Happy New Year…………………………………………
As always, first the chronology:
12/26/21 – Sunday – Up at the usual time. Didn’t sleep well last night. Didn’t go to church today. Just didn’t feel like it. Got cleaned up and downstairs to do the blog. Upstairs for a sandwich for lunch. Some chores around the house then out to Gary’s for the afternoon get together. Home and picked up Kathy. Went to Rural King for some flashlights Julie wanted for the kids. Then to the Mexican restaurant for dinner. Stop at the bank for cash and Lowes for caulk. Got gas on the way home. Put things away then the usual evening routine.
12/27/21 – Monday – Up late this morning. Dogs keeping me up till almost midnight and started at 6AM dropping toys on the hard wood floor. Kathy took off to go to the movies with Julie and the grand kids. I sat down and started fighting with the benefits website for AT&T. Finally after several hours of reading and looking I got things straightened out. Spent time working on the logistics of Gary’s project. Ordered some parts from Allelectronics. Kathy came home. Took a nap. Had dinner then usual evening routine.
12/28/21 – Tuesday – Up at the usual time. Spent the day in the shack cleaning up the workbench and desk. Got the bench done but still need work on the desk. Ordered some connectors. Evening routine was the usual.
12/29/21 – Wednesday – Up at the usual time. Kathy went into St. Matthew’s mall to return some things at Penny’s. I worked on finishing up a NinoTNC. Kathy got home and we had lunch. Did some ordering and started assembling a couple more TNCs. Usual evening routine.
12/30/21 – Thursday – Up a little early this morning. Out to pick up Gary for our hair cuts. Dropped him off and took a quick look at his computer. Then over to Mike’s (My son-in-law) place to help with an electrical issue. Nothing but problems. Didn’t get out of there till after 2PM. Home and a quick nap. Then took the wife to Hometown Pizza for dinner. Usual evening routine.
12/31/21 – Friday – Up at the usual time. Spent the day in the shack building the remaining TNCs. Kathy went shopping this morning. Got back a little after noon. Helped her put things away. Had an awesome steak and potato dinner. Usual evening routine.
1/1/22 – Saturday – Up at the usual time. Was planning to go over to Mike’s (Son-in-law) this afternoon to work on the electrical issue but Mike got held up at his mother’s place. So I stayed home and worked on the Raspberry Pi for my TARPN station. Julie and the grand kids came over in the afternoon to go through some toys that we are getting rid of and that the kids don’t play with anymore. Had the traditional pork and sauerkraut dinner. Usual evening routine.
Now the specifics:
Let’s start with a little humor –
All the benefits issues are resolved and put to bed for this year. One of two painful times of the year. Just going through everything and making sure it still fits our needs. I really don’t know why I take it so seriously as I usually go with what I already have. I did discuss things with my friend Ron when he was here. He is retired from AT&T and is very good about that stuff. He and I basically agreed on everything. However, AT&T seems to be getting in financial trouble with their retirees. They had a Care Plus plan that was free till this year and now it’s $3 a month. Seems to me it would cost them more than that to do the paper work. But it’s all done. Now just get ready to gather all the forms from investment accounts to give to the CPA for taxes. Just never ends.
I did manage to get the house refinance done this past year. Still need to clean up some lose ends relative to escrow but that should not be a bad deal.
OK, so not very interesting to most but here is a NinoTNC. Bottom line, it takes digital information out of a computer and converts it to audio tones to send over a radio. I built 5 of these as they are super cheap. A commercially available TNC starts at a little over a hundred dollars and runs as much as 300 with one that has a bunch of whistles and bells. This one you order the circuit board and computer chip on Etsy then order all the parts from Digikey (Electronics Component online store). Then you must assemble it. Doesn’t come with an enclosure, you must buy that separately for $5. Ordering material for 5 of them with shipping, taxes and handling charges, it came out to $35 and change each. Why so many you ask? Well, hopefully I’ll have a link to the backbone of the network, a local link for access around here and hopefully a couple links to other nodes to connect them to the backbone. Might have to order some more.
My friend Gary is having more issues lately. Not sure if I feel sorry for him or just want to call it quits. In the winter he can’t get out to his shack which is upstairs in an out building he calls the barn. He can hardly see when the sun is out so when it’s dark he is essentially blind as a bat. Since the sun sets here around 5 or 5:30, it makes it impossible for him to be on the radio at 6:30 in the evening. So I built a remote for him so he can control his radio from the house and talk over it from there. Unfortunately he also has issues with the power company and takes a lot of power hits. He has a cheap UPS but sometimes the hits are transient and it locks up the computer in his shack that actually runs the radio. So, I usually get a call and go over and reboot the thing. He also wants to be independent so I am building him a remote arrangement that he can bring up a page on a browser in the house and toggle a button on the page and it will reboot his computer. I’m not done with that yet and he has more issues. He bought a DrDuino which is a learning platform for the Arduino. I think he feels a little left out with Mike and I doing all these fancy things and he doesn’t know what’s going on. Anyway, the computer he is using is an old XP machine that won’t run the tutorials or instructional videos for the DrDuino and I don’t think it will run the necessary IDE that allows him to program the Arduino. Not sure why I’m making this my issue but I do feel sorry for the guy.
On a lighter note, it is now time to take down the Christmas tree. For whatever reason, Kathy now has an issue with it going in the closet where we usually keep it. So Julie suggested the closet with all the kids toys get cleaned out and the tree and trimmings get put there. So, yesterday Julie and the kids came over to go through toys. Here is the result.
I think it was an excuse for the older ladies to play with the dolls.
OK, that’s it for this week. As always, hope this finds everyone safe and healthy. Stay that way. Blog at you again next week.