The weather here in Denver was a bit windy yesterday, which stirred up a bit of a sand storm that eventually ended up in my house…

Today is all about cleaning up the mess, and the vacbots are already on the case after getting new filters.

I need to dust everything as soon as they are done…

Listening to "My Life" by Billy Joel


So I got an email from a sales-drone at Amazon today stating that they had noticed my EC2 usage had increased – so they wanted to discus my usage and how things might be adjusted…

I double checked, this is a legit email from Amazon…

Well, this was worrisome as I’d closed my work account with Amazon Web Services over a decade ago, so an increase would mean someone was doing something they shouldn’t.

So, I went to the AWS site and logged in (after changing my password because I’ve not used the service in forever and had pulled the password from my manager) and lo:

Long story short, even Amazon is resorting to shady emails and sketchy business practices these days…

One literally cannot believe anything anymore.

Listening to "Hold Me" by Fleetwood Mac


Today, when I had to go and clean out the bin on my upstairs Neato vacuum, I noticed some interesting empathy.

See, my upstairs Neato is a “Botvac Connected”, and it has faithfully cleaned my floors 2-3 times a week since 2015… And last year it was augmented with a Neato D8 to do the main floor, and the Connected was moved upstairs to do the bedrooms.

Today after I replaced its dirt bin and it chugged up to speed and started off on its rounds, I felt a pang of sadness for the old soldier. See, it has a lot of miles on it, and it rattles and bangs and one wheel drags a bit so it kind of limps around – and it’s battery is weak so sometimes it doesn’t make it back to its base to recharge and just kind of falls asleep somewhere.

It’s a machine, made of motors and electronics, and it has one basic function which is to vacuum – but the fact I can feel sadness for it, the same sadness that one experiences when they realize a cherished pet has reached its sunset years, is an intriguing observation of what makes us Human…

Humans have anthropomorphized the world around themselves since the dawn of civilization, and apparently said civilization hasn’t ground me down so much that I can’t still feel empathy for an old robot vacuum…

And that makes me happier than it probably should.

I just ordered a new $80 battery for my old robovac upstairs, and I’ve added a teardown and restoration to my list of projects for the summer.

I’ll try to keep VacBro around for a few more years.

Listening to "Jane" by Starship

iPhone, part 2

For the pure entertainment value of it, I present my original 2008 iPhone…

Technically this is an iPhone 2G as it’s the 2008 16G version of the 2007 iPhone 1. The photos are taken with my 2022 iPhone SE. And yes, I take good care of my stuff. 🙂

In a tribute to Apple’s build quality, the original iPhone still works… It takes a charge, connects to wifi, does basic Internet stuff, and runs apps just like it did 14 years ago. It’s even running the latest version of iPhone OS that it will run, 3.1.3.

Back in 2016 AT&T turned off all of the cellular service the original iPhone can use, so there’s no way this thing can ever make another phone call – but as a time capsule of how things have changed, it’s pretty neat to have.

Now, what’s really interesting is that the latest version of Apple Music (iTunes for us old folks) running on the latest MacOS (12.3.1), using the latest Macintosh hardware (M1 Max) will still recognize the original iPhone and transfer data to and from it.

And this means I can do things like invert the above photos…

Here’s my 2022 SE as seen by the original iPhone’s 2 megapixel back camera… This was pretty amazing quality back in 2008.

And one more photo for giggles…

My roommate’s iPhone 12 Pro Max compared to the original iPhone… What a difference 14 years makes.

Listening to "Sentimental Street" by Night Ranger

In stereo where available

My 32 year old, fifty pound, wondrously analog Denon AVC-3000 receiver finally succumbed to entropy today…

I knew the end would come soon. See, the left channel had been weak on startup for a couple of months, but after 15 minutes or so would balance out with the right channel. So I was just kind of limping it along and hoping I could get to my year-end bonus before it finally gave up the ghost.

No such luck.

Leading up to this I had been looking at options for when the inevitable happened – but the available options tend to start at about $600. And the economy isn’t conducive to buying $600 receivers right now…

The AVC-3000 is from a time before digital, so it does things like switch S-Video and has about a hundred RCA jacks on the back, so getting audio from a modern digital device requires being inventive…

See, I have a 4K Apple TV feeding an old 32-inch computer monitor via HDMI, and then was taking the headphone output of the monitor and converting that into the RCA that the Denon required.

It worked, even if the sound quality out of the D/A in the monitor was a bit lacking.

Anyway, the left channel in the Denon completely failed right before lunch and steadfastly refused to be recussitated.

I was planning to run over to Walgreens for some toiletries and hit up the Burger King in the parking lot during lunch, and there’s a pawn shop that shares the parking lot – so I decided to drop in and see if there was anything that I could replace the Denon with that didn’t cost a thousand dollars.

And I returned home with a really good condition Onkyo TX-SR353 that ran me $90.

It came with everything; antennas, remote, manual, HDMI cable, etc. And, as an added bonus, it understands 4K HDR – so I can run HDMI from the Apple TV to it, and then HDMI from it to the monitor – so the audio sounds really good now.

Now my enormous 30 year old Bowers & Wilkins DM640 speakers do a wonderful job of illustrating the weakness of lesser hardware, and the Onkyo is a bit ‘brash’, but it beats only having one channel.

And it was $90…

Listening to "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood