Home Network, Part 3

The last time I posted anything was just shy of a month ago. The work related to keeping things clear enough for the electricians to work was nonstop the entire period they were working (September 21 through October 5 for my wife and me). On Sunday October 6 my wife and I were off to San Diego for a wedding on October 7, which was the day the city came to inspect the job. It was also the day the networking part of the job was finished. We got home late from San Diego that night and then we flew to Savannah GA for a week. We got back home (after a long, long travel day) on Sunday, October 13.

This is the first week I have had any time to play with the network. Monday was a day off and we spent most of our time recovering. Back to work on Tuesday, which was tiring and left me with little motivation to do any technical work. Besides, cleaning up my office became the primary task. Wednesday there was a doctor’s appointment which gave some time to play, but again, cleaning up the office was of paramount importance. Wednesday night I let my dogs outside and they got blasted by a skunk. This kept the wife and I up all night. I took Thursday off from work to deal with the skunky dogs; plus I had a dentist appointment that day. I went to the dentist and now I had to take Friday off as well to deal with the pain.

Cut to tonight, Sunday, and I am finally over the dental pain, mostly. I have set up my network minimally at this point. The most important part is setting up my printers. I have three: a small inkjet, a laser, and a large dedicated photo inkjet. I have to figure out a way to put them in the same space in my office while simultaneously making sure that each has the room to be operated easily. I also need to make sure I have room for the many other things I have to store in my office.

All this to say that though I have been preoccupied with setting up my home network for the last month, I am just now starting to work on it in earnest. The office is 95 percent clean at the moment, though I am going to mop it before I move things around in order to get rid of some of the skunk smell that still lingers. Also, the skunk scent lingers on the dogs as well, though I am loathe to get rid of them.

At any rate, I am back and have other things to write about. Hopefully this is the week that I get back into my groove. Wish me luck.

Home Network, Part 2

So I have decided how I want my data network to be set up. To start with I need ethernet connections from my living room, garage, and office to terminate in my office. In my office I will have an area set up where the ethernet terminates (like a patch board) and with adequate power outlets (a dozen?). Of course this will take some planning and effort, but I believe it will future proof my home, data wise at least.

I need to get a switch, perhaps a NAS server, patch cords, and on. I think a shelving system is an important choice. I need to make some changes in my office.

The data part, while important, is not the end of it. There is also the stereo part. I don’t know if it should be based on Bluetooth or Wifi. I even found out about Apple Air Play 2 (yet another thing to research). I have been doing constant research on this for the past week, to the neglect of some other things I should be doing (reading and writing).

Along with that my wife and I have been clearing out the needed space in the rooms for the electricians to work. It has been quite a lot of work. Exhausting! It is amazing how many things you have stored away in your life that you completely forget about.

I have had to throw out a lot of things in this process. Things I forgot I had. Things I no longer need. Things I do not now understand that I ever needed to begin with.

All of this because I am getting the electrical in my old house (built in 1939) updated. Funny how this process, which is seemingly outside of myself, causes so much self-reflection. Reflection on what is important to you, along with how much it is worth to you in monetary terms.

What I know is that music and computers are important to my wife and I. Also important is that my house not burn down due to the lack of outlets and the knob and tube wiring. I suppose that as this process unfolds (which begins tomorrow morning) I will learn even more.

Home Network

Tonight I am preoccupied with building a home network. I am having electrical work done to my house starting next week. As part of the work I am having some network cables installed.

One of the questions I have to answer is how I want these terminated. Should I have a patch panel installed? Should I just work around a switch? Where should all of these be located physically? Lots of questions to answer.

Along with these concerns I would like to make sure there is a strong wifi signal in my garage and to the furthest reaches of my yard. I also want to wire the backyard for sound, but I am unsure whether to create a separate audio system for the backyard or if I should integrate it into the data network I am having built.

Because I cannot think of anything else to write about at the moment, this is what you get. Please feel free to comment if you have advice or stories of your own about being in similar straits. Also, any complaints? I would love to hear them.

Getting Out of Bed is a Bad Idea

Most days during the week, getting out of bed seems like a bad idea. Sure, I will have to get out of bed at some point to go to the bathroom or because I am hungry, but that is a natural progression. I am talking about getting up for work in the morning. Getting out of bed to get ready to go someplace where you would rather not be.

I know there are folks who love their jobs and enjoy getting out of bed to go to work. I am not one of those folks. On a workday I have a tendency to put off getting out of bed as long as possible. There is, however, a problem with that tendency that goes by the name of Jasper. Jasper, it seems, has no problem with getting up at any time of the day or night. He is particularly good at getting up between 6:00 AM and 6:30 AM and sticking his nose on any exposed part of my flesh to let me know that it is time to let him, and Ginger, outside. On weekdays this also means breakfast for the dogs, and cats, turtle and the fishes. On weekends I sometimes get up to let the dogs out and quickly get back into bed. Sometimes I stay up. But staying up on weekends feels different than getting up on weekdays. Perhaps because I don’t have to immediately start getting ready for work. I can sit down and watch TV, or do some work in the yard, or on my computer. On weekends I have a choice. On weekdays I have a routine.

I once worked from 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM at an old job. I could wake up at 9:00 in the morning well rested even if I had been partying the night before. I had time to shower and watch an episode of divorce court while I got ready for work. I usually got to work early and had time to settle in before I started working. My lunch came after the typical lunch rush so I was free to eat wherever I wanted. Traffic was not as bad when I left for home. I ate around 8:00 PM. By 9:00 PM I was free to go out and party until one or two in the morning, go home, and still get enough sleep to easily start the cycle anew the next day.

My routine is set by the dictates of industrial age factory work. It is silly that work hours are set according to the dictates of an age long past and now obsolete. I am bound to a schedule that has me getting to work hours before I am fully awake. I have to eat quickly at crowded restaurant because the geniuses who oversee the work of the masses let everybody out to lunch at the same time. I am also fighting traffic to and from work. None of this makes any sense when you consider that I interface with nobody other than my coworkers throughout the day. My bosses say it is because they need coverage, of what I could not say. They stuck in habits that stopped making sense years ago.

A Little Thought Experiment

I have some expertise in the field of negotiation, some training and experience. Sometimes as an exercise I like to think about negotiations from a different perspective. Something akin to Einstein’s thought experiments; though perhaps not as profound. One of my favorite thought experiments is thinking about how I might teach a dog to negotiate.

Dogs possess a few weaknesses as negotiators. Dogs are seemingly not strategic thinkers. They display their emotions openly. They react to a different set of stimuli than people. Dogs are much less complicated than people.

They are not hopeless, however. Dogs are excellent observers. They read us very well. I have two dogs and on watching them interact I suspect they are good at reading each other. I cannot be entirely sure of this, but they seem to know how to get on each other’s nerve as well as any pair of siblings. A couple of things I noted as a weaknesses a paragraph ago, that they display their emotions openly and that they are less complicated than people, could also be considered negotiating strengths; that is, if they are dealing with a trustworthy counterpart. I suspect that dogs dealing with each other would generally be trustworthy.

So how do you teach a dog to negotiate? They already do it to a certain extent. My dog Jasper is always running around. He is a whirlwind. However, if he thinks there might be a snack involved he sits perfectly; telegraphing that he is a good dog and deserves a treat.

Ginger, my other dog, generally shows no interest in treats. However, if she knows Jasper got a treat she will usually show up to make sure she gets a treat too. Ginger communicates that she does not want to be left out.

Thus, I know my dogs have negotiating styles. Jasper is direct and immediate; Ginger is indirect and usually shows up well after the negotiations with Jasper have started. Jasper gets more treats because of his directness. Sometime Ginger misses out because she is late to the table.

I have watched other dogs in action. I have watched dogs play tug of war with whatever toy of the moment is at hand, until one of them gets away with the toy and a chase ensues. The winning dog will attempt to keep the prize from the other. When the other dog loses interest in the game, the winning dog will drop the prize, and they both move on. The game will pick up a little later when a new toy is discovered or the old toy is rediscovered. Thus, they are playing a zero-sum game.

The first lesson I would try to convey to a dog is the difference between distributive bargaining and integrative bargaining; that is, the difference between zero-sum and win-win negotiations. The winner take all of a session of tug of war is a fine example of distributive bargaining in the context of dog negotiation.

This would lead into the second lesson: tail control. In a distributive bargaining situation a dog’s tail will give them away. They might start wagging their tail as soon as they received an offer they liked, giving their counterparts insight into their positions. In an integrative negotiation this would just be a signal that the negotiation is on the right track. In a distributive negotiation this could lead to the current offer being rescinded and replaced with a worse offer.

The hard part is teaching a dog the difference between a distributive and integrative situation. They are pretty straightforward creatures. When I figure this part out, I will update you all.

Another Nightmare in Texas

Since Labor Day is a holiday, I didn’t post anything on Sunday night as per my usual schedule. Just want to remind people that this was not a slip from my regular writing schedule.

So, this happened. I am not generally a fan of Texas, but it is still heartbreaking to see the state torn by its second mass murder in a month. August was a horrible month in the United States for mass murder events, and not just in Texas. I do not imagine that September will be any better.

I am aghast at how common these have become. The only thing Republicans  can offer in the face of this growing list of grotesque incidents are their thoughts and prayers. Democrats can only display the ineptitude that allows these incidents to continue unabated. Again, I do not foresee September being any better.

Last year I had the opportunity to see Dr. Jeremy Richman speak. He talked about his work in founding The Avielle Foundation and his research into brain health and mental wellness. I thought he was inspirational and courageous, especially considering what he and his family had to endure. I spoke to him after his speech. He was warm and friendly and happily answered every question he was asked. It was heartbreaking to hear that he committed suicide. Though I had only met him briefly, his death was heart wrenching for me.

Dr. Richman’s suicide reminds me that the trauma of these mass shootings does not go away once the public has forgotten about them; the pain and suffering will endure long after life has moved on. As these mass murders continue–and they will continue as long as congress and the moron-in-chief take their marching orders from the NRA–the injury to this country will continue. Communities suffer as badly as any victims in these incidents. Now we are left to wonder how long it will take the poltroons in charge to even attempt to fix this.