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Kevin's Thoughts!

Maybe you agree, maybe you don't… find out!

Я Габи нарядила сегодня к русской школе, не зная даже, что там будет концерт… А ей так понравилось, что она попросила ее сфотграфировать. И фрэнк подоспел, конечно. Вот и вышла малюююсенкая такая фотосессия! :)

Фрэнчик

Портрет сына. :)

Портрет дочери. :)

А это я Фрэнка сфотографировала в школе на занятии сквозь аквариум — он там как окно в соседний кабинет. ;)

Тут можно посмотреть, как наши дети говорят по-русски читают стихи.

 

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Honey…Sunday!

Posted by Evia on November 14, 2011
Posted in FamilyFarm & Prairie  | 1 Comment

Honey...Sunday!

Вести с полей :)

  • 14 Ноя, 2011 at 12:31 AM
доярушка

Приехали из деревни — как же там хорошо! Середина ноября, а погода… Как будто в компенсацию за летнюю жару, когда невозможно было носу высунуть из дома с кондиционером… Удивительно, но я ничего не делала абсолютно, скрываясь от жары — не полола, не поливала, никак не ухаживала ни за чем… Но урожай собрала кое-какой! :)
Картошка, морковка, петрушка, хрен, лук… Пусть маленько, но все равно, учитывая отсутствие каких-то моих усилий по выращиванию бедных растений… :)
Зато всю осень мы с евином не можем наработаться, надышаться и нагуляться — и частенько остаемся еще на лишнюю ночь и возвращаемся в понедельник… ;) Детям тоже нравится — когда ставим трактор и каботу в “гараж”, раздается дружный рев! :)
В этот раз мы собирали мед — конечно, в этом году получилось всего одно ведро — по сравнению с 10 ведрами прошлого года! Но в этом году пчелок подвела ранняя весна: они “ожили”, начали работать, как зарядили дожди, ничего не цвело долго, два улья зачахли, хоть мы и пытались подкормить… В итоге, активный и рабочий улей дал большинство меда, остальные мы открыли, посмотрели — и вернули пчелам, пусть хранят зимие запасы. У нас еще с прошлого года много осталось! :) И новые ульи Кевин заказал, и место под них приготовил, и сами пчелиные семейства новые весной прибудут…
Электрическим горячим  ножом срезается верхний слой воска, открываются соты…

Фильтруется через три фильтра

Главные дегустаторы

А пока мед фильтруется, поедем, покормим коровок!
Это Сара — пока Дункан не подрос, она чувствует себя главной в стаде — ну так,какие рога!


Это Дон. Она такая же крупная, как Сара, но вполне себе спокойная и дружелюбная корова.

Николь, Дункан и Роуз.  Роуз плохо видно, она есть у меня отдельно. Она самая мелкая и трусливая.У Николь и Дункана рога короче, чем у других, поэтому они держатся вместе и подальше от длиннорогих Дон и Сары. Хотя Дункан уже никого не боится и ему рога девушек как-то пофиг. :)
Николь мне язык показывает. :) Очень доброжелательная, “ручная” коровка.

Николь беседовала с Кевином, а потом увидела у меня фотоаппарат и решила, что я ее угощу. :)

Роуз не уверена: ждать ей, пока я подойду ближе, или уже драпать?

Ну а тут на видео я все рассказала: и кто есть кто, и как Кевин дрессиует Сару, и с Габи мы поговорили про коров, и с Фрэнком, и пообщались с Николь и Дунканом поближе! Рекомендую! :))

По дороге домой заехали в ресторанчик перекусить. Фрэнчик-сладкоежка

А Габи — предпочитает мясо. НЕПРОЖАРЕННОЕ! С кровью! :))

Ооооо, а это… это мое любимое место в этом ресторане! Видите фонтан из шоколада? Да-да, это настоящий фонтанчик горячего шоколада, и вот это все, что там с длинными палочками лежит, можно брать и окунать в него — и клубнику, и зефир, и пирожные из хрустящего риса, и мягкие кокосовые печеньки…


Детей, кстати, такие изыски не прикалывают абсолютно, они предпочитают мороженное. С Мишками Гамми, ага. :)

Ну вот… и после этого ужина они дружно уснули в машине, поэтому у меня образовался целый свободный вечер-полночь, чтобы написать этот пост! :)

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Things my kids like

Posted by Kevin on November 1, 2011
Posted in Family  | No Comments yet, please leave one

Things my kids like

Given that Christmas is coming, I thought I’d start a thread on things my 3 and 5 year old like…

For the 3 year old boy, its easy.  Puzzles.  The harder the better.  He just loves them.  Of course, they need to match his level of dexterity, but we often find him mixing several puzzles together to increase the challenge of sorting them out.

My 5 year old daughter is the artist.  She loves anything to do with drawing, painting, making artistic things, etc.  One thing she really loved is Aqua Sand.  I hear its been discontinued by the manufacture, but its still available on Amazon:

One word of warning… kids can be creative.  My daughter lost one of these kits when her and a friend decided it would be cool to mix in sand from the sandbox.  That doesn’t actually work well in real life <smile>.  Still, its reasonably inexpensive and my daughter seems to enjoy it for hours.

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Kevin's LPC Guide to EVE Planetary Interaction (PI)

Introduction

This is version 1.1 of this Guide, updated on 10/13/2011.

I previously mentioned that I’m spending some time playing Eve.  One of VERY MANY things you can train up to do in the game is whats called PI – technically Planetary Interaction, but I think of it as Planetary Industry.  This activity has changed a lot in the recent release (summer of 2011?) and I didn’t find a lot of current information on the web.  This guide is based on about 60 hours of work building up dozens of planets and was accomplished only with the support of members of the corporation I’m in within the game.  The guide is designed to provide practical advice to someone familiar with Eve, but new to PI.

PI involves investment of ISK for a steady return, but also requires some attention.  I’m way too new to be accurate on this, but I’m guessing breakeven in ISK will take a month or so using low-sec planets, with profit thereafter.  Like most things, the more attention you pay it, the faster the rewards.  How much attention?  After you have your PI set up, just a few minutes per planet per day should be fine.  I have my planets setup to run for 2 days, but generally reset that counter daily. Also, like most things Eve, the riskier your environment (the lower the security level), the greater the reward.  Since you can manage the daily operations of your PI systems from anywhere and only have to visit the planet to collect your final products, I highly suggest working in low-sec, ideally in 0.1-0.2 space.  If your not comfortable with that, start in high-sec (>0.5), but either just do it for the experience, or plan on it taking a lot longer to pay off.  (Of note, a friend tells me that if done right, several 100M ISK a month can be earned doing PI.  I’m looking forward to experiencing that!)

The hints and suggestions provided in this guide should allow you to create very flexible Launch Pad Centric (LPC) designs.  LPC systems optimize the usage of all resources with zero waste so long as your Launch Pad (aka: your Space Ports) do not fill up.  For instance, even if your extractor program expires, your factories will continue to run consuming any excess materials available.  Likewise, you can adjust your PI infrastructure one component at a time without having to worry about re-balancing everything.  This is very handy when upgrading your Command Center and adding additional factories or extractor heads.  But this is getting ahead of ourselves, so lets get started with the basics.

Material Diagram

PI is a game of balance.  For discussion purposes, lets say you want to make Rocket Fuel to sell.  Start by looking at an excellent reference that shows how all the materials work together – the famous Eve Material Diagram.  Please don’t freak when you open this, its huge. I suggest you save a local copy, your going to spend some time in it.  For now, just use Ctrl-F (Find) and search for “Rocket Fuel”.  You should see something like this:

 

The full document will explain all of the legend, but for now notice that two items are required to build Rocket Fuel:  Ionic Solutions, and Suspended Plasma.  Also notice that both items have a black S under them.  That’s key.  It means that you can obtain both materials from a somewhat rare storm planet.   You want everything you need on one planet so that you don’t have to haul materials between them – especially true if you are doing this in low-sec (or are REALLY brave and doing it in null-sec).  So, being practical for now, go find a Storm class planet.  Because they are somewhat rare, you may need to look in several systems before you find one.  On the other hand, I’ve seen systems with (3) storm planets in them, so this shouldn’t be too hard.  Just create an “all” tab in your overview, load the default “all” setting into it, and look for Storm planets as you fly around in your neighborhood.  Find one?  Good.  Now warp to it.  If your in null or low sec, you might want to do this is a cloakable ship and cloak it now.

Scanning Planets

Go to your overview, and right-click on the planet, then select “View in planet mode’.  You should see something like:

Time to play a bit.  Click on Scan and you will see the (5) resources available.  Each and every planet has (5) resources, but they vary in availability (the length of the bars – mostly determined by the security level the planetary system has), and in type (determined by planet type).  Again, the Material Diagram is the easiest way to sort those out.  For this exercise, we know we want Ionic Solutions and Suspended Plasma – both of which you see listed on the Storm planet.  We will come back to this, but for now, left click on Ionic Solutions and give it about 5-10 seconds.  You should see something like this:

Of primary notice here is the colored regions going from dark blue to white.  We see some red areas, those are known as “hot spots”.  The amount of material available in those regions is much higher than in others.

OK – non-obvious item #1:  That color bar from blue to white?  Its slideable to allow you to scale the amounts.  My moving the bar left and right, you can adjust the sensitivity of the scan.  Here is the image after moving it to the left:

I just played with the slider until I had the small white spots.  Those would be the best spots on the current view to extract Ionic Solutions.  You can grab the planet and rotate it, which you really should do in order to make sure there are not better spots on the other side.  If you are going to extract a single item, you might as well do it on the best place on the planet.  You are only allowed one facility per planet, so go for the best spot!  However…

If you are going to extract two or more items, you are going to spend a lot of time in the scan view of the planet, and scanning and viewing other similar planets.  What you are looking for is a planet that has the hottest spots CLOSE TOGETHER that you can find.  This is where showing the “Info” on a planet can be useful.  One item in the Info is the planet size.  They are all scaled to look the same on the planetary view, but planets vary form under 2000 KM (small Plasma) to over 47000 KM (moderate Gas) in size.  If you are collecting 2 or more resources, you don’t want to have to move them far!  Bottom line:  given equally dense hot spots, a smaller planet is more likely to have them close together than a larger planet.  Notice I said “more likely”, its a numbers game – you might find a HUGE planet with the 2 (or 4) items your looking for with overlapping hot spots.  Not likely mind you, but its mathematically possible.

OK – that’s most of what you need to know to find a good planet.  Lets move on.

Skills

As with everything Eve, there are skills required to doing PI:

Command Center Upgrades – determines how big a PI environment you can have.  Good news, everything is upgradable now, so you can start playing with PI at level 1 to get the mechanics down, and upgrade your infrastructure later as your skills increase.  If your going to do PI for real, you will want to get this skill to at least level IV.  Higher skills allow you to upgrade (for ISK of course) your Command Center to produce more power and CPU.  For most situations power is the limitation.

Non-Obvious item #2:  Command centers do not need to be connected to the rest of your planetary infrastructure.  Why not?  I’ve no idea besides ease of game play.  Ideally, when you place your Command Center, you want to put it close to where your going to build your infrastructure, but that’s only because whenever you later look at the planet, it will center the initial view on your command center.  Thus is nice if you can see the rest of your structures without having to rotate the planet searching.  Also, with the exception of extractor heads (talked about later), you can’t move structures once placed.  Unless your really good at this, you will waste some ISK destroying and replacing structures to get a layout you like.  Command centers are the ONLY item you need to bring to the planet with you, the rest are just paid for when your building (you select them and their cost is checked against your wallet balance and purchased when you “submit” your changes).  Good news, Command Centers are cheap, about 80K ISK.  Bad news, they are big, at 1000 M3.  All that said, I tend to connect my Command Centers to enable the ability to launch small cargo containers into space.  With a Launch Pad, you will typically use the more secure export method to the planets Customs Office, but its nice to have option to launch and it looks cool!

If you are purely focusing on PI for your character (reasonable if you only have, say, 20 minutes a day to play with a few hours on weekends), there is a specialty ship for you: the Primae.  Looks like people are buying it for 1M ISK and selling for 10M ISK – which means you should shop.  I found them selling for ~4.5M ISK in Jita, and for only ~3M ISK in Heimatar.  If your doing other things, like mining, I’d suggest a ship like the Hoarder or your race’s equivalent.  The Hoarder takes some moderate skill to fly (the Primae takes none), but its available for sale at around 800K ISK, and is a lot more flexible.  My hoarder is equipped with (3) Warp Core Stabilizers, (1) Nanofiber Internal Structure, and a Cloaking device making it reasonably safe to travel around in low-sec, at least from gate pirates (they got into my hull once, but that was my fault).  With 5K M3 of cargo space, I can set up multiple planets and have a reasonable size cargo bay for hauling goods.  This points out that PI isn’t for a brand new player;  I wouldn’t suggest starting the effort until you routinely have a wallet with, oh, 10-20M ISK in it.  Honestly, you should be there in a month or two of seriously playing if you join a good corporation and do some group activities.  If I had 100M ISK to blow on a ship, I’d probably be flying a Prowler…  OK, back to skills:

Interplanetary Consolidation – Simply the number of planets you can PI.  You can do (1) without this skill, (2-6) with it (from level I to V of the skill).  I’d suggest at least level II which would allow you to manage (3) planets.  Once setup, it doesn’t take much longer to manage (3) than it does (1).  The skill is also fairly expensive at ~450,000 ISK, so you might as well leverage it.

Remote Sensing – you need level I.  It appears that so long as you warp to the planet to do your scans, that’s about all you need. However, level III is required for Planetology.

Non-obvious item #3:  Scanning planets from a distance reduces the accuracy of the material scans, sometimes apparently to the point of them being useless.  I’ve only read this, and have since just warped to the planets to do my scans.

Planetology – Improves scan resolution.  Mine is currently at level 3, level 4 is required for Advanced Planetology (which is just an improvement over regular).  I seem to be getting along fine without it on my Alts.  A bit of Googling seems to confirm that both of these are fairly useless unless your doing High-Sec.  In Low-Sec, all you need to know is that a spot is hot for extractor head placement.  How hot doesn’t really matter so long as its fairly balanced between extractors.  The skills do not apparently directly affect your extraction yield in any meaningful way.

That’s it for skills.

Launch Pad Centric (LPC) design basics

The key to this guide is the before mentioned LPC design.  This can be achieved as soon as you have learned Command Center Upgrade and place (or upgrade too) a L2 Command Center.  At that point you have enough CPU capacity to install a Launch Pad (LP).  Using the LPC design methodology, that LP will be in the center of your complex.  EVERYTHING links to the LP – All Extractors, All Factories, even your Command Center if you have a bit of extra power left over to support that link.

We do this in order to take advantage of the 10,000 M3 of storage space within the LP.  If you are starting out without the Command Center skill, you can do something similar using a the 5,000 M3 Storage Facility and replace it with a LP later (simply install your launch pad, and use Expedited Transfer to move your Storage Facility contents to the LP before destroying your Storage Facility.  You really don’t want it once your LP is built.)

Ideally when you layout your planet, you will find a spot where your extractors can be placed close to each other and access different material hot spots.  In the middle of the extractors place your LP.  I try and have them as close as possible.  Link those extractors to the LP.  If you are build more advanced PIs, say with level III or greater Command Center Upgrade capability, you may need to upgrade the links to handle the volume of material.  Just do it, its relatively cheap power wise.  On a good 0.2 space hot space, with (4) extractor heads, I have needed to upgrade the links two times to handle the flow.  Its OK, no matter what you read about links… trust me its not a sin to use the link upgrade capability.

Once we have created the LP, and linked and routed (explained more late, I promise!) the Extractor output, you should build Factories next to, and linked to, the LP.  Now route the materials deposited at the LP to the Factories and route the Factory products back to the LP for export or further processing via Advanced Factories.

What?  You can’t find the materials to route?  Yeah, that’s the biggest downfall of this design.  It takes real time to setup.  Specifically:  Once you setup your Extractors and install their programs, make sure you Submit.  That will start them.  Wait until one extraction cycle is complete (30 minutes if your program is 2 days or less in length) and THEN route the products that will be delivered to your LP to the factories.  Submit again.  Likewise, if you have advance factories, you will need to come back after your basic factories have cycled once.  Yeah, its a pain, but its worth it, and all of this is “one time” work.  The good news is you can do this work from anywhere in the universe, docked or undocked.

Why is all this worth it?  Absolute product efficiency.  Everything produced by all components will either be used whenever needed, or will accumulate in your LP storage for later export and sale as excess.  (Oh, you will have excess – its virtually impossible to completely balance the output of multiple extractors.  Still, if you have multiple PIs setup, and wanted to use everything, you could ship the excess around for processing in those other PIs that might need it.).  If you manually tune, like I first did, trying to match extractor output to factory requirements to advanced factory requirements, you likely to overflow those factory receiving docks during the beginning of an extractor cycle, and starve the factories later in the cycle.  By using LPC designs, the early excess is stored at the LP and consumed later when there is a shortage.  Without LPC you are also likely to sub-optimize output.  For example, look at these two layouts, the first with the extractor feeding the factories directly, the second using LPC principles.

Note the above has (12) factories being fed with an extractor with (6) heads.  The (12) factories were required to absorb the peak output of the extractor, with a bit of excess routed to the LP, and later manually routed to a few idle factories.  Link congestion was a problem and taught me to have a link between the extractor and the spaceport.  Note the factories are 2 deep and route their products back to the extractor for transfer to the spaceport.  Most of the inner links are 90%-100% busy.

Here is the same facility redesigned using LPC principles:

See that I now have (10) factories providing enough power to support (9!) heads.  In fact, this was so effective it depleted the hot spot by the time I captured this.  This shift from factories to heads was obvious when using LPC since shortly after the cycle peak period, many of the factories were idle.  With LPC, I simply removed the extra factories and was done.  No re-balancing of output, no routes to check.  Likewise the addition of extra heads required no other work since everything was centralized through the LP.  The link between the Extractor and the LP is 100% utilized, the other links are only 30-60% utilized. FYI, it only took a few moments to swing the extractor heads to another nearby hot spot.  No worries about factory capacity since I know things will catch up:

More on Materials

Lets back up a bit and explore that Eve Material Diagram some more.  As you can see, it shows a progression of manufacturing.

Raw Materials (at the bottom like the Ionic Solutions and Suspended Plasma we are using in this example) are collected by an Extractor with Extractor Heads.  Extractors produce the greatest volume of any building.  An extractor will produce thousands of units of raw material per cycle in low-sec, even with a single head.  A Factory will consume 3000 units per 30 minute cycle to produce 20 units of Processed Material.  An Advanced Factory will consume 40 units each of two different types of Factory output to produce 5 units of Refined Commondity.  Likewise, two or three refined commodities are required to produce one Specialized Commodity, and two or three Specialized commodities are required to produce a Advanced Commodity.  All of this should be pretty obvious when looking at that material diagram.

Finally, enough background info!  Lets start producing Rocket Fuel!

Preparing for your first PI

Hopefully you have found a Storm planet you like.  For this guide, I’ll presume its something in low-sec, so that you have some good hot spots fairly close (say within 1000km of each other).  Lets inventory what we will need:

(2) close hot spots – one each of Ionic Solution and Suspended Plasma

(2) Extractors to gather the metals

(2) Basic factories to convert the metals into Precious Metals and Reactive Metals

(1) Advanced factory to convert the basic factories output to Mechanical Parts

(1) Launch Pad

To do this, you are going to need a minimum Command Center Upgrade skill of level II in order to have a Command Center with enough power to support all of the above.

We need a couple of other things setup:

Links simply connect extractors, factories, and spaceports together.  Think of them as single train railways.  Short links cost less power to operate (enough difference that trying to wrap around your planet will kill you, but not so much that being a factory diameter off in placement will make a difference.  A lot of PI guides I found on the web literally harp on keeping your link distances short to conserve power.  I’m not sure, perhaps they ate more power pre-Incarna than they do now, but honestly, I never found the length to be much of a problem.  A bit more on that in the Cost Section later in this guide.  Links are simply created by using the Links icon and selecting Create New.

Extractor Heads – attach to Extractors.  You can have from 1 to 10 per extractor.  Each requires significant power to use.  Don’t go nuts, remember that factories can only use 3000 units/30 minutes.  No sense in producing 20,000 units if you only have one factory unless you plan on letting your programs expire and slowly consuming the excess stored in your LP.

Routes – Automatically transfer products across links to their next destination.  Must be manually setup.  Created by going to the Products window, selecting a product, clicking Create Route (once), then selecting a destination, and then clicking Create Route a second time.

OK, lets build that Rocket Fuel PI!

Building your Command Center

First thing you need to do is buy a Storm Command Center.  Should cost something like 80K ISK.  Remember that you need to pick it up in a ship with 1000M3 of cargo space free.  So go it, and get back to your planet.  Turn your cloak on.  View the planet in planet mode.  Find the rough center of the area between your two hot spots.  Make sure you in Build Mode and Command Center is bolder.  Click Command Center and “Storm Command Center” should pop up:

Simply click the highlighted Storm Command Center and drop on your planet near where your LP will be.  Exactly placement doesn’t matter.  Congrats!  You have the first step done.  You can now close the planetary view (little red X), uncloak, and go dock if you like.  Everything else can be done from anywhere in the universe.  Of course, you don’t have to, you can continue if you wish from orbit but if your in low-sec, that is not a good idea.

Presuming you docked, you can now select “Science and Industry” for the icons on the far left of your screen, and select the “Planets” tab.  Doubling clicking on your planet name (or single clicking and clicking the “view planet” button) will bring you back into planet mode viewing – just like you were in orbit, but in the safety of your docking station.

First thing to do is to upgrade your Command Center are high as your skills will allow.  This will be the single more expensive thing you do.  The command center window for the finished level II PI system looks like this:

As you can see, it is pretty much maxed out of power, but has plenty of CPU left.  The buttons along the middle are pretty much self explanatory.  The round circle is Upgrade, which you hopefully just did.  The rocket is how you launch products.  This cost a small amount of ISK, and places your product in the Customs Office near your planet.  I’ve heard rumor some planets don’t have Custom Offices, which would be VERY BAD – since you couldn’t get anything off the planet except by using your Command Center small jet can capability.  If you’re wisely paranoid (at least in Eve), that’s probably a good thing to check before establishing your Command Center.  The Storage block just shows you what you have in storage – should be empty.  Note that a Command Center can store a small amount of material (500 M3), but that’s hardly worth fooling with.  A Storage Facility (previously called a Silo) can store 5000 M3, but consumes 700MW of power.  That’s the same power consumption that a Launchpad consumes.  Since we are building a LPC design, the choice is obvious.  The “i” (info) just shows you the CPU and Power output of the Command Center (and consumption for other buildings).  Links should be blank without any present as should Routes.  Obviously, the Red X destroys the building.  These symbols are pretty common across all the buildings you will place.

Building your Extractors

OK, now we need to place an Extractor.  This is something you need to get right.  Start by clicking Scan mode, highlighting the material you want to extract, and adjusting the scale until you have a white circle about the size of a large coin on your screen.  Now select Build.  Notice that the scan remains for reference.  Click “Extractor Control Units” and “Storm Extractor Control Unit” should appear as a sub-menu. When you click on Storm Extractor and move your mouse a bit to the right, you should see a very small dark circle surrounded by a very large white circle.  The large white circle is the range indicator for your Extractor heads.  Move the small circle towards your Command Center making sure the white circle overlaps your hot spot.  Extractor heads have a relatively HUGE range and can greatly shorten the length of your links if you use them correctly.  Here is an example on a small planet where the extractor radius is almost 1/2 that of the planet.  Compare it to the 2nd example from a slightly larger planet.  On a Gas giant the difference is remarkable.

Here is an old example from one of my planets that shows the placement well:

In the above example I have (3) extractor heads feeding the Extractor, (3) factories being fed from that extractor, and a link going to my Spaceport.   You can see the thin white large circle that represents the range of the heads and that its overlapping the hot spot when I placed my three heads.  Because my skill for this character was low, and the required resources far apart, I could not completely follow LPC – it is a guide, not a law!  Below is more what we should be shooting for and shows the final layout:

Once you place your extractor you need to select “submit” before you can do much else besides placing the other one and placing your LP.  Once you have submitted (and thereby spent the ISK), clicking on your new extractor facility should generate a popup similar to this one.  Non-obvious item (#5) – big difference between single clicking the Extractor, and double clicking which automatically drops you into survey mode (the first button below).

Double clicking initially on the Extractor, or now clicking on the first icon, Survey generates the following popup:

Setting the Extraction Area Size to (2) days and selecting (2) heads shows the following:

Once “Install Program” is selected and “submit” is done on the planetary view panel, collection has started!  You will see that I have (2) extractor head units selected (any two of the ten will do).  Those are the two units shown in the hot spot above.  You can adjust the number and location of your units anytime the program is NOT running.  Stopping is relatively harmless, but  you will lose that cycles output.  You’re setting this up for months, don’t sweat 30 minutes…  Oh, once in awhile, there will be a minute or so delay if you try and cycle the program too often.  Anyhow, when you select a new extractor head unit, a small circle will appear on your map with a line connecting it to your Extractor.  Simply grab the head and move it to where you want.  If you overlap heads, a red efficiency loss will show up next to the output of each of the effected heads.  Simply move the head a bit so that it doesn’t overlap.  When the program is stopped, you will be able to adjust the Extraction Area Size.  This is how you set how long your program will run.  Once the program stops, extraction ceases until you restart it.  This “extractor cycle” is the primary activity you will be doing to manage your PIs.  I have selected a (2) day run time for two reasons:  1)  I tend to play daily, but this gives me a bit of buffer if I play early one morning and not again until late the next day.  2) Each cycle for 2 day or shorter runs is 30 minutes.  That matches the cycle time of my basic factories, so most of the products will be only in the LP for a short period of time.  Pick something that works for you.  For example, if your only going to pay attention to your PI once a week (most of the time), max it out for a 2 week cycle time – but know that you will not produce as much as if you were cycling daily.  This is actually visually obvious in a way you need to be aware of:  As you increase your cycle time, the size of the area your extractor heads work over gets larger.  Thus a head layout that doesn’t overlap with a 1 day cycle may well with a 2 day cycle.  Bottom line:  set your extraction cycle time before you think your done with head placement.  Good news, just stop the program and adjust to fix any mistakes.  Only cost is the little bit of material extracted.

Speaking of extractor heads on the above image:  you will notice a number next to each selected head.  That is the relative output of that head.  You can watch that number change as you position the heads.  Obviously, you want it as large as possible.  Using the scan adjustment to make the white area about the size of your desired mining zone helps a lot with this.

So… we are now extracting.

Building your Launch Pad (Space Port)

If we try and build the Launch Pad now, it will fail since our facility does not have enough CPU Power yet.  Simply click on your Command Center and upgrade it to level III (three green bars like in the photo way above) to have enough CPU (and power) to build the rest of this example.

Now place your Launchpad next to your Extractor:

Add your other Extractor but only use a single Extraction head.  That is all the power you will be able to dedicate to heads.   Using the Planetary Links button (or the button on each building panel) to link it all together.

Building your Processors (Factories)

Now you need a basic factory to process.  When you go back to your planetary view, select build, and highlight processors you should see something like:

Only Barren and Temperate planets will have the High-Tech Production option shown above.  For other planets, like our storm, you will just see the Basic and Advanced lines:

For now we just want to select Storm Basic Industry and place (4) of them, and (1) advanced next to the LP.  Link all the factories back to the LP.  I like to link my Control Center to my Advance Factory… if you missed when placing it on the planet, that link is easy to follow back to your main setup.  As stated before, this also allows you to use the Command Center launch capability to launch product jet cans if you wish.

For the Ionic Solutions we are extracting, we want to refine Electrolytes, likewise for the Suspended Plasma, we want to refine Plasmoids .  Simply click on your placed basic factory, and select the first icon called Schematics.  A menu will appear, select the target product, and install it.  We need (2) factories making each, it doesn’t matter which ones you have do what since LPC draws everything from the LP.  After you select and install a product, you will be greeted with the “Products” menu and a red “Not Routed” message.  Click the product line, click “Create Route”, click on your LP, and click on “Create Route” again.  Now your products will be routed back to the LP.  Repeat for the (4) basic factories and for the (1) advanced.  Only difference for the advanced is that you select “Rocket Fuel” for the Schematic. Your factories are now set up and looking for material and should look something like this:

Now its time to take a 30 minute or so break, until each of the extractors have deposited their product at the LP.

<insert photo>

Once all (4) factories are being fed raw material, take another 30 minute break and come back and feed your Advanced Factory.

CONGRATULATION!  You now have a fully functional LPC based PI setup producing Rocket Fuel.  Come back at least every 2 days, more often won’t hurt, and “stop program” “install program” on each of your extractors.  Those two steps force a resurvey and start everything over fresh.  Keep an eye on your hot spots and make sure they are not depleted – so long as your extractor heads are producing, your good.

When the amount of Rocket Fuel stored at the LP is approximately equal to your hauling capacity (1000 M3 in the Primae), undock and go visit the planet.  Using the LP menu that pops up when you click on your LP, select the space shuttle icon (Launch), add the Rocket fuel to the launch list, and have it sent up to the Customs Office near the planet.  You open the Customs Office much like any other container, and can transfer the contents to your ships cargo hold.  Note the Customs Office can hold 25,000 M3 of material and is not shared with anyone else.

Getting the most from a planet

Ah, one final note, and rather coming full circle:  When you study the Material Diagram you may notice that each planet type is capable of solely producing one Specialized Commodity.  For example, Robotics on the rare Plasma planets.  Presumably maximum profit would occur when creating the highest level product possible on the rarest planets.  I have found that level IV Command Center Upgrade lets me create a maximum of (4) extractors with the related factories and spaceports.  It does NOT allow me to create any 1st or 2nd level Advanced Factories.    Even with level IV, I can only manage a single extractor head per extractor.   Thus the first layout below, which is my preliminary Robotics planet constrained by power.  I presume I’ll have enough power when I get to Command Center Upgrade level V to add the advanced factories and perhaps a few more extractor heads.  Time will tell.

Examples

Included below are a few of my great, and not-so-great-but-do-what-I-need layouts:

My Robotics planet in progress, constrained by power: (4) Extractors, (4) Heads, (4) Basic Factories, (1) Spaceport.

—————————–

“The Stretch” – a small Barren planet used for Mech Part production.  (2) Extractors, (6) Heads, (6) Factories, (3) Advanced Factories, (1) Spaceport.  Note how much more can be done with only (2) Extractors vs. (4) in the previous example.  Do not try the “Stretch” on large planets!

Now… look whats happens when we LPC “The Stretch”…  I can reduce the number of basic factories from (6) to (4) and keep them busier more.  More importantly, I can increase the number of extractor heads from (6) to (10)!  That simply means more yield, pure and simple!

—————————–

Enriched Uranium: Similar to above.  Emphasizes using Head stretch to optimize.

Cost and other figures

PI Ship:

  • Primae cost ~4.5M ISK in Jita, ~3M ISK in Heimatar at the time this was written.
  • A Hoarder takes more skill, but runs about 800K ISK
  • (3) Warp Core Stabilizers – about 9,000 ISK each
  • Basic Nanofiber Internal Structure – cheap and a fairly common drop (as are WCSes).

Skills:

  • Remote Sensing to level I – need to find hot spots:  ~250,000 ISK + 8 minutes
  • Warp Drive Operations to level I – for fitting Warp Core Stabilizer for more safety in low-sec:  ~27,000 ISK + 8 minutes
  • Hull Upgrade to level I – for fitting a nanofiber structure unit (very optional): ~54,000 ISK in Rens
  • Command Center Upgrade (for all but the most trivial PI work): ~450,000 ISK + 34 minutes for level I, about 3 hours total for level II, and about 18 hours total for level III.  Beyond that on your own time!
  • Interplanetary Consolidation:  ~450,000 ISK.  Training time similar to Command Center Upgrades.  Optional, but highly recommended to level II or III.

PI structure stats:

  • Command Center: about 81,000 ISK – only thing you need to buy at market to start, 500 M3 storage capacity – provides MW and tf for everything else
  • Extractor: 45,000 ISK, 3700 MW, 620 tf
  • Extractor Head:  Free, 550MW, 110 tf
  • Basic Factory: 75,000 ISK, 800 MW, 200 tf
  • Advanced Factory: 250,000 ISK, 700 MW, 500 tf
  • Storage Facility: 250,000 ISK, 700 MW, 500 tf, 5000 M3 storage capacity
  • Launch Pad (aka: Space Port): 900,000 ISK, 700 MW, 3600 tf, 10,000 M3
  • Links:  Free, MW and tf vary on length.
    • Shortest I’ve made:  11 MW, 20tf
    • Longest I’ve made: 527 MW, 806 tf after upgrading – note that even this extreme example (“the stretch”) consumed less power than a single extractor head.
  • Upgrading from L1 to L2 Control Center cost 580,000 ISK
  • Upgrading from L2 to L3 Control Center cost 930,000 additional ISK… and so on.

Capabilities by Command Center level

Level 1:  (1) Command Center, (1) Extractor with (2) heads, (2) basic factories.  Use Command center like Launchpad to follow LPC design.  Optionally install (1) Storage facilities instead of a 2nd head.  Skills required:  Remote Sensing level I.

Level 2:  (1) Command Center, (1) Extractor with (3) heads, (4) basic factories, plus a Launchpad!  Allows for regular LPC design to kick in.  Requires Command Center Upgrade level I to power.

Level 3:  Adds an Advanced Factory.  Minimum required to make 2nd level products.  Not a great place to stop, insufficient power to deploy enough heads to keep all factories busy. Requires Command Center Upgrade level II to power.

Level 4: (1) Command Center, (2) Extractor with (10) heads, (4) basic factories, (2) advanced factories, Launchpad, links from Extractors to LP upgraded as needed. Presume you are following LPC designs.  Otherwise (4) heads with 2100 MW to do with as you please.

Level 5:  Not there yet with my character, however expecting to be able to support (4) Extractors, (4) basic factories, (2) advanced factories, and a 2nd level advanced factory.

Using an Alt for PI

PI is a wonderful use for an otherwise mostly idle alt character (one of those other 2 your allowed per account).  The training to get started is trivial, to be useful is amazingly low, especially for the world of EVE.  Money is made mostly based on real time passing.  In fact, I’m not sure why EVERY character doesn’t do this for a steady stream of ISK.  But to each their own!

Here is the short form of what you need to do, presuming you are about to define an alt just for this purpose:

  • Pick a race, any race.  All start with the small skills now.  Create your character and immediately fly to Jita or Rens or some other close trading hub.  You can skip all the introductory quests.
  • Pause training on your primary character and transfer some serious ISK to your alt.  10M should due.
  • Buy a Primae.  Assemble it and hop in!
  • Buy the Remote Sensing Skill and train it
  • Suggest buying Warp Drive Operation and training it, but that is optional
  • Resume training on your Primary if you just want to dabble or…
  • Buy and train Command Center Upgrade
  • Optional but highly recommended:  Buy and train Interplanetary Consolidation
  • Buy your favorite planetary command center
  • Follow the guide above to scan planets, pick one, and establish your command center and extract a bit of material.
  • Resume training on your Primary when you have your skills to the level you desire
  • Flush out your PI infrastructure and then just go visit when you choose

Minimum training time to get started:  8 minutes!  To level III Command Center Upgrade and Interplanetary Consolidation – something under 1.5 days.  If this is the only real thing your alt will do, I suggest you remap your Intelligence to 21 and your Charisma to 27 – this will cut something like 25% off of your training time.

Misc. Notes

Command Centers, Storage Facilities, and Launch Pads can send things to each other using the manual “Expedited Transfer” command.  Typically only used when sending stuff to the Command Center for jet canning, or if converting from a Storage Facility simple PI to the standard LPC environment to save produced products before the Storage Facility is removed.

Visual inspection:  There is a lot of color coding happening on an active PI system.  The outer ring of every building shows its input buffer state:  a darker ring indicates a building without anything in its buffer.  Advanced factories will have that ring in two showing each buffer.  A bright partial or full ring should the relative fullness of these buffers.   The inner white ring reflects the current cycle process, with a blinking white indicating nothing is happening.

Short link to this guide:  http://www.kevinsthoughts.com/?p=435

That’s about it.  Hope you find this post useful.  I’ll update as new information becomes apparent to me.

Please do comment!

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The Green Cat.

Posted by Evia on October 9, 2011
Posted in FamilyLife in General  | 1 Comment

The Green Cat.
затейница
Да, я знаю, знаю, что исторические события отдельно взятых личностей интересны сейчас куда больше! :) Но не виноватая я: сегодня едем в деревню, я обещала до отъезда закончить свою вышивку, чтобы отчитаться в группе антидолгостроя, потом еще нас пригласили на День Рождения к девочке, опять в Коламбию -- делала открыточку девочке, сейчас покажу, хоть никто и не комментирует никогда мои творения.  
А еще покажу фотки со дня Рождения Пенни, с прошлых выходных.
Кевин сердится на Настю, что она не хочет в деревню с нами, а у нее своя программа: в субботу на какой-то японский фестиваль опять идет. Купила себе тут очередной парик, колдовала над ним, еще не закончила.
В общем, всем чудесных выходных! Возьму с собой айпэд и постараюсь не бездельничать в выходные!


Собираемся к бабушке. Фрэнк решил попозировать. :)


Вручают подарки

Это Настя нарисовала


Ну и бабушка порадовала внука новым паззлом


А в ресторан поехали в Иллинойс! Как оказалось, это совсем не далеко от дома Пенни -- 15 минут, и мы в другом штате!

Вкусный кексик!


По дороге обратно сфотографировала казино -- я уже писала, они тут в основном
располагаются на берегах крупных рек. У нас одно у моста через реку Миссури, А это в Алтоне, Иллиной, у моста через реку Миссисипи.


И сам мостик интересный


А это Пенни с Настей ехали на другой машине, обгоняли нас и дразнились
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Last weekend photos!

Posted by Evia on October 4, 2011
Posted in Farm & Prairie  | No Comments yet, please leave one

Duncan

 

 

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Supersize me fact? Hardly…

Posted by Kevin on September 30, 2011
Posted in Life in General  | Tagged With: | No Comments yet, please leave one

Supersize me fact?  Hardly...

For anyone who has seen, or even heard about, “Supersize me”, I suggest you watch “Fat Head”.  Stupid movie name, although after watching it you will understand if your paying attention <smile>.  So please ignore the name and just watch the movie.

Its available for free at http://www.hulu.com/watch/196879/fat-head, or via Netflix on-demand.

OK, OK, short form:  “Supersize Me” is about a guy that eats nothing but McDonnalds three-times a day for 30 days and complains about all the problems it caused him.  Of course, he didn’t just eat there, he forced himself to eat about 5000 calories a day and quit all forms of exercise just to make his point.  “Fat Head” is written and stars a math/computer guy that couldn’t stomach (pun intended!) all the bull in “Supersize Me”.  Think in terms of Atkins diet with a reasonable amount of carbs (say 100g/day instead of the FDA recommended 300g/day).  Honestly, it makes sense to me and the movie is actually done a lot better than “Supersize Me” was.  Its not particularly kind to the FDA or CSPI.  Especially CSPI…

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Prairie Burn – almost

Posted by Kevin on September 23, 2011
Posted in Farm & Prairie  | No Comments yet, please leave one

Had plans to drive up and assist in burning a neighbors small 10 acre prairie today.  This has been in the works for a couple of weeks now.  Got about 20 minutes into the trip when I received the call:  Burn cancelled.  Winds are wrong and humidity is too high.

So, good news:  Saved 380 miles of driving today and the gas money.  Also now have some extra time today.  Spent some of that at a local farm and home store.  Found a great solution for creating a temporary gate at the end of that electric fence I put up last weekend.  Its a traditional electric fence tightener with a built in insulator connected to an 18″ wire loop.  I’ll just screw in a large J hook into the fence post, and use this tightener.  It should keep the fence under a bit of tension, and since the the wire loop is insulted, will allow me to easily unhook it when I want to get through to deliver hay or whatnot.

Did call Sonny to tell him we wouldn’t be up.  Got a report that the cattle are behaving and staying on their side of the new wire.

Regarding the prairie burn – this is just the way these things go.  Conditions have to be just right – temperature good, humidity not too high or too low, winds, but not too strong, and from the right direction.

So many things would be easier if we just lived there!

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Nothing to do? Never on a farm!

Posted by Kevin on September 21, 2011
Posted in Farm & Prairie  | No Comments yet, please leave one

We did our usual trip to the farm last weekend.  I mentioned to Evia when we arrived a bit earlier than usual that I really didn’t have anything planned.  She said “Good, you can just relax this weekend”.

Then I called Sonny, our neighbor, to check in.  Appears the heifer that escaped last month had done so again.  This time she simply found a looser part of the barb wire fence and walked right through it.  Did the same on the other side of the road to join with Donnie’s herd.  Sonny actually watched her do it and described it as all rather apparently casual for her.  Well, not much I could do about it Friday night, so went to bed early (something I always seem to be able to do at the farm, and never do here in the city).

Saturday morning I arose and went to check out the situation.  On the way to the fence I checked the leaky tractor tire I had left 2 weeks ago.  Much to my surprise, the tire had not gone down any more, and we brought an air tank.  OK, something trivial to do this weekend after all.  Met up with Sonny to see if we could walk the heifer back.  She was across the field, but a good solid “Come on Girl!” got her walking towards us.  A couple of Donnie’s cows came too, but nothing to worry about…

As the heifer got closer, I offered her some cattle cubes (pressed grain, salt, vitamins and trace minerals that come out of the press in 1-3″ long 1/2″ round cylinders).  She came forward, but so did Donnie’s #20.  Now most cows don’t intimidate me, its pretty easy to figure out those that you need to be concerned about, and #20 was behaving very docile.  A bit of a “shoo” and she backed off some.  Started walking our heifer towards the gate, using the cattle cubes as the proverbial “carrot”, and was surprised how well it was working.  Our heifer would take a couple steps forward, I’d take one or two back, and give her a cube.  This was going to be Easy!  And it was, at least until #20 decided she didn’t like our heifer getting all the attention and head butted her to the side.  Went downhill from there.  Every time I’d get close to our heifer, #20 would intervene.  *sigh*  We were within a few feet of the gate once, but were losing ground.   Donnie was suppose to be by later in the morning, perhaps we could try herding her over.

Alas, Donnie did come by around noon, but was neck deep in other chores.  He offered to collect the wayward heifer in the next week or so and deliver her, but voiced valid concerns she would just return.  Wayne was with Donnie and took a walk with our two little ones while Donnie and I chatted.  Wayne promised to come back Sunday and walk with Gabby, who was thrilled.

I turned my attention to the tractor.  Filled the air tank and walked it back to the shed.  Air went in and appeared to hold.  Cool.  Really didn’t want the expense of replacing the tube again (not exactly a do-it-yourself job – the tube is filled with a calcium chloride/water mix to add weight and lower the center of gravity of the tractor.  That and the tire is shoulder high alone weighing over a hundred pounds.  This is a job for the boys with the right equipment to do it!).  Thinking that perhaps it was just the valve core gone bad – although why it leaked badly sometimes and not others was beyond me.

Decided to go into town and get some cores.  Wanted to get another electric fence lead-in wire too.  Stopped at our normal place, Orscheln, and picked up the cores, a removal tool, a pressure gauge, a 1/2 mile and 1/4 mile spool of 14 gauge electric fence wire, 100 fiberglass post and insulators, and some screw in wooden post insulators that looked decent.  Say what?  I just needed cores right?  Well, our Missouri Conservationist, John Murphy, suggested that I place my “hairy beast” (as he calls them) onto the 30 acres we reseeded 2 years ago to mow down some excessive Birdsfoot Trefoil (a non-native, but reasonably desirable legume I have growing on about half the farm).   This combined nicely with a half-backed idea I had that perhaps if the wayward heifer was in another field, out-of-sight of Donnie’s herd, that she might stay put.  Problem was I didn’t have another well fenced field due to my northern neighbor replacing some of his.  Figured a good, if temporary, solution would be to fence in those 30 acres with an electric wire.  Two sides were in new fence:  the eastern part in high-end woven wire that heifer would have to jump to get past, the southern part in new tight barb wire.

Since we were in town, we also stopped at Home and Farm to inquire about solid nylon cutter bars for our electric weed trimmer.  Apparently 1/2″ thick ragweed stems are a bit much for the twine normally used.  They had one, which was great!  Bought it and some replacement blades.  Evia tried them out Monday morning and claimed it was like using a chain saw – cut right through those tough stems.  Once again the old saying comes true:  “Every job is easy if you have the right tools”.

Anyhow, we got back from town around 6pm.  I replaced the valve core and the tire appeared stable.  Took our Kubota RTV 900 utility vehicle (from now on just called “the buggy” <smile>) out to the far field with Evia and the kids and started to lay out the new fence along the ridge.  We worked until it got dark, the used the buggy’s lights to work a bit longer.  Got a good start on the project.  BBQed some burgers for dinner and called it a night.

Got up reasonably early Sunday morning.  Tractor tire was holding!  Wonderful.  Although perhaps not perpendicular, I had a goal that the new fence line would at least be as straight as I could make it.  That meant that some of the steel T-post used for a similar fence last year to keep the cows OUT of this area might, or might not, be usable for the new fence to keep the cows IN the area.  In any case, I wanted to clean up old post by pulling them so they wouldn’t be future navigation problems, so having the tractor functional was going to be a big plus (a chain wrapped around a post and hooked to the tractor bucket makes a fine way to pull those post out of the ground in under a minute without any back strain.  A good thing!).

Packed up the family.  The weather was decent, looked like we might get some drizzle, but a couple of flannel shirts and I was warm enough.  Evia dressed the kids for rain, just in case.  We started to head for the field with Gabby got all upset!  If we went to the field how would Wayne find us for her walk?!?  I assured her he would, and that seemed to suffice.  Evia took the buggy, I took the tractor, and away we went!

Found that I hadn’t done too bad of a job using the buggy’s headlights, but opted to clean it a post or two.  Formed a annoying habit quickly that I never did shake all day long:  Fiberglass post come with a plastic end cap for pounding them into the ground.  If you pound the post directly, you will splinter the fiberglass.  Each bundle of 20 post comes with cap, so had plenty of them.  However, despite knowing that I would likely do it, I formed a habit of leaving the end cap on the post, just to discover it 50 feet away when I got ready to put in the next post.  Probably did that 2/3rd of the time all day long.  It became a running joke between Evia and I.

Wayne did come by mid-morning and had a nice walk with the kids.  They decided to play hide & seek, and Gabby hid in a pile of tall weeds.  Good thinking, except those weeds happen to be the type that have small seeds with barbs that stick to your clothes, and are particularly hard to remove from one’s hair – and she gathered a headful!  Yet another ordeal…

Evia and I were making good progress, it was going to be a long day, but I felt we could finish the job before calling it a night.  We pulled several post from undesired locations as we worked our way into their vicinity.   I was using one steel post every 250 feet or so, and fiberglass post every 50.  When Wayne came by I asked him to help set a few steel ones using the tractor bucket – my that went fast and easy!  We had borrowed Sonny’s post driver, but using the bucket was just a breeze in comparison.

We finished the long ridge, used the tractor to sink an 8′ steel post a good 3′ into the ground as a corner, and started working our way south.  A few hundred feet into that and I heard Evia yell “Kevin!  The Tractor!”.  I walked back and the tractor tire had a small river of water running out of its tire.  Moved the tractor a bit and it slowed down, but clearly there was a bigger problem than the core.

We eventually finished running the wire and there was still some daylight.  Went to the house to drink some water, show Evia how to fill the air tank, and to get some cattle cubes to lure the main herd into the new area.  Cows went reasonably easy, we just had to pull into the field a ways.  They saw the electric wire on the ground and didn’t want to get near it.  That’s a good thing normally.  Still, we managed to distract them, and they crossed over it.  Up the wire went and I was off to tie it into the main fence for power (yes, we turned off the charger when we were at the house!).  Powered it up, grabbed a tank of air, and out tester and went to check voltage.  At the gate into the area I read 6300 volts – good enough.  At the far end of the fence the meter read 7500 volts!  Great!  Why more?  Only guess is that I had a better ground at the far end.

We drove back to the tractor, now with a flat, and transferred the air I had in the tank.  Almost thought it was a lost deal, but with 40lbs left in the tank, the tire started to visibly rise.  At 20lbs (its normal inflation level) it looked reasonable.  I sent Evia back to the house to get more, not knowing how long it would last, and started to work the tractor back to the house.  Of course, I had a dozen or so more steel post to remove, so did that along the way.  One more tank of air got us there.  It seems to be holding again.  Stopped and filled the tractors fuel tank and heard it leaking… parked the tractor on a nice flat spot to make it easy for Woody’s Tire to make a repair, and noticed the river was flowing again.  Within 10 minutes the tire was flat.

Returned Sonny’s post driver and chatted for a few.  He comments that we would be getting back late, I agreed.  On the way back to the house, we decided to stay the night and return Monday.  Guess that’s one benefit of being unemployed.

Monday morning I went with the kids for a buggy ride to check the cattle and the fence.  First thing I noticed were that cattle were nowhere to be seen, second was that 150′ of fence was lying on the ground.  Apparently deer had hit the wire over the night.  The bright yellow insulators were nowhere to be found.  Fortunately, I had plenty of spares.  I’m told they will learn to avoid it, but I started to think that perhaps I needed to come out the following weekend just to check it.  Much to my pleasure, I found the cattle in the far corner of a field, crowded into a small area with a bit of shade.  At least they found some.  In their “normal” field they have a few acres of woods to rest in.  In the new field they only have a north-south treeline that’s fenced off.  They will be able to have shade all afternoon, but not in the morning.  However, it is cooler now, so I’m not too worried.

By the time the kids and I returned, it was time to pack up and go home.

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Downgrading from Windows 7 Professional to Home Edition

As those that follow know, I briefly lived in the W7 Professional world in order to test out Microsoft Virtual PC.  I have found that, at least for my needs, VirtualBox is a much better solution.  I also found out that VirtualBox will die the moment Virtual PC is opened, so Virtual PC had to go.  With it gone, there was no need for Professional anymore, so I started the quest to downgrade.

Many a forum post will tell you its not possible.  Hogwash.  Yeah, its not exactly supported, but presuming you have a legal copy of Windows 7 Home Edition, and a valid product key, its doable.  You just need to insert the DVD and run an upgrade.  OK, OK… its not quite that simple, but close.  If you try and run the upgrade, it will complain that downgrading isn’t doable.  If you do the registry hacks to make your Professional Install look like Home Edition, it will get farther, but die from a message similar to “Installed version is more current”.

The trick (yes… there is always a trick isn’t there?) is to use the Microsoft Compatibility settings to trick the setup DVD into thinking your running Vista.  Its really that easy.  Just install the DVD, but don’t start it.  Open it.  Highlight “setup”, then tell Windows to run it in Vista SP 2 Compatibility mode.  Works like a charm.

Downside?  It takes FOREVER!  I’m talking like 12 hours on my machine.  But it worked.  I’m beginning to understand why my Windows Engineer colleagues hated to do upgrades and always preferred a fresh install.  During my “upgrade” over 800,000 files and settings were apparently ‘saved’ and later ‘restored’.

Of course, a fresh install is always an option (and is much, MUCH, quicker), but then you lose all your files and personal settings.  Personally, I store most of my files elsewhere, but “personal settings” include things like game data, Thunderbird account settings, etc.  Those e-mail settings will a killer since I use Thunderbird to consolidate a good half-dozen e-mail accounts.

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