Posts Tagged Rants
When I ordered this carton of paper, I specified “pick up at store” because I knew this would happen:
A carton weighs so much that everybody, myself included, grabs it by the straps and slings it around. Unlike them, I put it down gently, because it’s my paper… but now it’s too late.
Inside the carton, the impact shattered the paper wrapper on every one of the ten reams:
In the last carton I bought (admittedly, quite some time ago), Staples used plastic wrappers that gave each ream a bit more protection against abuse and the elements, but that’s been cheapnified out of existence.
I also ordered a ream of fancy heavyweight paper that pushed the order over the “Free Shipping!” threshold; I missed the fact that they auto-checked “Free Delivery!” for the whole order. Of course, that ream shipped separately and it’s now delayed by a week or two…
I could take it back, but the paper from that bottom-corner ream seems to be no more than somewhat bent, so I’ll live with it.
Mary volunteered me as a “white glove” helper: we walked the show floor for a few hours wearing cute aprons and white knit gloves.
Rule Zero: nobody touches the quilts. When people wanted to see the back side, we did all the handling. This worked out quite well; pretty nearly everybody understood what was going on, although we all agreed that fine quilts exhibit a magnetic attraction to fingertips.
Pro tip I: when the sign at the entrance says NO DRINKS, that means your coffee isn’t allowed in the exhibit area. You may be a special person, but you’re not that special. We’re not picking on you.
Pro tip II: when you bring your brat to a quilt show and let the kid dive under frames holding quilts representing thousands of hours of painstaking work, don’t act surprised when I haul him out by the feet, reprimand him, give him back to you, and expect you to get your act together.
I obviously had the wrong chromosome loadout for the mission.
Mary’s Butterfly Flower quilt nailed First Place in the Appliqué Wall Quilt division!
I picked up a $35 LED bulb that’s allegedly equivalent to a 75 W incandescent, replacing a 100 W equivalent compact fluorescent bulb that an X10 relay switch couldn’t turn off cleanly, for a torchiere floor lamp. ‘Nuff said about early CFL failures.
It has both upward and downward facing LED chips that light up the diffuser and ceiling in equal measure. Both strings are visible from the side due to the heavy molded plastic lens around the chips:
Some interesting bits from the package:
A 22.8 year lifespan at three hours per day works out to 24.983×103 hours. I wish I could have heard the arguments about whether they could claim a 23 year lifespan…
At the same duty cycle, the 5 year warranty covers 5.479×103 hours. Huh.
The URL at the bottom leads to some general info, but nothing you didn’t know already.
It works well enough, but at $35 it’s really a capital investment that I suspect will never actually pay for itself…
OK, somebody decided that the classic metal blade used on all plastic wrap boxes since the dawn of time cost too much, so they decreed that it be replaced with a plastic blade that costs essentially nothing:
Unfortunately, a thin plastic blade also bends easily and, after a few uses, cracks along the midline. After that, it simply doesn’t work; there’s no way to actually tear the plastic off the roll.
It turns out that a common hacksaw blade is exactly the right length and, oriented with the teeth pointing to the left, will rip through plastic wrap like, uh, a hacksaw through plastic:
That this hack should not be necessary goes without saying…
There’s a layer of double-stick foam tape between the box and blade. It’s probably removable, but I was in a hurry.
Got a call from a friend who was having trouble getting BitDefender to accept its new license key, so I drove over; she’s at the top of a killer hill and I’d already biked my two dozen miles for the day. Solving that problem was straightforward, if you happen to know that they use “authorization” and “license” as synonyms and that you access the key entry dialog by clicking on a text field that doesn’t look at all clickable.
I should have declared victory and returned to the Basement Laboratory, but, no, I had to be a nice guy.
BitDefender kvetched that it had been 777 days since its last scan, so I set up some regularly scheduled scans and automagic updates for everything in sight; we agreed she’d just let the thing run overnight on Mondays to get all that done.
BitDefender also suggested a handful of critical Windows XP updates, plus the usual Adobe Flash and Reader updates, plus some nonsense about Windows Live Messenger that seemed to require downloading and installing a metric shitload of Microsoft Bloatware. Rather than leave all that for next Monday’s unattended update, I unleashed the critical ones, did the Flash and Reader updates, and stuffed the Messenger update back under the rug.
Then AOL recommended an urgent update to AOL Desktop 9.7. She has a couple of AOL email addresses, mostly for historic reasons, and I asked if she ever used the AOL Desktop. She wasn’t sure, so I lit up the installed AOL Desktop 9.6: “Oh, that’s how I get all my email!” OK, so we’ll update that, too.
After all the thrashing was done, the system rebooted and presented us with the single most unhelpful error message I’ve ever seen:
No, you chowderheads, that is not OK…
Searching on the obvious terms indicated this had something to do with Internet Explorer 8 (remember IE 8?) and produced a number of irrelevant suggestions. The least awful seemed to involve running the Microsoft System File Checker utility:
Which I did.
It ran for the better part of an hour, then suggested a reboot. During the shutdown, it replaced 29 files at an average of about 5 minutes per file.
After which, Windows restarted and displayed exactly the same error message. Actually, a series of them; various programs couldn’t locate a fairly wide selection of ordinals in several DLLs.
OK. I give up.
We located a tech who does this sort of thing for a living. I’ve offered to split the cost of getting the box up and running again, with the understanding that it may be easier to start with a fresh off-lease Dell box running Windows 7 than to exhume an aging Windows XP installation.
I stopped caring about Windows toward the end of the last millennium and now keep a Token Windows Box only for hardware like the HOBOWare dataloggers and software like TurboTax.
Other than that, well…
I. Don’t. Care.
We spotted this crumpled front end at a local repair shop:
A closer look at the bumper tells the tale:
Pop Quiz: estimate the total cost of that collision, including the overhead of having to deal with the insurance company and arrange alternate transportation for a week or two.
Essay: explain why it’s possible for someone to insist that both deer and humans are better off under these conditions.
In this area, vehicles serve as the top predator for deer…
The Stop & Shop we normally use outsources their cash register function to us; we carry a scanner around, plink each item on its way into the basket, then do a credit-card swipe on the way out. On the last trip, this popped up after I scanned the “We’re done!” barcode at the Scan It! kiosk:
That means we were selected for a “random” audit, apparently triggered by the fact that we bought some non-typical items: ice cream! We proceeded to a nearby register, waited in line, I re-re-scanned my card, and … the whole fifteen minute process would have been a lot more amusing if said frozen items hadn’t been warming up while the harried clerk performed numerous ritual acts on the contents of our cart.
The main reason I use the scanner: there’s no other way to determine the price of any given item, what with all the unit pricing nonsense, mis-marked labels, pop-up sales, must-buy-N bundling, and so forth and so on. Secondarily, during a normal trip there’s no waiting in a lengthy queue (“Price check on Register 12!”) on the way out.
Mary hates the scanners, for well and good reason.