March 31st, 2006


Stranger Than Fiction

This comes from localinactivist via email:
See, an acquaintance of mine, Tom Wirth, married a woman named Kelly, who soon ran for the Oregon State House. She then started sleeping with one of the janitors at the State Capitol. Then, the janitor's girlfriend took offense and ran Rep. Wirth down with her car. When the police arrived, the girlfriend was booked (she got 6 years in the slam), and Wirth was arrested for possession of meth, which the cops found in her car.

Wirth was also cited for massively overpaying her staff (with public funds).

I hate to use The Oregonian or Free Republic for links, but the facts are there
  • Current Music
    Bad Boyz (Theme from COPS)

US Foreign Service Exam

Next Saturday I will be spending about 8 hours of Quality Time with a handful of #2 pencils and a black-ink ball point pen at SJSU, taking the State Department's foreign service exam. I signed up for it a couple of months ago under the mistaken impression that this was the prerequisite for landing any kind of overseas job with State. I have since learned that IT professionals actually apply for individual jobs posted on the department's web site, but since I've signed up, and it's free, I figured what the heck, let's see where this takes me.

If I pass the test, I will be invited to SF to participate in the oral assessment process. This is billed as needing about 10.5 hours of the candidate's time. Looking at the web site it is a truly daunting exam - one wonders how, if this is what all FS officers have to go through, US foreign policy can have ever gotten as effed up as it is today.

Check it out here.
  • Current Music
    Bob Marley Box Set

Blue toothiness

The latest incarnation of my cell phone has a very good bluetooth widget. And Motorola sold me a very nice (though also very slow) app for the PC which handles phone book, calendar, ring tones and photos well enough to suit me.

Last night I loaded the software, did something else while it connected to my cell phone, then entered some calendar and phonebook items. After that was done I wanted to check the entries, so I reached for the phone in its holster hanging from my pants pocket. It wasn't there. I'd forgotten I had put it on its charger in the bedroom, about 30 feet away.


Looked up the BT specs, and they say 10 meters (33 feet) is the range. Mild technosquee resulted.
  • Current Mood
    enthralled enthralled


Going to Oregon Sunday. One show-stopper in my project there last time was their lack of a TV set with RCA input connectors into which I could plug the cable box. Another was the total crap bluetooth headset I had with me, which sounded like walking through a tunnel knee-deep in candy wrappers. So I went to Fry's in search of a BT headset and a small flat-screen TV-like object similar to a Sony Watchman, except smaller and with inputs.

Fry's did not have the Jabra headset I wanted, but they had a cool-looking Plantronics one for a mere $20 more, so I bought that. After searching the three sections of the store which might have a mini TV, the closest I found were portable DVD players. The ones for $99 were within the price my company would have reimbursed me for, but (as is common at Fry's) the units on display did not match the units in the boxes for sale, and the units in the boxes were either too expensive, did not have inputs, or they required an input cable only available from the manufacturer.

So I bought the headset and hopped in the car and headed down to El Camino to Good Guys. I'd already checked radio Shack, they wanted too much for the 5" and 7" screen hand-held TV sets, and a 2.5" would be too small for what I needed. They also wanted too much for their portable DVD players. After 20 minutes of hitting every stop light there was, and being trapped behind people who should have been ticketed for Driving While Slow, I get to Good Guys and the store is closed. Permanently. With a sign saying the nearest one was San Jose.

So I did a U-turn and went to Circuit City (which I had passed along the way) and picked up exactly what I was looking for in the form of a cheap DVD player with all the connectors included, for about $100.

Tonight's adventure will be to go to my friend Marilyn's and see if some PC-3200 RAM which I pulled out of my former PC will work in her Dell Dimension 2350 which now has PC-2100. The plan is to double the amount of memory so her machine isn't at a crawl. Right now it is taking 10 minutes to open a Word doc. Last visit we rand spybot and Trend Micro virus scan and adaware, and her machine was almost completely clean. Also re-installed Office XP for her, but that didn't help at all. Meanwhile, when she downloads and installs Microsoft updates, she gets all kinds of errors, and like most non-geek users, she always clicks on the wrong things and gets her PC into an even worse state.

Somewhere in there we'll go out for dinner. Note to bigcatroary - she wants more children photos. Especially of a tube-less George IV.

Time to go.
  • Current Music

Samurai Computer Repair

Went to Marilyn's, and with the help of SBC Home Network support, which is the keeper of the keys to the DSL modem I was installing, we got her onto the Internet. The RAM I brought with me worked fine, so now she has 1GB of the stuff, replacing the paltry 128Mb of slow memory which was in there. Between the two upgrades, we changed her boot-up time from 10 minutes to 2 minutes.

Next was a lovely home-made dinner - cream of mushroom soup and BBQ ribs with steamed veggies. Then, back to the PC to tackle the bigger problem - when she clicked on a Word doc, the PC would open Word, then lock up. If she opened Word first, she could open any doc just fine.

Turns out four different versions of Word were battling for supremacy in her PC:
  • Word for Works 2003
  • Word 2002
  • Word for Microsoft Office XP Professional
  • Word for Microsoft Office XP Standard (which I'd installed last time I was there, hoping the "repair" feature would pop up, but it didn't.

So I went into Control Panel and nuked all but the last one, did a repair on Office XP, and now her docs work like they ought to - with all that memory they pop up almost instantly.Then she shows me a doc in Word which is a list of all her recent remodeling costs, and she wanted to know how to add the column of prices. It was really better suited to a spreadsheet, so I showed her how to use Excel. She was amazed that she had never seen this program before. Now she is thinking of taking a class on it. Good idea.

Got home and opened the box for the BT headset. It's really nice, comes with a carrying case and everything. It's charging now (it can charge either from its own adapter or from my cell phone charger).

Also opened the portable DVD player and discovered it only has video out, not in. So it's going back to Circuit City tomorrow, and I'll see if they have the Polaroid one, which does take input.
  • Current Music
    ??? ?????? - ?????