Building out the Backyard 02

The bobcat came in and regraded the backyard. That plus clearing out a bunch of the debris sets the stage for finessing the terraces.

It was too wet and sloppy today for me to want to trek up to the end of the yard for an overview shot but you’ll see in the next batch the difference.

The irrigation system piping is now buried except where final connections need to be made.

 

Looking closely you can see that the yard immediately behind the lenai is now level and there are two terraces taking shape beyond that to the left

 

 

 

The side yard is prepped. There will eventually be a fence and some nice space for the bird bath and a new bird feeder.

 

 

As viewed from the side of the above shed. It’s a bit hard to get a sense of the angles from this perspective.

Building out the Backyard 01

 

Posted under On the Home Front

This post was written by Marc
on October 17, 2013 at 9:09 pm

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Building out the Backyard 01

On the heels of last years epic renovations – Pool, Lenai, Driveway, Retaining Walls and Front Lawn and Irrigation system, we’ve embarked upon a less ambitious project  to address the area behind the Lenai which comprises the bulk of our back yard.

This time we’re working with Brian Plett of Blaydes Landscaping. He is local here to my subdivision. No web page I’m afraid so I can’t link you to him.

I took a few before pictures to get a sense of how things look as viewed from the house:

 

Work began in a relatively small way, the bobcat will be here tomorrow and that’s when the work can begin in earnest. Today was mostly some cleanup and roughing in the irrigation system.

 

 

Lights installed on far side of Lanai

Building out the Backyard 02

Posted under On the Home Front

This post was written by Marc
on October 15, 2013 at 8:07 pm

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Which is Better, UPS or FedEx (SmartPost)?

So, I’m a member of Amazon Prime which means that anything that ships from Amazon comes automatically with 2 day delivery. This is pretty sweet.

A couple of days I shot a note to Amazon because I was a bit disappointed that one of my orders did not arrive when it was supposed to. It arrived two days later. This is not a big deal but I found it a bit annoying that clearly the delivery service (FedEx SmartPost) was – according to their tracking information – basically sitting on the package at their facility (local to me) for two days. Amazon no longer seems to send out mini-surveys asking when shipped items have arrived so I wanted to let them know that one of their shippers appears to be sleeping on the job.

As I look back at some previous orders it seems that UPS has been consistently on time while FedEx… well maybe not so much.

The funny thing is, partly due to their advertising efforts and partly due to past experience, I hold FedEx in higher esteem of the two.

In what turned out to be a kind of mini-test, I ordered two items from Amazon on Wednesday. It happens that one (25 LB Uninterrupted Power Supply) was shipped via UPS, the other (2 lbs Brass couplings) shipped by  FedEx Smartpost.

You look at the tracking information and you can see that the FedEx package actually arrived in Marietta before the UPS package arrived in Roswell. Both of these points are the last hops before delivery. The UPS package arrived today a bit after 3 pm and is sitting here beside me. The forecast for the FedEx package is to arrive maybe sometime before 8 pm on Sunday (two more days).

I’m glad I’m not counting on the second package being here for the weekend…

Posted under Retail Experiences

This post was written by Marc
on September 27, 2013 at 8:26 pm

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Sametime High Availability problem using Round Robin DNS where at least one server is down for an extended period of time

There is an issue where people will begin having issues accessing Sametime if one server in a Sametime HA environment is down beyond a certain length of time when the Server Community DNS is set up as round robin.

Essentially either the clients or the servers “forget” about the downed server. You are OK for up to some number of days where they recognize that the server is a ST server but no longer available. After that some cache is cleared and this problem arises.

This is why normal HA works just fine (when a server goes down for just a few minutes or hours) the servers and / or the clients are able to ignore the proffered IP address since they are aware that the server is not longer responding.

If you are taking a server out of service for longer than a week (or the period within which you will be recycling all of the other servers in the community), remove the downed server from the round robin DNS until you are ready to put it back into service.

Posted under Lotus Domino, Work Portfolio

This post was written by Marc
on July 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm

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New Tires for the CR-V from NTB

I have a 2009 CR-V.

Yesterday I decided to replace the tires at NTB (National Tire and Battery) and elected to buy some Cooper Discoverer LSX Plus tires.

I went to register the tires on the Cooper site and found that I have 3 with one DOT code  (UP2Y 1BT 4111) and 1 with a slightly different code ( UP2Y 1BT 4211). I’m pretty sure that this is fine. It tells me that the tires were made one week apart and that they were made about 2 years ago.

What I’m concerned about though is that my receipt from NTB shows a DOT number of UP9H CL7 1513. This tells me that they are claiming to have sold me a set of tires that was made a little less than 3 months ago.

Am I going to run into issues over this? i.e. if the tires decide to pull a Michelin and fail prematurely I suspect that this will affect any pro-rating that I receive.

Any advice on how or even if I need to do anything about this?

Posted under General

This post was written by Marc
on July 4, 2013 at 11:04 am

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Fastlane Stained Stainless Steel handle – a small miracle

After a few months of going around with Endless Pools and the folks at DesJoyaux, the DesJoyaux folks hit upon a workaround if not a solution for my issue with the handle on my Fastlane turning a black color.

As you can see from this “Before” picture the handle (and portions of the stainless steel cage below that protects the impeller) was a murky black color. I was unable to wipe it off to any meaningful degree yet enough would come off if you touched it to get on your hands or your bathing suit.

Several weeks ago, Billy Fowler from DesJoyaux said he thought he had hit upon something that might be of use and suggested two cleaning agents to try. He very generously offered to take back any chemical left if I found them to be ineffective which tells me that he is standing behind his research.

Basically I dumped some of this “StainFree” product from “Natural Chemistry” into a bucket with about a quart of water, donned some rubber gloves and used a rag to wipe the handle. After two or three swipes I saw the stainless steel shining through! It’s much more of a chemical reaction than an elbow grease effort. If I soaked the rag and basically squeezed it around a discolored portion of the handle the improvement was immediate. A bit of rubbing helped a bit but as soon as the chemical was spent there was no amount of rubbing that would improve it any more.

 

Here is the after picture. I cleaned the handle, pulled the top off the unit and replaced the sacrificial anode (which was designed for  outboard engines) with a much smaller one but which was purchased from Endless Pools.

Now the question remains: Is this a permanent fix that resolves a one-off issue or will I need to periodically revisit my stainless steel pieces?

Posted under On the Home Front, Retail Experiences

This post was written by Marc
on April 7, 2013 at 7:34 pm

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Back in the saddle again

I kind of dropped out of much of the social network scene with the exception of trying out Yelp! and FourSquare’s “Check-in” features. Those proved to have some value by actually providing a free dessert here or a discount there.

As for the value of living one’s life online, I see great value on sharing your escapades, trials and tribulations with your family and friends – especially those who are geographically separated from you. But I balance that with the privacy and safety of those with whom I may share time and experiences.

Not to mention the challenge of being a professional in a large company and projecting an image that is consistent not only with my current career state but also with any and every other career movement that I may make both within and possibly outside of my current place of employment. Who knows what I’ll be doing in 15 years. The only thing I know for sure is that these posts will still be available in *some* form over which I can either wax nostalgic or cringe that I thought it would be a good idea to post that publicly.

That said, forgive some dummy posts I’ll be making shortly as I test some unifying software. While facebook seems to be the primary portal for communicating with folks, it is terrible for use as a repository. I can’t find anything I liked in there or anything in the newsfeed that I thought was interesting in the past to save my life. So I’m trying to make a two-way tie between FB and my personal blog where postings in one consistently end up in the other.

Posted under General

This post was written by Marc
on April 6, 2013 at 1:53 pm

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