seperis: (Default)
2016-10-09 08:12 pm

so many lightbulbs indeed

Creating your smarthome is somewhat like embracing our eventual rule by robots in the most fun possible way while Skynet smiles in anticipation. Let's not pretend this isn't exactly where it's going and we're actually kind of okay with it.

It's also baffling as fuck combined with so easy it's almost uncanny. Right now, the biggest problem is quite literally it's updating and generationing like fruit flies and there are so many systems and so many protocols.

I took the easiest route; my laptops are Dell because they're locally founded and owned, my BFFs brother works there along with some of my friends, and I will be with them probably until the bitter crashing end, and my smarthome controller of choice is Samsung, which has a local headquarters and my ex-BIL and his son--my son's BFF--works there. Yes, Samsung makes phones that on occasion are known to abruptly explode; no one's perfect.

To break this down into pieces, I'm going to start with my smartlight review. All of these option require home wifi and a working router, and we'll get more into the router part later.

your hub light ecosystem )

your non-hub light ecosystem )

I started this entry last week and left in draft. Then I discovered on Tuesday, routers can be a problem and so held this entry until I'd solved it. It has to do specifically with wifi networks in general.

so about those routers )
seperis: (Default)
2016-10-04 12:29 pm

feelings about cats and amazon (and other things)

I am deep in that territory we call 'homebuilding', in which I unexpectedly find myself carefully researching Edison lightbulbs for their steampunk-retro ambiance while tossing $2.50 throw blankets from Wal-Mart in my cart and calling it a day. (Also, cushions for my porch loveseat, because Christ, I'm a person who owns one of those and the matching table.)

I assumed--foolishly, in retrospect--that I'd burn this shit out once I was mostly-moved and turn my attention to higher things--Python, for example, or Plex vs Emby vs Kodi for my media server, rewrite some bash scripts to double as daemons, that kind of thing--and that happened! I went back ot my natural territory of ripping my blurays and fighting makemkv's command line interface when I couldn't make Fast Five work (fuck Fast Five) and reinstalling my entire server to prep for it's media server future.

And I was on course for just that. Then, tragedy.

me and prince hal 3000 )

So to return to the subject, I thought I was over this entire 'decorating my home' thing. Then I got paid, and oh.

me and home shenanigans )

Mattress Review

Reference: Zinus Memory Foam Green Tea Mattress, 12-Inch, Queen, review under tag.

It's been about six weeks, and I can report that this mattress is an excellent bargain and I recommend wholeheartedly, but only if you like firm, for it is not hard but it is firm. Adjustment is roughly three and a half weeks to a month, at which time you'll know for sure whether it works for you. Everything I said here is still true. I keep wanting to say it's softened, but no, it hasn't; I just got used to its give now so it feels normal.

A few concerns: I have a better idea on the heat-retention and while there may be some, it's also summer in Texas and also my life. So no better or worse than any other mattress I've slept on, but I do use only one sheet and a light blanket during summer to sleep. The lack of transfer motion--ie, anyone getting into or out of bed--does not exist. A normal legged tray is fine; steady it when you crawl in right beside it, but once you're sitting, nothing. You will also not feel your cat crawl into bed with you until it tries to eat your feet.

Cat

For those who have been wondering: her name is Fearful Symmetry, Sym for short, and boy has she earned it.

Home Improvement

My next item of business is to review wifi and hubbed lightbulbs because a.) I've bought almost all the brands that are able to be controlled by Alexa, Hue, and/or SmartThings (and therefore can be ultimately voice controlled by Alexa), and b.) I have opinions and why not. I also ran into some issues that it took me ridiculous amounts of time on google to solve and I need to record them here.

Short version: initial investment can be a little high, but provided you're willing to take the creation of your bulb network slowly, it's not ridiculous, just an item for your budget, and in this case, one that's energy conscious. A lot of this, however, won't have much to do with cheap versus quality but what you're going to use them for, where, and why. One thing that I couldn't find out easily was an answer to that question and hopefully, this will help. I'll also try to go over actual practical brightness and size as opposed to lumens and watts, which are surprisingly inconsistent even when one lightbulb matches another; I bought more than one bulb that wouldn't physically fit where I intended it and that still makes me cranky.

If anyone is specifically interested in doing this themselves, feel free to tell me what you want to know or your specific concerns. I will say the benefits of having a range are very high rather than committing yourself to one brand or system so poly is the way to go, but compatibility is required.

For anyone like me who likes that kind of thing, SmartThings jumped four levels when I discovered you can write your own SmartThings SmartApps that are used internally by SmartThings. They provide you with an online IDE, templates, documentation, examples, the code for actual internal SmartApps you use on the app already, a tutorial in Groovey, and simulator on the site to run your scirpts. I'd put this at a one-one and a half to five for challenge because you can go from copy-paste to some very cool uses of your sensors and lights to do awesome things. I'll come back to this later, but those of you who are hobby programmers or need a practical reason to learn, it's perfect and also extremely casual. The reason I go as high as five is both potential complexity and also what your setup is like. Just lights or a motion sensor and lights would be about a one and a half, but once you throw in a multipurpose sensor that can sense vibration and axis and contact, dude, it gets really fun.
seperis: (Default)
2016-09-18 12:29 am

yeah, this kind of got away from me

So last night, the following occurred:

1.) A young adolescent cat leaps onto my porch where I am innocently reading.
2.) Child--sensing a disturbance in the Force--comes down the hall from his bedroom.
3.) Cat for no reason plasters itself against glass door.
4.) Door opens and I watch a Disney romantic comedy in progress as two--beings?--find each other like there should be a goddamn soundtrack playing featuring Mariah Carey.

a cat's tale )

Glad I got that off my chest.

Apartmenting

1.) Got my bed set up finally, directly under the ceiling fan because it was the only way to keep my posts and holy shit recommended.

2.) My porch now boasts a rug, a patio table, and a patio loveseat. I feel very--like I have a small plastic outdoor living room?

3.) Got a wifi doorbell. Because why the hell not?

4.) Acquired a Samsung SmarthThings hub with two (2) multipurpose sensors, one (1) motion sensor, and one (1) arrival sensor because I'm not sure really and we'll get to that now.

This was going to happen from the moment I got the Echo and realized I could live in Star Trek. So let's just go with it.

home automation: the adventure continues )
seperis: (Default)
2016-09-03 11:16 am
Entry tags:

i consider this close enough to moved

The moving is (mostly) complete*.

* There is still a recliner, a sofa size painting that belonged to my grandmother, and sundry boxes of non-vital things and Christmas stuff, but close enough.

So in my last entry, I mentioned my apartment complex is on a hill. It's more clinging to the side of a hill, and the hill is a landfill just off a creek that hilariously stretches most of north Austin; ie, if it had enough water, I could paddle back to my old house. When it does have enough water, that's usually flood times, which means not recommended. Just saying, that could happen, who knows.

apartment shenanigans )

random stoneware-based digression that includes my grandmother )

continuing apartment shenanigans )
seperis: (Default)
2016-09-01 08:48 pm

moving done and two week mattress update

Currently on day five of the new apartment, in which about two thirds of the lights are wifi controlled and so is the thermostat. My bed is in pieces, but I can control light and weather with my voice. And when my new doorbell is installed, I can watch people outside my door from the comfort of my phone like a creep.

I think that makes me a god. Like, a really discount one, but you take what you can get.

So, two weeks with new mattress, review for first few nights here.

mattress oh mattress )
seperis: (Default)
2016-08-21 11:10 pm

continuing adventures in pre-moving - amazon echo, alexa, and the world

So I explained about how I ended up impulse-purchasing an Amazon Echo to avoid a huge ass 4K curved tv I would never use except as a head for my server? Good, let's start there.

Amazon Echo with Alexa

I was vaguely aware of the existence of Echo without much in the way of caring about it, which is how this story usually goes. Then I ended up looking at it one night to avoid the ridiculous TV and actually read what it did.

Summary: You can be Star Trek.
Me: *clicks Add to Cart*

So that was something. While I waited the eternity to receive my 'why am i buying this, right, i am captain kirk' (this was inevitable) I went to check out what people do with Alexa other than talk to it and no longer have to lie when someone asks if they have any friends ("Alexa was telling me about the weather in Chicago, yeah. Really cloudy with a thirty percent chance of rain. Ten days from now, possibly snow.")

...not that I do that or anything.

From this point on, I'm using Alexa instead of Echo, because this is less about the product and more about AVS (Alexa Voice Services). Also, Alexa likes that better.

Alexa's uses are probably legion, but you have to think of it like smartphones about ten years ago. Lots of potential but not a lot of apps yet, so to speak (in Alexa, we call those 'Skills'). There are entire skills devoted to such things as 'cat questions', 'random facts about India', 'how to make a lot of alcoholic drinks step by step'. This will come in handy later.

music all of it )

weather and trivia and such )

home automation, god help you )

Having said that, you're glancing at the price tag and thinking...yeah. Okay, easier, cheaper, and more moving parts):

Create Your Own Alexa Device, No, Really

This is a really good guide. I do not exaggerate, this was very, very well written and detailed.

I built one (as of three hours ago), so yes, this does work AND IT IS GODDAMN MAGIC. The only thing it can't do is be always on, like Echo is (Alexa hears all, knows all, answers "I don't understand the question"...all). It does everything else. When you're done, download the Alexa app and connect them up, then marvel at the world.

now, a word from me on many things, including what to buy, what to do, and why you should try it )
seperis: (Default)
2016-08-20 01:12 pm

continuing adventures in pre-moving

Dear internet (and ellixis): I bought a mattress online.

Just now, half of you flinched; I know. The problem is, a 512 G solid state Samsung PCIe hard drive went on sale for $99.00 and it was buy a damn mattress or resign myself to sleeping on a bed of old hard drives with an (awesome) upgraded server. Or possibly a new server: it needs refurbishing, now that I think about it.

This is my story.

and other things )
seperis: (Default)
2016-08-15 04:05 pm

in the midst of moving and work

I haven't posted much--or at all--but I do have reason; abruptly in January, my job transitioned to a new testing methodology called Agile, and everything went to frantic, high stress hell. Then I entered dental hell in March, which if you know about already you just winced and if you don't, you can guess. Note: never try to do all your dental work in two and a half months: you will still be putting off the last two appointments after the horror of May. Which I will not discuss because holy shit.

However, now I am a.) in the middle of an allergy attack and b.) at home noting how rain really does exist because after the last couple of years it felt more like a legend. Also, I'm about to move.

so much moving )
seperis: (Default)
2016-01-27 08:37 pm
Entry tags:

this is to the person who knows who they are who sent me the things

On a guess, this would be the best place to post this, but I'll copy to Tumblr later:

Dear Mystery Person Who Sent Me These For My Birthday,

(Could be two of you, but my money's on one or affiliated.)

Thank you very much for the ninja swords and Kindle bookcover. I will honestly state I did not at any point see those coming (especially the swords), but I have swished those swords allll around, no lie. They are as awesome as they appeared in Amazon. I have a black leather trenchcoat my grandmother got me with her magical garage sale skills and seriously, I feel like I should star in my own anime and defeat some sort of Eldritch tentacle monster.

Really (really) don't know what to say but thank you. The last few months have not been among the best for me due to work, but there is nothing--and I do mean nothing--like swishing a sword and having small children (related to you) squeal in terror to really upgrade your mood.

(Also, the cover is already on my kindle and God it looks classy.)

(I HAVE NINJA SWORDS.)

--jenn
seperis: (Default)
2015-11-09 06:54 pm

spnfic: the game of god, 11/18

Title: The Game of God, 11/18
Author: Seperis
Series: Down to Agincourt, Book 4
Codes: Dean/Castiel
Rating: NC-17/Explicit
Summary: You can't win a war for humanity by sacrificing all of your own.
Author Notes: Thanks to nrrrdygrrrl and scynneh for beta services, with advice from Tkodami and MollyC and WarKittens.
Story summary from a comment by Infie.
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bratfarrar for the series name and summary from her sonnet Harry Takes the Field.
Spoilers: Seasons 5, 6, and 7

AO3 Links for Down to Agincourt:
Series: Down to Agincourt
Book 1: Map of the World
Book 2: It's the Stars That Lie
Book 3: A Thousand Lights in Space

AO3 Links for The Game of God:
All
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11
seperis: (Default)
2015-11-04 07:18 pm

spnfic: the game of god, 9 & 10/16

Title: The Game of God, 9 & 10/16
Author: Seperis
Series: Down to Agincourt, Book 4
Codes: Dean/Castiel
Rating: NC-17/Explicit
Summary: You can't win a war for humanity by sacrificing all of your own.
Author Notes: Thanks to nrrrdygrrrl and scynneh for beta services, with advice from Tkodami and MollyC.
Story summary from a comment by Infie.
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bratfarrar for the series name and summary from her sonnet Harry Takes the Field.
Spoilers: Seasons 5, 6, and 7

AO3 Links for Down to Agincourt:
Series: Down to Agincourt
Book 1: Map of the World
Book 2: It's the Stars That Lie
Book 3: A Thousand Lights in Space

AO3 Links for The Game of God:
All
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10
seperis: (Default)
2015-10-12 09:03 pm

spnfic: the game of god, 8/16

Title: The Game of God, 8/16
Author: Seperis
Series: Down to Agincourt, Book 4
Codes: Dean/Castiel
Rating: NC-17/Explicit
Summary: You can't win a war for humanity by sacrificing all of your own.
Author Notes: Thanks to nrrrdygrrrl and scynneh for beta services, with advice from Tkodami and MollyC.
Story summary from a comment by Infie.
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bratfarrar for the series name and summary from her sonnet Harry Takes the Field.
Spoilers: Seasons 5, 6, and 7

AO3 Links for Down to Agincourt:
Series: Down to Agincourt
Book 1: Map of the World
Book 2: It's the Stars That Lie
Book 3: A Thousand Lights in Space

AO3 Links for The Game of God:
All
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8
seperis: (Default)
2015-10-06 09:19 pm

spnfic: the game of god, 7/16

Title: The Game of God, 7/16
Author: Seperis
Series: Down to Agincourt, Book 4
Codes: Dean/Castiel
Rating: NC-17/Explicit
Summary: You can't win a war for humanity by sacrificing all of your own.
Author Notes: Thanks to nrrrdygrrrl and scynneh for beta services, with advice from Tkodami and MollyC.
Story summary from a comment by Infie.
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bratfarrar for the series name and summary from her sonnet Harry Takes the Field.
Spoilers: Seasons 5, 6, and 7

AO3 Links for Down to Agincourt:
Series: Down to Agincourt
Book 1: Map of the World
Book 2: It's the Stars That Lie
Book 3: A Thousand Lights in Space

AO3 Links for The Game of God:
All
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7
seperis: (Default)
2015-09-28 02:47 pm

spnfic: the game of god, 6/16

Title: The Game of God, 6/16
Author: Seperis
Series: Down to Agincourt, Book 4
Codes: Dean/Castiel
Rating: NC-17/Explicit
Summary: You can't win a war for humanity by sacrificing all of your own.
Author Notes: Thanks to nrrrdygrrrl and scynneh for beta services, with advice from Tkodami and MollyC.
Story summary from a comment by Infie.
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bratfarrar for the series name and summary from her sonnet Harry Takes the Field.
Spoilers: Seasons 5, 6, and 7

AO3 Links for Down to Agincourt:
Series: Down to Agincourt
Book 1: Map of the World
Book 2: It's the Stars That Lie
Book 3: A Thousand Lights in Space

AO3 Links for The Game of God:
All
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6
seperis: (Default)
2015-09-22 08:36 am

twenty years of pride and prejudice in a lake

Pride and Prejudice at 20: The Scene That Changed Everything

It's been twenty years since BBC tossed Colin Firth into a lake and had him walk about in clinging white shirts (for plot!).

Twenty years. I was dropped out of college stealing cable and ran across costume drama and stopped immediately, because when one is both an Austen and Regency fan, one can identify adaptations of classic works on a glance.

(Forbidding, brooding sexy (yet subtly awkward) male in pantaloons, woman with ironically raised raised eyebrow looking at him archly, silly older woman in background, wait...and way too bouncy girl runs by showing too much bosoms chased by red coated officers....

I said, "Hey, that's Lydia." And sat down.)
seperis: (Default)
2015-09-07 06:58 pm

spnfic: the game of god, 5/16

Title: The Game of God, 5/16
Author: Seperis
Series: Down to Agincourt, Book 4
Codes: Dean/Castiel
Rating: NC-17/Explicit
Summary: You can't win a war for humanity by sacrificing all of your own.
Author Notes: Thanks to nrrrdygrrrl and scynneh for beta services, with advice from Tkodami and MollyC.
Story summary from a comment by Infie.
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bratfarrar for the series name and summary from her sonnet Harry Takes the Field.
Spoilers: Seasons 5, 6, and 7

AO3 Links for Down to Agincourt:
Series: Down to Agincourt
Book 1: Map of the World
Book 2: It's the Stars That Lie
Book 3: A Thousand Lights in Space

AO3 Links for The Game of God:
All
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5
seperis: (Default)
2015-09-06 10:45 pm

spnfic: the game of god, 4/16

Title: The Game of God, 4/16
Author: Seperis
Series: Down to Agincourt, Book 4
Codes: Dean/Castiel
Rating: NC-17/Explicit
Summary: You can't win a war for humanity by sacrificing all of your own.
Author Notes: Thanks to nrrrdygrrrl and scynneh for beta services, with advice from Tkodami and MollyC.
Story summary from a comment by Infie.
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bratfarrar for the series name and summary from her sonnet Harry Takes the Field.
Spoilers: Seasons 5, 6, and 7

AO3 Links for Down to Agincourt:
Series: Down to Agincourt
Book 1: Map of the World
Book 2: It's the Stars That Lie
Book 3: A Thousand Lights in Space

AO3 Links for The Game of God:
All
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4
seperis: (Default)
2015-08-31 12:38 am

spnfic: the game of god, 3/16

Title: The Game of God, 3/16
Author: Seperis
Series: Down to Agincourt, Book 4
Codes: Dean/Castiel
Rating: NC-17/Explicit
Summary: You can't win a war for humanity by sacrificing all of your own.
Author Notes: Thanks to nrrrdygrrrl and scynneh for beta services, with advice from Tkodami and MollyC.
Story summary from a comment by Infie.
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bratfarrar for the series name and summary from her sonnet Harry Takes the Field.
Spoilers: Seasons 5, 6, and 7

AO3 Links for Down to Agincourt:
Series: Down to Agincourt
Book 1: Map of the World
Book 2: It's the Stars That Lie
Book 3: A Thousand Lights in Space

AO3 Links for The Game of God:
All
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3
seperis: (Default)
2015-08-27 12:23 pm

windows 10 - the reckoning

This is a quick addendum to the Windows 10 upgrade post I did here because this is a very annoying problem.

If you haven't upgraded yet or have but haven't had this happen, note:
1.) if you use Word and Excel, go in and change your settings to autobackup every five minutes. Do it right now.

Windows Updates are by default automatic. I thought I set mine to tell me to do it (scheduled), but apparently I didn't, and so more often than I'm comfortable with, I close my laptop and come back to it having shut down entirely and the only reason I haven't panicked is because my Word and Excel have both the five minute rule for back-up in place, and I by reflex save before closing my laptop (most of the time). This is freaking stressing.

So:
1.) go into the updates and switch to scheduled so you get warning.

Further Notes:
1.) I've found when I'm working and everything starts acting wonky--especially playing video--Windows 10 wants to upgrade and this is a hint, unlike just giving me a message.
2.) Updates can take up to five minutes both on this side of restart and the other. Yes you can have a freaking ten minute security update, wtf?
3.) I am so tired of getting Microsoft product advertisements appearing in my notes. HOW DO I TURN THAT OFF? I like Office and this is turning me against it.

Other Notes:

I'm still getting used to it, but honestly, anything is worth getting rid of that goddamn Metro screen, but I do miss the original Start Menu in its original form. I keep a ruthlessly clean desktop--one text file appears there, my linux cheat sheet for server emergencies since I login using putty--and everything else is in Stardock at the top of the desktop (SO RECOMMENDED YOU HAVE NO IDEA WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE) or my task bar.

I also get a lot of my better experience here in Windows 8.1 and 10 is having a touchscreen. I hate to say it because it can be expensive, but if you're planning to get a new computer, save for the goddamn touchscreen; luckily, with Alienware the start value is so ridic expensive that at the time the upgrade was about $150 I think to get the five-point and nothing compared to pretty much everything else. It's not mandatory yet (except Windows 8.1 I would have had a breakdown without it), but usability is definitely biased toward a touchscreen.

I'm a professional user acceptance tester; I did my standard usability check (altered for Windows) to check functionality but all with touchscreen and not using my touchpad and yeah, not surprisingly, a lot of stuff that works fine with touchpad but feels wrong or off suddenly makes sense for touchscreens. It's not entirely subtle, but it is noticeable when you switch over and realize this was made for fingers. What's funny--at least to me--is this is the first time I realized there could be a left-hand bias on touchscreens, which makes sense as we read left to right and left is where everything drifts toward. Not something I would have realized with a touchpad or even a screen as small as a phone, but when the touch real state is 17 inches, yeah, if I can adapt my left to be better coordinated, I'll have a somewhat faster and easier experience.

I speak as someone who likes touchscreens; until they magically make monitors smudge proof and repel dust, I'm against it as primary or even recommended on anything bigger than 12.2 inches (my tablet) because it's ridic how much I have to clean and it's not like I work with manure every day here or don't wash my hands. My laptop is my primary relationship; it gets oily fast from basic touching unless I'm on it every second, and unlike my tablet and phone, it's kind of a production, not a single button, to flip off the screen for a fast cleaning (not so fast, it's freaking seventeen inches).

Despite all this (and now you're staring at me going what?) I do recommend the upgrade, and not just because it's free and Microsoft wouldn't have done that unless they planned to screw over old operating systems and wanted to avoid at least partial rage (won't happen, but give 'em props for trying). To me, it's not better than Windows 7, which became my One True Operating System and I actually bought my entire family upgrades to it, but right now, it's more than acceptable and I honestly think--God help me--that familiarity will let me like it more as I customize it to habits. It does--shockingly--have more options on that front than I expected, and unless 8.1 was your One True Operating System, this is definitely better than that.

Anyway, anyone else have any tips since it's been almost a month since Windows 10 appeared in our lives?
seperis: (Default)
2015-08-25 09:11 pm
Entry tags:

recs needed - firefly

Request from Child:

Firefly fandom - Any recs for Mal/Simon fic? Especially longer? No, I don't know how this happened, either, but since Derek left Teen Wolf he's been kind of despondent.