Tag: Technology

A Blurb on Aesthetics

“Huh, I’ve wiped the file?  I’ve wiped all the files? I’ve wiped the internet? Aw, hell I don’t even have a modem!”
– Eddie Izzard

Hola, minions.

Yes things are looking a bit different here at Small Dog Blog Headquarters. I wish I could say in was in connection with something significant or noteworthy, but the truth is that I took a blog and website customizing class last week and I’m just goofing around learning new tricks. You know how I adore tinkering with things. I’m toying with the idea of a professional website here in the new future; the valiant Val, husband to Venice, was kind enough to walk me through the website process a week back, and I’ve been scheming about it ever since. And what better way to practice than hazarding the blog with near oblivion as I press buttons and fiddle around. Who knows, the blog may change again here in the near future! Likewise I might delete the internet, anything is possible.


Meteorology and Housekeeping

“The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it.”
~ Patrick Young


The last two days have been gorgeous – hands down the brightest, clearest, warm-but-still-comfortably-cool-est days in months.  Couples were draped across each other all over the campus lawns, disregarding the still prickly and half brown grass in a desperate attempt to soak up as much Vitamin D as physically possible before the inevitable downward trend (which weather.com assures me is imminent).  Skirts and trousers were rolled up to expose pasty legs in need of color, inviting the usual commentary from the self-righteous.  Students were playing lawn games and screeching like children.  It’s as bad as Britain around here, the sun comes out and we go bonkers!

Alas I got to admire all this from behind the windows of the county buildings, my office, and the student center.  I am really looking forward to my summer of transitional employment: I plan to tramp around in the woods and eat outdoors as much as possible.

As to more practical matters, I’d resolved to put in some serious time and effort to become more tech-savvy and multiple-medium capable during this same hedonistic summer, but Google is beating me to the punch.  Google Reader is going away and I need something to replace it with.  I’ve already checked out Netvibes and Bloglovin’ but I’m interested in a broad base of commentary.  Techie minions to the front (Savvy and Venice, query your husbands too) and tell me what apps, tools, and services you use that I – but a novice in the ways of all things current – need to know!

Why Can’t I Press the Button?

“If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.”
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

One of my brothers-in-law works for Motorolla, thus the family often benefits from new phones – sometimes for testing, sometimes just because he’s nice like that.

Saturday evening (the night of the Self Imposed Inquisition) I was having a girl’s night at Fairy’s house with GS, Sadie, and Elle and we were discussing Pieter’s homecoming later this month.  He’s been abroad for a long while and the moment he gets back, they are turning him right about and all going on a trip to France, Belgium, and Switzerland – lucky devils!

Anyway, the subject turned to things he will need, quand il retourne aux Etats-Unis, after his extended jaunt and naturally enough the subject turned to phones.  He’s resuming his business studies and my godmother wanted to know whether he would need a smart phone for his program.  Which discussion segued naturally into a debate about whether smart phones are necessary in today’s society.

Pictured: my techno nightmare.

I said that although I think someday they will be, we’re not there yet.  At least I’m not.  I use my phone for talking to people and occasional text messaging (I’m old school and prefer to have actual conversations with people, and not just sound bytes) but not too much else.  That and I lose it constantly.  If it were up to me, we might never have moved on from stone tablets.

In fact, the analogy I used went like this: “Smart phones are like laser hair removal.  I’d love it, but it’s way too pricey.  A few years from now I’ll probably leap on the bandwagon late, but it will be cheaper.  They’ll have come up with something newer and shinier to do the same job.”  Verbatim.  These are the sorts of deep discussions we have.

C. Canis Minor – classical philosopher.

And wouldn’t you know it, Sunday we had a family dinner with J.’s clan. Present was a sister-in-law visiting from Chicago, the one who happens to be married to the same brother mentioned above.  And guess what presents she arrived with?

The irony of it.

So now I’m trying to figure out this fancy new interface and touch screen, terrified that any second now I’m going to push a button that will cause our phone bill to soar to several thousand dollars a month.  Or that I’ll drop it.  In a fit of paranoia I had to entire rearrange my purse so that my new phone has its own compartment and can’t get scratched by keys, lipstick, or any other paraphernalia.

Office Worker: n. resident of Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell

“Is it just me, or is this whole thing going to Hell in a hand basket?”
“Just wave your magic wand and make it all better.”
“How about a stapler?  I have one of those and I think it packs more of a punch when it hits.”
-C. and Officer Lampost

One upon a time, the parking office, which is not controlled by the police department, had a novel idea.  “Why don’t we,” they said to one another, “do away with this medieval notion of parking permits that you stick on your window or hang from your mirror and instead invest millions of dollars in a new digital license plate reader system that will simply take a picture of the plate, compare the info to a database, and automatically write tickets!”
“Brilliant!” said University Administration.  “But hey, folks, we are in the middle of a recession.  Is this a good idea?”
“Sure,” said the Parking Powers, “it will only cost XXX amount of money, require fewer man hours to run, and reduce costs all around.”
“How economical!” exclaimed the University, “Go for it!”

futilitySix months later…the Office of IT had not even started writing the program, the bare bones equipment was costing three times more than projected, we had to hire even more people to keep the office running, supervisors were not listening to the traffic and parking clerks when they explained what they needed in the new system, no one had thought that perhaps students/faculty coming to this university might be coming from out of state/country and so the program would need a way to account for that, and days away from the new system going live, the office hadn’t even received a prototype of the program to run.

Ergo, this whole week the entire office has been overrun with techie-types (and everyone of them with the stereotypical thick glasses, receding hairlines, and nasally voices…it’s been weird) scampering about frantically trying to patch a program they didn’t know they had to write, written in a matter of a couple of weeks, and left with enough holes in it that it might legally qualify as a sieve. 

Sorry, IT guys, e-card just aren't going to cut it...
Sorry, IT guys, e-card just aren't going to cut it...

The funny bit in this mess is how the IT guys seem to be trying to apologize for their blunders.  The office has spent the week overrun with flowers, balloons, sugary treats, and take out meals.  I would just like to have been a fly on the wall while they were working this out…
“Crap, guys, we’ve screwed it up royally and now we have an office full of women all barking mad to get this thing online and absolutely furious with us.  Brainstorm, quick!  Best way to make it up?”
“They’re women!  Flowers and chocolate all the way, dude!”

I don’t even work for the parking division, but I would hazard a guess that as much as the girls are enjoying the perks of having a dozen erring husbands groveling for forgiveness…they might prefer the new system working instead.

Can you exorcise this stuff? Fingers crossed!

And in continuing office news, after the Rising of the Secretaries  (spearheaded by yours truly) and ample warning, I am wheeling out the guillotine!  Today all unclaimed lockers and uniforms will be confiscated, gear will be redistributed to kids who are actually working, all paperwork will be filed and discrepancies will be punished.  At noon we attack!


“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.