“What I have ascertained is not that PCs as we know them lack good design, but that PCs as we know them have hardly any design to speak of.”

— Tycho from Penny Arcade discovers the Mac

Robert Green Ingersoll


Goodness he talks purty. I must remember to look up his writings to see what else he had to say.

Copied from the always-useful James Randi:

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Boyfriend syndrome


It’s a familiar sight for anyone who shoots at a public pistol range: a man and a woman come in together so he can teach her to shoot, and he gives her a loud, hard-kicking gun and incompetent instruction. Usually he’s a terrible shot himself, and sometimes he’s a danger to himself and others. His real goal, conscious or not, is to convince her that guns are a “guy thing,” and she should let him be her protector and champion.

I got tired of watching this a long time ago, and usually I try to sneak in when he’s left the room and give her a few quick pointers, including the all-important “rent a .22 next time.” When he comes back and she’s shooting better than he is with his favorite gun, the session usually comes to a quick halt.

Today was a bit different.

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Platinum is out


Got three pieces of mail today.

  1. offer for a Platinum Visa card from Fleet,
  2. letter from MBNA upgrading my existing Platinum Visa card to the new Quantum Visa,
  3. offer for CitiBank's new Diamond Preferred MasterCard.

I kinda felt sorry for the guys at Fleet. “You’re still selling Platinum?!? Got any eight-track tapes to go with that?”

Could be worse, I suppose. Last year they replaced all my credit cards with new ones that had American flags on them. I think they were trying to tell me that I had money to burn.

Vacation’s End


Brian Tiemann went on a computer-free vacation right before the latest virus hit, and came home to more than 21,000 pieces of email. This has somewhat reduced his affection for Microsoft.

My first thought was to reply to his article via email, but fortunately I came to my senses.

Zapper Stinger Moderator Velocitor Thunderbolt Yellow Jacket


Is it just me, or are the people marketing .22LR ammo getting a little silly in their product names?

[and yes, I know some of these have been around for a while, but it was seeing them neatly lined up in a row that got to me]

“If I could get in there…”


While watching yet another Slashdot thread dissolve into a poor imitation of a Usenet flame-war, the smug arrogance of people who think that running Linux means they’re smarter than Windows users reminded me of something that happened when I was at Synopsys.

A widely-used Unix server had crashed, and the engineers were hanging out near the data center, waiting for us to bring it back up.

“What’s taking them so long? We’ve got work to do! Dammit, if I could get in there, I’d fix it myself!”

“I’m pretty sure that’s why you can’t get in there.”

“Gee, what are you going to do with these?”


One of my pet peeves is the store clerk who examines your purchases and tries to figure out how they’re related to each other. There’s one at the local Borders who’s done this to me twice recently, first when I bought a pair of O’Reilly books with Schneier’s Practical Cryptography, and again when I went in looking for the new edition of The Chicago Manual of Style and ended up grabbing a new dictionary/thesaurus and a bunch of gun magazines. I keep picturing him working at a grocery store:

"Cool-whip, bananas, and toilet paper? Big plans for tonight, eh?"

I understand that he’s trying to be friendly and start conversations with the customers, which is certainly not the worst behavior I’ve experienced in a bookstore, but if I wanted to chat about the books I was buying, I’d have said something first. Take my money, give me my change, and let me get the hell out of your store, okay?

Maybe it’s part of the transformation of bookstores into social hangouts, aided and abetted by built-in coffee shops and comfy chairs. Fine in their place, but I think they change people’s behavior in all parts of the store. A ten-minute conversation by the magazine rack that can be heard clearly from more than twenty feet away? A business call on your cell-phone that a dozen people are forced to listen to if they want to keep shopping?

Mother taught me a word for this sort of behavior: rude.

She did not consider it a compliment.

MTEntryCategoryLink


I was extremely surprised not to find this in MT’s built-in tags. MTEntryCategory exists, to tell you what the name of a blog entry’s primary category is, but there was no function to provide a link to the matching category archive page.

Well, now there is.

“Need a clue, take a clue,
 got a clue, leave a clue”