Doing finish work on a windowsill.

I don’t do much home finishing work, but I’m sort of proud that I got this thing done myself.

After finishing the attic, the windowsill on the one window was unfinished. I decided to do the work myself. It was an ugly and glaring flaw in the otherwise well finished space, it was time to fix it.
The first step was picking up some wood of the appropriate thickness from Lowes, and cutting it to shape in the sill.

I wanted a bit of a lip over the front of it, so I ‘notched’ the side of the front board (it required two pieces because of the depth of the sill) and fit it into place. I was working with relatively rudimentary woodcutting tools (skilsaw and jigsaw), so the fit wasn’t perfect. If I had a chopsaw and/or a scrollsaw, this would be much easier, but there’s only so many tools I can fit in my house. I used my belt sander to smooth / round off the edges of the lip and the nailed the pieces in place with finishing nails, using a small punch to countersink the nails so they wouldn’t stick up.

Because the fit wasn’t perfect, and I hadn’t cut into the drywall to fit the pieces in snugly, I used some silicone to fill in the gaps and seal the wood against the wall. After that, it was just a matter of using some leftover paint I had from when the room was painted, and voila! I had a lovely new windowsill.

Is it perfect? Not even remotely, but it’s a damned sight better than the raw unfinished sill. Onward!

A tractor for Mosaic

image1478373640.jpgWe’ve been hunting around for an inexpensive rider mower for Mosaic ever since we moved in. Since the playfield is getting close to mowing length, I was beginning to worry we wouldn’t find something in time.

We found this little fellow at a roadside mechanics house up here in Maine. He always has snowblowers, mowers, and other small tractors out for sale. He finds, fixes, and rhen sells them out in front of his house.

I just used it to mow the small field up here at the Maine house, and it worked great. I’ll be hauling it home on Sunday and, weather permitting, I’ll start working on the grass that’s out of range of our electric pushmower.

Camping, Ice cream, and Friends

image1813261623.jpgBack from an awesome weekend in upstate New York with about 180 friends. Geek camping at it’s best.

One of the the weekend was making in the neighborhood of 140 different flavors of ice cream using liquid nitrogen as the freezing agent.

Zach participated pretty freely this year, and much fun was had by all.

Edited on 7/1/2009 to correct poor english and iPhone-induced spelling artifacts.

Bluetooth headphone recommendations?

With the upcoming iPhone v3.0 update, Apple has said they will be supporting Bluetooth stereo headphones via A2DP. This is a huge win for me, as now I can have a set of comfortable headphones that can double as my hands free link to my phone.

I used to have a set of bluetake headphones for use with my Treo, and for the most part liked them. Alas they’ve gone missing and I suspect the technology has progressed significantly.

So I’m searching for a new headphone arrangement. My requirements are:

1) must support A2DP (stereo Bluetooth)
2) must support the standard hands free profile everyone uses for phones.
3) behind the neck / neckband styling. I find these the most comfortable, and east to just ‘dangle’ when not in use.
4) microphone that doesn’t require extra dangly hardware, or at least an arrangement where the mic folds out of the way.

Supporting multiple Bluetooth stereo sources would be a win, but I’m not sure if that’s possible (ala, be able to listen to music streaming from my laptop on occasion, without having to reconfigure the phone.)

I’ll be doing lots of googling in the next few days, but I’m open to suggestions.

Goodbye Interlude

image1314149070.jpgThe last load out. Tomorrow the dumpster gets picked up. I never enjoy the last bits if a move. I sort of wish it could all be done at once. But I know that has it’s own stresses.

As I left Natick, I changed the ‘home’ favorite in my GPS to Mosaic. Guess it’s official now, huh?

Briefly, from the iPhone. We moved.

Trying out a blog tool from the iPhone. More details later once I figure out if it sucks or not.

We moved today. 9 hours with professional movers, plus a cast of thousands of wonderful awesome people. Pictures are on flickr, but for now I’m too tired to list out all the kudos necessary. A more detailed, meaningful, and contentful post is forthcoming.

For now though, gonna go crash for my first night sleeping in cohousing.

The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello

At Arisia ’08 I saw this video as part of their film series. The DVD was not available at the time, though it’s one that I do want to add to my collection. (edit: apparently it is available at, which appears to be down at the moment).
Now, here it is in it’s entirety…
It is a dark steampunk story that has been nominated for several awards. Think Jules Verne meets Edgar Allen Poe.
Thanks to Boingboing for the heads up.

Not 64 bit.

Not 64 bit.

Originally uploaded by eidolon

Gall dang it.

‘ketch’ will be the new application server at our colo facility. I’vebeen slowly piecing it together and installing pieces on it.

Tonight I sat down to load Debian etch. Lo, it kept coming up with:

Your cpu does not support long mode

Turns out these are older Xeons, and are in fact not 64 bit. They’re also configured for hyperthreading, which I”m also hearing I should turn off.

Still, a pair of 2gig CPU’s will be a vast improvement over what we had, just not quite as shiny as I had hoped.

RAID1 configuration is continuing now. Debian’s RAID setup can be a little convoluted to set up on install, but I managed to wiggle my way through it.

Oh, a hint if you ever do this? Remember to leave a little space on your raid volumes for swap space. 2 40 gig drives mirrored to make one 40gig volume == no space for swap. Oops.

A day of music ripping and MPD updates

Yawl as of January 2009

Originally uploaded by eidolon

(How geeky is it that I blog pictures of my computers?)

Continuing the ‘home sick during a snowstorm’ thread, today I set up a couple machines in Chez Geek for ripping and tackled my backlog of CD’s from my great cd un-casing.

The trick here was to get enough machines running so that I was always ripping music, but not getting too nutty running around to different consoles.

After some fiddling, I got 2 grip processes running on ‘yawl’ – one on the external USB cdrw drive, the other on the internal generic ATA drive. The external one ran the fastest, ripping at around 6x times on average.

I also ran a grip process on ‘algol’, my laptop. I configured up X so I could display the 3 grip sessions back to algol’s screen, so had a view into how all 3 ripping sessions were running, and settled in to feed cd’s.

All in all it worked pretty well. A cd change happened every 4-6 minutes. If I hung around in the room, I could flip CD’s pretty quickly as they came up for changeout. As it was, I kept wandering aorund in the house, so there were times I’d come back and all 3 drives were gaping open, the rippers idle, and the feeling that somewhere a machine was going “Well? Any more?”

Total disk space consumed is somewhere in the 2-3 gig range, perhaps 40 albums ripped. ‘yawl’s load average hovered in the 4-4.5 range, and seemed to take just fine to everything I was demanding of it.

I’m only about 1/4 of the way through my whole CD collection. I think next ripping job will involve 2 more machines with better CDrom drives, and then I can really get in the groove.

A beautiful view, a grumpy situation.

20081214 maine 020

Originally uploaded by eidolon

Today I made an unexpected trip up to our Maine house after a friend of ours (who has an all season house just down-lake from us) let us know he saw some damage 2 of our sheds.

When I got there, I found all 3 of our outbuildings had been broken into sometime, I’m guessing, in the last month or so. It looks like the only thing that was stolen was a toolbox from the tool shed, but the damage to the door of the shed will require replacing the door (and frame). Blah!

At one point working around the house I turned around and saw this view out across the lake, so I had to take a picture. It’s on my iphone, so what I could do with the image was limited, but it’s a beautiful view of the frozen lake and the ice on the trees.

Mom and her MacBook


Originally uploaded by eidolon

Mom’s mac mini has been acting up lately, throwing disk errors, refusing to boot, etc. It’s 3.5 years old, out of Apple warranty, and, well, it was time to upgrade.

After a brief discussion and a glance at Apple’s refurb listings, we picked up a Macbook. 120gig of disk space, 1gig ram, dual core 2.1gig, combo drive, the whole works – for a mere $850.

This is Mom’s first laptop, and by appearances, she seems to be taking to it just fine.


Picture 018

Originally uploaded by eidolon

When we first starting putting Mosaic together, I was all excited to exercise my basic scrounging skills and start accumulating stuff to fill out all our new spaces.

Alas, Mosaic took a LOT longer than expected to come to fruition, but now we can finally start getting all the bits we’ll need. Since we have a great room that can seat 60 or so folks for meals, we needed a lot of chairs.

Through the magic of the Harvard Recycling Program, yesterday morning we picked up 84 very sturdy ex-restaurant (or hotel, we’re not sure) chairs. They’re in great shape, if a bit orange, and very sturdy.

We have chairs!