Saturday, June 30, 2007

HP7 guesses

Ok, I haven't read any alleged spoilers. I just thought I'd throw out my own predictions for the final book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So, here goes:

  1. Harry vanquishes Voldemort. Duh. I don't know if Harry actually winds up killing him, but he certainly eliminates the Voldemort threat for a good long time.
  2. Some else (Ron, Hermione or Ginny) is instrumental at the final moment of Harry's victory over Voldie.
  3. Snape, who is, of course, really a good guy, dies ... Darth Snaper.
  4. Harry becomes the new DADA (Defense Against the Dark Arts) teacher.
  5. McGonagall becomes headmistress. She'll be succeeded by Harry eventually.
  6. Draco Malfoy is redeemed, and rebels against his old man.
  7. Obi Wan Dumbledore will make some kind of appearance from beyond.
  8. The Hogwarts alumni association will hit Harry up for big donations every year.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Human Power!

I live about 8 miles from where I work, and there's simply no good way to drive there. It takes me 35 minutes or more to cover this distance, and it requires a lot of time sitting in traffic, waiting for lights, and being stuck behind lost souls who think that slowing to a crawl will somehow reveal their whereabouts.

So I've been thinking for a while about other means of transportation. I could take a bus, or a bus and subway combination, but that would take an hour and a quarter at best, and longer when the subway train goes missing, as it so often does. This is mainly due to the bus schedule. The trains are usually fast and frequent, but the bus invariably involves a long wait, and a slow ride.

I've started bicycling recently, and I enjoy that tremendously. There are some drawbacks, though. I've never liked riding in traffic, and will go out of my way to avoid it. Luckily, for the cost of a couple of extra miles, I can ride most of the way on bike paths and multi-use paths, with only a short stretch of sharing the road with cars. It makes the trip 10 miles instead of 8, but it's well worth it to me.

The bigger problem is weather. Sure, it's beautiful now, but we've had frequent thunderstorms lately. Worse, these are not predicted in the morning, so I wind up with my bike at the office, trying to think of a way to get it home. Also, in this part of the country, there are inevitably at least 2-3 months of very cold weather, accompanied by snow, ice, freezing rain, and other delights. I don't have a bicycle solution for that. I suppose I'll have to go back to the car for that period, but that will be a real let down after the near complete independence of being able to just hop and my bike and go.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Back from the Curmudgeon's Convention

Ok, it's been a while. Since I last posted, I suffered a disk head crash on my main PC. I was awakened to the shortcomings of my back-up strategy (i.e., "Do it later"), and I replaced that PC with a beautiful new (and now obsolete) MacBook Pro. I still run Windows XP/Pro under Parallels, but I'm trying to switch to native Mac software as much as possible. (Interestingly, Parallels/Windows XP allowed me to access a scanner that was not accessible from the Mac directly.)

Meanwhile, recovering the data from my late, lamented drive cost as much as the MacBook. So now I've revised my back-up strategy (i.e., "Do it sooner"), and will be trying one of the on-line backup services. More on that sooner or later.

The MacBook is indeed a thing of beauty, but I miss some of the keyboard shortcuts I was used to on Windows. Since a mouse was always optional on Windows, it's always been possible to completely drive the system just from the keyboard. Not so on the Mac. While many of the same shortcuts are there, and even with appropriately similar key combinations, there are a frustratingly large number that are simply missing.

Anyway, as cheered as I am by the switch to the Mac side, there's still plenty to be curmudgeonly about. Stay tuned.