It’s never our fault: GoDaddy again


I’m having terrible speeds connecting to my FTP server which I host with GoDaddy. Call tech support, we do a traceroute. They blame COX, my ISP.

Tracing route to ip-107-180-12-113.ip.secureserver.net [107.180.12.113]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  router.asus.com [192.168.1.1]
2     7 ms     7 ms     6 ms  xx.xx.xx.xx
3     7 ms     7 ms     7 ms  xx.xx.xx.xx
4     7 ms     8 ms     7 ms  xx.xx.xx.xx
5    69 ms    67 ms    68 ms  xx.xx.xx.xx
6    68 ms    67 ms    67 ms  xx.xx.xx.xx
7    75 ms    75 ms    77 ms  xx.xx.xx.xx
8    75 ms    74 ms    76 ms  xx.xx.xx.xx
9     *        *        *     Request timed out.
10     *        *        *     Request timed out.
11     *        *        *     Request timed out.
12     *        *        *     Request timed out.
13    74 ms    75 ms    75 ms  ip-107-180-12-113.ip.secureserver.net [107.180.12.113]

Everything after #5 are godaddy servers. But you know – gotta follow steps. So I call COX, who basically drop me into endless hold. Well first they told me they couldn’t help me with my router, and that anything that happens after my router connects is not their responsibility. OK whatever.

So lets give old GoDaddy a call again and see what happens this time. Sent them a traceroute. They said hops 9-12 give back a fake result due to their load balancing – that hop 5 is where the problems are starting, which is COX. So I’m too tired to call COX back – we will try it tomorrow.

Did some research, my ping times are fine – today I am back to nice and fast FTP to my host, even though the ping looks exactly the same. Can’t prove, but considering ONLY my godaddy FTP was slow as shit – that it was probably a GoDaddy issue.

 

 

 

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Healthnet – “we can’t give you that information”

The last few years, I’ve become more involved in how my health insurance works. Before – I’d just go to a doctor – pay what wasn’t covered and move on with my life. But due to changes in my life, understanding what is covered and what isn’t has become a big deal.

This is where I’ve run into this nasty loop that occurs between myself, the insurance company, and the doctor/provider.  It looks like this:

Version 1:
Me: Will this procedure be covered
Doctors Office: You need to ask your insurance
Insurance Company: It depends on what your doctor does
Me: So basically, we won’t know if it is covered until afterwards?
Insurance Company: Your Doctor will know what is covered
Doctors Office: We don’t know what is covered – that is up to your Insurance. Please sign this document saying you are liable for all charges.
Me: I can’t get this done until I know if it is covered or not

Version 2:
Me: Will this procedure be covered
Hospital: Yes
Insurance: Yes
Me: Hi – why did I get charged for this?
Insurance: This doctor isn’t in network
Me: I thought this hospital was in-network
Insurance: Yes, but this doctor is not
Hospital: Next time, make sure that all doctors are in-network

Version 2.1:
Me: Will this procedure be covered?
Hospital: Yes
Me: How do I make sure that the doctors are in-network
Hospital: Well it just depends who is working that day
Me: So How do I make sure that they are in-network
Hospital: You will need to confirm with that doctor
Me: How am I supposed to do that if I’m fucking unconscious and a different anesthesiologist is working that day? Or when my wife is asleep after giving birth and you come in to do an ear-test on the the newborn?
Hospital: Well, we won’t know in advance who is working
Me: FML

Version 3:
Insurance: It is covered as long as the doctor uses the correct code
Me: Ok, which code is that
Insurance: I can’t tell you that
Me: Can’t, or Won’t.
Insurance: I am not allowed to give you that information

I’m sure there are more. Oh right – when the doctor does procedures that aren’t considered “preventative”, so they aren’t covered. Or when the doctor just uses the wrong code for it. Normally they just re-bill and it gets sorted out, but I had one doctor who REFUSED to resubmit the code.

Hrm, I’ll save my Doctor rant for another day.

 

 

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RE256 Part II: The Searching Continues

Continued from Part 1

SCANLINES

Modern monitors have a much higher refresh rate than in the old days, by a factor of 10. What I needed was something that could handle 15hz ( or so – I didn’t know the exact refresh rate, since technical manuals are hard to find ). This is where I found a bunch of useful information from people who are into retrogames. If you are REALLY into old games like streetfighter for your NES you don’t roll with some shitty “modern” LCD/LED screen. You go oldschool CRT, where the scanlines are the luxurious background texture of your nostaglia fix.

edit: WTF happened to my re256 links! Maybe I deleted them all in a rage fit or something, but man. I’m really missing that folder right now

OK, so I basically need a 80s era monitor, or one of the specialized NEC Multisync monitors. ( cool, now I know why it said Multisync on the side of my monitors all those years ago ). I’m also competing with people who want to run their old AppleII and need a monitor. Some of those old CRTs are literally selling for $500+ on ebay.

Now, the time is ticking on my ability to return this thing… so I need to know if it even works beyond powering on. I hook up my oscilloscope hoping I can see something useful.

 

I don’t know why, but I was sort of hoping the CRT would just.. magically work and I’d see text. (It isn’t that easy… you can watch this video if interested in converting your oscope to a monitor..) Instead I get this. This is encouraging, since that looks like a waveform – though I have no idea wtf it means. However, the top looks like a TTL signal ( I think? )


and the rest seems like a composite video signal.

Not sure what to make of it… but at least the RE256 is putting out something on the video channel.

Well – shopping / hunting for old computer shit is my idea of fun, so I’m going to put this on slow burn and wait for a monitor to show up.

HOW TO USE THE RE256

So I’ve realized at this point that using this block of metal is going to be a challenge. The more I know about it, the better I can fix it, and how fucked up is that I’m trying to fix a piece of gear that I know next to nothing about, so I can then maybe learn how to use it. Why not just dump it? I wish I knew, and I wish I had. But at this point I have a fantasy in my head of fixing this, and having this awesome distortion analyzer and I’m like already a “RADIOMETER ELECTRONICS” fanboy. They are my BRAND motherfucker.

I’m hurting to recount this because I am missing a folder of 20+ solid links, including discussion of these products on audioforums. But one of the terrifying things I came across was this review of the 201 Audio Analyzer. I take that back there are several terrifying things going on here:

  • IEEE controlled interface, using a custom piece of hardware. RE901 Keyboard with 16 push buttons. This means I probably can’t just hook in some keyboard. I’ll need to find a way to send specific commands to the RE256. No idea if there is a command-line feature, but assume (! ) there is.
  • “The Tape test program does a comprehensive evaluation including.. ” Tape based? Fuck. Odds of acquiring original software just plummeted. There must be hard copies of that stuff somewhere though maybe in a manual
  • “The length of these programs give some idea of the time required to program the RE201 – the tape and tape recorder program consisting of 3229 lines of BASIC and the REPLOT program which simply allows plotting of functions occupies 2400 lines of BASIC”.. haha ha. yeah I’m completely fucked here. Even if I get this POS working, I’ll have nothing I can do with it.

Not Terrifying, but useful info gleaned:

  • Monitor is not RGB ( not surprising ) but rather TTL
  • RS232 interface for printing results
  • Overall a pretty bad-ass piece of machinery

BUYING SHIT

When you can’t do … buy! I think this is probably great advice for business acquisition or something. For me it means I can obsess about gear, instead of learning how to use it. Well I guess I’m buying this gear SO I can learn to use my other gear – but same basic shit. After another week or so of hunting I have acquired:

  • Manuals for the RE901 keyboard, the RE201, and some other RE audio gear. Some of them are programmable, so I hope that their chapters on IEEE interface will contain something useful.

  • Practically NIB IBM 5150 monitor. I probably should have just stuck with a smaller TTL security monitor or something, but this showed up on CL, and only had to drive an hour to get it. And I’m always hoping I can sell this shit at a later date. Plus, you know. It’s cool vintage computer shit. Oh it came with a keyboard – which are also in demand for gaming.

Cont…

 

 

 

Posted in computer, Daily Disappointment, DIY, Games, Nailed It, Tech, vintage, Windows | Leave a comment

Radiometer Electronics / RE: Technology / Confusing Dutch Company / Distortion Analyzer

This happened like a year ago, but I’m trying to get through my long ass list of projects. Most of them are small and trivial, and I hesitate to even post them here. Wow, you cut a cord, flipped the polarity and now your power supply is negative-center! Huzzah! I mean I was pretty proud of that, but yeah – not really “post worthy”.

Oh, but this one is.

So I like to pretend I’m learning about audio electronics. I read some stuff, try and pick out the gist of it.. sort of like reading an abstract of a paper instead of the whole thing. About 2 years ago I decided I want to build speakers, or repair amps, or some stupid shit. Why? dunno. But it seemed like a cool hobby, with lots of smart people, and I desperately want to be smart.

So while I bungle my way around an oscilloscope, and trying to trace circuits ( and failing mostly ) – I see this beauty on ebay: an RE:256 Distortion Analyzer. Distortion / Spectrum Analyzers aren’t really important for basic audio electronics – but past a certain point they matter a whole lot. And the good ones remain expensive – vintage HP’s are in the $500+ range. So when I saw this RE256 at like $150… I was excited. Now, do I need a distortion analyzer? well no. But it seemed like it would be great to have. For example, I could test the distortion on an amp, make some changes, and see if I had improved it or not.

Researching the re256 was not easy. I mean – look at the search terms here:

“RE”
“256”
“Distortion”
“Analyzer”

I seriously don’t know how I got my first break, but I came across an audio forum talking about the RE204 Distortion Analyzer, and how it was super well made, and awesome. Hard to find, and replacement parts were non-existent. I don’t know why, but it was like the hooks were in. Because if there is one thing better than owning a useful piece of equipment – it is owning a super rare, hard to find version. Well, you might say the latter impacts the former, and you’d be right! But the heart only knows what it wants. And I wanted it.

In my mind – the 256 was just a “better” version of the 204. I don’t know why I thought that – but sadly, it is a common mistake i make. So of course I bid, and of course I won – and of course things went down hill from there.

The Monitor

So when it showed up, I was excited – and immediately disappointed. See, other analyzer like the hp 8903 have a digital display on it.


I thought I saw one on the RE256. I was wrong. I also quickly realized there aren’t even any buttons on this fucking thing. It is just a big black box with some jacks on it. Well, no worries – I can plug in a monitor, and sure it needs an older 5pin keyboard, but no worries. I have adapters. Note the unrealistic optimism here, and the beginning of the Sunk Cost fallacy. This is an ongoing theme in my life, along with the “cut twice, forget to measure” thing. So I get my plugs and my monitors, and hook it all up, and nothing happens. No signal, etc. Now I’m not too worried, because I didn’t buy this “as-is” this fucking thing is supposed to work. So I must be making a mistake here. So I started on a quest for a user manual.

The Search

I also relish a good “search”. Fun to obsess about you know?:It took a while, but this is what I found out:

  • RE stands for “Radiometer Electronics” a dutch company. At some point it split in half with Audio on oneside, and medical tech on the other. The medical tech is still being made – the audio died out.
  • Parts are beyond impossible to find. There are a few replacement boards floating around on ebay – each priced $600+
  • Manuals are hard to find
  • I was able to find out some stuff about the RE204, and 500 series gear… but not much on the 256.

And then I had a breakthrough – look at this beauty.

Thank you “Test & Measurement World” magazine! Look at all that shit it does! I’m excited again. In a short period of time I realize I need

  • Vintage monitor
  • Vintage keyboard
  • Programming manuals

So one of the many twists here is that the RE256 is designed as an automated tester – like I read about the RE204 (link) there is programming done in BASIC ( woo! ). But I’m hoping I can find the actual programs out there somewhere. I set this in the back of my head as I race to Goodwill.. surely they will have what I need. I come back with an old keyboard, some adapters, but no monitor.

As I try and read up on what kind of monitor I will actually need – I fall into a deep deep rabbit hole.

Next time: Scanlines.

Posted in computer, Daily Disappointment, DIY, Nailed It, Tech, vintage | Leave a comment

Freedom Ain’t Free

 

Our liberty and freedoms are practical, if not easy. We don’t always get what we want. We have to share a country with people who are different from ourselves in a million different ways. We share a country with people we love and also those we hate. It is easy to find the differences amongst us, and desire to cleave those people from the herd. But by refusing to do that, as frustrating as that might be, we make a very practical decision. It ensures that we get to remain in the herd as well. It isn’t fun, it isn’t easy. But it is necessary and practical.

If you find yourself thinking “they aren’t real Americans” – please take a step back and remember that to some of us – you aren’t a real American either.

And I include myself in that – I prefer my tribe to your tribe. And it is easy to believe that this country is my country.. and not yours.

Our president talks about unity while preaching divisiveness & bigotry, He feeds your fears about the other tribes, then claims to be the only one who can solve your problem. Those who criticize him are liars or losers. Those who are not loyal to him are exiled or threatened. No slight goes ignored. There is no truth but his truth, and he feels no remorse over lying.

“I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do… People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular.”

He even has is own euphemism for this dishonesty – “Truthful Hyperbole”

These are the actions of a cult leader or a conman – not the leader of a free country. And certainly not a country that values the differences amongst its citizens.

 

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Democrats for Donald Trump. How to worship our new King.

donald_trump_cinco_de_mayo_590Watching the transition process has gotten me thinking about what is motivating Trump. Fame, perhaps and always money. Personally I believe he will struggle with the negative attention he will receive as president. He truly does lack the temperament for the job.

I don’t believe he has a hard set political philosophy that guides him. As best I can tell Adoration and Profit are what moves him. I’m sure there is more, but that is what I have seen in the past. I’ve been wondering if if Donald Trump might not be a great vehicle for the liberals.

He has no loyalty to the GOP. Does he have loyalty to the people who elected him? I think it is telling that he reportedly wants to keep having rallies (!). What if the left could become his new cheering squad? What if we could give him the things he needs, and get our policies passed in return?

I have no doubt that Donald is corrupt – to the point that the only questions he might ask himself are “Is this legal” “Will I get caught” “How large the impact if I’m caught”. I don’t believe there are any ethical considerations of his. Well maybe “loyalty”. He does seem to respect that.

So knowing he can be bought – how do we go about doing it. The money part is straightforward. Make our policies be profitable for Donald. The Adoration part.. would be more complicated, but perhaps a vocal “Democrats for Donald” that encouraged his liberal moves – just total Donald fandom and basically worship – like that of a king. I think if there were cheering groups of people outside his building, it would do more to get his attention. Sort of like positive attention for a child, vs Negative.

What if Obamacare could make him rich? What if a conservative Supreme Court would somehow hurt him?

I think that self interest is the fulcrum on which to shift him.

 

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Why is the next button on the left? “CANCEL/BACK/OK. ” “CANCEL/OK” vs “OK/CANCEL”

stupid-as-fuck-next-button

Why the ever-living fuck isn’t the NEXT > Button on the right?

  • We read from left to right. So the concept of motion is left to right.. so why does choosing the rightmost button take you backwards?!
  • This metaphor of pages turning, or moving places from left to right is so ingrained in this example, there is even a FUCKING RIGHT ARROW.

Back / Cancel should be on the LEFT, and Next on the RIGHT. Look, I can maybe see this layout used if the user is about to do something really fucking scary… maybe wipe a hard drive? But in that case you would probably want to highlight cancel.

I see this shit all the time, and I swear to god it started with oversseas programmers, and in the last decade has become the standard for idiot UI.

Oh hey a quick google showed me two articles:

http://uxmovement.com/buttons/why-ok-buttons-in-dialog-boxes-work-best-on-the-right/

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ok-cancel-or-cancel-ok/

Looking at the reasons for “OK / CANCEL” and they are stupid as fuck. Except for one… “Microsoft does it that way”. Which is a half assed argument. Not surprised that Apple does it correctly “CANCEL/OK” because they know half a shit about UI.

Well, I’m old enough to remember when it was done correctly, consistently, so fuck all you all. It should be CANCEL/BACK/OK.

Posted in Daily Disappointment, UI / UX, Windows | Leave a comment

2016 Election: Disappointment

djt_homepage_desktopbI’m not sure where to start – we lost the election. I don’t understand the sense of betrayal and alienation that I feel today. It feels as if 8 years of work has been undone, as if America chose their President via TV Show call in vote.

I feel betrayed by a Democratic party that couldn’t seal the deal against one of the most disgusting candidates in modern history. A party that continues to get pushed around by the GOP – and never stands up for itself.

I feel betrayed by polls that put us ahead – and were wrong at so many different levels.

I feel alienated from an America that would choose Donald Trump as their president. For the first time in a long time I look at family and friends – and see enemies. I see “other”. I see Olds and Dumbs – people I don’t want to be around anymore.

I see a President-elect who is bereft of morals. His second rate conman routine has somehow fooled half of our nation – and the platform he ran on is a disgusting reminder of the global elites at the top of our ladder. Destruction of the environment for short term financial game. Banning people of certain religious belief from immigrating to our country. Pushing the tax burden back towards the people who can least afford it. Cutting the programs that I believe are integral to our stability, our prosperity and our sense of humanity. Feeding fear and hate, promising everything, delivering nothing.

After listening to the preaching and wailing of the religious right for decades – their savior is a thrice divorced, adulterer, hate preaching conman. They call him a “flawed vessel” or refer to accepting him “warts and all”. The Right complains that the Left mocks their religion – and there is truth to that. But how can we not when this is the example you set. When you talk about “Jesus” but nothing in your life reflects the messages your “prophet” left behind. You are small, and petty, and your tribe is made up of other small minded people. Your spirituality is dull coated and bland. Whatever power you connect to in your heart – it pay be painted with forgiveness sacrifice and love, but underneath is just the same old selfishness and self preservation.

I have never looked at the “other side” of an election and wished harm upon them. And today I do. There is a sick part of me that will enjoy watching Donald Trump break promise after promise to the people who elected him. I wish I could talk to the banks he now longer does business with… at what point does the con stop? Does it ever stop? When did you realize how screwed you actually were. And how did apply the appropriate pressure to bring him in line.

We have an obstructionist GOP – who has worked for 8 years to prevent progress in basic human dignity – gay rights, universal healthcare. These “Christians”. They are worse than whores. Sex for sale is an honest, if disapproved of trade. They are the thousand hooked little claws of a predator that feeds on America. They are rot that should be trimmed. Sickness that should be cut from the living body.

I felt our country was moving in the right direction – and today I am reminded that no – it is not. I feel helpless. I feel scared. I feel betrayed and confused. And the anger that rises out of that would enjoy seeing half of this country fed into a wood chipper. Watching with other eyes to see their souls sluggishly drift up, to be fed upon by the Eagle in the sky.

I

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Windows won’t let you set your active hours to the evening…

Bah – they won’t let me set my active hours if they roll over midnight. Pretty fucking stupid.

windows-active-hours-no-working-at-night

Posted in Daily Disappointment, Tech, UI / UX, Windows | Leave a comment

BATTLE: KEF 105.4 SPEAKER GRILL! P1: PROTOTYPE

I’ve been looking for a set of 105.4 Grills for a while, but haven’t been able to find any. Due to recent family changes, having grills have gone from “nice to have” to “yeah let’s get that done”. I already have metal grills for the top two drivers, but do not have the grills for the bass drivers.
As you know the KEF 105.4 have an angled face which makes it a bit more of a challenge. Here is an example of how they should look:
index
Not only are they angled, but they are thicker at the top than at the bottom – which gives it a cool look IMO.

Here is my final!

img_4668 img_4672They aren’t perfect – The angles are a bit off on top, but overall they look pretty solid. note that I changed the design slightly to make them longer than the originals. I don’t like how many of these KEFs end up with discoloration from the grills. If that occured, I wanted it to be as uniform as possible.

I’m going to include a walk through of my steps as I build the prototype…
First I traced the outline of the speaker, then sketched in how I thought the grill should look. I measured the angles using a protractor, and used these angles for my first test cuts.

img_4124

I struggled to get the angles correct, but ended up going with 81.5 for the face that touches the speaker. For simplicity I decided to not try and force the front angle… however that turned out would be fine for the prototype.

img_4154

 81.5 degrees is a pretty close match. I used a mitre saw for these test cuts. The mitre saw however can’t cut longer pieces… so for this first piece I cut just the top / bottom, and used my other saw to connect the lines as best I could.
img_4189
The crossbar ( top and bottom of grill ) had to also be cut at an angle. I couldn’t be as precise with this, and used the bevel feature on my handsaw.
img_4196
You can see here how one face is cut at about 10 degrees and the other 5 degrees. Better to have it a bit too steep than not steep enough. If it is too steep the top of the crossbar will remain flush, and the rest of it won’t have good contact… but all that will be visible is the top edge, so that is ok. You can see this comes together ok:
img_4192
I should point out before going further: I made one modification to the usual design – I want my grills to go the full length. I often see older KEF’s with discoloration from the part of the speaker face that was not covered. I want to avoid that.
My next step is to glue the pieces together. This was a bit of a challenge since I need right angles like a picture frame… but the grill frame is right angles only in one dimension. I’m probably not explaining this well…
Here is the whole unit “clamped”…
img_4204
I’ll explain the weights in a moment. So while the grill has 90 degree angles on the x/y axis, it is not 90 degrees on the z axis like a picture frame or shelving might be. when I would fully clamp down, this would happen:
img_4197img_4201You can see how at the bottom the two pieces don’t meet up
And what I needed was this:
img_4202
So in the clamped photo above, I have loosened clamps on the top/bottom pieces so they can angle correctly against the concrete. This means the clamps no longer pull the left/right pieces together, so I use the weights to apply that pressure.
I then add on the extensions that will house the clips/pins and again glue.
img_4241
My next step is to drill the holes for the grill pegs. I ordered some pegs from ebay with these dimensions. They are not an exact fit, but the best I could find. They are maybe .5 MM too small in diameter. I contacted KEF a few times, but was not able to get any info about the original speaker pegs. By wrapping a bit of electrical tape around the peg, It becomes a snug fit. Since I don’t intend to remove these often ( for a few years at least ) this is an ok solution for now.

img_4254I used these screws to test my placement before drilling larger holes.

img_4261 img_4263 img_4264

 Accurate drilling was an issue – being off even by a MM means the frame will be angled slightly. The fact that the pegs had some looseness in the holes helped a bit and gave me some leeway, but I will need to address this for the finals.
img_4265 img_4267

I’m embarrassed to show the grill cloth wrapping – I did a really poor job, but just wanted to get something on to see how it looked :)

You can see a few problems I will need to address …
  • The grill isn’t sitting flush – two of the pegs snapped off – I drilled the pilot hole too small and really had to jam them in there. I think also my drilling being off by a MM or so in different directions put stress on them.
  • There is extra fabric mashed everywhere… This is the first time I’ve done this, so no worries – watched a tutorial on how to do it better. I had been hoping cream would look good.. I wanted to use a vintage grill texture … but I think I will go with black.
  • Better wood – the plywood veneer stripped heavily as I worked it. I will use solid pieces of wood for the finals.
  • Increased precision needed. For the wood pieces, I will re-measure each step… error on the side of too much wood, and sand down the extra MM or so needed for precise alignment. I am unsure how to handle the drill holes. A drill press would be ideal, but I do not have access to one. There are a number of hacks I will try on some scrap wood to see if I can get a good fit. Once I do, I will use that as a jig for the finals.
  • Glue + screws for final assembly.
  • Paint wood to hide it better behind the grill cloth
  • I would like to have curved edges to the peg mounts, but as long as they are hidden well, I won’t worry about it.
Posted in DIY, Music, wood | Leave a comment