Friday, April 27, 2012

Not Scratch 'n Sniff

With Spring in the air, the sound of hammers on roofs will be a sweet addition to the birds building their nests. Like it or not, every neighborhood will be visited by the ruby-throated roofer (or sparrow . . . whatever. This intro has gone way awry!) All that to say, like the roofers, "I've got shingles."

Okay, not the same kind. Theirs come from roofing material supply companies. Mine came from , uh, well, I'm not sure, but my doctor confirmed them Wednesday morning.

But that's the point: I don't know where they came from. I just found myself with them. I had chicken pox (or, as I've heard them called, THE chicken pox) when I was a child. I have a vivid memory of my mother covering me from head-to-toe in Calamine lotion, telling me, "Don't get that on anything. Now go lay down on the couch", and my being rather confused by that subtle parental misdirection. And the doctors were right: once you've had (the) chicken pox you're done. You won't get them again.

Then there's (the) shingles. You know, the "adult" reincarnation of (the) chicken pox that are not (the) chicken pox but stem from the same virus.

I've determined that diseases should be included in PETA's campaign in protecting those we share the planet with. Why? Because diseases are clearly intelligent life. They have a "survival instinct". For instance, (the) shingles are very contagious - before the rash becomes visible! That's right, you are spreading them before you are even aware you have them. That's ingenious - or insidious. Either way, they know that if they are only contagious when the rash is there, they would be eliminated by isolation.

See Spot? See Spot Run! Or, Run From Spot!

And I know why they call them (the) shingles: I desperately want a piece of shingle to scrape this rash with!!

"Mom! You got anymore of that Calamine?"

© Emittravel 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Win(RT)s & Losses

Microsoft has proven once again that they are completely out of touch with the consumer market, and have NO intention of EVER reaching out to them.

First off, let’s look at the new operating system on the horizon: Windows 8. Nothing new here. We've been hearing about this "reimaged Windows" for over a year now, and there has been quite a bit of excitement over it. I admit, I've had a "thrill up my leg" whenever I heard news of it. But, just like a politician's ability to deflate any campaign promise, Microsoft has gone out of its way to pop that balloon. They have come out with the name(s) for the new operating system: Windows 8 (obvious?), Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise (which is different from Pro how?), and WinRT. What? WinRT? What the hell is that?

There has been many guesses to what WinRT stands for, but the (sarcasm alert) funny part to me is that it is the one that will be natively installed on new store-bought tablet devices. So, you are sitting in that local coffee shop and pull out your tablet. Someone at the next table asks you, "Hey. Is that an iPad? An Android tablet? Or a Windows 8 tablet?" And you answer, "No, it's a WinRT tablet." Because you CAN'T call it Windows 8, because that would be lying (which is okay IF you ARE a politician . . . ). And since it's been called Windows 8 for so long, that person will think you are some kind of obnoxious engineer or developer, and knock over that expensive cup of coffee all over your table when they walk away from you.

Another thing. I've been using my HP Touchsmart tx2 convertible laptop for about three years now, and have recently upgraded it from Windows Vista Home Premium to Windows 7 Home Premium. One of the things I like to use is Windows Media Center (WMC) to watch movies while at lunch (temporarily ripped from DVDs). A nice feature of WMC is that, since my lunch is only an hour, I can pause a movie and continue it from there the next day (without having to leave the software running the whole time - like if I had an actual DVD in the player). One of the things WMC was not able to do was to automatically play an inserted DVD, or even allow me to select DVD when in the program. I went online for help and discovered that, according to Microsoft, in order to play DVDs with WMC I would need to be using AT LEAST the Home Premium version of Windows 7. Uh, that is what I'm running. If I want to be able to play DVDs with WMC, I would need to upgrade, and here are some handy links to help me purchase that. Morons.

So, I went to Microsoft's Contact page for some support. I searched their support page and wouldn't you know it? No WMC. That's right. There is no support assistance available for this program. Are they discontinuing it? Well, if you WANT WMC to run on your new Windows 8 device (not including purchased tablets with WinRT on it, because that's not Windows 8), you must be using the Pro version, and PURCHASE it separately. So, I'd say that yes, they are discontinuing it.

Microsoft has had one major problem (and many, many minor ones): their marketing department SUCKS. I think that the department is not full of marketing people, but computer engineers. You know, those same folks that think WinNT and WinRT are such friendly consumer-grabbing names. Microsoft comes out with a terrific product, does their best to keep it a secret from the public, spend lots of money developing it, and when it starts to catch on - BAM!! They drop it.

Sorry Microsoft, but the "thrill up my leg" is gone. I think I will stick with my Windows 7 convertible laptop (another first that has gone away) until I HAVE to make the change. And this is not just me talking - do you think businesses (many STILL running Windows XP - another "great" name) are going to invest in cosmetic changes and funky names? Only when they have to. Only when they have to.


© Emittravel 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Stuff My Brain Says #35

Currently, President Obama is pushing for his "Buffet Rule" - a minimum tax rate upon the wealthy. He said that they were not paying their fair share. That's right, with about a $5 Billion/year estimated influx of cash to our oh-so-financially-trustworthy government, the concept is nothing but a gimmick. In other words, just a little class (envy) warfare in an election year. He says it's all in the name of fairness. I say that is a LIE. Mr. President, if you really want to spew such rhetoric with a straight face, how about, in the name of fairness, make the 47% of Americans who pay NO income tax pay their share? That would validate your (faux) sincerity and bring in much more to the coffers than the "Buffet Rule".

Oh, wait. I'm sorry. I forgot: this is an election year. You don't want to piss off all of those folks living off the government (in other words, receiving the benefits of this nation without the same sacrifice as the rest of us) now would you?

© Emittravel 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Stuff My Brain Says #34

The Department of Justice is "fighting" book publishers for collusion: getting together to manipulate the market (a.k.a. adjusting pricing models). You see, collusion between companies is illegal, and the government needs to step in and stop it. Why? Because THEY weren't invited! Colluding with businesses to manipulate the market (usually with disastrous results) is the "job" of the government. Shame on you publishers. Besides, you may have missed out on a too-big-to-fail stimulus!

©Emittravel 2012