March 03, 2004

Things you don't want to hear on an airplane

I'm on a flight back from Seattle. While we were at the gate, waiting for the boarding process to hear, I heard a computer voice from the cockpit announcing: "Pull up! Terrain! Terrain! Pull up!"

I've played more than enough flight simulators to know that this is the helpful warning that the computer gives you when you are about to plow into the ground. Obviously, while parked at the gate, we weren't about to plow into anything. So that wasn't what made me nervous. It was that the computer was so confused about the state of the plane that it thought we were.

It just doesn't seem like a good sign.

Posted by Mike at 09:06 PM | Comments (2)

March 12, 2004


Last night, while doing dishes, I somehow lost my grip in the soapy water and ended up stabbing the tip of my right index finger with the very sharp tip of one of our steak knives.

Much bleeding later, it now has a nasty looking scab on it, with some nice swelling and bruising to go along with it.

No typing on this finger for a while.


Posted by Mike at 08:09 AM

March 15, 2004


So, Saturday morning, just 36 hours after stabbing myself in the finger, I managed to hit the power cord that was going to my laptop on the end table by the couch.

Note to self: the tablet PC screen doesn't do so well in a two feet fall.

I tried to stay away from anything sharp or valuable on Sunday.


Posted by Mike at 10:38 AM

March 21, 2004

That cat...

Jake loves to climb behind the blinds and rest on the window sill of our bedroom window. This afternoon, while I was back in the bedroom, Jake started meowing and sticking his head out from behind the blinds looking at me.

When I pulled the blinds out to investigate, I found that his front two paws were caught in the window screen, which he had torn out of the frame, and his back paws were dangling in space. He couldn't pull himself up, and couldn't get his paws out of the window screen.

He was very happy to get out, although I am less happy about having to buy a replacement window screen.

Posted by Mike at 04:49 PM

March 24, 2004

Waiting for parts

I'm still waiting for the parts to come in to fix my laptop. What's frustrating is that the LCD screen and mask came in within three days of my reporting its rather unfortunate fall, but the latch (to latch the screen shut) is on back-order and isn't expected until sometime next week -- after my planned trip to Redmond.

So, today, I resurrected my old laptop. It's amazing how quickly you get used to something new. I basically can't believe how big this thing is, or how slow.


Posted by Mike at 10:30 PM

March 26, 2004

Knowledge can be a wonderful thing

One of the easier things to find on the web is someone extolling the virtues of the Macintosh and why it is more secure than Windows. Every list that I see of the 'top 5 reasons Mac is safe and Windows sucks' includes some variant of this item:

"No Macintosh e-mail program automatically runs scripts that come attached to incoming messages, as Microsoft Outlook does."

Hmm. Sounds very dire.

I would now like to state a reason why Windows is more stable than Macintosh:

The Macintosh doesn't have protected memory, so a small bug in a single program will cause the entire computer to crash, unlike Windows.

Wait -- what's that you say? That's out of date? You say that any version of the Mac OS in the last three years has had protected memory?

You mean, just like how every version of Outlook for the last three years has blocked all executable file types? Or, even more broadly, even older versions of Outlook that have had any security patches installed in the last three years?

This is a lot like the Slashdot morons that mention in every third post that Windows sucks because you get a Blue Screen Of Death about 47 times a day. This was arguably true with older versions of Windows, but since using Windows XP, I have seen that a total of less than ten times. In almost three years, using numerous different machines. And about eight of those times were all from one specific video capture driver. But, hey, it used to be true that Windows crashed all the time, and it's just so hard to update the tired old arguments.

Learn something, people. When one of your primary arguments is years out of date, it makes it impossible to take anything else you say seriously.

Posted by Mike at 10:56 PM | Comments (1)

March 27, 2004

My Tablet PC is back

The LCD latch for my broken Tablet PC finally came in yesterday. An hour and a half later, the tech brought my good-as-new laptop back to my office. Yay!

Posted by Mike at 12:20 PM

Volunteering to be a lump

Last week, I announced to the Staff-Parish Relations Committee that I chair at church that I was going to be stepping down at the end of June, both as chair (which I always said I would do then) and as a committee member at all (which I wasn't supposed to do until June 2005).

There are a lot of reasons for it. One is that by June, I'll have been on SPRC for 5 1/2 years. That's longer than I've been married. I've only lived out here for nine years. So, basically: I'm burned out.

A friend at church asked me what I was going to do next. I replied that I intended to be a lump in a pew. He assures me that I won't like it -- that I'll need to be doing something. I'm willing to take that risk ;)

Posted by Mike at 06:49 PM | Comments (1)

March 30, 2004

I love the Lady Vols

From the Seattle airport Tuesday night, I logged into AIM from my cell phone. Right after I did, Al sent me an IM with the latest score -- then just a few seconds later, sent the happy news that Tennessee's Lady Vols had once again defeated Stanford. So Tennessee goes now to the Final Four.

Posted by Mike at 11:09 PM

March 31, 2004

Phone-in strip searches

The rental car I got into this week had a Wall Street Journal sitting in the front seat. While Patrik drove us from Sea-Tac to Microsoft, I read through the paper. By far and away the most bizarre article was about the problem that fast-food restaurants are having with hoaxes that compel the manager of a restaurant to strip-search an employee or customer (read here).

The way it works is evidently something like this: someone calls the manager of the store and claims to be a police officer. He describes someone, and tells the manager that the person is suspected of stealing, and so the manager needs to strip-search this person. If the manager doesn't, the caller explains, the person will be arrested. It's happened to men and women.

The sherriff in the county where this most recently happened, when the manager of a Taco Bell strip-searched a 17-year-old customer, was quoted explaining his absolute astonishment that anyone would think that a a real police officer would call a private citizen and order that person to conduct a strip-search.

I'm with him on that. What the hell? These people are just stupid. Certainly they are far too stupid to be running a restaurant.

And what's up with the people submitting to this? When I was a teen, no fast-food manager on this planet could have convinced me that he had any kind of right to strip-search me.

We need to stop raising a nation of sheep.

Posted by Mike at 08:55 PM