Saturday morning we took Finn to soccer practice in a new facility close to our house; what used to be a 7-Up distributor’s warehouse is now filled with two indoor soccer fields for rental and two teams’ worth of sweaty high school lacrosse players. We signed her up for a kids’ intro class, and it turned out that we have several friends who had the same idea, so we got to stand around with other parents we know while the kids ran in circles. She took a class at her last school, so we were proud to see her kicking and actually dribbling the ball—until she got bored and decided to go off and do her own thing. Hopefully we can get it through her head that practice will make things more fun for her down the line.
After we were done with soccer we hit the IKEA to pick up one more bookshelf for the den, with the hope of consolidating all of the toys, art supplies, and other stuff that’s been clogging the living room, office, and den. With the big bookcase in the living room free of toys, we were able to uncover the entire collection of books we’ve collected from the library liquidation at her school. It’s really amazing how many good books Jen was able to save, and I hope that Finn takes to reading as much as I did as a kid.
Over the course of our Saturday errands in the CR-V, it became loudly apparent the passenger’s rear brake pads were grinding on the rotor, so I hit the parts store to buy a new set for the back half. It’s just enough of a project that I didn’t want to attempt it this afternoon with 6-12″ of snow on the immediate horizon, so I loaded the parts in the back and parked it behind the Accord until we can dig out this week. On my way to the store I guesstimated the amount of gas in the Scout and came up about 50′ short, stalling out on an incline within spitting distance of a pump. After borrowing a gas can, priming the carb, and standing on the brake, I got her started again. This being the second time it’s happened in two months (the first being directly across the street from our driveway in the middle of the road), I’m getting impatient to sort out the fuel gauge and tank problems in the spring. Hopefully, a long-awaited hydro boost brake conversion will give me more than 10′ of stopping power (both brakes and steering are powered, so when the engine cuts out so do my options for direction and stopping).
Over the last couple of weekday evenings, I got both speakers rewired, mounted, and tested. Sunday I cut out and glued in 1/2″ corner supports around all the seams, then sealed the front edges and nailed them into place. They sound good! I’m still unsure as to how I’m going to finish the outsides off; I could wrap them completely in Tolex or speaker carpet, but I’m not sure yet.
Our soccer player was on the couch sick today, after waking to an upset stomach and then throwing up several times over the course of the day. She got to spend the day in front of the TV, which was good for her, but hasn’t eaten a thing all day, which is unlike her. At about 7:30 she turned on her side and fell asleep on the couch next to Jen, something that is VERY unlike her. She’s running a fever, so we’ll keep a close eye on her tomorrow.
Tonight we’ll hunker down, tuck the girl into bed, watch some good TV (Downton Abbey and True Detective), maybe sip a beer, and wait to see what the weather brings us tomorrow morning. Just when the lawn was almost clear again too.
This morning we woke to a coat of ice over everything in sight. School was canceled, but I had a ton of things to do and meetings at work, so we bundled up, braved the slick steps, and made it down to an empty train station. While we were gone one of the trees in the backyard snapped a branch and took out a power line, so we’re dark but not cold. No word on when we’ll get power back yet. Jen took a bunch of pictures of our overgrown treeline in the hopes that BGE will finally come out and chop it back, but I’m not holding my breath.
I haven’t updated much here lately, due to the fact that there hasn’t been much time. Last weekend Finn and I made the Christmas pilgrimage to upstate New York, leaving Mama behind to try and catch up on a backlog of work and proposals. The girl and I had a great time, but we were both exhausted upon our return. I think it’s taken up until today for me to get caught up on sleep. The girls were able to deconstruct the christmas tree and haul the carcass out to the curb the other day, so this may mark the first time the county will have hauled it away as opposed to me throwing it next to the garage and dragging it to the dump in March. This weekend is earmarked for grocery shopping, cleaning, catching up on house maintenance, and two playoff games on Sunday.
I read up on some reviews of the new Mac Pro the other day, and an alternative solution to our storage problem presented itself: a Drobo is basically a 5-bay networked carriage for hard drives, which comes in at a much lower price point than a used Mac Pro on Craigslist. I’m ready to ditch the G5 in our basement, which has been balky and only offers two drive bays; Drobo offers Plex and FireFly compatibility so we can share our media to the AppleTV and to my shiny new Christmas present, a Roku3. Sometime in the spring, I’m going to pull the trigger and consolidate everything.
Life with the iPad has been tricky but workable; I’ve left my laptop home for the last week and a half, and there doesn’t seem to be too much I can’t accomplish on the iPad. Reading books is much nicer than the first gen Kindle. Netflix and Amazon Instant Video are slick; the fact that Spotify is now streaming to mobile devices for free is awesome. I’ve got a great VNC client for remoting to client machines, and Mint’s app is a bit oblique but usable. My big beef is with Yahoo for not offering a full-size Flickr app for the iPad, which feels like I’m still looking at tintypes by candlelight. WTF, Yahoo?
The biggest issue I have now is what my new photo workflow should be. I’m not taking a ton of pictures, but I’d like to take and post more as the weather warms up. With my laptop at home, there’s no easy way to edit and post DSLR pictures until I get home unless I do it on a work machine, which I’m trying to avoid.
I’ve had The Bones of What You Believe by CVRCHES and Days Are Gone by Haim on infinite repeat the last three weeks; obviously my tastes are changing again, in the absence of any good new rock or ambient albums.
I found out, quite by accident, that the maker of my current password vault application was purchased by Facebook some time ago and hasn’t been updating it since then. Password vaults are handy for capturing all one thousand online profiles the modern human needs to have in 2014; I say it’s better to have your banking login secure behind 256-bit AES encryption than on a Post-It taped to your monitor. I’ve slowly been searching for a better solution to having all my passwords available on each smart device I’ve got, and having something that can securely share them is key to the future, but now the need is greater.
After seriously considering 1password, I found LastPass, which is basically a browser plugin but which securely keeps passwords in an encrypted bundle and decrypts locally (so you’re not zinging your info all over the web). It has an iOS app available and the “premium” version is an affordable $20/year, which allows sharing between multiple machines and apps. And why is this so important, all of a sudden?
Firstly, I’ve got two laptops now. My trusty MacBook Pro is chugging along, and remains my primary machine for getting things done. Now I’ve got a laptop through WRI, which isn’t decked out as well as this one, but which has my work email and applications installed—something I’d rather keep off my personal machine. Sharing all of the passwords between two work machines is key to happy telecommuting.
Secondly, Santa brought me a shiny iPad Air this Christmas, the idea being to leave my personal laptop here at home instead of lugging it to and from the office every day. As long as I can access my personal email, passwords, VPN, and basic online accounts through the iPad I think I’ll be in fine shape. I’ve already loaded a ton of books on it, and I’ve got most of the apps I need set up.
Leaving my laptop behind will feel like cutting off my left arm, but lugging two laptops back and forth has been less than pleasant. The only thing I can’t figure out is how to get photos from a phone downloaded and posted without going through my work machine. But that’s a small problem.