27
Sep
'18

So my brother and I (well, mostly him, with my support) bought this little place in Slovenia.  Tiny house, 4 500 square meters of wine grapes, nice view, nice people, low cost (not kidding) of living…

Except it needs a bit of work. For rather large values of “a bit”. And since we needed to be there to sort out banking nonsense anyway, and with Ethiopian offering R7500 return flights to Vienna, off we went.

First thing to know is, you don’t hire a car in Austria. Actually, you don’t do anything involving money in Austria. The place is expensive. So we caught a bus from the airport to Maribor.

Austria is very scenic.

We enjoyed looking at the scenery…

Got to Maribor, hired a car, did some shopping (this is a recurring theme), drove to Globoka.

Now the main problem is that the little house is tiny. It was built as a “summer getaway” in the eighties, when a whole lot of this kind of thing apparently happened. But now, the people who built them are passing on and their children have no interest, so they go on the market for not a whole lot of money.

But we got basically a batchelors with a toilet, no bath or shower. I make it about 28 square meters, all in.

Fortunately there’s a lot of space in the roof, so armed with our newly-bought ladder (from Hofer) I climbed up there and started throwing out junk.

Lots of junk.

The attic space is quite roomy, but the cross beams were too low for us 6’4″ types. In the picture you will see I’ve moved the second beam from the wall up to give about 6’5″ clearance. I did this to all the cross beams except the first and last one, which are not in the way.

In the mean time, of course, we did quite a bit of shopping, eating and drinking (routine was, work until 11 or so when the roofspace got too hot, go shopping in the afternoon).

The next task was to install the loft ladder (bought from Jager, and featuring prominently at supper).

Serendipitously, the “rustic” (not my word) floor planking had been installed in such a way to make it easy to install the ladder where we wanted it, even though we had decided on the spot before inspecting the roof. This…. rarely happens. We saw it as a good omen.

The jigsaw and battery drill came from home. We bought everything else (electric drill, electric saw, hammer, crowbar…) we bought there.

And after more shopping to get the štirideset little screws I needed, I could screw the planks I removed back on to the cover for a neat-ish finish. Later we went shopping and got some cover strips to cover the gap.

In the mean time Pieter had cleaned the kitchen, so we proceeded to drink and cook and in general un-tidy things again.

Then we went shopping again (I didn’t keep notes, but I am pretty sure of this).

A roll of plastic and a cheap staplegun, to keep most of the dust out (we hope).

What did we do on the 24th? Well, we went shopping… but we also braaied. Sausages and chicken, since the closest thing to steak we could find looked too much like silverside so we passed on that.

And braaibroodjies, of course!

It was a beautiful day.

We have also figured out how to add a shower (it involves moving the toilet and basin), now we have to do just that. And we also need to put in a septic tank (the place currently has a holding tank which needs to be pumped every now and then, which would have been OK if it didn’t smell like the devil’s armpit) and Lohra wants a sliding door and maybe we need a larger window upstairs and and and… guess it won’t be long before we’re in Slovenia again.

 

 

 





9
Sep
'18

Read carefully. It’s not the domain expiring. It’s some bullshit you never signed up for.

I wonder how many people they catch.





 

There are subtleties here which are currently beyond my grasp.





Being the caring gentleperson that I am, I had to rescue the motherboard and power supply from this ex-PC.

P1140193r

Yea, I guess someone used it for a step, then lied to the boss and told him it had fried.

Because there’s nothing wrong with the motherboard, the PSU, or the memory DIMM that was kicking around loose inside the box.

This looks like a nice little motherboard for someone like me. It’s old enough to still have floppy drive support and new enough to have USB. It has an RS-232 serial port* as well.

But nowhere on this motherboard is there a part number of any type.

The BIOS is also not at all useful. CLE266-8235/M-6A6LUPREC-00 tells me the motherboard uses a Via Technologies CLE266 North Bridge and a VT8235 South Bridge, but this is not a Via motherboard, it’s a PC Partner. So with some more googling, turns out it’s a CLE266M-A68M800 (download the manual).

* The manual claims that there are two serial ports. On this motherboard, the RS-232 line driver and the header for COM2 is not fitted, so you’re out of luck there.





23
Aug
'18

Where basically the same bunch of fellows take to the bush (metaphorically speaking) in search of venison, this time not rolling a trailer on the way there.

At the last hunt, we met a fellow who knew a fellow and some subsequent negotiations resulted in an option on blue wildebeest at a relatively good price (R39/kilo dressed with head off but skin on).

So I stayed over in Bellville, so that hunting buddy could pick me up at 0500, pick up otner hunting buddy, and go to third hunting buddy’s place, leave from there. I woke up at four with a sore throat, made a quick trip to M-Kem just up the road, got some miracle snake oil, OD’ed on that all the way, worked well.

The little cottage is up on a hill overlooking a part of the camp, with the main road and the lights from Marchand in the distance. Notice the tree on the right-hand side of the braai…

…yup, that’s where the farmer leaves the feed out. We could have shot one or two right there but that would not be ethical now, would it?

The camp also has kudu, sable, springbok, impala and gemsbok, but for looking at only.

More »





My back’s been bothering me since Y2K. I could handle that. My foot started bothering me about five years ago, debilitatingly so. After two neurosurgeons, one neurologist, a podiatrist, biokinetics, three orthopaedic surgeons, four MRIs, many X-rays, and a nuclear scan,  It Was Time.

The good news is that I have 100% medical aid cover. The bad news is that doesn’t mean what you think it means — good doctors (And Dr Makan is good, no doubt about that) charge 225% or more. So I’m in the hole for about R20k of Dr Makan’s time, as well as some amount towards the klaas vakie, but it’s money well spent for professional service.

The other good news is that the medical aid fully covers the hospital (Life Vincent Pallotti, recommended) charges, and there are many.

I went into theater at around 13:30 on Tuesday. Started being aware of my surroundings maybe somewhere around 17:00, 18:00, thereabouts, up in High Care. Saw Dr Makan, briefly, at a distance, he waved, said all had gone well.

Moved down to Protea ward somewhere between breakfast and lunch the next day, all was good. Very nice staff, great (well, for a hospital) food, morphine drip, catheter… lay back and enjoyed it.

Thursday was… not so good. They started taking me off the painkillers and the drain (pipe coming out of my back and into a bottle) was really making its presence felt. So also the catheter. Thankfully Dr Makan came around, I asked, he told ’em to lose all the plumbing, and once they’d removed that (needle in my wrist, drain in my back, catheter) life was much more rosy.

So I started swapping food pics with my mother-in-law, who was in Life Knysna at the time. Crappy cellphone pics, but still.

05:30, coffee and a rusk.

08:00, breakfast.

10:30-ish, coffee and a cookie.

12:00, lunch.

14:30, coffee and two cookies nogal.

1700, supper.

20:30, coffee and sarmies.

Hobbits would like this place.

With the Medical Aid paying, everyone was cool with me staying the maximum allowed 6 days, but I booked myself out on Sunday to make Tanya’s life easier. So now I’m supposed to spend six weeks on my back…

 

 





23
Jun
'18

We’ve been doing this Kalahari thing for a while now, and they tend to all run together in one’s memory after a while, so this year my hunting buddy decided to make things memorable by rolling his trailer on our way there.

More »





15
Jun
'18

 

Do go read. The Curmudgeon writes well.





I love my Instant Pot. It’s a slow cooker, it’s a pressure cooker… on Sunday I cooked three separate things in it. This is the middle one.

Gemsbok shin curry, recipe adapted from Food & Home’s Blesbok curry.

Instant Pot on saute, 20ml oil, fry one chopped onion for about five minutes. Add some ginger and some garlic, I use the little plastic jars from the Spar because I’m lazy. Add half a teaspoon or so chili flakes. Give it a few minutes.

Add 400 to 500g meat, in 1cm-ish cubes. Give it a few more minutes.

Add 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp ground coriander seeds, 1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes, mix it all up, let it simmer a bit. Add a couple cardamom pods and some cinnamon (I used about half a teaspoon ground cinnamon).

Add six to eight baby potatoes, halved.

Close the lid, set to pressure cook for 15 minutes, have a beer.

Depressurise, stir in about a teaspoon garam masala, let rest while you quickly rinse the pot and use it to boil some rice (2 minutes at pressure, maybe five minutes total).

 





6
May
'18

So I’m messing around with a Burroughs TD831 terminal which uses a 6800 processor, 8 kilobytes of DRAM and 16 kilobytes of mask PROM.

The PROMs are fairly typical of the era, in that the chip select lines are also programmable. So you program the first one in a bank of four to have two active low chip selects, the middle two ones to have an active low and an active high, as well as the reverse, and the fourth one to have two active high chip selects. That way you can run address lines into the chip selects and four PROMs act like one PROM four times the size, effectively.

How I figured this out: the PROMs have 24 pins, the largest 24 pin PROM is a 2732. Told my EXPRO that’s what they were, not much joy. Went down to 2716s, and that gave data out of one of each bank of four PROMs. I figured that this means the devices are similar to for example the 82S191. So it was time to write some code.

I was lazy and just told the code that the three potential chip select lines were address lines. This gave me a 16 kilobyte per PROM dump, three quarters of which is blank Looking at how the banks were located in the 16 kilobyte address space makes it look like pin 21 (A10 on the 82S191) is an active high Chip Select, while pin 20 is A10 and pins 19 and 18 are the programmable Chip Selects.

I suppose I can rewrite my code to map things that way, but I should be able to paste my dumps together into something that can be disassembled. If ever I am arsed to do that.

But if you are here on a quest to restore one of these things to life, I think I have given you everything you need in order to be enlightened.

Edit: You might notice that I did change the code and re-dump the ROMs in nice neat 2k binaries.





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