a vast sea of desktop
Monday, February 1 2021
I spent more time than I'd like to admit trying to fix an old Creative CT3670 ISA sound card. The card had a blown TDA1517P amplifier chip. I thought desoldering that chip would be easy, but old Radio Shack desoldering iron was no longer up to the task. So then I used a heatgun, which worked, but didn't clear the vias where the pins pass through the board. I just happened to get a new desoldering iron in the mail later on, but it such an inferior desoldering iron that it was no better than my old one. I ended up giving up on the replacement, since somehow ended up with a large blob of solder on the pins that none of my soldering irons were powerful enough to melt. Clearly I need a gas-powered soldering irons for cases like this.
I continued decommisioning my old computer desk throughout the day, slowly sorting the elements of chaos into their respective homes in various places in the laboratory. I was able to remove the sliding surfaces and work on them separately from the desk itself. By the end of the afternoon, I had the old desk uncluttered enough to remove the two monitors from it and then carry it out into the teevee room. I then brought in the new desk and set up the huge new 40 inch 4K smart televison on it using its legs. At some point I plan to mount the monitor on a swing arm, but for the time being it is usable just sitting on its legs. It sticks up a little too high where I now have it, its frame overlapping the frame of the smaller 1920 X 1080 monitor directly above it, but I can raise that monitor or (when I have it mounted on a swing arm) lower the smart teevee.
I only have a little room directly in front of the new teevee for a keyboard and mouse, but that problem will be fixed once I install a plank of wood on drawer slides for such things.
Initially I had the new teevee plugged into an HDMI port on Woodchuck's motherboard (driven by video circuitry inside its Core i5 processor), but the most that could deliver was 1920 X 1080 (2K). Fortunately, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 video card installed in Woodchuck (which had been given to me by Sandor) had an HDMI port that drive the whole 4K. When I got it working, it was an embarrassment of riches, a vast sea of desktop. The archipelago of desktop icons was pretty much where they used to be, but now there was a huge open swath of icon-free desktop reaching a third of the way up from the bottom. It's amazing to think that a humble paradigm I'd been familiar with since the days of Macintosh System 6 still makes sense when given such an absurd amount of room.
The big new smart teevee in my monitor array.
This evening, Gretchen made a shepherd pie using lentils, green beans, mushrooms, and peas. Instead of topping it with mashed potatoes, though, she used polenta. It was really good, though not her best work.
My brother Don called as Gretchen and I were preparing to watch Jeopardy!. On this call, he avoided topics such as Agnathans, primitive amphibians, and quack breathing techniques and stuck mostly to issues of interest to Gretchen and me: the continued deterioration of our mother, Hoagie. He revealed another reason for an absence of food in their house: Hoagie remains unable to go shopping because she has lost her debit card (I don't know if this meant that she'd managed to find her car keys or if this was an additional reason she couldn't go shopping. This seemed like precisely the sort of issue that a social worker could help out with, so we again stressed the need for Don to leave a message with them explaining the dire nature of the situation. What will probably end up happening is that Don will get Josh Furr to bring food out to the house. Hopefully Josh will get reimbursed.
Hoagie continues to have hallucinations, and Don understandably seemed terrified by what they meant. One such hallucination featured a man with a gun who had also for some reason pulled out his penis. In another, a little girl (perhaps one of the ones she blames for stealing her money) managed to repeatedly cause trouble even though she didn't have a head. Hoagie is so convinced by these hallucinations that she orders Don to go up to the barn (or wherever) to check on the people she claims are there.
Don was mostly sensible in this call even if he didn't quite get how a social worker could help Hoagie extract money from a bank without her debit card. He did, however, make another of his classic Dunning-Kruger proposals: that he go to college and learn whatever it is social workers know so that he could become one. Don said that given the obvious lack of social workers, there must be a large demand for them. That economic analysis wasn't actually all that bad, but his application of it was nonsense all the same.
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