Week 53: Keeping going
I was torn on how to number this week, whether to restart at 1 (the ISO week number), or keep going, or do something else entirely. But as I started with 0 back in January 2021, I decided to just continue. There is an ISO week 53 in some years, but never a 54, so it will no longer be ambiguous from next week. It’s nice to have a monotonically-increasing number as an encouragement.
I received some feedback on my experiments with Wordle. Someone (their GitHub account has no personally identifying information, so I’ll preserve their anonymity) wrote to me to tell me that it had encouraged them to have a go. They’ve written a more full-featured command-line game and adapted Donald Knuth’s algorithm for solving Mastermind. Using the three first guesses I computed and the Knuth minmax algorithm, they can solve every game in 6 guesses at most. Here’s their wordle-cli project on GitHub.
I’m still working on my Eurorack module PCB. I made some improvements to how I was handling grounding and added a few power planes on the top side for -12V, +12V, and +5V, which simplified the layout somewhat. I also designed some PCB front panels because they cost pennies if I order them at the same time. I’ll probably still want to make up specific panels in something better than 1.6mm PCB material when I have some finalised implementations, but these will be a useful stopgap.
I have a few other PCB projects that I want to have made, and it’s tempting to wait and put in all the orders together to reduce postage costs. I probably need to stop and order these ones now, though, or I’ll never get anything made.
I put out the Christmas tree to be collected by the council. I even emailed them to check, and received confirmation. It wasn’t collected. I’ll probably end up sawing it into little pieces that I can put in next door’s garden waste bin (he’s happy for us to put anything in there on Bin Day Eve if there’s space).
I successfully, and easily, descaled the shower head. London water is extremely hard, to the extent that a single drop allowed to evaporate leaves a visible residue of limescale. This isn’t helped by the poorly-designed tap in our house, which turns one way for bath, the other for shower, and has an off zone of about half a degree in which neither side drips. After six months of use, our shower head was beginning to grow stalactites.
I filled a bucket with enough hot water to cover the sprinkly end of the shower head, added a generous helping of citric acid powder, and left the shower head in there (with hose unscrewed) for an hour or two, after which I was able to wipe it to a factory sparkle. It won’t last, of course.
Another part has broken on my nice pair of AKG studio headphones. I’ve already replaced three plastic parts that broke. I now have to replace a fourth. At least it’s largely similar to a part on the other side that I also replaced, so it won’t be much work to make the 3D model. I wish they were more robust, though. I think it’s mostly bad design, that there isn’t enough plastic where parts are joined by screws. Maybe the ABS was a bad batch too.
We took a long walk in the sun to the ICA this afternoon to see a preview screening of Cow, a film about a cow. It’s a documentary that follows the life of one cow on a dairy farm over several years, shot from the perspective of a cow. It’s a powerful film that makes its point largely without speech. The only talking comes from the humans who interact with the cows at various points.
I’m sure that the farm in question is one of the better ones when it comes to welfare – it’s hard to see why they’d agree to such a documentary being made otherwise – but the life of a dairy cow is clearly not an enviable one.