The floor adventure continues!
The guys worked a full day yesterday tearing out the foul carpet and pad and preparing the place for new floors.
Finally, after way longer than intended, the disgusting carpets are being replaced with hardwood. We spent the weekend basically moving back out of the house, emptying all the rooms into the garage, storage crawls, bathrooms, laundry room and my office. I discovered that we don’t own a lot of stuff (which I’m absolutely good with) and that this house has ample storage. We didn’t even use attic. Mom and son are staying at a hotel down the road. The cat and I are holed up in my office, camping luxury style.
My first Fishbone show was a transformative experience. Prior to it I had been a metal head with punk and hardcore overtones. The show was as intense and physical as any hardcore set, perhaps even more so. As opposed to other shows, this one was overflowing with positivity. Slamming and diving were encouraged. So was supporting one another and keeping each other safe. Unlike punk or metal shows, if you fell in a Fishbone pit a sea of hands were instantly there to drag you back to your feet. Midway through the show the whole of the crowd in attendance – young and old, black and white, male and female, punk, metal, funk – were inducted into the Fishbone Familyhood. We became Fishbone Soldiers, sworn to protect one another and stand up for what was right. Later in the show the band encouraged a young man to attempt his first balcony dive while the pit below was commanded to ensure the nervous boy’s safety. He was grinning ear to ear as he leapt into the void and touched down on his new familyhood. In the end it was less a show than it was a religious experience. Fishbone broadened my horizons. Fishbone changed my life.
New hard drives have arrived for my workstation and laptop. They’re desperately overdue for a rebuild. I love rebuilding and I hate it. I love it because newly built machines run so smoothly, so cleanly, and have that new-machine smell. It’s like virtual spring-cleaning.
I hate rebuilding because there’s so much stuff on my machines. I’ve done a better job over the years of compartmentalizing (and even backing up) my data, but there’s still a lot of it – more than I’d like. And the applications. I use so many applications! Every rebuild I think “I don’t need 3/4 of these apps. I’m not putting them back on.” But eventually, inevitably, as I work on this and that my installed app list grows, and I find myself installing a significant amount of the apps I insisted I wouldn’t. Such is the curse of the breadth of things I work on, I suppose. Just this morning a coworker from a completely different department commented that I’m the bitch for my department. I work on whatever needs working on. My boss generously calls me his “tool belt.” Bitch is, honestly, more accurate.
Anyway, here are a few things that make my rebuild process less arduous.
- I always build fresh onto new drives, holding onto the old ones. Drives are cheap. There’s nothing worse than blowing your drive away, rebuilding, and suddenly remembering something of Significant Importance™ that you forgot to back up. Don’t sweat that. Take the time to decrypt your current drives (you do encrypt them, don’t you) and set them aside. Build on a new drive, and keep your old ones around for a few weeks just to be sure. Then you can wipe them and use them as scratch drives or external storage or replacement drives for that friend whose drive craps out or whatever.
- Make a list of your installed applications. It’s easy:
- Open a command prompt with elevated rights (Start > Run > type in CMD. When the CMD icon appears, right click and Run as Administrator).
- Type in WMIC.
- Type in /output:c:\path\to\installed_list.txt product get name,version where path\to is, well, the path to wherever you want to write your installed_list.txt.
- Wait for it to finish. Enjoy list of apps.
- Back up all your drivers using Double Driver.
- Do you use Lastpass? A bookmarks manager like X-Marks? You should. No more forgetting to copy your bookmarks.
- I use Thunderbird as a mail client. I was using Zindus to sync my contacts with a gmail account, but he’s announced he’s shutting it down. Sigh. I’m giving a try to gContactsSync now.
I’ll add more to my list as my latest rebuilds commence.
I was writing a script that would scan remote Windows systems and return their installed software, complete with version information (a requirement), and quickly discovered that the process was more arduous than I had originally anticipated. How to pull it? WMI? Use PowerShell? Glean the information from the registry? I fiddled with each and, given that I was working with a broad array of OS levels and a mix of 32 and 64 bit, each option had its annoying pitfalls.
Sometimes it’s better to let someone else do the work. This is one of those times.
I found the EMCO Network Software Scanner, which does exactly what I need and much more, and amazingly enough is also free!
So much props to EMCO. I’ll be keeping their commercial products in mind down the road.
After a failed experiment in Arizona, we’ve moved. We bought a fixer in Bend, Oregon, threw all of our shit into a truck, and marathon drove it up the west coast shortly before Christmastime. Roughly 2 years after starting over, we’re starting over.
There is some solace to be had in having experienced starting over once before, and understanding that the negatives of doing so aren’t permanent. Even so, it had only just begun to feel like things were looking up when we left Arizona.
Here are some random observations from my experiences since leaving our hometown of Atlanta.
- Grown people take their friends for granted, and often don’t realize that many “acquaintances” deserve to be reclassified as friends. Your interactions mean more than you realize.
- Conversely, you learn who really values you – and who doesn’t – once you’re over a thousand miles away. What you discover may surprise, and disappoint, you.
- Bigots, fools and assholes know no geographic boundaries. There is no place in the United States where racism isn’t, and redneck is not a southern thing. It isn’t even a rural thing. It’s a people thing.
- The open-minded and kind hearted know no geographic boundaries either. Pay attention, or you might miss out on someone wonderful.
- Family is an incredibly complicated affair. It’s also one of the most important things we have. It’s important to remember that for every frustrating thing we perceive family inflicting on us, there’s an equal amount of things we do that frustrates our kin. You’re no angel either, buddy. This is a big fat world, overflowing with inhabitants that don’t give a fuck about each other. It’s ridiculous not to do all we can to nurture those few people around us that do care.
- Making new friends as a grown man is massively difficult.
- Working full time remote isn’t the dream office dwellers think it is. It’s very, very hard on the psyche.
- Social introversion breeds social introversion. If you don’t make yourself interact with people, you will forget how.
- Lastly, everything ends. All of it. It may not end well, but it will end. Try to remember that, and adjust expectations accordingly.
So what’s next? Work on the house. Work on our lives. I often make the mistake of forgetting the world is what you make it, and wind up being the guy who lets things happen to him rather than the guy who makes things happen. It won’t be easy, but I’d like to flip that script.
Happy New Year. Welcome to the rest of our lives.
When it comes to anti-virus, I’m a cheapskate. I’m always using the latest highly rated free option. And these days, that’s Avast. I installed it on the little media box I run awhile ago. Today I gave it a reboot per updates and – surprise! – SickBeard refused to start. Port 8081 – the port I configured SB to run over – was in use, it said. A quick netstat proved otherwise.
Avast does a redirect on a number of ports, it turns out. So if you’ve recently installed Avast and have discovered port related problems, here’s your fix:
In the Avast console (obtained by double clicking the Avast icon in your tray):
- Choose Settings > Troubleshooting
- Expand Redirect Settings
- Observe this stuff here and make changes as per necessary.
I don’t usually endorse software. I’m not an endorser. However, I’ve been using Novosoft’s Handy Backup for awhile now. I’m quite pleased with it, and think it’s worth every penny. I use it to pull down backups of remote websites, sync local data, and make archives of apps whose settings I would hate to lose in the event of a crash. It’s all automated. It does the job.