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Snow, furniture, hardware, cinnamon, Miyazaki

After some more hot days, it's back to winter again this week--lots of cold and snow. I'm ready for summer.

My new computer came Thursday, and I had a fun morning putting all the bits together--tinkertoys for grownups! (Or not-so-grownups.) The new machine is small, reasonably quiet (by office standards--it might sound loud at home), and compiles my (minimally configured) kernel in about three and a half minutes.

My old desktop died on Friday morning--when I power it up, LED's come on, fans spin up, but that's it. I was looking forward to keeping it around as a test machine. But Trond gave me his old desktop (of a similar vintage), so I can use that instead. Maybe I'll swap some parts around to see if I can find out what broke.

As long as I was moving all these machines around I decided to move my desk too. I'd been meaning to for ages. I wanted it back at the position it had when I first moved in, against a side wall. I'd move it out to face the door, but discovered that uses up a lot of useful space in the middle of the room and creates a barrier that makes it hard for people to come in and work with me at the whiteboard.

I got my laptop back Friday, having put in my complaint Saturday, received the empty box for the RMA Tuesday, and shipped it back Wednesday. I can't complain about the turnaround time. They wiped my linux installation and reinstalled XP, which I knew was a risk, so I had backups--no big deal--but I don't understand why they needed to do that to fix an obvious hardware problem.

But, worse, they "fixed" the problem by replacing the LCD by a lower-resolution LCD. Initially assuming a software problem, I wasted a couple hours Friday night trying to figure out why I couldn't adjust the resolution, until I finally realized what had happened. Saturday morning I borrowed a magnifying glass from Sara and made some test images with Gimp to confirm the obvious.

It was actually fascinating looking at the pixels closely. You can see the three separate red, green, and blue pixels, and how they're offset from each other, quite clearly.

The support people appear to be totally confused about the variety of panels that were available as options for this machine. They promised another RMA box for me Tuesday. Hopefully they'll get it right this time.

Sara planned to make some pumpkin bread Saturday morning, but realized halfway through she was missing baking soda and cinnamon. The baking soda I found at the convenience store next door, which also had a few spices, cinnamon not among them. What the heck? So she put a cinnamon stick in the coffee grinder instead. The bread was fine--great smell, very tasty, no surprise bits of cinnamon sticks as far as we could tell. Does it dissolve in the batter? Melt in the oven?

We took some of the bread with us to juggling in the afternoon, then had dinner with the jugglers at a Chinese place that replaced a Middle-Eastern place (Kabob Palace) that we'd liked quite a bit. The new place turns out to be pretty good too, so we'll live.

We made plans to meet at Paul's later to watch Miyazaki's "Laputa", then went with Ajit to Borders. I picked up the second edition of a kernel book I already have in the first--but it's pretty good, and my copy's out on indefinite loan, so what the heck--and an English translation of a "Exercises de Style", which I already have in the original--but it's the kind of book whose translation must require quite a bit of creativity, and I've heard the translator's very good--and a book on SELinux, which I've been thinking I should learn more about.

At Paul's we ended up watching Ivy instead of the movie, but that was fine. Ajit gave us a ride home a little after midnight.