What women want


Jen complains about the difficulty of cleaning an old muffin tin.

Matt suggests getting a new muffin tin.

Jen says, “I don’t need it, I already have another one.”

Later that night, the old muffin tin finds itself outside with the rest of the recycling.


A box from Amazon.com arrived. I wonder if it has a 5-star rated muffin tin inside?


5:29 PM Jen: I like the new cupcake pan.  It cleans up soooooooo nice. 🙂

5:29 PM Matt Simerson: 🙂

5:29 PM Jen: Very easily!!!!!  Sickeningly easy cleanup.

5:30 PM Matt Simerson: awwww, shucks

5:30 PM Jen: maybe we should ditch the other one too 🙂

How to make an old lady blush

This last weekend, Grandpa and Grandma treated us to time away from our children. Eventually, grandma needed to relieve herself. Because Kayla has recently completed potty-training, and Lucas is beginning, we have an open door policy in effect. When Grandma headed into the bathroom, Kayla followed. After a bit of negotiating, Kayla was ushered back out of the bathroom and waited just outside the door. As soon as the tell-tale sounds of success emanated, Kayla let loose a proud cheer, “Yay Grandma!”

rectangular milk jugs

We’ve eliminated 11,000 delivery trips to Sam’s Club by moving to this jug. The one big challenge has been that it’s different to pour. If you tip it and put it into the glass, it works fine, but if you pick it up and pour it like the old jug, you’ll miss. So we’ve had a lot of people crying over spilled milk.  — Sam’s Club CEO Doug McMillon

What were they thinking?

Riddle me this; assume that you are the worlds largest Operating System vendor. One of your core markets, and the one generating the profit that keeps your entire operations rolling in cash, is sales to businesses (and governments). You work in marketing and hired a research company to determine the impact if businesses were to upgrade to the latest version of your OS. When the results of the report come back, they reflect a strong negative impact. Do you:

a) Cram the report in a barrel and bury it with nuclear waste in Nevada
b) Forward the results to your boss and let him/her decide
c) Spin the results as a job creation benefit to the US economy

Apparently someone at Microsoft thought c) was a good idea and published a report concluding that Vista would create 100,000 new jobs in the USA and 50,000 more in Europe. Now, if you were in charge of keeping IT costs down in your organization and read this, how excited would you be about upgrading?

That’s almost as embarrassing as two Word exploits that let remote attackers hijack your entire PC, or having your development chief say, I would buy a Mac if I didn’t work for Microsoft, or getting caught stealing icons off your competitors web site.

compressed air is so passe

Every geek worth his salt is bound to get requests to fix aged and ailing computers. A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, dropped his ancient Dell off in the hopes that I could salvage some of the files off the disk. A few months ago it had crashed so he reinstalled the OS, and got a few more months use before it crashed really hard.

In such cases, I don’t even bother using the ancient computer. I just yank the disk and attach it to my computer using a FireWire ATA bridge. Then I can probe, test, and hopefully extract information from the disk. This is obviously much faster than working with a relic. This evening I pulled the unnamed person’s Dell out from under my desk and removed the lid. The greeting I got was a little unsavory.

656 Click photos to enlarge.

As the inside of computers go, this is not the worst I have seen. Most folks don’t bother to clean their engine before taking their car to a mechanic and they don’t bother to clean their computer before taking it to a technician. My intent in disassembly was simply to remove the drive, which you can see in the lower right hand side of the photo.

To remove the drive, there are two screws beneath the front panel that must be removed. I was thinking I could get the drive out without liberating too much of the dust, but I was wrong. Very wrong. When I partially removed the front cover, my wife, who happened to be watching the dissection, interrupted. With good cause, she insisted I put it back together and take it outside the clean it off.


Other than age, can anyone at home guess why the drive failed?

I heeded Jen’s advice and took the computer out into the driveway to clean it out. I keep cans of compressed air in the garage for just this purpose. Then inspiration struck. I had just, in the previous 10 minutes, come down off the roof after blowing all the leaves out of my gutters. If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, I need not explain any further.


Apple is cozy with Microsoft Windows?

The year 2006 has brought many more forays into Windows than normal. Over a decade ago, I wrote software for DOS and subsequently various versions of Windows. After quitting my job at Kysor, I left Windows behind and my primary desktop OS has been either Mac OS or a variant of Unix (FreeBSD, BSDI, IRIX, or Linux).

For the last decade, I used Windows only when necessary. Earlier this year, I bought a new Core Duo iMac. I contributed to the XPonMac context to get XP working on it. I was even happier when Apple released Boot Camp soon thereafter. I installed XP and Firefox, rebooted, and didn’t use XP again. Then Parallels arrived. I downloaded and installed it. Not only did it work, it worked well. I installed FreeBSD, Debian, and WinXP just to have convenient access to them. Before June, I did actually used XP for one thing. I downloaded and installed the Blue Frog. Then Blue Security got DOSed off the planet.

I began 2006 with only occasional contact with Windows. Within a couple months, I had it installed on my iMac and a few months later I was actually using it. Then, just imagine my surprise when I was filling out the rebate form for my free iPod (which I bought with my new MacBook). The form was experiencing technical difficulties and yielded up an extremely interesting error message. Apparently Apple is also becoming much more familiar with Windows as well. Pay careful attention to the server tagline at the bottom of the error message.

Apple using Microsoft Servers

I am sure the explanation for why an Apple server is yielding up Windows .NET error messages will be interesting. For reference, I also saved the page as a web archive. The following is the .webarchive file generated by Safari. I have also posted a full sized image of the original screenshot.

Web Archive of Windows at Apple

Lawyer Season

Press Release (02/14/06)

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issued a statement today saying Vice President Cheney broke no law by shooting a lawyer instead of a quail over the weekend.

A TPWD spokesman noted that in Texas, lawyers are not considered game
creatures, and are thus not subject to seasonal limitations or bag limits.
It was further noted that lawyer-hunting is encouraged as the state is
overrun with them.

A local food critic said that, contrary to rumor, lawyers do not taste like
chicken, but more like the excrement from uncastrated adult male cattle,
which has long been known to be a major component in their composition.

In all seriousness, I have empathy for Cheney. You see, I nearly shot my own father Continue reading “Lawyer Season”

A bird lover?

Would you fall asleep like that? Me either. And what might that be in Kayla’s hand? If you guessed “chicken bone”, you’d be right. Kayla was watching with keen interested as Jen and I ate chicken wings for dinner. So, I offered her a bone, literally. Jen was a bit unsure, but Kayla loved it. It was her first popsicle and provided a fair degree of entertainment value for her and us.