3.299 tech, writing

Friday 10/07/2022

Went for the standard walk. Then followed up on a call from the Tech Squad. Joan has a new TV but wants her CD player to work through it as it did with her old TV. What I find is a huge (easily 70-inch) new Samsung TV that her son-in-law installed for her in an existing media wall unit. Underneath is a blu-ray player. There is a loose HDMI cable visible under the TV. This should be simple, I think.

Not quite. First off the tv almost exactly fits the media unit, with like 2 inches of clearance on either side, and I can barely get my nose over the top. And son-in-law has fastened it solidly so it doesn’t rotate or slide in any direction.(I think he glued it, I don’t see any screws.) Which is ok as earthquake proofing, but now there is no way to get to the back of the tv where presumably there are HDMI ports. OK I can just barely see them using my iPhone as a flashlight. And two, the cable seems to be too short to reach the ports. But I get down on the floor and turn the DVD on its shelf and look behind and there is some slack, which I push through the back of the media cabinet and now the cable is long enough, and mostly by feel I manage to connect the cable to the TV.

Now to make it work, we turn on the tv and we see the usual Samsung “smart tv” interface which I have tangled with before, trying to show a movie on the new Samsung that Stew installed in the 4th floor lounge. People, if you need a new tv, get an LG, a Sony, a Vizio — not a Samsung. Fine screen hobbled by horrible software. Anyway I walk Joan twice through how to find the HDMI3 source and her music plays very nicely.

Later I print a bridge picture and work on software. And then on fiction. Which brings me to

Fiction Is Hard part 999

Simple. I want a scene in which Ethan first hears of the alien ship. I write a nice opening, he comes into the kitchen in the morning and has some chit-chat with his mother and then he sees the Washington Post on the table with the headline Alien craft sighted? Unusual asteroid changes orbit in “impossible” way. And next he’s going to read some important exposition from the paper.

What, exactly? Here’s where the rabbit hole opens. I know the broad outline; the incoming object showed up as a moving dot, a couple of pixels, on some astronomer’s images. But I want Ethan to read out sentences from this WaPo article. It should name an astronomer and an observatory, a real one, and details of real telescope technology. So the question is, what observatory is likely to have spotted this thing? And what would they see? I go to the internet and soon am learning about NASA’s program and JPL’s program and observatories like Pan-STARRS and oh, here is exactly the kind of image I was thinking of,

First sight of Comet C2021 A1

But so many questions — and an hour has gone by and I have not actually written anything although I am inching closer to it.

In the evening we had a concert, ok stuff by a local guy.

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