It’s been a busy weekend, but not in the usual way. This weekend was two days where Tammy and I went to Bow Cycle to take part in the Complete Overhaul Service School course. This marks thefourthtime I’ve done it. It was a first for Tammy. The basic outline of the course hasn’t changed:
Bring in your bike,
Tear it down to the frame,
Clean everything, replace worn parts,
Build it back up better than new.
I took my Roubaix, and Tammy took her Cannondale. The course was reserved for the Bow Cyclist Club, and this is the first of three weekends where there will be 6-7 people in the class. When I took it in 2016, I was the only person in the class. Tammy was the only woman in the class, and she certainly did fantastic. She was the first one done by a long shot and helped me re-wrap my handlebars with new tape.
I think the kids enjoyed the weekend: no parents around and yesterday we brought home Chinese food and Timbits and today we brought home Red Swan Pizza. We took a few pictures, and a video of Derek wrapping bar tape, but nothing too great, so here’s a picture of Murphy instead!
Hot on the heels of my post about FFF version 6, I’ve dived right into some Python programming. No, it has nothing to do with snakes. 🐍 It’s the scripting language. With the Raspberry Pi that I got for Christmas, I’ve been mulling different ideas of how to use it. It got me digging around with text editors and scripting. I had a vague idea of using it as a pseudo-typewriter for writing and editing my novels.
But what jumped up and smacked me in the face was an idea about note-taking at work. I take a lot of notes at work, and for years I have been using Microsoft OneNote. It works pretty well, with cloud syncing and a folder system that I have developed based on industry and client. But there are a couple of annoyances:
Trying to share something is not easy. The Office 365 sharing wants to share an entire notebook, not a note, and exporting to PDF is always ugly.
Trying to find something is not easy. I have organized my notes, but I have archived some older ones to save space and the find function is not elegant.
So I figure there’s no harm in trying to make something better, right? I give you: my notes dashboard!
That says it all, really. The blue and yellow set I’ve had for the last two years are worn out and it was time to try my hand at making the replacements.
Tammy and I are attending the bike maintenance course next weekend so I needed to get this done. I needed to be able to measure the old decals on the bike so that I could size the new ones, but I also needed to strip the old ones off before the course.
I hope the new ones look good. I really liked the old ones, but they were getting ragged.
The cold snap broke yesterday, meaning that for the first time in over a week, the temperature in the garage was… habitable. The jar of pickles sitting on my workbench froze, for heck’s sake. 🥶
Miranda made some decisions about additional shelves for her room. It’s taken a while and I think getting a bunch of new books for her birthday and Christmas was the instigating event. So she measured it all out, found the basic idea on the Ikea website and then we talked about it. We agreed that making shelves would be stronger, if more work and a bit more expensive. On Saturday, she and I went to Home Depot and got the hangers and the wood, and Sunday we started work.
First to go up were the wall mounts. Lots of time sweating the details so that they would all be level and even and over the wall studs. The only fly in the ointment was that one of the mounts that we’d bought was bent. Miranda noticed it and so we made a quick trip back to Home Depot to replace it.
By lunch the temperature was flirting with zero, so we put the heater in the garage and left the inside door open to try to get it a little warmer out there. In the end, it was “sweater-level” warm. We used some of the leftover paint from Miranda’s room trim to paint.
The final construction happened close to nine at night. The shelves are empty for a little bit until some books arrive, which will be good for the paint to cure. I’ll post another picture with the shelves full.
I can’t leave well enough alone. I’m a code tinkerer. It’s what I do.
I’ve finished yet another version of the mobile app that Tammy and I use to keep track of our financial information. Why? Who knows. Well, there are a number of reasons:
There were limitations on the server-side code that were preventing me from doing a good job of some of the things I wanted to, like bulk editing of transaction series, and batch checking against bank records.
That led me to redesigning and re-implementing the server code. Originally I toyed with implementing it in server-side Swift (Kitura) and Kubernetes and Docker, but as time passed I realized I was setting my sights too high. The high-value stuff was migrating to Linode and redesigning the server APIs to be compliant with the Codable protocol in iOS. The rest would have to wait.
I also wanted to try making an app that would work with Mac Catalyst, the technology that Apple released at WWDC 2019 that would allow a UIKit (i.e. iOS) app to run on the Mac. I have written a Mac version of the FFF, and would like to only have one app to maintain instead of two. Again, that fell by the wayside as I realized I was biting off more than I could chew.
At one point I was also trying to integrate SwiftUI into the app, but that was frustrating. I also started looking into RxSwift, which I’d heard a lot about. But I think I was just stalling.
In the end, I’ve got a much fuller-functioned iOS app that runs well on both iPhones and iPads and might work on the Mac in the future. It supports Dark Mode. I’m pretty happy with it. It’s not done; it’s never done. The short list of things that still await:
Running on the Mac,
Add more charts and lists that help to summarize the information. The Mac version is better at this for now,
Integrate the tools to cross-reference the bank data with the FFF data (Mac-only at the moment),
Improve the calendar view (scrolling, icons),
Improve the list view. It does “infinite scrolling”, but it “jumps” when it loads more data.
It’s the software project that never ends. It’s almost sixteen years old: I started when Tammy was on mat leave with Miranda. It’s simple enough to be a one-person job but complex enough to get creative. And it’s been used every day since 2004.
We’re having a cold snap here in Calgary. As I write, it’s -28 and supposed to drop to -31 overnight. The temperature dropped on the weekend and it will stay below -20 until next weekend, according to the forecast. It’s cold enough that we’ve gotten a Extreme Cold warning from Environment Canada and Nakiska is actually closed today and tomorrow. I sure wouldn’t want to be a lift operator at -30, that’s for sure.
I suppose it’s a good time for it: on Friday evening I was under the weather, and that continued through Saturday. It was just a headache and tiredness and I rested and by Sunday noon I was feeling better. I guess I fought it off, whatever it was. So far no one else in the family has been affected.
Miranda’s first exam is tomorrow. She has four exams: two this week and two next week. She only has to go to the school for the exams themselves, and the third week of exams she doesn’t have any, so she gets a week off. Lucky girl! I hope she does well on her tests.
I’ve uploaded a new header picture for the site! Ian took this panorama just before the New Year when he was out shopping with Tammy and Miranda at the Beacon Hill shopping centre. It’s looking east towards the airport from just behind the Best Buy. 📷 He also successfully installed his first Minecraft mod yesterday: Mr. Crayfish’s Furniture Mod. He’s been bugging me for years to install mods for him, and I guess he finally got frustrated enough with me to figure it out for himself. Parenting win! 😆
Other than that, things are pretty quiet around here. I’m a bit low about Neil Peart dying a week ago (it was only made public on Friday on my way home). Not that I am the world’s biggest Rush fan, but still. Losing him to cancer makes me sad, especially knowing what the guy went through in life. RIP Neil. 🥁
The short version: I picked up a Wahoo Fitness Kickr Core cycle trainer today. This is another step up from the original Kinetic Road Machine and then the Wahoo Kickr Snap. This is a wheel-off trainer, where the chain directly drives the resistance unit, instead of driving the wheel which spins the unit.
It is very compact, and very quiet. I was training with Tammy and Miranda in the same room watching their new TV show, Instinct, and they didn’t have to turn it up at all. The Kickr Snap is getting sort of noisy. I’m going to reach out to the company to see if there is something we can do to fix it.
Call it a way to follow through on my New Years’ resolution. It was purchased partly with the $ dad sent at Christmas. Thank you!
The weather at Nakiska surprised us today. It was 5 degrees in Calgary, and we were expecting just above freezing in the mountains. It was, but it started snowing as we approached the hill. The snow got heavier and heavier. Ian looked like a snowman.
The conditions reminded me very much of Mt. Washington. It might not have been a serious accumulation, but it was snowy and wet. We were soaked through by the time we called it quits at quarter to eleven.
Miranda’s choice of a birthday activity this year was a trip to go see the “don dons” at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. The museum wasn’t open on her birthday proper, so we went today instead. It didn’t seem like a sure thing when we got up this morning: there were Weather Network alerts for snow squalls, and the map showed most of them hitting Drumheller and the highway out there.
But we gave it a go, and the roads weren’t perfect, but they were certainly passable. The weather still threatened, but in a “gosh, that’s pretty” sort of way.
We made it there just at noon, and we got some looking done before having some lunch.
It was nice and somewhat quiet there, although I did hear the cafeteria cashier say to a co-worker that it was busier today than she’d thought it would be. Ian did a great job of being interested and asking questions. Miranda was in heaven, of course. Scored a prehistoric marine life poster from the gift shop, along with a rubber Liopleurodon.