Got to work a little early, needed the extra time to check the overnight test, and to set up for a series of somewhat esoteric tests concerning closed captioning. In the analog world, closed captioning is hidden in one of the lines out of the field of view. There are no lines as such in digital TV, so the signals have to be encoded another way. There are four major standards for this in MPEG-2 and two more for MPEG-4. They can behave slightly differently in an HD signal than in an SD signal. Today's tests were to verify that my test box could pass along, translate or block certain closed captioning formats. The challenge is to find video streams which actually have data in the closed captioning signal. Most channels always send the signal, as a placeholder, whether or not there are captions. Lucky for me, one of the previous testers listed which streams he had used, and with two exceptions those were still good. The test I liked best was the one where I had to insert an ad into a program, and watch that the closed captioning in the ad, and not from the original program, was being sent out the device. I don't have an actual ad server, but I do have a tool which lets me use any stream in the lab as if it was an ad. So I was watching some Dr. Seuss show on KQED, and inserting video (and closed captions) from Dr. Phil and The Doctors. On the caption monitor they all run together, and some of the sentences were quite funny.
Lunch was at Denny's, because I needed their wifi to update my netbook's virus protection. Good chicken fried steak.
Back at work, just as I was sitting on the john, my sister phoned. I called her back from my desk. She's a civilian who works for the Navy, and just had her 10-year security review, which should have taken about 10 seconds, but took much longer because they grilled her on her Facebook contacts. Totally bogus. They can't get FB at the station, and most of the people they were asking about were like 3rd cousins twice removed in Boston, and in England, and all the nieces and nephews in Israel, which were all there 10 years ago but there was no FB then.
I told her about our cousin's sudden demise. Not really a cousin, but the wife of a fellow who shares the same great-grandfather. Or maybe it's two greats. Anyway, the only reason we knew about her is a few years ago she wrote a book on the genealogy of her husband's family, which includes me, with a lot of information about the town on the border of Russia and Poland in which my mother's mother was born. It was a monumental research project, and included photos no one in my family knew existed. She was a year younger than me. Sister found her web page, which was actually set up by her and her husband as a clearinghouse of information on their favorite dog breeds, and used the "contact" thingie to send condolences from all of us. Last night I found the obituary in cousin's local newspaper, and it gave no information other than her name, age, and which funeral place was making the arrangements. It didn't list next of kin, cause of death, or anything about services. It lists the funeral home, which only has her name, no services planned. Since it's a Jewish funeral, it probably has already happened.
We chatted for a long time, and I asked why she and her husband were not taking the two weeks of shutdown and visiting her in-laws back east. She said that's a once every 5 years thing, and they don't have a shutdown this year, and she donated a week's vacation to one of her co-workers. And she and husband are taking a week in February to go to Hawaii.
As I was plugging the phone in to charge it, it rang again, this time it was a theater friend who retired to a seniors community near Sacramento, to chat and let me know she and her boyfriend are going to Hawaii. Small world.
++Went online to see if there were any other cat foods which would be good for a diabetic cat but maybe taste better. The concensus was Fancy Feast Classic. Gluten-free, wheat-free- rice-free. After work I went to Petco, they were on sale $11 for 20 of the tiny cans. That's more than twice what the PetSmart brand is, but if I am throwing half of that down the disposal it comes out to the same price. Bought 5 each of 4 flavors.
Home, fed the cats half a can each of the new stuff, and they vacuumed it up. Domino barfed some up in one big heave. Then went right back to eating. I have a bulimic cat. :-(
Took care of some bidness. The new pocket wizard arrived, which surprised me. This is the first time in ages that something I ordered from Amazon on Prime 2-day delivery actually got to me in 2 days. This meant I was able to sign up for a photo shoot Friday night. Same group as the last, I just hope they get enough people (I was the only one signed up besides the host and his helper). Unlike the broken transmitter, which is shaped like a mini walkie-talkie, this one is flat, and has a hot shoe on top so I can used my flash as well as the studio lights, and it will use TTL to adjust the exposure. If it works it will make for many more usable photos.
Got RMA instructions for the broken PW, boxed it in the same outer box the new one came in, printed a UPS label and will drop it off tomorrow.
After that I went to clean up Domino's mess, but someone had beat me to it. eeeeeew.
Last night I walked through some of Adobe's Lightroom tutorials, and learned everything except how to save my changes without destroying the original photos. The user interface is not at all intuitive for the basic stuff. It's pretty easy to do the hard stuff, though. Maybe I'll post some of the work-safe images tonight. Maybe. I need to de-resolution-ize one or two for Model Mayhem.
Plans for tomorrow:
2:30 sleep test results appointment. Will be thinking of fellow pulmonary patient susandennis :-)
4:30 1-on-1 with the boss, if he doesn't cancel it.
Evening - more photo processing.