Tuesday, 5 August 2014

09:43 – I’m still spending most of my time building and shipping science kits, reordering stuff we’re running short of, and so on.

In addition to regular buses, the Winston-Salem Transit Authority runs smaller Trans-AID buses to take elderly and disabled people to doctor appointments and so on. Yesterday, only a mile or so from our house, someone fired a bullet through the window of one of those buses, narrowly missing the driver and one of the three passengers. I hope the cops catch whoever did it and, assuming it was intentional, the court sentences the SOB to a long prison term.


58 thoughts on “Tuesday, 5 August 2014”

  1. I think any crime committed with a firearm should be punishable with death. Even if you only pretend to have a gun. You can own all the guns you want, but use one in the commission of a crime and you should pay the ultimate price.

  2. I’d go along with that, as long as the list of crimes to be so punished was very detailed and explicitly exempted some “crimes”. For example, it should be perfectly legal to shoot politicians and bureaucrats, spammers (email/smail/phone), door-to-door missionaries and salesmen, televangelists, and anyone who initiates force against another.

  3. Jeezum!! When’s the las time aUS General was killed in action? Now does the US think it’s time to leave this and all other countries to their own fate.

    An American general was killed today and 15 other soldiers wounded in an attack at a military academy in Afghanistan today.

    Maybe that’s Oshitforbrains next strategy to eliminate flag officers. Send them to the backwater with no security.

  4. With the Tax Payer Relief Act ending last year, I owe taxes since a big chunk of my deductions phase out over $$$ income. At least Bush II helped there. Need to recompute for this year.

  5. Yeah, tax “relief” is disappearing all over. For the last two years, Barbara and I have been able to take a small-business exemption on our state income taxes. For an individual, the first $50,000 of small-business income was exempt from state income taxes; for a married couple, the first $100,000 was exempt. Losing that exemption is going to cost us a shitload in additional state income taxes.

  6. We do not have state income taxes in The Great State of Texas. For individuals (I’m looking at you, weird little state franchise tax).

  7. I actually expected Obummer to expel us from Iraq and Afghanistan in his first term. I cannot believe how incompetent he is, worse than Jimmuh.

  8. As I’ve said here before, the obvious intent, short- and long-term, is to bleed us dry, to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. They will do this through the old standby of raising taxes and fees, and artificially inflating prices, and making it nearly impossible to rise above a bare subsistence level. And if we bitch about it, they’ll come after us, and find ways for us to lose our jobs, houses, and legal status. For really mouthy and troublesome types, they’ll put us away somewhere.

    As for the Sandbox Wars and suchlike; it matters not a whit which puppet is in the WH, Repub, Dem, Libertarian, Socialist, whatever; they’re told what to do and how high to jump and this has been the case for a long time now. Wouldn’t matter now if it’s Obummer, Bush, Mittens or some other supposed Repub savior from the media woodwork (produced to jazz us up a little and cause a little tingle up and down our legs until they drop the hammer on him or her and we are led by our noses back to the usual trough).

    T-storm here now and torrential monsoon downpour; good, it was kinda muggy the last coupla days. And now I don’t gotta wottuh the plants.

    Second interview tomorrow for the Windows gig an hour away.

    Tow truck evidently pulled our Saab over something on the way to the garage last night that ruptured the oil pan and caused oil to spill in a pool at the garage’s parking lot this morning. So now they have to order an oil pan so they can start the cah so they find out where the gas line leak is. After that, the speedometer issue, ball joint and maybe someday, a current inspection sticker. This was all after a day of good news yesterday, so naturally today we had to have some chit served up. Now gotta contact AAA and start a complaint process, whatever it is.

  9. Somebody was askin’ where Lurch is, during all this Middle East crisis stuff? Who cares, really; none of the chit over there is our biz. Let them slaughter each other like the pigs and dogs they are, all parties included. They love it. It’s their favorite thing to do. Let them have at it.

    But back to Lurch, a.k.a. “Vinegar John,” “The Ketchup Heir,” and “Liveshot.”

    Here he is on Nantucket; he has an estate there and his family, with their connections to the Forbes Empire, own a bunch of property in the Elizabeth Islands, too:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/384524/while-middle-east-burns-nro-staff

  10. If are going to have the death penalty, and for all practical purposes I will argue we don’t have it, as a person sentenced to death is far more likely to die of old age than be executed. If we have the death penalty, then any expert committing perjury for the prosecution or a prosecutor suborning perjury should be subject to the death penalty. Even a prosecutor withholding exonerating evidence in a death penalty case should be subject to the death penalty.

  11. lol Lurch on his pink girls bike! I guess he got tired trying to save Hamas.

    Hey Mr. Chuck, is this tiny house? You could park it in a ditch to get the earth sheltered effect. 🙂

  12. I will only support the death penalty in a small handful of capital cases where we have the definitive proof of guilt absolutely established and documented, without any of the stuff Dave B. just mentioned. Once sentenced, the execution should be carried out within 24 hours and be done with it, preferably in as quick and humane way as possible, thus my ongoing recommendation of the guillotine. In public, too, not behind some massive prison-industry walls somewhere, speaking of which I’d also empty the prisons forthwith of all non-violent prisoners.

  13. “You could park it in a ditch to get the earth sheltered effect.”

    Maybe Obummer can take that 3.7 billion or whatever and just build a whole city of these for the hordes of “unaccompanied alien children” and however many hadji sleeper cells have now slipped across that border, too.

    Our house here is as small as I care for us to get. Enough room for two large homo sapiens sapiens, three cats, a dog and the occasional couple of guests.

    T-storm rolled through but zero relief from heat/humidity, kinda surprising. It’s a steam bath out there now.

  14. Not quite, but I have been seriously thinking of getting a used Airstream to make the transition from Tiny House to earth shelter. There is a guy up in Michigan who retrofits old Airstreams, and updates the insulation so you can actually live in them in northern climes during winters. I was looking at a Subaru to replace the Roadmaster, but have put that on hold until I decide on the Airstream. Would hate to get a trailer and not have enough power or transmission capacity to pull it.

  15. T-storm rolled through but zero relief from heat/humidity, kinda surprising. It’s a steam bath out there now.

    The front on this map is north of you and is following the jetstream pretty closely.

    http://image.weather.com/images/maps/current/curwx_720x486.jpg

    In a day or two, the jetstream will dip south of VT and you should get some relief. But only for a few days, as the jetstream will then retreat WAY up to northern Canada, and bring that hot tub humidity to everyone north of the Gulf.

    No wonder Greeley recommended going west.

  16. Grrr. I suppose that I actually should be happy with Linux, but I keep running into stuff that seems like kindergarten mistakes. Mint 17 Cinnamon allows GUI changing of 12 or 24 hour time, and once you are forced to use 24 hour time for a while, returning to 12 hour seems silly retrogression.

    Anyway, I set Cinnamon to 24 hour time, but it did not drop the “AM” and “PM” from the locale configuration, so when I try to use a time stamp, it makes it “15:34 PM”.

    Also found out, while I am at it, that Mint does not use NTP for time protocol, but rather, it employs the now-deprecated NTPdate. Like I say, if this had happened in Windows, there likely would be no way to fix it at all without serious programming experience, but I am sure I can fix the above 2 problems if I can just find the proper configuration files.

    NTP is a seriously good program and never takes a computer backwards in time. It uses time-slicing to speed up or slow down the clock when making corrections. One disadvantage is that it will not correct more than 1,000 seconds at a time, so if your computer starts with a date in 1970, you may die before it ever reaches the correct date and time.

  17. Our house here is as small as I care for us to get. Enough room for two large homo sapiens sapiens, three cats, a dog and the occasional couple of guests.

    We can make do with our current house, but I’d love to have an extra bedroom and larger garage.

  18. We can make do with our current house, but I’d love to have an extra bedroom and larger garage.

    You forgot the extra bathroom. You can never have too many bathrooms, IMHO. We have three bathrooms in our present house which I count as the bare minimum in a house.

  19. We may end up putting a second bathroom on the ground floor here. But there are three or four other major projects to get done before that.

    I’ve also run into goofy elementary time/clock problems with Linux on and off in this past year, usually fairly simple to fix, though, via the GUI.

    “No wonder Greeley recommended going west.”

    And hordes of New Englanders did, back in the day, thanks to worn-out farming soil here, an ocean of rocks (which made our countless miles of stone walls), the climate, and cheaper land out West. You can hike through woods from Rhode Island to here and across to Maine one way and back across northern New York the other way and find lots of old roads, which here in Vermont they call “ancient roads,” the legal definition, stone walls, cellar holes, foundations, and old boneyards in the middle of nowhere. Also ghost towns; there’s one in northeastern CT that is supposedly utterly haunted with total evil. And if you take a boat out onto the Quabbin Reservoir in central MA, you can see the remains of the four towns they leveled to create the reservoir back in the 1930s to expand the water supply for Boston. Some of the roads in the north end of New Salem continue on down into the water, it’s kinda eerie.

  20. You forgot the extra bathroom. You can never have too many bathrooms, IMHO. We have three bathrooms in our present house which I count as the bare minimum in a house.

    We have two and a half bathrooms which has been enough for us thus far. For one third of the time we’ve lived in the house, we had more bathrooms than human occupants of the house. And it’s in the last few months that the third occupant figured out how to use a bathroom without help.

  21. Yes, the bathroom problem is not the inhabitants but the visitors. We had nine people in our house over the last New Years for five days. Bathroom access was dicey at times.

  22. I can beat that visitor:bathroom ratio, Lynn. My wife threw a Chinese New Year party six months ago. It was supposed to be about 20 guests, but… Friend#1 called and said her brother and his family are visiting from the PRC and can they come? Friend#2 called and said her son and his friends were home this week from college and can they come? And so on, ad well past nauseum.

    The final count: 74 people, including the four people who live here. (Not counting the boys, who were off to college.)

    Three bathrooms.

    And it was almost seven hours from the first guest’s arrival to the last guest’s departure.

    My part in the mess was limited: I’d agreed to cook a turkey and a ham. After that, my wife was on her own to deal with the mess I knew she’d make. I did play with the little kids a bit and a delegation of tween girls got me to talk to them for a while, but otherwise I stayed in my office and worked. (Worked as best I could considering the noise level.)

  23. “…74 people, including the four people who live here.”

    Yikes. Among them, how many Communists? I love throwing that word around up here; it drives Princess and our son nuts; the latter has, sadly, taken to listening to NPR every day on his work commutes down in the Peoples’ Republic of Taxachusetts.

    “After that, my wife was on her own to deal with the mess I knew she’d make.”

    Good call, Grasshopper. My strategy for these events is to set up and cook as much stuff as possible well in advance so all I gotta do is pull something from the oven or the crockpots or the grill or whatever and set it out. Then I disappear to an extremely low profile for the duration; it’s almost always a major hen party and nonstop chatter about nothing much for countless hours.

    That all goes down the drain, pretty much, if we have to go somewhere else for this stuff. Then I just try to hang with the kids or any possible males in the vicinity as much as I can. Am I a misogynist? I plead guilty. A misanthrope? Guilty again, as charged. Just a flaming antisocial asshole? Probably.

  24. Just a flaming antisocial asshole?

    Antisocial, probably, if you evaluate yourself thus. Honestly, it’s the only rational attitude to have, when faced with hordes of…

    Assholes. Are you an asshole? Possibly, but it certainly doesn’t show here. Are a lot of people around you assholes? It’s likely. Try this simple test: next time you’re in a social setting, try to steer the conversation to something that interests you: medieval literature, deodorizing a cat-piss basement, maintaining a server rack. Better yet, drop a couple of opinions, like women make terrible bosses in the IT world. Let’s see how fast they walk away or try to change the subject in the first case, and do that or jump on you in the second case.

    Doesn’t that unwillingness to listen to what you want to talk about make them assholes? Doesn’t that intolerance of dissenting thought make them complete flaming assholes who deserve nothing but crushed testicles or early-onset labial bruising?

    Apropos nothing, you do wear shit-kicker boots to all social gatherings, right?

  25. “…Try this simple test…”

    I’ve done some short variations of this in the past and it is as you say. *My* topics are of little to no interest, whereas *theirs* are earth-shatteringly stupendous. Etc. Shitkicker boots in the cold weather, which is most of the year, and beat-up sneaks in the summuh.

    Within family, Princess considers me a fascist, son now thinks I’m probably a Nazi; wife tolerates my eccentricities and will actually listen to long ramblings about medieval literature, not so much about women manglers in IT, though she knows full well it’s true. Siblings know I’m their gruppenfuhrer and they’re my little squad of NCOs.

    And now to watch a couple more episodes of this “Salem” series; it’s a hoot. They do get one thing right, though; any actual witches were more likely to either be among the social and political elites or in close associations with them. The old women and men they judicially murdered were probably not, with maybe one or two exceptions. The dude playing Cotton Mather’s dad, Increase, does a great villain job; Steven Lang; he’s played Stonewall Jackson and Ike Clanton, all great performances. The leading man playing Captain Alden does not persuade, however; he’s only there for the romance novel reading audience who adore the bodice-ripping paperback covers. Dude playing Cotton also does not persuade by a long shot; Cotton was a near-genius Prod fanatic of his time; check out his “Magnalia Christi Americana,” and if you dig that have a gander at Reverend Michael Wigglesworth’s “Days of Judgement, Days of Doom.” Real laughers.

    And next time you’re ever in lovely Woostuh, MA, the Haht of the Commonwealth, slide on over to the American Antiquarian Society on Park Avenue and check out the portraits of the Mather family, Richard, Increase and Cotton on the wall. Mrs. OFD has seen those and also the portraits at the Essex-Peabody Museum and swears I’m a dead ringer, which is not surprising, actually.

  26. Interesting. In social gatherings I always end up hanging out in the kitchen with all the women.

  27. Comcast upgraded our internet speed today, from about 55/6 Mbps (up/down) to 99/10 according to speedtest.net. Took a reboot of the cable modem.

  28. Interesting. In social gatherings I always end up hanging out in the kitchen with all the women.

    As do I. I usually don’t do well with my wive’s friend’s husbands. They inevitably start discussing sports, which I don’t follow, and I go looking for someone else with whom to entertain myself. I watch a little college football and some ice hockey, but that’s just about it. I really have no desire to discuss the minutia of every known sport ad nauseam.

  29. Although I used to be a basketball freak and enjoyed tennis before the Williams sisters, I am now totally opposed to zero-sum sport games. I think it promotes tribalism in an unhealthy way. And I cannot effing stand the fact that in Indy, we built the effing football stadium for the already super-rich team owner (rich from Daddy’s money) with government funds (i.e. my tax dollars), are still paying off the bonds on the old stadium that they tore down to build the new one, we pay additional tax on all food bought anywhere downtown to pay off the new stadium, and the FREAKING team owner gets a percentage of gate receipts for ANYTHING that plays in “HIS” stadium.

    There is something seriously wrong with that picture. F*#K sports!

  30. Whoever came up with “Lurch” as a name for Kerry – it is just so fitting. I’d never thought of it before seeing it here, but he really does look like Lurch. Except the real Lurch was probably the better diplomat. Kerry’s style is to barge into other people’s problems and tell them what they ought to do. Unsolicited advice is just so well received, especially from a government that has been so successful with diplomatic solutions in its own recent conflicts.

    I like this one from SteveF: Try this simple test: next time you’re in a social setting, try to steer the conversation to something that interests you. Good friends will be interested in your interests. Sociable acquaintances will at least make an effort. Funny how rarely it actually works out.

    Of course, he then continues: …drop a couple of opinions, like women make terrible bosses in the IT world. Now that’s just non-PC. Not allowed. I occasionally toss out a nugget like “let’s evaluate people on their skills rather than their gender”. You can hear the thump when it hits the floor, and everyone quickly scuttles to some other group talking about safer topics.

  31. I agree with Chuck about not subsidising rich private teams/owners, completely disagree about not liking zero-sum games. I am extremely tribal in supporting teams and individuals, especially the Hawthorn Hawks in the Australian Football League. I’ve barracked (=US “rooted”) for them for about 35 years.

    What’s wrong with the Williams sisters? They’re not Anna Kournikova or Martina Hingis but they play pretty good tennis, don’t they?

    My major gripe is the way that the once beautiful Adelaide Oval was butchered to allow AFL games at night. First they but up retractable lights that didn’t retract, now they’ve demolished a number of lovely old stands so they can put in ugly modern ones. This took about $600M and I think the government (i.e. me) was heavily involved financially. Why?

  32. There is something seriously wrong with that picture.

    Oh, you miss the big picture. You see having all those people come to attend the game is supposed to be a big revenue booster for all the city coffers. You know, the sales tax on stale, overcooked, hotdogs, beer that costs almost as much as it’s weight in gold, peanuts that the squirrels rejected, etc.

    Also all the players that play in the stadium get taxed on what they made playing in the game. Salary $1,000,000 a year, play 10 games, you now get taxed in the jurisdiction where you played on $100,000.

    At least that is how is sold to city administrators who are easily wowed by a fancy Powerpoint presentation. The digital equivalent of shiny beads and baubles used to acquire what is now New York.

    As it usually works out the revenue does not equal the cost associated with building the venue. Few make any real money. Although the number crunchers can twist the amounts by excluding on going maintenance to make it look like money was made, in reality most stadiums become a major money pit for the municipality but produce big bucks for the team’s owner(s).

    San Antonio needed a new stadium. They got the Alamo dome. To help fund the facility San Antonio increased the fares charged for the city busses. Problem is most of the people that ride those busses do not have enough extra money to attend any events at the stadium they helped pay for.

    I see nothing wrong with a new stadium that is not tied to a specific sports franchise. But once a team owner get use of the stadium that owner must pay a use fee that is substantial. Need a stadium for a specific sports team, the team pays $100% of the cost. If the team cannot make enough money to support themselves they deserve to be disbanded. Sorry Cleveland Ohio.

  33. Another factor is probably all the union jobs that are created in building and running stadia. That’s worth its weight in gold to Democrat politicians.

  34. Interesting. In social gatherings I always end up hanging out in the kitchen with all the women.

    If someone with your chemistry skills keeps winding up in the kitchen with the women at social gatherings, why aren’t you a better cook? After all cooking is nothing but applied chemistry. My biggest problem with cooking as applied chemistry is that I learned the first rule of chemistry all too well. Thou shalt not taste the results of thine experiments. However, I never learned that I shouldn’t serve the results of my applied chemistry experiments to others. It’s amazing what people will eat if they’re hungry enough. Or in the case of my mother in law, they’re tired of having to cook a turkey every year.

  35. ” I occasionally toss out a nugget like “let’s evaluate people on their skills rather than their gender”. You can hear the thump when it hits the floor, and everyone quickly scuttles to some other group talking about safer topics.”

    I remember older stuff in regard to this question; substitute “race” for “gender” and not only will the nugget hit the floor, it will continue on through it to the basement. Having been a participant back in the day in the Affirmative Action quota games.

    As for IT, I just got one of my regular IT-related emails where they bemoaned the fact that YES, there are wimmenz in IT security, but “we need to raise their profile” so wimmenz won’t keep being discouraged about entering the field. Gee, maybe a big magazine cover story, hand out some hastily made-up awards, shout their triumphs from the rooftops? Some disgruntled chick on Linked-In a while back trolled up a purported discussion on women in IT and there were many dozens of responses, many well-thought-out, and she just trashed them all and then left. That did a lot for “wimmenz in IT” right there, of course.

    My own experience has been mostly negative in this regard. In fact, exclusively negative. Maybe it’s me, but I’ve seen too many other instances over the decades. Of course the prevailing ‘conventional wisdom’ is that we horrible menz have effectively walled off the field for ourselves and deliberately make life miserable for any grrls who want to play, too.

  36. I have had a couple of woman bosses over the years, and I am trying to think of one that was better than the worst male boss I ever had. That analysis comes up zero. Maybe in minus territory, actually.

  37. Same here. And I’ve also had several very good male bosses, most recently at my last gig and then further back at EDS. All the women bosses have been not only bad but terrible.

    This is all our fault, of course.

  38. As do I. I usually don’t do well with my wive’s friend’s husbands. They inevitably start discussing sports, which I don’t follow, and I go looking for someone else with whom to entertain myself.

    The truth comes out. How many wives do you have, anyway? 😉

    As I’ve said before, the vast majority of men do not like women. They want to have sex with them, certainly, but they don’t actually like their company. I’m one of those one-in-a-hundred (if not one-in-a-thousand) guys who actually prefers the company of women.

    I have never wanted to watch televised sports, and I find the conversations boring in all-male groups. The conversations with the girls around the kitchen table are invariably fascinating. Women freely discuss incredibly intimate details that no man would ever mention in public. Men are embarrassed to discuss sex in detail; women glory in discussing it. They are unembarrassable. If men had any idea of what their wives and girlfriends talk about with groups of other women, they’d never show their faces in public again. And women freely accept a man joining these discussions and treat him like one of the girls. I’ve actually had such groups of women tell me that they thought of me as one of the girls.

  39. Unlike OFD and Chuck I’ve had some good female bosses, in particular in the early Nineties when I was a MVS systems programmer. Some other female bosses have been pretty good. Come on guys! Give ’em a break!

    I also prefer the company of women, and most of my best friends are female. I just prefer their company. In groups they don’t seem to say much “intimate” stuff, but in private I’m amazed about the stuff they’ll talk about.

  40. Back in the late 70s I worked for a year on a factory night shift as the only male with about two-dozen women and I also noticed the stuff they talked about that at first made my hair stand on end; indeed, if their husbands and boyfriends had known they would have killed themselves.

    Now I find that sort of chatter tedious in the extreme and all the rest of it with few exceptions; and I don’t hang around with groups of guys yakking about sports, either. Actually I don’t hang around with anybody anymore, other than Mrs. OFD, the couple of weeks a month, at best, that she’s home. Kids are grown and gone and grandkids are five hours south of here. When I was a kid our grandparents were never more than an hour or so away and we saw a lot of them, plus spent summer vacations with one set or the other, taking turns. Both sets also lived near the southeastern MA and Cape Cod beaches so that was big for us.

  41. “Grrr. I suppose that I actually should be happy with Linux, but I keep running into stuff that seems like kindergarten mistakes. Mint 17 Cinnamon allows GUI changing of 12 or 24 hour time, and once you are forced to use 24 hour time for a while, returning to 12 hour seems silly retrogression.”

    Agree. I don’t know why more people don’t at least try KDE. Although no DE is perfect, KDE seems to be the most tailorable, and the included apps (most) are pretty good compared to the other major DEs. I started with Ubuntu waay back (2006, IIRC) and was pretty unimpressed. Then, based on Brian Bilbrey’s musings, decided to try MEPIS, which brought me to KDE. It was good enough to use as a secondary OS for some years. It was only when I decided to try Linux as an exclusive OS that I tried several distros. That took me quite a while, but I did learn a lot. That learning aside, I still marvel over the glaring omissions and roughness that persist.

    I think part of the reason why Linux and its apps still have such roughness is that many if not most Linux users don’t actually use it to get their ordinary office work done. They do lots of server stuff, programming, and web development, and that is fine, but very few are what I call (for lack of a better term) business users. My experience with a class a year or so ago seemed instructive. The teacher was very good, and the class very well thought out, but almost nothing about any DE or ordinary app use. To be fair, that was not the purpose of the class, and I did learn a lot (and keep learning since.) Of the dozen or so students, all but a couple only used Linux for admin purposes. The two who actually used the OS for ordinary stuff had never tried KDE, making me the odd one. In short, they had problems I didn’t have in KDE, and I likely faced problems different from theirs.

    I don’t really have a solution, and most of my ideas have already been tried with no success. It’s a shame, because Linux is really wonderful. It deserves better. I will keep using it and try to smooth the rough edges, but I will (grudgingly) always need a Windows computer. Sad thing is that I remember when MS was in such a position. They overcame that with such success that… well, you know.

  42. OFD will be happy to learn that he’s converted me. I just ordered a case of 10-hour votive candles.

    I figured I’d try lighting one and praying. If god gives me what I ask for, I’ll keep using the candles whenever I need/want something. If not, I’ll toss a few in our car emergency kits and just use the rest in forensic kits.

  43. When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn’t work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.

    Emo Philips

    How can you keep candles in a car from melting? (I don’t know the answer, just asking)

  44. How can you keep candles in a car from melting? (I don’t know the answer, just asking)

    Depends on what they’re made of. Some will liquefy, some will soften, and some won’t show any effect.

  45. When my wife holds a month’s worth of candlelight events, she also uses church candles. Cheap, because they are mass produced, and generally of very good quality.

    Linux for productivity work? I use it for almost everything, including writing documents, though I am a technie. The biggest weakpoints I see have nothing to do with Linux itself (though there are always the random weirdnesses). The biggest problems are with the productivity software.

    – LibreOffice/OpenOffice is miles – indeed, lightyears – removed from the functionality of MS Office. Granted, almost everything added to MS Office in the last 15 years is pure bloat (and the ribbon interface is just horrible). However, LibreOffice/OpenOffice don’t even approach the functionality of Office-97.

    – Email/Calendar. Outlook sucks great big green ones, but it is more functional than any other alternative out there. Just today I needed to schedule a couple of appointments for six people, meaning I needed to view all of their calendars simultaneously, find common holes (there weren’t any), failing that, decide (based on what/where their appointments were) who was most likely to be able to shove what. This kind of coordination is easy in Outlook – even for me, who rarely uses it. As with Office, however, everything MS has added to Outlook in recent years is just bloat. The old interface was more intuitive – the current one is a mess.

  46. I’ve had a number of female bosses over the years. All better than the worst male boss. YMMV.

  47. Well my wife left a cardboard box with a couple of votive candles in the car trunk. Total meltdown but fortunately the box absorbed most of them. Then again this is Bakersfield. If I forget the windshield shade and get in midday I can hardly hold the steering wheel.

  48. One of the things I use Linux for, is developing how the radio project will use automation. My last encounter with KDE (admittedly a couple years ago) was pretty awful — things like windows running off the screen with no way to grab the right part to move them or shrink them, and crashes were constant. In fact, the open-source automation software I play with, specifically advises against KDE, because it is so bleeding edge, that it gets in the way of the automation software doing its job. The forum is filled with people who have had serious problems that boiled down to KDE overstepping its bounds.

    I do finally like Linux, and with Mint 17 and the current Evolution, my main daily needs are fulfilled. But I sure hate going through the same teething pains that we already went through with Win NT. Latest annoyance is random clicks in recorded audio. I NEVER had that problem in Windows. Except for background apps, like Evolution, I am doing nothing else on the computer when recording.

    I guess I am going to have to face the fact that I need to remove pulseaudio and see if ALSA alone can do everything I need. But I already know that is going to take days of working on nothing but Linux.

    I am also beginning to wonder if the Debian-based release of Mint would not be a safer distro to use than the latest Mint LTS. AND, a quick visit to the Mint site, reveals that I should have been marking all the ‘Level 1’ updates, which are not checked by default in the update manager. So Mint has released a v2 of Mint 17, and I do not actually have that, because I never installed any of the Level 1 updates.

    GRRR!

  49. The problem with women bosses in my industry is that one cannot push back against them. Do so, and you’re history. When you push back against a man, everyone just stands back and watches, but push back against a woman, and all the management men immediately stand by her, and she can get away with anything she wants.

    BTW, both of the women I had to deal with, ultimately met their Waterloo, but that was after I left for having to deal with their insurmountable ignorance and stupidity. Carly Fiorina’s destruction of HP was in a similar category to what I was dealing with.

  50. The final count: 74 people, including the four people who live here. (Not counting the boys, who were off to college.)

    Ouch, at least they were not spending the night. We routinely have 20 or so people to our home for church functions but only for 3 to 4 hours.

    I’ve never had a female boss in 40 years of working. Other than mom, grandmoms, and the wife. I’ve actually had a female co-programmer file a complaint about me for getting my job done and then doing part of her job since I needed the functionality. Apparently she got offended.

  51. “OFD will be happy to learn that he’s converted me. I just ordered a case of 10-hour votive candles.”

    Many blessings of peace and wonderfulness be upon you, Dr. Bob! Don’t forget mass this Sunday now…oh…and you’ll have to sign up with the local parish for RCIA…lasts through the school year…geared to LCD…piece of cake.

    “I figured I’d try lighting one and praying. If god gives me what I ask for, I’ll keep using the candles whenever I need/want something.”

    Doesn’t work like that, haha.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1g8WCA7mJk

  52. RE: Female Bosses

    I must say that I prefer them. Thinking back on all of the places I’ve worked I’ve gotten along with my female bosses the most. I prefer male coworkers simply because I’m less apt to get in trouble for the crap that comes out of my mouth, but for bosses, I’ll choose a woman over a man any day.

  53. “My last encounter with KDE (admittedly a couple years ago) was pretty awful — things like windows running off the screen with no way to grab the right part to move them or shrink them, and crashes were constant.”

    I forgot to mention that I am getting pretty good at making KDE my own. I always turn off all eye candy and animations, just like in Windows. I remember that a very good book series (back in the days of books!) was Windows Annoyances; I learned many overall principles from it, and have also applied them to KDE. Of course, some translation is required.

    As for GUI crashes, the only ones I have had lately were in Cinnamon. I say this not to refute or annoy you, but to point out the complexity and variation between situations. Both Windows and Linux have to cope with a bewildering array of hardware, and I am surprised they work at all.

    Regarding audio, I used Audacity a couple of years ago to clean up two poorly recorded cassette tapes of family funerals. This was using rather weak hardware, and PCLinuxOS. It worked without any artifacts that I could tell, although the source was so bad that anything would have been an improvement. Goes to show…

    I want to mention that I have tried several distros, but always concentrating on the desktop experience. Once, I believed that the repos were of paramount importance, so I tried distros based on RPM, Debian, and SUSE, although I could be a little off here without my notes. In all cases, I tried to run whatever the distro had chosen for everything (everything, not just the DE) for at least a few weeks before experimenting. There WERE extreme variations. In the end, this took so long (many interruptions for life events) that I never really could compare things at the same time frame.

    Eventually, I came to Mint. I do feel a little guilty that I have never tried its default MATE desktop, but I don’t think I have enough hardware for it. Cinnamon and KDE are very different, although on the surface they seem to have similarities. After my adjustments, KDE uses less RAM and settles down to a lower CPU load than Cinnamon. It can be done. Of course, if I really understood Cinnamon, I might have been able to make it perform as well. All this is on two identical desktop boxes that use a 32b dual core Intel Atom chipset with integrated video and Intel integrated sound, just for full disclosure. There are reasons for the Atoms, but I would like to throw all this at a really fast 64b system to see if it makes much difference. It probably would. I will eventually get the chance.

    Almost none of what I have had to do should be necessary with a modern OS. But, to be fair, I do some of the same things to Windows, and it also responds.

    BTW, http://usesthis.com/ looks interesting, and is maybe just what some of us are looking for. Courtesy of Brian Bilbrey:http://www.orbdesigns.com/

  54. Bosses – I’ve never had a female boss myself, but I’ve seen them in action. Of course, any male/female statement is automatically an overgeneralization, but there is a general tendency.

    It seems to me that women tend to be more concerned about their employees as people, where as men are more task focused. Depending on where you stand as an employee, the one or the other can be better.

    Just as an example, from watching my wife work with her (all female) employees: She buys them flowers on their birthdays. She knows all about their family situations. They apparently appreciate this.

    If I were their boss, I wouldn’t neither know nor care when their birthdays were. I wouldn’t pry into their family situations. Here’s the job, do it; you did that well, but this other thing need improvement. Likely this approach would be be preferred by the majority of guys.

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