3.338 tech mostly

Tuesday 11/15/2022

Went down the gym early, just at 7, and found 5 other people there. Gym isn’t that big. Actually there was plenty of room; the real bottleneck is the third of the three computerized machines. Number 1 does 2 exercises, number 2 offers only one, and number 3 has 5 different exercises. Susan was on number 3, so I went and rode the cyber cycle and then Harry was on number 3, and the heck with it, I left.

At 8:30 I was down to the auditorium with Bert and John to do a tech walk-through of Dr. Margaret’s talk for Wednesday night. It’s going to be a good talk.

I went away for an hour and then came back with both my laptops, because I was to run the tech for a presentation on trusts and such, sponsored by the Heritage Circle. There were two presenters, each with a powerpoint on a thumb drive. I copied the presentations to mac #2 which shared its screen to provide the slides to zoom and the big screen. Mac #1 was the zoom host. The auditorium Zoom Room PC had recovered from whatever was its issue on Monday morning, and behaved itself.

Everything hung together and there was only one glitch. Presenter Jeff had supplied his own wireless clicker to advance his slides. Presenter Kimberly used it also, but had never used it before. Going to her second slide she clicked some button on that clicker, that made Keynote on mac #2 just close its window. Ooops. “Did I do that?” Kimberly said. I am scrambling to find Keynote and get it to open the slide file again, and go back to sharing its screen. So, 30 seconds of panic and we were back on track.

Anyway, a major 90-minute AV event that was almost flawless. Here’s my work area,

Clockwise from the bottom: Mac#2, sound board, Sound system iPad, Zoom Room PC, Mac#1, Zoom Room control iPad.

My view of Kimberly and the audience.

That was all the excitement for the day.

3.337 meeting, urologist, fopal

Monday 11/14/2022

First up was the Resident Association meeting at 9am. When I got to the auditorium at 8:30, David G. and IT staffer Paul were struggling with the zoom room box, the box that has made running zoom meetings so much more straightforward. Not today. Whenever they tried to get the box to join the scheduled meeting it would report an “unknown error”, always the best kind of error message.

As time ticked on to 9am, David G opted to do it the old way, pulling all the cables out of the zoom box and plugging them into his laptop. That worked more or less well to get the meeting started, although zoom attendees were complaining they weren’t getting sound, although I’m pretty sure they were, or at least, that sound was being sent out of the zoom host. Didn’t matter because then the wi-fi in the auditorium got flaky and the zoom app in David G’s laptop disconnected and closed the meeting. So we were down to auditorium only.

Which made it awkward for me, when, 15 minutes into the meeting, it was my turn to give my pitch for getting new recruits for the AV committee. Well, I gave it anyway.

Then I headed out for my 10:30 appointment with Dr. Lee, the urologist at PAMF. We looked at my most recent CT scan, as more informative than the more recent ultrasound, and he showed me the left kidney. Kidneys are shaped a lot like shrimps in general outline, although quite a bit bigger. Super-jumbo soft-shelled shrimps. Except my left kidney is like a shrimp santa claus with a huge pack of toys on its back, several times as big as the kidney proper.

He argued against doing an operation, mainly because of all the work I’ve had done on my heart and circulation. He just didn’t like the idea of general anesthesia for someone my age and condition, at least, for a problem as relatively small as a cyst. He recommended getting it drained again, as it took 18 months to refill. Well, at least 12 months. So that is what we will be doing.

From there I went to FOPAL and did the post-sale thing. Took a book count (50 books sold, or at least, vanished, from my section in last week’s sale) then looked at every book and put all the ones (two boxes worth) that had seen four sales, on the table to ship to the bargain room. Priced one box.

Bought coffee and cheese and bread and came on home.


I’m giving a pitch for members of the AV team at the RA meeting Monday. Yesterday I prepared a 3-slide presentation and sent it as a PDF to David G for incorporation into the agenda file. At supper yesterday he asked for it as Powerpoint instead. So this morning before the newspaper arrived I figured out how to get those three pages of text out of a Pages document and into a Keynote document, so I could export them as a .ppt file.

After reading the paper, I watered the plants. Headed out to FOPAL where I found my shelves had seen a lot of sales, also been messed about with a lot. What do buyers have against bookends? Anyway, tidied that up. Then drove to Safeway to buy a couple of things. Practiced my pitch for the RA meeting tomorrow.

I noticed a strange pair of sunglasses in the front seat of the car. I stopped by the car-wash place and gave them to one of the workers, saying I assumed they’d been dropped by one of their guys yesterday.

Did the puzzle. Put the air-plant to soak. Checked the email several times to see if Sandy had decided to go to the concert or not — no reply yet. Called Florrie re her tech squad request – no answer. Called Sandy – no answer. Hmph, if she’s gone to church (?) she can probably go to the concert. Later, she emailed she was “go”.

At 10 Florrie called. Her tech problem was supposed to be not able to Zoom. I’m going to quote here what I wrote on the tech squad email reply.

This was a tough one. Florrie couldn’t use Zoom because Zoom insisted on being upgraded first. To install the new Zoom (or anything else), MacOS requires an admin (machine login) password. Florrie had a couple of passwords on scraps of paper but none of them worked as admin passwords.

So now we have to reset the iMac login password. That’s doable but it requires using your Apple (iCloud) id and password. We tried logging in to icloud.apple.com and … of course her passwords didn’t work. So we had to go through the APPLE password reset process, which fortunately is not too bad if you have a working computer and a phone for the TFA text messages.

Then it required her to answer security questions and fortunately she remembered the answer to one of them.

Then it made her set up new security questions, the answers to which we wrote down.

Now we could reboot the iMac in recovery mode, and use the password recovery assistant to reset the login password for the iMac, using her Apple ID and password for authentication.

After rebooting the iMac we could start Zoom and have it tell us we needed to upgrade, and now we could upgrade by entering the new admin password.

After which I started a Zoom meeting on my macbook and she was able to join it from the iMac.

90 minutes. (I wasted some time reading web pages, I could do it again in under an hour.)

She still has an open issue: she has an external USB hard drive which should be working as her backup drive. However on rebooting the iMac, there was a dialog “enter the password to unlock this drive” and I just canceled that. She is probably not getting any backups done. If somebody set that drive up with encryption and a password, it will have to be reformatted to be usable.

Anyway, off to the City for the boogie woogie festival.

3.335 birthday, play

Saturday 11/12/2022

Off early to Mountain View. Met with Jean, Darlene and Jessea for breakfast. Jean very pleased at the attention. Nice conversation for an hour. Jessea called Michelle Gassie (father of Pauline, see day 3.277 for a picture of Pauline) at his home in France and we all face-timed with him. Quite the little tech miracle when you think about it. Just casually pull out your phone and dial somebody 7500 miles away to say “Hi” and see them live.

Got the car washed and gassed, and also inflated the tires. I had a low-pressure icon showing up. Yup, all tires were down around 25psi. Pumped up to 35 again. Do that every 3 years whether it needs it or not…

At supper time, Sandy emailed to say she had something and might not be able to go to the concert tomorrow. I may have to spend the morning finding somebody to use the 4th ticket.

Walked to Lucy Stern center to see Palo Alto Players production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Left at intermission. Not because it was bad; on the contrary most of the cast was excellent and the dance numbers were really well done, the big “Be Our Guest” ballet was top-notch. But the Beast was played by a stand-in who lacked gravitas and vocal depth, and anyway the story is so hackneyed. I just couldn’t muster a care about it.

3.334 planning, tech, lunch,

Friday 11/11/2022

Checking email first thing there was a note from Cousin Darlene, pointing out that Jean’s 95th birthday is tomorrow. I am so grateful that she told me. Her plan is to drop in on Jean at 8am mass, knowing that Jean goes to daily mass, and to share breakfast after. I will go down and join them for breakfast at least.

Went for a walk. On return, I called the Urology department and, pleasant surprise, was able to get an appointment for Monday. Then called Darlene and went over plans for tomorrow.

Checked in with Dr. Margaret who had some tech issues, which were easily resolved. I told her about the ultrasound tech looking at me and saying she could see the renal cyst and she, as a real doctor, said “good for her,” and assured me that it was possible.

Lunch was a date with next-door neighbor Caroline, cross-hall neighbor Linda, and a guy named David Ross, who had been Caroline’s neighbor for many years in Palo Alto. He lost his wife recently after some years of illness. He is thinking about moving to Channing House. They were going to show him around, including their apartments, and mine too, except that I had a date in the auditorium at 1, but told them my door was unlocked, go right in.

Met with Bert and John and Dr. Margaret to practice for her presentation which is next Wednesday. Got most of the kinks worked out of the zoom room equipment I think.

Then drove down to Mountain View to scope out the eateries near Jean’s church. There is a Le Boulanger just half a block away that will do fine. You might say, why didn’t you just use Google Maps. Well, I did, and it didn’t show the Le Boul. at all. Shoes on the ground wins.

Listened to the Friday night online jazz concert from SFJazz.

3.333 ultrasound

Did the gym in the morning. Tidied the apartment for the cleaning lady.

At 1:30 I started drinking 24oz of water, as directed, so my bladder would be full for an ultrasound at 2:30. Surprisingly not a problem to do that. The PAMF ultrasound lady, Jennifer, was very chatty and we had a nice conversation while she smeared goo all over my abdomen.

From the report that was posted to my account later in the afternoon, the renal cyst is about the same size as it was at the last CT scan, which was just before it was drained. Dr. Marx messaged that she would refer me to the same urologist, Dr. Lee. With him I will discuss options.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, that Jennifer said she had looked at my prior CT of “July” — that would have been July 2021, prior to the cyst being drained. I said something about how it had probably refilled. As I said this, I was taking my shirt off. Jennifer, from 6 feet away, looks at my torso and says, “Oh yeah, I can see it.”

I’ve been checking in the mirror and I guess you have to be really familiar with anatomy to say that, because there’s nothing unusual or assymetrical about my abodomen that I can see.

3.332 fritter, swbb

Wednesday 11/09/2022

Went for a walk. When I got back it was time to put on my red shirt and go lead a docent tour. I had agreed to do this on Monday, when they had asked for someone to lead a tour on short notice, 10 people from Robotics at Google. I was looking forward to this, and indeed during my walk I was working out extra things to point out to people who would probably appreciate mechanical engineering as well as comp.sci.

So of course I find waiting an email, sent just a little before, telling me the Google group had canceled at the last minute. Well, phooey. Suddenly I had the middle of the day back, so of course I wasted it frittering around with software and shit.

At 4:45 we had our monthly floor meeting. And at 5:05 I and Patty and Eva had to leave to meet with David G. and Martha to car-pool to a SWBB game. Eva had never been to one of these. She seemed to enjoy it. The opponent was CSUN, CSU Northridge. They were pretty competent but not in Stanford’s class and the final was 100-40.

3.331 writers, a/v

Tuesday 11/08/2022

Went down to the gym first thing. It only takes about 25 minutes to do all the automated round of things. The new gym equipment is all computerized, it adjusts the resistance per your program and prompts you through the reps.

In the hour before the writers meeting I threw together something. The prompt was, “a cultural experience that changed your attitude”. I wrote about our visit to Malawi, how weird it was to be standing around with an expensive SLR talking to people who lived in a grass hut, cultivated cassava with hoes, and cooked over an open fire. Others in the group had similar things. Nancy wrote about her time working for the state dept. (?) in Yemen, how everybody regularly had parties where they sat around chewing khat. Which I had never heard of before today.

At three, Jan’s Hearing Support Group was to meet in the Training Room, which has only recently been restored to usability after being converted into a Covid isolation ward back in 2020. Ian had volunteered to handle the event, thinking it only required a couple of mics. Then Jan had emailed saying the speaker wanted to show powerpoints. Could that be done?

I was to meet Ian there at 2 but I went there directly after lunch. What I found was a big (85-inch?) Sharp TV on the wall. Off to the side was a small podium with an HDMI port on the side. Now I remembered standing at that podium, showing some pictures, when I was asked to introduce myself to the Men’s Group back in 2019. The Men’s Group hasn’t since 2019 I think. Maybe time to revive it?

Anyway that HDMI port did nothing. I found the remote for the TV in a drawer. The TV responded in flaky ways to it but I managed to get its Source menu and try every source. None of them had anything but “no signal”. Then I got my iPhone flashlight out and looked behind. No bloody wonder. None of the input jacks had anything plugged into them. I had an HDMI cable with me and I plugged my computer into HDMI 4 and there we were. So that part was solved. Ian and I were congratulating ourselves when he remembered they would also need sound amplification. Where had that equipment gone?

In a closet behind a pile of tables we found a cart on which was an amplifier and speaker, and in the bottom of the cart, a wireless base station and a mic. Hauled all that out and plugged things in and together and ha ha! An amplified mic! Just as people were coming in for their meeting.

Didn’t do much else, but hey. Two accomplishments is enough for a day.

3.330 a/v, fopal, meeting, swbb

Monday 11/07/2022

My main concern this morning was that I was to run an event in the Auditorium, a speaker with slides and a zoom component. Should be straightforward, but of course, my motto is, “there’s always something” — and there was. I went down there at 9, 2 hours before the event.

First off, the automatic scheduling of the zoom meeting didn’t work. Theoretically, when I scheduled the meeting two days ago and “invited” the auditorium equipment with an email to its address, the scheduled meeting should have showed up on a little iPad used to control the equipment. It didn’t. Not critical, I can work around it.

Second, the projector that puts the speaker’s slides on the big screen — wasn’t getting a signal. Check all the cables, unplug and replug — no signal. Gerald the staff IT guy came in and unplugged and replugged. No signal. No need to go into details. The projector was not going to work. Gerald and Paul very cleverly then brought in the large rolling TV and set it up at the front of the room, and magically made it appear to be the projector. I really don’t know how they achieved that.

The speaker, Robin Chapman, a nice woman, author of several books about the history of silicon valley, came in and was chill about all the failures going on. Then it turned out that Gloria, the person who was to introduce her, wasn’t around. Turned out she had thought the event was in the evening. But I called her and luckily found her in her room and she came right down. So in the end the talk came off just fine.

So off to FOPAL to finish up stocking my section before the sale this coming weekend. That took until 2. I stopped at the grocery store for some stuff, then back to CH pretty much on time for a 3pm meeting. A real meeting, not on Zoom.

This is the nominating committee, charged with finding a slate of willing victims excuse me, candidates, for Resident Association offices, for the election next February. Starting early? A bit. Committee of five went over a lot of names and I found out about various people’s problems that I hadn’t known. People kept bringing up names and other people saying, oh no, she has serious health problems, he’s getting forgetful, etc. I learned that I am completely out of the loop on local gossip.

Time for a short nap and then downstairs at 5 for early supper. Then meet the usual car-pool at 6:15 and off to a SWBB game. This was with San Diego State, a division I team and a bit more of a challenge than Vanguard. But only a bit; we still ended up doubling their score, 80-40 or something like that. Never mind, nobody got hurt and everybody got to play.

3.329 walk, lolling

Sunday 11/06/2022

“Fall back” day. So of course I wake up at the same time as yesterday, only now that is 5:05am. I have three clocks, no four, that need manual setting. Marian’s gold retirement clock on my desk; my Seiko watch; the microwave; and oh yes, the house phone.

Did some chores, one of which was the monthly recap of the Nest Egg. This means, looking at the Schwab brokerage statements for my several Schwab accounts (it’s complicated), copying the totals into a spreadsheet. The original spreadsheet was designed by Marian, who greatly enjoyed running the total each month and telling me how much we were worth. I took that over back on Day 56, 1/25/2019, when I wrote,

… Marian had created the first of these annual sheets beginning in 1997(!), using AppleWorks(!).  Then each year she’d copied it, zeroed the data, and started a new one. At some point a decade ago she converted to Numbers, Apple’s current spreadsheet, which caused some oddities in the formulae and formatting. Rather than try to copy the sheet and zero the values for the new year, I elected to make a completely new spreadsheet, following her design but from scratch with no legacy code.

It only takes about 15 minutes to make all the entries. Bottom line, the Nest Egg is up about 8% from the prior month. Unfortunately that still leaves it 9% down from the start of the year. But a nice improvement.

At this point I felt a pang of get-out-of-the-house-itis, so headed out to walk to the California ave. market. There I had a nice coffee and scone. I took a Lyft back (still almost 3 miles for the day) and lounged around working on the software project. Back in ’15 I had prepared a folder full of unit tests, and I started running them.

I didn’t feel like going to supper, so made myself a tuna salad sandwich and sat around watching TV.