I was invited to an epic Christmas party in Pasadena. I was watching the weather all week, since a major storm was predicted and I feared that I-5 at Tejon Pass (“Grapevine Hill“) would have chain restrictions.
Baby Yoda .stl by DMag24.
Paint by Helen.
Back in 2014, most of my servers were using Ubuntu. In April of that year, a long-term support (LTS) version was released and I migrated the servers to it. LTS releases are supported for five years—it seemed an eternity at the time.
In April 2016, the next LTS release came out. By then, I probably had close to 50 servers running a handful of distributions. All the Ubuntu-based servers migrated successfully except for two (four, actually, as each of those servers had a hot backup). One of those handled the office phones (
IAXmodem), the other mostly handled email (
spamassassin). Those machines died horribly when I attempted to upgrade to 16.04 (saved by backups!) and, since they handled critical services, I decided to leave them on 14.04. After all, I had until 2019 to upgrade.
Plenty of time.
Over the past many months, I have been having a harder and harder time seeing to read (and I spend 80+% of my waking hours reading). I wasn’t really consciously aware that anything was wrong, but I did find that I’d take out my contact lens far more often, I had all my devices set to dark backgrounds, and I was spending more time in my darkened room. I would also get terribly fatigued when I read for more than a few minutes (which, generally, meant all the time). I was getting increasingly behind in reading and responding to email. After months of things getting gradually worse, I realized suddenly that I couldn’t read at all without a lot of squinting and straining.
I wired my garage to charge my Tesla (coming soon—solar charging!), but I didn’t like the charger cable dangling on the floor. I installed a tool balancer to manage the cable, and it worked great but puts a bit of strain on the cable by bending it where it leaves the plug. It’s not much, but I worry about damaging the cable over a period of years.
Well, it happened again. I was attending a group on management of adolescent behavior. I was there to observe and participate. Nobody knew I was a behavioral neuroscientist. I stayed quiet, until the group facilitator said “Science has proven that video games and social media contribute to behavior problems in adolescents.” I couldn’t keep quiet for that: I spend a great deal of time following the literature in this field, and there is no quality science that backs up that claim. In fact, believe it or not, the bulk of good scientific evidence (not observational reports or anecdotes) show a favorable effect of video games.
Back in December I posted about buying a used Tesla Model S, musing that I wouldn’t have to buy gas again. O, hubris! I loved the car — for eight days. Early on the ninth, Christmas Eve, I was driving to pick up some food for Christmas dinner. It was still dark. It was foggy and rainy. I was driving slowly on familiar streets. I’m still not sure what happened, but there was a big bang! and the car was on the center divider.
I love biking to work, but there are ways that the county government makes it challenging. One thing I run into daily is traffic lights. Often, crossing the street at a light will mean dismounting, walking my bike over to the pedestrian crossing button (often involving lifting the bike over a curb), waiting, then either walking my bike across the road in the crosswalk or crossing back over a right-turn-only lane so that I can ride across legally. Drivers in automobiles sometimes get angry either way: “why aren’t you riding!” if they have to wait for me while I’m walking in the crosswalk, or “get out of the road” if I’m going back to the main traffic lane after pushing the button.