Fat Photo Rolls

Noticed my Google Drive utilization is now over 50GB out of 100GB (I’m paying for the lowest tier of extra storage). With the 2019 Google Photos decouple from Drive, I needed to test if files deleted from Drive would affect files in Photos. The answer is No. Drive and Photos, as services, are now totally separate in the storage. Any photo existing in Drive during the split would be copied into Photos. So delete anything in the Google Photos folder in Drive and you should be fine (although, being a paranoid bastard, I’m going file-by-file to make goddamn sure).

Sooo…I’ve deleted most of the files from my Google Photos folder in Drive, well over 25GB worth, and my disk quota utilization only dropped from 51.2GB to 49GB, which tells me one thing: when Google split the storage and decoupled Photos from Drive (a thoroughly confusing move, but that’s f’n Alphabet for you), instead of making duplicates and counting each copy against my quota, they just made hardlinks. Meaning the same file can exist in both systems and count only once, since they both access the same file storage backend.

It’s a smart engineering move, but now it means I really am taking up 49GB of quota. Time to delete some nonsense.

But don’t worry: my photo workflow is to use scripts to copy the files directly off of my cameras onto my personal workstation storage, and I make backups. So I still have a copy of every photo, video, and screencap I’ve shot in the past several decades. S’fine. I’m a data-retention fetishist, you see. Apparently I get off on it.


I never saw the twin-tailed comet Neowise.
I never let its dim rays flicker into my dim vision.
I will now have to wait 6,700 years.

I could never escape the light of the city.
I could never escape the quarantine apartment.
I could never escape the articles hinting where to look if I would only look at their ads.

I could never escape the contents of my buzzing glass.
I could never escape the videos in my browser tab.
I could never escape the gravity of my evening chair.

I could never escape the hopeless news cycle.
I could never escape the habitual doomscrolling.
I could never escape the swallowed rage at inept inaction.

Now, that ball of ice and ash casts itself homeward to the Oort cloud,
Observing the laws of Kepler and Copernicus and Newton,
Blind to our decline by the laws of escalation and aggression and averages.

When Neowise returns to our Solar neighborhood,
Those who will give it a new name will not remember us;
They will not know of our breathless struggles.

By then, there is only new wisdom and forgotten tragedy.
All above is ice and ash, never escaping,
Orbiting into eternity.


It is July 25, 2020. I have now been in Austin, TX for 20 years. I still question my decisions.

It’s weird to remember back when I was this young, hopeful dude. Had a dotcom job waiting on me as I packed up 1/3 of my belongings in my ’94 Mitsubishi Mirage, waved to my mom as she slept before her shift, and drove all night through Texas to arrive bleary-eyed and dazed in morning rush hour traffic to find my friend’s house and collapse.

Ten years later, I declared myself an honorary townie.

I am still a townie. This is the longest I’ve ever lived in any one city. I had hopes, and fulfilled some of them, but mostly I was looking for a land of happenings and happenstance, and even in the midst of this shitty year, I still find new and surprising things. So I still think it’s worth living here, even if we’re all a little bleary-eyed and paranoid.

Perhaps one of these days I’ll hit the next stage of my life and move out to another locale. But where? Where is that hopeful boy gonna go next? Who’s to say.

So long live Austin. Fuck Austin. After two decades, my love for Austin is still unrequited.

Field Day 2020 Score

Tonight I submitted my Field Day 2020 dupe sheet and multiplier qualifications. My score is 212. It’s meager. I could’ve done better, but I learned things (see the link above for a recount of the difficulties I met during the event).

Contacts (31 points)

  • 5 digital, 2x multiplier = 10
  • 21 phone, 1x multiplier = 21

Contact Multipliers (2x):

  • Below 150 Watt output power = 2x

Bonus points (+150):

  • 100% Emergency Power = 100
  • Web submission of forms = 50 (a freebie, instead of mailing)

((5 dig * 2) + (21 ph)) * 2 power + 150 bonus = 212 total

I mean, if I hadn’t made the investment in batteries and instead ran on commercial power, my score would’ve only been 112, so there’s that (eesh, perspective).

And, sadly, my score can go down. The ARRL contest team has to computationally verify that all the stations I logged on my dupe sheet also themselves logged that they contacted me. There’s no timestamp in the dupe sheet log, but the callsigns, classes, sections, and mode must match. If something doesn’t jive, they scratch it and I lose that contact. So, even though contesting can be an individual sport, we’re all still in it together. Don’t be that guy who doesn’t submit good logs in a contest. Verify correct info before moving along, and help a brother out.

There are a some things about Field Day that I had assumed wrong, and after making my own submission, I know better. I misread the rules that 100% battery power would multiply my contacts score by 2; nope, that’s only a bonus point. Running my rig barefoot below 150W with no amplifier is the 2x contact multiplier. Also, no matter what the N3FJP software shows on that cool map of contacted zones, it doesn’t matter if you get all the zones; there are no bonus points for getting more zones. It’s just pretty set dressing to show to visitors and to goad participants into keeping at it.

The only thing that matters is that you log as many contacts as you can with as many multipliers as you can. But I guess that’s the spirit of contesting; learning the rules, gaming their flaws, finding the honey on the sly and going for it.

I should’ve spent more time on digital modes; it seems FT8 — and FT4 especially — were all the rage during Field Day this year, because this is the first year this mode was permitted for points. Since it’s so rapid-fire and digital modes are worth 2x points, it’s a favorable mode for logging contacts quickly. I rallied in the last 2 hours on Sunday to log points with FT8 and only got 5 contacts among the noise. Hmph.

Man, it’s weird learning all this on my own. I’ve gotten so used to having the club elders do the organizational heavy lifting every year. But it’s like skating: when your parents let go of your hand, that’s when you really learn to skate.

Perhaps next year I’ll be a more valuable contributing member to the club event.