22 Jan

Ticking Off the To-Dos

This weekend I was able to do a few tasks I always said I wanted to do, but never really could convince myself that I would find the time to do them. These projects involved cutting wires, fishing wires through walls and insulation, moving furniture, de-cluttering wires, and completely wiping my computer’s hard drive and doing a clean macOS install.

I’m impressed at least.

As you may recall the outdoor webcam was hardwired  to an (old) Airport Express via a POE injector.  The (old) Airport Express was then plugged into an outlet in the basement, and connected to the main wireless network. It was a hack. A temporary solution to something it took me 2 years to clean up.

Now the cable that comes from the outdoor webcam goes up through the floor of the basement right where it comes in the house. Then it comes out right behind the entertainment center in the living room where it connects to the POE injector and the network switch connected directly to the Airport Extreme. A much cleaner solution.

In order to get that done I cut a few dozen feet of old wire from when we had Dish Network, and even an old telephone cord. That knot of cabling was unsightly, and even more so with the entertainment cabinet now up on legs. Once they were gone I was able to fish a wire coat hanger up through the hole in the floor and up into the box in the wall. It took a few tries, but with a little help from my wife we were able to get it done.

Then this morning I did something I have been threatening to do for many months, but was always a little afraid to start. I completely reformatted the hard drive on the iMac, and reinstalled macOS. The threatening I mention was more planning then shaking a fist at the machine each time it failed at something.  I made backups. I wrote long detailed instructions on how the camera worked, and I took screenshots.  I copied important files to off-site cloud backups, and I made sure I had a few good Time Machine backups.  I used Notes to create a list of Must Have software, and I ticked off the list slowly over the day.

Right after installing Dropbox and 1Password, I got the webcam and all of its processes up and running.  Not too much down time, but today’s timelapse won’t be much, and I forgot to enable the daylight timelapse until it was dark, so that likely will be missing completely.  But everything should be back to normal by Tuesday, and so far everything is humming along.

Fingers crossed.

01 Jan

Happy New Year?

I have been thinking a great deal lately about the toxicity of the so-called social networks. From the hate being spewed on Twitter, often from “bots” designed to create discord and spread misinformation, to world-wide manipulation of democratic elections.  It occupies my thoughts more than I would like, and until something dramatic happens either by government or the corporations themselves I don’t see more than one solution. Stop using the corporate sites, and look for alternatives.

Much like drug dealers, Twitter, Facebook (and others) give their stuff away. Why? Because they want us to stick around. We are the product. These dealers want us to share more information: add more tags; tag more people (facial recognition!); geo-tag pictures (conveniently embedded in digital photos!) from where we post content. Plus the things we like — or dislike, or love, or makes us sad or angry or hate or even laugh. Constantly.

That data is then mined to create profiles on us. Couple this with benignly-named cookies you pick up as you enjoy the (currently) open Internet, you let Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and well, pretty much anyone who has a website, know exactly everywhere else on the web you have visited *.

Wow, I really do sound like a conspiracy nut. And you should see the stuff I deleted! But stick with me. It’s really not outrageous.

I too am a participant. I have been on Facebook and Twitter for 10 years now, and have shared countless photos, restaurant reviews, check-ins, etc. I have been using the Internet openly (for the most part) for more than a quarter century. My domain, and most of my handles are my real name. I am not trying to warn people off this stuff. No one listens to me anyway. I have no megaphone or amplifier.

And, honestly, I personally think it is too late at this point. Capitalism, governments, corporations, are all too big and intertwined at this point.

Ok, I do sound more wack than woke.

But it all feels very different now. Learning how people’s feelings and beliefs were manipulated by others in order to sow misinformation and hate, has left me with a sour taste in my mouth, and my opinion of humanity is at an all-time low.

The fact that Twitter will ban bots designed to help uncover and expose these horrible people, and not the hateful people themselves makes me angry.

Anyway, I have a couple of thousand words on how unsettling it all is. Writing this entry has been temporarily cathartic.

This is being posted at midnight of the new year, and it is the beginning of an experiment. Let’s see if anyone notices.

11 Jul

Welcome

I decided to register my name and squat on it until I have an idea on what to do with the site.  I have been online since 1993 or so, and had my own weblog since 1999.  Much of the things I have written over the years have been cast to the four winds.  I started writing Terrapin Gardens as a personal blog in 1999, then when I married Sarah Scully in 2002 it became our joint blog.  When we started sheep farming in 2008, we re-branded Terrapin Gardens as our farm and company name.  Meanwhile we were food blogging on food.thescullys.org.  In 2013 we closed Terrapin Gardens as a sheep farm and started to focus on crafts, whether they were fiber, food or beer, and so we started Gage Hill Crafts.  The site you are reading will likely become my personal spot to babble on either in public or private, and perhaps share a bit of the various interests I have that don’t fit in those other spaces.  Welcome to my world.