Distro Hopping is pointless because the Answer Is Always Debian

If you have an Axe, and you replace the handle.

Later you replace the blade.

Sharpen the blade again.

Chop the wood for the fireplace this winter.

 

But… Is it the same Axe?

 

There are indeed options.  Alternatives, even with computers.  That’s what this is all about.

This” is “Distrohopping”.

Think of it as remodeling your computer instead of your bathroom – which is a very small area that results in your emptying your bank account into a small hole in the floor where all your money turns to sh… sewage.

Windows and Mac people don’t really understand the concept, but it is more like the ultimate theme.

You see, I actually enjoy tweaking things on my computer.  I have the freedom to tweak away.  Change fonts, colors, even the entire way that the work flow happens on the thing.

I expect everything to just work.  Why not, I’ve got the tools.  I can change almost everything.

I stopped running Windows when I found out that Microsoft gave themselves the right to watch every little thing that I am doing on my computer.   Since they are not paying me for that right, I dumped Windows.

On the spot.  “F” that spyware.

Not completely sure how Mac fits in that, however I finally got the chance to play around with the Apple operating system and found its rigidity never fit with my innate curiosity.

So here I am on Linux.  Debian Linux to it’s friends.  BSD People know what I am talking about when I refer to absolute control, so come close, little cousins, lets laugh at the normies.

I have a spare laptop.  Still quite useable, an i3 with 4 GB soldered in.  That is all it will ever be, and it was bequeathed to me when a friend passed.  So we shall call this machine David as a result, In His Honour.

David doesn’t get used too much.  It is the slowest “i” machine I have here, but with the right operating system it will run quite fast enough to be useable.

By the right operating system, I mean a Distribution of Linux.  I did try a version of BSD called Nomad BSD that boots from a stick.  It says that it never touches your hardware, which is intriguing and it does show promise.

Since BSD is even less used than Linux in the home market (Less than 1% vs about 2-3%) it is inherently more secure due to “Security by Obscurity”.

But I digress.

I run Debian Linux on my computers.  It is Utterly Stable.  As in that granite counter top that some have will chip before my Debian computer will crash.  Stability comes from the Debian Foundation testing the ever loving daylights out of it.  I got tired of instability along with Windows’ snooping, and settled in on Debian.

Stability comes with older, more stable software due to all that testing, but it can be quite old to be on what is called “Debian Stable”.  That is a problem for some people who want newer and more cutting edge software, but that is easily solved by installing “Debian Testing”.  It’s the last (arbitrary last) time Debian moved the “Unstable” version to save it off.

As of this date, Debian Testing is the “Release Candidate” for the next version of Debian.  I am running that every day on two computers.  Still stable, still no problems.

Since Testing is what many other foundations use for their own base to spawn off a software library for their own Distribution, Testing is much more stable than many other distributions efforts.

In fact, the largest distributions, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and many others are all derived from that.

Ok, enough background.

I wanted a change for David.  Ubuntu just recently went to their newest version called Disco Dingo, and since I still unironically listen to Classic Disco, I chuckled at that name and installed it.

Except it had no way to hibernate David.  David is also a laptop and a mere “suspend” is worthless.  Write the data to disc (or SSD in my case) and turn the thing off so you are not wearing out the batteries.

Ubuntu is the base for Linux Mint.  The hibernate issue is a requirement so any distribution without hibernate is a “Non-Starter” for me.

Ubuntu?  Fix that.  It works in Debian Stable and Debian Testing.  You being arbitrary because “Some Systems May Crash So We Turned Hibernate Off” is an explanation on the order of having your child paint their younger sibling with Peanut Butter because they liked it.

It Does Not Work Because You Broke It, So Fix It.

That leaves Linux Mint off the table too as well as anything based on Ubuntu or derivatives including the alphabet soup of versions.

If you’re counting, this is Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Linux Mint, plus some other newer distributions like MXLinux and a few others that the names slipped my mind.

Yes, I can install another version of linux on a laptop in 15 to 30 minutes while watching old bad sitcoms at night, and I have, and I got bored with it.

Another thing I require is a fast interface.  I settled on XFCE4 because it looks like the versions of windows, broadly, before they went insane and decided everything should be giant ugly blocks and resemble something like Legos On Acid.

My usual configuration of XFCE4 looks like Windows 7 once I get through with it, Base fonts are usually something that looks like the London Underground with a font called “Gill Sans“.

Helvetica and Arial, as fonts, both look like hell.  A Lower Case Letter L and an Upper Case Letter I should look very distinct.   With Helvetica, it does not.  It irks the daylights out of me, along with the strange spacing between the letters (Kerning) and other very subtle things that some people have grown used to without realizing it.

So after churning through the top ten Debian Derived Distros, I tried CentOS.  It’s a Community Based option that is the shared version of the same software that runs on all the servers.  At least all the Linux Based ones that aren’t running Debian.

It was what I started with on Linux around 2000, give or take a few years.  I had a Pentium 3 Mobile laptop that I kept on the couch in my house in Philly down in the living room that was still useable in 2013 or so when CentOS dropped all support for that particular version.  Centos 3 I think.  Maybe Centos 4.  I forget.

But, CentOS is not geared towards you – or me.

It’s a place to rest my head.  To hang my Skating Helmet I guess.  You see, while it is a Server Operating System, and I could do some serious web development on that little computer, it has a major problem.

The last version of CentOS 7 was announced, and while they have a long term support for it, they do not have an upgrade path for it.

Even Windows 2000 had an upgrade that you could run to get to XP, 7, 8 (ick), 8.1 (UGLY still) and that obscene spyware that is called Windows 10.

So it’s a stop gap.  I wanted something different.  I’ll continue all that searching later.

The laptop runs well on Centos but it won’t stay there.  I’m considering a BSD for it, but not just yet.

The other problem I have with Centos is that it uses a different piece of software to install software called YUM.  They also have a newer package manager, but it also has the same problem that I see and it’s called Dependency Hell.

It is what happens when you get a circular reference while installing software.

A game is written.  It needs something to manage the way a sprite works or how it gets information into it.  That is in a library.  It requires a very specific version.  So installing the game requires you install both, Manually.

By Hand.

But… Debian (any version) does not require that.  The Debian Foundation made very sure that it just works.

Period.

So why fuss with YUM (or DNF) and Dependency Hell.

Especially when Debian has the same software library that everybody else has and I can install what I like on it.

All that just proved what the meme says.  When installing Linux, if you have any questions:

“The Answer Is Always Debian”

Seriously, anything I want for the home, for a server, for a laptop, The Answer Is Always Debian.

  • Server to write web pages?  LAMP using Debian.
  • WordPress Server?   LAMP with WordPress using Debian.
  • Graphics Work?  Debian.  In fact, it comes out of the box with Inkscape for vector grapics and GIMP for very fine photoshop work, as well as Krita and others.
  • How about Video Processing?  Debian.  Install Flowblade for Video Editing, Handbrake for Transcoding.
  • Um…Word or Excel and the rest of Office?  Debian.  Libre Office is extremely stable.
  • An old Windows Program?  Debian.  Add WINE and you can run some, but not all, Windows programs once you figure out the configuration.
  • File Server?  Debian, install and configure Samba.
  • Learn Spanish? Watch Video? Listen to the Radio?  Debian.  Doing all that right now.
  • How about DOS?  Debian.  DOS Box works great.

Haven’t you got this down yet?

Actually the exception people always bring up is Windows Games.  Some of them run on WINE, others via Steam.  I don’t play those.  Too busy, just check that list above and … you get the picture – with graphics, labels, and effects added.

I won’t go on here.  I have a feeling that little machine, David, will eventually end up with Sid, because Debian Sid is cutting edge, more up to date than Ubuntu or what ever flavor of the month that people are enamored with on this week, and because it is a Debian flavor, it will be more stable than you should expect.

Just be aware when they upgrade software, it could break.  All the names for the different versions of Debian are from the movies Toy Story.  Sid is the neighbor kid that breaks all the toys.  Debian Sid could break your toy (computer) so do a backup before you proceed with an update or an upgrade.

Yes, even Debian Stable should be backed up, and I do it once a week.  After all I do author content, like this blather.

Yes, you should too, even if your preferred “distro” is Windows.

Even you Windows people.

Ick.

So I ended up going full circle.  I started on Centos, went “elsewhere” and put Centos on David.  I will get frustrated with it when I can’t play FreeCiv because I can’t find some obscure library because YUM (or DNF) is not very tasty.  I’ll eventually give in and install Debian Sid, type in sudo apt install freeciv, it will install, it will work because:

The Answer is Always Debian.

So why did I distro hop again?  Because I have the memory sticks and the time to actually “Play with” my computers instead of “Play on” them!

Coffee and Backups don’t mix well, or how I broke and rebuilt my Debian Linux install in two hours

Maybe the universe wanted me to slow down.

Maybe I just wanted a second mug of coffee.

Or maybe my fascination with automation went a little too far.

I never used Mac OS for long.  Their walled garden approach of curated software just wasn’t for me.  Too limited.  I don’t care for handcuffs, whether they’re steel or lined with “mink”.

I got away from Windows when the current approach of Microsoft insisting that You Are The Product with Windows 10 and putting in “Telemetry” so they can know how their software is doing.  You agreed to it when you clicked through the user license.

Spyware.  It is offensive.  They watch everything you are doing.

So here I am on Debian Linux.  Happy.

Linux does not hold your hand.  It doesn’t make happy noises at you.  It does the job extremely well if you are a casual user who just wants to surf the web.

It does not advertise at you in exchange for spying on you while you look at news, sports, or weather.  I’m looking at you Windows.

It has its own drawbacks.

Linux isn’t great with cutting edge, absolutely new out of the bleeding edge hardware.  Battery management is a bit lackluster, battery life is reduced on Linux as they work to improve the drivers.

It can run some Windows software if you know what you are doing in WINE, and it can even run Windows in its own box if you want to be fancy.   But to be fair, you can run Linux on a Windows computer using the same sort of software.  It’s called a Virtual Machine, and that’s pretty cool.

Basically “Yo dawg, I heard you like computers, so I put a computer inside your computer, so you can run computers”.

I have done the same with Windows in a Virtual Machine many times but I keep an old machine with Windows 8.1 gathering dust under the furniture for an emergency.  I also have the entire complete environment that I was using on my old Windows XP install back when I started the blog.  I can run it, virtually, on my Linux computer.

But never mind that…

All that software has to be backed up no matter what you run, right?

You are backing things up aren’t you?

You aren’t?  I will let you decide if you are being brave, or just stupid, and leave it at that.

I will put up with the quirks in Debian Linux in exchange for stability, when I don’t break it.  My one computer has been Hibernated 170 times as of last night in a little more than 180 days and is still stable.  I don’t reboot when I don’t have to.

I back things up, about twice a week.  I don’t have to do it so frequently, but I do “Author Content” like this blog, as well as Video and Audio, Graphics, and my laptop does duty as a TV/Radio/Graphics Arts studio on multiple levels.

On Linux, all that software is free.  That also includes my office software, but you go on paying for Microsoft office.

Backing up your computer on Linux is fairly painless.  When I am through, the end result is a complete clone of what I have on the computer.  Remove the hard drive, swap in the external drive, and I am back running with just one file system check “fsck /dev/sda” and a reboot.

Just like on Windows or Mac, you need an external hard drive.  USB 3 for the speed, please, and it has to be at least as large as your internal hard drive.

From that point onwards it is just technique.

Technique was what I was lacking on that Saturday.

You see, I wrote a script for the computer to follow.  The script works if everything is correct and in place.  It backs up my chip where I save my personal writings to the hard drive, then backs up the hard drive.  Then to take it one step further it updates the computer’s software, checks to see if there are any spies lurking on the hard drive by scanning for viruses and root kits.  Finally it plays a chime to tell me that it was finished and you were a good person for running it.

Well maybe not that last bit but it is complete.

I also got a little slick and simply told it to do everything without waiting.  Should not have done that.  It’s a lot to stand on its own with the stack of old hardware that I use on a daily basis.

Oh the hardware works, but the wet-ware doesn’t always.

I set the thing going, stood up and just as it started to run to backup the disk, it barfed.

The clone of the hard disk, the actual backup, failed when I bumped the cable and it fell out of the front of the “Destination” disk.

Then it went ahead and updated the operating system, and did all that other stuff.

Automatically.

When it ended I had a computer that showed me everything that I had done wrong to it over the last couple weeks by not starting up again.

I was presented with a black screen telling me that the boot process had stopped and I should try again.

I did, and it repeated itself.

Linux is one of the last refuges of the computer tinkerer.  If you like to do that sort of thing, you can tweak to your heart’s content.  Mine looks a lot like Windows 7.  I could just as easily make it into something that looks identical to a Mac, but I want speed.  It runs about twice as fast as this same computer runs under Windows, so I have it.

When I went to enable the second video chip inside the computer, I followed an old guide on how to do it and predictably it had failed.  That was what showed when I booted the computer.

So Linux kiddies like myself, don’t go and over-automate.   Step by step.  Sure, your machine CAN do it, but if you’re sitting at a desk, wanting another mug of coffee, be certain not to knock the cable out of your backup drive because if the next step is a full upgrade of your computer, you may just be stuffed.

However annoying as all that is… it’s a fast fix.

I reinstalled the operating system, Debian Linux 9, in about 15 minutes.

Brought it up to date in another 30 minutes.

Copied over my “home directories” in another 90 minutes.  It was massive.

Computer back to normal from a bare bones install in about 2 hours.

A few more tweaks to get file sharing working, and making it able to play DVDs.

Lesson learned, slow down.

Oh and if you’re following along and wondering, the specifics are here since I use this as a scratch pad for my memory.

My computer’s C Drive shows up on /dev/sda with operating system on /dev/sda1, swap on /dev/sda5

The backup D Drive shows up on /dev/sdb and will be a perfect clone of the computer.

The syntax of the clone is one line run as root (administrator for windows people)

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb conv=noerror,sync status=progress

Just copy the chip to a place on the hard drive manually first.

*sigh*  And don’t get a mug of coffee by putting your hand on your back up drive when you get out of the chair!

If you will excuse me, now, I have a mug of coffee to make.  Some home roasted Guatemala Huehuetenango that I roasted last week.  Should be just perfect this morning.

Ahhhh.

Windows 10? Not Yet.

I’ve been holding off on this one.  The computers I have run adequately fast on what ever operating systems I use to get my own personal and professional work done.  It is a mix of Windows 8.1 and Debian Linux – primarily Linux by proportion of use.

I’ve been told that I need to adjust my “Tinfoil Hat”, that I’m overreacting.

No, I haven’t drunk the Kool Aid and I don’t have to.

Here’s the deal.  A month or so ago, people were given the option to download a copy and install a “Free upgrade to Windows 10 Home“.

Microsoft doesn’t give anything away for free.  There’s always a hook, even if you have to look deeply for it.

In the case of Windows, it’s best if you remember that “If you aren’t the customer, you are the product”.  I am directly quoting one of my friends who is one of the biggest critics of Android.

I have no doubt that Android is a case of Google simply watching everything you do, and using it to build a profile of you, personally.  It may be to serve advertising.  It may be for future use.  It may be for a friendly or not so friendly government.

Android costs money to make.  Those people have to be paid.  They’re doing it by selling that information to a shadowy “someone” who could be as “innocent” as an advertiser. 

I hate ads.  Did I say that?  I have never clicked on an ad in all the years that I have been using computers intentionally.  Have you?  I doubt it.

Anyway, that free version of Windows 10 Home is exactly the same thing.  Every time you do something, you’re being watched.  Even on the Pro version of Windows 10 you have to go in and turn that garbage off.

Thanks, I’ll pass.  Windows 8.1 has a bit of life left in it.

It might surprise you to hear that if you read this blog at any depth.  I use Windows 8.1 Pro with a program called Classic Shell to give me back a Windows 7 look and feel.  Any time I have to go back into that ugly block land called “Metro” or Modern Interface, I’m jarred with just how hideous and inefficient it is. 

But I’ll stay right here.  I don’t use any Modern programs and for that matter, everything I use on Windows is Free or Open Source.  The GPL License seal of approval.

You can tame the evil kitten called Windows 10 Home but then you have to do without the Microsoft Store. 

Just one example of one issue of many that I have with Windows 10 Home.  It has been shown that your personal typing style is distinct enough to track your self to your specific computer.  Microsoft wants you to help it improve its typing recognition.

Per Lifehacker:

Send Microsoft info about how I write: This feature improves text completion suggestions when you handwrite or type (presumably on the touch keyboard, though it doesn’t say. That’s very broad, and we’ll talk about it more in a bit. I recommend turning this off.

If you want to play Solitaire because you got hooked back on Windows 3.1, you can do so with ads.  Same thing with Freecell. 

There is an advertising ID number that basically stays with you.  If you didn’t like the idea of an advertising company tracking your every move, why would you want Microsoft to do so?

Actually, you can find it on your old Windows 7 machine, copy it across, and I’m told it works.  I don’t know first hand since I’ve got too much to do than to play Solitaire on a computer.  That’s the kind of thing I’d do on Hold with a Client, and I don’t stay on hold long if I’m there.
So to those of you who don’t like the prospect of being watched, you can pay the $100 or so and upgrade to Windows 10 Pro and then look into locking it down.

For me, I’m staying put.  The other machines I have are happily on Debian Linux.  I know Linux well enough to make it do what I need it to.  No ads, No spyware, and it’s all free, including Freecell.

One of those rare cases where you don’t have to worry about evil software getting involved on your computer.

Firefox Security Hole Is Why You Need An Adblocker And An Update

Windows:

  • When I clicked “Help” then “About Firefox” it immediately downloaded the patch.  
  • Click on the “Restart Firefox To Update Button”

Linux (Debian)

Assuming you have “real” Firefox installed and the sources in place.

  • Open Terminal as Root.
  • Smile because you have Root.
  • apt-get update
  • apt-get upgrade
  • Restart Firefox when you click on the button that appears.

Other Linux Distros will vary, of course.

Mac apparently does not have the problem.

What happened?  Hackers.  Simply put, a Hacker exploited a hole in Firefox so that advertisements could push some code onto your machine to take it over.

Now, this business about ad blockers.

I run one and I use it very aggressively. It is for this reason.  It is also that I truly hate being pandered to and watched.

The latest trend is to watch what you are doing via “tags”.  A 1 pixel “dot” of a picture will be pushed to your browser as an anchor for them to watch what you are doing.

The best thing for you to do is to run an ad blocker.  You tell it what to block, and yes, it gets very technical because you have to take responsibility to block these things.  For the most part, an ad blocker with (free) subscriptions will block most, but never all, of these nasties.

When you run an ad blocker you will also notice that your browser runs much faster since it isn’t trying to paint all those ads for all those products that you will never use.

Lets be honest, have you ever actually clicked on an ad intentionally?

Me neither.

Heck, I don’t even see youtube commercials because I run an ad blocker.

The easier one to use is Ad Block Plus.  It is controversial because they allow certain advertisers to pay *them* to be allowed past the blocker.  I would recommend this for basic users because unless you want to learn how to use it, it’s pretty simple.

The one I am using is called uBlock.  I’m still learning how to use it.  It removes the ads, but I haven’t figured out how to make it remove the blank space the ad created.

It’s up to you.  Ads and Hackers, or a better browsing experience.  I know what I chose.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have a browser to restart.

Windows 10 New Feature – You Are Sharing Windows Updates Files With Others

There are a lot of things that I am uncomfortable with in the new Windows 10. 

Oh sure, it’s shiny! and new! and free!

But wait, haven’t you heard the old line “If you aren’t the customer, you are the product”?

Microsoft is using that logic on your new free version of Windows 10 Home.

With all the privacy holes that Microsoft created with Windows 10 I really do feel like I’m watching the movie 1984 where the TVs are watching you – and can never be turned off.

Same thing with the book Fahrenheit 451, but I never saw a movie version of the book that did it justice.

You made the choice to go to Windows 10 because Windows 8.1 bleah.  I know, I said the same thing about 8 and 8.1 but I am not at this time going to windows 10 unless I can figure out how to make myself comfortable with it.

I’ll let the bugs get worked out, let the hackers figure out how to stop Cortana from watching over my shoulder, and so forth.  Maybe when the free year is up, I may take advantage of the Free! Windows 10! Upgrade!

But honestly, probably not.   This is being written from Linux and frankly it does everything I need and about twice as fast as Windows 8.1 ever did – on the same machine.  Yes, you can do both.  I am, but if you are an “end user” or “Mom just surfs the web” user, you probably won’t.

Never mind all that.  You made your choice.  Here’s what is happening.

With “old” windows you got windows updates directly from the mothership – Microsoft.  It would go out in the middle of the night, download patches, restart your computer, and you wouldn’t really know what all happened.

Every so often it would glitch and you’d have to talk to your neighbor’s 13 year old who “lives in the basement” to get it fixed, and you’d go back on your way after tossing him a $20.

Now Windows 10 Home goes out, grabs the updates from something called a torrent.  Basically it’s like the old Napster was – grab things from who ever has a piece of it.

Mind you, Torrents can be amazing things.   I grabbed my copy of Debian Linux using a torrent.

But.

Here is why you don’t want that happening.

It can either slow your computer down (especially if you have an older one) or it can easily slow down your network connection. 

Windows Updates now looks on your network for other computers that have Windows 10 and will grab what it needs to assemble the Update, then send it to whoever requests it.

Yeah, I thought it was a bit odd, perhaps heavy handed, too.

So if you made the jump and are happy with Windows 10, Great, but here is how to stop that behavior.

Go to the not-actually-very-obvious Settings Updates and Security Advanced options Choose how you download updates Get updates from more than one place.

Your choices are:

  1. Off. Your computer calls home to Microsoft, and gets updates only from there.
  2. PCs on my local network. WUDO (Windows Update) will “torrent-share” files, but only between computers on your own LAN.
  3. PCs on my local network and on the internet. You’ll potentially get files from, and offer file uploads to, computers anywhere in the world. 

The best one for you at home will be the second selection – PC’s On My Local Network.   It saves you from having all of your PCs using your connection to talk to Microsoft for their updates.

This was adapted from this article at the rather excellent site:

Naked Security from Sophos.

Sophos is well worth an occasional read or a like on Facebook if that’s your sort of thing.

Evicting My Tree Frog

We had to do it.
We had to send a friend away.

Goodbye little tree frog.

We hated doing it too.  For more than a year, maybe two, this little critter has been spending it’s daytime watching over us.

It found a nook between the glass and a piece of Fascia Board on the outside of my Florida Room.  There it would shimmy up before dawn most mornings, and rest the day away.

It got very predictable.  About an hour before dawn I would hear a meaty smack on the window and there it would be. 

Slowly walking up the glass of the Jalousies to the shelter that someone created years ago, it would find its spot.

My intention is to make a Frog Hut.  I saved all of the beaver board and scraps I could find from the construction.  I have a sheet of plywood and some crown molding and from that, if I have the time, I think we can make something just large enough.

If I do make that, I’ll make it so it can be removed for cleaning.  We never could clean that spot on the window because it was too close to the wood for my hands.  The frog’s timing was that I could have gotten out there on days it wasn’t using us as Kermit’s Hotel For Wayward Tree Frogs.

That particular day, the frog arrived when construction had already started.  It was a late morning for it so I figure it was out visiting Miss Piggy and having whatever passes for a frog party.  Maybe Bugs a la Mode?  The one worker had just stepped away from the window after removing the first bit of Fascia board and our friend saw its chance.  I spotted the frog mid window and the worker hadn’t even seen it.  It climbed back up to its spot and we all tried to move it along as gently as possible. 

For now I have shiny Impact Resistant Windows where those leaky Jalousies were.  The house even feels different, so the new ones are markedly more fuel efficient. 

But no home for Frogs.

Sorry little friend, I’ll see what I can do.  Maybe tape a piece of cardboard for the time being.

A Housefull Of Windows Replaced In Two Days

We’re beat.

26 windows down, 1 to go – if I got my count right.

Part of living in South Florida is accepting the environment and preparing for it.  Oh, sure, you do the same in other parts of the country.  Actually you do it everywhere, but you generally don’t give it all that much thought.

When you move in, set down roots in a new place, you begin that process that you learned when you were growing up – but didn’t realize it.  You adapted to your environment, and bent what you could to fit it to your own preferences.

We’re doing that here.

The house was built some time after 1956.  We aren’t completely sure whether it was 1956 or 1968.

Neither is the City.  Records are a bit sketchy.

We do know that nobody did any major renovations here.   A pool was added in the early 1960s, or maybe the 1950s, there isn’t a record of that either.

Someone laid tile in the “Public Areas” of the house.  Right on top of the grey travertine, or what ever it is called.  You could correct me and an hour later I’d get it wrong anyway.  One of those names I can’t keep in my head.

Just like most names.  They just don’t “stick”.

It was actually laid by most of the Police force of the City at the time.  They did a crappy job, just like anyone you’d expect to be drafted to do something by their boss.  Some of the tiles have a hollow sound to them when you step on them, and the grout is crumbling.

Another project for the future.

But past that, the cabinets were put in and left alone, just as most of the rest of the bones of this place.  We’re replacing some fairly major systems here as time goes on.

The first thing to go was the fire hazard of the electrical panel.  Do yourself a favor – find your electrical panel and see if you have the words “Federal Pacific Electric” on it or the initials “FPE”.  If you do, you had better replace it.  Major design flaws resulting in fires.  Such a bad design that the company was bankrupted and stripped for parts.  They actually cheated on the “UL” tests and got the approval they were looking for then sold the hell out of those faulty Stabloc circuit breakers.  Go check, I’ll wait!

But the windows remained.  Leaky Jalousie windows.

Not. Any. More.

Impact resistant windows.  The words “Impact Rating: Large Missile” are written on that sticker on the windows and are waiting for the inspector. 

I won’t test that although I did get a chuckle out of the phrase.

Much quieter too.  I’d say it knocked the noise level down outside to where I can’t hear the cars on the street and I’m hearing different sounds from inside the house.

I may have to let some of the old style mechanical clocks stop because they’re now so prominent when the radio or TV is off.

The sounds changed so much that now Rack is alerting to different things.  He actually “moofed” at the ice maker until he got told it was OK and got used to it.

It was 2 solid days of construction.  Knock out 27 windows, replace with 18 or so, and then caulk everything.  New woodwork.  Stucco where needed.

Oh and lets not forget that while all that is going on, the house is effectively without windows.  No, not “open windows” but “missing”.  Letting in a Mosquito is not an option.  Letting in 50 mosquitoes was what happened. 

And “Letting In” is not exactly correct so much as they let themselves in.

We have a thing that looks like a tennis racket.  It has a set of parallel wires and when you swing it through the air, it will zap any bug it hits into a vapor with a white hot flash and a “SNAP!” sound.

Rack hates it.

But it works.  When the first day of demolition and construction was finished and we were sitting in the chair, one swipe through the air killed 21 mosquitoes.

At One Pass.

Inside the living room.

The next morning I killed one on each arm before construction began anew.

I’m a quart low at this point and the top part of my brain is drying out from the donation.

But it is mostly done.  One window left and we’re done.

What.  A.  Weekend.

*WHEW!*