What with all the hub-bub about the new Serenity movie, I decided to watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I saw it in the DVD rack at the public library. I never watched it before, for two reasons. (1) We pulled the plug on our TV sometime in 1997, so since then we only watch DVDs and (increasingly rarely) videotapes. (2) I don’t like vampire programs, nor anything of that ilk, because I don’t like the creepy feeling you get watching people do stupid things (“don’t walk down that hallway!”) and I don’t like being startled.
But! when you factor that in, Buffy is much better than I expected when I first heard about it, five or ten years ago.
I’m still too busy to post. (Great blog, huh?)
I finished my prison gig and now I’m on vacation for the rest of the summer, studying for the Ords.
Hello again. I’ve been busy. March 8 must have been right about the time of midterms. Then came the 2nd half of classes and finals. The week after finals I began my summer field ed, and I’m not done with that yet. So posting will be light. But eventually I’ll be back.
I have a GM mini-van that needs a fortune in repair work. I go online to see what’s up with this problem and find out it’s all over the place (note items 25 and 78). GM built a zillion cars with the 3.4L V-6 engine and they have a defective part. The amazing thing is that GM isn’t doing anything about it systematically. Two observations:
- Isn’t the internet the heat? When the dealership tells you you have a problem, five minutes’ work on Google will tell whether it’s a defect or reasonable wear and tear.
- I used to be work for a major computer firm in the data storage division. My full-time job was trying to get our warranty costs down and customer satisfaction up. At least half of our 7-figure/month warranty bill was due to customer satisfaction repairs (i.e., the unit is okay but we’re replacing it to keep the customer happy). I’m astonished the GM would consciously anger so many customers by not doing the right thing.
Apart from this repair the mini-van hasn’t been all that bad. Nobody is ever going to be passionate about a mini-van, but it hasn’t been a complete turkey. The computer had a problem that stumped the dealer for a while, and the door fell off once, and as you can see from the list of TSBs above, there’s a handful of piddly problems inside the passenger compartment, but it hasn’t been that bad.
The problem isn’t with the car, just its manufacturer.
This Kerry Garrison tells how to build a full-featured PBX for less than $20 using rubber bands and other things you already have laying around the house. There is also a nice list of free office software. I noticed this Ultra@VNC because I keep telling myself that I need to use VNC, since there is still a Windows box in the house. But it’s easier just to ignore it and wait for it to go away. (From the free office apps it was only a click and a jump to MacMP3Gain, which looks so useful that I think I’ll actually give it a try.)
The mint is finally starting to get to the interesting states. Go there to find out what quarters are coming out and to decide whether to bother with them.
Decisions, decisions. I’m trying to write a small program to help my son learn to do subtraction. (His problem–today–is borrowing, which these days is called “regrouping.”) It is a trivial sort of GUI program and I’m trying to decide whether to learn Java UI programming with Swing, or Ruby/Tk. Swing has the advantage of including anything I could ever possibly need and working out of box. Ruby/Tk isn’t nearly as all-encompassing … but … let’s face it: Ruby is 10x the language that Java will ever be. (Hence groovy.)
Update: I never got around to this and he figured out how to subtract. Sort of. But it’s interesting to see all the hype about Ruby (due to Rails) and watch the Java types freak out about it.
The pope has an apostolic letter to those responsible for communications, which in the internet age, is practically anyone.
Now this story is something to keep in mind the next time someone tells you about the advantages of the European-style social democracies…
A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing “sexual services” at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.
(Kudus to Pejman.)
UPDATE: apparently this story is fake but accurate. (1 Mar 2005)