Print Media vs. Blogs

Are Dr. Dobbs editors asleep at their desks?

I’ve long been of the opinion that print media still has a place in the online world that we live in, if for no other reason than the fact that the longer release cycles allow for a higher standard; peer reviews and editors act as a sort of filtering.

Not that I’m the king of grammar, but I have come to expect print media to have been read by many editors prior to being released.  In online communications, where the pace is much faster, I have come to expect grammar errors to sneak in.  I often go back and read something that I’ve typed later on and see the most boneheaded mistakes that make me wonder what I was thinking, yet I feel excused in that I was focusing more on the content than the presentation.  Print media, on the other hand, must focus on presentation, otherwise why does it exist?

I was disappointed to look at the mail pile today and see this:

Are the editors at Dr. Dobbs asleep at their desks?
Are the editors at Dr. Dobbs asleep at their desks?

If print media allows this advantage slip away, what is left for them?

Murphy says that I probably made a really stupid mistake in this posting. 🙂

Chaco == Great Customer Support!!

Chaco Sandals, repaired and as good as new!
Chaco Sandals, repaired and as good as new!

I love my Chaco sandals. I wear them every day. The last few weeks though I’ve been without them and my feet have been sad. Why? Well, after a year of wearing them while wading in the ocean at the beach, portaging my kayak through shallow rivers, hiking on rough terrain, bicycling, and just sitting around the office the soles started to separate from the footbed. I contacted Chaco and was told that it should be covered under warranty. I mailed them in and without charge they came back a week later with brand new Vibram soles, as good as new! I was surprised how deep the sole lugs were, I hadn’t realized how much I’d worn off.

Thanks Chaco!

Customer Abuse @ Performance of Fair Oaks, CA

I know that you don’t go to Performance Bike for their great customer service, you go for the low prices and convenient hours. That said, you also don’t go with the expectation of being mistreated!!

My negative outlook on Performance started about six months ago when I went there with a friend to help choose a road bike. A specific Fuji bike was in the right price range and appealed on many levels. We had the bike out on the floor and she was looking at I was evaluating the fit. I held the wheel between my knees and the handlebars and had her sit on the bike while I evaluated the fit. While we were doing this a manager comes up and decides to take over. Without warning he forces himself between me and bike, nearly causing her to fall off! This upset me, but I continued anyhow. Later, when we were discussing the reach and the possibility of a handlebar swap he started moving the saddle forward. I told him that’s not how you adjust reach, but he got angry and said “just wait, I’ll show you!” I finally settled on the 47cm frame even though he was suggesting the 44. Interestingly, Fuji’s site suggests either the 47 or 50 for her height! Idiots…

So… last night I’m there with a neighbor. Everything is going fine at first. I pull out some bikes just to look them over with little concern about their size at first. My neighbor, being excited, is sitting on all of them, but I ignore it since that’s not what I’m looking at anyhow. We’re down to the last bike before we decide which one we should have him test ride when the manager (a different manager) comes over and says that the bike is too big (duh, thanks). I start to pull out the next smaller size when he immediately takes over and doesn’t allow me to see how that size fits. Deciding to avoid a confrontation I went away and started browsing the rest of the store while he gave his advice. Later, my neighbor calls me over to show me what they’d settled on. When I got there he said that this was the right size frame. I nearly laughed. It had a traditional geometry (horizontal top tube) so you’d go with a larger seat tube length than with a compact geometry frame. That said, he’d put my almost 6′ neighbor on a 54cm frame! I said something about the bike being far too small, that he was sitting nearly upright, far too cramped in the top tube, and besides the saddle was far too low. He said “no, the seat is in the ideal position! See how his top leg is horizontal, that’s ideal!” Top leg? Who looks at that? Then he went on about how the bike had a relaxed top tube geometry (huh? Relaxed head angle, relaxed seat angle, etc, but top tube?). I said no, that the saddle was at least 4cm too low! He started getting angry and barked “Fine, the bike is too small!” and stomped off. At the desk I could see him telling the other people something or other while staring at us.

There was more, but that’s the general gist of the experience. Amazing. I’m seriously considering contacting their corporate number, though I expect that they won’t have much concern.

For now, I’m done with Performance.

Real Rhapsody Problems Resolved!

I’m posting this because numerous Google searches never found my answer.  Maybe somebody else will stumble across it here and save a lot of grief!

I’ve had problems downloading tracks using my Rhapsody subscription for about 6 months now.  Worse, I just bought a mobile device that supports Rhapsody-to-go and it wouldn’t transfer tracks!  I just stumbled across this post that has the solution to my problem!

I had a similar issue right after R4 came out, and it had to do with the fact that the computer wasn’t authorized, and thus wouldn’t download automatically. After I went through the solution below, I was able to authorize my machine and then the download problem went away. So first check in the My Account pull down, if it doesn’t say “Deauthorize Computer”, then your machine is not authorized. Then try these steps…. Hope it helps…

This worked for me:

Go here:

Then Delete mcs.rma and basi3260.dll files and reauthorize your computer

Also… if you search this board for issues, before posting. There is a good chance you will find a thread about it… Hope this helps…


Thank you Matt, whoever you are! 🙂

ASCII line drawing in PuTTY

Yeah! It’s always driven me nuts. I connect to my home computer via SSH and all of the window borders or tree controls in slrn are messed up with strange characters. I finally found a solution!

Basically, just set the assumed character set to UTF-8 under the Translation options!  Now I get proper borders and lines!

Good DSL tech support?

Is it possible?

I just changed my internet service provider from Comcast cable Internet to AT&T DSL. I was able to get a 50% faster download and 300% faster upload speed for less money. I tried to stay with Comcast, but they insisted on raising my monthly rate from the price that I’ve paid for a few years now.

Anyhow, I get my modem, plug it all in, and call tech support. Their install CD is obviously not going to work on Linux. I ask for the instructions for a manual setup. I expect the word Linux to create quite some confusion, but instead I hear “which distro?” He then starts out by saying, “OK, you probably instinctively reached for Firefox, but for this I’m going to suggest that you use Konqueror, it works better. Go to the…” I apparently needed Java enabled. He knew exactly which menu to pull down, exactly which options to change, everything!


Somehow I doubt this is a regular occurrence.


aerator.jpgI was at an event in Fair Oaks this last weekend. At this event there were various companies and organizations handing out swag. One both that I happened upon was their local water district. They were handing out faucet aerators for bathroom sinks, supposedly with the intention of helping people save water. I picked one up out of curiosity and notice that it’s a 2.2 gpm model. I asked them, “Hasn’t 2.2 gpm been the standard for quite a few years now? This isn’t really going to help many people.” They responded that, no, they were 1.5 gpm. When I showed them they were somewhat embarassed.

Adding to the irony… when I got home I looked at the aerator on my bathroom sink and found that it was 2.0 gpm. Ah, irony. How many people blindly went home and replaced the aerators on their facets and patted themselves on the back for a job well done? In an attempt to help people reduce their water usage, they may have actually increased their water usage! Ooops!

Rules Trump Reason

Riding in to work this morning I was passed by a school bus. Just ahead of where the bus passed me there were some abandoned train tracks that crossed the street. They’ve been out of service forever. There are signs indicating that they are out of service. There are big heavy chains hung across the tracks on each side of the road. Yet, the driver (who most likely drives this route every day and knows that the tracks are out of service) came to a complete stop, looked both ways, and then continued on. Shocking.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that the rules actually say to stop at ALL tracks, even those out of service. Why? So that the drivers don’t take on a lazy attitude and not stop at an active track? I’d like to argue the counter argument that the driver is now becoming so accustomed to this silly routine where the look is just out of habit, a motion of the head, not a real look, that they may be inclined to do the same when they do approach a real track! It goes both ways, you can’t legislate reason! THINK! Use common sense!

Help Me Settle a Debate!


I’ve been debating with a coworker about which is a more useful tool for general purpose hacking, which one can solve more problems? Zip ties or duct tape? Help me settle the debate by voting on my poll!

Which is a more useful hacking tool, zip ties or duct tape?

View Results

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Please tell me why you voted the way that you did in the comments!

Dollar Coins

sacdollar.jpegThe few times that I’ve used the light rail to get to work faster (when I sleep in!) I’ve received dollar coins as my change. This got me thinking about the situation with coins in the US.

On a trip to Israel and England last year I found that their currencies had far more coins of larger value. I found myself using coins much more. Being unaccustomed to using so many coins it was strange at first, but I began to adapt and by the end of two weeks I was much more comfortable with the idea. This has got me to thinking… why won’t Americans accept the dollar coin? We’ve had so many of them, yet they’re never used in general circulation.

Consider the situation with light rail. If I take paper bills I run the risk of being unable to get the machine to successfully accept my money. Bill readers are notoriously unreliable! If I take quarters I have to feed the machine eight quarters. The time to do this is small, though still annoying, not to mention the bulk of six extra coins.

Today, with much trepidation, I tried one of my dollar coins in the vending machine at work. Success! It recognized it! That is MUCH easier than feeding a bunch of quarters, nickles, and dimes!

Considering that the average lifetime of a coin is something like 30 years, vs less than two years for a dollar bill, and that it’s 100% recyclable, vs something like 20% for paper bills, the dollar coin is even more appealing. Though, I wonder how the transportation emissions to move the coins from the US mint to the various banks compares.

I think that the next time I go to the bank I’m going to ask for a roll of dollar coins to start spending, especially on the transit vending machines!