Feb 19 2016

Mechanical keyboard redux, et al

Adel Gabot

3:42PM

I was watching the latest MacBreak Weekly podcast on my new Apple TV this morning, and one of the commentators, Andy Ihnatko, was showing off his pick (at the end of every show each of them gives their Picks of The Week, whether it be Apple gear, an app, a handy accessory or even a software or hardware tip), and it was a new mechanical desktop keyboard.

It featured Cherry mechanical switches and a host of other configurable features, and Andy talked about how he loved to use it, so much so that he’s taken to working at his desktop in his home office first thing in the morning, eschewing his laptop in bed, just to be able to use it.

He loved the noise, the clacking, and the mechanical feel so much he looked for reasons and excuses to be able to use the keyboard. Exactly how I feel!

I’ve been using an ancient IBM Model M keyboard, that old dinosaur that was old when Apple IIs were young, for over a year now, and I’ve put away the compact bluetooth keyboard that came with my iMac forever. Yes, it’s damned noisy, but I’ve gotten used to it, and have grown to love that clack-clack-clack. I’ve gotten so used to it I’d even forgotten it makes that much noise, and it took Ihnatko to remind me why I loved it so, even if it barely fits on the keyboard shelf of my computer desk.

Coincidentally, someone in my user group (PhilMUG) actually wrote to me earlier in the week, and he came across some of my old keyboard posts and was asking me if I still had any left for sale. At one time I actually had three Model Ms. I sold one online, and am using another on my the iMac. The third is a write-off: it’s missing a couple of keys, and another couple aren’t functioning; it was poorly maintained when I got it, and it showed. Had to extend my regrets.

But I love love love the one I have.

Nice to be reminded of it.

*

I did a bit of rearranging in my room: I put in a small cabinet right beside the iMac where I now keep my electronic whatsits for easy access, and put the detritus I usually keep on my computer desk on top of it, clearing the table. I also bought a corkboard which I attached to the wall above the cabinet, and got a notepad and some pushpins so I could tack up reminders to myself and see them instantly.

I also re-angled my iMac to face the corner where all this stuff is, instead of being aligned to the wall, so my workarea has been altered somewhat. It feels new and different a bit, and is a welcome change.

*

I’m thinking of purchasing a new servomotor-driven Automatic Voltage Regulator again (now that I can afford one again). A modest 1500-watt regulator should be enough; a bigger one is too expensive. There’s a 1500-watt servomotor Akari AVR selling in SM for a little over P3.2K, and I’m considering buying one.

I only have my (configured-to-the-max) 27″ iMac, two powered external drives, a powered USB hub, a table lamp and a fan to power up on the 220V side (that should all take up about 800-1000 watts), and on the entertainment side of things, a big flatscreen, a soundbar, a DVD player and the Apple TV. On the 110V side, the PS4 and the Dualshock Charging Station, although I think I should just leave those well enough alone, they’re the only 110V gadgets in the house.

But I’m still thinking about it though. I’ve survived all these years without an AVR, why would I need one now? (Then again, if had one before, I might still have my 3rd gen Apple TV and the RCA Digital Tuners. I don’t know about the ATV, but I’m sure the tuners got fried by a bolt of lightning. Oh, well.)

*

On the tragic side of things, my Uncle Ating passed away yesterday. His daughter called us up to tell us.

He’s the husband of my dad’s oldest sister, Auntie Salud; he just turned 90 last year. We were marveling then how old they’d all gotten, and wondered idly when they’d pass. Now we know.

Uncle Ating was a prominent lawyer in his day in Agoo, La Union. When we were kids we used to vacation in Agoo at their family’s house near the beach, where we used to play with their kids, my cousins Pepe, Manny and Ciony.

His remains lie in state in Agoo, and we’re working out how and when to go pay our respects.

Rest well, Uncle. You’ll be sorely missed.


Jan 12 2016

My left foot—Epilogue

Adel Gabot

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11:34AM

You remember me writing about something wrong with my left foot at the end of last year? Well. you probably don’t, or you did but don’t care. Whatever the case, it’s been troubling me mightily ever since.

I did see a doctor for it, and she told me I had a case of cellulitis, which is a non-contagious bacterial infection which has absolutely nothing to do with cellulite, and which was probably caused by my over-eager and energetic cleaning and trimming of my toenails the day before it first appeared.

It’s an extremely painful condition, and I actually had to stay bedridden for a couple of days, it was so damned painful. Anything touching my big toe sent me into paroxysms of incredible agony.

The doctor prescribed me an antibiotic whose commercial name was Sumapen, a penicillin variant made for these things, and thank God I wasn’t allergic to any antibiotic, as far as I knew. I took the medicine, and the pain and swelling receded to a dull ache over the few days I took them. By the time I had run out, my foot was still mildly painful, but at least I could hobble around again.

A few days later, the pain was still there, and I was considering going back to my doctor and asking for more Sumapen, but thought better of it and just waited it out. This week, it’s almost disappeared, and things have sort of gone back to normal.

I told my brother about my foot this weekend, and aside from reaming me out for not telling him about it right away, he reminded me that he also had the same exact case some years ago, and had to be laid up in a hospital for a few days because it was so painful. Didn’t I remember? Cellulitis?

Of course! I even had to watch over him as his companion/guard/yaya during that time. And didn’t it happen over the New Year too? That we had to forego the celebration because of it? Damn. I’d forgotten about that. Although I guess this says a lot more about my constitution than his, the fact that he had to go to a hospital to deal with it while I just had to grit my teeth and weather it at home.

Anyway, it’s all better now, and I promise that’s the last you’ll ever hear of my foot ever again. Sheesh.


Dec 25 2015

Belly-bustin’ Christmas

Adel Gabot

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2:23PM

Just came from an early family Christmas buffet lunch at Dad’s World Buffet at SM Megamall and dad-gum it, I’m friggin’ stuffed.

A Christmas family event at home was difficult and stressful: there was the marketing, the cooking, the setting up of the house, and the subsequent cleaning. Too much effort. If we went out to a place to have it in, we’d cut out all of that crap. The whole week I was thinking of a buffet place to have lunch in for Christmas, and Dad’s World Buffet at the mall was one of the choices I was eying. But try as I might, I couldn’t get a reservation for Christmas Day—nobody was answering their phone. So we decided to take a chance, go there early and wing it.

We got there at 10:30, anticipating an especially large flood of patrons for Christmas lunch, and we were right. By 11:15 the place was packed, and there was a long line of waitlisted families waiting for tables queued up outside. Good thing we were there early. As luck would have it, Dad’s had a promo for the season where if it was your birthday (valid for three days before and three days after), your buffet was all free. It so happened it was my father’s birthday tomorrow, so that was one less buffet lunch to pay for. Excellent!

I can’t account for anyone else in our party, but I went through the buffet systematically. I ate a light breakfast at home so I’d have at lot of room for a big lunch. At Dad’s, I first had a big plate of Japanese appetizers, then a plate of Japanese food, then a plate of Chinese, then finally a plate of Filipino/Spanish food. Then I had halo-halo, and then, to top it off, a big bowl of soft-serve ice cream. I didn’t go for any soup (which I normally get), and only had a glass of iced tea.

And man, I don’t think I want anything else for a week, I’m that full.

Then there’s still my father’s birthday celebration tomorrow, for which we’re going to another buffet resto. Ay yay ay.


Dec 14 2015

Shopping Nightmare

Adel Gabot

8:12AM

Spent the weekend doing crazy Christmas shopping—for my brother’s friends and co-workers. Again.

I don’t have that wide a circle of friends and co-workers anymore, not a lot I keep up with anyway, so I just have a few left, and some relatives and loved ones to shop for, but even so, I did all that a lot earlier just to get it out of the way. I hate all the shopping frenzy, the big crowds at the malls, the long lines at the counters and all the lousy traffic, so I do my shopping early so I can just sit pretty during the actual Christmas season.

Little did I know I was going to get roped into it anyway.

My brother invited me to lunch last weekend, and after we ate, he asked if we could go for a little bit of shopping for his officemates and friends. A little? Ok. I wasn’t going to do much that day anyway.

Crap. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

Then this Friday, I reinstalled everything on his Mac as a favor, and to thank me (and get his computer back), he asked to meet up and treat me to lunch Saturday. Same thing happened—shopping for his co-workers.

Then when I got home, I found that all of the HDMI ports on my trusty old TV refused to work—but I wasn’t sure it was the TV itself that was screwed up. I needed to test that the PS4’s HDMI output hadn’t been the one that borked (in which case I was royally screwed). So I needed to test it out, and figured I could go to his condo unit in Boni and try it out there on his TV the next morning.

So I went yesterday morning and tested it (it wasn’t the PS4, thank God). Before we went for lunch asked me if we could shop one last time for the few straggling, hard-to-find gift items in Greenhills, pretty please.

Greenhills? A couple of weekends before Christmas? That would be the crazy epicenter of all Christmas shopping in the city. Parking alone would be impossible. But again, I was just waiting for word from the printing press about the book, so I wasn’t doing much anyway. I reluctantly said ok, and so we went.

My God. I think we spent close to an hour driving in all that traffic to get to the Greenhills Shopping Center (it was geographically very near, but traffic-wise it might as well be in Timbuktu) and another hour driving around and around inside the packed parking structure looking for a place to park the car.

Then the crowds! Man, it looked as if all of Metro Manila had chosen that day to do their shopping. We had to wade through the rabid crowds.

Nevertheless, we found almost everything we came for, except for a Bluetooth keyboard which was nowhere to be found. I actually had an extra one at home, just sitting there, and in exasperation I offered it to him, and he agreed, so that was that.

We could finally go home. To my busted TV. Sheesh. What a life.

 


Jul 13 2015

Reset again

Adel Gabot

7:45PM

I had to go accompany my Dad to Camp Aguinaldo this morning so he could reset his ATM card at Veterans’ Bank so he can continue to withdraw his pension.

My Dad normally makes me withdraw from the ATM the maximum amount allowed for the day (P10K) several times during the month. He could do it himself, I suppose, but he’s part Luddite (most people his age are like that), so he makes me do it. At least in between the times he has to have the card reset, like now.

We get to do this reset every three months or so. I think the government disables the ATM cards regularly so that they can verify that the pensioner is still alive and kicking. Wouldn’t do to continue to give the pension to someone who’s gone, right?

We’ve only done it once before, but that first time the bank official told us we’d be coming back every three months to reset the card. So I knew to photocopy Dad’s ID before we went in, because they made us do that the last time and I had to go find someplace with a photocopier. This time I was ready.

It goes like this: we submit the photocopied ID, present said disabled ATM card and fill up a form, sign and put my Dad’s thumbprints on it, while the teller verifies his account. Then they make us fill up a withdrawal slip for the remainder of his pension so we can get it over the counter. And then we wait (a long time) for his name to be called so he can get his money.

But he always asks me to accompany him on these trips to the bank. He’s pretty hard of hearing these days, but he’s not completely deaf, and I think he asks me just to have company. Least I could do.

We were through a little past ten and had an early lunch at one of the turo-turos nearby. Then we went our separate ways: him to whatever little things he does at the Camp, and me to my little things.

Nice start to the week.