Take me to the bridge

March 23, 2015
Just where I like to be: above it all, and viewing with alarm.

Just where I like to be: above it all, and viewing with alarm.

The temptation to pee off one of these things is practically irresistible. Especially on a brisk March morning after two cups of coffee and one of tea.

I had just dropped off the Forester at Reincarnation (timing belt and some other issues) and was cycling back to El Rancho Pendejo when I paused atop Interstate 40 to see what I could see. I felt slightly underdressed for the temperature and less than comfortable on the unfamiliar industrial streets until I connected with Comanche, which leads to the North Diversion Channel Trail, the Bear Arroyo trail, and, eventually, this pedestrian/bicycle bridge.

En route I saw a used hypo in a bike lane, fairly dripping with irony, and way too many F-Whatevers whizzing past at speeds well above the posted limit. That’ll give anyone a nervous bladder, especially if it’s full of caffeinated beverages, so it’s no wonder I felt like letting fly above I-40.

Still, most of the 16-mile ride was on separated bike path, and I even took in a stretch of single-track near the end to take the last vestiges of diesel out of my snoot. All in all, a pretty nice way to start a Monday.

 

Reveille

March 21, 2015
"Right, you lot, turn on the tap, your superior officer requires refreshment."

“Right, you lot, turn on the tap, your superior officer requires refreshment.”

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) decided to conduct an impromptu drill at 4 a.m. and as a consequence the troops are slightly groggy despite two cups of coffee and one of tea.

That is all. Dis-miss.

Spring has sprung?

March 20, 2015
Not even Super Vivid mode helps this morning.

Not even Super Vivid mode helps this morning.

The daffodils are enjoying this damp weather, which arrived a little late for this ex-tree.

The daffodils are enjoying this damp weather, which arrived a little late for this ex-tree.

This is the first day of spring? So where’s the sun?

Frankly, I’m stumped.

(Rimshot.)

And yes, I know, nobody in his right mind living in a desert climate complains about rain. But right mind and I have not shared the same ZIP code for the better part of quite some time. And I have bicycles that are badly in need of riding.

The good news is, after today and tonight we’re looking at a stretch of sunny and 70s. The better news? We don’t live in New York City.

 

Paddywhacked

March 17, 2015
I was wearing green, but the iMac pinched me anyway.

I was wearing green, but the iMac pinched me anyway.

Ah, jaysis, I should’ve known better than to declare victory in my battle with the auld iMac so. Froze up on me again it did, as before, after less than 12 hours of extremely light use.

It caused me to explode in righteous wrath, and before I could go for a wee ride in my St. Patrick’s Day finery too.

Cat got your … Mac?

March 16, 2015
It's Yosemite, Sam.

It’s Yosemite, Sam.

So this guy walks into an Apple Store with a busted iMac and — stop me if you’ve heard this one before. …

OK, so you may not have heard this one before.

Long-suffering readers of the DogS(h)ite know that my once-trusty late-2009 iMac went sideways shortly after I “upgraded” it to Mavericks, in the process leapfrogging over Lion and Mountain Lion from Snow Leopard.

Its misbehavior gradually intensified, and unable to diagnose the problem and devise a solution I finally dragged it down to the Duke City Apple Store, where a Genius critical of my OS management advised a nuke-and-pave of the hard disk drive and another “upgrade,” this time a clean install of Yosemite.

Five days and five crashes later I returned to discuss the issue further, and this time they took the doddering old iBeast in for a full brain scan.

“You might want to crack the case and check it for schmutz,” I quipped. “We have a dog and two cats, and there’s probably enough fur in there to build a yeti.” Oh, how we chortled there at the Genius Bar, techs and customers alike. Laugh, I thought I’d die.

A few days later the telephonic discussions commenced. The Geniuses were unable to replicate my issues, and their extended evaluations, like my own basic home-mechanic checks, found no hardware issues. The iMac was running a sparkling new OS and nothing but Apple software — save for Flash, which I needed for video, and SuperDuper!, which I needed to back up the drive before service — and they, like me, were at a loss.

Hard drive? Fine. Video card? OK. Bad memory? Nope. Thermal management issues? I’ve heard about temp problems, sensors detaching from drives, fans failing. Sorry, we don’t find any hardware issues atall atall.

“Did you crack the case and have a look inside? We have pets, you know. …”

Bingo. They finally opened ‘er up and found enough dust and fur clogging the fans to assemble an earth-toned pantsuit for a plus-size crazy cat lady. It actually felt a couple pounds lighter as I carried it out of the store.

This morning the old iBeast is ticking over smoothly, which if it continues will be nice, because the 2010 Mac Mini I’ve been using since Tuesday doesn’t have the oomph to run a couple different versions of the WordPress CMS, edit words, photos and videos, and do all the other things I need to do to keep my share of the lights on here at Rancho Pendejo.

Best of all? No charge for the janitorial work. When was the last time you walked away from a mechanic of any sort with your pants up and your wallet still in its pocket? I call that service and then some.

I’ll have to inform the cats who run the Innertubes. Medals, commendations and promotions may be in order.

Friday the 13th

March 13, 2015
The skies are rarely boring above Duke City. Looks like we're getting a visit from an alien spacecraft that overshot Roswell.

The skies are rarely boring above Duke City. Looks like we’re getting a visit from an alien spacecraft that overshot Roswell.

Eek eek eek eek eek, etc.

I’d hide under the bed with Turkish if I didn’t have so much to do. Plus it looks like a nice day to ride the old bikey bike, if you’re not allergic to cedar, juniper and/or elm. Snurk. Honk. Ptui.

Herself and I popped round to Scalo last night to celebrate her (mumble-mumble)th birthday and it was a pleasure as always. Tasty food, excellent service, reasonable prices, and someone else does the cooking and cleaning up afterward; if you’re ever passing through town, feel free to take us out to dinner there. I had the penne con salciccia, and she had grilled sea bass over polenta. We split a plate of insalata di cavolo.

In other news, the MacWizards are still waving their iWands over my sickly computer down to the Apple Store, and this being a Friday the 13th I’m anticipating evil tidings and contemplating strategies.

I have the MacBook Pro, but I can’t say I’m a big fan of extended work on laptops. It’s hard on the neck, and the screen real estate is extremely limited for a guy who’s used to running side-by-side 22-inch monitors. There are workarounds, obviously— add an external monitor and a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse combo — but it’s kind of a clunky setup, and my office already looks like the den of a crackhead who’s great at stealing technology but poor at selling it. Plus one must leave room atop the desk for passing cats. That’s Scripture.

Then, this morning, I happened across a news item I’d overlooked while sneering at Apple’s new MacBook and Watch. Seems Cupertino also dropped the price of its Apple TV to just 69 smackers, which is less than we spent on a birthday dinner last night. We’ve been using a 2010 Mac Mini to stream our TV, but it’s total overkill, about like driving a tack with a barrel bomb. What if I were to buy an Apple TV for streaming video and repurpose the Mini as my main work computer? Other Pat is using one and early reports are encouraging. Eureka!

It’ll take me down to one 22-inch monitor, but that means more room on the desk for cats. Another First World Problem solved. Winning!

 

Peeling Apple for the CIA

March 11, 2015

Unhappy Mac

Oopsie. I guess this means the Geniuses at the local Apple Store will be taking turns pouring Coca-Cola, honey and kiddie porn into my iMac this morning.

[The Intercept] said it based its story on “top-secret” documents received directly from whistleblower Edward Snowden. It alleges Sandia researchers tried to find security flaws in Apple devices to open “backdoors” for surveillance of any device.

Thanks a lot, fellas. Now instead of a daily crash or three I’m gonna have to listen to this. And Dave’s not even here, man.

• Editor’s note: Hat tip to Steve O’ for flagging this first, in comments.

• Today’s Gratuitous Apple Joke: Early adopters, take note. If you like the Apple Watch, you’re going to love the Apple CockRing. It grabs you by the nuts and squeezes until you sign over your 401(k) & IRA to Cupertino.

Dear Iran. …

March 10, 2015
Otto would've made a great GOP senator, if Wanda had only stuck around to manage his media opportunities: "Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up. "

Otto would’ve made a great GOP senator, if Wanda had only stuck around to manage his media opportunities: “Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not ‘Every man for himself.’ And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up. “

I wonder how the GOP would have reacted if Harry Reid’s Senate had tried to sabotage sensitive negotiations with a hostile foreign power during the administration of Alfred E. “Worry” Bush.

I’m sure they’d have been OK with it. Right? Right.

Rotten Apple

March 9, 2015
Pardon the poor Photoshop job. I wasn't using it. Apple's Preview app works fine for basic photo editing, but not for extensive copyright violation in the name of cheap humor.

Pardon the poor Photoshop job. I wasn’t using it. Apple’s Preview app works fine for basic photo editing, but not for extensive copyright violation in the name of cheap humor.

You’ll excuse me if I’m not too excited about the Apple Watch and the latest, greatest MacBook.

The old iMac has been acting up the better part of quite some lately — a function, I believe, of the Mavericks “upgrade” I performed last year — and last week, after yet another spate of inexplicable freezes that I could not resolve via Safe Boot, Apple Hardware Test, Disk Utility, DiskWarrior, disconnecting external drives and/or monitors, and finally the deployment of chicken blood, rattles and incantations, I waved the white flag and dragged the doddering iBeast down to the local Apple Store for a chat with a Genius.

The Genius advised a “nuke and pave,” erasing the drive and installing a fresh copy of the OS. I had my doubts, having done way too much looking around online to believe that a solution would be so simple.

Still, I thought, I’m backed up all to be-damn, from Time Machine to SuperDuper!, two copies of each. Want to try Yosemite? Sure, why not? How much worse could it be? Let ‘er buck, cowboy.

So I dragged the iBeast back home with a nuked and paved HDD and a brand-new copy of Yosemite, and then let it sit overnight, to cure, or rest, or whatever. The next day, I booted it up and set about the onerous chore of configuring what amounted to a brand-new, 6-year-old computer.

Installing a new OS did not include fresh copies of the iWork and iLife suites. I didn’t want to drag over old files and applications from my backups, reasoning that if they had bugs, I’d be giving my New World Order a case of Old World pants rabbits. So I decided I’d use those drives as storage for now — sort of a Waste Isolation Pilot Project of bits and bytes — and downloaded fresh copies of Pages and iMovie for starters, plus a smallish OS update.

Word and Photoshop? Nah. Fuggem, I thought. Let’s keep this thing all Apple for now, see what transpires.

What transpired? Freezes. Just like before. One on Saturday, a second on Sunday and a third today.

Bloody exasperating, that is. Especially when you open Console to see a grinning octupus-dragon-man-thing wearing a “Think Different” T-shirt laughing at you and gibbering, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

So, no, thanks, I don’t need a skinny, $1,299 laptop with a shite camera and one oddball port that will require a backpack full of adapters. And I really don’t need a Dick Tracy watch, especially if it makes me look like a Dick Head.

I already know what time it is. It’s time to retire this iBox. And I’m not buying another one.

 

 

Meow mix

March 7, 2015
I think we're gonna need a bigger tower.

I think we’re gonna need a bigger tower.


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