The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Fun start to the day

My 8am meeting with colleagues in London had to wait until 9:30 because Comcast screwed the pooch this morning:

Reports indicate the system was down, or at least unsteady, in areas stretching from Chicago to Philadelphia, New Jersey, and South Carolina. Looking at DownDetector, issues had been reported earlier in the Bay Area, but it’s unclear if those are connected to the problems people saw this morning.

Comcast has released a statement regarding the outage. According to a spokesperson, “Earlier, some customers experienced intermittent service disruptions as a result of a network issue. We have addressed the issue and service is now restoring for impacted customers, as we continue to investigate the root cause. We apologize to those who were affected.” It appears that most of the people who reported problems have confirmed they’re back online. There’s still no word on exactly what caused the problem or how many people were impacted at its peak.

In Chicago, the outage affected thousands of people from about 7:30 to 9, by which time I'd already relocated to my company's Loop office.

Oh, and on the day before a trip, my bank called to let me know their fraud department killed my primary credit card. They hope the new one arrives before I leave for the airport.

Yay.

I'm going to beat this code, dammit

It's 22:20 on the last day of my sprint, and I have finally completed the refactoring project I started at the beginning of the sprint. And...bing! "Azure DevOps [Build Succeeded]" email. Whew!

Tomorrow we'll have a boring release of last sprint's code, since it has sat quietly in our Production Build pipeline just waiting for me to push it to the Production Deploy pipeline for two weeks.

Sometimes this happens. Both the (delayed) release tomorrow and the refactoring this sprint solve two major problems that prevented us from moving forward on development. But wow, until I cracked the nut on this code, it was not easy.

Nice bit of news from the UK

The Department of Health and Social Care now allows visitors to the UK to satisfy their testing requirement with a £22 lateral-flow test, rather than the more expensive (and invasive) PCR test:

Eligible fully vaccinated passengers arriving in England from countries not on the UK’s red list can take a cheaper lateral flow test instead of a PCR from today (24 October 2021).

Lateral flow tests must be taken as soon as possible on the day of arrival in England or at the latest before the end of a passenger’s second day and can now be purchased from the list of private providers on GOV.UK from as little as £22 – significantly cheaper than PCR tests.

Anyone testing positive will need to isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test, at no additional cost to the traveller, which can be genomically sequenced to help identify new variants. PCR tests can be accessed free of charge by ordering in the usual way through NHS Test and Trace – via nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.  Test providers will be expected to advise people to self-isolate and direct people towards the NHS Test and Trace booking page.

This also means I can pick up a test from a provider and take it back in my hotel room, rather than schedule an hour-long interruption in my day.

Unexpected measurement

About a month ago I bought a Netatmo Smart Weather Station, which has both indoor and outdoor Internet-connected sensor arrays. The indoor array includes a CO2 gauge, which taught me last night that my gas oven produces lot of carbon dioxide:

 

Now, 1360 ppm doesn't pose a serious health risk, but you can see how quickly the CO2 shot up when I turned the oven on and how slowly it dissipated.

The other thing I've learned is how stable my indoor temperature is when the weather is cool but not cold. The outside temperature has stayed within the range 8°C to 13°C for the past week, and my indoor temperature hasn't budged from 19°C by more than one degree. We'll see what happens Wednesday when the outside temperature goes below freezing.

Not the day I'd hoped for

My day started before dawn waiting (unsuccessfully) for Cassie to pee in a howling rain storm, and will end late tonight after our penultimate rehearsal before our November 7th concert. So unless something truly catastrophic happens, no real post today.

Tomorrow I'll have something about the book I just finished.

A hot time in the old town tonight

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, which burned for two days and left 100,000 people homeless. But only for a short time; by 1874, when the city had a second big fire, our population had already grown by about that number.

Flash forward to now:

Finally, last night I attended an actual live theater performance for the first time in 19 months, and it was amazeballs. If you live in Chicago, right now you need to go to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater website and buy tickets to As You Like It, which plays through November 21st.

New phone, who dis?

After 2½ years and one unfortunate crunching sound last week, I've finally gotten a new phone. I decided to go with the Samsung Galaxy S21. So far, I like it, though with any new hardware you also get new software. Some of the basic apps work differently.

Switching phones got really easy in the past couple of years, though. The only dicey part came when I had to transfer all my multifactor codes over. And I have to keep my old phone handy for a while in case I missed one.

Now my eyes hurt from squinting at all the screens for two hours, though.

Not a dilemma my ancestors faced

My apartment has 30 windows, and at the moment all 28 of the ones I can reach are open. But the temperature keeps ticking up. Right now my office is a comfortable 25°C with a gentle breeze passing through. The Nest sensor in my bedroom reads 23°C, also a lovely temperature for the end of September.

Tonight, however, I would like to sleep, and at 23°C I feel too warm to sleep well. I prefer it around, oh, 17-18°C. I can do all right at 21°C.

So: do I wait for the temperature to fall naturally after the sun goes down in a bit less than three hours? Or do I hit the A/C? The NWS says it'll be 21°C by 11pm and 17°C right before sunrise.

See? My ancestors didn't have to think about this when they wandered the savannahs of Africa 100,000 years ago. They just had to worry about lions.

Unfortunate encounter; or why I really don't fear a robot takeover

I have a Roomba. I have a dog. When these two things live in the same house, every dog-and-Roomba owner has the same anxiety: will they interact in such a way that will require a messy cleanup? iRobot, who manufacture Roombas, have a new model advertised (only $850!) to reduce this anxiety considerably.

I do not have this new model. I have an older model. And yesterday, anxiety turned to horror.

Fortunately (depending on how you look at it), Cassie's accident must have happened at least 12 hours before the Roomba found it, so the offending matter had dried up. Unfortunately, the Roomba hit it early in its run. Fortunately, the damage didn't look as bad from out here. And fortunately, I keep a set of Roomba parts on hand just in case.

When I got home last night, Cassie wagged and wiggled exactly to the point of me entering the room where she'd left her present for the robot. Even before I had noticed the mess she tucked tail and ran back to the living room.

Maybe I should buy the $850 model that can avoid small objects on the floor?