January 14th, 2016


Over the Hump

Up too late last night thanks to the songwriters' meetup, out of bed too slowly. Somehow got to work on time.

Spent most of the day trying to figure out a video feature called RRT, known to the real world as censorship. It's the signal which gives the TV industry's Rating Region Table system, which indicates the extent to which a show is appropriate for a specific audience (i.e. TV-G: General Audience; or TV-14, Parents Strongly Cautioned). This speaks to the V-chips in TV sets and cable boxes, and lets "parental guidance" be invoked.

Turns out it's not coordinated with when they display the rating on the screen. That's done at the start of every program segment, but is optional if the rating is "everyone". You won't see it on ESPN, for example. Or at least not often. The RRT signal gets turned on at random places in the show, stays up there for about 5 seconds, and goes away for about 5 minutes. Those times can be adjusted by the cable company.

Finally figured it out with the help of two analyzers, my team lead and KQED, which puts it on all three channels we can see in our lab. World, Kids & HD.

And it turns out to not be in our product yet. Which means I got to write a bug and fail a couple of test cases.

Lunchtime was a successful trip to Costco and I can haz new membership card. Two tricks - one is it wasn't crowded and two is I parked far enough out to not get trapped by the vultures.

Lunch at Starbucks, just a mocha and banana bread. No eye candy until I was about to leave, and then only one tall slender 35-ish woman. All the time I was sitting, a singularly unattractive woman was facing me over some guy's bald head.

Had my 1-on-1 with the Boss, which ended with chatting about photo equipment.

After work, Safeway to restock the freezer. Surprised it only set me back $125. They did not have no-pest strips, so next stop was CVS which also had nothing, and then OSH, newly remodeled in a way which maximizes the large space, which means it's a mile to the insecticide row. They had a stack of 'em.

Home, Facebooked, put one strip on the side of the monitor. Been bothered by the occasional gnat. One at a time, despite the Venus fly trap. Hung the other on a kitchen cabinet door where one or two gnats at a time also have been ignoring the Venus fly trap on the counter.

Next time I'm up at HMB I'll have to drop by the carnivorous plants place and ask which one would be better for gnats.

Watched PTI, and then the latest American Idol. This time they FFed through a bunch of losers. None of the contestants they gave a golden ticket to will be able to compete with what I saw the last 2 weeks. Well, maybe one, whose mom is a former colleague of JLo, had at least one big hit on her own. Daughter has potential, great voice - she sang House of the Rising Sun a capella but left her sense of rhythm in her other suit. Once she has backup music she may have a chance.

But she doesn't appear to play an instrument, something which will probably bite her in the butt later. And don't be telling me a voice is an instrument, I hate that conceit. She's young, she can learn.

And again I am later than I wanted to be. At least I've already taken my meds.

Plans for tomorrow:
Maybe make dinner from the lean ground beef, onion, garlic & mushrooms from today's shopping trip.
How Elephant

Backdated because I fo-got

Writing this Friday morning because I totally spaced on Thursday night. Blame the songwriters meetup, because I sat down with my scanner and the binder with my song lyrics, and scanned all 30 page into the PC as JPG images, soon to be OCRed into text or doc files.

Slept fitfully, woke up almost every hour. Sometimes Spook was on the bed, the opposite corner from my head.
Took a while to get moving, got to work just before 10, and spent all day on a single test case which exercises the machine's ability to automatically handle a signal loss in ways which make it seamless for the viewer.

It's a simple concept: the machine takes the same signal from two sources, uses one as the primary and the other as a backup, which it switches to if the primary is lost (or maybe just the audio). And there's a second backup, usually a "slate" - that's a stationary graphic which has been massaged into being a video stream. In plain speak "Technical difficulties" sign.

There are lots of combinations to test, so it take a long time, For instance, the KQED feed I was using has English, Spanish and Visually impaired audio streams in addition to its HD video signal. Our box can be set to switch only when all signals are lost, or video only, or video/main audio. And there's a button to automatically switch back when the primary signal returns. And buttons to force a switch to any of the three sources.

Lunchtime was Sizzlers, where I broke with tradition and ordered the rib eye. What was delivered was a boneless slice of beef which had been pummeled half to death with a tenderixing mallet, There wasn't a lot of gristle, but there was too much for a $23 steak. Tasted good. Won't be doing any more steaks there. Salad bar or shrimp.

Boss' boss' meeting he shared some things we are not allowed to talk about, Classic NDA stuff, some of which maybe should have stopped at his desk. One of the things I like about him is he is open about things which most bosses hide.

Home, was totally bushed, but instead of running for president I took a nap on the sofa. Spook was perplexed that I was camped out on one of her favorite nap spots, and she showed it by being very vocal, and jumping onto the back of the sofa and then onto my butt. She finally gave up after 15 minutes and I got an hour's sleep.

Watched PTI, and the latest Galavant. Menken really outdid himself with the songs this time, around a theme of lonliness. And love. And how one conquers the other. And vice versa. And I am in love with the actress they introduced to play the king's childhood playmate who would clearly like to jump his bones if ever he were to pry himself out of his ego. Clare Foster.

And I was brought to tears with the closing number, What Am I Feeling sung by Queen Madalena, in which she discovers she doeas have feelings, after all. Okay, one feeling. The feeling one gets when one becomes fully aware that nobody likes you.

Got up to date on FB and LJ, wonderful to see zyzyly posting again. Updated Quicken. Tech CU has not been doing a reliable job with direct connect.

As noted above, scanned in 30 sheets of my song lyrics, mostly from the 1970s, a couple on the back of UW Comunications Dept. stationary, and Daily Astorian letterhead. The Epson scanner software was not displaying the preview dialog, so I just told it to scan each page.

Looking at the collection, preview was apparntly set to not scan the whole page, so I'll be doing them all again.

Plans for tomorrow: