I feel better about that decision

Friday I agonized over the weather decision. Today the TAF (Terminal Aerodrome Forecast) is calling for fairly strong gusty winds – nothing I haven’t dealt with before, but not conducive to passenger comfort – and the FA (Area Forecast) is mentioning widely scattered thunderstorms. The surface analysis map shows a not too wide or strong line of showers approaching, but a strong occluded front and a very low Low right behind it, so who knows what might be popping up during the day. So yeah, I probably wouldn’t have been happy with myself if I’d flown Vicki up here, knowing we’d be dealing with all that turbulence on the way home.

Yesterday and early this morning there was a lot of wind shear in the forecast – David Megginson comments on it (in context of Watertown’s forecast, which was similar to Rochester’s) over on his blog. It appears that whatever weather mechanism was making strong winds just above the ground yesterday is extending down to the ground today.

I hate weather decision making

Once again, I’ve got something to be at in Canada at a certain time. Once again, Vicki gets off work so late that she can only make it if we fly. And this time, as a twist, if we’re not going to fly we have to leave before the afternoon forecasts come out.

My main source of weather information are the surface forecast charts at AOPA on-line. Up until this morning, today was looking like snow showers all day, and Sunday was looking like a terrible mess of rain and snow. But now it’s showing clear for Sunday. And today’s TAF is currently calling for clouds that are just around freezing level, but high enough that I could be comfortable flying under them VFR. But unfortunately, the non-aviation weather sites (weather.com and accuweather.com) don’t quite agree with the rosiness – they’re saying Sunday will be mostly cloudy, a moderate probability of precipitation, and strong gusty winds.

I hate making decisions when it’s murky and uncertain like this. Many is the time I’ve driven home under clear skies saying to myself “I could have flown this”, but a dozen of those are counter balanced by one experience like my trip home from KBAF last month. So I think we’re going to drive again this time. Dammit.

Hey, maybe this time it’s not the hard drive?

Or maybe it’s the hard drive and everything else at the same time.

My Windows box hasn’t been really happy since the move. And a few weeks ago, when I tried to start it up to test my new USB KVM switch, it started behaving badly. It was the first time I’d had it on in a while, and I was surprised that it suddenly rebooted, and while it was running chkdisk, it rebooted again. And again. And again. So I turned it off and forgot about it for a while.

Today I decided to try it again. I booted it with a Knoppix CD, and it managed to boot, and it could mount the hard disk. And I could navigate around. So I took my USB drive, and tried to copy files from the Windows drive to the USB drive. But it didn’t work – it got into the “My Desktop” part of the file system and Knoppix started talking about IDE errors and lost timer ticks.

So I grabbed another hard drive I had kicking around, and slapped it into the machine. There was a lot of dust in the machine, and I took it outside and blew it all off with my last can of “Blow Off Duster”. I booted it up and installed XP. It didn’t seem to want to get a DHCP address, but I gave it a static IP and started installing Windows Updates. But after downloading 17 updates and installing 3 of them, it rebooted with no warning. And when it came up, it said that Windows detected instability in the ATI Radeon graphic card driver. I pushed the resolution down to 1024×768 from 1280×1024, and blew off a bunch of dust in the graphics card heat sink. And it got a little further this time before it suddenly rebooted, and this time I saw a bunch of purple splotches on the display first.

So maybe it wasn’t the hard disk, and maybe it was the graphic card. Or maybe it was something else entirely. I’ve downloaded the Ultimate Boot CD and now I’m testing the drive and the memory and everything else. These tests run in text mode, so maybe they aren’t as demanding on the video card.

We’ll see.

In today’s email

Received at one of my role addresses:

The following message sent by this account has violated system policy:

Connection From:
From: [role account]@xcski.com
To: noreply@centerparcs.com
Date: Thu, 03 Nov 2005 17:59:26 +0100
Subject: test

The following violations were detected:

— Scan information follows —

Virus Name: W32.Lovgate.R@mm
File Attachment: xsmru.zip
Attachment Status: deleted

— File name Block information follows —

File Attachment: xsmru.zip
Matching file name: Message is considered to be a mass-mailer.

My response:

Your ignorance of the difference between an easily and almost assuredly forged “From” line and the real sender violates my policy of not accepting email from fuckwits or from systems run by fuckwits. Have a good day.

It’s down right spooky

It’s our first year in the new neighbourhood. It’s in the city, and it’s pretty nice neighbourhood, so it’s no surprise that people come from far and wide to trick or treat here. So there’s been a pretty steady parade of kids. But you hold out a bowl full of “fun size” chocolate bars and Hershey’s Kisses, and they ONLY TAKE ONE. Even if the kid takes a Kiss and you say “take a big one too”, they just say “no thank you” and leave.

It’s creeping me out.