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:
   cursed hardscrabble
Friday, February 20 2015
It was yet another brutally cold day in brutally-cold February of 2015, with temperatures never rising above 20 degrees for a second day in a row. But problems with the seed library's animation kiosk meant that I had to run into town this afternoon.
I'd assembled all the technology needed for that kiosk, but the other day I'd discovered that the plan was to use the personal flatscreen belonging to the seed library guys as the main display. Somehow the others on the kiosk team had assumed it would "just work" and hadn't felt it necessary to tell me. But of course, it hadn't "just worked." Indeed, that particular television wouldn't have worked with most computers. Unlike nearly all flatscreen televisions now on the market, you see, this one lacked a VGA port. As a work-around, yesterday I'd told one of the seed library guys to buy a VGA-to-HDMI adapter, but such devices are so poorly-described in online documents that it's impossible to tell which direction they operate in. Based on a phone call this morning, I surmised that the adapter he'd bought (the one I'd told him to get) was for translating HDMI signals to VGA, not the other way around. Further researche determined that no electronics store in the Hudson Valley had real VGA-to-HDMI adapters for sale. If I wanted one of those, I would have to order it online. But of course that wasn't going to work; the kiosk needed to be operational by this weekend, and I'd only just learned that the existing equipment would not interface with the mystery television.
At the last minute this afternoon, I decided that the best way to proceed given my limitations was to attempt to attach the television via a USB-to-DVI connector. I have a DisplayLink USB-to-DVI adapter that works great with a MacMini, so I borrowed that from my laboratory setup, downloaded a driver that was supposedly compatible with OSX Yosemite, and wrote it to a thumb drive. Then I drove out to 9W in hopes of buying a DVI-to-HDMI adapter (those, was pretty sure, are easy to get). Because it was on my way, I stopped first at Staples, even though I know they tend to badly overcharge for the little bits of glue hardware necessary to get a system operational. It turns out that they have a very limited cable/interface selection, so I quickly moved on to BestBuy. There I found at least three different kinds of DVI-to-HDMI adapters available, including an open-box special for $19. When I bought it, the cashier astounded me by failing to ask if I wanted to purchase a service plan or an extended warranty.
Over at the Shirt Factory off Broadway, while the seed library guys busily packed up the parts of the kiosk and loaded them into a U-haul bound for the Philadelphia Flower Show, I quickly installed the USB-to-DVI driver software on the Hackintosh Dazzlemac. Within a couple minutes, I had the big television mirroring the Dazzlemac's desktop. My work there was done.
On the way back home, I went back out to 9W to get some gardening supplies so, in the hope that one day Spring will one day return, I can start some seedlings (though I've already managed to grow a 34-inch-tall tomato plant using a cardbox box containing two florescent grow lights).
The outdoor gardening section of the Home Depot resembled the exercise yard in a Siberian gulag. Someone had gone around and plowed paths along the stacks of potting soil and bags of various forms of poison. I selected a sack of composted manure and loaded into my cart. It was frozen completely solid. Composted manure by itself is too rich for plants, so I also bought a sack of mortar sand in the indoor lumber yard to cut it with.

Tonight Gretchen and I watched the second episode of the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. It's proving about as anxiety-producing as its progenitor, with a good dose of Fargoesque cursed hardscrabble thrown in.

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