Tag: Computers

In Which C. Debates the Wisdom of Copying Sav’s Awesomness

“You can watch this while I find someone who will perform a marriage ceremony between a crazed fan and a celebrity teen hostage. To the Internet!”
– The Fairly Odd Parents

Savvy just did something which, considered in light of current societal attitudes and the fact that a movie title The Social Network was just released, is quite brave.  She deleted her Facebook.  Apparently it took hours of dogged, single-minded determination and clicking, but she did it.


"Honestly, C., had you no life at all?!" "I'm SORRY!"


I confess, I’ve toyed with the idea myself.  Truthfully, the hours I’ve spent on that ridiculous thing will shame me when we’re all dead and get to watch the Big Movie of our lives.

However, I have a qualm.  Surprisingly I do use Facebook for its original intent: to keep track of people.  Having trucked over the world, keeping in touch with people can be a chore.  It’s the same reason why I’ve never changed my Hotmail address: I got it when I was 12 or 13 and across the years have given it out to friends/contacts/employers in multiple countries.  It’s the only way I keep in touch with a whole army of correspondents, I couldn’t do something so stupid as to change it simply because Gmail is en vogue (yes, yes, and better, yes I heard you).

Frankly, though, as the years have gone by, I’ve winnowed down my own social network quite a bit.  Scarlett, Peregrine, Jane, and Venice are far off, but I still communicate with them regularly.  Margot, Marie, Tink, and Angel, though busy, are still nearby.  The majority of people I see everyday… I see everyday: Hennessy, Wise, Susie, Sav, and Vodka, as well as the traffic clerks.  I regularly bump into Sadie on campus and we often get together with my whole godfamily to play, usually at least once a month.  And now that my parents live on the same continent as I do, keeping in touch with them has never been easier.

So…what do I really use Facebook for?

Honestly, the occasional glimpse into long gone friends’ lives (once every six months), to keep in touch with Gio as he heads off into his first year of adventure at university (daily), and to play stupid games (also daily, shamefully). In other words, with very few exceptions, nothing really valuable.

I don’t know if I have the moral fortitude to completely go cold turkey as the indomitable Sav did…but I am thinking that I really need to start weaning myself off it.


And how many of these behaviors/tendencies have you displayed recently?


Make your voices heard, minions!  Have you ever rethought your relationship with your techie relationships?  How many people would simply vanish from your life if you ditched Facebook, Twitter, and whatever bastard cousin of theirs has popped up recently?  And would you miss these people if they melted away?  How much of your life would disappear, and how much of it would you get back if you tuned out?  Weigh in.

If A Equals B, and B Equals C, Then A Equals Muffin

“Fastidious taste makes enjoyment a struggle.”
– Mason Cooley

The science of Recommendations seems, to me, to be very imprecise.

Pandora, set to my station of summery, party, of-no-artistic-value-whatsoever music, was feeding me a lively stream of Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, and other culturally reprehensible choices.  And then suddenly, out of no where, an unmistakable disco beat.  And then, “Ah, ah ah, ah, stayin’ alive!  Stayin’ alive!”  Who ordered the Bee Gees?

Then later on Amazon.com, Small Dog’s personal crack, I was casually leafing through their recommendations for me.  They defy logic.  Wondering what had possessed it to recommend Conan the Barbarian I clicked on it to see why.  Answer: because I once ordered  Planet Earth.


The Fighting Quail

“Remember, kids, the Quail Call is not a toy!”
– Quailman (Doug)

Once upon a time, Margot began working in the university library in the Children/Young Adult  Literature section.  I take some credit for helping her get this job as one of the questions they asked her was, “What books are you currently reading?”  She responded with a book I’d lent her, entitled “I, Lucifer” (click for Amazon link).  Which, as you may have guessed, is not a children’s book, but absolutely fantastic.  But apparently she was the only person who didn’t say something like, “The Berenstain Bears,” “The Magic Schoolbus,” or “The Three Little Kittens,” and she got the job because of individuality (not to mention brilliance.  She’s annoying like that).

And I’m so glad she did because that meant she could share this gem (which pops up on library computers when an error occurs) with us!

See? Doesn't this make you happy?

I personally think we should set this up on all campus servers (particularly the parking system and its annoying offspring computer problems).  Wouldn’t seeing this make your technical issue so much less aggravating?  I think all universities should offer some sort of equivalent, though some mascots should not be used (such, as Pinto pointed out, a duck).

Also, the Fail Quail unintentionally reminds me of my youth:

Quail Man

Prometheus. Bound.

“Hear now a sorry tale of mortal man…”
– Aeschylus

The story of Prometheus is well known, but to recap…  He was a titan who apparently sided with the Olympians when they wandered into Greece, looked around, and said, “We’ll take it.”  Even though Zeus declares himself supreme-overlord-of-all-and-if-you-challenge-me-you-will-get-struck-by-bloody-lightning-I-am-not-kidding!, Prometheus demonstrates over and over again that he is far more clever than the majority of the pantheon.  While Zeus is sneaking around behind his wife’s back, preening in a mirror, and trying (unsuccessfully) to keep his growing horde of illegitimate children quiet, Prometheus decides that he feels like creating humans and developing agriculture, writing, and the other civilizing arts.

"That'll learn you, thinking you're smarter than me..." "Wow. You're a huge jerk. Ow ow OW!"

But when he decided to steal fire (usually symbolizing technology in general) for mankind and smuggled it off Mount Olympus, Zeus finally lost it.  Fed up with his tricks, overwhelming cleverness, and making him (Zeus) look bad, he chained Prometheus to a mountain and sent an eagle to eat his liver everyday, which miraculously regrew each night so he could be tortured in the same way daily, ad infinitum.  One of the pesky downsides to being immortal.

The modern retelling of this myth is currently taking place on our front counter.

In an effort to help transition patrons to the new parking system, an unnamed officer bought two tiny laptops that our employees could use to walk individuals through the online process of registering their cars.  Trouble was that for months the system was hovering in a state of semi-productivity limbo, even on a good day the internet connection on the laptops is shoddy at best, and the computers are almost never used.  Not money well spent, in my opinion.

Not aesthetically pleasing, I feel.

However, one of the more obvious problems with this idea has been the method devised for keeping them in place (as it would be embarrassing for computers to get stolen from a police department); to wit, a tangled mass of wires, power strips, and chains wrapped around one another, the computers themselves, and drawer handles.  Looking both ghetto and ridiculous.

Moral of the story: trying to bring enlightenment and ease to the populace will probably make you an object of aggravation, fit only to be tied up and left to rot.

Know-Nothing. Party.

C.’s Quick Translation for Online Oppinuendo on Health Care

You liberal/conservative idiot! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

Don’t you have a brain?! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

The Republicans/Democrats are out of touch with the American people!  Down with them!  Drag them into the streets! :   Rep-R/Rep-D voted against my personal opinion! 

Obama is the Antichrist! :  I’m conservative.

Obama is brave to take this problem on! :   I’m liberal.

Stop making asinine comments! :   I have weighed and measured such information as I have found, and I now find myself on the other side of the aisle from you.

You socialist nazi! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

You conservative nazi! :   I respectfully disagree with you.

This is a choice between good and evil! :   This is a choice between political ideologies, about which I feel very strongly.

It’s unconstitutional! :   It personally offends my sensibilities.

I can’t even begin to tackle your logical fallacies! :   I refuse to attempt to see things from your liberal/conservative point of view and prefer to argue.

As a future doctor I don’t want to have the government dictate the terms of my work (requirements, treatment standards, paycheck, etc.) to me! :   I much prefer to dictate the terms of my work  (requirements, treatment standards, paycheck, etc.) to my patients myself.

Go ****/$$$$/@@@@/%%%%  yourself! :   I’m afraid we just can’t see eye to eye on this. 

The End Times are coming! :   I am seriously displeased with the turn of events.

I’m moving to Canada! : I am not actually moving to Canada despite ranting to the contrary for some time. 


There, now you find yourself able to navigate the intricacies of Facebook, comment threads, and forum mudslinging.  Take a few calm breaths to recharge and think of some withering profanities, and when you feel ready, charge back into the fray.  Discussion doesn’t seem to be the name of the day, so feel free to bandy tired clichés back and forth, quote the pundits/talking heads in lieu of actual original thought, and mistake insults/gloating for a solution.  Carry on!

It’s Alive!

“The trouble with troubleshooting is that trouble shoots back.”
– Unknown

So, while documenting records in our database, I must have tapped some keys in just the right order to summon the devil.  Or something.  Because this popped up in that scary font only techie types use:

This version requires a [something or other thing that I don’t understand] directory to store your alias files.  Shall I create it for you?  Y/N

At a loss, I type “N” and assumed it would all go away.  The response…

Very well.  I won’t create it.

But you may run into difficulties later.

Die, evil computer program, die!  Help, my computer has become self aware!

I wouldn't do that, C.


“A problem of type 2094 has occurred…what the [ahem] is that?!  What are the two thousand ninety three other problems I skipped to get to that one?!”
-Eddie Izzard

A spectacularly dull day at the office, livened only by the laundry run.  At which time a bundle of clothing was handed over to us all clean and neatly pressed, but without a name attached because it’s owner had forgotten to put the order sheet with his instructions in the bag with his clothes.  Fear not, citizens, Lt. South’s name was discovered on the tag, much to my unholy glee. 

Small Dog finds a tiny degree of joy in her technological impaired-ness
Small Dog finds a tiny degree of joy in being technologically impaired

Other than that, my Outlook account for work decided to blip out of existence yesterday.  Thinking it was something to do with the new software our department is bringing online, I let it go, but today it was still out.  I put in a request with IT, but when the techies did whatever it is they do and Outlook reappeared…it was without my emails, projects, calendars, contacts, or distribution lists.  The only thing that makes me blissfully undisturbed by this is the fact that it’s twenty minutes to five and I don’t have to deal with it until monday.

Making Contact

“Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hal-LE-LU-jah!”

ipod_silhouette_300x300After moving into our place way back in March, I finally got internet and cable set up at the flat today!  J. was a trooper and woke up early to drive down and hang out while the Comcast guy got us set up because I couldn’t skip work, and thank heaven because I’ve had the same music on my iPod for months now without iTunes and am terribly close to well and truly losing it! 

And then, as HE suggested, we got his tux situation sorted on my lunch break.  This guy is a keeper.

Angst du Jour

“Oh…the irony…”

For my high school graduation/18th birthday/going to college present, my dad bought me a laptop.  My dad, wonderful man that he is, is always on the lookout for a good deal which is not necessarily a bad thing, but he often forgets his own favorite favorite saying, “You get what you pay for.” 

It's a love/hate relationship.
It's a love/hate relationship.

My laptop itself was new but also an already outdated model that was too big and, as it later turned out, one of a line famous for a glitch that caused overheating.  Somehow (by hanging the side off the edges of desks, keeping my window open in winter so cold air could blow on it, and buying multiple power cords when one after another was melted through) I managed to make it last for four years without crashes or data loss.  However it was too much to hope that it could limp on any longer.  I got all my music, pictures, data, and important work off of it and retired the poor thing to my closet. 

My parents just got a new computer and decided to send me the old one, also a dinosaur but still very appreciated for its lack of battery incinerating habits.  Sadly a couple of days ago, without warning, it simply turned itself off for no readily apparent reason and has since refused to turn back on.

At the time my reaction was a near heart attack and much, “My music!  My photos!  My writings!  Angst, angst, angst!   Why me?”   You know, the usual wailing and gnashing of teeth routine.  I’ve since accepted it and made appointments to have it looked at and begun silent prayers to the computer gods to be merciful. 

PS – did you know there’s a patron saint of computers, program, users and the Internet?  Found him when Googling “computer problems.”  For some reason they picked a guy who died in the 7th century AD; I for one fail to see the connection.