Jan 29 2010

Car maintenance

Category: Familyjarod @ 10:27

I’m not one for buying a new new car. Been there, done that, they cost too damned much. So the past four vehicles we’ve bought have been used. You can get a helluva lot more car for the money, but do run the risk of getting a vehicle that hasn’t been particularly well maintained or has some hidden defect. Fortunately, for the most part, that hasn’t been the case with any of the used cars we’ve bought. However, with my latest car purchase just over a year ago, a 2004 Volvo S60 R, there’s been a fair amount of maintenance and/or repair (~$3k worth), and it wasn’t until a few weeks after I got the car home that I realized it had two different pairs of tires front and back, after the front left one developed a leak that only seems to leak when its really cold out. Made it out of last winter and into summer, and didn’t have any problems with the tire for a good 10 months. Well, back to January again, and its been well below freezing quite a few days of late. One day earlier this month, I drove around with the tire a lot lower on air than I realized, and I’ve either damaged the tire or the rim, because the car just doesn’t ride as smooth as it should right now, due to excess vibration/bumpiness/whatever from the front left. The tire needed replacing anyway, so I’m starting with a set of new tires first, and hoping the rim is just fine. The stock tires on my car are Pirelli P-Zero Rosso high-performance summer tires. Not the greatest thing to drive around New England in, especially in the winter. I’m too cheap or don’t care *that* much about performance such that I’d buy a set of winter tires *and* a set of summer tires, so I just bought the highest rated all-season high-performance tires that will fit my car from Tire Rack, the Continental ExtremeContact DWS, which also happen to be quite reasonably priced. Here’s hoping I like ‘em. Can’t be worse than the air-losing, not-much-tread left Toyo pair on the front end of my car right now, at least. (The rear pair is actually in pretty good shape, and I plan to keep those, just in case…).

The car is also due for yearly MA vehicle inspection by the end of the month. One tiny problem is a crack in the windshield, which is grounds for a failed inspection. Fortunately, windshield replacement in MA is 100% covered by insurance, doesn’t impact deductible, etc., and my insurance guy referred me to Riverside Glass, who says they can get me a new windshield installed later today, meaning I should still be able to get my inspection done before the end of the month, and not have to drive around in an illicit vehicle (like my wife has been doing for the past month… she really needs to get her car in for inspection like yesterday, and there’s no reason it won’t pass, she’s just … busy, or something…) :)

Still need to put my iMIV iPod adapter back in the car too. I yanked it and shipped it back to the mfg a few months back due to it constantly ceasing to work in its so-called “Advanced” mode, where it displays track info on the stock stereo, allows iPod control from the stereo, etc. It kept wussing out on me, and only working in standard mode, where you have to hit play/pause/skip directly on the iPod. Less than ideal when the iPod is stashed away in the glovebox. Anyway, they couldn’t find anything wrong with it. I have some theories about funky id3 tags in some of my music possibly throwing the thing for a loop. Either way, getting tired of the same four CDs in my changer, will be nice to have the iPod back in action in the car.

Jan 13 2010

What’s new with you?

Category: Family,Linux,Red Hatjarod @ 14:11

Lots of things. My wife started blogging quite a while ago now to keep friends and family who we don’t see regularly up to date on what’s going on in our lives. She used to make snide comments about how stupid blogging was. Same thing with facebook and the like. Now she blogs and facebooks it up on a regular basis. I was kind of anti-facebook myself, but have found it a useful thing to find out who’s doing what where, particularly for people I don’t see that often. I live 3000 miles away from where I grew up, and plenty of old friends have spread out around all over the place, so its hard to keep up with ‘em all, without some sort of aggregator, if you will. Enter facebook. Mostly just use the mobile app on my iPhone, because its quick and easy to look through stuff wherever when you have a few minutes to kill.

I have a new job now too, starting a few months ago now. Same company, just new duties. I’ve taken over as the primary maintainer of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 kernel. A whole lot more data management than actual development work, but very interesting stuff, and I do get to read over a ton of code all over the kernel. Finally actually regularly paying attention to the linux kernel mailing list too, though its mostly ‘skim and delete’, but I’ve also been heavily involved in a thread or three of late…

We’ve still got two kids of my own, haven’t managed to lose track of them yet. We’ve also got a foster daughter, who has been with us for well over a year (she’s ~16 months old now), who we’re quite likely to end up adopting, if things work out right. Of course, it means we’ll probably *also* end up adopting her older brother (currently 2 1/2-ish). As a fun anticipated side-effect, we’re gonna need a bigger house. We’ve been slowly working on numerous fixups around the house for well over a year now, trying to get the house into selling shape. Had the exterior repainted last summer, put in new tile in the kitchen, bathroom and hall about a year and a half ago, had new carpet installed in parts of the house a few weeks ago (complete with me having to replace some questionable subflooring), just installed a new range hood that actually matches the rest of the appliances we’ve replaced since moving in, etc. Fixing it all up just in time to move out! Whee, good times…

That’s all for now, I need to get back to working on, you know, work.

Nov 22 2006

Happy Thanksgiving…

Category: Familyjarod @ 10:58

Ooh, gonna be fun tomorrow… Traditionally, we’ve always done Thanksgiving at my folks place, since they were almost literally just over the river and through the woods. Now they’re 3000 miles worth of rivers and woods away. I’m 29 years old now, and yet, tomorrow will be the first time I’ve ever cooked a turkey myself. Fortunately, my pops has hooked it up with a dissertation on turkey, stuffing and gravy, and I’ve helped out enough in dad’s kitchen in past years, that I think it’ll all turn out okay. :) It had better, since we’re having company — my man Jesse, his wife and kid are in the same 3000-miles-from-home boat as we are, so we’re joining forces.

Nov 20 2006

Long time, no blog…

Category: Baseball,Family,Linux,MythTV,Red Hatjarod @ 14:05

I must be the world’s laziest blogger… But hey, maybe I’ll make up for it today with some seriously hot blog-on-blog action (or something), covering ALL categories I’ve got created for this blog thingy…


So, me and my family are indeed over on the Atlantic side of the United States now, living in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, just below the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border. Preston is 4 years old now and as crazy as ever, Kyla is almost 14 months old and walking/running all over the house now. We’re all looking forward to our first New England winter so we can do some serious sledding, skiiing, snow fort building, snow man building, snow ball fighting, etc. We never got more than a few days of snow every few years back in Seattle… Still need to get a snow blower or something, so we can dig our cars out once the whitewash hits…


I had surgery on my right shoulder two weeks ago to repair a torn labrum and various other bits I managed to damage somehow. The doctor basically reattached stuff in like four different places in there. In theory, I’ll be able to throw like I used to by the time men’s league ball starts up again in the spring. Our team is already one of the favorites for league champ next year with some new guys we picked up this offseason, and we’ll be just that more nasty if I make a full recovery (didn’t pitch at all last year, could hardly throw at all). Lots of rehab working coming up, still not supposed to do much of anything with the arm, but definitely looking forward to having my arm back.

Preston is trying to make up for my inability to play ball right now. He started playing t-ball at the local indoor sports complex a few weeks ago.

Red Hat/Fedora

Dude, I work for Red Hat. I love my job. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 is shaping up quite nicely. Of late, I’ve been busy beating on kdump, the new kernel crash dump mechanism we’re shipping in RHEL5, helping to whip it into shape on all supported architectures. Of course, a disproportionate amount of time has been spent making it play nice on non-x86/x86_64 architectures (i.e., ia64 and ppc64), but its been quite a bit of fun just the same.

On the home front, I’ve got this nice new fibre data pipe to my house, courtesy of Verizon FiOS, which just became available in my area. Got myself a business package with 5 static IP addresses so I can run whatever I want out of my house. That being the case, I moved my web and mail server back in-house after 6 months of having them hosted at a friend’s colo. The entire wilsonet.com domain runs on Fedora Core 6 boxes in my basement right now, with email services provided by the open-source edition of Zimbra. One of the projects on my todo list for this winter is to finally get around to setting up Asterisk, complete with tie-ins to Zimbra…

In some of the spare time I don’t really have, I’ve also been working on getting some amusing new packages into Fedora Extras. People love eye-candy, therefore, they love beryl, which is almost entirely into Fedora Extras now… :)


On the MythTV front, I managed to get a Fedora Core 6-based version of Fedora Myth(TV)ology out within the first month of FC6 landing, a vast improvement from the roll-out time on the FC5 version… All my Linux boxes at home are now running FC6 (though RHEL5 is going to make an appearance shortly too). Whether or not Fedora Myth(TV)ology morphs into something RHEL5-based remains to be seen… (Maybe a custom rebuild, a la CentOS, but called Myth Enterprise Linux, with a release codename of “Blanc” or “Gibson” or “Torme”)…

Oh yeah! I keep forgetting that I really need to plug the book on MythTV I helped write. A few months back, Hacking MythTV hit the book shelves. I actually just got a copy myself a few days ago. Nice looking book, full of MythTV goodness. Go buy a copy of Hacking MythTV!

Feb 14 2006

Packing up and heading out … East?!?

Category: Family,Linux,Red Hatjarod @ 00:53

Well, its now official. My family is going to pack up and sell our house in Maple Valley, Washington, and move to the Westford, Massachusetts area, because I just accepted a job at Red Hat… :D