Tech advice of the week

And it’s pretty simple, really:

No matter what Microsoft representatives tell you, no matter what Microsoft writes on their support pages, DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO USE AN XP COMPUTER TO DOWNLOAD WINDOWS 7.

Capitalization as in the original.

One reason for this:

The first software that needs to be downloaded and installed on an XP computer is supposedly .net 2.0. Remember that I’d just installed all the Microsoft updates on the XP laptop? It seems that .net 2.0 is “incompatible” with the version now on my laptop which was .net 3.? I think. Does Microsoft never update these pages? Does Microsoft think I’m going to uninstall a newer version of their software to install an older version so that I can download and use the latest version? And possibly screw up the one relatively full-featured computer I have working?

And we all know what I think of .NET, although somehow I have gotten 2.0 and 3.5 to coexist. (Versions below 2.0 are now supported only by whoever does installs for Cthulhu.)

Comments (1)

Behold the sacred tablet

And until further notice, thou shalt accept no substitute:

A court has banned sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in the US while it decides on the firm’s patent dispute with Apple.

Apple has claimed that Samsung infringed its design patent and copied the look of its popular device, the iPad. The Samsung tablet is considered by most analysts as the biggest rival to Apple’s iPad.

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 II (!), now reaching stores, is not included in the ban; Apple will have to set aside $2.6 million to compensate Samsung for lost sales should Apple lose the case, which will be tried in California beginning in late July.

Microsoft, whose Surface tablet is yet to go into production, will presumably find something to sue somebody over.

Comments (1)

Funnel be had

They don’t get a whole lot of tornadoes in Florida, but what they do get is reported on in an all-too-familiar manner:

Weather porn is the local news caster’s dream. Indeed, even some national news types love it too. Dan Rather made his bones covering a hurricane, and Geraldo doesn’t usually miss an opportunity to stand out in the wind & rain and look like a bigger fool than usual. Weather porn is big and dramatic, and even when death is involved it avoids the nastiness of talking about psycho-killers, child molesters, the deranged and the political. And once they get their fix of Act of God Drama they can go back to the regular stuff with a happy little glean in their eyes. So in the next few months when you see a newscaster reporting some grotesque of a story political or criminal (not mutually exclusive) with a twinkle in their eye, you’ll know that some locale just got the stuffing kicked out of it by weather in the previous weeks.

A note to certain locals: There is no reason on God’s brownish-of-late earth that the words “HEAT DOME” have to be displayed in letters a state and a half high.

Comments off

Fawning adulation

From the Vintage Hosiery folder, here’s a WWII-era magazine blurb for the Georgia-based Shaleen brand, not at all apologizing for the fact that the Armed Forces had commandeered (so to speak) the nation’s nylon for the war effort:

Shaleen nylons advertisement circa 1944

These deer appeared in Shaleen ads over several years, and even after their retirement, you could still see one in the round corporate logo. (The motto around the circle: “It’s the lasting beauty of them.”) The mill itself, however, didn’t last, and was shut down in the early 1950s; the facility was renovated and turned into classrooms for Georgia’s Columbus College (now Columbus State University), which opened in 1958.

Comments (1)

Tartuffe beats the heat

Michael Bloomberg, last week:

When temperatures hit the high 90s a week ago, Bloomberg visited the Bronx Works senior center and called on New Yorkers to turn off “all non-essential appliances.”

“It only takes a couple of minutes to cool off a room,” he said at the time.

And what is an Essential Appliance? This:

The New York Post has uncovered a dirty little secret about the supposed environmentally-clean NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The mayor apparently doesn’t like to enter a hot car, but his city has the toughest anti-idling laws in the country. So, naturally, his underlings rig a window air conditioning unit to hang out his SUV’s window while it sits.

“Let them drink soda,” said Marie Antoinette. “But sixteen ounces only.”

(Via this Kathleen McKinley tweet.)

Comments off

140 or fight

Smitty, who’s done some A-level tweeting in his day, reminds us:

[Twitter i]s just a means to an end: communication. Bemoaning the constraints of the form is like whining about the rules of the sonnet.

I am not one of those people who resents having to fit something into a size or a pattern. One of the reasons those early Motown records were so great was that they were short enough to get out of their own way: until Marvin Gaye’s version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” the Gordy machine routinely chopped ’em down to less than three minutes. Those editing jobs were sometimes clumsy, sometimes worse than that — see, for instance, the Supremes’ “Reflections” or “I’m Ready for Love” by Martha and the Vandellas — but rules is rules.

Of course, having once written an almost-sonnet, I’m not likely to grumble about having to make things conform to a specific format.

Comments (2)

Punch in, punched out

Most weeks I put in 45-50 hours, usually arriving early to clean up any lingering issues from the day before. This is arguably a lot of time, though it’s nothing compared to what some staffers have to put in to keep the workload from piling up.

One could reasonably ask, though: Cui bono?

I am wondering if maybe we are not just victims of our own success, and our ability to produce. Many people work 40, 50, 60 hours a week not because they need the money, but because they can and because they like the money. I suspect we could probably get along just fine if we were all only working 20 hours a week. Problem then would be finding something to do for all those people who used to be working 60 or 70 hours a week, something besides sitting around and cooking up trouble, which is what the unemployed do now, don’t cha know?

Liking it, sooner or later, mutates into needing it.

The problem, as I see it, is that’s it’s so damned expensive to employ people in the first place, what with payroll taxes, government regulations, and occasionally something resembling benefits. I could see splitting my position into two, but paying two people plus all the associated vig would cost even more than it does to pay me, and I ain’t especially cheap. The front office is reluctant to add any more bodies to the payroll, and I really can’t blame them; that said, we’re in dire need of someone who can spell me in my absence, if I’m ever absent, and at my age, I have to assume there are going to be some absences coming up.

Comments (1)

Lessons from life (one in a series)

Showing up at the tag agency half an hour before closing on the 26th of the month: in and out in eight minutes flat.

Showing up at the tag agency half an hour before closing on the 30th of the month: just asking for trouble.

Comments (7)

By the time we got to wood shop

We were half a species short:

Forty years ago, President Richard Nixon signed Title IX, which said no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from any education program or activity. Vocational education courses that barred girls — such as auto mechanics, carpentry and plumbing — became available for everyone. But it’s still hard to find girls in classes once viewed as “for boys only.”

Zoe Shipley, 15, has a passion for cars and tinkering with engines.

“It’s just kind of cool to learn how to fix a car or learn about it,” she says.

Zoe’s school in Maryland offers a dozen different vocational tracks. Four girls have signed up for construction management, which includes electrical and plumbing courses; Zoe is the only girl in autoshop. That’s it: five girls doing allegedly “boy stuff.” Now admittedly, changing a timing belt is not so great for one’s manicure, but I’ll bet that ten years from now, when some weaselly service writer is trying to figure out some way to get $1000 out of her for $90 worth of work, this girl is going to be glad she followed this track.

(Via Joanne Jacobs.)

Comments off

No rest for the llama

I have spoken before of my marginally massive iTunes installation on the work box, now somewhere around 6700 tracks. But the major reason I’m using iTunes at all, other than to shop at the Store, is because I’ve long since figured out how to work up “smart playlists” and how to let it handle the streams — because I don’t have time at work to pick this stuff out myself. At home, my iTunes install is maybe a tenth as large, and most of my music listening is done through, um, Winamp.

Winamp screenshot featuring Sing It by Rebecca BlackYes, folks, the Largely Forgotten Music Player still gets some use. It has a small footprint, as anyone who’s ever loaded iTunes should be able to appreciate, and I don’t even have to bother with a playlist; I just pick ’em off an Explorer screen when the mood hits. It will even play Apple’s AAC files — the non-DRMed ones, anyway — my small collection of FLAC files; and my musical work files, most of which are WAVs. Besides, I’ve paid for the Winamp Pro license, and I’d hate to think I shelled out that much money — okay, not that much — on something I wasn’t going to use. I’m in version 5.56 right now, with one of the oldest skins on earth; in the picture you can see a recent purchase.

Oh, and we use it at work, too: it’s been pressed into service to dish up the Music On Hold at 42nd and Treadmill. I forget how long the playlist is, but if you’ve heard all of it, you’re calling too often.

Comments off

Smart response

Literally so, in several senses of the word. Here’s a screenshot of the original Twitter discussion:

Twitter conversation between Clayton Hove and smart cars USA

They did indeed do the math:

How much crap does it take to damage a smart car?

“Tridion,” incidentally, is described this way:

Inspired by racecar roll cages, the reinforced high-strength steel tridion safety cell is engineered to be a barrier between you and pretty much anything else you might encounter. It evenly distributes crash energy so you’ll have peace of mind.

There are, as you might have guessed, three layers of steel involved.

As for Mr Hove, he was duly impressed with the response.

Comments (2)

A bit of the old ultra-pinkness

I stared in disbelief at this for several minutes:

Pinkie Pie in an Anthony Burgess parody

Derpibooru will be the death of me yet.

Comments (5)

Idiocracy approacheth

And now, “Ow! My Balls!” sponsored by Ford:

One thing a few German companies have taken note of is the hands-free tailgate, a particularly brilliant feature now available on the new Mercedes-Benz SL550, for instance. Walk up behind the Escape with the key on your person, swipe your foot under the bumper, and voila! It opens. But be warned: After you swipe your foot, take a step backwards or the liftgate will whack you in the crotch. No joke! All joking aside, my wife couldn’t believe that all cars don’t have such a smart feature.

Of course. She’s not the one standing there waiting to get whacked. (Maybe she’s up front, watching your discomfiture on the backup camera.)

I haven’t seen this particular issue highlighted in any other reviews of the ’13 Escape, so maybe the other motor-noters were lucky, or they’re the wrong height, or something.

Comments (3)

I will not turn out

So far as I can tell, there’s nothing for me on the primary ballot tomorrow: there are two races — Corporation Commissioner and County Clerk — to determine Republican candidates for the fall election, and that’s it. Not being a Republican (well, I’m not), there’s no reason for me to show up.

Comments (3)

Irony overload: priceless

Just what the world was waiting for: the Karl Marx MasterCard.

Karl Marx MasterCard issued by Sparkasse Chemnitz

Issued by Sparkasse Chemnitz — Chemnitz is a city in eastern Germany, in the state of Saxony — the Marx card has proven to be popular: ten designs were proposed by the bank, and more than a third of the customers opted for Marx.

Then again, this could be just nostalgia: Chemnitz was turned into a parking lot in WWII and was subsequently rebuilt, its Soviet-sector overlords renaming it “Karl-Marx-Stadt,” a name it retained until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the German Democratic Republic behind it. There remains a bust of Marx in the city’s core, the very one portrayed on the card. The local economy is a mixed bag, faring reasonably well until recent troubles in the Eurozone. And there’s this:

A 2008 survey found 52 percent of eastern Germans believed the free market economy was “unsuitable” and 43 percent said they wanted socialism back.

The devil you know, as it were.

Comments (5)

One hurdle jumped

Saudi Arabia has decided to send a female participant in the 2012 Olympics, mostly due to pressure from without:

“It’s very sensitive,” a senior Saudi official told the BBC. “King Abdullah is trying to initiate reform in a subtle way, by finding the right balance between going too fast or too slow.

“For example, he allowed the participation of women in the Shura council [an advisory body] so the Olympic decision is part of an ongoing process, it’s not isolated.”

The official acknowledged that to refuse to let women take part would have looked bad on the international stage.

And Saudi Arabia was one of three countries — the others were Qatar and Brunei — who in 2010 were threatened with being barred from these Olympics if they did not allow women to compete.

Dalma Rushdi MalhasSaudi women will of course be expected to dress according to religious norms, though this shouldn’t be a problem for the one Saudi competitor who has already qualified: showjumper Dalma Rushdi Malhas. The other two countries, it would appear, aren’t quite so worried about lustful glances from the crowd. Qatar, in fact, is sending a swimmer: Nada Akraji will compete in the women’s 50-meter freestyle. And while she is not expected to win a medal, Brunei’s runner Maziah Mahusin, who finished last in her qualifying heat for the 400-meter dash, will be participating.

Updates in comments.

Comments (2)