Thursday, March 31, 2011


Dispatches from an Undisclosed Location

- I love this poem. Hat-tip to Mary-Kim Arnold for flagging it.

- The Boy and The Girl had an Ice Cream Social at their school last night. The cafeteria became a sundae bar, and the kids moved back and forth between that and the gym, where a dj played music and the girls danced. Anyone who wants to study gender in action should attend an elementary school ice cream social. The Moms are connected, buzzing with activity and emotion. The Dads drift, gamely but aimlessly, like cordial pinballs.

- The Wife is turning political. Our town gets aid from the state, which it pours into the public schools. The state is cutting the aid at exactly the time when local property tax revenues are down, so the schools are facing some awful cuts. Annoyed at the seeming apathy of the local PTO -- which seems more focused on ice cream socials than anything else -- TW started a petition to our state government to stop the local aid cuts and protect the schools. She already has several hundred signatures, and suddenly finds herself leading a local movement. Go, TW!

- Apparently Minnesota has joined the ranks of states making cuts of previously unheard-of magnitude to public higher education. In lieu of an educated workforce, now I guess it will rely on its sunny, warm climate to lure companies to move there.

- I’m raining bad juju on HP. I bought an HP mini-laptop, only to find the wifi slower than the dialup connection I had in grad school. (The ipod touch did fine, so I know it wasn’t the network.) I called tech support twice, spent several hours doing what they asked, and ended with the screen flashing at me “cannot find operating system.” Annoyed, I returned the &(%#& thing and got a cheap netbook instead. It’s slow and boring, but at least it doesn’t time out on gmail.

- In the meantime, I’ve solved the mystery of laptop mortality in the house. When TB is done with his turn on the laptop -- usually playing a game on a website -- he closes the program and hits the ‘off’ button. No intermediate step. I don’t even want to imagine the state of a hard drive after a few months of that. We’ve had a crash course in the mysteries of the “start” menu.

- Has anyone else noticed that the New York Times paywall, which allows you to pay for ‘mobile’ access, doesn’t support a WebOS app? Neither does the new Amazon cloud streamer. I’m starting to understand how Betamax owners felt. Come to think of it, HP owns WebOS now. I’m seeing a pattern here...

At least the Minnesota legislature, along with making the higher ed cuts, managed to address the #1 issue on everyone's minds by passing a law prohibiting human cloning.
Good for TW: that's an important issue.

With regards to computer hijinks? Kids are tough on their machines. I have to remind eldest that patience is vital. Her laptop goes into sleep mode when she closes the cover (which is much less destructive than "OFF" button usage) but that is also a bit wearing for the machine.

That said? I love my cheap netbook (an Acer Aspire One). It's awesome and far better engineered than any of the laptops I considered.
My two favorite things about my old mac laptop: that pressing the power button brought up the shutdown menu, and the magsafe power cord. Fantastic for the clumsy and/or lazy.
Wifi problems on laptops are almost always because of powersave issues.
California has proposed cutting $500 million from the CSU budget (an 18% budget cut.) The UC system is getting cut by another $1 billion. Note the "B". Fun times!
Enough with these nonsense HP machines, DD! Get yourself a Macbook.

Succumb. You know you want to.
That is a hell of a poem.
Anatomy of a state budget:
We're on tap for a 45% cut to the state appropriation.

I think we're about to enter the domain of quasi-public...
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