Seperis (seperis) wrote,

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feelings about cats and amazon (and other things)

I am deep in that territory we call 'homebuilding', in which I unexpectedly find myself carefully researching Edison lightbulbs for their steampunk-retro ambiance while tossing $2.50 throw blankets from Wal-Mart in my cart and calling it a day. (Also, cushions for my porch loveseat, because Christ, I'm a person who owns one of those and the matching table.)

I assumed--foolishly, in retrospect--that I'd burn this shit out once I was mostly-moved and turn my attention to higher things--Python, for example, or Plex vs Emby vs Kodi for my media server, rewrite some bash scripts to double as daemons, that kind of thing--and that happened! I went back ot my natural territory of ripping my blurays and fighting makemkv's command line interface when I couldn't make Fast Five work (fuck Fast Five) and reinstalling my entire server to prep for it's media server future.

And I was on course for just that. Then, tragedy.

To get this out of the way: I love Prince Hal like I have loved no laptop but my first (the first is always special like that). It's ridiculously fast, it's incredibly attractive, and it has all the colored lights that you can create themes with so your laptop looks like it's burning in Hell red or soothing blues and greens. And on days I feel colorblind, my keyboard is backlit in three contrasting colors just because I can.

Roughly two weeks ago, I cracked the touchscreen digitalizer on my laptop and had to borrow money to replace it. Which actually did bother me in a different way as well; the LCD screen was fine and I was going to wait, but the glass was falling out and a coworker shared a frankly terrifying story of tiny pieces of glass in your finger and sudden onset gangrene that occurred with someone who knew someone's iphone cracked and I really need my fingers for typing. This led to clearing the dining room table, getting out all my tools, and settling down to disassemble an Alienware computer that was designed by engineers shooting up bleach, it's the only explanation for putting your battery inside the case under multiple layers of hardware.

Taking apart computers doesn't intimidate me; I crossed that bridge sixteen years ago rebuilding my Dell desktop and realizing my early love of Legos and Lincoln logs was finally paying off. Every computer I've owned--and some I didn't but their owners didn't mind--have been broken down to bare cases and built back up at least a few times, sometimes just from sheer curiosity.

Prince Hal 3000 was the first to stop me dead and not just because who puts the fucking battery inside the case so you have to open it--with the battery still inside--to unplug it? (To take it out is about fourteen removals of hardware away from this point, btw.)

I knew this would be tricky, but I didn't know--because it didn't occur to me this would happen--that I wouldn't find breakdown directions on removing the display (the touchscren is like superglued to the LCD). The service manual you say? Sounds logical: no. Dell's service manual for my model was unaware of the ridiculously expensive touchscreen upgrade so it only had the regular LCD screen removal procedure which involves an external bezel. I googled, logical, and discovered everyone but me got the non-touchscreen version and could just credit-card jimmy the bezel out on the inside rim between the bezel and LCD screen and then remove the LCD that way. I have no bezel; I have a stretch of digilitzed glass that is the entire front. Then I ran across a fully-recorded breakdown of my laptop and model with touchscreen: yes! But no; whatever he was working on, that was not mine.

So how does one remove the digitalizer-glued-to LCD from the case of one's laptop? I took the 'fuck it' approach, got the tiniest flat-head bit for my screwdriver, and slid it into the ridge at the very top of the case and the entire thing snapped out in an anticlimactic mockery of my hour and a half googling this shit.

Good thing I was comfortable doing that, because after reverently installing the very delicate new screen, I had to do it again three times (I'm not kidding) because as I mentioned, the actual goddamn service manual is blissfully unaware of the touchscreen option and I had to do it by memory and guessing where the wires went and try try again.

(Also found the power cable that connects my board to the I/O board was exposing a disturbing number of tiny filament wires, the disturbing being "any wires", which is not what I like to see in an overpowered gaming laptop that overheats by reflex and is probably the reason I've had flickering lights and a cranky touchpad for a while. So the touchpad and board lights are dead until I get a replacement, for there is a time for electrical tape and epoxy and there's a time to not risk one's laptop starting on fire.

I also took out and reset my battery because I'd had weird unexpected shutdown issues since I installed it in March. As far as I can tell, I did nothing differently but I also haven't had a random shutdown since.

These two things are responsible for three more breakdowns and rebuilds so I could do some adhoc testing.)

Let's say I'm not intimidated anymore--I fear nothing--but continue to believe the design documents were trolled when they were putting together the 17x's because there is no other possible explanation for some of the choices made putting this together.

So to return to the subject, I thought I was over this entire 'decorating my home' thing. Then I got paid, and oh.

Let me start with when my paycheck appeared and I finished my budget and calculated my discretionary funds.

I ordered another braided throw-rug because there are still surfaces in the apartment that lack rug covering (not much, though). I stared at my (like fucking tiny) entry area and realized it was too dark and needed light (...), which led to the purchase of a hanging pendant swag light and frankly ridiculous Edison retro-bulb from Hudson. I got a metal cage thing that goes on it for reasons I'm still working on but I thought looked cool. I realized I don't actually control every light in the apartment, can't have that, so now I do and the only two beyond my control are the outside lights and it bothers me. I moved the motion sensor to the bathroom to test lights coming on when you enter and added a cover for the switch so anyone who visits me will be both confused and a little terrorized when wishing to perform acts of elimination in my home. It's great.

So yeah, IDEK.

Mattress Review

Reference: Zinus Memory Foam Green Tea Mattress, 12-Inch, Queen, review under tag.

It's been about six weeks, and I can report that this mattress is an excellent bargain and I recommend wholeheartedly, but only if you like firm, for it is not hard but it is firm. Adjustment is roughly three and a half weeks to a month, at which time you'll know for sure whether it works for you. Everything I said here is still true. I keep wanting to say it's softened, but no, it hasn't; I just got used to its give now so it feels normal.

A few concerns: I have a better idea on the heat-retention and while there may be some, it's also summer in Texas and also my life. So no better or worse than any other mattress I've slept on, but I do use only one sheet and a light blanket during summer to sleep. The lack of transfer motion--ie, anyone getting into or out of bed--does not exist. A normal legged tray is fine; steady it when you crawl in right beside it, but once you're sitting, nothing. You will also not feel your cat crawl into bed with you until it tries to eat your feet.


For those who have been wondering: her name is Fearful Symmetry, Sym for short, and boy has she earned it.

Home Improvement

My next item of business is to review wifi and hubbed lightbulbs because a.) I've bought almost all the brands that are able to be controlled by Alexa, Hue, and/or SmartThings (and therefore can be ultimately voice controlled by Alexa), and b.) I have opinions and why not. I also ran into some issues that it took me ridiculous amounts of time on google to solve and I need to record them here.

Short version: initial investment can be a little high, but provided you're willing to take the creation of your bulb network slowly, it's not ridiculous, just an item for your budget, and in this case, one that's energy conscious. A lot of this, however, won't have much to do with cheap versus quality but what you're going to use them for, where, and why. One thing that I couldn't find out easily was an answer to that question and hopefully, this will help. I'll also try to go over actual practical brightness and size as opposed to lumens and watts, which are surprisingly inconsistent even when one lightbulb matches another; I bought more than one bulb that wouldn't physically fit where I intended it and that still makes me cranky.

If anyone is specifically interested in doing this themselves, feel free to tell me what you want to know or your specific concerns. I will say the benefits of having a range are very high rather than committing yourself to one brand or system so poly is the way to go, but compatibility is required.

For anyone like me who likes that kind of thing, SmartThings jumped four levels when I discovered you can write your own SmartThings SmartApps that are used internally by SmartThings. They provide you with an online IDE, templates, documentation, examples, the code for actual internal SmartApps you use on the app already, a tutorial in Groovey, and simulator on the site to run your scirpts. I'd put this at a one-one and a half to five for challenge because you can go from copy-paste to some very cool uses of your sensors and lights to do awesome things. I'll come back to this later, but those of you who are hobby programmers or need a practical reason to learn, it's perfect and also extremely casual. The reason I go as high as five is both potential complexity and also what your setup is like. Just lights or a motion sensor and lights would be about a one and a half, but once you throw in a multipurpose sensor that can sense vibration and axis and contact, dude, it gets really fun.

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Tags: jenn's life, life with my mattress, my relationship with electronics
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