QRM Cat

Was having a nice chat with Gary, WB0RUR, this morning on 40m PSK-31. His signal was clear, he’s a very experienced operator — yet he was jumping all over the waterfall with every transmission. I couldn’t understand why, but after his signal jumped, stopped, started, moved again, I caught a very brief TX: “QRM … cat

Gary explained:

“Sorry about that … he stepped on the keyboard and stopped my transmission and also bumped the VFO … so I’m probably moving all over frequency.”

QRM would be a great name for a cat.

Frosty’s Drano (or the snowmen’s suicide pact)

Catherine pointed out that the current Tim Hortons “Happy Holidays” campaign depicts an ill-advised, possibly fatal, beverage choice for snowmen:

tim hortons suicidal snowmen

To me, it’s clearly a suicide pact. They don’t want to see another summer. They’re going to a better place where it’s always ten below.

in the running

Almost ‘Best of The Year’ time. In the running are:

A Hawk and a Hacksaw – The Way the Wind Blows
A.C. Newman – Souvenir of Canada – EP
Beck – The Information
Calexico – Garden Ruin
Casper & the Cookies – The Optimist’s Club
Colin Meloy – Colin Meloy Sings Shirley Collins
Eels with Strings – Live At Town Hall
Elf Power – Back To The Web
Erynn Marshall – Calico
Faun Fables – The Transit Rider
Grandaddy – Just Like The Fambly Cat
Grant-Lee Phillips – nineteeneighties
Hidden Cameras – Awoo
Joanna Newsom – Ys
Jolie Holland – Springtime Can Kill You
King Biscuit Time – Black Gold
Mayor McCa – Cue Are Es Tea You
Peter Stampfel – The Jig Is Up
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – Olé! Tarantula
Sufjan Stevens – Songs For Christmas – Volume V: Peace
Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche – Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois Album
The Be Good Tanyas – Hello Love
The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
The Essex Green – Cannibal Sea
The Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics
The Handsome Family – Last Days of Wonder
The Instruments – Cast A Half Shadow
The Sadies – In Concert Vol. 1
The Wailin’ Jennys – Firecracker
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Thomas Dolby – The Sole Inhabitant
Wendy Arrowsmith – Crying Out
Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass

Miraculously, all of them fit on my iPod Nano, so they’ll be in heavy rotation over the next week or so while I decide.

very, very old school

Mac OS 7.5.5 Notepad

As I appear to have broken Catherine‘s ability to play Crystal Quest by upgrading her eMac to 10.3.9, I need to find an alternative way to run it. I remember running Basilisk II years ago on a very old Linux box — indeed, my ancient instructions are still here: archive.org :: Installing Mac OS 7.5.3 under Basilisk II on Linux, and quite amazingly, are still useful.

I found the following helpful to get it going under OS X:

hey livejournal, quit claiming my content

Read this. Oddly familiar, huh? It would seem that LiveJournal is republishing my blog on its own site http://syndicated.livejournal.com/wesawachicken/.

The thing about syndicated publishing is that the author has at least given permission that it takes place. I gave LiveJournal no such permission. Sure, I have a public RSS feed, but I don’t expect people just to grab my whole site and publish it for their own ends. That’s not syndication, it’s theft.
They also have the gall to claim there’s a “syndicated user” wesawachicken. Again, I didn’t set that up. I wonder if I can make it implode by getting it to syndicate its own feed?

yeah, I get this too

Every few weeks someone contacts me with a proposal for what is, in effect, a perpetual motion machine. He (for it is always a he) can demonstrate to my satisfaction that, unlike all the quacks and cranks and mountebanks I have heard about, he really has solved the problem. He has a special catalyst, or a new equation, or a hotline to God, which demonstrates what all other physicists consider impossible: that energy can be created. … My only defence against these people is to ask them for an article in a peer-reviewed journal, whereupon I never hear from them again.

 — from Heat, by George Monbiot.

wily fish

I took ten of the small platys over to Mike’s store last night. Catching the wee things was hard; I doubt the expression as difficult as catching platys in a planted aquarium will ever catch on, it’s definitely true. Maybe I should have tried thinking like a platy. On second thoughts, maybe not; all our ones seem to do is ingest, excrete and procreate.

In order to replace our dear departed cory, I picked up a couple of tiny Oto cats. They’ve been happily smooching the algae from the rocks ever since they were released.

frying tonight!

We have 22 eentsy platy fry bopping around in the isolation tank. They may be small, but they’re crafty and difficult to net. There are about 3 I didn’t manage to catch, and they’re (figuratively) thumbing their noses at me from under floating fronds.

big boy’s book of big things

Christmas came early. With money from Carlyle, I bought a reproduction of Knight’s American Mechanical Dictionary, a three-tome work from the 1870s which catalogued mechanisms, devices and machinery known at the time. It’s the ultimate nerd read.

You can browse two electronic versions online:

  • at UMich; large page images.
  • at Princeton Imaging; in DjVu format, this is a little easier to read if you have the right plugin.

I have to say, though, that the dead tree version is a splendid read.

that was easy

upgraded mac

I upgraded Catherine’s eMac last night, which up until then was probably the last Mac on the planet running 10.1. It now talks to the network better, and runs quite a bit faster.

worst geolocate ever

Never had my GPS being so far out. It used to say here was 28.59742, -81.21251, but now it’s saying 28.59603, -81.21274. That’s about 150m off.

calculator porn

For no good reason, I think I need the new HP 50g calculator, if only because it’s so absurdly large. Mind you, since I recently found my 49G again, I don’t think I can justify it.

Lansing Square hates bikes

I meant to add to the last posting that I got stopped in the lobby of Lansing Square and told that I couldn’t bring a bike in since it was a fire risk. Now, I’ve never had a bike catch fire, so you think the concierge was being a jobsworth?