter with a vacuum florescent display. It's shielded in a box, but it's designed to be turned off, I think to reduce noise and maybe conserve battery life. With it on I do hear a small amount of noise and it causes the frequency to change a little when I turn it off. Not the case on FM and AM, but detectable on SW.

In any event, because I'm foolish and have time on my hands, I bought the print versions of the service manual and a "technical manual" I didn't even know existed. These aren't prints of scans, they're the original docs and so they weren't cheap.

I also bought another 2600, one that I can open up and play around with. I'll see how it performs first, before I go taking it apart. The guy who re-capped my current one sells the capacitors and led in a package and I may try re-capping this one myself. I've watched a lot of YouTube videos, so I'm an expert, right?

If I manage not to destroy the second 2600 and keep it working, I'll probably give it away to one of my grandkids.


07:33 Sunday, 28 May 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 60.37°F Pressure: 1011hPa Humidity: 85% Wind: 5.75mph

On a recommendation from Mark Bernstein, I watched the very recent documentary Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb, (edited by Molly Bernstein). Highly recommended. I knew a bit about Caro, nothing about Gottlieb and didn't know they've worked together for nearly half a century. Either man is a fascinating subject in his own right, together it's something amazing.

We finished watching Citadel on Prime by the Russo brothers. Meh. It's clear they're trying to build a franchise. Overwrought. Never really cared about any of the characters. Still don't remember what actually happened to Stanley Tucci's character. High production values, good actors, bizarre plotting. And I never liked the slow-rolling inverted camera beginning to every episode. Pass.

The Last Thing He Told Me, also meh. Maybe worth a watch now that all episodes are streaming because you can just blaze right through them, but definitely wasn't worth waiting week to week. Again, high production values, good stars, but the story went flat.

Ghosted. Formulaic, albeit with switched gender roles. Meh.

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre. Fairly entertaining. Seems like the plot device about billionaire bad guys crushing on actors was in the air or something. I don't regret renting it.

Hitchcock (2012), somehow I'd never heard of this I think. Maybe I did? I don't know, kind of back in my Action Dave, Cool Guy Bachelor days. Anyway, excellent. Anthony Hopkins? Helen Mirren? Yes, please!

Plane. Meh. Felt vaguely racist? White guy saves passengers from evil brown people? Haven't we seen this movie before?

Silo continues to impress. If you're a fan of the Golden Age of Science Fiction, you'll recognize Robert Heinlein's Universe and If This Goes On, kind of planted in the ground. Characters I can care about, and I really enjoy watching Rebecca Ferguson work. Tim Robbins also turning in a good performance.

I've watched both seasons of Slow Horses twice now. I loved it and I'm looking forward to a third. Season. I'm looking forward to a third season. But I'll probably watch the whole thing again anyway.

If you've still got Max and haven't watched the Perry Mason series yet, do so before you leave the platform. Very good.

Well, I guess that's about it. Definitely see Turn Every Page, so worth it.

Noise Jammer

05:49 Monday, 22 May 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 72.63°F Pressure: 1009hPa Humidity: 92% Wind: 0mph

Like many people in Nocatee, Florida, we have a golf cart. Nocatee requires that all golf carts be electric. Cool.

But electric carts require charging, which requires either an onboard charger, or a separate device in your garage. We bought our cart used, and it came with a charger, a big, heavy linear, transformer based box.

They seldom fail, but ours was used and developed a glitch. The cart is Mitzi's project, so she took it into a service provider to get it checked out. A cord was bad and something else was wrong, and they quoted her a price that seemed outrageous. She'd done some homework before she brought it in, trying to figure out if it was the charger or the cart's onboard computer, a little controller that manages the charger so it doesn't overcharge the batteries. So she knew there were new chargers she could buy that were more efficient and cost less than the price she was quoted.

So she essentially donated the old charger to the service company and ordered a new one from that online store with all the trucks.

It's significantly smaller and lighter the old one, so I knew it had a switching-type power supply. We plugged it into the cart and it worked as advertised.

We went to an event on Saturday about 6 miles from the house. A twelve-mile round trip is going to mean a significant recharge upon return. Came home, plugged it in and carried on as usual.

I went out back to "play with radios." I wasn't hearing the usual traffic I heard on 20 meters, so I switched over to the medium wave AM band and whoa! The "noise floor," the amount of static present on the band, was enormous. A local station would come through, but something was clearly putting out a lot of rf racket and I had a pretty good idea what it was.

I put the Panasonic RF-2200 away and grabbed a little handheld radio and tuned it to an empty frequency, noise was still present, went into the garage and went over to the golf cart charger and unplugged it from the cart. Noise went away.


These things are only Class A FCC Part 15 certified, which is to say, they aren't designed to not emit radio frequency interference. The paperwork even tells you so, and suggests that if it causes problems for your neighbors, you'll have to correct it at your expense. I don't think our neighbors listen to much AM radio, so I doubt we'll get many complaints.

But I like listening to radios, so now I have to figure out how to quiet this thing down. When it's in idle mode, it checks on the charge status every 15 minutes or so and adds a bit of charge if necessary. So it's fairly quiet most of the time. I'm only going to hear a problem when it gets back from a trip to the river or the grocery store.

It looks like I'm going to have to get a filter, the kind the marijuana growers use for their grow lamps. And maybe wrap the DC line through a large ferrite.

I'm going to play with it a bit, using a software defined radio dongle, and a nanoSA (nano spectrum analyzer), to try and get an idea what parts of the spectrum are most affected, and to see how much difference the remedies make.

I worry, though, about if or when a bunch of my neighbors get these cheap chargers.


10:51 Saturday, 20 May 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 79.9°F Pressure: 1014hPa Humidity: 73% Wind: 8.05mph

I'm a few days into being sans tweets, and I must say, it is challenging. One of the reasons I remained on Twitter after the initial exodus when Musk took over was because I was emotionally invested in the Jacksonville mayor's race.

This took on a form of hyper-vigilance, as the incumbent mayor and his allies were involved with the campaign of the Republican candidate, and these are just not people to be trusted. So I felt I was always on the lookout for lies, baseless attacks and actions on their part that revealed their perfidy and faithlessness, of which, sadly, there was little shortage.

Well, the election is over and the good guys won. I'm officially no longer a part of Twitter, but I still have this interior feeling of hyper-vigilance. I'm not seeing a timeline of news reports and commentary that I'm responding to, or re-tweeting and I feel like I'm missing out on something.

I know this will pass, nearly all feelings do. I went through something similar when I left Facebook and Instagram, though it wasn't perhaps as intense as this feeling.

Naturally, there's still access to news. I have subscriptions to local and regional papers, and many of them offer email or RSS feeds, I don't have to visit their web sites just to see what's being reported. But there's the reflexive habit of wanting to share a news report, with a comment of some kind, usually snarky or ironic, sometimes perhaps a little insightful. But it's not as easy without the well lubricated hamster wheels of a social media silo.

In any event. I'm confident that, in the long run, this is better for me.

A Glitch In The Matrix

11:38 Thursday, 18 May 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 84.56°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 67% Wind: 6.91mph

Okay, having some weirdness here. Marmot Speaks didn't post with weather data. Trying to figure that out, I moved it into and out of the May folder, changed export templates, looked at prototypes. Couldn't figure it out. Couldn't get wx data to appear in the note.

Wrote My Dinner With AI. Weather data appeared. Weird.

Played around with "cutting" Speaks from the outline (copying it to the clipboard) and trying to paste it back into the outline. Somehow managed to screw that up.

Used "Undo" enough to get it back, but now it's not in its proper chronological order. Tried to Revert to a previous version of the document, but that didn't have Dinner With AI.

Tried to view all the attributes via the Attribute Browser to look at those, and got the spinning pinwheel of infinite futility. Force quit.

So, I'm going to quit while I'm behind and re-export this thing and hope for the best. Two posts out of order aren't the end of the world, but I have no idea how that will affect the RSS ingest at micro.blog.

A lot of moving parts here.

11:31 Thursday, 18 May 2023

I nuked my Twitter account last night. Well, I guess it has a delayed fuse. The account will sit there, frozen in carbonite I guess, for 30 days before it is actually deleted. And who knows if they actually delete it?

Seems I may be in good company, according to this Pew Research Center report.

I was gratified to see so many people ask me to stick around before I left. It's nice to feel appreciated. But it brought something else to mind as well.

One of the reasons I left was because of the radioactive toxicity of the site. My "spiritual DNA" was accumulating damage that might one day result in a cancer of hatred of many of my brothers and sisters. (Tortured metaphor. Sue me.) Even with blocking and muting, I was still seeing far too much "alarming" content. And I know I contributed more than my share as well.

So there was "alarming" content that prompted an interior state of constant "arousal." There was also constant exposure to hatred, bigotry and ignorance; not from the people I followed, but from the bigots and fascists who were being "exposed" by people I followed. Or in news reports from people I followed. Or in the replies to tweets I'd look at. (Pro tip: Never read the replies.)

It's too much for me, and it was becoming a habit. I'll miss the locals and their takes on local events, but it's impossible to filter out all the other stuff.

I've started looking at my mastodon timeline now, and it's kind of the same thing there too. Though I follow far fewer people, so it's not as relentless. I'll need to carefully curate those accounts if I wish to avoid merely replicating my experience on Twitter.

But I must return to the "something else" I alluded to earlier. While I genuinely appreciated all the compliments that people valued my thoughts and opinions, I wondered to what extent receiving all those "likes" and affirmative replies validating my opinions kind of made me more tribal. More fixed in my thinking.

The problem is, I think, you seldom encounter good faith criticism on Twitter. You get kind of reflexive responses. And then when, or if, you do receive an honest, good faith critical response, am I open to it? Or would I automatically discount it?

I seldom engaged with people I disagreed with on Twitter, even the ones I followed. I used to engage with former Jacksonville mayor John Delaney, because I thought he might be a good faith actor on the platform. Mostly he's just interested in preserving his popularity, and conflates criticism with cruelty.

He once accused me of being "mean," which I guess is understandable since he's accustomed to an inordinate degree of deference from occupying the top spot in every org chart he's been a part of since his mid-30s when he was mayor. We're about the same age.

He disagreed, saying he always "welcomed" criticism.

How would he even know? Even a critical subordinate is going to couch their criticism with some degree of deference. And how many never offered criticism because, well, he's John Delaney, Jacksonville's most popular mayor. He can still quote his approval ratings when he left office three decades ago.

Anyway, that's all irrelevant now. But it did make me think that there may be downsides to getting positive feedback as well.

Getting lots of my time back, too. Rode my bike and walked this morning. 84 minutes of exercise. Formerly, Twitter would consume about 40 of those minutes in the morning, as I reflexively trolled for the latest outrage.

Now I've got to get that meditation practice re-started, and try to regain my sense of equanimity to my fellow flawed human beings.

My Dinner With AI

11:11 Thursday, 18 May 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 82.85°F Pressure: 1010hPa Humidity: 69% Wind: 6.91mph

I started an account at OpenAI.org and I've installed a couple of apps on my iMac and iOS.

It's pretty cool!

Now, I don't know if AI will usher in the apocalypse or not, I suppose it probably could, but it's here so I might as well play with it.

What I've enjoyed so far is that you have a very patient, very "smart" interlocutor. One of my conversations recently was about trying to understand the physics of greenhouse gases. The degrees of freedom available in certain molecules, like CO2, that afford greater vibrational energy, and how that relates to interactions with heat in the atmosphere. I really had no idea about vibrational energy, but it makes perfect sense after discussing it with AI.

I've also discussed Maxwell's equations and discovered that it's not very spontaneous in terms of what it brings into the conversation. It discussed Maxwell's equations in Oliver Heaviside's form. I had to prompt it to talk about Heaviside. I haven't finished that conversation yet, I want to ask it about quaternions.

Now, I'm aware that it's often wrong, because the LLM may have been polluted with bad information. But I think these kinds of "pure" physics topics are less subject to that kind of distortion or noise. I could be wrong. But it certainly gives me other avenues to explore in more conventional sources.

So far, I'm kind of encouraged. I know there are vulnerabilities and defects and maybe those lead to unacceptable risks. But for exploring somewhat obscure or abstract topics in a conversational way, where you can keep kind of asking the question in different ways without pissing off your teacher, it's pretty cool.

Merry Merry Month of May

09:58 Sunday, 7 May 2023
Current Wx: Temp: 76.12°F Pressure: 1019hPa Humidity: 66% Wind: 12.66mph

Figured I'd better drop by here and flip the calendar. Did a couple things over in 'chuck hole, but haven't been tending to the flagship.

Got my name in the paper, and my picture too! The pic's from a couple of years ago, the beard is gone.

Not much to be merry about though, another May mass murder yesterday. Won't be the last. Can't figure out a reaction that makes any sense anymore. Somewhere between dumbfounded and despair, I guess.

We watched Otto last night. I loved it. I haven't read any reviews, but I'm certain it has been criticized for sentimentality. It was fine with me.

I think I'm going to watch Joe Versus the Volcano, Cast Away, and Otto all again, in that order. I think these three movies all deal with the same theme, and I wonder if Tom Hanks did this deliberately, with some intention. Faith and fear. The struggle with control. Life and death.

If I can muster the courage, I may watch Saving Private Ryan as well. I've only seen it once, and after I saw it, I didn't think I could ever watch it again. Haven't either. Had the same reaction to The Deer Hunter, and haven't seen it since I saw it in the theater. But I think Saving Private Ryan may have something to say that aligns with the other three.

My respect for Tom Hanks has grown immensely over the years.

Headed up to New York and Pennsylvania next week. Spending a few days with some Naval Academy classmates, and a few days with Mom. She's been putting some of the cards up on the wall outside her door and getting comments from her neighbors. Seems cool.

Bought a few more radios. There's a Grundig Satellit 800 inbound. Not sure what kind of shape it's in. Looked ok in the photos, but it's from the first year (2000) and there were some QA issues. Got a Sony ICF-2010 from 1985. Seller sold it for parts or "not working." Works fine, and really nice cosmetic shape. I'll look into getting it re-cap'ed. And just paid for a Grundig Yacht Boy 400 from about 1994, back when Grundig was kind of still Grundig and not Eton. I think.

Bought a Black & Decker Workmate a couple of weeks ago. Had one long ago, when I was married. Stayed in the garage when I moved out. New ones do seem to be built from lighter gauge steel, bamboo top. Anyway, needed it to hold some plywood while I cut it. Worked fine. The charger and cord hook for the RAV4 were screwed into drywall in the garage, and an unfortunate accident pulled them out. So I cut a piece of plywood, screwed it into some studs and mounted everything on that. Should be fine.

Anyway, that's probably enough for now. Lights are still on. Gotta call Mom in a few minutes, then a Tinderbox meet-up.

Back soon.

Or, eventually.