Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   then you can fish
Sunday, July 1 2007
I went to preper the tiny (and probably seven year old) Sony Vaio so Gretchen could take it on her three week stay at Hall Farm Center in Vermont (beginning today), but the damn thing couldn't start up. In fact, it didn't even shine a single LED. It was as if the battery had died and the circuit breaker had tripped in the room. But the voltage from the floor brick checked out, so I was obviously facing a sudden spectacular hardware problem. As I disassembled the Vaio on the kitchen table, our guest Dave, ever the enthusiastic computer geek, was providing useful suggestions and Googling my symptoms on his laptop (a ThinkPad of much newer vintage). But there was no fixing it and I had to fail over to preparing a Toshiba laptop for Gretchen instead, a downgrade from 666 MHz/320 MB to 300 MHz/128 MB. At least I had something to fail over to having WiFi, Windows 2000, and the possibility of running Microsoft Office.
Later in the day I determined that the problem with the Vaio was probably a faulty F7313, a little eight pin surface-mount "HexFET Power MOSFET," which was showing itself to be a dead end for the computer's 19 volt power line. Sure enough, others have had this problem. Getting a replacement (and the tools to replace it) won't be easy.

Eventually Gretchen set off for her Vermont writing adventure, and Dave and Michelle hung around with me until four in the afternoon. Dave and I were talking non-stop about geeky things, though they ranged widely from plumbing (on a tour of the boiler room) to shelving solutions (in the laboratory). Normally one would expect the female half of such a couple to be bored in the gourd through such conversations (I know Gretchen would be), but Michelle mostly seemed to be enjoying herself, and I'd inject little irreverant jokes and such to keep her entertained (like Gretchen, she's into goofy humor, though she's a bit geekier, liking - for example - sites such as, a self-referential internet scene I didn't know about).
Dave and Michelle were talking about the need for some structural wood to support their new floor-to-ceiling cat entertainment center (which doesn't reach to the high ceilings of their 100 year old Park Slope apartment). Initially they planned to go to Home Depot or Lowes, but I suggested that we just gather a scrap pole in the forest. After we had a suitable piece of what was probably White Ash, I cut it into a variety of sizes using my ever-useful chop saw.
By the end there we were sitting in the yard drinking Yuenglings and talking about the unsustainability of modern society and what we plan to do when the shit goes down. Dave said he figured it would be safest to be on a boat "because then you can fish." But what about hurricanes and pirates? Michelle piped up, "I'd want to be a pirate!"

By nightfall, temperatures had dropped to 67.8 degrees Fahrenheit, a little cool for July. At that point I knew we were finally out of the woods with respect to Global Warming.

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