thursday randomosity.

  • Thank you to all those who gave their recommendations for a new vacuum cleaner.  We ended up getting one of the higher-end Kenmore canister vacs from Sears–the local places only had the upright Dysons in stock, the Shop Vacs at Home Despot had no HEPA filters, and the canister vac works better for our peculiar house with all its nooks and crannies.  We got the five-year replacement warranty with it, too, so if it starts to not suck in a year or two, they’ll fix it or give us a new one.  So far, I’m very pleased with it–I’ve never had a canister vac before, and it’s much more flexible than an upright.  The suckitude is sufficient to pick up all the debris around the wood stoves, and the modular nature of the wand means I can now get into corners I wasn’t able to clean before.  (Side note: you know you’re getting old when you’re geeking out over your new vacuum cleaner.)
  • Because of some blog and email comments I received on my previous post, I feel compelled to make a quick point.  If you think that guns shouldn’t be in private hands “because the police will protect you”, you do believe in using a gun to defend your life.  You’re just outsourcing the job to a cop, that’s all.
  • Apple has a new iPod Shuffle out, and that thing looks to be the size and weight of two postage stamps.  I’m all for lots of tech in small packages, but I think the slimness/smallness mania at Apple is approaching show-off levels.  Pretty soon, they’ll end up designing something beautiful, very tiny, and utterly useless for its designed function.  At this stage in my life, I find myself drawn towards the Bauhaus design philosophy, which goes “Form follows function”.  Apple makes some nice computers, but they’re focusing on the “form” side so much lately that it’s to the detriment of “function” on occasion.  I don’t care to own an MP3 player I need to operate with tweezers and a jeweler’s loupe.
  • Robin brought home several boxes of Girl Scout Cookies the other night.  I rather like the new Dulce de Leche cookies–they may just be my new favorites in the lineup.  Girl Scouts=Cute little drug dealers with sashes.
  • Preschooler lunch: Chicken pressed into nugget form tastes great.  Chicken pressed into nuggets shaped like dinosaurs tastes awesome.
  • All the snow of winter:

March 2009 001

(That’s the snow pile on the kitchen side of the house.  The snowpile almost touches the eaves, so it’s close to seven feet tall.  This is where the snow from the front part of the roof ends up after I push it off with a broom.)

  • I’m officially un-endorsing Google Docs as a viable off-site backup method.  Son of a bitch ate seven of my chapters when I tried to do a backup the other day.  Between interface wonkiness, and Google’s general glitches lately, I’ll stop trusting it even with tertiary backups.  SyncToy, two USB drives, and a hard drive-equipped iPod are probably sufficient for multiple backups.
  • The IBM Model M is back on my desk, and I’m happily clicking away on it.  The required ingredient to make it work with Mr.Computer was a PS/2-to-USB adapter.  The last one I had didn’t play well with the Model M, but this new one works like a charm.  It’s the $15.95 Radio Shack version with a single lead (for only one device). 

And this concludes your brief Thursday random update.  Now back to work…


13 thoughts on “thursday randomosity.

  1. Laughingdog says:

    I think the new Shuffle is doing a pretty good job of dipping the Apple toe into the pool of uselessness. The controls for it are on the headphone, so you can’t use it with any headphones other than the ones that came with it.

    They could have at least made the controls be an extension to the headphones, so you have some options. But Apple has never been known for liking options. They’re like the H&K of the tech world.

    “If you don’t appreciate how our MP3 player works, or don’t care for our included headphones, you just aren’t savvy enough…..because you suck, and we hate you.”

  2. Tam says:

    (Side note: you know you’re getting old when you’re geeking out over your new vacuum cleaner.)

    First the minivan, now this. Dude, sometimes I don’t know who you are.


  3. John Gall says:

    Your post about “un-endorsing Google Docs” caught my eye. I remember the first time I saw on-line storage advertized and thinking “now that’s a really dumb thing to do.” Kinda like sending the government private data and expecting them to keep it accessible to just yourself. Sorry about your loss though.

  4. Marko says:

    Wasn’t lost, thankfully. I just uploaded (or failed to upload) a few chapters I already had backed up locally.

  5. Eric says:

    Thanks for the vacuum update – the suspense was killing me! 😉

  6. AJD says:

    I’ll admit to being one of the people who opted to ban something (a particular form of music actually) But, it was mostly a matter of timing. As I was reading the poll options, one of my less considerate neighbors drove by the apartment with his (c)rap music blasting through the windows.

  7. That’s funny, because my Model-M would not play nice with my work PC or my laptop (with a Radio Shack USB adapter) until I opened it up and added two 4.7k ohm pull-up resistors.

    It seems that the original design sucked a lot of power, but the resistors lower the power requirements enough so it works with most any adapter. There’s also someone out there selling a brand of adapter that is supposed to always work.

    Biggest PITA part of the upgrade, (assuming you have the required solder-fu), is getting the damn deep-well 5.5 mm (or 7/32″) socket. You can drive all over town trying to find one that is not part of a $50 tool set, or you can have a used one shipped to your door from someone on fee-bay.

    I’m getting so use to the layout of the model-m at work, I’m thinking of selling my treasured omnikey/ULTRA

  8. wolfwalker says:

    new iPod Shuffle = why I don’t trust proprietary computer gadgets. My MP3 player is just a program on my Palm PDA, which has relatively simple controls and a standard headphone jack that works with any headphones.

    And your experience with Google Docs = one reason why I never trust anyone else to do my backups, and never will.

  9. […] Marko: If you think that guns shouldnt be in private hands because the police will protect you, you do believe in using a gun to defend your life. Youre just outsourcing the job to a cop, thats all. […]

  10. aczarnowski says:

    That model M power consumption and PS2 plug is a PITA no doubt. I have no solder-fu, so I’m working with a USB adapter from There will certainly come a day when I can’t find an adapter that works though, and that’ll be sad for my employer as they see my productivity plummet.

  11. bob r says:

    re: broom to remove snow from roof. This may not work on your roof because of the roof pitch, but if it will then it’ll save you a lot of effort — and keep you off of the roof.


  12. 4B says:

    Welcome to the Kenmore Kult, brother!

    I thought you’d never divulge which device earned your dollars.

    Hope you got it on sale. I hate paying retail, even for such a magnificent device.

  13. jhoney says:

    Interesting Read! Very detailed blog.
    Thanks for sharing

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