Daily Archives: June 3, 2008

Guess How This is Going to Turn Out

The dog that showed up on my in-laws’ doorstep, who appears to be lost and/or abandoned. Says Krissy, oh, well, we’ll just take him home until we find his owners.

Sigh.

The good news is that none of the other animals appears to be mightily offended he is in their living space. At least so far. We’ll see how it goes from here.

Depending, there may be a contest later.

Frustrating Yet Still Cool

Unique visitors for May, 2008: 999,808. 192 unique visits short of a million.

Screw it, I’m going to round up.

Also, for stat geeks everywhere: 1,874,182 page views for May. Nice to know people look around the site while they’re here, rather than just hitting the front page.

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by. You help make this fun.

In The Clouds

While I was in LA my laptop started acting funky; it would basically take it five minutes to perform even the simplest of functions. After several hours fiddling with it in safe mode and out of it, I said “screw this,” cracked open the recovery disc and reformatted the entire drive. And just like that my laptop was once again cruft free and runs a treat. I understand Unix partisans may moan and groan that I did not use this opportunity to release myself from the shackles of that hateful Microsoft Vista, but look, it was midnight when it all went down and I wanted to sleep at some point, and the recovery disc was already there. Sue me for taking the easy way out.

That said, I did decide to abandon Microsoft in one arena, which is that I’ve made the executive decision that my default word processor going forward is going to be Google Documents. There are a few reasons for this: Google Documents exists out there on Teh Internets, which means that I can access it from anywhere and it’s independent from any one computer, which is frankly useful since I switch out between my desktop and laptop with frequency. It’s platform agnostic; as long as I have a recent browser I don’t have a problem. And, importantly, Google has finally gotten around to making a few user interface tweaks that make all the difference: Maybe no one else finds “word count” or the ability not to have text go across the full length of the browser window dealbreakers, but those are precisely the two things that kept me from using it regularly. As a final nice touch, in those terrifying instances where one is (horrors!) away from connectivity, Google Gears allows you to work offline and then sync up. And of course, it’s free. Done and done.

I recognize there is the issue of whether I can trust Google with my data. But, you know, last year I switched my e-mail over to GMail so I could access it from anywhere while I was on my book tour, and I never switched it back and at no point since then have I been particularly concerned that someone at Google is gleefully traipsing through my mail, reading all my secrets. Yes, they have a program looking at keywords, the better to serve me up ads. So what. At the end of the day, unless I own my mail server (and I don’t), someone somewhere can access my e-mail. If I was really worried about it, I would own my own server, and I’d encrypt every damn e-mail I send. I don’t. A year of GMail suggests that Google, in fact, does not plan to invade my privacy every time I use one of its services. And, you know. Anything I don’t want to risk Google or anyone else seeing, I won’t use Google Documents for. I still have Microsoft Word, after all.

This does mark a certain evolution in my conception of online privacy, I’ll admit. Believe it or not, I am a fairly private person, and I’m not especially inclined to hang out every little thing I write or do in the online data cloud, especially work that’s in process. Even a year ago I wouldn’t be inclined to make an online app my default word processor. But at the end of the day my experience suggests the theoretical erosion of my privacy for what I would this application for is balanced out rather handily by the actual, practical advantages it provides me in getting my work done. I could be wrong. I guess I’ll find out.

But in the meantime it means my laptop will run faster, unencumbered as it is with piles and piles of crap. And if I start having performance issues again, well. Then I guess I will switch over to Linux after all.

We Got Raccoons

They come in the night, they do, and in this case they tore open this bag of birdseed to get at the sunflower seeds. It’s moderately annoying, but we just bought the tight-seal plastic container we should have bought in the first place, so when the raccoons return tonight (and they will) they’re going to be disappointed. That’s what they get for making a mess, man. If they’d delicately opend up the birdseed and just snaked a few seeds, we’d have been none the wiser. But there’s no way to explain that one to a raccoon.

Nerdgassing: I Coin This Word In the Name of Humanity

The word: “Nerdgassing”

Definition: The venting nerds emit when some (often minor) detail of a book/movie/TV show/comic book/etc either conflicts with canon and/or handwaves through some some suspect science.

Example One: “In the third show of the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data clearly says that the Glorithian flagship was constructed in orbit around that planet Norgar, but then in the fifteenth show of the sixth season, it’s said it was constructed in the Buterian space docks! How do you explain that, hmmm?”*

Example Two: “Ringworld is unstable! Ringworld is unstable!”

Secondary definition: What happens after too many Cheetos and Mountain Dew.

I checked in Google — apparently “nerdgassing” appears nowhere on the Internet. Thus: I coin it! I claim it! Me! Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Feel free to share an example of nerdgassing that you’ve experienced — or even one you’ve instigated — in the comment thread below.

* To ward off any ironic nerdgassing, this first example is fictional and meant to merely show the form of nerdgassing. In neither the third show of the second season of ST:TNG nor in the fifteenth show of the sixth season does Data (or any other character) make mention of the Glorithian flagship, nor to the best of my knowledge is there a Glorithian species in any Star Trek series.

Death of a Compact Fluorescent

Those of you whose tenure with Whatever goes back to 2005 will recall I planted a compact fluorescent bulb into my desk lamp in November of 2005, and then basically kept the light on continually ever since, to see how long it would take for the thing to give up the ghost — I want to see if it would last ten times as long as a regular bulb, as implied. Well, it finally kicked over the weekend, which means it lasted two and a half years. That’s half of GE’s guaranteed five year life span, but then that guarantee was predicated on four hours of usage a day, not 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Pretty sure I got my money’s worth out of this one.

The only drawback to the compact fluorescents is that you’re not supposed to just throw them away; they contain trace amounts of mercury. So this one will have to be recycled. I do believe Wal-Mart allows you to bring in your spent bulbs to be recycled, however, so this will actually be easier than it might otherwise have been here in rural Ohio. I don’t mind taking the bulb to Wal-Mart since it’s where I would be buying the replacement, anyway.

In any event, I’m officially pleased with the performance of compact fluorescents. You shouldn’t have needed my seal of approval to start using them over regular bulbs, mind you. But in case you did, there you go.