Monthly Archives: March 2002

…and then again, sometimes it's wonderful

All that I could remember for sure was that there was a judge, that verdicts were handed down, and that the words “Messire” and “Guilty” appeared in the story. So I tried the obvious Google search and the sixth hit gave me the full text of the story (The Executioner, by Algis Budris).

And of course, there are other wonderful secrets on the Web, too, such as the secret of desktop fusion, as discovered at my Alma Mater. Let’s Go Red!

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Google is too limited

I wasn’t going to buy a phone from Staples no matter how good a deal it was, so instead, I visited the local Office Depot and found the VTech 2931, which met my needs, on the display. But they didn’t have one in stock — so they called around to the other nearby stores and found me one. If I’d been willing to wait a day, I could have had it delivered, but I wanted it for tomorrow, so I drove up to Santa Clara, brought it home, and hooked it up; assuming the battery charges overnight, I’ll be all set.

The phone comes with everything but a headset, but that shouldn’t have been a problem — it uses a standard 2.5mm mono jack, as did my old Sprint PCS phone. But I’d made the mistake of putting the old headset away when I stopped using the Sprint phone.

So I started searching. That was two hours ago. I still haven’t found the old headset. Life would be so much easier if I could use Google to search my house!

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Star Trekkin'

This morning, I had a very strange dream indeed; all that I can still remember about it was that I was talking with Tim Berners-Lee, who was wearing a Borg uniform.

I’m sure this means something, but I’m not at all sure that I want to know what.

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The fun side of frustration

I spent two hours this afternoon trying to make a contact with a friend from work via ham radio, with no success. We spent the entire time on the phone trying to figure out what was going on — but neither of us could hear the other one on the radio, whether we used voice (SSB) or digital (PSK31). It’s a good thing the nation wasn’t relying on us for emergency communications today!

And I guess it’s also a clue that I need a better antenna.

But at least I got the radio back into action for the first time in months! Some day, I’ll actually work someone….

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Why I'm not likely to be a Staples customer again

Today, I stopped by the local Staples, which is going out of business, to pick up a bunch of miscellaneous supplies (labels, Rolodex cards, and the like). They happened to have a pile of Tensor booklights, too, and I needed one, so I bought it. When I got home, I found that the light didn’t work; foolishly, I thought that they might make an exception to “All Sales Final” for merchandise that was instantly defective.

So I went back to the store and asked the cashier, who called the manager, who told me that “Staples doesn’t own the merchandise in the store any more, the liquidator does, and they say no returns”, and went on to say that I should have tested the booklight before buying it (which would have required opening the blister pack and having had the foresight to have brought batteries along).

I could have tolerated being told “no refunds”. But I was angered by the manager’s “blame the customer” attitude, hence this posting (and the letter I’ve just mailed to Staples’ CEO), and my plan to avoid Staples from now on.

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More power!

One of the reasons I wanted to be running Windows XP on my laptop was the hope that I could use its ability to support two displays at once. It doesn’t matter how big a screen is, I always wind up covering it with a single application — but with two screens, I thought I might be able to have two applications visible at once and even do cut-and-paste between them.

So I got a port replicator and set things up yesterday, only to find that it was a disaster. Having two displays was nice, but when they’re wildly different in size and placed fairly far away from one another, I found it very difficult to cope. It didn’t help that Windows doesn’t notice when one undocks, and so applications still tried to use the screen that wasn’t there.

So I gave up on that idea. Today’s attempt, which seems to be a bit more successful so far, is to use two screens on my desktop machine here at work. The screens are nearly the same size and are close enough togther that the mouse does seem to move almost seamlessly between them, but I can sure tell that one of the displays is a significantly older model, with a curved screen (instead of the flat CRT of my newer display). What I’d like is two modern LCD screens, but I can’t really justify the upgrade yet.

(Update: I swapped my old curved CRT for a newer, flat-screen CRT, so now I have two CRTs with the same characteristics. That’s much better!)

Thanks, Brent!

Brent Simmons is leaving Userland today. Thanks, Brent, for all the hard work on Manila, Frontier, and especially keeping the ETP servers up and running.

Thanks, Sam!

Sam Palmisano took over as CEO of IBM today, and the stock went up $4.90. Now, if he can just keep that happening for fifty more days, I’d be a very happy camper.

Shabbat Shalom!

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