Saturday, February 14, 2015

Winter drags on with a vengence

As predicted, it snowed again a couple of times last week and it's snowing again now as we write this on Saturday, February 14. No big deal, but its also been cold. It hasn't been above about 25 degrees in days and we've managed to go through 20 lbs of seed in our bird feeder.

As we were writing this, we received an automated call from the City of Hartford announcing another parking ban for tonight and tomorrow. That's a real issue here in Hartford where the neighborhood streets are barely wider than a single lane because people leave their cars in the street during a storm and just take a chance that they won't be towed.

We have a four-car garage so our cars are never on the street and are usually clear of snow when we want to use them. Many of our neighbors have garages as well but often those garages are unusable because they are filled with stuff.

However, there were signs of spring this week. We received the registration renewals from the Department of Motor Vehicles for Act Three and our inflatable. That's one we never mind paying even though it will be several months before we can put on those stickers and drop the boat in the water.

We also received the summer slip contract from our marina, Marina at American Wharf and a membership renewal from Sea Tow. At this point, anything that looks like spring is very welcome.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

We're not complaining about the snow...

After all, we live in southern New England and that's what happens in the winter but we are getting a little tired of it about now.  As we write this on February 7, the forecast is for more snow and very low temperatures. That means another weekend when we can't complete the replacement of the heads on our starboard engine. We're almost there, though. Maybe next weekend will be a little better.

Unlike other parts of New England, here in Hartford snow isn't handled very well. Our Mayor closes the streets to parking so the plows can get through but many people don't bother to move their cars so the streets are never really clear.

This is the street in front of our house. We know, our sidewalk needs to be cleared (again) but it's snowing now so we'll wait at least until it stops.

Our ancient Ariens SnowBlower fired right up and has chewed through this stuff three times so far and we have a feeling that we'll be coaxing it back to life once again tomorrow morning.

However, we haven't been wasting our time. Our company has a couple of new clients and it's always difficult to learn more about what they need so we've been spending our leisure time on that.

We've also finally come to grips with the conversion of our office computer network from Windows XP to a newer operating system. Not very exciting compared to installing rebuilt cylinder heads but it has to be done even though it really doesn't do much except enrich Microsoft Corporation.

We rebuilt two of the four computers on our LAN and upgraded them to Windows 7 and we're now working on the last two. We've found that changing technology means that we can only get about five years, max, out of a workstation. Since we're cheap New Englanders, we do all the computer work ourselves. Last spring, we replaced a home-brewed Windows Server with a new Linux "appliance" that is about the size of a shoebox. We bought that unit instead of building one but the next time, we're going to tackle that ourselves, too.

Now, while we wished we were on our boat wrenching, we're spending our snowy weekends gutting the former file server and making it into a new machine. No sense in buying a new computer cabinet or optical drive when we can salvage at least those parts. We told you were were, let's just say, thrifty.

We've also spent some time when we'd normally be working on the boat to further improve our video editing skills. We shoot thrilling sequences such as cars driving by our house or birds enjoying our bird feeder and then edit those sequences and add sound and special effects. It is surprisingly complicated but if the kids on You Tube can do it, we'll be damned if we can't too.

Speaking of You Tube, we've had a "channel" there for the last five years. For us, it's just a fun way to publish our boating life but it has grown quite a lot despite the narrow lifestyle interest it serves. We have 147 subscribers to the channel and our videos have been viewed over 490,000 times. Videos about boat maintenance always get a lot of views and surprisingly, we get very few nasty comments.

The most popular video we ever posted was taken at Mitchell's in Greenport, Long Island during our visit in July, 2013. It's just some poor guy in a go-fast boat trying to get out of his slip. We thought it was funny, even though we've all been through that docking problem more times than we'd like to admit.

That video has garnered almost 200 comments and some of them not very polite. It's amazing to us that something this simple (and short) would be viewed more than 100,000 times.  It certainly underscores the importance of You Tube.

Here's a link to that video.