It’s a fallacy, but it’s one to which I fervently subscribe

I will do better work in a prettier library / better tricked-out study.

Not usually. But I live this way.

I got home from Rome to find my back bedroom/study a big ol’ mess. At least since mid-November I’d been stacking stuff everywhere and the desk and guest bed were entirely invisible.  I dumped a few more things and left it.

For the last 10 days or so I have been working to restore it to usefulness. I’ve shelved and re-shelved books. I’ve recycled a bunch of paper. I hung things in the appropriate seasonal closet.

I had already ordered my new laptop. The black MacBook I took to Germany in 2009 with the cracked LCD screen has been running the external monitor and speakers since that summer – and it was time to replace it with my retired 3 year old MacBook Pro (in between was a MacBook Pro I passed on to my mother as soon as I was eligible for another interest free computer loan on campus).

So I hook up the MacBook Pro to the monitor – and the monitor is dead. As in doornail. Well, it’s at least 10 years old itself, so I bought a remarkably inexpensive replacement (less than $100 at Staples). Then it turned out I didn’t have the right dongle! Well, I went to the office and dug through my electronica there and found a likely candidate – which worked!

So I replugged everything, sat down, and tried to configure the Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. The mouse paired up immediately. The keyboard was recalcitrant. I decided to change the batteries – only to find that they were corroded in place in the oh-so elegant battery-compartment cum keyboard angle-stand.

So, I had to order a new bluetooth keyboard. I’m ashamed of myself, but for once I paid for Amazon next-day delivery.

And here I am typing at my newly restored desk set-up. I’ll straighten more later. I promise I’ll do better work on a sharper screen and with a new keyboard!


70% less

I’m a little embarrassed – I should have done this earlier.

I switched last fall to using Apple TV instead of cable. Today, I finally got around to calling Time-Warner to have the TV service shut off, but to keep the internet and phone. I also mentioned the promotional price Verizon is offering for similar service right now. TW came back with a price $15 lower than that . . . and 70% lower than what I was paying. Wow – I’ve been throwing money down that well long enough!

I’m sure the promotional price won’t last more than a year – but I resolve to check up on it, this time.

Wow. (Current) Comprehensive Obamacare Fail Retrospective

At least as of now. Megan McArdle:

[oh, and if you want to write off Megan as a Evil Libertarian, the launch has lost the Wonkblog Boy Leader Ezra Klein.]

This is stunning. It’s far worse than I imagined, and I am pretty cynical. The law’s supporters are engaged in some high-speed blamestorming: It’s the Republicans’ fault for not giving the law more money, or it’s the fault of Republican governors who didn’t build their exchanges, or maybe it’s one of the vendors — CGI, the firm with the largest contract, is the most favored target, but at various times, the administration has clearly been teeing up to blame Experian or Oracle. Or perhaps the fault lies in federal procurement rules, which prevented the government from getting the right kind of staff and service. A lot of that shows up in the article; there’s a long prelude about the political barriers that the administration faced. But ultimately, the litany of mistakes that the administration made overwhelms these complaints.

. . .

Federal contracting codes, so far as I am aware, do not emit intoxicating gases that might have caused senior HHS officials to decide that it was a good idea to take on the role of lead contractor — a decision equivalent to someone who has never even hung a picture deciding that they should become their own general contractor and build a house. Nor can those rules explain their lunatic response when they were told that the system was not working — “failure was not an option.”

. . .

The reason that the exchanges were so important was that they were needed to attract young, healthy people into the insurance system. The worry was that if insurance is hard to buy — if you have to do your own comparison shopping and then call the insurance company, and fax in some paperwork and two years of tax returns — that the young and the healthy simply won’t do it. Sick people and old people who were getting huge subsidies — and maybe the ability to buy insurance on the private market for the first time in a long while — would overcome any obstacles, because if you’re spending $15,000 a year on health care, it’s worth a lot of your time to make sure that you have insurance. But if your biggest annual health-care expense is contact lens solution, you may just decide to skip it and pay the fine.[my emphases]

I like “blamestorming.” Not thinking about real things, just at whom to point fingers. Kind of like the competition to blame each other for the Federal shut down. You know, I keep remembering that Congress funds and the Executive executes. In other words, every decision about WHAT to shut down flows to the top. That buck stops on Obama’s desk.

I can’t WAIT for the tell-all books from this administration. You know that despite however tight the messaging control and whistle-blower prosecutions have been, the administration will depart and the waters will roll (in fact, I’m surprised they haven’t started already). Finally, presidential historians will start combing the papers – 25, 50 years from now – and it will ALL come out.

Oh my! Computer disaster!

So – first off. We don’t take Labor Day around here. So I came into the office to do a little grading and prep for tomorrow. I finished grading homeworks and was ready to switch to working on tomorrow’s class (web based image system). When I walked in this afternoon the screen was hung, so had restarted the iMac and never really looked at it again. I stand up to start to fiddle with the Neolithic stuff for ARTH 101 and – TA DA – the blinking file folder of death (which is how OSX shows you it’s not really there nowadays).

This is Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, and even though faculty don’t take Monday off a lot of staff use a personal day – so there’s no one at the I.T. help desk but students. I have a work order in, but it won’t be done in time to get my laptop set up to print over the network (it’s a long story why it isn’t set up, but it isn’t, so there) in time for me to get the handouts for my 8:35 a.m. class tomorrow.

I can sign into drop box on the secretary’s desk top and print from there. Yeesh!

And the budget is tight already for faculty computers – I wonder how they will handle this?

Whew! Random expenses averted!

Yesterday I got a haircut. The young woman who cuts my hair wanted to see my pictures from Egypt, so I took my iPad along with me. Then I stopped by Wegmans on my way home.

I got the fabric shopping bag (aren’t I responsible) out and slung the shoulder bag with my iPad under the cart. When I checked out, I grabbed the shopping bag and left – and my shoulder bag (with iPad and camera!) was still under the cart.

I figured out what had happened at about 8:30 last night and called Wegmans. The young man on the Service Desk didn’t know anything. I activated Find My iPhone (which covers iPads, too) and put in a lock screen message with my name and phone number.

I went back to Weggies in person this morning and it turned out they’d locked it up in the accounting office as soon as they spotted the iPad. Sure enough, as soon as I touched it my phone pinged at me – my iPad was online! And the lock screen message was there. Even if someone had walked off with it instead of turning it in to the service desk (which in Geneva I would have found hard to believe), Find My iPhone would have prodded him or her to have called me!

I’m almost as glad to have gotten the Crumpler bag back as the iPad and camera (I was looking for an excuse to buy a new camera!) – it’s the perfect day bag for an iPad, a sketchbook, and the point and shoot camera. Especially since Crumpler no longer makes exactly this bag.

So – if you have Apple portable electronics, download Find My iPhone from the App Store and activate it on all your stuff! It certainly can’t hurt!

I am so happy!

My laptop life is much improved! I was having all kinds of weirdness. Opening any application was very, very slow. Preview was barely working. If I tried to open a stack of photos (for instance, to choose which to delete and which to upload to Flickr) one photo would open and then the application would cease responding (Apple talk for freezing). Chrome and Safari would both randomly crash. The final blow – Disk Utility wouldn’t run Repair Disk Permissions. Or, rather, it looked like it started, but never actually did anything.

Finally, I stopped by campus I.T. They booted by laptop from an external drive (a thumb drive – isn’t progress amazing?), ran Repair Disk Permissions, and decided that the problem was the antivirus software they installed back in December when my hard drive had to be replaced and re-imaged.

Now everything is back to snappy and I’m much happier! Thanks, Wayne!


Out of idle curiosity I’ve been trying Chrome (the browser) for the last few days. It seems very unstable on OSX 10.8 – it crashes constantly. Guess I’m sticking to Safari, even though I don’t much care for the way the current version (6.0.1) treats scroll bars. Everything else about it seems fine.