site update

Host disappeared last week (as you may have seen). Got the files back today and managed to restore the posts I didn’t have easily backed up. Lost the theme, but I think everything else should be back to normal.

Site Update

I decided to give up on the plain text stuff and am now using WordPress. I’ve managed to import all the old posts, although they need to be fixed up with correct dates and categories and stuff.

Old links are temporarily broken, I need to figure out how to do some rewrite hacking to fix that. I’m also thinking about updating the theme to be the same barebones that I was using. Fun projects. In the meantime, commenting should work subject to some moderation.

Update: Fixed all the timestamps to be synced with my local copy.

Update 2:All old links should now redirect to the new page. Time to mess with the theme.


Been way too long since I’ve updated this thing. I keep meaning to, but between the BBA and other surveys and things I haven’t gotten around to it. Today I uploaded the NC Trip Report finally. I’ve got a bunch of updates on the Waltham-related stuff to get online sooner or later and plenty of other pictures that I need to go through and deal with as well. Also need to add the trip reports to the nav bar and stuff. One of these days.

Switching Hosts

A bit of a spam issue finally pushed me to switch hosts. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while for code hosting purposes (not to mention backup), so hello textdrive.

Thanks to PSF for the 3 years of hosting, recommended if you just need to dump files.

As I transition, I’ve lost the timestamps on posts, so things are out of order right now. Luckily it’s only a couple months of stuff.

Work Fun

Saw several quite interesting problems at work the last few days. One of the typing/business labs has a bunch of old Dells (L866r and L1000r). I got a support ticket that several machines were down, so I went up to investigate and found 5 that wouldn’t boot.

I grabbed a cart and brought all five back down to the office. Two were easy fixes: one just started working again and one just needed the CMOS cleared. The last three were good puzzles.

The first one would not turn on at all. Obviously the power supply, so I got a new one and put it in. And again it didn’t turn on. Apparently a bad motherboard, so find a spare machine, put in the hard drive, and that one’s ready to go.

The second one turned on but didn’t boot, even to the first loading screen. I was suspecting a bad motherboard here as well. Just before I went looking for a spare, I hit the button to open the CD-ROM and nothing happened. I found that interesting, grabbed the power supply I had just pulled out of the other one and swapped it in, and everything started working fine. Apparently there was power to turn on, but not enough for anything else.

The final one was the most interesting. It would start to boot and then give and invalid boot disk, insert floppy message. Clearly a bad hard drive, so I swapped in another, reimaged it, and brought it back. Plug it in, turn it on, and get the same message. Bring it back down, take the drive out and scan it, reconnect it and it works. Put it back on the mount and it stops working. Reimage it again and the same. I went back and forth multiple times between it not booting in the proper spot and booting perfectly hanging out the side. Bob took a look and agreed that there must be a short, although we couldn’t find anywhere there would be extra contact. He put a piece of paper in front of the drive (the L series mounts vertically along the front of the case) and it worked fine.

And that’s why I really don’t like old hardware.

Much Later Update: It turns out that one of the pins on the power connector was slightly opened, creating a loose connection, so whenever the pc moved slightly the drive lost power.

About The Name

The name comes from a probably Redpoll X Siskin hybrid that was collected in Waltham in 1870 and has not been reported since. I seem to remember reading about it in Griscom’s Birds of Concord (I think, can’t find it at the library any more), but here’s an interesting old newsgroup post on it and other mystery birds.

Last year, Bob Stymeist emailed me to tell me that he was cleaning up the collections at the MCZ and found the actual specimen. I found some free time in February and was able to go in and see it. A bit disappointing in a way, it was a very washed out bird that looked a lot like a redpoll without some of the face pattern. I took a few pictures, several of which didn’t quite come out (I’m not the only one to manage to do that with a specimen at least). I’ll get one up on here eventually (assuming I figure out the MCZ rules).

2009 update: Better than my lousy photo, Google Books now has Brewster’s Birds of the Cambridge Region available. It includes a description and a plate, which I’ve exported and put here:

Brewster's Linnet