The Never-Ending Project: Completed!

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The Original Satellite Spigot

A couple of years ago, I built the device shown in the photo on the right. It’s an extension to our back yard garden hose, which is down 15 stairs, up to the deck. That project didn’t take any time at all, and has worked nicely. This year, my wife wanted a similar device in the front yard. The reason it was necessary can be seen in figures 2 and 3. We have some unruly bushes that make it extremely difficult to get to the spigot. I decided to create another of my satellite spigots right next to the stairs on the front porch, which would make it very easy to use the hose.

This project started about two months ago. I went to Lowe’s to get the parts, but didn’t feel like building it that day, so I put it of for a few weeks. When I finally did get around to building it, it was one problem after another. First, there was a problem with the coupling between the hose and the galvanized pipe. That allowed me to procrastinate another couple of weeks. This past Saturday, I went to Lowe’s again to get a new coupling. I brought it home, re-taped the galvanized pipe’s threads and attached the coupling. I then attached the hose to the coupling and turned on the water. Immediately it began spewing from somewhere around the coupling. Upon closer inspection, I could see that the leak was actually in the hose. It turns out that the brass end of the hose is not a single piece of metal. It’s actually two pieces crimped together, and in my zeal to make the connections as tight as possible, I had broken that seal.

Sunday, I went to Lowe’s, again, to get a new male hose-end to fix it. I also had to re-buy the metal straps I had bought to attach it to its pole, because in the weeks since my last attempt I had lost them. (And those were not the original metal straps, either. The first ones I bought were far too large…) After I got home, I cut off the last 2 inches or so of the hose with a serrated bread knife attached the new male end, screwed it into the coupling; tight, but not too tight. Then it was time to test it out. Again.

Huzzah! It works! No leaks!

After getting the seals right, all that was left was to attach it to the metal pole I had driven into the ground. That went quickly, and the project was finally complete.

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MiddleClickClose for Safari 4.0.1

A day or so ago Apple released Safari 4.0.1 and bumped the version number in the process. Safari 4.0 was 5530.17, while Safari 4.0.1 is 5530.18. After installing the update, MiddleClickClose was still loading, even with the minor version mismatch. I don’t know if Safari only looks at the first part of the number when specified in an Info.plist for MaxBundleVersion, but just to be on the safe side, I bumped it to 5530.18 and have re-released it. If it’s working fine for you, don’t bother getting this version. That’s the only change I made.

Picking the Bones At An Estate Sale

I just got back from an estate sale in my neighborhood. The people whose belongings were being sold were an elderly couple who lived just around the corner from me. I never met them, but I knew who they were. They both appeared to be quite old, but both were always working in their yard to keep it immaculate. They always had something blooming, no matter the season.

And now they’re gone. The gentleman passed away some time last year; I don’t know the details of his passing. The wife is still alive, but living in Texas in a “retirement community” near her daughter. I’m told she’s struggling with Alzheimer’s.

And so this weekend her family came to sell off everything that was left of their lives together, in order to get the house ready for sale. I don’t mean to cast aspersions on the family, as I know that these things have to be done, but while I was looking through what was left for sale, I got very sad. Scattered around were all sorts of bits and pieces of their lives that showed what they liked and what they liked to do. The wife, for example, apparently loved to quilt. She had what appeared to be about 30 – 40 years of quilting magazines in the basement. There were numerous pieces of cross-stitch and embroidery on a table, too.

It looked like the husband had been in telecom, as there were spools of wire and loads of antiquated telephone equipment in the basement. There was also a framed award from 1980 presented to him from his employer. One thing of interest to me was a booklet produced by the Travelers insurance company for their employees in 1972, detailing their policies on reimbursement for moving and living expenses. I don’t know which of them worked in insurance.

So what did I pick for myself? I have a thing for food photography from the 1950’s and 1960’s, and there was quite a collection there. I bought an almost-complete set of the Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cooking series from 1962; it’s missing the last three volumes. I also bought a 1972 edition of the standard Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (red and white checks) and a cookbook from 1974 called “Favorite Recipes of America’s Home Economics Teachers.” One non-cookbook also made it into my hands. It’s a book called “Papa Was a Preacher,” which was published in 1944. It’s a memoir of the youngest of six children of a rural minister. She wrote the book with the intention of dispelling the myth that being a minister’s child is a joyless existence. What was also neat about this book is that on the copyright page the publisher explained how “Wartime Books” were being printed in ways that conserved paper and copper for the war effort.

So why did this make me sad? I think it’s because these two people spent two lifetimes together collecting all this stuff. Now one is dead, the other can’t be far behind, and all of their things are being scattered in every direction. I know once you’re gone you can’t keep your stuff, and children don’t always want to keep the things of their parents, so I suppose selling it certainly beats throwing it away. Still… I felt sad and somewhat guilty to be picking through their lives.

Apple Doesn’t Seem To Want My Money

Yesterday, like six billion other people, I tried to pre-order a new iPhone 3GS from the Apple Store online. After trying multiple times getting multiple timeouts, I was finally given a message stating that they could not complete my request online, and that I needed to go to a brick-and-mortar Apple Store to complete it. This didn’t completely shock me since when I bought my first generation iPhone, I could not activate it through iTunes, and instead had to visit an AT&T store.

Shortly afterward, I received an email from concierge@apple.com, with this text

Thanks for starting your iPhone purchase online. To finish the process, come to the store you selected and look for a Concierge in an orange shirt. We’ll help you complete your purchase, activate your new iPhone, and set it up for you.

Apart from the fact that I didn’t select a store, this was in sync with what the online store told me. A pain to have to visit an actual store, to be sure, but it didn’t sound like it would be too painful.

So today, I drove to the mall and visited the Apple Store. As soon as I entered, I spied an orange-shirted “concierge” and approached her. “Hello,” I said, “I tried to preorder an iPhone 3GS yesterday online, but it said it couldn’t do it, and I needed to seek out an orange-shirted person at an Apple Store. Can you help me with this?” She looked pained as she responded, “I’m sorry… we don’t actually have a system in place to pre-0rder the 3GS.” She went on to say that they did have a pre-order system for when the 3G was launched, and she assumed they would move that system over for the 3GS, but they had nothing now, and I should come back on the 19th. She also said that “lots” of people had been coming in today, who had also been told to visit a store to complete their purchase.

That just sucks out loud.

I’m trying really, really hard to throw money at Apple and they just won’t take it. They clearly underestimated how many people would try to pre-order online yesterday, otherwise they would have had more server bandwidth to handle it. The fact that they sent me (and others) an email telling me to go to a store to finish the process, when they have no such process in place, is just sloppy. I’m not happy about this one little bit, and I want people to know about it.

Does this mean I’m not going to buy a 3GS and, instead, go with a Pre or something else? Of course not, and Apple knows this….