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I came in this morning, and my computer is showing a large mass of error messages, all related to "Dude, your D: drive is hosed."

A quick trip to DoIT for a new 1TB drive (which is going to take ~3 hours to format), and I'm back up and running.

I plugged the old drive (a 2yr old WD) and it started clicking, so it's in the fridge cooling down, and when the new drive is done formatting, I'll pull it out and see if anything is recoverable.
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I'm at work still (it's almost 8:30).

Why am I still at work? Well, it started out as a plan to do some side work, but after the third time that the sample I was grinding grabbed wrong and flew across the lab I gave up on that plan and decided to take a break.

Called a friend, and went out for chinese, and then went back to try it again. Two hours later, three computers are fixed, one minor flood has been contained, two people have been told that they should be wearing safety glasses, and I still really haven't gotten anything done on the side project.
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I left the building around 11:30 to run an errand.

On the way out, I noticed that there was a car up against the front of the building, and people standing around it talking on cell phones. I continued on, as there was a good chance that it was somebody related to the construction going on out front (two street projects, a gas main project, building construction, and a water main leak).

A few minutes later, when I came back, there were two UWPD squads and two MPD squads parked around the area, and several officers were talking to the woman in the car, which is tight against the building.

I finished what I was doing and went back out to look, as one of the UW's bike officers rode up (she recognized me, so I could wander in closer to see what's up).

The woman driving the car had borrowed it from somebody at the hospital, and it completely lost brakes coming around the curve on Johnson, so she had the presence of mind to drop the transmission into first gear and then jump the curve to use terrain to slow the car down to where it would stop. In the process, one of our trees lost some bark, and the shrubs that the contractors messed up got run over, and there appears to be a scrape of paint on the front of the building.

The officers present were looking under the hood: All the evap canisters are cut off, the battery is sitting loose under the hood (and is too big for the brackets, and has extra long wires to let it connect), the A/C compressor had been removed, and, most inportantly in this case, the master cylinder has completely fallen apart. I'm guessing that, when this is all over, somebody is going to have words with somebody else about the quality of their automotive repair skills.
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Yesterday, I sent an email to the microscope techs downstairs asking for help today cleaning up the mess from uncrating the 'scope parts, so that we could make the hallways wide enough again for people to move down them without climbing over things, in hopes that we'd get it cleaned up before somebody complained.

Today, while I was moving the first skidload of collapsed crate pieces to the warehouse I ran into the Fire Marshall, who was about to start our semi-annual inspection.


Mar. 20th, 2009 05:40 pm
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The prof who is buying the new microscope just mentioned today that they've got a new problem to work on.

He needs a completely non-metallic chair with wheels for the lab, as the amount of metal in a normal office chair will deflect the beam on the new scope enough to be noticeable.

Probably we're going to end up using wood chairs with no casters, unless we get lucky.
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Today was a long, busy day at work.

I started with lab cleaning. The kind that begins with me rolling in a dumpster. A cubic yard of rock pieces later, the dumpster was full, which, unfortunately means I get to push it back outside, and, of course, it weighs a lot more now than when I started.

Then I made a bunch of decisions for the current remodeling project (part of my job, officially, is to arbitrarily answer questions from the tradespeople in order to keep the project moving forward without spending any more extra money than necessary).

[ profile] teeka and I had lunch at Pasquale's, and there were voicemails from the remodeling guys waiting when I got back with more problems.

I then spent the afternoon hauling water from one end of the building to the other in order to keep the chiller that runs the cooling panels in the 'scope lab full as we worked to bleed all the air out of the system (lots of up and down ladders) in order to get it working. The microscope company is coming in on Monday to test the room, so we want all the air out of the panels in order to make them as quiet as possible, since they need to be running to help control the temperature in the room.

By the time I left to go home, I was at 10,000 steps (about 4.5 miles), while having mostly stayed inside the building at work all day, and have since put on another 3,000 steps, giving me a total so far of just over 6 miles.

Tomorrow is more lab cleaning, and I've got to cut a sound baffle to close up the cableway between the two 'scope rooms, and I've got a meeting for a consulting project in the afternoon.


Feb. 28th, 2009 02:45 pm
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I'm doing laundry today. I took the second load out of the washer to put it into the dryer, and what do I find in the bottom of the washer?

My 32GB Flash drive.

I can now say that, in addition to everything else Corsair says about their Flash Survivor line of drives, they're also washing machine resistant (even with both the catalyst feature - which pretreats by spinning the laundry while it continuously pumps detergent and water through them - and a second rinse selected).
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A month or two ago I ordered a dozen cooling panels from Switzerland for the microscope lab we're remodeling at work.

They just arrived. 12 panels, that, according to the manufacturer, weigh 13 kg each, including the mounting frames.

Why, then, do they ship in a crate with a total weight of 460kg?

Do the 156kg of panels really need 300kg of packaging? I realize that they ship in a crate made from unsanded 7/8" thick lumber (which might be oak), but that seems excessive.

My afternoon plan is, with the aid of my trusty Fubar, to remove the panels from the crate so that I can get them into the freight elevator and take them to the lab, and then stash the lumber in my shop until I think of a use for it.
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A while back (we're not sure anymore exactly when), someone at work used the Department's purchasing card to buy something on eBay.

Other people would like to be able to use the purchasing card to buy things via paypal, but can't, because we don't know who used the card, so we can't have them delete it from their account, and we're guessing that whoever it was isn't with the UW anymore.

I've been on the phone (on hold, mostly) with PayPal trying to find out how to fix this. SO far, they've told me that they can't help me if I don't have the account information, and told me I should start by trying the recover email option on their website. One of the agents at PayPal said that the account is under the cardholder's name, but I'm down to guessing at what phone number was used.

I'm currently on hold again, trying to talk my way around these problems, but it's looking more and more like it's going to be easier to just cancel the card and start over.

Edit: After, in essence, two "practice" calls, I called back a third time and hit all the right buzzwords to get transferred to someone who was able to actually tell me the name of the person who set up the account (one of the professors who retired 2-3 years ago, but probably was really done by one of his students) and the email address on the account (which we still have access to), letting me then use the "lost password" tool to start the process of fixing it.


Jan. 16th, 2009 03:39 pm
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Somehow, I'm now an Outlook 2003 expert.

Since I never use it, and only fix it for other people a few times a year, I'm probably doing pretty good.

One of the profs just came in, and his Outlook wasn't sending mail. I had sent him the configuration directions, and he said he'd tried them, and he'd gone over to the helpdesk (who tried for a while, and sent him to me, as I'm officially his tier 2 guy).

I went back through the directions, and then when it didn't work, googled for the problem, and found two answers. The first one was to increase the timeout delay, and the second one was a comment that the test process didn't always work, and we should just send some emails and see what happened. I bumped the delay from 1 minute to 5, and send myself an email, which went through in about 30 seconds.

Then I worked out what his other problem was. He's got two PSTs. It looks like he had a login profile fault, and now has two profiles, but didn't have any of the calendar or contact data from the old one in the new one. I used the brute force, but simple, expediant of exporting the old one and importing it into the new one, and now he's gone away happy, telling everyone that I should get two raises this year.
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The plumbers are working their way around campus this week turning off all of the outdoor faucets, even the freeze-proof ones, because of the coming cold. I opened doors for them to turn off both of the faucets at work. One can leak without causing much trouble (it's in the back of the foundry, and there is a floor drain), but the other one's in our server room.

This always reminds me that I need to redo the back faucet some day (freeze-proof spigot and ball valve shutoff), but until something goes wrong with it, I'm not going to do anything.

I did, however, shut off and bleed down both faucets at home, just in case.

Channel 3 is currently predicting -17F Thursday night, with -40F windchill.
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Prof M, along with his research group and Prof I's, are cleaning out half of Prof C's research group's grad office space so that the I&M groups can start moving in.

Prof M asked me today why Prof C suggested that they do the work themselves instead of asking me.

I explained that I only do scorched earth cleaning - if it comes to where I've got to do it, the only thing I don't dispose of is furniture, and Prof C wanted a lot of the papers and other stuff saved.
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My plan for this afternoon now is to deliver a sawzall, a hammer drill, and a tubing bender to some grad students, give them some basic instruction in cutting, bending, and wall-mounting stainless steel tubing, and then leave.
revchris: (Default)
The boss told me to fix one of the tables in the back of the big classroom because two of the feet kept falling off.

I can't just remove the other two, because then it's scratch up the floor.

The answer: Buy a Helicoil kit and fix the threads (because the helicoil kit was cheaper than the rivet nut kit).
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I just got an email asking about the directions for making EnginEarings, and realized I still had the old web page for it. It might actually be the first web page I ever made, and was done using WP Internet Publisher 6.1 in 1997 (yes, I took a page I had made in WordPerfect and exported it into HTML, in a process that leaves code almost as clean as what I write now, unlike how MSWord does it)!

Somebody's been making more of them every few years, as the undergrads frequently use them as a fundraiser and take them to one of the national conferences to help offset the trip costs, and they just got a request for the original directions (which include the grain growth process, etching, and anodizing).
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I was in one of the teaching labs this afternoon installing some new equipment, and one of the undergrads asked me how I knew how to do so many things.

I replied "Trial and error, mostly," which just confused her. So I asked her how old she was, and then told her I'd been doing it since she was 2 (really, I'd been doing it for years before she was born, but I figured sticking to just the current job would confuse her less).

Then, as this particular line of conversation usually does, she realized that I'm older than everyone thinks I am, and was surprised that I'm going to be 41 in a week and a half (she's turning 20 five days after my birthday - they get younger every year).
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I just got a new USB drive because my old one finally died.

It belongs to work, and it's the drive I normally carry for updating sofware on computers.

In the process, I upgraded to a 32GB Corsair Flash Survivor drive.

The real problem with USB drives of that size is that it takes forever to put all the stuff you want onto the drive.

After 3-4 hours of file copying, I've got about 21GB of stuff on it.
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This could get interesting.

Somebody lost their keys to several rooms in the building next door. As a result of the mail room staff (who issue keys) asking "What do we do about this?" the College has just realize that they have no policy for that building, and no way to recover rekeying costs.

I got an email from the Dean's office about it because the rooms involved are all for my faculty or for Centers in my building, and they wanted to know if I had a policy for this.

I do. It's in writing, and it's incorporated into the form everybody signs when I give them keys, and that form also lets me do things like academic holds (stopping transcripts and letters of recommendation) and garnishing or holding their paychecks if they don't want to pay for lost keys.

We currently charge $75/key for lost keys (as an undergrad, I once had 15 keys assigned to me - I was doing my job, but as a student employee they wouldn't give me master keys), but I might raise that (probably $100/key and $150/key for masters) because the current rate doesn't really pay for rekeying. I also need to look into charging deposits to encourage people to turn in keys when they leave. I'm thinking that a $25 deposit would be good for this.

Of course, seeing as I'm actually organized, the College then asked if I would be willing to take over key control of all of the spaces in that building that are controlled by my faculty and Centers, if they decide to have the mail room staff no longer issue keys. I say I would be willing, but only if they pay to completely rekey all of those rooms first so that I know there are no legacy keys anywhere.
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Today started with the potential to be "One of Those days."

I woke up late, having apparently turned off my alarm clock and then fallen back asleep. Not very late, I was only going to be about 30 minutes later than normal to work.

Got up, got ready to go, mixed up oatmeal (oatmeal, dried fruit, brown sugar), put it in the microwave and started packing lunch. About the time my breakfast was ready, I started to smell something burnt.

Microwaved oatmeal smells just like burnt popcorn when you forget to add water before you heat it up.

Now, starting from that beginning, I'm replacing monitors and rebuilding microscopes.

We'll see how today goes from here.
revchris: (Default)
For no other reason than "just because," if I replace the black cartridge in the poster printer in my office, the printer will see that it is there but won't actually use the black cartridge unless I unplug the printer for at least 30 minutes before calibrating and aligning the printer.


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