Tuesday, July 25, 2006

On The Midway

Took a brief tour of the Midway while I was in San Diego. In addition to some nice sunburns, I got a good impression of how big (and how small) an aircraft carrier is. For such a large vessel it's quite cramped inside:

There was a wide variety of aircraft parked on the flight deck. I was quite surprised at how small the Huey was; I always got the impression that it was a much bigger aircraft.

I took this photo of one of the nuclear carriers moored at San Diego (I think it's the Ronald Reagan), framed by the flight deck of the Midway:

Sunday, July 23, 2006

CoinStar Sucks

I had used the CoinStar counting machine once before, to count up my pennies when I had a bunch of them accumulated. They charge 8% of your change value for the convenience of counting it, which I considered a little steep, so I had the rest of my change counted somewhere they don't charge you anything (South Lake Tahoe).

However, I'd seen ads about using the machines to convert change into gift cards (with no fee). And I figure I hit Starbucks often enough to justify getting a card. So I went in today with my accumulated change, dumped it in (about $65 worth), and picked "Give me a new Starbucks card".

The machine took about a minute or two grinding away thinking about it, apparently couldn't contact the mothership, pope, Grand Poo Bah or whatever controlling entity it uses, and said "Nope. Can't do it. I'm giving you cash instead."

And they charged me the 8% fee. No choices, no options, no "choose another gift card", no "give me my change back".

Needless to say, CoinStar is now on my black list.

Still Warm

It's 2:30 in the morning and it's still 84 degrees inside my house. I've had the fan running since 6pm and it barely made a dent. I like warm weather as much as the next guy, but this is just silly.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Bad Day

My plan for today was to get a haircut and have new tires put on my car for the track day on monday. Unfortunately it seems like I got a bit too much sun in San Diego, and came down with a bit of sun/dehydration sickness.

And, let me tell you, today was a lousy day to be sick.

My house has no air conditioning. Most days that isn't a problem; Mark put in sufficient insulation to keep the temperature down to a reasonable level for most of the year. Excepting those few days where it gets really hot.

For those of you that haven't guessed by now, today was one of those days when it got really hot. And instead of doing what I normally do on those days, which is either going in to work or finding some excuse to hang out in the mall, I was either on my couch or in my bed trying to sleep.

I have a fan set up that's pulling some air through the house, giving me a little bit of a breeze. It seems like it's pretty ineffective -- the thermostat inside the house says it's 92 degrees -- until you go outside the house, and realize that, yes, it's effective. Because outside it's a balmy one-oh-three.

Fortunately I'm feeling a bit better now (I'm complaining, which is a sign of good health), so it may be time for a quick jaunt to, well, anywhere that has AC.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Sunny San Diego

I'm in San Diego for a conference, which has more or les swound down, so I got a little bit of time today to play tourist. I went and toured the Midway, which has been turned into a museum. For such a large vessel, it's amazingly cramped. Apparently by the end of its service it was carrying almost a thousand more crew than it was designed for.

I took a bunch of photos, but I'm waiting until I'm back home (tomorrow) to dump them on to my computer.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'm now linked

Sachin just shot me an invite to LinkedIn, a business-oriented social networking site. Of course, I probably don't need to tell you that, because apparently I'm the last one in the world to create an account there...

I've spent a couple hours that I could have spent productively checking my email or reading news online (well, I suppose I could have worked, but that just doesn't sound nearly as appealing) sorting through my contact list and seeing who had an account there. The answer: pretty much everyone.

The answer? Pretty much everyone. The only ones I found who didn't have an account were Jeff and Adam. Even Grace had an account.

I'm so behind.

Friday, July 07, 2006

What I Want for Christmas

I need one of these. Seriously.

MS Selling Spyware?

A recent class-action suit filed in Washington and California is suing Microsoft for violating the spyware laws of those states. This article in the Register about the "Windows Genuine Advantage" (a.k.a. "cripple your computer if you're using a non-verified copy of Windows") program talks about what MS says WGA does, and what it actually does (a lot more).

One of the interesting parts of this was the relevant portion of the Washington state anti-spyware law that's being used:
(1) Induce an owner or operator to install a computer software component onto the computer by intentionally misrepresenting the extent to which installing the software is necessary for security or privacy reasons or in order to open, view, or play a particular type of content; and

(2) Deceptively cause the execution on the computer of a computer software component with the intent of causing the owner or operator to use the component in a manner that violates any other provision of this section.

I'm sure they'll manage to weasel their way out of the "intentionally" part through a finely-developed case of corporate amnesia ("We did what? I'm sorry, we deleted all records of everything we did more than 30 days ago. I forget. Next question?"), but perhaps a little bit of public shame would clairify things.