Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wha.....? It's almost Summer!

Sometimes, life just goes too fast.  This spring, I started my own business.  It is automation engineering, something I have many years experience doing.  The company I worked for decided to downsize me and several other people last winter, so here we are.
I knew that the actual work was going to be the least of my concerns.  That's the way it is when you not only do the work, but have to manage the money, obtain and keep customers, pay for insurance, and so on.  So far, I have gotten some work, and have made a bit of money doing it.  I am far from breaking even, though, because I invested in a new computer, and some expensive software that is needed for my work.
Nonetheless, there are opportunities, and I am working to make the most of them.

Then, there are the people who go on a rampage, having little information, and less sense, and try to make a situation go in a direction they think is best.  Case in point is a certain sibling, who failed to get the entire picture, before latching onto a lawyer - no doubt, pro-bono - to make his point in court.  My youngest sibling, who has been doing almost everything for my aged father since my mother died, was applying for guardianship for my father, so he could help Dad better, and protect him.  For some reason, the other sibling decided he would make a better guardian - I shall not bore you with the many, many reasons why he would be a horrible guardian - and also applied for guardianship.  So...we all go to court, to settle it out.  In the end, knucklehead sibling sees just how bad his position really is, and withdraws his application, after a bit of grandstanding.  This bit of stupidity was so incredibly, unbelievably, needless.  Thank goodness it is over, and we can get back to normal life - whatever that may be.

The result of all this is I have been away from SPOCS for a while.  Fortunately, the penguins in the Farm don't seem to get lonely...they just keep ticking away, day in and day out.  Except for about two weeks ago, when a big wind storm took out electricity to half our county, and all of the next one for about seven hours.  Many thanks to the electric folks who got things going again!

Hopefully, I will get back to SPOCS soon.

Good Night, Ma and Pa Wolfe, wherever you are.
 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Just Say No to Samsung Appliances!

Among all of the other things going on these days, our Samsung refrigerators' ice maker died.  The refrigerator still works, but it keeps flashing this error code on its front panel.  So...I pay my friendly, well-known, appliance repair guy to check it out.
Now, my repair guy is a fair guy.  He only charged the basic fee for a house call.  He spent a while on the telephone with Samsung service.  At the end, he told me that a component of the ice maker has failed.  This component is built into the ice maker housing...in other words, it is not repairable!
So, I take his advice, and call Samsung.  Not only do they not believe my service guy, who got his information from Samsung...they want me to pay a "recognized" service outfit to come to my house from fifty miles away, and charge me $250.  So - I would be shelling out over $300, and hope Samsung does the right thing.  Now, to be honest, the refrigerator is out of warranty.  But, as I pointed out to Samsung service, an ice maker should last more than three years, shouldn't it? (they never did reply to that one).  Samsung service is sticking to their point of view on this one, and so am I.   I told them that if they did not make it right, I would never buy another Samsung appliance.  No reply to that one, either.  So - phooey to you, Samsung.
The lady at the store where I bought the refrigerator had an interesting viewpoint.  She said that whatever brand it was, she would buy the extended warranty, just in case.

The bladder inside our water tank also died.  It had had a reasonable life, all things considered.  The guys from Smith's Plumbing and Piping came out, and replaced the tank in about an hour, no fuss, no muss!  The price was below what they estimated, too!  You gotta love companies like that.

Haven't heard any more about festival, yet.  I am considering making the new SPARCL15 the new main machine, since it has the new Festival software on it, plus the latest version of Fedora.
More when I know more.

Good Night, Ma and Pa Wolfe, wherever you are.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Saving Festival

Oh, my, my!  Between having bronchitis, and certain family members deciding to display their complete and utter ignorance of reality, things have been really interesting.  Last week, I finally emerged from my cave, where I had been recuperating.  The antibiotics helped, too... Thanks, doc!

In the meantime, I have been in touch with Alan Black,  He seems to be the lead man on the Festival project for the University of Edinburgh.  Alan was not aware of the problems Festival has with the changes to GCC version 6, which started shipping with Fedora version 24.  The changes to the way code is compiled are far-reaching.  Just about every package will need re-compiled.  For most, it will probably not matter.  For some, changes will be needed to their code.

In a short time, Alan Black has produced a new test version of Festival, which a number of other users and I tested.  Alan says if all goes well, a new version of Festival will be released soon.  At least, the new version worked on L15, running Fedora 25 & GCC version 6.

I have also been in touch with the Fedora Bugzilla mailing list.   As I mentioned earlier, the Fedora developers were getting ready to drop Festival from the supported package list, because festival would crash after being compiled with GCC6.

So, The next version of SPOCS is on hold, until we get the new version of Festival.  I have a couple of ideas for SPOCS improvements, and I am working on them in the meantime.

Good night, Ma and Pa Wolfe, wherever you are.
 

Friday, January 27, 2017

I Would Like to Announce a Birth...

It weighs about 7 pounds, measures about 12" by 11", is AMD-powered, and runs at 3.2 gigahertz.  I imagine you have guessed it is a computer, and you are right...it is the brand-new SPARCL15.
SPARCL15 running on my bench
L15 first came to life last night.  I was installing an older version of Fedora just for test purposes.  I had my automatic downloader get a copy of Fedora 25 for me overnight.  For now, L15 will be used for checking whether it will be possible to get the Festival speech synthesis program to work on the latest version of the C libraries, and the current compiler.
We will see.  Here's hoping SPARCL15 has a long and productive life.

Good Night, Ma & Pa Wolfe, wherever you are.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Good Bye Pa Wolfe

Alas, poor Pa Wolfe barely made it into 2017 before he passed on.  May he rest in peace.
A string of crazy events seems to be following us from 2016...including a tree falling on my car, and my poor car needing unexpected repairs after that (not related to the tree falling).  Plus many others.  The lovely Mrs. Dellroy and I have decided to take it all in stride, and move on.  Better things are on the horizon!  Death to Obamacare!

Meanwhile, SPARCL14 has been running SPOCS version 2.52 very well for some time now.  I think if time allows, we will see a new release of SPOCS soon.   SPARCL12 has been running the current version for more than four months.  The only reason L12 was restarted was because of patches I found were needed.

More Later!

Good Night, Ma & Pa Wolfe, wherever you are.