Mac mini updates

First off, I am a dummy and completely failed to notice that there are in fact two USB-A ports on the Mini itself. The dock was completely unncessary for my initial setup. Oops!

Also, I just played some test content in HDR and holy heck it looks pretty amazing. Conveniently enough, Safari supports HDR in YouTube while Firefox doesn’t, so I was able to play some videos side-by-side to see the difference, and it was pretty immense, especially in the extremes. Which is, of course, the whole point to HDR.

I’ll probably keep using Firefox for usual video stuff, though, because I’m not a fan of not having a decent ad blocker. Hopefully Firefox adds HDR support soon!

EDIT: Oh yeah, I ended up force-quitting the NI installer so that I could finish installing some system updates and the Wacom driver and so on. What’s really cool is that even though the Wacom driver is still x86, Rosetta still emulates it. Holy cow. Also the Silicon Macs use a new driver signing thing that’s a little onerous but also exposes a nicer way of going into the startup disk selector (now you just hold down the power button while booting, no need to remember an awkward keyboard combination that doesn’t always map right to whatever weird keyboard you’re using at the time).

Also, I had meant to do some disk speed tests as well. See below!

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New Mac mini

Today I wasn’t expecting to get a lot of work done due to my brain still feeling like it’s been through a juicer, and also because my new Mac mini arrived today. So I got to go through the drudgery of reinstalling everything while also seeing the news of the world exploding around me! Hooray!

Anyway, just some random setup notes.

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So much for Wellbutrin

Yesterday I was feeling pretty off, in a “wow I think my blood pressure is spiking again” way. And I happened to have an appointment at the pain clinic, and they measured my blood pressure at 160/90, which is, you know, Pretty High. At the time I chalked it up to having walked over there in a hurry, but throughout the afternoon and evening I kept measuring it and it remained that high.

And then all night long I had a hell of a time sleeping. I only got around 3 hours of sleep total; most of the time I was just lying awake, blood pounding in my ears, feeling like I was going to die. At 3 AM I also checked my blood pressure again and it was 160/100. Yikes.

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So, comments were broken

So hey, I thought it was weird that nobody had been posting comments on my blog in a while. Turns out comments were just, like, broken, and nobody told me, for some reason.

The problem turned out to be that Isso currently doesn’t work on Python 3.8 (or at least, the current released version, which is ridiculously outdated, doesn’t), and it was easy to roll it back to Python 3.7, thanks to poetry’s pyenv integration. So, score another one for poetry.

But why don’t people actually tell me when they’re having problems with my site? Do people just assume that if something’s broken it’s broken on purpose? Because I mean… no?

Anyway, comments are fixed now.

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2021 goals

Let’s not call them resolutions.

One year ago I set out some goals for the next decade. They’re all pretty good goals. But here’s some specific things I’d like to accomplish over the next year:

  • Get my voice to a spot where people don’t misgender me quite so much
  • Get my fibromyalgia and ADHD meds dialed in (so far so good)
  • Actually finish my next non-Novembeat album1
  • PlaidWeb things, such as:
    • An online post editor
    • A self-hosted notification engine (for webmention, activitypub, websub, etc.)
    • Maybe actually write some actual code for Subl?
    • Also maybe actually put a dang site together for PlaidWeb
  • Rebuild my broken social life
  • Get my home clean, and keep it clean
  • Start drawing comics regularly again
  • And the ever-present goal of losing, say, 15 pounds

Kind of ambitious, I know, but it’s better to aim for the stars and hit the moon than to never even leave the ground.

Oh, good

Just when I was worried that reinstalling the OS on my iMac once again fixed its many stability problems, it’s started randomly killing Sublime Text and occasionally kernel panicking for no particular reason again. And now the kernel panic backtrace involves an entirely different subsystem, and is for things that shouldn’t have even been in use when the machine crashed! (Heck, I wasn’t even at my machine at the time!)

Fortunately the M1 mini is arriving on Wednesday and hopefully then things will actually work for a while. Who knows.

Oh also happy new year etc.etc., no comic this year I can’t be bothered1

3D printing wood

A week ago I bought some wood-filled PLA, and I’ve been experimenting with it a bit to see how to make it actually look like wood.

The first thing I printed (a Pocket Operator case) just looked like it was printed with boring beige filament, even after being sanded:

IMG_2515D.jpeg
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Random miscellaneous updates

Do I post too much about my personal life? Oh wait that’s why I have a blog.

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Flood and Mac updates

Flood update: Today I checked on my stuff in storage and was happy to find that there is apparently no damage inside any of my instrument cases; they just got a little bit of dirt on the outside. Yay!

Mac update: Even after having done all the stuff to make it stable, it continues to be unstable. Ugh. So I decided to just go ahead and buy an M1 Mac mini (512GB storage, 16GB RAM), monitor, external NVMe m.2 enclosure, and a 2TB drive for it. I won’t have the new computer until January 15. Normally I wouldn’t be so eager to do a first-gen new-architecture Mac but the reviews of it have been great and meanwhile this 2017 iMac has always given me a lot of trouble with stability and reliability and mysterious problems; Big Sur made it worse, but it was never a particularly great computer to begin with.1

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Current state of affairs

I’ve been on Wellbutrin for a couple of weeks now and the effect has been interesting. I’m definitely finding it easier to focus on things like chores (and heck, my kitchen is the cleanest it’s been since the remodel got finished, and my dining room is well on its way to not being a disaster), but on the other hand it’s disrupting my sleep a lot and I end up feeling tired throughout the day. My dreams have also been way more intense.

Right now I’m feeling sick with my usual winter sinus crap, so I’m a bit wobbly and a lot nauseous.

Between the Wellbutrin and playing DDR my pain levels are a bit lower but still not amazing, and I’m still finding it easy to hit a fibro wall™. Tomorrow I have a followup with my pain doctor to try to finally get on low-dose naltrexone. I also have the next two weeks off from work and hopefully I won’t end up just working too hard on personal projects instead. (That said, I have a couple of creative output gift swaps with deadlines coming up that I really should start on at some point.)

Anwyay I guess I don’t have a lot else to say. Oh well.

More meat boxing

The box o' meat progresses nicely.

Since the last update I’ve completed all of the meats that were underway, and have finished 1 of the pounds of ground beef (which made very good burgers) and the chili relleno pork sausage. So what remains:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • venison hot dogs
  • 1.25 pounds of flank steak

So, this turned out to not be an entirely excessive amount of meat. And Crowd Cow does seem to be a pretty good deal in general.

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DDR/Stepmania fun times

Yesterday I finally got ArrowVortex working; originally I was running it under WINE on my Intel NUC over xrdp to my Mac, which was kind of janky but functional, but after that stopped working (and was too obnoxious with latency) I just tried out Crossover WINE again and it worked like a charm.

Incidentally, Crossover’s gotten way better in the 10 years since I last used it and I might end up paying for it again!

Anyway, you can see the results of this: I have a very much work-in-progress song pack that you can check out if you’re so inclined. Beta feedback is appreciated as well. I’ll be adding artwork eventually but right now my effort is primarily on getting more songs and charts in.

If there’s any songs of mine you think would be a good DDR track, let me know!

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Updates

Had an appointment with my psychiatrist today. Turns out I was supposed to get a drug screen some time ago, oops. But I’m not that interested in stimulant-based meds anyway. For now we’re going to try Wellbutrin, which is I think what we were talking about last time anyway and it doesn’t need a drug screening. So that starts tomorrow morning.

DDR pad arrives sometime tomorrow as well. Just in time, too, the pad I’m borrowing from Spud has decided that the down button doesn’t really need to work right.

I hope all this stuff helps me to get motivated at work, because holy crap I am having a hard time finding the energy to actually, y'know, work.

Feeling better already

Today my copies of DDR for PS2 arrived. Also Spud mentioned that he still had some soft pads from back when my enthusiasm for the game got him into it as well and offered to lend one to me, so I picked that up from him.

Before I started playing I felt tired, depressed, and dismal.

Then I played for half an hour and already felt so much better.

The pad I’m borrowing isn’t anything special, and the button response isn’t great and it slips around a bit much, but even bad DDR is pretty good. And I think this is a habit I’ll be able to keep up, and which I’ll feel really good about.

I can’t wait for the L-Tek pad to arrive in (probably) a week or two, but in the meantime it’s really nice being able to play the game again.

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Box o' meat status

A coworker asked how far along I am in my big box of meat, and so now my brain is distracted with taking an inventory.

Completed:

  • 1 pound ground turkey (used in the meatloaf)
  • 2x lemon-pesto salmon fillets (prepared as provided)

Underway:

  • Wild boar hot dogs (2 of 7 consumed)
  • Five-pepper sausage (1 of 4 consumed)
  • Dill smoked salmon (halfway consumed)
  • Tenderloin tips and tails (thawing to make mushroom beef stew)

Not yet started:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • Chili relleno pork sausge
  • Venison hot dogs
  • 1.25 pounds of flank steak
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DDR update

I ended up just ordering one of the pads from Poland, with the intention of modding it to work with the PS2, and then I ended up installing Stepmania on my old, generally-useless Mac mini and downloading all of the songs from the PS2 games that I’d rebought, making the PS2 entirely redundant anyway. Rumor has it that the Polish pad manufacturer is working on a native PS2 control box and when that comes out I guess I could buy one but jeeze, Stepmania on the Mini looks and plays so much better than the real thing on the PS2 anyway, so why even bother?

Plus, Stepmania has a huge community of people adding more music all the time, and maybe this’ll encourage me to make some packs of my own stuff. I bet Sliced by a Mandolin would make a great DDR track.

Oh, and even after shipping, the pad from Poland still ended up cheaper than any of the domestic options I could find, DIY kits included.

Pain, music, and DDR

I’m fully off the nortriptyline and I haven’t had withdrawal side effects for several days now. On the other hand, my persistent fibro dizziness is back, and when I hit a wall with a pain flare I really feel it. I’d forgotten just how much more intense that was before nortriptyline. (Of course, while on nortriptyline it’s not like the end result was any different so I don’t feel like I’ve made a big mistake getting off of it.)

My pain doc recommended trying low-dose naltrexone, which is something my previous pain doc had scoffed at1, but anyway I’ve sent a message to my GP asking about getting on it, and if she can’t take care of that then maybe my psychiatrist can, or maybe the pain doc can (but unfortunately he’s really busy and appointments with him are booked to well over a month out at this point).

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Audio software for sale

I just upgraded to Native Instruments Komplete 13 Ultimate, which means that I now have redundant licenses for a number of NI products which I’d bought individually while trying to justify not upgrading to Ultimate (spending much more than the upgrade differential in the process, of course). Fortunately, NI makes license transfers really easy.

So, if anyone’s interested in any of the following pieces of software, let me know:

I also have a license for NI Akoustik Piano which takes some doing to get it to work in a modern environment, but is still pretty darn good. It’s basically the predecessor to the definitive piano collection. (Although honestly the Definitive Piano Collection is well worth the $100 if you’re looking for some virtual pianos, and is my go-to piano selection these days.)