remote workday at the cabin
Friday, June 3 2022
location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY
Today I worked from the cabin, the first time I'd attempted this since I began working for the Boston-area-based company back in January. (I'd tried in the past to work for the Red-Hook-based company this way, but I could never get their VPN to work over the Moxee hotspot.) Aside from reliability, the Moxee hotspot has worked fairly well and produces a connection over which I can even watch YouTube videos. But I'd never actually tested how fast the connection was until this morning (so I'd have a sense of what I was working with prior to the morning scrum, where I needed to stream audio in both directions). To my astonishment, the download speed was only three to four megabits per second (about the same speed as DSL had been in Hurley prior to getting Spectrum cable). But the kicker was the upload speed, which hover around 10 kilobits per second. That's well down into conventional dialup modem speeds! In truth, though, my upload speed must've been faster than that because people could understand what I was saying in scrum, though they did say I was rubber-banding a bit at times. In an effort to improve my speeds, I tried putting the hotspot out on the upper deck and re-running the test. This managed to get me slightly better connection speeds, but I think to really improve things I am going to have to somehow raise the hotspot above the roofline.
There were still problems with the Azure DevOps build process, the latest being yet another subtle difference between the MSBuild xdtransform and the xdtransform done by the Python xdtransform module. By the end of the day I had an idea of how to proceed. The office VPN was working, but my setup at the cabn was such that I never got into the right mood to make the fixes I needed to do.
The truth of the matter is that when I'm at the cabin, my thoughts are all about cabin projects and it's hard to get excited about work stuff, particularly Azure DevOps, such a perfect storm of infuriating and boring. As it was, I punctuated my day with little household chores like putting polyurethane on yet more one by six planks, which will eventually be used to make baseboard in the upstairs bathroom, unloading bluestone and other things from the car, and transplanting more forest plants to the gullies on the north edge of the septic field.
At the end of the workday, I loaded up the dogs and drove down to the Woodworth Lake's public dock, where I put supplies on the beach to be picked up later by canoe. [REDACTED]
Back at the cabin, the dogs didn't come with me when I walked down to the dock, which was just as well because ferrying them around in the canoe is a pain when I'm using it for practical freight-hauling purposes. The most important item I hauled today was an eighty pound sack of dry concrete mix. I then used baseboard planks to partially-assemble two rectangular forms roughly one-foot square and 5.5 inches high and then built these around the two thick metal poles holding up the end of the dock. Using stones to hold them in place and fight their bouyancy, I set the forms against the granite reef the poles stand upon. Then I mixed up all 80 pounds of concrete mix and transferred it into the forms while exposing it to as little lake water as possible. The forms were in about eight inches of water, but the concrete seemed to cohere okay in the forms. I know from experiments last year that this concrete will set okay under water, though the pole I set this way was eventually busted over, probably by some idiot in a canoe (there was no way the thin puddle of concrete it had been sitting in could withstand the leverage of someone pushing or pulling at the top of that pole). I should mention that last fall I'd stored several 80 pound bags of concrete under a tarp near the dock, and over the winter all of it had absorbed moistured and solidified, becoming useless for anything but use as rubble fill. But nothing bad happened to the tools and hardware I'd stored under that some tarp.
That same bluegill sunfish was still guarding his or her small patch of territory just north of the dock, and I felt a little bad when I poured the concrete and a haze of cement escaping the forms floated past. But that dissipated quickly and the mama (or papa) fish was still there, still standing guard.
Back at the cabin, I fried up a pan of mushrooms, onions, and tofu, and used this to chonkify some Rao's pasta sauce, which I added to a box of cavatappi pasta I'd cooked up. After that, I took a little vacation from the pattern of constantly working while at the cabin and focused instead on drinking cocktails of lemonade and gin.
The day had been one of nearly constant sun, and it's best to enter such days with as little capacity in the cabin's battery as possible so that it can be stored. The goal, then, is to let the Bolt charge overnight until the battery is nearly so low that the inverter cuts off power to the cabin (I don't actually want to lose power for a number of reasons, even though the consequences wouldn't be dire). Then, when the sun rises again, there's lots of room in the battery to store all the electricity about to be generated. Otherwise the solar panels quickly fill the battery and there's no use for all the electricity being generated, which ends up being wasted. (If I were able to charge the Bolt faster than the 120v charger allows, this wouldn't be an issue, but lately I've found 240 volt charging unreliable, even when capping the amperage at eight. [Oh, it turns out that eight amp cap only applies to 120v; that must be why 240 volt charging is still a problem. Thanks, Chevrolet, for not making this absolutely clear in your screen-based user interface, where you have the freedom to include any text at all.])
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