Monday, April 29, 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013

As far as the environment goes, we're like kids living in a candy house. It's beautiful, and it protects us, but we're going to eat it anyway. Even those of us who claim to be sensitive to environmental issues, while throwing our $5.00 Starbucks cups out the windows of our SUVs, could stand to be a little more aware.

I don't exempt myself here. In fact, the older I get, the more paper towels I seem to go through during the course of a day. Perhaps I'm a late-blooming klutz, but I prefer to think in more scientific terms. It's increasing entropy.

On the other hand, we are completely unable to comprehend any threat that's more than about an hour and a half in the future. This was demonstrated yet again last week when the U.S. Senate chose not even to vote on a gun buyer background check bill the same week that the country was in an uproar about the Boston Marathon bombing fueled by ... gunpowder!

In fact, everything we do is reactive, instead of proactive. Terrorists hijack some planes, so we start locking the cockpit door. A guy tries to blow up his shoes, so we make passengers take their shoes off at the airport. I'm convinced the underwear bomber was just a way of seeing how far we would go.

But as Pogo so eloquently said, "We have met the enemy and he is us." Imagine a science fiction movie in which hostile aliens comes upon a planet where the dominant species spends most of its time converting petroleum into plastic and carbon dioxide, and then discards the plastic and releases the CO2 into the air. No need to conquer that planet. Just wait a while.

So if we can't, as a nation or as a species, avert an environmental calamity, what can we do as individuals?  There are a few possibilities:

1) Save up to buy oceanfront property in Ohio or Nevada.

2) Take pictures of the nighttime sky, so when a younger generation says, "I loved Star Wars and Star Trek, but what the hell are stars?" you can show them.

3) Try to hasten "The Singularity," when we can endow robots with human intelligence (and then some, hopefully.)

4) Dispose of that Starbucks cup properly, so you can tell yourself you're a good person.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dear Everyone,

  • No, I don’t want to receive your free email newsletter.
  • No, I don’t want to take a few minutes to tell you how satisfied I am with your service/product/whatever. (If I'm not satisfied, you'll hear from me.)
  • No, I don’t want to play any Facebook games with you.
  • No, I don't need to know what you had for breakfast.
  • No, I won’t post your pseudo-profound philosophical tidbit on my status for one hour.
  • No, I don’t want to give you access to my email address book so you can see if any of my contacts need spamming.
  • No, I don't want to see pictures of your vacation, snow accumulation, new car, kid's prom or cat. (Unless they're 3D!)
  • No, I don’t want you to keep showing me ads forever for something I looked up once out of idle curiosity.
  • No.
  • Yes, I saw what George Takei posted.
Thank you.

Tech Curmudgeon

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tech Curmudgeon's Guide to ...

Duh! Technology!!

(What did you expect?)

No matter how simple your computer task is, or how many times you’ve done it, it’s a near certainty that something will fail, usually hanging the whole computer system and always when you need it most. The more important a job is, or the less time you have to finish it, the more likely it is your computer will fail. Mathematically, the probability of a system hang is directly proportional to how important the job is, and inversely proportional to the amount of time you have to get it done, or

S.H. = I/T 

(Don’t worry about the math. I just made it up.)

Surely you’ve noticed there are some folks who just seem to get computers. They can make their desktop machines outperform anything, get their printers to work (not like taking their daughters to work), and even type on their smart phones. You can recognize these people because their faces are always lit from below by the blue glow of a screen. They speak in cryptic acronyms, and, by the time you read this they’ll be wearing Google glasses and other geek-cessories.

But take comfort. If you study the information here*, and follow a few simple exercises, you still won’t end up like them.

*Actual information omitted for the sake of brevity. To be supplied at a later date.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013