Cobwebs, the Way I Talk, and Shallow Rabbit Holes

So, yeah… it’s been a while since I posted anything. I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and just in case I decide one of my resolutions is to resume blogging, I thought I should see if everything is still working. It is.

WordPress is updated and it took most of the afternoon to rid the place of spam comments. I’m not sure I got them all. I also updated the spam blocker.

To get things started, here’s something that has caught my interest this week: How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk.

Big picture last q roundabout

Oddly enough, I did not answer “y’all” to the first question. It’s still “you guys” most of the time even though I’ve lived in the South for over 40 years after growing up in SW Colorado. So, the general geographic area is OK, but the shading is all wrong. I have never lived more than 10 miles east of the Texas border. I have never been to Columbus  GA, I drove through Mobile AL once about 20 years ago, and visited Montgomery AL for the first time this past September.

I was so surprised by the results that I’ve taken the test several times. My very first results were Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile. When I answered “y’all”, I got Jackson, Birmingham, Columbus. The results can’t be compared exactly, because the questions vary a bit each time.

So many things to question about this test. First, the ultimate map puts me so firmly in the South when more than half my answers to questions were accompanied by small maps that either orange or light blue all over. Two other questions yielded maps that were decidedly blue in the area the test decides I’m from, my choice of “you guys” being the prime example.

Several cousins took the test and we compared the results on Facebook to further reduce the scientific validity of this whole thing. It was fun. Some of the results were exactly where the person lives now and has for his/her whole life, along with their parents. Where the results got interesting were among those of us who were born well away from where we now live. Even though we don’t perceive our speech changing all that much, the fact that there chinks the test noted but classified in ways that stuck us as odd is interesting. Interesting without much depth, but I am noting the results in the genealogy file just for kicks.


Feline of the Damned

Just frickin’ frack it

Is it worth the trouble? For Swedish meatballs, yes. Here’s AVI’s suggested recipe.

I’m way behind on my allotted conspiracy theories.

The Conspiracy Meme

The origin of hippies. (via Assistant Village Idiot)

What? Germs don’t come from Germany?

Everything old is new again, sort of. How Instapundit is like Paul Harvey. (via Instapundit, of course) Here’s an example of how Instapundit doesn’t even try to be like Paul Harvey.

Does Justice Roberts have the Judgment of Solomon? Alas, probably not.

A visit to a small Texas town honoring a local born celebrity — Conan the Barbarian. How could anyone not want to go a festival named “Barbarian Days”?

“…don’t treat a fever.  Avoid perplexed sclerosis. And breathe normally my friends.

Meandering Microsoft Dissing and a Public Service Message

Perhaps with a touch of maundering.

You see, trying for a few days to make sense of Microsoft instructions on how to do something induces maundering. And drinking.

All I wanted to do was download Windows 7, 64 bit and install it on hardware far exceeding the minimum standards. Now don’t go thinking I got to that point by any reasonable or common sense method. If I’d been able to get the same computer to connect to the internet running Windows XP, I’d have gone no further. What I didn’t have laying around were XP service packs that are probably available somewhere on the internet, but why go to that much trouble when it probably was time to upgrade to the latest and greatest anyway. (I’m a late adopter… sometimes.)

So, I’m using an old laptop also running XP. It hadn’t been booted in well over a year, so there were numerous automatic updates immediately downloaded (156 of them, if I remember correctly). OK… I can do some housework while waiting for all that. After all, it’s been a while since I’ve been offline when there was also electricity in the house.

Housework. Bah. I’d rather read about it, than actually do it. I suddenly remember I’ve got another laptop here and a netbook too. And my phone. And a Kindle. Alas, out of the 8 power supplies I eventually found, none of them fit the other laptop. I settle on the netbook because it’s got a bigger screen than the phone. Except… it refuses to connect to my wireless. At that point, I’m irritated enough to actually do the dishes and clean the stove.

I still have no idea what, if anything, is wrong with my wireless router. My phone connects to it with no problem. But when the old laptop was through updating, it wouldn’t connect either. AHA, the phone! I call and reactivate the hotspot on it. That call to Verizon is very informative. I’d heard they were changing their plans and data was going to be limited, but hadn’t looked into the specifics. Being the pessimistic sort, I figured it was going to cost more for less and I’d worry about that when I had to. Well… it’s going to be cheaper and the hotspot isn’t going to cost me extra. (After June 28.)

While browsing for information and trying to decide whether I wanted the Home version or the Pro version of Windows 7, the router starts working again for the laptop (it was set to prefer that connection). I even use live chat to talk with a Microsoft representative during which the specs of both the computer I’ll be downloading the file to and the one I’ll be installing it on are discussed. I decide on Pro and 64 bit. So, I go to download it. No problem… so far.

Next step: copy those downloaded files to either a DVD, a flash drive, an SD card, or a portable hard drive. DVD is my first choice since the only flash drives and SD cards I have were old and had probably been abused and I was reluctant to go digging through all those power supplies to find the one for the portable hard drive. I get an error message when trying to copy the executable — something about it was probably downloaded to a read only folder. Back to Microsoft and live chat. That Microsoft representative told me that it was because the drivers for my DVD software were out of date and I should use a flash drive.

Ugh… do I want to go surfing for updated drivers? No. So, I decide that a new flash drive is reasonable and I decide to go buy one the next day. During this trip I also buy wine and a bottle of scotch, which turned out to be the best decision I made that day. I download the files directly to the new flash drive, but when I try to open them on the computer I want to install Win 7 on, I get the same message about “read only” folders.

I’m going to leave out a few chapters here, on how I tried to use the Microsoft Store’s download manager instead of the browser, and how I had the same results trying to copy the ISO file and the storm and power outage… but I’m sure you can figure out now why the scotch and wine were such good ideas.

Now this message lead me to believe I could change a folder’s attribute to not be “read only”. Silly me — actually, I should have known… perhaps remembered it from way back in time when I used to be paid for helping people solve computer problems — that this pretty much impossible and that it’s a feature, not a bug. When you ‘uncheck’ that ‘read only’ box, it applies only to the files in that folder, not the folder. I tried changing the folder attributes as instructed (by Microsoft) here. Didn’t work.

At this point, live chat at the Microsoft Store is offline, and I’ve unloaded all my problems on my daughter who is a kind person and listened sympathetically. She’s also helpful and sent me a link to this page at the Microsoft store which explains that Windows XP users will need to upgrade and download some additional software to be able to successfully download a usable file. I wonder why the live chat people didn’t tell me those things.

The first software that needs to be downloaded and installed on an XP computer is supposedly .net 2.0. Remember that I’d just installed all the Microsoft updates on the XP laptop? It seems that .net 2.0 is “incompatible” with the version now on my laptop which was .net 3.? I think. Does Microsoft never update these pages? Does Microsoft think I’m going to uninstall a newer version of their software to install an older version so that I can download and use the latest version? And possibly screw up the one relatively full-featured computer I have working?

Hell no.

I poured three fingers of scotch and started reminiscing and… shopping. After a few moments of fond memories of Commodore 64s and the wonders of 1200 baud modems, I revisited my initial choice of PC over Apple some 20+ years ago and decided it no longer mattered since Microsoft Windows adopted the icon over text which was my initial objection. I still prefer text. It’s explanatory (unless written by Microsoft). Icons aren’t.

Theoretically, I could afford a Mac. In reality, I have more important things on which to spend the few discretionary funds available to me. Plus, I have all this PC hardware littering the house as well as one working laptop even if laptop keyboards cause me physical pain. A USB keyboard could solve that problem. It would be downright silly to spend $1000 or more to get a Mac. Even spending half that much for a new PC wouldn’t solve the problem of having a computer (with possible better hardware) that works just fine except it needs a new operating system.

Now I know that it’s a cliche that it’s men who won’t ask for help or directions, but I realized many years ago that it’s quite normal for females to also carry the genes responsible for that sort of behavior. I bit the bullet, poured two more fingers of scotch, and searched for local computer repair services. If you live around here, I recommend Paul DePringe. His rates are so reasonable, they are unreasonable. For example, for $10 he picked up my computer, delivered it back to me the next day with my software installed, and did all the bending and reaching behind the desk to hook it up. In addition, he took four hard drives and transferred all the data to the newly functional computer.

Oh yeah — that Public Service Message: No matter what Microsoft representatives tell you, no matter what Microsoft writes on their support pages, DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO USE AN XP COMPUTER TO DOWNLOAD WINDOWS 7.

Breasts, Testicles, Prostates, Men, Women, Pain, Politics

OK, I didn’t have a good title for this post. That one got copied right into the tags field. Trolling for traffic? You betcha.

One of the bad things following the passage of Obamacare and Sarah Palin’s invocation of “death panels” is that now it’s considered necessary by some (certainly not all) conservatives and libertarians to automatically assume that any research finding that might also reduce costs is automatically some variant of “rationing” or on the slippery slope to a “death panel”.

To wit — this one by Althouse, linked last week by Instapundit following a link to Dr. Helen’s rather innocuous post on rates of prostate screenings.

No matter how I look at it, I can’t see the relationship between the rates of prostate screening, pain research, pap smears, expense, fairness, and the Buffett-rule that Glenn Reynolds apparently finds obvious. So now I’m wondering about him falling for or into mere drama where anything can be taken to be “rationing”. Or a precursor of a “death panel”.

Is stretching an idea, meme, partisan point, etc., to the breaking point the same as jumping the shark? If not, it should be!

I’ve Been Inspired

Until pointed out to me by this wonderfully inciteful* person – Larry Sheldon – in comments at Classical Values, I had no idea that linking to or commenting on posts by other bloggers could lead to those other bloggers taking over my blog!

Since I periodically lose interest in posting and too often let this space sit idly unblogged, I think that would be a wonderful thing to happen here, so here are my links to Little Green Footballs (Charles Johnson) and Andrew Sullivan. Sullivan, it appears, has also lost interest in blogging on his blog, so maybe he’ll take it up here.

*not a misspelling :-)

At Least The Warning Messages Will Go Away

BlogRolling blogrolls is shutting down the service soon.

BlogRolling has largely been on auto-pilot for the last six months or so. The people who built it for us don’t work for us anymore. Even though it doesn’t make us any money, we wanted to keep it running because we know folks like it.  But we’re not really comfortable with the code causing security warnings and that means it’s probably time for the service to end. 

Reason #18 For Not Blogging Regularly

I was reading elsewhere. Actually that also accounts for reasons #1 through #17.

The big ScienceBlogs brouhaha over selling a blog to Pepsico was fun — in the sense that watching a trainwreck can be called fun. The best roundup of links and a decent explanation of what upset many of the bloggers over at SB is Oh, Pepsi, What Has Thou Wrought? by Carl Zimmer at Discover.

At first… now other bloggers are leaving SB too. Or going on strike. This is going to expand my science blogroll, because now I can’t just use the SB blogroll to easily get to them.

I’m going to miss ScienceBlogs. It was great while it lasted.

Inspired To File

Thanks to C.G., I’ve just finished our 2009 taxes, federal and state. Unlike him, I was not inclined to do it by hand. Been there, done that, and no matter how simple our returns are now compared to previous years, I like the software approach.

The most complex year involved 4 non-resident state returns, including California which required several more pages and ‘forms” than the federal return. I’d have never figured it out without the software.

Blast From The Past

This post – Yrs. faithfully – reminded me of the occasional odd electronic conversation I used to have with my youngest daughter in the ’90s. Remember the ’90s?

(Note: the memories he invoked have little to do with his essay other than the importance of the people doing the communicating. There’s much more there than what I reminisce about here.)

She used to send messages to me in my *office* via my printer from her bedroom. Yes, we had a home network facilitated by Cat5 cables (and Windows 95/98) strung from one end of the house to the other. These were not installed, they merely laid on the floor, also facilitating tripping and making vacuuming and mopping more fun. Not that I did a lot of vacuuming or mopping.

Believe it or not, we had 3 telephone lines into the house in those days. One was the primary voice number, it’s secondary line being the daughter’s line. The other was another “line 1” for either fax or modem, mostly modem. A 56k modem which usually worked at 24k… because the lines were noisy. But we were wired, folks… wired.

My older daughter communicated through writing also, but not nearly as easily. There’s 6 1/2 years difference in their ages… and the ability to communicate a passing thought was much easier for the younger one than for the older, I think… because the younger one had the electronic advantage.

Now, through email and Facebook, we can all share our immediate thoughts much more easily and readily than ever before. Not to mention photos. I love digital photos!

Mr. Kinsell writes:

Properly used, the communications technology we now enjoy makes a whole lot of things easier and less time-consuming so that we can actually spend more time and energy on what’s really important.

Exactly. The key words there? “Properly used” and “what’s really important”.

What Are Commenters Linking To?

Since I have so few commenters (though top quality) I am going to borrow some from others today.

1) Marginal Revolution’s qq linked to Neuroskeptic’s  War on “Interesting” which is a compelling, significant, worthy, notable, intriguing, fascinating, and relevant essay on the non-interesting aspects of interesting.  

2) Erin, another from Marginal Revolution, linked to Ceviche and Fish & Chips at The Language of Food. I hope Mr. Jurafsky keeps writing.

3) If you think you might be a coffee snot snob, think again because it just got harder and more expensive. Volokh commenter JKB links to this article on coffee’s Third Wave.

Saturday Surfing

*Buying cheap cheese is worse than buying no cheese at all. When you have no cheese, you don’t waste time, energy, and other ingredients trying to make it edible.

*I hate the scrolling twitter widget. I hate anything on a website that moves unless I tell it to.

*History’s First Redneck Mummy (lower left panel)

*I love my battery backup, because I hate power outages.

*Am I the only person who cannot manage to order a Pizza Hut pizza online? I’m beginning to think they want to be able to say they offer online ordering, but are actively discouraging anyone from ever using it.

* New study reveals most children are unrepentant sociopaths (via Retriever). And then they grow up and design scrolling, flashing widgets for websites or tests for “security” that can’t be passed. For a more scientific view, see The Science of Success.

*Speaking of pizza — a quick perusal of our buying habits over the past year says that this family orders pizza on average of once a month, and that approximately 25% of these orders coincide with having company. Yeah, I am just that lazy.

*Is it the least we can do? Buy Local, Act Evil. Just a thought here… but, if I buy the best that I can for the least amount of money, is that not also ecologically sound? (Note: I’m not saying I do this — see cheap cheese.)

*Tundra. Just go, click, and scroll. That’s what I plan on doing for the next hour or so.

I’m Updated!

Ever since this blog began, WordPress has been begging me to update. Today, the update has been done, thanks to my friend Talina of Harvest of Daily Life.

While readers may not notice much difference, there’s a huge difference in the “backend” of the blog. Yeah, I had to look for the place to blog the upgrade.

I am grateful to not be nagged by WordPress to upgrade. This reduces stress which is always a good thing. Plus, I’m glad that the upgrade protects me against attacks that I may never understand.

Never will I be a cutting edge blogger. It just ain’t my style. But I appreciate being up to date. Now if I can only get Talina down here to fine tune my hardware…

Actually, that’s not required. I’m much more capable of fine-tuning my hardware than I am software. And that hurts me to admit. Plugging in a harddrive has always been somewhat easier than being a servant to software.

Whether it’s true or not, I blame my brain tumor for now being unable to do what I did when it was actually harder than it is today. Yes, at one point I was one of them Microsoft Certified people. I used to teach people how to use software and now I can’t figure it out on my own. I really hate this, but it is now true. That I couldn’t figure out how to update my own website (with what I know to be relative simple tools) irritates the dickens outta me.

They are only simple if you understand them and I now lack that ability.

So… thank you VERY much, Talina.

Weekend Time Wasters

TV Tropes
If you have the least little bit, the teensiest smidgeon of obsessive compulsive disorder, don’t click there. They have categories and lists and sublists and… they are named so brilliantly you just have to click on them all. Don’t get sucked in, just click on “random item” at the top of the page.

Damn Cool Pics
From silly to awe-inspiring, with a few just a tad scary one thrown in for effect.

Ugliest Tattoos
They are all scary in some way, but some will make you laugh.

Awkward Family Photos
It’s amazing how much fun everyone was having!

I think I’ve wasted enough time on this post. Have a great weekend!