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Winter Sux

Posted 2010.12.14 11.49 in Pointless Blather

It’s crazy. It’s not even winter here yet. And I already hate it.

In fact it feels like I’m hating winter more and faster than I remember in previous years. It hasn’t really snowed much here yet, but don’t care so much about snow. It’s the cold. And it’s the way so many people forget how to drive when there’s white stuff blowing around.

Cold – it seems like it’s damn cold out, and in. Like, Suddenly: Deep Freeze! Yet it’s not really that cold, when you look at a thermometer. It’s only mid-December.. what am I going to feel like when we get to February and the -40’s? Actually, I don’t want to know. I want to hibernate.

Then there’s the way people drive… Oh my Gods.

We get this white shit every year. Why is it always a shock to people? Why don’t people learn to fucking drive on snow? “Oh christ there’s snow on the ground – I better go into panic mode and act like I’ve forgotten how to use a car!”

One thing I’ve made a point of doing every year since I got my license, is when we get some snowy/icy/slippy weather, I’ll find an empty road or parking-lot, and practice driving in bad conditions. It’s not magic. You can learn this stuff. It varies from car to car, and it’s good to stay in practice. All you need to do is first, learn what your vehicle feels like as it is losing traction or just starting to slide. Then you learn how to deal with it. Most of it is common sense. I’m sure there’s even places you can go, to specifically learn how to drive in poor conditions.

So here’s the deal: If driving in the snow makes you feel so scared and tense that you have to go at 10km/h with your four-way blinkers on, if you’re on the verge of panicing when another vehicle goes past you, if you can’t stop at a stop-sign that you can see 250 meters away, then stay the fuck home. If you don’t know how to drive in the winter, then just don’t do it.

Jerkette! Of the Day!

Posted 2010.11.17 17.59 in Pointless Blather

My daily commute to and from work is quite short. 10 minutes, typically. Yet the number of clueless idiots I see behind the wheels of cars is truly frightening.

This stellar example of automotive excellence must have had some super-critical stuff going on in that cellphone of hers. Way too busy to turn on the turn signal, and I don’t think she even noticed that she’d stopped her car on the pedestrian walkway.

I used to think that the people you see on that ‘Worst Driver’ show were just pretending. Now, I know the Awful Truth – the streets are full of people who, seriously, have no business being in control of 2,000 pounds of steel, glass and plastic. These people should be given mopeds, and left to fend for themselves. Clue in, or get squished.

Mad Science Happens Here

Posted 2010.08.16 17.45 in Computers/Internet/Technology

All I wanted to do was get the raw data off of one (marginally obsolete) (mini-sized) hard drive and onto another (marginally obsolete) (mini-sized) (but slightly larger) hard drive.

Like A Horror Movie

Posted 2009.10.23 9.15 in Pointless Blather

Imagine you’ve run out of coffee fixings. You’re tired, and grumpy. You’re on the way to the coffee shop to get your morning fix. You turn down the road that leads to caffein, only to see the ‘road closed’ signs in the distance.

As your brain is slowly processing the signs, your eyes drift upwards to some movement on the sunvisor.

Read more »

Smile!

Posted 2009.09.02 10.59 in Pointless Blather

Due to a natural defficiency in my blood-caffein levels, I have to keep topping up my internal caffein with coffee. As a result, I tend to spend a lot of time in coffee-shop drive-throughs. After dozens (or hundreds) of trips through the drive-through, I’ve built up a number of observations.

Many people seem to be a bit surly to the coffee-shop staff, or at the very least, terse. This is especially the case in the morning, when I suppose they just really want/need their morning caffein fix. Nonetheless, the coffee-shop staff are not to blame for the morning, the lack of caffein in your blood, et cetera, so they shouldn’t have to suffer for it. Indeed, when you consider that their mornings started even earlier and they’re already at work, and that their main function is actually to give you the coffee that you really need/desire, they ought to be commended for their efforts rather than suffer anyone’s impatience or rudeness. I believe it was Dave Barry who once said, a person that is nice to you but rude to the waitress, is not a nice person. I think this also applies to drive-throughs.

I’ve also noticed that quite often, people treat the drive-through staff as though they weren’t really there — like automatons or robots or some such thing. Similar to an instant-teller machine. People talking on their mobile phone, catching up on their email, grooming themselves in their mirror, reading the paper, et cetera, and then only acknowledging the coffee-shop staff when absolutely necessary. Worse, when they do have to interact with the staff, their behavior shows that is so clearly an interuption in their other important activities… The folks at the drive-through window are not automatons or robots. And by the time they do have ATM-like drive-through coffee shops, they’ll have figured out how to program emotions into the robots. So best to start now, practicing being polite. After all, nobody wants spit (or machine oil) in their coffee, right?

Seriously though – Smile and be polite. Try it out! You may not see an immediate difference, after all coffee-shop drive-through staff (along with everyone else in the service industry) can also have bad days too. Just remember your please’s and thankyou’s and if they ask how you are doing or how your day is going, respond in kind and ask them. Or be proactive and ask them first. Smile! If they’ve been treated like a machine all day long, they might find it a refreshing change to be seen as a human being.

Remember – smiling and being polite costs nothing, takes no time, yet can make yourself and others feel better.

Cheers!

The Horrors Of E.D.

Posted 2008.12.03 1.00 in Computers/Internet/Technology

ED, or “Electronic Dysfunction”, is predominantly thought of as a problem of the older generation. However, it does occasionally strike young and otherwise healthy technology.

Earlier this week, I had settled down for the evening, looking to spend some quality time with my computer — a relatively spry 15-month old iMac. The evening started out well, things worked as planned. However, as the evening progressed, my iMac started to slow down, to stumble a bit. Even stalling at times. I attributed this to software lag, or internet lag — but those issues usually come and go, this was a case of a steadily worsening condition.

Then it happened… the computer siezed up completely. We’ve had lock-ups like this before. Rare, but they do happen. Particularily when using a certain program which shall remain nameless (I’m looking at you SecondLife). However, before I went for the full reboot, something new happened: The entire screen went black, then hard-drive errors started spewing all over the place. New, and nasty.

One reboot later and things were functioning again. Still, the hard drive errors troubled me, so I went into Disk Utility. And there it was. It was ED and it was confirmed. My iMac’s hard drive was no longer hard, and wasn’t driving.

What to do?! The iMac looks pretty but it’s not exactly easy to get in for a hard-drive swap. I fretted for a bit. It’s out of warranty. The thought of actually paying someone to fix my computer is intolerable. Then I remembered the Makers’ creed: If you can’t open it, you don’t own it. The iMac was not going to beat me. I would OWN this computer.

Turns out, the door to the (Aluminum,2007) iMac is through the screen! The glass panel is held on by magnets(!!) and you can pry it off with the right tools. Under the glass are a bunch of screws, that free the frame, then the actual screen itself covers up most of the electronic jiggery-pokery.

Skipping through the dull boring bits, I got my iMac open, got the screen out of the way, and extracted the droopy drive. I replaced it with a much bigger, much harder drive — I mean really, the only reason to put a 1TB drive in there is “because I can”. It was easy to put it all back together and now my iMac is all virile and strong again.
Yay!

The message nobody wants to see.
The HardDrive message nobody wants to see.