Random musings on whatever subject strikes my fancy, published every other day.

Category: Random Page 2 of 149

Not Going to Let It

I am not letting even this asshole ruin my day.

Now you just know this car was parked by a male who has let the vehicle he uses to go to the grocery store define way too much of himself.

Poor idiot.

Social Media Update

It’s been a year+ since my last post with this title so… why not. And as always, this is Where To Find Me.

Facebook remains off-limits for me (by choice, in case you were wondering). I have found it useful to install this browser extension, Impulse Blocker, and set it to prevent my browser from going there. Not because I am ever tempted, but because booby-trapped links are fairly common.

I tried a Mastodon site for a while but it did not suit me. I am not sure if that’s down to Mastodon itself or this particular instance of it. I did not care for the local term for a posting. In my old-fashioned brain, a “toot” is quite a different utterance.

I am on Twitter and LinkedIn, more for professional purposes than anything else. And Reddit is an interesting place to discover new things. Reddit also hosts many passionate user communities of tech I use, which makes it a sometimes-OK place to get help. Some such “communities” can only mock people who don’t already know the answers to the questions they ask. But “hey, it’s worth a try” is my guiding principle in situations like that.

My microblogging platform of choice remains diaspora*. I moved my base in May from pluspora to diasp.org. Both are fully federated so the difference is really just technical. Pluspora went through a spell of reliability and performance issues, while diasp.org is solid so far.

Finally, this looks interesting: Minus. A social network where you get 100 posts for your lifetime limit. That’ll keep the noise down, won’t it? You’d think.

We’ll see.

Eternal Flame

Eternal Flame Falls is a unique attraction of Western New York.

You’re seeing that right. That’s a naturally occurring methane leak in a niche at the back wall of this waterfall. And it’s kept burning. One article we saw prepping for this hike recommended bringing a lighter to reignite it just in case.

The water volume was very low today, which made a few parts of the approach to this easier. Because the only way to get to this is, directly upstream.

Today we hiked to see it. And we got emphatically reminded how out-of-practice we are at hiking. The walk in and out… we had to take it very slow. But we got it done, and here I am at home, relaxing and blogging about it.

It’s all good.


Who doesn’t like balloons? We went to the NY State Festival of Balloons (warning – website is horrible. But maybe‚Ķ better than nothing?) in Dansville yesterday, and here are some of the pictures I managed to get with my little iPhone camera. These are a couple of the best.

Someone’s 40th was honored with a custom balloon. I don’t know if it was their birthday or anniversary. Sadly, that balloon was only inflated, not launched. Same goes for the Tweety, Rocky and Bullwinkle you can see behind it.

But some did launch!

This is not a sport for instant gratification.

Same balloon, six minutes later

Laptop Fun

I got a laptop for Christmas last year, from a manufacturer that I will not name. But I can tell you that it rhymes with

On the side of my Christmas laptop is a little bitty slot into which I like to place a little bitty quarter-terabyte SD card, which then serves as my backup drive. The little bitty slot has an even littler-bittier clicky thing inside it that grabs the SD card and holds it firm, so the backup can backup.

In July, the clicky thing (My apologies, Dear Reader, for all the technical jargon in this post) became discombobulated, and the SD card would no longer stay firm. This made the backup not backup, and there was no backup for the backup. This greatly displeased me, because, as you know: I like my backups to backup. So, noting that my Christmas laptop was still under warranty, I contacted the company that rhymes with, well, you know.

I explained my problem to them, and they asked me for a picture of the little bitty slot. Now, this began a tickling of red flags in my brain. Because, as you probably know, the clicky thing that holds the SD card firm is totally invisible from the outside of the case, combobulated or dis-. But they had to have this picture to substantiate my claim that the clicky thing was in fact discombobulated. So I sent them a picture of a perfectly-fine-looking little slot on the side of my Christmas laptop, and… they accepted it. They accepted it. If you think this is foreshadowing of idiocy yet to come, you are correct, Dear Reader.

Well, I sent my Christmas laptop to these folks, thinking hoping that the ones who would actually repair it were smarter than the clerks who arranged the shipping and so on. Anyway, all it needed was for the clicky thing to get recombobulated. As they say on Reddit: WCGW?

click to embiggen

Two! Weeks! later, I got back a bent computer. A computer whose bottom looked like this (right). The entire computer was bent, as if over someone’s knee.


Who bends a computer? These guys, apparently.

So I contacted them, and said, look! You have sent me back my Christmas laptop in much, much worse condition than I sent it to you. Can you give me somewhere local to take it for a proper repair? And they said, Please confirm the address where the machine will be and your availability for the next 5-7 days. And I said, Here! I will be here! Every day! I work at home! Where’m I going? And then they pulled out that rug, and said, No sorry your warranty only covers ship-in repair, please send it back, we promise not to….

I don’t know, Dear Reader. I just don’t know what they promise not to do this time. I don’t know what a shop like that could do that was worse than what they’d already done to my poor newly-concave (on the side you see here, convex on the keyboard side) Christmas laptop. What could they do? Toss it in a shredder? Actually, that would not be worse – because then they give me a new laptop, and I do have my backups. And lo, there I was, at a Walgreens cum FedEx counter, trusting person that I still seem to be for no good reason; I sent it back to them once more.

It came back after Three! Weeks! with a new bottom outer plate, so it was no longer showing that nifty 3cm dent where it looks like maybe it was hit with a ball-peen hammer. But it’s still… subtly… convex. On the keyboard side. So I contact them for a third round of Twitter-DM ping-pong.

About communication with these folks, you should know this: I got several responses to each DM I sent them. But almost none of these contained any new information, nor moved the matter forward to resolution. By my count I received, over one stretch of time, 56 DMs from them of which 4 (7.1%) contributed information or new progress/status. The others were all conciliatory babble, free of content. In response to direct questions requiring content. My favorite sequence was when they asked if I had received my system back (the second time). When I saw it and replied an hour later that I was unaware they had even shipped it and no I bloody well had not yet received it, then after yet another hour I was informed that it had just been shipped and here was the tracking link. And yes, I counted that message as one of the 4.

So when I get it this time, my Christmas laptop is… better? Not really. Cosmetically, I guess. A little. But the keyboard side of the base is still noticeably convex. It feels mighty weird typing on that, I can assure you, Dear Reader. I contact them once more (with really low expectations this time), and I inform them in no uncertain terms that I will not ship it to them anymore. They can send me a new one, they can send someone here to fix this one, or they can watch me go talk in public about all of this, at length and in detail, to a certain guy named Michael whose surname also rhymes with, well, you know.

At this point, a manager whose sole mission in life must be, “keep my boss’ boss off my boss’ back” probably got wind of the whole glorious mess. Because didn’t I just take a visit from a very nice fellow who subcontracts hardware repair service to the rhyming company? And didn’t he have a box of all the parts that can get deformed when some ijit bends a computer? And didn’t he immediately notice how my Christmas laptop was being all… convex? And didn’t he work patiently on it for two hours until it was all properly flat again?

I have no doubt this all finally happened because I expressed my intention to @ some guy named Michael. Whose surname rhymes with…

Well, you know.

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