The Holidays, 1,200 Feet of Extension Cords and More

I started to write this blog entry on Monday, but WordPress said I needed to update a bunch of stuff.

Several themes needed updating, so I deleted five themes that I was not using and never planned to use. So far so good. Then I started to update WordPress, the program that runs this site. WordPress said I should make a backup the site before I update. Bad move. I start the plugin named upload (they have to change the name of that plugin, you try and search for help with the plugin and you find tons of stuff on uploading images or the problems with uploading images in WordPress, but nothing on the plugin upload).

The upload program has a problem and my web site blows up. A critical error message pops up on the screen, but not my web site. It’s not a blue screen of death, but the site is useless and I’m not going to get the blog written until the site is back online.Tuesday lots of research on what a WordPress critical error is. I tried to reload the backups (yes, I had more than three) that I meticulously made at set intervals. It didn’t help and the site remained locked up. I turned off plugins, I was about to change themes when the site went really bad.

I Googled and watched a lot of Youtube videos and learned more about WordPress than I want to know and it’s stuff I will never use, because when I need to use it the stuff will be out of date and I will have to learn a bunch of new stuff.

All that Googling and YouTube watching is worthless and does not fix the problem. Wednesday I hired someone to fix the web site. Thursday they fix it and I write the blog entry I was going to write Monday.

If you have followed this blog you know that people have accused me of having a Obsessive Christmas Decorating Problem. I am still putting up Christmas decorations on New Year Eve.

So this year, I started putting up decorations before Thanksgiving. I even had a friend help me for three days. In California that is risky. I am still putting decorations up. Five years ago I bought a box of five, 250 foot rolls of ‘zip’ wire (sometimes called line cord). I have been using that for wiring the lights up. Before that, I used 20 gauge white single strand wire. I’m still using a lot of the old single strand wire harnesses I made years ago. They still work and do not need replacing. Before Halloween, I use up the last of the five 250 foot rolls of wire. The Halloween harnesses are also used for Christmas. So I ordered another case of five rolls.

Each string of Christmas lights has three colors. Each color is addressable, individually addressable. That’s three extension cords per light string. I put up six new sets of lights yesterday and the lights were as far away from the controller as any of the lights. I needed long extension cords. So I made new cords out of the wire I just got.

I have plans for six more lights sets tomorrow. This is on top of all the lights I had put up last year.

Thankfully, the lights are LEDs and don’t consume as much power as the old incandescent light strings I used to use. The total power I’m using now is less than the five 120 light strings of incandescent lights of the past used.

Also there is work going on in the back yard, so I’ve had to make emergency set ups for this year.

Today I had to hold off stringing up lights so I could get the computer fixed.

Tomorrow I may need to go get a couple of plug strips (multi outlet boxes) to plug in the new strings of lights.

I haven’t decorated the tree yet. I have a live tree in a big pot that I use year after year.

It’s December and the Gladiolas are blooming. The yucca plant is about to bloom. There are apples on the apple tree. The apples are green and have a lot of growing to do. The strawberry plants are still producing and they’re getting snow on the east coast. Oh well, Elon Musk is moving to Texas and most likely taking a lot of jobs with him. He can pay the employees less in Texas. Besides, his tax bill will be way less in Texas. Good going governor. Maybe it’s worth putting up with snow if you get to pay less in taxes. Next thing you know there will be a snow tax in California, it snows and you get taxed. The state will be seeding the clouds to raise money.

Maybe I should put what little money I have in gold so they can’t tax it. Gold may not earn much, but it will keep up with inflation.

So backup your writing, your web site and everything else. Also make sure the backups are good and you can use them. Use more than one backup hard drive. Backup media can fail. It does, it happens to me. Web sites and cloud computer center fail. Just look at AWS and Microsoft cloud failures. A lot of work did not get done on those days. As a contractor they can elect not pay you if the cloud goes down.

Stay strong, write on, and backup, backup and backup some more.

Professor Hyram Voltage

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