A non-sportswriter weeps for an old friend too

February 11, 2015

A sportswriter weeps for old friend Radio Shack

I was never a sportswriter (as I’m sure you’ve all guessed) but I think I still have three or so Model 100/110/200’s in the basement. I disremember the exact models, and one might be an Olivetti clone one, but I loved those little critters. I think they still fire up, though we decided to send Nathan to school with an AlphaSmart because the M100 has distractions like BASIC on it, and weighs a lot more.

There was one time at my first real job that we had to pull data off a crazy old computer… the critter was wire-wrap inside, and had a little brass placard explaining that it was “Custom Manufactured For [client] By My Lee” (or some similar spelling, which I never have been able to Google history of). Anyway, the thing did not have any recognizable means of output. Backups, if it even had any, were some proprietary tape system or something, I don’t remember. I could get it to dump the database to greenbar, and the company was looking at hiring temps to hand-enter the stuff into the computer my company was selling them. But wait, sez I, that’s a conventional parallel port it’s using, and our computer can hook up serial terminals.

One custom parallel-cable later, and a little bit of BASIC coding on the M100 (to, if memory serves, convert EBCDIC to ASCII), and the My Lee[sic] was “printing” to the M100 was “typing” to the MAI/Basic Four. The old and new beasts were sufficiently far apart that M100 was suspended between the two of them, partly supported by a tall stool swiped from the warehouse packing bench, and there they cranked away for the better part of a day, as I recall. I have converted between some obscure softwares and hardwares but I don’t think I have ever really topped that achievement.

And so it begins

January 22, 2015

The problem with looking for a job when you have a job (or your spouse does) is that there’s a certain lack of urgency. Carl literally hasn’t had to do a job search ever, and I haven’t had to do a job search (or hold a job) in a bunch of years. So we’ve kind of been procrastinating on actually sending out resumes. But yesterday I somewhat jokingly sent him a link to an ad from our hosting service, ha ha, we could move to New Jersey and work for Linode. I mean seriously, no one wants to live in New Jersey, it’s a running joke, right?


As I said on Twitter: places on the coast are just as imaginary, stereotyped, and/or caricatured to us mid-continental types as Kansas et al. is to people from the Big City. My sole experience with New Jersey is a visit to Ocean City’s boardwalk when I was barely old enough to remember it. And I had a vague idea about pine barrens and whatnot, but it didn’t really come to mind until I googled South Jersey and remembered it. Oh hey, that’s actually a pretty nice place. And housing is only about double what it is here. (Versus three to four times for, say, Portland OR.)

So Carl sent in a resume, and within two hours they emailed back to set up a phone interview. I’m trying not to be too optimistic; chances are pretty darn good they’re not looking for someone with quite Carl’s level of experience. But I set up a Perl/Java/Linux search for the area, which is probably also too optimistic in a different way: we’d have to sell this house, and probably finish the kiddo’s school year here, which means I shouldn’t be looking yet.

But the important thing is: we got the first resume actually sent out.


January 9, 2015

It’s been tough to get things rolling again post-holiday. A sinus infection, a new dishwasher (still parked in its packaging in the middle of the living room floor while we resolve plumbing issues), camping at the hospital for various familial crises… every evening when I sit down at the computer my concentration is shot. So the chief achievement of the last week has been building a walled city in Minecraft on pickaxe.club. Not my proudest achievement but hey, it kept my mind off sinus pain.


LibraryBox progress

January 2, 2015

Well, it’s progress.
LibraryBox screenshot
There are still some things I need to localize (Google fonts, mostly) before I can load it onto the ‘Box itself, but I like this method better than the “dump everything into a filedir and let people pick off the Apache-generated directory listing” that LibraryBox software defaults to.

New year, new start

January 1, 2015

After all the fiddling around with a custom solution, I ran across this somewhat drastic WordPress theme, and decided for the same of simplicity that that was going to be my LibraryBox basis. It’ll run on my desktop machine, and be made static with a simple wget.

While I was setting that up, I decided to do the same thing with this blog, with a super-simple template, no fancy plugins, just keeping things simple.

The older stuff is still available in the blog directory. I might backport those entries in, or not. They’ll have disappeared from the atom feed, which I don’t like, but by the time I get around to putting them back in they’ll have expired.