With Wings As Eagles: Craig P. Steffen's Blog

symmetry restored

2008 November 10 22:54

Replacing the ballast in a flourescent light bulb is fairly simple. The ballast that I bought at the local electrical store was the correct one, it even fit the bolt holes and such.

The color code for the wires matched too; it was just a matter of wiring it up:

Aand all the lights work again!

the circle is now complete

2008 November 10 08:53

About a year ago, I started shopping around for a laptop to replace my Sharp MM20. This spring, the Sharp died on me, and I've been without a personal laptop for the intervening time. I borrowed a laptop from the pool at work for the last few months to go on travel, but it's just nice to have your own machine.

Friday, I bought an Asus Eee 1000HD. I tried out the 900 series, and the keyboard was too small to be comfortable, even for me. I bought the HD edition because franklly, I'd like to have the extra space and that's what the Best Buy had in the store.

The Ubuntu install took way longer than it should have; a good portion of yesterday afternoon and evening. I will write a very extensive post about that in the very near future. However, as of this morning, the new laptop is running Ubuntu:

and the wireless network is synched and working:

I'm typing this on it as we speak.

My impressions: - The 1280x600 screen is slight cramped but not bad. - The right shift key is annoying - The mouse buttons are extremely stiff - It's dead quiet - It's fairly light; the Eee 1000HD is 3.3 pounds wheras the Sharp was 1.9. I think I will find it tolerable; however, I don't think I'd want anything heavier. - The mouse is super-sensitive. I'll have to see if that's adjustable.

Overall, I'm liking it so far.


2008 November 05 00:31

I just watched John McCain's concession speech and Barack Obama's acceptance speech for the presidency of the United States.

First of all, I have to say that Senator McCain's concession speech was incredibly classy. I honestly can't imagine anyone being more gratious about it, and more supportive of a former opponent. He really did a very nice job.

I think Senator Obama's speech was pretty good too. The biginning was good, the middle bit was a bit formulaic, and the end bit was very good. I think it's very good and classy that he called out his campaign manager and his strategist. I think he understands the import of the events of today and I think he carried it well. There were a few American-centric bits when he was talking to people in other countries that should have been left out ("American leadership"); while I think that the idea of improving our democracy is a good and valiant and vital one, the idea that it could possibly be "perfected" is a dangerous one.

However, two very fundamental things struck me about that speech.

1) The American flag has been taken back from being a symbol of blind support of the Iraq war. I'm so very glad.

2) My work is periphrially related to initiatives that come from the President's office (along with many thousands of other programs). The idea that some of the ideas of my work were passing across the desk of our current president has always given me the screaming heebie-jeebies. It occured to me tonight, listening to Barack Obama, that although there have been presidents in my life time that would have Ok to work for or with, Obama will be the first that I can think of that I would be proud to work with.

(By the way, I think it's telling that when McCain mentioned Obama, there were boos. When Obama mentioned McCain, there were cheers (hesitant, but they were there).)

I promise--posts about flying and electronics and cats soon.

It will be a day long remembered

2008 November 04 08:08

I voted this morning, early, to avoid the rush (which we did).

Remember--this day may complete a saga that has been 500 years in the making. The framers of our constitution considered outlawing slavery, but didn't because it would have destroyed the Union at that time. The US fought a war over it from 1861 to 1865, and pretty nearly fought another one in the 1960s and 70s. And now a black man may well be elected to be the president of the United States, one of the most powerful political offices in the world. Lots of problems in the world, but this is a big step forward.

I had to figure out a bunch of stuff to post that photo. I took the photo in the voting booth, not for sure knowing that I could upload the photo somewhere useful. As it turns out, the Treo 650 phone application can save photos to an SD card:

(I spent over half an hour looking for my SD cards this morning; it turns out they were right were I expected them to be, but under a box).

put the SD card into the SD card reader which only took me a couple of minutes to find

which my laptop mounted like a USB storage device