ten years procrastinated
Tuesday, April 25 2023
Early this morning ChatGPT helped me figure out that some mystery SSL certificates were being inserted into web responses by something outside the Windows server I had control of. It was happening upstream, somewhere in the networking at Amazon Web Services. That explained all my SSL headaches from yesterday. Later I could tell the lead developer was impressed by a watchdog system I'd built for logging data errors, though when we went to give a test during group QA, it showed itself to contain a number of embarrassing bugs.
At the end of the workday, I finally got around to doing something I'd been procrastinating for over ten years: migrating the code in the main Arduino-based solar controller so it would be compatible with the classic-period IDE (Arduino IDE 1.0 and later). I'd started working on the controller software in 2006, back in the very early days of Arduino, and the code I'd written wouldn't compile on any modern version of the IDE. For a long time I had a copy of that early IDE, but I'd lost it at some point (probably when I upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7). In recent days, the controller had been acting strangely in a way that suggested the main Atmega328 had developed an issue and needed to be reflashed. But no longer had a way to reflash such ancient code. That was what led me to finally migrate the code, something that had seemed scary ten years ago back when IDEs and the C programming language were more mysterious. It turned out that the only thing I really had to do was changed the names of a few method calls using the Wire library (which is used to communicate via I2C). I had another couple issues, but that was just the result of near-duplicate files being together in the same directory. Once I'd had the code migrated, it compiled perfectly and I was able to upload it to an Atmega328 in an old Arduino NG (that's from circa 2006 as well). I then popped out the chip, put it in the controller, and all the problems it had been exhibiting immediately went away.
Later this afternoon, Gretchen would be taking the Chevy Bolt to Van Kleeck's Tire to find out where the air was leaking from the tire that had given us so much grief on Sunday. She would be driving it there, so at noon today I pumped some preliminary air in the tire. After I did this, I just happened to check the stem and noticed that a slow hiss of air was coming out of it. Evidently the valve was no longer sealing. This was likely caused by the stupid "Fix-a-Flat" spray I'd desperately tried to use on Sunday. Not only was it causing the stem valve to fail, but it was making it increasingly difficult for a compressor to put air into the tire. I found, however, that it was possible to nearly stop the stem leak just by putting a small square of material cut from a plastic bag over the end of the stem and then tightening a stem cap unusually tightly on top of it. After doing this, the tire seemed to hold air like one without a leak, making me really wish I'd known to check for a stem leak back on Sunday.
Later when Gretchen returned from Van Kleeck's, she showed me a half-inch-long tip of a drywall screw that had been removed from the tire. That had caused the original leak (which the Fix-a-Flat might've actually fixed). The guys at Van Kleeck's also fixed (or replaced) the stem, so the tire was back to normal again. All of that work had been free, though they'd also identified two tires that needed to be replaced, so the visit ended up costing over $400.
This evening Gretchen prepared an interesting meal of Spanish rice, fried marinaded tempeh, and asparagus. It vaguely resembled the kind of meal that housewives made for their husbands back in the 1950s, with a slab of "meat," a protein, and a vegetable all in their separate places on the plate. But it was much more flavorful (in comfort-food-type way) and the flavors worked well together when I combined tempeh, rice, and asparagus on a fork.
During group QA this afternoon, I had my camera on. I'd set the Montezuma waterfall (in Costa Rica) as my background and added an AI-generated animated cat to my head (using a SnapChat plugin in Teams). Then Diane the Cat (a real cat!) wanted cuddles. You can see her here with the bell-collar that hopefully warns wildlife of her approach. My colleague Allee snapped this screengrab.
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