PowerSquid Outlet Multiplier

Ok, the “PowerSquid Outlet Multiplier”:http://www.gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/powersquid-outlet-multiplier-no-more-wasted-outlets-126065.php is not only useful, it _looks_ cool…

posted at 9:35 am on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 in Links | Comments Off on PowerSquid Outlet Multiplier

A lightbulb moment

I finally figured out “where all the spam is coming from”:http://www.google.com/blogsearch.

The coincidence is too perfect to ignore.

Ain’t progress grand?

posted at 8:56 pm on Friday, September 23, 2005 in Links, Site News | Comments Off on A lightbulb moment

herding undergrads

About Process Control (or, “Herding Hung-over, Grumpy, Horny, Undergrad Gerbils”) | D*I*Y Planner

bq. He visually located the big pink sign that said Bookstore, Mandatory Book Drop, stared at it uncomprehendingly for a moment, turned around to acknowledge my instruction with a curt nod and then walked over and proceeded to drop his bag in a huge green recycling bin. Ah, the leaders of tomorrow.

posted at 11:58 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 in Humour, Links | Comments (1)
  1. Jeff K says:

    It has come to amaze me that people feel buying 5 books for an education is some sort of monumental requirment, achievement or some sort of largess. This rather implies they could not afford, or chose not to have purchased more than 5 books in the past. Perhaps not even an overview of philosophy, history or psychology. I know of some people that have *never* read such a book. Perhaps some are working for nothing herding gerbils at bookstores.

SciFi News

* Battlestar Galactica has been picked up for a “third season”:http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/7518.html . Also, the “Season 1 DVD”:http://www.battlestargalacticadvd.com/ is out (it includes the miniseries, in case you were thinking of purchasing both).

* “Serenity Cast Signed For Sequels”:http://scifi.com/scifiwire2005/index.php?id=32468 (if the movie proves popular enough, that is!).

posted at 10:34 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 in TV | Comments (1)
  1. Greg says:

    Browncoats rule!



The first leaf of fall :-)

I thought it was strange that one leaf on my whole tree had changed colour.

posted at 8:55 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 in Personal | Comments (2)
  1. Greg says:

    Are you sure it was there earlier?

  2. Harald says:

    That’s a new tree; it gets watered and inspected regularly :-)


This goes out to all of my writer friends:

bq. “Nobody ever committed suicide while reading a good book, but many have tried while trying to write one.”

bq. – Robert Byrne

(via the “Quote of the Day mailing list”:http://ca.geocities.com/quotationoftheday/index.html)

posted at 7:34 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2005 in Humour | Comments (1)
  1. David Brake says:

    Yeah thanks a bunch there Harald – that really helps me out! ;-)

luncheon meat

I desperately hope that there is a special section of hell reserved for comment spammers…

posted at 6:06 pm on Wednesday, September 14, 2005 in Personal, Site News | Comments Off on luncheon meat

Disposable Economy

Welcome to the disposable economy.

My daughter accidentally dropped my Canon SD200 camera and broke the flash. (The rest of the camera works just fine). So I took it to Canon Canada’s customer service centre, asking for a repair estimate. They just called; $241.50 (presumably $210 + taxes). The camera _new_ is $345 ($300 + tax)! Even if they’re replacing the _entire_ electronics board, there’s still a lens, battery, SD card…

At this point I’m thinking that I’ll buy a new one, and give the (mostly) working one to the kids to play with.


*Update:* I called Canon this morning, and asked why they wanted so much money. He explained that because I didn’t bring a receipt for the camera, they charged me a general flat rate fee for the repair. I explained that the _reason_ I didn’t bring a receipt was that this is not a warranty repair, and reminded him that Canon should know what the retail prices of their products are :-). Anyway, long story short, he _immediately_ requoted the repair at $70 + tax, much more reasonable…

posted at 12:40 pm on Saturday, September 10, 2005 in Rants | Comments (2)
  1. Jeff K says:

    Don’t repair it. Repairs have a probability of success p p, 0..1 A broken camera costs $x, average to repair. The true cost of fixing the camera is thus $x * sum(1+(1-p)+(1-(1-p)*p)+ …) which with .5 for p (my experience in these matters) and $240 for $x is 240 * (1+.5+.25+.125 …) = $480. $480 > $345. [There is some variance from how good of a screamer you are when trying to convince them the 2nd and subsequent repairs are related to the first]

  2. Harald says:

    At that price, I’m certainly not planning on repairing it! $100 _maybe_; $240? Never!

Tom Peters on Logistics

How to Make a Jillion Dollars

bq. Small/smallish business people bitch about Wal*Mart, bitch about Home Depot, bitch about the Chinese. But how the hell do you beat the Chinese if you are selling a $9,000 stove but completely screw up the delivery and installation, thereby screwing up a platoon of other people, thereby costing us time (lots of) and money (lots of) occasioned by the delays?

posted at 10:05 am on Saturday, September 10, 2005 in Links | Comments Off on Tom Peters on Logistics

Lies, Damned Lies, and Politics

October 2001 – “Scientific American : Drowning New Orleans”:http://www.sciam.com/print_version.cfm?articleID=00060286-CB58-1315-8B5883414B7F0000

October, 2004 – “National Geographic : Gone With the Water”:http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0410/feature5/

September 1, 2005 – “George Bush says”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4204754.stm “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” (Worse, his bluff wasn’t called; see “mediamatters”:http://mediamatters.org/items/200509020001 for one dissection).

This one detail sums up the entire US Government’s response to the disaster; the same bold-faced lies that they’ve been spouting for years.

Of course, one wonders how Canada would react to an equivalent disaster… *sigh.

posted at 10:54 am on Wednesday, September 07, 2005 in Current Events | Comments Off on Lies, Damned Lies, and Politics

Flood Damage

The school is on the west bank of the (east) Don River Valley, next to a park. The park, used for soccer and other physed activities, is several hundred square metres smaller than it used to be, thanks to the August 19th floods. The river decided to carve out a new bend for itself! Based on the debris and marks, there was about 4′ of water on the field (and the school’s lower playground); much of the grass is buried in very high quality beach sand, and the playground is full of a conrete-like mixture of wood chips and river mud…

The bridge to the east side of the river is still intact, but was obviously underwater (and may not be safe, so it’s closed for now). Two trees survived, but a third one was uprooted and washed about 40m downstream.

I’d post pictures, but the camera is in the shop :-(.

posted at 7:42 pm on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 in Personal | Comments Off on Flood Damage

September Blues

The kids are back at school, meeting new teachers and old friends. “Blues”, because it means they’re another year older. This will be their sixth year at the school; the girl’s starting Grade 2 and the boy’s up to Grade 4.

G. has a new teacher that I haven’t met, but the early reviews are good. C has G’s old JK teacher, which should be a better fit than we had the first time around :-). All things considered, I’m looking forward to the kids having another great year.

posted at 7:39 pm on Tuesday, September 06, 2005 in Personal | Comments Off on September Blues