Friday, February 6, 2015

Miserable Gawdamn Weather (and computers)


We’re seriously considering whether 30 below and blowing snow might not be an improvement.  They’ve got one of their damn pineapple expresses set up out here in la-la-land and its getting mighty old.  Daily rainfalls are between 1 and 2 inches with no end in sight.  The rain is bad enough but this batch is accompanied by miserable winds.

Right now we’re tied up in Comox harbour, where we’ve been for 3 nights.  We had a good visit with our oldster friends here that we met many years ago in Mexico.  They think they’re too old to travel to Mexico now.  They are both in their early 90s so they may be right.  We never miss an opportunity for a visit when we’re near Comox.  Yesterday they lent us their car and we made a Costco run so we’re too well provisioned to go back to Buchanan for at least a month.  That’s probably a good thing because we were pretty pissed off at BC this morning.

Sometime in the night the wind managed to get the lid of the freezer on the aft deck open enough to let water start to freeze on the seal.  By this morning that had built up to over an inch around the rim and right now there’s about 6 inches of solid ice in the bottom of the freezer as well.  We’re working on defrosting that between downpours. 

Close to a week ago now something broke my network access on my main computer.  I definitely had a hand in making matters worse through blundering around in areas of Windows that I had no business blundering into but I think the initiating incident was my AVG virus software doing an “update”.  I have reached the conclusion that there is a measurable chance that I will eventually be able to restore connectivity once I have my original installation disk but that there isn’t a chance in hell I can restore it way out here.  Its by no means certain that I will be able to retain the data and software on that computer but I think there’s a better than even chance of doing that.  No problem – we carry several identical Dell laptops as backups.  Both of us use the same machine and we had 3 spares onboard.  (I know – 3 is excessive but that’s the number we arrived at when we started counting them up)

However, when I attempted to fire up the spares, every damn one of them had a dysfunctional keyboard.  Every bloody one.  I could boot each of them if I was prepared to swap in the keyboard from my machine (the one that no longer has network access) but no way would any of them boot using their own keyboard.  One of them just flat wouldn’t do anything; the other two would type random characters and had large regions of the keyboard that were just dead.  I surmised that the problem was likely corrosion on the key switches but of course I didn’t have any contact cleaner onboard and we weren’t anywhere that I could buy contact cleaner. 

Over the course of the last week I have:

  • acquired some contact cleaner
  • used the cleaner to flush and restore two keyboards from the spare machines
  • transferred my essential files and software to a backup machine which happened to be running Windows 7 & had Office 2010 already installed
  • got back online and restored my essential software
  • replaced our onboard wifi booster which simultaneously succumbed to corrosion.

Fortunately this marina in Comox has pretty decent wifi so I have been able to transfer roughly 50 GB of backups over that connection. 

Oh, right, to top it all off we had a leak yesterday morning.  Not a big leak but a really annoying one.  It managed to drip about a quarter cup of water onto the top of our spice rack.  I’m not 100% sure where it was coming from either.  That’s the problem with leaks on a boat or RV – you usually can’t get a good look to figure out where the water is travelling from.  I did some low percentage caulking yesterday and – not surprisingly – the leak persisted overnight.  This morning I found a screw missing from a very small hole which may have been the original source of the water.  The hole is in the well under one of the benches on the flybridge.  The screw originally held a cable strap to keep the radar cable in place but I must have removed it when I was doing my radar renovations last spring.  Its hard to visualize how water could pool around that particular location but its also absolutely the only crack or hole I could find in a likely location so I put the screw back in and I’m hoping for the best.  The drip seems to have stopped but that may be coincidental.

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