Duncan's friend Lincoln was over to visit today, and the two of them wanted to play Team Fortress 2. That's fine, Lincoln's parents gave us their old laptop that runs TF2 acceptably so that's fine. The problem, though, is that Duncan only has one Steam account - easy enough to fix, just create a new one for Lincoln. Then I tried to add him as a friend on Duncan's account, and I can't, because Duncan's account is limited as it hasn't spent five bucks yet.
Apparently, you have to spend at least $5 USD, and gifts don't count (our normal way of giving Duncan games). I didn't feel like heading out to EB games to get a Steam card just to put money on his account. I heard Bitcoin was high recently and I still had a little left over, and I heard that Steam accepts Bitcoin via Bitpay now. Do I have $5 USD?
Not only do I have $5, I had nearly $11 at current prices. So I went through the process which was incredibly painless. After clicking "return to Valve" from the paid invoice, it told me the transaction was pending, but by the time I reloaded the "account details" page the $5 was in his wallet. But what to buy?
I could find almost nothing on the Steam store for exactly $5, most things were $4.99 or some equivalent thereof. Bugger.
While looking around, I just happened to try adding his friend, and it let me do it - you don't apparently need to even buy anything. I checked his account (append
?xml=1 to the end of the Steam Community URL to a user's profile and inspect
isLimitedAccount) and it still says it's limited, but he can add friends now, so that will do.
We ended up buying him LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, leaving him a solitary cent in his wallet. I'll probably add another $5 to his account at some point just to make sure he's over the $5 limit.
They ended up abandoning the TF2 idea right after purchasing, and opted to play Lego Worlds instead. I have to admit I'm impressed with how well this game works for an early-access game. The Xbox 360 Controller support is flawless, and plugging a wired controller in and pressing a button jumps straight into split-screen multiplayer exactly like you'd expect it should.
My only gripe about it was that they advertised that if you bought the game, you'd get a free copy to gift to someone else. Sabriena already had it, which meant that Duncan could only play it via family sharing when she wasn't using her library. I figured I'd go in the morning, get a Steam card and buy a copy so that both Duncan and I could have one. Unfortunately, that deal was shortlived and we missed it - but during the Steam Summer Sale we ended up picking it up at a discount anyway so we just bought two copies. We'll have to try out the internet multiplayer at some point.
I finally got sick of the Netgear USB Wifi adaptor we bought a couple of years back. It worked okay for a while, then we moved the desktop up front and it would repeatedly fall off the network under high-PPS or high-throughput situations, and the only way to get it to work was to unplug it and plug it back in.
I theorized that we could run an ethernet cable up the wall, along the top of the arch (there are gaps it can be tucked to make sure it stays put), and down to the desktop in the living room, and the only place it would be really noticable would be next to the sliding door, where it would be almost completely hidden by the vertical blinds. So I set out to the local Cheap as Chips, who have a 15m ethernet cable (far too long, but whatever) for very little money - though I can't remember what it actually cost.
The result? I finally got around to backing up the sole copy of our Mercedes Benz diagnostic VM off my laptop, at nearly 12MB/s for almost two hours without it dropping. Excellent. But why so slow? My first immediate thought was it was just a shitty disk - the drive we're using for data storage is the one I dug out of the USB enclosure it came in, which ended up dying. It's a "green" piece of shit, 5400RPM or something terrible with equally terrible cache and performance.
But I'm told that even a drive like that from a laptop should be more than capable of 30MB/s writes, so obviously something was amiss. I'm just not entirely sure I care enough to determine why it's not going as fast as it should. My AC1200 wireless card is capable of far more (and indeed I had no packet loss while it was copying, so obviously my LAN connection isn't the bottleneck) but I haven't looked any further.
We have a house inspection scheduled for the end of the month again, so naturally it's my time to freak out about all the things that are untidy around the place. The shed in particular looks like a bomb went off, so Friday afternoon and this morning I resolved to do something about that.
The BSA is on hold at the moment for financial reasons, so a logical first place is to start cleaning it up. I put the seat back together, collected all the bits and pieces up, and wrapped it in the plastic our bed came in. So on the whole, it looks like a properly stored motorcycle than a project in progress, and then I moved it into the corner of the shed until the next time I get around to working on it.
Next I had to stuff the tent back in the bag, because I'd left it out as I'd intended to air it out a bit more but the weather for doing that has long since escaped us. Putting the tent back in it's bag is always a substantial ordeal (it's an "instant-up" tent, so putting it back in the bag is about 10x the effort of putting the thing up) but I'm seriously out of practice at doing that. We'll have to go camping when spring gets here, I'm dying for it.
Next up this morning, rearranging all the tools on the work bench, putting all the fluid containers in one place, and throwing away various bits of garbage. Then finally using the blower vac to vacuum up all the leaves and shit that blew in under the door, and the task is done.
I still need to weed the front, pick up all the dried up leaves from the miniature palm tree, and trim the vines on the hedge-like thing down the driveway and we should be all set. But I'll still freak out, I'm sure.
I had an interesting experience with Maritime Security, Biosecurity Australia, or someone while on the docks at Portland this week. We were taking wind tower blades off a ship, with apparently some confusion with Biosec about checking the blades (as it was possible the frames they're stacked into was contaminated with foreign dirt, so each had to be inspected and cleaned by someone official prior to leaving the port), which culminated in a whopping 9 hours with almost zero work being done on the Thursday. Luckily, our bill is such a tiny portion of the budget for these projects so no one seemed to give a shit, but I had better things I could have been doing all day.
So anyway, when things actually started moving, the guy who appeared to be a supervisor for Biosec - but might have been part of Marsec or who knows what - came up to a group of us with a problem. There was a Big M container flattened on the ground on the port. Did anyone know who it belonged to? Of course not.
But what resulted was 45 minutes or so of asking around (I like to say they were interrogating people, but I don't know if that's fair), they took multiple photos of the thing, and 2 hours later no one had still picked it up. I routinely pick up trash at my son's school if I'm walking by it, but with all the weird rules about contamination on Australia's ports I'm buggered if I'm picking the damn thing up and potentially opening myself to some sort of idiot liability.
The really stupid thing is that I'm pretty sure Big-M are only sold in Australia, so it's highly likely it came from inside Australia anyway. Got back later in the evening and it was still there.
On the whole though the entire movement went well. Four trucks, 8 pilot vehicles and we moved about 52 blades of the course of two and a half days, with almost none of that happening on the first day. The only time we had any trouble was at about 5pm on the Friday, when the idiots seemed to come out, but no collisions or anything like that.