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Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

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Four Things

It's time to look back through the positive focus section of my planner for wins of various sizes.

1. One morning after a thunderstorm, I was having trouble reaching my Pinboard account during blogging time. I appeared to be able to reach it from my phone, but not my computer. IsItDownRightNow? helped me quickly confirm that my phone app wasn't using some kind of cached data/the problem was on my end.

I appreciated the time saved from troubleshooting, and rebooted our cable modem. Everything was fine after that.

2. As Chief Launderer of the Van Horn estate, I had been having trouble finishing the week's laundry ahead of the school week. I typically do the kid's clothes last, and since we're talking about a week's worth of laundry for a boy and a girl, folding everything was a challenge, and something I'd often put off.

One week, I was behind enough that my daughter came up to me and complained that she couldn't find anything she wanted to wear to school.

To save time, finding clothes for her, I quickly separated my son's clothes from hers. She quickly found a skirt she wanted from her basket of things before I had even finished.

Later on, I noticed that folding the separated clothes seemed to be much quicker and easier, so I started doing separating by kid as a first step, and haven't had trouble getting this done since. (I think this boils down to having fewer piles to keep track of at a time.)

I think this will also make it easier to turn this into a chore for each kid to do: It should be easier to get either one to do their own folding than to deal with all of it.

This isn't as clever as my old printed towel hack, but it has saved me a surprising amount of time and annoyance.
3. Yes, I, too have been bitten by the Wordle bug. The game is challenging enough to be fun, doesn't take much time, and leaves you both wanting more and mentally free to do other things since you have to wait for the next puzzle.

I'm 20/20 so far, and start each game with the word tines. It had been stein for a while, until I realized I could take care of the same set of common letters and deal with regular plurals by switching.

4. Back in grad school, I used Matlab a lot -- enough that I bought myself a license so I could work at home sometimes. Naturally, software rot had long since rendered it unusable on more modern systems as Linux changed over the two decades since then.

But after using virtualization to accomplish a few interesting things recently, and realizing that Matlab could be useful for some work I was doing, I decided to see if I could get the old software working again. (I'll admit that this was much more curiosity about whether I could do this.)

It was a fine balancing act between (a) finding an old-enough version of Linux to be able to run the old software and (b) said version not being so old I couldn't get it to run usefully on QEMU.

On top of that, I knew from experience soon after grad school that I might need to add a couple of files from an even older version of Linux to get Matlab to actually run once I had it installed. It was interesting figuring out what those were, and then extracting them from installation media.

Aside from actually seeing this work, my favorite moment came when I was trying to figure out how I could obtain my "missing" binary file from source media. Looking at the most popular solutions on this page, I thought, Surely, someone has had to do this before and Lord, there has to be a less-convoluted way to do this -- and then found it simply by scrolling down some more. (Weird: The version I used wasn't GUI. Whatever.)

Yes, file-roller is your friend, and it's likely already installed on your Linux box.

I almost forgot: I did something like this (Scroll way down.) over a decade ago. That computer had a hard drive crash; I didn't make comprehensive backups back then; and I lost or did not write down how I did it. It was harder to do this time around, but what I got is much easier to use. Except for having good reason to think I could succeed, I was starting from scratch -- and this included being unable to get a useful virtual machine out of Red Hat 6.2.

-- CAV

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