DHI 92-98

Daily Home Improvements: cleaning up, online and IRL, retirement planning, more accurate pings, and listing this site for sale.

DHI 92: Some housecleaning on my e-mail setup. My business e-mail address wasn’t being passed through my spam filtering system. Now it is.

DHI 93: Ongoing cleanup from the party. Yes, there’s still debris. Did I mention that it ended at 5am? Two people passed out on our bed, and one person puked. Two recycling bins are full of all the bottles of beer and wine that were drunk. One person gained six pounds. All in all a pretty good party!

DHI 94: Signed up for online access to my 401k plan. This required visiting the site, then phoning them, then waiting for the PIN to arrive via mail, then visiting the site again to register and confirm my identity using the PIN. Painful, but actually appreciated, since we’re talking about our retirement funds here.

DHI 95: Reallocated my 401k contributions to be more distributed, and signed up for the auto-rebalancing plan.

DHI 96: Fixed a lingering problem with this weblog, where the update pings to weblogs.com were sending the wrong URL for this site.

DHI 97: Listed this weblog on blogshares.com, a trading exchange for blogs, i.e., you can buy shares in different sites, trade them, etc. By listing my blog, I get 1000 shares in it, without having to buy them, and it becomes available for actual trading. While I doubt if this blog will ever become terribly valuable on the exchange, it is interesting to participate in yet another online experiment on how to measure social reputation, etc.

DHI 98: Expired an e-mail address that was receiving too much spam. See my other posting about this strategy for reducing spam.

DHI 85-91

Daily Home Improvements: recycling, sucking hard, painting the house, the hanged man, prep work, party time, and the aftermath.

DHI 85: I pulled a bunch of old computer boxes from the pile in the basement and broke them down for recycling. It’s a substantial improvement that’s almost unnoticeable in the huge pile of crap we keep in the basement…

DHI 86: I used the vacuum to suck down the cobwebs from the ceiling and walls in the parlor and office.

DHI 87: Graffiti.

DHI 88: Re-hanging a bunch of photos and illustrations in the hallway and parlor.

DHI 89: A whole lotta gettin’ ready for our party.

DHI 90: Party.

DHI 91: Sober up. Clean up party wreckage.

DHI 81-84

Daily Home Improvements: commercial transactions, general stuff, sweeping up, and a new cat pan plan.

DHI 81: I actually sold both the monitor I listed, and a second one I was going to list in a couple days. So they’re both out of our parlor, and I’m $225 closer to being able to buy an LCD display of my own.

DHI 82: A fair amount of cleaning and reorganizing stuff that we’re either moving around or getting rid of.

DHI 83: Swept up the debris under our deck, and hosed down the area. It’s cleaner than it’s been in months…or years.

DHI 84: Planned and executed a new arrangement of litter boxes for the cats. Yuck!

Note that with the earlier posting for this week, I actually managed a full week of DHIs, in spite of the basketball tournament!

DHI 78-80

Daily Home Improvements: hardware upgrades, scraping up crap, and for sale!, a 19″ Trinitron monitor!

DHI 78: I installed more RAM and another hard disk into my Mac. The RAM was especially needed, because I was getting huge numbers of swap files on my system during regular use, and every once in a while would get stuck in VM swapping. Painful, but seems to be solved now. The extra hard disk is so that I can enable software mirroring for my main drive, to protect against disk crashes. If you’ve ever lost a hard disk to mechanical or other catastrophic failure, you know that an extra $100 to prevent it is more than worth it.

DHI 79: I used a paint scraper to scrape up some gunk from our bedroom doorjamb, which has been there for months, and occasionally driving me nuts that our house cleaner was not seeing and getting rid of. It took all of 30 seconds, once I had the tool. While I was at it, I scraped up a couple paint drippings from the floor in the water closet.

DHI 80: I just listed one of my 19″ Sony Trinitron monitors on Craigslist.org, for $75. It will be nice to get this thing out of the house!

DHI 72-77

Daily Home Improvements: ransom notes?, basement dumping, general cleanup, mite shit removal, and a new jungle gym for the cats.

DHI 72: I started the list and instructions that we need to give to our house cleaner, because she’s been doing a pretty sucky job lately, and I don’t want to have to fire her…

DHI 73: I finished the list, incorporating input from Rochelle, and formatted it and printed it for our house cleaner. These instructions apparently caused much anxiety due to not completely understanding it, as our cleaner’s native language is Spanish. Perhaps a translation will be a future DHI…

DHI 74: I moved a few things to the basement, and generally rearranged the parlor, so that it would be easier to vacuum.

DHI 75: A (very) little help to Rochelle, who was on a roll Saturday night, under the influence of our decorator, some booze, and Disco Saturday Night on the radio station she listens to sometimes. Our parlor is nearly completely cleared out, and will be available for use by company and other civilized folks, instead of just me and Basta.

DHI 76: This one’s a little gross. While watching basketball I cleaned out Luigi’s ears using some Q-Tips. He had ear mites when we got him, and while those are gone, their crud remains in his ears. He doesn’t like having things stuck in his ears, though, so I only got a little way through the job. I’ll do more next weekend, while watching more basketball.

DHI 77: Rochelle and I went out to B & B Pet Supplies, a pet store on Geary, and picked out a groovy new cat climbing tree for Billie. It’s five (cat) stories tall, and Billie has already learned that she can defend the top story from all attackers, which makes her very, very happy.

So another week without a full list of achievements, but considering I took Thursday and Friday off to watch basketball in a sports bar, and sat in bed all day Saturday and Sunday, again to watch basketball, this is an amazing level of productivity.

DHI 64-69

Daily Home Improvements: power upgrades, pillow talk, the framers, sticking my battery where it belongs, peace talks, and the inevitable blog tweakage.

DHI 64: I cleaned a bunch of crap out of my car, replaced the batteries in my car flashlight, and fixed the terminal clip for my portable jump-start unit.

DHI 65: I’m gonna count this, because we really did try. We wanted to try a more stable frame for the bed, and bought a really heavy-duty frame at the Salvation Army the other weekend. Tonight we tried to put it together and move the bed to it. Unfortunately, the frame is a king size, and we have a queen mattress. Ah, well…

DHI 66: Carried a bunch of stuff down to the basement, including the heavy-duty bed frame that didn’t fit our bed, above.

DHI 67: Charged the portable jump-start unit, and put velcro strips on it so it can be mounted in my trunk, and mounted it.

DHI 68: Met with two cat behaviorists, who are helping us achieve peace in our own time. Amongst the cats, anyway.

DHI 69: Tweaked my blog a bit more, and fixed a problem with my RSS syndication feed.

Another week of only six DHIs, but this is actually amazing given that I watched nearly 10 basketball games over the week and weekend. What will be really interesting is to see how many I achieve this coming week, since I will be watching basketball nearly continuously from Thursday morning until Sunday night.

DHI 58-63

Daily Home Improvements: changes of addresses, a little patchwork, correcting the bounce, a change of view, a quick un-tag, and some payola for the Feds.

DHI 58: I discovered that in the move to aldoblog.com, I didn’t update the URL in the RSS file that this site provides for syndication use. Fixing that turned out to be a bit more work than I expected, but while I was in editing the site files, I changed the e-mail address to something disposable, so that at the end of the year I can change it, and so hopefully slow down some of the spam.

DHI 59: A security hole in Sendmail was discovered this week. Since I haven’t gotten around to learning and setting up Postfix, I’m using Sendmail for my e-mail server, which means I needed to patch and restart my e-mail server. Done.

DHI 60: Rochelle’s flat panel display came today, and I set it up. That’s more work than it sounds, since her old monitor had to be removed, and it weighs about 70 pounds, and all the cables needed to be swapped, since she was changing from standard VGA to DVI, a digital signal. Anyway, she likes it.

DHI 61: A friend alerted me to the fact that the e-mail address for this weblog was bouncing. In fact, every address at the aldoblog.com domain was bouncing. Fixed.

DHI 62: Spray-painted over some graffiti on the front of our house. If you don’t paint over it quickly, you get a lot more of it, as the taggers realize that (a) you’re offering them a canvas, and (b) some other asshole painted on their canvas, and they need to re-tag to own it back.

DHI 63: One word: Taxes.

And yes, this leaves me short one DHI for the week. Rochelle ate half my day today, and college basketball ate the other half. With the tournament action coming later this week, and March Madness shortly thereafter, it’s likely that my DHIs for March will be woefully inadequate, unless I’m allowed to count “removed some popcorn from the house today” and “removed much beer from the house today” as DHIs…

DHI 55-57

Daily Home Improvements: Let there be light, enabling a paper trail, and the silence of the fan.

DHI 55: I went around the house with a ladder, replacing burnt out light bulbs. Sounds trivial, but we have these low-voltage halogens in the hallway, and each one of them has four screws that need to be undone and then redone in the process of changing. And the screws have a tendency to break. I did three of those, and one regular light bulb in the office.

DHI 56: Rochelle bought a lovely new toilet tissue holder for our redone water closet, and I installed it. It looks wonderful, and it makes the bathroom genuinely finished. No, really this time.

DHI 57: Rochelle’s computer is three years old, and one of the CPU fans started making the death rattle sound that means it’s about to stop working. Besides being incredibly annoying, sound-wise, when the fan dies the CPU overheats, usually with permanent consequences. So I scavenged another Slot 1 CPU fan from one of the hunk-of-junk computers that I have strewn around the house, and replaced the dying fan.

DHI 51-54

Daily Home Improvements: Computer hardware installation, software installation, a little home safety, and a little world safety.

DHI 51: We ordered a new LCD display for Rochelle’s PC, but to make the most of it, you need to connect it to a digital video interface on the graphics card. Rochelle’s existing graphics card was too old to have even heard of DVI, so I bought her a new one off of eBay. It came today (before the new display!), and I installed it in her PC. So now she can use her computer in 800×600 pixels, at 16 colors (that’s colors, not bits), and 60Hz refresh rate.

In other words, it currently sucks to be using the new card. I am trying to download the correct drivers from the ATI Technologies web site, but they’re totally fucked up, and every download link gives the same two-word error message: “Not Found”. Not helpful. Not impressed. ATI sucks. (For now, anyway.)

DHI 52: More computer work for Rochelle, installing Quicken 2003 onto her system. Another DHI will surely be getting together this weekend to work on initial configuration of our accounts, especially for online access and automatic downloading of information.

DHI 53: I reattached the smoke detector to the wall. We had detached it for the paint stripping work, because the heat gun kept setting off the alarm. We’ve been done with the paint stripping for weeks, but only this morning remembered we’d detached the detector. Oops.

DHI 54: I made a contribution to fund ads advocating inspections over war. If I help improve our country, my little corner of it will be better, too.

I’m not done with the week, yet, but wanted to post the link to MoveOn.org earlier, in case you wanted to help fund those ads, too.

DHI 44-50

Daily Home Improvements: The water closet is finished, a VCR hookup, debt service ends, this blog officially moves, window washing, and undoing a previous DHI.

DHI 44: I moved a few dozen books from other bookcases to the new shelves in the water closet. We’ve decided on themes for two of our three shelves, but neither theme completely fills its shelf, so there will need to be some rethinking done.

DHI 45: I connected the TiVo and the VCR, so that we can transfer shows off of the TiVo to tape, for long term storage. Strictly for personal use, of course.

DHI 46: I paid $300 to the MasterCard, which sounds like a daily chore, except we just transfered all bill-paying responsibilities to Rochelle, and that $300 will completely pay off our credit card, leaving us with no non-real estate debt for the first time since our wedding/honeymoon/bathroom remodel (which was followed closely by the stock options fiasco/stock market meltdown, which was followed by 3 months of unemployment each). Now that’s a home improvement!

DHI 47: I finished moving this weblog to aldoblog.com, moving the appropriate files from one location to another, and setting up some redirects in Apache to make links to the old site continue to work. In the process I discovered I had not completed the DNS configuration for the aldoblog.com domain, so I finished doing that, too.

DHI 48: I collected more books to move into the water closet, this time all of our travel books. I found a couple more SF and food books to move, too.

DHI 49: I stripped off an old photo that had fused to our front window, cleaned with Windex, and then scrapped off the glue residue and the accumulated grime of 11 years on Haight Street with a razor blade. The front windows are now about 90% more clear — I can’t wait until tomorrow afternoon when the sun is shining through them, and I can see the improvements the best!

DHI 50: After much research (scanning log files), and even more dithering, I turned off my server-side spam filtering software, because it is apparently occasionally dropping random messages. This basically undoes one of my prior DHIs, where I implemented the anti-spam measures. Which kinda sucks, but then, how often do you get every home improvement right the first time?

DHI 41-43

Daily Home Improvements: Loan applications, some domain twiddling, a little cash, but otherwise a week where I came up short.

DHI 41: I filled out my portion of the mortgage loan application we’re working on to refinance the house. The amount of money we get from lowering our interest rate is staggering (mortgage math is crazy!), but we regrettably have to plow it right back into the house.

You see, our house is more than 100 years old, and the foundation is original, and brick-and-mortar. A new foundation is going to be $75,000, a very scary number…but not as scary as having our house slide out into the street!

DHI 42: I finally got around to configuring aldoblog.com, so that this blog can move to a shorter domain name and URL. DNS now resolves (primary and secondary name servers), Apache recognizes it as a virtual host, and some initial redirects are in place to make the transition seamless. I still have some work to do, moving directories around, and setting up the real redirects, to move y’all over to the new location. That’ll have to come this weekend, though, when I can focus for a couple hours straight.

DHI 43: I coughed up $100 for our contractor when Rochelle was short of cash to pay him one evening.

The rest of my DHIs didn’t happen this week. I was too tired, or too lazy, or both. I plan to get back on track this coming week, but I haven’t yet decided what to do about the shortfall…

A New Hope

While I moved the BeBoxes out of the parlor, I have not actually moved them out of the house, the ultimate goal. So, while I technically avoided having my systems thrown out on the street, I haven’t finished the project, a fact Rochelle reminded me of just this evening. We discussed it, and now I finally have the motivation I need to move along in a hurry: Lust.

I’ve written previously that, while I moved the BeBoxes out of the parlor, I have not actually moved them out of the house, the ultimate goal. So, while I technically avoided having my systems thrown out on the street, I haven’t finished the project. Indeed, Rochelle reminded me of this fact just this evening, and wondered if I was planning to keep them in my office for another year.

The good news is, I have another motivation for making progress. We’ve decided that we get to upgrade our computer displays to LCD screens. Rochelle’s is ordered, and should arrive early next week. Mine, though, remains on the Wish List, and will stay there until I’ve earned the money to buy it. By selling off the BeBoxes.

So hopefully, what fear could not accomplish, a little (a lot!) technolust will.