June 28th, 2009

Pensive Kevin

First Known Drive Software Casualty

For reasons unclear other than the massive donations to the Ghod Murphy by buying a third hard drive and spending many hours in clone after clone, the problem with my drives not booting has not recurred. But today I found the first piece of software that is gone and for which I can no longer find the installation disk: Paint Shop Pro, which I use for basic photo editing, cropping, etc. I had Dell PSP Studio, which Corel no longer supports, so I had to buy the newest version (they did recognize me as a past customer, so I got the upgrade price rather than the new-user price). Phooey. I hope there aren't any other significant applications that I've not noticed.

A couple of days ago, I copied all of the identified installation files (not including PSP, which I just downloaded tonight) that were on the salvaged hard drives to a Data DVD. And I'm running drive clones at least daily, always cloning to the older of the two backup clones.

I ran the entire slate of Dell diagnostic tests on this machine (I found the bootable diagnostics disk) and there's no tests failing. Every since I've run those tests, I've had no more problems with a drive failing to boot. But it continues to make me nervous.
Kuma Bear

Kuma Bear Says, "I'm all wet!"

Lisa tells me that Kuma Bear has to have a bath about once a year. She hates doing it, though, because she says he looks so pathetic afterward. In evidence, I found this photo sent to me a couple of nights ago, and Lisa says it's okay to share it.
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I suggested that this was a good time of year for Kuma's bath because she'd be driving to Arizona this week for Westercon, and the heat would dry him out nicely -- her pickup truck has no air conditioning. She said she's still debating whether to actually go. The tinnitus is so bad that she simply can't get any rest, and if she feels too fatigued, she won't go. Earlier plans had her arriving in San Mateo sometime tomorrow afternoon, coming to BASFA with me, and spending the night in the Bay Area, but as far as I know, she hasn't even left Mehama yet.
Kevin and Lisa

Lisa Says No

Lisa just called and said that she's too sick and too tired and too worried about her little pickup making the trip to Arizona, and therefore she says she cannot go.
Kevin and Lisa

Lisa Says Maybe

Lisa just called again and said that she's going to take the pickup out for a little drive and see how she feels. She may or may not decide to risk driving to Arizona after all. She doesn't know. She still is very tired and worried.
Kevin and Lisa

Lisa Says "No Promises"

According to a message Lisa left me a little while ago, she's on US-97 between Bend and La Pine OR-58 between Eugene and Oakridge, Oregon, heading south. How far she'll go is anyone's guess. Whether she'll actually make it all the way to Tempe, or even as far as the Bay Area, nobody knows, including her.

Update, Monday 05:30: Corrected the route she was taking. When she called me next, she realized that she'd given me the wrong route number and that I had thus misunderstood where she was.
Wildlife

Fremont Wildlife Photos

This link to photos of Fremont will not continue to return the photos I'm seeing this afternoon, and I can't figure out how to make the link more permanent and repeatable. Someone has been out there shooing a lot of wildlife photos in the Alameda Creek and Coyote Hills areas. Some of the photos look like they may have been at Quarry Lakes as well. I didn't know there were turtles in Alameda Creek near the old rubber dam structures that are now being decommissioned and replaced with fish ladders to help restore the steelhead trout runs. And she saw deer at Coyote Hills, which I only rarely see at Quarry Lakes. But we do have pelicans and many of the other birds she photographed.

It's now late enough in the day that it's cooled down into the low 30sC, which means I still think it's warmer than I'd like, but enough to where I don't expect to fry if I go take a walk around the lake. And who knows what wildlife I'll see this evening.
Wildlife

Just Ducky

I mentioned earlier the removal of a "rubber dam." This is one of a series of diversion dams on Alameda Creek that consists of a concrete foundation and an inflatable rubber section to hold back water. As part of a fishery-restoration project, the Alameda County Water district is decommissioning the dam, removing the inflatable section, and cutting a notch in the middle of the concrete structure to allow fish to pass through at low flow times. Read more here if you're interested.. My walk around Quarry Lakes takes me by that dam. The walking path has been diverted away from the main trail while they work on the dam. The rubber section has been removed, but the water continues to flow over the concrete foundation. While I walked the path tonight, I saw in the deepening twilight a mother duck and three ducklings making their way down the pond formed by the dam's foundation. They hopped up onto the foundation and continued to float down the flat top of the dam. At the downstream end there is a concrete slope down to the stream bed below.

I wondered what the ducks were going to do. Just before the lip of the spillway, the three ducklings, which had been preceding their mother downstream, backpeddled furiously. Their mother went over the edge and not very gracefully landed in the pool below, flapping and squawking. The ducklings paddled over to the shore, clambered out of the water, and portaged around the spillway, rejoining their mother below.

This is the opposite of how I'd expect a human family to behave. If it were a mother with three kids in boats, the mother would say, "Now children, let's climb out and carry our boats down below the dam," while the children would say, "But mom, we want to go down the water-slide!"