Sunday, March 18, 2018

Dear Diary #82: Learning Revit, Revit with wine, 5 Mbps

Dear Diary,

This is weird... Bought me a textbook to learn some software but I bought the eBook version. There are no page numbers, just a progress bar that isn't as satisfying as actual page numbers. Finding myself going to Amazon and using their book preview to look at the paperback version's table of contents. Matching section title and table of contents yields me a page number. Come on, almost 30% done the book which is exactly what the eBook reader's progress bar says I'm at.

Well, I shocked myself. Turns out that I can still use Revit after a half bottle of wine. Didn't think I could make it either, but here we are.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Dear Diary #81: Bad Luck with 2.5" Hard Drives, Spicy Curry

Dear Diary,

Think it's time I swear to never use 2.5" hard disk drives again -- the old, platter type, not SSD. My external HDD may have just dropped dead after I plugged it in, let Windows install the drivers, and safely removed it. There was an out of the ordinary clicking sound but the drive was recognized so I didn't think too much of it. Well, I thought it safely removed after I clicked on the icon and gave it over 10 seconds. When I unplugged it, Windows said it couldn't safely remove it. I go to plug it in half an hour later and game over: the computer sees the drive and thinks it all works but no data shows up. In fact, it was so busted that I restarted my system and the BIOS stalled because it couldn't read the drive -- booted as normal right after the drive was unplugged. And it's a year out of warranty. The sad thing is that I barely ever used this drive, it was for backups and not even my primary, so I probably used it two dozen times over the past four years. That makes dead 2.5" HDD number two in the past year. Still haven't had a 3.5" HDD die on me in two decades.

Yep, hard drive died. Before I completely gave up on it, I got the idea to turn it upside down and that got it to work for almost a minute before it started making weird noises again. Seriously, note to self: never ever buy another 2.5" platter-based HDD again.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

What's the Wrist Watch in "Interstellar"?

It took watching the movie "Interstellar" about five times until I started to get curious about the watch that's featured in the movie. Not Cooper's flashier metallic wrist watch but Murph's more toned down watch.

I'm not going to lie, I haven't really paid attention to watches or worn one since grade school and that was a while ago. It probably had to do with the fact that I kept taking them off all day when I still wore them and finally just stopped wearing one at all. Anyway, this ambivalence when it comes to time pieces is probably why I originally thought Murph's watch was a dollar store special. I didn't bother to read the name on the face of the watch, not that it would have been recognized by me, and it wasn't flashy on the surface. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Dear Diary #80: Found a Reason for an Alexa, RAM is Expensive?

Dear Diary,

Couldn't think of any use for a voice-activated home assistant or any use for light bulbs connected to Wi-Fi until recently. Coming home to a pitch-black home sucks. Having to feel around for the light switches in complete darkness also sucks. If only there were some device I could yell at to turn on a light or set of lights for me...

That patch for CPUs apparently came out weeks ago -- I was still waiting for it. If true, the good thing is that I haven't really noticed it while doing basic stuff on my computers. The bad thing is that a virus scan makes my system chug now. Maybe it's just this specific scanning program? My CPU core temperatures have jumped about 10-ish Celsius from what I remember during virus scans. Oh, and RAM prices have exploded higher -- chugging computer makes me think about upgrading. I could find 8 GB of DDR3 RAM like mid-2017 for CA$ 80 regular and CA$ 70 on sale. Now it's $90 and up. DDR4 was about $10 more than DDR3. Now I can't find anything under CA$ 120. Good times...

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Dear Diary #79: No Bass, Eye Infection Roulette

Dear Diary,

That feeling when the talk show people talk about how great the bass playing is but I can't hear anything coming out of the bass because I watch using my TV with built-in speakers -- I know it's there because I sometimes watch the clip on YouTube and my computer speakers can actually play bass.

Well, that sucks. The document I've been using has a bunch of bolded words to make certain things stand out. I printed to PDF cause I was reading something about PDFs and the bolded parts blend right in with the wall of text. Massive fail.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Dear Diary #78: Pineapples not on trees, Apps, USB Big-B

Dear Diary,

Watching the PBS and really missing commercials so that I can get up and do something. Could pause the TV but that just isn't the same.

Another credit card I got is being discontinued. This has to be my third or fourth now, twas one of those Bank + Store points partnerships. Note to self: never ever get another non-bank-only credit card unless you want to switch things around every few years.

Talk about brainwashing by the Microsoft... Ever since I upgraded to Windows 10, I've started calling all software and computer programs, apps. I don't really remember where it started, but something in the desktop referred to programs as apps and it has stuck. There goes 20 years of nomenclature.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Kolor Autopano Pro: Trial Versions Impressions

Short Summary: The Notes of Cliff
To make it clear, I wrote this after testing out the trial version of Kolor Autopano Pro, haven't purchased it yet, but there's a reasonably good chance I will. Anyway, went shopping for panorama stitching software and after an hour or more of googling, I narrowed it down to two options: Kolor Autopano Pro and another one I won't name. Both programs had trial versions available and I gave them a shot on my laptop. Autopano worked out really well and the other didn't.

How I used to Stitch Images Together
Stitching panoramas together isn't something I'm unfamiliar with. A few jobs ago, I spent hours stitching maps and other images together manually with stuff like Microsoft PowerPoint and Paint. It took a lot of time, but it worked and more importantly, I got paid for it -- thank you, tool that makes a color transparent when working with overlapping images. Having done that before, the idea of doing it manually again in large quantities as part of a regular workflow just didn't seem appealing. And I had heard about Adobe Photoshop having a built-in panorama feature, so it seemed like a good idea to look into it. A couple minutes into looking at Photoshop, it made no sense to pay for all the advanced features that I would never use. That made Photoshop a relatively quick "no."

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Dear Diary #77: Electric coil stove went kaboom-ish

Dear Diary,

Electric stove burner dropped dead in spectacular fashion: sparks, a very loud buzzing noise, and a bright yellow glow. Probably happened cause of arcing in the middle of the coil while a heavy pot was on it. Turning the switch off took care of it, luckily. Googling showed other people having similar problems. Stove's a bit over a decade old and that burner probably hasn't ever been replaced before, so that was interesting.

That feeling when you finish a call with someone and your mind is absolutely blown because you don't know what just happened. Got a call from "out of state" with very bad reception, voice cutting in and out constantly. Not entirely sure what I agreed to, what was said, and what the point of the call was. It feels like all those times I nodded yes at the fast food restaurant and ended up with stuff I didn't consciously order.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Dear Diary #76: Skipped movies, non-HD TV channel

Dear Diary,

A movie that I didn't give a crap about was on TV a few weeks ago, I distinctly remember seeing it on the cable guide and deciding not to watch it. Well, now I'm constantly checking the cable guide thing and hoping it comes on again. Ughhh.

The rotary switch on my TERTIAL lamp is starting to give out after at five-ish years. Turning the switch sometimes results in the lamp turning on momentarily and turning back off. First time it happened, I thought it was the bulb, but I just swapped it a few months ago even though the previous one hadn't died yet. Turning the switch a little bit more resulted in the lamp lighting up, so it's most likely the switch which I have no idea how to replace and don't feel like doing anyway. Replacement cost of the lamp is about $15 but I'm not in the mood to go get one. Sigh.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Where's the hospital in "Mary Kills People" (TV)?

After a couple episodes of "Mary Kills People", I started wondering where the fancy looking hospital they were using was. I think I found it but here's some backstory first.

It was semi-obvious from watching the show that at least some of the filming was done in Toronto, Ontario in Canada -- the actual city itself, not just a location within the entire metropolitan area. So, that gave me an idea of what specific features to look for and a starting point. The shots looking out the hospital's windows or out on the city from the roof also did not appear to be green-screened.

Wrong Guess
Initially, my thoughts were that it had to be the new-ish Humber River Hospital by Highway 401 and Keele Street. It started feeling less and less so because the buildings looking outside the windows on the show didn't seem to line up.