64 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
I have the phone
but took a pass on the lapdock. Not only is the hardware itself way overpriced, but AT&T also requires the top (4GB/month) data plan, as well as a $20/month 'tethering" charge. For tethering what? The thing is a brick without the phone installed.
I might *just barely* consider the multimedia dock worthwhile. It comes with a wireless keyboard, mouse and IR remote, and has a mini-HDMI, PSU connection, and 3 USB ports at a fraction of the lapdock price (supply your own screen, though). Tethering is supposed to be optional, as long as you use an existing wifi network. Once you attenpt to connect via 4G, it's $20 a month again.
Many phones are free*
*with two year commitment. It just depends on what kind of phone you want. The latest and greatest thing, with all the bells and whistles, is going to cost some coin, but it is still heavily subsidized over the cost of buying one without a contract. If you are satisfied with a refurbished version of a model that came out 6 or more months ago, it can usually be had for free, or practically so.
My GF and I just upgraded our phones from dinosaurs to smart phones. She got a refurbished iPhone 3GS, and I got a refurbished Motorola Atrix. Total outlay: less than $60 (mostly for the Atrix, since it is newer). Cost of those phones without a contract? Well, you couldn't get a refurb, so you'd have to buy them new, and pay full price, which would probably run at least $400 each.
OTA costs nothing
In the USA you are free to erect an antenna and pay nothing for your television signal. No "TV license" fees; nothing at all. I am constantly amazed that the gov't taxes you all to have a TV. With Netflix and the like, we are free to pay or not, depending on whether we think it's worth the money. Personally, I don't have enough time to watch movies to justify the expense. It would actually be cheaper to buy a disc every 4 to 6 months when we have the chance to watch one.
Lager yeast *is* bottom fermenting
As a homebrewer, I know the difference. Lager yeast is bottom fermenting, and typically requires cold temperatures (barely above freezing) and a long time to clear (a process know as lagering). Who has that kind of time? An ale can be ready to drink in two weeks or less from the time the wort is boiled, although aging longer can be beneficial, allowing the flavors to meld more completely.
Best Buy have not sold "nice kit" in some time, now. On this side of the pond, their stores seem to be filled with their "pet" brands of Insignia and Dynex, which seem to fall apart the moment you take them out of the box. I'd say their market is people who can't wait a few days for cheap crap to be shipped to them from Amazon.
Try this thought experiment.
Some bloke calls up a locksmith and claims he lost his keys. The locksmith cuts him a new set and the man uses them to enter YOUR house and steal all your stuff. He never proved to the locksmith that he actually was authorized to enter the house. Was the locksmith negligent?
On the other hand
A security guard recently found an apparently lost toolbox outside a Federal building in Detroit. He brought it inside and placed it in the lost and found. Two week later someone decided to X-ray it and discovered that it WAS a bomb. All security guards were subsequently required to take a refresher course on handling of "suspicious packages".
Does the MOVIE count as unmade
...if the only thing in common is the title, and maybe one or two character names, like just about every James Bond film ever made.
I don't know if I should be proud or disappointed to see that list contain two of my nominations.
I think there's a book in the pocket somewhere...
I will be emailing
Yes to anything by Niven, particularly the stories featuring Beowulf Shaeffer. Any one might not be enough for a feature-length film, but string a few together.
+1 to the Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I have actually been thinking about how to cast that recently - Angelina Joile with a blond dye-job as Wye Knott, and Morgan Freeman as Prof. De La Paz, but I'm coming up blank on a good young Latin actor for Manny. Definitely NOT any of Heinlein's later stuff - its mostly literary masturbation. Glory Road could be interesting, though.
In a similar vein, Philip Jose Farmer's Kickaha series. Plus the Riverworld books - Sam would be a great protagonist.
John Varley's Titan series. Or the Ophiuchi Hotline - it could get a green light now after the whole bruhaha over the "13th Zodiac constellation" a few months back. The Persistence of Vision is a great short story, but I don't think there's enough there for a movie - not to mention the orgies would ensure it a NC17 rating...
+1 to Stainless Steel Rat
The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K. LeGuin)
even so-called reputable dealers
I once bought a brand-name external dial-up modem (US Robotics?) from a Brick-and-mortar store (with initials BB). When I got it home and opened the factory shrink-wrapped box, instead of a modem, it contained a length of chain, encased in a plastic tube so it didn't rattle. I brought it back to the store an hour after buying it, and they cheerfully offered a replacement.
maybe not so stupid
A bomb left outside a US government office building in Detroit was brought inside by a security guard and sat in the lost-and-found for two weeks before someone decided to X-ray it. All guards in the building are now being re-trained as to the meaning of "Treat all unattended packages as highly suspicious."
I always thought it was Mark Twain who said it, but he merely popularized it. He attributed it to Disraeli, but there is no evidence he ever said such a thing:
A statistician of my acquaintance had a quote on the door to his office that read:
"It is true that it is easy to lie with statistics. But it is also impossible to tell the truth without them."
Bud is not American
It is now your problem. Anheuser-Busch was bought out by Belgian beverage giant InBev a couple of years ago. True American owned breweries are making some of the best beer in the world right now. We just don't share it with you lot across the pond, because there isn't enough. There are even some decent brews in cans now. Try a Dale's Pale Ale or Little Yellow Pils.
Dogfish Head is making extraordinary stuff, as are Flying Dog and Clipper City/Heavy Seas. And those are just the breweries that are local to me. Go to a hotbed of craft breweryship like Colorado or Oregon, and you'll find dozens, if not hundreds, of incredibly tasty beers that are only sold on tap within a 50-mile radius of the brewery.
Unfortunately, we were settled by a bunch of tight-a$$es who got kicked out of Britain because of it, and they wrote all the liquor laws here, which favor the large distributors who have marketing agreements with the giants like A-B and Miller-Coors. It's just like Microsoft and Dell put a stranglehold on the availability of [computers with] decent operating systems.
One thing that has escaped attention so far is the fact that the alleged perpetrator allegedly drove from Florida to Maryland during Thanksgiving to allegedly commit the alleged crime. This is no short distance. Even if it was extreme northern Florida, it is more than a full day's drive each way (about 1000-1200 miles or so). And during Thanksgiving, which is the heaviest travel period of the year, the traffic would have been horrendous.
If it was her intent to seduce some kid, surely she could have found one closer? I mean if she's going to fly across the country, why not fly to Maryland instead of flying to Florida and then driving 1000 miles. The flight times are about the same.
Was Jesus an alien?
A non-human being with wings artificially impregnated some poor carpenter's wife, who gave birth to a son who could walk on water, transform water into wine, cure the sick, raise the dead, and perform other feats no human before or since has been able to accomplish. Sounds like an alien to me.
@Andrew Martin: Are you kidding? We've still got no real evidence of any "supreme being," intelligent or otherwise.
Asking everyone to take a position on something for which there is no evidence one way or another seems to me to be right up the Vatican's alley.
Same thing applies to manual transmissions here in the States. Almost all cars these days are sold with automatics, and your average teenager has probably never even *seen* a car with a stick shift, much less driven one.
I finally bought my first automatic car a few months ago since the traffic here has gotten so bad I kept getting cramps in my left leg due to an excess of clutching. It is also my first car with 4 doors as all my friends are no longer spring chickens, either.
You can count my mother among the technically un-savvy, but she has always been that way. It has nothing to do with her age. I'm getting annoyed by the size of things, my eyes can't make out the tiny type, and my fat fingers can't push the tiny buttons. Then they keep trying to cram more crap that I don't want or use into devices. I really don't want to watch TV on my phone when I have a 50" HD screen at home with a 5.1 surround sound system and a DVR so I can wait until I get home to watch it. I talk faster than I could ever type, and typing on a 3" keyboard doesn't make it faster, so why would I want to text instead of making a phone call? Newer doesn not necessarily = better.
20km on a charge?
That's not even enough to get me to work in the morning. And we don't have any outlets in the parking lot.
Plug-in cars will not succeed in the US until you can go ~400 miles in any direction without stopping for a charge, and then are able to recharge it in a few minutes before continuing.
Still too expensive
I just don't see the appeal of these things, whether they come from Sony, Amazon, or B&N. For $200+ it should come with the complete contents of Project Guttenberg and a whole lot else besides. If I still have to pay $10 or so for the book, I can get a paperback for less. One that doesn't need batteries, I can read it at the beach without worrying about getting it wet or getting sand in it. It will fit in my coat pocket, etc., etc.
I made a quite delicious chocolate raspberry stout that was anything but sweet. Lambics are generally sour, and have fruit syrups added to make them palatable. By themselves, raspberries are quite tart, so a slutty Snow White (a Tart, right?) seems like the perfect advertising vehicle.
I think the Brits call popsicles "ice lollies". Both terms seem to be derived from lollypop, just from opposite ends. I guess we could theoretically also have lollycicles or icepops, which would actually make more sense when you think about it.
Beer, because it's cold too (in America, anyway.)
printers and PCs
A few years ago, I bought a new Compaq computer. This was several years AFTER they got bought by HP, to the extent that compaq.com merely redirected you to HP.com. I had a problem where the PC kept hanging every time it booted, which was a probelm when you are trying to install all your applications and WIndows patches on a new machine. Call helpdesk in India:
step one: Re-install factory image - no, I just spent hours installing all my apps.
step two: unplug all peripherals and reboot - OK, it works now. Do you think it might be one of them causing the problem? I don't know. it boots now. end of call.
It happens again, So i try it with differnt peripherals plugged in until I isolate the problem: my HP All-in-one printer. When the printer is attached, boot hangs, when it isn't, no problem. Both devices are made by HP, after the merger, so they should play together, right?
Call India, explain problem. Oh, that sounds like aprinter porblem, yuou need to contact your printer manufacturer. YOU are my printer manufacturer, your company was bought out by HP several years ago. Sorry, I am not able to be helping you. Please be contacting the company that makes your printer. I am. It is you! (round and round we go.)
Finally, I find the answer on their own Knowledge Base: in those early days of multi-card readers, the PC thinks the card reader in the printer is a boot device that overrides the HDD. It's been waiting for me to insert a bootable flash memory card in my printer! I don't remember the exact solution, anymore. I either had to install new printer drivers, new firmware, or flash the BIOS, but that solved the problem.
That was nothing compared to the time when it stopped recognizing blank disks in the DVD/CD burner. They kept telling me to download and install a firmware update for the drive. How is that done? You have to burn the files to a blank CD. You can't even do it on a different machine because the part of the update process involves checking to see if you have the right kind of drive before it will even burn the disk. I wound up replacing the drive (I think the write laser had gone bad).
try a Cruzin Cooler
That does no good. The box is all taken up by the engine and there's nothing to even keep the beer cold. He really needs something like this:
"Cruzin Cooler combines two basic necessities of life, the ability to have cold food or a beverage handy along with the means to get somewhere, without walking. The Cruzin Cooler is light-weight, comes in various sizes and colors and is available in gas and electric models, with up to a 10 mile range on electric models and 30 miles on the gas models."