November 2nd, 2015

How Elephant

There was very little pudding

I am not one to turn the clocks back before I go to sleep. I was planning on doing it whatever time I woke up. But for some reason, I was up, in bed reading,  at 1:59 am, and was able to confirm that my cell phone made the fallback at 2:02, and none of the other clocks in the bedroom did, even though the one on the lighting controller has a DST setting – it had kicked in a while ago when traditional end of daylight time arrived, so I had turned it off and set the time an hour later. And the clock in the thermometer/hygrometer also had a DST setting, but it seems to be broken. The Bose clock radio and the BIG DIGITS clock on the bedroom TV stand are manual, as is the clock radio in the bathroom and the one in the shower.

I slept till DST 7:30 am, woke up, set all the clocks in the house to standard time, checked the tablet and the big PC (it kicks on automatically at 6:30 am), the two microwaves and the oven, and the BIG DIGITS clock on the livingroom TV stand.

The only one left was the one in the car. For later.

Went back to bed till about 10 am standard time.

Watched the 49ers self-destruct until it was time to go to Janice’s, retrieve my theater ticket from under the mat, drive to the theater and wait for her to last-minute it from a birthday party in Milpitas.  Since I had plenty of time, I tried setting the clock in the car. Total FAIL. I went into the settings for the display, was able to update the price of gas, and confirm the date, and set 12hr vs 24hr but not the time. Dug the manual out from the storage compartment in the hatchback, and it had nothing at all about setting the time, Not. One. Word.

It was a beautiful day, I sat out by the (now dry) fountain in front of the theater. With 8 minutes to spare, J arrived from an unexpected direction, making a beeline for the restroom. Very predictable.

We went in with 3 minutes to spare, the show started 5 minutes late. Great seats, 3rd row orchestra, left aisle.

The play was Proof, done with an all People Of Color cast. In 2015, it looked natural. But the show is set in a time frame when a black University of Chicago math professor would have been improbable. It’s a 4-person show, and for the most part it moves along well, with lots of humor and a little bit of tragedy, and a lot of drama. Everyone did okay, b ut not deserving of the standing O which about 1/4 of the audience gave it. There were some long pauses which looked very much like “what the eff is my next line?” and “Is this where I come in?”. For a plot which centers on the finding of a mathematical paper which may present a Proof® which will turn the math world on its head, there is precious little actual math. Our heroine has memorized the largest known prime number, and a rule for finding the next prime in a series (it’s something which a 6th grader could grasp – square the prime and add 1), and Dad is reminded that today is his daughter’s birthday when his student mentions what day of the week the 11th is (11-x=4), but that’s about it.

But that’s a quibble, because the main message of the play is basically a rip-off of A Beautiful Mind in that it poses the question of how functional do you have to be as a scientist for Society to not lock you up for being clinically insane?

Good things: Beautiful set, which did not look as dilapidated as the script calls for. Very simple basic lighting. Costumes were strange for a show where everyone could have just worn stuff out of their own closets. Awkward when the leading lady is being complimented on how sexy her dress is, when the dress looks like it was made for her 20 lbs ago. Using a trenchcoat as Dad’s winter coat, and then later as the daughter’s travel coat.

After the show we set our coffee date for next Sunday, and I went home too late to see the Raiders and Seahawks win. But not too late to see the Denver team close down Green Bay.  That was a surprise. Not the win as much as how little the Packers did on offence.

I reallyreallyreallyreally want to buy an ultrabook. The Dell laptop is too damned big and heavy. I need a travel PC more than a solid one with a DVD drive. I have a portable DVD drive. So far 14 people are watching my Toshiba ultrabook sale on eBay. No bids – no offers. eBay did not let me set a starting price, just a buy-it-now price with OBO option.

I obsessed again tonight, looking for a Windows 10 non-touchscreen, 8GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, intel i5 or better CPU 13” screen. For less than $800. Dell wants $1200 for theirs. There’s an Asus Zenbook for $600 but it only has the very slow Core M CPU. 800 MHz.

I took time out from obsessing just in time to see the last batter of the World Series. Very pleased and surprised the Royals won it in 5. I was expecting them to do it at home next week. I'm not baseball fan, let alone a Royals fan, but having been brought up near NYC when the Giants, Dodgers and Yankees were in full swing, the Mets have always struck me as an artificial construct.

Plans for tomorrow:

  • Work
  • MNF

I Gave In To Buyer’s Regret

And it will not be the last time. Because next year when the 100-mile Nissan Leaf comes out, I will trade in the Prius and pay way too much $$ for one. I may even use my company 401K funds, because I’d like to have the title.

But I digress.

The Dell laptop I bought to replace the Toshiba was affordable, and it works fine as a solidly built, heavy duty business machine, complete with optical drive and touch screen. But it’s not a good replacement because the main reason I need a laptop is for travel. 15.6” screen had turned out to not be portable in any computer-ready knapsacks I own. And it’s heavy. Did I mention how much of an effect gravity has on it?

So today as I was doing a series of “hit the ’go’ button and wait 10 minutes” tests, I read ultrabook reviews.

A couple liked the Asus Zenbook, but most of them liked the Dell XPS 13.

The more I read, the more it was a trade-off between price and performance.

The Zen comes with a craptastic 800MHz M processor (as in built for low profile mobile devices).  It was designed for Windows 8, comes with 8.1, customer-upgradable to 10.

The Dell has a variety of CPU options, but the one which looked like the best price/performance combo has an i5 CPU, and is built for Windows 10.

The price difference between the two, with 8GB RAM 256GB SSD and a non-touch display is about  $400 in favor of the Zen.

At lunchtime, after visiting the Tech CU to find out what the MICR line on my self-printed checks should look like, I went to Fry’s to sample the keyboards. They did not have the exact models I wanted, but that was just the insides. The keyboards are the same. I liked the Dell’s a bit more, though both do a stupid “hide the DEL key” thing.

Back at work, more research, reading the 3-star and less reviews of both. Usually 1-star reviews are about things arriving broken, or lousy customer service, or customer-in-denial error. This was true of the Dell, which had very few bad customer reviews. But the Zen seems to have a serious display driver problem after upgrading the Windows 10. And other things seem to stop working.

A major point of this exercise was to have native Windows 10.

So, some more research showed that the best price for the Dell configuration I wanted was on Dell’s site. $200 less than Amazon, which came in 2nd.

I paid more than I wanted to, but about the same as what I expect to sell the Toshiba for. And I’ll also sell the heavy Dell, which will help.

Work was mostly usual for a Monday. Team meeting, Late Guy was even later than usual, but no problem, his last day is Friday, and Boss waited till he got there to confirm he will come to his going away lunch on Wednesday.

Also attended an engineering spec meeting for Teletext, which provided some useful information. I’ll probably be testing that when it gets into the product.

It rained pretty hard last night. It was still drizzling on the way to work, but cleared up by lunchtime. Spook was very confused by it. It’s the first real rain we have had in a year.  I took the non-freeway route with the fewest stop lights to work.

Home after work was on the expressway, since the roads were dry and it’s fairly predictable.

Watched some of the football game, over chips & dip followed by lasagna dinner with mini sourdough garlic bread slices. Luck got lucky right at the end and tied the game, but overtime was not kind to him. I stopped watching at the end of regulation, but kept an ear open.

Because now that I had the MICR line info I was able to design a check (with Spook as the background image) and print a sheet of 3, one of which will go to HR for direct deposit.

That will take a month to become effective, so I will wait till mid-December to transfer everything across to it.

Meanwhile I am thinking of maybe taking a trip during Turkey Day weekend, or Historically Inaccurate Jesus Birthday weekend. Somewhere warm. Somewhere Southwest flies. But only if they take my Paypal payment. If they fail on that, I’ll find another airline or take a train trip.

Plans for tomorrow: