JENS MALMGREN I create, that is my hobby.

Tangible progress on the west wall

This week was warmer. Our progress on the west wall became tangible. Internet via optic fiber is Installed and it is working. I updated my blog program.

Tuesday 16 February

It is thawing. The winter weather is over for this time, and it was great fun. It was almost ten years ago since it was freezing like this in The Netherlands. This cold snap brought up childhood memories of ice skating on the canals. Since I grew up in Sweden, my memories are slightly different; we mostly had snow in north Sweden. You could ice skate but only on tracks that were plowed. When our kids were small here in the Netherlands, we went ice skating with them, and we had a couple of years when we went to an ice rink in Amsterdam with the whole family to get courses in ice skating. When that ended, I started painting on Sundays 2010. We have been several times on natural ice skating with the whole family, and that was grand. Ten years since this was a regular thing! Can you imagine ten years?

We did not attend the ice frenzy this time; that was good because the ones who did say the ice was not that good. Because of the bad quality of the ice, there were many injuries. There is something we have no time for, and that is injuries.

That it was cold in the Netherlands does not mean it was cold in the entire northern hemisphere. Unfortunately, the northern hemisphere’s mean temperature during this cold snap was half a degree higher than it usually should be compared to preindustrial levels. With that, all jokes about that “where did the global warming go” are entirely obliterated. That is how science works.

I took off the patch of my wound yesterday. I still feel a little pain in the hand under the skin, but the skin is healed. The wrist joint is aching a little from time to time. It is as if my right hand is weaker than my left hand, but it is getting better.

Yesterday we ordered screws for the window sills. It is nice to have regular days away from the new house to order screws, pay invoices, and sort things. We decided we will have another run of Friday holidays, but first, we will work a couple of Fridays to come further into the lighter and warmer weather. It feels extra nice to have regular working days when it is raining heavily outside like yesterday.

In the United States, the White House’s former resident has been acquitted in the second impeachment trial. That is very disappointing, but I understand it is difficult to charge him when you got a mob of terrorists after you. Essentially to charge him, you need to represent a pro-democracy party and not be a coward. That doesn’t sound so much to ask for, but apparently, it is. I noticed there might be one or more criminal trials coming up for the former resident of the White House, and I am looking forward to that.

In the Netherlands, we were surprised today when a judge ruled that the current curfew is illegal and decided it would be lifted immediately, and the state could not get any appeal. Later in the evening, the decision by the judge was canceled by the supreme court. There will be more twists to this later this week, I suppose.

Another thing that happened today was that my ISP called me and told me I had got fiber installed at the new house. Duh, you kidding me? We discussed the service they will deliver to the house, and they will send a package with another modem forming the network in the new house. I think it will be a FritzBox, but I am not sure. We decided to get the lowest speed they had; later, we will increase that speed when we live in the house. When I got the FritzBox, I will return the temporary Internet that we got right now. With that, we have unlimited data at the new house. If I would like to work there, it will be possible. With access to the Internet, we can also be in the house on regular working days, and this can be handy if building material will be delivered to the house. It will be possible to set up surveillance at the house to have complete control of what is going on around or in the house. I am sure I told them I don’t need to get an installer for the Internet since I can do that myself.

Wednesday 17 February

It was a gray, dull day. In the morning, I got a message from my ISP that I could choose a delivery day for the Internet’s installer. The first possible moment was next Wednesday. They take tiny baby steps at my ISP, and they don’t listen. All right, I will get Internet, that will be fine. For now, I need to be patient.

I worked from home in the morning as I usually do. When we left our old house, there was the heap of charcoal again from the New Year party. In Swedish, we got a proverb “What hides in the snow, the thaw will show” applicable here. I cannot see that the party organizers got any intent to clean up this mess. In their world, they are superior beings to be served by subordinate peasants. The common space around them is for their use and abuse. They pay tax; hence the street is obviously for their garbage.

We went to the new house and worked on the red planks for the west wall. The set of planks we worked on today forms the inner layer of the top section of the west wall. It was a bit drizzly from time to time, but overall it held up to be dry.

In the afternoon, we had the necessary planks for this set all cut. My wife started sanding, and I worked on cutting and bending window sills. We concluded that we had ordered insufficiently wide window sills for some of the places. They need to stick out four centimeters from the wall, but that only applies to the sills on the east wall. On the north wall, we got the extra layer of beams. The plan was to mount the window sills on top of the windows on the horizontal beams. Below the windows, we will mount them on the windows just like on the east wall, and there we need to have wider sills. It turns out that we then got seven sills over, and on the south and west walls, we can use precisely seven sills of that dimension. That means we can order new wider window sills where applicable and we bought no single sill to many. We are lucky. Now it is not that much money anyway so we could have bought new, but just the idea of using resources carefully makes me feel good.

Thursday 18 February

Today was a regular office working day. I received the welcome package from the ISP. In the evening, I went to the new house and painted a second layer of the planks we cut yesterday. I also painted the fascia boards a second time. We had ordered screws to montage of the window sills, and they arrived today. If we had been working every day in the house, it had been frustrating to wait for things to arrive. Now it comes naturally between the times we are at the new house.

We had ordered a ground drill machine, but it looks like it has got lost. On 11 February, we got the message it was ready for delivery, then we hear nothing more.

Friday 19 February

Usually, I write that I worked from home the entire day, and yes, I did that. Then I write if I were at the new house, but that did not happen today. Usually, that is so little content that I would not even consider writing about this day in my blog, but tonight I did something so beneficial for myself that I will blog about it. It is about my program converting MS Word documents to blog posts. Perhaps you did not know I am a software programmer in my daytime job. I don’t write so much about it, but that is how it is. In my spare time, I made a program that, given an MS Word document, converts it to something that I can upload to my blog. I talked bout this program earlier in my blog. It saves me a tremendous amount of time every time I blog. I can concentrate on the writing, and I can do it with the spellcheck I have available, which is better for the text.

There has been one issue with my program. When using the image in portrait mode, something strange happens. On disk, the image looks fine. It is portrait mode. Then I add it to the word document, and it is still okay. Then I write my blog with the image in the word document, and then I export it and then make a thumbnail during export. The original image looks fine, and the thumbnail is rotated 90 degrees. Why is that?

A long time ago, when we first got files with images, when you viewed an image, your computer only displayed what was in the file, and that was it. Now we got intelligent cameras knowing how the photo was taken, what was up, and what was down. With this, it is handy to store this information into the image file as metadata. That is the EXIF part of the image. It holds information bout the camera maker, the shutter speed, and precisely what is up or down.

Computer programs started to learn how to interpret the image file’s orientation data when these cameras came. Around this time, the confusion starts. Initially, there was no orientation information, so if you see it, it is okay. Now when I take a photo and hold the camera in portrait mode, the information is stored in the file. After a software update of my computer, the photos were automatically suddenly rotated to the proper orientation.

Here starts the fun—some programs don’t respect the orientation and show the raw image. For example, I don’t think web browsers respect the orientation of the image. When showing an image in a browser, it must be in the correct orientation in the raw file.

Up until now, I have solved this by manually removing the EXIF data and then rotating the raw image correctly. It is tedious work. With many photos, it is not fun at all. I decided to make my export program aware of the orientation and rotate the image when exporting the file. I made this on Friday evening. I was pleased by the result!

Saturday 20 February

Our water reservoir still had snow and ice when we arrived today. For the rest, all clues of the cold weather were gone. The first task today was to paint the seems of the fascia boards. We put kit between these fascia boards on 5 December. On 30 December, I concluded the seams had started to dry. Since then, it has not been warm or dry enough to paint the seams until today. That is 77 days ago!

Today our son came with us to the new house. I got this idea that perhaps he could install the Internet for us. I could do it as well, but I am busy with red planks. Luckily he liked this idea, so he went ahead and installed it. He got it working! Sometimes he came with questions to me, what to do with telephony? Well, it is easy; we have no telephony so that he could skip that. He went ahead and got it working while I worked on the planks. That is such a nice feeling that we got stable Internet from the new house. The Internet opens the possibilities of working here and all sorts of everyday things like solar panels.

We received the electricity, water and Internet cables on 5 November. Electricity and water worked from day one. From that moment, our street address was registered as if we had complete access to the Internet via optic fiber. It was just a question about installing the optic fiber modem. No? I ordered Internet on 24 November, and then we arrived in chaos of what is what and why. Especially Paul Reneird took the price with his statement, “No, your neighbors got not an appointment for installation of an optic fiber modem because the other end of the cable ends in a building pit.“ Sure they did have an appointment, but he was correct that the fiber did end in a building pit. Eventually, that got solved, and on 30 December we got our temporary Internet. From that moment, we could activate our solar panels! On 10 February, the installer came and installed the tiny fiber modem thingy, and I heard him talk to someone on the phone, testing if the signal arrived on the other side; it worked! We got our welcome box from our ISP on Thursday, and today our son unpacked it and started to put the things together. IT WORKED! That is just 107 days later. We did not celebrate this by dancing a polonaise dance throughout the house. Instead, we took out our mobile phones and checked the status of our social media feeds as modern people do. That is how we know that the Internet works. If the feed works, all is fine.

We started working on preparing the work for the first set of planks on the west wall. Just getting them to the top level of the scaffold is an endeavor.

We had finished the planks’ inner layer on the west wall’s top in the early afternoon, and the weather was nice. With this, the work on the west wall shows tangible progress. Now we got the momentum going, and with that, we continued cutting the outer layer of the top part of the west wall. The new planks got sanded, and we painted the first layer. There need to be two layers of paint on the parts we cut. If we paint the next layer tomorrow morning, can we perhaps put them up tomorrow afternoon?

We got the planks stacked in the working room and painted, so we had a fair chance of getting this plan to work. It is much more efficient to make more planks in one go than making more sets with fewer planks in each. The space in the working room is one limiting factor, but we have managed that so far.

Before we went to our old home, I checked up on our new Internet equipment, and it was humming happily in our utility cupboard. I returned our temporary Internet in an envelope.

Sunday 21 February

I woke up on Sunday with a little bit of a feeling that I had been knocked over by a train. It was a fantastic morning, though. We sprinted out of bed and got ourselves prepared for work. Today we did not get any assistance from our son.

We painted the planks from yesterday as we had planned, and then we wanted to start working on the next set. We got eight trestles. That is all we got. Two are in permanent use for the table in the working room where we have the tools. Then there are six left, and they were all being used. No worries, we got a pile of pallets, and with that material, I built three temporary trestles. Now we could continue cutting the next set of planks.

In the afternoon, we fastened as much as we could of the second layer that we cut yesterday evening and painting this morning. We could not put up the planks next to the windows because below the window. We need to put up the inner layer first. The photo of the result today got blurry. I have no idea why because the light was good.

While strolling along the path of wood snippets on the south side of the house, I noticed the first flower in the garden this year!

I brought the good news to my wife, and she pointed out that here plants were also flowering!

There was no time to spare. We had more planks to do. We both sanded the cuts, and when my wife was painting, I worked on making a window sill. This sill is the most successful so far. I got two more sills on the east wall to make and mount, and then they are done. When we applied the kit to the joints, then the east wall is finished, and we can take down the scaffold on that wall and move it to the south side of the house. That will be nice. We are talking about painting white around the windows, but that discussion is not finished yet. Perhaps we should do that then before we call the wall finished.

The new set of planks contains more planks than ever. Until now, we used three-by-three beams as distancers. It became too high, and the stacks became too unstable with this many planks. Our beams are not 3x3 North American lumber but rather a tad thinner. Our beams are four by four centimeters or a little thicker, four and a half centimeters. In Europe, we do not have this that the material decides how the thickness is measured. The measuring and not the material decide the thickness. So when a beam is made of aluminum, and it is 4.3 millimeters thick, then if it is made of wood and has the same thickness, it has the same thickness. In the US, if an Engineer makes the beam, the measurement is done in millimeters. If the beam is made in a lumber yard, it is measured in a number. That number has a faint relation to the size of someone’s thumb. So a one by three is ¾ x 2 ½ inches in actual size.

After work, we went to see how one of the houses down the road is progressing. It is a young couple building this house. It was magnificent. They got a large plot as well, and perhaps we can let our sheep grace at their plot as well. We will see.

That was this week. It was a nice week.

I was born 1967 in Stockholm, Sweden. I grew up in the small village Vågdalen in north Sweden. 1989 I moved to Umeå to study Computer Science at University of Umeå. 1995 I moved to the Netherlands where I live in Almere not far from Amsterdam.

Here on this site I let you see my creations.

I create, that is my hobby.