Rose-Hulman Visit

Near the end of our Midwest vacation, Timothy and I took a day to drive from Noblesville to Terre Haute and had a scheduled tour of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. I’d visited once or twice after I’d graduated when Michelle and I lived in Dayton, but had never gone back once we settled in New Hampshire. It was just too far and we started having kids shortly after getting to NH. As you might imagine after nearly three decades, a lot has changed.

The only downsides of our visit was the persistent drizzle rain, the necessity for wearing facial masks, the lack of students, and some areas being inaccessible due to summertime renovations. I did enjoy seeing all of the new facilities and ordered a school jacket and a couple of travel mugs.

Back in New Hampshire

Near the end of July we drove back from Noblesville, Indiana to home, with an overnight stay in Seneca, New York (near Buffalo). It was a little easier this time around because I had two more drivers: Abby and Ryan. There were no major issues to report, but Timothy and I were glad that while we were in Indiana we not only got a fresh car battery, but we also purchased a fresh set of Rain-X brand wiper blades for the car. It turned out to be a good decision because nearly the entire first day of the drive home, we had steady rain. While it’s rarely fun to drive in the rain, those blades at least made sure we had visibility.

Back to Work

The very next morning it was back to work for me, Ryan, and Daniel. My counterpart in the hardware domain had also taken two weeks off, but she started a week before we did. We had a fair amount of syncing up to do on tasks. Meanwhile Ryan gave his notice at his job. And in Daniel’s case the store had forgotten he’d be back, but quickly gave him a light load work week – a good thing when you’re just getting back from a long vacation.

I also got back in time for work to start their annual reviews. So I had about six peer reviews to do and then spent an afternoon looking over my notes from the past year to write my Self Assessment. It always is a bit nostalgic to look over the past year and remember the struggles, the accomplishments, etc.

Beds

Since Qualcomm stock did a nice surge, I decided to buy the boys (and the guest room) new bed mattresses, sheets, and a couple of pillows. I’ve never done the new’ish thing of buying a mattress online. I chose a hybrid design with both coils and memory foam.

The thing that really amazes someone new to this is that the mattresses are compressed at the factory and vacuum sealed. The box that they arrive in is small enough to hold a gym workout mat all coiled up. Once you remove the strong, tight outer plastic wrapper, you uncurl it and pierce the inner plastic wrapper. Without the vacuum seal, the mattress quickly inflates to a full size twin mattress in about 15 seconds. After that it’s a Pandora’s Box and you’ll never get it back to its shipped size.

I’m still a bit more uncertain on my own bedroom. I’d like to downsize it to perhaps a Full or Full-XL. A King Size Bed is fine for a married couple, but it feels too empty for a bachelor. The question becomes what to do with the old bed.

scrcpy

I’ve been playing with a piece of software that lets you mirror your Android display on your desktop/laptop computer. Called scrcpy it connects to your Android device to a computer via USB for a high speed responsive interaction. Your computer’s keyboard and mouse / touchpad remote controls it while your computer’s display mirrors what is displayed on the Android device. So it’s a bit like having “Android in a Window”. It works well on my Intel Linux laptop (nicknamed “slb” for Speedy Lil' B@stard) but I’ve not yet had luck getting it going on my ARM Linux laptop (the Pinebook Pro).

In general my Pinebook gives me a few issues now and then with older software. Even when the software I want to install is built from source code (theoretically the most portable way to get optimized software for your setup), often times the configure files are years old and weren’t ready for ARM based computers like the Pinebook series (and the upcoming Macs). The key is to take config.guess and config.sub from /usr/share/automake-1.16 and copy them into the build area before compiling. Then the config script knows what recent 64bit ARM CPUs are.

When I install Linux packages on my Chromebook, I have a similar but different issue. The Linux environment that Google ChromeOS sandboxes is an extremely stable version. Sometimes the packages are so old that I can’t leverage new features. I had that issue when I was first trying hugo on my Chromebook. The simple theme I wanted to use wasn’t compatible with such an old version of hugo. My only solution then was to grab the latest binaries of hugo directly from their web site. I dislike going around the otherwise excellent Linux package managers which excel at making sure you are up to date.

Migrating writing to the Pinebook Pro

Overall I’ve been happy with the geeky hugo + sitecopy way of writing. It’s very lightweight and fast. Because of my day work, I’m used to writing in a text editor rather than a fully graphical word processor type environment. Tonight I decided to migrate its development from my very fast Chromebook to the “fast enough” Pinebook.

Micro-writing

The last thing I’m looking back into is the style of writing I used to have in the last few years of BilikFamily.com. While I always had the ability to do long form writing, between kids and cancer I often had less and less time. I preferred to just log small snippets throughout the day and had an automated means to aggregate the day’s entries into one daily post with the random tidbits of the day. I’ve thought about a few ways to do that again.