June 15, 2007: Ralstons Come to Visit

Apparently Arizona’s “The Thing” is their own southwest version of South Carolina’s “South of the Border”.

Tom Yager, possibly the most important and influential proponent of Apple in the Enterprise, blast into the iPhone’s lack of an SDK on Ahead of the Curve. Apparently Apple has decided to make the iPhone nothing more than a flashy-looking Safari web browser with no real functionality. Boy am I glad that I bought a Palm Treo! Not only do I get cool applications and far more functionality but I am not limited to the slowest data network too. No wonder Apple was willing to be yoked with Cingular (oh sorry, the NEW AT&T – like any of us have forgotten how bad the service was from the last AT&T) – their iPhone doesn’t even do anything that people will want a data network for. So Cingular (argh, TNAT&T) isn’t the weak link in the chain.

I was up until one 0’clock last night cleaning in the apartment. I was pretty tired this morning and didn’t wake up until seven thirty and couldn’t go to the gym. Oops. I had decided to take yesterday as my one day a week off instead of Sunday just because I couldn’t get time to go yesterday but I sure didn’t mean to miss going this morning. I will have to squeeze some time in tonight!

Art and Danielle were scheduled to leave home around eight o’clock this morning. They are traveling down on their “new” motorcycle that Art bought a few weeks ago. The trip normally takes five to six hours when coming down on the highway but they are planning on making several stops and taking some backroads so they are giving themselves about eight hours to make the trip.

It is going to be a busy weekend for me. I have my normal late Friday night tonight plus I have a security rollout that I have to do in addition to my normal Friday work. We will be visiting tonight and going out to eat most likely too. Then tomorrow the plan is that all of us will go into Manhattan for the day and hang out. We are planning on taking Oreo to daycare for the day so that he doesn’t have to be home alone all day – he wouldn’t be very happy. Then Sunday morning I have to head up to Ithaca and will be working there all afternoon before turning around and driving back to Newark. Next week I am in Manhattan all week except for Monday and Craig is coming down from Rochester on Tuesday and will be down all week too. I am staying in Newark next weekend but Dominica will be going to Frankfort to visit. Oreo will be staying with me.

Eris, the largest of the known Solar “dwarf planets”, has been measured and is found to be 27% larger than Pluto. Had Pluto remained classified as a full planet rather than a dwarf (leaving the Solar System with just eight full planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) then Eris would clearly have become our tenth planet.

Kodak has a major breakthrough in CMOS sensors used in digital cameras this week. This new technology is expected to make digital cameras much more light sensitive giving them a better range for shutter and lighting bringing them more into line with analogue/chemical cameras. Digital cameras have done very well in overall image quality but shutter speed and light sensitivity have been a weak point making traditional camera technology the only serious option for some applications.

eWeek reports today that a couple of judges have denied class action lawsuits against companies such as Rite Aid, Harry & David, Ikea, KB Toys, Disney, Regal Cinemas and AMC Theaters because they feel that the plaintiffs cases are too strong and that the damages will be too hard for the companies to bare! The judges actually admitted to denying justice because they don’t want undue hardship (in their opinion) brought against big businesses. This must be one of the most blatant cases of denial of due processes ever. The lawsuits are over the FACTA (Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act) which is a federal law protecting consumer credit data. These companies and others willfully printed illegal data onto paper receipts after FACTA was in place forbidding such types of discloser. Plaintiffs are hoping that their appeals will be heard and are not taking this lying down. This is more than a lawsuit about whether a few renegade big businesses can thumb their noses at the US government but whether or not independent judges can choose at their own discretion to whom the federal laws passed by Congress apply.

I found an olderish article from Ephraim Schwartz whom I generally like to read on the “Dumbing Down and Smartening Up” on the web. I tend to take an interest in the social ramifications of technology (as opposed to the often discussed ethical ramifications which I find to be nothing more than semantics.) I am one of the very rare breed of people who are neither Digital Natives nor Digital Immigrants. I grew up in the era of transition and have been using computers since my very young childhood but I used computers long before they were devices of communications. My perspective on computers and the Internet are very different than either the DN or DI parties. I have the native comfort of a DN with the attention span and textual bias of the DI. But I represent probably less than .5% of the population in that I have a long term relationship with computers without any significant life gap while having had access to networking technologies for less than half of my life.

Apparently I am not the only person who has noticed that the Presidential campaigns have started insanely early this year. Wil Wheaton writes that we only have 586 More Days of This to go through before we actually sit down to elect someone. The bombardment of the campaigns so early was so intense that I was confused as to what year the election was! It is just like Christmas. There needs to be some sort of social limitation on this stuff. The public needs to take a stand and not stand for it (to mix my metaphors) and vote against people who start campaigning, or whatever they are doing, too early.

I have to quote Wil Wheaton from another blog entry just because, out of context, this line is hilarious: “If I start hearing slot machines and smelling hookers, desperation, and that ubiquitous casino air freshener in my house, I’m going to go see a doctor about more than my inner ear.”

The Ralstons arrived at the apartment around a quarter to five. Their drive went pretty well. I called them just after five to see if they were able to get in okay.  They did end up getting a little lost as they looked for the apartment and ended up driving around for a while far to the east of Newark but they were there hours ahead of us getting out work so it didn’t effect anything.

I managed to leave work just a little after six.  I got home and Dominica was already there.  We hung out for about an hour or a little more and then decided to go out to the Ironbound and get dinner at Mompou on Ferry Street.  We hung out at the restaurant for a really long time and it was around midnight when we finally returned to 1180.

We thought that we were in for the night but ended up having quite a mess to deal with.  Art had to help the valet park the motorcycle that he and Danielle had ridden down on as the valets are no insured for riding motorcycles.  We knew that this was going to be an issue and had made arrangements for it yesterday with the night valet who was on again tonight and it wasn’t a problem just something that we had to deal with.  But this is where the excitement begins.

Once the overnight valet had Art alone in the parking garage she suddenly announced that there had been a sudden (after midnight apparently since we had turned his motorcycle over to the valet services eight hours before this) change in policy and that he would have to give her twenty dollars cash right away before he could keep his motorcycle in the garage.  We had had issues with this some months ago when Josh had stayed with us and the valet management had said that money was only to be collected when people were leaving, not when they were arriving, and to not give money to the valets until that time for our own protection since it was policy not to collect until we left so taking it early is either a mistake or worse.

Art didn’t have cash on him so we went back to the apartment but the valet didn’t let it go.  She made the concierge call our apartment and tell us that we had to come down and pay for the parking.  So I went down with him and explained to the concierge and then the valet that we had been told, in no uncertain terms, by her management that we were absolutely not to pay her ahead of time for parking.  But she would have none of that and started yelling at us at the front desk in front of the concierge about how we were calling her a thief (apparently she had that on her mind) and that she would be in trouble if she didn’t have the money.  At one point she claimed that it was a new policy two days previous and at another time she claimed that the new policy was from that morning.  She made claims that the motorcycle had been left out all day because the manager was suspicious of us not paying and didn’t want it in the garage until cash had been collected.  She also said that she had discussed this with us before taking the bike down but did not, in fact, mention it until she had Art alone without me there to catch that she was doing something that she wasn’t supposed to do.

I explained to everyone that the management, who hires her, gave us explicit instructions for their and our protection and that she, not being a manager, certainly did not have the authority to, after midnight, inform us of new policies especially eight hours and three valets after the motorcycle had been taken into possession by the garage!  We even offered to put the money in an envelope and leave it with the building concierge so that we would have paid but that it would go directly to the manager in the morning – that way there was no way that she could get in trouble and everyone would be protected.  She continued yelling and would accept no agreement that didn’t involve her having cash in her hand.  We finally gave in but forced her to take the money with the concierge as a witness and made her fill out a “receipt” which she was not at all prepared to do.

It is clear from hindsight that the valet was high and was completely out of her mind.  She was mostly incoherent and violated the law, policy and decency.  She wanted cash and wasn’t afraid to verbally assault us even right in the lobby of our home in front of the concierge.  Now this is just one more thing that I have to deal with with the building.  This crazy, high valet was trying to steal money from our guests and wasn’t afraid to go way beyond conning them to get it.  She definitely needs to not just be fired but banned from setting foot in the building.  She is definitely not safe having access to our vehicles and we need to fear retaliation against our person for obviously calling her on her con and getting her caught.

June 14, 2007: My Childhood Musical Tastes

Dominica and I spent the evening cleaning last night. I think that we made some good progress. It was a short night. I lost about an hour dealing with the OfficeMax mess and had to run some errands out of the building which cost another hour. Our nights are very short as it is so that just about took care of the entire evening. I normally get home pretty close to seven and we always “try” to go to the gym just a little after nine (but normally don’t make it until ten) – then that pretty much accounts for the whole night. That is what bothers me the most about the whole OfficeMax thing – it stole a whole evening just dealing with it. And it isn’t even barely dealt with yet! (That and we were REALLY hoping to have the desk delivered, assembled and put in place before the Ralstons got here so that the apartment would look a little bit like it should as they will probably never get to see the place again. Argh.)

We hit the gym almost exactly at ten o’clock and I put in a good hour on the elliptical machine. The evening was so busy that I didn’t even get to eat dinner. No breakfast (I tried but had planned on getting oatmeal at work but then the moment I arrived someone called me and just kept me on the phone dealing with an issue until well after the cafeteria had closed), just an egg salad wrap for lunch and then nothing else the rest of the day except for my six fiber tablets! My calories are pretty low today and I can feel it. I am supposed to be getting breakfast with Abdul at Food for Life tomorrow though which I haven’t eaten in quite some time so I am really looking forward to that.

I totally forgot that my Pinnacle Studio 11 Ultimate Edition arrived over the weekend. I haven’t had a chance to touch it yet. Maybe I will get it installed today. At least it came. I was starting to get worried.

Before going to bed last night I weighed in after having gone to the gym and am extremely excited that I have finally broken the twenty pounds lost mark! That is a major milestone for me. I have a spreadsheet that I maintain that tracks my starting weight, my daily weigh in, my percentage weight lost, my target weight and more and filling in the -22lbs was pretty exciting this morning. This was my single biggest weight loss day after thirty-three days of the competition! I am sure that I will go up slightly for tomorrow – that is how it normally works – but once I hit the weight it is easy to get below it even if it takes a day or two.

This morning Oreo and I slept in until around twenty after eight. He had gotten up about an hour before that but as soon as he figured out that Dominica was not making him his breakfast he came galloping back to get another hour of snuggles in. Thursdays are important because they give me that extra hour for my muscles to heal before returning to the gym for more punishment.

My project for the day is cleaning. There is a lot to be done yet and tomorrow morning I have to take a load of thing out to the Mazda and load it up with stuff that will eventually be going to dad’s house – the little glass and metal “Metro desk”, the laptop desk, etc. It isn’t a ton but with the complete lack of spare space we need every inch that we can find.

While cleaning the apartment today I came across two cassette tapes that I made back in 1988-1989. The tapes were labeled “Best of Music” volumes II & III and were tapes that I made myself. I bought my first CD player (a Sony 5-CD carousel) in 1987 so I was only using cassette for mix-tapes like these either of CDs that I already owned or for songs from the radio. It is interesting to see what my favourite music was at the time and even just in these two tapes you can see the style of music that I preferred changing. Up until around 1987-1988 I primarily listened to “rock and roll” from the 1950s and the 1960s. Mostly, I assume, because this is what my parents had listened to and was the only music that they were really knowledgable about.

[One of the strangest things ever to me is to think that the music that I was listening to from the 1960s was exactly as old then as the music on these tapes from the 1980s is now!]

On the first tape which is labeled as having been made in 1988 the music includes artists like The Fat Boys, Chubby Checker (whom my parents saw live in concert at Kodak’s Theater on the Ridge around this time), Chuck Berry, Bruce Springsteen, The Coasters, The Chordettes, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Bobbettes, Huey Lewis and the News, Ben E. King, The Beach Boys, Etta James, Bobby McFerrin, The Georgia Satellites, Billy Ocean and Kylie Minogue. On the second tape made six to twelve months later the songs had clearly shifted more towards the current pop trends of the day and had artists like Starship, UB40, Boy Meets Girl, Bananarama and Eric Carmen.

My five disc Sony CD carousel was a really big deal at the time. It took me over a year to save up for and was the biggest thing that I ever purchased until I bought by Schwinn aluminum racing bike in 1991 (Joe Howlett still uses that awesome Schwinn for racing today!) The CD player was $300 which was an astounding figure for an eleven year old to achieve in 1987. I didn’t, in fact, come up with that much. My parents put in half of the money because I had worked so hard to come up with the first half and because, I believe, that they understood that I wanted to make an investment in audio media that would not deteriorate every time that I played it. Every single CD that I bought back then I still have today in perfect condition. My first album on CD was Amy Grant’s first Christmas album which gives away what time of year it was. I can still remember dad coming home with the CD player and the CD after I had saved up enough money. What a huge day that was for me. For my birthday, I believe, of that year (so almost a full year before) I had received an integrated Fisher stereo system that I used in my room for playing tapes and LP records. The CD player hooked into that. Getting that CD player was a defining moment of my childhood. My CD collection was not to be touched – I had hundreds of CDs before entering high school.

I didn’t get a chance to go to the gym this morning. I did a heavy workout last night like I seem to often do on Wednesday nights and I was very exhausted this morning. That and Oreo was super snuggly and it was just impossible to pull myself out of bed until it was time to actually do some work. My morning ended up being pretty busy. I had to work a bit and then take Oreo for a walk at nine thirty. Abdul and Tonya came by at a quarter after ten and we all went over to Food for Life for breakfast. I haven’t had breakfast over there in over a month so it was really good.

It was actually quite cold today. The air conditioning is off and we have the windows open and it is actually cold in the apartment. I like cold days with the windows open, though, because it is the perfect time to do laundry since you don’t have to run the air conditioning to keep the apartment cool while running the laundry making it hot! We have tons of laundry these days with both of us going to the gym most days so we need to do it several times a week.

I looked at Verizon FIOS today which has just recently been announced here in Newark. I am very unlikely to consider switching as Cablevision provides a pretty exceptional service. In fact my only complaint about Cablevision is that they constantly harass me by calling my mobile and offering me ridiculously priced add-ons to my Internet access and every conversation is exactly the same (oh, $30 for worse phone service than my current $11 phone service and I have to pay and extra $30 for television that I don’t want so I am really paying $60 for a phone I don’t want? Oh yes sir, that is a bad deal. Sorry.) But the service itself is good. I checked with FIOS and their residential service looks to be okay but nothing amazing at all. Basically the same prices and speeds that I get now but new and untested and with a bad reputation for customer service. So why take the chance when Cablevision does such a good job? But then I looked at Verizon’s FIOS business class services! What a joke. Verizon charges more just for Internet access than I pay for my redundant Internet access, power, space, cooling, generators, battery systems, 24×7 staff and security combined in Scranton. And in Scranton my base Internet access speeds are double what Verizon tops out at and I can scale many times beyond when necessary and I get 32 static IP addresses instead of 1. Ouch. Talk about bad pricing. And all of this and Verizon is the one in the cheaper market!

It looks like I am very likely going to have to travel up to Ithaca on Sunday to do some work up there. The Ralstons are planning on leaving Newark at eleven in the morning and Dominica has to spend the afternoon and evening working on her homework that is due on Sunday night so the timing actually works out pretty well. So if all goes according to plan I will arrive in Ithaca a little after two in the afternoon and will work for several hours before driving back down to Newark.

I find it very funny that Oreo absolutely loves horseradish cheese. It is one of his favourite foods. He completely freaks out when I am eating some and jumps all over trying to get me to give him some. It works out for him that horseradish is my favourite cheese flavour. LeRaysville Cheese Factory makes an amazing horseradish cheddar that we love to share.

In the midst of my hectic day of work, dog sitting and cleaning I did manage to get Pinnacle Studio 11 installed on our one Windows computer. That actually took several hours. That is one huge package!

I actually got a lot of cleaning done today and am very proud of the work that I did. My super big accomplishment for the day was to get all of the loose paper sorted and taken care of. I threw out an entire garbage bag full of paperwork and have a huge box to go to dad’s for filing. I also, finally, got around to testing out my new DL360 G2 rack rails and they look like they are perfect so I am going to be able to deliver that machine to Scranton maybe as early as Sunday if I can figure out when to squeeze in time to work on it. Sunday is likely far too ambitious although it would be perfect. More likely I will be able to do a delivery two weeks later when I go to Pavilion.

Weight Lost So Far: 22.5lbs

OfficeMax Fails at Customer Service

I got home last night and the cleaning begin in ernest. However, before I could really get down to cleaning I had to call back to OfficeMax because after having opened a customer service case last night and having been told that they would get back to me – they didn’t get back to me. The issue is that we ordered a desk eleven days ago that was to be delivered in one to three business days. We placed the order on Sunday so shipping could happen the very next day. We waited and no desk arrived. We had been hopeful that it would have arrived by the weekend so that we could have had it assembled and put in place before we left on Friday. That had been the plan all along. No luck.

We returned from Frankfort and decided to give them until Tuesday to deliver the desk before calling. So yesterday I called and talked to customer service about the desk. They said that they couldn’t help me (great customer service) but that someone from the warehouse would call me back (I assumed later that evening.) I thought that it was strange both that the customer service team couldn’t answer questions about the status of my order and that they thought that the warehouse would be useful since the one thing that they were able to determine for me was that the desk had not been shipped at all.

So tonight when I got home I decided that I needed to follow up as obviously the unshipped desk did not arrive nor did the warehouse call. Apparently the warehouse has little interest in shipping products or doing good customer service. So I called customer service again and they explained that the warehouse needs at least forty-eight hours before they would call back. The excuse for this turn around time was that the warehouse needed time to check with the shipping partner as to the status of the order. I could see this if, in fact, the warehouse had shipped my desk but in this case they had not. They were simply stalling.

I explained that it was not appropriate for the customer service department to stall on my for forty-eight hours on an item that I was trying to find out why it hadn’t been shipped in seventy-two hours especially when I had given them much longer than that in the first place. Had the customer service representative yesterday decided to actual take care of me they would have immediately cancelled the order and had a new replacement desk shipped immediately since it would be likely to arrive, assuming the warehouse people decide to show up to work at all, around the same time that the warehouse is supposed to return my call to let me know that they don’t intend to ever ship my original desk. The first customer service representative simply took the path of least resistance, acting like she was solving my problem and brushed me off.

Tonight the customer service representative was going to simply let me continue to have nothing done for me explaining that it was the warehouse’s problem and not customer service’s – something that should never, ever be said or implied to a customer. I mentioned that if the desk was ordered today that it would, hopefully, arrive within seventy-two hours but that if we waited for the warehouse to tell us what we already knew – that the desk had not yet been shipped – that it would take at least one day longer for no reason.  She agreed and went ahead and cancelled my current order and placed a new order for the desk which should, in theory, arrive within the next three business day.

Given that we know that it takes the warehouse forty-eight hours to respond to a request for information concerning a shipped product it therefore makes sense that the only reasonable way to get a good turnaround time from them is for me to then open a customer service request tomorrow.  If I open a case tomorrow then the warehouse should get back to me to let me know whether or not they have bothered to ship this new desk by the exact same time that it should, at the latest, have arrived.

I have often said that the true quality of a company is not seen until you have something go wrong.  Every companies makes mistakes and has problems.  There is no way around that.  Customer service is the place where companies have an opportunity to fix things that are wrong or to make them worse.  In the case of OfficeMax, they made it worse.  They could have shipped out a replacement desk immediately but instead totally blew me off the first time from customer service, then blew me off via the warehouse and then only did anything to resolve the issue when I proposed the only logical solution.  Why didn’t either of the customer service representatives take the initiative to fix the problem rather than just pass it off to the warehouse whom they knew were going to call for several days and knew that they hadn’t shipped the desk at all?  And why is the warehouse allowed to sit on a customer service issue for two days when they could tell me instantly that they had missed the order and needed to ship it right away.  The entire system is built for the purpose of stalling.

The only thing that I can imagine is that OfficeMax is stalling because they already have my money and just by holding onto my money they get to earn a little bit on it before they actually deliver the product that I paid for.  Even now I had to pay for the second desk (which we don’t even know that they are going to ship) up front just for the honor of possibly getting the service that I already paid for two weeks ago.  And, at some point, I will get credited for the original desk whose order has been cancelled.  So even now I am not getting the same level of service that I should expect should I be a new customer at this point.  A new customer would at least not have to have money held for a desk that OfficeMax just decided not to deliver!

Altogether, even though the customer service representatives were “friendly” this has been one of the most disappointing customer service situations that I have ever experienced and has totally turned me off to OfficeMax.  I was so happy with the products and the ordering just two weeks ago and I have used them for years but they managed to show to me that all of that good service was just a thin veil over a completely customer unfriendly organization.  They proved to me this week that they have absolutely no interest in having me as a customer nor fulfilling their obligations of sending the order that they had happily taken my money for.

The bottom line is that to my face people acted friendly but the actions, which speak louder than the words, were rude and obnoxious.  And now I am back to the beginning.  Maybe they will ship me a desk.  Maybe they won’t.  It will be another week before I have any way to know.  Even if I open a case to find out if it is shipping tomorrow I should not expect the warehouse to let me know whether or not they are going to ship me the desk until next week.

June 13, 2007: An Authority on Transport Futures?

I got home last night and our new corner desk from OfficeMax still has not arrived. The one to three days of shipping has now turned into a week and two days and nothing so I called OfficeMax to find out what was going on. They had no idea and said that the warehouse would call me back since there was no tracking information or anything indicating that the order had been processed at all. But we did not hear back from the warehouse.

After learning when I got home that the fire drills that we were promised were over were continuing without any hiccup at all I decided that it was time to have a blog dedicated to living here at 1180 so that I would have a more useful place to talk about these issues so I have no created 1180 Newark: The 1180 Raymond Boulevard Blog. Already SGL is one of the most authoritative blogs about 1180 Raymond Blvd. anyway so I am guessing that this will really solidify us as THE place for downtown Newark residential news.

I got home and found Dominica playing Age of Empires: Age of Kings on her Nintendo DS. She is starting to get into it and we are hopeful that it will be “the” head to head Nintendo DS game for us. We have two copies just to check it out.

Dominica made veggie pizza burgers and broccoli for dinner. We watched some <em>Father Ted</em> and relaxed. We made it down to the gym at a decent time tonight – around twenty until ten. That was a much better time than a quarter after ten like we normally seem to do. That little bit makes a big difference.

Before going to sleep Dominica played a little more Age of Empires: Age of Kings on the DS and I loaded up and listened to Chris Spurgeon’s recent talk on “The Best Geo Hacks of the Last 2,000 Years” which was very interesting. I love IT Conversations. ITC really demonstrates the power of podcasting. This particular seminar was about twenty-five minutes in length and is great for both history and science buffs.

This morning I got up and got down to the gym a little on the late side. I did a short thirty-five minute workout and Dominica and Oreo were already gone by the time that I got back to the apartment. I was very happy when I weighed in today as I have remained at pretty much 18 – 18.5 lbs loss for almost a week but today I dropped dramatically down to 19.5 lbs. I am excited as 20 lbs is a major barrier to push through and I could be there by the weekend if I work hard enough.

For some reason today (and last night on my desktop at home) WordPress 2.2 suddenly started working correctly. Ever since I did my last update to version 2.2 I have not had the normal visual editing toolbar available to me. It was obvious that it was supposed to be there but it wasn’t actually there and I had to do everything by hand. But on a Firefox restart suddenly, after over a week of it not working, suddenly my editing font has changed and the visual editing toolbar has appeared. Very strange indeed.

Today was not nearly as busy at the office as things have been for the past few days. Much more of a normal day.

There is a really good article on Slashdot today talking about ISPs and Goodmail extorting money to deliver email that you have already paid to receive. It really helps put into perspective the issues with ISPs constantly trying to bill everyone for the same services over and over again (think net neutrality.) The whole concept behind Goodmail is that even if you have paid to have an email service the company that provides your email service can charge people sending you email (that you already paid for) in order to deliver it. Much like you paying for an office in an office building but your visitors having to pay a troll standing at the front door in order to get in to see you. You wouldn’t be very happy to find out that your office or store front had someone charging people to approach you (this is commonly known as extortion) and why should you be any less upset if your Internet Service Provider is doing the same thing?

On the science front, Italian scientists have discovered matter traveling at more than 99.9% the speed of light (a.k.a. .999C.) Matter traveling at these speeds is expected to experience very little movement within time which makes it that much more interesting.

I found a really interesting site today that has some great statistics on Africa’s Internet penetration. It is amazing how little penetration there is even in relatively developed nations like South Africa.

I downloaded a bunch of IT Conversations podcasts and a few Audible books to get my Treo set up and ready to actually be used. I am really looking forward to being able to use it as a viable audio platform.

I mentioned yesterday that Apple has released the Safari web browser for Windows users. One thing that I was not previously aware of about the “SoW” was that Apple has also ported over their font rendering technology which is different from the Windows font rendering system. So now that we have Safari and Internet Explorer (or Firefox) running side by side on the same platform we can compare apples to Apples and see which font rendering system really is better. Joel Spolsky dives into the font comparison question and looks carefully to see what is being done differently. Interesting stuff for all of your amateur typographers out there.

Earlier today I was reading Scott Adams’ Dilbert Blog where he was talking about “How I Solved the Energy Problem” and I left a comment about my own article on “The Future of Transportation.” Believe it or not, by mid-day Scott Adam’s blog is the number one referrer to SGL and almost everyone over here today is checking on the transportation essay. Very cool. I love how the Internet works.

And now, after discussing the spelling of culottes, I am getting people coming to SGL looking for coolats in addition to koolats! I am becoming a clearing house for misspelled skorts inquiries.

I wrapped up the day and figured that I will have a busy evening so I am posting and heading for home.  It is a quarter until six and Dominica and I have a lot of cleaning to do tonight before the Ralstons come down to visit on Friday.  They are arriving during the day so we only have tonight and tomorrow to clean.  I will be working from home tomorrow with Oreo as I usually do on Thursdays.

Weight Lost So Far: 19.5lbs

1180 Raymond’s Fire Drills Continue Despite “Being Over”

Just two weeks after making the big announcement that the incessant fire drills plagueing 1180 Raymond Blvd., Newark, NJ would cease since “construction was over” we have received a notice that the fire drills will begin again on Monday, June 18th.  Apparently either the construction was not completed and the whole “end of the fire drills” was a farce specifically intended to placate me or new construction has begun that they didn’t realize was going to be done.  Neither option is impressive.

The worst part of the whole thing is that after all of the arguing and fighting over the fire drills and making a big deal that the fire drills were over this notice has gone out without so much as a peep or acknowledgement that they had just told us that this wouldn’t happen again.  They are acting as if they never made the “you may now stop ignoring the fire alarms” notice.  I can’t believe that the don’t have even the slightest hint at an apology for having made a big to-do about no more fire alarms.  It isn’t like months have past.  We have barely had the usual period between fire drills.  In fact, I don’t believe that we have missed a single “every other week” fire drill like we have always had.  Nothing has changed.  Not one thing.   Not the fire drills.  Not the lies.  And not the BS.

P.S. I am still waiting, after about two months, for the manager to call me back after they made a point of explaining how I could call the manager anytime that I wanted to to talk about the fire drill situation.